“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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"COINCIDENCES" OF THE LIVING CHRIST

Many years ago, my wife and I rescued a woman from an extremely abusive husband. The man was a sheer brute. He was filled with bluster and threats -- ruling his household by intimidation and fear! Perhaps I have met worse men than Leo but I can't remember when. The rescue was planned for a day when Leo was supposed to be away for a few hours.

We took the opportunity to get his wife out of their apartment, along with her clothes and a few cherished belongings. Having multiple sclerosis, I couldn't make it up the stairs to the apartment so my wife and the woman worked feverishly to vacate the place when Leo came home early! They lied through their teeth to get out of the apartment building. The two women made their way across the parking lot to the car. I was gunning the engine ready to whisk them away. Being disabled, I was hardly able to deflect a physical altercation with Leo.

I was praying even harder than revving the engine. I Knew the Lord
has a heart for the oppressed. Psalm 103.6 says "The Lord does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed." Elsewhere in the Psalms say "He upholds the caused of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, ..." Surely this woman was oppressed! Surely she was a prisoner in her own home!

Suddenly an enraged Leo appeared at the front door of the apartment building. "Please heavenly father" I prayed, "deliver us!"
Without prompting a police car screeched around the corner of the street and stopped behind my car. A policeman with a puzzled look on his face walked to my car. I could see Leo shrinking back into the apartment building at the sight of the police officer.

I rolled down my window for the policeman. "Did you call the
police?" He asked. I responded "No officer, but it's sure good to see you." By this time my wife and the woman were piling into the car. "Did you call the police?" I asked them. Both said No. Leo must have thought I called the police because he disappeared out of sight. The confused policeman went back to his car wondering who called him to that location. I drove away with the image in my rear-view mirror of a bewildered policeman mumbling to himself.

Coincidence? Perhaps. The problem is that there have been too many "coincidences" in my life throughout the years. Too many for them all to be "coincidences." They can't all be coincidences or they would not be coincidences. 

Am I saying that God intervenes in the lives and affairs of
humanity? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying! He certainly has/does in mine, just as He has in the lives of millions upon millions of people throughout the ages.

What happened to the woman rescued from Leo? She divorced him and started a new life. In subsequent years, she too felt the hand of God in her life. She passed away peacefully a few years ago at the age of eighty-two.

Millions of people (including me) know the reality of the resurrected and living Jesus Christ. The Joy Behars of this world simply do not understand. They can but they don't ... yet.

MDP

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ALAN KEYES' ADVISE TO THE PRESIDENT

I have always admired Dr. Alan Keyes. I believe he would have been a wonderful President of the United States. He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Presidential nomination. Below Ambassador Dr. Alan gives advice to President Trump to embrace the constitution and tell the House of Representatives to do their job. I hope uncooperative members of Congress this to wise man's advice.

[As an aside, many years ago Dr. Keyes called my house and asked for me. I wasn't home. I think Dr. Keyes thought he was calling an office. My 17-year-old son answered the phone with the usual sassiness of teenagers. Dr. Keyes must have thought he called a pretty unprofessional and shoddy office and was blunt. My son pushed back. Dr. Keyes found out he was talking to my son and had called my home. He apologized. My son replied with something to the effect: "Ya dude, whatever" before hanging up. He had no idea who Alan Keyes was. My son is close to forty now and a businessman. I occasionally tease him about his youthful impertinence.]


Thursday, May 17, 2018

THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN AND UNSEEN

I have a vivid memory from about fifteen years ago.

One stifling hot summer night, I awoke to a familiar but dreaded sizzling sensation in my legs. My old nemesis, multiple sclerosis, was visiting, eating internal function -- like termites inside a tree. It was a time of great fear as the disease seemed to threaten everything! Unable to go back to sleep, I transferred from bed to wheelchair and went outside and stopped under the boughs of a cluster of Manitoba maple trees in my backyard. All was still.

My little house sits at the bottom of the hill that Beaumont was named after. I looked the hill to see the reassuring and steady light of an illuminated historic Catholic church. It's been there for over a century. Everything was peaceful, barring that horrible sizzling sensation. I crawled into a hammock tied between two massive maple trunks and gazed up into the dark serenity of a starry sky. It was my sacred little place in the world where I spent countless hours throughout many years: contemplating, reflecting, praying, searching, looking to understand rather than to see. It was beneath the canopy of maple branches that the Christian hope within me swelled within my chest and rose as an offering to God. 

There was a sudden gust of wind that swayed the
branches above me. Leaves rustled as though to whisper, "Do not be afraid, I AM with you." Ecstasy then shame. Ecstacy filled me to know He was near -- then shame to realize my life was deeply stained by sin. Confession. Forgiveness. Divine embrace.

