Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Graduation 2014

April 26, 2014 Travis ( my son )  graduated from Steinbach Bible College with a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry - a four year diploma.
This is his class graduation photo.

2014 04 sbc grad1
SBC Graduation 2014

Bible Study from Titus 1:10-16

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

picture from biblepic.com

We are now ready to enter Part 2 of our Bible study in the book of Titus. Today we are going to be discussing Titus 1:10 -16. Some of these verses in today's study are somewhat hard to understand, but we are confident that God is willing to speak to us through every book of the Bible and every portion of Scripture. So let's begin with verse 10.

Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

In our previous study, we learned about the character qualities that God requires in Bishops and elders. We learned how the Bishop and elder must be a man who is faithful to his wife in marriage and faithful to his family, he must not be a drunkard or violent, and he must be pure in all areas of his life.
Now in verse 10 we read that there are many people who deceive others, people who speak untruth and whose conversation is typically useless and does not center on the things of the Lord. We are warned that these kinds of people are those of the "circumcision".  There were people in Biblical times those who taught that the Gentiles should follow the Jewish customs in order to please God.  We know that what God requires of us is that we repent of our sins and come to Jesus and accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus is the One who took our sin upon Himself there on the cross, and He suffered and died in our place. What we must do is to receive Him as Savior and make Him the Lord of our lives. When we give our hearts and life to Him, He becomes our Lord and Savior and therefore we surrender our will to His will and we choose to live according to His ways. We no longer have any desire to live the sinful life of pleasures and worldliness.

Verse 11 - Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

The mouth of those who speak lies must be stopped. That is why it is so important that our local church pastor regularly inform the congregation he serves of the false teachers that we all encounter through various forms of media, on the internet, radio and TV. The health and wealth preachers of our day, those who distort the Bible or leave out passages of the Bible, passages of the Bible that warn us of the sin of homosexuality and immorality. Please everyone who is reading this, be warned that the Bible is very clear that homosexuality and any sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin against God and will be punished by God Himself. God created marriage - one man and one woman married for life, that is God's original plan. God in His great mercy and compassion has made a way of escape for that man or woman who finds himself/herself suddenly trapped in a marriage where their spouse has broken the marriage covenant and has went outside the marriage for sexual experiences. In a case such as this God does allow for divorce.
Many of the false teachers are very hungry for money and request you give them money while they live in luxury and riches and boost their own egos. Sooner or later God brings them down to destruction.

Verse 12 - One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
These people are lazy and live like animals, living a lie. They say they are Christian but deny Christ by their lives and actions.

Verse 13 - This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
We need to focus our attention on becoming sound in faith. How does one do this you ask? By spending time with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer. This needs to be a regular routine, something that you do every day. God will speak to you as you read the Bible. Take time to pray and listen to what He is telling you, be willing to do what He tells you. 
Rebuke those who are leading others astray. Stand up for truth and righteousness. Take a stand for the Lord even if it costs you something. Take a stand for the Lord at work or school, in your family and with your friends. The Lord rewards those who are faithful to Him.

Verse 14 -  Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

As you take a step of faith and be that witness for the Lord, and take a stand for righteousness, you will be a help to those around you. It will become clear who is truly on the Lord's side and who is in it for themselves. Others will become more bold to take a stand for Jesus, and they too will oppose the sin and darkness that is so prevalent. In this way the Lord will be glorified and honored. You will be glorifying the Lord in your work or school, and in your family and among friends.

