Author Archives: Al

About Al

At a very early age, I made the decision to follow Christ throughout my life. There are many signposts from my teen years that mark my re-commitment to Christ. I graduated from Canadian Bible College and have been involved in church ministry ever since, not as an occupation, but out of my desire to live for Christ. I have been part of a church plant and currently serve on the Board of Elders in an Alliance church in Canada.

When God Fights Against a Nation

God heard the cries of a nation held in slavery and told Pharaoh to let the people go. Pharaoh did not listen, apparently believing that his gods would protect him and his country. Initially Pharaoh hardened his heart to refuse to let the people he held in slavery go, but eventually God hardened his heart to demonstrate His great power over all gods and creation. It did not end well for the Egyptians.

Every country that denies the truth that God created everything by His divine power and that He will hold people accountable for their denials should understand the lessons applied to the Egyptians. Everyone who practices evil and intentionally disobeys the revealed will of God will be held accountable by the great Judge.

So that everyone will understand that God is LORD of creation, the lessons begin.

Magicians: Pharaoh’s wise men and magicians performed magic tricks with their secret arts. When Aaron threw down his staff, it became a serpent. The magicians also threw down their rods and they became serpents. Amazing! However, then Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. The magicians had been beaten at their own game.

Water to blood: Since Pharaoh was not willing to let the people go, Aaron raised his staff over the waters of the Nile and all the waters in Egypt were turned to blood – water in all the rivers, reservoirs, pools, and containers. The fish in the river died and people could not drink the water. The magicians were able to do the same with their magic arts but apparently, they could not reverse the transformation back to water.

Frogs: Having reneged on his promise to let the people go, Aaron stretched out his staff and there were frogs everywhere – in the houses, in the kitchens, and on the people. Frogs were considered like gods of fertility and at about this time, they were in a serious conundrum. Would you dare destroy the frogs if they would bring you fertility? So, Pharaoh called Moses to have the frogs removed. Moses says, sure, when would you like me to ask God to remove the frogs. Pharaoh’s answer? Tomorrow. So as the song goes, One More Night with the Frogs! Then as Moses asked, the frogs died, and they were piled in heaps and stank. But again, Pharaoh hardened his heart.

Insects: The houses of the Egyptians were full of flies, but none were found in the camps of Israel. Even the magicians admitted defeat and understood that this was the work of God. After asking Moses to remove the flies, Pharaoh once again hardened his heart and did not let the people go.

Disease: The Egyptian livestock died but the livestock owned by the children of Israel were unaffected.

Boils: The sores broke out on man and beast throughout Egypt except in the camp of Israel. God did not allow Pharaoh and Egypt to be utterly destroyed but the point of the plagues demonstrated that there is no one like Him in all the earth.

Natural disasters: Hail, lightning and rain destroyed trees and crops throughout Egypt but not in the camp of Israel. Perhaps they might have attributed the storms to global climate change, but it was severe enough that Pharaoh declared that the LORD is righteous, and he and his people were the wicked ones. So, he agreed to let the people go.  Then his heart was hardened, and he did not let them go.

Locusts: When the locusts descended on the land as had never been seen before, even Pharaoh’s servants recognized that the country was being destroyed and appealed to Pharaoh to let Israel go. However, Pharaoh was not willing to let his slaves go.

Darkness: Three days of darkness did not change Pharaoh’s mind.

Death: Pharaoh was warned of the death that would come to all the first-born in Egypt, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart again. As the people of Egypt cared for their dead, they urged Israel to leave.

The people of Israel finally grab their things and head out into the wilderness with Moses leading the way. Pharaoh again changes his mind and calls the army into action to chase the departing slaves. Stubborn and unwilling to face the facts, he again attempts to deny the power of God.

War: It seems that Egypt’s entire army follows Israel into the Red sea. That’s when God causes the chariot wheels to swerve and drive with difficulty. When everyone of the horsemen and army had gone into the sea, God caused the waters to return, drowning everyone.

A leader of a nation who refused to acknowledge and obey God suffered complete defeat.

Think about the world today. Leaders who act as though there is no God, who make decisions that are contrary to good government and peace, can expect their country to experience turmoil and war. Countries that have been ruled by the wisdom of God have known peace.

