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School Shootings – The Cause and the Cure

Living Waters had released their latest video dealing with the root cause of school shootings. Please take the time to view and share.

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Hiding our sins from God

By: Yves Blouin
Note: below are a few thoughts I had shared with friends at our communion service and that my attempts at humour might be misunderstood or simply poor and for that I ask for your grace.
book shelf
It always amazes me how God is mindful of us.  Why should he love us?
Hebrews 2:6-8 NKJV
But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
That passage refers to Christ but in a lesser way it refers to humankind.  Why would God treasure us above all his creations? Definitely not because we deserve it.  Only his grace, mercy and love makes this possible.
If I wasn’t a sinner what would be the point of coming together to celebrate communion?  The Lord’s Table reminds me of what Christ’s love did for me.  He gave up his life to redeem me, a sinner, so that I could have fellowship with him.
HBCWhen I was 10 years old my best friend and I were looking at knives at the local Hudson Bay Company store.  I held the knife incorrectly by it’s sheath with my thumb over the handle.  It was very tight fit and wouldn’t come out.  Eventually it did free itself from the sheath and sliced the full length of my thumb, right down to the bone.  At that moment I was more concerned about what my parents would do to me than the pain I was dealing with or how gross it was.  We went to my friend’s grand-father’s apartment and wrapped the thumb in so much bandages that it was nearly a half-inch thick all around. thumb
When I arrived home I tried to hide it from my mom but she caught sight of it and asked me what I had done.  I answered like any 10 years old would… “Nothing” I said.  The blood had soaked right through the thick bandages and the colour was a crimson red.  My mom opened up the bandage to take a look and I thought she was going to faint at the sight. She rushed me to the hospital after which, it took several stitches to properly take care of it.
We often behave similarly towards sin.  We hide our sins under layers of pretense and self-righteousness – I know I’ve sure been guilty of this.   Just like how those bandages couldn’t hide my injury from my mom, no matter how well we deceive ourselves into thinking that our sins are not that bad or that no one knows, we need to remember that God knows.
scaleYet, we rationalize our sins and think that we’re not as bad as the next person.
It’s been well said that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. I’d add to that, you can never fool God.
My first job after college was working in the Imperial Oil maintenance dept.  The leadership was interestingly composed of a majority of 1st and 2nd generation United Kingdom citizens.  There were some Scottish, Irish and English descendants.  One of them told me this tongue in cheek saying of how they thought of the other’s application of religion:
There are four kinds of people in the UK –
First, there were the Scots who kept the Sabbath – and everything else they could lay their hands on;
Then there were the Welsh – who prayed on their knees and their neighbours;
Thirdly there were the Irish who never knew what they wanted – but were willing to fight for it anyway.
Lastly there were the English who considered themselves self-made men, – thus relieving the Almighty of a terrible responsibility.
Fortunately since I’m descended from a french heritage I’m safe here 🙂 Kidding!vive la France
As an interesting note you wouldn’t know to look at her but Geeta (my Guyanese spouse) is 12.5% Scottish!!  And we know that Marc of his own admission at the pulpit a few weeks ago is approximately 28% Irish.  Not saying anything just stating facts. 🙂 Thankfully as Christians we’re not bound by our cultural heritage but by our spiritual heritage in Christ.  Our behaviour doesn’t always reflect this and the communion service is a good reminder of our need for forgiveness and our position in Christ – forgiven sinners.
I’m reminded of the story of the sinner and the pharisee. What a good illustration of how not to examine others but how to examine ourselves:
Luke 18:9
 

pharisee and publican

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Paul had this prescription related to the communion service:
1 Corinthians 11:28 AMPC
Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Notice that it doesn’t say to examine others which is much easier. How many times have we thought and even said: hey honey you heard what the preacher said… Meanwhile I should be thinking about how to apply it to my own life.
1 Corinthians 11:31 AMP
But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behavior], we would not be judged.

