Saturday, 30 June 2012

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!!

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!!

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance

Canada is my Home
Canada's Birthday is July 1, 1967

Our National Anthem

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Things about Canada

In Canada we like to say ...eh?
Canadians are known to be a very nice, polite people. That doesn't always prove true though. Manitoba's license plate even has the words  "Friendly Manitoba" inscribed into it.
Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister. He has a majority Conservative government and I am happy for that. He is a good Christian family man, who loves his wife and children. He provides stability to our country in these days of financial and general world crisis.
In Canada, we are free to worship the true God and our Saviour Jesus Christ without fear.
The federal goverment works out of Ottawa, Ontario
Our police force is called the RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Canada has a good military
Canada is a friend to the nation of Israel and I believe God has blessed Canada for that.
Canada is the land of Tim Horton's coffee
We use the loonie $1 coin, and the toonie $2 coin
The capital city of Manitoba is Winnipeg. The province of Manitoba currently has an NDP ( New Democratic Party) government with Greg Selinger as Premier.
Manitoba is home to the NHL team the Winnipeg Jets as well as the CFL team the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Canada has a reputation of having extremely cold weather. Sometimes people even refer to Winnipeg as Winterpeg. The truth is we have good and not so great weather in all of our seasons. Every season of the year brings nice days.
Canada has an excellent health care system. A lot of care is covered by taxes so therefore, in Canada you can see your family doctor at no charge as well as receive the required hospital care at no charge. Medications perscribed by the doctor (outside a hospital) are paid by the individual family unless the family's income is very low or the medications required exceed the income-based level.
Canada's seniors receive good care in the nursing homes. Seniors start receiving old age pensions from the government at the age of 65.
The CBC ( Canadian Broadcast Corporation) and CTV are Canada's main news networks.
Canada's most popular TV news broadcaster is Peter Mansbridge on CBC's The National nightly news broadcast.
Queen Elizabeth and all the royal family are Canada's royal family and loved by most Canadians.
British Columbia is known for its beauty. Alberta is wild rose country and rich with oil. Saskatchewan is home to the comedy show Corner Gas. It was very popular among Canadians though some of the content of the show would not meet Biblical Christian standards.
As Canadians, we love our North and cherish the people who live up there.
The story of Anne of Green Gables is set in the PEI ( Prince Edward Island) on the eastern coast.
Canada is a bilingual country with both English and French being our nation's languages.
Quebec is made up of mostly French people, and though we love them, many of them would like to separate from Canada and it is always an on going debate.

May God Bless Canada!!

The Way a Woman dresses reveals what's in her heart....

Proverbs 11: 22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion

This morning I read my Bible as I like to do each morning. As part of my daily reading this morning, I read 1Timothy Chapter 2. Verses 9 and 10 reads :  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works

  As I read, I began to wonder why Christian women do not take this chapter to heart. To all the Christian women out there who are careful to be modest in how you dress - may the Lord richly bless you in many ways. To the Christian women who wear revealing and tight clothing may the Lord have mercy on you, I urge you to pray earnestly to the Lord and I pray that you will decide today to honor God in all areas of your life including your dress.
 Verse 9 clearly says that women are to dress in modest clothing - women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
 1 Peter says women are to be chaste - as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior
I looked up the word chaste in my dictionary and it says - virtuous, pure,simple and restrained in style or taste. Then I looked up modest and it says not showy, but pure and chaste.
Christian women all across our nations are dressing provocatively, so as to lure men to lustful thinking. This is not right. God hasn't just written these things in the Bible for the sake of filling up the pages - No He expects that we do what the Scriptures say. He has written it for our good and we would be wise to obey Him.  God will hold women accountable for wearing the provocative, skimpy, sensual clothing because His Word clearly states that we are to be modest, pure and chaste. Beauty is in one's character, not in sensuality or in showing off your sexy or  flirting. I challenge every Christian woman to put off the sensual way of dressing and clothe yourself as a daughter of the King of Heaven!