The legalized murder of innocents and the protection of those who carry out such deeds will bring great judgment the nation. Disease, infestations, natural disasters and war can be anticipated for those who deny the existence and authority of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the One who lives forever and who will judge each one.

No one should say they weren’t warned.

Government Funds Only Pro-Abortion Employers

The Canadian Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau has cut off funding to all employers and charitable organizations who normally hire summer students unless they affirm that they support abortions for anyone who wants one. The result may mean that thousands of young Canadians will not be hired this summer. Many of these students use their summer employment to pay down debts and to save for another school year.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party required all candidates running for a seat in parliament as Liberals to declare that they are pro-abortion. Now that the entire liberal caucus is pro-abortion, they have decided to force their beliefs on the nation, claiming the right to an abortion as a charter right even though it is not.

Macleans.ca says the application process requires an attestation that “the job and the organization’s core mandate” respect “reproductive rights,” meaning “the right to access safe and legal abortions.” …they are ready to risk violating Section 2 of the Charter, which guarantees “freedom of conscience and religion” and “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

CBC.ca says Trudeau is asking religious Canadians to betray their conscience for federal funding. …To give assent to abortion, even via a check mark on a government form, betrays their values and conscience. …Canada is the only Western nation without any law regulating abortion. Successive governments have avoided crafting such legislation for fear of dividing the country, but the Liberals have discovered an easier solution: simply make people believe that a law already exists.

The National Post reports that a church’s ‘core mandate’ must be pro-choice to access summer jobs grant: Patty Hajdu, minister of employment. …Pressed on how her ministry decides what a core mandate of a church is, Hajdu said the government is simply declaring its own values and it’s up to churches to decide if their core mandate allows them to sign the attestation.

Since abortion is the murder of an unborn human, and since Justin Trudeau and the Liberals support abortion, therefore this government supports the murder of innocent humans as a right of a woman to control her own body. Life begins at conception and any intentional termination of that life is murder.

Rex Murphy (http://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-no-summer-jobs-for-you-and-other-decrees-from-bishop-trudeau) says it well: Under the latest Trudeau encyclical, the priest, minister, imam, shaman or rabbi would have to publicly repudiate his faith. …What shallow hubris engenders the sense that Mr. Trudeau, as through this both petty and profound intrusion he has, has the authority to undo the balance of citizens’ religious and moral beliefs and the political dispensations of a particular government? The Liberal platform of the day is not, as this government wildly seems to think, a synonym writ large for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As for those dissenting, who sense their deepest convictions are being outraged, their consciences mocked, why they are just stirring up a mere “kerfuffle.” We will be long waiting for the day when an equal slur against a non-traditional religion or one on, say, gay rights, is so characterized.

This government is seeking to destroy all Christian values and rights. Any other religion or value, no matter how twisted that value may be, is protected by this government. How should Christians respond?

Speak up – it is important that we do not mistake what it means to live according to the Beatitudes when confronted with injustice. God makes it clear that we are to care for the widows, orphans and the unborn. Anyone who takes a life or supports those who kill will be held accountable by the Creator of all life. Those who turn from their sinful acts, repent and seek forgiveness will be forgiven.

Pray for leadersFirst of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Science vs False Science

The definition of science describes activities of observation and experimentation:

Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

True science does not start with an assumption and then work to find evidence to support the assumption. However, much of the work that is called science is currently focused on proving assumptions rather than determining the truth based on evidence. Preconceived assumptions view evidence with filters that block all conclusions except those that fit with the assumptions. We have entered an era when dedication to an assumption has blinded those involved to reality to such an extent that it is believed like a religion and those who do not agree with their view are labeled publically with derogatory names.

The assumptions that form the basis for false science starts with the origin of the earth. If you assume that the earth is very old then you look for evidence that supports a long time frame of gradual evolution from a spark of life to the wide diversity of plant and animal life we see today on earth. However, if you recognize that the earth has undergone cataclysmic events in times past that are not occurring now, and that everything from the smallest component of an atom to the extent of the galaxies had a designer, then you conclude that there is a God who created everything.

