Saturday, 20 July 2019

0Saturday Song: Gordon Lightfoot, "Black Day In July"

The world sure seemed to me to be in turmoil back in the late sixties. Race riots and anti-Vietnam-war protests gave me the impression that the world was tearing itself apart. Added to the feeling of impending doom were underground nuclear bomb tests and the arms race between America and the Soviet Union.

Gordon Lightfoot immortalized the atmosphere of Detroit's riots with his ballad which became a hit in July of 1968.

Listen to it here:

We who place our trust entirely in Jesus have a different view of history. After our Lord laid out the events of his journey to the cross, he comforted his disciples. John 16:33 (BBE) is also our assurance of who's really in control of this planet. "I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world."

Christ also reminded his disciples of his mastery of the future in Matthew 24:30 and 31 (BBE). "And then the sign of the Son of man will be seen in heaven: and then all the nations of the earth will have sorrow, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

But some folks might say that it's all fine and dandy for the future but what about today's troubles? Our Master assured his disciples, and us by extension, not to worry about whatever wicked people will do to us. Matthew 10:28 and 29 (BBE) reads, "And have no fear of those who put to death the body, but are not able to put to death the soul. But have fear of him who has power to give soul and body to destruction in hell. Are not sparrows two a farthing? and not one of them comes to an end without your Father:"

How wonderful then that whatsoever worries us is also known to our heavenly Father. We can take our concerns to him in prayer and leave those matters in his capable hands.

On Monday, I'll post about the error of pacifistic rejection to fight in wars.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

God's X-ray Vision

I'm sure we all have read books or seen movies about crime fighters with super powers like the ability to see through walls. This isn't an original concept since God sees all. Trying to fool God is like hiding behind a barbed wire fence.

Our creator knows our thoughts and desires. As he said in 1 Samuel 16:7 (BBE), "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not take note of his face or how tall he is, because I will not have him: for the Lord's view is not man's; man takes note of the outer form, but the Lord sees the heart.'"

And King David, whom Samuel was directed to choose as the next Israelite king, also understood this. As 1 Chronicles 29:17 (BBE) reads, "And I am conscious, my God, that you are the searcher of hearts, taking pleasure in righteousness. As for me, with an upright heart I have freely given all these things; and I have seen with joy your people who are here to make their offerings freely to you."

People foolishly think that the cover of night will hide their wicked deeds. But Job 34:21 and 22 (BBE) proves them wrong. "For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps."There is no dark place, and no thick cloud, in which the workers of evil may take cover."

God's Word is also his X-ray machine. Hebrews 4:12 (BBE) penetrates right to the core of our beings. "For the word of God is living and full of power, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through and making a division even of the soul and the spirit, the bones and the muscles, and quick to see the thoughts and purposes of the heart."

And as we read in Isaiah 29:15 (BBE), God can't be fooled. "Cursed are those who go deep to keep their designs secret from the Lord, and whose works are in the dark, and who say, 'Who sees us?' and who has knowledge of our acts?'"

How wonderful it is for those who love God that he knows what we think and feel. But how alarming it is for those who harbour wickedness in their hearts. I'll point out this X-ray vision ability God has in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People think they're good enough to be in the Almighty's presence in the filthy rags of their unrighteousness but they're not.

On Saturday, I'll post about one of America's most troubling times. It sure did look like the nation was on the brink of destruction.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Were the Proverbs About Christ?

A preacher named Voddie Baucham spoke in one sermon about the book of Proverbs being all about Christ. I doubted that until I read Colossians 2:1 to 3 (BBE) which reads, "For it is my desire to give you news of the great fight I am making for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen my face in the flesh; So that their hearts may be comforted, and that being joined together in love, they may come to the full wealth of the certain knowledge of the secret of God, even Christ, In whom are all the secret stores of wisdom and knowledge."

Voddie pointed out that since all wisdom dwells in Christ, all the references to the wise son or man refer to Christ. Being perfectly righteous, Christ fulfills all the proverbial sayings about Wisdom.

But some smarty-pants person might ask about Lady Wisdom. How could she represent Christ? The truth is that she doesn't. This woman is a literary device which shows us how valuable wisdom is.

As for the fool, that's us. One example of this is Proverbs 11:29 (BBE) which says, "The troubler of his house will have the wind for his heritage, and the foolish will be servant to the wise-hearted."

In my How I Was Razed memoir, I wrote about how I foolishly turned my back on God due to the lies a cultic church taught. It took the loss of my house and a bad condo deal to make me realize my folly.

And which one of us can boast of never despising wisdom? Proverbs 1:7 (BBE) condemns all of us. "The fear of the Lord is the start of knowledge: but the foolish have no use for wisdom and teaching."

Certainly we were unwise rebels as children. Proverbs 22:15 (BBE) reveals this. "Foolish ways are deep-seated in the heart of a child, but the rod of punishment will send them far from him."

Only the Trinity possesses all wisdom. As we read in Jude 1:25 (BBE) about the complete wisdom of our Master. "To the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, let us give glory and honour and authority and power, before all time and now and for ever. So be it."

