Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Growing, Growing, Gone"

   There comes a point in every parent’s life when they realize that the time with their children is
coming to an end. The child is heading off to college, or getting married, or moving away to a new job.  For the parents, the house will becomes strangely and, for a short period, pleasantly quiet.   Having left home the children will be hearing different voices in their lives, they will be facing some hard choices, and mom and dad will not be there to help.         
     Solomon knew this day would come so he made sure he took advantage of those times he had with his children. Yes I am sure he played with them, took them for chariot rides and, taught them how to throw a javelin etc.  No doubt Solomon spent quality as well as quantity time with his kids.   But as he did this it was with a view toward an end.  He was preparing them to leave home.   He was preparing them for life.  He was preparing them for relationships.   
    What tools am I giving my children to build their lives on their own?  Have I imparted to them wisdom for life?  Have I taught them how to live a life pleasing to God, for the glory of God and the good of others?  
      Biblical wisdom has at its foundation the premise that real life begins with a right relationship with Jesus Christ and is daily lived in obedience to His Word.   "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."
     How do we prepare our children to leave home?  Many of the 31 chapters of Proverbs begin with the words " my son".    This means Solomon knew it was not enough just to spend time with his kids, he needed to teach them. It is the teaching both in word and in life that will stay with with our children when they leave our homes.  Solomon knew it was important to teach his children the principles of wisdom, or wise living.   He knew the value of making wise decisions.  Sadly, later in his life he would also learn the heartbreak and consequences of unwise decisions.
     The last five verses of Proverbs 4 give us some wonderful guidelines to teach our children as they prepare to go out and live life on their own..  

Proverbs 4:23-27 Keep your heart with all vigilance ,for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet ;then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.  

Each of these four or five principles could have many sub points under them

       1.    Keep your heart with all vigilance ,for from it flow the springs of life.    Son, guard your heart – what ever controls your heart, your will, your passions, your values, your worship, will ultimately control your life and consequently determine the kind of life you will have.   To paraphrase – We all have a master, i.e. someone or something that sits on the throne of our hearts calling the shots; therefore choose your master carefully. 
      2.    Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.   Learn the value of telling the truth.  Put a guard over your month.  How we are doing with guarding our hearts will be evident in how we use our tongue.  Many a young person has had their life set on fire because they could not control their tongues leading to angry outbursts, gossip, backbiting and lying. 
     3.    Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.    Pay attention to your life and not everyone else’s.  How important is this in our day and age.  Tweets, messaging, Facebook, have all made young people addicted to what is going on in everyone’s life.  Solomon is exhorting his son to stay focused, don’t’ get sidetracked. 
     4.    Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.  Ponder the path of your feet, where are you headed.  If you keep on this path where is it going to lead you.  Son THINK.  Watch where you’re going.  No one plans to fail, no one plans to have an unhappy marriage,  no one plans to end up addicted to drugs or alcohol.  It happens with no thought what so ever.  So to avoid those things learn to think, ponder your path, consider seriously the outcome of your choices.  Stay true to the truth of God’s word and do not waver.

    Solomon knew these simple yet profound principles would mean the difference between a life lived abundantly to the glory and of God and the good of others or a life of heartbreak and loss. 
    What are we as parents teaching our children, both in our words and our actions about how to live life.? What are we teaching them about what is important?  These principles apply not only to children but to parents as well.  
     God gives us kids not to fill a need in our lives but to fill a vast need in the child’s life.  That need is for biblical wisdom, discipline and instruction.
     So moms and dads, ponder the path of your parenting, guard your heart in your parenting, stay focused in your parenting.  Who are you listening to when it comes to your parenting practices? God says our children “can be taught”. God says our children need to be taught.   God gave them to us “to train them up in the way they should go…”  

Parenting. . .
…is teaching them to listen
…is teaching them to learn  
…is preparing them to leave
…is preparing them to live 
…is preparing them for LIFE.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

