Saturday, June 24, 2017

Remind Me Who I Am

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:4-6

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn theeJeremiah 31:3

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eyeDeuteronomy 32:10

Ye are bought with a price1 Corinthians 7:23a

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; Isaiah 49:16a

I will love Thee, O Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my Salvation, and my High Tower Psalm 18:1-2

But Thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me; my Glory, and the Lifter up of mine head Psalm 3:3 

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermorePsalm 16:11 

Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to gloryPsalm 73:24

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Your Adversary, the Devil

Friday, June 16
10:30 a.m. 
Traffic is light as I turn onto Knight Road. Earlier this morning God had directed me to write the blog, Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith, and now I need to get a few errands done. As I’m driving God’s Spirit suddenly reminds me of the words of 1 Peter 5:8: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

I had just written how the Devil was the Father of Lies who blinds those who follow him lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the Devil obviously did not appreciate being exposed. The time for subtlety was long past. I was no longer blinded by his schemes and following him cheerfully, blissfully unaware of the danger I was in. I was, through God’s Spirit, encroaching on his domain and he wasn’t going to take it sitting down. 

It didn’t take long for retaliation to begin. At our first stop my two youngest sons began to fight so incessantly, I had to turn around and go home. My boys fight occasionally, but it’s never been that bad that the only solution was to go home. The day didn’t get better. Everything that could possibly irritate, annoy and frustrate me happened. Later my husband came home and we quickly began fighting too. It was over something so insignificant I can’t for the life of me even remember what it was about!  Discouraged and defeated I turned to God. He quickly reminded me of His word. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. James 4:7-8a 

He then reminded me of the armour of God. 
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:10-18 

One commentary explained it like this: “You are in a spiritual battle. If you are ignorant or ignore that fact, you probably aren’t winning the battle.” D. Guzik 

 “Even though Satan’s ultimate defeat is guaranteed, Christians must not take his works lightly. He wages a daily war for our hearts and minds.” B. Graham 

 “This is your armor from God to fight spiritual battles. In your own strength Satan is a formidable enemy; but when you are properly armed for spiritual warfare, you can stand against the devil’s schemes.” B. Graham 

 “While aware of Satan’s work we must be even more aware of the real source of Power: Jesus Christ. Satan is a defeated foe. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of lords.” B. Graham 

One of Satan's tactics is to create division. "Divide and conquer" is a motto he came up with. Jesus knew this and instead prayed for unity among believers
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. John 17:20-21 

Satan loves division. If he can divide us, we become easier targets. Even within our own families when we fight and argue and disagree amongst each other, we quickly lose our unity and forget that we are on the same side. 

Now when my children fight amongst each other I ask them: "Do you think the Devil is happy you are fighting?" Even very little children can quickly grasp that Satan loves it when they fight and call each other names and hurt each other.  “That makes Satan happy? Well then I don’t want to do that!” was Justin’s quick response. 

Be alert. Be wary. Know your enemy and his tricks. 

Spurgeon explains it this way:
"TO BE A CHRISTIAN is to be a warrior. The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battlefield. Neither must he reckon upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God. His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the panoply provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, "This warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare; this prophesies opposition." Difficulties meet us even in standing our ground; for the apostle, two or three times, bids us-"Stand." In the rush of the fight, men are apt to be carried off their legs. If they can keep their footing, they will be victorious; but if they are borne down by the rush of their adversaries, everything is lost. You are to put on the heavenly armor in order that you may stand; and you will need it to maintain the position in which your Captain has placed you. If even to stand requires all this care, judge ye what the warfare must be! The apostle also speaks of withstanding as well as standing. We are not merely to defend, but also to assail. It is not enough that you are not conquered; you have to conquer: and hence we find, that we are to take, not only a helmet to protect the head, but also a sword, with which to annoy the foe. Ours, therefore, is a stern conflict, standing and withstanding; and we shall want all the armor from the divine magazine, all the strength from the mighty God of Jacob." C. Spurgeon 

 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Friday, June 16, 2017

Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith

Did you know that the Devil is the father of lies? If you’ve never looked to Jesus for your salvation, the Devil is your father too. He will continue to deceive you with his lies until it is too late. It’s a scary thought isn’t it? To belong to the Devil. 

When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44b 

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.2 Corinthians 4:4 

God on the other hand is perfect. He is holy. He is the Father of lights. He never lies. He never changes. Through Jesus, God can be our Father too. 

