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


Thursday, April 9, 2020

What If?


What if you suddenly found out you had a terminal disease and not long to live?  What if the COVID19 threatened your life?  What if?  What if?
 It pays to stop and ponder the hard questions of life and ask your self,  “What if that happened to me?”  We prepare for a lot of  “what ifs”, but a shortened life is not something most people want to consider.  The problem with life is that it is both certain and uncertain.  We will face death and eternity one day- but when?  
I have often asked the question, “Does anyone have a guarantee you’ll wake up tomorrow”?  No one has ever answered that they do.  As someone has said, “there are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes”.   We can count on the tax bill coming at a certain time, but death can come anytime.  
I have experienced getting that call that a loved one has passed away.  Or, the call that someone has cancer, “would you pray for me?”.  Most people procrastinate getting in touch with God until some crisis or tragedy happens.   I’m sorry I waited until I was twenty-seven to make contact with God, but I’m glad I didn’t wait until later.  I’ve lost a lot of family and friends to diseases or accidents over the years and my faith in the Lord has helped sustain me.  
My best friend all through school days and into the married years dropped dead of a heart attack at work at the age of 29.  We got the call that our son was killed in a plane crash.  I’m so glad I established a relationship with God through Jesus Christ years ago that helps me understand His goodness, grace, and comfort in the good times and the hard times.  
The question asked most often about such matters is “why?”  There are answers for some things and not for others.  For example, sickness and disease have always been around.  We get old and  we die.  The body fails in some way, for some earlier and for some later.  Genetics has been found to play a major part in longevity and disease.  Our diet and habits have a great effect on our body’s ability to cope.  Stress and other factors play a major role.  Sports and recreational activities have their dangers.  Transportation and travel can be hazardous.  These practical things can provide answers to the question “why?”  But the answers beyond that get more difficult, if not plain unanswerable. 
 

God gets the blame most of the time for the natural results of the consequences of our human lives.  “Why didn’t God do something?”  “God, if you’re real, do something!”  God is real and God has provided for us in many ways.  He has provided for us to be prepared for death and eternity through Jesus Christ.  He has provided for people who believe in Him to have a direct line of communication with Him always through prayer.  He has given us His Word and its promises, to guide and comfort us in all situations.  He has given us technology to help our infirmities-some times.  He provides divine healing-sometimes. 

God our creator, loves people and has provided for their peace of  mind in the face of death through the death of His Son.  Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in  Me, though he die, yet he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in  Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”—John 11: 25,26
     Most of us don’t want to think in terms of eternity, but how long do you have before you face the question “what if…” and its eternal implications?


What if Jesus hadn't gone to the cross? What if he wasn't who he said he was? What if he hadn't been resurrected? As scripture says, "we would, of all men, be most miserable". To be without hope is miserable. To know the resurrected Jesus is hope and life and peace no matter what the "what ifs"!  
 There's Just Somthing About That Name  cello piano

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Week That Changed The World!

Spring is here! Easter is near.  There's a lot of fear. Covid19 has gotten everyone's ear! Preparations are in progress for celebrating one of the greatest events of history.  It will be done in a much different way this year. Regardless of the pandemic and politics and issues regarding the nation of Israel, this event took place there and “the one solitary life” is going to return there.  The Bible is clear about the reality of the event and the personage central to it.  Jesus was not married; had no children; was not buried in a family tomb.  He was crucified, buried (in a borrowed tomb), rose again the third day, was with his disciples for forty days after His resurrection, ascended to heaven, and is coming back again...the result of the week that changed the world!

Everybody's talking about this one who entered the city with people waving palm branches and shouting that the "King is here!"  The religious and political leaders are in a quandary because it seems "the world has gone after Him".  There is a plot to kill Jesus because so many are believing in Him.  They want to kill Lazarus too, who was raised from the dead by Jesus, because multitudes believed on Jesus on account of that great miracle.