C.S.Lewis

CS Lewis had a thought that wrapped this up nicely:
“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.”

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Creation and the Sciences

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)

The first chapter of Genesis is the foundational chapter of the Bible and, therefore, of all true science. It is the great creation chapter, outlining the events of that first week of time when “the heavens and the earth were finished, and. . . . God ended his work which he had made” (Genesis 2:1-2). Despite the evolutionists, God is not creating or making anything in the world today (except for special miracles as recorded in Scripture) because all His work was finished in that primeval week. He is now engaged in the work of conserving, or saving, what He first created.

There are only three acts of special creation—that is, creation out of nothing except God’s omnipotent word—recorded in this chapter. His other works were those of “making” or “forming” the created entities into complex, functioning systems.

His first creative act was to call into existence the space/mass/time cosmos. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is the domain that we now study in the physical sciences. The second is the domain of the life sciences. “God created . . . every living creature that moveth” (Genesis 1:21). It is significant that the “life” principle required a second act of direct creation. It will thus never be possible to describe living systems solely in terms of physics and chemistry.

The third act of creation was that of the image of God in man and woman. The study of human beings is the realm of the human sciences. Our bodies can be analyzed chemically and our living processes biologically, but human behavior can only really be understood in terms of our relation to God, whose image we share.

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He Gave Himself

By: Henry Morris

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4)

There can never be a greater gift than this. Our Lord Jesus Christ not only has given us forgiveness and salvation and all spiritual blessings, He gave Himself! The pure, glorious Son of God gave Himself, substituting Himself in our place to suffer the righteous judgment of God on our sins.

Six times this wonderful affirmation is found in God’s Word. The first is in our text, assuring us that when He gave Himself, He paid the price to deliver us from this present evil world into the eternal world to come.

Then, in the next occurrence, this promise is made intensely personal. Christ “loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The gift Christ gave is more than the world could ever give.

The supremely sacrificial nature of His gift is then emphasized. “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). The sacrifice has brought us to Himself, for “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . . That he might present it to himself a glorious church” (Ephesians 5:25, 27).

The offering was sufficient to pay for the redemption of all sin, as He “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6). This ransom is not merely to redeem us from the penalty of sin at the judgment, however, but also from the power of sin in our lives, and this is the testimony of the final occurrence of this great declaration. Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).

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I Have Decided to Follow Jesus! A devotion by Yves Blouin

Billy Graham Time

Last week several people shared stories related to Billy Graham and his evangelistic crusades.

 

My wife came upon this story about how the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus” came into being:

https://pastorbradabley.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/the-incredible-story-behind-the-hymn-i-have-decided-to-follow-jesus/

In the 1800’s, a missionary from Wales who had endured severe persecution finally saw his first converts in a particularly brutal village in the Northern Indian province of Assam. A husband and wife, with their two children, professed faith in Christ and were baptized.

Assam and its surrounding provinces was located in one of the most oppressive forms of Hinduism — a place where the caste system was entrenched, and where headhunters ruled.

Their village leaders decided to make an example out of the husband. Arresting the family, they demanded that the father renounce Christ, or see his wife and children murdered.

When he refused, his two children were executed by archers. Given another chance to recant, the man again refused, and his wife was killed. Still refusing to recant, this husband and father was martyred.

Witnesses later told the story to the Welsh missionary. The reports said that when asked to recant or see his children murdered, the man said: “I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.”

After seeing his children killed, he reportedly said, “The world can be behind me, but the cross is still before me.” And after seeing his wife pierced by the arrows, he said, “Though no one is ready to go with me, still I will follow Jesus.”

According to this missionary, when he returned to the village, a revival had broken out, and those who had murdered the first converts had since come to faith in Jesus themselves.

The Welsh man passed along these reports to the famous Indian evangelist Sandhu Sundar Singh.

So Singh took the martyr’s last words, and put them to traditional Indian music in order to make one of the first uniquely Indian hymns.

