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Nobody is more Gracious than God

Atheists like to paint God as a hateful being, but there is nothing that could be further from the truth. God willingly sent His Son to die for His creation. We often take this for granted, but it is truly amazing. It would be comparable to sacrificing your son for a computer. This is incomprehensible to us, such that, it is difficult to even accept the comparison. God's demonstration of this kind of gracious love is one of the major reasons why I follow Jesus so willingly and absolutely. Even though there is a lot of pain and suffering in this world, it is not because of a lack of love. If God is willing to sacrifice His Son, there is nothing that He would hold back unless it was the only way.
Many people see the state of the world and think they would allow a lot less evil and pain, but the truth is it would be so much worse. Nobody is more gracious than God, we should all put ourselves at His mercy, just like King David did: "I am in great distress. Let us fall into the ha…

Praying for a Sign

"He's an atheist now?" I exclaimed, "What happened?" He really wanted a girlfriend but could not find one, so he prayed for a sign that God loved him. The sign he was looking for never came.
What sign would have convinced him? A million dollars, tax free, in the bank, or perhaps a new promotion at work? Or, was there really only one sign he was looking for? The answer seems obvious enough, and his "prayer" a bit disingenuous. He wasn't really praying at all, he was giving God an ultimatum. 
God is no one's fool. What more can God do to show that He loves the world, than give His only Son? Those who refuse that sign, will not receive another one.
"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." But He answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of…

Sitting for Truth

Standing up for truth is rare in our society. Most people avoid standing in the name of middle ground, "not stirring the pot," or simply self-preservation.  Those who do it out of self-preservation are cowards and they know it, but the others still think they have virtue. Of course, there are situations where at least the first two are valid responses, but not all situations.
Middle grounders are like parasites, they can't have an opinion unless there are two people with opposing opinions first. And, they don't take a stand until the sides have been picked. Truth is like a bullseye, it doesn't count for 50 unless you hit the mark. Those who take middle ground between what is right and what is wrong are also wrong. Unfortunately, they often think of themselves as wise because they think they can see how both of the sides are wrong, but they are fools for not realizing the nature of truth. Truth needs to be determined on its own merits.
Those who "don't st…

Practical Christian Philosophy - Don't get caught holding the bag

Alison was an important ambassador for a great country living in a very luxurious country. She made over 6 figures a year and enjoyed the best of what this life had to offer. Alice had a house, a luxury car, and everything else she desired. It was like Santa came for Christmas one year and left the whole bag at her house.

Then one day she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door and the lights of the cameras blinded her as the reporters shoved microphones in her face. "What have you done with all of the money that you made?" The reporters had done their homework and knew about every penny she had spent. Alison knew that she was in trouble, and there was not much she could do. If only she could go back in time, but that was impossible. Instead of maximizing the interests of her country, she had got caught up in the interest of the foreign country. She got caught holding the bag.

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be …

Finding God

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in very much (Luke 16:10). Every day of our lives we are faced with little decisions, they seem insignificant at the time, but in the end they plot the course of our life. Our tendency is to think the opposite. We evaluate our lives on the big decisions, but the problem is that by the time we realize we are making bad decisions it is already too late.

Adultery is the result of lustful thoughts. Lustful thoughts are not the result of adultery. Pornography, the second look, and wondering thoughts all lead to adultery. In fact, they are the foundation of adultery. Every time that these "small" actions remain unjudged is another step down the road of adultery.

Lying seems innocuous at first, but it ends in self-delusion. At first lying is about not offending people, then it is about being in a difficult situation, then it is about it not being a big deal, a…

Credit Card Leaders

Polling is not leadership. The most popular decisions are not always the right decisions. Rather leadership requires someone to maintain the course chosen even in the face of adversity. It may not be popular, but it must be right.
Over the last decade there has been a lot of emphasis on leadership, but there has been little emphasis on being right. Politicians, the leaders of our countries, are generally thought of as liars who do whatever it takes to win the next election. Unfortunately, they are simply a reflection of ourselves which leaves us very little to be upset about.
The difference between good leadership and bad leadership ultimately comes down to truth. It has the perspective of eternity, not seconds. There are too many credit card leaders out there: Those who want immediate acceptance of their leadership, but have no idea if where they are going will pay off. 
Popularity and tradition not the pillars of truth, and indecision is not the pinnacle of decision making. Now ther…

