Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Tragic Story

Sceptics are at a loss to explain the human dilemma. They would love to say that we are good people who are trained to go bad, but no one can find any proof to back that up. One of the jobs of parenting is bring under control (first parental control an later - hopefully - the child's self-control) the inner tendency to destroy or harm whatever stands between us and what we want. Sceptics also have a hard time understanding why Creator God gets so upset over what the Bible calls sin.

Our Creator gets so upset because something tragic has taken place. Something very precious was corrupted and destroyed. You know from your own life that you don’t get upset if something practically worthless stops working or breaks. However, let something of value get stolen or broken through someone’s carelessness or willful destruction and your Anger Metre goes red-line in the blink of an eye.

That is what happened when we chose to disobey the only command we had been given. You know from your own experience that especially when you know that your child is determined to do something wrong that will cause h/herself pain, your frustration is greater than when their pain came by a mistake or an accident.

Yes God knew what we would do.
Yes He knew the destruction that we would cause.
Yes, God knew the tragic story that was about to unfold when through willful disobedience we destroyed the most precious of all God’s creation - us.

That is why, before bringing the universe into being, God had already set in place a plan of reconciliation, restoration, renewal and redemption.

We are now living in what is called the age of grace.

Now is the time of God’s offer of salvation.

Now is the day when peace between you and your Creator can be restored.

Your story doesn’t need to remain a tragedy.

You can experience forgiveness and freedom from real guilt.

You can allow Jesus to turn your story into one of victory and joy and peace.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Homosexual Marriage Wrecks Marriage?

I saw a blog yesterday where the writer was lamenting Christian Churches that create out-groups (in this case homosexuals) in order to make the in-group more cohesive. It was to me, a heartbreaking post.

“there was absolutely nothing in the Bible that condemns same-sex love and, in fact, the Bible actually affirms same-sex love.”

“Nowhere is same-sex love condemned in the Bible! In fact, it is affirmed, most notably in the case of King David (called “a man after God’s own heart”) and Jonathan. Even a cursory reading of their relationship in 1Samuel shows David to have been either bisexual or a gay man!”

These are just two of the many quotes from that post that demonstrate the contortions that humans are willing to subject themselves to in order to resist sexual purity as is called for by our Creator. As far as creating out-groups goes, I understand that there are some congregations that do this. On the other hand, I’ve attended conservative evangelical congregations (5) for all of my thirty years as a Christian and not once have I heard a sermon regarding homosexuality. The focus has always been on encouraging the desire in Christians to obey God.

I’ve always been taught that Christians should be a group of people who long to follow Jesus, who hunger and thirst for righteousness even when what Jesus asks us to do seems completely counter intuitive:

“love your enemy,”

“find yourself through denying self,”

“finding life by dying to self,”

“win through losing,”

“the first will be last”

Whether the topic is divorce and remarriage, or adultery, or coveting, or greed, or addictions, or dishonesty, or rage and bitterness,

Christians should not be people, like the author of this post, who look for ways to exclude themselves from what Jesus says to do or not do.

Christians should not be people, like the author of this post, who want to see their lives as exceptions to obeying Jesus' guidelines.

“The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me.”

I’ve tried to stay away from the whole homosexual issue on this blog. I don’t want to hurt and it’s and issue that so easily hurts. However, the idea that allowing homosexuals to get married will ruin marriage / family / society is in my mind ludicrous.

It's a society that has already devalued marriage and life itself that condones homosexuality and abortion and multiple sexual partners, and divorce and remarriage. It’s a society that is already supremely dysfunctional that thinks who ever happens to be living in your house at the time constitutes a family, or a home for that matter.

I don’t know what it’s like in the States but in Canada, several decades ago already, those people who are living common-law were given the same legal rights (income tax, property rights etc.) as those who are legally married. The laws changed with hardly a ripple of dissent. In my mind THAT is when society gave up on marriage and the family. For people to say nothing about common-law relationships but kick up a stink over homosexuals becoming legally attached really is bigotry in its truest form.

. Is homosexuality morally wrong? Well, from our Creator’s perspective, absolutely. The depth of this relational disorder is seen in the quote above regarding the friendship between David and Jonathan. So sexually disoriented are those who praise and promote homosexuality that they cannot conceive of a deep same sex friendship without it having become sexualised. And that’s what makes homosexuality so perverted (in the clinical sense). Emotional needs have become sexualised. That is terribly unhealthy and THAT is why God says that it is wrong.

. Should homosexuals care that God says it’s wrong? Only those who want to follow Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

. Should homosexuals be discriminated against because of it? Absolutely not. If we were to discriminate against people based on our desire to justify our sins, none of us would be allowed to go anywhere or do anything.

. We are all natural born sinners; we are all called to rein in and take control of, not celebrate, our natural born tendency to rebel against God’s teaching.

. Will homosexuals getting married wreck the institution of marriage? It won’t wreck my marriage nor that of anyone else who is married in the Christian sense.

