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Archive for May, 2009

My Son Was Lost…..


What father who loves God doesn’t love his son or sons. Children are a blessing from God and are to be treasured and nurtured. Gabriel Adam isn743415259_755467_889 my son and I am proud to call him that. God has used him to bless me in so many ways and I’ve known since he was very young that God has placed upon him a calling and has a wonderful plan for his life.

When Gabe was four years old he was kidnapped by his mom, who suffers from mental illness, and taken down to Massachusetts. I knew something wasn’t right when she hadn’t returned him home by supper time. Later that evening after exhausting  all possible places she could have taken him, I called the police and put in a missing persons report. I remember spending the night on my office floor crying out to God that they would be found. I couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing my little boy again. So many others were praying as well. At just after 10 am the next day I got a call from the police. They had been found in Springfield, a small city in the south of the state. My wife had taken the train down there at the directions of some people who had promised her that they could make Gabriel and her disappear. Before she got to call or meet them however she suddenly felt ill and got it in her head she was dying of AIDS. She got the people at the train station to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. At the hospital when they started questioning her she became guarded and began acting in a suspicious manner. Because of this and a hunch the doctor had, they checked the missing persons report and sure enough their names came up right away. They took my wife into custody and placed her in a psychiatric hospital and my son was given to child services until they could reach me. They told me that it was really a miracle and that if my wife had not gone to the hospital and had called the people she was supposed to I never would have seen them again. There were groups operating in the area that were into human trafficking. God had his hand on my son that day. It was a miracle!

A few years ago Gabe turned 17 and stopped coming to church. He developed a relationship with a girl he met online. It was a stormy relationship and I watched him go through much hurt and turmoil. He told me he didn’t know if he believed in God anymore and asked how he could pray to someone he didn’t know was there. He told me he had been asking for a long time for God to reveal himself to him but God was so silent and wasn’t answering his prayers. As a father all I could do was pray and look for opportunities to talk with him where I could put in an encouraging word. He also through this time began drinking and tried pot. There were times where this girl really seemed to care about him and then the next day be so distant. At the same time she was dating my son she would be having relationships with other guys as well. She would tell Gabe she needed him but didn’t feel anything for anybody. I would hurt as I would see my son in tears or filled with rage at the hurt he was experiencing.

A couple of weeks ago he noticed an old friend from school online and decided to say hello. She asked him to go to CJYC, which is an annual youth conference held here in Montreal. Gabe had it in his mind that he just didn’t want to go but his friend was persistent and when he said he didn’t have the money to go she told him if he went she would pay for him. Her persistence paid of and he agreed to go. The night before the conference he said his final goodbyes to the girl that had caused him so much pain and confusion and yet he loved so much. It hurt him, but he knew it had to be done.

The Friday night of conference he said was exhausted. He had only slept 2 hours and kept falling asleep but when the alter call came at first he hesitated but finally went down to the front. It surprised him when a single tear fell from his eye and he asked himself where’d it come from. He didn’t know if he believed in God or not. So the next day he decided he was going to go to every concert and every workshop he could. He was determined to hear God’s voice. At the end of the day the alter call was given once again and he didn’t hesitate this time. He prayed God if you are real, please reveal yourself to me. He then heard a voice say, “Gabe I am real!” It was like a dam burst in Gabe’s heart and he began weeping. The Lord showed him that he had written his story long ago and that the way that his girlfriend had treated Gabe was the way Gabe had been treating God. Gabe finally understood the pain that he had been causing God and what it felt like when we ignore Him and run after other lovers. My son recommitted his life to Christ then and there and the Lord told him to go back to the church and 4310_108976645259_743415259_3094632_6964723_nbring his message to them.

My son gave this testimony this past Sunday at church and I marvel at the change in him. God never lets go of those that are His. He is patient and nothing  catches Him by surprise. God still has a lot of work to do in Gabe as he does in all of us. He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6b (NKJV) His testimony touched us who sat there and listened to him as he told it. God is amazing. I love my son and I pray that he will be an inspiration for others. God is the one who named him and as the angel Gabriel brought a message to those who needed to hear it, my son also brought a message as well.

Don’t give up on your children. If you have trained them up in the ways of the Lord, they will come back. Have faith and persevere in prayer. Trust God no matter how dark things may get. God has a plan.

Kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. Luke 15:23-24 (NLT)

Turning Temptation Away


There is a song by Genesis, a group I loved in my youth and still do like listening to even now, called The Lady Lies. It is about a brave soul who rescues a damsel in distress only to find out too late she is a demon in disguise. She says; "Come with me I need you I fear the dark and I live all alone. I’ll give you wine and food too and something special after if you like" And though his body bids him to enter in with her there was something in her manner that his mind could not ignore. She further entices him; “Come to my garden and taste the fruits and the spices of love. You can’t resist me I’m the kind that your dreams tell you of.” The song tells of his reaction to her advances. Some men never listen and other never learn. But why this man did as he did only he will ever know. He knew he was walking into a waiting trap neatly set up for him with a bait so richly wrapped. So he went inside there to take on what he found. But he never escaped them, for who can escape what he desires. This man craved the thing that killed him. He gave in to his temptations and that was his undoing.

