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.

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.

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.

Monday, 3/9/20 – Pressing on…

The saga of the fireplace trim…

Screenshot_20200308-153545For twenty-two years we enjoyed living in our little log home just outside Fredericton. We knew when we purchased it that the living room fireplace was unusable due to a prior collapse of the chimney liner. But, no worries, we would get an electric insert.

That day came and the insert was installed. Now all the fireplace needed was some mantle-matching trim around the insert. Sketches were drawn and the trim was installed, but not by the man with whom we had originally drawn up the plans. That man had got called out of town and he had sent another fellow to do the work in his place. The result was not at all what we had agreed upon.

close up of human hand

The first man came round, had a look, and agreed to correct the work. By now payment for the job had been made, and there was nothing further in writing about the needed corrections. Still, the man promised to honor his word. The repairs would be done.

Two years passed filled with repeated phone calls, excuses, and delays, but still the work was not done. Had to order some parts… had another rush job… got the pieces all cut out and ready for you… will be around soon… Time passed… It was not until we were ready to put the house on the market that the man finally did come round and do the needed repairs.

man wearing red and black stripe shirt

Though the resulting work was lovely we did not recommend this man to any of our friends – not because of poor workmanship, but because of poor reliability. Had we had a written contract we could have forced the matter, we could have appealed to a higher authority and got the job done in shorter order. But we did not. What we had was a trust, a faith in a man whose faithfulness proved questionable.

God is not like that!

God is the Highest authority in Himself.

God has promised through Abraham to bring a great nation into this world through which He would bring humankind’s Saviour. He promised this by an oath,

“People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” (Heb. 6:16-18).

And God has delivered.

While it is unlikely that I will ever trust this contractor again, it is assuring to know I can approach God with confidence knowing He is ever faithful.

More tomorrow…

backlit cemetery christianity clouds

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Mar. 8 message.