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My Wagon, His Star

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“Hitch your wagon to a star” they say. The expression means to: try to succeed by forming a relationship with someone who is already successful.

From a very human perspective, Ruth picked the wrong “star” if she intended to be successful.

Her husband was dead. Her mother-in-law was a widow without prospects, bitter and alone, heading back to a situation that was less than promising. Naomi encouraged both of her daughters-in-law to hitch their stars to a more-or-less sure thing—stay in Moab and find new husbands who could care for them and give them children.

But Ruth chose to hitch herself to a fading star. Ruth 1:16 gives us her words on the subject: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”.

These words are sometimes used as a new bride’s response to her husband-to-be during wedding ceremonies. However, to my knowledge, they are never addressed to her mother-in-law, wh…

Rant-able, or Not!

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Some of my American friends are wrestling with how they voted in the last presidential election. Believing that Hilary wasn’t a good choice they voted for Donald. Now they are rethinking that. The latest scandal to hit the White House has sent ripples throughout the world. Donald was caught disparaging people from African nations and from Haiti even while he is signing some kind of document to honour Martin Luther King Jr. He claims that what he said was taken out of context. Even if it was, calling African nations “s—hole” countries is not appropriate no matter what the context. But that is the mouth of man. And the Scriptures (Matthew 15:18, 19) are clear that what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart—deny it all you want!

Meanwhile, our own Prime Minister is pushing his marijuana agenda in town halls across the country. A young Muslim girl was attacked in Toronto because of her hijab. The PM expressed concern, and rightly so, but then made the statement that, “This is not w…

Hunger For...?

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Complaining was one of the many negative character qualities of the children of Israel. They weren’t that long out of Egypt—accompanied by many HUGE miracles that attested to God’s provision for them—when they were grumbling about the “room service”. Several times food and water were the issues. But though God could have avoided the conflict, He didn’t, preferring to test the faith of His people and to teach them valuable lessons about that faith. He let them go hungry for a reason.

In Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses speaks these words to the people: “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”. So important was this lesson that Jesus used the latter part of the verse in His contest with Satan in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:4)

The children of Israel must have wondered about the application of the lesson—their concer…

J.O.Y.

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I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading through page after page of notes I had taken last summer in preparation for a ladies’ retreat scheduled for early March. My jumping-off point for the three sessions I am bringing to the ladies are Jesus’ words from Matthew 22:37-39. The theme of the retreat is Indescribable and Glorious Joy. It might seem odd that the Law, summarized in the two great commandments that Jesus gave, should have much to do with the subject of joy. But it has everything to do with deep and fulfilling joy.

We used to define joy this way:

J = Jesus
O = Others
y = You

And that is basically what the two great commandments are all about.

Love the Lord your God = Jesus
Love your neighbour = Others
Love yourself = You

It sounds simple—it isn’t. We are simply not “programmed” to put anything first in our lives but ourselves and what we think will bring satisfaction to our lives. That makes the first part of the command, Love the Lord your God so hard for us.

My verse for today ec…

Let Him Do The Driving

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Should I, or shouldn’t I? Have you ever had a thought pop into your head, a suggestion about something that might be interesting or valuable to do, and then wondered if it was just a thought that wasn’t worthy of being considered at all? We have lots of those—in the dead of winter a vacation in a warmer climate might come to mind, but practicality soon puts that to rest. Other ideas linger. You chew over them, working out the possibilities in your mind. Everything feels good. Everything feels possible, but you still aren’t sure whether your own desires have overruled the voice of the Spirit of God telling you to put this one to bed too.

Many years ago, when I was considering what to do with my life, there were some measuring sticks that we had been advised to used when determining whether or not the Spirit of God was leading us in a specific direction.

The first of these was the counsel of the Word of God. Certainly God never leads us to do something that defies the instructions He ha…

Run or Rest

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Pharaoh and his army are in hot pursuit of the children of Israel. Despite all the suffering caused by the plagues that God had to send on Egypt to persuade the King of Egypt that it was in his best interests to let Israel go, he’s had a change of heart—or head. Who is going to build all his monuments to himself if his slave labour is allowed to escape?

The children of Israel have been led to a spot on the map which seems illogical for a people looking for the best way, and the fastest, to “get out of Dodge.” They are now surrounded, facing the sea, and about to be closed in by Pharaoh’s army.

God had informed Moses that He had a plan to use the situation to bring glory to Himself (Exodus 14:4). However, the thunder of the horses’ hooves, the rumble of chariot wheels, and the sight of a vast parade of armed and angry soldiers, drove any reasonable thought out of the heads and hearts of Israel. “They were terrified” (14:10).

Sounds right. Reasonable thought says that the God of the ten…

Dusty

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Everyone, well, probably almost everyone, complains about having to work too hard. That is, in part, one of the consequences of sin according to those first few verses of the Bible. The curse that was placed on Adam because of the rebellion of the first family against their Creator includes the note: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).

In Eden the first family had everything provided for them. All they had to do was to take care of what God so generously gave them. But what God gave wasn’t enough for them and the rest, as they say, is history.

But the more ominous part of the verse follows. Hard work will be man’s portion until he dies and returns to the dust from which he came. Psalm 104 echoes this statement: “These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they…