Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who Are You Feeding?

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:8

Just as we feed our physical bodies that which is nourishing for health and strength, so too we are to feed our inner man that we might overcome the temptation of sin. However, just as when we eat the wrong foods on a regular basis we suffer the consequences of ill health, so too by not feeding upon the living Bread we can become spiritually weak.

Scripture warns us to not sow to the flesh because what we sow we shall reap. Not only do we suffer consequences for our sin, but we quench the Holy Spirit's working and thereby feel the effects of death in our lives.

Galatians gives us a synopsis of the contrasts between the flesh and the Spirit. By abiding in Christ we will bear the fruits of the Spirit, but if we allow our fleshly lusts to be indulged, we will begin to express the works of the flesh. So be careful what you eat, it may have ramifications you never desired or expected.

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
1 Peter 4:1-2

Monday, November 27, 2006

Missions Monday

I have decided to highlite one mission each week. So to start off this hopefully soon to be tradition, I decided to pick a domestic mission that is rarely glamourized by the Church.

When one thinks of a rescue mission, immediately a picture of skid row enters your mind where drunken bums lie in filth, intoxicated by any numbers of mind numbing drugs. Our initial reaction is to turn away in disgust not wishing to become stained by their filthiness and rank odour.

I remember when as a boy while waiting for the bus one time, a drunken man who had obviously urinated in his clothing came into the bus shelter and lay down on the bench to take a nap. Of course I was immediately taken back at his appearance wondering why on earth people would stoop to such a state. Of course, we were no worse than these visibly sin racked individuals. Perhaps the only difference being our sin was hidden and carefully manicured. But underneath it all, the depravity of the human heart can lead each one of us to this miserable state.

Pacific Garden Mission is the longest continuous running rescue mission in America. Since 1877, the "Old Lighthouse" has been meeting the spiritual needs of some of Chicago's most down and out individuals.

Famous evangelists such as Billy Sunday and Mel Trotter were both won to Christ through the faithful preaching of men serving there. D.L. Moody was also involved in the early days of PGM.

I first heard about this mission through a weekly radio program they produce called "Unshackled", dramatizing the lives of men and women who came to Christ. Incidentally, Unshackled is also the longest running radio show in history. I was very impressed with the quality of both the show and the content of the message.

I encourage you to check out for yourself the ministry of Pacific Garden Mission. You can listen to a past drama online right here.

Praise God for faithful men and women who were willing to go and minister to the outcasts of society.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rest Sweet Rest

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Heb. 4:10-11

God had prepared a marvelous land for His people, a land full of milk and honey, a land overflowing with the abundance of minerals and trees, a land of rivers and streams. Yet in spite of all this, Israel disobeyed God through unbelief, and a whole generation perished in the wilderness. Of the men over 20, only Caleb and Joshua were granted the right to enter in and possess the good land.

This story gives us great pause to consider the consequences of disobeying a holy and righteous God. After all the miracles God had shown Israel and His mighty deliverance through the Red sea and the wilderness, still a rebellious Israel doubted God's word and grumbled and complained in the wilderness. Because of that they were prevented from enjoying what their eyes had seen.

While obviously the spiritual ramifications are huge in this story. The Old Testament was not written simply as an historical book, or as a bunch of nice little fairy tales, but "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Rom. 15:4
Therefore it behooves us to understand the application of this story to our christian lives today. We know that God had promised Israel rest from her enemies, and a land to call their own where they could have peace and security from their foes. While they were in Egypt they had worked like animals as slaves of Pharaoh. There is a beautiful picture of our salvation in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Throughout scripture Egypt has been referred to as the world. Consider the following verses:

By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
Heb. 11:29

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Cor. 10:1-11

Why did Paul mention this? It was because he was giving the Corinthians a stern warning on what would happen should they continue in disobedience and sin. Here was his reason for quoting these verses;

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Cor. 9:24-27

Paul was comparing the christian life to a race and urging his readers on to the finish line. Obviously there were things that could disqualify a person from receiving the prize, Paul knew that even though he had preached to others and been given the revelations of scripture, he was capable of missing out simply by allowing his sinful flesh to remain unchecked.

