Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The End?

This morning the Lord led me to Revelation 19 for my morning reading and it seemed very odd to me. Part of the reason is that lately I have been in Paul's epistles trying to learn about how grace and action work together, the other part is that since moving on from the Alliance church years ago Revelations kind of faded into the background. It has been like I put it back up on the shelf in favor of the other 65 books. This morning though, the Lord took it down, dusted it off for me and got me thinking about perspectives. Revelations 19 is about the marriage of the Lamb and the final defeat of the beast and the false prophet, it is glad tidings to the saints of the final great victory of our King and the revelation of our place in it all. The perspective came in when I realised that it is pretty rare that I think about what those last days will be like for me, or if I go before it happens, what the end of my days will look like. I am not sure if it is the death part that averts my eyes from the latter, but it is a place I rarely go. Truthfully the death part I think about, but the afterward is something that skips away like a rock on still water. I think it will be healthy to start thinking on these things again. The church I am in now focusses a lot on prophecy of the gifting kind and somewhere along the way I forgot about the prophecy of the 'end kind'.

One of our pastors and his wife used to preach about how they would meditate on heaven and what the bible says it will be like as a part of following the rich traditions of our forefathers in the faith. This led them to revelations about the greatness of the hope that is spelled out in the epistles again and again. It caused them to lift their eyes up from this earth as it says in Col. 3:1 and set them in the great reality of God's kingdom. It inflamed their faith. I guess if my hope is placed in something I never look at or think about it will become a weak and trivial thing, unable to look at the world with an active faith. This world will become all and my faith will be but a shade on its face.
The interesting thing about all this is the amount of opposition I can feel inside of me to this whole proposal. There is a great shouting going on all around me (not my kids :) )which is saying that this is too much effort, saying that it is easier to just slide on by and let the end be what it will be. There is a great opposition which tells me that this is the way I should go. The marriage of the Lamb is about invitation not opposition..........yet.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

How True This Is!!

Cris and I read these together and could not help but laugh. Hope you enjoy.
If you want to see the cool blog they came from just check out the link.

Free, free, free!!!

Well it is almost that great day when we remember the fact that Jesus not only died for us, but He rose again. I love how Paul puts it in Colossians 1:18 ,"who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead". Wow, the dead being born again, what a hope. I feel dead a lot of days, like I am dragging a carcass around by the sheer force of will. Sometimes it is just the feeling of getting older and sometimes it is the feeling of this world getting older, but either way there is a weight to it. That is when I think of this great truth, He was the firstborn from among the dead. If there was a firstborn that means there are others and if it is from the dead then it is to the living. This means I am alive!!! It doesn't matter how I feel at that point there is a welling up in my spirit of hope and joy unspeakable (1Pet. 1:8). There is also a truth in the fact that Jesus Christ led the way, it means it is He who is holding the door open for all who will follow. The emphasis is on will because I can choose whether to believe this and live in it or to sit in the idea of death even in the midst of life abounding. This life is in Him who holds the door, and who is going to make Him close it? No one!!!!! He has already disarmed the enemy and made a public spectacle of them (Col 2:15), so they are no longer a threat to this great promise of life are they?? If, like me, you hear some reservations going through your head when you read this now is the time to tell them where to go! Now is the time to believe what is true even if all others are liars (Rom. 3:4), and this includes our own minds. This is the life that He suffered and died for ! It is for freedom that He set us free (Gal. 5:1)!! Let us now live then because the Firstborn from the dead is alive! Let us live then because He is full of abounding life! Let us live!

