Saturday, 15 May 2021

It Is Well With My Soul

It occurred to me yesterday that I am celebrating an anniversary this month. Well, maybe celebrating isn’t really the right word. I am acknowledging an anniversary might be a better word. It was twenty years ago this month, May of 2001, that I left my last position as a church pastor and the pastoral ministry as a whole.

It is hard to believe that twenty years have come and gone since my Rethinking Faith and Church had its genesis. Wow! This blog’s inaugural post was called If The Horse Dies and first appeared publicly in January 2008. Prior to that all musings since leaving the pastoral ministry were private. I am humbled to think that since then this blog has had over 300,000 page views.

What is the future of Rethinking Faith and Church? It is hard to say. For now, at least until the Lord says differently, there really hasn’t been much new rethinking on my part. My institutional church days are long since behind me, my faith in the Lord Jesus remains strong (Praise God!), and it is well with my soul. I really cannot ask for more than that. That’s not to say that I won’t visit an institutional church here or there; I’ve already done that from time to time as I’ve felt the Lord’s leading.

Everyday random musings will continue, but for the most part, they will do so on my other blog hosted on this website, The Other Side of Will. That blog has existed since March 2010 and was originally designed to separate faith and church topics from all other things that interested and amused me.

Why the change now? I’m glad you asked. 😉

I guess the main reason for this combining of two blogs into one is that ultimately I only have one life to live. What I mean by that is, I am a man with a Christian worldview (whatever that means) who has a wide and varied interest in all sorts of things in this life that God has given me. First and foremost I believe in and have my hope in Jesus, but I am also a self-proclaimed humorist who loves a good laugh. I am a bookworm with a significant home library that includes a lot of theology and church history texts. My library also contains some awesome novels (I’m a Ted Dekker fan) and a rather eclectic collection of biographies of world leaders such as Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitler, John Lennon and Pope John Paul II, to name but a few. An interest in linguistics (such as Koine Greek, Latin and others) and foodie experiments further complements my repertoire. How does one separate that? Should one even try to separate that? Lately I am thinking not, and thus a return to only one blog in which to host my online musings.

Well there you have it. Peace and Blessings, friends. God is good. 😊

Ἀμήν, ἔρχου κύριε Ἰησοῦ

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Washed in the Blood

Sometimes one still finds the Gospel message in the most unlikely of places. I saw this cartoon posted on a social media site around Easter this year. I remember thinking, what a powerful image!

I was instantly reminded of a grand old hymn whose chorus asked,

Are you washed in the blood, in the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Yes, in today’s highly secularized world, where Easter has become little more than chocolate bunnies and a long weekend, it was truly refreshing to stumble upon this comic strip.

Kudos to Mastroianni and Hart. Well done.

Friday, 19 March 2021

It’s A New Day


“Give us today
our daily bread.”

“This is the beginning of a new day. I’ve been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.”

Source: Said to be from Genesse Abbey
Photo: Ottawa River, Canada

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Soaring Like Eagles Despite the Crows


“Strengthen me
according to your word.”
-Psalm 119:28

I saw this picture on social media and I was quite taken by it. I have no idea where it came from, or to whom to give credit for it. I don’t even know if it is real or was simply cleverly photoshopped. Suffice it to say, it is not mine, but I liked it and didn’t want to lose it, and so I saved it here. The picture was accompanied by this little blurb:

“The only bird that will peck at an eagle is the crow. He sits on his back and bites his neck. The eagle does not respond or fight with the crow. It doesn’t waste time or energy on the crow. It simply opens its wings and begins to rise higher and higher in the sky. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the crow to breathe. Eventually the crow falls due to a lack of oxygen. Stop wasting your time with the crows. Just take them to your heights and they’ll fade.”

Yes, I quite like that. I was instantly reminded of this well-known text from Isaiah:

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:27-31; NIV)

Who/what are the crows that are holding you down? Tired of all the fighting? Tired of your energy always drained? Tired of your strength always evaporating? Do you not know? Have you not heard? 

