Today’s Blog

Wednesday, 10/6/21 – Pressing on… A bellyfull of one another?

A bellyfull of one another?

An expert in the law, once tested Jesus by asking Him: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus made no hesitation but citing from the Pentateuch answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:34-40, NIV)

Paul, in writing the Romans, restates this,

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom. 13:8-10)

John, the disciple whom the Lord most loved, extends this plea:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)

We do well to remember that to love one another is not merely a suggestion, it is not dependent upon emotion, and it is not at all an option. To love one another, despite our differences, is a command of our God. In fact, as the above scriptures emphasize, it is the CHIEF command.

In Galatians Paul warns,

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. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Gal. 5:13-15)

The fruit of the Spirit is love…” writes Paul (5:24). But if we instead “bite and devour each other,” if we are with a bellyfull of one another, we find ourselves too full for the Spirit, for Living Water and Bread of Life.

Love one another, and

Press on…

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.

Tuesday, 10/5/21 – Pressing on… A Matter of Reparations…

A Matter of Reparations…

Last Friday residents of the six-plex in which we live gathered in a huddle along a boundary of our properties adjacent to where a newly constructed apartment block had been built. We gathered there to meet with the contractors of the new development which was now in its landscaping stage. Apparently in grading his development for drainage the sloping of the soil had inadvertently buried our property boundary stakes and encroached upon our land.

The apartment complex had already been built. Tenants had already begun to move in. Clearly what had been done could not now be undone. The contractors sincerely apologized, but the question was what now could be done about it? What reparations could be made so that all parties concerned could move forward in harmony?

They listened with empathy to our concerns and eventually an agreement was reached. The developers would build up our land with new soil to divert water pooling, they would channel this water to a nearby ditch and hire a surveyor to install new boundary stakes — and they would do all this at their expense.

This, on a much, much smaller scale, is similar to the situation Canada’s indigenous people faced when early settlers encroached upon them. But our ancestors did far worse than encroach…

“North America’s indigenous peoples were systematically uprooted from their traditional homes and villages, either through war, forced relocation, or threats of violence, and pushed into remote areas where they wouldn’t get in the way of European colonization. …uniquely susceptible to European disease, the vast majority of Canada’s aboriginal population quickly declined to a small minority as their death rate skyrocketed and European immigration increased.” [Source: https://thecanadaguide.com/history/early-history/]

Oh, what a different history Canada might have enjoyed had we approached this land’s inhabitants with kindness and with gratitude! In these days as more and more injustices are being revealed it behooves us all to make great reparations indeed!

As Christians we ought demonstrate the greatest love and compassion of all! Within us dwells the Holy Spirit of God Who grows in us the Agapé Love of God. This God is the One Who created all races and has determined their placement (Acts 17:26). He is the One to Whom in eternity all races will gather to praise (Rev. 7:9-10) – One kingdom, One Body, brothers and sisters all!

Oh Lord, help us to behave as One now!

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.

Monday, 10/4/21 – Pressing on… But, don’t I have a “right” to…

But, don’t I have a “right” to…

I got to thinking the other day about this whole idea of personal ‘rights,’ the rights we have as human beings, and the rights we have in Christ as Christians. What are our “rights” for, anyway? And what exactly is the best thing to do with them?

The first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, set out and establish many of them: the rights of borrowers, the rights of the needy, the rights of slaves, of strangers, and man-slayers, of husbands and wives and firstborn sons. But as I read through these records something peculiar stands out about them: virtually every one of them has to do with our obligation to ensure these rights to others.

When I look to the New Testament I find something similar. In the first 14 verses of 1 Corinthians I see Paul setting forth his rights: his right to food, and drink, to a wife and remuneration. But what does he say about his right to these ‘rights?’ He says, “But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me” (v.15). Paul was not writing the Corinthians to assert these rights but to tell them that in surrendering them he found his greatest reward: “What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.” (v.18).