. Will homosexuals getting married wreck society and the family unit upon which a healthy society is built? Naw. That happened a long time ago.

When the majority of people push for homosexuals or common-law partners, or polygamists or any other similar relationship to be recognised as equal to marriage as instituted by God between a man and a woman, that is not the cause of the collapse of marriage or the family or society.

Rather, these things are a symptom of a society that is already deeply and perhaps mortally wounded.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Hardest Part of Fetal Alcohol

The hardest things about raising children with FASD is not being believed.

“Oh, all kids lose their stuff.”

“All kids forget their homework.”

“All kids tell lies.”

“All kids disobey.”

The implication being that if we were just better parents:
Our children wouldn’t tell five lies a day for no observable reason.

Our children wouldn’t lose 15 pieces of clothing a year - every year.

Our children wouldn’t find it impossible to learn from consequences.

Our children wouldn’t forget their school assignment 160 days out of 175,

The hardest part of raising Fetal Alcohol brain damaged children is not being believed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jesus Infuriates

Two things about Jesus drive us crazy. It was true when He dwelt among us and it’s true today.

The first is, Jesus refuses to control us. For example:
Jesus didn’t say to Bartimaeus, “I want you to have your sight.”
Instead Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Mark 10:51

Jesus didn’t say, “I think you should let Me heal you.”
Instead He said, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6

Jesus didn’t say, “Peter you have to know by now that I’m the exact representation of Creator God.”
He asked instead, “Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15

When the majority of Jesus’ early followers were abandoning the cause, Jesus didn’t say to the inner twelve, “You can’t leave like all the others. It’ll ruin everything.”
He asked, “Are you going to leave also?”

For those who want Jesus to take the choice away from them as to whether He is God (all atheists demand this type of action on the part of Jesus) or whether they should have a healed and forgiven relationship with Him, you need to know that is never going to happen.

The search is ours to make.
The spiritual healing is ours to ask for.

The second thing that infuriates us about Jesus is that not only won’t He control us, He won’t be controlled by us. satan tried it, His family tried it, His disciples tried it, Pilot tried it, the crowds tried it, His friends and His enemies tried it.

Jesus will accept our faith but He will turn back any attempts to control and manipulate Him. When what we want disagrees with what Jesus wants for us, we are the ones who will have to change. There is no compromise and that is what is so infuriating about Jesus.

It really is, His way or the highway.

And why is that?
Well Duh!
His way is the right way, stupid!
Jesus is our Creator.
He and only He knows what is best for us.

Everyone who comes into contact with Jesus tries to control Him, trick Him and manipulate Him to one degree or another. Life will continue to frustrate until we learn that Jesus is Lord and we are not. Many think that if they say it’s narrow minded to think there is only one way to salvation then presto! there will automatically be many ways to salvation. In reality, the fact that there is ANY way back to a healed relationship with our Creator is what should surprise us.

The fact is:
Jesus is the Way; there is no other.
Jesus is the Truth; everything else is manmade.
Jesus is the Life. You will not find life in any other.

Friday, August 27, 2010

“Extreme Ways”

No, not by Moby - Jesus.

When christian marriages crash, the scenario almost always follows a similar path to the temptation of Christ.

Both partners are led into the desert - deep into the desert.
Harsh nights.
Danger lurking.
The Fasting turns to a starvation for love that seems to never end.

Unlike Jesus who turned to the Word for direction, people in failing marriages turn FROM His Word. Assuming their problems are God’s fault (Isn’t He supposed to protect us?), they try their own wisdom only to find their problems get even worse.

And then it happens -
satan makes his offer:
Let me provide for you.
Let me give you what you need.
Follow my direction (worship me) and I’ll give you everything you’ve ever wanted.

Too late do we say to God, in the words of a Buddy and Julie Miller song,
“You can have my heart if you don’t mind broken things.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"What Is Wrong With You?"

The Principal of the school I was attending in grade eleven asked me that question. I was being expelled for trying to set fire to the school.

I didn’t do it.


Somebody else had gotten into a store room where he (she?) tried to set fire to a stack of toilet paper. Truth be told, if I’d thought about it first, I might have done it. I was a little angry back then. Regardless, I was getting kicked out because my history made me the most likely suspect.

“What’s wrong with you?”

That’s a good question. Or better yet, What’s wrong with the world? That’s pretty much THE question that every religion and philosophy and belief system attempts to answer. That means of course that we’re all in agreement that something IS wrong with the world, or more specifically, there is something wrong with us, humans.

While we are capable of amazing good, the horrors that we inflict on each other and even on ourselves is difficult to comprehend.

As far as I know, every system of thought but Christianity blames something external to ourselves. Not enough education. Not enough money. Not enough access to medical care. Not enough this and not enough that. The reasoning being that if everybody could just get enough of that stuff then “we” would stop destroying ourselves. And then we take a look at the West. We have a thousand times more of everything than the rest of the world, yet the rates of mental illness like depression, violence, marital breakdown, and such are also far above the norm for the world in general.

