“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

Monday, July 26, 2021

THE PEWS ARE EMPTY!



I remember when the cultural madness became apparent to me, at least to my boy's mind. It was the early 1960s. My vague early memory of the 1950s was a world still deeply influenced by western Christian civilization with its morals, culture and mores. Life made sense and had order. 

 

Not everyone was Christian or even attended church. But you would have been hard-pressed, for instance, to find someone who did not know the ten commandments. They may not have followed them, but they knew they ought to. I remember when people were not afraid to walk alone at night on city streets, when people did not lock the doors of their houses or cars. More people told the truth than lied. I remember people whose word was their bond, and a handshake was as binding as any written contract. It’s hard to believe things were that way but they were. I remember it.

 

At a personal level, I was surrounded scholarly, ordered conservative men of manly good natures, like my father and grandfather. My grandfather's world was made up of music, tweed, a living room with overstuffed brocade chairs and sofa, and an ancient faded Persian rug.  A mantle clock sat on his fireplace. Its gentle steady ticking marked the hours, days, months, years, and decades dating back the early 20th century. His house smelled of coffee, old books, and pipe tobacco.  I loved being there.

 

In today’s world of the 21st century, men like my father and grandfather would be reviled and scorned as patriarchy.  It must have rubbed off on me—recently I was called “a patriarchal piece of S...t.” (I rather like the title.) The word ‘patriarchy’ is a dirty word now, but not to me. It evokes dear memories of security, family, Christian moral order, honesty, and decency. 

 

My father encouraged young people of both genders to rise to their full potential.  In fact, after his death in 1970, a Junior high school was named in his honour because of his love for education. But none of that fits into the mentality of 21st century moderns, the woke crowd, cancel culture, or ideologues of alternate gender fiction. (I’ve lost count of how many genders we are supposed to believe exist.) They cancel the memory of such men.  After all, men like my father were white straight men. They had “white privilege” despite being raised in the Great Depression of 1930-1940, then fighting a world war that claimed between 22-30 million military lives—and the same estimated number of civilian deaths.[1] 


They defeated the Nazis! Some white privilege! If my father’s and grandfather's generations were still alive, moderns would call them Nazis—but then the vocabulary moderns tends to be limited. They call anyone they disagree with a Nazi. Of course those who level the white privilege and Nazi accusations didn’t experience any of that history. They prefer to alter and rewrite history to suit their own agendas and worldviews. 

 

My father lived just long enough to see the beginnings of the 60s liberal church take root and abandon absolute truth for relative truth. They renounced the ancient tried-and-true Christian moral code for an experiment in social reconstruction of society. The stupidly audacious 1960s. My dad was a member of the United Church of Canada. It was, at one time, the largest Canadian Protestant denomination (or so they claimed). The 1960s saw a falling away from sound doctrine and Biblical truth. The early shifts were small—so small my father felt petty even mentioning them. But as surely as night follows day, one slight deviation after another, the falling away from Biblical truth became more and more apparent until: The Virgin birth was denied, the miracles denied, the validity and authority of the Bible was questioned, even the bodily resurrection of our Lord was denied with attempts to explain it away (remember the ridiculous 'swoon theory'?). By the time my father challenged the falling away, it was too late. A few years before he died, he said that one morning he woke up to realize he had nothing in common with his church anymore. When he challenged the church leadership’s direction, they invited him to leave (a fine display of liberal tolerance and accommodation). My father spent the last few years of his life at a local Anglican church that had an evangelical vicar.

 

Today the United Church of Canada is dead—a hollow shell of its former self. The local United Church where my father was a member—and was invited to leave in 1966—is now permanently closed. It died a slow death one empty pew after another until the last task of the minister was to turn out the lights and turn off the power. The closed church stands as a dismal monument to the failure of liberal compromise and accommodation of the culture. 


Liberal Christianity is just secularism cloaked in religious vestments.  


When denominations succumb to liberalism’s superficial allure, or "progressive Christianity," their people become starved of Biblical truth and the moving of the Holy spirit. Pews begin to empty. 