Illiterate Men

Instead of men leading their families in accordance with the word of God they are sitting on the couch and behaving like boys. Playing sports, watching TV, hunting, and going out with the boys are considered the tasks of a man. What happened to providing, protecting, and piloting their families?
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27). It is a total abdication of responsibility to have your wife running the home. This is not an endorsement of mutual submission or of totalitarian rule, but of leading with the best interest of your wife at heart. This goes for children too. God has not made you a parent for your kids to tell you what to do. It is your job to teach your children so that they are bless…

Fools Questionaire

Do you listen to advice?The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (12:15).Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (28:26).Do you react immediately to every insult or do you hold back your emotions in the heat of the moment?The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult (12:16).A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back (29:11).Do you listen carefully to what others are saying or are you only waiting until your chance to speak?A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of a fools proclaims folly (12:23).A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion (18:12).Do you seek understanding?The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly (15:14)Do you consider what people say when they rebuke you?A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a f…

Unity in Truth

It is telling that the church seems to divide more than it reconciles. Churches seem to divide mostly because people don't like each other. Instead of it breaking their hearts they rejoice that they are right, more concerned about being right than about the people they are leaving behind. Ironically, they often divide over issues that are less important/critical than the unity that Jesus desires for His Church. Jesus prayed,
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21).  A situation that causes division should be considered against the unity that God desires, since it would be clearly going against Jesus' prayer for us. But, as often is the case, that is not the end of the story. Earlier in the prayer, Jesus prayed,
Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth. As you sent…

Good Advice

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words (Proverbs 23:6-8).  Make sure that you don't borrow or ask favours from somebody who is cheap because in the end you will regret it. Cheap people insist that everything be fair when somebody is borrowing from them, but will take what they can get when they are borrowing from somebody else. If they are getting a good deal the other person must be getting a bad deal. Borrow and get money from them at your own risk, because they will require every last penny and even more, since they always get the better end of the deal. The end of the matter is that they will not like you, or you will not like them.

Living Humbly in Truth

Truth has a bad name. It is often associated with being unkind, judgmental, and not important. But truth is about reality, and God is the Truth. If we knew truth perfectly, we would know God perfectly, because He is the ultimate reality. If you don't value truth, you don't value God.

In our day and age there is a crisis of truth. Many people have given up on it because they don't think it is possible to find. There is too much information and we are too biased by our social context to come to a knowledge of it. These are valid concerns and they must be taken seriously, but does that mean it is impossible to know what is real?

Stephen Hawking, recognized as one of the smartest people of our generation, thinks the world came into existence from nothing. I think he is wrong. But how can I, not one of the smartest people in the world, think that, especially when it is his area of expertise? Jihadist around the world think that if they die a "suicide bomber" they will…

Freedom to Think

Politics is more often associated with lying than governing people. Most of us don't like politics, whether it is at work or in the news. Withholding information, misleading, and deception are all associated with politics. However, politics are necessary for people to live together.

Governing or leading people is not easy. People can be lazy, indifferent, and seemingly always irrational. Why is it that people can hold such different and opposing views, and yet always believe they are right? Wait a minute! How can I think that I am right in making that assertion?

Homosexuality and abortion are issues of today, and seemingly more and more people support them, notwithstanding that they are contrary to life. Even making that statement is enough to cause people to get angry and become intolerant and bigoted, claiming that people who make those kind of statements are hateful (although it is really the opposite). It is this sentiment that makes politics so difficult. People will never ge…

Revelation - God's Chosen People Restored

Revelation is a difficult book to understand definitively, but it is easy book to understand generally. The main themes shine through and God's plan for history is made plain.  In this post we will look at one of the general themes with regards to God's chosen people. Throughout history God has chosen people to be created in His likeness, but they have failed. Ultimately, these chosen people will be united at the end of history as we see in the book of Revelation.

Adam and Eve were the first people God chose. When God created them He said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were not content with being made in the image of God, but wanted to be like God and deciding between good and evil. As a result the world became more and more wicked until God judged it with a flood. After this, He made a covenant with Abraham.

