Monday, June 27, 2011

Joab's Fire -- a distant hope

A new addition to our church library is Joab's Fire by Lynn Squire.  Set in Western canada, in an area now known as Alberta, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Joab’s Fire is a retelling of the story of Job from the Bible.
   I recently had the opportunity to interview the author.  Here's some of our conversation.

Alice: Of all the stories in the Bible, Job is one of the darkest and most difficult. What prompted you to choose Job as your subject in this book?
Lynn: When I was 19 I was very ill with allergies and chemical intolerances. One night after a bout of vomiting, I sat on the floor between the toilet and the tub and asked God why? Almost as clear as an audible voice I heard Him say, read Job.

I did as He said and was truly blessed. God is in control. He loves me, and the more I read Job, the more I appreciate this. Of late, I see Him reminding me that He'll do anything to ensure my close relationship with Him...even allow hardships into my life.

There are many wonderful verses in the Bible that testify to God's provision in trials. I look at Paul's life, and I see someone who chose to suffer like Jesus and rejoiced in that suffering because it drew him closer to his Saviour. Paul wanted that for his disciples. Here's what he wrote to the church in Colosse:
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering;" Col 1:9-11

Paul didn't pray for them to not suffer. He didn't pray that they'd gain wealth or physical health or escape hardships. Instead, this man who knew great sufferings, prayed what he discovered was of far greater value than worldly possession, the knowledge of God.

Just like Job, who said when his ordeal was over, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee." Job 42:5

We know that Job was a Godly man who feared the Lord. He even had all the pat answers to trials, but when it was over, he realized what he thought he knew of God, he didn't. When he repented of his assumptions, God blessed the latter end of Job's life more than his beginnings. Is that an awesome and merciful God?

In my own life each trial has deepened my understanding and love of God. I would not want to substitute that knowledge for pain-free living. I'm glad He thunks me on the head now and again to remind me that I don't know everything there is to know about Him. And each time I discover a new depth of His love and abundant mercies.

Alice: How did you decide on the time and place for Joab's Fire? (BTW, I love your descriptions of the prairies.)
Lynn: Writing teachers often say to write what you know. I know the prairies, love history, and am particularly proud of my Albertan heritage. I loved reading my grandparents memoirs and my sister gave me a book consisting of diary excerpts from NWMP officers in their early years.

All these played a part in my decision to set Joab's Fire in the area where I grew up, drawing upon my own heritage. While Arrowwood didn't exist at the time that the story occurs, I put my fictitious town in the same area and made Joab Black's farm a place my dad once lived as a boy. As a child, I used to play in the old buildings and dreamed up all sorts of stories to suit the setting.

Alice: Anything else you'd like to add?
Lynn: The release date for Joab's Fire to September 15. However, you can purchased an early signed copy from me on my website at: After you have read the book, please leave a comment on the website. I love to hear from my readers.
Author, Lynn Squire

Monday, June 20, 2011

When Life Gets Tough

by Peter Waldin

  I've been challenged these past three months, with a dear one whose life, physically and otherwise, has taken her into the dark valley of suffering.  For me it has been a foregone conclusion that I should travel with her.

   I'm not alone in that 'walk'.  Many have extended companionship.  their love has been like a warm blanket around us.  Indeed it has been, as I've expressed it, like the 'hands and heart of God'.

   Not quite everyone!  An individual who was in the position to know the facts, broadcast the information that "He doesn't know how ill his wife is!  He's not capable of looking after her!"

   None of us can escape criticism.  There are sad folk who expect too much from other people.  One critic wrote of a famous composer, "If Beethoven continues this sort of trash, our orchestras will degenerate into instrumental debating societies."  Did Beethoven quit?  "A few fly bites," he commented.
   One should live independently from unkind criticism.  There is One whose judgement is never in error.  Let us live so that His words are the final approbation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

A beloved and faithful member of SPPC, Peter is an artist, author and teacher with a gift to appreciate others.

Monday, June 13, 2011

School's Out

School's out for the Wednesday Morning Bible Study group, but, unlike your children and grandchildren, we are not skipping down the path and yelling "freedom!"

After twenty weeks, through snowstorms, Lent, Easter, potluck dinners, and a very short heat wave, this group has studied Romans from 1:1 to 16:27.  Through the writings of Paul we have experienced elation, anger, sorrow, joy and enlightenment.

We've been challenged to examine our relationship with God, with Jesus, with our church, with our enemies and with our friends.

We've learned to dig deep into scripture, examine every word, every phrase.  We've learned that even a list of names carries a wealth of information

We've learned from each other and about each other.  We've shared tears and laughter (a lot of laughter) and coffee and cookies.

We've been blessed with marvellous teachers.  Edna, always gracious, willing and insightful has shared her dedication and knowledge.  Irwin, has brought his years of study, his keen mind and his love of learning.  He has made dry texts come alive, has opened our eyes to the riches of scripture and brought the lessons home to today.

   The truth is, the Bible Study group has had such a good time going to school, we don't want it to end.  So for the next couple of  Wednesdays, we'll wean ourselves away gradually by doing some one-off discussions on  some shorter scriptures.
    This is a great opportunity for anyone who cannot commit to a longer study to come and experience a Wonderful Wednesday.

Alice Valdal is a keen member of the Wednesday Morning Bible Study group.  She is also blog mistress for this site and welcomes contributions for future posts.  To contact her, email

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Secret of Confident Living

By Peter Waldin

   "Will you pray with me?"  Those five words, spoken by Hannelore, my wife, in the surroundings of a room in the palliative ward of a large hospital, will be remembered as some of the most important spoken between us.
     Somehow, at that moment, she realized the cardboard reality of much of our lives.  Where would prayer fit in?  In our suffering, primarily hers, she might have thought of the significance of the Psalmist's words.  It was not, "Thou shalt meet no evil."  But, "Thou shalt fear no evil."

   Lincoln said that when he prayed to God, "my mind seemed relieved and a way is suggested."  Lincoln maintained that, "I should be the veriest shallow and self-conceited blockhead if I should hope to get along without the wisdom that comes from God and not from man."
   That more than suggests that in the life of that great individual there was a secret to his confident living.

   Prayer is not magic.  It could be affirmed that it is alignment with God.  His Word claims that we have the privilege to talk to Him.
    Our life and living, the world, is too much with us.  It has been said of soldiers, that many found time to pray when "in a fox hole."  And no wonder!  Prayers were said, for all the world to see at the function of the royal wedding.  It lifted us above our normal mode of living.  Prayer is the secret of confident living.

Editor's Note:  My thanks to Peter for sharing his wisdom and his experience with this blog.