August 25 – He Knows, He Acts, He Cares

August 25 – He Knows, He Acts, He Cares

THE RIVER WALK

He knows acts cares

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God. (Job 16:19-20)

Read: Job 16:1 – 19:29, 1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Psalm 40:1-10, Proverbs 22:1

Relate: About a month back I was talking with another teacher at a school I was volunteering at. Like almost all of the students there, this mother/teacher is from Kobani, Syria, and she left that city to go to Turkey about the same time ISIS was threatening to take it over. Earlier on I was sharing with the students about the life of Job and so I shared with this teacher one of my favorite verses which is actually something Job was crying out after he had hit rock bottom. Even now my witness is in heaven, my advocate is on high, my intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to…

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Christians Are Like Chestnuts

Fall is one of my favourite times of the year. I love to see the fiery reds and golden yellows of the leaves before they fall. This season is especially beautiful on Prince Edward Island where I live and I could drive for hours down the highway just to look at the colourful trees. I often go for walks with my mother down our road out in the country and the other day we were talking about fall and the cycle of the leaves falling.

A thought clicked in my mind…what if God created the seasons to parallel with Christ’s death? The leaves change colours and fall to the ground during autumn and all the plants are dead in the winter. Yet in the Spring everything comes to life again. In the same way His Son lived on Earth and died on the cross. Then when everything seemed hopeless, he rose again!

I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but it blew my mind when I thought of it! I love how creative God is and when you least expect it, He incorporates the plan of salvation into the tiny details of the world around us. All you have to do is look for them.

It reminded me of the verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for everything under heaven.”

Another lesson the fall has taught me came during another walk on another day. I found a chestnut tree with the chestnuts scattered all over the ground. I picked up one of the spiky balls and held it in my hand. It was sharp and prickly, not something you’d want to be picking up. But then I saw another one that was starting to split open. Inside was a beautiful shiny smooth nut.

It was amazing to see the difference between the two and it made me think of people. Sometimes we can be like the spiky shell of the chestnut with a short prickly temper that hurts those around us. We feel ugly and think we aren’t useful for anything.

If that is how you are feeling right now I have some good news for you. You aren’t going to have that prickly personality forever! The Bible says in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that the one who began a good work in you will carry it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.”

Since the moment you became a Christian, God has been working in your life. He is shaping you into the image of Christ: a pure and spotless, much like the smooth chestnut inside the shell.

Christians are like chestnuts! That also is true for the other people in your life who may be hard to get along with. They may be quick-tempered and frustrating,  but they’re also like chestnuts. We might not get to see the work God is doing in their lives, but He’s working on them too.

God calls us to be patient with these people. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient with each other, bearing with each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesisans 4:2

I encourage you all to go outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather and keep your eyes open. You never know what lessons God will teach you!

Keep walking in faith,

Sarah

Images by: http://www.medicinehunter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/w_684/horse_chestnut_seed_main.jpg

http://runninggrooveshark.com/tag/ecclesiastes/

Door Openers

An inspiring post by a talented writer. I definitely needed the reminder to be a door opener.

Casandra Martin

My sons are learning to be door openers. We call them gentlemen-in-training. They have watched their grandfather do it for their grandmother, their dad do it for me, and now they are learning how to open doors for others. It is pretty neat to watch.

They are learning how to open car doors, front doors, garage doors, and store doors. There is a rhythm to learning how to open doors. You have to watch the other person. You have to be aware of how to move the door so that it is easiest for the person you are serving to go in and out. They are learning how to offer their hand or their arm if someone needs a little extra assistance. They are discovering how to pace themselves so that they can walk with someone and put them at ease.

I really can’t think of anything else I would…

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A Sinner Like Them

KneelingAtTheCross

Greetings everyone,

A new school year has begun and students are being awakened from the harsh reality that summer is at its end. It’s hard to believe I’m entering into my final year of university. This year I’ve taken a crazy student approach and signed up for six courses. I decided I wanted to see what Maritime Christian College has to offer and stumbled upon their Romans course. Although I’m putting myself through extra stress and staying up late to finish my readings, it has been the best choice I’ve ever made. Every day God is opening my eyes to new truth.

Last night I was reading Romans 1. It talked about the Gentiles and how they traded God’s truth for their sinful desires. I thought “Isn’t that like society?” If we take a look around we can see the depravity of man by looking at any magazine, novel or movie. People are doing what they want and as long as they’re not hurting anyone it’s okay. I was frustrated because it seems like they’re not receiving any consequences from it.

Romans 1:17 says “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them.”

I said “Yeah! Finally the sinful generation is going to get what they deserve!”

Paul mentioned sexual immorality, homosexuality and promiscuity. I never did any of those things so I thought pretty highly of myself. God’s angry wrath wasn’t going to be poured out over me.

But then I came across a verse that made me stop in my proud tirade.

“They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent and arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil, they disobey their parents…”

It felt like I had been stabbed in the chest. I had just been insolent, arrogant and boastful all at the same time. I knew deep down they were sins just like murder and sexual immorality. I’ve disobeyed my parents, been jealous of someone else and not only listened to gossip, but spread it.

I was a sinner like them.

My eyes wandered to the next verse. “Although they knew God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

I was hit by the weight of my hypocrisy. Here I was judging others for their sin when I was included in that list. Not only that, but I’ve read the Bible and I’m without excuse because I know what I’m not supposed to do. I stopped my reading and I poured out my guilt to God, exposing my proud heart.

There’s nothing like the refreshing water of God’s forgiveness that washed over me that night. It was almost as comforting as when I first gave my heart to Christ. I’m thankful that God made a way to rescue us from ourselves and all the burning desires within us. Anyone who is feeling condemned can receive the same forgiveness just by asking God for it. He sent his perfect Son to take our place and receive the punishment for our wrongdoing.

