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Know God and Make Him Known

Now is the Time

“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 7:21-23

I believe we are in a very critical time. Our world is moving at a more rapid speed then I have ever witnessed before to the coming of our Lord and Savior. I believe that the stage is being set, and the dress rehearsal has even begun. When we compare some of the events of today with the Word of God, we see that “the kingdom of God is at hand”, and as the scripture says, we need to “repent and believe in the gospel.”

What does that mean, to repent and believe in the gospel?

With that statement comes a sense of urgency, a call to action. Don’t wait anymore for the coming of the Messiah, for He is here among us. Repent, change your mind about sin. No more being lukewarm…you have to be all in. Believe in the gospel, not in part of it…the whole of it. Not just the words that we love to hear, but the words that we MUST hear. The words repent and believe go hand in hand. You can not fully believe the message of salvation and not turn away from your sin. Not that we will be perfect, only Jesus was perfect, but turning our sinful desires into a desire to live fully and completely for God is what is asked of us.

To be completely honest with you, Matthew 7:21-23 has always concerned me. How do I know that I won’t be one of the people that God tells “I never knew you”? How do I know that I am going to be welcomed into God’s presence with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Oh how I long to hear those words. I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt. How do I do that?

The meaning of faithful is to be loyal, constant, and steadfast. To be true to the facts.

If I am a faithful friend to someone, that means that I am all in. I will be true to that person in the good times, in the bad times, and in all the times in between. So the same needs to be true of my relationship with the Lord. I need to be on fire…I need to share His gospel with those around me…I need to follow His word, all of it, with such passion that it will overflow to those around me; that I will not be able to hide His spirit within me. I don’t want any part of lukewarm in my life, areas of gray need to be gone. I need to be all in or all out for Him, and I choose to be all in. I choose Him completely over the gray areas.  I choose Him to draw the line in the sand for me…to call me to a life of complete obedience to Him. To be set apart from the world. I want the world to look at me and not see me at all, but see Him. I want to be sold out for Jesus. And when my time in this world is over, I want to be greeted by the One who I love and be told “well done, my good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Master.”

Oh that our eyes would be open to the things happening around us. That we would realize the urgency that is upon us, and that we would act with obedience to what God is calling us to. 

 

God give me all that I need to be all that You made me to be. 

Help me to get rid of the gray areas in my life. 

I want my life to be “Christ in me”. 

May I be found faithful.

 

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 Timothy 4:7-8

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

“With this ring…with my body…”

Romans 12:1. “With this ring…with my body…”

A few days hence, with members of their families, I will witness the wedding of my grandson and his delightful fiancée. In this joyful celebration, they will engage in meaningful and necessary Christian traditions that encourage and equip for a lifelong union. Following the affirming of vows of love and fidelity to each other, rings will be given as tokens thereof.

Using The Fourme of Solemnizacyon of Matrimonye” in the Book of Common Prayer, 1552, the groom says, as he places the ring on his bride’s finger, “With this ring I thee wedde: with my body I thee worship: and with al my worldly goodes I thee endow. In the name of the father, and of the sonne, and of the holy gost. Amen.”

The spelling suggests this is olde English, and the wording emphasizes the point.
For many years only the bride received a ring, and only the groom said, “With my body I worship thee.” I doubt that any of us spoke those words when we were married. I know I didn’t. I wish I had. Those six words are of greater value than six nuggets of gold.

What do they signify?

First, that Christian marriage is a daily, earthly expression of a holy relationship with God. The husband’s attitude and actions toward his wife will reflect his attitude and actions toward God. To worship is to recognize and honour the worth of the one/One worshipped.

Second, the attitude of worshipping one’s wife, cannot be expressed toward any other person. It is exclusive, and provides the sanctuary in which the marriage is strengthened and protected. You won’t covet your neighbour’s wife, if you worship your own. (Exodus 20:17)

Third, that worship is expressed physically through the body, and that body is now a shared possession. At the first marriage (Genesis 2:24), the man was united with the woman, “and they became one flesh.” By giving his body in worshipping his wife, the husband is offering himself to her to keep her holy, healthy and happy.

