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

Monday, March 31, 2014

No Worries!

Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, or what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:25,33.
This is a radical statement. So radical is this statement that not only do atheists and pagans discount its veracity, many if not most of those who claim to be followers of Jesus also live out their doubts. Yet we have a guarantee of its trustworthiness. That guarantee is the resurrection of Jesus.
The same power that brought the material universe into existence out of literally nothing material, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power that will bring security and safety and meet the needs of everyone who dies to self in order to follow their Lord and Saviour.
The resurrection is a powerful message to the whole world. Within 2-3 centuries after Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity supplanted the most compelling world-view of the time, the Greco / Roman philosophy of the time.
The resurrection is historical fact. It's certain and it's for you. The resurrection was proof to the eyewitnesses, and it's proof to you that you are not just dust in the wind. Creator God values you, His creation so much that He not only died to pay the penalty for your sins, He rose again to ensure the defeat of your greatest enemy - death.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's Thoughts on Marriage

This is number 14 in a weekly series I began on December 21st/13 with a post called, “Married Forever?

Christian marriage is not lacking a supernatural element. As Paul highlights and John 17 expands, a Biblical marriage is to pattern itself after the union of the Trinity; a relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who live in perpetual love and sacrifice. Jesus on the Cross, speaking words “not My own,” was an example of this loving and sacrificial relationship.

We are created in God's image. 

We were not created to live in our own glory. 
We were not created to worship ourselves. 

“Love the Lord you God with all your strength, heart, soul and mind, AND love your neighbour as yourself.”

It we fail to serve God by loving others, by serving others, we fail live out the nature with which we were created. Violating our nature leads to misery and the breakdown of relationships.
Who ever wants to save his life must lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” If you seek life as this world understands life, seeking self-protection above all else, you will find misery. If you seek Jesus and put Him first in your life, in your relationships, in your marriage you will have a full and abundant life.

More on this next Friday

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Go Tell Peter

What I’m about to write strike so close to the heart that I can hardly begin. Go tell Peter. “Let him know that I want him to be there.”
You know where that’s from? Mark 16:7.
The disciples had all deserted Jesus. Peter’s knee jerk reaction to fight the Romans had been rebuked by Jesus and then, well, then, in the face of a crucifixion, confused Peter denied even knowing Jesus at all. And they scattered. Who knows to where? Hiding here. Skirting down darkened allies there. Somehow, all but Thomas had gathered again in the last place they’d been together with Jesus, the upper room. Was it prearranged? Who knows? It must have been terribly difficult. Losers and failures to a man. Each in his own way a coward. And Peter. He had only done what most every one of us would have done yet, betrayal is betrayal. 
The worst kind of betrayal - that of a friend.
And what does Jesus do? He makes extra sure that the message gets to Peter, “You’re not excluded. I want YOU to be part of My group. I don’t care that you turned tail and ran. I want YOU back.”
O God! How much love can You pour out on us? How much forgiveness can You grant us?

What kind of a person would turn away from that great a love?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

God is Just

While followers of Jesus do good, not to gain salvation but because we have been saved, we can know that our good deeds will be rewarded.
God does not give to those whom He has saved, what they justly deserve - eternity in hell.
He does give punishment to those who persist in evil because He is Just.
He does give good for evil, because He is good.
He does give good for good because His grace and mercy endure forever.
He will never give punishment for good because He is not unjust.

He will give punishment for evil and He will give grace for evil to those of His own pleasing. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Human Will

Are we at the mercy of our chemicals exchanges? Are we driven by a Selfish Gene? Do we have free will or are we robots?
According to Jesus, neither the elect nor those destined for hell have had their free wills removed. Rather the will of humans is either left in its rebellious state or it is changed to a will that is predisposed to accept the reality of Creator God. And whether we accept or reject the evidence for Creator God, our will is then assisted  toward one destination or the other.