Obviously having “more” is not the answer. That’s where belief systems like atheism raise their hands.

Atheists are quite certain that more isn’t the problem, at least when it comes to religion. Atheists like Christopher Hitchens believe that if we could just eliminate religion then peace would reign. Christopher may be intelligent but when it comes to wisdom - mmm not so much. Some groups believe that if we could just eliminate certain races of people, life would be all sunshine and bliss. Others say, Too many banks, too many millionaires, too much police, too much government. If we could just get rid of these things, some people believe, then the goodness of humans would be allowed to flow forth.

The common denominator though, again, is that these people see the problem as external to themselves.

Then there are groups like Buddhists who also believe the problem isn’t “us.” Not fundamentally anyway. On Buddhism and psycho therapies like Rational Emotive Therapy, the human problem is how we think about the external. How we react to, or respond to the external world. These people believe that if we could just train ourselves and others the right way of thinking, all would be well with the world. Like all other belief systems, for people in this group, the idea that the problem lies within is vehemently denied. In fact, these people believe that if other people would just “think like we think,” the world’s problems would dissolve.

Islam is no different in its external focus. Eg. On Islam, if I struggle with lust, then making you wear more clothing should solve the issue. Or maybe if I just wash my hands five times a day, that will be the solution. On Islam, something external to myself must be eliminated for me to become well.

This constant blaming of something or someone else is one of the reasons that I believe Christianity (what Jesus taught) to be true. Out of all the schools of thought, Jesus answers the human dilemma in the most realistic and believable terms.

Chesterton via Jesus says correctly, “What’s wrong with the world is me.”

Jesus said that we are fundamentally flawed and no immersion in any thought system is going to be able to change that. Not Capitalism, not Communism, not Marxism, not religion or the lack of religion. We are sick in a way that none of us can heal on our own and only Jesus dares to speak the truth on this issue.

Every philosophical and religious system in the world including Christianity has been used by flawed human beings to destroy other human beings. It’s an undeniable fact, and only those who exist on the fringes of reality think that their belief system is exempt. All of the rules and laws in the world put together cannot curb the inner man. Oh sure, we can coerce, and shame, and punish people into compliance - sometimes - but none of that changes who we are at our core.

We can force people by law to treat others in a semi respectful manner (I’ll sit in the same restaurant with you, but to me you’re still a nigger / whitey / Aaarab) but no one can cause us to love one another - No one that is except Jesus.

When Jesus gets a hold of someone a radical transformation takes place that is nothing short of a miracle.

That’s right!

I said, “It is a miracle.”

Jesus does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I saw it again three weeks ago in a couple who in anyone’s estimation was obviously headed for divorce. And then something dramatic happened. They gave their lives to Jesus - completely and totally. I doubt that any power on earth or in heaven will be able to destroy that relationship. They are not the same human beings they were the day or even the hour before. They are a new creation.

Jesus does that for people. Jesus changes people from the inside out. Jesus gives to us:
His love,
His mercy,
His grace,
His tenderness,
His forgiveness.

Things that we cannot attain on our own by our own effort are given to us freely by the lover of our souls - Jesus the Christ.

He’s done it for me and He’ll do it for you.

While I’m not yet the man that I want to be.

And while I’m not yet the man that I’m going to be.

Thanks to God alone I’m no longer the man that I used to be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series gives examples of where our Creator shows us how to love extravagantly.

In like manner we are told to give our lives away, to die to self.

The example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Creator, is to love extravagantly.

If you listen to accounts of the rich and famous, sooner rather than later you’ll hear the term “Irreconcilable Differences.” That’s what they had with their former marriage partner. Differences that they couldn’t reconcile. They couldn’t force the other person to like what they wanted them to like, do what they wanted them to do, become who they wanted them to become.

I think that one of the main reasons that God instituted marriage between men and women is to teach us that love over looks and over comes irreconcilable differences. To be joined in a life-long commitment to someone who is almost the polar opposite on half a dozen issues forces a person to learn HOW to love. And to prove that love can be learned even for those who do not marry, Jesus lived in a community of men whose differences could not be more irreconcilable.

Think about it! A Jew collecting taxes for the Romans living with a Zealot fighting for Jewish independence. The impulsive Peter hanging with the melancholy Thomas. The “Son’s of Thunder,” so self-absorbed that they wanted special seats of honour in Jesus’ coming kingdom. A greedy schemer who would steal from his friends and ultimately betray his leader.

“They will know that you are My disciples because you love one another.”

Thirteen men in close spiritual, physical and emotional union for three years. satan was able to grab only one of them from the type of bond that Jesus is able to create; a union that He is able to create between you and your spouse, regardless of differences.

