Getting somewhere requires effort,
faith to push on,
it's easy to screw up,
Friday, July 12, 2013
Mission time again...
is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. ~ Richard Bach
Fri, July 12, 2013 | link
Each year my wife and I take some teens to help people
with very low income, living in makeshift slum housing in Mexico. People without opportunity and many of whom have lost hope in the
We go to build them a home!
It takes us a week, the money to do it, and love in our hearts
for those that are the hurt and lost in this world.
I get asked why I do this?
Why would an adult in his 50’s be willing to go and sleep on the ground in tents, live without any customary luxuries
in a semi desert regions, in the hot sun without shade, cold showers, dug
latrines, and together with hundreds of teenagers who want loud music and excitement.
because I see God working in unusual and amazing ways!
I see lives changed forever! I see young people become incredible movers
and shakers that want to help the world and care deeply.
It’s because some of the greatest friendships I have built come from the experience.
It’s because I
see special people year after year.
It’s because I can make a difference in a few days that few people make in their lives.
the people I help have no hope until we arrive and change their lives.
It’s because others are too scared to do it.
others tell me they just don’t have the time.
It’s because in the eyes of those I help I see my saviour Jesus
on that cross so many centuries past.
It’s because I am tired of Christians who speak a great story but do little to try and make
it real. I count myself as one of them but want to try and do a little.
It’s because this world is full of pain and strain and if I can change
that for a few moments its worth it.
It’s because a week without excessive food and sugared drinks is great for one’s health.
I grow into a deeper and deeper relationship with God hourly.
It’s because it’s hard to do and I have to trust God
to take me through things I don’t know I will have the mental or physical strength to achieve.
It’s because someone has to look
after the young men and women who get on that roof to shingle the house in the hot sun with twenty and thirty
foot drops and no harnesses.
It’s because sometimes we are to do more than sit in offices and behind computers and TV’s, we
are built to do work for God and we need to get out there and do it.
It’s because of the joy and tears shed as we hand across those keys
to the new home to a family who would never ever have been able to have such a home.
It’s because those who have been with me before tell
me how the experience changed their lives and made them better people.
It’s because I love others and this is a conduit to
expressing that love.
I have few reasons and I have not even exhausted them yet, but I think by now you have the picture.
I believe we are to do more than please ourselves
in this life. We are
not here to gather wealth that goes nowhere when we die. We have eternal purposes and things to do that make a difference.
trust each of you will find some simple way to meet these aspects in your own life. It’s worth doing if you get the chance.
Over the next few days I will be in dust and
heat, away from electronics and modern conveniences and so unable to write this blog. So I trust you will read some of those
I have already written. If you want to see the types of things my wife and I will be doing take a look at ...
Please pray for us, and those we are helping, and
for those teenagers going with us!
need health, safety, opportunity, guidance, blessings, endurance, and Holy Spirit to be in control.
Have a fantastic next seven days and on the
22nd, I will be back with some stories of what happened that should show the results of your prayers.
God bless you all!
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Horrible disasters, why can’t our media help instead of horrify?
Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories
of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.~ Daryn Kagan
Thu, July 11, 2013 | link
In Canada in the province of Quebec in a small town of Lac-Megantic,
a runaway train containing crude oil derailed and exploded instantaneously
changing everything nearby into a fireball that vaporised people and objects and turned the town into a place of mourning.
real, real sad.
Yet, what is worse is that for the past few days the media has been re-iterating the story and finding
the smallest pieces of horror to reveal. Even when it’s been all said, they repeat it, or ask to see NASA pictures of the fire so
they can get people horrified again.
Why are there not stories of the great courage of people who are helping?
Why is there no information on how us, the
citizens of our country, could reach out and help?
Why is there not guidelines on how we can come together to find ways of stopping this happening again?
Why do people only present
the worst in bad circumstances instead of the best?
Have we become so impregnable as people, that our only interest in terrible events is to have a ghoulish
interest in explaining its dark and nasty side?
Maybe we need to look to the stories of compassion, how people helped, how people reacted within minutes to save
lives. How people came around those hurting and give compassion and love.
There are others sides to stories but we as the public don’t
demand them and instead some editor of some publication decides what will interest us.
I hate seeing people hurt, damaged and not being able to help!
How about you?