It is God who converts bad wills into good ones. Both types of people, within the context of who they are, choose this over that, this one and not the other, evil or good depending on who God has made them. Those who reject God truly believe they are somehow free because, well, they are not under the spell of God. Wrong. Read Romans 9:22-23. Whether we are part of God’s family or part of those upon whom God’s wrath remains, it is the doing of our Creator and it is within that frameworks that our free will operates. The guilty cannot complain because they are in fact, guilty and the forgiven cannot brag because it is God who has chosen to forgive.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nothing Else Like It

I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth; you lay Me in the dust of death. Dogs have surround Me; a band of evil men has encircled Me; they have pierced My hands and My feet. I can count all My bones; people stare and gloat over Me.”

Jesus, the Son of God placed Himself into the hands of men and we did our absolute worst to Him. As the song says, “How can it be; that you my King would die for me?” God, nailed to a Roman cross by the humans He came to save from sin. The King of kings, Lord of lords, Creator of the Universe gave His life for ours. Such was the love of God for His creation, a creation that of its own free will turned against the greatest love in the universe.

And in that process, Jesus, by the same power that brought us into existence, defeated the great enemy of human-kind, death itself.

On the road to Emmaus, after His resurrection, Jesus spoke with two of His disciples. “And beginning with Moses and the prophets Jesus explained all that had been written about Him.”

Jesus came in weakness to save those who admit they are weak; to those who admit they need forgiveness. He laid down His life of His own freewill, for us. 

Once you know the ending of the story, it is impossible to read the Old Testament without seeing Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus; there's nothing else like it! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's Thoughts on Marriage

This is number 13 in a weekly series I began on December 21st/13 with a post called, “Married Forever?

The title of this post could be called, “Squandered Love.” It is not uncommon in marriage to see one or both partners disregard one of the main tenets of, or one of the main definitions of “love,”

Real love does not keep a record of wrongs.

I remember working with a woman who was livid because her husband didn't pray with her. Never mind that he wasn't even a Christian. In her mind, a husband is the spiritual leader of the home and a spiritual leader should pray with his wife for the family. As time passed, she was able to nag him until he did pray with her from time to time. She was happy for one week; until she realized that he didn't pray with her all the time. Real love for another person simply does not keep track of offence, whether the offence is intended or otherwise. There is no need to keep track because real love is simply doing good to another person; nothing more, nothing less.

In many marriages I hear things like, “Yes he left me a nice card that said nice things, but they're just words.” When I ask for further explanation, the person relates that at some point in the past, the “offender” had criticized or said unkind things. Therefore, in this person's mind, any good that is now done is discounted as being worthless.

What a tragedy!

We, all of us have good days and bad. Some days we're able to act in love, and other days we're self-obsessed. Some days we say mean things and mean them, but other times we say kind things and mean those as well. It is such a waste of opportunity, such a squandering of the potential to be loved to push it away, to reject it, to lose the chance to absorb love because of a desire to cling to the past. This type of thinking is usually tied to depressive thinking; the all or nothing thinking.
. If something went wrong this morning, the whole day is ruined.
. If I failed at this, I'm a failure.
. If she was angry at me for not taking out the garbage, she hates me.

And it's the same with God. God, our Creator clearly dislikes those thoughts and behaviours that are destructive to ourselves and others. He hates sin. Some people read our Creator's views on the sin in our lives and completely ignore the fact that “All good things and every perfect gift is from God.” They completely ignore the fact that “If God did not withhold even God the Son, Jesus, from dying to pay the penalty of our sins, there is not the slightest chance that He will withhold anything good from us.”

Don't squander the offerings of love in your life. Grab them. Hold them. Cherish them, and then freely give to others what you have freely received.
More on this next Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why No Unity?

