Tuesday, 1/5/21 – Pressing on… Preparations in the making…

Preparations in the making…

I knew our kids were going to miss some of the playthings they had enjoyed at our former address, things too large or costly to either ship or bring on the train. So, long before their arrival – and to help me keep my sanity – I set to work to build them some mind-blowing replacements.

Our son had an old wooden chair with home-made attachments added on to it to create a make-believe “drivers seat” of whatever kind of vehicle he might imagine. Though crude, it was one of his favorite toys.

To replace it, I had found an old hand-crafted wooden boat at a yard sale. The boat would require some serious work to make it sea-worthy again, but much less work to transform it into the rocket ship  I had in mind.

I cut the boat in half and filled the front end with switches and colored lights. I bought an old radio at another yard sale, tuned it to some non-station static buzz, and cranked up the volume. I hid the whole thing inside the back part of the boat (er, rocket) and wired it to a button on the mock console, labelled “Thrusters.” Push the button and the rear of the ship shakes as you hear the deafening static (er, thruster fire). I can’t recall all the other bells and whistles I built into it, but one thing was clear to me. Once he saw his bright red rocket ship he would forget forever the little wooden chair he had once loved so much.

For our daughter I joined together several of those emptied postal cartons my wife had been sending and transformed them into “rooms” of a large two-storey home for her Barbie dolls. Floor covering and wallpaper samples bedecked the levels, pictures – actual miniature family photos — were “framed” and mounted on several walls. There was a full cardboard kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom and to-scale stairway. I figured it would well replace the playthings she had to leave behind.

I couldn’t wait to see their excited faces once they received what I had been preparing for them over the many weeks while we were apart. I wanted them to know too that I had never forgotten them, but had all this while been preparing for them a place… a new home…. with joys and blessings that would far outweigh what they could not bring with them.

Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3). And don’t you know He can’t wait to see your excited face once you received what He has been preparing for you. He has never once forgotten you, but has all this while been preparing for you a place… a new home…. with joys and blessings that will far outweigh anything you must leave behind.

Set your heart and mind on Him. You will not be disappointed!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor John’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/4/21 – Pressing on… Moving on…

Moving on…

There was no work in Saskatchewan, but a position awaited me in New Brunswick if I cared to make the move. We had already decided a move to someplace would likely be necessary. The job dynamics of our chosen professions had changed subtly at first then dramatically. It was clear now that we could no longer stay where we were!

To make the move would be a process. We’d need to sell the home, dispose of the furniture, pass along keepsakes and do the paperwork – and the job began in just ten days. We decided I would drive the five-day trip from Saskatoon, SK to Woodstock, NB with the car filled to the gills with electronic equipment, lamps, ornaments and other breakables. I would find a place to live and begin the job while my wife Val would see to selling the house and disposing of items. Everything else would be sent by Canada Post!

In all I received some 50 plus packages over the ensuing weeks. For the first four weeks I stayed on the cheap in a one room motel room and left the valuables locked in our car. (The car was much more secure than the motel room). I lived on canned tuna and day old “cheaper by the dozen” muffins. I worked, got to know the community, the Church, and made a few friends. When the boxes overtook the motel room I moved to a basement apartment big enough for the family. Finally, by the sixth week, they arrived by train. It was a pea-soup dew-filled foggy maritime morning as I pulled out before dawn to meet them. I feared I would never find the small rural station or would need to backtrack hours if I chose the route wrongly. (There were no personal GPS back then!)

Mind you we quite love New Brunswick and have lived here the longest of any province. But we would never have made this move, or probably any of our previous moves, had it not been made abundantly clear to us that we simply could no longer stay where we were.

But an even bigger move is yet to come for us… for you…. And for all who call upon Christ as Saviour and as Lord. It will be a glorious move, and we will not need to pack anything! There will be no home to sell, no van to book, no paperwork.

And It will be soon. For Christ is making it very clear to us that we simply cannot much longer stay here. We’d better get used to the idea. A very BIG moving day is soon to arrive.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor John’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 12/30/20 – Pressing on… Fears within…

Fears within…

My parents have long since proven their mortality as I shall one day prove mine. They both died bravely… even more so they lived bravely. Mom’s favorite verse was 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Her favorite hymn, “The Love of God.” Its refrain, “O love of God, how rich and pure! / How measureless and strong! / It shall forevermore endure / The saints’ and angels’ song.” Mom was convinced of the Love of God for her, for me… for all souls. It was because she knew His Love for her that she could so assuredly give Him her cares, and urge me to do likewise.

It is the fact of God’s great Love for us that all fear of death, of suffering, of persecution, may be cast off from us. Fears will come upon us – even the Apostle Paul experienced fears, confessing “…we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…” (2 Cor. 7:5-6). Remembering our God is with us… loving us… having our best interest in heart, can calm our cares. We have His promise:

You [Lord God] will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isa. 26:3).