People don’t need more liberal blather and soft soap. They get enough of that from the media, governments, schools, tenured university professors and the entertainment industry. People do not need comforted consciences, they need conviction. In every heart-of-hearts, people know their own inner darkness; it only grows deeper the further they drift from God’s Truth, holiness, and divine love that has beckoned them since their earliest memory. They need the blazing light of Christ's objective truth, not relative truth. Objective truth convicts human hearts; it is the source of true healing and peace. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6) There are not many ways to God, there is only one way and Jesus Christ is it. Either that or Christ lied. Should I believe Him and His unchanging Truth or the ambient culture of uncertain brutal progressivism and fluid political correctness?


In his penetrating book Mere Christianity, (an important part of my own Christian conversion), C.S. Lewis said, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” 

 

That is why I became a Christian more than forty years ago. I was a liberal, and ever so progressive. Ultimately, I only found regress in liberal progress. Relative truth that started with comfort and comfortableness eventually broke my heart in despair. 


Christ’s truth gave me comfort despite terrible storms of neurological dysfunction of MS, and then cancer. He has been with me throughout it all. Don’t give me the gooey fat of liberalism. I need the solid meat of Biblical truth to rely upon and the Holy Spirit to guide me. 


MDP 



[1] History on the Net, How Many People Died In World War 2https://www.historyonthenet.com/how-many-people-died-in-world-war-2

 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

THE HUMANLIFEMATTERS BLOG PASSES 1-MILLION VIEWS

The HumanLifeMatters blog has passed a major milestone:

1-MILLION page-views! (See the total page-views at the right.) Readers are primarily American, Canadian and British. I never thought the blog would be so successful. 

Apparently, people are actually interested in what an unlettered, disabled old man—living in his little house out on the hinterland of the Canadian prairies—has to say about suffering and faith, Life and love, ethics and culture. I have nothing to offer except that which the Lord gives me.

Recently, a reader from Texas wrote: 

"I can only marvel at the extent to which Our Lord has taught, and continues, to teach you. Also at the effective communication gifts with which He has endowed you. This blog is so profound, truths learned in circumstances no one would ever invite upon oneself. Another of the blogs you wrote drove my mind back to the accounts of Job."

Retired Canadian Member of Parliament, Ken Epp said this about the HLM blog:

"God has gifted you with amazing communication skills, and even though we may object, it seems that the person that God hones through hardship is really sharpened in the message he has experienced and learned from." 

Their words are kind. I'm grateful to them for highlighting that everything comes from the Lord, not me. Any ideas of substance do not come from my pea-brain. How could they! Christ said we can do nothing without Him.[1] The Apostle Paul said, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God."[2] 

Many blog posts have been forged in the fires of aggressive multiple sclerosis, (and cancer). Christ has been with me in suffering throughout most of my adult life. I learnt to trust him even in the worst of circumstances. He was with me during the terrors of neurological degeneration and happy regeneration with a miracle that delivered me from years in an electric wheelchair.

Everything good I've experienced in life comes from God. I'm dependent upon Him even for my next breath and heartbeat. My trials have kept me dependent on Christ.

Suffering has the capacity of stripping away all things extraneous in life, leaving only that which is essential. Throughout thirty-seven years of MS, I have learnt that it is in a state of spiritual poverty that the voice of the Holy Spirit can be heard more clearly. Discernment becomes sharper. Whole new dimensions of internal richness can open to the sufferer if they unite their suffering with Christ's redemptive suffering. We learn there is no suffering that He has not suffered. There is no pain He does not know, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. 

CHRIST HAS BEEN BEFORE US
Someone may ask "How did Christ suffer spiritually?" Read Matthew's account of Christ's agony in Gethsemane (Matthew 26.36-44). He said "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death, ...."[3] Jesus cried from the Cross, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me?"[4] He knew spiritual agony.

I have been afraid of suffering. Christ was too. Three times Christ asked if it was possible that the cup pass over Him—a bitter cup of drawn out torture, and crucifixion. Crucifixion was a most shameful and excruciatingly painful death. Christ knew it was waiting for Him. But He concluded each prayer of petition by saying not His will but His Father's will be done.[5] 

I experienced the frustration and humiliation of being confined to a wheelchair. For years, my legs were useless. Do you think that Jesus did not know the frustration of being unable to move?  His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, as He hung naked for all to see his agony! That is humiliation! My fear of creeping paralysis pales in comparison. 

