Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Go For The Gold!

 

We have witnessed the 2021 Olympics of late and have seen the results of years of hard work and striving to reach a goal - a gold medal.  We should learn from what we’ve seen these athletes do and realize we all have potential and if we work as hard as these athletes did, dreams and goals are attainable.  Everyone has ability to do more than they’re doing.  Young people especially have the energy and zeal to be whatever they want to be.  The first thing is to have a dream and then to pursue that dream.  Every one of the athletes in the Olympics had a dream to be there and worked hard to do so.  Without dreams and goals, we go nowhere!  

We live in a country that makes it possible to “Go For The Gold” in any area of interest one may have.  Young people especially need direction and motivation.  By direction, I mean purpose.  Something worth devoting your energies to.  By direction, I also mean the direction we are pointed.  Parents have huge responsibilities in pointing their children in the right direction.  Not only in matters of right and wrong, but also in matters of talents and desires of the children.  All of us need purpose and direction.  We need motivation and encouragement to pursue our passion – whatever it may be.  Even the Scriptures say, “whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might.”  Give your all, your best.  Actually that’s true in everything in life.  Don’t do anything half-heartedly.  Give it your best.  Strive for excellence.  It’s too easy to have the attitude that we’ll just get by with the minimum.  Or, why bother, nobody else cares.  You should care that whatever you endeavor to do, that you do your best.

Like the athletes, you can’t just sit around and think about getting there.  You have to do something about it!  Even if you don’t have much money, there are ways to get where you want to go.  It begins in your head.  The dream.  The goal.  Your attitude.  We live in a time when you can do anything you want to do if you want it bad enough to work  for it.  This probably sounds like a pep talk or positive thinking line.  But think about it.  What would you like to do in life?  Is it possible?  Why aren’t you moving in that direction?  Don’t be afraid of change because that is what needs to happen if you want to follow your dreams.  Don’t be afraid to change jobs.  Don’t be afraid to make a move.  Don’t be afraid to look at yourself and assess where you are at and where you want to go.  

In the big picture of things, don’t forget God.  God designed us, knows us better than anyone, and cares about our life -  present and future.  He knows our past as well. He can bring healing of the past and help us reach the potential He knows we’re capable of.  Seeking "God’s Will" in life is of the utmost importance.  When we consider dreams and goals, don’t leave God out of the picture or consider Him a last option.  God is interested in every part of our lives.  He wants us to succeed in our relationships, work, and dreams.  It makes sense to ask Him for the wisdom to live life to the fullest and have His blessing and power to do so.  With God, we all can win the “gold” in that we can be assured of  our eternal destiny with Him through Jesus Christ.  With that settled, we can pursue the path of our dreams with peace in our hearts and divine guidance to reach the goals of life.  The great Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me”.  That’s personal “I”; positive “can do”; and all inclusive “all things”.  You can do it!




Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Seeing And Believing

In today's society, we may justifiably doubt what we see or hear. Our intellect and emotions are constantly bombarded with information that is possibly: good or bad, true or not, helpful or not, real or not.

Who do you believe? What are you seeing? The voices surrounding us, are they proclaiming facts or their perception of the facts - or perhaps no facts at all?  Are the visual and audio presentations real or altered in some way.  It is hard to discern the actual facts and come to valid conclusions. Fact or fiction?  So many choices.  If you believe one way or the other, it's a conspiracy theory and you are said to be "duped". Fake news and fake reviews, on and on!

Is seeing believing? Can you believe what you see and hear?  Oswald Chambers said,"Seeing is never believing. We interpret what we see in the light of what we believe."  What we perceive to be the truth can become the filter for our interpretation of what we see or hear. Case in point:  Experiments have been done in which a group of subjects are put in front of a tape recorder; they are asked to write down what the voice on the tape says, and the machine is started. But the volume is so low that the voice is very difficult to decipher. Even so, every subject writes down a reasonable set of notes. The catch is that the machine was uttering nonsense–the ear and the brain cooperated to create meaning where none existed, a totally unreliable version of reality.

With present-day technology, it is possible to digitally alter video and audio in such a way to make it appear that someone is saying something they are not. What a quandry! Social, economic, political, and spiritual values are being manipulated by opposing forces to confuse and corrupt humanity. If you throw God and the truth of his word out, you have a vacuum to be filled with man's perceptions and interpretation of who we are as people and where we are headed in the future.