Jesus had rights too! Jesus came as the only begotten Son of God, as a member Himself of the Holy Trinity of God. “very God of very God” as the Nicene Creed (325 AD) puts it. All power and all authority belonged to Him. But what did He do with it? Paul answers this in his advice to the believers in Philippi:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8)

Someone once said to an irate brother, “Your ‘right’ to punch me in the nose ends where my nose begins!” Have we forgotten as brothers and sisters in Christ that we belong to one another, that each of us to one another is as a “little Christ” – a ‘Christ’-one, a Christian, as the early onlookers first called us. Did not Christ Himself say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40)?

Brothers and sister what you decide do with your rights is freely yours to determine. But I urge you first to consider Christ… and I ask: For what are one’s “rights”: asserting, or surrendering? / Which is more noble? Which is more selfish?

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, 10/1/21 – After Unity, Then What?

After Unity, Then What?

If you’ve been following my posts thru this week you will have noticed an emphasis on unity, acceptance of those with differing determinations of conscience on disputable matters, and of reconciliation as an essential soil for unified fellowship. Our World needs unity, our Nation needs unity, our communities need unity and God has called His Church to unity that we might be the sowers of unity to all.

“That we might be the sowers of unity to all” — Catch this vision with me. It is the vision of our Lord… Hear Him praying for you… for you… His Church,

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours… they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name… so that they may be one as we are one. …My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. …As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world….”

“My prayer is not for them alone. 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.” (John 17:9-23, selected portions).

Jesus wants us from our unity to go out into this world and touch it for Christ.

In pandemics past this is exactly What the Church of Christ has done. Instead of looking inward, unified congregants sought to bring aid to the suffering. What a great opportunity this is to share the eternal hope that we have in Christ. Suffering and death need not alarm us. Though we take wise precaution to guard against illness, to eat and sleep and exercise, “we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Cor. 5:1). There, there will be plenty of forever to go around… plenty of forever to sing and to worship then. Now, here, we have but a short time to reach outward. Then, there, we will have no such opportunity.

Lord, bring Your great Church to unity that we may glorify Your Name!

Press on…

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

Thursday, 9/30/21 – Fellowship: Truth & Reconciliation

Fellowship: Truth & Reconciliation

Today has been designated a “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” a day to honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. Great wrongs were committed against our First Nation peoples. This truth must be faced, and wrongs must be confessed and corrected for reconciliation and true fellowship to be restored.

The Creation of Adam, Michaelangelo

The parallels between this reality and the much broader gospel of God are very clear: Great wrong is committed against our God and Father. Each one of us is guilty; our best efforts are all “as filthy rags” before Him. This truth must be faced, and our sin must be confessed and corrected for reconciliation and true fellowship with our Maker to be restored!  

What must we do? We must admit to the Truth that wrought our alienation, we have turned away from our God, we have each gone our own way, we have rejected and abused, and sought to put to death His Son. What is the Truth? Christ this Son is the Truth. Making peace with Him by Him, is our only path to Reconciliation with the Father, to Unity with the saints and household of God.

And God has appointed a day, a Global Day, a day of Truth and of Reconciliation. God has appointed a day, and that day is Today: “Today is the day of salvation…” (2 Cor. 6:2).

He invites you to call upon Him this day, to come to Him, that He may draw near to you. Then He calls upon you: He calls upon you to call upon others as Paul outlines,

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)

Then, reconciled with our God, we are in the best place from which to build reconciliation with others, with our First Nations people and all others.

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.

Wednesday, 9/29/21 – Pressing on… Disputable Matters

Disputable Matters

Throughout Romans chapter 14 Paul urges believer’s to accept one another… “without quarreling over disputable matters.” “God has accepted them,” he says, and asks, “Who are you to judge …? …Each… should be fully convinced in their own mind. …why do you judge your brother or sister?…each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”

In Paul’s day one of these “disputable matters” was about which day to keep holy: the traditional Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) or the new Christian “first day of the week” (Sunday) in recognition of the day of Christ’s resurrection. Some Jewish believers held to the former while others held to the latter.

Another “disputable matter” had to do with whether or not it was OK to eat meat previously offered to an idol. A meat would be offered in ceremonial sacrifice to an idol, but of course the idol being made of stone or wood could not consume the meal, so it was afterwards sold for cheap in “the shambles,” a sort of discount back alley of the markets. This meat would often prove a bargain, so the question was whether or not it was appropriate for a Christian to purchase it.

