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? 


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 

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 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 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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Casting all Our Care Upon Him

March 23, 2017
8:00 p.m.
“Mom, what do we do? Do we keep thinking about them or do we try to forget?”
I look over at my oldest son and take a moment to gather my thoughts before responding.

I had arrived home in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 18, but although I had been travelling for 24 hours already, with only a few winks of sleep on the airplane, I couldn’t go straight to sleep. Instead, in the quiet stillness of our empty house I wandered around aimlessly. I had just come home from my first-ever short-term mission trip and suddenly I felt lost and confused.

What had particularly shaken me was when we had stopped to visit Anoud and Denise and their kids. In the seven years they had lived on our property in Haiti, they had become like family to us. Prior to us leaving Haiti, I had spent a lot of time worrying and praying about what would happen to them when we left and during that time I kept feeling like God was wanting me to give it over to Him, yet I struggled. Finally, it was time to leave and I had no other choice but to let them go.

When Jason returned to Haiti a few months later, I had the opportunity to video call with Denise and I was so thankful to see how well they were doing. Anoud had kept his job working at the house we lived in, and Denise had found new work and everyone was happy and healthy. Jason actually visited their new home and it was fun to see our old pictures hanging on their walls, and their kids playing with toys our boys had given them. Nicholas, their ten-year old son, proudly showed off a pair of roller skates he had gotten and was even whizzing around their house in them.

Now, almost 2 years later, things were a little different. Anoud, through circumstances beyond his control, had lost his job, and Denise was only working a few days a month. When Jason and I stopped in for a visit, we found them both home, including their youngest daughter, who was laying limply on a bed because she didn’t have the strength to go to school because she hadn’t eaten. 

Everything they once had, other than a few bare necessities had been sold for food, and the only food left in the whole house was a limp bunch of green onion. The paintings and pictures on the walls were gone, the toys were gone, the fans they used to own, even the blankets and pillows on their bed had all been sold. It was heartbreaking to see.

We had come with a huge food basket and ended up giving them money too, but it felt like only a temporary solution, as what they really wanted was work so they could provide for their family.

I honestly didn’t know how to respond and the one overwhelming feeling that kept boiling up inside was dismay.

Suddenly I felt shaken.

The word ‘shaken’ made me think of a song I sometimes listened to where one of the lyrics was We won’t be shaken.

I always had felt a little hesitant singing that song because it made me think of the words of Peter in Mark 14:29. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.  And we know how that turned out for him. Before the night was over he had denied Jesus three times.

But then, where did those words come from? I wondered. I found my answer in the book of Psalms.

I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8

He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6

Reading those verses helped my understanding to grow. If we take our eyes off of God and instead focus on the circumstances around us we can quickly become dismayed and feel shaken. Peter was literally walking on water, but the moment he took his eyes off Jesus he became afraid and began to sink.  Matthew 14:22-33 So to keep from being shaken we need to set the Lord always before us.

So we know we need to look to God and trust Him, but the Bible also tells us we need to love and care for our neighbor. Mark 12:31b says: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, and Phil 2:4 says: Look not every man on his own things (interests), but every man also on the things of others.

My struggle however, was not my unwillingness to love or help, but rather with knowing how to help in the best way. I am so quick to come up with solutions and try desperately to control the outcome that I soon find myself stepping into God’s place. God warns about this in Isaiah 45:5a I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:

I might stand alone on this, but I think often we make things so difficult for ourselves. Did you know that God has already before ordained the good works we are to do?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

And how are we to know what they are?

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct Thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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  

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

For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. Psalm 50:10  

After much prayer and giving over my burden of worry about Anoud and Denise and their family over to God, I felt Him directing me to message a friend regarding employment for them.

Silly me, was still surprised when she responded in the affirmative.

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? (Jesus) Matthew 8:26

And now, after a week of struggling and praying and learning and turning to God for direction I have the answers to my son’s questions. 

“We don’t need to try to forget them, or have that burden pressing down on our hearts. Jesus tells us to come to Him and give Him our burdens.”

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. Matthew 11:28-29

“And then as we pray and give our burdens to Him, He will teach us, and direct us, and show us, how to love our neighbours as ourselves and how to not only look out for our own interests but also the interests of others."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

An Understanding Heart

March 15, 2017
9:18 a.m.

The caravan’s wheels lift off the ground and just like that we’re air bound. 

Looking out the window I enjoy my familiar bird’s eye view of the changing landscape beneath me.

As I settle in for the 35 minute flight from Grand Diable, located on Haiti’s North West tip, to Port au Prince, the country’s capital, I think about what the staff at Lemuel told us about their experiences after Hurricane Matthew.

When they went out to survey the damage the hurricane had caused they found houses damaged, sheep and goats killed, and many gardens and canals washed out or covered in layers of mud and rock.

Instead of immediately getting to work addressing what they thought were the people’s greatest needs they had a community meeting and asked the people themselves what they felt the most pressing needs were.

Instead of the expected response of “Our homes are damaged and in need of repair and our livestock has died and needs replenishing,” they almost unanimously asked that their gardens be unearthed and the canals bringing water from the mountains be dug out. “We can fix our homes and slowly replenish our life stock,” they said. “But our gardens are our source of food and income, and without them we have nothing!” 

So that’s what Lemuel focused on. They set up food for work, and cash for work, programs and then got the community involved in unearthing gardens and digging out canals.

As I mulled over this lesson they had shared with us, it again struck me how important it is to really listen.

Back at home I wondered what the Bible had to say about listening and understanding and these are some of the verses I found:

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them. (Proverbs 20:12)

When God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said to him, “Ask what I shall give thee. (1 Kings 3:5b) Solomon’s response was: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart. (1 Kings 3:9a) In the next verse it says: And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. (1 Kings 3:10)

James, inspired by God, writes: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) And further on: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak(James 1:19a)

And the wise King Solomon, inspired by God, wrote in the book of Proverbs:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Let us take these inspired words to heart.

Whatever situation we find ourselves in, let us take the time to listen and see and understand and ask God for wisdom and direction before moving forward.