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Know God and Make Him Known

No Future Without Forgiveness

II Corinthians 5:17-21.

Desmond Tutu, former Episcopalian Archbishop of Capetown, South Africa, describes his experience as Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in his book No Future Without Forgiveness. The work of the Commission was to bring healing in a nation torn asunder by injustice, violence, hate and fear. Could the evils of the oppressors be forgiven in the face of the just desires of the oppressed.

The Chairman’s concluding summary: “Our experiment is going to succeed because God wants it to succeed, not for our glory and aggrandizement but for the sake of God’s world. God wants to show that there is life after conflict and repression – that because of forgiveness there is a future.” (NFWF-p.282)

Whether at the national and international level, the family and personal level, the divine and human level, conflict is a reality and forgiveness must be realized.

The underlying reason for the Incarnation and the Atonement, the birth, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, was to provide the grounds for forgiveness.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (II Cor. 5:19, NIV)

That forgiveness is essential to everyday life is affirmed in the Lord’s Prayer. As we must pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, so we must continue, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” God gives, then we forgive, being forgiven. So vital is forgiveness, that God gives us three occasions for grace (more if you snack) to ask His forgiveness for our personal offences, and then to pray for those who have wronged us. God doesn’t want us to go to bed with guilt on our conscience. Better still, we can make wrongs right at breakfast, and enjoy the day with God, family members, neighbours, and our own self.

There is no future, in time or eternity, without forgiveness.

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

Praise Jesus

Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Romans 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene.
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.
How marvelous, How wonderful
And my song will ever be
How marvelous, How wonderful
Is my Saviour’s love for me.

Praise Jesus

Submitted by Marlene Swan

And Above All…Pray

Today my anxiety was high.
I read a post on Facebook that was hurtful and very offensive.
It made me sad.
Sad because I don’t know why people have to be so mean.
We teach our kids to be nice.
We want people to be nice to us, but then we treat each other with so much disregard.
It makes me so sad.

Our world needs Jesus.
WE need to be Jesus to our world.
He is the only true source of our Hope.

I was going to send a private message to this person that offended me, but then I thought no I will pray.

Pray for people.
Pray for those in authority.
Pray for our chief medical officer.
Pray for our premier.
Pray for our prime minister.
Pray for our world.
Pray for those that have different views than me.
Pray for my neighbours and my friends and those around me.
Pray for grace.
Pray for the hurting, those who have lost jobs.
Pray that we will have compassion one for another.
Pray for those that are hurting.
Pray.
Yes, I need to pray.

Pray that our eyes will all be opened to see and know the truth.
And what is that truth.
Jesus.
He is the one and only true Hope that we have.

Our world is hurting.
He is our healer. Our Jehovah Rapha.
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” NIV
1 Chronicles 7:14

Our world is fearful and anxious.
He is our calm and peace ~ Our Jehovah-Shalom.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
Exodus 14:14 NLT

Our world is seeking someone to give us the answers.
He is sovereign ~ Our Jehovah-Adonai.
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
Isaiah 45:7

He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.
And in the end, He wins.
We win.
I will pray, because I want many more people to be on the winning side in the end.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:2, 5-6

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

Knowing God

Today I was reading a book by A.W. Tozer on knowing God and thought I would share some of his insights.

When the prophet Ezekiel saw heaven opened and beheld visions of God, he found himself looking at that which he had no language to describe. What he was seeing was wholly different from anything he had ever known before. To describe it he used the language of resemblance: “As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire.” Ezekiel 1:13.

The nearer Ezekiel approached the burning throne of God the less sure his words became: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it … this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” (Ezekiel 1:26-27).

Strange as this language is, the whole scene was very real but entirely unlike anything known to us on earth. To convey an idea of what he was seeing the prophet used such words as “likeness”, “appearance”, “as it were”, and “the likeness as the appearance”. Even the throne is described as “the appearance of a throne” and He that sits upon it, though He seems to be a man is so unlike one that He can only be described as “the likeness of the appearance of a man”.

The yearning to know what cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calls unto deep. How can this be realized?

The answer of the Bible is simply “through Jesus Christ our Lord”. In Christ and by Christ, God gives complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love. Faith is an organ of knowledge and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in the cross He reconciled us to Himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.

Submitted by: Sandra Gooderham

High Hopes

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure…” – Hebrews 6:19

Hopelessness was a recurring theme throughout my adult life. The scourge and shame of my sex addiction, alcoholism, and abuse magnified it. And because I never felt worthy of being fully loved and accepted by others, suicide attempts became my solution to ever growing problems. Being successful in killing myself was my high hope.

So, why is it that the member of a royal family would even notice me and give hope through saving me? It’s not like I had any ties to someone noble. But I found out it wasn’t just any nobleman. It happened to be the noblest of kings from not only a royal family, but a divine one – King Jesus. Who came as part of an oath and promise from God in order to redeem the hopeless.