I was abandoned and betrayed by friends when I became disabled with MS. So was Christ abandoned and betrayed by His friends. Peter abandoned and betrayed Jesus, so did Judas!

For more than three decades, I often asked God to take away my MS and return me to normal. He did not. I had to come to a point of total resignation and complete surrender of my life and my stubborn will. I had to be able to say and pray, "Thy will be done"—regardless of what that might be entail, and mean it. It was/is necessary for me to understand that whatever suffering God allows is for my ultimate good. 

My prayers began to change to prayers of trusting acceptance. I asked God to reveal Himself in my suffering and give me understanding in my physical degeneration. I stopped asking and began accepting. For years, I no longer asked God for deliverance. and prayed as Jesus gave us example in the garden of Gethsemane and the model prayer He gave us: Thy will be done.

Then one day a few years ago, I felt led to go before the Lord and ask once again if He was willing, could I get out of my electric wheelchair and walk again, even with canes or a walker, even if only for a short time, ... . and I humbly asked that if possible could I dance with my wife again, just once? The answer was Yes. 

Gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, I began to regain physical function. I slowly regained the use of my right arm and hand, and then my legs (but not completely). I did get out of my wheelchair! I did walk again, but not without the use of a cane, canes or a walker. One winter night I was able to put down my canes and slow dance with my wife in our living room to Lionel Richie's Three Times a Lady. Okay, it was more like gentle swaying in time to the music and rotating, but to us it was dancing.

Surprisingly, I even ride a bike! Granted it's a three-wheel bike (my balance is off) and I tire quickly, but hey, I'm riding a bike. The Lord has not returned complete function. It keeps me dependent upon Him.
Remember that God did not take away the thorn in Saint Paul's side. God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."[6] Strength in weakness? Such a paradox. Spiritual truths so often entail paradoxes. 

It is in life that we find death. Jesus told us that in death we find life.[7] In surrender to Him we find freedom and liberty.[8] The first in this life will be last in the next, and the last will be first.[9] It is through spiritual poverty that we gain richness of the kingdom of God.[10] We can be blessed in mourning, and receive God's comfort.[11] The Lord himself will wipe away every tear.[12]

I have personally experienced the Lord's comfort in my grief and mourning. I know Christ's words to be true. It is possible to experience divine joy in the midst of earthly sorrow. How can I keep such a discovery to myself? The HumanLifeMatters blog gives me an avenue to express it. And it's good to know so many people read my posts.

What if I have to return to my wheelchair? I will be thankful for the few years I parked it in the spare room of our house. I will have the memory of slow dancing with my wife. And if I lose the use of my right arm and hand again (or both hands) I will be grateful for LaRee's and my romantic suppers when she did not need to cut my meat.

I will thank God for granting my prayer request, even for a short time, and trust that what He does or allows is for my eternal good. My miracle has actually been a sign—a sign that Christ has heard every cry of anguish, every desperate and terrified prayer throughout the decades. He has been with me throughout it all.



Mark Davis Pickup
Email: HumanLifeMatters@shaw.ca

_________________
[1] John 15.5.
[2] 1 Corinthians 3.5.
[3] Matthew 26.38a, Mark 14.34. Cf. John 12.27.
[4] Matthew 27.46, Mark 15.34. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 or 42.9.
[5] Matthew 26.39-44.
[6] 2Corinthians 12.9.
[7] John 11.25b, cf. John 14.1-3. Cf. 2Corinthians 5.1.
[8] 2Corinthians 3.17, Galatians 5.1,13.
[9] Matthew 19.30, 20.16.
[10] Matthew 5.3.
[11] Matthew 5.4, 
[12] Revelation 21.4

Thursday, June 17, 2021

WITNESS TO LOVE AND LIGHT ON A LOVELESS AND DARK LANDSCAPE

Somebody recently asked me about my Christian conversion experience forty-one years ago. In some ways it seems so long ago and yet in other ways as though it was yesterday. 