It is so easy to lose track of how special our partner is; easy to lose sight of the wonderful way in which h/her uniqueness attracted us in the first place.

“But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good — crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original."
Galatians 5:22-23

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.

THIS is love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stupid, Stupid Christians

In a post protesting the stupidity and potential harm of thousands of atheists participating in a Draw Mohammed Day


I said, “Now, I’m no fan of Islam, it’s about on par with atheism for the value it holds for humanity. On the other hand, to deliberately provoke a couple billion people by placing their most revered symbol, ON THE GROUND, to be walked on, which in their belief system is the greatest affront possible is a long, long way from good.”

Not to be outdone by atheists, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida has decided that burning the Qur’an would be a good way of protesting the killing of 3,000 Americans by Muslims on 9/11.


For many humans, loving the sinner can only be done if they first deny the existence of the sin, or they can hate the sin only if they also discriminate against the sinner.

Jesus takes us in a completely different direction of loving the sinner but hating the sin. That means we do nothing to ignore or deny the existence of the wrong, but that we treat the one doing wrong with respect and love and yes we sometimes bring in the aspect of justice which is never absent from love. However, to deliberately destroy that which your enemy holds most dear is decidedly unlike anything Jesus would have us do.

Remember? “Love your enemy. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you.”

Mr. Jones has written a book called, “Islam Is Of The Devil.”

I agree that it is of the devil, but so is burning the Qur’an. If former Muslims want to burn their Qur'an, as the Book of Acts describes early converts to Christianity doing with their pagan tools of worship, that would be one thing. It's quite another for Christians to gather copies of the Qur'an from who knows what source and burn them in deliberate provocation.

That’s just another stupid Christian doing what comes naturally to an unregenerate heart.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I’m A Racist

That’s what one Muslim called me. Isn’t that interesting? It makes me want to upload a colour picture of our family. Wendy and I are two specks of white surrounded by a sea of brown. So what makes me a racist?

I post this video of pure Muslims reading from the Qur’an while cutting off the head of a man who left Islam to become a follower of Jesus. Check it out. View Islam at its purest.

Now read the comments after this video. The one’s from Muslims are interesting.
. Some Muslims say this video is a flat out lie because the Qur’an would never tell a Muslim to cut off someone’s head if someone leaves Islam for Christianity. I’ve got a dozen verses handy if you doubt what it says.
. Just as many Muslims say the guy deserves to have his head cut off because Allah says to do so as it’s written plainly in the Qur’an.
. Almost as many Muslims say the video is all the fault of the Jews to make Muslims look bad.

Yet according to this anonymous Muslim commenting on my post, I’m the racist.

I report - Muslim Cleric Choudary said yesterday, “I believe that one day Britain, and indeed every part of the world, will be governed by and under the authority of the Muslims implementing Islamic Law. And it will happen. It may come peacefully. But it may come through a holy war that will see rivers of blood on the streets.”

Because I report what this Muslim leader said, I’m a racist.

I report - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said:

* Speaking at a Tehran conference on the subject of "The World without Zionism": "The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor AGAINST the Islamic world...The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land...As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
* "The fact is that Israel can ultimately not continue its existence."
* "We ask the West to remove what they created sixty years ago and if they do not listen to our recommendations, then the Palestinian nation and other nations will eventually do this for them. Do the removal of Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations."
* "The real Holocaust is what is happening in Palestine where the Zionists avail themselves of the fairy tale of Holocaust as blackmail and justification for killing children and women and making innocent people homeless."
* "Israel is a rotten, dried tree that will be annihilated in one storm."

Because I report what this Muslim said, I’m the racist.

I mention that Israel has absorbed ten thousand Hammas rockets in five years. Rockets from Muslims designed to kill and destroy Jews.

Because I report this fact, I’m a racist

I mention that Israel is surrounded by 22 nations. 640 times Israel’s land mass. 22 countries who say they cannot live in peace as long as the only Democratic State in the region, Israel, exists.

I report this fact and that makes me the racist

I mention that Jews cannot even enter Saudi Arabia as tourists, yet Muslims say that Israel, not it’s Arab neighbours but Israel is the country that discriminates.

Because I report this fact that makes me the racist

I report - “Take not the Jews and Christians for friends ... slay the idolaters [infidels] wherever ye find them. ...Fight against those who believe not in Allah” (Sura 5:51; 9:5,29,41).

Because I report what the Qur’an says about Jews and Christians and those who don’t believe in Islam - I’m the racist.

I report - The Qur’an refers to Christians and Jews as “apes”, “pigs”, “dogs” and “worse than cattle”. (Surahs [chapters 2:64; 5:59-60; 7:159-166; 7:176; 25:44.) This according to what Muslims regard as the word of Allah as revealed to Muhammad.

Because I say how the Qur’an describes Jews and Christians, that makes me a racist.

I report - The Qur'an expends 60% of its content on non Muslims. How to kill them, how to never befriend them, and how the muslim must never be in an inferior position to them, etc, etc.