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath He said, and shall he not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil 1:2

The Devil wants us to believe that our salvation is somehow about us: our feelings, our emotions, our understanding of our misery (which is never enough), and our experiences. 

Salvation is really all about Jesus. 

Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith
Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Hebrews 12:2a 

Jesus, the Son of God
 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 3:16-17 

Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 

Jesus, the One who must be lifted up
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 

Jesus, the one who was wounded, bruised and chastised for our sins
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 

The Devil wants to trip us up, confuse us, make us doubt we can be saved, and when we fall into his traps he is very pleased. The only way we can be free from his lies is by the truth. 

Jesus is the Truth
Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 

Make sure what you are believing is really the truth. 

One lie Satan uses to immobilize us is the lie: What if I don’t feel my misery enough? Spurgeon uses the illustration of a house on fire to deal with this question. If your house is on fire should you wait for it to become fully involved before trying to escape it? Shouldn’t the smoke alarms going off be enough to rouse you from your sleep and look for a way of escape? Or the frantic calling of a loved one be enough to get you to look for a way of escape? Or the smell of smoke? Or even the smallest hint of fire? 

Outside of Jesus we are all in grave danger. Our house is on fire, whether we fully grasp it yet or not! Outside of Jesus, God’s wrath cannot be satisfied. 

For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29 

Outside of Jesus is eternal damnation, everlasting punishment, torment, worms that never die, and a fire that is never quenched. 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 2 Thes 1:8-9 

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:45b-46 

Life is temporary. We have no idea how much time we have left. Today might be our last day. We still have time to escape the torment of hell where the rich man ended up. 
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, Luke 16;23a 

Jesus could return at any moment. 
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thes 5:2-4 

Shouldn’t we use the time God has given us wisely? The Bible says how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? 
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Hebrews 2:3a 

Are we really going to waste the time God has given us? As we read these warnings, will we harden our hearts? 
Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Hebrews 3:15b 

Today is the day of salvation. For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. 
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 

Jesus must be our focus. 
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 

Only Jesus can save us from the wrath of God. 
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:8-9 

Come to Jesus. He is our only hope and He promises to save all those who come to Him. All that The Father giveth unto Me will come unto me and he that comething unto Me I will in no wise cast out.  John 6:37

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Truths To Live By:

Remember Who made us

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. Gen 1:27 

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; Ecclesiasts 12:1 

Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:3 

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand. Isaiah 64:8 

Our sin separates us from God

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23 

We need a Saviour, a Mediator. 

For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 

Our only hope is Jesus

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts16:31 

When we believe in Him, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:4a 

We must daily, consciously, abide in Christ and let His Spirit fill us. 

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. John 15:5 

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring: Isaiah 44:3 

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14 

Abiding in Christ and being Spirit filled, gives us love, joy and peace regardless of our circumstances

And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. Acts 13:52 

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:5 

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Jesus) John 14:27

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

He Ever Lives to Make Intercession For Us

Do you ever think about eternity?

The Bible tells us we should.
Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2

One thing that I’ve been thinking about is, in eternity, what truth that I would know/see would have made me live differently if I had truly embraced that truth while on earth?

As I thought about it: I was reminded of this verse: Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Would I have had any anxious thoughts knowing that Jesus was always interceding on my behalf? 

Would I have focused so much on the here and now if I knew that Jesus was interceding for me every moment of every day?

Would I have spent so much time on things that had no eternal value if I had considered the truth of His interceding?

Would I have been more full of joy if I had truly embraced that truth?

Jesus urges us in Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I don’t want to waste my life. 

I don’t want to fill my life with regrets. 

God has given us His Word. Let’s read it, study it, hide the words in our heart, embrace the truths it teaches and do what He commands.

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Hebrews 4:14

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jesus Only

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. 

One subject I’ve been particularly wrestling with is how we can so quickly over value and over emphasize our personal experiences. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I think it is important and even encouraging when we share with others what God has done/is doing in our lives, but if that becomes the focal point of our salvation we are missing the point. 

