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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Acts Day 31 – Now What?

2:34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand, 35 till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Three times every year the Israelites were to come to the Temple which at this time was in Jerusalem and had been for centuries. The new year began for them with the celebration of Passover, celebrating the last plague in Egypt when the angel of death passed over every home that was covered by the blood of the Lamb. That same night they left Egypt and bondage never to return. As a memorial of God's great deliverance He instituted an 8 day feast. Seven weeks later they were to return to the Temple for Pentecost or the feast of first fruits (shavuot). This feast was to remind them that all they had was a gift from God. The third time they came was in the fall of the year for the feast of tabernacles or feast of booths. At that time everyone lived in temporary shelters for a week commemorating the 40 year journey in the wilderness to remind them always that God kept His promise and brought them into the Promised Land.

Why the review? To make one simple point. Jesus was crucified at Passover when the city was full of worshippers from all over the world. These same worshippers have now returned for Pentecost. The men and women listening to Peter were part of the mob screaming "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!!!"

Now for the very first time they realize Who He was and what they participated in. Peter lead by the Spirit of God shows them from their own sacred writings the undeniable proof. King David was not writing about himself for he is dead and buried and everyone knows it. The only One who died yet never saw corruption is Jesus. He alone fulfills all that the prophets spoke and wrote about.

I can imagine that for a time you could hear a pin drop as the crowd processed in stunned silence the implications of what they have just seen and heard. Their Messiah was here and they killed Him... The text says they were "cut to the heart". It is a expression used a few times in Scripture. It means they knew without a shadow of a doubt that what they were hearing was the truth.

When they recovered enough to speak their reaction was humble and direct. "Brethren what do should we do?"

It's too late to fix anything so now what? We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Acts Day 30 - David Knew...

2:30 "Therefore, (David) being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear."

David knew Someone would come. He knew He would come through his family line. He knew because it had been promised: First to Adam, then Seth, then Shem, then Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. On down the line the promise was passed from generation to generation until He came.

David said He would be a king. The Jews grasped this promise and warped their expectations into a political dream. They forgot that Abraham was told that the coming Seed would bless all the nations. They forgot Adam was the father of the entire human race. They became navel gazers. They built walls instead of bridges. They became elitist, racist, and prejudice. In their pursuit of selfish gain and greatness they became like the Enemy instead of like their Father.

It is no accident that the first miracle performed after Jesus poured out His Spirit on the waiting disciples/apostles was a miracle of languages spoken to men who would carry the story back to every known corner of the earth. God's grace, mercy, and love is for every nation, kindred, language, and people.

The greatest gift the Spirit brings is a changed heart. This is the throne where King Jesus wants to rule. By returning to heaven and sitting down on His Father's throne Jesus was given the authority to dispatch His Spirit to reign in every willing human heart. Once there every barrier will be torn down. Love and compassion will spring up for every person no matter their colour, country of origin, gender, language, or heritage.

What happened that morning of Pentecost can't be stopped. You can't hold back the dawn. No matter many religions teach hatred or prejudice; no matter how many skeptics teach unbelief; and no matter what we as humans do to resist or thwart the work of His Spirit, truth marches on. Love will win. As sure as Jesus came; as sure as His Spirit was poured out; and as sure as the sun rises each morning - Love will win.


They all saw it and heard it that day. Some believed and some mocked. Before Jesus returns again we will all see and hear. How will we react? Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart...

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Acts Day 29 - Dark Valleys...

2:25 For David says concerning Him:

"I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence."

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

One of my favourite parts of the entire Bible is Hebrews 12. It begins this way:

"Therefore (which refers back to chapter 11) since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (the men and women of faith in chapter 11) let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Let us fix our eyes (lock them on) Jesus, the author and finisher (beginning and completer) of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising it's shame and is sat down at the right hand of the Father."

Can you see why I love it? Jesus didn't love the cross. He endured it and despised it. What He loved was us. What He loved was the results the journey to the cross would accomplish. I don't know too many women who love labour yet they willingly go through it. They get pregnant knowing labour will come. They get pregnant knowing morning sickness and other less than pleasant things may also occur along the way. They endure it all for the joy that will come at the end of the journey. They do it for love.