The Bible gives us the origin of our world. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It gives us the unadulterated truth of who we are, where we are as a society, and where we are going. It's all there. The future is full of dramatic events foretold by Jesus himself and others in the Bible. Read it, believe it, and find peace in the midst of a very discouraging time.

Jesus addressed believing and seeing in John chapter 20:

...So the other disciples told him,(Thomas) “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Later to them with Thomas present...Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible...

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Heb. 11:1,6

The Bible has stood the tests of time and has been proven to be accurate.  Jesus is a fact of history. The Bible proclaims the truths of the past, present and future of mankind.  There is only way to have peace with God and be assured of your eternal future:  "This Jesusa is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.b 12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menc by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11,12)

Politics and pandemics come and go, but the Word of God will stand forever and points us to our future with certainty and will give you peace and assurance, if you believe!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Is Easter Over?

 

What about Easter?

Is Easter over?  Not hardly!  The tomb is empty but Jesus is alive.  He has appeared  to Peter and the other disciples and to over five hundred believers at one time.  After that, He was seen of James and all of the Apostles and finally to the Apostle Paul.  Jesus was around for forty days after His resurrection.  He walked and talked and ate with them.  If the case of Jesus' resurrection had gone to court, there would have been more than enough witnesses to establish the truth of His resurrection.  Christians began to worship on resurrection day, the first day of the week, in commemoration of that fact.  They went into the synagogues on the Sabbath to witness to their Jewish brethren, but met on the first day of the week for worship, teaching, and fellowship.  Initially, they met everyday, but after the the Jerusalem experience, they would meet once a week.  

The true meaning of what we call Easter continues on and we commemorate it every time we meet as Christians on Sunday.  The reality of the resurrection of  Jesus is important to all.  As the Apostle Paul logically presents it in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, “"...if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then there is no resurrection and those who testified they saw Him were liars!  If the truth of all this is that it is a lie, then we are still in our sins with no hope of  resurrection and eternal life in Christ..." .  

However...if it is true and those who have believed and put their trust in the resurrected Jesus are right, then it makes all the difference in the world.  According to the Scriptures, our destiny is dependent on faith.  Faith in the person of Jesus Christ, who was crucified, buried, and risen from the dead.  If He wasn't raised from the dead, then He was a liar, because He prophesied His own resurrection.  When the people asked for a sign that He was the Christ, He said that none would be given except the sign of the Prophet Jonah... "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"” Mat 12:40 .

  More than once Jesus mentioned His resurrection.  He said no man would take His life.  He said He had the power to lay down His life and to take it up again.  Jesus gave His life a ransom for those who would believe in Him.   The resurrection of Jesus assures those who are believers that they do have eternal life and will be resurrected also, as He promised.  That's why we can have the "peace that passes all understanding", when death comes knocking at our door.  The message of Easter is a practical, everyday reality for those who believe.  

What about those who don't believe?  Then you've missed the boat!  Change your mind. Repent and believe! Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Me".  You mean there is no other way? Jesus said He was the only way!  Either He is who He said He was and what He said was true, or He was a liar.  He proved He was the Christ, the Son of God by His resurrection.  

“What about the other peoples of the world and their religions?  Again, I put the monkey on Jesus' back.  He said He was the only way to the Father.  If that is so, we must come to grips with what we believe and what we've done with Jesus.  Religion won't save you.  Baptism won't save you.  Good works won't save you.  Only the resurrected Saviour - Jesus can and will, if you invite Him to.  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”  Rev 3:20

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Good Friday? What's "Good" About It?

 

Good seems like a real contradiction about what happened to Jesus. His disciples were devastated when Jesus was crucified like a criminal.  No one understood what was happening.  The torturous treatment Jesus received; the false accusations; the traitorous denial by Peter: and the fearfully fleeing disciples was all evidence of dashed expectations and fear of what would happen next.

Jesus told his disciples numerous times that he would die. They didn't get it! He said,  "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."  “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Jesus died at the Passover and became the final, ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The Book of Isaiah in chapter 53, tells us God would send the suffering messiah to die for our sins. The outcome of all that happened would become evident three days later.  Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to the disciples!