Proverbs 31:30  - Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Please take time to read all of the 1Timothy 2:9-15 passage :
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Forgiving the hard stuff - Justice and Healing

Proverbs 15:13  A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

The topic of forgiveness probably raises more questions than answers. There are two sides to the coin of forgiveness. That is, on one side we need to be forgiven of  the wrongs that we have done and on the other side is that we need to forgive those who have done wrong to us. Jesus commanded us to forgive as He has forgiven us. Matthew 6: 14-15 says  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. In this post I want to focus on forgiving others.

What is forgiveness really and what does it look like? If we were to honestly share about life, we would probably all say that we have been able to forgive many people for small offenses and hurts over the years and we do not even think about those issues any more. BUT most likely many of us also have had one or more big things that have happened to us, some one has seriously hurt, betrayed and offended us, a "dealbreaker" type of offense, and that is the where the question of forgiveness becomes the issue. As much as we would like to be able to live life again as if this event had never happened, we cannot and because we know we will never be able to entirely get beyond it, we feel like forgiveness is incomplete.
Sometimes when you watch the news and some terrible tradegy has occured, you will hear the victim's family say - "we want justice". It is within all of us to want justice to happen - " do the crime, do the time" is how we feel. But we also know that in many cases, even though a criminal is put behind bars for life, the hearts of the victims and the victim's family remain broken and in the case where a death has occured , the life of that loved one is gone and cannot be restored no matter how many years the criminal spends behind bars. Even with a verbal apology or a financial settlement, the heart remains sad and broken. So what is the answer? Part of the answer is that God, the character of God demands justice.  As human beings, we are created in the image of God and that is part of why we want justice. Even a small child knows when "it's not fair!"  So God  is a God of justice and we can see what that justice required in that Jesus the only begotten Son of God ( the second part of the Trinity ) had to die to pay for our sin in order to redeem us to the Father.  God required that kind of a sacrifice. We see it in Hebrews 9: 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

I have heard many sermons preached on forgiveness and I believe that it has helped me to get a better understanding of what forgiveness looks like.
 First of all, it does not mean that we forget. Even God doesn't forget - He simply chooses not to remember. To place the expectation on yourself that when you forget, then you will have forgiven is just not going to work. If a life changing betrayal and offense has occured, forgetting is not about to happen.

Secondly, Time will not heal the wound that has been created. To just think that we can stuff our problems in the closet or under the rug is not going to work. I saw this happen to a friend who was abused as a child. Years later when she got the courage to confront the man who abused her, he denied all wrong doing. Nothing was done to solve the brokenness and the whole issue got stuffed away again. We wonder what the final outcome of such will be when God's books are finally opened. Sometimes we may also think that if we  busy our minds with all sorts of pleasures and do fun stuff and just not think about the problem any more, that somehow that equals forgiveness. I can tell you that also does not work either.

Thirdly, forgiveness does not mean that we are okay with what happened or that we are no longer sad or heartbroken about what happened. Nor does it mean that we are willing to allow the person who hurt us to hurt us again. It is okay to put up some boundaries and defenses in order to protect ourselves from such an offense happening again. In the old Testament in the story of Joseph, we see how he tested his brothers to see if they had changed and if they were truly repentant before he would allow his heart to be touched by them again.

 Fourthly, Forgiveness also does not mean that there should be no legal consequences for criminal actions. God has put the authorities in place for the purpose of punishing criminals. The problem is that what God counts as a sin and wrong doing is often not seen as a criminal offense in the justice system of our country. An example would be drunkenness, abortion or the breaking of the marriage covenant through an affair etc.

Fifth,  there is no point in waiting for the person who offended you come to make things right - to start treating you better or to apologize in such a way that it seems sincere enough that you feel better. The offender is not capable of realizing the degree of hurt that he/she has afflicted on you. The offense or betrayal that has occured is bigger than words. It will take consistant heartfelt restoration work on the part of the offender for you to ever begin to trust again and to start feeling better.  We know from the story of Zacchaeus that he offered to pay back 4 times what he had stolen from people. In Luke 19:8 Zacchaeus says - if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

