Monday, December 31, 2007

Amazing Grace

As I climbed into bed last night and began my last prayer of the day, my past came to mind. The literally countless acts of rebellion against my Creator were remembered like an endless trainload of crushed vehicles or scrap metal. Stealing, fighting, cheating, using people and being used by people. Alcohol and street drug abuse, sex with I don’t even know how many women. I was absolutely untrustworthy. I was treacherous. I was unable to love anyone except myself. What a wretch! What a pitiful excuse for a human being. And none of it showed. At least not to anyone in the crowd to which I belonged. Money, clothes, cars, the best seats in the best clubs, and everything else that a hedonistic young man could want was mine. Just below the surface however lay a deep, dark pool of evil. Arrogance and pride oozed from every pore. Why I never wound up in prison is still a mystery to me. Why no one every died because of my behaviours is still a mystery. I used to say, ‘I never reached the bottom, but from where I stood, I could clearly see it, smell it and touch it.’

My memory brought back an image of thousands and thousands and thousands of sins. Yet this was not a depressing memory. Nor was it a memory that was akin to a bad dream. You see, this was a litany of sins for which I’ve been forgiven. As I pondered the amazing Grace and Mercy of my Lord and Saviour, my head bowed and my eyes lowered in humble submission to the one who died to set me free from my absolute slavery to a sinful life. It became clearer to me than at any previous time in the past when I'd read in the Bible how those who came into a clear awareness of God’s glory fell on their faces before Him. The more that I or anyone catches a glimpse of our sinfulness, the more that the Love of God stands out in contrast. Our forgiveness is like a stream leading back to the clear, cold glacier source, or a beam of light leading the seeker back to the Son.

I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it is to have a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus the Christ. For only in a loving relationship does a person have the freedom to change. It was once again a good reminder that while -
I’m not who I should be
And I’m not who I’m going to be
Thanks to God alone
I’m not who I used to be.

If I needed only one miracle to prove to me the reality of Jesus as God, I’m it. I still have light-years of change to go before I become a decent human being. Yet, the distance that God has brought me is mind-boggling. I truly am a new creation. So what makes this a miracle? I mean, lots of people improve themselves. Lot’s of people go on self-improvement programs and amaze everyone around them who had basically written them off. Well, that’s just it. “I” didn’t do this. I didn’t set out to change or to become a better person. All I did was accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and the rest, as they say, is history. Jesus did the changing. Jesus did the strengthening. Jesus did the moulding and the shaping and the growing. All glory be to God, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen.
Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

I’m standing at the counter making some toast when I hear an inquisitive, “Dad?”

Turning, I’m greeted by Wyatt (7) with his index finger shoved two-knuckles deep up his nose. As with any experienced parent, there is not even a flicker of “You are a really weird kid!” on my face. “Whussup my young friend?”

“Dad, what’s that thing up there that keeps my finger from going all the way up my nose?” I think, but don’t say - It’s probably your brain, you little freak.

No sooner am I back to my toast than I hear from Walker (5), “Guess what I can do Dad?”

I turn to see Walker holding a brim full glass of orange juice to his lips with one hand, and the other hand is on the down stroke of bouncing a basket ball. Guess what Walker can’t do? I must not say what I’m thinking. I must not say what I’m thinking. I must . . .

So begins another day.

Much has happened since last year.

Our oldest son David and his girlfriend Gina had a brutal breakup of their relationship last fall. One year later they’ve set a wedding date of March 1st/08. God has been good to David by bringing Gina into his life. She’s a fine, fine person.

I was putting Freedom (2) down for a nap one day. As I was pulling the bedroom door closed, I heard her say to herself, “Gampa loves me, Gamma loves me, God loves me, Jesus loves me, eddybuddy loves me.” What a great way to see life!

Wendy has decided that it’s time to take better care of her body. For every two kilograms that she’s lost, I’ve gained one. The measurement of my waist is surpassing that of my in-seam at a staggering pace. She looks great and I feel guilty.

While we’ve met some really nice people since moving here, getting a baby-sitter ($30.00/hr. for five kids) has limited our seeing people socially. This is an area that Wendy wants to change as soon as possible. On the other hand, Wendy has a really good friend in town (they’ve known each other since high-school) and they meet regularly. Wendy also gets together with a group of women once a month, and volunteers at the school in each of the kid’s classes. Her life is pretty much the same as it was on our first go-round with kids. The creative side of Wendy is moving us toward renovating / expanding the kitchen. Maybe next year. Wendy works harder and puts in more time, energy and prayer at being a good mother than anyone I know. She takes the kids to all types of lessons, does crafts with them, makes excellent meals and reads books with them throughout the day. So far it’s been appreciated by six of our seven children.

Speaking of Erin, she completed four months of a six month sentence at the Pine Grove Correctional Centre for fraud. The last two months were spent at a half-way house in Saskatoon. She is living and working about 15 mins. from our place so we see her a fair bit. Sometimes Wendy and I just look at each other and blink in stunned silence as we contemplate a daughter who seems to be living in a parallel universe. Her rationale for her approach to life is as fascinating to her as it is foreign and baffling to us. She's home for Christmas and it's going good.

I was out for a hike with Walker one day. We passed a group of people and a little bit later Walker said, “Dad. I think people smile at me because they know that I’m cute.” He’s all that for sure.

I’m doing some pro bono counselling. Not a lot but just enough to keep my mind occupied. My Remicade is still doing wonders for my arthritis. It would have to rank in the top five things that have added to the quality of my life. It would come right after,
1. Jesus
2. Wendy
3. Remicade
and just before
4. My computer
5. My snow blower.

For those of you who are not in the loop re: Christianity, I should explain that the drop in quality from Jesus to the snow blower is precipitous in nature. Still, I’d highly recommend the 12 Horse, 34 inch “Yard Man” if you need one.

At the end of one of Chelsey’s prayers one night she said, “And please help me to not be afraid of chickens.” You just never know what’s going on in a kid’s head.

So, after another year, Wyatt is in grade two and doing well. Riley is in grade one and struggling mightily. Chelsey and Walker are loving kindergarten and Freedom is enjoying some alone time with us a couple days a week.

The kids have been going steady at piano, swimming, ballet, soccer, kid’s club, basketball, skating etc. They seem healthy and happy. I never realised before that a child in a larger family always has someone to play with. It’s kinda cool to watch.

With the help of my wonderful sisters and their husbands (who are pretty wonderful as well), Wendy and I were able to go to Hawaii for a couple weeks in March. Catherine and Gordon, along with Carol and Wayne stayed at our place while we were gone. The kids loved them. In fact, when Wyatt is angry at me, he sometimes says, “You should go on another holiday.” We were also able to go to Fairmont in July and short trips to lakes that are close by in the summer. Overall, life is good. Overall, life is hard and overwhelmingly difficult. Overall life is an adventure.

It’s bed-time. I wander into the boy’s room to see how they’re doing and find Riley (7) just sitting on the bed. “Whatcha doing bud?” He looks at me and says with perfect innocence, “I’m just thinking about who I might marry.” So ends another day.

We hope this finds you and yours experiencing the grace of God the Father and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a great 2008!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holy Days

True Story.
A mission group (I forget the name) was celebrating 100 years presence in the Congo. Christian natives from far and wide had walked days to come to this celebration. Some of the oldest men and women of the various tribes had been asked to speak. One elderly man, related a story that brought amazement and horror to the guests and leaders present.

This man stated that there was one reason and one reason only for the massive shift from tribal gods to Jesus, “It was because we watched how you died. When you first came, we believed that white people were evil spirits, who had come to harm us. And so, slowly, methodically, we poisoned your babies, your children and you. Year after year, decade after decade, we watched as you cared for your orphans, your sick, your dying. We watched as you provided the same love and attention to the weak and the dying as you did to all of Creation. This was something totally foreign to us and our way of life. We came to see that those who believe most strongly in Heaven, are those who do the most for the weak in this world. We came to believe that you were not evil, but that you possessed a goodness that was not present even in us. This goodness came to you, and eventually to us in the person of Jesus.”

This is exactly what Jesus came into the world to do.
Jesus came to bring peace on earth to all those who are pleasing to God.

Jesus brought us peace through experiencing our violence.

Jesus brought us life through allowing us to kill Him.

Jesus brought forgiveness of our sins by taking our sins upon Himself.

Jesus brought us the love of God by wearing our hatred like a garment.

Jesus brought acceptance by God by opening the door to our rejection of Him.

Jesus brought us mercy and grace by accepting our condemnation.

Jesus, the Saviour of the world, came to us in the most lowly of earthly circumstances so that He could one day raise all believers to the highest of eternal rewards.

Happy Holy Days and Merry Christmas to all who love Jesus and worship God the Father.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holy Days

In just a few days, Christians around the world will pause to think about, rejoice in and share the good news of Peace and Salvation come to earth. The God of second, third and one thousand chances came not to shake His finger at the world, not to judge the world but to present to us His offer of rescue from the world. This God, who loved us so much as to give His all for us, came to earth to experience this life that we so often complain about. He came to experience the rejection, the hardship, the pain and death that is inevitable for all humans throughout history. This God, who loves us, came to show us that “our light and momentary troubles” are not worth considering compared to the glorious riches that await those who take Jesus at His word, accept His Lordship and live out the rest of this life according to His wishes. This is truly a magnificent and Holy time of year. A time to remember the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holy Days

“Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.”
Ephesians 5:1,2.

