Wednesday, 7 March 2018

"Where O death is your sting"? Remembering a man of God

Billy Graham wasn’t the only great man to pass away recently. My cousin Daryl died today. He was in his mid-40s but had the intellectual development of a grade 5 or 6er. He was born with excessive fluid pressure in his brain and had several operations to put a tube in his head to drain it. As a teenager he fell into a pool and drowned, but was revived. This incident further contributed to his diminished mental state. Yet what he lacked in IQ he made up for in joy and inner beauty.

He fought so hard for everything he had in life and he was always so cheerful. He was abandoned as a new born by his birth parents and put up for adoption as a handicapped baby. God gave him what he needed: new Christian parents. Learning was slow and difficult comparatively, and friends were far and few between. What an accomplishment it was when he persisted and passed his driving test. Likewise, Daryl wanted to work and found a job at the airport. He enjoyed working like everyone else and earning his own money. He was a good little guy and a hard worker. He had so many operations in his life. Too many. So many complications. And then, as if adding insult to injury,  a year ago they found a brain tumor. They performed the dangerous operation and successfully removed it. It was such a happy day when it was tested and found to be benign. His life was filled with so many things that were so stressful. Yet he faithfully carried on with the cross in his heart: contributing, loving, and smiling.

I call him little even though he was a full grown man. I still see him as little, as a sweet little boy in a big body. He fought hard and healed from the brain tumor. He always persisted no matter what life threw at him. He was always so joyful and full of the Lord. Simple and pure. Yet a couple of weeks ago, he went to the doctor for a stomach ache and they gave him 2 weeks to live. It was another life torpedo that came out of nowhere. He didn’t understand it. He had just gotten past the bloody brain tumor a year earlier and was supposed to be healthy. He was trying so hard and things were looking positive. He died today, a week early, and will be greatly missed. I thank God for giving this little boy loving parents to hold him during his last days, and to comfort and love him as he past on. His impact wasn’t on the greater world around him, but on the hearts of those close to him. He loved God so much. I thank you Jesus that he knew what was truly important in life. I thank you Jesus that he is smiling in Your presence now.

The inclination is to wonder why, after so many successes, the Lord took him home. And when I think of him suffering my eyes do well up with tears. I suppose we start to believe that life before death is somehow preferable to life after death; that we view things from our perspective and not the Fathers. We take a temporal outlook and not an eternal one. I know for a fact that my cousin has stepped through a door from a dump into paradise: from pathways of pain to roadways of gold. He has graduated from a faithful perception of our Lord to sitting on His lap. And I praise you Lord for it. I pray that I will likewise be as faithful a servant as my dear cousin was. He was faithful no matter what life threw at him. No matter how hard life’s difficulties, Daryl would just grab onto God that much tighter, like a child grabbing onto his daddy when he needed him. He was a true man of God.

Save Daddy's other knee for me cousin.

 (1 Cor 15:5)

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Spiritual Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons, and persecutions. Today the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.” – Leonard Ravenhill.
 If you adhere to the teachings found within the prosperity doctrine, please allow some room to consider my words. And I pray that the Bible will act as an arbiter between us and allow you to see the problems inherent in this doctrine. In fact, the teaching frequently goes by the descriptor, “the Prosperity Gospel”. I do find this to be ironic, considering it is a self-condemning name. It seems to distinguish itself from the Biblical gospel, as if it recognizes that it has some fundamental divergence from God’s word.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”. (Galatians 1:8 KJV)
Accursed is strong language. It suggests to us that some time should be taken to understand the ramifications of this teaching, and to determine if it passes the Biblical litmus test. If it doesn’t, it is a false teaching given by a false teacher. If it detracts from our relationship with God, it is condemnable and heretical.

Friday, 3 March 2017

JESUS CHRIST - Much greater than a "Superstar

I don't like going to church (especially a new church) and feeling like I've just seen yet another performance of the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar."

If you haven't seen the play, it ends with the suicide of Judas and crucifixion of Christ. The end.

We Christians know that the crucifixion of our Savior is not the end. It's a new beginning, a second birth, "born again," to quote Jesus' conversation at night with the sympathetic, believing pharisee, Nicodemus (John 3.)