I also apologize to those who are awaiting my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? I'm not used to writing in a didactic style so compiling my book is becoming difficult. Even so, I hope to have time this summer to buckle down and edit it.

On Thursday, I'll post on the subject of God's X-ray vision.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Saturday Song: Badfinger, "It's Over"

I'm certain that any child would say that summer holidays are the best. For two whole months, there's no getting up early and going to school. Families usually plan their vacations for July or August since their children are out of school. And judging from all of the folks I know, the summer is when great family memories are made.

The British band, Badfinger, recorded a song about returning home. It resonates with me since I was sent to a residential school for blind and deaf children for six lonely years. Leaving that sterile institution for the freedom of summer vacation each June meant so much to me.

Hear Badfinger's song here:

A day will come when our enforced stay on this planet will be over. For many of us, our exit will be through the door of death. And unlike the folks who aren't believers in Christ, we don't fear it. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21 (BBE) that, "For to me life is Christ and death is profit."

Neither was Peter afraid of death. He wrote in 2 Peter 1:14 (BBE), regarding his decease, "For I am conscious that in a short time I will have to put off this tent of flesh, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me." He referred to what Christ told him after he rose from the dead.

But there are some of us who will be privileged to see Christ return in our own lifetime. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17  (BBE), "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord, will not go before those who are sleeping. Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be for ever with the Lord."

Either way, we are assured of paradise. As Jesus told his disciples in John 14:2 (BBE), "In my Father's house are rooms enough; if it was not so, would I have said that I am going to make ready a place for you?

How wonderful then that we are headed for such a blissful rest. Life can be hard but we will receive our reward when we go to our eternal home.

On Monday, I'll tackle the subject of a startling fact I learned from an American preacher currently living in Zambia.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Do the Gospel

No, this isn't some new dance craze. I'm referring to the proof of salvation. So many churchgoers have never surrendered their lives to Christ. How can we recognize them? Here's how.

James 1:22 (BBE) exhorts us not to be listeners to the gospel, "But be doers of the word, and not only hearers of it, blinding yourselves with false ideas."

And here's how we recognize somebody who's truly born again. James 2:14 to 17(BBE) directs, "What use is it, my brothers, for a man to say that he has faith, if he does nothing? will such a faith give him salvation? If a brother or a sister is without clothing and in need of the day's food, And one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warm and full of food;' but you do not give them the things of which their bodies have need, what profit is there in this? Even so faith without works is dead."

I need to point out here that works won't save a person. Only the grace of God through Christ does that. Christ likened actions to fruit. He said in Matthew 7:15 to 17 (BBE), "Be on the watch for false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside they are cruel wolves. By their fruits you will get knowledge of them. Do men get grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree gives good fruit; but the bad tree gives evil fruit."

We also see the effects of salvation in Luke 19:8 and 9 (BBE). "And Zacchaeus, waiting before him, said to the Lord, 'See, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone wrongly, I give him back four times as much.' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, for even he is a son of Abraham.'" Christ meant he became a child of faith.

But some people who claim to be Christians will actually end up in hell. Ponder what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 (BBE). "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will go into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the pleasure of my Father in heaven."

John 6:28 and 29  (BBE) answers the next logical question. "Then they said to him, 'How may we do the works of God?' Jesus, answering, said to them, 'This is to do the work of God: to have faith in him whom God has sent.'"

Some folks might say that this is too easy. Why should it be a hard thing to believe how easy it is? I'll be answering that question in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? On Saturday, I'll post about the joys of going home and the ultimate destination of Christ's followers.

Monday, 8 July 2019

How We Christians Stay Connected

Just as we take being constantly connected to the Internet for granted, we also take our connection to our Lord and Master as a given. Like 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (BBE) says, "Keep on with your prayers."

Praying without ceasing doesn't mean we must be on our knees all day long. It's the attitude of knowing Christ is always with us and all we need do is pray and trust in him. When Jesus said he would return to his disciples in a little while, he commanded them in John 16:23 (BBE), "And on that day you will put no questions to me. Truly I say to you, Whatever request you make to the Father, he will give it to you in my name."

Christ also promised his disciples, and us by extension, in Matthew 28:19 and 20 (BBE), "Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to keep all the rules which I have given you: and see, I am ever with you, even to the end of the world."

In the old days of the Internet, people had to use their phone lines and a modem to connect. It was slow and often unreliable. Downloading files was the same way.

So it was that the Spirit of the Lord would come on certain people and then leave. As the Bible says in 2 Chronicles 20:14 (BBE), "Then, before all the meeting, the spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and one of the family of Asaph;"

Sometimes the Spirit of the Lord stayed with people while departing from others. We read in 1 Samuel 16:13 and 14 (BBE), "Then Samuel took the bottle of oil, and put the oil on him there among his brothers: and from that day the spirit of the Lord came on David with power. So Samuel went back to Ramah. Now the spirit of the Lord had gone from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord was troubling him."