Let’s take a look at some of the conversion experiences in the book of Acts: 

Paul has a pretty spectacular one. A light appears from heaven. He falls to the ground and hears the voice of Jesus saying “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?” He then experiences three days of blindness. God then appears to Ananias in a vision and tells him to go to Paul. Ananias speaks to Paul. The scales fall from his eyes. He receives His sight back, gets up and is baptized. He then goes to the synagogues and preaches that Jesus is the Son of God. (Acts 9:1-20) 

The Ethiopian Eunuch also had an interesting experience. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship but had not found the answers he was looking for. The Spirit directs Philip to the road where the Eunuch was traveling on and then tells Phillip to join himself to the chariot of the Eunuch. Philip runs to join up with him and hears him read from the prophet Isaiah. “Understandest thou what thou readest?” He asks him. The Eunuch responds by saying “How can I, except some man should guide me?” Philip then Opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. After hearing what Philip has to say the Eunuch asks if he can be baptized. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Philip then disappears from sight and the Eunuch goes on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:26-39 

Lydia’s story in Acts 16:14 is much shorter and simpler. It says she worshiped God. God opened her heart. And she attended unto the things which were spoken of by Paul. 

The people listening to a sermon where Peter points them to Jesus gladly received the word and were baptized. Three thousand souls were added to the church that day. Acts 2:41 

Do we ever hear Paul say, “Only my conversion experience is true because I literally saw a light and heard the voice of Jesus speaking to me?” No. 

Do we ever hear the Eunuch say, “Only my conversion experience is true because God’s Spirit actually directed Philip to me, and then made him disappear? That was truly a miracle, so that proves what I experienced must have been the real thing!” 

It says about Lydia that God opened her heart. God opens the heart of all those who believe in Jesus, but it doesn’t make for the best, most exciting story does it? How can you explain that and turn it into something tangible? 

The people listening to Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 don’t have that much of a story to tell either. “We were listening to this man Peter, who pointed us to Jesus and we gladly received the word and we were baptized.” 

That’s it? 

Yes. 

But their belief in Jesus was just as real as the others, for it says that three thousand souls were added to the church that day. 

So what we can learn from these different conversion experiences was that their commonality was not in their experiences, but in their believing in Jesus, the Son of God. 

Does God work in different ways? Obviously. 

Is one way better than another? No. 

William Cowper says: “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;” 

Some people God stops in their tracks with a light from heaven, while others like Timothy were believers from childhood. 

What God uses to draw us and direct us to Jesus shouldn’t be the focal point of our salvation, however. 

Jesus is. 

When we focus on our own experiences, or other people’s spiritual experiences our focus is off-center. All our focus for our salvation must be on Jesus. 

Anytime I look at myself too long I quickly become discouraged and filled with self-doubt, and for good reason too. 

Paul says: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24 

It also can cause others to stumble and doubt if they feel their experiences don’t measure up to other people's experiences. 

Also, our emotions/feelings/perceptions are constantly changing and can’t be trusted. We quickly start to wonder, Was that experience real? Or did I imagine it? Was it big enough? That other person’s experience sounds way more powerful than mine, so maybe mine wasn’t real. 

We need to stop looking at ourselves! 

Instead let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus. 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Hebrews 12:2 

Jesus the unchanging one. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8 

Jesus. 
The Beloved Son of God. 
The Holy One. 
The Sinless One. 
The Perfect One. 
Our Saviour. 
Our Mediator.
Our only Comfort.
Our only Hope.

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29b 

The only way we can be saved is through Him! 

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9 

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:29-31

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Most Important Question

What’s the most important question you could ever ask and what is the answer?  

What must I do to be saved? Acts 16:30b 

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16: 31 

It’s not about how much faith you have, but about WHO you have faith in. 

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:24 

It’s not about the strength of our convictions, or if we fully grasp how miserable and lost we really are. It’s not about what experiences God uses for us to see our need of a Savior. Salvation is all about Jesus. It’s about who He is and what He has done. 

He is our only Hope. 

Our only Comfort in life and death. 

We’ve got no one else to turn to and nothing left to lose. 

Come to Him. 

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Jesus) Matthew 11:28-29 

All that the Father giveth me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Rev 22:17 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:14-16 

Jesus paid it all. 

He willingly offered Himself up for us. 

The perfect, holy, beloved Son of God. 

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (God) Matthew 3:17 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 

This Jesus, 
Who was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 

This Jesus, 
Who was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: Isaiah 53:3 

This Jesus, 
Who hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: Isaiah 53:4 

It’s all about Him. 

We so quickly want to make it about us. 

Our convictions. 

Our tears. 

Our experiences. 