That is why Jesus came to earth. To give Himself totally for our sake, to demonstrate for us a love that is incomparable. At Christmas time, let us make a special effort to celebrate this love by reaching out to others who are being drawn by God to this wonderful love of Christ Jesus. Jesus came to earth to bring you safely home to be with Him forever; to wrap you in His warm loving arms; to protect you and keep you from harm.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holy Days

Jesus, is God’s glory who walked on earth (Hebrews 1:3). We are commanded to recognize His glory, honour His glory, declare His glory, reflect His glory and live for His glory. God deserves our worship, and we need it. For only in worshipping our Creator do we find our true selves. The greatest emotional achievement that any of us can attain is to develop a life of worship. For in worship do we find it possible to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. “In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him,” C.S. Lewis. In this Holy Day Christmas Season, we once again have the opportunity to develop a lifestyle of worship which in reality is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving God and freely giving ourselves to be used by Him for His glory.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holy Days

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Any psychologist will tell you that the harder you grasp trying to please yourself, be it through money or power or relationships or mood altering chemicals or anything else, not only will you lose the fleeting pleasure of the thing but you will also lose the ability to please yourself. Go after something worthwhile on the other hand, and you will please yourself plus gain a new “wealth.”

That is why God promises that if we focus on Him and Him alone then, “all these things will be given to you as well.” The Christian life is one of change; change from ‘How much pleasure am I getting out of life? To ‘How much pleasure is God getting out of my life.’ At Christmas time Christians take time to meditate on their priorities. Are we remembering the cost to our Lord and Saviour as He came to earth to rescue the lost? Are we losing sight of the past and the destructive hold that it had on our lives? Are we keeping our eyes on the prize? Jesus IS the reason for the season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holy Days

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4.

At this time of year, Christians throughout the world pause to remember how Jesus came to earth to experience life at it’s darkest and most horrific. He did this in part so that He could relate to us in our times of sorrow. Something that atheists can’t seem to grasp is that there is purpose and meaning in our times of suffering. Rather than allowing us to isolate ourselves in our pleasures, trauma and suffering causes many to reach out to others who are experiencing the same type of difficulties. Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour tells us, ‘As I have done for you, you do for others. God’s extravagant love for us caused Him to show us His love in the darkest and messiest corners of our lives. Christmas is the time that we pause to remember this love, this sacrifice, this offer of salvation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Holy Days

Joy To The World! In a few days, this familiar Christmas Carol will be heard round the world. Joy to the world. The Lord has come. More correctly, Joy to the world for those who come to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour. You see, happiness is not a word we can understand by looking it up in the dictionary. In fact, none of the qualities of the Christian life can be learned out of a book. Something more like apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behaviour, what it is. Moments of verbal instruction will certainly occur, but mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a “master,” picking up subtle but absolutely essential things, such as timing and rhythm and “touch.”

For the Christian, circumstances are incidental compared to the life of Jesus, the Messiah, that all Christians experience from the inside. For His is a life that not only happened at a certain point in history, but continues to happen, spilling out into the lives of those who receive Him, and then continues to spill out all over the place. Christ is, among much else, the revelation that God cannot be contained or hoarded. It is this “spilling out” quality of Christ’s life that accounts for the happiness of Christians, for joy is life in excess, the overflow of what cannot be contained within anyone person. Indeed, Christmas time is a reminder that God brings Joy To The World.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holy Days

Some kids were playing in their back yard. Without realising it, they left the gate open and their puppy got out. When they realised what they had done, they went to the front yard to look for him. Sure enough, there he was, across the street playing in the neighbour’s yard. Upon seeing the children, the puppy did what comes naturally. He began to run back to see he favourite friends. The kids yelled for him to stop, but it was too late. The pup ran out in front of a vehicle and was killed instantly.

. The kids had done something wrong, and the dog paid for it with his life.
. The kids made the mistake and the dog died.
. The kids were the ones who were careless and something they loved paid the price with its life.

At Christmas time, Christians remember that we are the reason that Jesus had to die. Jesus came to earth to pay the price for our sins. Our carelessness cost Jesus his life. Without Him doing that, we, all of us, every human on earth would be eternally lost. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, that God loved us so much, that He came to earth in the body of Jesus. He came into humble circumstance; no crib as an infant, no home as an adult. He died, alone on a cross. He did that for you and for me so that we could share in Heavenly riches with Him forever.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Holy Days

Jesus didn’t come into the world to shake His finger at us or to yell at us or crush us with criticism. Jesus didn’t come into the world to break our will to live. Jesus came into the world to forgive us and to offer to us a salvation that will take us into the eternal presence of our Creator.

Have you ever noticed that what gives your children the most pleasure is when they know that you are watching them? Well, we can know that as Christians, celebrating at Christmas the arrival of God on earth, God is watching us with pleasure and with a smile on His face as we honour and worship the One that He so freely gave.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Holy Days

While every other religion on earth has to do with mankind working their way toward god. Christianity is the story of God, in Jesus, coming to earth to develop a relationship with us. This Love came to earth to find us, to rescue us, to bring us home. Understanding God’s perfect love, reflected to us in the person of Jesus, drives out fear. It brings a peace and a joy that is beyond understanding. We trust God, not to help us find joy and peace but to give us joy and peace. When we give God the enjoyment of our worship and obedience, our own lives are filled to the brim with His joy, and His peace. In these Holy Days of the Christmas Season, we are reminded of the Angels proclamation of “Peace on earth to all those who are pleasing to God.”

Friday, December 14, 2007

Faith and Victory

1st Peter 5:6,7 - “Humble yourselves under God’s might hand so that He will raise you up at just the right time. Throw all of your anxieties to Him because He cares about you.”

After John 3:16,18, I think these two verses from Peter’s letter are the most important verses in the Bible. At least for anyone wanting to live a victorious Christian life.

The hardest thing for people to do, for Christians to do is to trust God. It sounds stupid but it’s true. For most of us, we experience God working in our lives. We marvel at it. We share our story with others, and then we take back control of our lives until God demonstrates His love for us all over again at some point in the future. It’s like the story of the guy by the side of the road with a heavy suitcase, thumbing a ride. Someone picks him up. He climbs into the vehicle, buckles up and sits there holding the suitcase on his lap. After awhile the driver says, “Why don’t you put your suitcase on the floor?” The guy says, “No, I wouldn’t want to give your car a bigger load than it already has.”

Because we don’t trust God as we should, we hitch a ride with Him, but we keep carrying our worries, our anxieties, our problems. Mature Christianity, victorious Christian living happens when our focus is on what God has done not just in our lives but in the lives of others. When we look back on how our life has turned out, we can clearly see how lucky we were that things didn’t go our way. We can clearly see how if there hadn’t been road blocks to our strategy or our timing, things wouldn’t have gone nearly as well as they did when God took control.

God cares about us. As the Bible asks, “Will God, who didn’t even spare His own Son to give us what we need, withhold anything less than that, in order to meet our needs?" Of course not. He has not, does not and will not leave us or give up on us.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If Adam and Eve were perfect . . .?

“Anyway, if humans can consider evil (and they must if they succumb to it), then were they ever really perfect?”

An atheist asked this question a few days ago and at first glance it seemed like a pretty good question. If I had just taken a few minutes to think about it, I would have seen that it was a question born, not out of cleverness, but out of ignorance.

You see, the assumption in the question is that “perfect” implies God-like qualities, such as omnipotence or at the very least, an immunity to sin. The question might imply that God intended to create a perfect world. The question might even imply that God intended to create Heaven on earth. All three assumptions are wrong. In reality, here is what we are told.

Nowhere does the Bible say that the world or the universe was created “perfect.” It says that it was good. It even says that it was very good, but perfect? No. In the same manner, the Bible does not say that Adam and Eve were created “perfect” in the sense that they were impervious to sin. The Bible says that Adam and Eve were without sin. They only knew good. They didn’t judge each other, nor did they judge themselves. They didn’t know about evil.

Adam and Eve were without sin, but they did possess the potential to sin. They possessed the ability to CHOOSE to obey God and remain in a state of knowing only good in their lives. AND they possessed the ability to CHOOSE to disobey God and to know the difference between good and evil.
. Obviously they were created with the ability to make choices between one behaviour and another.
. Obviously evil already existed because satan had already chosen to disobey God.

(Just a quick note on “evil.” Evil is not a thing. Evil is not an entity. Evil is NOT something that is created. Evil is a wrong choice or the damage done by a wrong choice. Evil comes from, originates from, or results from a free-will choice. Evil is what happens when we choose something that goes against the will of God.

Prior to the “Fall:”
. Sin was (at that point) present in the eternal dimension, in the form of fallen Angels.
. Sin was (at that point) powerless over the created world. The door had not yet been opened.
. Adam and Eve (at that point) knew nothing but goodness. They were naive to the reality and nature of evil. Evil was something that had taken place in another dimension, just beyond the reach of their present knowledge.

The next step was temptation, but even in temptation, they still hadn’t sinned. Even in the face of temptation they remained Holy, or without sin.

It’s sort of like this. Suppose that I’m a Bank Manager. I’ve had a good day. Through investments and deposits, lots of money has come in today. It’s closing time and just as I’ve locked the door, a man who, unbeknownst to me is an armed robber, shows up and taps on the glass door. I tell him through the glass that “We’re closed till Monday. My policy states that I’m not allowed to open the door at closing time. I’m not even allowed to touch the door after closing.”

He continues to earnestly plead with me and at first I’m able to ignore his pleading and cajoling. Just as I’m about to turn away, he reaches into his vest pocket and pulls out what appears to be a genuine cashiers check worth more money than we’ve taken in all day. He yells through the door that he wants to open an account at my bank but if I can’t open the door, he’ll just go down the block to the bank that’s open half an hour longer than me.

Up to this point I’ve resisted a temptation and remained immune to the consequences of choosing to go against policy. No longer. The thought of missing out on something, if I do what I’m supposed to do is too much for me. I open the door and, well, there we go.

