Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the joy that comes from Jesus the Christ? Yesterday I almost asked Jesus to dial it back just a bit. Such peace, such contentment, such amazing grace. I am so, so very undeserving of this kind of treatment.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Can praying with thankfulness really be done?

A couple posts back, in something I called “What The . . . ?” I touched on the fact that so many Christians that I meet seem to worry and fret about life just as much as your average everyday pagan.

Today, John over at “Discovering The Real Jesus In Monroe” brought up the radical nature of Jesus’ teaching, especially his teaching on money, clothes and possessions. John is right of course. People the world over are tremendously status conscious. If you don’t possess the Spirit of Jesus, if you don’t know what it’s like to be forgiven and to be part of the family of Creator God, then one’s worth and value, one’s sense of security and belonging must come from fleeting things like looks, or intelligence or wealth etc.

The verse that I used in that previous post was, “Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And if you do this, the peace of God which is beyond anything that the human mind can understand or comprehend will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse goes hand in hand with “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, so that at just the right time He will lift you up. Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares about you.”

Jesus said that if we put Him first in our lives we will not have to worry because He will provide for us everything that we need. Can you imagine a life without worry and anxiety? Talk about radical thinking. If people stopped listening to what the world teaches and if they trusted Jesus enough to actually obey Him, it would put people like me out of business. Virtually all the clients that I see have at some level become incapacitated by worry, anxiety and depression. I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again here, most people that I come into contact with feel as though they’re irresponsible or negligent in some way if they don’t worry. Reality is, worry, at least for those whose goal in life is to serve their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a complete waste of time. In fact it's flat out disobedience and an insult to Him who created us.

What I really wanted to point out today was this. Did you notice that bit about, praying with thanksgiving? Do you know what that means? Have you experienced what it means?
. First of all, Jesus gives several examples, both in word and by example of what He means by asking God for what we need. Some people say things like, “Why should I have to ask God for something when He already knows what I need?” The why doesn’t really matter. The fact is, asking someone for something is perhaps the single most powerful form of communication between humans and it’s no different between us and God. While teaching on prayer, Jesus said via two or three parables that God listens to us, He considers what we are saying and He bases His decisions upon what we are saying to Him. Jesus taught that not only are we to ask our Heavenly Father for what we need, we are to be persistent in our asking. According to Jesus, our Heavenly Father who loves us far more than our earthly parents could ever love us will see to it that what we need is what we will get.

. Second, when one’s will is in sync with God’s will, thanksgiving is a natural outcome of prayer because one knows that whatever you are asking for is exactly what God wants for your life. For example, “Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, please make me into the kind of husband and dad that you want me to become.” Knowing that this is God’s will for me, and confirming / showing / confessing by my words that I also want that for myself, I simply ask.

Based on the amazing and wonderful experience of previous changes that God has brought about in my life, thankfulness is a natural outflow of this type of prayer because the result is as good as done. Having asked for these changes, all I need to do now is watch as my life unfolds in such a way that will bring about the needed changes. Do I need to be more patient? God will bring into my life situations whereby I can exercise and develop greater patience. Do I need more self-control? God will bring into my life opportunities for me to turn to Him when I’m tempted to give in to various cravings that wouldn’t be good for me or for my family.

Years ago, in my pre Christian days, these kinds of changes were impossible. While I still have a long way to go, Creator God has brought me so incredibly far. Not by my might or by my power or by my strength, or by my mind over matter efforts, but by every word that flows out of the mouth of my Saviour and Lord - including the verses listed above.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hey Atheist! Get Jesus or get out of the Army!

Some guy in the U.S. army has been told that, and it wasn't with only words. In fact he’s been told that in a far worse manner, via harassment by fellow soldiers. The harassment reached such a level that this young man feared for his safety. (Sigh) Christianity takes another blow from it’s supposed followers.

Actually, I know a tiny little bit about where this guy is coming from. I’ve worked in secular institutions for my whole career, so, as a Christian I’ve had to keep my head down and really concentrate on what it means to reflect Jesus’ love toward others. Nevertheless, when surrounded by those who are hostile to Christianity one’s light shines brighter than ever. In one such place the CEO was a full fledged shaman. He went on vision quests and had his own totem spirit - the whole deal. He hated Christians. To make a long story shorter, one day he told me that as long as I held to my Christian beliefs, I’d received the last promotion that I would ever get under him. Ironically, within the year he was let go for financial irregularities and I was promoted to Director of a different institution. Where was I going with that story? Oh ya - nowhere. It’s just a story.

