Posts from the ‘Personal Stories’ Category

Under an Evil Spell

I was in dialogue with a person about a present-day issue. I referred to one of the places in the Bible where this issue is addressed. The response was, “But what limitation do you put on it?”

In my mind I answered, “None!”

This person is one of the too many who have abandoned Scripture and live loyally to the interpretation their religious group places on the Bible. They were inviting me to accept their dogma, which totally negates what God says in The Holy Word. I could not join their heresy.

Several times recently Galatians 3:1-5** has been thrown into my view. It breaks my heart to think that there are so many people who have been “bewitched” into thinking their ideology, their efforts, their self-appointed heroism and their actions which are affirmed only by like-minded individuals (even though rejected by spiritual Christians) constitute righteousness. Alas, it is merely self-righteousness, the spiritual condition of the 1st century Pharisees who opposed Jesus.

Since the modern-day Galatians who are “under an evil spell” (and those at early Ephesus according to Revelation, also) have lost their first love they are called to “repent” (Revelation 2:1-7). If they do not repent Jesus will “come to [them] quickly and remove [their] lampstand from its place”. My call on them to repent has been met with a closed mind, so far, but I keep praying. They do not realize that their “everlasting life” (John 3:16) is at stake!

** “You stupid people of Galatia! Who put you under an evil spell? Wasn’t Christ Jesus’ crucifixion clearly described to you? I want to learn only one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by your own efforts to follow the laws in the Scriptures or by believing what you heard? Are you that stupid? Did you begin in a spiritual way only to end up doing things in a human way? Did you suffer so much for nothing? [I doubt] that it was for nothing! Does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you through your own efforts or through believing what you heard?

Ironic Success

As I was in prayer today thanking God for the day, I also had to confess my sins, expressing with gratitude that God keeps teaching and training me. I also said that I chose to be a good student.

At that moment God flashed into my mind’s eye the great irony of that. I am beyond retirement age, with 3 university degrees and 2 professional certificates and I am still a pupil in the Saviour’s school learning the most difficult career with the most-required continuing education of any vocation in the world, namely, being a servant of the Most High God Almighty.

I have taught courses in 3 different seminaries and 2 Lay Schools and yet I am only barely qualified, with many provisos, to be a servant!

May I ever revel in being the least to point people to Creator God Who is the Most.

Not much wonder the Bible emphasizes humility and holiness over works and achievements.

“Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One)” (Philippians 3:8 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition©).

This Week

It has been a week unlike any other.

Saturday my only brother died suddenly of a massive stroke.

On Monday into Tuesday morning we traveled the 10-hour round trip to the funeral home.

Only hours after we got home I was called to the hospital where our very good friend had spent hours very sick and they were sending her home. They were overwhelmed there in the Emergency Room with so many patients that she was not fully treated.

I stayed with her for 8 hours before having to call the ambulance again to return her to the hospital for overnight.

Wednesday I again drove her home, and even though it seemed they had treated her as needed this time I stayed for a few hours to be sure.

Thursday I made a list for 5 people and went shopping. (We do that, so that when we go to a store we can reduce the need for others to go to the same store, during these pandemic restrictions.) That meant delivering to 3 others right away both in town and out.

Friday, by the grace of God, I recorded a video of the chapel service which, since the pandemic, I have done weekly for the retirement residence where my Mother-in-law lives.

This is the stolen tree

Friday afternoon someone came up on the front porch and stole the light tree which my brother had given to my Mother this past Christmas. The police would not take a report because such minor incidents are to be reported using their online system. I did get it completed.

Then I posted the theft on social media hoping someone might know something. It was shared well over 150 times. Someone, a complete stranger, offered to replace it! (Alas, it cannot be replaced because it was a seasonal item and is no longer in stock.)

So here I sit at 11:30am on Saturday, exhausted, processing my grief, shocked by the emotional impact of the theft, drained from making the chapel video, drinking my third big mug of coffee.

In my spirit I am finding a peace that passes human understanding, but my body feels like it has been run over, stepped on and robbed blind.

I know we are not the only family stressed out like this. I am not asking for pity. I am saying if you can identify be assured we are praying for everyone who feels like they could be the one who wrote this.

But for you I repeat what I wrote to our dear friend in Africa, “God is our Rock and Salvation”.

Godly Protest

How do I know when to be a protester? I have protested against the government, very publicly, and this is the basis I follow for knowing when to protest and when to adapt. This is not theory, dogma or philosophical thinking. This is what I have lived, and God grant I will never lower this standard.

  1. If I gain any personal benefit from the successful outcome of the protest, it is wrong to proceed. If I gain then my actions may be (or become) selfish, and even if only the appearance is that I stand to gain, then my protest is not driven by God.
  2. If people affirm my object, and I am energized by that, I cannot proceed. Right is right, and if I need human compliments to be strong in the cause I have no cause that comes from God.
  3. If I gain fame or notoriety from my actions I must stop. The cause is not for me, and if I become the focal point of the protest I have lost the purpose. For example, during a protest I help organize the media wanted to interview me. I had to decline assertively as they did not want to take “No” as an answer. Another person, who had no role in the protest at all, came to the scene and basked in the media coverage, gaining brownie points for advancement. That was as it should be.
  4. If people oppose what I am doing this is to be expected. If I stand for a godly cause and purpose then evil people and religious zealots will become vocal and actual enemies. If religion supports my cause I stop. God does not work through religious institutions, who have power, but through The Spirit whose purpose is to bring glory to God alone, not through financial, political or cultural clout.
  5. If at any point I trade humility for pride in what I am doing, I am compelled to cease. Human pride, close-minded confidence and disregard for spiritual wisdom from Scripture mean I am off the rails.

I have never published this testimony before, but in the present age I felt led this afternoon to be vulnerable and make this known.

May God “receive glory and honour and power” (Revelation 4:11).

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Our second daughter, as a newborn, would let no one carry her or comfort her except my wife. This went on for a little while and then I refused to let it go on any longer because my wife was wearing out. Besides, I was her Father.

So I picked her up. She screamed. After awhile it turned to crying. A little later it transformed into a whimper. Finally she went to sleep. After that I could care for her.

My wife and I with our 3 oldest Grandchildren, 2005

During this ordeal of behaviour modification my wife had to leave the house. A nursing Mother not only has an emotional reaction to her crying baby, but also a physical one.

I was just sitting here remembering that incident because a life event triggered a different memory, and this flashed into my mind afterwards.

It is for me a picture of how humans treat God. We complain when God reaches out to care for us, because we want it the way we want it and there is no compromise. So God performs a transformation to open our hearts to the mothering of our Creator, and it is sometimes an ordeal. (Imagine, we fight being cared for by the Creator of the universe Whose love transcends all limits!)

What my wife endured reminds me of how we look on at God working and we judge it and condemn it and blaspheme our dear Saviour because we do not understand what is going on, yet our in our humanity we assume we are all-knowing and can stand in judgment against the eternal, just and infinitely fair Judge.

Let God Do the Talking

What you get out of it is not what you put into it!

That is a deception from the evil one. Read more…

Hand To Mouth

I am not a world traveller, but thanks to the kindness of others, mostly our daughters, I have been on a few adventures. Read more…

He Was Heard

“During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears, and he was heard because of his devotion to God” (Hebrews 5:7 God’s Word©). Read more…

Thursday Without the Maundy

With the CORVID-19 pandemic restrictions and isolation there was no Maundy Thursday worship service to attend. Read more…

Pandemic Love

Every encounter these days includes COVID-19. Read more…