But one thing I realized was that repentance isn’t enough. I have to give my selfish pride to God every day or it will continue to consume me.

That was only the first chapter of Romans. I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn from the rest of it!

Keep walking in faith,

Sarah

Lost in Translation: Finding the Right Bible for You

This is a good article to read if you are struggling to find the right Bible translation for you

A Pilgrim in Narnia

I first wrote this article a few years ago for New Horizons, a feature for young people looking at Christian undergraduate education. It has disappeared from the digital world, so I thought I’d post it again, slightly updated.

Finding a Bible of your own can be a daunting task. Walk into a Christian bookstore and you are confronted by hundreds of choices. So many different sizes, features and translations—enough to dizzy the mind and discourage any soul searcher.

So how do you find the right Bible for you when you are ready to ditch your grade three children’s Bible or move on from the dusty King James Bible your grandparents use to use?

Two Paths Diverged in the Library

One of the reasons there are so many choices is because there are different ways of approaching the translation of the ancient texts. Mostly, there are two kinds of translations…

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The Tolkien Letters that Changed C.S. Lewis’ Life

I’m always a big Tolkien and Lewis fan. I’m actually reading Mere Christianity right now

A Pilgrim in Narnia

Carpenter Tolkien LettersThis actually happened three times, though we don’t have most of the letters that J.R.R. Tolkien sent to his friend C.S. Lewis over the years.

The first letters that changed Lewis’ life were more than letters. Throughout the 1920s Lewis had moved from atheism to a belief in God, relying mostly on philosophical constructs to move, piece by piece, into the Enemy’s camp (from Lewis’ perspective as reluctant convert). Lewis hesitated to convert to Christianity, however. Among the reasons for this hesitation were his concern about the “Christ myth.” While he loved myths, he thought they had little representative value–they don’t tell us much about real life. And he felt the Christ myth was derivative, or even distasteful. Why not turn to Osiris, Dionysus, or Balder and get better poetry thrown in?

Tolkien responded in a few ways. To the first objection, that myths have no value, Tolkien wrote a poem, “

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Is Faith in God Reasonable?

 

Crossroads_Faith_Doubt

Hello everyone!

Recently I did a project for broadcast journalism called Is Faith in God Reasonable?

I was surprised to get permission from my instructor to embark on this journey because it’s not the easiest subject to cover. So I went a seminar at UPEI with world-renowned theist Dr. Andy Bannister and Dr. Malcolm Murray from the Philosophy Department. It was a really good session but if I hadn’t taken philosophy in school I would have been so lost!

My audience for this video was the general public so I didn’t want them to get bogged down with complicated philosophical arguments. My solution: get ordinary people to talk about what they think. So I tracked down people with many different opinions both Christian and atheists and interviewed Brenton Dickieson, a religious studies prof from UPEI to give an expert opinion.

When I got back from my shooting, my broadcast instructor broke the bad news to me…the piece had to be three minutes! I had enough information to make a full-length documentary. This was going to be a catastrophic struggle to cut it down to a bite-sized segment.

After hours of editing and screaming at my computer, I finally had a finished product. My instructor loved it and my class said it was unbiased. Ding, ding, ding We have a winner!

I learned so much about my own faith by talking to others about the subject and hearing what atheists have to say just strengthened my belief that God is real, not just a figment of our imagination. It also made me want to drop to my knees and pray for the world around me.

Still I was unsatisfied because there is so much more that needs to be said. So Lord willing in the future, I will be heading off on another adventure to complete a full length documentary: Is Faith In God reasonable? Stay tuned!

In the meantime I am posting the short piece that I did for class.

Keep walking in faith,

Sarah

 

When the Stomach Talks

Genesis 26

I was reading the story of Jacob and Esau yesterday and I couldn’t help but think about how foolish it sounded. Esau traded his rights of the firstborn and all its blessings for a bowl of stew. How ridiculous is that? He could have had so many blessings but he threw it all away because his stomach was growling.

But then I thought about it. How often do we live in the present moment and lose sight of the future? Esau was so focused on his physical needs and present desires that he wasn’t aware of the consequences down the road. His descendants could have been a great nation, but instead they became enemies of God’s chosen people.

And all that because of hunger.

The Bible says in Romans 8:25 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

When we are driven by our fleshly desires, we often forget the spiritual consequences.

I came across a verse in Philippians that describes Esau’s situation.

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Philippians 3:19

So next time you are tempted to act on an irrational desire, remember Esau.

Who’s Your Father?

When living on P.E.I. there is one question you will hear on a daily basis: Who’s your father?

Once Islanders find out who your father is, they try to figure out if they know your family or if they are related to you somehow. They can usually tell where you come from, what religion you are and what political party you support just by hearing your family’s name.

During my shifts at work my customers are always asking me who my father is. Because I don’t come from P.E.I., more often then not they don’t know who my family is.

Right now I’m reading the Old Testament where there are lots of genealogies.

And Shem was the father of Gomer and Gomer was the father of Ashkenaz and so on…

Just reading Genesis 10 and 11 can make your eyes glaze over.

But there’s a reason why there are so many genealogies in the Bible  and it’s similar to why Islanders ask who your father is.

Ancestry was an important part of the culture at that time. Jewish children back then memorized generations of family history. At that time people were proud to say they were sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Just like the Islanders they want to know how everyone is connected.

Although the names may be confusing and hard to pronounce, I like to read the genealogies and imagine what their stories are even if they aren’t mentioned in the Bible. It’s cool to see how everything connects.

Those names aren’t just some random people from a long time ago. Many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our family.

So the next time someone asks you who your father is, don’t forget about your true father: the Lord Almighty.