It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Ponder-worthy will return once again in September. Thank you for reading, sharing and following this blog. A huge thank you to the talented Cathy Coulson who takes incredible photos to enhance these blog posts. May you all enjoy a wonderful summer that continues to bloom with many fragrant and ponder-worthy moments!
It is possible to hit a tennis ball anywhere on the racquet and hope that it goes over the net. But there is a “sweet spot” on the racquet, a zone where the player hopes that the ball connects to that special spot for an optimum hit and return. Excellent players practice to make the ball consistently connect to that sweet spot. As I think about the Christian life, we have the choice to be average followers of Christ or to become passionate disciples. There is sweet spot where God’s gracious presence meets our holy desire and voluntary yieldedness. It is a place of deep connection and of breathtaking beauty. It is a place that is worthy of our consistent pursuit.
God is identified in scripture as one who “was, and is, and is to come” He is the God of the past, the present and the future. It is good to look backward and remember the testimony of faithfulness of God in our days past. It is wonderful to anticipate the hope of an eternity with the God who holds our future. But it is easy to forget that He is also the God of our present, the God of our right now, the God “who is” in this current moment of our lives. It takes effort to remember that God is always with us, that we are not alone, and like a friend, He is right beside us. Let us try to take some time this week to be fully present in the presence of the God “who is” and enjoy the One who walks with us.
The Ottawa Tulip Festival is more than just thousands of glorious tulips for tourists to come and look at each year. They are a gift of thanks from the Netherlands to Canada commemorating the significant role that Canada played in Holland’s liberation during the second world war and also providing asylum for the Dutch royal family. The tulips symbolize the continual gift of friendship between Canada and Holland since 1945. Whether it is between two countries or two people, friendships should be celebrated as meaningful and precious relationships that nourish the soul. Saying thank you and showing appreciation for friends and those we love is almost a forgotten virtue of courtesy these days. We have too many moments where our thoughtful words or small gifts of appreciation turn into missed opportunities to thank our friends. Like the gift of tulips, let’s remember to celebrate our friends and the great blessing that they are in our lives.
Fame and self-promotion are easy friends in a prideful relationship that is commonly found in the world. Fame and humility are uneasy friends in a complicated relationship that takes effort to make it work in a godly way. It is difficult but possible. But put all three together – fame, self-promotion and humility and it is a doomed relationship from the start. It is puzzling to watch Christian leaders trying to make this dysfunctional relationship work and convinced that there is nothing wrong. Instead, it is like a three stranded chord that is always broken, or like the links of a chain that is always too short.
Financial literacy, financial advice, investing in RRSPs, RRIFs, and TFSAs, financial planning and wealth management – if only we planned the use of our time as seriously and meticulously as we plan the use of our money. The greatest excuse we use for not spending time with God is that we simply do not have any spare time. Perhaps it is time to sit down and create a strategy for time management and if necessary, get some advice and wisdom on how to set goals and make plans to regularly meet with God. Investing our time with God is always time well spent. It opens up a wealth of spiritual riches to lay hold of in our present daily-to-day life – riches that we don’t have to wait until our future retirement to enjoy.
I have been told that 2 things are certain in life: death and taxes. I would like to add a third – a continual lowering of world life standards. It does not surprise me that the world continues to sink lower in terms of life standards. But it does surprise me when we claim to have a new Lord and Master yet we continue to live by the lowering standards of this world. The laws that our country were founded on continue to be disrepected and disregarded. I expect that from the world, but not from the Redeemed. Our old mindset and ways of thinking need to come out from the world and be transformed. Abortion, adultery, unfaithfulness in marriage, stealing, lying, disrespect for parents, consuming materialism, living for money, cheating employers, this should never be normal behaviour for a Christian yet churches are full of such and look no different from the world. Let us purpose in our hearts to aim to walk higher because if we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time.
On an Easter morning long ago, a heavy stone was miraculously rolled away from a tomb and a resurrected Jesus gloriously appeared as the risen Lord to the disciples who loved Him. He came to them and they were filled with a new love and a new hope that changed their lives forever. And so it continues. Jesus continues to miraculously roll away the heavy stones of our hard hearts. He continues to come as the risen Lord and Saviour and appears in the hearts of all who love Him. And He continues to fill us and change us with new life, new love and new hope. This is the good news of His continual resurrection life.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? That was the question that the 2 angels asked the women who came to the tomb looking for Jesus. The angels told them that Jesus was not there, but he had risen. The women were looking in the wrong place. This is still a relevant question to ask ourselves 2000 years later. Our souls search for life but we look in all the wrong and empty places. Life cannot be found in the tombs of this world. We find life when we find the risen Jesus. This Easter, let us end our search in the dead end places. Let our souls rise up to meet Him and let us continue to receive the abundant life that He freely gives.
None of us would doubt for a moment the promise that spring is coming. We have every faith that the sun will shine warmer and the flowers will burst forth again into glorious blossoms. If we are blessed to live until 80 years of age, we will have witnessed 80 springs and have believed 80 times that spring is coming. It is easy to believe in spring. How much more then should we believe the promises of God who proves himself faithful to us not 80 times but every day of our lives. Each morning, as surely as the sun rises, his grace and mercy is showered down upon us with the precious gifts of life and love. God’s promises never fail. We experience them every day and they are uncountable. If we can put our faith in spring, let us put our faith in the One who made spring and whose promises are far greater than the promise of spring.