No one man has had the impact on the world that Jesus has had.  He didn't raise a military force, or threaten to do acts of terrorism against his enemies.  He performed great miracles, not for his benefit, but always for the good of others.  His message was to be spread throughout the world - a message of love and redemption.  Never was his Gospel to be forced upon anyone, but was available to everyone.  Patricians to paupers were received by Him.  There has never been so unique a person as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  He was unique in His birth, His fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, His miracles, His life, death, and resurrection.  He was unique in the transformation of His disciples because of Him.  

His life is probably best summarized in the familiar essay "One Solitary Life" by Dr. James A. Francis ...

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth - His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centrepiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.  I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life."

Think about the uniqueness of Jesus and ask yourself "what is this Easter celebration really about".  Ask yourself how this Jesus of Nazareth impacts your life.  Hopefully you know Him. If you don't, let Him in: "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  

"I walked Today Where Jesus Walked" - music video by Max DeBeeson, cello

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Look For The Silver Lining!

 Have you ever noticed how negative you are?  Have you ever noticed how negative most people are?  Just like Chicken Little, people are prone the to be negative, to gripe and complain, to think the worst.  They take up a cause and say "the sky is falling...".  I didn't realize how negative I was until I started analyzing my own comments and reactions and how people in general think and speak each day.  If it is summer and the temperature is hot, most are complaining it's too hot.  If it's  winter and cold, the majority  wish it was summer and hot.  The truth is we're never satisfied with the way it is and fuss, fume, and frown. 

Misery loves company and we get in our little huddles and complain together!  It doesn't matter what the subject is, we want to share our negative thoughts with others and enjoy ourselves complaining and criticizing.  It could be pandemics, politics, the weather, employers, the spouse, whatever.  Try listening to yourself and others and see how quickly the negative stuff pops up.  Remember, when you point the finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you. 

The political scene is always a good target for negative comments and criticism.  From local to federal levels there are things to find fault with.  How about starting a campaign to find something good to say about the things we are so often negative about. Politics for example.  You might disagree with certain things about our leaders, but find something to praise them about.  It's a thankless job to be in government, but they put in long hours trying to make right decisions. Most are sincerely trying to do the jobs they are elected to do.  The federal government has some real challenges.  We can be thankful we live in a country where there is the freedom to vote, debate, and enjoy enormous opportunity to be whatever you want to be-or just complain. 

God is often the target of negative thinking.  Anything bad that happens, God gets the blame.  How about instead of blaming, we thank Him?  Thank Him for what?  Thank  Him you're still alive.  Thank Him for loving you - He does!  Thank Him for the good things in your life. (1Thess. 5:18 "In all things give thanks...").  Surely there must be some.  When difficult times come, think what you can be thankful for and count your blessings.  Usually, if you take a piece of paper and make two columns and write down the things you're thankful for and not thankful for (the positives and negatives), the positive one will be much longer than the negative one.  


When I lived on the coast in the Vancouver area, I purposed to notice how many days went by without sunshine.  There were not many days where the sun didn't shine sometime during the day.  That changed my outlook and attitude.  What about life?  Where is God in the things that happen every day, or in the pandemics of the day.  He is there if you look for Him.  "We know that all things work together for the good to those who love God:.." (Rom. 8:28).   That's what God says.  Look for the silver lining.  Look for the good that will come out of something.  There are a lot of good things happening now in the midst of crisis. Opportunities for greater love, caring, family time, refocusing our priorities, etc.

You might think the 10 commandments are negative.  But, they were given that we might understand how to live life.  They speak of love, loyalty, fidelity, honesty to God and man.  Christ's death on the cross might seem pretty negative until you look with faith to Him who loved you enough to die for you, that you might trust Him, be forgiven,  and live eternally. 

As to everyday living, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me".  Three words there can change your life.  I can do.  Personal - "I", positive - "can do",  all inclusive "all things"  through Jesus Christ.  Pretty positive message!

Think about it.  The next time someone makes a negative comment, try turning it around and mentioning the positive side.  It might change their outlook and attitude - and yours too!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Our Crazy World! Some cello music at bottom to soothe your soul!