Verse 15 -  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Here is a very important verse. When our heart has been cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus, we can live lives of purity. The opposite is also true - If a person has not been cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus, he or she is living in darkness and will normally gravitate to the dark side, and to live for the devil. Such a person's heart is filled with lust and greed. Such men will look at every woman with lust in their hearts, imagining the unthinkable. Their minds are filled with all sexual perversions. As the verse says "their mind and conscience is defiled". Women who live with these  defiled hearts lure men into immoral relationships and try to be sexy in their revealing clothing and dress showing their breasts with no shame. These people know no other way to live and believe that the life they are living is normal and yet if they would speak honestly, they would tell you that deep inside they are in turmoil, they are not happy and they are unfulfilled. Their heart is empty as they seek for that next thrill. If you are reading this and it describes you or someone you love, please turn your heart over to the Lord Jesus. Seek Him sincerely, repent of your sin, believe that Jesus is the only Savior and that He died for you. Ask Jesus to save you today. For further information on how to be saved please go to this link How to be saved
also I wrote a blog post on Repentance and I highly recommend you check it out.
Also for prayer for healing from your broken heart please contact the ministry of John Mcternan at Luke4.18Heal@gmail.com  and visit his website Jesus Christ Came to Heal the Brokenhearted  where he shares how his own broken heart was healed and there are testimonies of others who have prayed and received healing.

Verse 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

This verse warns us to beware of those who profess to know the Lord but in their actions they deny Him. Our lives are a living testimony to those around us. If the fruit of our lives does not line up with what the Bible teaches, then it is time to examine our hearts to see if we are really Christians. If you are a Christian then you will be living according to the commandments of God as he has given in the Bible. 
There are people who say they know God, that they are Christians  but the evil things they do show that they don’t accept him. They refuse to obey God and because they are not lead by the Holy Spirit ( who indwells the heart and life of every true believer ) and because the Holy Spirit is not in them, they are not capable of doing anything good.

Galatians 5 clearly describes the fruits of those who know Christ and the fruits of those who do not know Him. In which camp are you?

Those who are saved and know Christ -
Galatians 5:22-25

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Those who are not truly saved - Galatians 5:19 -21
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God's Guidance - Prayer

My friend Linda Shared this with me. It is written by Jon Courson

And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. 2 Samuel 2:1
Here we see a real secret of David’s success - why it was that he was used so effectively, why his life had so great an impact that we study him to this day. David was a man who inquired of the Lord.
“Is this the right time to go into the cities of Judah?” David asked.
“Yes,” the Lord answered.
“Where should I go?” David asked.
“Go to Hebron,” the Lord answered.
When David asked if it was time for him to go into the cities of Judah, God could have said, “Yes. Go to Hebron first.” But He didn’t do that. He gave David the specific information David asked for and waited until David asked for more.
The Lord does the same with us. He isn’t reluctant to give guidance, but there’s something more important than guidance. It’s called intimacy. If you’ve prayed repeatedly for direction concerning a given situation but still aren’t sure what the Lord would have you do, perhaps it’s because He loves you so much that He wants to keep hearing from you. He wants you to come into His presence time and again. He wants you to feel the embrace of His grace.
Corrie Ten Boom asked this pointed question: “Is prayer your steering wheel, or is it your spare tire?” Many of us pull prayer out of the trunk when we’re feeling flat or when there’s a blowout. However, prayer ought to be the steering wheel guiding us through the day, keeping us out of the ruts and ditches of life. Some days I act like I can get through my day without prayer. How dumb of me. Prayer is the highest, most important calling of any believer. It will keep you out of the ditches of depression, the ruts of predictability, the snares of seduction. At the outset of his reign, David models the absolute necessity of prayer.

By Jon Courson

The Role of Men and Women in Marriage

My friend Raelene shared this article on Facebook. I want to share it here on my blog. The article talks about marriage and family life, the God ordained roll of both men and women in marriage. Please take the time to read the entire article. 
I believe the article is written by Mark Deduke from Red Deer Alberta. He writes the following:

