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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jesus Interrupted

When I look through the Gospels, I can’t help but notice how Jesus’ day, every day, was one of constant interruptions. He had an agenda. Jesus had come to earth to proclaim the arrival of God’s Kingdom. He had towns to visit. Lessons to teach. Proofs of God’s Kingdom to display.

Yet, where ever He was going it was blind men calling out “Son of David.” Lepers begging for healing. Funeral processions stopped. There were always people grasping, touching, pulling, crowding, asking and asking and asking for His attention - asking for His attention.

I get the feeling of being sucked dry just reading about it.

To Jesus - well - to Jesus it was completely different.

The reason that people couldn’t interrupt Jesus from His agenda is because people were His agenda.

Jesus came to earth with the expressed purpose of bringing us safely home.

The reason that people can’t interrupt Jesus from His agenda is because people are His agenda.
“I am a historian. I am not a believer. But I must confess, as a historian, that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very centre of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all of history.” H. G. Wells

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What’s In Your Mind?

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of invisible and visible winged seeds, so the stream of time brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of those unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them.”
Thomas Merton - “Seeds of Contemplation”

Don’t panic. I know that Merton was a pagan - with a sprinkling of Christian influence. Nevertheless, what he says here is true. The seeds of learning from the world around us, must eventually lead to the world inside us. If these seeds of learning are not allowed to take root, how in the world can anything grow?

God is saying to all of us, “Discover Me. If you seek for Me I will allow Myself to be found by you. Take in and grow from what I reveal to you about Myself; grow from what I reveal to you about yourself.”

“Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings.” Proverbs 1:20-21

“Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice? She's taken her stand at First and Main, at the busiest intersection. Right in the city square where the traffic is thickest, she shouts, "You—I'm talking to all of you, everyone out here on the streets! Listen, you idiots—learn good sense! You blockheads—shape up! Don't miss a word of this—I'm telling you how to live well, I'm telling you how to live at your best. My mouth chews and savours and relishes truth— I can't stand the taste of evil! You'll only hear true and right words from my mouth; not one syllable will be twisted or skewed. You'll recognize this as true—you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once. Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money, and God-knowledge over a lucrative career. For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.” Proverbs 8:1-5

“Blessed is the person who listens to me, For he who finds me finds life. Proverbs 8:34-35

Part of what these verses are saying is that wisdom and truth are right there in front of you. The evidence for the existence of Creator God is all around us. Shouting to us. Let God open your spiritual eyes and you can’t miss it.

Do you listen? Can you listen? Have you cultured a listening heart or have you bought into the secular lie that the busier you are the more value you have?

Do you understand what the existence of the Laws of Physics is saying?

Do you get what a genetic code in every living cell, including the very first living cell means?

Does a mathematical universe declare anything to you besides, “Duh, we sure are lucky.”?

The Hebrew word for “wisdom” means “The skill of living.”

Use that skill.

Plant that skill deep and let it take root.

Wisdom is calling to you.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language anywhere in the world where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3

Because . . .

I think that I’ve finally exhausted all the ways in which a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus has brought wonderful, freeing change into my life. For thirty days straight (give or take) I have been able to describe the radical life transforming power of the Living Messiah.

If you still think this is all a fantasy - try it. Make something up. Invent an invisible friend, and watch it transform your life. You can pray to it if you want. Or offer it sacrifices or cook up some ritual where you wash your hands five times a day. Try it! And then see if what has taken place in my life happens in your life as well.

I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. The only thing you’ll become is a “spiritual” version of the same person. That is simply not the case with those who have entered into a heal relationship with Jesus.

Am I who I want to be?
Not yet.

Am I who I should be?
Getting there.

Am I who I used to be?
Not even close.

Jesus is real. He is alive and He comes with the power to change anyone from the inside out. What He has done for me can be described in one word - Freedom!

None of these freedoms were mine prior to my healed relationship with Jesus. I was like a ship in the middle of the ocean with no navigational system. I could go any direction I chose, but I had no idea how to find a safe harbour for my soul.

Now, because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to say to life,
"Rain on, I will not drown, for I am standing on higher ground!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Here’s Why

I saw another one today; a blog post asking why bad things happen to good people.

How about, because we live in a world where bad things happen - to all people.

The people who ask this type of question NEVER seem to ask the next question. Why did bad things happen to Jesus, the only “good” and perfectly innocent person to ever walk the face of the earth?

Whatever we may say about how and why God has allowed His creation to wallow in the effects of sin, the fact remains that God took His own medicine. This is an important point for us to contemplate. Why would God come to earth to specifically experience the horrors that this life has to offer?

There are many possibilities for why Jesus came to experience life as we experience life, but one conclusion must surely be to show us that life’s problems are not without reason. For example, “Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered.”

The fact is, “God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11.

When that verse says “everything” it means that nothing happens without it coming under the umbrella of our Creator’s sovereign plan. I don’t know what that means for those on the outside, but for those of us who love God and who have been called according to His purpose, it means that ALL things are used by God so that we who are saved might be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28,29.

THAT is God’s will for us and if we join Him in making that our sole goal, our one intent, our main objective in life, then anything and everything that happens to us can be turned for spiritual and emotional profit.

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:2-4.

We in Christian circles often hear about “The Fruit of the Spirit” Galatians 5:22-23, or the characteristics of love as they are found in 1st Corinthians chapter 13:4 - 8a. I would go so far as to claim that these characteristics never come about in the absence of pain, loss and suffering. Because of God, our difficulties possess meaning and context and purpose.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is nothing in life that we should fear more than succeeding in those areas that carry no heavenly importance. That requires a significant shift in priorities.

“How can it be of any benefit to gain the whole world yet lose one’s soul?”

After making this paradigm shift, Paul said, “But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider all of them complete loss for Christ's sake. Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For my determined purpose is that I may perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope that if possible I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body. Philippians 3:7-11.

This means that if we allow Him control of our lives, our Creator will allow us to personally know His power, His suffering, His destiny.

Become like Jesus.
Make His life your life.

Do that and nothing that this life can throw at you can destroy your stability.

“Those who wait upon the Lord are like Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.”

Do that and you will move from having faith in Jesus to having the faith of Jesus.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to do something valuable until my dying breath, freedom to not only accept, but to enjoy my weaknesses, and I have the freedom to give away my time, my money and my self.

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to counter my culture, and the freedom to find contentment in every single situation. This contentment comes from knowing beyond any doubt that, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" "My God will supply ALL my needs."

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom. Atheists think that I’ve received these dozens and dozens of benefits because I’ve conjured up a false belief or an imaginary friend. I challenge anyone anywhere to think up some imaginary belief or friend and watch these type of changes take place in their lives because of having done that.

It will not and cannot happen. Jesus is real. He is alive and He works powerfully in the lives of those who humbly trust Him and follow Him. It’s the people making these accusations that are living in a fantasy world.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series, which began a couple months ago gives 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.

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

The Bible talks about God healing the “brokenhearted.” This is not some trite phrase describing someone who is sad or blue. The term “heart” as it’s used in the Bible describes the essence of humanity. It means our soul. It’s who we are at our core and at our core we are broken - literally. Jesus came to heal our heart and make us fully alive.

“You lead me to peaceful places. You restore my soul.” Psalm 23:1

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;” Isaiah 42:3

My point is this. We cannot love, we will not love extravagantly when we are still clutching and protecting our own broken hearts. We need to ask Jesus for healing, in all areas, “And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.” From Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Christians 4:24

We must love others as God first loved us.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 - Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

THIS is love!

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to have total assurance in God’s promises for forgiveness, for strength and for eternity. Is faith in this God, as the world sees it, a crutch? Yes, and more than that. Jesus is my stretcher, my chariot, my sole support in each and every circumstance. After all, to what would we look to for help if not to that which is stronger than ourselves?

Jesus has tested me over and over and I now know that in every scene of life - in joy and sorrow, in success and failure, in health and in sickness, in moments of crisis when all lesser gods give way, I have trusted Jesus and have found that He is able to carry both me and my burden and bring me safely to the other side.

Atheists mock this trust and label it as “faith” as though that somehow discounts its relevance. Let them mock and ridicule because with Paul and with believers of all ages I can say: "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until the Day when He returns." I and all other Christians have the Divine assurance of comfort in sorrow, strength in sickness, solace in bereavement, help in distress, and ultimate triumph in the midst of dire calamity. And this assurance is signed and sealed in the blood of the Son of God Himself. The world has known no higher guarantee.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I’ve often pointed out the similarities between the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and atheists of today.