The "Good" is that the suffering and death of Jesus, in hindsight, was according to God's plan of redemption for mankind as prophesied in the Bible. The price was paid for our forgiveness and eternal life.  Of course, the seal of all that was Jesus' resurrection the third day as he said.

It was a "good" and wonderful moment when Jesus gave his life and took our penalty for sin, so that we can have a relationship with God and experience forgiveness and have the promise of eternal life. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Are We In End Times?

 

 

 

 
Jesus disciples had questions about the future.  "As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

What a loaded question! Three questions in one.  The destruction of the buildings, signs of your coming-again, and the end of the age.  

The Romans destroyed the city and second Jewish temple in 70 A.D. In the time of Jesus, He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The people were stunned. How can this be?  He was referring to the temple of his body...crucified but resurrected 3 days later.  He also prophesied the destruction of the city and temple - happened!

The sign of his coming again?  Wars, violence, pestilence, earthquakes in different places.  Matthew 24...
4And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

 9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall awaya and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come...36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,b but the Father only.

Are we in the end times?  The signs are all around us.  A time of violence, wars and threat of war, pestilence, earthquakes, persecution, are everywhere.  Belief in God and Christ is belittled and ridiculed. The Bible is regarded as hate literature instead of the blueprint to salvation through Christ. Heaven and Hell and the truth of scripture are considered myths.

So yes, we are in end times. How long before the second coming of  Christ and the end of the present age?  Only God knows. But we are nearer than we may think. Romans 13:11 "Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Friday, January 1, 2021

Can you find peace?



How can we find peace in this world of turmoil? In the present times of COVID19 and all of the other challenges of life. I’m talking about real personal peace that brings contentment and satisfaction that lasts forever. Many are seeking to find it in things that, instead, bring heartache and disappointment. We tend to think people with money and fame have found peace and happiness. But, behind many a prosperous door, one finds desperate people suffering from brokenness because of drugs, alcohol, divorce, loneliness, etc. Many would give all they have to have real peace of mind about themselves, life in general, and eternity.

Fear is a great factor in disturbing our peace of mind. All the “what ifs” and “whys” of everyday life can be very disturbing. Sickness and death are two of the “biggies” that cause great stress in our daily thoughts. Losing our job can be devastating. What will I do now? What about our kid's future? What about retirement and end of life? The questions and churning contribute to discouragement and depression. World events are thrust in our face. The violence and suffering that goes on all over are constantly before us in the media. What’s going to happen next. What can I do? The tide keeps rising and we find ourselves not knowing which way to turn. Where can we find peace in all of this?

Well, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ-the Prince of Peace. I’m a retired Pastor. How would you expect me to answer that question?

Money is not the answer-even though it is very useful. The “high life” or “life in the fast lane” are not the answer. Work, play, travel, or careers are not sufficient. So what is? There is only one thing in this world that can give you lasting peace, satisfaction, and security. That is Jesus! You say, “I knew it!” Religion! No, religion can cause as much problem as the other things I mentioned and still not bring peace. So what am I talking about? I’m talking about finding the one person in this world you can come to know who has the power to fill the void in your life and give you real, lasting peace. The One who knows you better than you know yourself and still loves you. He wants to have a personal relationship with you that can never be destroyed! He is the only one who can help you know your true worth. He gave himself for you that you may have forgiveness, satisfaction, and security in this world and the next. Jesus said, “come to me all of you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” He also said, "you believe in God, believe also in me"...“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

So, what is the point? The point is this. People are looking in all the wrong places for peace. God has made known how to find peace in this world. The peace that “passes all understanding”. How do I find that peace? I could say read the Bible. Rather, I would say read the Gospel of John to start with. Read it, re-read it and read it again. I challenge you, dare you, to read it asking God to help you understand what you read. Ask God to show you how you can have real peace. If you are seeking with a true heart, you will find out that you can know real peace through knowing Jesus personally. I do, and so can you. I dare you to try it!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

What Now!?


" 1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all people"
1Tim. 2:1-6 NIV

It seems we have a President-Elect in Joe Biden for the United States.  What now? Hopefully, after a protracted election process is finalized, we can look forward to a peaceful transition of government and national healing.  The Scriptures instruct those who are believers to pray for our leaders that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness.  Government is instituted by God for our protection and benefit. The United States Constitution begins with:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The COVID pandemic and divisive politics, policing, race issues, economy, fake news, etc have often been traumatic.  People carrying weapons in the streets, mass killings, weather related pestilence have all caused us worry and concern.