Many scientists assume there is no God and look for some other explanation for everything they observe. They believe that the dinosaurs were destroyed by a massive asteroid rather than a flood. They believe that since life evolved on earth that it must have evolved in other parts of the galaxy so they spend enormous sums to find such evidence. They believe that God has no part in protecting the human life He created so they believe that protecting human life is entirely up to the scientists.

Scientists agree that there was an ice-age on earth when much of North America was covered by glaciers. That ice has been receding for many centuries. A few years ago someone decided that global warming was being caused by human activity and now this concern has become a major issues for many governments. But it is interesting that Mars has also been experiencing global warming and obviously that warming is not caused by human activity. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/31/mars-also-undergoing-climate-change-ice-age-retrea/

There is much evidence that the earth and moon are young. Dinosaur remains have been found with pliable tissue and fine details that indicate some had feathers. It’s impossible to believe that this would have survived many millions of years. On the moon, one of NASA’s great concerns when sending humans was whether they would sink into dust that had accumulated in the millions of years since it had formed. They discovered that the layer of dust was only inches thick which would be in keeping with a recent creation.

The formation of a canyon at Mount St. Helens has all the appearances of the formations at Grand Canyon yet it is only a couple of decades old. Again, it is impossible to believe that the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon simply because it has been flowing for many years. It’s clear that there was an event that occurred that created the Grand Canyon that is no longer occurring.

Based on observations and experimentation, the scientists are without excuse for holding to the wrong assumptions. The Apostle Paul clearly understood the extent to which people would go to deny God:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:18-32 NASB).

Rock Star

A local radio station has a contest to see who can recognize a song from a snippet less than a second long. The prizes are usually tickets to a concert or event. Some people know the music so well that just a blurb a fraction of second long is enough to allow them to recognize the song.

I sometimes wonder how much of God’s voice people would need before they would recognize His voice.

Some of the music that is played is so unknown to me that they could play the whole recording and I still couldn’t tell you the title and artist.

God speaks to people all through their lives yet many never recognize His voice. The people who hear God’s voice and do what He asks of them will receive great reward. Failure to acknowledge God is a terrible way to lose.

Inventive Spirit

Creative people have a talent to design amazing products whether art or industrial. Some have a flair for the artistic and others invent useful devices. Creativity has its root in God

The universe from macro to micro is an example of a grand design by a very creative Person. No amount of denial from those who ignore the evidence will ever remove the truth that God created everything seen and unseen.

So it is little wonder that God delights to equip people with creative skill. In Exodus 35 we read

the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. He also has put in his heart to teach.

We learn from this passage that God calls people by name and He equips them. First He filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, the source of all wisdom, and gave him understanding and knowledge to craft and design metals, cut stones and carve wood. God equipped him to be inventive and to teach. Wow! If God would do all this before Jesus Christ sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to reside with us, how much more is available to us when we desire to serve the Lord!

The apostle James wrote that wisdom is ours just for the asking, and that there are no conditions except that someone must ask. All through Scriptures we read that the wisdom God grants is unlike the wisdom available from Google. God’s wisdom guides us into right and effective living yielding permanent results.

If you are really interested in acquiring real wisdom and you plan to use what you learn, try asking God for His Spirit to fill you and grant you wisdom and skill.

Francis Schaeffer: an Important Voice to the Church

Long before the internet, I remember viewing films of Francis Schaeffer warning of drift from truth. He spoke of the chaos and disorder evident in some modern themes of thinking and he warned of dangers to the Church and those who follow Jesus. Very few presentations had as much impact on my life as his.

What a surprise to see his name pop up in a blog by Will Graham (http://evangelicalfocus.com/l/authors/18/Will_Graham) where he condenses some key points from the book written by Francis A. Schaeffer “The Great Evangelical Disaster.” Will highlights 10 Concerns Francis Schaeffer took to the grave:

 

1.- Growing Relativism

Relativism came about due to the Enlightenment’s focus upon the autonomy of man. No longer was God to set the rules and call the shots; but rather humankind was to determine what was good and evil, true and false. Ethics and epistemology became absorbed by an inordinate passion for egoism and self-interest. Once the infallible, inerrant Word of God was openly decried; there was nothing left to take its place but human fancies.