As suddenly as the visitation came. it vanished and all became ordinary again. The yard remained bathed in moonlight and the great old church on the hill still shone in floodlights. The sizzling sensation in my legs remained but ceased to matter. 

Any passerby would have been oblivious to what had just happened. For a brief instant, it had seemed that a sweet essence of Eden opened then mercifully closed: The whisper in the breeze was too much for anything more than those brief seven words. In that twinkling
but earth-shaking moment, centuries melted away and indescribable Joy filled my heart. I wept, not because my body was wasting but because I had been touched by the Holy Spirit.

Saint Paul's words made perfect sense:

"Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inner man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:16-18. cf. Romans 8.18; Colossians 3.10; Hebrews 11.1.)

Two years ago, a violent storm brought down the maple trees. If the evil one was trying to destroy my sacred place, he failed. I realized that sacred place was within me all along.  The trees were only a setting. The maples are gone but the blue moonlight still washes over my little house on the Canadian prairies and the old church at the top hill and reminds me that nothing can separate me from the love of God. 

My forever home is not here. Heaven is my home.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

MOTHER'S DAY: THE LOVING HAND THAT ROCKED THE CRADLE

Motherhood is a sacred vocation and I want to wish every mother a blessed and happy Mother's Day. I am reminded of the poem by "THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE RULES THE WORLD, by William Ross Wallace (1819-1881).
    Blessings on the hand of women!
        Angels guard its strength and grace.
    In the palace, cottage, hovel,
        Oh, no matter where the place;
    Would that never storms assailed it,
        Rainbows ever gently curled,
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
        Is the hand that rules the world.
    Infancy's the tender fountain,
        Power may with beauty flow,
    Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
        From them souls unresting grow —
    Grow on for the good or evil,
        Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
        Is the hand that rules the world.
    Woman, how divine your mission,
        Here upon our natal sod;
    Keep – oh, keep the young heart open
        Always to the breath of God!
    All true trophies of the ages
        Are from mother-love impearled,
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
        Is the hand that rules the world.
    Blessings on the hand of women!
        Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
    And the sacred song is mingled
        With the worship in the sky —
    Mingles where no tempest darkens,
        Rainbows evermore are hurled;
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
        Is the hand that rules the world.

    Mothers are at the center of a child's life and life in the home and shape tomorrow's world.

    MDP 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

IS IOWA'S HEART-BEAT LAW THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR ROE V. WADE?

Speaking in Dubuque, Iowa
5 May 2018
On May 5th, I was in Dubuque, Iowa, to give the keynote address to the Dubuque County Right to Life's annual banquet. I spoke to the audience of 650 about the human tragedy of abortion, and perils of euthanasia and assisted suicide for vulnerable people with severe disabilities and/or incurable diseases. There was a jubilant and celebratory atmosphere to the evening. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds had just signed the "Heartbeat" bill into law that afternoon. It prohibits abortions after an unborn child's heartbeat can be detected which is at 6 weeks gestation.

Governor Reynolds signs the Heartbeat bill into law
5 May 2018
The new law is sure to face legal challenges, possibly up to the US Supreme Court. The courageous defenders of life are prepared and have a legal team at work developing strategies to defend the new law. But if it stands, Iowa's Heartbeat bill may be the thin-edge-of-the-wedge to crack and bring down Roe v. Wade. (More than 60-million of America's babies have been slaughtered since that terrible 1973 Supreme Court decision.) The Heartbeat bill is not perfect: There are still exceptions in the law, but perhaps it is a start the toppling of Roe v. Wade. I pray other states will muster the courage to follow suit. God bless Iowa! Please give moral and prayer support to Iowa and it's courageous and principled governor Kim Reynolds. 

Abortion's vicious blackguards of death, and their media allies, are sure to attack the Heartbeat Law and Governor Reynolds in attempts to bring down this new law and protect their evil. They must NOT succeed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

PRO-LIFE GOOD NEWS

Sometimes two or three small words have the potential to make a world of difference. They initially go unnoticed. Stop! Take note! 


On the website for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) you will find their latest Mission Statement. I have copied the Mission statement and pasted it below.   

Mission Statement

"The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services."
Immediately below the Mission Statement on the website, you will find the Organizational Structure. It says:

"HHS is the U.S. Government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, from conception. HHS is responsible for almost a quarter of all Federal outlays and administers more grant dollars than all other Federal agencies combined."
Did you see it? It says the "HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, from conception." [My emphasis added.]