That’s what the religious leaders back in Jesus’ day thought of His followers and that’s what atheists think of those who follow Jesus today.

What these people didn’t know then and don’t know now is that Jesus purposely takes the weak and makes them strong. He purposely takes the uneducated and makes them wise. I may be an idiot by this world's standards but what is that in comparison with Whose team I'm on? I'm in this to win. Not to win some popularity contest.

In Acts 4:13 we have this account. “When [the religious leaders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Uneducated ordinary men debating and refuting the arguments of the most educated people of the day. Hmm.

You might be interested to note that the word we translate “ordinary” comes from the Greek idiotes - ee dee oh tays - idiots.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Jesus can and does use anyone and anything for the advancement of His kingdom and hell itself will not be able to survive this onslaught.

Jesus took the lowest of the low - tax collectors / traitors, fishermen, terrorists, prostitutes and drunks. He calls those of us who were willing to admit that we could use some outside help. Jesus took street people, uneducated people, down and outers - in the eyes of the world - idiots to a person - and changed them so that they could and did change the world.

As Saint Francis noted, “God picks the weakest, the smallest, the meanest of men on the face of the earth, and He uses them.”
Amen to that brother Frank.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to inherit all of God’s riches, freedom to understand the Gospel message, freedom to know that I’m a disciple that Jesus loves. Great God of wonders, I proclaim your majesty! I exalt your deity! Your eyes are upon the righteous. Your ears are open to their cry. You are near to those whose hearts are breaking. You save those who have a contrite spirit. You are perfect in power, in love, and in purity. May You alone be exalted!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Counter Your Culture!

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made - I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed
My present makes sense
My future is secure.

I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colourless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, fake friendships, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean in His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and I labour with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my Guide reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitated in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear!

This is a copy of a note found written in the office of a young Pastor in Zimbabwe, following his martyrdom for his faith in Jesus Christ.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus I have the freedom to know Who to thank when I’m grateful, for every good and perfect gift is from God. He is the righteous One. I celebrate His glory. I acknowledge His sovereignty. I rejoice and sing the wonders of His grace. How great is my Lord and my Saviour!

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Next?

I'd asked in my last post - What if?

"If God did exist, could He, would He love Me?"

And of course the obvious question that comes next is, "If I should take a chance and try to find out if God will love me, well, what do I do next?"

“So, let's say I do accept Him. What's next?”

Step One is confession; admitting to Him, verbally, that you were wrong in denying Him and wrong in rebelling against Him and asking for forgiveness. And then, if you’re serious, saying to Him “If you are real, if you really do exist, I am willing for you to be not just my Saviour but Lord of my life. Please increase my faith and help me to follow You in my thoughts, my words and my actions.”

Step Two is, Ask Him what’s next. “Jesus, I hardly even accept that You’re real. I sure don’t know what You want me to do next. Please show me the way.” And then listen, watch. See what happens over the next day or so. Jesus leads us, trains us, guides us and counsels us in real life, real space, real time. Since Jesus says that the Bible is His revelation to us about Him, I’d start with one of the Gospels to discern the character of Jesus. "Lord I used to believe this book was complete crap. If it's true, if You are real, open my spiritual eyes and let these words speak to me in a way that just wasn't there before."

Step Three is finding a Bible teaching Church. While I know some fine Christians in the Roman Catholic Church, I believe it’s a case of Jesus found them at their Church versus their Church doctrine directing them to Jesus. I know that sounds harsh but this is not unlike solving a mystery by sorting out false clues from the real ones. If you’re not sure of where to find a Church that teaches sound doctrine, I’d grab a phone book, go to the yellow pages and pick a denomination. You know the ones that are in the news a lot so . . . Community type Churches are often the ones who take Jesus the most serious but you can't always go by that either. If you know a Christian who you repsect you could start there. If not, call a Pastor and ask him "So how is a person is saved." If he tells you ANYTHING other than by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, hang up and phone a different Pastor and ask again, and keep phoning until you get one that will tell you what Jesus taught. "I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." We are saved through putting our trust (faith) in what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

That’s why you need to know your Bible Hugo. The apostle Paul and the writers of the New Testament warned against hucksters and false teachers way back then and it’s been the same ever since. When you find someone who tells you what Jesus taught, make an appointment, tell him you’re a new believer and tell Him that you want to join a Bible study group in his congregation. And then ask God to send you to the right group. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

“I always thought Jesus represented a perfect person, so it makes sense to want to listen to his advices and go join him in heaven when we die.”

Well, that’s true, but the point of obeying Him (“The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me.”) is to get to know Him, to become like Him. Heaven is a side-benefit that’s thrown in. You maybe know of that section where Jesus says that at the end people will come to Him and tell Him all the stuff they’ve been doing for Him, “and I will say to them. Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

“Nothing can make me better or worse in His eyes, right?”

That’s not exactly correct. His LOVE for you is constant and sure, but He won’t share His love with anything or anyone else. I don't mean get rid of your g/f. I mean real life and real living can be found ONLY in Jesus. If you want Jesus PLUS something else, don’t even start. It’s important for you to know that Jesus doesn’t want one more half-assed Christian - the kind that you and everyone else finds so annoying and disgusting. It’s all or nothing. Don't worry. He's way worth the commitment.

“Of course the idea is to sin less, but what is sin? How can you define it?”

Mmm, I’m not sure that’s correct either. If the focus is on “not sinning” then as you point out later, it will be accompanied by the observation that you are failing on a pretty consistent basis. Remember how easy it was to find Christians who were screwing up? Ya. And that’s what satan wants more than anything - for you to doubt your salvation by focusing on your failures.

Whether a person is a Christian or not, Trying to do the right thing is far more productive than trying to avoid doing what’s wrong.

Jesus was asked, “Teacher, what must we do to do the will of God?”

To which Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second is like it. Love your neighbour as yourself. Keep only these and you will be keeping all the other commands as well.”

As near as I can tell, pleasing God because of gratefulness for our salvation by obeying Him is the whole reason for our time on earth - That's because through obeying Jesus we become like Jesus. When Jesus said, "Follow Me," He meant become like Me, do what I do, relate to others the way I relate to others.

Romans 8:28 says that “All things will be used by God to bring about good.” (My paraphrase). Verse 29 names that good - to be conformed / transformed into the likeness of Jesus. There may be other things that come out of “all things” but this transformation is the bottom line that God is after.

And what characteristics does Jesus possess?
Galatians 5:22-23 and
1st Corinthians 13:4-8 is a good description.

And so you pray, “Lord make me like You.” Every morning and every evening and throughout the day you pray, “Lord make me like You.” and if you are serious it will simply happen, with virtually no effort on your part. Remember though, these changes come primarily through suffering, and hardship and loss. “Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered.”

The details of pleasing God are found all through the New Testament. Colossians 3:12-21 is a pretty good example. In fact those verses are a standard handout of mine in relationship counselling.

“just do my best?”

Nope - not “your” best. You let Him do “His” best in you. If this isn’t a joke, Hugo, then you are:
HIS creation,
HIS doing,
HIS workmanship.
This is HIS deal.
All you need to be is willing to follow.

“what if my best is different than another Jesus follower?”

Well, it WILL be different. This journey is intensely personal. Just you and Jesus. In a sense, you are the only person He’s listening to. Just as I’m the only person He’s listening to. You are the only person that God is working with today. Just as I am the only person that He is working with today. Creator God is fully present everywhere so your prayers are the only prayers that He hears. Just as my prayer is the only prayer that He hears etc. etc.

“Finally, how can I convert my girlfriend to accept Jesus too? I love her so much I want the best for her...”

“You” can’t. You can ask God to open her spiritual eyes (John 6:44) but that’s between her and God. Letting her know that you’re serious about this is a start. If this is for real, she’ll start to see positive changes in you, but your journey is your journey and she will either come along or not.

Remember the parable of the sower and the seed? Three quarters of those who begin to follow Jesus drop out because of daily concerns etc.

Hugo if this is for real, I am so happy for you. Since becoming a follower of Jesus, every year of my life has been better than the year before - not easier - better.