We live in a crazy mixed up world these days.  It says in the Bible that in this period of history, good would be called evil and evil called good.  We are constantly bombarded with immorality that is somehow justified or "whitewashed" as socially acceptable in this "anything goes" world.  People that believe the Bible are labeled as bigots or ignorant, or old fashioned.  Who decides what is right or wrong?  Who has the right to judge another person's actions or lifestyle as good or bad, moral or immoral?  I certainly don't and neither do you.  One thing is for sure.  God, the creator of the heavens and earth and all creatures, does! 

God has given us a manual for life.  In it, we find the purpose of life and how to live that life.  In it, we find the basis of our common law and moral code.  God tells us what is right and wrong.  Many people don't want to hear what God says in His Word.  Many don't want to be restrained from whatever comes into their mind to do.  "If it feels good, do it!"  It is amazing that so many young people turn out ok when you look at the pressures they struggle with and the mixed signals that they get from people that supposedly do believe God's Word-the Bible. 

For example, what about marriage?  Why is it that changing the definition of marriage is this big thing?  Where did marriage and its rules come from anyway?  Hasn't marriage been an established sacred institution since anyone can remember?  It's no wonder the people of other cultures look at western nations, who are supposedly "Christian", and notice the videos, TV, movies, adultery, and perversions of our culture and call us the "Great Satan"!  It is such a confusing time when the moral fiber of our culture is being ripped apart by drugs, alcohol, assaults, murders, broken homes, sexual exploitation, pornography, corruption, and immorality of all sorts.  It all sounds pretty negative doesn't it?  It is!  


However, there is a positive side to all of this.  God has given us the most wonderful manual for life there is.  The Bible!  You say, "I don't believe in the Bible!"  Question.  Have you read it?  How much of it?  Even if you don't want to accept the truths concerning salvation and eternity, it has the greatest laws and principles to live by of any book in the world.  God has given us the absolutes of what is right and wrong.  How to get along with one another, even our enemies; how to work and raise our families;  which ethics and moral values to have.  If people lived by just the "great commandment", it would be a better world.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself". 

Jesus is considered to be the greatest man that ever lived, if not in fact, the Son of God.  His Word teaches us chastity until marriage - that being one man and one woman - honesty, to treat each other with love and without prejudice, respect for the roles of men and women, parents and children, respect and prayer for leaders of government, honesty and integrity of leaders, among many other wonderful teachings.  The greatest is that even though we are all guilty of sin, to one degree or another, we can be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.  The blessings of a good life are ours when we live by God's standards and trust Him for our eternal life.  Boundaries are a good thing for our safety and well - being and our creator has given us that which is needed.  Let's not ignore our maker and the standards he's given us for living.  We will be the better for it.  Our world will be just that much better because we do. Here's some of my cello music-Music For The Heart. Click on the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h5bKY3C6fw


Friday, March 27, 2020

Bumbleberry Pie!

 Bumbleberry pie is made of a variety of fruit.  Today's blog is made up various “thoughts”!

What has captured your mind today?  Worry about the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic?  Getting sick or not. Is it the dog's breakfast of politics?  Natural disasters, health issues, wars, loss of a loved-one, job loss?  There are so many things taking place all around us daily, we get on overload in trying to figure it all out.  As for politics, we surely need wise people in office to represent us in the affairs of community and nation.  Don’t complain if you don’t vote!  Better still, get involved in your community.  We are creatures of habit and prone to complain about whoever is in a place of position.  Just remember, you can’t please all the people all of the time.  Not even some people some of the time!  Whoever sits on the hot-seat, faces great challenges and responsibilities.  They will be pulled in opposite directions by  well meaning people.  Our leaders need to be respected, prayed for, and communicated with in straight forward – kind ways.