Thank you Jesus for the enduring greatness of your love
Thank you Jesus for life!!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

You Go Sister

What a refreshing blog this was to read. Just straight up faith, love and devotion. Living here in N.A. it can be easy to forget, but like a cold water on a hot day, this kind of faith just invigorates. No colliding issues and ponderings, just God. This is what I want.
My wife and I talked yesterday about the fact that we tend towards wanting to hear faith via worship music, messages, books, and even blogs; but we have a much harder time speaking out of our own hearts. Not the regurgitation of another's professions either. We're talking about straight off the walls of our hearts like dayglo graffiti in the darkness. One regurgitation I will give comes from John Wesley and it goes like this," Preach faith till you have it, and then you will preach because you have it."
I think this blog is about to change......

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Closed Doors & Septic Sores

This is a sign of some times, maybe our times, that appears on many places where there is no soil in which to place a post, just flesh. A sign appearing on many lives and hearts, a sign justifying and isolating. When I come to the foreground of my life's relationships and turn around to take a brief look at myself I see that this sign stands at the door to where I really live. This is the sign most people see when they try to get a little closer. Depending on who we are this sign will be placed closer or further away from the edges of our property to warn away potential visitors from entering an area where they may meet hostility or maybe just a closed, unmarked door. It will also depend on who the visitor is. With a post in the earth this would be difficult, but flesh moves so readily at times that there is little effort at all. It is also interesting to note that the harder the flesh becomes the harder it is to move the sign back and forth and this will keep it posted at the outer limits of the heart in a more permanent fashion.

All of these signs are placed by the owners, or at least by the tenants. Tenants have temporary rights to the land on which they dwell and must secede to the legal rights of the owner when said owner presses said rights. This is indeed the case with our hearts; we are tenants with temporary and transitory rights to our hearts. The owner will one day demand an accounting of the use of this heart He made for us.
This fact of other ownership also brings up some interesting side issues. This owner has also set the boundaries and laws governing the land on which we reside. While He has given a great and varying leeway to the tenants and this leeway is by definition given in the presence of the governing laws. One of these governing laws is the one which describes the boundaries of each person's property. At this point I call to mind a picture of landowners and developers who have surface water running through their land and across its fixed boundaries. Many a western movie and at least one episode of Bonanza had this as the central theme of its story; what the guy upstream is doing is hurting those downstream. Of course in the movies this guy is always an abrasive cuss who must needs be shot to correct his errant ways, but not so in real life.
In the real world we are all tenants who are responsible not only for the land on which we live, but also that of our neighbours. The things which we do on our 'private property' do have ramifications for those around us. It doesn't matter if it is burning leaves in the backyard or some of the darker things we do in the basement, none of this is retained on our land exclusively. The Owner has crafted the land under these immutable laws. Whatever effluent is found in our hearts will run under the fence and onto the next guy's property. How many lies have I believed about the darkness of my heart which were crafted specifically to protect the downstream flow of shit? This makes the ecology of our heart a most dire circumstance demanding our full attention. The cleanliness of this place is of great import to the Owner as it is with any landlord, the only difference being that this Landlord will aid in any way possible if He is inquired of. Wow, He is really quite amazing, isn't He?! Of course when He comes to help out on the land He will put up His own sign on the edge of the property which will determine the rights and actions of others while they are there. With it being His sign it also means He will make the rules, but it is the only way to clean the place up without dumping it all over the fence, or under it. His sign is the only way.

Patience Little One

Wow, do I hear this a lot. Patience....wait...no, just wait...could you wait a minute? These are things that come out of me when my kids are pulling at my pantleg and I can't, don't or won't respond instantly to their queries. As with so many other things even as I am saying this I can hear my Father playing back the urgency of my requests for Him. Sometimes it is hard to believe how I am reflected in my kids and how justified I feel in being this way with God. I usually chalk it up to being childlike and forget that He never said anything about being childish. Hmmm, wonder what childlikeness really looks like.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Here We Go Again?