But praise God that we need not worry. The Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of the Lord, is our seal of salvation. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:13 (KJV) "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"

What a joy it is then that we are always in touch with our Master. He, and the two other members of the Trinity, are with us always. And nobody can rob us of them, as I found out personally.

I'll be writing more about the permanent connection we have with the Trinity in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Unlike unconverted sinners, we have the astonishing privilege of being joined to the creator of the universe.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about something that sounds like a new dance craze. It's in fact the sign of a person being truly born again.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Saturday Song: Blue Cheer, "Summertime Blues"

I was too young to remember the original version of this Eddie Cochran classic but I well remember Blue Cheer's version. That band took the song of teenage frustration about working all summer to a whole new level. I cranked up the volume on my transistor radio whenever I heard this song.

Watch the band perform this song here:

Work has a long history of not being enjoyable or easy. This started when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Genesis 3:17-19 (BBE) reads, "And to Adam he said, 'Because you gave ear to the voice of your wife and took of the fruit of the tree which I said you were not to take, the earth is cursed on your account; in pain you will get your food from it all your life. Thorns and waste plants will come up, and the plants of the field will be your food; With the hard work of your hands you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken: for dust you are and to the dust you will go back.'"

But as I found out when I had my first job as a dish washer at the CNIB cafeteria, getting a paycheck for the work I did felt exhilarating. The job wasn't fun but I did get paid.

Some workers weren't so fortunate. We read in Genesis 33:41(BBE) how Laban kept changing Jacob's employment agreement. God came to his aid, as Jacob said in Genesis 31:38 (BBE), "These twenty years I have been in your house; I was your servant for fourteen years because of your daughters, and for six years I kept your flock, and ten times was my payment changed."

In the end, Jacob came away with more goods and servants than if the Lord hadn't blessed him.

Being forced to slave for others is the worst form of work. As the children of Israel found when the Egyptians made them slaves, all they gained was their daily food and lodging. Then God sent Moses to liberate them but Pharaoh made their work more grueling. As he said in Exodus 5:9 (BBE), "Give the men harder work, and see that they do it; let them not give attention to false words."

Of course physical work isn't the only sort of labour people do. Some assume that they must do enough good deeds to enter heaven. But Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 (BBE), "Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard."

How wonderful then that we will have rest, even in this irksome world of wickedness. And our Lord hasn't forgotten us but continually advocates on our behalf in heaven.

On Monday, I'll be posting about the bad old days of dial-up Internet verses how we're now connected automatically. It relates to the way the Holy Spirit is always in us whereas people just had the spirit come upon them occasionally in the Old Testament times.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

The Christian View of Liberty

Americans make much of their liberty. On July fourth, patriotic folks shoot off fireworks and celebrate another year of freedom. And while they celebrate independence from a tyrannical foreign power, we believers celebrate our dependence upon the King of Kings.

But how can subservience to a king free us? Sin is what rules our world at present. Jesus himself answered that question when he confronted the Pharisees. They thought they were free and were Abraham's children when they actually were in satanic bondage. John 8:34(BBE) reads, "And this was the answer Jesus gave them: 'Truly I say to you, Everyone who does evil is the servant of sin.'"

Worldly folks figure we live drab and tedious lives. If only they could know how we rejoice in God's provision of salvation from the tyranny of sin. Romans 5:1 and 2 (BBE) say, ""For which reason, because we have righteousness through faith, let us be at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; Through whom, in the same way, we have been able by faith to come to this grace in which we now are; and let us have joy in hope of the glory of God."

Better still, we become adopted children in the royal family of Christ. As Paul explained in Ephesians 1:4 and 5 (BBE), "4   Even as he made selection of us in him from the first, so that we might be holy and free from all evil before him in love: As we were designed before by him for the position of sons to himself, through Jesus Christ, in the good pleasure of his purpose,"

Moreover, we give all that we are in exchange for all that Christ is. Hebrews 9:16 and 17 (BBE) explains, "Because where there is a testament, there has to be the death of the man who made it. For a testament has effect after death; for what power has it while the man who made it is living?"

Since Jesus died, we gain all that he has bequeathed to his adopted children. And since he lives, he enjoys it all with us. Revelation 19:6 and 7 (BBE) describes this joyous occasion when the Bride, meaning all of us believers, will be married to the Lamb of God, meaning Christ. "And there came to my ears the voice of a great army, like the sound of waters, and the sound of loud thunders, saying, 'Praise to the Lord: for the Lord our God, Ruler of all, is King. Let us be glad with delight, and let us give glory to him: because the time is come for the Lamb to be married, and his wife has made herself ready."

So we understand that what sinners consider bondage is actually liberty from the hellward spiral of the world. Knowing these glorious facts, how can any believer in Christ stay silent? This world will pass but Christ's rewards are eternal.

This and much more will be in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Worldly folks think they're free but they're in the worst bondage imaginable.

On Saturday, I'll post about the summertime blues teenagers get when they have to actually work for a living.