Good luck on your journey. God bless - and hey brother! See you there!

Would He Do It For You?

I’ve wondered sometimes if part of people’s hesitation in moving toward a relationship with Jesus is this question tumbling around in their heads:

“If God did exist, would He love me? Could He love me?”

Of course there are some, atheists to a person, who feel insulted by the mere suggestion that God might not be completely enthralled with them. Most people however do have some questions about the quality of their character.

I’ve been doing a series called “Because . . .”. For almost four weeks, every single day I’ve been describing ways in which Jesus, because of His love for me, has brought about significant character changes in me. I wonder if some people read about these changes and think to themselves,

“If God existed, I bet He wouldn’t love me enough to do that for me.”

The thing is, your Creator can’t NOT love you, and that’s because Creator God IS love.
He doesn’t pick and choose this one and not that one to love.
. He loves you as much as He loved the Christian killer Paul.
. He loves you as much as He loved the adulterer and murderer King David
. He loves you as much as He loved the murderer Moses
. He loves you as much as He loved the chronic liar Abraham
. He loves you as much as He loved the woman caught in adultery
. He loves you as much as He loved the prostitute who anointed Him with costly perfume
. He loves you as much as He loved the criminal on the cross to whom Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
. He loves you as much as He loved the criminal on the cross who rejected Jesus and remained hostile to Him to the bitter end.
. God loves you as much as He loves His own Son Jesus who loves you so much He gave His earthly life for you so that you could live forever in His presence.

There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who would say to you, “If God could love me enough to save my soul, He will certainly love you.” Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Jesus said, “I did not come for those who think they are healthy. I came for those who know they need help.” If you ever felt as though you don’t really fit, as though you’re unlovable and unacceptable, Jesus has come especially for you. In fact, God loves you so much that He gave of Himself for you. (John 3:16) - That’s what love does - it gives of itself.

You don’t have to earn His love.
You don’t have to work for His love.
You don’t have to worry about losing His love.
God loved you as much as anyone can be loved even before He created you (Psalm 139)

“Oh but my sin,” people think. “God is furious at me because of all my sin. He could never accept me after all the stuff that I’ve done.”

That’s just the thing! It is SIN that draws the wrath of God - not you.
“God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to condemn people. He came to help put people right again.” John 3:17

That’s why we need to separate ourselves from our sin nature.
We need to get some serious distance between ourselves and our sin nature.
We need to let Jesus get between us and our sin nature.

We can’t do anything about the fact that we are “born in sin.” On the other hand, if we do nothing to change our “default setting,” it is this “sin nature” with which we are born - to which we are connected - that will ensure our eternal separation from God.
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . ..” John 3:18

At this point some people say, “But how could a loving God . . .?”

Yes God is love but He is equally Just. Real love and real Justice never exist in isolation from each other.

Sin MUST be punished and sin WILL be punished.

Just as there are physical laws in the physical universe, there are spiritual laws in the spiritual realm. The law that applies to this situation is, “Sin cannot come into the presence of Creator God.”

Remember? We are born attached to a sinful nature. Unless something is done to separate us from our sin nature, we are doomed. That’s a huge problem because there is nothing that we can do to remedy the situation.

And it doesn’t do any good, like my three-year-old, to say, “But I don’t liiiiike it this way!!!” Pretending or wishing life was different than it is, is a waste of time. Adapting to reality is much more profitable.

So what’s to be done?

Praying won’t work
Washing won’t work
Getting Baptised won’t work
Going to Church won’t work
Reading the Bible won’t work
Going on missions trips won’t work
Doing good things for others won’t work
Nothing that we DO can repair our damaged and broken relationship with our Creator.

The good news is, Jesus has already prepared a way to fix the damage that we caused.
“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still His enemies,” Romans 5:8

You don’t have to understand this principle or spiritual law in order to accept it. Satan wants you to get all obsessed over stuff like:
“But how could a God die?” Or,
“How could sin exist,” Or,
“I don’t get the concept of eternity.” Or -
“But some Christians do really bad stuff,” Or - Or - Or - Or -

You know the stuff you’re obsessing over.

Forget about it.

Your most immediate problem is that you are on your way to hell.

Jesus has offered to save you from hell.

What are you going to do about that?

God WILL explain the other stuff to you, but not until AFTER you have come to God on His terms. And once you have come to God on His terms, once you have reached out and taken hold of this offer of salvation, it’s yours for the keeping.

“Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

Those of us in a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus have found this verse from Jeremiah to be true.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 (see also John 6:44)

In the parable of the Prodigal son we see God’s amazing attitude toward us. In this parable we see a Father who, when His wayward son finally decides to come home, goes out to receive His child with open arms.

Nothing that the son has done matters.

All is forgiven.

Creator God - your Creator and mine is shamelessly in love with you and He longs to have a forgiven relationship with you.

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

If you’ve ever asked the question, ““If God did exist, would He love me?” the answer is an emphatic and resounding yes. God can’t not love you.

There is nothing that you can DO to make God love you more.
There is nothing that you can DO to make God love you less.

That’s why God hates sin with such Holy passion. God hates sins with such a violent wrath because sin destroys and threatens to separate from Him that which God loves most - you.

We can reject His love - and suffer the consequence of our action.
But any separation from God will always and only be based on our decision.

As I’ve said before, if you wind up in hell, you’ll have had to step over the dead body of Jesus to get there.

Until your dying breath, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and knocking, waiting for you to let Him in.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from the need to outperform others, freedom to look forward to tomorrow, freedom from God’s wrath, freedom from putting me first, freedom from the need for position, freedom from the feeling of alienation, freedom to be bathed in the soothing warmth of God’s enormous Love, freedom from dependence on false gods, freedom to have patience in the midst of suffering, and I have the freedom to become more than a conqueror.

Atheists think that all a person has to do is make up some sort of belief, believe in it strongly and these changes begin to happen. Atheists live in a fantasy world.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom. He lives. He reigns in power and honour and glory!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What’s Wrong With That?

An atheist asked, “What’s wrong with exploring alternatives to God regarding the Creation of the universe?”

Here’s what’s wrong with it.
A delivery truck is barrelling down the street. It’s going way too fast. Your five year old son runs off the sidewalk and into the path of the truck. A man you’ve never met sees what’s about to happen. He knocks your son out of the road but sadly is himself killed in the process.

The truck stops, emergency services are called, a crowd gathers. The wife of the man who saved the life of your son is horrified and runs to her husband’s lifeless body. Shocked and overcome with relief that your son is ok you say,

“I am so thankful to the truck driver for saving my son’s life.”

“The truck driver!” screams the man’s wife. “He’s the one who almost killed your kid.”

“Oh, ok. I didn’t know you’d feel that way. The shopkeeper. I’m sure grateful that the shopkeeper saved my kid’s life.”

“The shopkeeper didn’t do anything you moron! He was the one who distracted you so you didn’t notice what your kid was doing.”

“The street cleaner?”


“Lady, what is the matter with you?”

“What’s the matter with me! My husband saved your son’s life and you’re suggesting everyone but my husband should get the credit!”

“I’m just suggesting alternatives. What’s wrong with that?”

Not only isn’t there any evidence for the dozen or so Atheist Origin of the Universe Mythologies that have been presented (including Hawking’s recent rehashing of the multiverse theory), the standard Big Bang Cosmological Model presents evidence AGAINST those mythologies.


Scientific evidence supports a Singularity in which everything came into being in an instant from nothing by an external Cause.

It can be said with absolute confidence that no cosmogonic model has been:
As repeatedly verified in its predictions,
As corroborated by attempts at its falsification,
As concordant with empirical discoveries, and
As philosophically coherent as the Standard Big Bang Creation Event Model.

So determined are atheists to rule out the metaphysical implications of Big Bang Model (everything coming from nothing by something outside of matter/ energy / space and time) that ANY suggestion will do, no matter how ludicrous.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualitites - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that no one anywhere is without excuse.” Romans 1:20

You think the woman in this story is insulted? Just wait till you meet your Maker! The One whose Son died so that you might live in spite of your careless and reckless disregard for His existence!

Because . . .

According to some atheists, I’m no better off than anyone else in the world, because of my relationship with Jesus. They read these post and, I guess, they think these are just words - something that I’ve made up. One even thinks these changes have come about because I believe strongly in a fantasy.

