James MacDonald on the Signs of the Times

James MacDonald, of Walk in the Word, interrupted his usual preaching series to spend the past two weeks on a study of current events and the prophecies of the bible concerning the last days. With all that’s gone on this year, the Oregon community college mass shooting, Russia in Syria, ISIS torturing and executing Christians and others, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 which is still ongoing in some countries in West Africa, famine and drought in Ethiopia, earthquakes in Chile and all around the world, and wars and conflict around the world, and every tragic, sorry we hear on the nightly news–this was a very timely series to remind Christians we should not only be living in view of a a good Christian life but also in view of the time we have left.

signs2
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signs1
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The important thing to remember about doom’s day predictions is not that it’s supposed to happen on a given day, but that it’s going to happen any day, at any moment. Live then as if you were out of time and up for account, so that in any day, in any moment, you have encouraged yourself to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” -mjg/12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

718 Days of Bible Verses

Congratulations to those who haven’t muted me yet for sharing bible verses, you’re very kind and patient! ;) For the record, since August 2012 when I started, you’ve witnessed about 718 days of bible readings, 453 verses shared, 52 books of the bible cited, 3 books shared from every chapter (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon), and 2 complete bible read-throughs (sometimes sequential, sometimes alternating OT/NT).

Why would I do this? Because I believe “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) and I trust God when he says “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).

These verses were shared primarily on Facebook and later ones simultaneously on Twitter (usually in shorter forms) on @Shovas .

Soli Deo Gloria

Without further adieu, 718 days of bible verses…

Continue reading “718 Days of Bible Verses”

Lives of Quiet Desperation

Henry-David-ThoreauMy father, on more than one occasion, has referenced this quotation in various discussions on purpose and meaning: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation“. I’ve been thinking about that lately. So, I Googled the phrase this evening and came across this enlightening write up, entitled Quiet Desperation, on the words, the man behind them, and where those thoughts can lead, either for good or for ill. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste,

One night very early on in a life, a young boy lay back on the rocky New England soil, contemplating the heavens,  “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” This quest became one of the primary motivators of his life — one might say he never stopped looking into nature for the ultimate truth.

But what did Henry David Thoreau mean by his famous observation, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”?

You may have seen those Facebook/Twitter/Instagram memes, the ones that say something to the effect of “Everyone you meet is battling inner demons that you known nothing about.” It’s so true. As much as we want to be open and free with our feelings and emotions with friends and family there are some things too deep, too subtle, too sensitive, to speak openly about. I think of the late Robin Williams. A man of laughter but a man of surprising inner turmoil to the point of ultimate desperation. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to, know that you have a friend in Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16,17

Soli Deo gloria

New Year’s Eve 2012

Praise the LORD!
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever!
Psalms 106:1

Thank you, Lord, for this past year. I am amazed at Your goodness, your will for me, your blessings to me and opportunities to serve you.

You know I haven’t had the best of days
But I want to stop and thank you anyway

Cuz every single moment whether sleeping or awake
Is your creation
And what you’ve made is good
I don’t always thank you for the rough days and
The hard times in my life
Even though I should

It’s odd to come to this point in the year and be thinking about O.C. Supertone’s Jury Duty but that’s how I feel about this year, particularly the lyrics referring to being thankful for the “rough days and hard times.” Oddly enough, these feelings aren’t about screw ups, or what we often think of as punishment or God’s discipline, but instead it had to do with positive decisions on my part that are causing anguish for a time with the hope of long term reward. I did this knowingly, but it’s one thing to understand a thing in the mind, it’s another to execute and endure that thing in the flesh over a period of time.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalms 27:13-14

I will wait and trust in the Lord for his good plans because I know what He has planned for me exceeds my vain dreams and fantasies. I know this first hand.

One thing I have found invaluable this year is reading the scriptures. For the latter half of 2012 I started posting certain verses from my daily reading of the bible to Facebook. The reason I do this is because (1) I know God’s Word is living and active, and (2) I have always had difficulty describing just how brilliant the bible really is. So I decided to let God’s Word speak for itself since God has said it will not return empty. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of those who hear the Word and there will be results – I don’t have to dress up God’s Word.

Once again I think I’ll close with the words to Blessed Be Your Name as a reminder to myself to give thanks in all things,

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Selah.

My Mornings

Having just come back from PEI, I enjoyed waking up with Micah, my brother, and Lindsey and Arden, his wife and daughter, to sit out on the front porch, fresh roasted coffee in hand, overlooking his yard stretching down to a small bridge crossing a small river. While I was there, the bridge was under construction, making lots of noise, and, in spite of this, we would actually sit in the sun, watching and talking, for close to an hour each day.

My mornings here, in Ontario, on the other hand, are hectic, uncomfortable, and stressful. I usually wake up resentfully clinging to a few more moments rest. Then, I struggle dozily out of bed and down the stairs to the computer where I check email for about 10 minutes. I don’t have coffee or breakfast here. I save that to eat at work (usually just a bagel, anyway). I then start daily personal hygiene, like shaving my head and showering. Then, I head back up stairs to my room where I read my Bible for about 20 minutes, alternating Old and New Testament and either Psalms or Proverbs. Then, it’s off to work in Toronto traffic on the 401.