Anyway, so many people who call themselves Christians put themselves in situations whereby they must learn a “Christ-like” attitude toward other people from non Christians. In this case, this young soldier, an atheist no less, nailed Jesus’ teaching perfectly. His goal was to seek the best for his fellow human beings regardless of their beliefs or race or any other qualifier.

The actions of the "Christian" soldiers and that of their Superiors is what happens when we as parents model for our children the Law of God instead of the Grace of God. It’s deadly. It’s hypocritical. It’s wrong, wrong, every time wrong.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What the . . .?

I’m blown away, almost on a daily basis, with people who should know better, yet who are consumed by worry and anxiety. They're worried about money, worried about their kids, worried about this and worried about that. In fact, poke around a bit regarding their tendency to worry and they admit to feeling guilty or irresponsible if they don’t worry.

These are Christians! These are people who claim to trust God with their very souls. Yet trusting Him to take care of their daily needs is seen as optional or even impossible.

I ask, “When God says, “Do not commit adultery,” is that something that’s optional, with adultery being a good thing in some instances?” They reply, “Of course not.”

I ask, “When God says, “Do not steal,” is that something that’s optional, with stealing being a good thing in some instances?”
They reply, “Don’t be silly.”

But when I ask, “When God says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition present your requests to God. If you do this the peace of God which is beyond anyone’s ability to understand will guard you heart and soul in Christ Jesus,” is being anxious and worried optional? Is being anxious and worried actually a good thing? When, we’re told that God is a “present” help in times of trouble, when we’re told that God will supply every need we have, and when Jesus says, "If you put me first in your life, everything that you need will be provided for you" are those things to which we don’t need to pay attention? Or do we really need to go after things in the same manner of worry, depression and anxiety as do the pagans that surround us?

Many, many Christians don’t seem to realise that we, as Christians are perfectly safe, even though this world is not our true home. Many, many Christians seem to not be aware that when we put Jesus first in our lives, goodness and mercy really do follow us all the days of our lives.

I don’t get it! Where is the victory that members of the family of God can experience? Why don’t people get the fact that Jesus can make us more than conquerors even in the midst of tragedy, chaos, hardship, death of a loved-one, persecution or poverty or danger or sword?

I want that victory. I love it. I cling to this promise, not as if, but because my very life depends on it.

Thank you Lord for your presence. Even though a thousand may fall at my left hand and ten thousand at my right, it will not come near to me because Creator God is my shield and my defender.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saving Faith In Jesus

In my life and in my work I’ve seen, generally, three types of faith regarding Jesus.

Intellectual Faith:
I’ve counselled numerous Pastors who have held this type of faith. They possessed Doctorates in Theology. They filled their respective houses of worship. From a Biblical perspective their stated doctrines were bang on. But a relationship with the living Christ was beyond their ability to describe. Instead, their ability to cope with the stresses of life was based on various mood altering drugs, or relationships; both hetero and homosexual, or through accumulating the material things that so many in today’s world seem to look to reflect back to them their value and worth, security and belonging. By and large these were individuals who told me in detail about their ability to speak in tongues, and prophecy even though their children hated them and their wives wanted to leave them.

Temporary Faith:
“Please God, if you will just get me out of this mess I promise to live for you forever.” We tend to hear about those few (less than .5 % is my guess) who actually follow through on this type of ill conceived promise. More common is the person who rushes home to tell his story of rescue, only to slowly and inexorably slide back to the mundane and corrupt life from which he has emerged just a few hours previous.

Saving Faith:
This is the decision to accept the offer of salvation that Jesus has presented, either through a friend, a sermon, a movie, a song, a Bible passage or in whatever form it may have come down the chute. A saving faith in Jesus comes to someone who has weighed the evidence, weighed the consequences and decided to take the step toward what his heart is telling him is the real deal. This faith is humble, quiet, grateful and strong

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Christianity Heats Up.

Conservative estimates put world-wide conversions to Christianity at 200,000 per day. 60% of those are in countries where becoming a Christian could cost you your job, your family, your possession or your life. I hope western atheists keep pushing to rid the world of Christianity. It would be good to see a true revival of Christianity in Europe and North America.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mohammad - Disingenuous Or Just Stupid?

Islam is a working example of failure by design. I don’t mean failure in numbers of adherents. People are actually drawn to Islam precisely because of it’s fundamental flaws. Unlike Christianity which is based upon a relationship with Jesus, what some people love about Islam or any other man-made religion is that it requires lots and lots of work and ritual and doing, doing and doing some more.