My conversion brought me out of addiction and restored my life. In meeting Jesus Christ, my life was salvaged and renewed.

 

I was engulfed by a torrent of sensations and emotions: shame and guilt at my sinfulness, a great sense of awe, quickly followed an intense desire to be right with God. Confession, repentance, sweet reconciliation with God through faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice at Calvary.[1] Something changed! Everything changed! There was an inexplicable quaking deep within me at a soul-level. It was a timeless moment that seemed to come to me from across the ages. I met the Messiah, the Creator time and space, all creation, and all things,[2] seen and unseen.[3]

 

As I grew in faith, the holy Spirit (the spirit of Truth) began to indwell.[4]

 

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”—Ephesians 1.13 

 

It was like fire that warms yet convicts, instructing, leading, teaching, the voice of discernment, when to speak and when to listen. When degenerative neurological disease came, it was the spirit of truth that told me when to hold on and when to let go. Strangely and wonderfully, I also began to experience immense raids of JOY I had not experienced since very early childhood, at the very dawn of my memory. In this joy, or what C.S. Lewis called “enormous bliss,” came the knowledge that I had always been loved, not from my birth, but before my birth.[5]  And I knew I would never be the same again. 


Thus began my Christian pilgrimage toward the Celestial City (to use a phrase of John Bunyan’s Christian classic book Pilgrim’s Progress.) 

 

My conversion in 1980 left me with a near continual desire or yearning for heaven. I know this is not unique to me. Saint Paul spoke of this.[6] There is a universal longing for heaven —although those who have not met Christ cannot place or identify what they long for nor identify the root of the deepest sweet desire that they have always had. I believe this is the image of God within them crying for heaven. 

 

Again, C.S. Lewis spoke about this innate and universal longing for heaven in a sermon he delivered in 1942, in Oxford England, at the height of the second World War. It was entitled The Weight of Glory.  Lewis described this desire as a longing for a far-off country we have not visited:

 

“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, … I feel a certain shyness. … I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each of you – the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness, … we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves.  … Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that settled the matter.  … The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. … For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”[7]

 

Lewis later mentioned his own ancient longing, his “enormous bliss” in his remarkable little book entitled Surprised by Joy.  

 

About most things I know very little or nothing. But I do know this: The indelible Image of God[8] is bestowed upon every human being at their beginning (conception). That’s what gives every person inestimable value and natural dignity. Everyone is worthy of God’s love—and they are loved by God.[9] (He desires their love and reconciliation through His Son.) 


If inalienable rights really do exist—as the towering foundational American Declaration claims—they come from a "Creator" (God) and cannot be taken from people. They do not come from governments or they can also be taken away with a stroke of a pen. Inalienable rights may be robbed from a person, but their right to life, to rise to their fullest potential, and respect for their natural dignity are their endowment, their spiritual inheritance. What are those rights? They begin with right to life. The right to life is first and highest human right because all other rights are dependent upon it. Without the right to life guaranteed, all other rights become arbitrary and uncertain. Human life is sacred; it deserves protection, care, and nurture in body, mind and spirit.


In drawing closer to God, we naturally become more concerned for our neighbour's welfare. This a natural outgrowth of Jesus words: 


"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first great command. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself." — Matthew 22.37-39.


The first love for God naturally leads to the second. To love God with one's whole being leads to love of neighbour, because God cares about those within our purview, and how we treat them. The more we love God the more we will love one another. The more we love one another the more we will be concerned for their natural rights such as their right to life and the right to for them to rise to their full potential that God intended when He created them and indelibly stamped His image on them. 


