“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

THE WORD,TRUTH AND FREEDOM

 


Oprah Winfrey once said “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” I’m not sure in what context she said speaking, but she alluded to words that Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32, NKJV) As a Black child born in the 1950s into poverty in Mississippi, I can understand how she may have felt powerless, but her quote above taps into Christ’s words and is out of context of what He meant. 

 

Christ said the words about truth setting us free to the Pharisees who held the religious temporal power. He did not. His power was of a different kind. He held the keys over life and death, and we can read the proof of that two chapters later in the 11thchapter of John when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.[1] Imagine that! Lazarus’ body had already been in the grave 4 days. The stench of putrification had begun. When Jesus called “Lazarus! Come forth!”, Lazarus’ heart began pumping again, congealed blood was restored, and his decaying body was restored and came to life. 

 

Ask yourself if that really happened? Did Jesus physically raise a dead man back to life? If you believe it didn’t happen, then Jesus Christ was not the Christ, the Son of God. If it did not actually happen, then He had no power over death and He did not rise from the dead either and nor will you or I. If it did not happen then I am amongst 100s of million of pitiable Christians throughout the centuries who believed a lie.[2] We have staked our lives on a myth in the Bible. If, however, Jesus raised and restored Lazarus from a dead rotting carcass—which I believe with all my heartwe are confronted with the essential question: Who is this Jesus? He certainly can’t be dismissed as a good moral teacher. C.S. Lewis said this about that:


“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”[3]

 

The truth Christ was talking about was/is Himself when He said the truth will set you free. Elsewhere, Jesus said, “I am the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.”[4] The word He meant was/is Himself. We read in the 1stChapter of John that in the beginning, Christ was the word that was with God and was God.[5]

 

The word?

 

From a layman’s perspective, it seems to me “the word” is something like a divine thought that animates everything seen and unseen, known and unknown; the word is alive and active in people’s lives, a divine idea that penetrates to the essence of every person, dividing soul and spirit with the sharpness of a two-edged sword. The Word judges every person’s thoughts and actions.[6] Perhaps it has something to do with human conscience; [7] but that is only a reflection of the word, the divine idea. An eternal thought.[8]

 

This eternal Thought is love[9] and a desire for relationships between the most special creatures of creation (man), and the eternal thought which is God.[10] Humanity is special and set apart in creation because God, that divine thought, that unfathomable Being, Perfect love, imbued humanity with the image and likeness of the divine thought which is God who animates the cosmos.[11]

 

From the perspective of my puny unlettered mind, which is governed by space and time, it is impossible to imagine something that exists outside those realms because space and time are all I know. The only thing I know that seems not to exist within space and time is thought, but that is not quite true. It takes a tittle of time, a millisecond, for thought to be generated, and yet I can imagine a thought existing after death when time and space are removed. 

 

The Incarnation was a reversal. That which was timeless and immaterial entered time and space. The spiritual became physical. The Creator entered creation for His love of the apex of His creation: humanity.[12] The Creator loves and desires to be loved by His image-bearers. Isn’t that the nature of true love? To love and be loved. The Word desires to be known, the divine Thought desires to be thought of constantly and loved in an intimate communion of love.[13] The problem is that the creature is unable to love the Word and divine Thought because the creature became corrupted, distorted, and separated from the Creator.[14]

 

God is perfect. Originally, paradisal man in Eden was perfect but became imperfect through disobedience and sin, thus introducing Original sin into the world—what the John the Baptist called “the sin of the world.” 

 

Jesus (the Word) said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”[15] But how can a grossly imperfect man like me be perfect like his Creator? I’m so distorted and corrupted by sin, I cannot find my own way to God. We are all corrupted by sin. Man had a wounded spirit that is inclined toward evil and unholiness.[16] We are in a hopeless situation because we are incapable of perfection (holiness) by our own means. Consequently, since sin was first introduced into the world, a relationship between God and man became impossible without blood sacrifice. Something, or as it turns out, someone must restore the possibility of relationships between Creator and creature: God and man. That someone was Jesus Christ:[17] Truly God, truly man. The Incarnation. I am unable to love God the Father, but I can love God the Son[18] through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.[19]

 

Unfortunately, it seems that suffering plays a significant role in bringing Christians closer to it.[20] The most imperfect, of whom I am the worst, must pass through a refining fire to burn away the dross. But even that proves insufficient. Christ is our perfection through faith.[21] For much of my adult life I have suffered from paralysis, and yet I have been freed even when a threatening storm of quadriplegia rumbled on the horizon, but my spirit soared I met the truth—who is Christ—and I had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I still do. — MDP 



Notes

[1] John 11:1-44.

[2] 1Corinthians 15:12-16

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

[4] John 14.6.