I've heard the proverbial THE END from prominent televangelists. For instance a couple years ago I was watching Pat Robertson referencing Jesus on the "700 Club." I paraphrase him, "[It's amazing when you realize] that this man was born to die." With all due respect to Mr. Robertson, I ask how is that statement different than any other human being's fate on this earth?

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Scared straight: educational ponderables as a deterrent to sexual sin.

Maintaining one’s purity in an impure society is difficult. Spiritual strength is paramount to overcome iniquitous allures. Yet, the Bible also gives us plenty of council on the practicality of righteousness, and how it is easier to walk upright if we learn to avoid temptations outright. So this article is focusing on the practicality of holiness.. and how education can give us pause from fornication and/or adultery, by showing us the fearful physical or worldly consequences that could befall us. For when sin touches this world and our lives, it doesn’t just sully our souls; it can have lasting effects on our bodies and mental state. If you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner (or more than one partner) this is a consideration. And if you’re a Christian struggling with this temptation, this article is meant to scare you straight and take the edge off that unrighteous desire. Sex is not a trivial activity. And Christians that face temptations should reinforce their fortifications from fornication with information.

Understanding these consequences forms a deterrent to engaging in sexual immorality. This principle is embraced Biblically as well as worldly. It’s for this reason that we are taught that cigarette smoke can cause lung cancer or emphysema. The association of the potential `what-if’ warns us of the risks involved in tobacco, and these risks help to steer us away from this product. And within the sexual niche of this discussion, it can similarly be seen in the government’s educational drive for condom use as a means of safeguarding our bodies from the dangers of unplanned pregnancy and venereal disease (particularly AIDS, which alongside unwed pregnancy has an adverse effect on social programs and hence governmental resources).

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things have become new”. (2 Cor 5:17)
This article is not for the brow beating of the saints. It is not meant to condemn or diminish the Lord’s children by suggesting they should wallow continually and eternally in the past affairs of their flesh. When we are born again, we are new creatures in Christ, and the feats of the flesh are the dead memory of our old self, our “old man”. This article seeks to look at a rare occurrence where a Christian’s standing in Christ may not be on as solid as they had presumed. And as such, is intended to cause reflection as to whether we conform to this odd spiritual malignity, a holdover from our past that has no place in our present or future.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Spiritual sociology and the zombie apocalypse

Have you ever sat in a hectic mall and people watched? It’s akin to bird watching, yet you observe the immensity in diversity of the crowds before you. They hurry to and fro in their busy lives; each with a distinctive personality and outward projection. It’s amazing how alive and invigorated they all seem, with family and friends tying them together with unseen bounds. And yet, what we perceive is not an accurate depiction of the reality before us. If life were representative of a movie, we could speculate that the world around us is an ongoing drama, perhaps with comical elements and some adventure. The cast of characters around us are each the protagonists in their own personal unfolding story lines. Such `life’ is observed within the narrative; People living and being people. I am nothing more than a simple bird watcher, a movie goer, and I sit in a dark theatre and enjoy the intrigue of this movie of life on the screen of my retina. Yet because I sit in the dark, I fail to see the reality just beyond the theatre doors: The bigger world beyond my darkened perception. God’s Word allows us to glimpse the outside world: the real world. And to see that those around us, who are like us, are not well. That something is dreadfully amiss, and that humanity is terminally ill.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Grieved in Gomorrah

Christian Allegory - The lost seeking salve in sin.

Jeremiah 8:18-9:6

Sometimes I feel like Lot walking in Gomorrah (Genesis 13:12).

I meander down the sidewalk along my neighbourhood street. I see a man standing in front of a telephone pole. His eye is black and swollen. And he walks into the pole, again and again. His nose starts to bleed. I pause in disbelief: Such an odd site. He refuses to walk around it. Perhaps he doesn’t know he can?

“Friend, you can walk around the poll. Come over here, to the sidewalk.”

He pauses and looks at me and then smiles. A tooth falls out of his mouth. He tells me I’m a fool. And he resumes his preferred path of striking his face into the pole: over and over again.

Why does he do this? I contemplate it, but it is beyond me. I cannot understand why he does this. I step towards him and look closely at his face. Tears stream down his cheeks, mixing with blood and pain.