Who had entered an inner sanctuary, behind a curtain – something only a high priest could have ever done. Except Jesus was doing it all in an effort to bring me and you, who were hopeless, a strong and deeply planted hope – firm and secure. A door to open and walk through, leaving the hopelessness behind.

We each have a preciousness that has drawn the attention of a King. The King of Kings, Jesus Christ. It’s royalty that came in the form of love made whole so that we could accept what our high priest Jesus died to give us. Let’s make a point of embracing and sharing that hope with the many who are, sadly, dying to find it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the hope you brought me, through Jesus, during a time in my life when I had none. Being loved and accepted by him has changed my world and life. I pray that others who are hurting would see the hope I have because of you and the rest of my royal family. I love you and it’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Submitted by: Melissa Talbot

Take It and Read it

Did you read the one-liner on the Breton Booster Smiles page. “After years of wanting to thoroughly clean my house but lacking the time, this week I discovered that wasn’t the reason.” We laugh, because it reveals the truth lying under the dust.

Many times in the past, I have heard this excuse used for the lack of reading. Before the ground dries and the garden beckons, employ your free time reading.
The book is better than the movie. Reading can change your life. It did for a young man named Augustine.

Throughout his school years he read many books, preparing to become a college professor of rhetoric – the art of public speaking to inform, persuade or motivate.
Maybe an early TED Talk – 1600 years ago!

Augustine was strongly influenced by his Christian mother, Monica. But his career successes led him into the major cities, and his manly lusts led him into unsavoury relationships. With university friends, he would indulge in activities that momentarily satisfied his passions, but left him guilty and unfulfilled. Year after year he struggled against the desires of his flesh, but lacked the ability to escape their powerful grasp. This was the man who begged God, “Make me chaste and continent, but not yet.”

As he agonized in helpless, hopeless despair, sitting alone in a garden, he heard a child’s voice repeating, “Take it and read it.” Intrigued, and convinced it was a divine command, he returned home, opened his Bible and his eyes fell on Romans 13:13,14. (Take it, your Bible, and read it). He responded in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. His life was transformed; from motivational speaker to Bible teacher, St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. Your life too can be transformed. “Take it and read it.”

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

Spirit Led

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and
was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…” – Luke 4:1

We were stranded in the middle of nowhere. Our team van stuck in the mud of an unkempt road. Several people were panicking. It was getting dark and we were running out of options. A couple people left to find help while I remained in the van with a handful of others. As the sun went down and tensions rose, I felt prompted to pray.

Specifically, to pray for a tractor. You’ve got to be kidding me. Yet, my conviction to obey outweighed the ridiculous nature of the command, so I prayed. A short time later some blinding lights appeared out of nowhere. It was a tractor coming to pull our van out. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I thanked God.

While Jesus may not have chuckled as part of today’s verse, he knew who was leading him. He had a trustworthy source, the Holy Spirit, giving specific instructions. If you read the next verse, you may be startled to find that Jesus would not only go without food for forty days while in the wilderness, but he would also be tempted by the devil.

I might have hesitated to carry out those directions. However, knowing it was coming from a divine source made all the difference in my situation and Jesus’. As followers of Christ, we need not fear a situation that’s Spirit led. We have solid guidance in the Holy Spirit, giving us confidence in the knowledge that a blessed life comes from a Spirit led life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. His guidance gives me the guts to live a Spirit led life. There’s really nothing better than that. Father, please help me to continue in that practice each time I am prompted by him, no matter how crazy it may seem. I know obeying his movement within me, brings blessings. It is with gratitude I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Submitted by: Melissa Talbot

What’s going on?

Luke 15:25-32.

The older son was working in the field; it was his daily practice. He was determined to please his father, as faithful as a servant, as obedient as a slave. His labours were interrupted by sounds from his house, sounds never heard on a work day. Laughing and cheering, singing and shouting, music and dancing.

Calling a houseboy, he asked “What’s going on?” The answer filled him with anger, and he turned away. “Your brother has come home, your father has announced a party!” He wanted nothing to do with his wasteful, shameful brother. “How could he show his face back home? Why would his father do this?”

Refusing to join the celebration, “his father went out and pleaded with him.” Just as the father had warmly hugged his fallen, broken younger son, he now lovingly pled with his upright, wilful older son. His outward behaviour was good and commendable, but his heart was bitter and resentful. “I’ve stayed home and worked every day, he ran away and wasted everything. I’ve never celebrated with a young goat, he celebrates with a fattened calf. I’ve kept company with good friends, he has run around with lewd prostitutes. It’s not fair. ‘This son of yours’ doesn’t deserve it.”

“My son”, pled the father, “you have what you deserve, my heart and my home. But ‘this brother of yours’ was dead and gone. We had to celebrate because he is alive and back.” My son, open your home to your brother, and you will open your heart to your father.

Our Heavenly Father waits and pleads for each one who stands aloof of the wideness of His mercy and the abundance of His grace.

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham