Blog posts

Biblical Messages

Never early, Never late

“We serve an on-time God”, the saying goes, so we do well to discern God’s will and God’s timing for his will.  Listen to, or watch, this message from John 7.1-9 to learn more…

 

LifeConnect Group Discussion questions can be accessed here:  2018 10 14 lcg questions

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Encouragement From The Word

Canada’s going to Pot

This week, I received a postcard in the mail, but it wasn’t from a friend travelling in IMG_7018faraway lands.  No, this was from the Government of Canada, giving me advice on how to deal with the new law that comes into effect next Wednesday, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.

For a lot of you Dear Readers, what I’m about to suggest will not be a surprise, but if anyone happens to read this who is wondering, here’s my encouragement to you: just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

When marijuana is prescribed by a physician, the dosage and mixture of elements is specifically and carefully set to provide relief for the patient; I have friends who have received much help, and been able to set aside the Tylenol® bottle, thanks to a properly-prescribed cannabis dose.  While even this is controversial, it holds no candle to the legalization of pot for recreational use.

As I see it, the government did not think through the ramifications of this bill. Of course, some will say that regulation along with legalization will make a difference, but the last time I checked, under-age drinking still happens, so I’m not sure how the government thinks that the regulation of cannabis is going to stop people who are below the age of majority from accessing it.

I’m particularly concerned for young people in this case because it is a documented fact that cannabis use before brain development is complete can contribute to the onset of schizophrenia, which causes all sorts of other challenges.

And I’m concerned for followers of Jesus.  Some will say that the Bible doesn’t talk about pot, so why not give it a try?  Well, the Bible doesn’t talk about Brussels sprouts or jumping off a cliff, either. This is where scriptural principles need to be applied in other areas of life, wisely, by Christians.

I won’t address whether God’s people should eat those Little Green Balls of Death, leaving that to your conscience.  But we recognize that jumping off a cliff may not be expressly prohibited in the Bible, but it’s universally seen to be a bad idea.  Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

Christians differ on issues of alcohol and tobacco use, to be sure.  But all agree that addiction is problematic.  And as I understand it, the likelihood of addiction with cannabis use is significant, and those who become addicted don’t just get more weed; they move on to other drugs, all of which are known to be harmful to health and destructive to society.

Let me encourage you not only to avoid recreational cannabis use, to preserve your witness for the gospel, but also to act to seek to get this law repealed, for the good of the human race.  Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up’ (1 Corinthians 10.23, NRSV).

Encouragement From The Word

Playing with fire

Have you noticed that a lot of people seem a bit obsessed with Hallowe’en?

I’m not talking about kids going out and soliciting sugary treats from neighbours here – I’m talking about grown up adults who have turned the month of October into a season of macabre decorating.

In one sense, there can be much fun in this.  After all, many people – sometimes, the same people! – have fun decorating for Christmas.  I suspect that most people who make a big deal out of Hallowe’en do so simply for fun.

But there can be a darker side to this fun.

When adult celebrations of Hallowe’en become more about the spiritual realm, we’ve moved from fun to fire.  And dabbling in the spiritual realm is playing with fire.

What followers of Jesus need to understand – and remember – is that while much of life on this earth is fun and enjoyable, we fight a spiritual battle every day.

Every day, there are attempts made by the devil and his angels to undermine the work of God, and all work for good, in this world.  And God’s people have a responsibility to fight those attempts, not celebrate them.

By all means, go and buy yourself a bag of ‘fun size’ chocolate bars; I recommend waiting until All Saints’ Day (November 1), when stores have these treats on a deep discount.  But don’t celebrate that which the Lord works to destroy.

If you choose to take your children trick-or-treating, let them have fun with it. But take the time to explain to them that what we are doing is a fun way to meet neighbours and get some treats. As they get older, help them realize that there is a spiritual realm from which they require protection from God the Holy Spirit, and that Hallowe’en shouldn’t go beyond the realm of fun for people who belong to Jesus.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3.8, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Peace with your family

How can we have peace with our families?  If there’s going to be a rip-roaring battle, that’s apt to be where it happens, for a whole lot of reasons.  Listen or watch below to learn how the Bible addresses this in Ephesians 6.1-4.

 

LifeConnect Group discussion questions are here:  2018 09 30 lcg questions

Encouragement From The Word

A spiritual problem

It’s hard to avoid the reality, when one watches the news, that there are political problems in the world.  Of course, our neighbour to the south, the United States, is getting a lot of press about these things lately, with hearings going on around the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice.

But one tweet I read yesterday reminded me that the problems are not political. They’re spiritual.

The root of all problems in our world today are spiritual.  If people followed the way of Jesus, made clear for us in Scripture, those problems would cease to exist.

We all know that’s difficult; after all, the apostle Paul told the church in Rome that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3.23, NLT).  But we can’t let the reality of human sinfulness become a crutch that makes us shrug our shoulders and leaves us saying that this is just how we are.  God invites us to be better than that, to be sanctified.

To be sanctified literally means to become holy.  It’s not the same as being sanctimonious, which is being holier than thou.  It’s not about being better than others, or giving the impression of being better than others.  Sanctification is a process, one that we submit ourselves to when we say ‘yes’ to Jesus’ work in drawing us closer to God through the blood of his cross.

It’s a process that is lifelong, and God invites us to journey with him toward the likeness of his Son.  Only when we commit ourselves to this journey, this process, will we be formed spiritually, and find that the spiritual problems (which get many other names) will wane.

While you’re at it, will you pray with me, that the Lord will draw people committed to being more like Jesus into political office?  “The System”, such as it is, has discouraged many Christ-followers from serving in municipal, provincial and federal politics.  But that realm needs God’s people as much as any other…maybe more.