Month: February 2017

Be Blessed or Be Warned

Be Blessed or Be Warned

It is the year 2017 and still, it never ceases to amaze me what people will do despite being warmed of what the potential outcome could be. With all the advancements made in technology, by God’s grace, we have come so far in our ability to warn the masses of impending danger.  We are now able to provide advance warnings when it comes to hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc. with scientists working everyday on improving them further.  All in an effort to increase the time people have to be warned and to respond.

Being from Atlantic Canada, I have never known the fear of a tornado, earthquake or any of the other natural disasters those of the more tropical climate have had to live with. That said, there are dangers to our climate that the locals have to consider, especially during the winter season.  Extreme cold, ice and snow are an almost constant during the winter months creating real danger for those left exposed.  Fortunately for us, we often know what is coming days before it gets here but that still doesn’t seem to be enough for some to make the right decision and I give an example to illustrate the point.

Now before I outline this example, let it be known that I do concede the fact evacuating or properly stocking the necessities may not be an option for some. The sick, elderly and those struggling in impoverished conditions come to mind first when thinking on this.  I’m more taking about those who have the means to heed a warning but choose to do nothing; or worse, do the exact opposite.

In February of this year, 2017, our province was brought to a standstill. In a winter that was quickly becoming known for its lack of snow and cold weather, we were hit by a blizzard that seemed to make up for what was lacking all in one shot.  With winter storm warnings a constant on radio, television and social media, telling the masses to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary, many still found the need to be out.  With many stranded and in need of rescue, one city that I know of in our province was forced to fine those found driving on the roads unnecessarily.

Of all the ridiculous things I heard during this time was a post on social media of a person seeking to find someone willing to brave the storm to get food, coffee and cigarettes to a loved one stranded at their place of work. Now I have experienced what people can get like when going through withdrawal, but the thought of risking one’s life for coffee and smokes did have me in stitches.  That said, the post does seem to speak to our passive, almost deliberate ignorance to those warnings whose intentions are to bless and protect.  An attitude that plagued believers of the Bible as it does today.

In the time of the Old Testament, there were constant warnings of what would happen for those of Israel who strayed from God. In speaking on this to Moses, God states the following in Deuteronomy 31 v 20 – 21:

“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.”

Like a child, there has always been a need to rebel against those interpreted to be telling us what to do or how to live.

In reading the scripture above, what stands out the most is what God says at the end; that our disposition is known. Disposition is defined as a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character.  The implications of this are revealing.  Our creator knows our life’s pattern as stated in Genesis 6 v 5:

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Proverbs 27 v 20 highlights this reality in saying,

Sheol (Death) and Abaddon (Destruction) are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”

For me, this helps to make sense out of what said to those of Rome, and to us today, in Romans 3 v 20 and 7 v 7:

Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the Law. For the Law merely brings awareness of sin.

What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? By no means! Indeed, I would not have been mindful of sin if not for the Law.

With our weakness known and exposed, the law is there as reminder to us. Laws aren’t so much about protection as much as they are a warning to those may be inclined to break them; to do those things they know they ought not do.

Despite the warnings, if our disposition is one of sin and the death it leads too, one might be inclined to ask an obvious question, “Why try?” Thankfully the answer, as it always is, is found in Christ.  Romans 5 v 20 – 21 states:

“The Law was given so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the revelation of sin we see how much we need God in Christ and even more than that, how dependable we need to be on him and how dependable he is. Being found in the eternal Christ, as it says in Romans 6 v 4, indicates that:

“we too may walk in newness of life. “

In closing, I’m reminded of the last time I was pulled over. In my rush to get to work on time, I hadn’t realized how fast I was going.  In attempting to explain my reasoning for being in such a hurry, I had resigned myself to the ticket I had earned.  When the officer came back and handed me my ID, he simply stated with a smile “Slow down”.  He had had let me go with a warning and what a blessed warning it was.  I was so thankful and even had the chance to tell him that when I had seen him again on the street many days later.

To reject a warning is to really, “reject at one’s own peril”, as they say. It has me echoing the words of one of Israel’s great leaders of old.  Joshua 24 v 15 states:

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

This is the desire for me and my house and I pray it to be yours and your household’s as well; both now and forever more.