The U.S. federal government's Department of Health and Human Services now recognizes its mission includes protecting the lives of all Americans at every stage of life beginning AT CONCEPTION! Don't believe me? Check it for yourself at https://www.hhs.gov/about/strategic-plan/introduction/index.html

Under the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, complete recognition of
the value of all human life is now official policy!  Unless I'm missing something, this is a major success for the pro-Life movement. The Trump administration quietly, and without fanfare, amended the mission of Health and Human Services to recognize what you have fought to gain for so long!

Two little words "from conception". Dare we hope this marks a seismic shift in policy, programs and activities that are life-affirming under the leadership of the Trump administration?! Is this the beginning of the end of government support of barbaric organizations like Planned Parenthood, that was so heavily supported by Obama?!  

It is important for America's pro-life movement to actively encourage HHS to put in place a wide spectrum of program and activities that support maternal and prenatal health, education of the nature of life before birth, and help women in crisis pregnancies, as well as protecting their unborn children. 

This can be achieved by supporting pregnancy care centers to serve
women in crisis pregnancies to support themselves, and their babies, or partnering with community faith-based organizations to develop and deliver employment and life skills and mentoring programs for young women who might otherwise be abortion-minded. 

Pressure and support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to quickly put these policies and programs in place in your community.

Those two little words "from conception." Perhaps they can be the start of a new day in America where every life is truly valued and protected. God bless America. 

MDP

Monday, April 23, 2018

MY FRIEND JONI, AND CHRISTIAN DISABILITY MINISTRY

Joni and I at Biola University, California,
to debate advocates of assisted suicide
2009
I have the great privilege of having a dear and treasured friendship of Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni is a devout evangelical Christian author, radio show talk host, an accomplished artist, and head of the international disability Christian ministry Joni and Friends, based in Agoura Hills, California. Joni is also quadriplegic. She is, quite simply, a spiritual giant of the 21st Century. 

Throughout the years we have been supportive of each other's
disability and pro-Life ministries: She, an evangelical Protestant, and me, an evangelical Catholic, working together -- wherever and whenever possible -- to serve the disabled and vulnerable within church ministry and inclusion. Our common ground lies in our mutual love for Jesus Christ, a desire to equip Christians for special needs and related pro-life ministries. The ultimate goal is to bring people to a personal relationship with Christ, regardless of circumstances.

Both Joni and I are acquainted with suffering throughout decades of disability. She has often ministered to me in my pain. I hope that in
some small way, I have ministered to her. At one point in my degenerative MS journey, three out of four limbs were severely affected (triplegia) and there was a very real threat I would lose the use of my left arm and become a quadriplegic.  I contacted Joni and told her about my situation. She said, "You have the use of one arm? Sounds wonderful." Ouch! It was a needed kick in my keester to stop whimpering about something I could not control and carry on with the important work before us. Happily, my crisis passed, and I did not become quadriplegia. In fact, I even regained some of the use in my right arm!


[I am available to speak about a Christian perspective on suffering and disability, and the perils of euthanasia/assisted suicide to the disabled and our culture in general. Send an email to me at HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca.] 

See the video below for a wonderful interview evangelical leader Chuck Swindoll had with Joni Eareckson Tada a few years ago.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

A THOUGHT ABOUT SUFFERING

I will turn 65 next month. More than half my life has been marred by severe multiple sclerosis (MS). I've come to understand that behind every Why? is the love of Christ. It is more important to understand than to be understood.

Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

VATICAN ASYLUM FOR THE EVANS FAMILY!



The tweet above was sent today to Pope Francis to offer asylum for baby Alfie Evans' family and treatment at the Bambini Gesu Hospital in Rome and is connected with the Vatican.  (For more information about the case, see the news link at the bottom of this post.)

Baby Alfie and parents
It sounds so familiar with other cases where hospitals have over-ridden parents wish to continue life support. I am reminded of British baby Charlie Gard at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, baby Isaiah Haastrup at King's College in London, England, Canadian baby Joseph Maraachi at London Health Sciences Centre (London, Ontario) and baby Isaiah May at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  

I ask people reading this post to rally behind Alfie's parents Tom
suffered their latest defeat to have Alfie moved to the hospital in Rome. Lord Justice Davis, Lord Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan were wrong in their decision. Don't be fooled by their lofty titles. Write to the Vatican asking that their lawyers intervene in this case and offer to take baby Alfie in the Vatican's care for treatment at Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome. Will it work? If the Charlie Gard case is any indication, the chances are slim. 

Most of my adult life been a member of the school of hopeless causes. On rare occasions, we've won. Let's hope the Alfie Evans
is one of them and the Evans family will be welcomed into the loving and tender embrace of the Vatican.