"A Wanted Man"

"Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?"   Proverbs 20:6

 This sentence ends with a question mark.  Surprising because one would think that with so many men proclaiming faithfulness a faithful man would not be that hard to find. But apparently they are a rare commodity.  Homes across North America need such men, but where are they?  Churches need such men, where are they?  Obviously the answer is not going to be found by talking to men, they will just keep proclaiming their own steadfast love, keep saying  there is no problem.  They  will tell you repeatedly to listen to what they are telling you.  However, despite all the talk of faithfulness and steadfast love, the search in many homes still goes on.
Sadly, many wives could echo the frustration generated by such a question, many a child has left home angry and disillusioned by such harsh realities..   Far to many homes today are filled with absentee husbands and fathers.  Men who are present in the home physically, but have checked out emotionally.  Men who make lots of promises and are full of good intentions, but that’s all it ever amounts to.  They are not engaged in the lives of their spouse or their children.  There is a lot of talk, a lot of someday,  but someday never comes. Many men today are in their own little world and the wife and children know it despite the grand  proclamations to the contrary.
It is so easy to say things, to make moving affirmations of steadfast love, but words without action are hollow, meaningless and worthless.
Steadfast love is a sacrificial love, it is a love that considers others before itself.   Steadfast love is a love that is going to persevere in spite of a thousand excuses it may have to stop.  It is like the Energizer bunny, “It just keeps on going.”  It is a stubborn, others centred love.  It is not a love that just talks a good talk, it is a love that walks the walk.  But above all it is a supernatural love.  It is God’s love flowing through us by the power of His Spirit which lives indwells every believer.   As the saying goes, “talk is cheap”, especially In the home.  Steadfast love is a love that cherishes, protects, nurtures and delights in the one being loved.   It is a love that shows itself not in creeds but in deeds.  Not in talk but in the walk.

We have  the greatest description of steadfast, stubborn love in these verses from Corinthians.

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never ends.  - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

To paraphrase our verse in Proverbs.  Many a man talks about the love described in vs 4-8 but what they deliver is just a whole lot of noise vs 1-3.  Noise which is about as helpful,  meaningful and soothing as crashing cymbals.  Who can find a faithful man? The world does not produce such men, the Spirit of God and the Word of God are the creators of such men.  Families, churches and society need  such men.  

  “Be men! In courage; not cowards, turning our back on the foe, or giving way in danger, or reproach, or evil days. In solidity; not shifting or shadowy, but immoveable as the rock. In strength; as the man is, so is his strength. Be strong! In wisdom. Foolishness is with childhood, wisdom with manhood. Speak and act with wisdom, as men. In ripeness. The faculties of men are ripe, both for thinking and working. They speak ripe words, think ripe thoughts, plan and execute ripe things. In understanding be men! In all things – what you do, and what you refrain from doing, be men. Act the manly part – let nothing effeminate, luxurious, sickly, childish, puny, little, narrow be seen about you. Christianity makes men, not babes. Adorn the doctrine of Christ by your manliness. In the Church, in the world, in business, in conversation, in prosperity, and adversity, [act] like men! Let no man despise you; and let no man despise the Gospel because of you.”
Horatius Bonar

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. - 1 Corinthians 4:2

Friday, December 28, 2012


Happy New Year 

Ever thought about those three words.  

Happy = enjoying well-being and contentment; joyous, pleasant : 
New = may apply to what is freshly made and unused, untouched, unspoiled
Year =  365 days,  8760 Hours,  525,600 minutes. 

