Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lessons from my Grandpa

It's been a reflective couple of weeks for me. More than usual - which, if you know me, you might wonder if it was possible for me to be any more reflective.

It seems that when some things happen in life it causes us to reflect on things a bit more. We stop. We remember. We look for the good things to hold onto. We look for lessons we can learn for the future.

It's been a couple of weeks since my Grandpa passed away. Last week in a chapel service at work, I began reflecting on things I had learned from my Grandpa over the years. The speaker started talking about some of the lessons we had learned from his Grandpa and it started me thinking about that.

I didn't always know my Grandpa well. Until a little over 5 years ago, the kilometers between us meant we didn't see each other often. Once he moved here, I saw him more frequently and got to know him better.

As I've reflected on it, I've realized that there are a few things where my Grandpa had a part to play in teaching me that thing. He's not the only one who helped me learn it, but he definitely played a part in teaching me these things.

You Never Retire from Serving God

I heard my Grandpa say it and I watched him live it to the degree he was able each day. My Grandpa said there was one thing in life that you never retired from and that was serving God. Certainly, how you serve God changes over the years, but you still serve God in the capacity He gives for each season of your life.

You Never Stop Learning to Love God's Word More and More

When I was at Bible college, I spent a few days out of one of my reading breaks at their house - since a few hours away was a little closer than the 14 hours to go home. I always knew my Grandpa loved the Bible as God's Word to us, but in those few days I spent with him that was very clear to me.

We had some of the best conversations we ever had over those days I stayed with him and Grandma. We talked about the classes I was taking and things I was studying. And I received some of his wisdom learned over years of studying and loving the Bible through those conversations. I left after those days with a greater desire to keep learning and loving God's Word each day of my life.

You Should Mean it When You Say You're Praying for Someone

At the end of every phone conversation and with every hug good-bye when they came to visit, my Grandpa would say he was praying for me. I don't remember ever doubting those words. I just knew that when he said it, he meant it.

However distant our relationship may have been at times, I knew those words were true and I could count on it. It's made me conscious of what it means when I tell someone else I'm praying for them. I want to be someone who follows through when they say those words, because I know the difference it can make to know someone if praying for you.

When I reflect on things, those are the lessons that come to mind as things my Grandpa helped to teach me during his life on earth. Lessons I want to have shape the way I live the rest of the days God gives me on this earth.

Friday, March 27, 2015

How do we Hear God's Voice?

It's not often we're pointed to the truth of God's Word and God's ways on popular TV shows. But I was reminded of the importance of listening for God's voice and learning to recognize it a few times recently as I was re-watching a few seasons of one of my favourite shows.

In a few of the episodes I've watched recently, the topic of God speaking to us and how do we know if it was God or not has come up. I think those are questions we can often wrestle with ourselves:

  • Does God speak to us?
  • How does He speak to us?
  • How do I know if it was God speaking?

I know those are questions I've wrestled with in my own walk. And they're questions that I think are ones we continue to to learn more about all the time.

As I keep growing in my relationship with God, I become more convinced that He speaks to us. And I learn more about how He speaks and how to know if it was God. It's a journey where I don't expect to arrive at the end while I walk on this earth.

When it comes to relationship, it's something where we're always learning and growing. With our friends, the longer we call them friends and the more we take the time to get to know them, the more we recognize things about them easily. The same is true in our relationship with God - the more time we spend with Him, the more easily we will recognize when He is speaking to us.

In the TV show I was watching, one of the characters said something about asking God and then listening carefully for His response. That line stuck with me because I think it's the key to all of this. We have to create space to listen for God's voice.

Just as we create space to listen to our friends, we have to create space to hear God speak. We can't just quickly pray and then move on to the next thing. We can't just quickly read a few verses in our Bible and then run to the next activity we have planned. It our time with God is just to check the next things off a "to-do list," we don't recognize God's voice speaking to us.

To recognize God's voice when He speaks, we have to create the space to learn to listen for His voice.

We begin by learning to linger over our prayer and Bible reading.

We begin by intentionally creating space.

And as we learn to recognize God's voice more in these intentional times, we learn to recognize God's voice when He speaks in the midst of the busy moments of our lives as well.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saying Good-Bye

Good-byes aren't things we usually look forward to. They often mean that life as we know it is changing in some way. Even if that change is for the good, we still don't seem to like the good-bye that comes with it. Even when we're excited about the change that is necessitating the good-bye, that doesn't mean we like the process of saying good-bye.

Then there's the good-byes that are just plain hard. There's not something on the other side that helps us to get through the good-bye. The good-byes that leave us with something or someone missing that was once a part of our lives.These good-byes can often be the most difficult ones we have to say. They take time for us to work through.

Whatever the reason for the good-bye, we have to learn to say it well. We run into problems in our lives when we refuse to say good-bye when it's necessary. How we say good-bye and the changes it makes to our lives may look different each time, but that doesn't change the fact we have to say good-bye.

Good-bye to someone we loved who has passed away.

Good-bye to something we loved that is over now.

Good-bye to the way a friendship looks right now because the circumstances of one or both of you are changing and it can't be exactly the same anymore. It may not be good-bye forever, but it's good-bye to the present reality.

Good-bye to a dream you had that God is asking you to give up for what He has for you instead.

Good-bye to the place you've called home for any length of time.

There are many things and many people we may need to say good-bye to. Some are easier than others. Some we will try to hang onto long past when we should.

Saying good-bye is a part of life on this earth. God knew that when He created it and created us. He knows it's hard. He knows we don't look forward to it most of the time.

The good news is that He doesn't leave us alone to do it either. He walks with us through it. And He provides people to walk with us through it.

"For God has said: Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

More of You

More of You, God
More of You
That’s what we want, God
More of You

We want to meet You here
We want to hear from You
Hear Your truth
And know Your ways

More of You, God
More of You
That’s what we want, God
More of You

You alone have power
To set us free
To break our chains
To open prison doors

More of You, God
More of You
That’s what we want, God
More of You

You restore and You rebuild
You renew and You refresh
You are our strength

You help us stand again

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Taking a Break from Writing Here

For those who follow my writing here . . . I'm taking a bit of a break from writing here. Life has dictated that I need to take a break.

I will keep you posted as to when I will be back here with more writing.