In this painting…

In this painting, lines of truth emanate. Light bursts forth, shattering a rigid picture, reaching beyond grasp, in bold strokes, defying a frame.

In its edged background, darkness seeps through. Something corrosive. Staining. But wherever the light reaches, there is darkness dispelled.

In its fierce foreground, a radiant star-burst flares forth from the form of a cross. At its center, a deep blue, shining, as arms and hands. They fly to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south, transforming from bright blue to blinding white.

Between these arms fly a thousand rays, reflecting their source, in hues of yellow and tinged orange. They warm instead of dazzle, and they draw the eye to their graceful metamorphosis from one strong arm to another.

In this painting, I see you. The artist I see in motions of creation, hovering over the surface, applying a foundation in broad, full strokes, and your hand, in dance, as you guide the light, and fill in the empty spaces. I see your moves in symphony and concert with love, shaping what will be, and exhausting care and consideration into a painting, radiating in the act of reflecting its maker.

In this painting is the source of which was said, “sunshine can be seen breaking forth from the frame, does strike my face, and warms again my heart to hope.”

New Year’s Day 2012

Happy New Year! May your heart warm again to hope by the very sunshine shone forth only from the trust put in Jesus Christ, Saviour of your soul, God, Who knows the good plans He has for you!

Allow me to open 2012 with an old stand by, for the “old school Sanctus Real fans…”

Things were better last year. Things will be better this year.

Thank you, God, for blessing me, thank you for helping me be a blessing, thank you for changing me. You have shown your faithfulness in spite of my unfaithfulness. You have answered my prayers, you have carried me through, you have lead me and guided me according to your Will for me, revealing to me day by day your plans to bless me so incredibly. I am amazed that you care for the things that I care about. Forgive me for having such little faith. I believe, help my unbelief! Thank you for the sacrifice of Your Son on the cross for me, a sinner. May I ever more and ever better be Your servant.

Lord, you know my heart’s desire. Please bless me with opportunities to be a blessing, please bless me with courage and confidence to seize those opportunities, please bless me with Your creativity to create opportunities! I believe your best for me is yet in my future. This I know because I have seen Your great hand at work! I will wait on You, I will trust in You.

The Lord, God, He is Good. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Selah.

New Year’s Eve 2011

Truly, the light of the Son has shone on each day more wonderfully than the last! These words, penned New Year’s Day 2011 echo back to me from distant memory and remind me of the immediate flood of blessings I have had each day of this year!

Twenty-Eleven began with a running start. In the Fall of 2010 I made a commitment before the Lord, which I am still working through, and hope to do so for the rest of my life. As New Year’s 2011 commenced, my faith, my life, and my hopes were placed in God’s able hands. My commitment was to someone special, my aim to be a blessing to her and her family, my promise before God to remain steadfast to them, my request before God that he bless me so I could be a blessing, and my plea before God to change me – that I would be a better servant to him day by day.

The Lord has answered so many prayers. I am amazed that He hears and not only hears but answers! One of my constant prayers this past year has been that I would be able to see opportunities arising where I could be a blessing, that I would have the courage and confidence to seize those opportunities, and that I would be granted God’s own creativity to create opportunities to be a blessing. God has overflowed me with amazing opportunities and, more surprising still, He has used these opportunities to other ends than I had intended so that I ended up being more incredibly blessed than I would have thought. I am blown away by the way He works. I love His ways!

I have also been learning not simply to hope for good things but to trust God who has planned for our good, if we would only have faith and trust Him and follow Him so that he can carry out in our life something more wonderful than we could ever have dreamed up on our own!

Praise Him, all creatures here below! Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host! The Lord God, “majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders,” this God, His hand has been on my days, His plans for me from everlasting have been revealed day by day and I am laid low that I have gripped so tightly to fantasies when God’s workings are so much better, so surprisingly delightful, so unexpected and joy abounding!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

I don’t know about becoming a Cannonball this past year but the Lord has lifted my head, lead me, and carried me forward. I have continued to read His Word on my phone, now using AcroBible NIV. I have abandoned cable television and, with it, The Light, a cable radio station which broadcasts quality Christian music. I have moved to iTunes, mostly, and have found I can get most of the music I want to find. As I talked about in my New Year’s Eve 2010 post, I have stayed with my “christian” playlist and I find there is truth and wisdom and peace in immersing one’s self completely in things good, and pure, and noble.

This year I have been trying to keep a habit of reading a few key, biblical promises, that I first heard from James MacDonald’s series Always True. Listen to the audio series yourself and I think you’ll experience the same uplifting joy I felt coming to understand God’s intention for our blessing! I would read one promise per day, Monday through Friday, in the hope that I’d never forget God’s love and care for me. This year has taught me fully that God is always watching over us, waiting for us to come back to Him, that He could bless all the more being within His Will.