What would you like to do about a disaster like this? Contribute to the recovery effort, supply needs goods and funds, perhaps go and
help with the cleanup?
we can do none of these, then we could be praying for the families, we could be encouraging our media to report how people
are coping and gaining strength. We could be asking our media to identify who still needs
help and how much.
That would be useful reporting wouldn’t it?
How much of that type of reporting do we see?
why I find that I turn to Christian aid organizations. While they explain the difficulties, they also explain what we need to do to change these circumstances.
They come to us with
stories of hope and encouragement.
That’s the Christian way!
Even in life, we need to look at encouraging and building up rather than focusing on the horror
and evil around us.
We are the build-uppers,
pray our media would learn to be the same!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
From worthlessness to completion
...confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians
Wed, July 10, 2013 | link
Tired and down on myself, I want to hide from others and the world.
Mostly I wish I could hide from myself!
Ever feel that way? Times when self-worth has dropped to an all-time
low and there is little that seems to have value in what we perceive around and within us.
It happens, and at times like this it can
seem that God is far away, hidden in the mist of perceived displeasure with our attitude and actions.
Yet this is not so!
God came to this earth to deal with situations
just like the ones we are feeling when we are in this type of funk.
His love for us is not dependent on our performance for Him.
If it was, there would be no forgiven people on
Our perception of the withdrawal of His love is our own minds putting a barrier between us and
God is there all the time waiting to forgive. It is we that need to take the
step to ask for it however.
So how do we overcome this feeling of inadequacy?
Firstly by knowing the fact that we are not inadequate! God died for us, that makes us of value!
That’s a simple
If our friends are telling us we are inadequate, let's get different friends since they are not true friends.
We need to have those around us that know we are of value. God has said we are, so they have no right to say anything else!
Now, with this as the
first building block we need to move back towards a relationship with God. To do this we need to blow backs
the wisps of discouragement and worthlessness we feel.
A number of blogs I have written assist with this and today I will try and help again.
Firstly, if you have been in this
self-loathing state for six months or more, talk to a healthcare professional as sometimes there is a physiological
issue that can be cleared with vitamins or mild antidepressants. Our bodies can malfunction sometimes and this can impact
our minds. Long term feelings of depression and self-loathing need to be investigated in this way.
Yet, most of us don’t fall
into this category do we?
Most of us may
have in fact have done something we are not proud of, or simply we may have been selfish, nasty or ignorant. This is probably pulling us downwards and we need
relief from this.
We need to understand God is right here with us. We need to read psalm 46...
God is our refuge and strength,
ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
the mountains quake with their surging.[c]4 There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
God of Jacob is our fortress.8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the
bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
God of Jacob is our fortress. (NIV)
Even if we don’t feel it to be true we need to know feelings can lie to us. God is near and will protect us!
Next, we need to look at how we
are scoring ourselves in life.
Do we give ourselves marks of achievement for doing specific things and an unconscious whipping when we
These "scores" need to be dealt with in the light of God’s word and we need to take each
and every one of these “performance” factors, understand them and what they are doing, and hand them to God in
prayer. Then let us ask Holy Spirit to give us understanding retrieved from God’s word on what we should do.
We need to remember God says...
brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever
is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
We need to use meditation on God’s word, such as psalm
46 and this verse in Philippians, to take our mind away from the regurgitated failures cycling through our thoughts.
These cycling thoughts
are really have no value after we have considered them once or twice. The third time they come around, they are wasting
our life opportunities. We have already considered everything worthwhile and now they are only dragging us down.
46 and meditate on the words. Read Philippians 4:8 and believe it.
Turn to God and know he is near and will forgive us. Didn’t John that guy that followed Jesus around and whom Jesus loved say...
If we claim to be without
sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and
will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make
him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1
Reality dictates that we know that everyone sins (does selfish, nasty and ignorant things that God doesn’t want us doing)
All of us do! Each and every one of us!
Yet, the greatness of God is that despite this he loves us and extends a way out for us.
People call that grace! Love and help despite there being no reason for it. That’s God! That’s
how he deals with us! That’s how much he loves us! Grace!
Now, knowing God has forgiven us,
we are precious in His sight, we can move forward in life giving up our past and striding forth into clarity and purpose of
life with Holy Spirit in our heart, lighting up the fires of desire to help others the way God has helped us.