The goal of Israel's exodus was the land of Canaan. Yet many that left Egypt missed out on the inheritance God has promised them and instead wasted away their years in the wilderness. Sure, God took care of their needs as their clothing did not wear out and they never lack for food. Yet they missed the purpose for which they had been set free. They failed to enter into the rest.

Our purpose as christians is not simply to come out of the world, be a separate people and live happy, healthy lives. Rather God has given an inheritance, and this inheritance is in Christ. Christ himself is our rest, our portion, our good land. He is our meat, our drink, our true bread, and our righteousness. By faith let us lay hold of everything God has for us in Christ. May we not look back in regret as we see the missed opportunities of putting faith into action and seeing the mighty hand of God intercede on our behalf. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2 John 1:8

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are You Antinomian?

This word has been used a lot lately around the blogisphere in what my good friend and "heretic" brother in the Lord would call a theological cussword.

While their are many nuances to this word, my basic understanding would be that antinomianism is the setting aside of the law. So an antinomianist would be one who preaches lawlessness or disregard for law keeping.

Am I correct in this assumption? How do you see the position of the law in a believers life? How does the law of Moses relate to our christian walk?

Who Owns Your Soul?

"Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Matt. 16:21-23"

Why did Jesus forbid his disciples from revealing who He was?

Was Satan actually in Peter when Jesus rebuked him?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Presuppostional Profundity

I was helping my son with a math question today and came to understand something important yet very basic. If in his long division work he made an elementary mistake at the beginning, his efforts would be in vain as his answer would necessarily be wrong.

Isn't this how a lot of people spend their time and efforts? They make an incorrect assumption somewhere in the beginning of life and the mistake costs them dearly along the way.

So too, we can come to the Word of God making statements or conclusions based upon an incorrect presuppositional platform. This affects our understanding of God's word profoundly making us jump through theological hoops to make sense. We then further add to the dilemna by quoting commentators or theologians who also made the same mistakes, thereby intensifying the problem and creating confusion for future readers and followers.

Foundational Groundwork

It is imperative that we come to the Word of God without a preconceived bias or agenda. Rather we come simply asking God to confirm His Word by His Word. That is, we use scripture to explain scripture. Sounds simplistic doesn't it? It is! However, the problems come when we attempt to use our natural rationale or understanding to deduct spiritual principles, or worse, to discount the commands of Christ in favour of lessor constraints. We in effect become like the pharisees who arm twisted the law to fit their own traditions, conveniently circumventing the purpose of the law, which was to drive them to Christ.

So while I accept the sheer impossibility of any bias or presuppostions when coming to the word (as my brother Bobby points out), we must ask God for clarity and revelation to grasp the mysteries hidden from the natural mind. Thus the imperative to be transformed by the renewing of our minds becomes expedient and practical.

A Banquet Table

Lastly, the Word of God was given to us for many reasons, but one of the chief reasons was for our edification. We are exhorted to feed upon His Word as the bread of Life. Christ Himself is our true drink and our true meat. His logos simply helps us to hear His rhemas, which by the way never contradict what He has written. He has given us all things richly for our enjoyment, Christ Himself is our portion. Enjoy Him today!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Questions

I am going to ask you some questions that have been bouncing about in my head. They are in no particular order...but I would love to hear from my fellow bloggers on how you see them in a Biblical light.

Please refrain from quoting a commentary or other scholarly work, and from the pages of scripture alone explain why you believe what you do about these points.

Also, please only answer one question per comment. I am not looking for a single "right" answer, but eagerly wanting to know how you see them.

1. Who are the demons, and what is their origin?

2. What does the verse "they shall be saved, yet so as by fire" mean?

3. What habitation did the angels in Jude 6 leave to be bound in everlasting chains?

4. Who are the Nephilim in Genesis, and where did they come from?

5. What colour was Adam's skin?

6. Why were the Rechabites commended by God?

7. Is the millenium a literal thousand years?

8. In Luke 4:6 Satan claimed to control all the glory and power of the world. Was there validity in his claim?

9. Why did Jesus stop in mid sentence when quoting Isaiah 61:1-2.

More to come as they pop into my head....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why We Tarry?