God Bless

Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue

My daughter was 3 and a half when I received a call from a friend who served with the River Valley Search and Rescue. In an effort to recruit new volunteers they were looking for a new image for their campaign.  With photography being one of my friends many talents, he had an idea for a photo shoot and was calling to see if my daughter and I would be interested in being part of it.  My concern was with my daughter but even at her young age, she was happy to help.  Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the shoot location where wardrobe and make up awaited us.  After sharing his vision for the picture, we were prepped and the camera stated flashing.

There were a few reasons he had come to us as candidates for the picture.  The first being that small children love to explore and can often get lost.  With a young daughter it was a great idea to have a picture of a child being rescued.  The second, humorous reason looking back on it now, was that the rescuer was going to be wearing one of their shirts.  They needed someone with a wide enough back for their logo to be clear and fully visible.  Luckily for my friend, I had been weightlifting for several years at that point and had the back he needed.  After reviewing the pictures taken, a few were chosen for submission and remarkably, our picture was selected for their great cause.

During a recent conversation with another friend of mine I was again reminded of the importance of search and rescue. He was calling to inform me that he was getting back involved with an organization he had worked with in the past; Search and Rescue Aircrew.  He would be the first to admit that the struggles of his younger years disqualified him for service at that time.  But, with our savior Jesus being the master of restoration, he was renewed and far more improved than he ever was on his own.  This transformation led to him being welcomed back to serve in this vital area.

As he relayed the news of this old but new opportunity, I could hear the passion in his voice as the work he was doing had so many parallels to the work he was doing in service to our Savior. You see, my friend is an evangelist, what I hope all Christians would be, and the work of an evangelist is all about search and rescue.  As Christians, we are called to be ready, mindful and courageous in stepping into of those opportunities to minister the gospel.  Now my friend again had the opportunity to search out the physically lost while ministering to their spiritual needs.

In speaking to my friend, a fire had been lighten in side of me; inspiring this write up. There was one thing he said that has stuck with me as it was so true about those who encounter Christ.  He stated that when searching for a person who has been lost, often the light of their rescuer is the first thing a lost person sees when they are found; a sentiment echoed by Jesus in the scriptures.  Matthew 15 v 4 states the following regarding light and its source:

“You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

As light carried on the helmet of a search and rescuer leads the way, so too we as Christians carry a light leading us to the lost.

In reading the scripture verse above I find the second line most interesting in that it gives perspective to the fact that we as believer should not live in such a way that this light would not be seen. Or worse, not recognized.  Verses 15 of Matthew 5 expands on this by saying:

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Light has its purpose and it would not make sense to shine a light only to cover it up. We elevate the light in an effort to see its reach go everywhere and touch everyone.

For those who have been lost or in particular, have been in the dark for a period of time, light can be hard to see. Stories are told by those rescued of seeing light but not being sure of where it was coming from; that it was a struggle or even confusing as they sought to focus and identify its source.  Thankfully as a Christian we don’t have this struggle.  We know the source of our spiritual light and are able to point others to it.  John 8 v 12 states:

“Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus is the light and in him, and with him in us, we have his light; the light of life. In a world so recognized for its darkness we are implored shine this light that is so desperately needed.

Coming back to what was said in Matthew 15, Jesus indicates that the way we shine this light is in how we live; that the way we live has the power to influence those around us in a way that has them giving glory to God. I love Peter’s insight on this as found in 1 Peter 3 v 16:

“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”

This would be a life well lived.

To close, I’ll let the friend who inspired this writing have the last words. “As a Search and Rescue Aircrew member, we give of ourselves as our motto says “THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE”.  With a vision for the Christian side of this, I see that he tasks us out as men and women to help others find the life he has given us.  He equips us with a spiritual GPS (Godly Positioning System) and green lights us to jump into the darkness; to shine His light upon the lost and escort them to the safety of God and his kingdom.

In a real Aircrew rescue we say “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name). A search and rescue specialist.  I’m here to get you out.  Grab on and know that I have you and won’t let you go.  In the church we need to do the same.  Boldly taking charge in saying, “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name) a believer in Jesus Christ.  He paid for my sins and yours and has sent me to this time and place to help get you to safety.  All you need do is say yes to him and grab on as he’s got you.  His light is eternal and will lead you home.”

Thank you for your witness brother Jason.

God Bless all – Sean Bosse