Yet, I’m the racist.

I report - “The unbelievers are your sworn enemies . . . Seek out your enemies relentlessly . . . . Allah does not love the sinful.” (Dawood, Koran, pp. 367-68.)

I report what the Muslim holy book says and that makes me a racist.

Germans killed Jews by the millions, yet we have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. Christians supported Hitler and Martin Luther himself wrote about how we should burn down Synagogues, yet we have not seen a single Jew destroy a Church. We have not seen a single Jew strap on an explosive belt and protest injustice by killing those standing around him. Who does these things almost on a daily basis? Almost exclusively believers in Islam. Muslims destroy Buddhist statues that have stood for centuries but has one Buddhist killed Muslims because of it? Only Muslims defend their beliefs by burning Churches and killing those of other beliefs and bombing embassies. Only Muslims raise their children in the hopes that they will become suicide bombers.

Yet I am the racist for reporting this.

Well, whatever.

“The clash that we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs in the Middle Ages, and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between rationality and barbarity. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights on the one hand, and a violation of these rights on the other. It is a clash between those who treat women like human beings and those who treat women like beasts. It was Mohammed who said, “I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah.” When Muslims divided people into Muslims and non Muslims, and swore themselves to fight others until the others believe what the Muslims believe, they started this war, they started this clash.”

President Obama tells us about all the points of commonality Christianity has with Islam. Before I choke on this let me give one example of dissimilarity that outweighs all points in common put together.

In the Bible we have the well known account of Jesus being confronted with a “woman caught in adultery.” The man with whom she was doing the deed was of course no where in the picture. Jesus’ famous line, “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone,” is accompanied by His grace and mercy as He said to the woman, perhaps a prostitute, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

The Qur’an tells a similar story that involved Mohammed. A pregnant adulterous woman had come to him requesting that he pray with her for forgiveness.
. Mohammed sent her away until the baby was born.
. She came back months later and he sent her away until the child was weened.
. When she came back this time Mohammed took the child and gave it to one of his men as a gift (the paedophile Mohammed giving the gift of a girl child to another paedophile).
. Mohammed then ordered the mother buried up to her shoulders and stoned to death.

THAT is the difference between Christianity and Islam.

Some will deny that this account is even in the Qur’an. We don’t need that vile book for evidence for, just like the first entry in this post, we have present day news accounts of pure Muslims carrying out the directions of their horrid master Allah.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped by three men was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic followers. Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 Muslim spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo.

If refusing to suck up to this barbarous religion makes me a racist, then that’s what I am.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series gives examples of where our Creator shows us how to love extravagantly. In like manner we are told to give our lives away, to die to self.

The example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Creator, is to love extravagantly.

I am maybe the most selfish person I know. To put others first, to put my children first, to put my wife first is the single biggest battle that I have. My corrupted self-love is a danger to every relationship that I’ve ever had. Selfishness is the opposite of love. For anyone who wants to follow Jesus, and I do want to follow Jesus, that’s a problem. For any marriage to work, selfishness has to be brought under control.

Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit, but in humility treat others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” From Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church 2:3,4

Treating your spouse with love produces love. And isn’t that who we want to be? People who love?

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

THIS is love!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Dirty Little Memory

In grade one a couple other guys and me were caught smoking out in the hedge that surrounded the playground. I can’t remember the punishment - write out some lines or something like that. Of course it wasn’t enough to make us stop, but I remember two things about that incident as clear as if it happened yesterday.

The first was, my dad said to me, “If I ever find out that you’ve gotten into trouble at school again you’re going to get it twice as bad at home.”

The second was this thought: ‘Then you’ll never learn or hear another thing about me, from me.’ To the best of my knowledge, he never did.

I suppose if that had been all there was to it then it would just be sad. Over the decades however, what could have been just sad turned to tragic. The decision to keep an awareness of everything important in my life from my dad, was transferred to pretty much everyone else including, as it turns out, myself. Not the pain of arthritis, not the confusion of continued sexual abuse, not the fear of physical abuse - nobody got to know anything about what was going on inside.

“Are you an angry person?” one of my wife’s friends asked me during discussion after having supper with friends, maybe thirty years ago. “No!” was my much too quick reply. I think I actually believed that was a correct answer. Trouble is, I knew so little of myself that answering truthfully in that moment was probably impossible. I said what I wanted to believe.

Somebody might be tempted to ask, "How could someone as screwed up as you ever become a counsellor?"

Let me tell you something. The idea of becoming a counsellor never occurs to the so called healthy. In the words of a great 20th century poet* only those who "Have bruises on their memory," reach out to those similarly banged around by life.

Jesus has brought me a long, long way over the years but, I just remembered all this during a nap this afternoon. A dirty little memory.