See the journey doesn't end at the bad part. That's why Jesus told us to be of good cheer. That's why the disciples never needed to go through the darkness and disillusionment they did. Hundreds of years before King David wrote that though Jesus would die He wouldn't see corruption. Jesus repeated this fact: "Three days and I'll rise."

The disciples never processed what He was saying because they refused to believe He was going to die to begin with. The irony is that His enemies heard Him loud and clear. First thing Sabbath morning after a sleepless night the religious leaders were pounding on the door of the Roman leadership. They wanted extra guards at the tomb. Why? Because Jesus had claimed He would rise...

Psalm 23 is one of the best known parts of the Bible. Part of it says "Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil because You are with me..."

The journey does not end in the valley or the shadows of death. We may pass that way and it might be awful. We may have to endure. We may despise the experience. Just when we think it's ending it may get worse. However, Sunday is coming. It came for Abraham when Isaac was born. It came again when God provided the ram. It came for Moses many times. It came for Jesus.

But do you know what? Ultimately it hasn't come for anyone yet. Read the last verses of Hebrews 11. 

The best is yet to come.


If you are not currently in a dark valley be thankful. Use your vantage point to help give some encouragement to someone who is. Tell them Sunday is coming. Tell them about Jesus, how the grave couldn't hold Him, and how their Story isn't yet over either.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Acts Day 28 - Cheerful In Trouble?

2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

"I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26
Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27
For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28
You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.""

Was David speaking about Jesus? Of course he was. When David wrote "You will not suffer your Holy One to see corruption" he was certainly not speaking about himself. David might have been better than the average but he was far from Holy. An adulterer, murderer, and savage warrior, when he asked God if he could build the Temple God told him no because there was "too much blood on his hands".

David was not the first to write about Jesus in the Old Testament either. Jesus was the Seed promised to Eve who would crush the serpent. The animal who died so that the nakedness and shame of Adam and Eve could be covered was Jesus. Every lamb on every altar from Abel on down represented Jesus.

Consider what the prophet Isaiah wrote over 700 years before Jesus was born:

53:1
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
6
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
8
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9
And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their sins.

When John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the people he said "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world."

The instant Jesus died the curtain inside the Temple tore from the top to the bottom. That curtain or veil was 75 feet high and 6 inches thick. No human hand touched it. It tore as evidence that the whole system of sacrifices was over for the True Sacrifice had come.

His death should never have come as a tidal wave to His followers. No disillusionment was necessary. In reality it should have been fully expected. It makes a great difference when we are mentally and emotionally prepared for difficult events. They weren't prepared at all. Why? Because they were raised under lies and deception. The picture painted for them from birth was nothing like the truth told in the Story from Genesis to Malachi. They were taught to expect another king David, an Alexander the Great, a mighty warrior and king. It never entered their minds to expect a Lamb.

We do ourselves great harm when we don't know His Word. How many times are we blindsided by tragedy as if we expected to sail through this life unscathed? Jesus never painted such a picture. He plainly said "In this world you WILL have trouble but be of good cheer for I have overcome..."

Cheerful in trouble? No not necessarily. Jesus was certainly not cheerful in Gethsemane or on the cross. Our cheerfulness is not rooted in our troubles. That's crazy. Our cheerfulness comes from knowing "the rest of the Story" and we'll talk about that tomorrow.


Acts Day 27 - Sunday Came

2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26
Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27
For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28
You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ (Psalm 16:8-11)

The awkward, hopeless, uncomfortable and despairing Sabbath came to an end. For those seemingly endless hours when time seemed to stand still it felt like that day and that feeling would never end. For three and a half years hope had been building. The crowds were increasing. The miracles were piling up. This illegitimate son of Mary, this carpenter from no good Nazareth seemed to be the One. Like King David it seemed completely impossible at first. Both were the most unlikely candidates to be heros yet the evidence was undeniable. His words had a power about them no one had ever experienced before. His eyes were filled with love and compassion even though it seemed like they saw through every secret and hidden corner of your life. He feared nothing and no one yet He never used His strength or power against anyone. He could feed thousands with next to nothing and have far more left over than He started with. He could walk on water, tell the weather what to do, and escape every trap His enemies set for Him. What a king He would make! Who could defeat Him?

A week previous He had ridden into Jerusalem on a colt, a sign of His kingship in that time and culture. The crowds welcomed Him. The excitement was palpable. The men in power were panicked. His coronation appeared imminent. It was only a week ago but felt like a distant hazy dream.

As the week progressed the excitement built in the city, the panic and plotting against Him intensified behind the scenes. A clash seemed unavoidable but what difference would it make? Jesus was undefeatable. Except for one nagging problem... He kept telling His disciples He was going to die. Three times that week He took them aside and warned them His death was coming at the hands of the religious leaders who would hand Him over to the Romans.

It was information they could not process. They grew up under these leaders, attending their synagogues, all part of the same nation and faith. The thought of Jesus dying now was impossible to take in, never mind the means by which it would happen. Then came the final unthinkable blow. He would be betrayed by one of the twelve... impossible!!!

A cloud settled over them. What had been the unfolding of their greatest dreams was turning into the most unimaginable nightmare.

The worst part of it all is that it was completely avoidable. No not His death or the means by which it came. It was the cloud that was entirely avoidable.

With the warnings of His death was also the promise that it wouldn't last. Sunday would come. The darkness would end. In their own sacred writings it was foretold. From the dawn of humanity it was played out that the Lamb must die yet the Story was never to end there...

As with them so with us. We become overwhelmed by present darkness because we fail to keep our eyes on the unfolding Story. We like they have not hid His Word in our hearts. Storms blind us to His promises and waves of doubt sweep over us. It does not ever need to be this way.


We'll continue tomorrow to explore the beautiful truth that Sunday came then and our Sunday will come too!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Acts Day 26 - It's Not Friday or Sunday...

2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it."

Watch this and then meet me back here.


Powerful isn't it? Yet from the first time I saw it, something was off and I couldn't figure out why. The unknown preacher is using the death of Jesus and His eventual resurrection as an analogy for a much broader sweep of time. Friday represents everything Jesus did on our behalf and everything we did to Him. Sunday represents a new beginning. Just as all creation began on the first day, so will His return usher in a new beginning. Indeed Sunday is coming.

Then I figured it out. A day was missing. Saturday/Sabbath. Picture the scene. The mock trials on Friday, the beatings, the march to Calvary when Jesus collapsed under the weight of the cross and our sins. The darkness at noon on Friday, the heart piercing declaration of our emancipation "It Is Finished!", the earthquake that left no doubt something far beyond the normal had just occurred. Friday was intense. The supernatural was undeniable. The intensity was palpable.

And then it was over.

It all just ended.

The sun which reappeared at 3 pm set on the tomb of the now buried Messiah. It was all over. The earth was eerily quiet. The followers of Jesus were scattered and devastated. His enemies were satisfied yet uneasy. Could it be that easy? Was it really over? Was He really gone?

The quiet persisted all the next day. As much as the supernatural put on an undeniable display the day before, Sabbath was the opposite. The heavens were silent. The earth was still. There was no sign of Jesus or the undeniable power of God anywhere. It seemed to be over forever...

You see it isn't Friday. It isn't Sunday either. It's Sabbath. It seems often that God is truly resting. Some are even so bold and defiant as to claim God is dead or that He never existed. Even MacLean's magazine this week on the front cover is asking "Did Jesus really exist?"

No one asked that on Friday but on Sabbath it began to feel like His life had just been a dream for some and a nightmare for others.

Here's what the disciple wrote a few years after that dark Friday followed by a silent Sabbath:

2 Peter 3:4 First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they’ll mock, “So what’s happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything’s going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing’s changed.”