Monday, 1 July 2019

I Still Call It Dominion Day

In spite of the Canadian Government calling Canada's day of confederation Canada Day, I still like the old name much better. We Canadians used to celebrate Dominion Day before Pierre Trudeau's Liberals gave it the tacky name it now has.

The word "dominion" is used many times throughout the Bible. Genesis 1:26 (BBE) tells how God gave us the job of managing his creation. "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth.'"

The founders of Canada wanted to keep this thought in the minds of the citizenry by inscribing Psalms 72:8 on the base of the Parliament building. The Bible in Basic English renders the verse as, "Let his kingdom be from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth."

This also was a reminder to Canadians that Christ is the ultimate king and our laws are based on his teachings. Sadly, people ignore and reject him, making up their own laws.

We also read in Psalms 145:13 (BBE) that God's dominion is eternal. "Your kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and your rule is through all generations."

And what a joy it is that death has no power over our Master. Romans 6:8 and 9 (BBE) states of him, "But if we are dead with Christ, we have faith that we will be living with him; Having knowledge that because Christ has come back from the dead, he will never again go down to the dead; death has no more power over him."

Because he rose from the dead, we also rejoice in the promise of our own bodily resurrection. Revelation 20:6 (BBE) promises, "Happy and holy is he who has a part in this first coming: over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will be ruling with him a thousand years."

I personally suspect that people want to erase biblical knowledge from the citizenry so that they'll only trust in human dominion. We read countless times in the Bible how those attempts failed. This is one point I hope to make in my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?On Thursday, I'll post about American liberty and the freedom we believers have in Christ.

On Thursday, I'll post about American liberty and the freedom we believers have in Christ

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Saturday Song: Alice Cooper, "School's Out"

June sure does seem to drag by for students. The thought of eight weeks of freedom dominates their minds as they study for tests and sit for exams. On the last day of school, kids rejoice when that final buzzer or bell goes. Alice Cooper said in one interview that the anticipation of school ending for the summer is what inspired him to write the song.

Listen to "School's Out" here:

Whether you know it or not, we believers are in school. We're here to learn how to trust God. The primary school lessons came from the fall of Adam and the patriarchs. The secondary or middle school courses are the law given to Moses and Israel. The high school doctrine is the gospel preached by Christ and his apostles.

As Galatians 3:24 and 25 (KJV) aptly states, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."

Unfortunately, there are those rowdy disrupters who oppose good teaching. As Acts 19:9 (BBE) reports, "But because some of the people were hard-hearted and would not give hearing, saying evil words about the Way before the people, he went away from them, and kept the disciples separate, reasoning every day in the school of Tyrannus."

And just as there are certain teachers in schools who teach their own political opinions as course material, so there are false teachers teaching destructive doctrines. As we read in 2 Peter 2:1 (BBE) "But there were false prophets among the people, as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly put forward wrong teachings for your destruction, even turning away from the Lord who gave himself for them; whose destruction will come quickly, and they themselves will be the cause of it."

The best way to avoid these wicked people is to study God's textbook: the Bible. Once you're familiar with what he taught, wrong doctrines will be as obvious as a three-dollar bill.

On Monday, I'll post about Christ's dominion and how we became managers of planet Earth. Psalm 72:8 also was inscribed in Canada's parliament building's foundation.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Irony of Jericho

How curious that Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, where I was forced to go from 1964 to 1970, was located above Jericho Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the biblical Jericho, Jesus healed a blind man. Some three-thousand years later, sight-impaired children were sent to a school called Jericho.

We read in Mark 10:46 (BBE) of this man and how he was healed completely. "And they came to Jericho: and when he was going out of Jericho, with his disciples and a great number of people, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind man, was seated by the wayside, with his hand out for money."

The modern-day place where I was sent for six lonely years wasn't named after Jericho of old but for Jeremiah Rogers. He was a lumber man who had a camp in that area during the 1860s. Jerry's Cove, as the beach was called, soon had its name corrupted into Jericho and the name stuck.

I remember how we used to love the spiritual song about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho. How we wished we could have Joshua rescue us, burn down the school, and take us to our homes. Our music teacher doubtless wondered why we sung that song with such earnestness.

And Just as we cursed our Jericho, Joshua cursed that city in his time. Joshua 6:26 (BBE) relates, "Then Joshua gave the people orders with an oath, saying, 'Let that man be cursed before the Lord who puts his hand to the building up of this town: with the loss of his first son will he put the first stone of it in place, and with the loss of his youngest son he will put up its doors."

Jericho of old was rebuilt, just as Joshua said. We read in 1 Kings 16:34 (BBE) that, "In his days Hiel made Jericho; he put its base in position at the price of Abiram, his oldest son, and he put its doors in place at the price of his youngest son Segub; even as the Lord had said by Joshua, the son of Nun."

And though some blind folks decry the lack of braille lessons being taught to visually-impaired children in public schools, I'm glad that Jericho was closed in 1992. Three-hundred deaf students and alumni filed a class action suit against the British Columbia government because of sexual molestation which happened in the school for decades.