The fact is, Jesus is alive and He works to bring change in the lives of those who live with Him as Lord of their lives.

Because of my relationship with Jesus I have freedom from judgment. He has blotted out my wrongs. He has cleansed me from sin. He is only interested in my broken and contrite heart and today I can praise God because Calvary covers all my sins, past, present, and future. How amazing! How incredible! How wonderful!

These things are now mine and they can be yours if you repent of your sins and allow your Creator into your life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

“I’m Not Finished Yet!”

Just as though it’s supposed to mean something important, atheists often point out that the Jewish people as a whole rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Well, most of the world rejects Him as their Lord but one day every everyone will confess Him as their King; it will either happen voluntarily now or then as a conquered enemy.

Regardless, this rejection by the Jews arose because Jesus was not at all the type of King they were expecting.

One example is this.
Zechariah 9:9 - said that the Messiah would come to His people “lowly and riding on a donkey.”

On the other hand -

Daniel 7:13 - said that Messiah would arrive on the clouds of heaven with power and glory bringing peace to all the earth.

So which is it? Does He come humbly or in power?

We know from historical accounts that Jesus did come to Jerusalem in a Coronation of sorts, lowly and riding on a donkey. But what about power and bringing peace to earth?

From a record of His trial we have this exchange:
“The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God."

“Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.” Matthew 26:63-65

This Priest knew the prophecy of Daniel.
This Priest knew exactly Who Jesus was claiming to be.

To those who say that Jesus didn’t fulfill all of the Messianic prophecy Jesus would reply, “I’m not done with you yet. You’re mistaken in thinking that is has to be Daniel OR Zechariah.


Just as in Revelation chapter 5, your preconceived ideas of what a conquering King looks like causes you to miss identifying Messiah.

. I did come to provide atonement and forgiveness for all AND I will come to bring peace on earth.

. I did come as a priest AND I will come as a king

. I did suffer and die AND I will be exalted in glory for all to see

. I did come lowly and riding on a donkey AND I will come in the clouds for all to see.

. I did come to be rejected AND I am being accepted by people from around the globe as Messiah

. I did come to the Temple before its destruction

. I did provide atonement before the Temple’s destruction

Because I have done the former you can count on Me doing the latter as well.

I have fulfilled and will continue to fulfil all the Messianic prophecies that have been written about Messiah.”

The fact is, no one but Jesus has, could or will fulfill these prophecies.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from condemnation, freedom to have mercy lavished upon me, freedom from fake and shallow friendships, freedom to NOT say, "Lord, come into my life and change my pain," but, "Lord, come into my pain and change me." I have freedom to suffer with and for Jesus, and freedom to forgive.
These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Temple

Over at John Loftus’ blog I’d mentioned that according to prophecy, the Messiah must come to the Temple. Obviously this means He would come to the Temple before its destruction, which took place in 70AD.

To save time and space I’ll just touch on the main points.
1) Isaiah 52:13- 53:12: This tells us that the Messiah will be highly exalted BUT not before He suffers terribly. He would be beaten beyond recognition, lifted up (crucified) and would live again after being crucified.

Only a prior commitment to a world-view that is hostile to Jesus could prevent someone from recognising the life of Jesus in this passage.

The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the Jews as a whole was also prophesied in this very same Isaiah passage. The Jews’ preconceived ideas of what the Messiah would do (see tomorrow’s post) made it possible for them to not recognise Him as Messiah. At the same time, thousands upon thousands of Jews DID accept Jesus as Messiah and all of the first missionary efforts took place in Jewish places of worship. From that time until now there has always been a remnant of Jews who recognise Jesus as their Messiah.

2) Now to the question of the Jerusalem Temple.
There have been two Temples in Jerusalem.
a) In 2nd Chronicles 7:17-22 Israel was warned that if its sin reached a certain level the first Temple would be destroyed. Its sin did reach that level and the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, just as predicted.
b) In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel prophesied that a second Temple would be built and that Temple too would be destroyed. It did get built and it was destroyed by Rome, again as prophesied.

According to prophecy, several things regarding Messiah were going to happen prior to the destruction of the second Temple.
a) Haggai 2:6-9 - This prophecy tells us that the glory of the second Temple would be greater than the first. That sounds like a “so what” kind of statement. Build a bigger Temple and you get your greater glory. Problem - the physical structure of the second Temple was pitiful in comparison with the first Temple that was built by Solomon. Yet, this passage tells us that the glory of the second Temple would be GREATER than the first. While the word for glory can sometimes mean “wealth” (was the Temple filled with coins?) for the passage to say - “I” will fill the [second] Temple with glory,” clearly implies the presence of God Himself.

b) Malachi 3:1-5 - This prophecy tells us that prior to the destruction of the second Temple, the Messiah would come to the Temple. “The Lord you are seeking will come to His temple.” The Jews were looking for a human Messiah. However, since the word used for “Lord” always and only refers to God Himself, they COULD have known that Messiah would be God Himself.

c) Daniel 9:24 - This prophecy tells us that before the second Temple is destroyed the Messiah would provide for an everlasting atoning sacrifice for all people. No more temporary sacrifices would need to be offered.

If prophecy is accurate then these things had to happen and in fact they did happen prior to the Temple being destroyed in 70AD.
Since the death and resurrection of Jesus 2,000 years ago, religious Jews have had:
NO atonement system,
NO functioning priesthood and
NO functioning Temple.
That is because all of the above found their fulfilment in Jesus. The Jews were expecting Messiah to come and rescue them. He did come, He did provide the means for spiritual rescue (the only kind that’s important), but they did not recognise Him.

Are you getting this?

1. According to prophecy of the Jewish Scripture, the Messiah would come to the second Temple before it was destroyed.
The second Temple was destroyed in 70AD.
If Messiah didn’t come to the Temple prior to its destruction then Messiah isn’t coming at all.

2. According to prophecy of the Jewish Scripture, atonement for sins would be made by Messiah prior to the destruction of the second Temple.
The second Temple was destroyed in 70AD
If atonement for the sins of the world didn’t take place prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70AD it isn’t going to happen.

. One claiming and proving to be the Messiah - Jesus - did appear prior to the destruction of the second Temple in 70AD.
. One providing atonement for sins - Jesus - did appear prior to the destruction of the second Temple in 70AD
. Jesus visitation to the second Temple was the only visitation by Messiah to take place.
. Jesus glory, the very presence of God incarnate, was the only way that the second Temple’s glory was greater than the first.

Because of a prior commitment to a different belief system, you may not like the idea of Jesus being Messiah, but if Jesus isn’t Messiah then nobody is Messiah.

If none of this took place prior to the destruction of the Temple which took place in 70AD then we may as well say that atheists are correct because the prophecies were not fulfilled and it’s all a lie.

All of this did take place in the person of Jesus.
The prophecies were fulfilled.
The Messiah did come right on schedule.
This is not speculation. This is historical fact!
Once again atheists are wrong on all counts.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus I have freedom to be a brand new creation. His power has displaced hate with love, sorrow with joy, relational war with peace. His power took this man who was morally rotten and transformed me into a trophy of grace. Halleluiah - God be praised!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Trap of Intelligence

While most atheists are, in the words of Chesterton, “Mere brute beasts,” some are intelligent. Those that have been blessed in that manner admire and worship their intelligence as though the gift instead of the Giver of that gift had the power to save.

A month or two back I was describing how Jesus used parables to reveal truth to hearts that were receptive, and to conceal truth from those who were not receptive.

An atheist who fancies himself to be a member of the intelligent subset responded that he found the parables extremely easy to understand.

Does irony make you sigh? Or perhaps bring a tear to the eye?

This man had read / heard the parables, perhaps several dozen times over the years:
He learned nothing
He heard nothing
He saw nothing
He got nothing

He walked away empty in mind and soul saying,

“That was easy!”

Nothing revealed -
Nothing received -

“That was easy!”

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."”
1st Corinthians 1:18-20

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from making huge life-decision mistakes, freedom to have a good marriage, freedom from confusion and second guessing, freedom from pride, freedom to give justice, but not to seek it, and I have the freedom to understand that all the good that happens in my life is like a stream that is leading me directly back to the Source.