The song immediately became popular in Indian churches, and it remains a mainstay of worship music there to this day.

Eventually some of the American missionaries returned from India and they brought that song with them.

Finally, it ended up with Canadian song writer George Beverley Shea, and he made it a staple at the Billy Graham crusades.

 

Follow Jesus

 

I’m inspired by Christians martyred for Christ – the strength of their faith. Last week’s persecuted church was about Samiha Tawfiq Awad of Egypt who’s face had been severely damaged by an explosion at her church and her reaction was that of thankfulness to be alive so that she could reach out to her attackers and their families for Christ. My faith isn’t that strong.

Last night my family watched a movie called “I’m not ashamed” based on the Columbine massacre and how a teenage girl touched millions for Christ. We don’t have to be spiritual giants to make a difference in other people’s life for Christ – we just need to desire to serve him in whatever way Jesus leads us to.

Billy Graham, as great a man as he was, didn’t give elaborate theological discourses at his crusades but a simple message – the good news of our salvation through Christ. He left it up to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. His audience has been estimated in the billions. Our call may not be the same but just to be ready to give an answer for our hope to whomever will listen. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

When I go and pick up Bradyn (my grandson) at his home I will buzz his unit and he will hear my voice on the speakerphone.  By the time I get off from the elevator he is out of the door of his apartment and running down the hall, squealing, giggling and calling out Papa, Papa.  I would guess that annoys some of the other tenants as the hallways echo with the sound of his voice, but you can’t contain Bradyn’s excitement and it gives me great joy.  God calls us to Him.  There is no guarantee that we will respond.  The decision is ours.  If we do come to Him we will not be disappointed and God will be exuberant even more so than we are when our grandchildren run to us to give us a hug.  When we respond, is our excitement subdued because we don’t want to disturb the neighbours?  

child running to grandpa

Are we concerned about what will our friends and family think?  Are we too grown up to share our excitement with others?

God’s calling on our lives is both to turn to his son Jesus and to introduce others to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit does the rest – we’re not responsible for the outcome, just to be obedient in following Jesus and tell others of the joy and peace he can bring into their lives.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

By: Yves Blouin

 

 

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“Are You a Christian or a Muslim?”

For most Americans, it may seem a simple question. But if the person asking the question is a gun-wielding member of al-Shabab (Arabic for “the Youth”), your answer could mean the difference between life and death.
Al-Shabab terrorists have asked the question in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. They’ve gone door to door in a university dormitory asking students that question. And they’ve stopped buses in Somalia and asked every passenger the same question: Are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Muslims are allowed to leave, often after being ordered to recite a Quranic verse to “prove” they are really Muslim, and Christians are murdered.

Al-Shabab says they’re waging a “holy war” (jihad in Arabic) against enemies of Islam. Their goal is to completely eliminate Christians from Somalia. They’ve even circulated a list of suspected Christians; anyone whose name is on the list is executed immediately, if discovered.

Despite al-Shabab’s efforts, there are Christians in Somalia. You can learn about the challenges they face and the specific ways you can pray for them by requesting a free copy of VOM’s Christians Facing Islamic Extremists guide. After you’ve requested a copy for yourself, forward this special offer to your Christian friends so they can join in prayer for our persecuted family.

How can you pray for persecuted Christians? Get new, specific prayer requests by email each week.

Sign up at: www.iCommitToPray.com

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The Sin of Complaining

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15)

Christians who complain about their circumstances would do well to ponder this sobering verse and its background. God had greatly blessed His people, Israel, delivering them supernaturally from slavery in Egypt, protecting them against their enemies—even miraculously supplying daily bread and water for them in the desert.

Still they complained—about their food, about the imaginary luxuries they had left behind in Egypt, and against their leaders. “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled” (Numbers 11:1). Finally, when they complained about the manna, “the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly.” He sent them quail to eat in such abundance as to last “even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you.” Then, “while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed . . . the LORD smote the people with a very great plague” (Numbers 11:10, 20, 33).