I am reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt's words: 


'Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.'12


The former First Lady named her fine 1958 speech "Where Do Human Rights Begin?" The venerable UN Chair of the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights words were true in as much as the physical places where human rights happen. But human rights actually begin long before then. They begin in  human hearts and consciences. This is the beginning of recognizing genuine human rights, regardless of what any government or legislature may declare. Human rights germinate in the heart before they are expressed in daily lives of people. I believe the source of human rights actually lies in the truth that every human being is endowed by God with His Image at that spark of life commonly referred to as conception.  This is the where and why of human rights. When this is recognized, we will place other peoples' best interests ahead of our own.11 


Love is the fuel of human rights that can be traced back to God. God is love.10 A community of people who understand this is a community where everyone is more concerned for the others than themselves. And when that happens, national human rights can thrive and do thrive. It defines community. The most vulnerable amongst us are safe and loved. A place where each person is concerned about his or her own rights and places their own rights ahead of other people's rights is not really community at all. Selfishness abounds and unnatural desires become paramount. Natural human rights under God are denied and decried. The most vulnerable eventually become unwelcome and unsafe.


Atheism's foundation does not logically support human rights. If human beings are just creatures, another species among many species that evolved from primordial slime, then there's no logical basis or reason for rights of any kind. Mob rule rules. Perceptions, instincts and convenience replace right and wrong and are replaced with "values" and "my truth" of the unholy trinity of Me, Myself and I. There is no place for objective truth that exists outside the individual. Right and wrong or morality are meaningless. What's correct is defined by dominant prevailing winds of thought that pleases the mob, at any given point in time. But in the end, chaos takes over. Even the mob turns in on itself. Might makes right. That is the abyss upon which western civilization now teeters and totters. We live in dangerous and treacherous times.


This brings me back to the Holy Spirit. Followers of Jesus Christ must continually rely upon the Holy Spirit to give them discernment and wisdom beyond their own insight.  Perhaps someone may ask "How can I discern between the voice of the the Holy Spirit and my own desires or other Spiritual Voices?" Good question. After all, Satan can appear as an angel light, make what is unholy appear as holy and sin appear as virtue. As we descend into a cesspool of moral corruption of the 21st century, how can we discern rightly? The Apostle John told us:


"Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of Go; because many false prophets have gone into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. ..."13  


Never allow yourself to become entangled with the world. We who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord are to be in the world but not part of the world. Be wise and serpents and harmless as doves.14  Remember, the devil prowls the earth like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. The Apostle Peter told us to resist him steadfast in faith.15 Any spirit that contradicts the Bible is not of God.


These are treacherous times, fellow Christian brother and sister. We must proclaim Jesus Christ to a lost, rebellious, hostile world. Don't expect an easy time. Remember the love and inexpressible joy of our Lord Jesus Christ that you yourself have experienced. Take that love into a loveless landscape all around us. God bless you as you go.


Mark  



[1] Colossians 1.13-14.

[2] John 1.1-3.

[3] Colossians 1.16-17,

[4] John 14.17, 1Corinthians 2.12-16.

[5] Psalm 139.13-18. Isaiah 49.1, Jeremiah 1.5, 31.3. Ecclesiastes 11.5b. Perhaps someone may think that because God was talking to Old Testament titans of Isaiah and Jeremiah, the same attention in utero was just for them. Not true! See Malachi 2.10a, Job 31.15, 1Corinthians 8.6, Ephesians 4.6

[6] 2Corinthians 5.2 -8, Philippians 1.231-23.

[7] C.S. Lewis, They Asked for a Paper (London, Geoffrey Bles, 1962) p.200.

[8] Genesis 1.26-27, 5.2.

[9] John 3.16-17. Cf. Exodus 20.13, Deuteronomy 4.32, Psalm 8.4-5.

[10] 1John 4.7-16.


[11] Philippias 1.27-2.4. Cf. John 13.34-35, 1John 3.11 & 23.


[12] Eleanor Roosevelt speech to the United Nation, "Where Do Human Rights Begin?" https://www.amnesty.org.uk/universal-declaration-human-rights-UDHR 


[13] 1 John 4.1-3a,  1 Corinthians 12.3,


[14] Matthew 10.16


[15] See 1 Peter 5.7-9a.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

THE GREAT COMMISSION IN A WORLD OF WOKE, VICTIMHOOD AND IDENTITY POLITICS

 

Then Jesus came to them and said, 

“All authority in heaven and on earth has

 been given to me.  Therefore go and make

 disciples of all nations, baptizing them 

in the name of the Father and of the Son

 and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them

 to obey everything I have commanded you. 