In both cases it was Paul’s strong advice that Christians should not be quarreling over these matters, not judging one another based on their own particular preferences. He writes,

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. …do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. / Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Rom. 14)

It’s a funny thing about disputable matters: either option could be “right” or “wrong” depending upon the individual believer’s conscience. Crossing the line determined by one’s conscience is the real transgression.

I believe this is the way we should view those who feel comfortable receiving a vaccine and those who do not. Though statistics appear to indicate that the vaccinated are safer from harm, a brother or sister may by reason of conscience feel so strongly against it that they are willing to accept that risk. To force them to cross this line would be to force them to transgress. Others may feel so strongly that they should protect their bodies as “temples of the Spirit” by accepting the vaccine that to force them not to would be to force them to transgress.

So what are we to do? Beyond perhaps a little educating or reassurance Paul’s priority is this: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” As always, the Lord’s primary interest is in what goes on in one’s heart.

Press on…

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.

Tuesday, 9/28/21 – Pressing on… We Walk, Work & Worship – as One

We Walk, Work & Worship – as One

At our service this past Sunday I shared with the church family the words to this lovely song of affirmation of our unity in Christ. It was written by Peter Scholtes and dates back to 1966, but it’s simplicity and truth still draw the people of God to oneness today. I reproduce it here for your continued contemplations…

They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love  (1966, F.E.L. Pub. Assigned 1991 Lorenz Pub.)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord; We are one in he Spirit, we are one in the Lord; And we pray that all unity will one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand; We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand; And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side; We will work with each other, we will work side by side; And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

All praise to the Father, from whom all things come; And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son. And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

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.

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.

Friday, 9/24/21 – Friday Question: “What is the Christian response in this present pandemic?”

What is the Christian response in this present pandemic?

To find clarity in responding to this question I believe it helpful first to remove any aspect of what a government may request or require and respond first to the question “What is the appropriate Christian response when it finds itself in the midst of a devastating pandemic?” What option is most Christ-like?

  1. The church makes no accommodations and continues to gather unprotected.
  2. The church closes in order to remove all possibility of infection by meeting together.
  3. The church takes appropriate precautions to make meeting together safe.

There is a fine line between faith and presumption. There is a great difference between trusting God and tempting God, between acting in wisdom and acting in folly. God protected Paul when by chance he was bitten by a viper (Acts 28:1-6) and He turned this incident into an outcome to His Glory. But He does not extend such protection to those who willfully expose themselves.

It is my conviction that the 3rd option is the appropriate Christian response. It assumes nothing by presumption, does not tempt God, and is in no way acting in folly. Now, if a government asks or imposes upon a church to select this same option does that fact now make this option less appropriate, less Christian?

The death toll of the 1918 influenza pandemic fell somewhere between 50 to 100 million souls. Many churches closed to preserve their societies. The Black Plague of the mid 1300s is said to have slain 1/3 of the then world’s population. Thinking the plague God’s punishment for sin Christians held huge processionals of up to 2,000 people which lasted as long as 3 days. Such gatherings only worsened the spread taking many more lives.

Brothers and sisters we must consider the glory of God. Do we wish to show this world the love of God or the stubbornness of man?  “What would Jesus do?” is always a most informing question. He the great Healer who endangered no one, Who rendered to Caesar, Who submitted to Pilate, He in Whom neither accusers nor state could find fault except falsely – what would He do? Paul wrote that without love one’s actions were useless. “Love,” he said, “always protects… always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:7).

We are not being asked to bow to an idol, to cease our praying, or to deny our Lord. We are being asked to act in love and in wisdom, to continue in our worship of our God in such a way that may result in the health and safety of many — alive in body that by our prayers and safe ministry we might also by Christ make them alive in spirit!

Much more could be said, and some will disagree, but let us agree to seek the Face of our God, subdue the rages of our flesh, and love one another deeply.

Press on…

Here’s some links that may interest you…

Pandemics and Public Worship throughout History

How the Church Responded to Previous Pandemics

Pandemics and the Church – What does History Teach us?

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

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.