But God's Word says: I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: Phil 3:8b 

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags; Isaiah 64:6a 

It’s not about us. 

It’s all about Him. 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; Phil 2:10 

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29b

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Annual Garage Sale/Plant Sale/BBQ/Car Wash

Dear family and friends,
You're invited to our annual Mission Garage sale / Plant sale / BBQ / Car Wash Fundraiser to support our work with Hungry for Life! - Bring a friend.

Saturday, May 13
8 AM - 2 PM
Chilliwack Free Reformed
Church 45471 Yale Road,
Chilliwack, BC

If you have items you would like to donate they can be dropped off at the church the day before. If you cannot attend but would still like to make a tax deductible donation, you can do so online by clicking here or email us at jkrul@hungryforlife.org. Thanks for helping us make this another successful event and hope to see you there!

Friday, April 28, 2017

To Him be the Glory

This story has been sitting in my notebook for weeks. Half written. Partial sentences. Unfinished. 

To be honest, I’ve been resisting writing it. I know that God is wanting me to share; to be transparent, but I’d rather not. 

But then He reminds me of Jonah. 

When my oldest son was a toddler his favorite story was the story of Jonah. So we read that one a lot. He liked the excitement of the big storm, the intrigue of the big fish that swallowed Jonah, and the wonder of how after three days the fish vomited Jonah onto the dry land. 

What struck me about the story, however, was the embarrassment of it all. Did Jonah really think he could run away from God? And what about His anger with God over sparing the Ninevites? 

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? Jonah 4:1-4 

Right through to the end, there is nothing commendable written about Jonah. Yet God even takes the bad and used it for His good. Did you know that Jesus used the story of Jonah as a sign for His own resurrection? 

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:38-40 

On a side note: How many of us are like the Scribes and Pharisees and think in our hearts: “Unless God gives me a sign or miraculous experience to prove He has elected me I won’t believe in Jesus either?” 

But I digress. 

Back to the story of Jonah, the question is, would I be willing to write/share such a story about myself? 

My answer was ‘No’ until I realized that the story wasn’t really about Jonah at all. It’s a story about God. It’s His story. It reveals His character and His glory and when we look at it in that light, Jonah fades into the background, as should we. 

So here goes: 

It’s Wednesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. The house is a mess. The kids are racing around. None of us have eaten dinner and no one is remotely ready for bed. 

Jason had just arrived home the day before from Cambodia and to celebrate his return after a month of travel and to satisfy his cravings for a real North American hamburger we had planned to go out for dinner. But, as God would have it, an hour before we were planning to leave Jason’s pager goes off for a HAZMAT call. There was some kind of chemical spill at the local pool and help was needed. So we waited, hoping he would return in time so we could still go out for dinner but it wasn’t to be. 

Calling to apologize and suggest just making something quick at home instead, Jason soon hangs up to continue his work at the scene. Walking to my pantry, I marvel at the fact that I feel lighter. It suddenly doesn’t matter that we won’t go out to eat, or that I have to scramble to put something together for dinner, or that I will once again have to get all the kids ready for bed myself – and now even later than normal. The difference is, is that although Jason might not physically be here, he’s back home. Also, I don’t have to be the one to make the decision about waiting longer for him to come home or making something quickly at home – he did. Having someone to share the burden with feels good. 

Right then and there the Holy Spirit convicts me. If I had been feeling alone or burdened while Jason was away that meant one thing. I was a hearer and meditator of God’s Word, but not a doer. I was not giving Him my burdens. Instead I was for the hundredth time trying to do things on my own, by myself, in my own strength, my own way. 

And you know what the sad thing was: - I knew all the verses: 

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7 

But just knowing the verses isn’t enough. 

The Bible says: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 

This means that I have to consciously, actively, daily, come to Jesus and give him my burdens. I should never try to carry them on my own but always take them to Him. He in turn will care for me, direct me and give me a peace that passes all human understanding.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Matthew 7:24-25 

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17 

And of course I realize there is nothing wrong about being thankful that my husband is back home and the Bible even says: Two are better than one (Eccl 4:9a) But that doesn’t change the fact that the One we are to give our burdens, our cares, our anxieties and our struggles to, is God. He is the One who cares for us and teaches us and loves us. He disciplines us and points us time and again to His Word. How wonderful, how amazing, how great is our God! Mere words fall short. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Phil 4:20

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Bread of Heaven

Nowadays a lot of emphasis is placed on eating healthy foods. Every day there are new articles about processed foods, GMO’s, and too much sugar and the dangers of an unbalanced diet and over eating. To be honest, I find myself second-guessing more and more what I feed my children. Maybe I shouldn’t give them cereal or waffles for breakfast. Who knows? 

