Our greatest need

  The gospel must pervade society, for real hope in the future of our nation and its people once more.  When man bows the knee to God,  all is made well in the heart.  True conversion never leaves us to recite prayers before our meals, then later retire to a beer and an off-coloured movie in our living rooms, nor does it constitute an attitude like that of the Governor of New York who during the decline of the Covid-19 epidemic, brazenly claimed man and not God is responsible for flattening the curve of  the virus “The number is down, because we brought the number down,” he said. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that…”

  While pain and suffering is part of the  process to recovery, it is blind ignorance and even arrogant to give ourselves credit for the decline in the rate of infections. Over a hundred and fifty years ago, when the Fathers of Confederation agreed that God`s rule should preside over their decisions, the inscription from Psalms 72 was to represent Canada`s motto.  Today, we are far from realizing that long-ago goal of God`s dominion over our country.  Psalm 72 finishes by showing the extent of God’s  reign “to the ends of the earth” which will be happen once God`s Judgment has past.   Even though we have forgotten Canada`s motto,  God is in the middle of everything, no matter how dismal or chaotic things may seem in this world.  The greater threat is not the pandemic,  but the consequences from our sins that has led God to exact His Wrath on a society in rebellion.  Ralph Drollinger, a minister who leads Bible study for President’s Trump cabinet, says that the present world-wide crisis shows Divine Wrath upon the nation for the proclivity “toward lesbianism and homosexuality.”  Add to this to our national shame are euthanasia, perversion  of our youths through gender identity and transgenderism, abortion,  the list goes on.  Acceptance and support of such have infiltrated our government, educational system, media and entertainment industry   Some say this is the kind of narrow thinking that is can only be seen through a partisan lens.  I agree and it certainly is.  But that is precisely the point to this article.  You cannot speak of a solution for our growing problems, or pinpoint their cause, unless your soul is completely committed to God`s view of life.  A Christian approach is not a soft-sell conceptualization of what went wrong or what the way out should be.   We are either for God or against Him.  Without God in our plans, no realistic solution can exist.  We are gravely in need of God`s intervention at this time in our nation`s life.  To seek answers elsewhere, apart from divine help, is to lose our toe-hold on reality and can only compound our troubles.

   The Bible speaks about saving yourself.   The way forward is for individuals to look to Christ for help.  The book of Hebrews in chapter seven verse twenty-five: 

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

   While our country is in great trouble and we pray for a return to stability, salvation is our greatest need.   However way you plan  to make it through this time with the growing list of problems facing all of us, know that you can have Christ on your side to help you through the worst of it.  Your greatest need is to be reconciled to God and have your sins forgiven, to be made righteous, and for God to give each of us a title to heaven.  To be made right before God, occurs when you understand and accept that Christ death on the cross was no mistake but meant to erase our wrongdoings against God and turn away from them.  We do this by placing personnel faith in His Son and what He did on our behalf.   Every other problem that we may face in the coming days are really molehills compared to what will be our fate if we do not prepare ourselves for  the final judgment.   

May God help you to give consideration to your eternity.  

Bad news ahead if you are not a real Christian!

Challenging and troublesome times are upon us where various issues have spilled out onto the political stage, the magnitude of which has not been seen in North America for some time, which leaves some wondering if mankind is doomed to self-destruct.  To some it may seem like only a matter of time, much like a bomb  triggered by a detonator. before the end comes where our world suffers such devastation any return from it may not be possible.  At least, it looks like that from current events we now face, whether the pandemic, protests, or poor economic conditions, the reality is these are the lesser of our concerns.  We find ourselves in a much worse quandary.   To  spell it out, let us consider two ideologies at work in Canadian Society.  Both are at work clamouring to hoist their ideas on on how to fix things and change things for our good.   On one side, some wish to reform the way we are ruled.  In our political spectrum, they are thought to be to the right of centre.  If their policies are implemented then a return to a healthier way of life, and produce a nation which looks to be from past standards traditional, along the kind we use to enjoy prior to our current system.  On the other hand, the left says that its ideology which asserts a belief system based on the thought that man can regulate himself free from religious dogma of any kind.  The secularist claim too  that if they dominate the political landscape that they alone can bring about a good and fair society.  So there you have it, two sides both of which are at opposite ends of the spectrum supposedly.  Both find their hope either in man or in conservative traditions.  This latter group bars any form of religion, though is itself a religion — Secular Humanism —  while the other seeks to make external use of the moral code.    Are either attempts adequate enough enable us to get out from under this mess we now face, or our we pawns to a failing system no matter where we place our loyalties our values?