In conclusion:

. Adam and Eve were not created perfect, nor were they intended to be perfect.
. They were created without sin - without knowing about sin or it’s consequences.
. They were placed into an environment that had not yet experienced the consequences of sin.
. They were tempted.
. The door was opened.
. Here we are.

God had no intention of designing this universe to be perfect. The purpose of the universe is not to be morally or physically perfect, but to provide a place where spiritual creatures can choose to love or reject God - to live with Him forever or to live without Him forever. The Bible tells us clearly that this universe is a temporary creation where beings with free-will are allowed to make choices about where they will spend eternity. Those who cling to the choice to be separated from God in this life will not be forced to live with God for eternity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Love Jesus

Jesus had no servants,
yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree,
yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines,
yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army,
yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles,
yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime,
yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today.

I feel honored
to serve such a Leader
who loves us.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Matthew 13:44 - The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

John 15:11 - I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

We aim so incredibly low. A full, complete, and abundant life is available through Jesus, and instead we try to find ourselves in sex, and possessions, and parties. Most people are like the alcoholic who says, “If booze can’t keep me happy, how can NOT drinking make me happy?” We say, if money etc. can’t make life worth living, how can not looking to this stuff make me happy?

Materialists allow themselves only a tiny set of options. They declare, "This is all there is," and then complain, “Is this all there is?”

Jesus offers and delivers joy that seems to have a life of it’s own. It is not attached to anything. It is not bound by anything. It is not controlled by anything. It is not dependent on anything. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Sadly, most people’s eyes are focused on the sidewalk when if they’d only look up, they’d discover a panorama of staggering grandeur, waiting for their enjoyment.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yikes! Another Health and Wealth Preacher.

I was in Christian book store the other day. I almost bought the e-bay atheist book but then thought better of it. I’ve already bought too many books this month. I went around the corner of the isle and saw a book by this good looking preacher dude. I’ve seen him on Larry King and couldn’t stop from flipping the pages.

Sigh, another huckster making millions off gullible, desperate people. And he’s doing it by corrupting the message of Jesus, no less. Of course he has to corrupt God’s message because no where in the Bible does God say that Christians will be exempt from the normal pain and suffering of life.

Not this guy. With great enthusiasm he tells folks, ‘Now is when God wants us to be rich.’ ‘Now is when God wants us to be free from sickness.’ ‘Now is when we can eliminate all troubles and concerns in our lives.’ ‘Forget about heaven. You deserve to have everything you want now, and you can get all that stuff by giving me huge chunks of your hard earned savings.’

He and others like him call this offering “seed money.” Give me your money and God will give you back more than you gave me. He’s just as big a liar as those shysters who operate out of Nigeria.

Christianity has always, always, always taught that the Crown, never precedes the Cross.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

High Fashion

I have never seen a woman so beautiful that a jewel in her nose doesn’t move her several steps towards ugly.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Am Worthy!!!

I was sitting in the Case Conference room waiting for a few stragglers to arrive. The Rec. Tech. was ranting (as he usually did) about religion. I didn’t catch his whole conversation but it ended with loud, “I am worthy and no fuckin Priest is going to tell me that I’m not!!!!

Hmm. He is worthy. Worthy of what? Heaven? Salvation? I should have asked, but we were just about ready to start and I was still getting my files in order. And if it was salvation or heaven, what was it that he’d done or not done, thought or not thought, said or not said that made him believe that he was worthy of these things? How does one become worthy of heaven? How does one deserve salvation?

I know almost nothing about the Catholic faith but I do know this. It would have to be a pretty lax system of religion for J. to be worthy of anything, if the requirement was possessing a good enough character. Back then I used J. as a reference point to justify the acceptability of my own indiscretions. Sheesh. I’m worthy. Ya, right. I wonder what he meant? Too bad he’s dead now. In a drunken state he drove his car into a pole. Well, I guess by now he knows if he was worthy or not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is God Naive?

I’m heading to check my bags, as my plane is due to take off in about an hour. In the departure lounge I approach several dozen people who I’ve learned will be deplaning at the same destination as me. My proposition to them is this.

“I have several hundred thousand dollars that I want to take home with me. The money is all legit, but as you know, I can’t take that much through customs without having to go into a long song and dance about how I got it. So here is my address in Ourtown. Within a week or two after we all get home, I’d like you bring the money back to me and I’ll give you a gift for doing me this favour.” Oddly, no one declines my offer. They all pocket $20,000 and go back to their seats.

Am I being profoundly gullible, naive, stupid? Of course. I’ll be lucky if even one of those people bring my money back to me. Yet, isn’t this what God does for us?

. He gives us hands that work perfectly, touching, soothing, caressing, clutching. He’s given us these hands even though we might use them steal, or to physically harm another human being.

. He gives us eyes that are able to behold the wonders of the universe, express emotion, examine the beauty of a newborn child. God has given us these eyes, free of charge, yet we might use them to watch another person as though s/he was nothing but a sexual object. We might use them to help us plan to steal something that belongs to someone else.

. God gives us tongues that can sensitively taste, feel, explore. Or we might use them to form the sounds to curse our fellow man.

. God gives us minds that are able to search the available evidence and find Him, or we can use our minds to formulate reasons to deny our Creator’s existence.

. God gives us food beyond our imagination, and we are free to enjoy it, horde it, gorge ourselves with it, or give it away to those in need.

God is generous beyond imagination. He allows us to use His gifts for good or for evil.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Luuuuv Trouble!

“Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face many trials.”

These are the words of one of Jesus’ brothers. His name was James. At the start of Jesus’ ministry, James thought that his older brother Jesus was nuts. In fact, there is one instance that was recorded where James, his mother and other siblings went to get Jesus and bring Him home because He was an embarrassment to the family. Later however, the risen Jesus appeared to James and the rest, as they say, is history.

What an incredible change took place in this man’s personality. After Jesus had proven to James and hundreds of others that He really had risen from the dead, James stopped being ashamed of Jesus. He went from being a sceptic to telling us, based on his experience in serving Jesus, that we can consider it pure joy when we are persecuted and run into many trials because of our faith in our risen Lord and Saviour. The fact that Jesus had risen from the dead and that He had appeared to His brother James made such an impression upon him, that James not only became a leader in the early Church, he also died for his belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.

So, what would could James mean by considering it joyful to endure difficulties? Was he sadistic, masochistic, or just plain weird? Or is there something about having a relationship with the risen Jesus that changes the very nature of sorrow and trouble?

The message of allowing Jesus to change the nature of suffering, weaves its way throughout the New Testament. From Jesus personal teaching to what his followers themselves have told us, Jesus changes suffering from something to be avoided at all cost, to something through which Jesus can change us into men and women of courage. Travelling upon the Christian road takes away the ability of pain to hurt us. In one place, the apostle Paul describes our trials as, “light and momentary troubles . . .” This is coming from a man who had been repeatedly beaten. He’d been jailed. He’d received the “forty lashes.” He’d gone hungry. He been shipwrecked. He’d been abandoned by “friends.” Ultimately he was martyred for his faith in the risen Jesus. Hmm - Light and momentary troubles.

And then Paul adds, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness. For Christ’s sake I DELIGHT in my infirmities, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

As Paul and all other believers have found, God’s strength is sufficient for us. His power is made manifest in our weakness. The Christian walk involves a letting go of control. It’s quitting the fight. Instead of being an active participant in the solving of our problems, journeying with Jesus means stepping into the position of observer. No longer controlling the direction of our lives but merely obeying, in faith the direction that God takes you, creates peace and joy. And that is the secret to personal strength in the Lord. Obedience in faith that is built upon years of trusting, testing, and verifying brings us to a point where we realise that ‘Ya, He really does take care of me.’

After awhile, difficulties are no longer something to avoid with dread. Instead, they become challenges that are made all the more exciting because, regardless of the degree of hardship, victory over our trials is assured.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

From Where Do You Draw Your Strength?

“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2nd Timothy 1:12

There was a time when I needed evidence to believe that Jesus was real and that the message that He preached was genuine. Now, because I know Him so well, I would believe in Jesus even if no other evidence existed. In fact there isn’t any evidence that could make it so I wouldn’t believe in Jesus. He is as certain to me as the coming of the morning star.
.I know that when I have failed, He will forgive me.
.I know that when I need direction, He will guide me.
.I know that when I’ve taken a wrong turn, He will correct me.
.I know that when life turns difficult, He will never leave my side.
.I know that when fear begins to creep under the door, Jesus reminds me that I can lie down and sleep in peace for He alone provides for my safety.
.I know that when life becomes stormy, He will see me through the storm.
.I know that Jesus has yesterday, did today and will tomorrow bring peace to my heart, joy to my soul, confidence and courage to my mind.
.I know that my redeemer lives.

While I am far from perfect, I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will carry it out until it’s complete.

“Now faith is being convinced of things hoped for, being certain of things not yet seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If my mommy was raped, do I still have value?