* Dwight Yoakam

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Atheist’s Only Hope

Christianity was the atheist’s only defence against Islam. What is taking place in Europe is coming to America as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. When Christianity dies, Islam arises. Where Islam arises Sharia comes alive. The question is not if, but when.

The atheist’s mistake was in thinking that Christianity was its enemy. Of course atheism tolerates Islam or any other religion because the only religion that places any demands on the inner man is Christianity. All other religions focus on washing, and praying, dietary laws and holding one day more sacred than another and making trips to this or that city. Atheists can tolerate these things because they can ignore these things. Jesus' demand for inner change is something that atheists cannot ignore nor tolerate; hence their hatred of and war against Christianity.

The problem is, Christianity and only Christianity stands on the side of freedom; freedom to choose, freedom to believe or not believe. Rid your country of Christianity if you want but as Europe has shown in the past and is showing us again in the present, without Christianity, oppression, either in the form of Islamic Theocracy or Atheist Dictatorship seeps in under the door.

America has only known freedom under Judeo / Christian democracy. The loss of that freedom is taking shape in Europe. It’ll happen here.

Thank you atheists.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama means well . . .

I think he really does. He gave such as lovely speech regarding Ramadan in an effort to placate those who want to destroy his nation and his people. I think he really is that naive.

A well armed group wants to destroy his nation and Mr. President really believes that if he just talks nice to these people, sucks up in a most pathetic manner that the Muslim world will change its mind about destroying the U.S. and taking everything its citizens hold dear. I know, Mr. President isn’t talking to THOSE Muslims. He’s talking to the majority who go to work every day like everyone and try to mind their own business but that’s precisely the problem.

Most of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims simply ignore the commands of their holy book to kill infidels where ever they may be found. And if ALL Muslims were slackers in the faith everything would be fine. But they aren’t all slackers - are they? A significant and growing number have blood on their minds and world political dominance in their will. Which brings us to reality.

Where ever you go in the world, be it Indonesia or England or the Netherlands or in a couple decades in the United States and Canada, the result is and will be the same. The same slacker Muslims that are afraid to speak out against their purist religious brothers and sisters who are killing and maiming and gaining control abroad, are exponentially MORE afraid to speak out when these purists bring Sharia to the country in which the slackers (we call them moderates) are now living. Slacker Muslims in North America who are even now bullied, no terrorised, into silence as members of their faith kill innocents abroad will simply rise up and join the terrorist (read Sharia) Islamic religious leaders when those leaders bring the terror to your own front door. If slacker Muslims won’t even stand up to Muslim terrorists half a world away, while someone else is willing to do the dirty work for them, they sure aren’t going to do it when it's time for them to step up or die in this country.

Make no mistake, the Muslims living down the street may be nice enough folks, but when it’s your head that’s being cut off to appease the will of Allah, they will draw the blinds and lock the doors.

Either we take the fight to Sharia, or Sharia will bring the fight to us.

Obama talks about all the values that we hold in common with Islam. Sharia lovers hold nothing in common with me. Not their hatred for and desire to see the elimination of Jews. Not their distain for women. Not their fear of education or culture. Not their racism and intolerance. Nothing.

I think Obama means well when he tries to appease those whose ONLY goal is to destroy America - or is that my naivete?

God and Evolution

Much is made in secular circles about how one life-form morphs into new life-forms. Not new types of one life-form but a brand new species! Gradually, step, by step, by step.

This is not the way with Creator God. With our Creator, something new is brought into existence quickly and abruptly. For example, when He changes a human being from someone who ignores, or despises God to someone who worships and adores Creator God, the change is from darkness to light at the flick of a switch. We are in fact a brand new creation, and it has nothing to do with our own efforts. As atheists are famous for saying, and as everyone has believed prior to conversion, "I couldn't become a Christian even if I wanted to."

“The Messiah has made things right between us so that we're now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board. ” Ephesians 2:14,15;3:5,6

When God changes a human being from sketchy to glorious, a new type of human arises; a type where there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, no special race, no special status - all are equal under the Lordship of Jesus Christ our Saviour. There are no transitional stages.

We’re either in Christ, or we are not in Christ.
Either old or new.
Lost or Saved.

And here’s the best part.
The choice is yours.
Complete freedom.
Freedom to die or freedom to live.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Man Fully Alive

Sara Groves, has a song on one of her CD’s where the line goes,

“The glory of God is man fully alive.”

Brilliant! Profound!

And why IS the Glory of God, man fully alive? Because that is the whole reason that Jesus came to earth. To make our being fully alive possible.

Jesus explained, “satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10. I couldn’t agree more. Since becoming a follower of Jesus, every year has been better than the year before. Every year since then and every year from now until the day I die has had and will continue to have meaning and context and purpose.

When Jesus was describing His work on earth, He quoted the following verse from Isaiah 61:1 and applied it to Himself. “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and the release from darkness for the prisoners.”