   Let us concur that both aforementioned philosophies are inadequate for the immediate task at hand.  Bringing religion into the mix of simply doing our best under a set of moral principles will at best make you a better law abiding nation,  but will not save you from the inescapable doom that still awaits mankind.  If you recall from the start, it is the threat of eminent destruction that we have in view here.    Then the thought that we can rule on our own without conforming to long-established views of Canadian life, to turn things around on route to a good life for all, to have productive lives by looking to man as the essence and deciding factor for rule and law is utopic at best.   Both belief systems fail to solve what is systemic to the problems at hand.    Both systems are inadequate to meet the real dilemma that lies at the feet of all of our problems.  The solution to societies ills cannot be pigeonholed by external means;  it goes beyond reforming or loosening laws, rather for real transformation the individual must discover God and truly submit to Him as their Supreme Ruler.   Some years ago, the words from sea to sea was inscribed in the stonework of Parliament Hill “to have dominion from sea to sea”,  the intent was for God to rule our nation, but since then has faded away ever since.  Apart from the Christian Heritage Party most have retreated from a truly Christian platform, some either pay lip service to it or leave God out of their agenda entirely. 

  Let us leave aside distinctions between religion and secularism for a moment, the basis to reconcile sin issues can be reduced to how much you really believe in God.  It is the kind of belief that results in saving faith where you committed your life to His Son, a belief that responds to His Word in every area of your life and not a ritualistic type of life that finds you reciting a prayer at the dinner table, or attending a worship service twice or three times a year, to pay respect to the Christian holidays because it is your habit to do so,   but to live impassively in close quarters with Jesus is the result of genuine faith.  If our only thought is that we can earn a spot in heaven because Christian values are observed from a cold heart, we are just as wrong as the secularists.  We need to be saved.   Hear what Jesus replied to those Pharisees who thought they deserved heaven.   “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”(Luke 5:31-32)  By the “righteous,” he meant those who considered themselves good, but doing good works is not the way to heaven since  none of us are truly good.   Often, pride mask our religious acts.  It is a hard lesson to learn that we are not good enough for salvation.  That is why that faith in Christ alone is the means to acceptance with God.   The secularist say they have no need for God, since they make up their own rules.   This too, is wrong.  Much like the religious crowd both groups are unrighteous; the secularists remonstrate against any need for salvation, and deny its validity.  Their goal is for life to operate absent from God.   They deny the transcendent authority of Jesus Christ over man and generally disregard moral absolutes.  This has the makings of a spiritual storm.  God warns those who wish to blot Him from out for their lives.

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (Eze 3;18)

This dreadful ending remains the same for all deniers of Christ who wish to rid themselves from divine authority to reign supreme over their lives as Savior and Lord.  Where does your loyalty reside today?  Are you really all in?   Are you not fully vested in a life controlled by His Word and Grace, and instead quite comfortable to live a life with a little bit of religion added to it, a superficial faith far from what the Bible commands.    Our hope is that you have seen enough from both ideologies to know how each fails to meet what we really need most.   

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.  Luke 11:23

  May God lead you to find His Son in this our greatest need.