CONTACTS
Pope Francis by letter
His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

Twitter: @Pontifex

Vatican Emails:

The Most Rev. Archbishop Pietro Parolin
Vatican Secretary of State
Email: vatio26@relstat-segstat.va

Pontifical Council For the Family
pcfl@family.va

Thank you.

Mark
"Who is Alfie Evans and why are are his parents back in court?" BBC News, 16 April 2018: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-merseyside-43754949

Monday, April 16, 2018

C.S. LEWIS: BEYOND PERSONALITY

Below is a 1944 BBC radio broadcast of C.S. Lewis speaking about changing the essence of human personality into Christ-likeness and completion of who we were intended to be. It is worth listening to the 15-minute broadcast. (Lewis' voice is rather like I imagined it.)



HOW THE PERCEPTION OF ABORTION WENT FROM MURDER TO A HUMAN RIGHT

North American society finds itself in a peculiar, difficult and disheartening state: a state it brought onto itself. Forty-five years ago our culture was gleefully in a sexual revolution. 

This social experiment carried enormous risks to society beginning with the threat to marriage and throwing off all restraint. Popular opinion heralded a new era of sexual freedom and emancipation from fidelity.  I remember we called it 'free love'. It was a lie and many people -- even those espoused it -- knew in their heart of hearts it was a lie. It was lust not love, and anything but free. The cost was venial disease, and broken hearts, and that pesky the problem of unplanned and unwanted children. What was emancipated society to do about the responsibility of caring for unwanted children? Kill them before birth, before they could be seen. 

SUPPRESSING TRUTH FOR A LIE

Although biology had long discovered, by experimental evidence, that a new life begins when sperm penetrates egg -- that point we commonly call conception -- abortion seemed to answer the problem of unwanted pregnancy.  How was the sexual revolution to separate that life from the 'boomers lives? A second lie was needed and so the 'blob of tissue' myth was adopted to denigrate the value of inconvenient prenatal life.  


The biological truth was suppressed in favour of an alternate sociological and political agenda. Real life in the womb became 'potential' life that hampered the liberation of women from patriarchy and women's aspirations. Abortion went from murder to a new human right. VoilĂ !

A woman's right to choose abortion became the battle cry of feminists everywhere. The new right of abortion became a lynch-pin for women's equality.  This myth became popular and people bowed to the power and seduction of this myth. Those who embraced the myth thought of themselves as appearing intelligent and progressive.  But the appearance of truth does not mean truth, only that it appears to be so.

APPEARANCES & DECEPTION

Most people build an "appearance" of themselves that they
want others to believe. This appearance is so important to them that they can quickly become slaves to the opinions of others; They desire so strongly to be aligned with the intelligent and progressive. They will sacrifice their integrity and squelch the voice of conscience within them in order to join the ranks of progressive company. They worked so hard cultivating an appearance compatible with the approval of the progressive "we": They have an overwhelming fear of being rejected and relegated to the unwashed masses of "them." They will do whatever is necessary to remain in the ranks of "we." The powers of others' opinions become dominant. They must continue to slavishly plod along the path of fickle acceptance. Truth for the sake of truth becomes distant. 

Pope Benedict XVI observed that people in this predicament "... can indeed no longer break free from the net of shared pretence." The Pontiff continued his observation: 

"Opinion, untruth gains domination. The entire life of a society, political as well as personal decisions, can in this way rest on the dictatorship of untruth: of how things are presented and reported instead of reality itself. An entire society can fall from the truth into shared deceit."[1]

That is where North America society finds itself with respect to abortion. Between America and Canada close to 70 million abortions have soaked the landscape with the blood of our unwanted and inconvenient children, over nearly five decades.[2]

SETTING THINGS RIGHT

How can we disentangle this holocaust of unprecedented proportions that the collective 'we' caused? It's a difficult and disheartening predicament. The way out is difficult yet surprisingly simple too.

It requires the humility to admit our individual and cultural deceit and embrace all the human family beginning in the womb. We must admit we were wrong. Repentance and confession are necessary, without excuses, on an individual and collective basis. But repentance is repugnant to the proud. It is unpopular and old-fashioned but desperately needed. We need a change of heart and a spirit of mortification about decades of abortion, and a solemn commitment to stop killing the unborn. We need the resolve to provide life-affirming alternatives for women in crisis pregnancies and their children. 

C.S. Lewis wrote this about progression. "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."


We must return to where we went off track. I believe it happened when society turned away from the Laws of Nature, the sanctity of human life, and the God who created both. 

Lord restore our nations and give us a new heart of love, compassion and unity. Instill in us a compelling desire for holiness and truth. Amen.

