Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In your best interest?

Oct 31st (472 words)

A couple thoughts are interconnected in my mind I think… There are some people and some professions that are experts – and because they are the experts they have the “authority” to tell you what you need.  Then because human nature can be so crooked – they find more things wrong than are actually necessary.  Some examples can help illustrate this.  It is in their best interest for mechanics to find more things wrong with your car than actually exist… They get more money for finding more things wrong (green motivation).  A trustworthy mechanic is golden!

Another example I’ve seen are dentists.  They are the teeth experts.  If they tell you what you need – you are stuck listening to them… unless you go find another dentist.  When we did this – 6 or 8 cavities in my daughter’s teeth were actually only 2.  We are presently happy with our dentist…  A good dentist is golden.

I am wondering if this danger will ever apply to our doctors.  Will they ever tell us: you need to die – so take this pill?  Legally they cannot say that right now.  Will there ever come a day when the business side of our free healthcare punch in a mathematical calculation that says: your medical condition is too expensive – so we the experts say that you need to die? 

How much is a life worth?
Has there ever been a time in our history when the doctors said: “There is nothing more we can do...” when in reality, what they should have said is: “The Canadian government doesn’t pay for any more treatments for your condition”?

I have a huge respect for the medical profession.  A good doctor is golden!  I have no doubt that all the doctors I have seen personally were doing their best to care for me and my life.  It isn’t the doctors I’m concerned about – it is the system that surrounds our free healthcare – I am afraid of a day when mathematical calculations replace human care.  Let’s work to make sure this day never comes!

One cannot place a number figure on the value of your life!  Your self-worth isn’t calculated based on what you are able to accomplish.  You are of infinite value!  You are so valuable that Jesus died for you!

I am glad that our God is the great doctor!  He still makes home visits.  When I was a child we had an amazing doctor that once made a home visit for me!  Now my doctor takes care of not just my soul and spirit but my body as well. 

“Thanks, God.  Help me also take care of this temple of the Holy Spirit – your body.  God, keep the human experts of our bodies honest and true.  Give them a bigger sense of the value of each human life!”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

WAIT for it... wait for it...

Oct 24th  (404 words)
Welcome to that time of the year – after the leaves have fallen, the bright colors are replaced with a dirty brown… and before the snow falls – and stays on the ground.  The little bit of snow this morning was a reminder of things to come – and we need to wait patiently for the happiness of winter fun. 

What does it mean to wait on God?

Is it a passive sitting – and doing nothing – waiting for God to do it all?
Is it a meaningless phrase that you say but basically continue to live your life as if you were not waiting on God?

The two questions are only rhetorical of course.  I want to raise the question for myself – how do I wait on God?  Is this more of a heart question than what I do or don’t do?

In Psalm 37 trust is a key reality.  Living in trust is literally over against fretting.  We trust in God instead of working our own salvation.  We are passive as we let God vindicate us against our enemies.  We are not trying to work out our own vengeance.  In this context comes the idea of waiting on God.  He will take care of justice.  The unjust and ungodly will go down in flames while the righteous, children of God will enter their inheritance.  For us our inheritance is eternal – everlasting – an infinity of hours and days and weeks and months and years.  Our inheritance - in Christ - is infinite.
As I type this my eyes widen in a glimpse of amazement – I needed that reminder.

What does it mean for me, here and now, to wait on God? 
There is a heart component of not fretting.  Not being take up with worry.  Not coveting what others have and enjoy. 
The Psalm also involves a walking in and with the Lord.  As we walk with him we can be waiting for him!  We aren’t running ahead.  We aren’t lagging behind.  We aren’t sitting obstinately or with laziness. 

Our walk is a sign of our trust.  Our walk is a waiting in God.  In walking with God it isn’t our responsibility to attack the wolves lurking – we’re with our shepherd.  He is a good shepherd!
Our waiting is passive obedience – faithfully doing what we know to do and not doing what we know we shouldn’t.

Seems simple – let’s work it out in reality.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pot - marijuana - weed - inviting a Christian response

Oct 17th (469 words)
Pot/marijuana/weed is legal in Canada.  What do you think?  Should we hold a mass rally demonstrating against it?  Should we hold a party celebrating it?  Should we blink twice and go on with our lives?  What about using it as an opportunity to think about our consumer society?  In this post I’m announcing my thoughts on Pot – I invite debate and discussion!

We are brought up thinking that if it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone it can’t be wrong… but is this the case? 

Here are some thoughts for Christians - coming from someone who has never had a THC high.
1) The altered state caused by smoking one joint (I have heard) puts you in an altered state of controlled drunkenness.  A friend at work explained to me that you get more “drunken effect” for your buck when pot is compared to alcohol.  
If you’re looking for a high – the Holy Spirit is way better and he doesn’t increase your chances of Schizophrenia (See Ephesians 5:18 or 1 Peter 5:8).

2) Don’t be a slave.  Though some researches say that pot is the least addictive substance (compared to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs) it is still addictive.  It can easily become a psychological crutch that is required for a person to relax (1 Corinthians 6:12 and 2 Peter 2:19).

3) Don’t let pleasure be your idol.  Do you worship pleasure?  Does your life revolve around the constant search to be happy?  Pot gives temporary happiness for a price.  True happiness comes not through a search for happiness – but in finding God and allowing him to transform us from unhealthy lies and thought patterns.  God frees us to live in a way that produces happiness as a bi-product.  The chief end of humankind is to love and worship God and enjoy him forever (2 Timothy 3:4).

4) As Christians, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Why put things into your body that can be harmful?  Why not care for your body and put things into your body that builds it up? (2 Corinthians 6:19-20).

5) Your testimony is the book you write on the hearts of the people around you.  I don’t think that looking for God’s glory will be helped by the hazy cloud caused by Marijuana.  Studies show that it won’t help a Christian walk through the complicated terrain we face every day – it only makes people more unmotivated, unambitious, and unproductive (2 Corinthians 8:21 and 1 Timothy 4:12).

These reflections have come out of the joint discussions of the churches in our network called Xtension.  They open up many more questions: how do we respond to energy drinks, alcohol, smoking, sugar, coffee, potato chips, video games, facebook addiction etc?

Please share these reflections if you think they might help someone.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Leaves and lilies - watch for beauty

Oct 12, (230 words)
Being amazed at the color and variety of the leaves was a choice I made on our drive back from Nova Scotia.  Flower gardens amaze us with their colors and variety.  Gemstones amaze us with their colors and variety.  Take these small things and multiply their size by 10,000-fold and you get the big-picture-scope of the fall colors. 
Gemstones are expensive.  Flowers can be expensive too.  But the tree leaves are there for our enjoyment (even though the price of gas is getting more and more costly).

King Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed as the lilies of the field.  “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Mat 6:30)

Solomon said that life is too short - what is there for us but to fear God and take pleasure in the work of our hands.

The idea here is that we are under God, we are his.  Out of this context, we are freed to enjoy life and the world around us as we wait and work (can I say eagerly) for the eternity with him.

This is God’s gift to us – through his son Jesus – the Lord and Christ.  “Thanks God, for the leaves and the beauty all around us!”