The Believer’s Advocate

I recently heard about farmers who are looking for hard working young people to pick fruit in their orchards.   Unfortunately, there is a shortage of workers due to border restrictions,  even if migrants are allowed across,  a 14 day quarantine was imposed on them.   In the past, these migrants came from Mexico, Jamaica and several other places in the world.  In Ontario alone, nearly 14.000 worked our fields each season.   To try and hire local youth means that the work is hard and experienced hands from abroad has proven much that they are more productive compared to inexperienced workers.   Industry insiders agree that for the farmer to turn a profit he needs knowledgeable seasoned workers to meet the arduous task of picking fruit when harvest time rolls around.  In the same token, another type of work is taking place even now where only one individual qualifies.  It is a spiritual labor and only met by a lifetime of holiness and sacrifice.  His portfolio is varied and comes highly endorsed.   He is from heaven and entered into this labour of love voluntarily though its demands meant suffering far beyond what any one man could endure.  We are told that Jesus “passed through the heavens” after having died and resurrected, in order to continue as our mediator before the Father.  He was assigned to bring many sons to glory, then returned to heaven so what does is He doing now that He has taking His place once more in the heavens?   

  For one thing, it indicates that once He accomplished His mission on the cross, it did not end when He left earth for heaven.   He came to His throne where now He acts as our intercessor before the Father.  That means he represents Believers before God.  You see, if each one of us alone tried to speak to God, we would be doomed for failure.   God has a dispute with us.  Sin which can be explained as breaking God`s moral laws,  means we all are guilty of doing just that exact thing.    None of us could in good conscience deny that we have not lied or thought immoral thoughts, or taken the Lord`s name in vain, and a lot more than a few times.   Yet, Jesus was appointed by God to defend us, and does so successfully, because He is our “Defence Attorney” in a manner of speaking.  He qualified for this role by becoming our substitute and taking the punishment on our behalf, successfully bridging our hearts to God`s by paying the penalty Himself.   So we can be cleared of all charges and pronounced innocent because of the One who paid the price for our sins.  All who put their trust in Him and repent of their sins are gloriously forgiven!   

   So what is happening in heaven where we learn that Christ is at the right hand of the Father?  In that Christ has re-entered heaven, we are confident that the work of the cross has been successful and no longer is their need for a sacrifice.  Next, it also teaches us that Christ is at work in an intercessory role, where He speaks to the Father on our behalf.  He can do this because He knew our infirmities since He Himself had undergone many of the same trials,  many more than what we could in our lifetimes, and on a much more  intense level.  The Bible tells us that He was made perfect through them, and that He remained without sin.   His hardships helped shaped His perfect humanity to understand and sympathize with us.    

   Surely, we all have seen a sign  “men working above.”    Christ is working for us now.  We cannot look up and see Him, but we know from Scripture that He has entered heaven once more.   Have you known Christ as Savior, because if you have not, then His work is not on your behalf.  He cannot be your advocate if He is not your Savior first.   Put  your faith in Jesus Christ today, so that you are sure about your entrance into heaven one day. 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb.4:14-16)

The Only Hope That Cannot Fail

Everyone needs hope.   Studies have shown that optimistic mind-sets lead to better living.   Alex Smith, a former quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs,  had a stretch of a year and a half where doctors were unsure if he would hold up from an on-the-field injury to his leg.   Initially, they had considered amputating his leg to increase his chances for survival.  It had become severely infected in the early stages of his recovery, black puss-like sores appeared and flesh eating disease had invaded his swollen leg, probably on account of the broken leg bone protruding through his skin, giving rise to infection.  He recovered!  Not only is he walking again, but he hopes to return and play again!   