Marriage is a sacred institution established by God for the primary purpose of bringing Him glory. It's main purpose is not, as some think, to procreate, or to have companionship, or to fulfill sexual needs. No. It's primary purpose is to bring glory and honor to God. It is only in marriage that we are able to carry out the commission of God to replenish the earth and to subdue it. This commission by God can only be properly accomplished in marriage where the husband and wife in faithful, covenantal relationship purpose to glorify God by having children, raising them in a godly fashion, and sending them out into the world having trained them in the ways of the Lord. This is what marriage is for. It is outward focused (for God's glory), not inward centered (for our comfort).
Unfortunately, in this world of feminism the biblical role of women has been compromised. Too many Christian men don't know how to be men since, unfortunately, many of them learn "manhood" from one of two main role models on TV: the wimpy, bumbling male buffoon who is the object of laughter or the macho stud who can kill thousands with his bare hands and then go fornicate his brains out. Add to this sad state of affairs the unbiblical allowance of teenage rebellion and disrespect (due mostly to parental failure) and it is obvious that families are under attack. What is a Christian family to do?
The answer is simple. Men, it starts with you. So listen up. You are the ones responsible for your families. You are the ones who are the heads of your families. This is how God set the family structure up. God made the first married couple in a certain order and gave them certain duties. Adam was made first and God put him in charge of the Garden (Gen. 2:7,15). Adam looked for a helpmate from among all the animals and found none suitable (Gen. 2:19-20). So, God made Eve to aid him in the commission God had given Adam (Gen. 2:22). It was Eve's purpose to aid Adam in accomplishing the will of God. Furthermore, remember that sin entered the world through Adam, not Eve, even though she sinned first (Rom. 5:12). God addressed Adam for the failure, not Eve. To use an analogy, it was Adam who was the captain of the ship and when it went aground, he was the one God came to. Therefore, the responsibility of the family falls on the man. If you don't like it, that is too bad. That is how God set it up.
The healing of the Christian family begins with the head: the husband. The husband needs to take the helm and lead the family in spiritual matters -- whether he likes it or not. He can't be perfect at it and that's okay, but he is responsible for carrying out his duties as a husband and for loving his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). This is a very tall order to love his wife as Jesus loves us. But that is our calling. It is love in the family, lead and exemplified by the husband that sets the tone of the marriage. He is responsible for the well being of the family. It is to Him that God will come and require an account. This is serious business and the man needs to take it seriously.
Aside from the unfortunate reality where women must lead due to divorce, widowhood, separation, etc., if the woman is the leader in the family it is because the man has not taken his proper place. The man is the spiritual head, the discipler of the family (1 Cor. 14:34-35), the teacher, the one responsible for the the material, financial, and spiritual well being of his family (1 Tim. 5:8). It is a tall order, but it is simply the way it is. And one more thing: a family is a family by virtue of the covenant bond of marriage. It does not become a family once children arrive. Children are welcomed into the family at birth and need to be taught how to be proper, godly members of God's covenant family.
But what of the wife? What is her responsibility in marriage? It is simple. She is to respect, honor, and support her husband (Eph. 5:33). She is to encourage him to be the leader. She is to not undermine his position has head. This means that wives should not show him disrespect by speaking ill of him behind his back to anyone else. In addition, though many women will not like it, the woman's primary responsibility is to take care of the home (Tit. 2:3-5) and to make it a suitable place for the family to dwell as she aids her husband and nurtures the children (1 Thess. 2:7) with love (Tit. 2:4).
Of course, the husband and wife are both responsible for overlapping and helping each other as they love one another (1 Cor. 13), but the primary duty of a husband is to love and provide. The primary duty of a wife is to nurture and respect.
Is this important? Absolutely! Is it popular? No. But, it is what God calls us to do as Christians. So I ask you, how important is your family to you? How seriously are you considering them before God, not just in provision, but in love, nurturing, honor, training, and godly upbringing?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Reaping What You Sow ~ By Dr. Charles Stanley

The following is an article written by Charles Stanley:
Please take the time to read the entire article - it is really insightful.

Reaping What You Sow ~ By Dr. Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley
picture from a roadlesstaken.org