And surely I am with you always, 

to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28.18-20

 

Christ has trusted faithful Christians, great and small, who came after the disciples throughout 2,000 years of history, up to this day, to take His great commission to the world. At times they were faltering and uncertain in their witness to those around them, just like Christians today.  That’s because they were flawed and frail humans, just like us. But Christ was with them, as He is with us. That is what He said in the Scripture passage above. He would be with us, in the form of the Third Member of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit. 

 

“But when the Helper comes, 

whom I shall send to you from the Father, 

the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, 

He will testify of Me.[1]

 

The Helper He referred to—the Spirit of truth—is the Holy Spirit. The Helper is with us when we testify for Christ, the Pascal mystery, and the salvation that is offered to all through the Cross and the price Christ paid for our sins, to reconcile us to a perfect God. Jesus said that once He left the world and ascended to the Father the Holy Spirit would do certain things in the world and guide those who testify about Jesus and take the good news of salvation to everyone.

“… I will send Him [The Holy Spirit] to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. . . . I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”[2]

Not only do we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in the world, we also have Christ’s example and teachings in matters faith, conduct and morality. Christ said if we love Him then we will keep His commandments.[3] He told us to love one another as He loves us.[4] He said  the greatest commandment is to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[5]  He told us to love one another as He first loved us.[6]

 

For those of us who have encountered Christ, the living Christ, we know He is the only lasting peace we have ever known.[7] Internal peace of the heart touched by the Holy Spirit. It is inexplicable. It is beyond human understanding.[8]  How can we keep such peace to ourselves? From that peace springs love; from that love joy blooms almost too sweet to bear. To love God and be loved by God, they are the real reasons you and I were created.[9]  All else is ultimately inconsequential.

 

From Love’s radiance I have discovered purpose and meaning to my life, even at my lowest points of paralysis with multiple sclerosis when my legs became useless, and right hand could not even hold a spoon. He was there and the Holy Spirit’s internal light drove away the shadows of terror and despair. I have learned that the final reality is Jesus Christ. Do the politically correct and woke crowd expect me to remain quiet about the only hope I have ever known? Fat chance! They proselytize for their new paganism replete with gender confusion that defies biology, misandry, angry identity politics that flourishes in a quest for victimhood that gives birth to a new anti-Caucasian racism. And I’m not supposed to evangelize for Christ? I won’t be silenced. The gospel message is where divine love, lasting happiness is to be found. From love of neighbour grows consistent and enduring charity. 

 

The prevailing liberal left offer neo-Marxism (and a new elite) to replace Christian western civilization that raised humanity higher than any civilization in history. It is against this new backdrop of 21st Century madness that Christians find themselves. It is imperative that we do exactly what Jesus told us to do:  “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

 

We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ everywhere throughout the world. Indeed, He is with us. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds, and love our neighbours as ourselves.  We are to reflect the towering love of Christ for humanity to those who shout us down, shut us down, tear up the streets of our cities, slander and “cancel” us.  Am I saying that Divine love is the antidote to hate, that inner peace brings outer peace? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Christ’s love did that for someone as despicable as me. why it won’t do that for other people better than me?  


MDP 


[1] John 15.26.

[2] John 16.7b-15.

[3] John 14.15.

[4] John13.34-35.

[5] Matthew 22.36-40, cf. Mathew 19.19, Mark 12.28-31, Luke 10.25-28.

[6] 1 John 4.19.

[7] John 14.27. 

[8] Philippians 4.7.

[9]Genesis 1.26, 1 John 4.7-17

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

SEXUAL SECRETS IN THE END TIMES

Pastor Jimmy and Karen Evans co-host Marriage Today, a nationally syndicated Christian television program. Jimmy Evans has authored over a dozen books including TIPPING POINT: The End Is Near (2020),  FREEDOM FROM YOUR PAST: A Christian Guide To Personal Healing and Restoration (2018), TEN STEPS TOWARD CHRIST: Journey Toward The Heart of God (2011), and  RESOLVING STRESS IN MARRIAGE.  

In April of this year, Pastor Evans recorded a Youtube video entitled SEXUAL SECRETS IN THE END TIMES. Very insightful. You can watch it at the link below.