   Hope plays a key role in dealing with life’s adversities. Although  everyone has hope of some kind, it remains to be seen if it is the right kind that is well founded.  The determinant factor behind the substance of lasting hope is what is important.   Let us ask ourselves if our confidence and desire lies in what the world may offer.  If that is sufficiently so, it is limited to what it can do for us.  It cannot satisfy our soul is yearning for something greater, at best giving us some degree of comfort about our physical wellness and financial security, which may in fact find you wanting more over time anyway.  The Bible teaches that the man who lives life without God cannot know real happiness.  Solomon, perhaps the richest and most powerful man of his time had experienced a period in his life where this could be said of him.  His words are reflective:  So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me:  because everything is futility and striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 2: 17)  Enduring hope sets its sights on meeting the soul`s need.  Looking to God is essential because peace of soul cannot be found in anything else.  The counterpart to hope is despair which the rich and famous experience though their lives are full of most everything that life can offer, yet anxiety and fears plague their everyday lives.   To get everything you desire does not guarantee true contentment and often enough those that do have their expectations met are still searching for something more.   The promises of Scripture speaks of a hope which gives us confidence in whatever God has promised will ultimately come to pass.   This means then that God’s faithfulness goes even beyond what we may expect from Him, to do exceedingly greater things than what we can ever imagine!   That is why when God made  a covenant or agreement with His people Israel, He held up His end though they did not.  He always fulfills His end of the agreement, though we fail to uphold our part, which is good news for all of us!   So His faithfulness does not depend on what we may do, but on His unchanging character.  In the book of Hebrews, the author speaks often about the faithfulness of God in Christ. The unfailing ground of our hope for a heavenly rest is found in His Son to fulfill His promise of salvation to all those who put their trust in Him and repent of their sins.  So God`s ability and reliability to do what He says is the foundation for the Christian’s hope.  God says it, we believe it.  Hope casts its eyes on futuristic things, while faith acts on it.   Faith and hope are then like travelling companions going in the same direction with the same thing in view.     

Real hope then takes on a God’s perspective on life.     We do not have to fret about what is to come, our current crisis from what the aftermath of this pandemic may look like may be quite disrupting and upsetting for many, yet we need not bow our heads in despair.  For one thing, you can have the comforting assurance that whatever happens is under the control of the ONE who holds our future.   Hear what the apostle Paul says about Christ faithfulness in ever changing situations that he encountered:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

Do you know Christ in that intimate way and can say the same about your current circumstances as did Paul?   Do you rest assured that every outcome is in God’s Hands, no matter how troublesome it may appear to you?  When the end comes, and each has to face God, are you sure you are prepared spiritually to meet God on His terms?  Are you seeing things differently than how God sees them?   Is your hope based in the world and not on God’s Truth.  In a classic children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, Alice looks through a looking glass (mirror) and discovers an alternative universe, where things were contrary to the real world, where things are not as they should be.   A Christian`s hope sees life quite differently than how the world sees it,   Hope that is set on God’s Promises finds fulfillment in the outcome, ultimately.   The Christian’s hope in Christ is sure and tangible, wherein He can be depended on whenever help is needed, especially His forgiveness and His gift of eternal life,  while everything else is uncertain and fleeing at best and only offers a flicker of satisfaction, our unchangeable God always delivers on His promises.  We recognize that cottages, secure employment, good marriages, friendships, the things many aspire for and commonly considered to increase the quality of our existence and for those we love, are good in themselves, yet are temporal and are not a substitute for the eternal realities that are ours in Christ, those things that will remain constant, and to be enjoyed presently with greater prospects awaiting us in heaven.  Therefore, do not stake your life on things that are temporary at best, they have an expiry date, they will cease, and instead focus your attention on the things that are eternal, unfailing, that offer real peace and gratification.   Only in God and His Dear Son can we know real hope for sure.  The Scriptures teach us:

 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1,2)

And again in another place, we are told about God who cannot fail.

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  (Hebrews 10:23)

If you have not placed personal faith in Christ, it is time that you do so, and learn what many transformed souls have already discovered for themselves — to stop wasting time on worrying about things that never really bring true contentment.  As C.S. Lewis once observed:  “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” 

Consider Jesus Christ and His work on the cross to deliver us from His Wrath that will be felt by those who refuse His great salvation that still stands today.  Let us enter into the eternal rest (salvation) that had been offered in the past to Israel in the wilderness, and still available to us today! (see Hebrews 4:1-5).   

May God help you as you consider these matters.