Who we are today is the result of our past. By that, I mean our previous thoughts and actions determine, to a large extent, what kind of people we become. Those who act wisely now will have insight in the future to make judicious decisions. Those who save prudently are prepared for the needs of tomorrow.
It is a shortsighted person who thinks only of the here and now, and does as little as possible. Eventually, he will have no way to avoid the poor quality and small quantity of his rewards.
Scripture puts it this way: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). The verse describes an unalterable law that affects everyone in all areas of life—family, work, and pleasure. It is both a warning and an encouragement.
We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow (Life Principle #6). Every farmer appreciates the meaning of this principle. Let’s examine it to make sure we understand the implications.
First, this truth applies to everyone, including both Christians and non-Christians.
The principle of Galatians 6:7 is irrevocable; there is no escape, either for the believer or for the unbeliever. It is a law of life.
Did you notice how the verse begins? It says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” Herein lies the root cause of the careless and indulgent lifestyle of many people. They are deceived. They either do not believe the truth, or they think they will somehow be the exceptions to God’s laws.
To mock God is to turn up one’s nose at Him or attempt to outwit Him. But this is foolish. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” If you were required to appear before the Lord’s judgment seat in the next five minutes, what kind of fruit would you be able to show?
Second, we reap what we sow.
This fact is welcome news for those with good habits. But it is a frightening thought for anyone currently involved in ungodly activities such as promiscuity, drug or alcohol abuse, neglect of family, or mistreatment of others in order to climb the ladder of success. We would not plant crabgrass and expect to harvest pineapples. Likewise, we cannot sow disobedience to God and expect to reap His blessing.
Third, we reap more than we sow.
Why do farmers plant seeds? Because they expect to harvest a great deal more than they sow. A single kernel can yield dozens, scores, even hundreds of seeds. It is the same way with both sin and righteousness—a small decision to do either good or bad reaps a much bigger crop, for either joy or sorrow.
Jesus used agrarian images to show that when we allow God’s Word to produce positive qualities in us, the results multiply: “The one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matt. 13:23).
On the other side of the ledger, the prophet Hosea describes the consequences awaiting those who choose wickedness: “They sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7).
Fourth, we reap later than we sow.
Some are deceived because their present seed has yet to produce a crop. So they continue down their course, mistakenly believing that there will never be a harvest.
But unlike the crops of the field, which are gathered at approximately the same time each year, there is no regular timetable for the harvest of life. Some results come quickly; others take a long time. But do not be deceived—their season will come. And by going the second mile now and doing more than is required, we will collect rich dividends later.
“For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” What a comforting and assuring thought to those who faithfully labor under difficult circumstances! Righteousness in such situations will produce a rich harvest in the future, for our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
Adapted from “The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible” (2008).
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Teaching Our Children About Life

As parents we are responsible to teach our children to walk in the way of the Lord - that is to teach them the Bible. In the Bible we learn how to live our lives pleasing to the Lord and to avoid all kinds of evil that will certainly befall those who live only to please themselves. Read the Bible - spend time with the Lord personally and then spend time in the Bible with your children. Show them by your own lifestyle what a real Christian is and does. There are many false and fakes out there who claim to be Christians but in reality only live to please themselves.

Deuteronomy 11:18-20  Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

We Need To Teach Our Daughters and Sons The Difference
picture fro idlehearts.com

Pray with your children, teach them by example to honor the Lord in all you do.

Colossians 3:16-17  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

picture from fayettewoman.com

Monday, 28 April 2014

Strength and Courage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

picture from crosscards.com

 Siehe, ich habe dir geboten, daß du getrost und freudig seist. Laß dir nicht grauen und entsetze dich nicht; denn der HERR, dein Gott, ist mit dir in allem, was du tun wirst.  ( Joshua 1:9 Luther Bible )

 Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Allowing God to Speak to you in Prayer

Palm Sunday Sermon Review

John 12: 12- 16  On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
Jesus Rides into Jerusalem
( childrenschurch.wordpress.com )

During this Lent season, our church has been focusing on prayer. This past Sunday we learned about listening to the Lord as we pray. I like to take notes as the pastor speaks. I want to post my notes that I took as the Pastor spoke. Perhaps you will be blessed as you read. I was blessed as I listened. It was Pastor Ben preaching.

Here are my notes:

Easter is the climax of the Christian calendar and of our faith.
We are expecting God to work.
God keeps His promises and His word.
God is with us, He is present with us.
Jesus took our penalty upon Himself.
Our prayers move the heart of God.
We are in a relationship with God Himself, we can come to the throne of God in prayer.

In the Bible, the people are convinced that God hears their prayers and so should we also be convinced, believe that He hears your prayers and will take action on your behalf.
The people in the Bible believed that God spoke to them and guided them.
God still leads , speaks, guides and directs us today.