In like fashion, we each give ourselves to God. “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

It’s Who HE Is

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:23

One of my favorite characteristics about God is His faithfulness; His mercies that are new each and every morning for every one of us. When He makes a promise, He keeps it….everytime!
I think about some of the stories in the bible that speak of God’s faithfulness.
Moses floating down the Nile river, David in the lions’ den, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace ~ all stories of God’s faithfulness.

I have experienced His faithfulness in my own life, time and time again.
When I watched my Mom suffer in her disease, as I strayed from the ways of the Lord, as I watched several friends pass away…He was faithful. Always faithful.
He promises His faithfulness to us. Psalm 84:8 tells us “Who is like you Lord God Almighty? You are mighty and your faithfulness surrounds you” His faithfulness surrounds Him. It’s all around Him. It is part of who He is. It is Him.

When we walk through trials and tribulations in our life, God tells us to fear not because He is faithful and has promised to walk with us.
I remember a song by the Imperials from years ago.

He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.
He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown.
He didn’t build His home in us to move away.
He didn’t lift us up to let us down.

There are some promises in a letter
written a long, long time ago.
They’re not getting older, they’re getting better
because He still wants us to know.

Never use the word defeat
Claim His promises, every one of them
Every spoken word He’ll keep
Because we’re everything to Him

There is so much truth in these words.
Just as He walked with Moses when he approached the edge of the Red Sea, He also walks with us. He doesn’t always take us out of our circumstance, but he ALWAYS puts Himself in it and will see us through.

Whatever you are facing today, whatever circumstance it may be, will you trust God’s faithfulness?
Will you stand firm on His promises and claim them as your own?
Will you give up the control to Him who is able to keep you from falling? (Jude 24)
Will you cling to the promise that “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”? Psalm 91:4
Will you rest in His promise?
I pray that you will find comfort today knowing that He is faithful.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

Stand Firm. Let Nothing Move You.

I Corinthians 15:58

Concerning the future, there is great uncertainty amongst leaders and common folk alike. Whether it is the immediate future and the aftermath of Covid-19, or the eternal future and life’s final outcome, people anguish for answers.

Amongst those who study the Scriptures, there are differences of interpretation of prophetic statements referring to the end times. The Apostle John makes clear that “now we (the Beloved) are the children of God,” then continues, “but it has not yet been made clear what we shall be.” (I John 3:2). Concerning many things we must bow in humility and worship in silence before the Almighty God, acknowledging
“God holds the key to all unknown,
And I am glad,
If other hands should hold the key
or if he trusted it to me,
I might be sad, I might be sad.” (Joseph Parker)

But, there are certain facts that we do know, and believe tenaciously and proclaim joyfully. One, our Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth in glory. Two, at his coming we will all be raised from the dead and judged. Three, Christ’s kingdom “will never end.”

First, God’s Word makes it clear that natural disaster, wars, and fear and falling away from the faith by many in the churches, will increase sharply at the time of Christ’s return. A brief period of demonic darkness, moral rebellion and Satanic rule will be abruptly ended by Christ’s return in overwhelming glory. Be ready.

Second, resurrection of the dead will mean the reunion of the human spirit and body to stand before God in final judgment. For the faithful in Christ there is eternal life in heaven. To the person who willfully rejects Jesus as Saviour and Lord, eternity is conscious loss of light and love and liberty. Be repentant.

Third, an unending kingdom. “… the government will be upon his shoulders … Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6,7)
To reign with Christ in the governing of the new heavens and new earth will be the saints’ unending delight. Be resolute.

Christian, look up! Your redemption draweth nigh!

Submitted by Gord Gooderham

THIS Day

This is the day that the Lord has made; we WILL rejoice and be glad in it.

Today is a beautiful, bright, sunny day.
It’s a great day to be able to get out of bed and look forward to what God has in store.