As far as I know, no children died as a result of the new Jericho School for the Deaf which was built in the neighbouring city of Burnaby, I suspect that more attention is paid to the children and their situation.

I wrote my second memoir, Deliverance from Jericho, about the time I served at that institution and what it was like being there. You can order print copies directly from me through Messenger or by e-mailing me directly.

On Saturday, I'll be posting about the time of the school year which all kids look forward to. I had a special fondness for the end of June because I knew I'd be home for nine wonderful weeks of freedom from supervisors and bullies.

Monday, 24 June 2019

To Make Something Clean, Make Something Else Dirty

I sure wish I knew who came up with this witty and profound statement. The more I think of it, the more I realize this applies in spiritual terms as well. We need to know the person who offers us cleansing from sin.

Jesus is the only one who can cleanse people from wickedness and change their lives for the better. Paul gave the reason for this exchange of spiritual filthiness in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (BBE). "For him who had no knowledge of sin God made to be sin for us; so that we might become the righteousness of God in him."

We all know the story of when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Those slow-witted men were arguing about which of them would be the greatest. In reference to baptism, Christ said in John 13:10 (BBE), "Jesus said to him, 'He who is bathed has need only to have his feet washed and then he is clean all over: and you, my disciples, are clean, but not all of you." Those last five words refer to Judas Iscariot.

But baptism doesn't make a person holy, as Peter explained with the example of Noah and his family being saved through the flood. We read in 2 Peter 3:21 (BBE), "And baptism, of which this is an image, now gives you salvation, not by washing clean the flesh, but by making you free from the sense of sin before God, through the coming again of Jesus Christ from the dead;"

As for foot washing, we need a spiritual sort since we walk through a filthy world and become soiled with sin. But Paul admonished in 2 Corinthians 7:1 (BBE), "Because God, then, will give us such rewards, dear brothers, let us make ourselves clean from all evil of flesh and spirit, and become completely holy in the fear of God.

So we can see that foot washing was not only the lowest job a first-century person could do but it's a spiritual image of asking for forgiveness from our inevitable lapses of love for Christ. I hope to add this to my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? God took sin so seriously that he sent Christ to pay for it on the cross. Shame on us if we don't take rebellion against the Lord seriously.

On Thursday, I'll explain about the ironic naming of a school for the blind and its namesake.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Saturday Song: Chillowack, "Lonesome Mary"

I'm so glad that society is recognizing the devastating effect which chronic depression has on people. While we all get the blues from time to time, clinical depression renders its victims unable to do much of anything. Even feeding and dressing oneself can feel like too big a chore.

Chillowack, a band from a town in British Columbia with the same name, sang about a depressed woman back in 1971. Even she didn't know why she wept all the time.

Here "Lonesome Marry" here.

Even in biblical times, people suffered from depression. The psalms are filled with anguished cries to God. As David wrote in Psalms 42:5 (KJV), "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."

Some Scripture writers had valid reasons to fear and feel downcast. Jeremiah 4:19 (KJV) says, "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my  very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace,  because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the  alarm of war."

Whatever causes us to feel depressed, we can rest our minds on the truth that God cares for us. Even when the entire world seems to be going sideways, our Lord is still in charge.

So, what do you think of the song and what I wrote? Please leave me your opinion below. But if you'd rather not, have a fun weekend.

On Monday, I'll examine the fact that making something clean dirties something else. Think about it.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Are the Rich as Rich as They Seem?

It's no secret that most people envy the rich. They ride in fancy cars, live in huge mansions, and travel to exclusive vacation destinations. Neither do they need to be frugal like the rest of us.

But many rich people aren't as wealthy as they appear. They have plenty of net worth but they don't have a lot of cash on hand.

One danger of being well off is becoming arrogant. As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:17 (BBE), "Give orders to those who have money and goods in this life, not to be lifted up in their minds, or to put their hope in the uncertain chances of wealth, but in God who gives us in full measure all things for our use;"

Spiritual riches can't be banked but they increase the more we spread them around. Look at what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:26 and 27 (BBE). "The secret which has been kept from all times and generations, but has now been made clear to his saints, To whom God was pleased to give knowledge of the wealth of the glory of this secret among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

As for the wealth of this world, it's highly unstable. The housing bubble and subsequent crash of 2008 demonstrated that fact. As King Solomon wisely noted in Proverbs 23:6 (BBE), "Are your eyes lifted up to it? it is gone: for wealth takes to itself wings, like an eagle in flight up to heaven."

But riches of themselves aren't evil. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:18 and 19 (BBE), "This is what I have seen: it is good and fair for a man to take meat and drink and to have joy in all his work under the sun, all the days of his life which God has given him; that is his reward. Every man to whom God has given money and wealth and the power to have pleasure in it and to do his part and have joy in his work: this is given by God."

We see many wicked people gaining wealth but the Bible says that ill-gotten gain won't last. As Jeremiah 17:11 BBE) says, "Like the partridge, getting eggs together but not producing young, is a man who gets wealth but not by right; before half his days are ended, it will go from him, and at his end he will be foolish."

