Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Miracle

I had a great day yesterday, skiing, enjoying snow and mountains and good friends.  Almost Christmas, friends and family seem more important than usual.  Jesus is in my thoughts even more than He is normally.  It is a special time of year.

I did a strange thing this year at the beginning of December.  I asked Jesus to make this a very special Christmas for me.  I didn’t ask Him to make sure I received lots of presents, or even any presents.  It wasn’t my favourite meal or a white Christmas.  I asked that I would see and experience Christmas again as a small child experiences Christmas.  I asked that this Christmas I would be immersed in the wonder of what happened 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.  I asked the Lord to allow me to experience Christmas in the magical way a five year old experiences Christmas.  That was my Christmas wish, my Christmas prayer, this year.  I know, it is a lot to ask, but I asked it. 

So what happened?  Joy happened.  Unspeakable joy.  Every Christmas carol fills me with joy.  Emotion wells up within me.  Every thought of Christmas is joyous, magical, incredible.  The Lord answered my prayer, a prayer I didn’t think could be answered, and I am once again experiencing the wonder of Christmas as a child.  I struggle to even try and convey the sense of wonder and joy I have this Christmas, the sense of God’s presence with me, the awe of what He has done in giving us a Saviour, Christ the King.  Merry Christmas.  May yours be as glorious as the one I am experiencing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What’s Important In Life?

I just returned home after ministering in Cuba.  The return is always a difficult one for me.  The contrast between Canada and Cuba is huge.  With each return home I am pushed to think about what is truly important in life.  What are the essentials, what really matters?

My friends in Cuba have little in the way of material things.  Each day can be a struggle.  Here in Canada most of us have more than we need.  We take for granted things my Cuban friends only dream of having.  We eat things which my friends there will never be able to try.  Yet there is an even bigger difference between my Cuban friends and many of my Canadian friends; it is a spiritual one. My Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba are walking closely with their Lord Jesus.  They don’t have fancy foods, they don’t have myriad electronic devices (most have none) or 100 television channels to watch, but they are content.  They walk closely with Jesus and let Him set their path.  They have the joy which comes only as we walk closely with Jesus.  They truly care about one another, help and serve one another.  Their relationship with Jesus, their Christian faith, is not cultural, it is not something added into a too-busy life, it is the centre of their universe.  And because Christ is the centre, everything else works, they have joy.  That part of their life I want to copy.

My favourite Bible passage is found in the book of Proverbs, chapter 3, verses 5 and 6.

       Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; in 
       all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

My Cuban friends teach me the truth of this verse, a truth I want to live out each day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I received an e-mail notice from Facebook the other day letting me know they were going to change things, again.   When I came home from vacation this summer I found the page I use for my browser home page had dramatically changed it’s layout.  I liked the old style better!  Change is all around me, and although I adapt to it, I don’t necessarily like all of the changes.  Am I getting too old and set in my ways?

I understand that life is changing, people are changing, younger people (like I once was) have different likes and dislikes from those who are older, but the pace of change seems so fast.  I have no trouble keeping up with change, I am not stressed about it, but realize that I am generally happier when things don’t change too dramatically.  If you look through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, you see lots of change.  Civilization changed, progressed and evolved.  That is evident as you look at the historical writings of the Bible.  One of the great unchanging constants in life, in the universe, is God.  He is changeless.  He is perfect, we are not, yet He loves us anyways.  And He provided a changeless way to forgive all of us for the wrong things we do, our sin.  I received forgiveness of my sins and entrance to fellowship with God through receiving Jesus as my Saviour.  The man we call the Apostle Paul received that same forgiveness, the same way, almost two thousand years ago.  In church our music changes, the way we worship God changes, the style in which we teach and preach all change.  The way we are forgiven and gain access to God is unchanging.  At least something in life remains constant.

