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A Most Precious Commodity

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

– Psalm 90:12

Weathered Clock

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

-James 4:14

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

-Ephesians 5:14-17

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

– Colossians 4:3-6

As I ponder over my years, I confess that in my youth, time was seen as a slow moving impediment to finally reach adulthood. And as an adult, time was bartered for the temporary pleasures of this world in the hope that joy would continue beyond the morrow. As the morrow approached and the abundance of time abated, time was finally seen for what it truly is. The most precious of commodities; Traded foolishly during our youth, and in the end, valued above a kings treasure.

~Marc Daguerre

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Musing on Hebrews 13:10-16

By: Yves Blouin

Hebrews 13:10-16Hebrews“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

As stated; Jesus suffered and died for us outside of Jerusalem on mount Calvary. The location was a high spot so that it could be seen by many; increasing the shame and sending a message to all, that he had been defeated. Little did they know that this was God’s ordained plan. Jesus was to suffer and die in order to redeem us from our sins and give us a new nature.

The old testament required different types of sin offerings but the nation’s sin offering made by the high priest once a year, the one for all sins, was the only one burnt outside the camp on the yearly day of atonement, called Yom Kippur. Yom KippurJesus who is our high priest was crucified outside the camp as God’s sin offering for the entire world. Jesus was both our high priest and our sin offering. This is in contrast to the Jewish high priest who every year had to offer a sacrifice. Jesus offered himself, the perfect sinless lamb of God, as our sin offering once and forever. Only on the day of atonement some of the sacrifice’s blood would be sprinkled by the high priest in front of the curtain used to enter the Holy of Holies where God had a special presence. When Christ died and shed his blood the gospels tell us that the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom given everyone access to Him. The sprinkling of the blood of the sin sacrifice in front of the curtain was no longer required. As Christ said “It is finished”.

When the epistle to the Hebrews was written, the new Jewish believers were struggling with leaving Judaism. They had one foot in Judaism and one in Christianity. Foot in BoatThis passage, especially verse 13 calls for the Jewish believers to leave the comfort of Judaism and in doing so partake of Christ’s shame and disgrace. Jesus was despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We can find application today outside of Judaism in that before we became Christ’s followers we took comfort in material things, other religions, family, etc. and by going to Christ and following Him we bare His shame. Sometimes it is family or co-workers who ridicule us – I know that some of my family when I became a follower of Christ thought it was a mental phase that I would hopefully get over – 30 years later I still haven’t gotten over it.

This is especially clear in our current political context where all manners of religions and sins are tolerated, endorsed and even promoted except for Christianity which depending on what country you live in is violently attacked or at best ridiculed and politically suppressed. Take the case of the christian Trinity Western university’s attempt at getting it’s law school program accredited. Trinity Western UniversityThe supreme court of Canada ruled this week against it because the way in which the TWU Christian community chooses to live, work and study together, sharing traditional Christian values. Most of us will likely continue struggling to put the source of our comfort and security totally in Christ until we go to meet him, having one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity or maybe just being secret Christians. I know I’m definitely not there but it is a progression and as long as we’re going forth to Christ no matter the struggles, trials or shame then the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us more like Jesus. I love what Spurgeon said “It is but a flea-bite here — and then an eternity of bliss! A moment’s shame and then an eternal honor!”

How are we to respond to Jesus’ sacrifice? One way today’s text tells us is to give God the sacrifice or our lips, thanking him and giving him praise.Worship It is said that at a future time all sacrifices shall cease, but praises shall not cease.

I love that as we are told to thank God with our lips for what he did for us that he follows this with a mandate to do good especially to the needy. Our faith cannot be only declared by our lips but also by our actions to the less fortunate. With such sacrifices God is well pleased.

References:

Spurgeon No. 577: Let Us Go Forth

http://nationalpost.com/feature/the-covenant-and-the-courts-inside-a-christian-universitys-law-school-crusade

https://www.focusonthefamily.ca/content/twu-law-school-the-supreme-court-s-decision

http://nationalpost.com/tag/trinity-western-university

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The Most Damaging Attitude In Our Churches

https://relevantmagazine.com/god/church/most-damaging-attitude-our-churches

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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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