Mark

[This post also appeared in the American Life League Life League blog at https://www.all.org/how-the-perception-of-abortion-went-from-murder-to-a-human-right/ ]
__________________
[1] Pope Benedict XVI, "THE YES OF JESUS CHRIST: SPIRITUAL EXERCISES IN FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE" (NEW YORK: Crossway Publishing Company, 1991) pp. 86-87.
[2] Canada began abortion in 1969.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

NURTURING A CHRISTAN FAMILY IN A SECULAR WORLD

I want to feature a Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) podcast with Dr. Darrell Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement at DTS and Pastor Chip Ingram of Venture Church in Los Gatos, California. The podcast is entitled "Nurturing a Christian Family in a secular world." It deals directly with issues Christian families wrestle with in parenting. Parents must answer a fundamental question: What's more important: Happiness or holiness? -- Mark 


Thursday, April 5, 2018

EDMONTON ARCHBISHOP WITHHOLDS FUNDING FROM CATHOLIC AGENCY

Archbishop Richard Smith
Archbishop Richard Smith of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton (where I live) has been compelled to withhold funds from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). This does not come as a surprise. Over the past few years I have heard rumours that CCODP has been involved indirectly with abortion activities and contraception. I have not written about these rumours because, after all, they were rumours.

I am not sure what prompted the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to instigate a review of CCODP's activities, but Archbishop Smith wrote an open letter, dated April 4th 2018,  to Catholics of the Archdiocese. In part, he said:

"Development and Peace fulfills its mandate in collaboration with more than one hundred partner agencies in the Global South, contracting with them to carry out specific projects aimed at improving the lives of our sisters and brothers in many developing countries. The Bishops of Canada have recently been apprised of the preliminary results of a review of these partners."

"The initial results communicated to me are alarming. An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral teaching and,  in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life."

"For this reason, the Archdiocese of Edmonton will withhold the D&P portion of the 2018 Together We Serve donations from Development and Peace." 

Archbishop Smith stated that funds will be withheld from Development and Peace until he has clear assurances all funds will be used by agencies "whose mission, values and practices cohere with the teachings of the Catholic Church ..." And that is how it must be!

[You can read the Archbishop's entire letter at the end of this post.]

The sanctity of human life: It lies at the center of Christian morality. God made each of us in his image and likeness (Genesis 1.26-27) That fact alone gives every human life, from womb to tomb, immeasurable value. Catholic institutions or agencies must never be involved in anything that does not hold up the sanctity of all human life -- whether it be directly, indirectly, by extension, or affiliation. If life is not sacred then nothing is sacred. 





Tuesday, April 3, 2018

MARTIN LUTHER KING'S STRUGGLE FOR 'THE DREAM' CONTINUES

April 4th marks 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. When we think of the great civil rights leader, we are apt to remember his profound "I have a dream" speech. He said, 

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." 

Dr. King dreamt of a day when black Americans would truly stand as equals with white America and that they would not be "judged by the colour of their skin but the content of their character." 

Martin Luther King  not only believed in racial equality, but harmony of all peoples. He rejected all forms of violence, and that included the violence of abortion. 




A number of years ago I was invited to deliver the keynote address to a U.S. National Right to Life Prayer breakfast. I accepted. I spoke from my wheelchair about the equality and natural dignity of all human life from conception to natural death -- from the womb to the tomb. 

After my speech, I was mingling with people. A woman came up to me and we visited for a few minutes before I went to my table. 
"Do you know that woman is?" somebody asked me. 
"No." I replied. 
"That's Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King's niece. She's a civil rights leader in her own rite."
I was stunned. Why did I deliver the keynote address with her in the banquet room? She should have delivered the address!


Dr. King sees her pro-Life advocacy as a continuation of the civil rights struggle. She's right. After all, as her uncle said "How can the 'dream' survive if we murder the children?" Everyone has the right to live, to breath fresh air and be warmed by the sun. Alveda King is taking that struggle, for life itself, to the places of power and to main street America. The right to life is the first and highest right. Without life guaranteed, all other rights become arbitrary and uncertain.


Mark

THE DEEPEST HUMAN DESIRE SATISFIED

In a sermon to newly baptized Christians, early Church Father Saint Jerome (c. 347-420) imagined what it must be like for the saved to stand before God. He said:

"Now they come forward and they stand in the presence of God. They have come forward before the altar and have looked upon the mystery of the Saviour. ...I shall go into God's marvellous dwelling place, his house. The house of God is his Church, his marvellous dwelling place, filled with joyful voices giving thanks and praise, filled with all the sounds of festive celebrations."

DEEPEST DESIRES SATISFIED

Saint Thomas Aquinas told us that our deepest desire can only be satisfied in our heavenly home with the saints. He said, "Only God satisfies, he infinitely exceeds all other pleasures." Saint Augustine exhorted us to pray as the Master taught us for Christ shows us how to receive the desire of our hearts, through prayer.