The promise given to Abraham was fulfilled in part by the nation of Israel.
And I will establish my covenant b…

The Rape of Jennifer Lawrence and Others...

Over the last couple weeks nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and others were leaked. They were stolen from their private online accounts and posted on multiple websites. Unfortunately, most websites are not legally required to block the posting of these pictures.

Anybody who posted or looked at those pictures should be charged as a sex offender. This is a violation of someones privacy that is criminal. It doesn't matter that taking nude pictures of yourself is a bad idea or that some of them have already published nude pictures of themselves.

Imagine that you show up to work and find out that the night before someone sent nude pictures of you to everybody in the office. Would you feel violated, embarrassed, and sick to your stomach? How long would it take for you to leave work and never come back? In this scenario you can escape, but not when they are published online. There will always be these naked pictures for their kids and grandchildren to discover. Now, imagine that you ar…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 12

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecc. 12:13-14). From the dust of the ground our bodies came, and from the dust of the ground our bodies will return. Death makes everyone's life pointless, unless there is something that continues on after death. The benefits of fearing God and keeping his commandments last long after life on the earth, because there is life after death.

Made-to-Order Religion - The oldest religion around.

The most fascinating people are those who believe that "God" exists, but don't subscribe to any religion. They sometimes claim that all religions lead to the same "God, " or that "God" is a combination of all religions.
However, the one thing every human must admit is that they are not God, and therefore they must look for the knowledge of God outside of themselves. But claiming that all religions are equal or parts of a whole is a claim to know what God is like, which is a religion itself. It is a religion of One where personal preference, experience, and supremacy determine reality. This kind of religion should be the easiest to know it is not true, but it seems that it is one of the fastest growing religions in the western world. There are many different monotheistic religions in the world, but one thing they all have in common is that they look for God outside of their own experience, at least the followers. 
This made-to-order religion has existe…

Is Being Gay a Choice?

It is conceivable that certain people are more attracted to the same-sex than the opposite-sex, since each gender has a wide range of masculinity and femininity. However, this is just an observation. The scientific community seems to waffle on this topic in both directions, so there is clearly no direct link.
The problem with this question is that it is not asked in the right context. Relationships are not only about sex, but about gender, which is often overlooked (assuming that being gay is more than just about sex) And,  there can be no question, scientifically speaking, that there are genes that determine gender; Female's are XX and Male's are XY. This makes it unlikely that any future research into a gay gene would find stronger evidence than that. 
Also, it is interesting that in many gay relationships it is common for someone to take on the female role and the other person to take on male role. This is another indicator that there is indeed a biological predisposition t…

Lessons Malachi

Times have changed. Christianity no longer enjoys a privileged position in society, in fact, we are often marginalized and belittled. Curiously, the most vociferous opponents are often those with a Christian background of some kind. This is most likely because Christianity teaches that people are bad and not good like we all want to think. Nobody wants to be told that they are wrong and will face the consequences, but that will not change their outcome. Living in this type of environment is a challenge for Christians, since we also have been impacted by these changes in society. We have developed attitudes that need correction because of living in this godless culture.

Malachi was written, thousands of years ago, to Judah during a time in which they were trying to reestablish themselves in a godless world. The attitudes they had then are very similar to our own now and hopefully will illuminate our own shortcomings. Let's look at their complaints and the parallels today.

"How…

Learn Unsatisfaction in 10-Minutes a Day

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My wife and I recently went to my cousins wedding in Florida. We were only going for a weekend, but my wife really wanted to go water skiing at the Swiss Waterski Resort. As we were discussing our plans, it became clear that it would be very difficult to make it to the school. It would require us to leave early and miss out on planned events. It then dawned on me that we were making all of these plans for 10 minutes of skiing. The decision became very clear after that.