"Had I cared for the comments of people, I should never have been a missionary." - C.T. Studd

What are you waiting for? A personal invitation?

The command has been given, go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Lord, free us from our feeble excuses and fear of the unknown!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Look Closely

What is the difference between a Christian and a politician? Can you think of anything which practically stands out? After all, we are not to concede to popular opinion or exude an hypocritical attitude.

Politics can be a very good litmus test of human nature. Only when people are pressed into a corner, does their true character "shine".

note to politicians: I apologize in advance to those of you who genuinely seek to represent yourselves and your constituents with integrity, honesty, and morality.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Got Milk?

You have just had the privilege of leading a new convert to Christ. He is overwhelmed at the knowledge that Christ has forgiven his sins and saved him from hell. All is well for many weeks as this new babe in Christ enjoys his new life, but one night you receive a phone call from the same person sounding quite distraught and dejected.

It seems he has slipped into his former lifestyle and committed a terrible sin. He is sure that God cannot forgive him, and that his salvation is no longer guaranteed.

How would you counsel him? What would you say concerning his lack of assurance over his salvation? How would you help him deal with the sin he is convicted over?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Should Christians Invest?

Apparently, the American mutual fund industry has reached the 10 Trillion dollar mark in investments. This caused me to ponder the validity of this option for believers in Jesus Christ.

What? Are you crazy, now you are talking I? You are probably thinking right now, "What exactly is wrong with investing in mutual funds, stock markets, or your 401K retirement fund?

Well if we look at this from a simple economics perspective, probably nothing. But as saints of the most High God, we should not live our lives fashioned after the wisdom of this world. I want to give you some food for thought concerning our roles as "Stewards" of God's resources.

First of all, we have a clear commandment from scripture to "not lay up treasure on earth, where moth and rust decay and thieves break in and steal." Even the most secure investments have been compromised by fraud, theft, and dishonesty.

Secondly, much of our investment betrays a lack of trust in God's provision for our daily bread. This does not mean we should give away every last penny, but we must consider why we are saving or storing up wealth.

Thirdly, and this one is more serious than we all think. Where exactly is this money going that we are investing? I am fairly certain that a large portion of it is being used to fund programs and projects that we as Christians would wholeheartedly disagree with. So in effect, the money God has entrusted us to use wisely is in fact being used to promote a humanistic worldview.

So, should we as Christians invest our money? I say emphatically yes, but with a caveat. Just as we will give an account for every word and deed, so too our time and money are sacred trusts. We must know where the funds are going and what the end use will be. Think of yourself as a banker who must wisely "loan" out his collateral. Consider the following scriptural means of "investing" our money.

1. Giving above and beyond our tithe to support missions, and specifically the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Giving to relief organizations is fine, but it must be coupled with the saving news of Christ's atoning work on the cross.

2. Helping out our brethren who are in desperate need.

3. Caring for widows and orphans in our community.

4. Supporting businesses run by Biblical principles even though it means paying a bit more.

These are just four ideas, I would love to hear yours.

Let us take seriously the command to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Do you believe our God is faithful to meet ALL of our needs? If so, begin to live like it, not putting your trust in your bank account, 401k, or any other earthy means of self sufficiency. Do not worry about tomorrow or tomorrow's needs, let us pray for today's bread seeing how we can be a blessing to others. It is truly more blessed to give than to hoard.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

An Observation

Have you ever noticed how some people command greater respect or attention when speaking. There are several reasons for this including intellect, wealth, status, or a rank. As we know, the Bible tells us that man looks on the outward appearance, but God weighs the heart.

I have seen this trait in the blogging realm as well. What I mean is that certain Canadian bloggers are sometimes dismissed as being irrelevant or not as important simply because they live outside the US of A. Now this is by no means a comprehensive statement of American sentiment, but none-the-less, there is a small segment that exude this attitude in their posts and comments. I understand completely their underlying premise, as they perhaps feel we are simply objective and disinterested parties in the affairs of the U.S. Of course, there may be some bloggers that are simply off base in their words and merit a shrug, myself being not excluded at times.