We learn from Augustine that God's "gift is very large indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it." This desire does not enter into our hearts -- we enter that divine desire. What is that desire? God is the object of our deepest desire and longings. Therefore, to follow Saint Augustine's line of exhortation, God must be the Object of our our prayer life.

PRAYER

To enter God's glory is to enter an Ecstasy beyond human capacity to imagine. Prayer is intended to expand the Christian's capacity to anticipate and enter the glory of the Lord.

I believe an underlying and refining purpose of our brief time on earth is to expand our capacity to enter into the full joy of "God's marvellous dwelling place, a house." Again Thomas Aquinas tells us that "Since in our heavenly home the saints will possess God completely, obviously their longing will be satisfied, and their glory even greater."

SAINT STEPHEN

Occasionally, we see the spiritual transformation from earthly to heavenly understanding. This was dramatically illustrated with the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7.55-56):
Stoning of Stephen
Giulio Romano
(1499-1546)

"But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heavenly and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, "Behold, I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witness laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Despite being robbed of his earthly life, Stephen's heavenly life came into full view. Things of earth grew dim and faded away.

GOD'S GLORY

Saint Paul referred to seeing indistinctly and partly here on earth but in the presence of Jesus Christ, standing face to face, then we will see clearly and understand fully, just as we are understood fully. (1 Corinthians 13.12)

At present we are incapable of seeing the full glory of what awaits 
those who love Jesus Christ. The glory of God is too much for any of us to bear in our present states. At best, we can only grasp wisps and whispers of that glory. We do not understand. The holiest of people only understand in part.

Prayer is the mechanism God has provided to us to prepare and expand our capacity to experience His glory. Sublime Ecstasy will accompany divine desire fulfilled. There, beyond our our present experience, beyond nature, we shall eat of the tree of life in glorified and renewed bodies.

I must avert my thoughts from nagging doubts. That which is decaying here will dance there. The cross comes before the crown.

Through Christ I shall enter God's glory and will say, "It is this for which I was created." In God's dwelling, with the saints of the ages, I will understand that I am finally home -- my deepest desire and longing satisfied.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

THE WHY OF EASTER

Easter teaches us that those who truly love God need not fear death.
Christ suffered and died, then overcame the last enemy -- death itself -- to rise from the grave. He did not rise in people's imaginations. That is the hell of make-believe of adults, and make-believe ultimately leads to despair.

Our Lord Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead, wounds and
Caravaggio (1571-1610)
St. Thomas putting his finger on
Christ's wound
all! He invited Thomas to touch His hands and side. The Gospel of John tells us "Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.'" (John 20.27)


Thomas did not marvel at his own imagination or hallucination. He was looking directly at the resurrected Jesus. Thomas responded in astonishment and truth, "My Lord and my God!" His revelation went far beyond the words he uttered. Jesus IS God (John 1.1) The resurrected Christ is real and church history tells us that Thomas took the reality of the risen Jesus Christ to India where he was eventually martyred.

The earth shaking truth that Thomas declared was embraced by the other Disciples and the early Church that suffered under persecution. It was reaffirmed by the Council of Nicaea 300 years later, and vigorously defended by Christians to this day. Christ's empty tomb is the cradle of the Church. It is upon the ACTUAL resurrection of Jesus Christ that Christianity either lives or dies.

The secular mind rails and recoils at the prospect of seriously considering the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people throughout the ages have tried to deny or disprove it. The denials began within hours of Christ's resurrection when soldiers who reported the empty tomb to the chief priests who paid them to say that Jesus' Disciples stole the body. (Matthew 28.11-15)

Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so utterly unthinkable to the secular mindset? It brings people face-to-face with the terrible  prospect of God, and their own sin. C.S. Lewis said that God is the only comfort, he is also the supreme terror. The resurrection calls people away from sinful lives and to a different direction to become new creatures in Christ -- and forsake their old ways. John the Baptist called Jesus the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." (John 1.29)

If a man's life is more important to him than being right with God, then the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is offensive. He must deny, deny, deny!

How Jesus rose from the dead is not for us to know, only that he
rose from the dead and why it happened. The motivation behind Christ's life, dead resurrection was (and remains) God's love for the world. (John 3.16)

God is calling you and me, and every other human being, to repentance and reconciliation with Him through faith in Jesus Christ and the reconciliation that Calvary offers. God loves all humanity so much! He wants us to spend eternity with him. This is the Why of the cross. This the Why of Easter.

We accept Christ's resurrection by faith and the testimony of those who saw him after his resurrection. Jesus said to Thomas, "Have you have come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." That is you and me and millions of Christians throughout the centuries. We are called to live by faith not by sight.