Friday, April 23, 2021

SOCIAL DISTANCING CAN CREATE SOCIAL ISOLATION

 


She gazed out the kitchen window, not looking at anything in particular. LaRee was contemplating. “I wonder if we’ll ever get out from beneath COVID?” She turned to look at me: “Will life ever return to normal?” Who could blame her for being discouraged? The COVID pandemic has gone on longer than anyone thought. Too long. It’s been well over a year of lockdowns, ever shifting public health directives, and things seem to be getting worse not better, despite a mass vaccination campaign. COVID variants and mutations are out-pacing science. 

 

LaRee and I have been married for forty-eight years. I know her. Something new happened to pile on the daily bad news the media is so quick to tell us about. I asked a stupid question: “Why are you so gloomy? What’s up?” LaRee gave me a look as though I must have just climbed out from beneath a rock.  “Have you read the latest news? There’s new COVID variants every few days more transmissible that may be resistant to the vaccines. Two of our grandchildren are in quarantine from exposure to COVID at school. Our son and a granddaughter already have compromising lung conditions which put them at greater risk with COVID; and do I need to remind you that we haven’t been able to visit most of our family in over a year?!” All those things are true. Since the beginning of the pandemic, my wife and I have been diligently following distancing, masking, hand washing, and any other directions health authorities recommend. After all, we are seniors and I have two pre-existing health conditions that put me at higher risk: multiple sclerosis and hypertension. But social distancing can create social isolation.

 

Strangely, life with poor health is actual a strength. It was because of chronic illness, disease and disability that I slowly discovered lonely isolation can become gentle solitude. Solitude’s quietude allows people to tend to their inner development and interior spiritual life. 

 

Thirty-seven years with severe degenerative multiple sclerosis put me in an electric wheelchair. I often dreamt of better days despite desperate situations, regardless of whether I could enjoy them. I dared to dream of the unlikely or impossible because Christ was with me. Most of my dreams did not come true, but He was with me. And so, I looked up with hopes and dreams rather than down with sorrow or despair. When I didn’t think things could get physically worse, I had an unexpected mini-stroke, or as my neurologist affectionately called it, a ‘transient ischemic attack’ (TIA). (Don’t you love those highfalutin medical terms.) It put me a high risk of a subsequent major stroke, and yet an inexplicable peace descended upon me. He was there. Christ. 

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”[1]

 

And God’s divine consolation intensified even more when I was diagnosed with cancer. As I was wheeled on a gurney into an operating room for surgery, Christ was with me with the sublime assurance: “Be Not Afraid. I AM with you.”[2] I went under anesthetic completely at peace with whatever was His will. I can not tell you how much that understanding meant to me. Regardless of what health crises befell me or how sick I became, … the presence of God was greater.

 

During it all, I have known Christ has been with me. At the most unexpected moments — and often my sickest moments — I was often engulfed by a fleeting sacred child-like joy completely at odds with my circumstances; I came to treasure them. My interior man is learning to be content regardless of the situation. 

 

For those who do not yet know Christ, seek Him. He is seeking you! Jesus said,Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”[3] In Him you will find joy and love, purpose and meaning to life.

 

Christians can use lockdowns of the pandemic to draw nearer to Christ. He will draw nearer to you. Times of crisis can open wonderful vistas for spiritual growth. 

 

This is my point: Christ is in charge! Nothing slips by Him. He is with us in this global covid pandemic. If we surrender our lives to Him, no pandemic, no disease, no isolation can separate us from the love of God. Saint Paul said:

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[4]

Remember, he also assured us that all things work for good for those who love God.[5] I recommend that you read the entire 8th chapter of Romans. Contemplate and meditate on what it says. Let the Apostle’s words reassure you during this plague. 

Perhaps when this pandemic is over, you may look back at this time as a spiritually fruitful time in your life—a time when lonely isolation came become sweet solitude.  

Mark Davis Pickup


[1] Psalm 23.4.

[2] See John 14.27, cf. Revelation 1.17-18.

[3] Revelation 3.20. cf. Luke 12.36, John 14.23.

[4] Romans 8.38-39.

[5] Romans 8.28.