This situation is like sin in our lives. Sin is "enjoyable" for the 10 minutes it lasts, but it causes us to miss out on the more important things in life. It is similar to eating a good meal that tastes so good that we go back for seconds. The taste is so delicious that we think we will be satisfied if we can just have a bit more. However, the satisfaction never comes and we feel sick to our stomachs and eventually will become obese. Food is enjoyable, but is typically forgotten once it is eaten, and without s…

Moncton Mass Murder and Modernity

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This week the news has been filled with the murder of David Ross, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, and Douglas James Larche. The whole country watched with bated breath for the capture of the Moncton murderer. The news of his capture and arrest brought waves of condemnation.
There is no question that this person's capture is something to be celebrated, but we need to be careful not to lay all the blame at his feet. Yes, he acted as an individual, but there were clearly influences in his life from the society around him. Our society has become more and more violent, which is demonstrated by the rise of sports such as MMA, violent video games, and violence in movies. Instead of focusing on the murderer we need to look at we can do as a modern society to prevent these kinds of events.

The killer listened to Megadeth. Maybe we should ask ourselves if this is the type of music that should be allowed in our society. The song that was posted on the murderer's website was called "Hook i…

Pamela Anderson and Humanity

It is fairly easy to think that we are all good people deep down, but if we reflect on our lives for a moment we will realize how much pain and evil we have caused. Often times we don't even realize it because there is no direct connection, but we are still part of the problem. Pamela Anderson, a well known Canadian actress who made a living off the sexualization of her body, just came out with sexual-abuse allegations during the launch of the Pamela Anderson Foundation.
Women who use their bodies in sexual ways often have a backstory like Pamela's. The loss of dignity and self-worth at a young age leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. We react in shock and anger when we hear about her childhood, but we don't see our connection to her adult career. Pamela may have been an adult when she decided to use her body sexually to make money, but it was the events of her childhood that drove her to that decision.
Every human being is of infinite value in the eyes of God. We know …

Qualifications for Elders

In a previous post we looked at God's design for men and women in general, but today we will look at the application of those differences. In the Bible we read that God has designated that the office of an Elder be only held by a man. However, not just any man can hold the office of an Elder, he must have the following characteristics:
An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He may not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil (1 Tim. 3:1-7). Let'…

Otherhood

Melanie Notkin the a New York City-based author of Otherhoood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness, was interviewed by Sarah Boesveld regarding the contents of the book.

Melanie defines Otherhood as,
Otherhood is a cohort of women, mostly Generation X — the women who were born expecting that they’d have the social, economic and political equality our mothers weren’t born with, but that we’d have the husband and kids that they got. So many of us are among the most well-educated, the most financially independent — some of us are the most fabulous women — and remain single and childless as our fertile years wane. However, Melanie does not see this as a choice that she has made.
And finally it’s this idea that we’ve chosen this path on purpose — that we have chosen not to find love, or that we’ve chosen not to have children. But the majority of North American women and men want marriage. She points to the fact that it largely has to do with men not growing up fast enough.
A lot o…

Religious Freedom in Canada

Watching religious freedoms of our neighbours to the south being trampled on made me think that perhaps Canada is a truly tolerant society, but that may not be case.

Nova Scotia and Ontario's bar societies voted to not allow graduates of Trinity Western to practice law in those provinces.
At issue was Trinity Western's requirement that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, which has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians. Notice that Trinity Western forbids all intimacy outside of marriage, not just gays and lesbians, but people are not objecting against that.

Jonathan Kay, writing for the National Post,  shows tremendous insight into this whole issue,
It would be nice to think, however na├»vely, that the spirit of “diversity,” the doctrine that those same liberal elites always are anxious to apply to female, aboriginal, gay and multiculti university applicants, applies to believing Christians as well.…

Male and Female

God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them (Gen. 1:27). Men and women are different, which means women will be better suited for certain roles, and men will be better suited for other roles. This is a logical deduction. Because we live in hypersensitive culture, I will point out that better does not mean superior in terms of worth.

God designed men and women to reflect His image, not by making them the same, but by making them different. Flattening the differences between men and women deprives us of the rich diversity that results because of these differences, and ultimately distorts the image of God.

