Friday, 10/18/19 – Milestones!

Milestones! (A Special Day!)

Friday’s are usually “Whydays” at thebrokenrunner.com, days where we search the scriptures together for answers to your questions. But as I alluded to yesterday, today is a special day for me.

20191015_155230I thank the Lord that I was blessed with godly parents in my youth. Numerous health issues took me out of school at around the third week of fifth grade. A home tutor brought me through my elementary grades, and correspondence classes led me through high school subjects. My mother’s severe scoliosis and other health problems kept her pretty much homebound as well. But mom and dad were faithful to “train me up in the ways of the Lord” and I have “not departed from Him.” (see Prov. 22:6).

Though my growth in God was sure, it was not specific. That is, it was gradual. I lacked a dateable day of transformation and commitment which marked so many testimonies.

20191015_160108As my health improved and I began venturing out I soon realized how much I really wanted such a date. I wanted to raise my “Ebenezer” in a public statement of faith in Christ. So it was on October 18th 1969 at age 18 I attended a Leyton Ford Evangelistic Crusade at the London Ontario Gardens Arena with the express purpose of making a public stand that evening for Christ. When the call was given I was one of the first to respond.

Today marks 50 years precisely from that date.

From that time forward my hunger for the Word of God and for prayer intensified. I would pray for hours just to center myself in Christ. I was into the Word constantly, even handwriting all of the New Testament and more than half of the old in efforts to know it and know it well.

20191015_161103Since then the Lord has been with me as the hymn says “through many dangers toils and snares.” He has been faithful even despite my sometimes accusations and rebellion. When my Father died and I the only child, He has been my Father… my mother, my brother, and Guide. When I am fearful He is there. He cannot be unfaithful.

20181002_142518Today also marks my 300th blog. I pray they have been and will continue to be a ministry to you and to others. Though my followers are few (25) I am astonished to see these blogs have been read in the same number of countries.* God has promised that his Word will not return to Him without accomplishing His purposes (Isa. 55:11), and I thank Him for this.

I also want to give kudos to a personal friend whom I first met almost as long ago as the fifty years I mentioned above. Though we’ve not seen each other much in recent years, she has faithfully “shared” my Facebook link to this blog everyday from its beginning. Debbie S in Ontario, you know who you are. Blessings to you and yours as we all “Press on” together!

Press on…

We’ll be back to our question format next week… So…
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

*Canada, United States, India, China, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Netherlands, Vietnam, Japan, Moldova, Portugal, South Korea, Indonesia, Denmark, Germany, France, Mexico, Ireland, Nigeria, El Salvador, New Zealand, Hungary, Finland 

Friday Question, 10/11/19 – Who, What, When, Where, Why & How?

Who, What, When, Where, Why & How?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

No one submitted a question to me this week, so I went looking online to see what people were most frequently asking elsewhere.

According to Mondovo the top Who, What, Where, Why and How search questions of the past six months are these:

Who won the debate 301,000
Whois ip 201,000
What is my ip 3,350,000
When is Mother’s day 450,000
Where is my refund 450,000
Why is there a leap day 2,240,000
How to register to vote 1,220,000
How to be single 1,220,000

It is an election year just now in several countries. This creates an anomaly. So if we remove questions related to debates and voting we might translate the remaining top questions into these fundamental heart cries:

photo of woman looking upwardsWho and Where am I?
Where did the time go?
I’m alone! Help!
Mommy! — Money must be the answer: I need money!
Who and where are you?

Others might interpret this differently, but when you correlate these search queries with the whole of human experience these fundamentals remain: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?

Or, as Ravi Zacharias distills them, they are the fundamental questions of Origin, Morality, Meaning and Destiny.

Origin: “How did I come into being?”
Morality: “How can I determine what is right and what is wrong?”
Meaning: “What is the purpose of life itself?”
Destiny: “What happened To a human being when he or she dies?”

To hear his one-minute audio summary, click here.

Jesus understands the angst of human experience and why we all now feel this way. We feel this way because sin has alienated us from Him! Without Him we are totally lost as to our identity, origin, purpose and destiny.

But Jesus not only understands our lostness, He came to restore us. He answers all the missing pieces of our person.

questions answers signage

Origin: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27).

Morality: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 38).

Meaning: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. / Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:20-24).

Destiny: “…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. … I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:3, 6).

Call on Him today!

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 10/4/19 – Tough Question – Why Tithe?

Why Should I Tithe?

20191002_154203“Tithing” is the practice of giving to the church ten percent of your income. Sounds like a scam right off the bat to today’s ear, doesn’t it? A common response on first learning about tithing is “What! That’s outrageous! Who can afford to do that in today’s economy?”

But tithing is clearly taught in the scriptures. I can go on to demonstrate this from Abraham, the Patriarchs, the Levitical Priesthood, Judaism, and the early church, but I’m not going to. You see, I don’t think the decision to practice tithing is so much a matter of the intellect as it is of the heart and of the will. It does not have so much to do with understanding as it does with faith and obedience.

man cross legs seating on white wooden chair

Real faith always shows up in one’s actions… in the way one lives. If you believe the chair is built well and will support you, you will sit in it; if you trust Tom you will give him responsibility. In fact, if you believe there will be negative consequences otherwise, you will pay your taxes… for some up to 40% of income. Hmm.

What do you believe about these promises of God:

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Ps. 37:25)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:19).

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear….your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (see all Matt. 25-34)

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matt. 22:21).

“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Cor. 16:2).

Veteran tithers know that you cannot outgive God. Somehow God always honors faith and faithfulness in tithing by stretching the remaining 90% to be more than adequate. “Test me in this,” He says (Mal. 3:10 above).

Are you up for His challenge?

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/27/19 – What is the meaning of the ‘fish’ symbol?

What is the meaning of the ‘fish’ symbol?

Perhaps you’ve seen those magnetic fish symbols on car trunks, or smaller version crafted into items of jewellery. Sometimes you may have noticed odd lettering within the design. You may have wondered just what is the significance of the fish and the lettering?

20190921_215137The first four disciples Jesus called were all fishermen by trade: the two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, and the two brothers James and John. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matt. 4:19). Likewise Jesus commissions all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). So it is not surprising that the fish came to represent the early Christians.

20190921_215101The simple fish symbol is comprised of two crescent arcs. Because of this it was possible for two persons to meet face-to-face and one could with a stroke of his walking stick draw an arc on the sand or soil. If the other individual was also a believer he could respond in like manner by drawing an arc in such a way as to complete the fish symbol. If he was not a believer the first person’s marking would not have given him away. Remember, this was a time of great persecution.

Today the “fish” symbol is also sometimes represented by keyboard strokes:

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I CH TH Y S, or I CH TH U S are English transliterations of the five Greek letters which in that language spell the word “fish.” These five Greek letters also comprise an acrostic which translates “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” [Iota or Iesous (Jesus), Chi or Christos (Christ), Theta or Theou (God), Upsilon or Yidos/Huios (Son), and Sigma or Soter (Savior)]. In English “ichthyology” means the study of fish.

Interestingly the first letter of the Greek alphabet, “Alpha,” looks very similar to the symbol, and the last letter “Omega,” is also somewhat like it tipped sideways. in the book of Revelation Jesus is described as “the Alpha and the Omega” The One “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8), “the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13).

20190921_210009  20190921_210119

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/20/19 – Tough Question – Who was Melchizedek?

Who was Melchizedek?

agriculture animals cattle domestic

After a falling out with the Egyptian Pharaoh, Abraham* along with all his family, livestock and possessions, roamed about the Negev and beyond eventually settling in a spot between Bethel and Ai. Abraham’s nephew Lot also had livestock and before long the needs of their herds outgrew the capabilities of the land. The two separated.

Some time later a coalition of kings attacked and defeated the land in which Lot had settled. They carried off many captives and Abraham’s nephew Lot was among them.

woman

When Abraham heard of this he set off with an army of men and was successful in routing the invaders and rescuing the captives. As he returned and began to settle up with the rightful rulers, out comes this character Melchizedek.

Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. (Huh? A priest of what?) At this point in Biblical history no Levitical priesthood had yet been established. No Levitical line existed. But Melchizedek was indeed a priest, a “priest of God Most High” (Gen. 14:18), a priest of a different priesthood (see Heb. 7)… a priest for all.

america arid bushes california

In this and in many other ways Melchizedek is a “type,” a representation, of Christ. In fact, the very name ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘king of righteousness,’ or ‘king of peace.’ Both are terms descriptive of Christ. And of Melchizedek there is no record of ancestry, no record of his death, again suggestive of an eternal priesthood… just like Christ!

So this Melchizedek comes out to Abraham and blesses him. Abraham was certainly aware of God, submissive and obedient to God, but he knew nothing yet of God’s plan to establish a Levitical priesthood through his – what? — great grandson?** Generations later anyway! But he receives this blessing and then gives a “tithe” (tenth) of the spoils to Melchizedek… long before the Mosaic Law proscribed it.

The fact that Melchizedek remains largely a mystery to us is very probably in the purposes of God exactly the point. As a type of Christ Melchizedek stands out a flash in time of something far greater yet to come. God has a plan, a plan formed from the foundation of the earth. He is in control and His purposes will be fulfilled.

How privileged we are to be a part of it!

Press on…

For a longer yet very readable discussion on this question I’d recommend: this item by Chara Donahue.

*At this time ‘Abraham’ was actually still named ‘Abram’ — but that’s another story 😉
** Abraham had been given a great promise from God (Gen. 12:2-4) but just how this would all come about was yet to him a mystery.

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/13/19 – Tough Question – Christians, Alcohol…?

Christians, Alcohol… and all other things…

two corona extra and san mig light beers on top of brown wooden plank near beach

It’s interesting to me that queries from Christians about the consumption of alcohol are generally framed as questions of permission. It’s common to hear the enquiry prefaced “Is it OK for a Christian to…” or “Is a Christian allowed to / permitted to / free to…” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a believer ask, “Does a Christian have to drink alcohol… Must a Christian drink alcohol?”

It seems what believers really want to know is, “Can I get away with a drink now and then once I have committed my life to Christ?”

man doing hand stand on mountain

This is to me a most interesting observation. It suggests quite strongly that the asker is more interested in how near they can get to a disputable matter rather that in how far away they can get from it.

An apparent contradiction in logic also puzzles me. If we accept that what is really being asked is “Can I get away with a drink now and then once I have committed my life to Christ?” then it seems to me we are asking “Can I still be lord of my own life once I have committed its Lordship to Christ?” This thinking is illogical. I may as well be asking “Can I go West while I am still going East?”

Mind you, I am not saying that consuming alcohol is a sin. I cannot boldly argue that from scripture. The clear Biblical teaching in both Old and New Testaments is that drunkenness is the sin. Drinking in moderation may be allowed but the true and tempered heart of a believer will curtail his or her privileges when it in the best interest of a fellow believer to do so.

bread creamy food fruits

At times I enjoy a good slather of peanut butter on a tortilla rolled up round a banana, but in the presence of one at risk of anaphylactic shock I will defer myself of this pleasure.

Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister,” writes Paul. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall….whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” (Rom. 14:13, 21-22). And “Be careful… that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9)*

You see, the real question is not whether or not the occasional drink is permissible, but whether or not the believer has fully surrendered to Christ. When one has, no other questions matter.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Phil. 4:5 – KJV).

Press on…

*Read the full passages: 1 Cor. 8:1-13; Rom. 14:13-23.

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/6/19 – Tough Question – How can I cope?

How can I cope in a world filled with so much suffering?

I have encountered this question from many people over many years and in many forms. The burden intensifies under the relentless onslaught of information through today’s ever expanding media. Our personal power and resources are so limited and the problems are so vast. We can easily feel crushed under the avalanche of human pain and need.
20190903_223510
This question was brought to the forefront of my thinking once again as I recently read a Psychology Today item by Keith Payne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, UNC. The item, posted March 14, 2010, was entitled “Why is the death of one million a statistic?” i.e. Why do we feel the least when we are needed most. In simple terms, Payne’s research demonstrated that “when people see multiple victims, they turn the volume down on their emotions for fear of being overwhelmed.” It’s not that we become heartless, but rather that a single human is only capable of digesting so much human suffering — any more and it switches into a self-protection mode.

Astonishingly, despite their completely polarized world views, on this point both Joseph Stalin and Mother Teresa agree! To Stalin is attributed the quote, “The death of one person is a tragedy; the death of one million is a statistic.” And Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass I will never act.” In other words, when the need extends beyond our capabilities to meaningfully respond we freeze like a deer in the headlights.

20190903_223421In Matthew 9:36 we read, “When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” In our case however, sadly, we are too often simply overwhelmed.

But there is a response to human need that we can manage. Centuries ago Solomon wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10). The Old Testament law urged responsibility toward one’s “neighbour.” Jesus spoke of the good Samaritan who helped the one individual upon whom his path crossed. Paul wrote of the care we must show to a “one another,” not to everyone at once.

20190903_223446This everyone one-on-one approach is the way God ordains. In it everyone is important… everyone is essential, but no one is the “hero,” no one is the superstar, no one but Christ.

For Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Cor. 5:14).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.