Some change I like, some I don’t.  I like new technology, it fascinates me.  On the other hand I often don’t like changing things with which I have become comfortable and familiar.  It seems that in God’s scheme of things there are always many changes, although He is changeless, as is His plan for our salvation.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Can of Bear Spray

I bought a can of bear spray on the weekend.  It’s something I really didn’t want to do, because I don’t like carrying bear spray.  I think it gives people a false sense of security.  I would rather be proactive, careful to avoid bears as I hike, making lots of noise so the bear knows I am coming and moves off the trail.  Why buy the spray?  Sandra and I are volunteers in the National Parks for a few weeks in the summer and they like us to carry bear spray.

I have hiked my whole life and only had face to face chats with a few bears, some black some grizzly.  We have had short but nice conversations, the bears and I both moving away from each other.  The bears usually move away very quickly because they like us even less than we like them.  I’ve had these brief conversations with bears when I have not being doing what I should do when hiking.  What I should do, and almost always do, is talk, sing, make noise, all of which alert bears to my presence and gives them lots of time to get off the trail.  Being proactive is a lot safer than being reactive.  It is far better to let bears know you are coming and get out of your way, rather than have to react to an encounter because you surprised them.  Much of life is similar.  We can choose to be proactive and avoid problems and trouble, or let the problems come and then react to them.  As we go through life we can be aware of things around us, think of possible problems and plan to minimize their possibility of happening, or we can just blindly walk through life and react to whatever happens.  Proactive people tend to get more done, have far fewer problems and generally enjoy life.  Bear spray?  A reactive solution that can cause you problems, or death, because you should have worked harder at not meeting the bear in the first place.

There is an even more important proactive step each of us needs to take.  One day all of us will die and will meet our Creator and Judge.  The only way to make sure that encounter is a nice conversation is to be ready to meet God.  We do that by asking Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Saviour.  That gives us forgiveness of our disobedience to God, puts us in relationship with Him and provides entrance into heaven.  For bears there is a reactive solution called bear spray which sometimes is effective.  There is no reactive solution to getting into heaven.  You have to make that decision before you enter eternity. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


When I began walking unassisted again last month, after three months of wheelchairs and crutches, I new I would have to get my muscles back in shape so I’ve been walking a few kilometres each day.  The surprise, as I wrote last time, was that my balance had been affected.  I could stand on my left foot, raise my right and put on my sock or shoe, but I could not do the same if I tried to stand on my right foot.  The fine muscle movements for balancing were not there and I wobbled and toppled and had to reach out and hang on to something.  I could not balance on my right foot. 

Walking a few kilometres each day has been easy but it didn’t seem to be helping my ability to balance on my right foot.  I saw a tiny bit of progress, but not much.  I could balance on my right foot for a couple of seconds, but no more.  Frustrating when I can balance on my left foot for as long as I want.  This morning I lifted my left foot, balanced on my right, and everything was okay.  I put on my sock and continued to stand on one foot.  My balance, which had been pretty well non-existent yesterday, was almost normal today.  I did pray about it yesterday, probably the first and only time I have prayed about my balance, but could that have been all that was needed?  I don’t like to claim a divine touch if that’s not what it was, but on the other hand I don’t want to say the Lord didn’t do it.  I think He did.  I am happy.  But the whole thing led me to think about balance in all aspects of our lives.  It is so hard to find balance.  We have family and work and the Lord and leisure time and hobbies and church and ...   How do we find balance, so we’re giving attention to all the important things in life?  I think the key is the same one I finally resorted to when I couldn’t balance on my right foot.  We need to pray.  We need to ask the Lord to order the things in our life, give us balance, show us what really is important.  We need to ask Him to teach us how to push aside the things that are inconsequential so we can concentrate on the things which are important.  And having Jesus at the centre of my life and the centre of all I do is the most important thing of all.

I am very happy to be able to balance on my right foot again.  It may seem like a small thing, but when you hike and climb up mountains and ski and do all sorts of outdoor activities, it really is important.  Even more important is getting our life in balance, and asking the Lord to help is the way to do it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Learning to Walk

I can walk!  I can walk without crutches, without a cane, but with a limp.  After three months of inactivity I am learning to walk again.  I have a rebuilt right leg but it isn’t used to walking.  It is a bit strange.

