Monday, 9/27/21 – Pressing on… 70… to Infinity

70… to Infinity

In Psalm 90 the psalmist muses on mankind’s guilt, the ultimate justice of God and the brevity of human life. In verse 10 he writes, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10). In light of this, two verses later he prays, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (v.12).

Yesterday I turned 70 (“threescore years and ten”). Rigidly following the above Scripture, one might say I am now living on “borrowed time”… or, more accurately, by the grace of God. But really, our entire lives are “by the grace of God.” From the get-go this “free will” creation of the Almighty rebelled and went awry. We proved ourselves faulty, made ourselves marred, and did not repent (change our minds and course).

But our Maker did not destroy us… crumple up our clay and discard us. No, he decided to reshape us… remake us… not en-masses, but one at a time… not by force, but by wooing. He maintained our freedom of minds and allows us each to choose… Will we to be pliant in His Hands? Or not?

If you have recognized your need of Him, yielded to Him as softened clay, then He is already at work in you. He has particular design in mind for each of us… for you, and for I. He is giving you a new mind and a new heart; He has set you now on a new course.

In Galatians 5 Paul urges the Galatians to stay that course. Some had begun to stray from it and these he urges to return: “You were running a good race,” he writes (5:7), but someone cut in, tried to mar the race that remained. He says, don’t let that happen to you. Our good Father wants us each to finish well our race.

Paul, now aged, wrote the young and vibrant Timothy, “…my departure is near…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

For those who have commited their souls to Christ the future is not tragic but joyous!

“To infinity and beyond!”Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

More tomorrow…

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

Thursday, 9/23/21 – “Always Pray” and “Not Give Up!”

Always Pray” and “Not Give Up!”

I awoke one morning in recent days with many concerns upon my mind and heart. I had been filling my mind with scripture, speaking His promises to my heart, and praying much for the Lord’s intervention, but as yet the concerns lingered.

Opening my tablet later that morning I was met with an image from a local Christian bookstore: “There is POWER in PRAYER” it shouted out at me! “When you pray, God listens,” it began. Odd how so often it is the most fundamental of truths are the first to be forgotten!

Another day, feeling very much alone under many weighty responsibilities, I decided to go for a walk to think and to pray. Ahead on the paved trail I noticed some chalk marking on the pathway. Once close enough to read it I was awed by its relevance. “You’re NOT ALONE ❤” someone had sketched on the surface. I chuckled, looked up, and whispered “thank you.”

Again, on yet another day, came the third of our good, good Father’s loving reminders. Rainclouds had finally cleared and I decided to take my arthritic frame and beclouded brain out to walk again. This time I chose a graveled, less traveled path.

Before I had taken many steps I spotted a stone. It was gray, hard and firm, and upon it, through it, and on both sides of it was embedded a white and well-formed cross. Christ, the Rock, was upon His Throne.

Yes! “What a Mighty God we Serve.” We sing it, and we must believe it! There is POWER in PRAYER, We are NOT ALONE, and Christ our Rock is upon His Throne!

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Monday, 9/13/21 – On Training wheels and Water wings…

On Training wheels and Water wings…

There comes a time in the young cyclist’s life that the training wheels must come off. And there comes a time in the young swimmer’s story that the water wings must be removed. The centrifugal and gyroscopic principles were always the cyclist’s real allies, as was the principle of buoyancy in the case of the swimmer. For a time the respective supports were necessary, but never were they intended to continue.

So it is with the faith of Abraham in looking forward to that promised Seed, the Mosaic Law, and the faith of the Christian in looking backward to that same Seed. The Law was there till we learned our fallenness… gave up our trying to make it our full support… our self-made righteousness.

And when that time arrived, that time to toss off that old and it’s bondage, that time to embrace the new, Christ came… that promised Seed, the eternal Word, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) — “we have heard… we have seen… we have looked at and our hands have touched,” writes John (1 John 1:1). And then He was not. And now we look back.

But His coming, tho brief, was at that divine and perfect time, that time known by the Father from the foundations of the worlds, from before time, from, to, and within the eternal! Paul writes the Galatians, “…when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son“ (Gal. 4:4).

God has a time, and a purpose, and when the time is right, God will do.

Solomon in His wisdom observed this rule: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1). Or, as some translations have it, “a time to every purpose.”

Nothing is random in God’s universe, unless it is random by purpose. Nothing is rogue, even the devil and his hosts ultimately will serve His purposes. And nothing can thwart these. As Gamaliel cautioned regarding the presumptions of some to do so, “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39).

And so, in God’s good will and purpose, He waited. And then, “…when the set time had fully come” God acted.

Believer, this is so even today. God has His times and purposes for you too. And like the cyclist… like the swimmer… like the gift of God’s Son… these things are made actual to you not by vain effort, but by Faith.

More tomorrow…

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

Thursday, 9/2/21 – Freedom: Freedom to be Free!

Freedom: Freedom to be Free!

Each of us must have something for which to live — a reason to seek survival. Some choose hedonism: simple self-pleasure. Some choose power or fame: the pride of having control over others or being praised by a populace. Some choose money: a commodity form of power, materialism, bribery, or satisfaction of personal lusts. Having chosen one’s goal, one’s goal soon becomes one’s god. Ambition becomes obsession and the individual becomes enslaved.

The Old Covenant Law enslaved. While it taught what God required, it provided no power to meet its impossible precepts. Yet still men were “bound” to keep trying. Jesus came on the scene and fulfilled this Law completely. He undeservedly paid the debt of all sinfulness making a way for those who choose to trust Him to transfer slavery to sin to allegiance to Him.

Paul addresses this freedom from slavery to sin in His epistle to the Galatians.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” / “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal. 5:1, 14)

To be free from bondage to empty pursuits, to be free from bondage to world and flesh, to be free from these is the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” So Paul urges the Galatians not to waver in their stance of faith and not law. “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1) This freedom is not a freedom to sin, but a freedom to no longer be bound by the requirement of self-made holiness. It is Christ Himself Who makes righteous!

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal. 5:14)

This truth of salvation by grace, salvation as a provision of God received by one’s faith in relying upon it, this is the Truth which by repentance of sin and acknowledgement of it one becomes free! “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). “…you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God….” (Rom. 6:22). This slavery to God is not enslavement to a Taskmaster, but in it one finds one’s true love… it is a commitment of love…. a bond-servanthood as the Old Covenant describes it, to have “life and have it abundantly.” as spoke Christ in the New (John 10:10).

Freedom in Christ is Freedom indeed. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

It is Freedom to be Free!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Tuesday, 8/31/21 – Pressing on… Standing by Faith

Standing by Faith

We do like to sit, don’t we? Go to a meeting and there’s a Chair person, have a secret and there’s a Stool pigeon, take a rest and you’re a Couch potato, and even if you do nothing at all you’ll be a Bench warmer!

But when it comes to Truth a Christian must know how to Stand. In Galatians 3 Paul tells us we stand by FAITH! This truth leapt out at Martin Luther one day as he read in Romans…

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Rom. 1:16-17).

Here Paul defines the “crux” [interesting word] of the gospel, from the Old Testament (Covenant) prophet Habakkuk to the New Testament (Covenant) fulfillment in the sacrifticial atonement of Christ, and that truth is this: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).

The gospel is salvation by FAITH—faith ‘sola’ scrawled Luther! Faith alone! “…a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,” or as other translations have it “…from faith to faith. Faith through and through!

This revelation spawned the protestant reformation in the early 16th Century. It is the central truth of the New Covenant. The Old taught us what God required and the New provided that requirement in Christ. The Old showed us our righteousness was but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) and the New clothed us in the righteousness of God (Isa. 61:10; Rom. 3:21-22; Eph. 6:14)!

And this is what Paul preached to the Galatians and now scolds them for forgetting. Old Covenant teachers had come on the scene and convinced them to continue in the Old Covenant ways, the fruitless and impossible ways of self effort, law and inadequate self righteousness.

Paul was incensed! “Are you so foolish?” he asks. “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). “The flesh,” i.e. in Greek the “sarx,” that sinful state of human beings, that nature within us that opposes the Spirit of God.

He shows that the way of faith was always God’s plan, from Abraham to eternity, and he cites again those same words of Habakkuk, “The just shall live by faith” – sola!

Stand up believer! Stand tall. Raise your arms and praise the King! It is He Who now sits…. He sits at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2)… interceding for our sins (Rom. 8:34).

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.

Thursday, 8/19/21 – Soon Return of Christ: the Christian’s Calming Trust

Soon Return of Christ: the Christian’s Calming Trust

This past Sunday Pastor Andrew began a series preaching through the book of Galatians. He reminded us that the purpose of the cross was not merely to provide believers with a ticket to heaven, but “that He [Christ] might deliver us from this present evil world…” (Gal. 1:4).

This world is an evil world “both under the surface and on the surface,” he said. Creation has been distorted, twisted, corrupted. The gospel too has been challenged by deceitful, perverted “other gospels” – gospels which are really not gospels at all… teachings that contain bold lies, or bits of lies, or lies made by twisting truth.

Jesus died to pull us out of this world… to bring us to a new and eternal kingdom… a kingdom of Truth and Light. And one day very soon Jesus will come again to gather His own to be with Him there.

