June 30, 2012

The Satisfaction of Looking Unto Jesus - J.C. Ryle

Keep on looking unto Jesus. Faith shall soon be changed to sight, and hope to certainty. Looking to Jesus on earth by faith, you shall end with seeing Jesus eye to eye in heaven. Those eyes of yours shall look on the head that was crowned with thorns, the hands and feet that were pierced with nails, and the side that was pierced with a spear. You shall find that seeing is the blessed consequence of believing, and that looking at Jesus by faith, ends with seeing Jesus in glory, and living with Jesus for evermore. When you awake up after His likeness, you shall be satisfied. - J.C. Ryle

June 29, 2012

A New Wheelchair Ramp

In order to get into my backyard to enjoy the garden and patio, I have to negotiate a single step from the driveway to the sidewalk along the side of the house. My son Gerrit built a temporary ramp for me out of wood. The problem with it was that there was a risk of my wheelchair running over the 
edge of the walkway and tipping over.

After a few weeks of using the temporary ramp, and a few close calls too many, Gerrit showed up on one of the hottest days of the year to pour a concrete curb and ramp instead. Now I have the freedom to negotiate the terrain in a safe manner, to the relief of my wife Lena.

I thank God for a talented and loving son to do these things for me. My family members are all making great efforts to make my life as pleasant and comfortable as possible. It all helps to make my difficult journey more bearable.


June 27, 2012

Grade 12 Awards and Scholarships Evening

Last week I was invited by the Grade 12 graduating class of Rehoboth Christian School to attend the 2012 Awards and Scholarships night. I have been the Principal for 12 of the 13 years that these students have attended RCS. I was not able to be there for the dinner part of the evening, but I witnessed the awards and scholarships being handed out, and the charge being given to the 34 graduates by Pastor Schoeman. I was asked to present the Jack Westerink Scholarship which was to be awarded for the first time. It was an evening of mixed emotions for me, as you can imagine.

Below you can find the text of the presentation speech I delivered to the graduates and their parents. I used a DynaVox computer, which was mounted on my electric wheelchair. This computer has software that can change text to audible speech. Steve, the occupational therapist who specializes in computers and electronics, got the hardware all together for me the day before. Thank you Steve.

It is my privilege to be here this evening to present the Jack Westerink Scholarship.

First of all, congratulations to all of the grade 12 students for 
successfully completing your high school education at Rehoboth Christian School. You have been highly privileged and blessed to have been given such a precious gift, the gift of a Christian education.

When the concept of a scholarship was first proposed to me, I did not expect to actually experience the first presentation of it in person. It is very humbling, and also a great honor for me that this scholarship was established by generous donors, in my name.

The design of the scholarship is to support and encourage a student who will attend full time studies at an accredited Christian post secondary institution. The amount is $2,500 per year, for each year of the degree program.

The 2012 recipient is a person who has become very special to me over the last year, and is an all round, talented, sporty, hard working student. The first scholarship recipient is, Tracey Kranendonk.

June 22, 2012

Christ the Only Way - J.C. Ryle

Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us; only the righteousness of Christ’s can clothe us; Only the sacrifice of Christ can give us a title to heaven. Jews and Gentiles, educated and uneducated, rich and poor — everyone, no matter what their position or standing in life must either be saved by Jesus Christ or lost forever. And the Apostle emphatically adds, “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  There is no other person commissioned, sealed, and appointed by God the Father to be the Savior of sinners, except Christ. The keys of life and death are only found in His hand, and all who want to be saved must go to Him. ~ J.C. Ryle

June 20, 2012

Father's Day Surprise!

Last weekend, our son Gerrit and his family spontaneously asked us to go with them to our family trailer. It didn't take more than 5 minutes for me to think about it and to respond with a yes. Within an hour, we were winging our way through Toronto traffic, and made the traditional stop at the McDonalds drive-thru on highway #115 before arriving safely at the trailer.

It is a wonderful change of scenery for me to hear the many birds, smell the campfire, and watch my son cut the grass, prune the trees, and water the cedars. My grandson had to wait for his father to finish work before going out on a fishing expedition together. I don't know how many times he asked when they could go, but he readily helped by picking up sticks and pinecones from the lawn, and tossing them into the fire. There is something about fires that all boys, young and old, find mesmerizing.

The next day, I went in my electric wheelchair to the dock to see them off for another fishing trip. "Are you coming with us, dad?" my son asked. I thought about it for about 10 seconds, and said "sure, why not". Gerrit and Lena lifted me out of my wheelchair onto my wobbly legs. I had to take a big step up onto a wobbly floating dock, and then, with each of them having one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock, they lifted my one leg into the front of the boat and then the other one and from there I had to walk across the bow into the seat of the bobbing boat. 