How Do We Hear From God?

 We have to be available and ready to listen to Him.

We need to have a routine regular time with God.

We can be in relationship with Him.

We need to tune our ears to hear God - it will not necessarily be an earth shattering experience, but it will be important.

We need to take time to be with God, regularly on routine.

Read the Bible.

Some people meet with God as they walk, or sing, find your unique place and time to meet with God.

Prayer and Bible reading need to be included in your time with God.

A tool you might consider is keeping a journal. (these tips come from our pastor reading a book by Bill 
Hybels )

Write down three things 
* Yesterday - what happened yesterday - reflect on your life
How did you see God at work yesterday?
What was good yesterday? - give God thanks
What went wrong? - tell God, repent and seek forgiveness for sins committed.

* Write out your prayers - in short
this will help to keep focused on what you are praying about
Bring God what is on your heart - think deeply and cast your anxiety on Him

* Listen - ask God to speak. Give Him time to speak.
Write down what God is saying to you, test it to make sure it is from God, does it line up with the Bible?
Scripture passages will come to your mind.

If you want God to speak to you, you must be willing and committed to obeying Him.
Are you prepared to have Him involved in your life?
Are you willing to obey Him and do what He tells you?
Are you ready to hear God's voice?
If the answer is yes, you will hear Him.

God is working on our character - who you are, more so than what you should do for a living, where you should live, what kind of car you should drive etc.
God is working on your character, making you more like His Son in character.
God addresses issues in your life such as envy, anger, lust, bitterness, unkindness, etc  - He will help you change.
Trust God and deal with your issues - He will bring healing to your life!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Praying in Faith - Sunday Sermon Review

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. Jeremiah 29:12

picture from ourchurch.com

We are studying prayer during the Lent season. This Sunday our pastor preached on the topic of praying in faith. I like to take notes as I listen to the message and post them here on my blog. Perhaps you too will be blessed as I was. Pastor Ben was preaching and here are the notes I took as I listened to the sermon:

Prayer is a discipline. As we continue in prayer we improve and grow in it. We strive to improve.

What Does it Mean to Pray in Faith?

We are a people of faith, saved by grace through faith, we walk by faith.
Prayer and faith are linked together.
We are invited to pray in faith.
What does it mean to have faith in prayer? Three points.

1) We Pray to God

Mark 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
Our prayers are directed to God.
Prayer is not talking to ourselves, nor connecting to our inner feelings.
Prayer is communicating with the God of heaven and earth.
We turn our attention to God.
we need to thin of who we are praying to. 
Think about who God is - his character
Starting your prayers with praise and worship increases your faith as you pray.
Praise and worship helps us to to turn our attention to God.
God is good, He is loving, He is our helper, our healer, our provider, our friend, our Saviour, He sees all things, He knows all things, he knows the end from the beginning, He is faithful, true to His promises, eternal, He never sleeps, and never grows tired or weary, He hears us when we pray, etc the list goes on and on.

2) Pray for the Glory of God

 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

We pray so that God's Name be lifted up and glorified.
To pray in the Name of Jesus is to ask for Him to be glorified and honored.
( example - one who represents your country in a sports or as an ambassador is there on behalf of everyone in your country - Your country's Name )
Our business is for the Name of Jesus to be lifted up!
Prayer is not magic.
Your prayer requests need to be directed to glorify God.
Ask - Will this bring honor and glory to God and How will it do so?

Bring everything to God in prayer - with the mindset of saying " God - Be Thou glorified". 

3) Pray with Loyalty

Faith is believing, trusting and being loyal to God
To be loyal to Him is to believe in Him and to give your life for Him, and putting your complete trust in Him.
Give your life for Jesus and His cause.

Believe and do not doubt. 
James 1:5-7 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.
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

This does not mean that you cannot have any questions. God welcomes our honest questions.
This is about commitment. Have you decided who to follow? Have you decided to follow Jesus? 
This needs to be a wholehearted 100% commitment - jump in with all you got.
I am for God.
I am on God's side.
I will live my life for God.
I will jump in, even though I have questions.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.