God has blessed every Christian with forgiveness of sin and eternal life. He daily fulfills His promise to supply every need (not every desire, however), and we should live a thankful life in return, regardless of our particular lot in this world. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). Complaining about what we don’t have may well result in God taking away what we do have—and still worse, sending leanness into our souls

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Cities of Refuge

“Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.” (Numbers 35:14) GoodFishBadFish

City of Refuge

When the Israelites entered the promised land, God told Joshua to provide six “cities of refuge” into which those who had slain someone could flee for refuge until a trial could ascertain the facts and render a proper verdict. As such, these cities are a type of Christ, through whom “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

The names of the six cities are given in Joshua 20:7-8 as Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan. The meanings of these names seem planned especially to foreshadow this spiritual application.

map of cities of refuge

Kedesh means “holy place,” and Christ in the New Jerusalem is the ultimate refuge, for “the Lamb [is] the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). Shechem means “strong shoulder,” which answers to the “strong consolation” we have in Christ when we flee to Him for refuge.

Hebron means “fellowship,” and we who have come to Christ have been “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Bezer means “strong hiding place.” The Scripture assures the believer that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Ramoth means “high place,” and when we are hidden in Christ, God also has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Finally, Golan apparently means “enclosure for captives,” and this would speak of our being set free from sin and death to become captive to Christ. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8). Thus, the cities are appropriately named both for their immediate purpose and as a picture of Christ as the Savior of sinners.

Jesus is our city of refuge

 

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The Importance of Good News: Headlines You are Not Hearing

by Eric Metaxas

breaking news

It’s been a summer of rough news for America. Racism, riots, and political violence. Communities on the Gulf Coast continue wading through the devastation of hurricane Harvey, and now another storm is bearing down on Florida. We have plenty of reasons to be praying and doing all we can to alleviate suffering. There’s cause for grief about the news—but not for pessimism.

Oliver-Burkeman,-RWriting at The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman suggests that despite a dragging civil war in Syria, heart-rending photos of drowned refugees, North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling, disasters, terrorist attacks, and racial violence, the world is objectively better now than it’s ever been.

 

 

Hard to believe? Well, here are the facts: Swedish historian Mark Norberg breaks down global indicators of human flourishing into nine categories: food, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the state of the environment, literacy, freedom, equality, and the conditions of childhood. And in nearly all of these categories, we’ve seen vast improvement in my lifetime.

Despite the fact that nine out of ten Americans say worldwide poverty is holding steady or worsening, the percentage of people on this planet who live on less than two dollars a day—what the United Nation’s defines as “extreme poverty”—has fallen below ten percent, which is the lowest it’s ever been.

The scourge of child mortality is also at a record low. Fifty percent fewer children under five die today than did thirty years ago.

71 years of lifeWorldwide, 300,000 more people gain access to electricity every day. In 1900, global life expectancy was just 31 years. Today, it’s an impressive 71 years. And violent crime rates in the United States are the lowest they’ve been in half a century.

Nicholas Kristof wasn’t too far afield when he called 2016 “the best year in the history of humanity.” This year may see even more progress.

So why do these cheery pronouncements strike us as inaccurate—even outrageous? Why—according to a recent poll by YouGov—do a vanishingly small six percent of Americans think the world as a whole is becoming a better place?

bad newsBurkeman lays much of the blame on the press. Thanks to a 24-hour news cycle that actively seeks out and overplays the worst stories, our perception of the world is skewed. “We are not merely ignorant of the facts,” he writes. “We are actively convinced of depressing ‘facts’ that aren’t true.” And no wonder! It’s hard to sell papers and get Web traffic with good news. No one reports when a plane takes off. They only report when they crash.

But a great deal of the blame for our unjustifiably gloomy view of the world also falls on our shoulders. Quite simply, we often enjoy being angry about the state of the world, especially when it allows us to blame someone else. We are addicted to news-induced anger.