Of our three girls and four boys, our one daughter was conceived as a result of her mother being raped. Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

What a precious child. She loves to learn. She’s funny. She’s kind. She has enough spunk to scare off the neighbourhood bully. She loves Jesus. Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

She loves drawing and wants to be an artist and/or a teacher. We go for bike rides and she talks and talks and talks and talks. She’s in kindergarten and she’s learning to read. Her favourite book is “Up Up Down.” Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

Our daughter can do tricks on the trampoline and swing so high that the chain just drops straight down at the end of the up stroke. Our daughter takes care of her little sister. They sleep in the same bed and sometimes they’re on opposite sides of bed in the morning, and sometimes they’re upside down and many times the blanket is on the floor. Our daughter loves music. She sings and dances and twirls around the room. Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

Our daughter pretends that she is a famous figure skater as she creeps with baby steps across the ice. She loves to swim and play basketball. Our daughter once ended a bedtime prayer with, “And please help me to not be afraid of chickens.” Our daughter helps me to fix on the vehicles and tells me that she's going to drive a Monster Truck when she grows up. She loves to cook but not to clean up. Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

Our daughter would love to have a dog. Because we are of a different opinion she says that she’s going to make sure that her kids get to have lots of dogs. Our daughter puts on the most ridiculous dress-up clothes and will pretend that she’s a Princess with rubber boots, work gloves and a crown. When she’s angry, our daughter folds her arms, sticks out her bottom lip and puts her chin on her chest. Sometimes she stamps a foot. Many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

We got this little girl when she was two days old. I’ve wiped the poop off her bum. I’ve cleaned up her puke. I’ve tried to soothe her when her chicken pox were driving her crazy. I’ve bandaged cuts and kissed bruises. I’ve bent down to look at ants and when she was little I had to tell her to not eat dirt. I stroke her hair when her asthma keeps her awake. Our daughter sometimes puts five or six pony tails in her hair. She’ll put on pink socks, purple pants and a red shirt. Her mom makes her change. She made a snow man yesterday with a head the size of a baseball. She put an Edmonton Oilers cap on it. We talk about how much longer she will need the corner on her blanket. When our daughter sits on my lap, lays her head on my shoulder and tells me that she loves me, it makes me wonder how it is that many people would have said that our daughter should have been killed because of how she was conceived.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why I Worship Creator God:

Robert Webber has said - “Worship is the response of the people to God’s saving initiative. The inner person receives God’s act of salvation with humility and in reverence, service and devotion.”

God has given me something that I never before had, never wanted and could not produce in myself even if I had wanted it. God has produced a desire to worship Him. He has changed me from one type of person into a completely different type of person. If there was only one miracle that proved the existence of God, this changed personality would be it.

This change has not been through effort on my part. This change is something that has been done to me, it has been brought about in me, it is supernatural. This longing to worship, can happen anywhere and at anytime. Listening to a comment by one of my children can bring forth a desire to thank my Heavenly Father for the family that He has given to me. A recognition that I can ride my bike instigates praise for the body that I have. Support from my wife reminds me that I would not have had these past 34 years of good, good companionship if God had not brought her into my life. Without the reality of God in my life, it would have never occurred to me to even consider the role of God in my life. Without the reality of God, like most people, I would view my accomplishments as being due to my skills and my failures as being due to the fault of others or circumstances beyond my control.

My worship of God comes to the surface when I have once again needed to ask for forgiveness for a lie, or lust, or judging or an act of harshness with my children. I worship God because even though I have done something wrong, He will never ask me to leave His family. Even though I remain a person who sins against God, I will never have to experience the wrath of God. This is because I have placed my faith in the saving power of Jesus. While I may have temporarily harmed my relationship with my Lord and my Saviour, I have not and will never be disowned by Him.

That’s the kind of relationship that brings freedom from anxiety. No matter the circumstance, I can lean back into the warmth of my Creator’s loving arms. I am forgiven. And because of that, God is able to change me, little by little into someone who will someday resemble Jesus the Christ. Impossible on my own - Inevitable with God.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Faith is too hard!

What a struggle it was for me to have “faith” in the forgiveness of Jesus. There must be some catch, some loop-hole, some part of His message that I just wasn’t getting. In reality, the reason that I found faith in Jesus’ forgiveness too hard to figure out was because it’s so easy.

If Jesus required of us all kinds of ritual behaviour, or had us travel to a religious destination every five years or pay a certain amount of money to the Church or, and especially this one, had us obey a certain set of rules in order to be saved, then I would have gotten it. That I can figure out. That is the kind of stuff that makes sense.

To ask nothing of me except to admit that I can’t save myself, well, how can that be enough?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Good News of God’s Grace

“Are you saying that I won’t go to heaven because of what I believe or don’t believe but someone who has just raped and murdered a little girl will get to go to heaven if he says he’s sorry? Is that what you’re saying?”

A friend of mine had just been asked that question by her sister. Her sister was a good woman, at least as good as the next person. Sure she'd told some lies and stolen a little bit of stuff, but who hasn't. Sure she'd been too harsh with her children but she was tired. Sure she'd cheated on her husband but it was just with one man and only a couple times. And besides, she’d never killed anyone.

Neither had she accepted Jesus as her Saviour and Lord. The concept of forgiveness and grace being given freely to the undeserving was galling and unacceptable to her. In her mind, Grace, as it is dispensed by Jesus is just plain wrong. It’s unfair. It let’s the guilty go free.

By worldly standards she is right on the money. By God’s standards she is guilty of lacking in mercy, something at which our Creator God excels. By God's standards she is guilty as sin, a situation that she by herself cannot remedy, a situation that, left as is, will keep her separated from God for eternity.

Grace is why I love God. Mercy is why I long to be in His presence. Forgiveness is why I’m allowed to spend eternity in paradise. Grace and mercy and forgiveness are all things that I need in abundance. God’s Grace is the good news that Jesus came to earth to demonstrate and to give to the human race.

If God can save a wretch like me, He can and will save a sinner like you. Will you let Him do that for you?

Monday, November 5, 2007

So, tell me about Jesus.

I had a dream one night. I was standing before God’s Throne of Judgement. All around me was every person who had ever been born. Those that I had known, specifically those with whom I had worked as a Counsellor were highlighted so that they stood out from the rest. My unsaved neighbours, the people at the Grocery Store, the mechanic and dentist, all the people that I’d seen on a regular and semi regular basis who didn't know Jesus as Lord and Saviour were facing me and pointing toward me.

As they were being separated for eternity in Hell, they were saying to me, almost in unison, and with passion, “You new about this and you said nothing about it to me. Why didn’t you warn me? Why didn’t you love me enough to tell me about Jesus and forgiveness and salvation? What’s wrong with you that you’d treat me like that? I thought you were my friend.”

What IS wrong with me? If I knew for a fact that Jesus was returning tomorrow, could I even say for sure that I’d spend the rest of today telling people about what’s at stake? Would it make any difference to anyone? Would anyone listen? Those of course are the questions that stop me before I’m even off the couch and the answer that I always come up with is “No.” What a coward I am. How can I claim to love others yet keep from them the most important information that they’ll ever hear?

Jesus may not come back tomorrow, but by the end of today any number of those that I know may be in eternity. What am I going to do about that?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Jesus said, "Who do you say that I Am?"

Until he died of cancer, my Father-in-law and I used to have a running debate re: Christianity. I was pretty new to the faith, while over the decades he had perfected his arguments against the Church and God etc. One of the things that bothered him quite a bit was, ‘If Jesus is the only way to God, what is God going to do about those who have never heard about Jesus?” He seemed to think that question was somehow an insurmountable hurdle for Christians to answer.

I suppose that if someone doesn’t have anything better to think about it might be a good question to ponder for a minute or two. Most of us, however do have other things to do, and getting worked up about questions to which there will never be any clear answer seems to me to be a waste of time.

At any rate, this is what I know and this is what I said to Jake. “God loves people who haven’t heard of Jesus more than you and I ever will. Jesus died for them. That makes me confident that whatever happens as a result of their not hearing about Jesus, it will be absolutely fair. A question that is far more relevant and far more important is, “What will God do about everyone who has heard about Jesus and still insists on rejecting His teaching that “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.””

Jake’s only response was, “Yes, that’s a better question.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pray With Thanksgiving In Your Heart

Have you ever wondered about verses like:
1st Thessalonians 5:18 - Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I used to think that giving thanks in all circumstances and praying with thanksgiving meant that we were to conjure up an attitude of thankfulness, in our lives generally, and when praying specifically. I theoretically knew that God was good and so, in a spirit of propriety, I was to give thanks for that goodness. I suppose that might be part of what it means. However, what those verses really mean only became apparent to me as I got to know my Lord in a deeply personal way.

My journey as a Christian began almost as a relationship with a concept. At the time I thought that I believed in Jesus but in hindsight, and in comparison to now, I’m not so sure.

Eventually, through reading His Word and experiencing the reality of God more and more, my relationship become one of me and God, the real God, Creator God.
Of course, anyone who spends time with God, who responds to God's invitation for forgiveness, comes to see and experience His goodness and His faithfulness. So our relationship became one whereby I understood Him as my Father, my Heavenly Father, my loving Father. He was no longer just this omnipotent being. He was also someone who was closer than anyone else I knew. He was protecting, watchful, caring, observing, minding, enjoying and participating in my growth just as I enjoy watching my own children grow.

Finally, where I am today, I know Creator God as Daddy. I know that He loves me deeply. I can see that He fulfills my deepest longings and desires. He has healed my soul, and I know beyond any doubt that He not only hears my prayers but He answers my prayers because, knowing Him as well as I do, I am able to pray in His will. I want what He wants. What He despises I despise. What He enjoys I enjoy. What He longs for in my life and in the lives of others is what I long for as well.

That is where true thankfulness comes in. When I ask Him to lead my children into a deeper relationship with Jesus, I can respond verbally with thanksgiving right at that very moment because I know that He will do that. That is something that God will carry out to completion. When I ask God to bring Wendy and I closer together, I can say thank you right after the request because I know that He has done it, He is doing it and He will continue to do it. Praying with thanksgiving becomes a natural part of one’s prayer-life when one gets to know how God comforts, encourages, counsels and protects His children. God is in reality, warm, loving, compassionate; He’s slow to anger and abounding in love and grace and mercy. God’s children, those of us who belong to the family of God, those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour will never experience any hint of God’s wrath which is going to be poured out against those who hate Him.

Praise be to the Creator of all that is seen and unseen!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What's Jesus Done For Me?

In my profile I state that we have seven adopted children. What I don’t say is that we have a daughter who is 30-years-old and a son who is 27-years-old. The next ones in line are two 6-year-olds, two 5-year-olds and one 3-year-old. Before we adopted the little ones, we were free. I was able to retire at age 51 with enough money for us to do what we wanted, go where we wanted, buy what we wanted - all within reason mind you, but still, we were free.