It was probably not the safest, most responsible thing I've ever done, but it sure was worth it! Benjamin, our 5 year old grandson, was watching the whole procedure and when I finally was seated in the boat, he spontaneously broke out into the biggest smile and gave us a big thumbs up.

In order to get out to the lake, you have to pass through a channel that they've cut out through the bullrushes. When you get to the end of the docks, you have to "floor it" so that you can plane out as you fly through the channel, as it is quite shallow at first. Now it is always my habit at that moment, when weaving through the channel, with the wind in my hair, smiling in anticipation and feeling full of joy and thankfulness, to throw both hands in the air and at the top of my voice, yell, "Yeeeehaaaaw!!"

Of course Benjamin is used to hearing me do this and has been "yeehawing" along with me for the last few years, but this trip, he realized that I was not able to do it so with Lena behind me holding up both my arms, Benjamin, while sitting on the bow threw up both his little arms high in the air and at the top of his voice showed us that he was more than happy to carry on this tradition from grandfather to son to grandson.

I spent the afternoon watching my son and grandson fish. What a happy Father's Day weekend it turned out to be for me. Fathers, it is so important that you not only feed and clothe and pray for your children, but that you also spend time with them. They need it and thrive on it.

Jack and Lena

June 16, 2012

Proving Your Faith in Christ - J.C. Ryle

I charge you never to neglect the duty of brotherly love, and practical, active, sympathetic kindness towards every one around you, whether high or low, or rich or poor. Try daily to do some good upon earth, and to leave the world a better world than it was when you were born. If you are really a child of God, strive to be like Christ in heaven. For Christ's sake, do not be content to have Christianity for yourself alone. Love, charity, kindness, and sympathy are the truest proofs that we are real members of Christ, genuine children of God, and rightful heirs of the kingdom of heaven. 
 ~ J.C. Ryle

June 15, 2012

Are You at “Wits End Corner”? A poem by Antoinette Wilson

Are You at “Wits End Corner”? A poem by Antoinette Wilson

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”, Christian, with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you, And all you are bearing now;
Does all the world seem against you, And you in the battle alone?
Remember-- at “Wits End Corner” Is just where God’s power is shown!

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”, Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it, You cannot bear the strain;
Bruised through the constant suffering, Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember-- at “Wits End Corner”, Is where Jesus loves to come!

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”? Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished, And pressing on heart and head;
Longing for strength to do it, Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember--at “Wits End Corner” The Burden-bearer stands.

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Yearning for those you love,
Longing and praying and watching, Pleading their cause above,
Trying to lead them to Jesus--Wondering if you’ve been true?
He whispers at “Wits End Corner” “I’ll win them as I won you.”

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Then you’re just in the very spot.
To learn the wondrous resources, Of Him Who faileth not!
No doubt to a brighter pathway Your footsteps will soon be moved.
But only at “Wits End Corner” Is “the God Who is able”, proved!

June 13, 2012

Giving With Love

My sister Margaret and her husband Henk spent two weeks with us. They also joined us on the walk for ALS, and helped us out both inside and outside of our home.

Henk stained the arbour over the patio, sanded and painted the window lintels, cut the lawn twice, washed and vacuumed my van, swept out the garage and helped out inside as well. I asked Henk to lead us in devotions during mealtimes and in the evenings. It was a wonderful time that we had together; almost like having your own live-in pastor. Thank you dear brother. I miss you already. God bless you in your work at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

This is a helpful hint that Henk learned from his grandmother - clean stained hands (or oil paint or tar,etc) using a chunk of butter! It's amazing how well it works.

My sister took over most of the food preparation, serving, and cleaning up in the kitchen. She was a big help for Lena. Margaret also helped by taking many turns watching me in the night so that Lena could get a full nights sleep. The extra pair of hands lightened the load and her cheerful spirit brought a lot of joy into our home. We laughed and cried a lot together. It was vey difficult to say goodbye. We look forward to their next visit.


June 6, 2012

Be Patient And Endure - J.C.Ryle

We must run with patience, or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise, but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God's arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come. Today is the cross, but tomorrow is the crown. Today is the labor, but tomorrow is the wages. Today is the sowing, but tomorrow is the harvest. Today is the battle, but tomorrow is the rest. Today is the weeping, but tomorrow is the joy. And what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is but seventy years, but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end. ~ J.C. Ryle

June 4, 2012

ALS Walk

The day of the ALS walk arrived and it did not look like we would be staying dry during our walk but God granted us our prayer request for a dry morning and He even threw in a bit of sunshine as well to our surprise and delight. Our team ended up being quite a large group, 51 young and old, family and friends, wearing orange (to reflect our dutch heritage:) all walked along the beautiful Bayfront trail enjoying the scenery and fellowship.

Jack was able to come along in his electric wheelchair. The path was paved and very flat.

The Hamilton walk raised over $100,000 and our team raised over $20,000 of that amount. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, those who walked and those who sponsored. It was a great day.