But as I pondered this, I began to see a spiritual parallel. Throughout the pages of scripture and history, men are given greater hearings simply because they possessed some quality that many others were desirous of.

For example, Israel was called to be a light to the nations and a demonstration of the glory of God to the nations. Sadly, she fell into disrepute and destruction through succumbing to the snare of idolatry. Her glory was removed and her people scattered and destroyed.

Similarly in history, God has raised up nation after nation not simply because He wanted to bless them, but rather that His glory would be seen in a greater way throughout the earth. The Roman empire prepared the way for the gospel by uniting the people under one form of government, building efficient roads, and establishing law and order. The apostle Paul was then able to travel great distances to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the known world.

Germany was the birthplace of the reformation enabling the gospel to once again be understood and received by the common man. The modern missionary movement had it's start in the Moravian brethren going abroad.

Years later, God raised up England because of the faithful preaching of the gospel by godly men, who had been greatly influenced by the men before them. Consider the choices France and England made, France embracing secular humanism while Britain received the gospel through men such as Whitefield, Wesley, etc. The results were astounding in their differences.

I am saying all that to say this; God has definitely raised up America to be the dominant nation in the earth today. But this is not so y'all can live comfortable lives free from suffering, disease, or want. Rather just as Esther was raised up for such a time as this, so too, God has blessed America with abundance and respect so that He may be glorified.

Americans do gain a hearing citizens from other countries envy. People look to the US as the model for prosperity and success. But do they hear the gospel when they come? Are they confronted with the true riches?

Proverbs tells us that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Furthermore wealth, riches, and a crown do not endure to all generations.

The privileges and benefits of bearing the torch come with a great responsibility. Hold fast the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ for all to see. Let us remember we are blessed to be a blessing to others.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A House Divided

Yesterday's election reinforced the fact that politics will not change the world for better, rather man's natural inclination is for selfish ambition at the cost of moral integrity and societal justice.

As a Canadian I was surprised how similar the language of some Democrats was to our own leftist party, the NDP. Talk of equality, fairness, common good, all sound nice and fluffy. However, at the heart of these buzz words is a socialistic agenda bent on forcing poverty down the throat of every hard working American. To many, the idea of disparate wealth is anathema, a idea which must be driven into the ground and replaced with the doctrine of fairness, where every person gets the same equal amount. Unfortunately this philosophy is not Biblical, and for that matter has been proven to be a failure in former communist countries.

God has designed man to work for his bread, and yet "well intentioned" socialists wish to compensate the sluggard with the same reward as the diligent. At the foundation of capitalism is the idea that hard work, honesty, and core values can earn one a deserved return.

I began to consider the current political situation in Washington. I seriously wonder and doubt whether the framers of the Constitution envisioned partisan politics as the ideal form of a democratic republic. The notion that one must align themselves with a party clashes with the notion of "by the people, for the people". The idea that the citizenry would be represented in government has been seriously harmed by this polarization of partisanship.

Would not the ideal situation be a government where each congressmen, senator, and governor was elected based upon local issues and free from the incumberance of national ties. They could then effectively represent their core values and home state with a more honest voice.

But sadly we are now faced with a situation whereby we are constantly voting for the lessor of two evils, or as this election displayed, singular issues such as the war in Iraq. The populace has been manipulated into casting a reactionary vote which gives no thought to future repercussions.

It is time that godly men seek office not for personal gain or promotion, but rather to represent the principles of God and the constitution on which America was founded. Only as each representative votes by their conscience with complete immunity from castigation can we hope for laws that will honour the God by Whom we beseech so many blessings.

As God's people, let us realize once and for all that only through humble repentance of our love for the world and its pleasure, and by seeking His face in prayer can the tide change.

May God continue to bless America and Canada!

Monday, November 06, 2006


For those of you below the 49th parallel, tomorrow is a big day. Please prepare now to vote and bring your neighbors, friends, relatives, and seniors. It is imperative that the people express their wishes at the polls.

Prayer is also extremely vital as this election could possibly decide the future of many hot buttons issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.

There are two seats on the Supreme Court that will likely be vacated soon and a Democratic Congress or Senate could make it quite difficult to install judges who will uphold the value of human life and the literal reading of the Constitution.