Schaeffer realized that a church built upon the sandy-foundation of relativism could not withstand the onslaught of fallen reason. Only the non-negotiable absolutes of Scripture could enable the church to keep waging a good warfare. It was those “absolutes which enabled the early church to withstand the pressure of the Roman Empire”.1 A relativistic church would have nothing left to say to a sinful culture.

 

2.- Lack of Discipline

Given the resurgence of pagan relativism throughout post-modern society, many churches had fallen into the trap of downplaying Christian doctrine (absolutes) by refusing to take action against false teachers. Schaeffer identified a lack of church discipline as the real breeding ground for heretics. It was this deficiency which explained the victory of the liberal party within early twentieth-century American Presbyterianism.

Schaeffer makes clear, “Discipline had not been consistently applied by the faithful men of the church”.2 Without ecclesiastical and denominational discipline for doctrinal reasons, the church would be left vulnerable before the avalanche of false teaching.

Hence Schaeffer’s proposal: “The practice of the purity of the visible church first means discipline of those who do not take a proper position in regard to the teaching of Scripture”.3 And again: “Where there is a departure from the historic view of Scripture and from obedience to God’s Word, then those who take this weakened view need to be brought under discipline”.4 Only a high view of Scripture could justify the reestablishment of biblical discipline. If unorthodox ministers were not dealt with, how could their churches stay true to sound doctrine?

 

3.- Compromise

Christians, according to Schaeffer, are supposed to take a stand for the truth. But the sad mark of his age was one of continual compromise on all fronts, both doctrinal and practical. Schaeffer was upset that many servants of the Lord were no longer willing to confront society with the truth of God. Such a spirit of indifference was leading the church down the slippery slope of apostasy.

Schaffer states, “Truth carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong”.5 Without a heart-felt faithfulness to the truth claims of Scripture as witnessed in the lives of theological giants like B.B. Warfield (1851-1921), James Orr (1844-1913) and J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), evangelicalism would not be able to prepare its children for the challenges accompanying the dark days ahead.

 

4.- Social Work

Instead of keeping focused on the Gospel, many evangelical churches were running off in the liberal direction of “confusing the kingdom of God with a socialistic program”.6 Without denying the importance of helping the downtrodden, Schaeffer was worried at how many minsters were basing their worldview on Marxist doctrine and not upon that of Scripture.

Sin, in Schaeffer’s view, was not down to unjust social structures but to man’s intrinsic wickedness. Iniquity abounded amongst both the poor and the wealthy. The idea of man’s autonomous perfectibility did not stem from Scripture but from a fallen, man-centred Enlightenment philosophy. Even in countries where communist principles had ruled the political world, the results were disastrous with millions massacred on the altar of socialism. So Schaeffer quipped, “A socialistic program is not the answer”.7 Of course churches need to help the poor; but she must keep first things first i.e. the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

5.- The Temptation of Ecumenism

The World Council of Churches’ (WCC) call to ecumenical unity greatly disturbed Schaeffer. As well as the pro-Marxist leanings of the WCC, the ecumenical movement was devoid of theological conviction. Every type of non-biblical theological fantasy was being permitted for the love of church unity i.e. Dorothee Sölle’s (1929-2003) rejection of the Lord of Scripture; God being changed from a ‘Heavenly Father’ into a ‘Celestial Mother’; and non-Christian religions being extolled as means of access to the divine, etc.8

This was nothing other than false prophesy. The WCC was becoming a source of theological poison, promoting another Gospel which was no Gospel at all. Only a solid stance on an infallible and an inerrant Bible could bring down the flimsy walls of the WCC camp.