 If something life changing has occured, only God's Hand can heal.
I believe forgiveness is a decision that I make. A decision  that I personally will not punish the person who betrayed or offended me nor will I pay him/her back for what was done.  I will leave all that to God.  Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay. I decide that I will allow God to be in control of the justice part of what has happened. I come to the realization that it is not my place to do what God says is His part to play. I decide that I will choose to treat that person with kindness knowing that it is to God that account must be given. God is the only One who truely knows all the details of the situation. He is a God of holiness and righteousness and He alone knows what is just, right and fair. With my limited understanding, I am not able to determine the appropriate consequences to make a just and fair call. To get to this place in one's heart after a serious hurt has occured is a process and it takes time to work these thoughts through our minds and get God's perspective on the situation. It is very freeing to realize that God will deal with the persons who hurt us. God will do it in His own time. We do not know if it will happen here on the earth or if it will have eternal consequences but we leave that determination entirely in God's control. We must entrust ourselves to Him and believe that He is faithful to do what His Word declares.
Romans 12: 18-20 is a very important passage to remember:
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Once we have come to the realization, that God will do the justice part, then we can begin to focus on HEALING. The Lord Jesus is the healer of our broken hearts. Psalm 147:3  He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He will fill the emptyness with His love and care. The more we are hurting and reaching out to Him, the more He is reaching down to meet our needs. In His love, He is longing to be involved in our healing.  Daily, moment by moment, we can keep bringing our brokenness before Him and the healing we experience in this way is a direct miracle from the Hand of God!  In Luke 4:18, Jesus says   The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised

It seems to me that many times the Christian community and churches will put a huge focus on restoring the person who has commited the offense and will leave the victims to suffer and get through their brokenness more or less on their own. Somehow they think that if the offender ( whether it be through alcholism, drugs, sexual problems, money issues etc)  they think that if the offender just doesn't offend again, then the problems have been dealt with. I do not agree with this. The hurts that have occured to the victims and other family members is huge and much more compassion needs to be displayed towards the victims and family members.

There is so much more that could be written regarding forgiveness. If anyone reading this has a good insight to add or a comment, please feel free to leave your comments. May God's healing touch be real in your life as you experience the healing touch of the Master's Hand!  For further study on forgiveness, I recommend the teaching by James MacDonald from Walk in the Word ministries.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

When Will Jesus return to Earth?? - your thoughts??

The last couple of weeks I have been asking the question - Do you think Jesus will return to earth during your lifetime? in a poll here on my blog. Well time is up and the results are in. Five people voted to answer my question and 100% gave the answer Yes, it could well be.

I remember when I was a teenager in youth class at my church, my Dad (being the pastor at our church at that time ) was asked his opinion on when he thought Christ would return to earth. Dad was always studying Biblical prophecy and such and he had a good understanding of what is to come including the tribulation etc. His answer to the class (back 30 years ago ) was that he did not really expect it to happen in his lifetime considering what events must all take place prior to the Lord's coming but he stressed that he believed that Jesus would return in our lifetime - that is in the generation of the youth in his Bible class. So it is an interesting question to ask and I also believe that the coming of Jesus - His return to earth is very near and could most certainly happen in my lifetime, in my generation. So thank-you to everyone who participated in answering my question. Thanks very much.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A Rose as a reminder of God's Love!!

The red rose has always been a used as a sign or description of love. I think it is fitting to remember how much our heavenly Father loves us when we see a beautiful red rose.  John 3:16 says  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. The rose bush in my garden is blooming now so I took these pictures to remind me of God's love for me.   

May I suggest that you also be reminded of God's great love for you when you see a beautiful rose, where ever that happens to be - maybe while you are out shopping or perhaps visiting a park etc.

In Psalm 91:14-15, the Lord tells us how he returns good to us when we set our love upon Him.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday Sermon Review "Good Samaritan"

June 24, 2012 - Sunday Sermon Review  "Good Samaritan"
 (from my home church that I attend regularly)

Today we had a guest speaker at our church. His name was John Chalkis, the director of  'Seeds of Hope'.  Seeds of Hope is a ministry to Orphans in Africa. You can check out their website at www.seedsofhopecm.com  

The service began with singing and the reading of Scripture from Psalm 139
Verses 23 and 24 reads:  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting

John Chalkis chose to speak on the topic of the "Good Samaritan". Please take the time to read Luke 10:25-36 which I have posted entirely at the end of this post.