If you think that following God, accepting Jesus as your Saviour and repenting of your sins is somehow an onerous task, read back over the posts in this series. Jesus has set me free! These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom. He can and will provide for you the same kinds of freedom, if only you will turn from your sin and commit to following Him as Lord of your life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can I?

It makes me sigh when I think of how many clients - clients who would consider themselves to be Christians, who have subtly asked me how much they can “get away with” and still be assured of salvation. Of course they don’t say it in those words but that is what they mean. When you “argue” to retain behaviours that you know Jesus and the rest of the New Testament speaks against, that is what you are trying to find out.

“How much can I get away with?”

The very fact that you’re asking that question, in my mind, lays the reality of your salvation in question. You certainly haven't experienced the joy and peace of following your Saviour as Lord. If that sounds harsh or judgmental to you, consider that in Luke 14:27 Jesus is recorded as saying, “And anyone who does not deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “If you don’t deny yourself you won’t be a very good disciple.”

He says that if you do not set aside your earthly desires in order to obey Him, you will not be considered His disciple at all.

Even knowing what Jesus says about relationships, both with Him and with others, these clients attempt to excuse:
Drinking “a little too much” from time to time
Living a lie
Bitterness and resentment
Watching porn
Living in excess
Living in worry and anxiety
Ignoring those in need and many more examples of, frankly, disobeying Jesus.

Jesus said, “The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me. The one who doesn’t obey Me is the one who doesn’t love Me.”

What these people are really asking is, “Can I go to heaven without loving Jesus?”

Within the context of relationships and desires and longings, what do you think these verses mean?

Matthew 16:24-25 - What does it mean to “deny yourself”?

Luke 14:33- What does it mean to be willing to “give up everything that you have”?

1st John 2:3-4 - Within the context of relationships and desires and longings, what do you think this verse means?

Perhaps this is why Jesus has warned people not to start to follow Him until you’ve “counted the cost.”

Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to have God either lighten my burden to match my strength, or increase my strength to match the burden. And without fail I have received His strength: strength to stand in the midst of the storm, strength to outlast the bombardment of 50 years of physical pain, strength to bear the burden of the cross, strength to resist the onslaught of sin - or having fallen, to tread the path of the prodigal back to the Father’s house and to be assured of full and free forgiveness. These victories are by no means mine. Left to myself, to my own puny powers of resistance or endurance, I will fall short every single time. "Not that I am sufficient in myself, but my sufficiency is of God."

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Extravagant Love!

I’d forgotten about this series that I began a couple months ago. I’ve been using everyday 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.

A bumper sticker of a couple decades ago said,
“I don’t get mad. I get even.”
Some people found that funny.

Well, that might be funny for those on the outside but an attitude like that has no place in a Christian marriage. Sadly divorce courts are proof that not everyone agrees.

In his description of love, 1st Corinthians 13 Paul says that love, real love takes no notice of wrongs. Instead love shows mercy and restraint. Love understands that our spouse’s behaviour, harmful though it may be is not the problem. Our spouse’s destructive behaviour, as is our own, is merely a symptom of the problem. If we are irritable and vengeful, and selfish. If we’re seeing work that needs to be done around the house but purposely leave it for our spouse to do, those are signs that we have a soul problem. If we want our wives and husbands to have mercy and patience toward us while God changes us, how can we be irritable with our spouses who live under the same struggles?

Try this. Turn to 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 and where the word love appears, insert your own name. For example if I was doing it:

Rod Is kind
Rod Is patient
Rod Is not rude nor self-seeking


We are to be witnesses of love to our children, our neighbours and certainly those to whom we are married. If this exercise doesn’t ring true, it’s time to get down on your knees and beg God to bring change into your life so that you can love extravagantly.

Good luck on your journey.

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.

THIS is love!

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to know what it’s like to have enough no matter the circumstance. I have more than any of the richest people in the world. I know that I have more than say, Donald Trump because I have enough and he doesn’t. That’s why I can say that because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to find pure rest for my soul, freedom to know with certainty that because of my faith, every morning I can put on the breast-plate of God’s approval and to know that God will never leave me or give up on me.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Greatest Sin?

Do you know what it is? Are you tempted to say the oft repeated claim - “There is no hierarchy of sins.” eg. Homosexuality is not worse than lying. Stealing is not worse than adultery. Coveting is just as bad as murder.

That is what we’re taught - isn’t it?

Is that what Jesus teaches?

Well - Is it?

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Matthew 22:25-36

How about now? Do you still think there isn’t a hierarchy of sin?

In verse 37, “Jesus replied, '[The Greatest Commandment is] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,”

If there is a hierarchy of commandments, and if this is the greatest or most important commandment, wouldn’t you expect that the greatest sin is NOT loving God with all your heart soul, mind and strength?

And what does this say to those who claim to be good people when this is the commandment out of all of them that they are LEAST likely to keep or to even think about?

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus I have been given the freedom to know, to really know the person of Truth. He has revealed to me truth about God, truth about man, truth about life, truth about death, truth about myself, truth about heaven and the truth about hell.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Want To Be There

Sometimes I’m asked, “You’re retired! Why do you still do pro bono counselling? Why volunteer at the soup kitchen? Why raise another family, and one made up of kids "who will never be able to do anything to make you proud of them?"

Of course there are many reasons why I do these things, but there is one MAIN reason why I don’t say “No” to doing these things. The main answer is, “I want to be where Jesus is.”

Jesus said, “Where I Am there My servants will be also.”

And where is Jesus?

He’s with the poor (financial and spiritual), He’s with the hurting, confused, lost, lonely, fearful, abandoned and rejected. He sought out the children and the childlike, the sick and spiritually hungry, the persecuted and disenfranchised. Jesus fed the hungry. He comforted and healed the broken hearted.

I count it a high privilege and honour that Jesus would allow me to minster to those He loves. Jesus has promised to those just listed, “I will never leave you or give up on you,” and if that is where Jesus is, then I want to be there too, warmed by the light of His presence.

I came across an interesting contrast in philosophies this morning. I encourage you to read it.

It from an atheist, Yaron Brook who is president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and he thinks it’s time for a change in our system of morals.

Anyone surprised?

Brook says things like, “too many of us still turn obediently to [the Bible] as authorities about morality.” Brook says that rather than Jesus, “Darwin, or John D. Rockefeller,” should be our moral heroes. “It is they, not the Mother Teresas of the world, that we should strive to be like and teach our kids the same. If morality is a guide in the quest to achieve your own happiness by creating the values of mind and body that make a successful life, then morality is about personal profit, not its renunciation.”

I thought it was interesting that I should read that as I was slipping on my coat to go and spend a few hours to help feed the poorest in our community.

Mr. Brooks, the atheist, says further, “The fact that earning money is ignored by most moralists is telling of the distance we must travel. If morality is about the pursuit of your own success and happiness, then giving money away to strangers is, in comparison, not a morally significant act. (And it's outright wrong if done on the premise that renunciation is moral.) Science, freedom and the pursuit of personal profit - if we can learn to embrace these three ideas as ideals, an unlimited future awaits”

An unlimited future of what exactly, Brooks doesn't say. The atheist utopia awaits.

To that world-view I say, There are few things that we should fear more than spending our time on earth attempting to succeed at that which carries no heavenly value.

The only thing that carries any heavenly value is treating others with love.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to know the difference between life-giving and life-destroying behaviours, freedom from insecurity, freedom to not feel constrained by the rules of our society, freedom to have a life of meaning and context and purpose, freedom to know the difference between right and wrong, freedom to rejoice in being alive, freedom from greed, freedom from envy and freedom to come to God with boldness and confidence because I’m shielded by His mercy and grace. Because of my relationship with Jesus I have genuine happiness. Not happiness as the world understands it, based on one pleasure inducing event after another. No, I have the real deal, because there is only one place where we find real happiness, and that is down at the feet of the crucified Saviour, because only there can we be freed from our sins.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Kind of Hate Is This?

A couple years back, a reporter for a small newspaper where I live went with little or no proper preparation to cover the rioting and war and violence and hate in Somalia. She was captured and taken hostage. Her camera man and sound crew barely escaped. Held, repeatedly tortured and raped and mistreated in a multitude of ways for almost two years, this woman was eventually released after her parents and a wealthy friend of the family paid a huge ransom. Just recently she gave an interview in which she forgives her captors and has set up a scholarship fund that will pay for university education for 100 Somali women.