Way back in Genesis God promised His Seed would come. 4000 years later He came. Over 700 years before His arrival Isaiah wrote in detail about His suffering and death as the Lamb of God.

It's been almost 2000 years since that undeniably supernatural Friday. The silence since has been long. Will "Sunday" ever come? You better believe it!

2 Peter 3:8-9 Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.


Today if you hear His voice don't harden heart. Instead grab on to His mercy and His promises. Sunday is coming...

Friday, 25 March 2016

Acts Day 25 - "Good" Friday?

2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it..."

How fitting that we come to "Good" Friday and this passage of Scripture at the same time.

I love this time of year but always hated the name "good" Friday. Good is such a weak word and woefully inadequate to define or describe the significance of that dark Friday when God's only begotten Son not only died, but died while His professed followers cheered on the gruesome event. There is nothing good about that. We lament the injustices of our times yet none of it compares to this. A man who did nothing but help people and offer hope to hopeless gets murdered by the professed church of God simply because He refused to act the part they felt He must - a part that would have only increased the bloodshed and divisions already existing between the people of the world.

It begs a serious question. For all the talk about God's love do we really mean it? Do we really want a God who is a friend of tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners? A friend of our political opponents? A friend of other nations? A friend of Islam even? Or do we want a God who is a champion of our point of view and dispenses favour on us and woe on our enemies?

Jesus had to go. They couldn't stand Love. They preferred darkness rather than Light. Are we different? I hope so. I pray so. I want it to be so.

Once a preacher stood up in a large influential church in California and preached a one line sermon and sat back down. Here is the sermon:

"The love you have for God is equal to or less than the love you have for your worst enemy."

Our part on that dark Friday was anything but good. What we did to Him was anything but good. But, BUT what He was willing to do for us in spite of us was far beyond good. It remains the grandest display of love the universe has ever seen and it will eventually be fully seen that it was the turning point of history and marked the beginning of the end of satan's reign of terror.

"Good" is woefully inadequate.

Tonight at 7pm my church will gather to sing and praise and think about what that day meant and where we are in the stream of time. I can't wait. We have much to celebrate and much to think about. It's not "good" Friday. It marks both the worst and arguably best day this world has ever known.

Love Wins!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Acts Day 24 - Lines in the Sand

2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 ...we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour (9am) of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 "And it shall come to pass in the last days", says God, "That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Peter addresses the growing skepticism in the crowd with Scripture. He quotes from their own Book. He points them back to the Source of their beliefs and faith. The choice of the prophet Joel is a fascinating one. He is not considered a primary prophet. I would be willing to go out on a limb and suggest most Christians today couldn't even tell you what the book of Joel is about.

In a nutshell Joel wrote to God's people about the need to repent and turn back to Him prior to the 'Day of the Lord'. He also predicted that before that day came God would make Himself known in dramatic ways to His people through dreams and visions and prophecies.

In our day we think of the 'Day of the Lord' as the end of the world as we know it. Ultimately this is true. However all through history there have been times where God drew a dramatic "line in the sand" and people had to choose which side of the line they would stand on. For Noah and world of his day the flood and choosing to get on the boat or not was the line in the sand and anyone who refused to did not survive "the Day of the Lord". Of course prior to all that God revealed His plan and warned the world through visions and dreams and prophecies. As we continue through Scripture similar lines were drawn in the sand on a smaller scale for all various peoples at various times.

Here on the Day of Pentecost a similar point in time or line in the sand is being drawn. Jesus came. To some He was a fraud. To others He was the Messiah and the Son of God. For most His identity was confusing at this point. Jesus Himself prayed as He was dying on the cross "Forgive them Father because they don't know what they are doing."

However God is not going to leave them in that state of confusion. Before He draws a final line in the sand for the Jewish nation He is making Himself and His Son clearly known to the world.


Tomorrow we'll continue to explore exactly what was happening then and take a peek into what it all might mean for us...

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Acts Day 23 - There Must Be Some Explanation...

Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? ... we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Interesting isn't it? Two groups of people experience the exact same thing and come to two wildly different conclusions. One group acknowledges that something miraculous and unexplainable is happening. The second group passes it off as the babble of drunk men. I have seen a few drunk people through the years. I have yet to see one that develops a new language under the influence of alcohol.

What this underscores is that some of us automatically resist, dismiss, and/or reject anything we can't understand. Any time we experience something our brain is automatically trying to process it and when no explanation can be found our brain starts fabricating one. If a person comes walking across the water towards us we conclude they are either on a solid surface below the water that we can't see like a glass walkway or they are being supported by an invisible harness because people can't walk on water.

Nearly 11 years ago I started having some health issues and ended up with a diagnosis of bladder cancer. I told one of my best friends who is all about science/logic and confused by the whole idea of faith. I had surgery which ended up confusing my surgeon. The tumor was sent to pathology and the report came back stating there were no live cancer cells. He went and analyzed the tumor himself. He couldn't understand it. He knew he took a living growing cancerous tumor from my bladder yet now it wasn't? He told me he didn't know what to do with me or how to treat me. We decided to wait three months and then check it out with a camera to see what was happening in there. Three months later nothing was happening. 6 months later he put the camera in again. There was a nurse assisting him and an intern training with him. He looked at the image from the camera and with obvious amazement said he couldn't even tell any surgery had ever been done. My bladder looked perfect inside. So I said him "That's why they are called miracles."

He looked me right in the eye with the most intense look in front of the nurse and the intern and said "This IS a miracle."

Eleven years later and not a single treatment and I am completely healthy. The average life expectancy for bladder cancer is 3 to 5 years.

So I called my friend to tell him the news. I wasn't sure how he would react. His response when I told him my surgeon said it is a miracle was "There must be some kind of scientific explanation..." His brain couldn't entertain any other possibilities.

That's why some in the crowd said "They are full of sweet wine." Sweet wine was a highly intoxicating wine popular at that time. It was an explanation developed by their brain to give some kind of reason to what they were experiencing yet the reason made no sense. Drunk people don't speak fluently in other languages they never spoke before.

Lesson:

Question your own thinking. Don't just believe the explanations and conclusions your brain automatically churns out to explain what you are seeing or hearing. Most of all be open to that which can't be explained. Miracles happen. It's proof of the realm of the supernatural. There is a reason despite all the rhetoric and theories that no one can explain how life began on this planet. It isn't explainable.


When God decides to do something outside our normal our brains are amazed, perplexed, and immediately attempt to explain it. Thinking and reasoning are good but believing has its place at the table too "for without faith it is impossible to please Him for we must believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him."

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Acts Day 22 - What Does This Mean?

2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

What does this mean?

Image result for tower of babelThe Bible says all of humanity originally spoke one language. Unfortunately the blessing became a curse when the whole world united in rebellion against God. In mercy God did the opposite of what happened here on the day of Pentecost. Suddenly as they were all working together but against God they could no longer communicate. Words became just confusing and meaningless sounds. In an instant the world was divided by the barrier of languages.

I said the world was united against God but really they were united against themselves. Every instruction from God is for our good and any rebellion against them is ultimately self-destructive. In live and mercy God intervened to prevent complete and utter self-destruction on a global scale. By the barrier created by languages the rapid advance of rebellion made possible through a united effort came to a grinding halt. For centuries and millenia afterwards the world became increasingly divided as languages for new people groups.

On the day of Pentecost for the first time since the Tower of Babel a glimpse was given into a world without the barrier of languages. For one glorious day God reversed the curse so that these devout worshippers from all over the world could simultaneously hear the Story.

What does it mean?

It means God is not limited by our limitations. It means God sees no borders and favour no people group above another. It means God has ways of accomplishing His purposes that we can't even imagine. It means God knows our language. It means the Story can't be stopped no matter how faint the pulse of Christianity may seem right now. God will thwart evil self-destructive schemes when necessary and reverse the curse when it makes sharing the Story possible.