Sara Groves points out that there are so many ways for us to hide, so many ways to deny who God wants us to become. Whether it’s through busyness, or mood altering drugs, or serial relationships or even through religion, we try to deny what is real. Why do we do it? I think it’s because we don’t really believe that we will receive the abundant life here and now. Too many people think that the plan is for us to get saved and then wait for heaven. That couldn’t be more wrong. For Christians, eternity in the presence of Creator God begins now and simply grows in intensity as the intimacy of our walk with God increases.

Jesus said that He came to give us life, real life, an abundant life. Jesus promised to make us fully alive. In the Bible “life” is not an incidental issue.

“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Tell the people the full message of this new life.” Acts 5:20

“Come to Me and I will give you life.” John 5:40

“You have made known to me the path of life.” Psalm 16:11

Life and life abundantly is the very thing for which we were created.

Now atheists accuse people of becoming Christians for what they hope to receive in the future. First of all there is nothing wrong with wanting and even working to receive something great, even if it is in the future. However, as I said above, for the Christian, the abundant life and in fact eternity as a citizen of God’s Kingdom begins right now. This is backed up throughout both the Older and the Newer Testaments.

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD here in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come.” Luke 18:29-30

“For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1st Timothy 4:8

Eternity means from right now to time without ending. This is the offer of Jesus to you.

“satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life to the fullest extent possible.” John 10:10

So what are YOU waiting for?

Oh, and ya, I know. I was just playing with you. The line about the glory of God being man fully alive wasn’t Sara Grove’s line. It comes from Iranaeus. Sara just fills it out nicely.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series gives examples of where our Creator shows us how to love extravagantly. In like manner we are told to give our lives away, to die to self.

The example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Creator, is to love extravagantly.

Many times, when people are told about the Biblical concept of humility, they immediately think “door mat.” That of course is what the world truly believes. Look out for #1 because if you don’t, well, no one else is going to do it for you. The world sees humility as bad and pride as good.

The fact is, Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking about yourself less often. Humility is thinking about others first.

Love thinks!

In the beginning of your relationship it was the feelings of love that kept you thinking about your partner. Thirty years down the road however, it’s the decision to love that keeps you from taking your spouse for granted. Love requires thoughtfulness from both parties on a regular basis. Sometimes we forget.

Humility is what keeps you from being offended when your partner forgets. Have you noticed that when you’re angry at someone, it’s because they weren’t thinking about your happiness? Does that embarrass you? How can it not?

YOU weren’t thinking about MY comfort! Why weren’t you thinking about what makes ME happy? It’s your job to be thinking about ME?

Does it embarrass you? Surely it must!

In reality it’s MY job to be thoughtful of your needs. It is not my job to keep track of whether you are thoughtful of me and my needs. Love does not keep track of those kinds of things.

“My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.” Galatians 5:13-18

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

THIS is love!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who’s Trolling Now

If islam is a religion of peace, love and coexistence with people of differing beliefs, why are muslims the primary killers of Christians?

If islam is a religion of peace, love and coexistence with people of differing beliefs, why is this statement accurate?
“While not all muslims are terrorists, the world's most dangerous terrorists are all muslims.”

If islam is a religion of peace, love and coexistence with people of differing beliefs, why do we have in Darfur, today, a terrible humanitarian crisis created by muslims killing muslims?

If islam is a religion of peace, love and coexistence with people of differing beliefs, why are Israelies not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia even as tourists?

Why is it that only in countries with a Christian history that people are allowed to believe what they want to believe and convert from one religion to another (including atheism) without significant hassle from those outside of the immediate family?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Don’t be a Martin Luther

Any counsellor will be able to point to those clients, FUBAR’s to a person, who are impervious to change. No amount of genius on the part of the counsellor, no amount of compassion and caring, no clever turn of a phrase or the “implanting of insight” is enough to bring about healing and resolution. It can be tempting at this point to turn on the client, to reject h/her, to blame and walk away from the relationship.

This of course only happens when the counsellor has lost the big picture; when s/he has lost perspective on h/her own place in the scheme of things.

The same thing happened to Martin Luther.

Shortly after setting a course correction (leaving the Roman Catholic Church) Martin Luther turned his energy on bringing the gospel to the Jews. Certain that the freedom to be had in Christ would be grabbed at by anyone who hears the message, Luther was eager to point the way to salvation. When they rejected what had become HIS message, rather than the message owned and dispensed by Jesus at His discretion, Luther turned on the Jews in such a way that even Hitler was able to use Luther’s writings as a pattern for the Jew’s destruction.

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully the thing I want to life for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person. The better answer he has, the more of a person he is.”
Thomas Merton

“What am I living for?” “What keeps my from being fully alive as I seek that goal?”

These are big picture questions. Like all of us from time to time, Martin Luther lost sight of the big picture. Rather than being a player in the big picture story, Martin began to see himself AS the story.

Don’t be a Martin Luther.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taliban kills Christian Missionaries

It's old news really. Muslims kill ten Christian Missionaries in Afghanistan.