The new year is filled with time not yet wasted, choices not yet made, and consequences not yet experienced.  So the New year is filled with optimism because it is filled with our best intentions and hopes for a better tomorrow.  
While the prospect of a new year excites most people, the sad truth for many becomes apparent  all to soon.  That truth is this, that this year will not be  happy but dismal, not new, but just like last year -  365 days of hoping for better things next year.  
Let us remind ourselves as we begin 2013 that happiness is a result of proper behaviour. (my behaviour not someone elses  It is a by product of a holy life.  If you desire to be happy in this New Year then you must live a holy life.   
That will come will happen by thinking about two key words, choice and change. 
If you want this year to be different than last year, (better than last year), then you must be willing to make different (better) choices and be willing to change.  The  same habits, the same attitudes, the same choices will lead to the same things this year as they did last year. 
If you are wondering where to begin, you must begin right here - If you want to bring joy into your life this year make glorifying and obeying Jesus Christ and serving others the goal of your life. Make some resolutions that have to do with serving others, getting involved in other peoples lives. 

Here are some examples from the Life of Jonathan Edwards.  These are a handful of 70 Resolutions he made when he was 19 years old.

Resolution #14: Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
Resolution #15: Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
Resolution #69: Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it.
Resolution #7: Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life
Resolution #17: Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Resolution #52: I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
Resolution #50: Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world.
Edwards’ perspective was shaped by the wisdom of Jesus, who said in Matthew 16:
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world,  yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Edwards at age 19 has taken the time to consider and then write down the kind of life that he wants to live. 
These resolutions involve choices and they imply a willingness to change.  Do we have the courage to make such resolutions for the coming year. 

Let us take each day the Lord gives us and use it for Him.  He may choose not to give all of us 365 days, or He may come back before  it ends, what ever the case, this will be a Happy New Year all year long if we put Him first in our lives, forget those things behind and press on to know Him more each day.                                        
Here are some great reminders from David as he penned this first Psalm
         "Blessed is the man
                  who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
         nor stands in the way of sinners,
                  nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
         but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
                  and on his law he meditates day and night.
         He is like a tree
                  planted by streams of water
         that yields its fruit in its season,
                  and its leaf does not wither.
         In all that he does, he prospers."
(Psalm 1:1-3 ESV) 


Friday, September 21, 2012

"Are You Tied Up in Nots?"

They were common folk, not out of the ordinary in any way.  Yet we are still reading about them 2000 years later.  What did they Do?  Win an Oscar, or an Emmy, maybe a Grammy award, or win the Super bowl.  What did they do to make their stories so special? 
There are far to many to name but remember the Boy with five loaves and two fish?   There were probably others in the crowd who had a similar lunch but we only read of this little boy, why?  Because of what he did with it - he brought it to Jesus!
Remember the woman Woman with the jar of costly perfume? She was not the only woman in town with expensive perfume but we read about her, Why? Because of what she chose to do with it.  She anointed Jesus with it!
There is another story less familiar found in Matthew 21:1-3 .  The more you think about it the more fascinating it becomes.  
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.  (Matthew 21:1-3 ESV)
In this passage Jesus is preparing for his entrance into Jerusalem so he sends his disciple into town to arrange a ride.  He tells them go into the village and there they will find a donkey and colt tied. When they find them they are to loose them and bring them to Him. 
I Think it goes without saying that these animals no doubt belonged to someone.    Imagine they belonged to you?  See some strange men come and start untying your donkey you are going to go ask some questions.  Excuse me, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Jesus anticipated this, and tells the disciples If they ask WHAT ARE YOU DOING? say this...  the Lord has need of them and they will let you take them.    WOW
The Lord has need of them.  Now that begs us to ask a question.  If those had been my donkeys would that answer have been sufficient for me?  Hey that’s my donkey, my colt, I have need of them.   But that is not what transpires..  
So what can we learn from this to apply to us today?  What do I have that the Lord wants to use?  What’s the name of the donkey tied up in my back yard?   WE would call them Spiritual gifts, talents, time, money, home, car, etc.  What is in your hand?  
The problem with many people is they want the Lord to have the donkey.  They want to serve God with their talents, gifts, money and possessions etc.  The problem is their donkey is tied with to many knots.  
Knot today, knot right now, knot for that long, knot with them, knot that often, knot here,  knot, knot, knot.  
How many knots is your donkey tied up with?  For some it would take a boy scout troupe 3 weeks to get all the knots out.    The Problem with knots is that by the time we get them untied the opportunity is gone.   Do you want to be ready to be used by God - get the knots out.   Only one not should be attached to your donkey. “Not my will but thine be done.”   
So when a servant of God comes along and says the Lord has need of your donkey, all they need to do is loose it and bring it to Jesus.  How can you be sure there are no knots?   Make sure you tie up the donkey!
If your children, coach, boss, culture, success, money, or comfort, get their hands on the rope tied to your donkey, (gifts, talents, etc.)    you’ll never get it untangled until it’s too late to be of any value. 
What’s tied up in your backyard the Lord has need of?.  