Years earlier in our marriage we had been foster parents. We got out of it for a bit and after retiring we thought, ‘eh, why not.’ It was time to give something back again. After all, fostering isn’t a forever commitment. So there we were, one cold February day. Just one day after we’d returned from a Mexican holiday, Social Services called to say they had a 2-month-old boy for us. "This will only be for a few weeks," they said, "a couple months at most." A year later we added his little sister who was 2-days-old. Again, we were told that they would only be with us for a little while as DSS worked at “rehabilitating” the parents so that these two kids, and 6 other siblings could be returned to the family.

Four years later the children were permanently apprehended and they became eligible for adoption. Guess what? Kids who are 4 and 3 years old don’t have many people eager to take them into their homes. At any age, adoption is a long, long commitment. And I don’t mean just the kid’s age.

You might be thinking, 'What heartless people! Didn't they love the kids?' Of course we'd grown to love them, but love is not impractical. My wife and I were now in our mid fifties. What child deserves parents who are in a nursing home by the time they graduate from high-school (a bit of an exaggeration but not by much)? And yet, we were the only parents these kids had ever known. They loved us. They trusted us. Besides, the only other parents who were willing to adopt were also in their fifties. If your going to live with old parents, surely it’s better to be with ones that you already know. So we applied.

To say that I was so torn between what I knew that I should do and what I wanted to do would be an understatement. Rather than going on and on, I’ll get right to the point of this blog. I was sitting out in the backyard, grumbling away to myself. I am so very selfish. I knew that this would be a commitment that would carry on literally until the day I died. So I prayed, “Father, my attitude stinks. How can I possibly do a good job of this when I want just the opposite? The children deserve so much better than what I’ll be able to give.”

In the blink of an eye, my attitude was changed. In an instant, I was taken from hating something to looking forward to it happening. In a jolt that actually jerked my head backward, Jesus changed me from a self-obsessed, narcissistic, self-centred fool, into someone who was and is able to love these children more than I love myself. While it's at times an overwhelming task, I love spending my retirement raising and nurturing these chidlren. Naturally our friends who are our age are off doing what I thought would give us the most fun in retirement. Now, I can see that we are the one who have been blessed beyond imagination.

Jesus is real. Jesus is alive. Jesus is in the business of saving souls and changing lives. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rambling Thoughts

I find it interesting how we all go around and around trying to not just figure out the meaning of our existence. We go beyond that and try to prove that the conclusion that we have reached so far is the correct conclusion. Non religious people point to all the different religions and say that they can’t all be right. Religious people point to the non religious and say they can’t be right Both sides talk about how much blood the other side has shed. And nothing gets resolved.

Most people in both the religious and non religious groups espouse their vision of the “truth.” There is even a group of people who hold to the truth that there is no truth. Sooner or later each group uses the Jain parable of the blind men and the elephant to describe those of other beliefs.

From this parable, two facts become glaringly clear. Everyone is blind. At the very least, none of us see clearly enough to have enough evidence to be able say with perfect accuracy, “This is exactly what we’re dealing with.” The other fact is that we need someone who can see the whole elephant. Christians say that person is Jesus. Atheists and the irreligious tell us that role belongs solely to them.

This is the human dilemma. For those interested in the spiritual aspect, a further dilemma is that we can’t find God on our own. He must reveal himself to us. Christians believe that God has done exactly this, and that He’s done it in three main areas. First is Creation, Second is the Bible, and Third of course is in the person of Jesus the Christ.

At the core of this revelation is that all of us, from the worst individuals to the most righteous individuals, are deeply flawed. The evidence that this is accurate is played out for us daily on the news, in our place of work, in our personal relationships and even in the deception we use when interacting with ourselves. As the saying goes, “The reason we can’t communicate effectively with others is because our own lives are so full of contradictions, we can’t even communicate with ourselves.” We need help!

Again, the religious person believes that help must come from something or someone that is stronger than ourselves. Declared atheists (those who submit that God does not exist), and functional atheists (those who live as though God doesn't exist) believe that there isn’t any help beyond ourselves. The behaviours of both groups prove beyond any doubt that we as a species are in deep, deep trouble and fighting against each other probably isn’t going to move us toward solving the problem.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Other News

While enjoying the satisfaction of a decisive first game victory in the World Series of Baseball, Terry Francona, coach of the Boston Red Sox had a short but stern meeting with his players after the game. The meeting was called after it was revealed that not only his infield but also his outfield players took with them to their defensive positions, items not usually identified as being related to playing the game of baseball. Among the items confiscated were 2 pocket novels, 3 toe nail clippers, 1 Fleet Enema, 1 container of eye liner ?, and 1 palm-size Xbox football game, that Ortiz claims to have gotten in his box of Frosted Flakes that very morning.

Claiming extreme boredom when playing behind Josh Beckett, the players begged Francona to let them bring something to do when playing defence while Josh was on the mound. Refusing to bow to pressure, Francona instead said that from now on, whenever Beckett was pitching, he would personally check the player’s pockets before going to the dugout. Francona then told Dustin Pedroia to leave his pet turtle in Francona’s desk until after the series was over.

Peace On Earth

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men . . .

I know that Christmas is a way off. But I was thinking this morning of God's promise, a promise of significant importance - Peace on earth.

I sometimes hear a complaint that goes like this. ‘Ya, some promise - “Peace on earth,” like that’s ever going to happen.”

The mistake of course is, God didn't just say Peace on earth to all people. Anti theists love to take just parts of a verse and then rage against the corrupted meaning.

The verse in question is from Luke 2:14 It says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests." An easier phrase to understand would be, “Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

That, my friend is a promise that God keeps in abundance. Each morning I am able to awaken in the knowledge that God approves of me. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to have wonderful, deep and abiding peace. I have the freedom to have peace in the thick of adversity, peace in the midst of conflict, peace in the face of opposition, peace beneath the weight of every burden. I have the freedom to lie down and sleep in peace knowing that the Creator of the Universe provides for my safety.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I’m on your side

I’ve spoken a lot about how I was run to ground by Jesus’ persistent and unfailing Love. This was a Love that I’d tried to ignore. It was a Love that I’d tried to believe that I didn’t need. It was a Love that irritated me to no end. Fortunately for me God’s Spirit never quits. Slowly, forcefully I came to see not only that I needed forgiveness for my very nature, my sinful and rebellious self, I came to see that Jesus was not my enemy. He was my friend. He was on my side.

True enough, I’d unawares declared myself to be God’s enemy but He’d have none of it. His willingness, no more than that, His desire to forgive my sins shows His Love to be genuine. By forgiving us, God placed Himself on the same side as we who had done wrong to Him. Jesus became our advocate. Unlike the love and forgiveness that we sometimes encounter in the world, a love and a forgiveness that is incomplete at best, a love that always contains a large measure of self-interest, we can trust the Love of Someone who is willing to be tortured to death in our place.

Why does God do this? Why does He forgive those who kill Him and betray Him and desert Him. Why did God take the most lowly position possible and wash the feet of the “friend” who was about to betray Him. He did it because He can do no other. God is Love. God is on our side. He has done and will do everything possible to bring us safely home. The only thing that can stop His efforts to bring us home is our refusal come home. The only thing that can prevent God from carrying out His plan of salvation in our life is our prideful declaration that we don’t need or want His salvation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Isn’t this just like an environmentalist?

Well, they’re at it again. Environmentalists are rolling out the wacky excuses for inexcusable behaviours again. Apparently a bunch of alcoholic elephants in India died yesterday. News reports state that the elephants were drunk - AGAIN - and while goofing around they pulled up a power pole and electrocuted themselves.

And what do the environmentalists say about it? You guessed it. It wasn’t that the elephants were partying until all hours of the night. Noooooo. It wasn’t that these gangsta elephants thumb their noses at community standards. Noooo. It’s because the elephants are losing their environment to human settlements. The poor babies. Ya right!

If that was the case then all the elephants would be in town getting drunk on Saturday night. But they aren’t are they? The good elephants, the ones with jobs and the ones from good families are back home eating grass and knocking over trees and taking care of their kids. Isn’t it time we quit making excuses for those elephants who refuse to pull their weight? Isn’t it time we say, “Enough already." If these elephants won’t take responsibility for their actions, if these elephants won’t get their fat ass into rehab then, well, then, let’em be electrocuted. Good riddance I say.

I am NOT easy to figure out!

It always cracks me up when I hear people say something like, “The reason that satan can trick us so easily, or the reason that it seems like satan can read our minds is because he’s had thousands and thousands of years to study human beings.” Puleeze. Isn’t that so like human nature to believe that, ‘Nobody gets one over on this boy. No sireee. I’m a clever dude. I’m no fool.’

Well, not unless you consider that comment to be evidence of foolish thinking. Ask yourself this. Just how many thousands of years do you imagine that it took before satan was able to trick Adam and Eve? What was that? Oh. Well, how many days then? Hummm? How many hours? Right. All it takes to fool humans into disobeying God is one thought and one thought only. And that thought is, ‘I can’t trust God to meet this need or longing so I have to meet it myself.’