Of course the best way for us to be is neither wealthy or impoverished. As Proverbs 30:7-9  (BBE) points out, "I have made request to you (God) for two things; do not keep them from me before my death: Put far from me all false and foolish things: do not give me great wealth or let me be in need, but give me only enough food: For fear that if I am full, I may be false to you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or if I am poor, I may become a thief, using the name of my God wrongly."

I'm presently working on a new book called You Think You're Going to Heaven. In it, I'll explain about the only riches we can transfer to that wonderful place.

On Saturday, I'll post about a song dealing with the subject of chronic depression. It happens even to Christians.

Monday, 17 June 2019

What Does The Bible Say About Wages?

Many new believers don't realize just how much Scripture has to say about wages. Here are just a few examples to ponder.

Firstly, wages must be paid on time. When people were writing the books of the Bible, workers were paid at the end of each day.

The Lord commanded through Moses in Deuteronomy 24:14 and 15 (BBE), "Do not be hard on a servant who is poor and in need, if he is one of your countrymen or a man from another nation living with you in your land. Give him his payment day by day, not keeping it back over night; for he is poor and his living is dependent on it; and if his cry against you comes to the ears of the Lord, it will be judged as sin in you."

And if your employer tries to fiddle with your wages, as Laban did with Jacob's pay, God will give you help. As Jacob told his wives in Genesis 31:7-9 (BBE), "But your father has not kept faith with me, and ten times he has made changes in my payment; but God has kept him from doing me damage. If he said, All those in the flock which have marks are to be yours, then all the flock gave birth to marked young; and if he said, All the banded ones are to be yours, then all the flock had banded young. So God has taken away your father's cattle and has given them to me."

But if you agree to a certain wage and then grumble about it later, God won't be pleased. Jesus told a parable about a farmer hiring labourers at various times of the day to get his harvest in. Matthew 20:9-14 (BBE) says, "And when those men came who had gone to work at the eleventh hour, they were given every man a penny (a day's wage). Then those who came first had the idea that they would get more; and they, like the rest, were given a penny. And when they got it, they made a protest against the master of the house, Saying, 'These last have done only one hour's work, and you have made them equal to us, who have undergone the hard work of the day and the burning heat.' But he in answer said to one of them, 'Friend, I do you no wrong: did you not make an agreement with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go away; it is my pleasure to give to this last, even as to you.'"

When Jesus sent his disciples out, he told them to accept whatever hospitality people offered them. Luke 10:7 (BBE) says, "And keep in that same house, taking what food and drink they give you: for the worker has a right to his reward. Do not go from house to house."

John the Baptist also had a thing or three to say about wages. Luke 3:12-14 )BBE) reads, "Then tax-farmers came to him for baptism and said to him, 'Master, what have we to do?' And he said to them, 'Do not make an attempt to get more money than the right amount.' And men of the army put questions to him, saying, 'And what have we to do?' And he said to them, 'Do no violent acts to any man, and do not take anything without right, and let your payment be enough for you.'"

Of course there are spiritual wages mentioned as well. Romans 6:23 (KJV) explains, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

So we can tell that it's the attitude one has toward wages which is important. They must be paid promptly and according to an agreed amount. And if one works wickedness, they're paid with eternal damnation.

I'll be writing about those spiritual wages in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many folks assume they'll go to paradise when they die but they'll be paid according to their wickedness. The worst form of sin is continually rejecting Christ's magnanimous offer of forgiveness.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about the wealthy and how poor some of them are. That sounds contradictory but I'll explain why it isn't.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Saturday Song: Cher, "Half breed"

I certainly can identify with Cher's song, even though my ancestors were all Europeans. Being partially sighted, I don't fit in with the fully-sighted or blind communities. People with good vision are confused that I can see but I'm classed by the government as legally blind. Some blind people hate us partially-sighted folks because we can see a bit and can't relate to total blindness. That's what I've been told by certain friends.

Listen to Cher's poignant song here:

This sounds strange but we Christians are half breeds. We are in fact royal children of Christ. Look at what Romans 8:15 (BBE) says. "For you did not get the spirit of servants again to put you in fear, but the spirit of sons was given to you, by which we say, Abba, Father."

As adopted children of the King of Kings, we must behave in a way that won't make him ashamed of us. Look at what 1 Peter 2:11(BBE)  says. "My loved ones, I make this request with all my heart, that, as those for whom this world is a strange country, you will keep yourselves from the desires of the flesh which make war against the soul;"

We also are citizens of Christ's kingdom. Ephesians 2:19 (BBE) clearly states, "So then you are no longer as those who have no part or place in the kingdom of God, but you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God..."

Jesus knew that we would be left in this world. He prayed in John 17:15 (BBE), "My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world, but that you will keep them from the Evil One."

What a wonderful privilege we have to be adopted and cared for by the greatest king in the universe. And what a pity that our unsaved friends refuse such a magnanimous offer.