My point? What now?  Let's promote an atmosphere of calmness and wisdom in dealing with all the issues we face from now on.  Instead of division and hatred, let's promote a positive attitude and "can-do" attitude in solving our problems.  Encourage our leaders to come together in a harmonious way to find solutions instead of vitriol and anger that never solves anything.

If you are having trouble finding peace in your life, there is good news for you! Regardless of your life history and experience, when all is said and done, there is someone who can give you peace. His name is Jesus. He came into this world to show us God in tangible form. He paid our sin debt in full.  If you trust him and call upon him to be your savior, he will give you eternal life and the peace of God will pervade your life. 

What now? Pray!


Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Fragrance of Christ


 

Bible Text: (2Co_2:14-15) "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge . . . For we are to God the fragrance of Christ."

In addition to growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, God also wants to mark our lives with the fragrance of Christ. "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge."

How believers conduct themselves in everyday life can produce a fragrance, so to speak, either good or bad - like a perfume or like a pig pen!  God wants us to live our lives in a way that honors him and produces a sweet aroma, not an offensive stink!

I. Just as there are physical fragrances that can be noticed by our physical senses, there are also spiritual fragrances that can impact us and others spiritually. If a person prepares food that is well-seasoned, others will notice the fragrance and think, "that smells wonderful".  If a person consistently presses on to know the Lord, others will be impacted by the "fragrance of that knowledge."

II. This is described as the "fragrance of Christ." This is that spiritual aroma that wafts forth from the lives of those who are getting to know the Lord. It is a validating reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is dwelling in their lives and is being evidenced through their lives. 

As we are getting to know the Lord more and more, this spiritual aroma of Christ is even impacting God Himself. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ." God is the first one who is impacted by this Christlike fragrance.

III. Our work and testimony is always primarily unto the Lord. We who believe in Jesus Christ are called to be "proving what is acceptable to the Lord" (Eph_5:10). We are not here on earth to please ourselves. "Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal_1:10). We are here to please our God.

A Life Pleasing to God - 1 Thess 1:1-9 (ESV)

 1 Finally, then, brothers,  we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification:  that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 

 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

IV. What ultimately pleases our heavenly Father is His beloved Son. When the Father looked down from heaven at the baptism of His Son, He exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mat_3:17). When our Father looks down today upon our lives, He wants to enjoy the fragrance of His Son emanating forth from our lives. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ."

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

“Behold, I will do a new thing…”

Read-Isa 43:10-19

(Isa 43:19 NKJV) Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

    we are approaching a time of change and new things. We need to be reminded what God has said about our lives and what He is doing and will do in regard to change in our lives. They say the only things that are sure are death and taxes...and change!

    The times we've been living through these past months have changed many things.  We are preparing for a "new normal" whatever that looks like.  One thing remains sure and solid and that is God and His word. The world changes but the Word doesn't.  God's promises are sure and he that believes in them and Him have a peace that "passes all understanding"!  Consider the following:


Don’t fret over the past:

Vs. 1-“Fear not, for I have redeemed you…”

Vs. 18-“Do not remember the former things…”

Vs. 19-“I will do a New thing”


God’s providential care over us.

Vs. 1- “I have redeemed you”

Vs. 2-“I will be with you”

Vs. 4-“I have loved you”

Vs. 16 & 19-“…who makes a way…a path…a road

Vs. 25-“…blots out your transgressions”

God reminds us who He is and of His sovereignty and power.  Vs. 1,7, 10-13; Isa. 44:2,6-7


We are reminded what He can and will do for our future.
We need not be afraid-vs 1-3

We are loved and cared for by God-v. 4,7,19

We are destined to praise and glorify and testify of God and his goodness-vs. 7,10,12-15, 21

We are new creations in Christ Jesus and everyday is a new day to serve Him-


Vs. 19; 2 Cor. 5:17; James 4:14-15”whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17)

God cares: 1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Let’s make this time of change a time of reflection and stedfastly believe in and serve God with a grateful heart looking to Him expectantly for what He will do! We do not know what a day will bring in our daily lives, but we can know God's love and protection and have the assurance of eternal life, no matter what!