That’s why it’s so important—while acknowledging the desperate evil and suffering around us—to appreciate the good news, the progress, and the things we have to celebrate. After all, how can we truly comprehend what’s wrong with the world if we don’t recognize when something is going right?

War, famine, disease, and hatred should all remind us that God’s world, which He created and pronounced “very good,” is broken, and it’s our fault. But here’s the real comfort: It’s still—as the hymn says—our Father’s world. Let us therefore never forget that “though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the ruler yet.”

As Christians, we know where history is headed, and we know how the story ends—with the redemption and restoration of all things. We who have the good news should be the first to recognize all good news, not in spite of, but in the midst of the bad.

 

 

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My prayer for this New Year

We often hear people say, “what the church needs today is a revival”

Here’s how you can have a genuine, Spirit lead revival in your own life:

revival

Think back with me if you will, to that time when you became a follower of Jesus Christ. Your first “revival” was now taking place. You realized who Jesus truly was; He is The Judge, The King, The LORD, and our Propitiation.

repentant personYou were acutely aware of who you were in the eyes of God. You realized that you were not good enough, in fact, you saw just how wicked you were in His sight. Yet, He chose to save you from hell because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ who was then buried and resurrected to prove that he was in fact God and had power over death and hell. You asked the Judge of the universe to forgive you for all of your sins and subsequently fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him for saving your wretched soul.

Spurgeon on being happyThe realization that you would spend eternity with Jesus and that heaven was now your eternal home caused you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

 

The Holy Spirit would speak to your spirit as you would study the Word of God. He would convict you when you would sin and you in turn would confess it to Him without hesitation.Happy Christians He would work in you to make right any wrongs you would have done to others, and with joy in your heart, you would walk in His ways. You couldn’t wait to get together with your brothers and sisters in Christ and made the time to connect with them whenever you could. You worshipped in spirit and in truth. Worship was in everything you did. Whether you were preparing a meal, opening the door for a stranger, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others, worship permeated your soul.

As time went on, and the Holy Spirit would pinpoint sins that needed to be dealt with, you began to negotiate or justify your intentions. You would try and warrant your actions, ignoring the Spirit of Truth. Eventually, what once was a clear and distinct voice had now become a faint whisper, maybe even silence.

Now, your time of worship is limited to singing songs that stir up your emotions and not your knowledge of the entirety of God. Brothers and sisters in Christ are a reason you don’t like going to the weekly services or Bible studies. You think to yourself “If only these brothers and sisters would get on fire for God!”

Do you truly think that it would also re-ignite you?

reignite your walk

People that are going through a revival of their own don’t usually complain so much that the church needs revival because they themselves are immersed in one and they are so busy doing the Lord’s work that they don’t have time to look at what everyone in the church is or isn’t doing. They will look for those that are genuinely Spirit-filled and will gravitate towards them.

The recipe for revival is simple:  We must return to our first love.

Come to the Lord with a humble heart, a broken and contrite spirit. Ears that will listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. A change of mind in regards to our sin. A mouth that confesses iniquity. Feet that walk in the Spirit’s direction and eyes that are intently focused on the Lord Jesus

The song, ‘Restore My Soul’ is a wonderfully written lyrical address to this very topic.

“Restore my soul, revive my heart, Renew my life in every part

Reveal to me what sin remains, Then lead me to the cross again.

At the cross I’ll find the way, To live the life Your hand has made,

So find me there, Lord, and help me stay In true surrender with You, my Saviour

Re-light the fire that burned so strong, Reminding me what You have done

My one request is to be changed, So lead me to the cross again.”

My prayer is that each and every one of us will lay aside anything and everything that is hindering us from walking hand-in-hand with the Lord Jesus Christ. That we would lay our sin at the foot of the cross.

Hebrews 12

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” ~Hebrews 12:1-3

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