The mistake that Islam and all other man-made religions make is in believing that obeying a set of rules or laws creates a righteous person or nation. The reality of human nature is such that it doesn’t matter how many times a day you pray or how many times that you wash your hands or how many laws your country has governing this or that behaviour. Doing the right thing is an inside job. It does not come from external coercion. If, as a leader you've staked your country's future on the belief that laws are going to keep your society safe, then you’d better have a huge and lethal group of people enforcing those laws.

Islam’s mistake is nowhere more obvious than in its laws forcing women to keep their bodies totally covered. Requiring women to cover their bodies so that men aren’t tempted to lust is an idea completely devoid of insight into the workings of the human soul. Every man ever born knows that lust is a function, not of the eyes, but of the inner self. Whether by willful stupidity or just plain ignorance, Mohammad failed to instruct his followers in the truth that not having sex with someone else's wife in no way indicates that you have a right attitude toward women. This is like believing that my attitude toward my fellow human beings is on track because I haven’t killed anyone.

You will know the true condition of a society’s soul by observing what happens when moral constraints are removed. This was obvious in the fall of Saddam Hussein's Iraq or in the fall of New Orleans after the flood. In humans whose hearts are rightly oriented, the police could leave town from now till eternity and the thought of doing crime would be no greater than it was before the law enforcement left. People whose hearts are rightly oriented don't need the threat of a radar-trap or a security camera in order to do what's right.

Islam has not to date nor will it ever figure this out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If Jesus Should Ask -

It’s amazing how people flippantly and casually express the idea that they are good people, and therefore they fully expect to go to heaven when they die. If Jesus should ask any one of these people, “Why should I let you into heaven?” they would reply, “I’ve been a good person all my life - or at least I sure wasn’t as bad as some people.”

True enough, you probably could have been worse - maybe a lot worse. Even though you didn’t live up to your own code of ethics, at least you weren’t a Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot. Of course there is a long, long way from a being a mass murderer to someone who is technically good. For example, consider this:

The average person experiences about 10,000 thoughts per day. If you’re an especially good person only about 1% of those will be angry, or lustful or contemptuous or covetous or bigoted or hypocritical thoughts. That’s about 100 sins in a day and you haven’t even opened your mouth.

Depending on the study, estimates of how often the average person lies is from three lies for every ten minutes of conversation to eight lies per day. Over an average lifespan that's about 128,000 lies - That's the average pretty good person when you do open your mouth.

Or let’s talk about wrong behaviours. Again, you’re a pretty good person so you only commit three sins of omission or commission in a single day. You don’t return the extra dollar in change that the clerk mistakenly gave you. You look at porn when your spouse is out at a meeting and you ignore the guy whose grocery bag broke, even though you easily had enough time to help. It’s only three sins which makes you one of the better people on earth. Only three sins a day makes 7,000 sins a year and you live 70 years.

One day you die in a car accident and Jesus says, “Why should I let you into heaven?” and you say, “Because I’ve been a good person all my life - or at least I sure wasn’t as bad as some people.” So Jesus opens his books and sure enough, you weren’t as bad as some people, only 70,000 active sins, 128,000 lies and 2,555,000 sinful thoughts.

Good luck with that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who’s in charge here anyway?

A mistake that I made in my prayer-life for many years goes something like this. I used to say things like. “Lord Jesus, please help me to be more loving.” Or, “Lord, please help me to be more compassionate and merciful.” Or, “Dear Jesus, please help me to not be so critical of others.”

Does that sound ok to you? For a long time it sounded good to me. After all there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more loving and merciful and less critical - right? No there’s nothing wrong with that. What was / is wrong is me thinking that I can be part of the solution when I am, in totality the problem. The thing that’s wrong with asking God to “help” ME to change is that it shows that I still want to be in control of how and where I’m going to change. The wording of that kind of prayer shows that I’m just asking God to come along and give me some assistance “as needed.” In reality I don’t need some assistance, I need a total make-over. I need God to change me - inside and out. I need, I critically need to take my hands off the wheel and say to my Creator, “Here, You drive.”

The nature of this problem hit home one day as I was working with a client in a fairly typical counselling session. The client wasn’t happy with her spouse (It happened to be a female client in this case but just as often it’s been a man with the same type of complaints). At any rate, this client's husband was a pretty good man but not good enough. Yes he prayed with her, but not often enough. Yes he did this or that, but not all the time. Yes he loved her, but she needed more affirmation - that kind of thing.