Well tonight my wife is off learning how to teach an ESL class while I am at home looking after the kids. It seems we are heading in the direction of the border again and as before we have no idea when or where. Cris sees this as a step in that direction and the course is tied to the Hope For The Nations group as a tool towards helping orphans. We have had it on our hearts for a long time to go overseas and help at an orphanage and now God seems to be leaning into it with us. Like I said a couple of posts down, when the wind blows you gotta steer.
A few years back when we were in Saskatoon the Lord started impressing on us that we would be moving and we both started thinking of the obstacles which would hinder this. At the time I had started a home based contracting business and saw no way of relocating so I dismissed this as just being our notion. Then one day at work the thought came out of nowhere that I could perhaps hook up with a friend in Calgary and this got the wheels turning. Suddenly the possibilties began to open up and so did my mind. I think my spirit smiled and chuckled, cuz it knew all along. In the end we did move and everything worked out great.
Now there is the move to China last year that we must consider. Just like the thought about Calgary came out of nowhere so did this move; literally. On November 3ish I heard about the job in Shanghai and on December 11 I was there. Prior to this we were not even looking in that direction even remotely. Now God has our attention and we are leaning into what He has for us. No idea where, but....

Thursday, March 03, 2005

More Later

I promised more later and here it is. I will let you sift these words and see if they reveal to you what God revealed to me.


O wondrous shores
Glorious in sun’s rising
Pure Aryan purity
Laid in humble welcome
Warmth of your bosom
Holds me in thrall
Sweet servitude
Submission of joy
Your sifted sands
Ever unmarred
Bear no ill of passage
Passed upon my return
Your sister surf
Serves subtle summons
Drawing me to cross
Her boundless borders
Today exploring
And tomorrow
Bound only to gaze
Here I bathe without lye
Before I withdraw
To lie without and bathe
Beneath sun’s warming gaze
Only knowing

Brad the Dad (Feb 2001)

Down, But Not Out

Well, here I am at home on a work day with a knee injury. It sucks to be off work and yet not able to do things I enjoy, but I guess that is the nature of a sick day. I will be hobbling around the house to help the wife so as to not feel totally useless. I find days like this challenge me on a different level as well, that level where, as a man, I feel the deep desire to be useful and needed. Sometimes the enemy of my soul can come in on a day like this and really wreak some havoc, but lately God has been teaching my wife and I so much about rest. For example, when it comes to finances, which comes into play with time off of work. When we were working in China we were making very good money and a friend at work here asked me if it was hard financially to come back. Now understand that I am not at the top of the payscale out here, I work construction and live in subsidised housing (bit of a change from China). I told him that honestly it was not difficult because, you see, we know this Guy who has a whack of cows on a whole bunch of hills. This has become our standard reply to financial woes now. It is a reply of peace.
This rest is reaching into so many places and bringing peace. Even in the realm of our church life. There is so much ado about a-doing that it can become difficult to really know what I am to be a-doin'. I read one dad's testimonial about this dilemma and I so agree. Paul even told us:

32 I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.
33 But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
34 and he is divided.

So this speaks to me of the freedom that I have as a husband and a father to be free from the anxieties Paul saw in the men of the church. This has been the rest that God is showing us. We pray for and reach out to our neighbours, we attend church with an intention to bless others, we give, and yet we rest in this peace. This peace that tells me it is Christ who holds me, not a ministry. It is Christ who fills me, not my job. It is Christ who sends me, not man. It is Christ. This is a discpline which will reach into our lives when our kids are out of the house years from now as well. You see, it can be easy to get into doing and we use the old adage of the ship needs to be moving for the rudder to work and direct, but pardon me for being so brash as to say what a pile of s@#* that is. Be still and know that He is God. In quietness and assurance is our strength.
Perhaps the picture of the boat needs to be taken back to the times when there were no motors and they had to rely on the wind. Rest is knowing that it is okay for the wind to not be blowing and also knowing that when the wind is blowing the rudder will work. Works is all about gettin' that paddle in the water when the wind stops and rowing for all we are worth. I guess rest is just knowing. And it is so good to just know. All the good works God preordained for us lie in this place.
More on this later....I have some wife pleasing to go do.