If Christ did not rise from the dead then nor shall his followers. If the resurrection did not occur, then our faith is futile. The Apostle Paul stated this 1Corinthians 15.16-17. If Christ did not rise from the dead then our loved-ones who have died are lost. If Christ did not rise from the dead then all I have known and hold dear is like a house of cards ready to come crashing down around me. The sooner the better -- if Christ did not rise from the dead. If Christ did not rise from the dead then Christianity is nothing more than a cruel hoax and should be eradicated from the face of the earth.

But the resurrection did occur. We have the testimonies of witnesses who personally saw Christ after his death. They preferred
death rather than deny it. Over 67,000,000 Christians have been martyred throughout 2,000 years. They were crucified, hanged, dismembered, burned, boiled, mutilated, disemboweled, starved, flayed alive, bludgeoned and shot for their faith. In continues and intensifies in this century. It is happening as I write these words.

I am not a martyr. But my lesser suffering from disease and serious disability has brought me to the reality of the risen and living Christ. He has abided with me throughout 34 years of aggressive, degenerative multiple sclerosis. His presence has become more real the sicker I become. I rest knowing Christ will abide with me to the end. All I love remains intact. I can declare with confidence the words of Job:

For I know my redeemer lives, 
And He shall stand at last on the earth; 
And after my skin has been destroyed, this I know, 
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
(Job 19:25-27) 


Below: My Redeemer Lives
by Nicole C. Mullen





Saturday, March 24, 2018

'FOR THE SAKE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST"

The Catholic church teaches this about the human heart:

"The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give a man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: God gives us strength to begin anew. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced." (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) No. 1432.

Conversion is effecting justification before God through Jesus Christ' proclamation to "repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." (Matthew 4.17, CCC 1989). We are justified "through faith in Jesus Christ" (CCC 1991) and merited by his atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary (CCC 1992) This redemptive action was started by God.

In the Apostle Paul's send letter to Timothy, he exhorted him to
always be prepared to say what was needed, whether words of correction, rebuke or encouragement. Paul knew that people do not always hear words of truth (2Timothy 4:1-5).  The Apostle was writing his letter to Timothy while languishing in prison, chained like a common criminal. He was in chains for the sake of freedom in Christ and reconciliation with God. It wasn't a popular message then (as it still is not) but is was critically important.

In 2005, Louisiana authorities warned the good people of New Orleans to evacuate the city in anticipation of hurricane Katrina
about to bear down on them. Many people did not listen to the unpopular message. They stayed and paid a terrible price for their indifference.  Prior to the hurricane, I was in New Orleans speaking at a Catholic conference on disability. I could see ominous clouds churning out on the Gulf of Mexico and asked many of the locals whether I should be concerned. After all, I was in a wheelchair! "Don't worry about it" they replied, "We get hurricanes and tropical storms all the time. We get some water around the windows and doors. That's about it." But those clouds were churning and the people seemed complacent. But hey, what did I know? I'm a prairie boy from the land-locked prairies.  I returned to Canada. A few weeks later, I watched in horror at the images on television as Katrina tore the city apart. Many of the poorest people of New Orleans could not flee the city and paid an even higher price with their lives. I do not believe the authorities will be held blameless. They knew the monster was coming yet did not offer sufficient transportation out of the city, until it was too late.

It is the same for those who know Christ. We know the final
judgement is coming. We have a moral and spiritual obligation to warn people and point to the way of salvation. As God told Ezekiel, we will not be held blameless (Ezekiel 33.7-20)

Mark



PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST: IN THEATRES EVERYWHERE THIS EASTER WEEKEND

This Easter weekend, Paul, Apostle of Christ opens in theatres everywhere.  Below is an EWTN interview with the producer, Eric Groth, Jim Caviezel and professor Scott Hahn.


Friday, March 23, 2018

MARK STEYN'S AND JORDON PETERSON ON STIFLING FREEDOM OF SPEECH

This past Christmas, Mark Steyn interviewed with Jordon Peterson on suppression of freedom of speech in Canada. It really is an important interview and worth watching. Pervasive and pernicious tyranny Canada's ruling progressive left, is a harbinger of things to come in America, Great Britain, and the rest of our dying western civilization. 


TYRANNY OF PATERNALISM

This blog post takes the form of a featured speech by Australian columnist, Dr. Janet Albrechtsen, entitled "TYRANNY OF PATERNALISM - BUREAUCRACY KILLS FREE SPEECH AND LIBERTY." I want to post it because she deals with the dismantling of these fundamental characteristics of historical western civilization and replaced with what she called "The claimed wisdom of the political class imposed from above." 