I have in the past and still do point out to people that we are not in charge of changing other people. God is the one who does the changing. In fact, when we’re honest with ourselves, surely we can see that God has more than a lifetime of changes to be worked on in our own lives. We don't need to waste our time on earth trying to make improvements in other people. Anyhow, it was that line, “It’s God who changes people - not us,” that caught my attention.

If that is true, that it’s God who changes (other) people, then it’s God who changes me - not me. Not exactly rocket science - I know. Nevertheless, I’ve been a Christian for thirty years. And even though God has totally transformed my life, even though I’m as different now from my pre Christian days as any man can possibly be, it wasn’t until the last year or so that I’ve understood that this change has come about in spite of me, not because of me.

Thank you Lord for being the sole source of change in me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sure I trust Jesus - Really - I do!

Have you ever wondered about people who say they trust Jesus for their eternity but seem to find it impossible to trust Him for today?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This is Good News!!!

One day, while Jesus was teaching in the house of a friend, His family came to talk to Him. As usual the crowd was such that late-comers simply couldn’t get in. His mother passed on a message asking Jesus to come out to talk to her. When someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside,” He responded, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers and sisters? All of you and anyone else who obeys the will of our Father God, is part of my family.”

This is Good News!!! Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.

The wicked sense in the words of Jesus, an insult. The spiritually lost hear in His voice a dismissive tone. Those who themselves are filled with pride, hate and indifference think that Jesus is rejecting His mother and siblings.

In keeping with the character of Jesus, we could accurately picture the scene this way.

Jesus is teaching at someone’s house. The place is packed. Those who haven’t been able to get into the house lean through the open door and windows trying to catch what Jesus is saying. Jesus’ family arrives and, seeing no possibility of getting near to Him, they ask someone to pass on the message that they need to talk to Him.

“Teacher!” someone shouts from the doorway, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are here to talk to you. They want you to come outside.”

Everyone in the room hears the message. Jesus stops what He is saying and rises to His feet. All eyes are on Him as He makes His way out of the room. As He steps over the feet of those sitting on the floor Jesus' teaching takes a new direction, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers and sisters? Jesus stops, turns to the crowd, and in a calm and welcoming tone of voice He says, "All of you and anyone else who obeys the will of our Father God, are part of My family.”

A common theme in Jesus’ teaching is that a spiritual relationship with Him is far more important than any blood relationship that we might have here on earth. Jesus is saying to us, as He said to those gathered around to learn from Him, “The Kingdom of God is within you. The Kingdom of God is pressing all about you. The Kingdom of Heaven is another dimension that is just beyond your ability to perceive.” (Some who are reading this will know what I mean when I talk about “thin places” where the palpable presence of God's Kingdom almost breaks through).

Jesus is saying to us, as He said to those gathered around to learn from Him, “When you place your faith in Me, you immediately become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. When you love Me enough to obey Me, it’s proof that you are part of My family. I will personally welcome you by name when you enter into paradise.” Jesus is saying, “As someone who believes that I Am who I claim to be, you are my sister or brother. I Am your protector, your Saviour and Redeemer. We are family. We belong together and we will be together forever and ever. Though for now your soul resides on earth, you’re as good as home and you are safe.”

This is Good News!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ups & Downs

One of my frustrations is that:
- I'll never live long enough to be able to read all that I want to read.
- I'll never live long enough to be able to learn all that I want to learn.
- I'll never live long enough to become the kind of person that I want to become.

My abiding consolation is that I have received and accepted the only information of eternal import, as well as becoming immersed in, filled by, and washed over by the only relationship that is eternally important.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The God of the Old Testament - An Obsession with Fairness and Righteousness

For those that know God, the following verses will ring true as the Lord and the God that we worship is truly a God of mercy and grace, slow to anger and abounding in grace. Creator God is a God of reconciliation and hope, love and peace, justice and fairness.

Malachi 2:16 - I hate divorce

Exodus 22:21,22 - "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.

Malachi 2:5 - My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace

Exodus 23:9 - Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.

Zechariah 8:16,17 - These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbour and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this declares the Lord

Leviticus 19:10 - Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Zephaniah 2:3 - Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility.

Leviticus 19: 32-34 - Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself. I am the LORD your God.