Proverbs 7 tells a very similar tale. One in which a young man is enticed by an adulteress to come back to her house, but in the end it only leads to his death. I want you to read through it and look at instead of it being a woman, think about it being something you are tempted by.

 1 Follow my advice, my son;
      always treasure my commands.
2 Obey my commands and live!
      Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes

3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
      Write them deep within your heart.

4 Love wisdom like a sister;
      make insight a beloved member of your family.
5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman,
      from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.

6 While I was at the window of my house,
      looking through the curtain,
7 I saw some naive young men,
      and one in particular who lacked common sense.
8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman,
      strolling down the path by her house.
9 It was at twilight, in the evening,
      as deep darkness fell.
10 The woman approached him,
      seductively dressed and sly of heart.
11 She was the brash, rebellious type,
      never content to stay at home.
12 She is often in the streets and markets,
      soliciting at every corner.
13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
      and with a brazen look she said,
14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings
      and fulfilled my vows.
15 You’re the one I was looking for!
      I came out to find you, and here you are!
16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets,
      with coloured sheets of Egyptian linen.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
      with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
      Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
19 for my husband is not home.
      He’s away on a long trip.
20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him
      and won’t return until later this month.”

21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech
      and enticed him with her flattery.
22 He followed her at once,
      like an ox going to the slaughter.
   He was like a stag caught in a trap,
23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart.
   He was like a bird flying into a snare,
      little knowing it would cost him his life.

24 So listen to me, my sons,
      and pay attention to my words.
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.
      Don’t wander down her wayward path.
26 For she has been the ruin of many;
      many men have been her victims.
27 Her house is the road to the grave.
      Her bedroom is the den of death. (NLT)

Temptation in it’s self is not a sin, but giving into temptation is. The enemy loves to whisper in our ears concerning the things that he knows tempts us the most and he is very good at it. He’s had lots of time to work on perfecting his techniques. For those who battle pornography he uses product placement. Sex permeates our society and it seems to get worse all the time. Wherever you look you can’t seem to ignore it. Men especially fall easily for it because we tend to be affected more by images and sounds but in the end it can lead to the death of natural affection towards those he loves. It can destroy his family and the way he looks at women.

For those that have been hooked on drugs, temptation shouts the loudest when they have money in their hands and if they give in it becomes a slippery slope and they withdraw and look for new ways to support their sin. Even lying to and stealing from those that love them. I can go on and on about the many things that tempt people such as alcohol, stealing, lying, etc…..

If you listen to temptation long enough your brain releases a chemical called dopamine which increases the amount of pleasure you feel at giving in to that temptation and in many ways makes it harder to resist. The longer you contemplate sinning the less you think about the consequences. Right and wrong become fuzzy. Then once you give into sin the dopamine disappears and you head for a down.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:13-15 (NKJV)

The comedian Flip Wilson used to say” The devil made me do it!” The devil can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. Him and his demons are just good at pointing you in the right direction. If we fall and give in to temptation we alone are to blame. Not God, not the devil, nor anyone else is at fault. Only us.

Sin separates us from God and only real heartfelt repentance can restore that fellowship with Him. 

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

How do we beat temptation?

1) Our primary example in overcoming temptation is Jesus.

Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:17-18 (NLT)

2) Read the word of God daily. Nothing has transforming power like the bible does under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It needs to be our daily meat. It renews our minds.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 2:2 (NKJV)

3) Guard you thoughts. Be careful what you allow in through your home through media (T.V., internet, magazines, radio, etc…)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

4) Pray! Daily fellowship with God through pray is a very strong anchor. Pray for each other. Praying for God to help someone else overcome temptation will also strengthen you. Worship God as you pray. It is wonderful the things that God can accomplish in the heart of a worshiper.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 (NLT)

5) Fellowship with other Christians and making yourself accountable to them. This would be included in the previous verse from James. Whenever you feel under attack you need to be able to call someone and pray with them. Confess your weakness to them and let them help and encourage you through prayer and the word.

There is a children’s song that was sung and still in Sunday school; O Be Careful Little Eyes and there is a lot of truth to that song.

O be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little eyes what you see

There’s a Father up above

And He’s looking down in love

So, be careful little eyes what you see

Father, I pray for all my brothers and sisters who will read this, that You will keep them from temptation. Sometimes the enemy comes disguised in ways that are difficult to discern. So I ask that you would help us to see past the pretty packages that he sometimes brings our way. That you would help us to love and support one another and love back in those who fall. Help us to steadfastly hold on to Your word and know that Jesus is ever interceding for us before Your throne. There is coming a day Father when we will no longer be faced with temptation and we look forward to it, but until that day keep us close to you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

 

You Were There!


When I thought all hope was
gone, You found me. When despair overwhelmed my soul with darkness,
Your light found a way a way into my heart. And when I thought I hadn’t
a friend, there You were. Jesus I thank You!

Never Alone


In
the midst of life’s storms there is always a still small voice
whispering, "I love you my child and I am with you. I will never leave you. Will you trust Me
to see you through this?"