Here is a wonderful story to illustrate this simple principle.  "A little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was 'too crowded.' 'I can't go to Sunday School,' she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by
Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.  As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.

Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: 'This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.' For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there...
A newspaper learned of the story and published It. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.  Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00--a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.  When you are in the city of Philadelphia , look up Temple Baptist Church , with a seating capacity of 3,300. And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.
Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history.
The little girls donkey was 57cents.  She knew the Lord has need of it and untied it and let it go. Look what He did!

What’s tied up in our lives God wants to use?   Get the nots out and watch what he will do with it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"The Scoffer"

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,  nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;   (Psalm 1:1 ESV)
The scoffer has made up his mind.   He has sat down - is utterly confirmed in irreverence, and makes a mock at sin.  His conscience is seared.   The seat of the  scorner may be very lofty, but  the Bible says it is very near the gate of hell.  Blessed is the man who does not sit down in his seat.
We see a progression in Psalm 1:1.    When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse.  At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, those who are not wicked or immoral, but who just forget God - the evil is more practical than habitual - but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willingly violate God’s commandments;  if let alone they go one step farther, and become themselves teachers and tempters of others and sit in the seat of the scornful
Do you know any scoffers?  Probably you do.  They are often found not outside but inside the church. If you’ve had to deal with one recently you are probaly still recovering from the experience.   Proverbs gives us some ways to spot them, so we can avoid them, or at least recogize them and know who we are dealing with.  

Proverbs 9:7  Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Proverbs 9:8  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Proverbs 13:1  A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 14:6  A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.

Proverbs 15:12  A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
Proverbs 19:25  Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Proverbs 21:11  When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
Proverbs 21:24  “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
Proverbs 22:10   Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.
Proverbs 24:9   The devising  (scheming) of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind
These verses are pretty much self explanatory.  You correct a scoffer you will reap abuse, he will hate you, he will not listen.  But he is not to be ignored.  When you deal with scoffers they will not learn anything, but the simple will learn wisdom.  When you cast out the scoffer you have cast out quarreling and abuse. Quarreling and dissension in the Church will usually have a scoffer behind it somewhere.  They will be the one with a big smile on their face.  Scoffers love to quarrel.  But God  is very clear how he feels about such people.  Scoffers are an abomination to mankind.  Very strong language from Solomon.  They will be wise in their own eyes so be prepared.  They will have, in their minds, great reasons for all their actions.  But mark these character traits carefully in Proverbs.  By their fruit you will known them.   We need to take heed to David’s advice in Psalm 1.  
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  (Psalm 1:1-2 ESV)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"The Blame Game"

Most of us live somewhere between these two famous lines... 

“The thrill of victory” = look what I did
“The agony of defeat” = it’s not my fault

These seem to be the two themes that sum up our culture and how it views itself. I’m responsible for all the good things in my life. Someone else is responsible for all the bad things.. For most of us we are very quick to take credit for things when they go right and just as quick to shift the blame to someone else when they go wrong. We’ve all played it. It’s called the blame game.  As we see in Proverbs the blame game is nothing new.  Goes all the way back to  the garden of Eden where Adam told or (blamed God) for his sin by implying  “the woman you gave me…”  It’s not my fault.  God, its your fault.

