Sunday, July 16, 2017

Do it!




Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says. James 1:22 NIV

The Gospel message is pretty simple.  God loves us. Jesus died for our redemption and rose from the dead to eternal life. We are sinners but are brought into right relationship with God through forgiveness of our sins through Jesus. We are commanded to love God and love other people, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

That didn’t take many words. Now I know that the ins and outs of what it looks like to love God and others can be complicated at times, but the longer I live the more I see that it’s the obvious interpretation of the commands that gets put on the back burner. Christians aren’t stumbling because they have misinterpreted some difficult passage in Revelation.  They are stumbling because they are holding grudges, they are being greedy, they are proud and they are not obeying God’s clear commands and directives. Most Christians have lots of knowledge of what the Scriptures say. Some really do follow God in mind and spirit, but there are a sizable number who don’t. It really is not enough to know what the Bible says. We have to do the loving, forgiving, and dying to self.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Revival Times




“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 NIV

In the 1700’s, Europe and America were in the swell of a great revival involving the Protestant churches. A renewed sense of evangelism gripped many people and encouraged some of them to settle in the New World where they set up institutions of higher learning with Christianity as their base. Others became missionaries who preached the gospel to the slaves of the southern United States.  When I hear the beautiful music of an enthusiastic choir of African Americans singing their praises to God, I can thank the people of the 1700’s who took the great commission seriously for bringing this blessing to us. Many Europeans viewed the slaves as dispensable workers, but the missionaries were able to tell the slaves that they were loved by God and precious to him.

I think God gave a lot of wisdom to the early governments in North America. The governments weren’t perfect, no government ever is, but in a very short time Canada and the United States grew into prosperous, peaceful countries. The prayers of the early settlers surely were answered. We still need to preach the gospel in and out of our communities. We need to pray for our governments and know that God will honour those prayers and raise up the leaders that we need at the right time.  Our countries are a huge testimony to the whole world. They will see that countries with a Christian heritage are blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Train a Child





Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22-6 NIV

I usually think of this verse as an encouragement for parents dealing with rebellious children. Sometimes as a parent, I have wanted to just throw up my hands in frustration and let the children raise themselves. But over time, I did start to see that our efforts as parents did have a positive effect.  I see in some families, parents who are very hospitable, and later I see this same quality expressing itself in their children.  I see financially responsible parents raising children, who in turn, are financially responsible. I see honest, hardworking parents with their honest, hardworking offspring. Parents, extended family and friends, and Church family have a huge influence on children as they mature.

What I’ve also seen is the less cheery side of this verse.  I have seen parents with a sense of entitlement pass that on to their children.  I’ve seen proud, argumentative parents turn their children into confrontational adults.  Christians, who have tried to go it alone, are an encouragement to their children to be disrespectful of the greater church.  I am forever grateful to the extended family and friends who helped to fill in the gaps of my imperfect parenting , and were examples of godly living in a way that I was lacking.

 This should be a scary verse for any parent because while it promises that a good upbringing will last a lifetime, it also carries the underlying warning that a bad upbringing will also last a lifetime.  We all need to pray for God's wisdom in this responsibility.

Danger




The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.  Proverbs 22:3 NIV

Satan loves to try to catch me in some sin.  My emotions and desires are easily manipulated if I don’t keep my head and heart soaking in God’s word.  I need other Christians to be near me so that they can give the shout out about dangers and where I can find refuge.  An important first step is to realize that there are dangers to beware of in the first place. Sometimes Christians think that they are automatically protected from the assaults of their own desires or Satan’s attacks. We all need to keep our spiritual eyes open for the pitfalls so that we can avoid them. Blinkered Christians can fall into many traps.

Little birds often flock together to help them to stay safe.  In the winter, they will call to each other to identify food sources at birdfeeders, and they will give alarm calls if a predator is nearby.  The group works together to ensure the wellbeing of all members of the flock.  We really put ourselves at risk when we don’t belong to a flock of believers.  Our fellow Christians help to show us danger and bring us back to the refuge of God’s way.  The simple or unwise person doesn’t look for or pay attention to good advice and pays the penalty for their misguided lifestyle. At the root of this sad outcome is a proud heart. The prudent are humble; the unwise are proud and mistakenly sure of their own ideas.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Humility







Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

The biblical definition of humility is quite different from the one accepted by society at large which is feeling that you are less important than other people. This verse reminds me that humility is all about my relationship with God.  It is remembering that he is my creator, my saviour, my Lord. As far as other people are concerned, I am their equal. They may be more talented or richer or prettier, but they are still God’s creation like me. In the most fundamental sense, all people stand level, but we are certainly not equal to God. Accepting my true position as God’s creation and now, as a Christian, his child is what my humility is all about.

The riches that I receive from this humility are the blessings of being in close relationship with God.  The honour I have is the honour of being part of God’s family.  The life I have is eternal life with God, my saviour.  That life has already begun and  will be even more wonderful when I meet him face to face. My humility is not modesty or feeling inferior; my humility is a celebration of my wonderful position in the loving arms of my sovereign Father.