 

6.- Abortion

Far from assenting to rife abortion-justifying euphemisms such as the ‘quality of life’ or ‘the happiness and well-being of the mother’ or ‘the need for every child to be wanted’, Schaeffer believed that mass abortion was simply the outworking of a revived hedonistic attitude which put a person’s happiness above a sacred respect for human life.9 He was unable to understand how anyone confessing the name of Christ could remain within a pro-abortion denomination.10

In the final analysis, abortion was an all-out attack on the precious image of God which is made known through humankind. “The unborn child is a human being created in the image of God, and to deny this is to deny the authority of the Bible. It is impossible to read Psalm 139 and truly believe what it says without realizing that life in the womb is human life. It is impossible to truly believe in the Incarnation and not realize that the child conceived in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit was indeed the Son of God from the time of conception”.11

 

7.- Liberalism

The fruit of theological liberalism had left many formerly-sound churches completely destitute of any spiritual power. Modernism, influenced by German Higher Criticism, had all but baptized the cardinal doctrines of the Enlightenment in the name of Christ. What did such an approach entail? Schaeffer answers: “The denial of the supernatural; belief in the all-sufficiency of human reason; the rejection of the Fall; denial of the deity of Christ and his resurrection; belief in the perfectibility of man; and the destruction of the Bible”.12

Liberal preachers like the acclaimed Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) had no authoritative Bible left to preach from. Secular humanism took centre stage therefore any doctrine that did not put the spotlight upon man was ultimately done away with. Rather than the church influencing the world; the world took the reins of the church into her Gospel-denying grasp.

 

8.- Hedonism

Hedonism is the philosophy that the meaning of life ultimately revolves around one’s happiness, pleasure and feeling good at the moment. This hedonistic thrust had led contemporary society to cast off Christian morality in the name of self-fulfilment. Schaeffer was alarmed at how one’s personal welfare was gradually taking primacy over human life i.e. as in the case of abortion. As Schaeffer spells out, “We are surrounded by a society with no fixed standards and ‘no-fault’ everything. Each thing is psychologically pushed away or explained away so that there is no right or wrong. And, as with the ‘happiness’ of the mother taking precedence over human life, so anything which interferes with the ‘happiness’ of the individual or society is dispensed with”.13

Hedonism’s selfish and amoral nature was a real danger facing the church of Schaeffer’s day and the same truth abides in our generation. In some places church has become more about ‘customer satisfaction’ than the true worship of the triune God.

 

9.- The Loss of Propositional Revelation

Schaeffer insisted upon the need of a strong view of propositional revelation for the spiritual and academic welfare of contemporary Protestantism. Since God, the Creator of all things (language included), was truly there and had desired to communicate his Word to humankind, it was only natural that he should employ the medium of language and hence propositional sentences in order to make his will clear.

This meant that Schaeffer’s stress was not primarily upon a believer’s subjective religious experience, but upon the objective account of revelation displayed in Scripture. Experience was useful in the measure that it lined up with the teaching of the Bible. “What is our foundation?” asks Schaeffer. “It is that the infinite-personal God who exists has not been silent, but has spoken propositional truth in all that the Bible teaches”.14 Take away propositional revelation and the foundation of the Christian is obliterated!

 

10.- The Inerrant Scriptures

“We have an inerrant Scripture”.15 A final key worry running throughout the whole of Schaeffer’s volume is that of biblical inerrancy. He was incensed to hear of fellow evangelicals who were calling the plenary inspiration of Scripture into question by stressing that the Bible could contain geographical and historical errors despite its teaching upon religion and morals as being true (for the most part). This was the view of the Neo-Orthodox thinkers Karl Barth (1886-1968) and Emil Brunner (1889-1966).

Schaeffer disparaged such a view writing that: “The Bible is without error not only when it speaks of values, the meaning system and religious things, but it is also without error when it speaks of history and the cosmos”.16 This was the full view of Scripture as the Word of God at which the American aimed. As far as he was concerned, an errant Bible –if only in the realm of science and history- could never be infallible. Infallibility demanded inerrancy (and vice-versa)!

Although Barth, Brunner and a host of their theological colleagues had launched an anti-liberal revolution in the early decades of the twentieth century, Schaeffer was far from satisfied with their neo-orthodoxy. The chief concern for the American was their manifest lack of a “full view” of Scripture which was due to an overly subjectivist approach to theology.

Rather than saying that the Bible merely ‘contained’ the Word of God or ‘became’ the Word of God by means of an existential encounter with the risen Christ, Schaeffer was adamant that true evangelicalism confesses that “the Bible is objective, absolute truth in all the areas it touches upon”.17

 

Conclusion

To conclude, Schaeffer’s ten concerns can be traced back to the Enlightenment by which man placed his ‘autonomous’ reason over and against the authoritative revelation of God in Scripture.