(Psa 100:2 NKJV) Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

LIGHT IN A DARK PLACE

I am come a light into the world, that whoever believes on me should not abide in darkness.

Introduction: For over 400 years the heavens had been sealed and no new revelation had come to brighten the landscape of man’s sinful night. Then suddenly the silence is broken. The excellent glory is revealed, and Jesus Christ steps from the Ivory Palaces of eternity into the evil-smelling stable of this world. You would think people would rejoice and bask in sunlight of the love of God, but instead they cling to the clammy darkness of their own depravity and the icy chill of death…and they crucify the Prince of Life and seek to snuff out the Light of Heaven…

Truth number one: Light is come into the world.

Jn 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ...9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

Jesus is that light:

(John 8:12 NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

(John 9:5 NKJV) "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Contrast: (2 Cor 11:13-15 NKJV) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. {14} And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. {15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Truth number two: Men loved darkness rather than light.

(John 3:18-21 NKJV) "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. {19} "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. {21} "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

Truth number three: Jesus is the True Light

(John 8:12 NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

(John 9:5 NKJV) "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

An artist once drew a picture of a dreary, wintry twilight. The trees were heavily laden with snow, and a dark house, lonely and desolate, stood bleakly in the midst of the storm, It was a sad picture. Then, with a quick stroke of yellow crayon, the artist put a light in one window. The effect was magical. The entire scene was transformed into a vision of comfort and cheer. The birth of Christ brought similar illumination to this dark world, especially to those who receive Him as their Savior.

The light of Christ transforms the darken heart of man into the temple of God, whose light shines bright inside and out through His Holy Spirit..

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Losing A Child...And Other Calamities

If you have not read any of my other articles, please read this one! I didn't realize how many people were dealing with the loss of a child sometime in their lifetime, until we lost an adult son, 24 years old, in a plane crash. He had his private license and was working on his commercial. Afterwards, many people said to us that they had lost a child at some point in their life.  We had three adult children and wound up losing our son, who was the youngest.

We'd been listening to a message on the weekend by a popular preacher called  "It's Friday, But Sunday Is Coming" Little did we know about the devastating news that would come in a few days.  I was listening to the car radio while my wife took her violin lesson.  The announcement came on the news that a small plane had crashed with 2 dead, near Mt. Baker, Washington.  No names were given, but I had a strange feeling about our son being one of the fatalities.  When we arrived home, there were two messages on the answer machine to phone about something very important.  My heart sank as that feeling came again about the radio announcement.  The call verified the facts of the fatality and we began a journey many have gone on before. A knock came, almost immediately, at the door.  Two RCMP police officers were there to give the news we had just heard already.  It was the first and only time that I got a hug from a police officer, a lady we knew personally already! 

Plans were made for two funerals, one at Vancouver, and the other in Kelowna, BC. As a pastor, I wanted to do the first one, but I had a pastor friend do the second and the graveside as well.  We knew our son was a Christian believer and was in Heaven at the moment.  After landing from his various flights, he would call his home and say "the eagle has landed" indicating a safe return.  I closed the funeral service with that phrase.  He had a safe landing in Heaven.  Having the knowledge he was safe and we would see him in Heaven one day was a great encouragement and gave us a lot of peace!

I've said all that to say this.  There is great hope in God.  Whenever tragedy strikes, if you don't have solid faith in the promises of God and a real relationship with Him, everything seems very hopeless.  Even though we suffered the loss of our son, we had the peace and assurance we would join him one day in God's Heaven.  It's not just a feeling of hope and peace, but an assurance based on the Word Of God.  Many questions can plague your mind about the why and timing of events like these, but the "peace of God that passes all understanding" can sustain you through it all.  Christian believers don't have all the answers, but the God in whom we trust does.  He has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Jesus gives us hope and sustains us through it all. He promised the disciples that he would be crucified, but would rise from the grave the third day. It was Friday but Sunday was coming! He proved who he was and that he had the power over death, hell, and the grave, and he is coming again one of these days.  We are much closer to that event than ever before.  Matt. 24, 25 describe the times of his coming again.  The signs are all around us.  He said, "look up for your redemption draws near." 