[5] John 1:1-2.

[6] Hebrews 4:12.

[7] Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16, John 1:9.

[8] John 1:1-5, Hebrews 1:2-3.

[9] 1 John 4:7-8.

[10] Genesis 1:26-27 & 5.2, John 1:3, 11,14,16,29,3:14-17, 1John 4:7-16.

[11] CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC), 355

[12] CCC, 343, 355.

[13] Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 30:6, Matthew 22:36-37.

[14] Genesis 3., Romans 5:12-13,

[15] Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 19:7, Matthew 5:48, 

[16] Jeremiah 17:9, Ecclesiastes 9:3, Mathew 15:19.

[17] John 3:16-17, Romans 5:8.

[18] Romans 1:16-18, 

[19] John 14:17, 2Peter 1:4.

[20] Deuteronomy 8:2-3, Psalm 40:1-2, Matthew 5:10-12, Romans 5:3, 2Corinthians 12.9, 1Peter 1:6-11, 2: 19-13, 4:12-14 & 16-19, 5:10-11, 12:1-2, Philippians 1:29, 2:5-8, 3:8-15, Hebrews 2:9-11, 11:35, 12:1, Revelation 2:10.

[21] 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Friday, May 20, 2022

NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOUT TO THE LORD FOR FORGIVENESS


Will Roe v Wade finally be overthrown? Will the terrible human holocaust of children end? The blood of 63 million unborn babies cries from the ground for justice! Will the blinders be removed from America to reveal that abortion is not a human right?  It never was. It is a horrible wrong. Please stop using euphemisms meant to disguise evil as good and good evil. Call abortion what it is: Child murder.

I believe America has an opportunity to repent for what it has done over the past 50 years. It is time for personal and national repentance. Let us all fall on our faces before God and ask for His forgiveness and mercy. A terrible sin has been committed. America has turned from God with its policies and laws. Judges have been appointed who corrupt justice, the bodies of our aborted children have been defiled, people parade their sin in the streets, malcontents tear up the street of cities with impunity. 

 

Now is the time to shout to the Lord for forgiveness, while there is still time. Perhaps He will restore America to its former glory. Perhaps it’s not too late. Maybe the fading, flickering light from the great city on the hill will not extinguish. I love America.

 

Now is the time to shout to the Lord for forgiveness. I have been guilty of abortion too, but I've been forgiven by the Author of Life. Forgiveness is just a prayer away. Please. God bless America.



*Photo from Tell the Lord Thank you blog.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

JORDAN PETERSEN ON "THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ETHICAL"

Below is a link to a lecture by Dr. Jordan Petersen this past month at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business on The Importance of Being Ethical. Dr. Petersen is a clinical psychologist, best-selling author, and lecturer. I highly recommend it for your viewing. (Warning there is one swear word near the end.)

"What do you want to have on your side when you are contending
with the unknowable future and its vagaries? How about
truth? How about beauty? How about justice?"
—Dr. Jordan Petersen


 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

EMMA IS SO ANGRY ABOUT ROE V. WADE

I received a note from a young woman in her early twenties who I’ve known since her early childhood. She’s a Canadian but so angry with the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade. I think her computer must have been absolutely smoking as she punched at her keyboard! She wrote:

 

"What about all the women that have died in forced pregnancy’s every year? Do their lives not matter, over the live of some unborn cells?

With Roe v Wade being over turned it just shows that the governments (mostly men) care nothing about women and only care about a fetus. The fetus would not even be a thing without a women.

If there was a ectopic pregnancy, with Roe v Wade over turned, they are forcing women to continue with the pregnancy, even though the pregnancy is not viable and the mother more then likely will die.

Just goes to show that governments, and you people really don’t care about women at all. You just care about controlling someone else’s body.

I truly have always respected you Mark and I will always respect your choices, as they are yours, but I don’t respect that you don’t respect my choice for my OWN a BODY!"


After reflecting on her angry but uninformed note, I responded to Emma (not her real name): 

 

Dear Emma – Sorry about the delay in responding. Before I begin, I want to preface my remarks by letting you know you are one of LaRee’s and my favourite people. We have loved your spunk and joie de vivre from the time you were a toddler. We have fond memories of you and your brother. I remember you and a little friend raiding our apple tree and then running off down the street. I couldn’t help but smile. 

 

I really do believe in the old saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” A community has a responsibility to its children, its families, its old people. Everyone deserves a place within the greater human family. Yes, I am pro-life, Emma. I’ve spent most of my adult life espousing and advocating for the equality and worth of every human life. I believe that a truly civilized society includes in its tender embrace every mother and her children (whether born or unborn) and helps them to rise to their fullest potential. Genuine community values and nurtures every person with a mental or physical disability, those with terminal conditions, derelicts, the old, and people who are not even loved by anybody. 