On Monday, I'll be posting about The Lord's take on wages and what our attitude should be about them.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

How to be Free in Prison

Having one's freedom restricted is irksome to most people. After all, the whole point of a penitentiary is to make people penitent. But what if I said that some folks actually were freer in jail than those on the outside?

The Apostle Paul certainly spent plenty of time behind bars. In fact, we wouldn't have nearly the number of epistles if Paul were allowed to go free. He'd be too busy preaching to write much to the churches.

Paul was in prison when he wrote in Philippians 1:12 and 13 (BBE), "Now it is my purpose to make clear to you, brothers, that the cause of the good news has been helped by my experiences; So that it became clear through all the Praetorium, and to all the rest, that I was a prisoner on account of Christ; And most of the brothers in the Lord, taking heart because of my chains, are all the stronger to give the word of God without fear.

Paul didn't waste time pouting over his ill fortune either. He wrote in Philippians 4:21 and 22 (BBE), "Give words of love to every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their love. All the saints send their love to you, specially those who are of Caesar's house."

Quite a few people came to faith in Christ because Paul was thrown in prison. One notable example was in Philippi when Paul and Silas were put in the stocks. Instead of railing against their unfair and unjust treatment, they prayed and sang hymns. Because of this, no prisoner escaped when God sent an earthquake and the cell doors opened.

We read in Acts 16:29-31 (BBE), "And he (the guard) sent for lights and came rushing in and, shaking with fear, went down on his face before Paul and Silas, And took them out and said, 'Sirs, what have I to do to get salvation? And they said, 'Have faith in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will have salvation.'"

So we see from just these two examples that God uses jail time for saving souls. One mistake Christians make is to assume that they'll never suffer adversity. I hope to correct that error with my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The Lord lets our faith be tested but he never forsakes us.

On Saturday, I'll post about how we are like half breeds in this world. We can sympathize with Cher but we also are new creations living in old bodies

Monday, 10 June 2019

What if Christ were Your Employer?

This might sound weird to new believers but we must work as if Christ were our boss. No matter how nasty our supervisor or manager is to us, Jesus expects to work as his ambassadors in the workplace.

Though we can hardly compare employment to slavery, especially with so many labour laws forbidding mistreatment of workers, we still must have a Christ-like attitude. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:5 and 6 (BBE), "Servants, do what is ordered by those who are your natural masters, having respect and fear for them, with all your heart, as to Christ; Not only under your master's eye, as pleasers of men; but as servants of Christ, doing the pleasure of God from the heart;"

Peter wrote essentially the same thing in 1 Peter 2:18 (BBE). "Servants, take orders from your masters with all respect; not only if they are good and gentle, but even if they are bad-humoured."

Another reason for being well-behaved in all circumstances is that it makes those who slander us and Christ look stupid. In 1 Peter 3:15 and 16 (BBE), it says, "But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride; Being conscious that you have done no wrong; so that those who say evil things about your good way of life as Christians may be put to shame."

God won't be ashamed of us either if we repay poor treatment with respect. Look at what Hebrews 11:16 (BBE) says about the faithful folks throughout history. "But now their desire is for a better country, that is to say, for one in heaven; and so it is no shame to God to be named their God; for he has made ready a town for them."

Christ feels the same way about that too. Hebrews 2:11 (BBE) reads, "For he who makes holy and those who are made holy are all of one family; and for this reason it is no shame for him to give them the name of brothers,"

For these and many other reasons, Let's strive to be the best examples of believing Christians our friends and coworkers have ever seen. I wasn't the best example all of the time myself but I know for sure that people knew there was something different about me. You can read more about that in my most recent book called How I Was Razed. Please message or e-mail me if you want to buy a copy.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about how to be free in prison. That sounds contradictory but it's possible.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Saturday Song: Cat Stevens, "But I Might Die Tonight

This song is about the wisdom of not striving for a high position in a corporation. There's nothing bad in wanting that but it can be a trap where all your time is spent at the office or taking work home. Far too many men end up divorced because their god is their position rather than the Lord God Almighty.

Hear Cat Stevens' song here.

James sure nailed this presumptuous belief in his epistle. In James 4:13 and 14, (BBE) it says, "How foolish it is to say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into this town, and be there for a year and do business there and get wealth:' When you are not certain what will take place tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist, which is seen for a little time and then is gone."

This song also reminds me of Christ's parable of the rich farmer. This man had a bumper crop and decided to build bigger barns to store his grain in. Then he decided to relax and live off his bounty. Luke 12:20 (BBE) tells us what happened next. "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight I will take your soul from you, and who then will be the owner of all the things which you have got together?'"

We North Americans tend to be self-reliant people. To appear needy is looked upon as a sign of laziness by some folks. But Jesus said in John 6:27 (BBE), "Let your work not be for the food which comes to an end, but for the food which goes on for eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you, for on him has God the Father put his mark."

What a relief it is that no matter how bad things get, we know that our Lord is watching over us.

On Monday, I'll post about working for our bosses as if they were Christ himself.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

What is 'The Image of God'?