Bingo. Done. Case closed. That’s all it takes. One thought. One sideways glance at our options and we’re gone. The pride, arrogance and self-love that was the cause of satan’s fall are exactly the same tools that he used to cause our fall from grace and it didn’t take him more than a second to figure us out. Corrupted self-love is what caused sin to enter Adam and Eve and it’s what has tripped up every person ever since. It’s our pride that causes us to think that satan has to stake us out, watch us carefully, study us and watch for his chance to strike. Well, forget it. You know from your own life that he can use the same tactic over and over and over for all our years on earth, and without a close relationship with Jesus, we NEVER catch on. Sad, but true

Monday, October 22, 2007


By Jonathan Edwards

“Although most human beings give the appearance at times of being confused seekers for truth with a naive respect for God, the reality is that unless they are moved by the Spirit they have a natural distaste for God, an uncontrollable desire to break His laws and a constant tendency to sit in judgment on Him when they notice Him at all. Since His purposes cross theirs at every juncture, they really hate Him more than any finite object, and this is clearly displayed in their treatment of His Son. They are largely unconscious of this enmity. It is usually repressed through their unbelief, their creation of agreeable false portraits of God, their sense of His distance from us, their fear of punishment or their lack of awareness of the magnitude of their guilt.”

This is how most people live. This is how most people want to live. People in effect say to God, “Leave me alone and I’ll leave You alone.” This, they call contentment.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So What's In It For Me?

Before we become Christians the very thought of loving God or committing our lives to God seems like a idea that should be cause for our committal to a mental institution. How on earth could God (one who we are still a long way from thinking of in terms of being a loving God) do anything positive in my life? Why would I chose a way of life that is sure to drain my life of fun and shackle me to the walls of boredom?

Well, I know that before we get to know God in a personal way, His ‘rules’ do seem constraining. Before we’ve taken the time to consider the possibility of His nature being one of Love, all we can focus on is the side of His personality that deals with Justice. Before we are freed from the power of sin, we simply can’t see that the do’s and don’ts of following Jesus actually bring freedom (see my 2006 post ‘Freedom - Glorious Freedom).

Anyhow, to make a long post shorter, here is some of what’s in it for anyone who allows Jesus to become Lord, Savior and Master of h/his life.

. Confidence - Once I got to know Jesus, once I realized that I really could trust Him in every single circumstance, once I became convinced that He really is alive, insecurity pretty much became a thing of the past. There is a line in the Bible that reminds followers of Jesus, that we don’t need to “fear what they [nonbelievers] fear.” And that is true. For those ‘things’ don’t hold the same consequences for believers as for others. Another line talks about “a thousand may fall at your left hand, ten thousand fall at your right,” and Jesus just walks me right down the middle without a hair on my head being mussed up. That doesn’t mean that nothing difficult happens in my life. It means that my emotional stability is maintained, my spiritual status remains quo.

. Incomprehensible Love - I’m not sure how to describe it to someone who hasn’t experienced God’s love. It’s a presence, a filling up, a warmth, a security, a comfort, a knowledge of ok-ness, a certainty of acceptance, a peace, a Love that is totally other, a love that nothing and no one in this world can replicate.

. Joy - The love that comes from being part of God’s family has created in me a joy that changes my outlook upon every aspect of life. This isn’t a joy that is dependent on circumstance. In fact, it’s a joy that seems suited for the very circumstances that in pre Christian days would have made the experience of joy impossible. Most people spend so much time trying to squirm out of their troubles that they miss any type of learning that is made possible by fully experiencing the trouble. With Jesus in one’s being, troubles seem to take on a whole new dimension. While becoming a Christian doesn’t remove troubles from one’s life, the presence of Jesus virtually removes the negative emotional impact of the troubles. That doesn’t mean that Christians don’t grieve. It means, as the Bible says, “that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.” It means that while life can hurt us, it can no longer destroy us. And the knowledge of that, my friend, produces in a person a deep and abiding joy.

. Peace - Some have said that religion is the opiate of the people. It makes people so dull of mind and so insensible to tragedy that they mindlessly put up with whatever tragedy befalls them. Well, people who say things like that, do so out of complete and utter ignorance. I know the effects of opiates intimately and the calmness that Christians experience can in no way be compared with the dullness of mind that opiates and narcotics cause. Opiates cause people to not care. Jesus causes people to care intensely. Opiates bring anger and irritation. Jesus brings peace. Opiates bring a longing for death. Jesus brings a longing for life.

Similar to joy and confidence and God’s amazing Love is the peace that comes from knowing that the Creator of the Universe is kind and gentle and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in Love. I sometimes require of my children a duty or task that they may not like. I know, while they may not know, that I’m doing it in order to train them for ‘real life.’ When my children are old enough, they will finally realize that there was purpose to what I was asking of them. So too with those of us who have come to know God well enough to trust Him, to trust His wisdom and grace. I experience peace because I have come to trust that there isn’t anything that this life can throw at me that God can and does turn into amazing personal growth, strength and faith. This growth is not something that I need to strive for. It is given to me as a gift. I receive it effortlessly almost as an out-of-body experience. There is no grasping and working for personal change. Instead, I observe from a distance God granting me inner change. This change is simply a natural part of my growing relationship with my kind and gentle heavenly Father.

So what’s in it for me? Everything that I always wanted in life is mine through a healed and forgiven relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am truly a lucky man.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Something that God won’t do is forgive someone who rejects His forgiveness. But O what an amazing thing it is to see how instantly God forgives those who want it. In describing what God is like, Jesus told the story of a son who grabbed his inheritance and squandered it on dubious living. Destitute and alone, this son came back home to the only real love that he’d ever known. Upon seeing his dad, the son said, “Father, I have sinned!” That’s all the son had to say and the Father, who had been longing, watching and waiting for His child to come home, welcomed His boy with open arms. All was forgiven. That is how it is with God.

Now some might say that if God really loved us, then He’d forgive us regardless of whether we reject Him or not. This type of thinking simply fails to follow the logical steps of reality. Logic dictates this simple fact. If we don’t come home, them we can’t be at home. If we don’t pick up the glass of water, then we can't drink from that glass of water. If we don’t pull our hand out of the fire then we can’t stop the fire from burning our hand. If we refuse to receive God’s offer of forgiveness then we can’t receive God’s offer of forgiveness. It’s not difficult for those willing to use their intellect.

Reality is, God forgives those who want His forgiveness.

Another example is what happened to some of the people who killed Jesus. A man named Peter, one of Jesus’ followers was talking to a large crowd of people who were still practically soaked in Jesus’ blood. Yet Peter declared to them, what he had learned from Jesus Himself, “Everyone of you who calls on the name of Jesus for forgiveness will be forgiven.” Three thousand people became Christians that day.

It’s was the same for one of the criminals who hung on a cross next to Jesus. He had done nothing in his life to try to make amends for the crimes that he had committed. Yet the moment that he asked for forgiveness, Jesus forgave him and said to him, “Today you will be in Paradise with Me.” Only an hour or so from death, this man was at the gates of hell. Hell was where he deserved to be. Yet, at the moment of repentance, God’s love swept aside his past and welcomed him safely home.

It is the same with you and me. No matter what we have done, No matter what we’re like, No matter how grievous our crimes, Jesus is willing to forgive us and begin a new relationship with us. Jesus himself paid the price of our sins, He bore the cost, He suffered the penalty, justice had been served at the cost of His life.

If Jesus was willing to die for you, so that you could be forgiven, don't you think it's a little silly to then think that He'd refuse your request for forgiveness? All we have to do is accept the forgiveness that Jesus is offering. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Monday, October 15, 2007

True Story - "My sister only responds to love."

A mother, her nine-year-old daughter and her three-year-old daughter were in the grocery store. The mother went around the corner of the isle and left her girls to follow after. The mother was not all that concerned as the girls usually followed along shortly. This time however, the older girl began to look at something or other and the younger girl, who happened to have Down’s Syndrom started taking some jars of pickles off the shelf. An employee saw the girls and in a rather sharp tone told the younger girl to put the jars back. The little girl crumpled to the floor in a flood of tears. Her older sister, who saw and heard what happened, went over to her little sister and whispered something in her ear. The little girl immediately picked up the jars and returned them to where they belonged. Then, turning to the somewhat flustered employee, the nine-year-old said, “My sister only responds to love.”

This isn’t just a cool story. And it doesn’t just describe that little girl. It describes all of us, doesn’t it? We all respond to love. We all long to be loved. We all, every single one us crave love.

That is why those of us who have become Christians have responded to the call of Jesus. The Bible explains it this way, “We love Jesus because He first loved us.” It's as though one day, as we turned a corner of life, we ran smack into a wall of Love; a wall that we couldn’t walk around or climb over. We could either accept the wall of Jesus’ Love, or reject that Love and walk the other way. Whatever we chose we could no longer continue on in ignorance of something wonderful.

Yet who of us, when we recognise genuine love walk away from something like that? We might not trust it. We might not believe that it’s for us. We might not even think that we’d be better enjoying THAT particular love. But we all search for genuine love.

The fact is, Jesus loves you. He proved it by dying for you. He longs to heal you and to hold you and to bring you safely home. He hates the sin that is destroying your life. He hates it so much that some day He is going to eliminate sin from existence. Jesus says, “I take no joy in the death of the wicked.”

The wise choice of course is to walk away from sin and to walk toward Love. Not everyone makes that choice, but you can. “Now is the time of God’s favour. Now is the day of salvation.” Respond to Love and Love will respond to you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Banquet

Over Mexico City, in the dead of night, a C-130 Hercules drops leaflets into the night sky. As they flutter to the ground, they fall almost exclusively into the slums. A few thousand drift onto the balconies of the high-rise apartments and onto the University campus. Most however land in the door stoops where drug addicts doze and prostitutes linger.

“Free Food
Free clean clothes
Free showers and
A warm bed for everyone
Free shelter and Genuine love
beyond imagination
Come as you are.

The next night, at the address given on the pamphlet, men and women of all ages begin to drift across the lawn. All the lights are on in the mansion. A cool breeze greets the guests as they bend to gaze expectantly through the open doors. Attendants greet the guests and offer them cool wash cloths and a change of clothes. Before the guests, stand tables heaping full of the choicest foods.