It’s not wrong to take good care of our bodies and make healthy choices, but still, could it be, that we’re overly focused on the temporal? Our bodies are slowly aging and ultimately will die, or be transformed in a moment when Jesus returns. (1 Corinthians 15:52) Our souls, however, will either live forever or be eternally damned. 

Jesus says in the famous Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:31-33 

The good news about God’s Word is that there is nothing unhealthy or bad about it. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16 

You also can’t overeat and will only get fat in a good way :). 
Psalm 1:1-3 says: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper

And in Jeremiah 17:5-8 it says: Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit

So now we know it’s important to eat spiritual food, the more the better, and God promises spiritual health and fruitfulness to those who trust in Him and meditate on His Word, but lets back up a little. In order to be spiritually fed we need to believe who God is and what He says. 

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 

And there is only one way to come to God. 

Jesus. 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. John 14:6 

If you are not a believer in Jesus you are abiding in the wrath of God. It’s a very scary place to be in. If you are not looking to Jesus as a substitute to pay the price for your sin you will have to pay for it yourself. 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, 1 Peter 3:18a 

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36  

There is nothing that will satisfy God’s wrath against sin except the perfect blood of Jesus. 

Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:9 

That’s why there is something called everlasting punishment. Outside of Christ, God’s wrath can never be satisfied and therefore there is everlasting destruction for all those who refuse to obey the gospel. 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 2 Thesalonions 1:8-9 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 

For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 
And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. John 6:33-35

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spiritual Malnourishment

Have you ever felt hungry? What do you do when you’re hungry? You eat right? It’s pretty simple. 

What about spiritual hunger? Have you ever experienced that? I have. It’s this ache inside that won’t go away. You may try to appease this hunger with food or material goods but it doesn’t help. It often makes you feel even worse. 

Most of us eat everyday. But do we have a regular diet of spiritual food? Jesus says in Mathew 4:4b Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God

 In January 2016 I was struggling. We had been back in Canada, the land flowing with milk and honey, for six months, but spiritually I was drying up. While in Haiti I had a regular devotional time with God, but in Canada, very quickly distractions began to infiltrate my life and my time alone with God began to slip. I spent less and less time in His Word and was unknowingly becoming more and more malnourished. 

Then one day, God directed me to a book that challenged me to once again renew my daily devotional time with Him. Although very sleep derived due to a colicky baby, I obeyed and very quickly my life began to change. The daily sitting at God’s feet and eating of His Word, and listening to His directions revived me. As days went by, instead of sighing as my phone alarm buzzed at 6:00 a.m. I was excited to get up and spend more time alone in God’s presence. 

The more time I spent with God, the more He revealed Himself to me and the more I loved Him. Day after day I carefully read through the book of Psalms and then felt God directing me to some less well-known books like Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Hosea. After I finished those I went on to study Ephesians, Acts and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I then felt God directing me to Isaiah. To be honest I kind of looked up against it, as Isaiah is a long book and I thought it would be obscure and hard to understand. Was I ever wrong! The book of Isaiah is an absolutely incredible, beautiful book revealing a lot about who God is, and what He says, and how He deals with His people. It also has incredible revelation of Jesus, which makes it really hard for me to understand how the Jews could read that book today and still deny that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Some of the verses I wrote down in my notebook this morning were these: 

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Isaiah 54:10 

O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. Isaiah 54:11-12 

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 

That’s just a few of the verses I was reading and mediating on today. Sometimes I feel like I should just copy the whole book into my notebook since there are so many beautiful, powerful passages! I’ve been study/reading/meditating on the book of Isaiah for three months now and I’m still not done. 

So I urge you dear friends, maybe you are struggling, sick, hungry, not knowing that you are suffering from spiritual malnutrition. Drink the milk of God’s Word, then as you grow stronger, eat the solid food, let God teach you and grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 


 “Thy testimonies evermore shall be 
The perfect source of all my inspiration.” 
Psalter 428:7

Thursday, March 30, 2017

You Shall Know The Truth

“Mom, you know what we are learning about in Bible class at school?” I turn to look at the animated face of my oldest son and smile. “No. What are you learning about?”