Man was created by God from dust and put in the "garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Gen. 2:15)." Woman was created by God from man to be "a helper fit for him (Gen. 2:18)." Eve was deceived by the serpent and ate of the fruit of the tree that was in the middle of the garden. She gave the fruit to Adam w…

Reputation of Women Elders

I bolt out of the meeting hoping not to talk anyone, because of the fear that I will not be able to control my emotions. Anger, frustration, disgust, and sorrow bubble at the surface as I run and walk to the exit. Finally, I escape into the fresh air where I no longer have to worry about talking to anyone.

On Sunday March 20, 2014 certain members of Cedarview Alliance Church put forward a motion that would make it possible for women to be appointed to the board of elders. This motion is not just a difference of opinions, but will result in the division of the church. My wife and I will leave the church if this motion is passed, not because we want to, but because we have little choice, which I will explain later on. No, I am not a misogynist, but I am fine with that label if it is the substance of the arguments against me. Labels seem to be the weapon of choice for intolerant and bigoted people, which is why I don't mind. I would rather be right and looked at like a fool, then be …

Framework for Thinking

Observations in the search of Truth:
1. Truth is objective, understanding truth is subjective:  Truth by definition is objective, but our search for it is determine in the light of our experience. It is like searching for an object at night, we can only see what the flashlight illuminates in front of us. Nobody can claim that they are 100% objective, we just need to get over it. Believing a certain thing does not make you less objective than the person who doesn't, both people are biased in their respective beliefs. 2. Don't be surprised if you think you are right, you are not alone: Many people just feel like they are right, but that should not be surprising given that is what you believe. The fact of the matter is that we all think we are right. If we did not think we were right, that would no longer be the belief that we hold. The feelings are proper, but corresponding evidence is required. 3. Social context is a major source of assumptions: Making assumptions are good and …

Pain, Power, and Patience

In general I take a positive outlook on life. I enjoy getting up each day, going to work, and being alive. I can't remember a day when I dreaded getting up to face the world, but as I get older the weight of the pain in the world presses down on me.
There are 9 ongoing conflicts with more than 1,000+ deaths per year, and 32 conflicts with less than 1,000 deaths per year. These may not seem like huge numbers, but we need to keep in perspective what these conflicts are all about and their impact on the people involved. In all of these conflicts people are willing to kill to get what they want, or need to be killed to stop them from getting what they want. There are some people who think this only happens in non-civilized countries, but that is just wishful thinking. The reason that "civilized" countries don't get involved as often in these conflicts is because we have enough money to get what we want. There would be a lot more conflict if we had less money.
Death comes …

Zion

Zion is used numerous times in the Bible, but I have always been unsure of the different nuances. Generally, it seems to be used interchangeable with Jerusalem or the City of David, but why is Zion used instead of those names?

Zion is the first city captured by David after he was anointed King over all of Israel. He had already reigned in Hebron for 7 years and 6 months over Judah, but it was not until he was made King over all Israel, that he took the stronghold of Zion. Previous to that Judah and Benjamin had attempted to take Zion, but failed. But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day (Josh. 15:63).  But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem, so the Jebusites have lived with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day (Judges 1:21).  The Jebusite stronghold of Zion was a fortress in Jerusalem, that the people of Israel …

Will I go to prison in my lifetime?

It is hard to believe, but at the rate things are changing today, I will most likely go to prison in my lifetime for the beliefs that I hold. In 1996, DOMA was enacted under the presidency of Bill Clinton. "The Defense of Marriage Act is a United States federal law that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states." Now, less than 20 years later, Bill Clinton has done an about-face. Writing an op-ed in the Washington Post, he says,
"When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned." People are obviously allowed to change their minds, but the rate and virulence at which is happ…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 11

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart (Ecc. 7:2). Consider the end of you life, so that you live your life in a meaningful way.
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him (Ecc 7:14). If you get caught up with the ups and downs of life, you will not see God's purpose in all of eternity. Life is but a breath.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 10

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income (Ecc. 5:10). This reminds of a story of John D. Rockefeller:
John D. Rockefeller, an Ohio native, started Standard Oil.  Rockefeller was at one point the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire.  Considering he was a billionaire in the early 1900′s he is still considered as the richest person in modern history.  When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” If you find that you never have enough money, then you are probably in love with it.  As it says in Timothy 6:6 - 10:
But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 …