As laughter begins to fill the evening, one of the guests approaches the Host with a question.

“Sir,” he asks, “Why is it that everyone here is poor? I don’t see one grin that isn’t toothless. I don’t see one head of hair that isn’t greasy. And if you don’t mind me saying so, it’s good that the doors and windows are open because the fact that we don’t have running water in our shacks is becoming quite obvious. Why in the world did you invite us and not those who live in the nice houses? Why didn’t you invite professors and government leaders? Why didn’t you invite those who are rich and beautiful and intelligent? Why do you want us?

The Host of this strange event smiles at the man and sighs. You know what my friend? Even if they were invited, those who see themselves as beautiful and intelligent and wealthy wouldn’t come to this event. In fact, a few of them got the invitation but not a single one showed up. You see, they don’t think they need what I have to offer. Their hands are full to overflowing with everything that they believe to be important in life. True, they don’t have love but they will believe till the end of their time on earth that love is something that can be purchased. Those kind of people have neither the time nor the inclination to accept my offer. So why bother with them? Besides, my friend, I prefer to be around those who are humble, and genuine. I prefer to be around those who appreciate my generosity, not those who see themselves as self-sufficient. That's why I always say, Blessed are the poor, and the desperate and those who hunger and search for righteousness. So go my brother, enjoy tonight and enjoy the rest of your life. Tomorrow I have work for you to do.”

“What work do you have sir? I’m willing to help you any way that I can, but I don’t have any skills.”

“As you notice my friend, even among your own people, not everyone had the courage to come tonight. They’re suspicious, unbelieving, scared. You and the other people here tonight need to go and tell them that this invitation is for them also. You need to tell them that it’s real, it’s free and that it’s good beyond imagination. Now go. Enjoy your meal. Enjoy a warm bath and a clean bed. I love you. I will always love you and take care of you. I am proud to consider you not just my friend. I consider you a new member of my very family.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007

If Only I Could Forgive

I’ve worked with so many people who, having been hurt by another, seem determined to return the hurt, or at the very least, withhold their love from the person who hurt them. The mind set that causes this to happen is one in which the other person is seen as evil, lacking any good characteristics, beyond redemption.

The thing about a relationship with Jesus is that it begins with Him helping us see ourselves as we truly are. We are forced to acknowledge that our good intentions do not always translate into good behaviours. We are forced to admit that our motives are more often than not, corrupt. Jesus brings into clear focus that even our very best and most altruistic behaviours are tainted by a self-serving bias.

When we mature in our relationship with Jesus we cannot help but admit that others, even those who hurt us, are just like us, a mixture of good and bad. They have the same hopes and dreams and longings and desires. Just like us, they screw up from time to time.

Now, it’s true that some people don’t need Jesus to make this type of growth. They are sufficient in themselves. But those aren’t the kind of people that Jesus calls. Jesus seeks out those of us who need salvation. He came to save those of us who recognise that we are corrupt to the core. He works in those of us who are willing to see our need for healing. I digress.

When we see “our enemies” in this light, we are not only able to change our opinion of them from evil to “just like me,” we are able to allow mercy to enter the relationship. Compassion begins to build a bridge to forgiveness. Understanding causes us to release our death grip on the need for revenge.

We may never get to the place where the relationship is restored. In fact, restoration may be the wrong thing to do. As well, the other person may not allow restoration or even want it to happen. However, with understanding and forgiveness on our part, we are freed from bitterness, and obsession. We are able to let go of hate and the desire to destroy.

God is good!

Friday, October 12, 2007

If I Grow Up To Be Just Like My Dad . . .

When I think about my dad, the impression that I get is that of a boulder on the shore of an ocean - almost the size of a house - round, solid, secure in it’s position, unmoved by any storm.

When I think about my dad, the impression that I get is that of a huge ocean-going cargo ship, plowing inexorably through the stormy sea. I think of his huge shoulders shrugging off the waves of life. I remember once in grade 10 when I had silently vowed to myself that if he tried to keep me from going out I was going to slug him right in the face. All he said was, “See you in the morning.” Lucky for me.

When I think about my dad I remember him as strong yet gentle. What he lacked in intellectual ability he more than made up for in wisdom and insight. I think he had a learning disability. Nothing worked for him on paper but correct solutions to problems tumbled easily out of his head. He was humble and courageous. Dad wasn’t afraid to stand alone in his beliefs. This drove me crazy because it felt like I had to bear the scorn of the community with him. "If they hated Me, they will hate you also." I can still see his big hands. Once when I was about seven-years-old, and refusing to budge from a blatant lie, I remember wondering if a person’s teeth could be jarred loose from being walloped on the rear end.

Like Jesus, my dad craved a friendship with me but he never tried to force it. Like Jesus, dad didn’t want me to know about evil. On the other hand, again like Jesus, he didn’t foolishly try to stop me from exploring it.

My dad spent time with me. My dad talked with me. My dad loved me. I’ll never have to question or doubt that my dad loved me.

When I think about my dad, it’s like watching a ten-pin bowling ball moving in slow motion straight down the centre of the lane. No curve, no fancy spin and certainly no gutter. Just a good solid strike.

My dad died in October, 2003 at the age of 89. If I grow up to be just like my dad, I’ll be a good man, a good husband, a good dad. If I grow up to be just like my dad, I’ll be someone that makes the world a better place in which to live. I hope that I grow up to be just like my dad.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jesus - My Friend, My Lord, My Savior

Before I retired, I was the director of an out-patient counselling centre. Many years ago, some of my staff went to a conference that had a Key Note motivational speaker type. Within minutes of returning to the office and with eagerness in their voices they asked me, “What part of your life has been the happiest?” That was an easy question to answer because the answer was then, and is today, “Right now.”

Out of all the people who worked in that office - Three Addictions counsellors, four Mental Health counsellors, one Child and Youth counsellor and two Psychiatrists, I was the only Christian. Because of that they had no understanding regarding neither the source of, nor the reason for my joy, peace, contentment etc.

Each one of them related different times in the past that were happier for them than the present. For some it was being a teenager. For a couple others it was early in their marriages. For another it was during a year spent travelling the globe. At the time that I was living the different stages of life, I probably would have said each of those stages were fun for me as well. I mean, that's all that I knew. I didn't know life could be any better. I was coping the best way that I knew how. In hindsight however, and in comparison to the dramatic change in my life after becoming a Christian at age 30, anytime previous to my conversion seems a bust, a flop, a waste of time, an embarrassment, a dismal disappointment - in comparison to today.

What I answered then and what I answer now I can say with absolute honesty. Since I became a Christian 26 years ago, every year has been better than the year before and I don’t see any reason why this will ever end. As my relationship with Jesus deepens, He has increased my peace, my joy, my strength - every year more of Him is poured into my very being. And the weird thing is this. The more desperate my circumstances, the more difficult my days, the more pain I experience because of difficult relationships and challenges, the more that these things happen in my life, the more that I am immersed in and embraced by the goodness and the love of Jesus, who is the source and fount of peace and joy and contentment.

Most of my earthly friendships from highschool onward have either diminished, reached a plateau of eh, or peaked at a good solid friendship. But none of them come close to a relationship with Jesus. With Jesus, the depths of His wisdom, the breadth of His strength, the heights of his love and the overwhelming quantity and quality of His generosity stagger my comprehension. The fact that Jesus is willing to pour Himself into those who follow Him, the fact that He is able to grow a person, change a person, develop a person year after year surpasses anything that any earthly friend can trigger or encourage. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Could somebody help?

Could somebody help settle an argument with my wife? There’s this guy, Bill Maher who’s on Larry King once in awhile. He expounds on world and political events. Well here’s the thing. My wife says that Bill Maher talks about politics and such because he actually believes he possesses wisdom and insight; he actually believes that what he says is important. I say that Bill Maher tries to sound intelligent and relevant because it’s part of his comedy routine. It's like satire or sarcasm - very funny stuff. Who’s right? Is Larry King laughing with Bill Maher or at him? I pick the former. My wife picks the latter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

So what's with Jesus anyway?

What was the point of God’s visit to earth in the person of Jesus?

God has given us more than enough evidence of His existence in His Creation, from the largest and most distant galaxy to the smallest cell. Why visit us in person?

God has demonstrated His power throughout historical and personal interventions. Why visit us in person?

God has shown His anger against sin, the very thing that makes our lives more difficult. Why visit us in person?

I believe the answer to those questions is this.
God came to earth in the person of Jesus, so that we could not fairly accuse Him of being a “hands-off” type of Deity. Jesus showed us that God is interested in the smallest details of our lives. Jesus showed us that God is willing to meet with us in the messiest, most shameful, most fearful, most disappointing areas of our lives. God accepts us as we are.

God came to us so that we could not accuse Him of allowing a life on earth that even He didn’t have the courage to face. God came to earth with the explicit and expressed purpose of allowing us to do our absolute worst to Him. He experienced all the pain that sin tainted human relationships have to offer. Jesus showed us that there is purpose to suffering; He showed us that there is meaning, context and purpose to life itself.

God came to us so that we could know Him in a personal way. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus interacted with people in a way that left no doubt that God is willing to become friends with us no matter what has taken place in our past. God knows that we are desperate for genuine love. It is that kind of love for which He created us. God came to earth to show that anyone who gets to know the character of Jesus in a personal way, falls in love with Him, and in return, that person becomes enveloped in perfect love.

God came to us so that He could demonstrate that no one is beyond forgiveness. Thieves, murderers, prostitutes, con men, hypocrites of the worst order, cowards, and doubters. God showed that no one is so bad, so lost, or so wounded that s/he can’t be forgiven.

God came to us to show us that nothing can separate us from His love; that He will go to any length to pursue a relationship with us, to bring us safely home.

