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SHAMELESS!

Ravi Zacharias, an apologist for the Christian faith, recently describe North America’s social condition as shameless.   One cannot hear of the state of affairs in Hollywood, the circumstances and comments about its moral degeneracy, and not agree with his assessment.  Apparently, for many decades, not just one, but many from top to bottom, male and female, wallow in a moral cesspool.

One should not wonder at the prevalence of sexual misconduct when almost every movie contains vulgar language and sexual scenes where both men and women participate willingly.  Why simulated sex for public viewing is considered worthy while the real thing is counted dirty is not only a conundrum, it is shameless.  The moral values of many movie stars seem bottomless!  And, not to dismiss public guilt in all of this, many  “stars” are given broad public hearing, approval and adulation.  The whole thing is sick, evil and depraved.

But, who of us can stand tall and pure when measured by God’s standards of morality?  Jesus’ words on the matter shatter arrogance and self-righteousness:  “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  OUCH!  Jesus’ words do not make the act less wicked; but they do bring some humbling heart-searching to mere thoughts.  It reminds us “that the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”  Even more frightening is its following statement: “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways according to his deeds.”  Help! Help!  HELP!

And, thank God, there is help.  We are not left to our feeble, failing efforts.  God sent His Son, Jesus, to bear the guilt and punishment of our sins.   He died on a criminal’s cross in our place and for our sins.   That substitutionary act offers to all who believe on Him cleansing, forgiveness and a way to holiness/purity!   All who will yield to His control, disciplines and enablement can find victory over the power of sin.   Christ gladly promises His pure life, indwelling Spirit and abounding grace in all who believe.  Accepting that would revolutionize, if not destroy, Hollywood in a divine minute!!!  It is the transforming power of the Gospel that makes every believer in Jesus new – and accountable!  Confronted with sexual sin He clearly said, “Go and sin no more!”

The news media and countless voices loudly and rightly condemn the evil behaviour of  sexual predators.  Unfortunately, is seems to only happen when it becomes public, political or “excessive.”  Little is said about the every day wickedness of all kinds men who thrive on sexual innuendo in multiple places of business, etc.    Just as inexcusable is the foolishness of naïve, immodestly dressed women seeking success at any cost.   What excuse can a woman have whose demeanour, speech and dress invite lurid thoughts and carnal reaction?   Some of it may be just up-to-date fashion, but it is heartless temptation to others.

If anyone ever doubted the detrimental consequences of secularism and its godlessness in our society, think again!  The half has not yet been told!

Once again, if only we would listen to, and understand God’s Word, “Righteousness exalts a nation; sin is a reproach to any people.”

A fellow pilgrim   –   Arnold Reimer

 

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BE THANKFUL!

An attitude of gratitude must mark every faithful follower of Christ Jesus.  Anything less than that tarnishes and even undermines our testimony.  We live in a world where greed and covetousness abound as public and personal debt and attitude indicate.  Some business men boast that greed is an essential motive for success.   Such thinking must never characterize the believer in Jesus.  We march to a different drummer and a different code of ethics.  The biblical mandate is: “In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.”

Pastor/poet, Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649, wrote a delightful hymn that became famous in Germany during a time of great tragedy.  The Thirty Years War was devastating parts of Europe.  Waves of deadly pestilence and famine swept the area where he served God.  At one point he was conducting funerals for 40 to 50 persons daily.  The people were impoverished and destitute.  He wrote sixty-six hymns to encourage his people in song and word during that dreadful time.  One became very famous throughout Germany and beyond, entitled, “Now Thank We All our God.”

                      Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices,                                                   Who wondrous things hath done, in whom His world rejoices;                                                      Who from our mothers’ arms hath blessed us on our way                                With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

                           O may this bounteous God thru all our life be near us,                                                                 With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;                                                                And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed,                             And free us from all ills in this world and the next.

                                 All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,                                                            The Son and Him who reigns with them in highest heaven –                                                             The one eternal God whom earth and heaven adore –                                         For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

For all the blessings showered upon us in this good land in which we are privileged to live, things seem to be changing.  Uncertainty, threats, disasters, violence, storms, earthquakes, anger, rebellion, moral collapse seems to be the order of the day.  Are we experiencing the consequences of our sins?  Is God shaking everything so that which cannot be shaken will remain?   It behooves us to watch and pray, and to do it with sincere thanksgiving, lest we enter into temptation.  Our Sovereign God is in control and calling us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Be thankful, faithful and vigilante.

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE COMING OF CHRIST

Once again someone has tried to set a date for the second coming of Christ Jesus.  Wrong, of course!  Mind you, he did retract his prediction a day or two before the supposed event.  But, that does not excuse the effort.  Is it ego, ignorance, misunderstanding, delusion, one-up-man-ship, or anxious longing that causes some people to try so hard to pinpoint the time of Jesus’ return?   Whatever, it undermines the veracity of God’s Word, and detracts from the real issue:  Jesus is coming again.   We do not know either the day nor the hour.  It is the Person, not the timing, that is most important.

Biblical prophecy about the end-times has been discredited over and over again by self appointed “prophets” who claim special insight or revelation as to Jesus’ coming.  It seems to be part of the deception Jesus warned about in Matthew 24 and II Peter 3.   The god of this world, the devil, seems determined to muddle our minds by confusing our understanding and the seriousness of the event for believers and unbelievers alike.  He seems to find people enough to swallow “hook, line and sinker” anyone who will bite on the idea someone has discovered the key to unlock future events.