“The LORD is my strength and my song.” - Exodus 15:2

“It is God who arms me with strength.” - 2 Samuel 22:33

“The joy of the LORD is your strength.” - Nehemiah 8:10

“The LORD is my strength and my shield.” - Psalm 28:7

“God is our refuge and strength.” - Psalm 46:1

“God is stronger than man’s strength.” - 1 Corinthians 1:25

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:13

Maybe it is time to stop depending on your own power. Maybe it is time for the strength of the LORD. Maybe it is time for some new heights. Maybe it is time to shake off the crows.

Peace and blessings, friends; God is good.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Strong to Meet the Day

I was meditating on this anonymous quote. It comes from that great E. Stanley Jones devotional, Abundant Living (p.239). While there are no doubt many great devotionals out there, this has to be one of my favourites.

Every morning, lean thine arm awhile upon the window-sill of Heaven. Not that I have done this perfectly, for I haven’t, but an early morning daily devotional routine is something that I strongly believe in. Before the sun rises to meet the day, before the rest of the house stirs, a quiet time.

And gaze upon thy Lord. A quiet time in the Scriptures and in prayer, meditating on the things of God, is something that my heart craves. There is a hymn that says, “More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show, More of His saving fullness see, More of His love who died for me.” Yes, I want more of my Lord.

Then, with that vision in thy heart, Turn strong to meet the day. It is a fact of my life, that when I do not have that quiet time, my day is often all out of sorts. With the quiet time, I am much more likely to have the strength I need to meet my day. “Each day has enough trouble of its own,” said Jesus (Mt.6:34). It only makes sense to find the strength we need to meet that trouble. I know of no better way.

I wrote another related little piece you may be interested in called The Quiet PlaceYou can find it here.

Peace and Blessings, friend; God is good. 😊

Photo Source: I took this picture early one morning as I was leaving home. The semi-clouded full moon and the silhouette of my neighbour’s house caught my interest and further reminded me of the hand of my God. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

What Does the LORD Require?

I am at a point in my life where, if it doesn't come from GOD, I am not really interested. Does that sound harsh? I hope not. 

The older I get the less interest I seem to have in the things of the world. There are a plethora of things that seem to rile people up and consume all their energies these days; politics, pandemic, conspiracy theories, perceived violation of personal rights and freedoms. Even (false) prophecies stemming from questionable hermeneutics and done under the guise of Christianity can be ungodly and suspect. After all, Jesus himself cautioned, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15; NIV).

Now that I am north of sixty years of age, I guess my outlook on life has changed somewhat. No, I don't view myself as "old" per se. Maybe with the years I've become a little more enlightened as to what really matters in life. Politics? No! Family? Yes! Career and workplace drama? No! Personal peace? Yes! Maybe with the seemingly increased frequency that we change calendars I've mellowed out a bit. Where years before I also got caught up in the web of politics and aspired to continue climbing the corporate ladder, I no longer have those interests. They have strangely become unimportant to me.

So as the world goes about chasing its tail, buying into media fear-mongering and political double-speak, lost in its chasing of that which is here today and gone tomorrow, I choose to take a step back. What is God saying in all this? What is He really saying? Do we hear Him? If not, could the reason be that we've become a little too wrapped up with the things of the world? Hmm, I wonder some times.

The prophet Micah said long ago, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8; NIV). In these modern times, has God changed His mind on that? No, of course not! God "does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17; NIV). What was considered "good" in God's eyes then is still considered "good" in His eyes today.

I am reminded of the old Helen Lemmel hymn, The Heavenly Vision. The chorus went like this: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace."

On what or whom are our eyes focused? Yes, I am at a point in my life where, if it doesn't come from God, I am not really interested. Rather, I choose to focus my energies first and foremost on trying to hear that which God would say to me today. Where is Jesus in all this other stuff? I am certainly not saying that I have it all figured out, but it's the path I find myself on these days.

Peace and Blessings, friends. God is good. 😊