Whatever takes place in our future, I hope you have the peace of eternity; of knowing Jesus personally; that no matter what happens you are ready to meet God.  The scripture says, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (Jn 20:30-31)

It may be "Friday, But Sunday is coming"!

Friday, April 24, 2020

THE LION AND THE LAMB


He rises from His glorious throne
 
And slowly from His brow

Removes the iridescent crown

That He had worn 'til now.
 


Divests Himself of splendid robes
 
That shine with Heaven's light

And places on that noble seat

The scepter of His might.
 


And then amidst angelic tears

He bids His home farewell,

And plunging through the stratosphere

He rushes into Hell.
 


The little Lamb is born, where else?

Where lambs are born-- a stall;

With dirt and hay surrounding Him,

The King becomes a Thrall.
 


He blossoms to maturity,

And yet; there always looms

The knowledge that awaiting Him

Is voluntary doom.
 


The hour nears, to death He goes,

The Lamb-- a sacrifice,

A substitute for wicked men

He pays the awful price.
 


The wrath of God is now unleashed

And Vengeance has its hour.

The Lamb is shaken to the bone

As Justice shows its power.
 


The Hosts of Hell are laughing now.

They revel in the gloom

That covers earth when hands have placed

The Lamb inside the tomb.
 


Then all stand silent at the grave

An eerie calmness falls.

The crickets quit their merry chirps

The birds restrain their calls.
 


Their Maker lies unmoving now

So how can they rejoice?

The One who gave them leave to sing,

In death, has lost His voice.
 



The early light of Sunday seems

To break the mute despair

And then a sound unheard before

In triumph rends the air-
 



More grand than all the waterfalls

That rivers ever bore,

And louder than a million waves

That crash on rocky shores--
 

See how the leadership of Hell

Is shaken to the core,

For now from deep within the tomb

They hear the LION roar!



A stony chrysalis had wrapped

The wounded Lamb about.

What metamorphosis is this?

A LION has come out!



He rages, charges, wages war

In vain the demons flee.

He races through the dens of Hell-

The prisoners are free!



To heaven's gates He rides, they lift

Their heads to let Him in,

Its doors swing open to applaud

The Conqueror of sin.



The Father leaps in ecstasy

His Son at last is home.

With gladness He embraces Him

And leads Him to His throne.



The royal robes are donned again.

They crown Him King of Kings.

The vestibule of glory shakes.

Creation shouts and sings.



The saints in jubilation rush

To catch a better view.

The mighty Lion has returned-

The cherubs crowd in too.



And then their is a gasp of awe,

They view His feet and hands;

And learn the wondrous secret- that-

The LION is the LAMB.

--- J. D. Dean copyright 1986 Lionheart Music


We marvel and hold our breath in wonder at what is happening all around us and the changes one little virus has brought about in such a short time. Think on this: one little "virus" called sin has infected the whole human race and we wonder why evil persists.

The remedy for man's ills is Jesus, who left his glory in heaven and came into this world as a "lamb". He lived a perfect life and died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, but the tomb couldn't hold him. The third day he arose victorious over death, hell, and the grave as he said he would; the substitude and saviour of everyone who believes and trusts in Him.

Jesus said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:31) He said,"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Jn 3:16 Jesus also said, "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him. (Jn 3:35-36)

The lion became the lamb of sacrifice, to rise from the grave and is coming again as "King of kings and Lord of lords-Rev 19:16. Don't be afraid but be blessed and have peace in your soul with the "Lion" as your protector!





Saturday, April 18, 2020

WHERE TO FIND HELP IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

During times of stress and trouble, where do we find comfort, peace, strength, and help?  Ever since the beginning of the human experience, people have tried everything under the sun to answer those questions. "I can do it myself"! "I can...I think..."  
God says he is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble".  Our leaders say they will "take care of us!"  "Have no fear, we will take care of you!" Who do you believe?  God has been my refuge and help and comfort in all times. People often don't keep their word. I have found God to be faithful, loving, gracious, powerful and trustworthy.

In this time of pandemic, people are afraid and don't know who to believe has the answers and the means to help them with their needs.  If you rely on social media, you will find opposing views on what is truth and what will really help your need and give you peace.