What she describes is what Canada is experiencing. In fact, Dr. Albrechtsen specifically refers to Canada and its rapid mutation into this 21st century tyranny replete with victimhood politics and anti-westernism. 


Sunday, March 18, 2018

BEN SHAPIRO AT HIS BEST

I like Ben Shapiro. He's a brilliant and morally upright young man. Below is a Q & A he gave at a Young America Foundation event (www.yaf.org). Notice the room was lined with security. Not only does this testify that Mr. Shapiro can't be bullied, it is an indictment on the progressive left about their willingness to try to silence opposing views by intimidation and shouting down those with whom they disagree. 


Monday, March 12, 2018

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO ASSISTED SUICIDE

See below. You can book Mark Davis Pickup to speak in your area of Canada or America about euthanasia, disability and assisted suicide, or Christian perspective on suffering. Send email to HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca for more details.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

THE CONDEMNATION, CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS OF NAZARETH

Below is part 4 of Franco Zeffirelli's 1979 film masterpiece JESUS OF NAZARETH.  It takes from Christ's condemnation, crucifixion and resurrection. Robert Powell played Jesus and was supported by an all-star cast including Anne Bancroft,  Christopher Plummer, James Mason, Sir Laurence Olivier and James Earl Jones, to mention a few.

 Here then is part 4 of Jesus of Nazareth.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

WHEN SURROGACY GOES BAD

In the interests of transparency, let me begin this post by stating that I am opposed to surrogacy. I want to feature a surrogacy story gone bad. We continually hear positive surrogacy experiences. We don't hear much about when surrogacy experiences goes bad. As with so many other issues the secular media keeps from public view -- like the grisly inhumanity of abortion -- this is one.

The U.S. based CENTER FOR BIOETHICS AND CULTURE Network is not such a propaganda vehicle. (God bless them.)  Jennifer Lahl heads the CBC. She recently had a skype interview with a woman whose surrogacy experience was not rosy. That interview is below.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

THE DIRTY UNDERBELLY OF SOME CANADIAN NURSING HOMES

Putting a loved one into a nursing home can be gut-wrenching.  My own family  experienced this. My mother-in-law, Dorothy, was in an Alberta (Canada) nursing home for the six years her life before her death in 2013 at the age of 82. She did not have money to afford private care. My wife and I don't have the financial resources to help so Dorothy went into public system where beds are in short supply.  There were subtle inklings, and not so subtle indicators, things might be amiss. 

My wife was afraid to make too may waves lest Dorothy be the recipient of retaliation. Dorothy had dementia, so she could not tell us if abuse were to occur. Her legs were very weak. Instead of staff helping her to the washroom, they put a lidless commodore beside her bed (near her head). That's where she did her bowel movements. She was supposed to wipe her hands with wipes my wife had to provide. The commode would go days without being emptied. Feces would pile to the lid.  Imagine the stench! My wife would have to ask for a new commode and the process would start over. 

When somebody bought Dorothy something nice. It was apt to disappear. There was theft, although one couldn't prove it. Dorothy had bed sores. Near the end of her life, she developed an infection. Her doctor recommended she be admitted to an acute care hospital. My wife and her sister were Dorothy's only advocates. They were terrified that if Dorothy was admitted to a hospital, she would not come out alive.

If this is what a Canadian elder suffered with an active, attentive advocates, I can't imagine the treatment (or lack of treatment) elders suffer if they have nobody to advocate on their behalf!  No wonder medically assisted suicide can look attractive!

Below is recent program aired across Canada about nursing home abuse. This is indicative of a society that has ceased to embrace a sanctity of human life ethic, and no longer believes that every human life bears the image and likeness of God. 


Saturday, February 24, 2018

MY COMFORT OF ART FOUND IN MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE

For more than three decades I have been chronically ill and disabled with multiple sclerosis. During those years, I have found my comfort in the company of Jesus Christ and beauty of art created for His glory. Although I will never see the great Cathedrals of Europe and Britain, it is enough for me to know they are there. I can watch videos others have made of them. 

During some of my

sickest times I have lain in my bed and listened to the works of the great composers' music offerings to the glory of God. The Christian testimony of music and architecture. 

Below is a recording of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis, performing Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis. The performance took place in Gloucester Cathedral where is was first performed  and conducted by Vaughan Williams in 1910.

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) was an English composer -- a giant of sacred music. The magnificent Gloucester  Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1,300 years. It's roots can be traced back to 689 AD.. (For more history of Gloucester Cathedral, see http://www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk/history-heritage/cathedral-history/)

Listen to the beautiful music. See the beauty of the ancient architecture.