Monday, 10/21/19 – Pressing on…

Election Day!

Today is at last the big day here in Canada! Today is our Federal Election Day!

20191019_174337By the end of this day one fortunate candidate will indeed be Canada’s “chosen one.” They will have been “elected,” set apart from the others, to take the reins of this country. Despite what other political leaders might think no one can become a “chosen one” by his or her own declaration. To be ”chosen” requires the decision of entities (or an Entity) outside oneself.

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I sometimes get an email or a text or even the occasional “snail mail” – you know, that low-tech stuff we used to just call “mail” – telling me I’m in line to win a million bucks, or 10 million, it doesn’t really matter. Thing is, I’ve been “specially selected.” I have been “chosen!” Sometimes I’ve even “won” in a contest which I did not enter. I’ve “won” several sweepstakes I never entered, plus any number of flights, cruises, luxury homes or automobiles simply because my cell number was “selected at random.”

Well, I may indeed be “in line” for such a prize, but the line-up is longer than the sum of those in all Disneylands and the prize is as fictional as the Mouse that started them. I may indeed “qualify,” but the requirements were merely to have a pulse.

All of this understandably creates a cynicism of sorts. Tell me I’ve been “specially chosen,” or “elected a winner,” and my knee-jerk reflex is to scoff.

The devil loves this dynamic. The devil loves to lure us to forget that we who place our trust in Christ are indeed the “elect” of God. Peter writes, “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9).

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We live in this world as sojourners… travellers… as Peter elsewhere puts it “strangers and foreigners.” We look forward to an eternal reign… not a monarchy, not a dictatorship, not a democracy, not an autocracy, not an anarchy. We look forward to a Theocracy, a Rule of God, a Kingdom of Peace where there is no war… where there are no tears.

In this world we are ambassadors, citizens of Heaven, “elected” to rule with Him yet here now in this place to sow His Love.

This Election Day let us remember as those returns flood in: While we may or may not in this world get the leader we desire, the rule of Heaven is sure. Jesus is Lord and we are His people, His servants, called to be kings and priests to our God! Don’t let the campaigns of our spiritual foe dissuade you from this Truth. The matter is settled in Heaven.

More tomorrow…

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 

Thursday, 10/17/19 – Discipleship – Priorities

Stones of Help

For twenty long years the ark of God had remained at Keriath Jearim. It had been deposited there for safe-keeping after the boils-stricken Philistines returned it to Israel in an effort to break their plague. But now the straying Israelites had grown fearful of it. They had grown fearful because they had distanced themselves from God.

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Yet now they were returning to Him. They “mourned and sought after the Lord” (1 Sam. 7:2). They trashed their false idols and prayed once again that Jehovah would deliver them from the oppression of the Philistines. It all culminated in a showdown at Mizpah. What happened next is best left told by scripture itself:

While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.” (1 Sam. 7:10-11).

Clearly, something unusual occurred. Something undoubtedly divine which threw the well-armed, battle-toughened Philistines into what sounds like a mass panic attack! They ran, the Israelites charged, and the Lord gave them victory!

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Inukshuk “we were here”

Such a happening demanded a memorial. So Samuel took what was handy… what was local… “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” (v.12). Ebenezer means “Stone of help” and like the Inuit inukshuk these stones conveyed meaning.

Ebenezers are important in one’s life. Like height marks on a doorframe, old photos, wedding rings or a flag on the moon these all mark milestones. They remind us of commitments made, faithfulness shown, past accomplishments, or even defeats which warn us when passing by there again. Scars or medals. Both tell their stories.

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Ebenezers remind us of what is essentially important. Thus, they help us set and keep our priorities… God’s priorities.

What priorities do you need to establish / re-establish, or memorialize. Perhaps today is a good day for rededication – a rededication you can commit to and seal by God’s help with some Ebenezer to help keep you on track.

Do not clutter your faith, but confirm it. Mark it with a moment… an altar call, a cross.

Tomorrow marks a special landmark or two for me. Join me then and I’ll share it with you.

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 10/16/19 – Pressing on…

Where God lives

In his message to us this past Sunday Pastor Andrew referenced Isaiah 57:15, pointing out two quite different localities in which the Lord God Almighty is pleased to dwell:

“For this is what the high and exalted One says— He who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” (Isa. 57:15).

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Did you catch that? God, the Eternal One and Creator of all, Who is comfortable in “the high and holy place” is just as comfortable “with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit.

And what does He like to do there, in the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit? He wants to “revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

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According to Merriam Webster “revive” means “to return to consciousness or life,” to make something “become active or flourishing again.” It involves a restoration from a state of depression, inaction or disuse, a renewal of mind or memory. God is comfortable to live within broken people and loves to renovate them into glorious abodes, “high and holy” ones like His other dwelling place. And He’s just the One Who can do it!