It seems to be that in our day the same decision is forcing itself upon all us evangelicals: shall it be the Word of God or the thoughts of fallen humankind that determine our thinking and praxis? Were Schaeffer still amongst us today, he would doubtlessly have opted for the former. What about you?

 

1[1] SCHAEFFER, Francis, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Crossway: Illinois, 1984), p. 48.

2[1] P. 86.

3[1] P. 86.

4[1] P. 89.

5[1] P. 64

6[1] P. 111.

7[1]P . 115.

8[1] P. 125.

9[1] P. 108.

10[1] P. 79.

11[1] P. 108

12[1] Pp. 36-37.

13[1] P. 63.

14[1] P. 60.

15[1] P. 65.

16[1] P. 57.

17[1] P. 55.

CREDIT: http://evangelicalfocus.com/magazine/2383/10_Concerns_Francis_Schaeffer_Took_to_the_Grave

The Best Healthcare

Canadians spent more than $228 billion on health care in 2016 representing 11.1% of GDP (cihi.ca). That’s $6,299 per person. In the USA, health care spending hit $10,345 per person (pbs.org). Governments wrestle with trying to manage the costs while providing care for the citizens. Technological advances introduce new drugs and expensive tools to diagnose and treat people. Yet the need seems to always exceed the funds available.

The cost of healthcare is not new. The Bible records this event from 2000 years ago:

A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak (Mark 25-27).

She had endured or suffered much at the hands of many physicians: it was never suggested that they did not do the best they could, but the result was unhelpful.

She spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse. There are many who tell stories of harm caused by mistakes or misdiagnosis in hospital or by doctors, in some cases resulting in expensive procedures or even death.

She came to Jesus and touched Him in faith and was immediately healed. During His ministry on earth, Jesus healed many people of disease and afflictions, both physical and spiritual.

After Christ ascended to the Father, the early Christian Church understood that healing is available for those who call on God.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed (James 5:14-16a).

The requirement to submit to God is implicit in the process. If you walk in defiance or rebellion against God, it is unlikely that He will hear your call. Your own forgiveness hinges on whether you are willing to forgive everyone who has wronged you. Forgiveness is deeply related to health.

Jesus never condemned the physicians of His day, and even today, we know their value to help us heal from accidents and disasters. We all have been touched at some point in our lives by medical help. We are grateful for the doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners who spend so much of their lives helping others.

The Gospel message says that there is healing available for those who seek God’s agenda.

“If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer” (Exodus 15:26).

This option was presented to the nation of Israel – it’s application is at the personal level. Listen to the voice of God, hear His commandments (with the intent to follow), do what is right and God will protect you from diseases.

I wonder how much the load on our healthcare providers would be lessened if people committed themselves to obey the Lord God who made them.

Leadership When Things Look Impossible

Anyone who has ever been put in a position of leadership and found themselves facing an impossible situation can likely identify with Moses. Leaders are sometimes instructed by higher authorities to carry out tasks that are difficult or unpleasant while maintaining the appearance of having everything under control. It is stressful for the leader, especially when it means cutting staff or downsizing. It is also stressful for the workers who want to know what their future holds.

Unfortunately, some leaders believe that they must lie to their workers and the public saying one thing when they know it is wrong and misleading. A trusted leader quickly loses all credibility when the lies are exposed. The pressure on a leader can be enormous: instructions from the top to lie or misrepresent the truth versus the reality of breaking relationships and faith with the workers. It’s a situation that seem to have no winners.

The people of Israel were being chased by the Egyptian army to the Red Sea. Exodus 14 says they cried out to the Lord and to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” The statement represents the feeling of inevitable doom and blames Moses for the situation. Everyone knew they were trapped: the sea ahead, the wilderness over land and the Egyptians behind.

As a good leader under authority, Moses recites the official line,” Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.

Then it’s as though Moses calls his boss (the Lord) and complains about the situation. Some leaders get no sympathy. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” So Moses raises his staff and the rest is history.

When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.