If you believe we came from a big explosion or random combination of gasses or something like that, you will never be sure of your origin and eternal destiny.  But, if you believe in the God who created the whole universe including human life, and gave us an instruction manual to go with it all, then you can begin to find real peace and security no matter what happens in your life.

Religion is not the answer-there are all kinds of religions. Governments are not the answer.  Love, as the world see's it is not the answer.  "What the world needs now is love, sweet love..." Doing what's right" is not the answer...who determines what is right? 

The God of the Bible is the one who created it all and determines all of these matters and has the power to change everything and meet every need.  He wants to be a part of your everyday life. He wants to be invited in. He is a gentleman and does not force his way into your life.  He loves you so much, that he provided a way to have peace and security, no matter what the circumstances of your life may be, and have eternal life.  All of this can be yours, not in a religion, but in the person of the one who gave himself for you.  Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me" Jn 14:1

As his children, he gave us the privilege of prayer.  What is prayer?  Talking to God. As a believer, you have access to God through prayer anywhere, anytime. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened" Lk 11:9-10

 "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1

Sunday, April 12, 2020

"The Carpenter's Towel" He Is Risen!


For many people, Easter is holiday time.  For others, it is the time for thinking of flowers and things greening up.  New life!  Another season of new growth and warmer weather. 

Why all the fuss about Easter?  Christmas and Easter are the two "high holy days" for most Christians and therefore are celebrated around the world.  For others, Easter is just a holiday and also one of the big commercial times for business, next to Halloween and Christmas.  Easter is traditionally a family time with all kinds of activities for the kids.  Obviously, Easter egg hunts and candy and bunny rabbits are part of the picture in our celebration of Easter.  But why has Easter been such a big deal?

Jesus' resurrection from the grave, after having been crucified is the big deal!  Jesus was crucified at the time of celebration of the Jewish Passover.  One of his titles was  the "Lamb of God", spoken of as such by John the Baptist, "that takes away the sin of the world."  The point of the Passover was the celebration of deliverance from death during the last plague upon the land of Egypt, according to the account of Exodus chapter 12 in the Bible.  Jesus becomes the "Passover" for believers, in that He "saves" or "delivers" us from eternal death, by his sacrifice and our belief or "faith" in Him.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is at the core of the Christian Faith.  Christians have met on the first day of the week (Sunday) ever since His resurrection.  Every Sunday is, in a sense for most Christians, a celebration of the resurrected Savior.

The events that Easter commemorates is really the important part, after all is said and done!  The suffering and passion of Christ leading up to the crucifixion, the crucifixion itself; Christ's entombment and then resurrection and appearances to his disciples are the "big deal!"  As the Apostle Paul wrote:  "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. ...".  But, Christ is risen and we do have reason to celebrate if our faith rests in Him as our risen Savior.  Consider how Peter's hopes were possibly raised when he entered the empty tomb. 
 

In that day, there was one way a carpenter  would make known a job was finished. A signature, so to speak.  Imagine a hot afternoon in Galilee. Jesus has completed the final pieces of a job he has worked on for several days. The hair of his strong forearms is matted with sawdust and sweat. His face is shiny with heat. He takes a final-and welcome-drink of cool water from a leather bag. Then standing to the side of his work, he pours water over his face and chest, splashing it over his arms to clean himself before his journey home. With a nearby towel, he pats his face and arms dry.  Finally, Jesus folds the towel neatly in half, and then folds it in half again. He sets it on the finished work and walks away. Later, whoever arrives to inspect the work will see the towel and understand its simple message. The work is finished.

Christ's disciples, of course, knew this carpenter's tradition. On a Sunday of sorrow, three years after Jesus had set aside his carpenter tools, Peter will crouch to look into an empty tomb and see only the linens that the risen Lord left behind.  A smile will cross Peter's face as his sorrow is replaced by hope, for he will see the wrap that had covered Jesus' face. It has been folded in half, then folded in half again and left neatly in a place by itself.
Peter understands. The carpenter has left behind a simple message.
It is finished.  I am risen as I said!

After his resurrection, He appeared to his disciples and was with them for 40 days, then ascended up and is coming again someday. Just as sure as His first coming happened, his second coming is going to happen."Whoever believes in me shall not perish, but have everlasting life..." Jn 3:16