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 9

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and fool's voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay (Ecc. 5:2-5). We are told pray unceasingly (1 Thess. 5:17), but that does not mean we should pray carelessly. We need to remember who we are praying too. God is not like our friends on earth, although He is a friend, but He is in heaven and we need to keep that in mind. Be sure to think about what you are saying to God. Don't make vows that you don't intend to keep.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 8

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbour (Ecc. 4:4). Envy is desiring something because somebody else has it. At first it would seem that we don't envy that much, but then if you ask, why do we have so much stuff we don't need? It becomes clear that envy is definitely part of our culture. We need to be careful in distinguishing our wants from our desires. Material possessions don't bring happiness, which we all know, but we often live as if it does. It doesn't just end at material possessions, we often envy the praise that is given to someone else. We need to work because we enjoy it, not because we want something that we don't have.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 7

Who can bring him to see what will be after him (Ecc. 3:22)? This is one of the key statements of Ecclesiastes, and is found in 4 other places. There are really two types of people, those who think that this life is all there is, and those who think there is life after death. However, even those who think there is life after death, don't live according to that knowledge. Those who want to please God live in the knowledge of what will be after them.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 6

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (Ecc. 3:11). Every activity that God has given man has purpose when done at the right time. These activities are not useless, because man knows that there is life after death. But, exactly how and why things happen is unclear to us. Each of us has a longing to know eternity, and as Blaise Pascal pointed out.
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 5

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. We often like to have formulas that tell us what to do in all situations, but life is more nuanced than that. There is truly a time for everything depending on the specifics of any given situation. Our society is very much a "positive" society, and rarely thinks it is appropriate to die, pluck up, kill, b…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 4

For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering, and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God (Ecc. 2:26). Without God, life is just keeping busy until you die. With God, every part of life is valuable for growing in wisdom and knowledge and joy, which is of value because of life after death. God's purposes are set on those who please Him.

Donald Miller - out of the blue?

Donald Miller made his name when he wrote a book called, Blue like Jazz. I never read the book even though many people asked me to, but based on what people told me about it, I am not surprised by how things turned out. Recently, Donald Miller, made waves by suggesting that he doesn't go to church very often. May God change his mind.

His article capture well the thoughts of a growing segment of the evangelical church, but he could not be more wrong. Let's take a look at what he had to say.
I can only give camera angles on the issue because that’s how I think. I tend to see things from multiple angles and am comfortable not choosing “the right opinion” because I’m not convinced the right opinion is even on the table or that there is one in the first place. Many opinions can be right. Binary thinking causes more false dichotomies than true answers or helpful discussions, so I’ll avoid them as best I can.  It is only too predictable how things will turn out (without the intervent…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 3

The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise? For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten (Ecc. 2:14-16). Life does not show favour to one person over another. Foolish people get rich and wise people get poor. Foolish people become famous and wise people are unknown. However, in both cases, they will soon be forgotten. How many people know the  name of their great grand father? Is there any reason to live a good and wise life, if it will not change the events of your life, and your legacy will soon by forgotten?

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 2

The I considered all my that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecc. 2:11) Solomon had everything anybody could ever want. He had houses, gardens, parks, pools, women, and lots of money, but he was not satisfied. Fulfilling all of your senses does not make you happy, because in the end you die, and you can't take it with you. It is only temporary. Albert Camus in response to absurdity of man's predicament said, "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide." To live or not to live is the only question with meaning, because there is no meaning to life.

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.




Reflections on Ecclesiastes

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after (Ecc. 1:9-11). Every generation looks back at the previous generation and regards them as backward, but they forget the next generation will do the same. Supporting abortion is looked at as being progressive, but child sacrifice has existed for thousands of years.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana)." Francis Schaeffer in his book, How should we then live?, describes the characteristics of the downfall of a civilization.
"First, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor (this could be among countri…

Josiah's Death

The old testament is full of stories that do not have fairy tale endings, or at least it does not seem that way. Josiah was a humble man who courageously followed after God, until the event that led up to his death.
After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemeish on the Euphrates and Josiah went out to meet him. But he sent envoys to him, saying, "What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you." Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. he did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo. And the archers shot King Josiah. And the king said to his se…