It is hard to believe that the summer is past. It is over 3 months since I have posted anything on this blog. It is not because there has been nothing happening in my life. It is just that over the summer it seemed that this endeavor took a back seat to other things.
We had many family times over the summer, spending time with our children and grandchildren. We also welcomed another grandchild during the summer. Amelia was born to Michael and Katrina in July. What a joy she is, although we do not see them as much as we would like to.
Well, now that summer is over, and things are getting back into routine, I hope to get back to posting some thoughts on a semi-regular basis. I encourage you to keep checking this page to see what is going on in my life and my mind,
Last year we noticed some unusual black growth on some of the branches on the beautiful Schubert chokecherry tree in our front yard. It did not take long to learn that it was a kind of fungus or blight that infects trees in the chokecherry family. We found out that it is important to prune off any branches that are diseased just as soon as possible and dispose of them carefully as it is transmitted by wind-borne spores. So we got busy and cleaned it up as quickly as possible.
Well, this spring there were more signs of the blight on our precious tree. So we went at it again. Every week or so we see another branch or two starting to swell up and turn color. We watch it carefully and prune it whenever we see any sign of disease, hoping that we can keep it healthy. If the fungus is not removed, eventually it will take over the tree completely and the tree will die.
I cannot help thinking about how much that is like our lives as Christians. All around us there is a spiritual fungus or blight that affects us. It is called sin. Sometimes that sin takes hold in our lives and creates a blight in some area of our life. It is so important to be alert to the things that are causing spiritual disease in us and deal with them and prune them out as quickly as possible. If left untreated, the blight will grow and spread until it takes over our lives.
We need to daily examine ourselves to see if there is anything that is affecting our spiritual life and the health of our relationship with God. If we neglect it, it will only spread until it begins to suck the very life from us. But, the other side of this is that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
I do not know how successful we will be at saving our chokecherry tree over the next few years, but I have every confidence in the spiritual realm that God will not fail. The verse above gives us the assurance we need as we deal with the sin that infects our lives on a daily basis.
I don't know anyone who enjoys going to the dentist. But sometimes it is necessary. A few weeks ago we were in to see our dentist for some regular check-ups and cleaning. But just the night before we were going, I had a piece break off a tooth that was already more filling than enamel. Well, when the dentist looked at it, he said I really needed a crown in order to save and protect that tooth. He did a quick filling to replace the piece that had broken off, and yesterday I was in for the preparatory work for the cap--grinding it down, taking impressions and putting on a temporary cap. All in all, it was not a pleasant experience.
But as I think about it now, I see some lessons in what I went through that can be applied to life in general and to the Christian life in particular. First of all, there is the reality that in life we sometimes have to deal with things that are less than pleasant. Sometimes God takes us through experiences that we would not choose if we were given the option. Yet, in the long run, these things are for our benefit. If I did not go through the experience in the dentist's chair, I could face far worse consequences later on.
Second, there are times in the midst of our experiences that require extreme patience and waiting. When the impressions were being made so that the lab can build the permanent cap, the mold was placed in my mouth and there is nothing to do but sit there, without moving your mouth, and wait. There is no way to speed up the process. All you can do is wait until the dental assistant says the process is done. Sometimes God puts us in situations like that. We would like to speed things up, to get moving, but God says, just be patient; you need to wait for my timing.
No, it was not a fun experience. But I am glad the worst is over. All that is left is to have the permanent cap installed in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime, I trust and pray that I can be accepting of the events and situations God brings into my life, even though they may be unpleasant, and realize that everything he does is really for my ultimate good.
We had a great Easter Sunday. Our service at church was wonderful. There were a number of visitors who came out to church this morning. The singing was wonderful as people raised their voices in praise and worship to our risen Saviour. The sun came out promising a wonderful, warm day with more melting.
Then we had a wonderful day with family. Three daughters, one son-in-law and seven grandchildren made a house full of commotion and noise but it was wonderful to have family here to share the day with us. Again, we are so blessed to have our children and grandchildren close enough to share these special times together.
Easter is such a wonderful season of the year. There are many significant Christian holidays, but none so significant as Easter. Christmas and the birth of Jesus would be meaningless if it were not for the death and resurrection. It is the resurrection that gives us hope for eternity.
