October 30, 2013

Pruning the Vine

During my university days, about 40 years ago, I had a summer job at the Horticultural Research Station in Vineland. Studies were being done on many types of fruit, including grapes.

The grape vine has a winter hardy root stock and grafted grape variety branches. Three horizontal wires are used to tie up the six branches. Suckers and diseased branches are pruned off, gathered, and burned because they don't bear fruit. Even the six fruit bearing branches need to be pruned so that they will produce the maximum amount of fruit.

Pruning is 'painful' for the branches as they 'bleed' sap after being cut. The Bible describes this necessary pruning in John 15, illustrating the process taking place in the life of every believer. Pruning may be a sickness, a business failure, a broken marriage or failed relationship, whatever is necessary for the believer to bring him to his knees and shape him into what he needs to be.

For me, part of this pruning is ALS. The Lord is using this sickness to make me more dependent on Him, to spend more time in prayer and meditation, to humble me, and perhaps even to write this blog. Every trial and affliction is carefully weighed in His nail pierced hands before He gives it to His children. This thought makes it easier to submit and to endure the trial. I am but clay in the hands of the Potter preparing me for heaven.

Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way,
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me,
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.


October 21, 2013

Children's Children

When my daughter Sarah first told me that she was expecting a baby, then we both cried because we did not expect that I would live long enough to see this my 11th grandchild. That was in the spring of 2012. This week Lucas  turns one year old. Psalm 128 verse 6 says "Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel." The Lord has seen fit to fulfil this promise in my life. Blessed be His holy name.


October 13, 2013

Another Thanksgiving Together

We were so thankful for God's kindness to our family in giving us a beautiful warm sunny Saturday afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family. Gerrit brought along the bounty of the Westerink harvest (perch and bass fillets from Pigeon Lake) which he deep fried with chips for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal!  His beer batter was incredible (as usual) and we all ate our fill!  Mom kept some vestiges of a traditional meal with her famous pies.  She makes the most incredible pies! We had Dutch apple, pumpkin, cherry supreme pie (a new favourite), and pecan. 
The kids enjoyed playing hockey, jumping in leaves, swinging and jumping on the tramp.  

We always end our meal by going around the circle and saying what we are thankful for, but we completely forgot this time as the meal was very casual outside and different families had to leave at different times.  We ended the day with a bonfire and that's when we remembered the most important part - the thankful part!! We read from Psalm 103 and then went around the circle at the fire saying what we were thankful for.
Here are a few of the things that came up:

- that Opa could be with us this year again!
- for provisions of work and transitions that went smoothly
-for Benjamin!
- for good times with extended family
- for a great start to a new school year
-for hard times that teach us important lessons and draw us closer to God.

We are so blessed.  It's easy to forget that every day we are showered with so many gifts from above…

What are you thankful for this year?

I took some pictures that I uploaded to youtube as a slideshow if you would like to see
With gratitude

October 9, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

It is that time of year again, the weather is getting cooler, the hours of daylight are getting shorter, and the leaves are changing colour by the day. It is time for fall festivals and harvest feasting. The growing season has been excellent and an abundance of food is being gathered in. God has been merciful and gracious, despite our sins and iniquities. It is high time to give thanks to our Creator, Provider and Sustainer.

The story is well known by most of us when Jesus healed the 10 lepers of that terrible disease. All of them were of course very glad for the healing, but only one of them was truly thankful, and he was a Samaritan. Are we like the majority of people today who give no thought or thanksgiving to the Lord? Thanksgiving holiday is known by many simply as 'turkey day'.

God is so good to us and the list  of blessings is endless if we would try to 'name them one by one'. Let us be as the thankful Samaritan or as the Psalmist who said "I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:7).


October 4, 2013

Child of the King

In my mind, I travel back in time to nearly 50 years ago, to the Netherlands to visit my paternal grandparents (Westerink). My grandmother or Oma, was a short, round, smiling woman with facial features similar to my father. She was very open about her faith, and it radiated from her eyes. People who knew her knew that she loved and served the Lord. At her funeral service, the minister started by saying "Today we have come together to bury a child of the King".

My Oma was a covenant child, born again by the Spirit of God. She belonged with body and soul to King Jesus. My father, myself, and my three children are also covenant children saved by free and sovereign grace alone. My eleven grandchildren are also incorporated into that same covenant sealed by baptism. I pray for them every day, that God would remember His covenant promises to them, and apply His Word to their hearts, and make them His children through faith. That would be at least five generations of Westerink's who belong to the King.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him ye creatures here below
Praise Hm above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost