Faithful

God is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

 

I’ve heard it said that a person’s perception of God is based on the example their father set for them. I don’t know if that’s 100 percent true, but I do know that for me, the example my father modeled made it easier to believe in the faithfulness of God.

 

My Dad was an impeccable model of faithfulness for me. And I don’t mean just his faithfulness to Mom, though that is huge.

If he said he would be there, he was.

If he said he would do something, he did it.

Trusting him was never a problem for me.

 

My childhood understanding of my heavenly Father grew out of my impression of my earthly father.

 

Faithfulness does not turn one way and then the other.

Faithfulness is not indecisive. It is not wishy-washy.

Faithfulness follows through on promises, no matter what.

 

As I look ahead to 2018, I can put any unease, apprehension, or anxiety aside, because God is faithful.

He does not turn one way and then the other.

He is not indecisive or wishy-washy.

He follows through on promises, no matter what.

 

Here are just a few of His promises:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

 

And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,

In paths they do not know I will guide them.

I will make darkness into light before them,

And rugged places into plains.

These are the things I will do,

And I will not leave them undone. (Isaiah 42:16)

 

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)

 

Yesterday, today, tomorrow, God is faithful.

Always.

2018 will not be too much for Him. And if it becomes too much for me, I know I can count on the bedrock of His faithfulness.

 

Thanks, Dad.

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The Gift

I wrote this poem for Christmas last year. I share it with you again this Christmas season with the prayer that your hearts will truly know the reason for the season, and that that head-and-heart knowledge will bring you peace through the year to come.

Merry Christmas!

 

THE GIFT

God creating

Ages passing

Mankind struggling, warring, hoping

Prophets warning

Darkness sinking

Painful steps and slow

***

Father reaching

Gabriel bidding

Mary trembling, trying, trusting

Joseph reeling

Angel speaking

Mary, did you know

***

Livestock lulling

Dung heap reeking

Manger waiting, holding, cradling

Mary nuzzling

Joseph shielding

Royal beauty bright

***

Shepherds minding

Night sky bursting

Angels swelling, praising, lauding

Outcasts scouring

Baby drawing

To Thy perfect light

***

Heavens glowing

New star charming

Magi tracking, chasing, seeking

Herod killing

Mothers wailing

Forms are bending low

***

Baby growing

Manchild teaching

Jesus living, leading, loving

Students wond’ring

Masses crowding

Rest unto your souls

***

Saviour dying

Soldiers gaming

Mary weeping, wond’ring, watching

Father leaving

Satan roaring

Silent stars go by

***

Gospel spreading

Ages passing

Man rejecting, struggling, praying

Rulers vying

Angels battling

Still we see Thee lie

***

Shoppers jostling

Cashiers cringing

Devil scheming, cheating, lying

Santas jingling

Trickster duping

Making spirits bright

***

Father reaching

Jesus bidding

Spirit moving, sealing, guiding

Angels fighting

Mankind’s hurting

Met in Thee tonight

***

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Autumn and Johann Sebastian Bach

As soon as the first leaves of Autumn flame into colour and begin wafting to the ground, I get an itch to listen to Johann Sebastian Bach.

There is something about Autumn and Bach that just go together, like the wafer and the creamy centre of an Oreo cookie. Take them apart and they’re yummy, but together … they’re fabulous!

I don’t know where this all started. Maybe it was that, in September, summer holidays over, it was time to get back to school and piano lessons. Back into choosing and preparing pieces for the next spring’s Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) piano exams. For those of you not well versed in RCM graded piano books and exams, let me explain: Every exam required one piece each to be prepared from List A, List B, List C, and in later grades, List D.

List A consisted of music pieces written during the Baroque period. And that’s where J.S. Bach fits. Naturally, the piano teacher would list the List A piece first in my music notebook, and I, being the strict item-follower I am, would study this piece first every time I sat down to practice.

I have always gravitated to Bach’s music. There is something so ordered, so mathematical, so solid and trustworthy in his music. He never lets me down. Most, if not all, of his piano pieces end on the tonic. We are not left hanging somewhere in limbo – a state of uncertainty where there is no freedom to let go of the breath you’ve been holding. There’s a solid Amen at the end. And by that I mean The End. Fine.