Many a fool has pointed to disagreements in Church denominations and made some claims as to disagreements equalling irrelevance or worse. First of all, unity does not mean uniformity. Right from the beginning there were different forms of worship. The unity that Jesus demands is in worshipping Him as Creator and Saviour of the universe, regardless of the form that worship takes.
And regardless of what people think, those who have been born again into faith in Christ via the leading of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit are one in Christ. In my opinion, the many different denominations simply reflect the diverse nature of humans and the dynamic power of Christianity. Jesus relates to all people in all times in all cultures. The Bible appeals to different people in different ways, and Jesus says that in heaven there will be people from every language, race and tribe.
On the other hand, our fallen nature dictates that we see ourselves as right and others less so. This is wrong, and atheists are correct to criticize this fault in human nature, theirs included.
Paul understood that peace and unity cannot exist apart from the truth of the Gospel. To compromise the Gospel of truth would be to lose what creates our unity and peace. When a decision must be made between unity and truth, unity must yield to truth; for it is better to be divided by truth than united by error. We test the church by truth, not truth by the church. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Whatever Is, Is Okay

Yesterday I asked one of our 13-year-olds (who functions at about a 5-year-old level), "Why does God love you?"
He thought for a bit and then said with a tone of wonder, "I don't know. He just does. And that makes me happy."

That attitude is a sign that you have truly come to understand God's love and working in your life. 

For myself, after 32 years of learning about and revelling in my relationship with Jesus, I've come to know beyond a shadow of doubt that because of God's love for me, whatever is, is okay, i.e. whatever circumstance I face, it's going to be okay. 

A sure sign that one does not know God is when h/her life is not going as s/he wants, there is not just sorrow or worry, but a deep anger and bitterness.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Who Are We?

Modern secularists love to see present day humans as the pinnacle of evolution. In reality, human nature has change not one iota since Adam and Eve.

We tend to have this idea of Neanderthals as these stereotypical cavemen that must have been different from us because they're not around today,” Riel-Salvatore said. “And what we’re seeing, in fact, is that the more we look at the record of Neanderthals ... the more their lifestyle appears to have been similar to those of modern humans at more or less the same time.”
The big difference between them and us is shrinking by the day — literally, at this point,” Riel-Salvatore said. “And so instead of seeing them as this extinct offshoot on the human family tree, we should think of them more as extinct cousins, fairly close relatives.

Regardless of either option, monkey or man, Darwinists plead with us to believe that we are nothing more than a mass of chemical exchanges and firing neurons even as they, the atheists, display a whole range of personal thoughts, emotions and pseudo arguments when their beliefs in this area are challenged.

These people look at the human abilities of self-reflection, art, medicine, the enjoyment of music and say it comes from an illusory direction of will. In fact, they say that self-will or freewill choice are also an illusion. Even though the development of our vocabulary is enormous, our grammar complex and our conversations deep and meaningful, it all comes, say materialists, without purpose or meaning. These atheists look at the human ability to codify language, our unbounded creativity, selflessness, love, the exercising of our rational faculties, our ability to develop an argument, follow a line of logic, draw conclusions and frame hypotheses and call it the simple, random and unguided firing of neurons. 

Our strong spirit of enquiry, our research in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, medicine and physics while noteworthy for some, is nothing of lasting consequence to an atheist, for all will, according to atheists comes to an absurd and meaningless end. Yearn for meaning in life? It too is of no lasting import. It’s the same illusion that causes us to devote so much of our time to philosophy, theology and ethics. Or so the materialist world-view claims. Atheists say that our religious sentiments and practices and our intense and endless quest for meaning can be traced to some random mutation eons ago. 

The concept of atheism forces us to say that it’s only the illusion of the “I” that questions not only our origin but also our destiny. It’s only the illusion of the “I” that has a refined aesthetic sense that admires beauty and longs to be surrounded with it. When we cultivate a garden, put flowers in a vase, or hang up a painting, it’s the illusion of the “I” that is expressing a love of beauty and a strong creative impulse. Our poetry, painting, dance, drama and music, our weekly craft groups where baskets are woven, wool is spun, shawls are knit, and photo albums are covered, all this, says the ardent materialist, is carried out for no particular reason save to follow the command of chemical exchanges.