Mr Chalkis gave an update of the projects in Zambia that Seeds of Hope is involved with. He informed us that they have 120 children in the orphanages. The children receive 3 meals a day as well as medical care. Many of the children are HIV positive but with treatment can expect to live a good life. He shared that many parents have died due to the HIV infections and now Seeds of Hope is also helping to feed the grandmothers who are now left to take care of the children.
Mr Chalkis shared the testimony of a young man named Tyson Chalkis who had come through the Seeds of Hope ministry program and is now working to give back to the needy. Mr Chalkis encouraged us to participate in child sponsorship with an organization of our choosing so orphans and poor children can be taken care of and also hear the gospel.

He then went on to ask "In the story of the good Samaritan, who are you?" Who would you be? - the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan who then helps the man who has been beaten by thieves??

Mr Chalkis told the story of a group of seminary students who were required to preach a sermon on the story of the good Samaritan. The Professor gave each student a 20 minute time alotment to speak. Each student got a grade of 0% in the assignment. Why?  As a test to his students the professor had a friend dress up as a beggar and posted him just outside the church. Not one of the students gave the "beggar" any help whatsoever and that is why each one failed the preaching test. Though they could speak about the topic, none of them actually did anything they were saying.

The speaker continued on with the topic of missed opportunities. Mr Chalkis shared a story from his own life where he had not immediately taken care of a "beggar" as he should have, but had done many other things that seemed more important to him in his day. He challenged us to look for opportunities that God may be placing in our path each day where we could help someone. We need to be listening to hear God speak and be willing to walk in His way! God is to be #1 in our lives.

One of the Pastors of our church continued the service with the serving of Communion. We celebrate Jesus death and resurrection and remember Him until He comes again. The night of His betrayal, Jesus took part in the Passover meal and instituted the new covenant that though faith in Him we can be saved.  Ephesians 2:8-9 -  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The Bread of Communion was passed out first, which was followed by the wine ( I believe our church uses grape juice).

Luke 10:25-36
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The New Jerusalem and Blessings to the Gentiles

The New Jerusalem -The Holy City Revelation 21:1-8  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


Blessings to the Gentiles
Isaiah 56: 1-8
Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Bullying - In the news, an elderly lady

I think by now, most of us who watch the news will have heard the awful story of the elderly lady who got verbally and physically abused on a school bus. This is an utterly disgusting story, but I might add that it seems to be a sign of the times - that we are living in what the Bible calls the last days. 2 Timothy 3: 1-3 pretty much describes those kids on that bus . It says -But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good.

The question that I have is - How much of this sort of stuff is going on?? We should be thankful that a fellow student was able to capture the whole ordeal on his cellphone. Without that - would these children be facing any disciplinary actions at all?? Perhaps the bus driver could have somehow shown his support for this bus monitor lady and together they could have contronted those kids right there on the bus. I like the line the lady used when she said to the kids that if they don't have anything nice to say then to not say anything at all. That was how I was brought up also and what I have tried to teach my own children. Those placed in authority must speak up and take action.

We may wonder where such violence and bullying has its roots. One answer would be that we have all been born with a fallen sin nature and without the love of Christ we can only act on that sinful nature. But I think there is more to the answer than that. It is plain to see that as nations in general, God is being pushed out of our lives,  out of schools and government. People want to live their lives separate from God and the principles taught in the Bible. Many people would rather live the way of the world.  I believe that when we saturate our minds or the minds of our children with the garbage that is on television, in the movies and magazines etc,  this garbage grows within a person and becomes the natural way for a person to behave. It is the sowing and reaping principle on which I posted an article on this blog. You can find it on my blog titled " My Vegetable Garden - Sowing and Reaping".

What ever a person puts in his or her mind is a tool that has been given to satan that he will then  use against us. It might involve entertainment - watching a violent or sexual arousing movie, pornography, unwholesome language, lust, listening to secular music that stirs up the flesh, living beyond one's financial means, desires for things that are not ours. Whatever evil we put in our minds will work its way into action eventually. You plant the seed and it will grow.