The meaning of rejoice is “to feel or show great joy or delight.”
Some words that come to my mind when I think of the word rejoice: gladness, happiness, joy. These are just a few.
And then my mind goes back to the verse.
THIS is the day…
That means today, when the sun is shining and we feel great!
That means yesterday, when it was dreary, windy and cold and we maybe felt like staying in bed.
That means tomorrow, when we don’t know what will come.

God doesn’t say we are to rejoice and be glad only when we feel great, or when the sun is shining, or when we feel like it. We are to rejoice always, everyday, in every circumstance.

Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. I will say it again: Rejoice! Proverbs 4:4

Scripture speaks of rejoicing, not as a suggestion, but as a commandment.
Again in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to “Rejoice always”.
It’s not a recommendation.
It’s a command, and God would not give us a command that we are not able to keep.
It has got to be possible if God is telling us to do it.
How can we do it?
How can we rejoice and feel joy when THIS day, THIS circumstance, THIS situation has no form of happiness in it. In order for us to rejoice and be glad, our joy can’t be circumstantial. It has to be based on something more.
Perhaps in suffering?
Romans 5:3 tells us that we are to “glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
So, to “glory in our suffering”?

“…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” 1 Peter 4:13

Our suffering can be denying sin in our life.
Jesus suffered by not allowing sin into His life.
By saying no to lying, gossip, retaliation, harbouring ill-feelings, we are partaking in His suffering.
By denying our sinful nature, we are taking up the battle to not give into our humanness, but instead take on the likeness of Jesus.
Victory will be the result!
It’s not based on our circumstances, but instead on God’s will and us being transformed to be more like Him.
So in knowing this, in knowing that God commands us to “rejoice always”, we can say with confidence that THIS, today, yesterday and tomorrow, is the day that the Lord has made. We WILL, regardless of our situation or circumstance, rejoice and be glad in it.

…be glad and rejoice forever…
Isaiah 65:18

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

Weren’t There Three Men?

Daniel 3:16-27.

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t believe his eyes. In a fiery rage he ordered a fiery furnace to be overheated by seven times. No one dared to defy his royal order or honour and escape punishment. But three youthful Jews stood taller than the 90 foot idol of gold they refused to worship in honour and obedience to their God. Willing to die, yet believing God could save them, they were tied up and tossed into the flames.

King Nebu watched with glee, until … he leaped to his feet, shouting, “Weren’t there three men we tied up and threw into the fire?“ But “I see four men walking…unbound and unharmed…and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

In fact, it was the Son of God, our Lord Jesus, our Saviour, who walks with us in the haunting darkness of the valley or the fierce winds of the mountain peak. Of Him it is written, “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Facing an angry attacker, an older brother, a big brother at our side can get us out of a lot of trouble. Jesus is that friend, that brother.

During a 1914-16 Antarctic expedition, in a time of extreme danger and physical exhaustion, Ernest Shackleton and his party of explorers “felt again and again that there was one more member than could actually be counted”.

Bishop Ware cites this story as the basis of T. S. Eliot’s lines in his epic poem The Waste Land:
“Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you…”

Let your head be lifted, your heart be bold, your hands and feet be free – you are not alone – be not afraid.

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

For Today…And Tomorrow

My sister has been a hair stylist for 36 years and for the past 20 she has had her own shop. Just last year, the opportunity came up for her to sell her shop to her daughter in law. This was an exciting time for both of them.
Erin is a dental hygienist and she has a thriving business. My sister now rents space off of her.
They are both very happy with the way things have been going.

Fast-forward to today, and to what has been happening in our world with the shutting down of all non-essential businesses. I talked to Rhonda today and she was telling me that this would have done her in. She would have had to close her business permanently, but Erin on the other hand, has another form of income and is doing ok. When she said that to me it hit me…
God takes care of our needs before we even know the need exists.

And then I thought of our church and the fact that we just last year paid off our mortgage and now we don’t have to a mortgage payment to worry about.
God takes care of our needs before we even know the need exists.