You Are the Potter’s Masterpiece


Potter The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: "Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NKJV)

Before we came to Christ we were all imperfect. We were all created in God’s image and yet we were marred by sin. We used the vessels He gave us (our bodies) for dishonour. Many of us felt empty and used by others. There was no purpose to our lives. Created by God and yet marred and broken. When we come to Jesus He begins to remake us into His image. It is a process that sometimes takes our whole lives. It sometimes can be quite painful. Many of us still walk around with scars that have been left over from hurts we have suffered in this life and so we blame God and try to tell Him He is not moulding us correctly. He doesn’t know what He is doing. Oh really? Listen to what God said through His prophet Isaiah. I like it in the New Living Translation because it is direct. 

"How stupid can you be? He is the Potter, and He is certainly greater than you. You are only the jars He makes! Should the thing that was created say to the One who made it, "He didn’t make us"? Does a jar ever say, "The Potter who made me is stupid"? Isaiah 29:16 (NLT)

David was in awe of how God had created him. Each one of us is unique and put together by God.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid outfather-and-child-in-arms
      before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
   And when I wake up,
      you are still with me! Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT)

Did you know you are God’s pride and joy, the jewel of all creation? You are on his mind constantly.

Sometimes pain simply comes because we didn’t obey His word or we have done the things that we wanted to do instead of what He had planned for us. As with Israel in the passage from Jeremiah, you are in His hand. He desires the best for you. He loves you and it is with love He fashions you. Isn’t it better to submit to Him and let Him finish the work He has begun in you. Job declared in the midst of His trials; "He knows the way I take and when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10. We know that when Job came through, God doubly blessed him. As a true worshipper of Christ it will should always be your desire to let the Lord work in your life in whatever way He chooses. He asks for nothing less than our total surrender. Let Him do in you the things He wants to today. Don’t be afraid of the changes He will try to bring about. He knows better than you and can see the end from the beginning.

Today will you declare this to God. "LORD, you are my Father. I am the clay, and You are the Potter. I submit to You and Your will for my life. Lord I want to shine forth as gold to a world that is lost. I want to be a testimony of what the Potter can do to a pot that was broken and marred. Take me, mould me, use me for Your glory." Ephesians 2:10 says; "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

Beautiful Lord, wonderful saviour
I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes

I'm captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You're drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mould me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hands
Hold me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand
The Potter’s Hand – Darlene Zschech

When We Walk With the Lord


Reading through the books of Chronicles has made interesting reading. Even though I have read them before there was something this time that stood out very clearly to me. Something of these books parallels in my life and in the life of every believer. The books of I and II Chronicles follows the events of Judah after the rest of Israel separated from them.

The good kings were; Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah.

The bad things were; Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Ahaz,  Manasseh, Amon, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.

Whenever a king obeyed the ways of the Lord things went well for the kingdom of Judah and whenever enemies came against them those enemies were defeated. But if they did what was evil in God’s sight, the whole kingdom suffered and they suffered defeat at the hands of their enemies. It all goes along with the commandments that were given by God through Moses in which he said:

‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’ Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.

 MtGerizim_MtEbal “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. Now it shall be, when the LORD your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh?  For you will cross over the Jordan and go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you will possess it and dwell in it. And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today. Deuteronomy 11:13-32 (NKJV)

They had been warned beforehand there would be consequences to disobedience, so they were without excuse. The more they cursed God the worse things got for them. But if they turned their hearts around God was able to bless them.

Have you noticed that interesting parallel in our own walks with God? When we serve the Lord with all our hearts and do all that He has required of us, things go well for us. Even in the difficulties we may face God gives us the strength to go through them. There is a peace that goes way beyond our understanding. We can face whatever this world may throw at us. But if we push God aside for a while and set up idols in our lives and give in to sin, things can get pretty messed up. We lose sight of God’s promises and every trial we face seems like an up hill battle. I have seen it in action in my own life. When I obey, things go well and I experience blessing in my life, but when I sin and walk away from God things fall apart and I lose the blessing as well as God’s peace in my life.

The same goes for nations. If a nation decides follow God and His precepts it will go well for them and they will receive a blessing. If not they are cursed. That is why I am very concerned for the United States and Canada right now. They are enacting laws that are contrary to God’s laws. These laws actually make it a crime to speak out or defend your self against certain groups of people who practice unrighteousness. Judgement is coming and only national and personal repentance can turn it around. In the dedication of the temple the Lord spoke to Solomon and said in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14; When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. The same goes for us and our nations today.

The Lord wants our obedience. He won’t force it from us. He wants us to serve Him willingly. Our lives need to be built upon Christ and Christ alone. Only then when will we have the success that we have been promised. Only then will we prosper in all we do.

Jesus said; So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock. and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell–and great and complete was the fall of it. Matthew 7:24-27 (AMP)

I love the old hymn "Trust and Obey" It’s words are awesome and so true.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

           Refrain:
           Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
           To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favour He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

You want a blessed life? You want a life that is truly happy and full? Then obey God’s word and let go of compromise. Turn from unrighteousness and watch for the difference it will make in your life.