Sounds like a good ending to a horrific story - yes?

Well, for 85-90% of the people commenting on the story, this is anything but a good ending. The names that she is called is bewildering. The put-downs, the snark and vitriol - mostly because she is seen as a “fundamentalist evangelical do-gooder.” The people who hate Christians have turned on her like a pack of starving wolves devouring a wounded deer.

Her willingness to forgive her torturers was especially confusing to those who were hating on her. “Who the hell forgives someone who has raped you?” asked one commenter. “Just trying to win the favour of her God,” remarked another.

An atheist recently asked if I as a Christian, minded being laughed at. I said something like, “It’s slightly better than being hated.” The thing is, the kind of people that Jesus turns us into makes us perfect targets for mockery, ridicule and hatred. “If they hate you," said Jesus, "remember, they hated Me first.”

Frederick Buechner wrote:
“The love for equals is a human thing - of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing - the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing - to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love the of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy - love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts emotional or even physical pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer.

This is God’s love. It conquers the world.”
“The Magnificent Defeat”

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to admit that I need to change, freedom to revel in the new song of righteousness, freedom from the need for power, freedom from spiritual darkness, freedom to first identify and then to have healthy, kind, generous, and loving friends. I have freedom from shame, freedom from having to have things go my way, and the freedom to trade the lessor and unstable god of self-esteem, for the glorious and solid provision of Christ-esteem.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Was Made For This

“Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from Him exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual. The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become a source of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread under foot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.”
Jean-Pierre De Causade - “The Sacrament Present Moment

I’ve got a God story. It’s for those who have encountered their Creator and Saviour even in the most benign, mundane aspects of life.

There’s a family in our town. Their last name is Cowly.
Mom - Corinne,
Kids - Cody and Kaila and
Dad - hmm - dad - you see - that’s the problem.

All their names begin with a hard C sound so it should be fairly easy to remember. About a month ago I started wondering what the dad’s name was and for the life of me I could not remember. I mean, I know this guy. My kid plays on the same hockey team as his kid. We speak to each other at the rink. I’ve used his name numerous times over the last two or three years.

I thought, “Oh, well. No big deal. It’s not like I need to know. I don’t even remember why I wanted to know. Who cares if I remember or not? The name will come to me eventually.”

But it didn’t come. Every few days, for no known or good reason, I’d try to think of the guy’s name and I just couldn’t bring it up.

“Wyatt,” I asked my son, “what’s Cody’s dad’s name?”
“I dunno.”
“Well he’s in your class. Doesn’t he ever talk about his dad?”
“He just calls him dad.”


One day I’m out tinkering with the lawn mower and I wonder about his name.
‘Go look in the phone book’ I think to myself.
‘Ya, but then I’d have to quit what I’m doing and walk all the way into the house. It’s not that big a deal.’

Another day I’m lying in bed at 4:30am and I wonder about his name.
‘Go look in the phone book.’
‘Ya, but the hall floor creaks and I’d wake everybody up. It’s not that big a deal.’

Still another day we’re driving to the store.
“Wendy, what’s Corinne’s husband’s name?”
“I don’t know. She sure is a nice person. And their kids are such characters. Cody is such a little gentleman. I think the girl . . . .

Oh crap! Now look what I’ve started!’ That goes on for the next 25 blocks with no expectation of receiving the guy’s name any time soon.

For a month now this guy has been popping into my mind and I CANNOT remember his name. It’s starting to become a big deal. One day I even say to my brain, “THIS is what you were made for! Remembering stuff is what you’re supposed to do! What is this guy’s name?”





It seems that any and all files containing this guy’s name have been deleted from my brain. The recycle bin has been emptied.

Of course when I’m in the kitchen and close to the phonebook the question of this guy’s name never enters my mind. Only when I’m somewhere else.

And then early this morning, again 4:30, I’m lying there trying to think of the guy’s name. And in that twilight between sleep and awake the thought comes, “Ask God.”

‘Mm Naw. I’m not going to bother Him with something stupid like this.’

“Ask Me.”


“Ask Me.”


“Hmm, this is weird.”

“Ask Me.”

“Um, ok. What is Cody’s . . .”

I stop.
Doubts creep in.
What if I ask and nothing comes back?

“Ask Me.”


“So, Lord, What is Cody’s dad’s name?”

And as softly as soft can be. Softer than a pillow. Softer than a cloud. Softer than an unrolled pile of Charmin. More soft and rich and clear than the greatest sound-man on the planet could create, came the name, “Cory.”

Yes! Cory! Of course! His name is Cory. I knew that!”

‘Cept I didn’t know that. It was gone, gone - way long gone.

Thank you Lord!

And my head turns into the pillow and I know what Peter was feeling after he pulled up the overloaded net of fish. Realising he was in the presence of God, Peter said, “Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man.”

“I did this for you Rod. I love you. I want you to know that I exist.”

And I go to sleep thinking with a smile,
“I was MADE for this moment!
This moment was MADE for me.”

Thank you Lord Jesus.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to live a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. I have the freedom to sense the sacred in the world around me, to find this sacredness in relationships that are deep, and work that is meaningful. I have the freedom to sense the awe of God when standing in the presence of another human being created in the likeness of God whether that person is still in the womb, moments from death or anywhere in between. Because of my relationship with Jesus I have the freedom to begin each day with expectant reverence knowing that my Lord and Saviour has in store for me each and every day hints of His presence and mercy and love.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unexplainable or Undeniable?

I’d like to show you an example of why thinking you have to have all your questions answered before you can believe in God is just the wrong way to go about life.

Yale Physicist Robert Adaire has done research, the results of which say that from the time the ball leaves the fingertips of the pitcher to the time it crosses home plate, a 90mph fastball is in the air for 400 milliseconds.

Less than half a second.

While that’s kind of interesting, what the results show next are far more interesting. Adaire found that it takes the batter’s brain 200 milliseconds to find the ball in the air, pick up the spin on the ball and decide whether to swing or not.

If he’s going to swing, it takes the batter another 100 milliseconds to decide WHERE to swing the bat in order to connect with the anticipated route of the ball. High. Low. Inside. Outside. Or some combination of these.

The swing itself takes 150 milliseconds. The batter can check his swing up to and including 50 milliseconds after he’s begun, but after 50 milliseconds into the swing the bat is moving too fast to restrain and should he miss the ball the umpire will call it a strike.

In order to get the bat across the plate in time to hit the ball, the batter has only a 7 millisecond gap in decision time that will cause the batter to hit or to miss the ball as it goes over the plate.

If you’re keeping track you can see that we’ve got a problem. On paper at least, science has proven that hitting a 90mph fast ball is impossible. But you and I know that it’s not impossible because not only have we seen it done, we’ve seen people hit 98mph fastballs.

Now I’m not suggesting that those who’ve accomplished such a feat are supernatural. I’m just saying that things that are “impossible” have and do happen.

Some say that a person who has died can’t come back to life. They say this even in the face of significant evidence to the contrary. Well, certainly all evidence points to the fact that a person can’t come alive again by NATURAL means. If someone has come to life again, it suggests that there may be more going on in life than what the senses can detect.

Now a batter who hit a 95mph fastball might have guessed right. He might have started early. He might have been very lucky. This I know. Jesus was seen alive again after His crucifixion by several hundred, perhaps as many as a thousand people and it didn’t happen because He got lucky.

Anyone with experience in life has learned to say to h/herself, “I must not choose to say, “Event X did not happen,” because it is unexplainable when the fact that it did happen is undeniable." Sadly, there are people commenting on this blog who say that some things did not or cannot happen precisely because their narrow and biassed world-view renders the event unexplainable.

Now, not just one person but a whole bunch of people have seen guys hit 90+mph fastballs.

It’s unexplainable but it is ALSO undeniable.

It’s been recorded that over 500 people saw Jesus alive again after He was undeniably dead and buried. Since in those days those writing these accounts usually only counted the men, it may have been well over 1,000 people who saw the resurrected Jesus. Nevertheless, it was no small number of people who saw Jesus alive after He was crucified, died and was buried.

These people wrote about it.

They preached about it, and

They died for having the gall to keep on making the claim that Jesus was alive.

They didn’t die for talking about what they believed -

They died for talking about what they SAW.

