Have you not heard?

These are uncertain days.  It is likely that you have already heard, along with the whole world,that we are experiencing the spread of COVID-19, a virus which can provide serious problems, even loss of life, for seniors and people with health challenges. We have been instructed by governments at all levels to stay home as much as possible and maintain a “social distance” of at least 6 feet.  We hear of businesses closing, of irrational stocking up on the bare necessities, even of purchasing guns as if the end of the world is near.

Around the world people are informed on a daily or minute by minute basis regarding where, and how many people this virus is affecting.  Among the reliable and helpful information is a host of misinformation, bad advice, quack cures, scams and conspiracy theories.
However, there are still some people who have not heard the message because they are not “plugged in”. Others choose not to hear or to heed the warnings.
We first heard of this virus as if it was distant thunder in a far away land.  Today we are hearing from people we actually know who have family members affected by this virus.  We can listen to the voice of fear…or have the assurance of faith through the voice of God.
The prophet Isaiah wrote 
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Harvest time again

Corn harvest in Delta

Harvest time brings mixed feelings.  On the one hand, we look forward to enjoying the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables which are ready to eat. On the other hand, we see the fields returning to their barren state, flowers fall,and  leaves change into glorious colours before they drop from our trees to the ground where they decay and put nutrients back into the soil.
Here in Delta, many crops have already been harvested yet some fields are still filled with corn stalks and pumpkins.  The air is now a bit cooler. It is a time not only of harvest, but of new beginnings, especially for young people and children who have returned to their studies.
This has been a challenging year as we have had little rain for July and August.  At times our sky has been filled with smoke from forest fires in various areas of our province and from our good neighbours to the South.
At this time it is good to remember all the steps it took to get to this critical time of harvest.  Preparing and enriching the soil, planting seeds, pruning, weeding, and all those things that only a farmer understands. But there is one other thing we should remember, the many earnest prayers of those who planted, that the harvest might be sure, abundant and strong.
The Word of God says that “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 NIV
What a blessing it is that all these factors are consistent for all time! Without them we would not have the wonderful food we enjoy and require to survive.  Have you personally thanked God who formed the earth, who set our sun and moon in just the right location, who created the starry host, who set the planets in motion and created all life, including you, for your daily food and health and strength?  There is no time like the present to do so.  May the Lord God Almighty, our Heavenly Father continue to bless you with all the good food and things you need, including his great love for you.

Beauty in all seasons

Winter is challenging for many people.  The day are shorter and the nights are longer.  Here in Delta we also experience rain, cold, fog and sometimes even ice and snow.
Bushes and trees may have less leaves and flowers are mostly found indoors.
However if we care to look we can still see great beauty in every day, not just in the eagles, owls, jays and shorebirds but in the people we know and meet.
There is beauty in a smile, a kind word, a thoughtful phone call or a little gift of flowers.
King David who wrote many of the Psalms in the Bible, often had many troubles, people who wanted to take over his kingdom, rebellious family members, personal problems which he had created and inevitably the pains and discomfort of his senior years.
However he found beauty and meaning in his life by looking outwards, not inwards.  He wrote in Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Are you struggling to find beauty and meaning in life?  Try looking outwards instead of inwards.  Take another look at the people in your life who express kindness towards you.  Look for the good in people rather than their many failures. Marvel at the creatures and the changing landscape.  Most of all look at the GOD who created you. You can read about him in the Bible, the Word of God and you can know him by looking at his creation and by talking to him.  We call this prayer, communicating with the one person who knows all about you,.  He loves you in an amazing way that you may never understand but you can still thank him for it.
Knowing God will enable you to see beauty in all the seasons of your life and into eternity.

Thanksgiving for the small things

Thanksgiving is an old Canadian tradition that often brings back memories.  We may think about seeing happy children on a pumpkin patch visit, the smell and taste of a healthy slice of pumpkin pie and maybe some other favourite foods such as yams or turkey.  Others remember a trip together, happy times with friends or family.   However for some who do not have family or friends nearby or who are enduring an illness it can also bring back a sense of loneliness or loss. 
One of the best cures for “the blues” at this time of year is to look for the small things to be thankful for.  This morning I looked out my kitchen window and what caught my eyes was a flock of sparrows flitting back and forth, searching for food in our feeder.  Now and again they would settle on my window flower box and if I stayed very still I could see how beautiful they are. Later in the day I walked to the nearby seashore.  Along the way I noticed the amazing variety of colours in the leaves on the trees and bushes.  At the seashore a large flock of ducks huddled into the shore.  People passing by were always happy to return my smile and hello.  It’s hard to resist smiling at someone who smiles at you!
By looking at all the beauty around me, which cost me absolutely nothing except my time, I was able to really enjoy my day.  My response was to be thankful for all that I have.
The Bible tells us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
If you don’t have anyone to be thankful with this Thanksgiving holiday, consider visiting a local church where love and friendship matter.  I know of at least one church and many more in my area where the people that meet there would be very happy to see you!
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While other areas of Canada are still experiencing a very cold and snowy winter, here in Ladner we are enjoying bright sunshine and blossoming flowers and trees.  The Word of God tells us that we should think about whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  How about you?  Do you think about things that make you happy or joyful?  When we admit our need of help and call on God he takes the burden from our minds and fills us with his peace.  Jesus said “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Boats rest in the calm of Ladner Harbour

Boats rest in the calm of Ladner Harbour