Reason, language, enquiry, wonder, longing, religion, morality, aesthetics, creativity, imagination, aspiration and humour, to such intangible but fundamental qualities, atheists like Bertrand Russel can only respond, and in the total absence of proofs or evidence, yet driven by a desperate desire to be free from all accountability to one’s Creator, they hope that you will agree: 

“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction . . . that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried - all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” 

The atheist’s philosophical and powerful emotional reaction to the fact of a universe with a beginning and to the impossibility of life arising unaided from non life shows that we are far, far more than a mass of chemical exchanges, more than mere thinking machines. Bottom line, we're a lot less simian than atheists would like us to believe.
From "Trolling for Atheists" Rod Holmgren

Monday, March 17, 2014

There's Nothing Like It – Anywhere!

The resurrection of Jesus, that is. The resurrection is an amazing event that changed history forever. It was an event that caused people to worship a nobody from a dusty Roman outpost called Nazareth. It was an event that caused people to be willing to die rather than deny what they claimed to have seen.
As today with atheists, there were those back then who were deeply offended that human beings could be so gullible as to believe that someone had come back to life. A man known now as the apostle Paul, especially took exception to the claim of several dozen people, that Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified and buried, had then risen from the dead. So offended was Paul that he tortured and killed followers of the risen Christ in order to make them stop talking foolishness.
And then it happened.
Jesus, the risen Jesus, stopped Paul in his tracks. Paul encountered the risen Jesus, and Paul was forever changed. A man who already had a world-view and a powerful religion changed them both, completely, because he met and was changed by Jesus the Christ who was raised from the dead.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
C.S. Lewis (1898–1963), The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Atheists Fume Over Dalai Lama's Prayer

The Dalai Lama apparently said a prayer in one of the Houses of Government in the U.S, a few days ago. How dare that man bring religion into the political sphere?

Actually no. To the best of my knowledge, not a peep was heard from atheists regarding this prayer in the  public sphere. It's only Christian prayers that are raged against by the fickle hearts of atheists. 

However the prayer itself is of interest to me.

"Speak or act with a pure mind, and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves"
Dalai Lama

That's true of course. 

The trick however is that according to Jesus, and any casual observer of human nature, who we are as humans precludes our ability to speak and act with a pure mind. So corrupt is human nature that even the teaching of Jesus, the most sublime philosophy on earth, becomes corrupted, leaving every generation shredded by those who claim to follow Messiah Jesus. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday's Thoughts on Marriage

This is number 12 in a weekly series I began on December 21st/13 with a post called, “Married Forever?

Self-centredness will destroy your marriage! Does that surprise you? If it does you're in more trouble than you imagined. A self-centred spouse will always trigger resentment in the other spouse. What I mean is, the self-centred behaviours of one spouse will ultimately trigger self-centred behaviours in the other spouse. Self-centred is who we are – Unless we allow Jesus to change us.

The problem of course is that a self-centred character is blind to its own existence. What's more, our self-centred character is almost allergic to the same characteristic in others, especially one's partner. Our corrupt self-love triggers thoughts like, 'Why weren't you thinking about me? You should have been thinking about what I want. How could you not be thinking about me?' 

Only an obedient relationship with Jesus can create an other-centred focus that destroys self-pity.

The Holy Spirit Who displays a giving and serving character will bring about this type of maturity in you. Jesus' Spirit destroys pride and brings about a humility that exudes generosity and deals with the selfishness of others in a mature fashion. The Holy Spirit does not keep score. As seen by the reaction of the world to the mere word “submission,” it's easy to see that without the indwelling of the Spirit, submission is impossible.

If your only source of love is from other people, what happens when those people fail to love you? As the saying goes, “To what will you look to for help if not to that which is stronger than yourself?” The love that we need to give away in order to maintain and grow a healthy marriage must come from a source greater than ourselves.

Here is a reality of life, You will not, and cannot find happiness until you've placed your own happiness in submission to that of someone else. Not just for today but as part of a commitment, a life-long commitment to putting the well-being of at least one other person (hopefully that of your spouse) ahead of your own. 