One of my most feared understandings of God is His sovereign Will to humble anyone He so chooses. I have often prayed that He would humble me before I needed to be humbled. One weekend, in particular, turned into such a humbling for me, but the night lasted only so long and joy came with the morning. I understand better, now, what is being said in the beautiful song, Blessed Be Your Name. God is good!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

God is so good!

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Selah.

New Year’s Eve 2010

Goodbye, 2010, we hardly knew ye! Twenty-Ten has been a watershed year for me though I never really considered it like that before writing this. Many personally significant things have happened this year for me and I feel, perhaps, as if I am riding the crest of a wave, one which I’m both exhilarated to be on and also frightened I’ll either slip down the back side of or be let down as it fades. The one thing I will grab hold of is God and His promises and, by these, will I pray that, to face the future, I might become a Cannonball.

My mother passed on early this year. My dad’s mourning has turned to happiness and he will be getting married early 2011.¬† My brother had his first baby, the beautiful baby Arden. My sister’s family continues to grow and each of my nephews and nieces makes me proud.

My father moved out of his house and into a new place for him and his fiance. I moved out of my apartment, of two years, into his old place and, I must say, it’s nice to live in a house again!

Most strikingly, though, for me personally, I feel like I’ve finally emerged out of a three or four year “stop.” A “stop” is what I call it: A period of time where I just “stopped,” and tried to separate myself from pretty much everything, friends, family and, in some ways, my faith. These past few years have been a hard time. Both laborious and emotional.

During this time, I stopped reading my bible, started mixing secular music with my Christian collection, questioned a lot of things in the bible, and experimented somewhat with the world. None of it satisfied, of course, but count yourself lucky if you don’t go, in spite of all wisdom to the contrary, and try to see for yourself what all the non-hoopla is about.

Many years ago, being passionate in my faith, I started collecting Christian music. My friend, Jamie, and I found some amazing stuff. I even got some tunes I remember my brother and sister playing as kids and found out they were still pretty cool. You probably won’t understand it but I actually set out to “find the good music” and prove the Christian music scene had acts just as good as the mainstream. What I found was beyond any of the mainstream. It made the mainstream pale in comparison. I know and remember well it brought joy, delight and happiness cruising around with Jamie, in particular, cranking the “good music.”

You’ll better understand the next part now that I’ve told you about the music I used to love so much. Over time I started mixing Christian muic with secular. I love some of the mainstream stuff. Still do. I listen to music a lot, though, at work, in the car to and from work, to and from hockey and visits with friends up north. The problem with mainstream music is it’s about you and I, all the time, no breaks, ever. It became bitter to me. Very naturally, and without much fanfare, one day I just split up my collection into two folders, “christian” and “secular”, and my playlist has been “christian” ever since. That was a few months ago.

For some reason, that started a change. It made me want to get back into my faith. I can’t remember when but, I got a smart phone around August, and, suddenly, I saw a new and intriguing way to read the bible. I started reading.

I moved into my dad’s old place a few months ago which means I now have a 40 minute drive to/from work. Lots of people think that’s a drag. Turns out it’s brilliant for me. I listen to James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word on my way into work and Ravi Zacharias on the way home. Being under the Word each and every day is an amazing thing.

I need to recognize Creation.com, my passion for creation a gift from my late mother, I suppose. I have had an interest in Creation for a long time even before this year and I think I owe it to Creation Ministries International¬† (Creation.com) to recognize their contribution in effecting my life over the years. You see, Creation isn’t just about creation vs evolution: It’s about the very foundation of Christianity. God’s Word speaks to all the issues relevant in any given age and it is its first book that gives it the authority it needs to speak on those issues. The “young earth creationism” movement is about so much more than just saying the earth was created by God in six days. It’s the seabed foundation of the Christian faith and, without which, the entire faith breaks down into pointlessness. It is because of my reading of young earth creationism that I have an incredible trust in the reliability, authority and historicity of my bible. Do not dismiss creationism. Equip yourself and your friends and family with all that you need to know to be certain of your faith. Confidence in your God, His Word and your faith is there, you just need to go and get it.

I will also mention The Light, a Galaxie radio channel on my Rogers cable tv. They actually do tend to play a number of decent Christian artists and not just fluffy pop. Since moving into my dad’s old house The Light is usually on in the background and is always on when I go for a run on my treadmill.

As I write this, dc Talk’s My Will just started playing on The Light as I finished the last paragraph. Told ya they also play good stuff.

Twenty-Ten is fast closing and I can only thank God for his grace and mercy to me, a sinner, and His sacrifice of His Son on the cross for me. I thank Him for this year and for literally changing me. I pray continually that He will keep changing me still.

Thank you, God, for changing me. Thank you for this year. You already know my hope for next year. Please, may my hope be within your will.