I wonder how many times that actually happens. How many times does God provide for us to protect us. I imagine it has happened for all of us quite a few times during our lives. We may not always see it, or recognize it but that’s our God. He is always looking out for us in the present and in the future. He opens and closes doors for a purpose. Things happen in His timing for a reason. I wish that we could just rest in the knowledge that He wants to take care of us. He knows what we need better than we do, because He sees the bigger picture.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” Matthew 6:26-30

That is the kind of faith that I want to have. I don’t want to spend my days worrying about things that are out of my control. If I really believe that God is who He says He is, then I will trust Him with my present situation and with my future.

Will we believe that? Will we choose to leave our worries and rest knowing that He will care for us not just today but in all of our days to come?

God takes care of our needs before we even know the need exists

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

Do You Really Know Him?

Love one another. It sounds easy. Love; to hold dear, to cherish, to admire.
It is easy when it’s someone we get along with.
Someone that believes in the same thing as we do.
Someone who is easy to love.
What about the least of these, or the ones who are different from us. What about the person who has hurt us, or offended us. What about the person who is hard to be around or has a different world view.

Think about the people that God loved before He sent His Son to the cross. He loved His enemies. He loved the lepers and the prostitutes and the very least of these. He loved me. He loved you. He loved us enough that He sent His son to die for us. Does He agree with everything we do? No, he certainly doesn’t. He still loves us. There are no conditions to His love.

I try to always be full of love.
I have to admit though, so many times I fall short. I don’t do what Jesus has asked me to do and love unconditionally. Many times I pick people apart. I see all their flaws and figure it’s just too hard to love them.
I’d be in big trouble if God did that to me.

I don’t tend to look at people with the same lense that Jesus does. It’s far easier to see the faults than to see the positive things especially in people that I find harder to love. Jesus tells us “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” In that verse, I don’t see any exceptions.

I once read a quote by Dave Willis. He says:
“Don’t treat people the way they treat you.
Treat people the way God treats you.”

If you continue reading the following verse there is a big eye opener there. “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
Read those words again.
God is telling us that if we do not love one another, then we actually don’t know Him.
Those are strong words.
It should cause us to fall on our knees in repentance.
Love isn’t always easy, but it’s always right.
If we could just look at people the way God looks at us.
If we could just realize how He loves us, and love others that same way… unconditionally.
My prayer is that I can be more like Him…that I will love like Him.
That I won’t pick people apart but love them because He loves me!

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.”

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

No Hook In Me

When the Bible tells us that Christ came to “redeem mankind” it opens to mankind a whole lot more than forgiveness, as incredible as forgiveness is.

The core of Christ’s mission is foretold in Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” In these verses Isaiah was saying, “The Messiah will come to bind up and heal, to release and set free.” To bind up and heal, what? To release and free, what? Your heart.

Christ came to restore and release you, your true soul, the true you. This is the central passage in the entire Bible about Jesus, the one He chose to quote about Himself when He stepped into the spotlight in Luke 4 and announced His arrival. So we can take Him at His word and ask Him to heal all the broken places within us and give to us a whole and healed heart. We can ask Him to release us from all bondage and captivity, as He promised to do … But not one of us can do this at a distance; I cannot ask Christ to come into my wound while I remain far from it.

We have to find the courage to embrace our own brokenness. I have found that healing is often so difficult because we don’t want to know the pain. We hide from it, bury it, use drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, approval, internet, power, spending to numb it, anything to avoid feeling it. This is true of all pain, but especially true of the pain that comes from a broken heart. The anguish that results from rejection, separation, neglect, abuse, emotional manipulation paralyzes us until we can face it and stop running from it. Coming to terms with the pain of the past or the present is the way to healing. Bringing it into the light of the One who gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, is the way to freedom and life.

The Enemy will war against this journey to wholeness, because he knows that once healed, he won’t be able to hook you in the same way ever again.

In John 14:30 Jesus said of Satan, “The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me.” The Enemy found nothing in Jesus to hook Him with – no shame or blame or bitterness or resentment or guilt or fear or rejection. That is where the healing journey will take us – freed so we can bring freedom to others.

Submitted by: Sandra Gooderham