The last couple of days my thoughts have been bookended by two Scripture passages. In 2 Timothy 3:12 Paul says that “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This is a hard verse. I mean, honestly, it is not easy to choose persecution. The other passage that came to mind is from Luke 12:12 to Luke 21:15. The essence is that when we are persecuted, the Lord via the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say.
The fact is, there are lots of instances in Scripture where the Lord specifically gives his followers words to say, tailored specifically to the situation with which they are presented. For example, in Exodus 4:12 God instructed Moses to say what the Lord would have Him say. Moses, however, was reluctant so God sent Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece.
Another time we see this pattern repeat itself is in Isaiah 51:16-23, when the prophet is instructed to speak the Lord’s ways to the people of Israel, bringing them words from the living God, later foretelling her deliverance by Jesus Christ.
So, I ask you, in what ways are you heeding the ways of the Holy Spirit, who is preparing you to speak His truth, with love and meekness, in every situation you find yourself in?
Well, it’s almost that time of year again… yes, Christmas!
But, really, what is the greatest present imaginable? Is it a new Playstation? Or clothing item? Or workout machine?
Is it not the lowly Jesus that came as a babe in the manger? Is it not the humble servant who is returning in glory one day to judge the nations?
You see, this Good News is that it’s a free gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). You see that is the most attractive part! There are some things that money simply cannot buy. Love, yes. Salvation, certainly. It is a gift that costs nothing for us, but it cost everything for our Saviour, when He died on the cross 2,000 years ago. Most things in this world require some sort of payment with cash or barter. But NOT our salvation.
In considering the needs around us this holiday season, will you remember and treasure that priceless gift that He gave us? In all the busyness of Christmas, will you not forget the One who came to give us life and life abundant (Jn. 10:10)? Let’s slow down and remember the One who paid the ultimate sacrifice for sinful humanity, something we absolutely could not do ourselves. Let’s take the time to share this wonderful news to others, as I mentioned in my previous post.
With all the needs out there, it can seem overwhelming. World poverty. Hatred. Sexual misconduct. The list goes on. Even good things seem impossible on human terms. How can we afford paying for enough Bibles to be sent to China—or India—so that folks can learn more about God? But let us remember that with God, nothing is impossible (Matt. 19:26).
I was listening recently to a Prophecy in the News program with Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. In the episode, Cahn was stating how though there has been a “falling away” in the church, many Jewish millennials are turning to Christ in belief that He is their Messiah. This is heartening, and reflected in the November 1, 2017 Times of Israel article entitled “Jews for Jesus poll: 1/5 of Jewish millennials believe Christ was God.” There is an opening to the gospel amongst young Jewish people around the world which has previously not been seen for two thousand years. Indeed, as chronicled by Joel Rosenberg and Nabeel Qureshi, Muslims are meeting Jesus in visions and through Christians sharing their faith, and turning to faith in Christ at astounding rates, too. In much the same way that the Chinese church has had to go “underground” and secretive, so are Muslims having to be covert about their faith in regimes such as Iran. These Muslims are realizing that ISIS is not the way, and that Jesus’ message is the only way to true salvation.
I would ask you: search your hearts and pray for disciples from all people groups to come to saving faith in Christ. If you live in Canada, you have to look no further than your front porch to see the diversity of the world. As a native from Toronto, I know first-hand that the nations have come to Canada. We are a very diverse country—and this is our strength.
Last week I posted this on Facebook:
Imagine that you were drowning, and someone offered to throw you a PFD. Would you not accept that offer and cling to the PFD, since your life depended on it? Well that PFD is representative of our Lord Jesus, and the salvation that is found in Him alone… which he extends to each one of us.
Could that be true in Canada? Could we employ innovative models like the Gideons’ GRID model to tell others about Jesus in our circle of influence? Sure, no technique is the whole answer, but if we all felt a pressing need to save the lost, wouldn’t this motivate us to care more about the eternal destinies of those around us?
This year marks 500 years since the Protestant Reformation. Thank the Lord for Martin Luther and the Reformers! We are indeed thankful for their tenacity in getting “back to the basics” of Biblical Christianity.
Yet, there is one glaring area that many Reformers got wrong. What, you may ask? The rebirth of the Jewish state. How miraculous! As I elucidate in my book coming out next year, it is simply wrong to think that the Church has replaced God’s role for the nation of Israel. Nevertheless, there have always been the faithful few who truly believed God’s prophetic promises, found in the Old Testament, to gather again the Jewish people to “the land,” as happened in 1948.
God, in His sovereignty, has specifically chosen Israel as a people group for Himself, and evangelical Christians should be the closest ally to the Jewish people, both in the diaspora, as well as the nation-state. This means sharing the Gospel with them, as well as all peoples; “fishing” for men and women to become fully-devoted followers of Yeshua, our Jewish Messiah.
In conclusion, a strong Jewish state allows for a more stable, less volatile Middle East, with less violence being exported to the rest of the world. Let us pray to this end … for many in that region to come to Christ and for the “peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6).
I haven’t really had the opportunity to sit and reflect about Remembrance Day this past year since I was busy recuperating from being sick and enjoying a wonderful camp… but I wanted to craft this post, even though it is a little belated.
I am so very thankful for those who have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way for the freedom that I enjoy today. Both of my grandfathers dutifully served in World War II, one in the Royal Canadian Signals Corps, and the other in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Many of my peers do not have relatives who have served in the armed forces. Yet, there are so many Canadians alive today who have served in Afghanistan, and Americans who have served in Iraq. In addition, Canada had significant involvement in the Vietnam War and a disproportionate influence in the First World War, especially at Vimy Ridge, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.
Our Christian faith and walk operate on a similar principle. We were bought at a high price by Jesus; we are commanded thus to honour God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20). In the book of Romans, Paul talks about rendering our body to God as being our “reasonable service” (12:1, KJV).