Fear is a lie. It is a roar from “our adversary the devil.” (1 Pet. 5:8). All he utters are lies. Resist him steadfast (v.9). Speak, with David, the Truth of God,

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Ps. 118:6) and His Peace will be yours.

Press on…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/29/20 – Pressing on… My Many “Me”s

My Many “Me”s

These are all pictures of me — well, okay, the first few might be a bit more representative than actual. But, like yourself, and as you can see, I’ve been a lot of different “me”s over the course of my now fast approaching 70 years.

There’s the “me” I never knew… there… in my mother’s womb. Memory cells are not yet developed then so no one can recall their pre-birth existence. Still, from what I’ve learned of it, it is not a period of my past I would wish to revisit.

Then there’s the childhood “me.” Childhood for most is a time of imagination. Toys and pretending are its trade. It is a time of discovery, a time of deferred responsibilities, a time when moms and dads are presumed eternal and ‘dead’ happens only to houseflies and batteries. A child wants never to be an adult, and an adult seldom wishes such innocence with naivete.

The “teens” and “twenties” me holds some appeal, but in all, the lessons of wisdom then unlearned cast doubt on any desire to return there. Though this body now bears its aches and scars it also contains a maturer soul, one at rest in Him who gave it.

So I think I shall press ever onward… Having transitioned through so many “me”s thus far, the one that takes me from this earth, away to “be like Him” can most certainly hold no fear.

“…now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2).

More tomorrow…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/28/20 – Pressing on… Crises and Fear

Crises and Fear

I remember reading Gail Sheehy’s book, Passages, shortly after it was published back in 1976. The book is subtitled “Predictable Crises of Adult Life.” Chapter One opens with Sheehy under fire – gunfire. “I was talking to a young boy in Northern Ireland where I was on assignment for a magazine” she writes, “when a bullet blew his face off.” Sheehy soon found herself frantic for cover. Laying face down on her stomach with a group of other refuge seekers a grim realization gripped her: “No one is with me. No one can keep me safe. There is no one who won’t ever leave me alone.” (pg 5).

“I had a headache for a year,” she continues, “…could not confront the fact of my own mortality… To be confronted for the first time with the arithmetic of life was, quite simply, terrifying.” (pg 6).

This past Sunday Don Longworth shared with us the grand difference the ever-present Christ makes when a believer confronts the predictable — and often unpredictable — “Crises of Adult Life.”

As a reminder, here are some of the “passages,” promises really, that the Lord gives to His own:

  • Heb. 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  • John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
  • Matt. 28:20 “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Do not be afraid,” said the angel to Zechariah… to Mary… to Joseph” (Luke 1:13, 30, Matt. 1:20), and to certain poor shepherds, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10). “Immanuel” — “God with us” was to be His Name, and is still His Name today. He is The Unchanging One. (See Heb. 13:8).

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid,” sang the psalmist, “What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6 / 56:3-4) — Indeed, What can mortality do to me? At the moment the penitent soul surrenders to Christ, placing full trust in Him, God’s gift to that soul is eternal lifenow! Death is but a bump along the way.

For the Christian, even if bullets may fly, the great reality is this: Some One is always with me. Some One Who can keep me safe. He is Some One Who won’t ever leave me alone!

There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).

More tomorrow…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 12/23/20 – Pressing on… Doing the Word of God

Doing the Word of God

In addition to everything I said yesterday, it is essential that we understand one thing: We must do what the Word of God says. Believing is not enough. “Faith, without works — without doing anything — is dead!” If you think otherwise you’ve been deceived. If I plant carrot seeds and nothing grows I cannot say I have carrots.

I cannot say Christ is my LORD if I do not do what He tells me. Jesus was very clear about this. He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

So what do we have to do in addition to bathing ourselves in the Word of God? We must do whatever the scripture has said to do. Things like:

“…be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…” (1 Pet. 5:5) / “…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:24). / “Put on the whole armour of God… “ (Eph 6:11). / “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col 3:12, 14). / “…put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…” (Eph. 4:22). / “…also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” (Col 3:8). / “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col 3:9). / “Purge out therefore the old leaven…” (1 Cor. 5:7). / “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). / “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8). — And many more…

Someone has said “The Word of God can keep you from sin, OR sin can keep you from the Word of God.” “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word.” (Ps. 119:9)

Be wise… bathe yourself in the Word of God, then go forward and do it!

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/22/20 – Pressing on: The Cleansing Word…

The Cleansing Word...

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9, NKJV).

We cannot trust our own heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9). The Apostle Paul knew this: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent,” he confessed. “It is the Lord who judges me.” That beìng the case the only wise thing to do is to keep cleansing our hearts.

We all need cleansing — every day! “How can a young man cleanse his way?” the psalmist asks, then replies: “By taking heed according to Your Word.” (Ps. 119:9, NKJV). “How can a young man keep his way pure?” the NIV has it. “By living according to Your Word.