One of the first things I noticed is that my balance is off a bit.  The fine muscle movements that keep me balanced when I stand on one foot just are not there when I stand on just my right foot.  That’s something I always took for granted so was surprised when I discovered a problem.  I never thought I would have to learn balance all over again.  I walked 2 kilometres on Saturday, another 2 on Sunday.  It felt good to be out walking but my muscles have been inactive for a long time so I felt them the next day.  As long as you keep in shape, as long as you stay in shape, all is well.  After 3 months of not being able to walk my muscles have atrophied a bit, in spite of lots of static exercise, so now I have to work hard to get back in shape and regain my balance.

As Christians we sometimes get out of shape spiritually.  Maybe we don’t pray as often as we once did.  Perhaps we don’t spend as much time in God’s Word.  Maybe we are not so careful about following His will for our life.  Suddenly one day we realize our relationship with God is not what it was or what it should be.  Just like getting out of shape physically, we can get out of shape spiritually.  We get off balance and it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of prayer, to reestablish the close relationship we had with the Lord.  When you let thing slide, for whatever reason, its not easy to get back to where you should be.  I’m learning to walk again physically  It is a good reminder that I don’t ever want to let things slide in my relationship with Jesus.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Strange Winter

It has been a strange winter for me.  My shattered right leg is healing well, but my exercise consists of rehabilitation of my leg, not descending a mountain, skiing in deep powder snow.  No skiing, no long walks, mainly housebound.  A strange experience.

Many people have asked how I am doing.  Not my physical health, but my mental health, my well being.  Am I depressed, am I down, am I angry at the world, angry at God?  The simple answer is that I am doing well, I am happy, I am working hard at exercising my broken leg so I will be ready for hiking season.  I am not looking forward to the hard work of getting back in good physical shape, but on the other hand am looking forward to be able to start walking and getting into shape.  My loving Lord has been so good to me through this time of healing.  As I wrote in January, He placed the very best people around me right from the moment of my accident.  He has sustained me.  His Word is my constant joy.  My family and friends have shown their love through their care for me.  It sometimes takes a sudden stop to help us understand how fortunate we are in life and helps us appreciate all the Lord has given to us.  God is good. 

Whether times are easy or hard, good or bad, God is good.  His loving presence is a comfort always.  I have learned to allow Him to minister to me always and He will always bring joy into life.  Struggles and hardship come upon us, but the one constant in my life is Jesus, His presence, His love, all that He brings to life.  He is very good.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year

I sure hope 2013 is as great as 2012 and I sure hope 2013 is a lot less painful than was 2012.  Conflicting thoughts?  Yes they are, but then 2012 was a very interesting year for me.

Last year Sandra and I had some of the most exquisite, incredible hiking and camping we have ever experienced.  We roamed over the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Kootenay National Park in Canada and in Glacier National Park in Montana.  We saw mountain splendour that we can’t even begin to describe.  We were close to mountain sheep, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears, marmots, deer and many more animals.  It was an awe inspiring summer.  However, to offset that, I suffered a horribly broken shoulder and ribs in February when a snowboarder ran into me while I was teaching a ski lesson.  Then in December I suffered a devastating injury to my lower right leg while skiing which resulted in surgery, a long hospital stay, a stainless steel plate at my knee and a titanium rod through my fibula between the knee and ankle.  The new year begins with orders not to put any weight on my leg until the middle of February.  So it was a great year to remember and also one to forget.

One of my favourite Bible verses is Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

Good or bad, happy or sad, joy or pain, God is working for my good.  It is easy to see that in fun times, but we often question what God is doing when things hurt.  I trust my Lord with my life.  I trust that he will use even my serious injuries for good.  I can’t see it right now, maybe I will never understand, but I will continue to trust my wonderful Lord.  God is good.