Of course if we fill our minds with the things of the Lord and dwell on Him, this too is a seed that will produce fruit. Good fruit that the Lord is able to reward. Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We can see that the seed the entertainment business has been sowing now  for the last twenty - thirty years now with our culture has produced its fruit. The fruit is ripe now. We see it in the violence, the homosexual movement, the way women are dressing very immodestly even in the Christian community - showing their breasts, skin, etc with no shame at all. These are grievous evils in the sight of our Father in Heaven and people and nations will face the consequences of their actions. God will not be mocked in this way. He has given us his Word , the Bible where it teaches us to live in a pure and undefiled way.

Galatians 6:7-8
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
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.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Grandma Anna - precious memories!!

As I write this post about my Grandma Anna, I feel there is so much that I do not know about her. I don't have a lot of memories of her from my childhood but I will try to share a few. Grandma Anna is the mother of my Dad. She was born in May of 1899 and married my Grandpa Herman in December of 1921 at the age of 21.

I remember coming to their house and the smell of potatoes boiling on the stove as I entered the kitchen. Even now, sometimes when I am boiling potatoes on my stove I am reminded of Grandma Anna by that smell. Grandma Anna made the best homemade brown wholewheat bread! It tasted super delicious though I am not quite sure how she made it.
I remember family gatherings at Grandma and Grandpa's place. They lived in the country near a town called Winkler. My cousins and I would play "red rover" out in the yard. It was a lot of fun and Grandma would come check up on us occasionally. Grandma and Grandpa had a large family with my Dad being one of the older children in the family. Their youngest daughter (then a young gal) was still home with them back in those days of family gatherings. She was dating an older guy back then and I remember it being so much fun to watch her excitement as she would get ready for her date. My cousins secretly snooped in her room and found her "hopechest" - I would never have had the courage to be part of that. She did eventually marry this man though it wasn't till they ( my aunt and her boyfriend) were both well advanced in years sometime after Grandpa Herman had already passed away.
As Grandpa Herman and Grandma Anna got older they decided to move right into the town of Winkler. They bought a small house in which they lived until after Grandpa's passing. Family gatherings were a lot of fun there too because now my cousins and I had the fun of doing in-town stuff. There was an old, old house at the end of the street, right on the corner. As I remember it was grey and dark and scarey looking. We called it the " haunted house". Every family gathering, my cousins and I would walk down to the corner and see the haunted house. I was only around nine or ten years old at the time so for this little girl it was really quite scarey! There were no ghosts or anything - we only imagined it to be scarey!
Unlike my Grandma G, Grandma Anna knew my name. She had difficulty pronouncing it though as it was not a name she was used to but I give credit for trying her best.
Grandma Anna had type 2 diabetes. By practicing giving injections on an orange, she was able to learn to manage her diabetes and give the required injections to herself. I always thought that was a notable accomplishment for an elderly lady such as she was at the time.
Grandpa Herman passed away in the summer of 1974 so after his death, Grandma Anna decided that she would like to move into the seniors home in Winkler.  She was tired of cooking and cleaning anyway, and she would be happier in the company of others.  At this time Grandma Anna still had a little brown dog named Josie and oh how she loved her little Josie. She would prepare his dinners in a certain special way - she gave it her own loving touch. But when she decided to move to the seniors home, Josie also needed a new home so Grandma Anna gave Josie to my cousin Cornie. Josie didn't get quite the favored treatment at his new home but he was happy living on the farm with Cornie. It was nice that Grandma could still visit the farm and see Josie from time to time.
Grandma Anna was happy living in the seniors home although the noise did bother her some. In her later years the light bothered her eyes also so she would try to keep the light out of her room and also wear sunglasses all the time. She was very supportive of my Dad's call to the ministry and would always wait on Sundays for my parents to stop in at the care home so she could visit with them, showing her support to him. The Lord allowed Grandma Anna to have a somewhat enlightening spiritual experience while living in the care home. Though she had loved and followed the Lord since early in her life, this was a turning point in her spiritual life and she gained a new and fresh understanding from the Lord. I do not know what year this happened or the details of the experience.