This kingdom and this return of our Saviour is also the focus of local recording artist Becka deHaan’s 3rd album, “Calming Trust and Coming King,” released this past March and featured this past week in Fredericton’s Daily Gleaner. Regarding the serendipitous placement of the article in the publication Becka comments: “I have found it particularly uplifting that my article appears as the only good news on a page otherwise filled with bad news… a spiritual album-release on being calmed… by trust in the assurance of Christ’s soon return.”

As the last verse of one of the songs on the album summarizes…

I’ve been reading the local paper; / I’ve been watching the nightly news;
Yeh, this old world’s just ripping at the seams. / And with a past dark and brooding,
And a future looking black, / It’s got me thinking, “Lord, Lord, when are You coming back?”*

The Christian, knowing of the Lord’s “one day, sooner or later” return, laments the lostness of this world yet sees it as prophetic fulfillment, evidence and assurance that His return will indeed happen someday.

Each year it appears more and more likely that His return is very near indeed. This has increasingly been the case for generations. Believers see this as the ever intensifying, ever more frequent “labor pains” spoken of by Christ in the gospels (Matt. 24:8), Scoffers see this as idle hope never to be fulfilled – an attitude to which scriptures also testify (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

This is an evil world. But into it our King is Coming. He is coming victorious to bring us to our new home, His kingdom — a calming trust to all who hope in Him.

Press on…

*“When are You Coming Back,” Wayne Kirkpatrick, originally recorded by Susan Ashton, found on “Angels of Mercy,” 1992

For more information about Becka and her ministry link to her Website: http://www.beckadehaan.com or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/beckadehaanmusic

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Tuesday, 7/27/21 – Pressing on… Digging deeper into the Gift…

Digging deeper into the Gift…

At first you are astonished at the beauty of the box, the knowing of Presence within you. He has come! Just as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit of God now rests within you. His perch is not forceful; it is gentle… like… like a dove. It would not take much to shoo Him away, but why would you? His Presence is now the most peaceful and desirous part of your person. The missing piece all these many years, until now.

Opening the Gift further and you find Him speaking to you, sometimes surprisingly. Sometimes He whispers from behind you, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isa. 30:21). Sometimes He comes with undeniably great power (Acts 2:2:-4). Sometimes He speaks as you dream (Joel 2:29, Matt. 1:20, 2:13,19, Acts 2:17, 9:10-11, 10:9-17, 16:9, 18:9, 22:18, 27:23, Rev. 1:12), waking or sleeping. Sometimes by a subtle inner tug (Acts 16:6), or in a season of prayer and fasting (Acts 13:2), as a collective sense (Acts 15), a miraculous intervention (Acts 10:44-48), a direct request for wisdom (James 1:5), through spiritual gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-10), by illumination while reading the scriptures (John 14:26, 16:13-16, Eph. 1:18), a conviction of guilt regarding personal sin (John 16:8), or a sense of peace and affirmation regarding the right thing to do (also John 16:8). In many other ways the Holy Spirit speaks to the believer, leading one to Truth, and as Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).

Keep opening the Gift and the Holy Spirit will work deeper and deeper within you. You will learn to trust Him and will grow confident that He will be there in all your times of need. You will stop trying to do His work for Him. “do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say” (Matt. 10:19). You will learn to be “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 5:18) and how to “walk by faith” (2 Cor.5:7).

You will see your very self changing… you will see the “fruits” of the Holy Spirit’s making, growing within you: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23), grow bolder in your testimony (Acts 4:31), and long more greatly for your eternal heavenly home (1 Cor. 5:6-9, Phil. 1:21-24).

Dig deep into the Gift daily. As Paul reminded Timothy: “…stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). Dig deep into the Gift today!

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.

Friday, 7/23/21 – Why do we wiggle?

Why do we wiggle?

The manifestations of a demon-possessed person can be most unsettling: intense strength, growls and glares, cursing, flailing about, frothing like a rabid animal and convulsing. All the while a frightful spiritual darkness presses down upon the scene. Enough to rattle the nerves and shake the faith of many.

But the Truth is, the demons fear you, the believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. Even the weakest of us is, to the devil and his host, like a toddler with a loaded pistol. The devil knows what we hold in our hands. Drop the Name of Jesus and the demons must flee:

“…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7b-8).
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19).
God… gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth… to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11).

Mark writes of one such individual brought by his father to Jesus. The fearful challenge had proved too much for the apostles; “I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out,” the man recounted to Jesus, “but they could not.” (Mark 9:18). “Since childhood,”‘ the man continued, “whenever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid,” the man explained, ”…and often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him.”

Sure enough, as soon as the demon-possessed son saw Jesus scripture records, “…immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.”

But Jesus wasn’t wiggling. He knew who had the upper hand here. Despite the loud display of demonic madness before Him, Jesus calmly says, “…all things are possible to him who believes.” Oh, how we want to believe when circumstances shout otherwise! We do… but we don’t.

Let’s be wise like this father… How? By being honest. “Lord, I believe,” he cried, “help my unbelief!

That son was delivered that day. — Even though the father’s faith wobbled at best, he had at least a grain… and that grain was enough. As Jesus elsewhere said, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20).

Now I’m not saying we should all go out and seek to fight demons or move mountains around, but… well… Remember that brook trout? [See Tuesday’s blog] When situations looked tense brother Jim, Don’s dad, would often say “God’s not wiggling.” Whether it’s surrendering to some personal change or stepping boldly forward to a new level of faith and confidence in God — neither should we.

Press on…

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

Thursday, 5/21/20 – Discipleship – Evangelism (& COVID-19)

Evangelism (& COVID-19)

man handing a beer from the cooler

There is a difference between what it means to “pass it on” (see yesterday’s blog) and “pay it forward” ( a phrase popularized since the 2000 romantic drama film by the same name.) To “pass it on” is to have been given something from someone else and then to give that thing to another. The item was never yours, you received it freely, and it cost you nothing to give it to someone else.

photo of person handing card

To “pay it forward” means to have received some benefit, assimilated it fully, and then when an opportunity arises you give from your own consolidated resources a benefit of some kind to someone else. In short, someone does a gracious act to you and so you in turn do a gracious act to another. When you “pay it forward” you receive a thing or a service and make it your own, then later from your own resources sacrifice a thing or a service to someone else.

two boys sitting on bench wearing hats and long sleeved shirts

Passing it on” honors the original giver; “paying it forward” honors yourself. “Passing it on” is sharing; “paying it forward” is transaction.

It is really only possible to give grace out of your own experience of having received grace. The “beggar” who finds bread and shares it with another can accept no praise for having created the bread. No… He knows that in his own self he is still merely a beggar. It is like this with all God’s graces.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life…” (1 John 1:1…)

“…I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you…” (1 Cor. 11:23)

“…I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:3-4…)

Praise… the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God…” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

photo of mountain under cloudy sky

Have you fretted during Covid-19 and found solace in Christ? Have you rested calmly through this crisis because your confidence is in Christ? Have you been thrust into financial need and found hope, strength, resources through Christ, His people, His Church? Have you lost loved ones or suffered personally because of the virus yet found comfort and encouragement in the Lord? “Pass it On.” When it comes to grace, we can only truly give what God has given to us.

Pass it On

and…

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 begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 4/29/20 – Pressing on…

What has you?

20200428_124018This past month mankind found its wisdom insufficient to prevent — at current count — the deaths of some 211,766 persons. Each of these people found their own personal physical strength insufficient to combat the invading virus. And every one of us has felt the economic impact of a world brought to a standstill. (The Dow Jones for example plummeted from above 29,000 to below 19,000 points!)

grayscale photography of man in short standiung

Suddenly it doesn’t matter so much what you have…

Do you have Wisdom – it fails.
Do you have Strength – it fails.
Do you have Riches – it fails.

20200428_120636.jpgIn my office I have a beautiful hand crafted cane – a gift from our previous pastor while on a missionary trip. But I cannot use it! I had begun to, but somewhere deep below its beauty and shellac the wood must have had a rotten patch. When I reached for it at last it was in two pieces! I’ve glued together now and it remains a beautiful souvenir, but I don’t dare trust it to support me.

20200428_120654.jpgMoses used a cane, and God told him to cast it down. When he did the staff became a snake… a serpent, possibly representative of what lay beneath all the man-made props we may lean upon. “We know,” writes John, “…that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19).

Of Moses the Lord said, “He is faithful in all my house” (Num. 12:7 / Heb. 3:5). All Moses had when he met the Lord at the bush was his staff, and God told him to throw it down. A wise Wycliffe missionary once said to us, “Whatever you are leaning on, throw it down. When you pick it up again, go with the power of God in your hand.” – Marshall Holdstock, Wycliffe missionary. (Wycliffe ‘Quest,’ Trinity Western University, Langley BC, May 30/92.)

bullion gold gold bars golden

This is exactly what God asks of us in this hour. We will take nothing with us into eternity, nothing but what our souls have become. The things we have amassed, the things we say we have: wisdom, strength, riches… things of world, flesh, devil… will all stay behind. He wants us to throw these things down NOW. Though they look shiny and polished, there is rot within them… splinters to harm us, and a very great fall indeed await.

These things are here to be used… used for God, not instead of Him. Paul writes,

“…the time is short. From now on… those who buy something [should live] as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

In the end, it matters not what you have, or what you think you have, rather what matters is Who (or what) has you.

Press on…

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