We had the opportunity to participate in a Christian Passover Seder on Thursday evening at the home of a friend. It was a wonderful experience to see the amazing symbolism in the Passover. There are so many elements of the Passover meal that point to Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
This week we learned of the passing of a wonderful friend from the past. We didn't know her for a long time, but she and her husband attended one of the churches we served. They only arrived in our area a couple of years before we moved on to the church we are at now.
She was a wonderful, generous caring lady who did so much for people around her. Yet she was never looking for acknowledgment or praise. In fact she preferred to be in the background. She and her husband lived in Lacombe at the time and our daughter occasionally stayed in their home overnight, when she had a short time between shifts at her job at the coffee shop, and the weather was poor.
But the most outstanding thing about her was her faith in Jesus Christ. She loved the Lord and relied on Him for strength every day. I will be officiating at her funeral on Tuesday afternoon. It is always difficult to lose a dear friend, but it is a great privilege to be able to share with others how they too can have assurance and confidence in the face of sorrow and loss.
It is almost Easter and I am so thankful for the difference Easter makes for us as believers. First, in the death of Jesus, we are assured that our sins can be forgiven. Then, in the resurrection we have hope--hope for tomorrow and hope for eternity.
I noticed on the news last night an item about how busy the financial institutions were yesterday. It was the final day for contributions to your RRSP's to get a tax deduction for 2012. I have to admit that I don't do any last-minute contributions. as it is much easier to contribute on a regular basis throughout the year.
However, as I think about the emphasis many people put on building retirement savings, I am also conscious of the fleeting nature of wealth. In fact, I have often said there is no such thing as "financial security." We can spend a lifetime putting away money in order to be financially set for retirement, but market changes can make it all disappear very quickly.
Jesus said, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:31-34)
Yes there is a place for saving and preparing for the future, but ultimately our hope and security has to be centered on God and His faithful provision.
Val and I had the privilege of spending Friday and Saturday in Edmonton representing Village Missions at Missions Fest. If you have never been to Missions Fest, you are missing a great opportunity to see and hear what the Lord is doing in so many places around the world.
There were about 100 exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall--from Bible Colleges to Mission organizations, literature distributors, and all kinds of ministries to children and adults. Due to being the only ones manning our booth we were unable to attend any of the speaking sessions. However, it was fascinating to talk with people from the other booths and find out what they are doing to impact our world and reach people for Jesus Christ.
I was especially interested in several mission organizations who are ministering to Jewish people both here in North America and in Israel. Almost right across from our booth was an organization called "His Word for His People." They print and distribute Bibles in the Hebrew language, as well as parallel Bibles with Hebrew and other languages like Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, etc.
We also met a number of people that we have known in other places and other times. It always amazes how small the world is becoming, and especially when we know the Lord. As Christians we have a bond that draws us together, and it always seems like no matter where we are there are those with whom we have a bond. Not only in Christ, but through common acquaintances.
Hi, welcome to my page. I will try to update this as often as I can, but I know that time often gets away on me, so I make no promises. However, I encourage everyone to check back often to see if there is something new.
For those who don't know me well, let me introduce myself. I was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and grew up on a small farm almost as far north as you can go and still farm in Saksatchewan. After High School, I attended Nipawin Bible College, graduating with a 3-year diploma in 1977. It was there that I met my wife, Val. We were married in 1978 and a year later applied to Village Missions to serve as Missionary-Pastor. We arrived on our first field in Jarvie, Alberta in October of 1979.
Over the years we have served in five different communities. We have been here at the Clive Christian Fellowship since August of 2001. It has been a wonderful 11 years, with a great group of believers. We have also found Clive to be a very friendly community to live in.
Val and I have four children. Three of them are married and have given us eight grandchildren. We are privileged to have all of them living fairly close, so we get to see our grandkids on a fairly regular basis. As I am writing this, we have four of them staying with us for the weekend. They add a lot of excitement to life.
Well, that is enough about me for now. I will try to add something to this page again before too long. If, at any time, you have some thoughts about anything I write here, feel free to make comments.
Gordon Rowland has been a Missionary-Pastor with Village Missions of Canada for over 35 years. Gordon and his wife Val have lived and served in Clive since 2001. They have four children and nine wonderful grandchildren.