There are two types of sceptics. Open minded and closed minded. The Bible gives us examples of both.

It should be noted that when it comes to believing that someone has risen from the dead, every single person living then and now is a sceptic. “It is said that an Argument is what convinces reasonable men, and a Proof is what it takes to convince an unreasonable man.”

An example of an open minded sceptic is seen in a follower of Jesus whose name was Thomas. After the crucifixion, Thomas had been told by his closest friends that they had seen Jesus alive. They had touched Him, they said, and talked with Him. They had even seen Him eat. Although Thomas trusted his friends, although he wanted to believe his friends, this unlikely event caused Him to say, “Unless I see Jesus with my own eyes, and unless I touch Him with my own hands, I won’t believe what you guys are telling me.”

Here we find Thomas speaking for many a modern day sceptics who can identify with what he was thinking.

However, the very next day Thomas did see Jesus with his own eyes and he did touch Him with his own hands and in response, because he was open minded, Thomas confessed to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

Unlike closed minded sceptics, this is an appropriate response by Thomas to what could only have been a supernatural event. Closed mined sceptics of the time saw the undeniable, or at least heard about it but came up with a naturalistic excuse to do away with the unexplainable - unexplainable that is from a naturalist perspective.

For the open minded sceptics, what they experienced, what took place, happened right in front of them in history, in time, in space and they wouldn’t shut up about it.

Jesus resurrection was a 120mph fastball that was hit clean out of the park, across the parkway and into the bay. No one could explain it, but there He was. Undeniably alive. Not in a beat-up barely surviving body but in a brand new resurrection body. It wasn’t supposed to be possible but it happened.

Killing Jesus was supposed to have killed the movement. Instead the movement was getting huge and there is only one reason for that happening.

Jesus rose from the dead!

His tomb was empty.

His followers interacted with Him, ate with Him, walked and talked with Him - after His resurrection!

So real was their meeting with the risen Jesus that these people came out of hiding, went to the Temple (they were Jews after all) and began relentlessly and tenaciously teaching that Jesus was the Messiah. When persecution drove them out of Jerusalem, these early witnesses - eye witnesses - merely went to other towns and eventually other countries telling people about the Gospel of Jesus who was crucified, died and was buried and on the third day He rose again from the dead.

Jesus’ resurrection is why Christianity began. There is no other reason!

Do not allow atheists to convince you to choose the unexplainable over the undeniable.

One of Jesus’ closest friends wrote, “I wrote these things so that you might also believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

Of course when you’ve been right there, in the midst of it all, when you’ve been a disciple of the Rabbi for a really intense three years (as Plato said, “A disciple is a vessel so tightly sealed that not one drop of your leader’s teaching leaks out”), it would be hard for John to comprehend how someone - anyone - WOULDN'T believe what he’d witnessed and was now writing about.

That’s why he, John, gives us only seven unexplainable, yet undeniable “signs” (miracles) that Jesus is God.

For John and the other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, saying, “It couldn’t happen” was overridden but the fact that it did happen.

Do not allow atheists to convince you to choose the unexplainable over the undeniable.

“One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.”

Notice that it doesn’t say, “One day when Jesus returns to earth, all your questions will be answered.” It says that one day when Jesus comes in glory, you won’t even remember that you had questions of what is possible and impossible. You along with every one else is going to fall on your face and confess that

Jesus is your Lord,

Jesus is your King,

Jesus is your Master

and Jesus, depending on what you have done with the knowledge of His existence during your life on earth, will either welcome you into heaven or condemn you to hell.

Do not allow atheists to convince you to choose the unexplainable over the undeniable!

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to experience new mercies from God every single day. They are countless, constant, and sure. They greet me in the morning and gladden my heart at noon. They follow me into the shades of night. Because of God’s mercies, there is never a sorrow that I experience that Jesus does not come into with His presence, power and comfort. Neither is there a burden that He doesn’t bear. Jesus’ mercies shall follow me all the days of my life; they endure forever and ever.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Extravagant Love!

This series gives 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.

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

Most everyone in the West knows the story of the Prodigal Son from the Bible. In the parable the father represents Creator God, and the sons represent us. The young man around whom the story is centred wanted his inheritance - received it - squandered it - came crawling home hoping that the best he could do was become his Father’s “hired” servant.

In those days there were three kinds of servants:
1) Those like you might find at a Day Labour Station - Come to do a job, get paid for the job and then go home.

2) Hired Servants - (the kind the son asked to become) who worked long hours for wages but maintained their “freedom” and lived in their own home.

3) Bond Servants, more commonly known as slaves - those who were most usually working off debts.

Thinking of how ungrateful, irresponsible and selfish the boy was, most people would expect him to ask to become his Father’s slave. At least he’d have a place to sleep and food to eat. Not this boy. This son, still scheming for independence was not prepared for the extravagant love of the Father.

He asked to be a hired servant but his dad would have none of it.

We think he was asking for too much.
His Father thought he was asking for too little.
His dad reinstated the boy with full rights of sonship.

Isn’t that how we are tempted to love our spouses, or even to expect love from our spouses? If we do enough for each other them we might receive some love in return?

Isn’t that how we see our relationship with God? “I’ll do for Him and perhaps He’ll throw some kindness my way.”

“While we were still His enemies, Jesus died for us.”

God says:
Love extravagantly.
Love because it’s the right thing to do.
Love with no expectation of return in kind.
Love because that’s the person God has made you.

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.

THIS is love!

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from my past, freedom from seeking self-worth in possessions, freedom from the need for popularity, and freedom to love and to be loved without reservation or self-protection.

These things were simply not mine prior to Jesus finding me and bringing me safely into His kingdom.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hey Hugo? 2

In a post "Hey Hugo?" I'd asked Hugo to listen to a message by some Pastor and comment on it. Hugo went far above and beyond the call and I thank him again for his time. In this post I only touch on two or three of Hugo’s comments, so I encourage you to read them in context on the original post.

The podcast that I asked Hugo to listen to was a fairly typical evangelical message explaining, mostly to pre Christians on how a relationship with Jesus usually comes about. While listening to the podcast on my own, I got curious as to how a pre Christian would hear the same message. Jesus spoke in parables so that those who weren't interested wouldn't be able to catch the message accidentally while those who were interested would come to Him later for more instruction. I was curious how someone who was still on the outside looking in would respond to a message that was significantly easier to understand than any of Jesus' parables. Hugo obliged and again, I thank you.

What I thought would happen, happened. Unless God is calling us, outsiders need a Babble Fish to get what is being said. No Babble Fish, no comprehension.

1) What is described by the Pastor / speaker as an event (an encounter with the Person of Jesus) with emotional consequences, is interpreted by the outsider as an emotional event - Period.

While this is False, it really can’t be any other way if the listener is a naturalist with a closed mind. Again with the Babble Fish.

What is said by the speaker about “hurdles to becoming a Christian” becoming less important as a result of this encounter with Jesus, is interpreted by the outsider as saying that Christians think
(a) the hurdles don’t have answers, or
(b) Jesus freaks don’t care about answers.

Both assumptions are false.

Hugo and probably most people like him believe that people are followers of Jesus because they have invested next to zero time into thinking about the issues, the hurdles; they have “shut off their minds,” as Hugo describes. As is typical with those who have never tried to follow Jesus, Hugo describes it as “freakin easy” to follow His commands.

Hugo, I need to ask at this point. Does it really seem to you as though I don’t care about answers to the big questions of life? Does it seem to you that I’ve not put any effort into finding answers? All of the Christians that I know have a significant and varied library.

What has happened to me in my encounter event is exactly how the speaker in the podcast described. At one point I was walking down the path of life and the only answers available to me were naturalistic answers.

And then Jesus stepped into my path in such a way that He couldn’t be ignored. That event caused a seismic shift in the way I interpreted life as I observed it.

Jesus comes at a person in such a way that the encounter is no longer theoretical but intensely personal. It grabs you. It holds you. That is why I believe that people like John Loftus and Bart Erhman never had anything more than beliefs about beliefs - they had a relationship with the theoretical Jesus. In fact they were highly educated regarding the theoretical Jesus, but Jesus, the One who lives has never been a part of their inner lives. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, Bart and John have known a lot about God, but they have never known God Himself.