“How long have you been here?” I ask

He doesn’t remember anymore. He doesn’t remember when he first met the pole.

I grab his arm, and pull him towards the sidewalk. And he screams at me and strikes my face with his open hand. I release his arm and he walks back to the pole, and resumes his bloody insanity.

What is wrong with you? What is wrong with this place? I do not belong here. I turn and walk to a field to gather my thoughts. I see somebody lying face down in the grass. I run to them to see if they are alright. They are dead. Others walk by, but no one cares. No one looks. Some step over the body. Others walk around it. A couple pause to point and laugh and then move on.

I am unsure what to do. I just stand there. A lady stops beside me and looks at the grass. She leans over and picks up a colorful mushroom and plops it into her mouth. As she chews on it she grows ill. She swallows and picks another and eats it as well. Her legs weaken and she falls to her knees. She reaches for another and I call to her to stop.

“Those are killing you!”

She looks at me, her eyes as vaporous as smoke.

“What do you know?”

And she eats another. She coughs and heaves blood from her mouth. I turn to her and fall on my knees beside her, pleading,

“Please, stop eating those mushrooms! They’re killing you!”

She smiles and eats another, and falls over in the grass. She lies beside the other body as still as stone. I weep. She is just a stranger, but I weep. I stand and decide I should go home. This place saddens me. And as I think these thoughts, two others stop to eat the mushrooms …

Don't eat the mushrooms friends ... "I came so they might have life, a great full life" (John 10:10 NLV)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

taming the tongue

Ohhh, the tongue, my nemesis:  like a lion tamer i need to contend with it: 
"If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless" (James 1:26 NLT).
Ouch, that hurt ... and yet, 
"No one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8 NLT). 
"And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself" (James 3:6 NLT).
So how can i control the uncontrollable?  With God's help, that's how.  
"The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things" (John 14:26 NKJV).
Ohhh again, the Holy Spirit will help tame my nemesis, and produce the characteristics in me to accomplish this.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)". 
Yes, and as such, 
"My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long (Psalm 35:28)". 
And for those times I stumble and my tongue does fumble... there is grace.  I pray tomorrow, I don't need as much grace as I did today.

Flyleaf: "I'm so sick, Infected with where I live". - The Christian's Conundrum.

Flyleaf expresses our sinful sorry state with their song, “I am so sick”.

Exalting oneself above God precipitated the fall of mankind, and our created order. Questioning His judgment is to replace Him with yourself: to exalt yourself above your Creator. The prideful position that dropped Satan from the heavens likewise dropped mankind from Eden. And we landed in a world of thorns and death. Tainted flesh: Adam’s legacy lives on in his children. We desire to exercise our wills above His own. We trade happiness for sorrow and have done so millennium upon millenniums.

How to crawl out of this hole? As the Flyleaf song sings:
"I'm so sick, Infected with where I live" 
 ... the allures of the flesh (of this world) are ever before us and within us. As Paul voiced this tension,
"Who will save me from this body of death (Romans 7:24)?". 
The Flyleaf song sings of sexual tension, but the lures are many. How does one resist the want of carnality, the hunger of iniquity? How does one deflect the attraction of the flesh?  And we hear Paul’s reply,
"Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ my Lord (Romans 7:25)."
Dwell not on the thoughts of the flesh, on the desires for sinful satisfaction. Dwell on and with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We are prone to stray thoughts. These we must contend with in till the Lord’s return. Yet we should not allow them to covet. We must not fixate them within our minds and entertain them in our hearts. This is a conscience act. A stray thought is a spark in the mind and easily snuffed. But if we capture that thought, and dwell upon it, and nurse it into a fire, it will grow. Carnal thoughts are kindling to fires that will burn your life. When kindling comes along, discard it. Likewise, dwelling on the things of God is a conscience act, to be nurtured and perfected.
"I will break into your thoughts with what's written on my heart
I will break, break"
We must take ownership of our thoughts and break out from this cycle of death and decay. We must serve God with our mind and soul, we must serve God with our flesh. And when we do so, we will shed our chains of iniquity and progress on the road of sanctification. The road that leads to Paradise.