Does anybody else remember those short television episodes that played in the 60’s and 70’s? I don’t even know what the show was called, but the story was about a mouse – a real mouse. This little mouse traveled in a real, tiny boat down a tiny stream. In the background a harpsichord played J.S. Bach. As a girl, I was transfixed by those little vignettes. Maybe that’s where my great love for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach began.

For me, Winter, Spring, and Summer are straight forward seasons. Winter means snow, hockey, mitts and scarves, hot chocolate and fireplaces. Spring has one theme: spring forth! Summer brings warmth and more time for friends and fun.

But Fall!

As in Bach’s music, there is so much happening in Fall. Intricacies we are not even aware of. One day is warm, the next chilly. Whole trees will burst out in colour while their brothers right next to them hang on to green. Evenings, like Bach, are crisp, and foster clear- headedness and renewed thinking, rejuvenated and remolded ideas. There is laid-back urgency in the air. I feel I can achieve anything in the Fall.

Normally I listen to J.S. Bach’s piano works, but this year I happened on to some history on his cantatas:

– Between the years 1723-1729, Bach composed one cantata for every regular and occasional church service in the year. This is at least one cantata a week! More than 52 cantatas a year!! Considering the shortest cantata I could find online is 28 minutes long, this is beyond amazing.

– Of the 350 cantatas he composed, only 209 have survived. The rest were sold off in bulk to be used as paper to wrap meat, fish, and cheese. Insert horror-faced emoji here.

 

I’m gaining a new appreciation for Johann Sebastian Bach’s music. Maybe you will too as you sit by your fireplace or take a walk, music in earbuds, on a crisp Autumn evening.

 

Have a listen and enjoy:

Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 847, Anthony Newman, Harpsichord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYw7UgO2usI

 

Canada’s own Glenn Gould plays the same Prelude in C minor on Piano

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkg0aQxsKlU

 

Cantata: Magnificat in D major, BWV 243

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38TS7EOGo9A

 

 

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Out of Boxes

 

You know those forms you have to fill out where you check the box in front of your age?

[ ]  20-30

[ ]   31-44

[ ]   45-54

[ ]   55+

 

Today I am checking the last box.

I’m out of boxes.

 

My thoughts progress from mild surprise, to contemplation, to downright rage:

Huh. No more boxes. I wonder what this means? Is life as I know it now over? Do I really have nothing to look forward to anymore? Who the heck decided this would be the last box, anyway? What is wrong with people? Don’t they know there’s life after 55?

 And why am I getting lumped in with the 90-year-olds!!!?

 

I take a deep breath, wipe the frown lines from my forehead. (Because, after all, now that I’m old I don’t need to encourage any more wrinkles up there)

I look at that checklist again. I have always had a kind of love-hate relationship with checklists.

I love making them.

We will do this and then we will do this and this, and when all the things are done, life will be grand. Falalalala lala   LA.   LA!

 

Once the checklists are made, however, my life has a certain stress until everything on the list is checked off. Many times I’ve made a list for the day, only to come to the realization (as I work like a mad scientist, trying to get it all done) that the list I’ve made for the day will actually take me a week, maybe more, to complete.

Because, I can make the list, but I can’t always predict how the list will go.

One of the things on my list could be as simple as

[ ]  Wash the dishes

Only, I didn’t know that the cat would throw up all over my new couch; that the dryer would conk out, forcing me to hang the laundry outside; and that chatty old Aunt Marg would drop over for tea.

I LOVE chatting with chatty old Aunt Marg. But you see, I have a list.

 

Over the years, through my

[x] 20-30’s

[x] 31-44’s

[x] 45-54’s

I’ve had to learn that lists aren’t the be-all and the end-all.

Sometimes you have to make room between the lines.

 

I look at the list and mentally check the box,

[x] 55+

Then the AHA moment comes …

Hey, the list is done! All checked off. Stress over!

And look at all the time I have left to do the fun things. Let’s see …

 Bucket List

  1. Sky diving …