2) Because of the intensely personal encounter that Jesus brings to those of His choosing, two things happen.
a. Finding the answers / solutions to what were former hurdles to even a theoretical relationship with Jesus, is no longer as important as developing a relationship with the real Jesus.

The Person of Jesus in reality becomes far more important than any previous questions about the Person of Jesus.

Here’s something important. You can have all your questions about Jesus answered but without an encounter with Jesus you will not be any closer to a relationship WITH Jesus.

b. Because of my own encounter with the Person of Jesus, I can no longer pretend that the material reality is the only reality that exists.
- My search for answers to the big questions must now of necessity include the possibility of a Supernatural answer.

Hugo, you said something about making yourself believe “is so simple.”

In reality, making yourself become a believer is impossible. You know that so I'm not sure why you said otherwise. That’s the whole point of the podcast! Until something happens (someone tells you about Him, a significant life event, you ask God to show Himself to you on His terms) our spiritual eyes and ears are not ready, not susceptible, not predisposed to recognising His calling.

Until God comes FOR YOU there is no coming to Him, there is no believing in Jesus. (John 6:44)

Of course a person can ask God to reveal Himself. And if done in a genuinely humble spirit He will respond. That’s why Christians tell others about Him; to encourage them to give it a try. Because there is no way of knowing who God is drawing Christians tell anyone who will listen.

However, the bottom line is,

God always and only comes to us on His terms, not and never according to our demands.

Again, Hugo, thank you for your time.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to hope. The New Testament is filled with messages of hope. I have:

"the hope of the gospel,"

"the hope of the promise,"

"the hope of His calling,"

"the hope which is laid up for me in heaven,"

"our hope of glory,"

"hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,"

"that blessed hope,"

"the hope of eternal life,"

"the full assurance of hope,"

"the hope we have as an anchor,"

"a lively hope" and on and on it goes.

This is not some pious wish, but a hope in the sense of a sure confidence. The Christian’s hope, since it is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ is a hope of which I am not ashamed, a hope that is as sure as Jesus Christ Himself is sure.

The future holds for me more good that I could ever hope for.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Filthy Rich

Do you know that most of the people in the world live on less than $2.00 (American) / day?

What does that do to you?

Ten thousand children will die today because they didn't have enough to eat. Throw in preventable disease and lack of clean drinking water and that number goes to twenty-five thousand - today!

Still nothing?
Too bad - so sad?

Even on my pension, not what I used to make, but my pension gives me 120 times more per month than the average person on this planet busts h/her butt for on a daily basis. And by Canadian standards I'm lower middle class.

And here's the crazy part - actually I'm not sure which part is crazier - that I have so much compared to most of the people in the world OR that most of my friends, who live a similar life-style, would say that we really aren't that rich?

Regardless of the answer to that one, no one can tell me that I won’t be held accountable by Jesus, for what I do with this massive resource.

"We as Christians should not fear failing in our attempts to follow Jesus nearly as much as we should fear succeeding in things that don't matter."
Tim Kizziar

Hey Hugo?

I was wondering if you’d do something for me. I was wondering if you would listen to something for me. You could listen with your g/f. A good friend sent this link to me.

So many atheists have asked me over the years things like:

How can you believe that God created the universe?

How can you believe the Bible?

How can you believe this and how can you believe that?

How can you be so irrational?

Isn’t that really what you guys are asking? What you’re saying to me is, “How can you have all these really important unanswered questions and still believe that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour?”

Some of you already have the answer. You think you know why I’m a Christian.

“It’s ‘cause you were born into a Christian country.”

“It’s ‘cause you were brainwashed.”

“It ‘cause of this and it’s because of that.”

Anyhow, Hugo, would you just listen to this and tell me what you think? I’m not asking you to agree with it. I just want to know your thoughts.

This explains how I can say the things that I say in the “Because . . .” series. It’s something personal - not theoretical - personal.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Christians and Divorce

It happened again today. For no other reason than the hand of God, a couple that should by all logic be heading for the divorce court has come together in what I know will be a renewal of commitment to their marriage that will not end until one of them dies.

I know what I’m talking about.

As a counsellor I’ve worked with thousands and thousands and thousands of people and I know commitment when I hear it. Not just words, but the real thing, right from the heart - hearts that have both been healed by Jesus the Christ.

Atheists don't seem to hesitate in pointing out the high divorce rate among Christians.

Well, they’re right and it needs to be said.

There is something terribly wrong in the Christian Church (snerk! Like there’s been a time when that wasn’t true) and failed marriages are just one symptom. The thing is, while these people in these failed marriages may attend a Christian Church, to say they are both followers of Jesus is just flat out wrong.

Jesus said, “The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me.”
In these failed marriages it is guaranteed that at least one of the partners is decidedly NOT obeying Jesus. If they both were, the marriage would not and could not fail.

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
In these failed marriages it is guaranteed that at least one of the partners is decidedly NOT holding to the teaching of Jesus. If they both were, the marriage would not and could not fail.

A good marriage where loving, and I mean really loving each other on a daily basis is present, it is a sure indication of the radical transformation of what Jesus can do in your life. A failed marriage (whether the people go to Church or not) is a sure indication that one or both of the people involved were not followers of Jesus.

Because . . .

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from resentments, freedom to look forward to eternity, freedom to become a man of integrity, freedom from self-centeredness, and freedom to be thankful, wonderfully, wonderfully thankful. I have the freedom to admit that everything that I have is from God and from Him alone, freedom from the need to be rich, freedom to be wronged without it becoming a big deal and I have found the freedom to learn and to grow into Christ-likeness in every single situation.

These and all the freedoms that I’ve described so far in this series are things that simply weren’t mine to enjoy prior to my healed relationship with my Creator. These are freedoms that He has given to me and He’ll give to you should you decide to follow Him as Lord and Saviour.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Pretty Important Post

But a Vapour!

That’s how Jesus describes our life on earth. Fleeting. Like a flower that blooms and then withers. At sixty years of age I can tell you that time doesn’t just seem to go fast. It is going fast. Like the Rolling Stones sang a life-time ago, “Time waits for no one.”

So how do you spend your day, a day that could be your last? Do you think about God at all? Do you consider eternity?

A. W. Tozer says:
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. The most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”

I believe it was also Tozer who said, “In all disobedience there is a high opinion of ourselves and a low opinion of God.”

I encountered a man just yesterday who says to himself that even though according to Jesus this man is a liar, an adulterer, and a murderer. Even though he does not always love his neighbour as he ought, and even though he does not love God at all let alone love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, this man thinks that God should make an exception in his case because others, such as myself have done more wrong than he has.

Isn't that human nature though? Even for those who deem themselves logical and rational thinkers, when judging our degree of "goodness" we always, always, always compare down, to those who are worse than we are. We judge others by their behaviours while judging ourselves by our intentions.

This man is just moments away from meeting his Maker yet he spends his days that are like a vapour thinking about everything except where he’ll spend eternity.

Most of the people who ignore eternity and deny God consider themselves to be very logical and rational people. We all know at some level that we will not live forever; that we could die today. But very few of us live as though we know that for a fact. A study from a couple years ago found that all of us struggle with a pattern of thought that goes like this. Regarding something bad happening we think:
. It won’t happen
. If it does happen it won’t be very bad
. If it does happen and it’s bad it won’t happen to me
. If it does happen to me and it’s bad, there’s nothing that I could have done about it anyway.

Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me is not condemned, but whoever does not believe that I Am who I say that I Am stands condemned already.”

That's because, as atheists correctly say, we all begin life as non believers in God. We are all born in a state whereby we refuse to be accountable before our Creator.

That's why John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life but whoever rejects Jesus will not see life for God’s wrath remains on him.”

If we do nothing about our broken relationship with God, our default setting will ensure that we are forever separated from God.

Unless you have entered into a healed and forgiven relationship with your Creator, something bad beyond all imagination is about to happen to you.

The good news is that there IS something that you can do about it.

You Creator says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Your Creator says, “You are destined to die once, and then judgement.”

Do you live as though it’s true?

Or do you say, “It won’t happen. And if it does happen it won't happen to me. God won't judge me according to His standard. Instead He'll use my standard of right and wrong; He'll see that I've been better than most and then He'll make an exception in my case.”

Is that the kind of logic by which you live?
Is that how you rationalise ignoring your Creator?