This is the way to move to completeness in
God. It is true... he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until
the day of Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Wow! It sure rained yesterday…
And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
Tue, July 9, 2013 | link
Gilbert K. Chesterton There
are days when it rains
and the Earth is cooled, watered and the greens show up greener the next day in the cool light of dawn, and then there are the days when the rain has a fury that casts down cascading torrents of water that
overwhelm the drainage ditches and sewers making life appear as if Noah’s flood was in the making yet again.
Yesterday in Toronto was just
such a day.
It started our bright sunlit and blue. An almost holiday feel in the air!
Then around mid-afternoon, the air grew close, clouds started to fit across the sky and
an ominous darkness slid over the landscape. Growling thunder only emphasised the fact that something different was to occur.
Then darkness started to descend. Layer upon layer of dark pent-up clouds built a water wall between earth and sun.
Just about the
time people started to empty out of office building to make their weary way home, the sluicegates of heaven opened and the water came down.
that gentle pitter patter of water droplets that delight the dry earth. More like the opening of a fire hose from heaven,
spraying the Earth below with hundreds of gallons of high pressure fury. People who confidently walked out of buildings with
umbrellas found themselves scurrying back into foyers and overhangs to escape the deluge.
Street cars bogged down and traffic slowly came to a halt, only to move on in a stuttering progress
slower than pedestrians could acheive.
My fortunate state was that I expected to avoid all this. oronto has a subway that should
be able to operate underground without the impeding forces of the rain.
Arriving at the station wet and bedraggled I was met with a statement that the transit was stopped for a while. Power outages and a fire! Minutes
later we were told it was going again, but slowly.
Then came the opportunity!
In every dark circumstance there is a golden lining!
This was provided by my fellow commuters.
The city commuter is a sullen individual most of the time. The hundreds of people to be encountered by one daily builds into
the average person a resistance to interacting with others. This resistance is significant and rarely does anyone break out
of this self-imposed seclusion to chat to a fellow traveller. It becomes a wall aginst our human nature, blackening daily
An impending disaster is just the thing that makes this change. The weather became a God send. People were chatting about their woes and as time
ticked monotonously onwords. In the wait for trains and later the long waits within trains at stations, I was able to get
to know some of my fellow travellers a little better. This was a pleasant and rewarding gap in the impregnable barrier of
city formalities. Perhaps now we can relate as humans should, with warmth and caring.
My subway escape was curtailed just a stop away from where I
desired to disembark.
“Out of service” train meant standing in long lineups of people, mostly wet and bedraggled, plodding through pools
of water in the underground station and then wending our way through long corridors up slippery staircases into the water
world above. (Why do people who strive to get up a staircase into daylight then stop at the top to pull out their phone
when they see the rain they must have known would be there?).
After what seemed like hours, I emerged from the subway burrow into a street lined with people standing
in doorways and under awnings. All looking for that ride or taxi of which none were in evidence while cowering from the water
that was drenching those in less protective surroundings.
Water was bucketing down from above and somehow I shielded my phone from the deluge long enough
to get Google maps to tell where I was and the direction I was to go if I wanted to make progress towards my destination.
I walked in the showering rain, my mood lifted. I started to appreciate the smell of clean air, the beauty of city lights and sensuous aromas wafting
out of the different diners, restaurants and bistro’s along my route. The joy of walking increased as time progressed.
Stepping through the puddles and splashing my way to home, I found the water was not cold and the walk kept me relatively
entered my life as I found I was overtaking the cars in the roadway as I strode forth a superman moving at a pace faster than these poor commuters could achieve.
City lights then went out and cars stopped in the intersections. I was alive and free, and not at all envious of those encased
in their warmer automobile jails, incapable of progress.
For one afternoon the world was turned topsy-turvy by our Lord’s
300000 people had
to endure scraps of cold food by candle light in dark apartment buildings without electricity last night.
The dark city was illuminated
only by candles, cars and artificial lights.
It was a time to reflect on what God does and can do.
What does man really control on this
Earth and what do we think we control?
The major highway in and out of town was under water and the traffic stopped.
How many people in this circumstance would
have thought of God and the power in his hands? How many prayed?
I do hope and pray that a large number of people considered God in
then the ride on the subways would have more people willing to chat together. Perhaps then our lives could happily mingle
and we could help each other like I found occurred during that rain storm.
Why does it take disasters and hardships to bring out the best
Monday, July 8, 2013
“Beam me up Scotty” the bible way
Mon, July 8, 2013 | link
One of the first
century leaders of the Christian church (during the time things were not going well for Christians in Jerusalem ) was Philip. He was among the people who had to leave
the city or be arrested.