The Word of God purifies.

Jesus told His disciples, “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3). Jesus had in mind the “cleansing” of a grape vine by pruning it — cutting off unnecessary growth to make it a more virile plant, directing its energies to produce the best fruit. He is teaching how in a similar way the Word of God purifies the soul. It frees one from corrupt desires, from sin and guilt.

Paul picks up on this in Ephesians… “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:25-27).

What strategies did the psalmist employ to stay clean, to continue in purity? “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” he explains (v.11). “I recount all the laws… I rejoice in following your statutes… I meditate on your precepts… consider your ways… delight in your decrees.”

The psalmist had learned the cleansing power of a regular time of bathing oneself in God’s Word.

He vows, “I will not neglect Your Word.”

Regarding this, John warns us not to be deceived. He writes,

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:8-9).

Little children,” he says, ever so lovingly…  “let no one deceive you.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/21/20 – Pressing on… Joy!

Joy !

“JOY to the world…”

Joy completes our quarter of Advent themes leading to the lighting of the final and central “Christ” candle on Christmas Eve. It joins Hope, Love, and Peace – anticipatory, motivational, consequential and emotional responses to the coming of the Saviour of all who will bow before and entrust their souls to Him.

The dictionary defines “joy” as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” It suggests synonyms such as “bliss,” “happiness,” even “warm fuzzies.” One dictionary suggests, as an example of the word’s use, the sentence: “My car is my pride and joy!”

These definitions seem quite temporal in scope, attainment based, dependent on some passing thing for joy’s continuance. But in scripture “joy” is something much deeper, a well drilled by hope, buttressed by love and, by its eternal reliability and promise, a well of great peace of soul. It’s waters can be drawn upon when one feels faint, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Though well water may not be bubbly, it is always pure, reliable, and refreshing.

John records much of Christ’s promises regarding the ultimate permanence and fullness of the joy He brings…

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11).

“…You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. …Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20, 22).

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24).

This world has many trials, many sorrows, but the joy Christ provides will see us through them. And when the time of trials has ended this joy will shout its fullness.

“…I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [all who trust in Him] may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13).

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 12/16/20 – Pressing on… Best help; Best gifts…

Best help; Best gifts…

In opening our service last Sunday Elder Don Longworth read from Psalm 20. As he read, verse 2 caught my attention. It reads, “May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.” I took note: The best help from God comes from the dwelling places of God: His sanctuary: His Church, Bride, Body and servants… His throne.

By going to the House of God we say physically to our Lord – and remind ourselves—that we are seeking Him, for His answer. We are placing ourselves in His House, where He dwells, desiring His Wisdom, Comfort, Assurance or Direction.

On this verse Matthew Henry comments,

Mercies out of the sanctuary are the sweetest mercies, such as are the tokens of God’s peculiar love, the blessing of God, even our own God. Strength out of Zion is spiritual strength, strength in the soul, in the inward man, and that is what we should most desire both for ourselves and others in services and sufferings.

Later that morning, In his message, Pastor Andrew echoed this truth in citing James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17). The best help from God comes from the dwelling places of God, and here the best gifts also come from God… our heavenly Father God… the unchanging God.

Some things to remember as we seek hope, love, peace and joy, as well as good and perfect gifts, the best gifts, this Christmas.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/15/20 – Pressing on… The Illustrious Captain

The Illustrious Captain

Look up “Lusty” in almost any dictionary and you will find it means “full of strength and vitality… hearty… robust… enthusiastic.” We speak, for example, of someone having “a lusty spirit of adventure,” or enjoying the robust flavour of “a lusty stew,’ or singing with enthusiasm “a lusty rendition of a song.” Similarly we describe radiant things as “a lustrous fabric,” “a lustrous glowing gem,” or the desirable character of “a lustrous example” we ought to follow.

These words all put a confusingly positive spin on what seems to be their root word, “lust.” In fact, it almost sounds like a full-blown “lust” should be descriptive of a man or woman at their best — the fullest expression of one’s potential!

This makes me pause, for in a very true way a full-blown lustfulness of all things carnal and contrary to holiness is exactly descriptive of the human heart at maximum potential!

We don’t like to hear that…. That small teeny- weeny sin or rebellion or hardness of heart is just a wee little degree of deviance. But keep travelling just one degree off course and see where you arrive given the unending duration of eternity.

The problem is our heart… our fallen heart — and it’s the only heart we have. One’s heart is the helm of one’s ship and it’s navigation is broken. A new helm, a new heart, and a new Captain are needed. The best this broken one can do will always steer us to destruction.

Lust is sin. And lust of all kinds is all this dark heart can produce (see Gal. 5:19-21). But the glorious promise of God is this:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 36:26).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17).

So move over… give Christ the helm. Let Him replace that broken navigation with the guiding voice and power of His Spirit… His Heart. See what wonders He will work (see Gal. 5:22-26).

Be filled with the illustrious Christ!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.