Well, they weren't really missionaries. They were aide workers who were Christians. They knew the rules about proselytising and the rules were not violated, not verbally anyway.

However, when Islam (which says to "kill infidels where ever they may be found") is confronted by Christians who are literally loving their enemies and doing good to those who hate them, well, actions really do speak louder than words.

The Muslims only did what pure Muslims are supposed to do.

“Am I Good?”

After retiring, my wife worked for a time as a Teacher’s Assistant. One little boy who came from a really troubled home was barely tolerated by the teaching staff. He was a real pain in the butt - very disruptive. For whatever reason, my wife connected with this kid. She could see the awesome soul that remained hidden underneath the hyperactive, increasingly hard and annoying exterior. Against school rules, Wendy would place her hand on Todd’s* shoulders, stroke his hair, rub his back. One day, as she put her arm around him, Todd looked up at my wife and with a puzzled yet hopeful look on his face, he asked her, “Am I Good?”

Shame and guilt are such ubiquitous parenting tools. In many cases we even use those things to keep ourselves in line.

“What an idiot,”

“That was a stupid thing to do,”

“How clueless can you be,”

are just a few of the comments that people make to themselves when mistakes happen.

Even Christians are not immune. I’ve encountered many Christian clients who would be shamed, even repulsed to say to themselves, “Because of Jesus I possess greatness and glory.”

It’s as though they say, “I’ve been born again,” and not even know what that means.


* I’ll call him Todd since that’s his name.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series will give real life examples of where our Creator shows us how to love extravagantly. In like manner we are told to give our lives away, to die to self.

A verse from a song by the Newsboys says:
“Dance like no one is looking
Sing like no one can hear
Love like you’ve never been hurt before
Live like you’ve nothing to fear.”

The example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Creator, is to love extravagantly.

It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” From Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church - 2:1-6

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 - a people without understanding will come to ruin!

THIS is love!

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Compassionate God Here

On a blog about Christopher Hitchen’s walk with cancer, and on his article in Vanity Fair, one comment was,

“[Hitchen’s cancer] is further proof that a compassionate God does not exist.”

I couldn’t disagree more.f

IF God exists and IF hell exists, then grabbing someone who is on h/his way to hell and shaking him until You get his attention is the most compassionate thing a loving God could do.

Unlike a car accident, a heart attack, a stroke, or falling down stairs, or being crushed in an earthquake, or being caught in random shooting or any number of ways that our ability to make a decision for God can end suddenly, cancer and almost exclusively cancer gives a person time to contemplate the only two eternal options set before you.

Remember, this cancer will be just the latest, albeit the most dramatic of a long line of warnings that Hitchens has received and ignored over the years.

Hitchens is so far down the “Deny God’s Existence Road” that if there is ANY hope for return, he will need as much time as possible. I can think of few other options besides cancer that will give Chris:

a) a reason to think about the end

b) the time to think about the end, and

c) hold his attention until the end, like the severe mercy that is cancer.

May Christopher Hitchens accept the forgiveness and salvation that is being offered to him right now by the God of all mercy and kindness, patience and grace, compassion and love before it’s too late.

“I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation."

Christopher said he thinks that many people are eagerly awaiting his demise. There may be some. He’s made a lot of money out of creating deliberate offense. This I do know. God is not eagerly awaiting Mr. Hitchens’ death.

“I take no delight in the death of the wicked. So turn from your sins and live.”

To date Chris Hitchens has portrayed himself as someone who will glibly step of the dead body of Jesus just to prove that he is accountable to no one, not even his Creator. My prayer is that Hitchens experiences spiritual healing as soon as possible so that not only his remaining days on earth but from today and on into eternity he may truly rest in peace in the glorious presence of his Creator.

Even after a life-time spent in blaspheming God and mocking, ridiculing and outright hating His followers, the offer of forgiveness from a compassionate God is still on the table -

Only Chris can keep that from happening.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

True Story

A couple we met at the lake have a grandfather (82) for whom “Joy of the Lord” hardly describes his cheery outlook on life. One day, as he was whistling his way through a hardware store, a clerk asked if she could help him. As she was walking with him to the wooden dowel section she commented on his apparently happy mood and asked him, What's up with that? He replied,

“I have the joy of Jesus in my heart. Do you know the joy of Jesus?”

To which she replied, “No, I have to work Sunday.”

True Story

Her answer of course is both funny and sad. Funny, cause, well, it just is.

Sad because we live in a world where commerce is worshipped to the point that we dare not pause from making money for even one day a week.

Sad because people who have never been told about Jesus, may not even get the chance to hear about Him in Church.
Ever since the third week in July I’ve been looking around wondering,

“Where are the brakes on this thing?”

In only two weeks the kids are going to be back in school! I’m blasting through life at such a furious pace that for a moment or two today I thought I felt the cosmic wind in my hair.