Are you a leader? Do you serve the Lord? Are you facing an impossible situation? You can trust God’s instructions no matter how impossible the situation. Give Him the glory and don’t try to take any of it for yourself.

No one had ever heard of God making a path through the sea on which to escape, and it hasn’t happened since. So never assume that God is limited to a certain set of possibilities. When God has declared that He will care for you, His honor and glory are at stake and He will never abandon His Word.

Wicked City Saved by 10 Christians

In a world ruled by majority will, a headline declaring that a wicked city was saved by ten Christians seems impossible. Would such an event ever be reported in the news even if it happened? Would the citizens of that city ever know what tragedy had been averted? How could such a thing even happen?

A long time ago, such an event would have happened if only there had been ten righteous people in the city. There should have been many righteous people in that city but when it was inspected, not even ten could be found.

Abraham and Lot had traveled together and each acquired a large household and many possessions. It became clear to both them that they needed to separate so that there was enough pasture and water for the flocks and people. Abraham gave Lot the first choice of where he wanted to go and he chose the lush Jordan valley. So Abraham stayed in the high country.

There were some kings who also saw the benefits of the Jordan valley and mounted a campaign to defeat the rulers of the cities in the valley as far south as Sodom and Gomorrah. Victorious, they hauled off all the people and possessions as the spoils of war to Damascus and beyond. When word of this reached Abraham, he mounted a force of 318 trained fighters and defeated the kings and brought back all of Lot’s possessions, his women and people. It seems obvious that there were more than ten in Lot’s household.

One day, Abraham saw three men standing by his door. After a meal and some discussion, the men were looking down from the high country to Sodom in the Jordan valley. The Lord revealed that the outcry of wickedness had reached His ears and He was going to verify if “their sin is exceedingly grave.” Abraham knew there would be judgment. So he must have thought of Lot and his household and asked if God would destroy the city if there were fifty righteous people living there.

Fifty. Surely there must be at least fifty righteous people in Lot’s household. But then, Abraham may have remembered the people he rescued earlier and wondered how many of them were righteous. So he “negotiates” the number down to ten. Once again, Abraham is trying to rescue his nephew Lot.

Ten. Abraham couldn’t bring himself to ask for less. God agreed that He would not destroy the city if He found ten righteous people in it. But ten could not be found. The angels forced Lot, his wife and two daughters to escape and told them not to look back. Lot’s wife ignored the warning, so in the end, only three people escaped

Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:7-9)?

If God came to our city today, would He find faith? How many righteous people might be found?

While it’s possible that God would spare a city from disaster if ten righteous people were found in it, God is sovereign and right in all His ways and will avenge the wickedness. A city can be blessed by the godly acts and prayers of the righteous, of Christians that obey the Lord and live according to His rule.

Christians must stand up against violence such as that perpetrated against Muslim worshipers in the mosque in Quebec City this week. Who knows how many lives could be saved or what judgment could be averted when Christians live and act righteously.

Rodents and Rainbows

Ground Hog Day! A day when grown adults in North America consult a rodent to predict the weather for the next 6 weeks. Depending on whether the ground hog sees its shadow or not the prediction is for 6 more weeks of winter or the immediate start of spring. Of course, people who live in areas where the ground is covered with snow for months during the winter may grasp at any hope that the snow will soon melt and green grass will appear.

Consulting rodents is only one example of irrational behavior. Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it (Exodus 32, 1 Kings 12:28). Israel consulted mediums and spiritists rather than God (Isaiah 8:19, 30:2). Hosea says they consulted wooden idols and the diviner’s wand informed them (Hosea 4:12). He says the people were led astray by a spirit of harlotry.

It wouldn’t surprise me if people are led astray by consulting rodents or inanimate objects. The Bible has much to say about wisdom and acquiring wisdom. God offers it free to anyone who asks (James 1:5). Of course, if you are going to ask God for wisdom, it seems obvious that you believe that there is a God and that He keeps His promises. God wants us to know that He is serious about His promises: He gave us the rainbow as a reminder that His promises will never fail.

So then, we have a choice: ask a rodent or trust God’s promises. As for me, I will ask for God’s wisdom and trust His promises.