I’ve always said I enjoy the first few moments of the day at work when I just plop down in my seat and nothing’s begging to be done yet. Maybe that’s because it’s my least stressful part of the day…

Would I change things up to achieve mornings like those I had in PEI? Should I? I’m sure it’s not half as great as it seems as I didn’t have work on the horizon of my morning to bother me as I relaxed on the porch. I certainly couldn’t find the same job out there and I don’t think I’d be as satisfied with the work, itself. And what’s a morning, anyway, without people to spend it with? As surely I presently have no one to spend it with anyway.

I guess I will just keep doing my thing. I do have something in mind. I don’t intend to live without attempting to get to a better place. But, for now, I just need to trust God to walk me through.

New Year’s Day 2012

Happy New Year! May your heart warm again to hope by the very sunshine shone forth only from the trust put in Jesus Christ, Saviour of your soul, God, Who knows the good plans He has for you!

Allow me to open 2012 with an old stand by, for the “old school Sanctus Real fans…”

Things were better last year. Things will be better this year.

Thank you, God, for blessing me, thank you for helping me be a blessing, thank you for changing me. You have shown your faithfulness in spite of my unfaithfulness. You have answered my prayers, you have carried me through, you have lead me and guided me according to your Will for me, revealing to me day by day your plans to bless me so incredibly. I am amazed that you care for the things that I care about. Forgive me for having such little faith. I believe, help my unbelief! Thank you for the sacrifice of Your Son on the cross for me, a sinner. May I ever more and ever better be Your servant.

Lord, you know my heart’s desire. Please bless me with opportunities to be a blessing, please bless me with courage and confidence to seize those opportunities, please bless me with Your creativity to create opportunities! I believe your best for me is yet in my future. This I know because I have seen Your great hand at work! I will wait on You, I will trust in You.

The Lord, God, He is Good. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Selah.

New Year’s Eve 2011

Truly, the light of the Son has shone on each day more wonderfully than the last! These words, penned New Year’s Day 2011 echo back to me from distant memory and remind me of the immediate flood of blessings I have had each day of this year!

Twenty-Eleven began with a running start. In the Fall of 2010 I made a commitment before the Lord, which I am still working through, and hope to do so for the rest of my life. As New Year’s 2011 commenced, my faith, my life, and my hopes were placed in God’s able hands. My commitment was to someone special, my aim to be a blessing to her and her family, my promise before God to remain steadfast to them, my request before God that he bless me so I could be a blessing, and my plea before God to change me – that I would be a better servant to him day by day.

The Lord has answered so many prayers. I am amazed that He hears and not only hears but answers! One of my constant prayers this past year has been that I would be able to see opportunities arising where I could be a blessing, that I would have the courage and confidence to seize those opportunities, and that I would be granted God’s own creativity to create opportunities to be a blessing. God has overflowed me with amazing opportunities and, more surprising still, He has used these opportunities to other ends than I had intended so that I ended up being more incredibly blessed than I would have thought. I am blown away by the way He works. I love His ways!

I have also been learning not simply to hope for good things but to trust God who has planned for our good, if we would only have faith and trust Him and follow Him so that he can carry out in our life something more wonderful than we could ever have dreamed up on our own!

Praise Him, all creatures here below! Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host! The Lord God, “majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders,” this God, His hand has been on my days, His plans for me from everlasting have been revealed day by day and I am laid low that I have gripped so tightly to fantasies when God’s workings are so much better, so surprisingly delightful, so unexpected and joy abounding!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

I don’t know about becoming a Cannonball this past year but the Lord has lifted my head, lead me, and carried me forward. I have continued to read His Word on my phone, now using AcroBible NIV. I have abandoned cable television and, with it, The Light, a cable radio station which broadcasts quality Christian music. I have moved to iTunes, mostly, and have found I can get most of the music I want to find. As I talked about in my New Year’s Eve 2010 post, I have stayed with my “christian” playlist and I find there is truth and wisdom and peace in immersing one’s self completely in things good, and pure, and noble.

This year I have been trying to keep a habit of reading a few key, biblical promises, that I first heard from James MacDonald’s series Always True. Listen to the audio series yourself and I think you’ll experience the same uplifting joy I felt coming to understand God’s intention for our blessing! I would read one promise per day, Monday through Friday, in the hope that I’d never forget God’s love and care for me. This year has taught me fully that God is always watching over us, waiting for us to come back to Him, that He could bless all the more being within His Will.

One of my most feared understandings of God is His sovereign Will to humble anyone He so chooses. I have often prayed that He would humble me before I needed to be humbled. One weekend, in particular, turned into such a humbling for me, but the night lasted only so long and joy came with the morning. I understand better, now, what is being said in the beautiful song, Blessed Be Your Name. God is good!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

God is so good!

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Selah.