From his own jail cell, Paul sent a letter to the persecuted Church in Rome. He encouraged them with this. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, - how will He not also, along with His Son, graciously give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 31 - 39.

God came to earth to show us the way home. Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” God came to earth to forgive our sins and to free us from guilt. God came to earth to pay our punishment for crimes that WE have committed against Him. God came to earth to show us the way to safety, security, belonging and worth.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Christian's Great Defensive Line

Jesus said at one point that He will build His Church and that nothing, not even hell itself will be able to stand against it. I believe that’s true but my oh my, we Christians sure can block and frustrate His attempts. Atheists and sceptics try they hardest to eliminate Christianity. They waste years and years of their lives arguing against what they claim to be the equivalent of a spaghetti monster. Here’s a hint atheists! Save yourself a lot of energy and just let we Christians destroy Christianity ourselves. If I lived long enough I could probably do it all by myself.

The level of unbelief, born out by how we live, coupled with our hypocritical claims of tremendous faith do more to block not-yet-believer’s attempts to hear God than anything anti-theists could muster. Our depending on money, relationships, power and position to find our worth make it impossible for those outside of Christ to recognise His wooing voice. Our inter-Church disagreements and judging outsiders from the pages of Leviticus while we live under the Old Covenant make God’s love impossible for the lost to experience.

Yes, Jesus will indeed win the game in the end, but it will be with very little thanks to His teammates, me included. What an amazing thing then that knowing all this, Jesus still chose us to be part of His family, to be His fellow labourers, to call us back home when we’re so prone to wander. What an amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

How does Jesus feel about my enemy?

Before Jesus comes into our lives, it is so easy to see a person who wrongs us as someone that, if not totally evil in motivation, s/he is at least mostly evil. Before Jesus comes into our lives, it’s easy to see someone who does us wrong as selfish and self-centred. It’s easy to see that person as dangerous. Until Jesus comes into a person’s life, compassion for those who do wrong to us is hard to come by. Until Jesus comes into a person’s life, withholding forgiveness and even retaliation is the primary urge, after being wronged.

When Jesus comes into a person’s life, He turns everything around. He does this by giving us a good and honest look at ourselves. If there’s selfishness and self-centred traits to be recognised in anyone, He shows us that we are the one’s who possess those traits. If there’s unforgiveness and bitterness to be repented of, it’s we that need to do the repenting. If anyone needs to quit lying and manipulating, Jesus shows us that we’re the one who are guilty of these things. Lust? It’s ours. Anger? Ours. Betrayal and broken promises? Those are ours as well.

The most important thing that Jesus shows us however, is that just like those who do wrong to us, we wrong others out of OUR weakness, OUR pain, OUR faulty walls of protection and OUR corrupted self-love. Just as we want to be judged by our intentions and not our behaviours, so too the other person. Just as we want to be given a second chance, so too the other person. Just as Jesus has forgiven us, so too must we forgive the person who hurts us.

Jesus is a God of love. He died for us to show us His love. He said, ‘I love your enemies. You must love them also.’ He said, ‘As I have forgiven you, even while you were my enemy, so you must forgive others who mistreat you.’

God is great and God is so very good.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


. What a wonderful thing it is to have Someone to thank when one is feeling grateful.
. What a wonderful thing it is to be loved.
. What a wonderful thing it is to be loved by Someone who knows all my faults, my weaknesses and my failures.
. What a wonderful thing it is to be loved and cared for by Jesus, who knows not just the sins of my past, but the sins of my future as well.
That Jesus is my friend is something that can only cause a sense of thankfulness.

. What a wonderful thing it is to be accepted as I am, but loved enough to not be left that way.
. What a wonderful thing it is to know that Jesus will not walk away or give up on me when I repeatedly disappoint Him.
. What a wonderful thing it is to know that Jesus is willing to lead me back to the right path even though I continually choose to go down the wrong path.
. What a wonderful thing it is to know that God died for me, despite my life of lies, insensitivity, pride, lust and anger.
. What a wonderful thing it is to know that God died for me precisely BECAUSE of those things.

I am so thankful to God for His creation, for my marriage, for my family, for my health, for all His material provisions, for joy and for a deep abiding sense of peace.

Thank you Lord God, my Saviour, Redeemer, Counsellor and Friend.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Breaking News!

I turned on the News this morning:

. A teenage boy had killed his parents with a pick-axe
. A domestic dispute turned violent and the husband had killed his wife with a knife
. A single mother of three had introduced her boyfriend to a little girl who then sodomized the girl and made a video of his rape.
. Tens of millions of boys and girls are involved in the sex slave trade worldwide
. Tens of thousands of boys and girls will starve to death
. A web site offers help in having an affair
. Two-dozen civilians were killed when a car-bomb went off in a crowed market
. An actress loses custody of her children because she’d rather continue doing drugs
. Another model dies because of starving herself to be thin
. A 56 year old man attempted to trade football tickets for sex with an 11-year-old
. Two 12-year-olds were caught having sex in a classroom during recess
. Learn how to get ahead by manipulating your boss with thank you cards

I couldn’t listen anymore. I flipped the channel. Someone was reading from Matthew chapter 5. Jesus is teaching a crowd about who He wants us to be.

Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the humble
Blessed are those who grieve over their sinfulness
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the peacemakers

We don’t have a clue how to do that. We don’t have a clue. It makes me want to cry.

Matthew 9:36 - When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Imagine That John Lennon Wasn't An Idiot

A radio host played Lennon’s classic song “Imagine” this morning. When it finished he went on and on about how great a song it was and how great a person Lennon was.

What is wrong with a person’s world view when he rhapsodises about a wife beating drug addict who can only imagine peace because he is incapable of living it?

And just how stoned do you have to be to believe, to REALLY BELIEVE that you can bring about world peace by refusing to get out of bed?

What a wretched state when people need drugs coursing through their veins in order to feel love toward other human beings.

When asked for his opinion on “What is wrong with the world?” the brilliant G.K. Chesterton answered, “I am.” Would that John Lennon possessed such insight.

A lack of peace is not the fault of borders or religion or anything else outside of one’s own corrupted self-loving soul.

Goals - Who Needs Em?

I feel sad for those who don’t know Jesus as friend, and guide. I feel sorry because they are forced to chart a course for their own lives. If they are to be considered successful by others who are also adrift in the same sea of life, then they must, as it is known in the vernacular, “Set goals for themselves.” They must set financial goals, personal goals, retirement goals and business goals. Goals for the week and goals for the weekend. They gotta have goals for their children’s education, goals for their marriage and goals for the New Year. They gotta have short term goals and long term goals; goals for their body and goals for their mind. People without their Creator for a Pilot must plot a course and head for what they believe to be the safest port. And they must do this all on speculation.

Nevertheless, they gotta nail it down. Figure it out. Peer into the future and avoid mistakes. At all cost they must avoid mistakes. When they are young they call this journey an adventure. The exude pride and possess a noble sense of independence. By middle age however, they call it the wheel of rebirth and suffering or they identify with lines like, ‘Life is hard and then you die.’ The sad part of all this is, setting goals is NOT the way to personal success. Setting goals is simply a way of ignoring the fatigue cracks in the hull of the craft in which you are sailing.

Not so with Jesus. Followers of Jesus have no need of goals. All that we need is a willingness to follow Jesus where ever He leads. For example, followers of Jesus are given the strength and courage to be led into a marriage where disappointments are not something to run from. Instead, disappointments are something in which we are introduced to our true selves. If we are willing to do that, then we are also able to allow Jesus to make adjustments as needed. A willingness to follow Jesus brings the strength to become people of integrity and courage, compassion and grace.

Because of that, we can follow Jesus into both personal and financial loss. We can follow Jesus into the shadow of death. We can follow Jesus and trust in His promise that is found in Isaiah 43:2 - “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

You see, all of us, Christian and non Christian, are going to face trials and hardships in life. All of us are going to suffer at some point in our journey, and for some, we’ll suffer all the way through our journey. The only real question is whether you will suffer with Jesus in your life or without Him. The beauty of being in an intimate relationship with Jesus is that, unlike not-yet believers, hardships are not something to be avoided. Most people spend so much time trying to squirm out of their difficulties that they never take part in the learning that is possible only within the context of difficulties. Because of that, they never learn that suffering need not be a barrier to peace. Because of Jesus, difficulties need not be something that destroys or disables our ability to reach the intended end to which Jesus is leading us.

Granted, even with Jesus, difficulties remain difficulties. Suffering remains suffering. Pain remains pain. Grief remains grief. However, with Jesus in one’s life, all these things activate the presence of our Creator. The presence of God’s Spirit, something that resides inside every follower of Jesus, creates a buffer to the amount of damage that disaster can bring. The degree of damage is limited to only that which can promote growth; it need never be enough to permanently cripple. The Holy Spirit creates in a believer courage to face the next test and the next one after that and so on and so on.

Rather than avoiding the tidal waves of life, with Jesus as my guide, I have been able to grab hold of His hand, and with eyes wide open I am able to wade into the midst of the pain and walk changed for the better out the other side. With Jesus as my counsellor, I am able to experience my weakness and failure as the harbinger of yet another level of spiritual victory. It is bracing and exciting - fantastically exciting. Life with Jesus is true adventure. His grace always, always, always outweighs the weight of life.

Do I experience this perfectly everyday? No. But I’m way better at it than I was yesterday. And because each ordeal increases my trust in my Saviour, I’ll be better at it tomorrow than I was today. I think that is why that verse in Isaiah does not say, ‘You will walk on the waters to the other side.’ Jesus knows that our lack of faith will cause us to sink. But I also know, and all believers know, that He will not allow us to drown. With each pass through the waters of affliction, our increasing faith causes us to rise a little bit higher, and to come out the other side a little bit drier. Praise the Lord that I am not the master of my fate, nor the captain of my soul.