One Sunday in March of 1989 at the care home, while eating supper at the table with her friends there, Grandma pointed upwards with her finger as if to say " I'm going up now"  and so she went to be with the Lord. This was a very unusual way of passing away but the Lord took her in an instant and she was gone. Now up in heaven she was reunited with Grandpa as well as her son Herman who passed away at age 17. You can read about this and other things relating to Grandpa in my post about Grandpa Herman in the archives of my blog.

2 Corinthians 5:7-9 says
For we walk by faith, not by sight:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

God's Rainbow Promise and Satan's Gay Deception

Don't you just love seeing a beautiful rainbow in the sky after a rain. I most certainly do. I can sense God's presence in the loud crashing thunder as well as in the calm rainbow that follows the storm. As we read the Bible, we will find that at the end of the story of Noah and the great flood, God makes a promise that He will never again destroy the entire world with a great flood. As a sign of that promise, God creates the rainbow. Now any time, after a rain we look into the sky and see a rainbow, we know that God is remembering His promise that he made thousands of years ago. God will always remember His promise and shows it to us by placing the beautiful rainbow in the sky. Genesis 9: 12-17 records the promise God made to us and reads as follows :
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

We can be 100% sure that God will keep this promise to us. He is that kind of God - faithful and true to His Word throughout the ages. We can depend on Him.

picture from blogthehumanist .org

It seems though that Satan will so often come and try to take what God has created as precious and true and make it into a counterfeit deal and now again we see satan using the rainbow in a counterfeit way. God destroyed the world in Noah's day due to the wickedness and violence that had swept across the earth. God could find only Noah and his family who were living righteously. In our day today the gay pride movement is moving across the nations. And what does satan use to promote this wicked movement ?? - what else but the rainbow flag. Satan takes the rainbow and uses it for his evil purposes. Satan knows that he has but a short time left here on earth to continue deceiving people and sees the signs of the end of time nearing. I wonder if satan is trying to provoke God Almighty by using the rainbow colors in this evil display called gay pride.  As Christians we know that God will keep moving ahead with His end time plan schedule.God is right on time - never late!  We know that Jesus will return for those of us who love Him and we will be taken up to heaven to be with our Lord forever.  But  we also know that satan and his demons and followers will be cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. and Revelation 20 14-15 : And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 Isaiah 55:7 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.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Ephesians 4 - Contrast of Good & Evil

Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Sin is a blinder. Living in sin keeps a person from seeing truth and from seeing things from God's perspective. Sin grieves the heart of God. I have heard people say that sin is really no big deal to God and that He is bigger than all of our sin and weakness. I find such a statement almost blasphemous because of the huge sacrifice that was required to atone for our sin. Our sin costed God the death of His only begotten Son Jesus in order to make a way for us to get into a right relationship with God. To think that He was willing to do that for me ( so that heaven will be my eternal home) just fills me with joy and wonderment that He would do that for me. It also causes  a desire to spring up inside me to live my life in a way that pleases Him. I do not care to please the world or to live in its luxuries. My focus is on my Heavenly Father and the blessed hope of being with Him.
As Dr Randy Carlson always used to say ( when he was still on the radio in my area) "Find out what pleases Christ and then do it." So I ask myself - What pleases Christ? The Bible says we are to live a sanctified life. That means to be "set apart". As Christians, we do not live our lives in the same way as a non-Christian does. There is a difference because we seek to obey the Bible which is the Word of God.
In Ephesians 4 we are called to 1) walk no longer as the Gentiles do- in sensuality, and practicing all sort of immoral lifestyles 2) lay aside the old manner of life - falsehood, stealing, unwholesome talk etc. We are called to put on the new self which has been created in righteousness and holiness.

Just to see the contrast in the life of a saved person to a non saved lets look a little more closely into Ephesians 4 and 5. Some people believe that they can say they are saved and still continue living in the ways of the world but here are some  of the distinct differences in the fruits found in the life of the Christian and non-Christian.  Please take the time to read Ephesians 4:17-32 which I have posted below.