When I was a boy, nobody adequately explained to me spiritual matters such as why God used plural nouns for himself or why we were made in God's image. That was a pity because I really did want to know the answer to those things. Either the adults at the Anglican church were too busy or they didn't know.

The Bible says that we are the image of God because of our attributes. We have been given rulership over the animals and plants but the Father rules over us. Genesis 1:26 (BBE) states, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth."

And the reason that murder is such a heinous crime is that it's the malicious destruction of an image bearer of God. Even when an animal killed a human, God required its life. Genesis 9:5 and 6 (BBE) says, "And for your blood, which is your life, will I take payment; from every beast I will take it, and from every man will I take payment for the blood of his brother-man. Whoever takes a man's life, by man will his life be taken; because God made man in his image."

But how can animals be considered murderers when they can't sin? This law was given to us by God so we may exterminate dangerous animals which kill people. Even domestic livestock are subject to this law. Exodus 21:28 (BBE) decrees, "If an ox comes to be the cause of death to a man or a woman, the ox is to be stoned, and its flesh may not be used for food; but the owner will not be judged responsible."

Remember too that animals were used in sacrifices to God because of their innocence. In particular, the Passover lamb is symbolic of Christ and therefore it had to be innocent as he was. Exodus 12:5-7 (BBE) shows us how the animal was to be taken into the house of each Israelite. "Let your lamb be without a mark, a male in its first year: you may take it from among the sheep or the goats: Keep it till the fourteenth day of the same month, when everyone who is of the children of Israel is to put it to death between sundown and dark. Then take some of the blood and put it on the two sides of the door and over the door of the house where the meal is to be taken.

We know that Jesus was that lamb of God, as John the Baptist exclaimed. John 1:36 (BBE) says, "And looking at Jesus while he was walking he said, 'See, there is the Lamb of God!'"

This subject is too big for one blog post to cover. That's why I'll be writing about the Lamb of God in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The entire Bible is about God's plan to rescue humanity from sin and present those people to himself at the end of this age.

On Saturday, I'll post about the foolishness of piling up wealth for wealth's sake. There's nothing wrong in providing for one's retirement or one's children. It's the fixation on money rather than loving God which is a sin.

Monday, 3 June 2019

How to Be In the World but not Of It

We Christians often quote John 17:15 (BBE) which says, "My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world, but that you will keep them from the Evil One." But what was Christ asking of the Father?

The Apostle Paul explained the meaning of this prayer request in 1 Corinthians 5:9 and 10 (BBE) which reads, "In my letter I said to you that you were not to keep company with those who go after the desires of the flesh; But I had not in mind the sinners who are outside the church, or those who have a desire for and take the property of others, or those who give worship to images; for it is not possible to keep away from such people without going out of the world completely:"

Jesus also said of us in John 17:16 (BBE), "They are not of the world any more than I am of the world."

And believe it or not, the reason we aren't of this world is because we're at war. It's a spiritual conflict which requires spiritual weaponry. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5 that, "For the arms with which we are fighting are not those of the flesh, but are strong before God for the destruction of high places); Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ;"

As a result, we mustn't get embroiled with the things of this world. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:4 (BBE), "A fighting man, when he is with the army, keeps himself free from the business of this life so that he may be pleasing to him who has taken him into his army."

But what are these affairs of the world from which we must abstain? John doesn't list them but he wrote in 1 John 2:15 and 16 (BBE) that we mustn't, "Have no love for the world or for the things which are in the world. If any man has love for the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world."

As I've written before, it isn't the activities themselves but the lusts they produce which are sinful. I'll point this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Just as an axe can be used to cut down trees or murder a person, so things of themselves aren't sinful.

On Thursday, I'll post about what the "image of God" is and why it's so important.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Saturday Song: David Bowie, "Star Man"

If you're a science fiction fan and also enjoy David Bowie's music, you'll love this song. It's about teenagers who hear a broadcast from an alien being.

Hear David Bowie's song here.

But we Christians look forward to the arrivel of a different kind of alien. He came to Earth two-thousand years ago and promised to return. Luke 24:51 and 52 (BBE) describes how he left our planet. "And while he was doing so, he went from them and was taken up into heaven. And they (The disciples) gave him worship and went back to Jerusalem with great joy."

Luke explains further in Acts 1:10 and 11 (BBE(, "And while they (Christ's disciples) were looking up to heaven with great attention, two men came to them, in white clothing, And said, 'O men of Galilee, why are you looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come again, in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

The Apostle Paul also wrote of Christ's return, filling in some of the details. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 52 (BBE), "See, I am giving you the revelation of a secret: we will not all come to the sleep of death, but we will all be changed. In a second, in the shutting of an eye, at the sound of the last horn: for at that sound the dead will come again, free for ever from the power of death, and we will be changed."

Paul also wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (BBE), "Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be for ever with the Lord."

What a wonderful hope that our Lord will someday reappear and take us up to be with him. No more will we suffer and be harassed by Satan.

On Monday, I'll tell you how to be in the world without being of it. It seems contradictory until you understand what "of the world" means.