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But His labour isn’t free — It’ll cost you your pride.

Ripping out your pride may make a mess inside you, but all long-lasting renovations go through that. God gets out the mouldy bits behind the drywall, tears out the wood rot, and firms up the foundation.

Where is He?

He’s right outside your door… right now… Listen… hear that knocking? Hear Him call?

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in… “ (Rev. 3:20a)

You know what you must do.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Sept. 13 message.

Tuesday, 10/15/19 – Pressing on…

Coming in for a Close-Up…

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Gemini Man is currently among the most talked about new movies to arrive in theatres. The film stars Will Smith as Henry Brogan, a 51-year-old assassin who is being hunted by a younger clone of himself. Brogan must uncover why and who is behind this creation. The film uses the latest computer based de-aging technology and was years in the making just waiting for such creative possibilities. It was filmed originally at 120 frames per second rather than a more typical 48 frames in order to create more precise images.

Screenshot_20191013-150935The reason for all this is that director Ang Lee desired numerous close-ups of his digital co-star. He wanted every detail, every pore, to appear as a believable flesh and blood character. For that, the technology had to mature.

Pastor Andrew’s message this past Sunday challenged us to follow Jesus as His disciples did – up close, and under our Lord’s near scrutiny. (see Mark 6:1). They were with him when Jesus preached in his hometown and they heard the people respond saying, “Where did this man get these things?” …“What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?” (Mark 6:2).

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You see, they knew him as the carpenter boy, the young lad who grew through his teens and into his twenties among them. He was an ordinary fellow, a nice guy. But now where did all this come from? They had grown up being near to him but now they backed off. Scripture tells us “they took offense at him.” (v. 3). They didn’t like the idea of the neighbourhood kid pointing out their blemishes.

As Pastor Andrew pointed out, a nearer scrutiny reveals more flaws. Nevertheless, we need to allow God’s magnifying glass and bright lights to search us up close deep in our souls, like a diamond appraiser. This is the only way our flaws can be righted. It is the only way our cancer can be excised. In order for our proud hearts to allow this, it is we ourselves who must mature.

When we do that, we find that Jesus himself remakes us. He makes us the sort of people who can stand the scrutiny of others, because we have allowed the scrutiny of God.

Just a few years later Christ ended his earthly ministry and ascended to heaven. Then those who had followed him “up close” by the power of the Holy Spirit began to build His Church.

Scripture records how members of the Jewish council of rulers, elders and teachers of the law “were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).

Follow Jesus up close. Allow him to search and scour and clean and change you. You’ll be amazed at the result!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church  website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Sept. 13 message.

Monday, 10/14/19 – Pressing on…

No one ever thanks a genie.

arts and crafts cardboard close up design

Well at least I can’t recall a single story where anyone ever thanked a genie. Usually the story line goes that after the “poof” and the thing wished for appears the action shifts to what happens next with the thing to or with or by the protagonist. But I don’t ever recall a scene where the lamp owner thanks the genie.

Genies, it seems, are just meant to be used like a tool — a fantastic miracle-making tool indeed, but nonetheless just a tool. Genies are kind of like robots, or toasters, or lawnmowers in that sense. No one ever thanks these things. Genies are often viewed as possessions or at least the magic lamp or whatever is. You see the genie responds to whomever “possesses” the magic device. So like any device the genie inside it is also seen like something of a possession. You don’t have a

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relationship with, or thank, a possession. Then, when three wishes are used up, the lamp really isn’t much good to the possessor at all. In fact most people come by such a lamp or magic device because they stumbled upon it in the trash after it was of no use to the previous owner.

It seems even magic things and genies are becoming a part of a throwaway mentality. Get it, use it, dump it. Unfortunately it seems that many people look at Jesus that same way…

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A crisis hits! There is nothing that can be done! “Oh God!” we cry out … We sometimes make all sorts of promises. Perhaps God in His great, great Mercy responds to even this shallowness. But like nine out of every ten lepers once things are made right, we toss Him aside. Or perhaps he does not respond. So we, angered, still toss him aside. Stupid lamp it doesn’t work… it doesn’t deliver!

But God is NOT a genie! We are NOT deserving of any favours, any mercies! If we think we are we are wrong, dead wrong!

We are the ones deserving to be tossed aside. God made us for Himself. He made us so He could demonstrate His Love, his Goodness. He made us for relationship… fellowship… intimacy. But we spat in His face, tore ourselves from His arms, and hid in His woods.

Yet still He loves us. Still He gives to us. He cannot stop. Our God IS Love. He is not a genie. He is our Father, our Maker, and Christ is our Redeemer, our Brother, and the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, our Teacher, and deposit of wondrous things to come.

Today in Canada is “Thanksgiving Day!” Are you thankful?

More tomorrow…

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

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

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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.

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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.