Nahum 1:7 - The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

Leviticus 23:22 - " 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.' "

Micah 6:8 - He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Leviticus 24:22 - You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.' "

Amos 5:21-24 - I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. For let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Leviticus 25:35 - If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.

Joel 2:13 - Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Numbers 9:14 - An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD's Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born.' "

Hosea 14:9 - Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

Numbers 15:15 - The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD

Hosea 12:6 - But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 - For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Hosea 10:12 - Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love.

Deuteronomy 14:28,29 - At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Hosea 6:6 - For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

Deuteronomy 24:14 - Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.

Hosea 4:14 - I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes.

Deuteronomy 24:17 - Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

Daniel 9:4 - O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands.

Deuteronomy 27:19 - Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.

Ezekiel 36:26 - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Deuteronomy 23:15 - If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not oppress him.

Ezekiel 34:11 - 17 - I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. I look after my sheep. I will rescue them. I will pasture them. I will tend them in a good pasture. I myself will tend my sheep. I will search for them, the lost and the injured and strengthen the weak. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

Exodus 23:1,2 - "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favouritism to a poor man in his lawsuit just because he is poor.

Exekiel 33:11 - As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.

Lamentations 3:22 - Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Isaiah 55:7 - Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Jeremiah 22:3 - The is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Jeremiah 9:23,24 - This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth for in these I delight, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

Isaiah 66:2 - This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 58:6 - - Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and to not turn away from your own flesh and blood.

Isaiah 55:6,7 - Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Isaiah 55:1 - Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come and eat!

Isaiah 49:23 - Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

Isaiah 46:4 - Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 43:1,2 - Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

Isaiah 42:2-4 - He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 40:31 - Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 30:15, 18 - In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 25:4 - You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.

Isaiah 11:2-4 - The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - The Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of power, of knowledge. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

Isaiah 1:17,18 - Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as withe as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 - To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.

2nd Chronicles 16:9 - For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous.

Ps. 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety.

Ps. 9:9,10 - The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord

I was reading in Genesis this morning and came across the story of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. Ishmael was dying of thirst. Hagar left him under a bush and walked a couple hundred metres away because she couldn’t stand to watch him die. “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.”

Isn’t that just the way it is with us. So determined are we to live life on our own terms that we drive ourselves into a desert-life. Psalm 63 - “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

And then God opens our eyes to His stream of living water. Notice God didn’t create for Hagar something that wasn’t there before. He simply opened her eyes to something that had been there all along.

Ah Lord God, open my eyes so that I’m aware of Your presence all day long.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Prophecy of Jesus

Most people understand that psychics and fortune tellers are little more than third-rate entertainment. When their endless failures are documented on television or in a magazine, almost no one is surprised.

Critics however have worn themselves out trying to destroy the idea of prophecy as it pertains to the Bible. This is because Biblical prophecy has shown itself in archeology and historical literature to be 100% accurate. The main method of denying or disproving this astounding achievement is to try to “late date” anything called Biblical prophecy. What the critics say is that because the prophecies are so accurate, they must have been written after the events actually happened. When it comes to Old Testament Prophecy in general and the prophecy of Jesus specifically, these people run into somewhat of a problem. Here’s why.

The vast majority of scholars agree that all of the Old Testament Scripture was completed 450 years before Jesus the Christ was born. However even the most sceptical must admit the date of 250 B.C. since that is when the Old Testament was translated into Greek.

In calculating odds of probability, scientists agree that 10 to the power of minus 50 is the same as zero - impossible. Here is what those odds look like.
1 chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000,

Professor Peter Stoner, himself a sceptic and former Editor of ‘Science Digest’ has calculated that the odds of the prophecies of what happened to Jesus on the last day of His life here on earth, to be 10 to the power of minus 157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally. Here’s what those odds look like.
1 chance in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

This information will have zero positive impact on sceptics. They will just say something like, "Well, that just proves that those things couldn't have happened the way the Bible says they did."

On the other hand, honest spiritual seekers should give a pause for thought about what exactly took place at the end of Jesus' life on earth.

The following were prophesied from 1000 - 500 years before Jesus was born but were all fulfilled in one day.

Betrayed by a friend
Sold for 30 Pieces of silver
Money "thrown" into God’s house
His best friends would all run away and desert Him
People would lie about Him in order to get Him killed
He never said a thing to defend Himself - “That’s a lie” or “I didn’t do that.”
He was killed by crucifixion
He asked God to forgive those who were killing Him
Hated without cause
Friends stood afar off
Soldiers would gamble for His clothes
They’d offer Him a pain killer to drink
His forsaken cry - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
Committed himself to God - “Into they hand I commit My spirit.”
Bones not broken
His side pierced with a spear
Darkness at noon
Buried in a rich man’s grave

Jesus had no control over the prophecies about:
Place of birth
Time of birth
Manner of birth
Manner of death
People’s reaction
Piercing, and

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The life of Jesus was put before us in such a way that no one need mistake who He was or is.