This tough time would get most people down, but for the Christian crowd of the time it was perhaps one of the best things that happened to them because
it moved them out of their comfort zone into doing things that ended up to be significant. Without being forced to leave the
city, they would not have dispersed among so many different people and the message of what Jesus had done wouldn’t have
got out around the world like it did.
Philip as an example is interesting...
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention
to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came
out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So
there was great joy in that city. Acts 8
Samaria was north of Jerusalem
and Philip was doing amazing things there. Yet again, Philip would have expected to stay there and let more and more people know of Jesus, but that
was not the plan. Again he is taken out of his comfort zone.
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the
road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
This road didn’t even follow the Jordan river. It was a hot dry road, not pleasant compared
to the one alongside the river. So he is to head south. Notice as an aside the bible words say “angel of the Lord”
to clarify the type of angel that spoke to him. I point this out so that people are aware there are also angels NOT of the
Gaza was about 78km (48 miles) from Jerusalem, and Philip had to travel down from Samaria to get to this road.
It says “So he started out,
and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means
‘queen of the Ethiopians’).”
We know a little of those “Kandake” today due to the finding and translation of the Meroite
texts. The Kandrake was one of a series of queens, or queen regents and queen mothers, that controlled the Sudan, Ethiopia
and southern parts of Egypt. They really controlled the access point of all treasures coming from Africa into the middle east
and so were powerful people. This meant this Ethiopian was probably surrounded by a group of helpers and bodyguards as he
“This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot
reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.”
The distance from his home to Jerusalem was at least 1600km or 1000miles. The speed of the chariot would
have varied from about 10 to 20km/hr, making this a two to three week journey along rather difficult terrain.
This Ethiopian was serious about
finding out about God.
He had even got some texts from Jerusalem and obviously was either qualified to read Hebrew or Greek and was reading a scroll
as he moved along.
“The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
had to have been travelling light, without a pack because it says... “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard
the man reading Isaiah the prophet”
don’t run well with heavy packs or items tied around our waist.
Also, if as expected, this man had a bunch of body guards around
him, they would want to be sure the guy running up was not trouble. Probably he had to run a while before they allowed him
to come close to this moving chariot.
So here is Philip, running in the desert sun, following a chariot based on faith in words that
just appeared to him.
Again Philip is out of his comfort zone and just doing God’s will.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
Obviously the Ethiopian
was having difficulties and Philip discerned this from listening to him read. The chariot was probably going at a speed of
5 to 10miles an hour, so this must have been difficult for Philip to do.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone
explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Finally Philip gets some rest. The rest comes together with the goal of educating this stranger.
What was the man reading? The bible tells us...
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its
shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
is from Isaiah 53.
It says a lot more than just this so Philip explained it all to him. Today we know it speaks
of Jesus, but before people knew Jesus and what he did, this must have seemed a very strange passage indeed. It says
Who has believed our message
to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out
of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised
and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own
the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not
open his mouth;he
was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was
cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave
with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any
deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s
will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see
his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will
bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his
life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession
for the transgressors.
I have previously blogged about this amazing
piece of writing written hundreds of years before Jesus and so accurately depicting his life and death.
This must have impressed the Ethiopian because... The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then
Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
How comfortable would you or I have felt if
we had needed to explain these words from Isaiah to someone? Yet Philip did just that. He went on the explain who Jesus was and why he came.
As they traveled along the
road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”
is amazing how people who love God, immediately want to experience as much of God’s plan in their life as soon as possible isn’t
had explained to him what Jesus had said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end
of the age” Matthew 28
The bible continues... And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the
eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
whole group would have stopped and watched the event. As would anyone who walked or rode past at the time. This was a public
event and the Ethiopian would have been mindful that when he got home this story would be told and retold.
Philip was just getting comfortable again
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him
again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Philip had a “beam me up Scotty” type transporter experience. He simply disappears and reappears in a different
It says “Philip,
however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”
This was probably 20
to 30 miles away as Azotus was north of Gaza on just inland from the Mediterranean coast. Philip then heads north up the coastline
going through towns.
Again Philip was out of his normal comfort zone. I think we can agree we would have been as well!
We can all learn from this. Getting moved out of our comfort
zone by God is a privilege and to be enjoyed not feared.
That’s the key though for today. Have a great blessed day!
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