The matters of  mega weather and pestilence and natural disasters are another story.  We live in a time of instant news and have so much information about what’s going on in the world that it is scary and worrisome.  On the one hand, you can be thankful you live where you do, but what about these people in crisis in South and Central America, Africa and Asia?  The refugee crisis in the Middle-East and Europe? Fortunately there many organizations helping in these situations that you can help support and make a difference.  Many NGO organizations are on the scene before government authorities.  Many times it is Christian agencies that are there helping in these places, but are not mentioned much.  But, thankfully, people are being helped.  It seems so slow at times.  Should we be burdened in our thoughts about such things?  Of course we should…to a point.  We are still looked to as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, so why not?  It is very encouraging to think how people in this country respond to crisis anywhere.  Thankfully, Canadians are among the most generous people with their money and time.  However, when you look at what we spend a lot of our money and time on, it makes you wonder if our priorities are a little misplaced in the regular routine of day to day living!

As to the overwhelming deluge on every hand of problems weighing us down, it is natural to worry and fret and want to “fix” the problems.  However, we can’t “fix” a lot of the problems facing the world around us.  There is a power higher than ourselves we can turn to for wisdom and security thru thick and thin.  God is concerned about all things and wants to be invited into your life to share your burdens.  “If he is so concerned, then why doesn’t he do something about them?”  Actually, He has done something about them.  He’s given us instructions for daily living.  The Bible says, “Pray for those in authority…”;  “Come to me and I will give you rest…”;   “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, If you know?”;   "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”.  Rather than be burdened down, God wants you to be strengthened, encouraged, and lifted  up.  Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls….For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The encouraging part is that He is as close as a thought or a whisper. "Fear not, for I am with you..." (Isa 41:10)!! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How Much Does He Love You?

 Disclaimer: this was written years ago but sounds like today.

The warm weather is here and many have forgotten how hard the flu can hit.  What if there was a pandemic bug hit that there was no cure for?  What if the following scenario happened soon?...
    The day is over.  You are driving home.  You tune in your radio.  You hear a little blurb about a little village in Asia where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before.  It's not influenza, but three or four people are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they're sending some doctors over there to investigate it.  You don't think much about it, but later, you hear another radio spot.  Only they say it's not three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the disease control center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.
     Panic strikes. Once you get it, you have unbelievable symptoms.  And then you die.  It's spreading fast!  People are dying all over Europe.   The President of the United States makes the following announcement:  "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled."
You are at a meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, "Turn on a radio". You hear... "two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu."  Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across North America.  People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote.  Nothing is working.   It's as though it's just sweeping in from all across the globe.
     And then, all of a sudden the news comes out.  The code has been broken.  A cure can be found.  A vaccine can be made.  It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, everyone is asked to do one simple thing:  "Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken.  That's all we ask of you." 
    You and your family get to the hospital and they take your blood type and they say,  "Wait in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home."  Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming.  He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard.  What?  He yells it again!  And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's me."  Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy.  "Wait a minute, hold it!"  And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean.  His blood is pure.  We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease.  We think he has got the right type."  Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir.  Your son's blood type is perfect.  It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."  As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying.  But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, "May we see you for a moment?  We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need ...we need you to sign a consent form." 
    You begin to sign and then you realize that the number pints of blood to be taken is empty.   "H-h-h-how many pints?"  And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared.  We need it all."  But - but..." "You don't understand.  We are talking about the world here.  Please sign.  We - we need it all - we need it all!"  Can you sign?  Would you sign?"  In numb silence you do. 
   
    And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some people sleep through it, and some don't even come because they go to the lake, and some people come with a pretentious smile and must pretend to care,   you want to jump up and say, "MY SON DIED!  DON'T YOU CARE?"  Is this what God wants to say?  "MY SON DIED.  DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"  How much do you care?
    There is a pandemic that has plagued us since we were born.  It's called sin.  People have been searching for a cure for its effects through various means.  Religion, good works, or good intentions won't bring the cure.  Only the love of God through Jesus Christ brings the everlasting cure of forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in Him..."Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts.  
Maybe now we can  begin to comprehend the great love you have for us. " (...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1Jn 1:7;  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Jn. 14:27)"

Friday, March 20, 2020

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!