“We are learning about how the Israelites sinned and were bitten by snakes and then how God commanded Moses to make a brazen serpent and all the people had to do was look at the serpent and they were healed. And you know what? Even if the people doubted and just kind of peeked over their shoulder, even then they were healed! All they had to do was look! I’m going to listen to the story again!” I watch as he runs off, finds the iPad, turns on the audio Bible app and soon is raptly listening to every detail of the story.

Listening to him brings back memories of the first time I really read an account of that exact same story in the New Testament.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:14-17

I remember reading it over again and thinking to myself, is this really true? Can it be that simple? Just look to Jesus and be saved?

Spurgeon asked the same question and says this of his conversion experience:

"I know that I, too, once belied Him; when I felt my sins to be a great burden I said within myself, ‘I will go to Jesus, but perhaps He will reject me.’ I thought I had much to feel and to do to make myself ready for Him, and I therefore did this and that, but the more I did the worse I became. I was like the woman who spent her money on physicians and did not get better, but rather grew worse. I fully understood that there was life in a look at Christ, that all I needed was to simply trust, to come as I was and put my case into His dear pierced hands, and leave it there, yet I still did not think it could be so; it seemed so simple—how could it be true? I thought when I came to Him He would say to me, ‘Sinner, you have rejected Me so long, you have mocked Me by saying prayers which you did not feel; you have been a hypocrite and joined with God’s people in singing My praises when you did not praise Me in your heart.’ I thought He would chide me and bring ten thousand sins to my remembrance. Instead of that, it took only a word, and it was all done. I looked to Him, the burden was gone." (C.H. Spurgeon)

“The method is simply a word from Him and a look from you, and all is done. You have only to trust in Jesus and you are saved; made a new creature in an instant; set on your feet again to start a new life with a new power within you, which shall conquer sin.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Maybe you too think it can't be that simple. Yet every day brings us one day closer to eternity. Don’t you want to know the truth for yourself before you die? Then be like the Bereans and study scripture for yourself!  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

"The turning point in my life was when I decided I wanted to know the truth, even if it was inconvenient.” R. Warren

“Truth can be discovered, but first we have to have an attitude of openness that says, “I want the truth more than anything else.” Once you choose that attitude, you can discover the truth." R. Warren

God’s Word is the truth.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-2

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:22

And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:15-16

For How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Hebrews 2:3

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Does The Gospel Mean To You?

One of the ladies Bible studies I attend recently started a new book to study, and one of the questions the leader wanted us to answer was: ‘What does the gospel mean to you?’ 

To dig deeper, I often turn to commentaries and was about to go online to dig deeper into some of the key gospel verses when I stopped. The questions wasn’t 'What does the gospel mean to others?' The question was 'What does the gospel mean to me?' and as I thought about it, I felt God challenging me to come up with an answer on my own.

The gospel is really the best news ever!

As a child, I remember feeling frustrated and even upset with Adam and Eve. Why did they have to go eat that fruit and mess it all up for the rest of us? But the more I thought about it the more I became frustrated and upset with myself too. Why did I often, even deliberately, choose to sin. If only I had maintained sinless perfection since birth, maybe then I wouldn’t have to eternally die.

But I was missing a big part of the story.

Even as a young child I knew the bad news, but I didn’t know the good news.

It was true that because of Adam’s sin death entered into the world and it was also true that I had sinned. Romans 5:12 says: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
But that wasn’t the end of the story. It could have been. God would have been perfectly just to condemn us all, but instead, amazingly enough, He provided a way that we could be saved.

Romans 5:18 says:
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

What great news!

Romans 6:23 says:  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

According to God’s Word there are only two responses to God’s unspeakable Gift. Either you receive Him or you reject Him. There is no neutral; no middle ground.

John 1:12
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:

John 12:48
He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (Jesus)

Matthew 10:40
He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent me. (Jesus)

Mark 6:11
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Jesus)

So the question that comes to each of us is how will we respond to this unspeakable Gift? Will we receive Him or reject Him? The answer really is the difference between eternal life and eternal death.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

So what does the gospel mean to me?
Mere human words fail to express the wonder and amazement that wells up inside me as I consider the mercy and grace and love of God to save us from the eternal death we all deserve and instead, by giving us His Son, washes away all our sins and gives us everlasting life, forever with Him!

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15