From which race He would be born into, right down to the town He would be born in, we have a record of His life on earth before it even began.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Too Much - Too Many - Can't Take It

I read a post the other day. It was written by a young man who represents a growing segment of the population which voices alarm over how many people there are in the world. Overpopulation has been a relevant issue for a long time, but what makes this young man and those who think like him odious in nature is this. As these people sit in their air conditioned and furnace heated houses, with freezers and fridges packed with food, with closets full of clothes and with at least two cars in the garage and a motor home on the driveway, and as they plunk away at their computer or listen to one of the two, three or four tv’s in the home, or while soaking in the hot tub in winter and the pool in summer, they complain about the strain upon the earth’s resources that all these extra (mostly non white, poor and religious) people are creating.

I used to be apposed to such thoughts because I believe that all people are special, regardless of status or ability. Now I’m not so sure. In fact I’m starting to think that a depopulation project might be just the thing for what ails us. What I’m thinking is this.
. Let’s start with that segment of the population that is most in favour of killing off the most helpless in our society - those not yet born and those who are elderly and/or disabled. (In some countries, not killing your "extra" children is punishable by the loss of property or freedom. In other countries, one's "right" to die is moving inexorably toward one's duty to die).
. Let’s start with that segment of society that sees only the young, the wealthy, the beautiful, in most cases the white, the educated and of course the intelligent as having more worth and value than those who don’t possess these “qualities.”
. Let’s take that segment and simply walk them into the ocean. Or does Germany still have those big ovens laying around? A wire brush, some new paint, a flick of the Bic and those babies could roar to life with a truly noble purpose.

Let’s see what this segment of society (you know who you are) thinks of this grand depopulation idea that they propose.

You're Outta Here!

"Get Out Of Here!!!"
"But Jesus! You are my Lord!"
"Get away from Me. I never knew you."
"But I healed people in Your Name. I spoke in tongues and cast out demons."
"I said, "Get away" - You’ve never been a part of Me or My message."
"But I prophesied damn it. Don’t you get it? I prophesied!!!!"
"Get - Away - From - Me."

How is it that people can believe they’re a Christian with out the presence of Christ making a radical change in their character and priorities?

How can we believe we are a light to the world when our behaviours and our speech show that our lives are as dark and confused as the life of the pagan next door?

How can I claim the love of Jesus if I don’t sacrificially love?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Humans are just too, too stupid

I saw this News Caption - “One Hundred-Year-Old Electric Car Idea Makes a Comeback.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

There is all this talk, and rightly so about global warming and green house gases and how we have to cut carbon emissions. So what’s our answer? Let’s generate billions of new kilowatts to power-up our electric cars. After all, power generation is clean - right? Mmm nope.

There is all this talk, and rightly so about tens of thousands of people starving to death every single day. So what's our answer? Let’s take our huge resources of food and use that food to produce ethanol for our vehicles. After all, there’s more than enough food to go around - right? Mmm nope.

There’s all this talk, and rightly so about the inevitable day when the oil runs out. So what's our answer? Let’s take our forests, which absorb carbon emissions, burn them down and plant soybeans to fuel our cars. After all, ethanol production is a lot cleaner than oil production - right? Mmm nope.

There’s all this talk, and rightly so about how water isn’t being used wisely. So what's our answer? Let’s take water away from farmers who are using it to grow food for us, and send that water to places like Las Vegas so billionaires can make their Casinos look prettier, and so the rich can keep their swimming pools filled to the brim. Because the recreation that we use to block out our coming fate is more important than, well, it's more important than anything - right. Seems so. Yes it does.

There's all this talk about there not being enough food and fuel to go around for all mouths to feed and to power all the vehicles and planes that we need for travel. So what is the answer that some people propose? Let's kill off a huge portion of our societies through abortion so that there will be fewer people which means there will be more resources for ME to waste on myself. After all, self-love makes us just plain stupid - right? Yep. That’s a fact Jack.

It’s no wonder people can’t get their heads around preparing for eternity. We can’t even think far enough into the future to ensure that there will be food on the table come dinner time.