January 27, 2014

Eternal Security

When I was reading through the book of Romans this week, I was especially comforted by chapter 8. This chapter contains many Christian doctrines which provide much hope and comfort. Doctrines such as election, adoption, and divine sovereignty can be found here. We have chosen verse 28 for our gravestone two years ago: "all things work together for good". Yes, even ALS.

The apostle Paul also deals with the doctrine of eternal security by answering the question: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
"Shall tribulation,
or distress,
or persecution,
or famine,
or nakedness,
or peril,
or sword?
Neither death,
nor life,
nor angels,
nor principalities,
nor powers,
nor things present,
nor things to come,
nor height,
nor depth,
nor any other creature
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35, 38, 39.

With that eternal security we can go on from day to day, hour by hour. 'For if God be for us who, or what shall be against us.'


January 20, 2014

It Takes A Village

Hilary Clinton once made the statement that 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Whether that is true or not, I would like to submit that it takes a village to care for an ALS patient. Why do I say that? Because that has certainly been my experience. Let me explain.

1. Every morning Lou, my PSW, spends an hour getting me out of bed, washed up, dressed and in my chair. Lou has been with me for almost two years now.

2. A VON nurse comes once a week to monitor my blood pressure and listen to my breathing. Some of them are Christians and we enjoy fellowship with them while they work.

3. A family friend who is a dental hygienist, comes in once a week to clean my teeth. We have wonderful spiritual conversations together.

4. Ryk and Lori come in once a week to do range of motion physio on separate days. Lori often brings us a meal, and Ryk and Anke look after the lawn and flower beds. We really enjoy their weekly visits.

5. The four local FRC pastors (Bilkes, Pronk, Schoeman, Schouls) visit me on a regular basis and I am really quite spoiled for pastoral care. I am getting close to all of them.

6. Church ladies have been doing meals on wheels for about 2 years now, twice a week. Lena rarely has to cook, and it frees her up to care for me.

7. My brother-in-law Jack and his wife Cobie visit twice a week, bringing take out coffees and other treats. Jack reads to me from a daybook on Church history.

8. Steve and the TAC team from Chedoke hospital look after my DynaVox computer and communication needs. They are wonderful people.

9. My children take turns staying with me so that Lena can attend church service. We really enjoy visits with our children and grandchildren.

10. The ALS Society provides and maintains equipment for free so that patients can stay home with their families as long as possible. They raise funds through walkathons and dinners all over Ontario. I have many pieces of equipment in my home from them: hospital bed, hoyer lift, infusion pump, suction machine, etc.

11. The CCAC of Hamilton provides PSW staffing for three nights and relief time for Lena. Most of that is done by Christina. She understands my grunts, groans and eye movements, even in the dark. For the rest of the nights we have hired the services of a private PSW. Peter has been working for us for at least a year. He gives me great stretches to offset my cramping.

As you can see from the examples that I have listed, God is taking very good care of us through a 'village' of professionals, volunteers and family members. And I have not even mentioned the many encouraging visitors, phone calls, cards and emails that we receive every day. The Lord's gracious provisions make 'His yoke easy and His burden light'.


January 11, 2014

Comfort, Hope and Peace

The fruits of the Spirit are a blessing to the Christian. What I need in 2014 are the fruits of comfort, hope and peace. All of these fruits are founded on the finished and perfect work of Christ. The Spirits 'task' is to take it out of Christ and to reveal it to His people (John 16:14 ). I pray every day for the Spirit to never leave me nor forsake me and that I might experience these fruits in my life. 

The Holy Spirit is often described in the New Testament as the Comforter. (John 14:16, 18; John 16:7) Why? Because I can be comforted knowing that my sins are washed and cleansed in the perfect righteousness of my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. There is no greater comfort than knowing and believing that. I am eternally secure in Him.

Hope as the fruit of the Spirit is not a wishful thinking kind of thing, but as sure and solid as if it were already obtained. (2 Cor 3:12) As the Psalter puts it: "Hope in the Lord ye waiting saints and He will well provide." That hope is based on the grace and mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who "is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb 13:8) He does not change (immutable) and He is faithful to His Word.

Peace is the third gift of the Spirit that I constantly need every day. Peace that passes all understanding will help me to cope and not question God's wisdom and plan for my life. I have peace knowing that my heavenly Father is guiding all things for my good (Rom 8:28). Jesus promised His disciples that when He would leave them that He would give them peace. All that we have to do is ask, and that peace can be ours as well.


’Midst the darkness, storm, and sorrow,
  One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessed morrow
  Christ will come for me.
’Midst the peace, the joy, the glory
  And the light, God’s own,
Christ for me is watching, waiting,
  Waiting ’til I come.

Long the blessed Guide has led me,
  By the desert road;
Now I see the coming splendor,
  Splendor of my God.
There amidst the love and glory
  He is waiting yet;
On His hands a name is graven
  He can ne’er forget.

Who is this, who comes to meet me,
  On the desert way,
As the Morning Star foretelling
  God’s unclouded day?
He it is who came to win me,
  On the cross of shame;
In His glory well I know Him,
  Evermore the same.

O the blessed joy of meeting,
  All the desert past;
O the wondrous words of greeting,
  He shall speak at last!
He and I together ent’ring
  The fair realm above;
He and I together sharing
  All the Father’s love.

Where no shade nor stain can enter,
  Nor the gold be dim,
In His holiness unsullied,
  I shall walk with Him.
Meet companion then for Jesus,
  From Him, for Him, made—
Glory of God’s grace forever
  There in me displayed.

He who in His hour of sorrow
  Bore the curse alone;
I who through the lonely desert
  Trod where He had gone;
He and I, in that bright glory,
  One deep joy shall share—
Mine, to be forever with Him;
  His, that I am there.

Gerhardt Tersteegen (1697-1763)

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/964#ixzz2q7POwspe