 

I’m curious, Emma: Where are the women you refer to who are dying from forced pregnancy? A Handmaid’s Tale? The conjured fiction of Margaret Atwood’s imagination? You asked me if women’s lives matter less than unborn cells? First of all, Emma, those unborn cells you refer to is a new human life. New human life begins at conception. This is not a matter of opinion or religious contention. It is plain experimental biological evidence. Nobody’s life is any more or less important than another. 

 

Emma, you said, “… you people really don’t care about women at all. You just care about controlling someone else’s body.” Is that really what you think I’m like? Do you really think I don’t care about women, that I only care about controlling women’s bodies? No, I want the inclusion of every member of the human life from womb to tomb—and every stage or state between those two points. Why do you think I don’t care about women?

 

Did you know that in the mid-1980s, I co-founded a pregnancy Care Center in Edmonton? Its purpose was to support women in crisis pregnancies so they could make life-affirming decisions and choices for themselves and their babies. The center helped find housing and employment for women, childcare and community supports, life-skills training when needed, adoption services if that was their choice, and mentoring. We assisted women we served who wanted academic upgrading to pursue their career of choice. That pregnancy care centre still exists and has helped literally thousands upon thousands of women throughout more than 35 years! I am not anti-woman, Emma. I am pro-woman and pro-child and pro-LIFE for every life. 

 

That was not always the case. Fifty years ago, as a teenager, I pressured my girlfriend to have an abortion. Don’t think that my opposition to abortion is pointing a finger at any woman for having an abortion. If I did, my other 3 fingers would point back at me.  My teenage girlfriend was LaRee. We have regretted that terrible decision for more than half a century. That’s one reason I helped start the pregnancy care centre. I wished such a service had been available to LaRee and me in 1971.

 

Abortion advocates say they are pro-choice … but they do not finish the sentence. What choice? The choice of what car to buy? Which college or university to attend? Which career they should pursue? No, they are referring to the choice to kill their unborn child.  

 

I want real choices for women when they contemplate what to do in their unexpected, inconvenient or unwanted pregnancy. If the choice is between abortion or not to abort, I don’t want the choices stacked against choosing life.  I’ve worked to support positive life-affirming choices for women and their children (both born and unborn). How is that anti-woman, Emma? 


I know it's fashionable to be pro-abortion (particularly amongst liberals and the left), but our better angels call us to something higher, and that higher calling is to love every child regardless of their circumstances, development, wantedness, or inconvenience.


God bless.

Mark

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

CHRISTIAN FATHERS AND SONS

 


After reading an article in the Human Life Review blog about Fathers and son, [1] I’ve been reflecting on the fact that God the Father sent God the Son to save the world, through faith, enabling us to become children of God.[2] The love of God the Father and God the Son was prepared to go to such extremes—even crucifixion on a cross—to make us his children by adoption.[3]  He gave us the template for fatherhood. It is a fatherhood of stability and order, nurture, tenderness and support, a love for one’s children that lifts them up to find the meaning and purpose for which God created them the night they were conceived. That purpose may not be lofty or august or majestic, but whatever their purpose and meaning may be, it must be rooted in divine love, obedience and surrender to His will. 

 If possible, fathers must help make that discovery as easy as possible for their sons (and daughters). If we have brought our sons up in an environment based on loving Christian morality that has the Bible as our guide. From early childhood we must teach them to listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit—they will be well on their way. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they will be confused by an evil world, its clever but wrong temptations, and hostility to all that is Holy. They may be drawn away from Christ and that is the great tragedy. Christian fathers want their children with them in Christ’s eternal love in this life and the next. — MDP



[1] Jason Morgan, Fathers and Sons, 05 April 2022 in The Human Life Review blog. https://humanlifereview.com/fathers-and-sons/

 

[2] John 1:1, 12, John 3:16-17.

[3] Romans 8:15 & 23, Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

IS THERE A DARK SIDE TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES?

 Are electric vehicles really clean? See video below. Is the reporter correct? If so, we must demand manufactures of electric vehicles stop purchasing cobalt (apparently a stabilizer in the production of lithium batteries) from sources that involve child labour and put children at risk! The move away from fossil fuels is good but we must not allow the embrace of electric vehicles to be sullied by scandal—especially when it hurts people. If it does that, then it's not clean at all. If zero emissions are to be achieved and the Paris Accord goals met, it must not achieved at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.



Sunday, April 10, 2022

DOCUMENTARY ABOUT TEEN SUICIDE

 Watch for this documentary My Ascension about Emma Benoit and teen suicide. Show it to the teens in your life. Arrange a teen suicide prevention event for your community. Life is so precious. God bless. — Mark