Light - life, truth                                        
renewal of the mind, holiness                
righteousness, work and share,              
kind, forgiving, tenderhearted,               
forgiving, walk in love, thankful   

Not Saved           
 Darkness - hard hearted , callous
sensuality, impurity, greediness, lust,
deceit, immorality, filthy talk, idolatry
drunk with wine, lies, anger, stealing
slander, malice, coveting

This clearly points out that there is a difference between the saved and the unsaved person in his or her desires in living the daily life. The good news is that God wants all of us to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.    We can come to Jesus today and be saved.   Ephesians 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:        

Ephesians 4:17-32    
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday Sermon "First Place in Everything" - Money...

Sunday Sermon Review June 17th, 2012 - "First Place in Everything" - Money...

The preacher at our church today was the Lead Pastor of our church.

Today is Father's Day. Church started with singing "This Train is bound for Glory and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

 The MC of the service reminded us that God is the perfect Father and that we should look to Him for direction. This was followed by Scripture reading from 1 Peter 1.
Verse 7 says: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

There was a children's feature where all the children were called up to the front for a talk about Father's Day. The children were shown a wrench which reminds us how Dads fix things around the house, a baseball glove to show that Dads often play sports with their children, money to indicate that Dads provide food and clothes for the family and finally a toy car to represent that Dads drive kids to various places. The children were reminded to thank their Dad for taking care of them and to thank God who takes care of us all.

The preacher came up to speak and wished all Fathers a happy day. He read Colossians 1:15-23 (which I have posted entirely below) focusing in on verse 18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
He said that in the NRSV the ending of verse 18 reads - so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

When we become disciples of Jesus, He requires that He become  first place in our everything. It is part of the Christians's journey to bring everything under His control.
The preacher choose to focus on God wanting to have first place in our money, finances and possesions. He gave 4 principles about money.

1) Money is not evil - It is not wicked or dirty even to have a lot of it. In the Old Testament God often used wealth to bless people richly. He refered to Abraham , Isaac and Jacob.

Warning - Money is only one of the ways that God chooses to bless people. Money is not the marker or measuring stick of God's blessing in our lives.
Sometimes people will think that because we are poor, that we are not receiving blessing from God. This is not true. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:20 that God blesses the poor. - And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

The Measuring Stick or Primary Signs of Gods Blessing in your life is if the fruits of the Spirit are present in your life. He read from Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

2) Caretakers or Stewards: Money and posessions do not belong to us. God owns all things - He simply entrusts things to us and into our care. Our culture would have us think we need to own more things.
God entrusts us with money and possesions  so that we will use them to :
A) Glorify God
B) to Extend the Kingdom  and not to use them on our own desires and wants.

3) Become Wise in Handling Finances
Proverbs is a book of wisdom which teaches us to seek wisdom and  to work, to work hard in order to provide for our families and others around us,  not to attain the latest gadget or item of fashion. He suggested reading a few good books on finances and to check out the Crown Financial website as well as the Mennonite Foundation website.
We need to become a GENEROUS PEOPLE. - He read 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

God loves a cheerful giver. We need to look beyond our own needs and become generous towards others. Jesus calls the church  to go into all the earth. The preacher asked the question - How do I give more?? and still provide for my family. He said to hold money and finances loosely.

4) Money can Become an Idol.  -- it can take the place of God in our lives.
Matthew 6 : 24  - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

You can not serve God and Money. Money has the ability to take the place of God in our lives. God gives us meaning in our lives, value, significance and security. If we are not careful money will try to provide meaning, value , significance and security in our lives.
The preacher mentioned a book he was reading by Timothy Keller where Keller says that as a Pastor, he has had many people come to him confessing various sins but no one ever came confessing greed and yet greed is a core issue.

We need to repent:
1) Confess that we may be caught in greed. The Holy Spirit will reveal this.
2) Choose to place Jesus 1st in our finances by becoming more wise and more generous.
3) Decide to serve God , not money

Let Jesus have first place in everything!

Thought for the week - " Never blame any day in your life. Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, worst days give you a lesson."

Colossians 1:15-23
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;