Another horrific terror attack in Belgium this morning. The world is getting darker but it's the darkest just before dawn. You can't stop the dawn. Love Wins.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Acts Day 21 - Light in the Darkness

2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Atheism is on the rise. It's understandable. We live at a point in history when God seems silent. These times have come before. They don't come because God withdraws from us. They come because we withdraw from Him. In the days when God raised up the prophet Samuel to speak for Him the Bible describes the era as nearly devoid of any connection with God. It isn't hard to see why. The priests were morally corrupt and spiritually dead. The people refused to submit to God and then blamed Him when things went wrong. Worst of all they had become convinced that the solution to all their problems was to appoint a human king to replace the King of kings.

In our day too many pastors and priests are morally corrupt and spiritually dead. Too many people refuse to submit to God yet blame Him for everything that goes wrong. We have decided that science and technology are our new saviours and every election that rolls around we act as though putting the right person in Ottawa or the White House will magically turn everything around.

Clearly none of it is working and the further we move from Love the further away He seems yet God never moved.

It reminds me of a woman who asked her husband as they drove along in his pickup (with a bench seat) why they never snuggled as they drove anymore. They used to sit close together but now he was on one side and she was on the other. His response was hard to disagree with: "I am still in the same place..."

One author describes the era when Jesus was on earth as the darkest hour of human history for God's people. Marriage was a colossal failure. Racism and prejudice were at an all time high. The temple was large and beautiful but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob seemed a million miles away. It was so bad that when Jesus came - God in human flesh - they perceived Him as a threat and an enemy and murdered Him.

Yet even at this dark hour there were devout men and women spread all over the world who still believed in the God of Abraham and still faithfully came to Jerusalem for all the special occasions God had given His people to celebrate there. They held onto the hope that things would not always be so dark. Their hope was not disappointed. On this feast of Pentecost their God who had seemed so silent and distant suddenly made Himself known in a way that grabbed the attention of both the speakers and the audience.


Mark my words. If you hold onto Him in this current darkness your hope will not be disappointed. Slide back across that bench seat and stay with He who is in the driver’s seat. The journey will end well. It will end at Home.

Acts Day 20 - Will We Be There?

2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Easy to read past this quickly and assume it has little or nothing to do with me or our time and place. But then I look at our world today and I smile. I smile because I know the wind will soon blow here and the fire will fall. I smile because in spite of all the fighting, prejudice, terrorism, fear, uncertainty, and chaos there are still devout men and women from every nation under heaven. God will find a way to reach them all. Each will hear His message in their own language.

I do not know exactly how He will do it. I do not exactly when He will do it, but I am certain that He will. Regardless of nationality, gender, colour, or any of the other ways we classify and divide ourselves we are all His children and when the time is right He will gather us and as Jesus said "There will be one fold and one Shepherd."

It's important to recognize that the circumstances that made this moment possible and the moment itself were not orchestrated by any man. It was not some brilliant strategy hatched in that room by the 120. They were as much spectators as the crowd. Their only part was that they were following. They were cooperating. They positioned themselves through obedience and submission to have front row seats in this amazing unifying display of the love and power of God. The crowd had positioned themselves through obedience and submission to come to Jerusalem from all over the world to worship on this special day. They could have stayed home because finances were tight or the barn needed work or because Susie had an appointment but they didn't let any of those life pressures stop them.

Several times I found myself extremely blessed by the comfort and presence of God in places I almost didn't go. Circumstances and legitimate excuses almost prevented me. In those moments of experiencing Him two thoughts occur to me. "What if I hadn't come?" and "How many times have I missed such experiences because I didn't obey and submit and go?"

Sometimes these moments are at the bedside of a dying person. Sometimes they are at the home of someone God prompted me to visit. These moments of His undeniable presence can't be manufactured or planned. They come seemingly spontaneously and unexpectedly yet they always have one factor in common. They always happen when I am in the center of His will. They happen because I chose to listen and follow.

Amazing events are soon to take place. Most will miss them because they never positioned themselves through submission and obedience.


Where will you and I be when the wind shakes this world and devout men and women from every nation hear His voice in their own language?