Christian maturity does this, not in order to get in return, but simply to give. Freely we have received. Freely we are to give. This type of obedience to Jesus, because of what He has done for you, cannot fail to provide peace and contentment.

More on this next Friday.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's Not Enough

Don't you ever wonder why it is that you long for something; for those things that you don't yet have? And then you get it? And not long after you get it you find that you're longing for something else?

Have you figured out why that is?

C.S. Lewis did and so has every Christian on the planet. Lewis wrote, “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

We want and want and want, never seeming to understand that our deepest desire cannot be filled by anything this life can give. We continue to be unsatisfied after the new car, unsatisfied after the new love (I'm certain that 99.9% of love songs are written within two months or less of the start of the relationship), unsatisfied after the promotion.

The things of this world cannot give you what your soul longs for the most. And what your soul longs for the most is a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus, your Creator.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rod Bell and satan

The more famous “Red Letter Christians” making the Christian News seem to have one thing in common. And it's not good. I'll use Rob Bell as my example but they all share a similar outlook – with satan -

satan speaks three times:
. Did God really say?
. You will not surely die
. You will be like God

Rob Bell et al. speak three times:
. Did God really say?
. You will not surely die
. You will be with God 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Peace, Man”
Peace out.”
Peace to ya.”

It's coming back. The phrase that “my generation” made ubiquitous, is now being repeated by my grandchildren. “Peace.”

It's being said at a time in history, “when the third angel was given power to remove peace from the earth.” John's Revelation

Where is peace? How does one attain it? My generation thought, believed even, that drug induced feelings of peace and love were the real thing. Certainly they were more real than anything we'd found without chemicals.

Tragic but true.

And then, for some of us, we met The Prince of Peace. The One whose mission on planet earth entailed bringing Shalom. 

"Peace on earth to all those who please God." That line from Dr. Luke's biography of Jesus is oft repeated at Christmas. 'Peace on earth to all men . . .' Interesting how people almost always leave off the last and most critical part of the sentence - ' all men who please God.' And then they accuse Jesus of not bringing peace as promised.

By the grace of my Saviour I know shalom. I have shalom, but personally, I don't understand it.

Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus has done that for me and maybe that's why I don't understand it. Finding peace, possessing shalom had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with me. There was no effort on my part. It's a gift from Jesus to us.

"Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” He said." John 20:19

At one point I didn't have Jesus and I didn't have peace. And then, Jesus had me and I had peace. It just happens. It just happens.

I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

O, and what a gift it is. There is none better.

Don't miss Jesus' offer.
It's for you!
Jesus died for you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Into the Dark

I can recall at least half a dozen countries this winter that experienced a million or more people without power due to seasonal storms. That's a lot of physical discomfort. That's a lot of money spent on recovery efforts.

You think that's bad?

At any given time on this planet, there are several billion more people living in spiritual darkness with a corresponding level of misery and suffering as a result. Trillions of dollars in needless spending is required by our governments to deal with the results of the behaviours that come from spiritual darkness.

Trending forward does not look encouraging.

Forty years ago in North America roughly 80% of people said that Jesus was important to them. Roughly 20% said that sports were important to them. Today that figure is almost exactly reversed.

If we don't worship Jesus, we WILL worship something else.

Two Sundays ago was the Olympic Gold Medal Game in men's hockey. Canada vs. Sweden. The day before the game I heard on TSN, “If Canada wins, it'll be a great reason to get drunk Sunday morning.”

Now there's something to live for (sarcasm).

So important are mood altering chemicals to the lives of those who reject Jesus, that the liquor laws were changed in Saskatchewan so that Sports Bars could open at 5:00am Sunday morning so alcohol lovers could congregate to watch this hockey game.

Priorities of those who reject Jesus are profoundly disheartening. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there you will give the greatest among of time and energy and monetary resources.”

Some day, everything you see will be in the dump, rusted, rotted, useless. Yet those are the things that are important to those who live in spiritual darkness.

Where is your treasure?