“When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.”  Proverbs 19:3 ESV
The fool has said in his heart, “there is no God”, 
The fool refuses to listen to instruction 
The fool chooses to live according to his own ideals and ideas.
The fool is wise in his own eyes…
The fool says in effect, “no one is going to tell me what to do.”   The fool chooses his own path, he will have it no other way. 
One would think that the someone like this would at least be honest enough with himself and others to take the responsibility for his life, for his choices when things go wrong.  But that is not how the heart of man works. 
The same person who refuses to follow God is quick to blame God when things go wrong.  This verse says they don’t just blame Him, their heart rages against Him.  They are furious, they are shaking their fist at God blaming him for all the ruin that has come into their lives.  
“The thrill of victory” = look what I did
“The agony of defeat” = look what God did

What they are saying is they want a God who will bless their ideas, plans and goals but not a God who will tell them how to live.  They want a God who is watching them from a distance.  They want a God who is close enough to bless but far enough away not to be intrusive.    They want a God who will let them make their own choices and when they make a foolish choice or harmful choice, He will come along and override the decision so it works out for them.  They want a God who  cares  enough to solve problems but not one who loves enough to confront them in their sin.  
Unfortunately that God does not exist.  God is not like that.  So consequently when the foolish choices lead to ruin and God does not rush in to fix everything, the fool’s heart rages against the LORD.  Instead of his folly driving him to repentance it drives him to rage.  Instead of a heart broken by it’s sin it is raging at God, blaming Him for his ruin.   
I remember when I was growing up I would hear these words quite often when I would find myself in a situation I did not like.  “You have no one to blame but yourself.”  “You made your bed now you have to lie in it.”  I will admit I did not care for those words,  I still don’t.  Blame someone else is the cry of a society filled with victims.  We are raising a generation of kids who are being taught to blame someone, anyone for your problems,  It’s not your fault.”   It’s not our folly that is bringing us to ruin it is the family I grew up in, or the school I went to, and the list goes on and on as we learn to play the blame game. 

The answer to all of this is we need to be saved not from those around us but from the folly (sin) that is in our own hearts.  Hearts that rage against God, hearts that do not seek God except to solve our problems.  We do not love God, we do not want to follow God, or obey his word.   That is man's real problem.  
We need a Saviour.  The Bible tells us we have a Saviour.   We have one who took all our folly, all our sin and paid the penalty for that sin as he hung on the cross.  God laid on Jesus Christ the iniquity of us all.  (We made our bed and Jesus laid in it.)  He bore God's wrath for my sin.  
If we will trust him, believe in Him we will be saved, given a new heart, be born again, become a new creation in Christ.  We will long to follow Christ, we will delight to feed upon His Word and obey it.  We will be adopted in God’s family and he will be a Father to us for all eternity.  He will care for us, He will correct us, he will challenge us,  He will begin to change us into the image of His son Jesus Christ.  We will begin a journey filled with joy, blessing, discipline and peace as we worship Him in the good times and in the hard times because we know that God is in control, He is working all things for our good and His glory.  
A Christian is a person who has moved from the game of blaming to the glorious journey of becoming what God created us to be in Christ.  If you are going through a hard time as a child of God, stop looking for someone to blame and start seeing it as an opportunity to become more like Jesus Christ and to glorify God through your trial.   Read 1 Peter 1:6-9,  Romans 5:1-11;  James 1:2-4  
Let me leave you with this wonderful quote from Jerry Bridges.
“Trials always change our relationship with God. Either they drive us to Him, or they drive us away from Him. The extent of our fear of Him and our awareness of His love for us determine in which direction we will move.”   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spencer York new EP

Secrets In Static
by Spencer York

Digital Album
Immediate download of 6-track album in your choice of MP3 320, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.
Buy Now $5 USD or more