The Bible makes very plain and simple what we need to know about Jesus’ coming again – He is coming again!  Just as He left, fifty days after His resurrection, taken up into the clouds, so He will come again.  His coming will be sudden, like a thief, but accompanied by horrendous judgments in “which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”  Out of such chaos He will take up His own, dead and alive, to meet Him in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.  It is called the rapture.  The momentous events surrounding it are beyond imagination, but clear, “the heavens (Satan’s domain) will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  According to His promise we look for a  new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”  A defeated Satan with his angels will be cast into a bottomless pit, disarmed, dethroned, and later to be eternally banned to a lake of fire.  Christ will rule in truth and righteousness, making all things new.

Once here Jesus will rule unchallenged and victorious.  We will bask in the glory of His presence, power and provision, joyfully fulfilling our roles as servants doing His will.   He will rule with a rod of iron and we who believe will love every minute of it!  But that is not our real issue today!

Until Jesus comes our task as followers of  Jesus is critical here on earth.  The biblical list is clear.  We are to be holy in conduct and godliness.  We must be “diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, regarding the patience of our Lord to be salvation.  We must be on our guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, we fall away fom our own steadfastness.  We must do all we can to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  We must reach all we can, while we can, with the message of His saving grace, loving forgiveness and divine enabling.   For all of this He has given His Holy Spirit to live, teach, guide, protect and to empower us.

Jesus is coming again.  We do not know when, but we do know that almost every day end-times events are happening increasingly, warning us that it could be soon.  He told us to watch and pray lest we enter into the temptation to disregard the signs, to become entangled in the affairs of this world, to sleep when we should be alert, to pick daises when we should be sounding the alarm.

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer

Danger! DANGER!

These are dangerous times for North America and for all the Western World.  It is especially true for the Church of Jesus Christ.   For the most part, the church has abdicated its critical role as God’s “Watchman” over an increasingly decadent society.  The church has been pushed to the sidelines of the public arena, where it stands silent and disengaged as society “slides into hell in a hand basket”, to put it crassly.

Gone is the authority of God, His Word and His Church!   Authority is now in the hands of scientists, psychologists, politicians, educators, secularists, news anchors, sport players, actors and deviant, sexual minorities.  Strange bed-fellows, indeed!  Unfortunately, they have been given a free run to propagate godless values that undermine truth and morality.   They have become the quasi-arbitrators of truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil.  Tragically, the church, its theologians, leaders, pastors and many of their followers seem reluctant or unwilling to challenge what is happening.   Is this what Scripture means when it says, “The fear of man brings a snare?”  Does it not also say, “Let God be true and every man a liar?”

Surely, the Bible is clear enough in its teachings about creation (Genesis 1 and 2).  There is no ambivalence there about issues of gender identity.   Marriage, too, is clearly defined as between a man and a woman.  (Genesis 3)   Thousands of years ago God set the standards of truth and error, ordering their verbalization and documentation.   The Bible repeatedly lists the sins of the flesh by clear declarations and multiple illustrations.  Its prohibitions include fornication, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, all of which corrupt a society, destroy order and bring judgment, both self afflicted and divine!  (Genesis 6, Leviticus 18, Romans 1, Galatians 5, etc.)  Deviation from the plan and purpose of God offends Him.   To play games with the facts, as we are obviously doing,  is an affront to God who made us, and will be a curse to those who allow it, or are involved in it.

For the record, God’s instructions go way beyond moral issues, and much of it is ill considered by most people.  In direct reference, or by principle, and often in illustration, God has spoken to government, economics, management, labour, education, health, social wellbeing, science, environment, and much more.  All of it needs our attentive consideration for it is the basis of either His blessing or judgment.  The Prophet Isaiah is clear in his warning of godlessness: “And the Lord will cause His voice of authority to be heard.  And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger, and in the flame of consuming fire, in cloudburst, downpour, and hailstones.”

Let it be clearly understood the biblical position is not man-made wisdom.  God, the Sovereign Lord of the universe, has set the standard.  It is to Him all of us are accountable.  Nor is there any room for arrogance or abuse, for we are all vulnerable beings.  Apart from the grace of God and His boundless love in Christ Jesus, none of us has a hope!   The Bible’s message is one of forgiveness, cleansing, release and victory over sin – all sin.

Are these teachings of the Bible acceptable to the culture in which we live?   No!  Will everyone thank us for warning them of divine prohibitions?  Absolutely not!  Is it better to let “sleeping dogs lie?”  Perhaps sometimes, but all sin must be dealt with!   Hear an Apostle:  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Hear also the word of a Prophet:  “Son of man I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth warn them from Me.  When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’; and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man will die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  Yet if you have warned the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.”

These are very dangerous times indeed.  If the Church is to be “salt and light” to an increasingly decadent world, it had better step up to the plate and declare itself.  The night is coming when we shall not be able to work!

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer

 

 

 

KINDNESS

The world has surely watched in amazement as Americans respond to those who are suffering from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.   This unprecedented storm (now threatened to be unseated by Irma!) has left hundreds of thousands of homes and many businesses destroyed.    50 inches of unrelenting rain, polluted water and violent winds devastated a vast, heavily populated area.   Texas, that state known for its independence, bravado and wealth, has been brought to its knees by an unleashed natural phenomena.

Not that long ago a President, quoting the United Nations, publicly proclaimed the U. S. A. to no longer be a “Christian” nation.   Canada was next.  Personal preference, the growth of foreign religions fed by immigration,  the rise of atheism and the obvious abandonment by many of Judeo-Christian values, formed the basis for such a statement.  As sad as that is for us who cherish our history and the Christian principles that once shaped many of the basic tenants of our democracy, a ray of hope is shining through.  Kindness!

A crucial value of Christian faith and discipline is the attribute of kindness.  It is a vital part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who indwells the heart and mind of every true believer in Jesus Christ.  The theology of Christianity may be dwindling in our increasingly paganized society, but some of it is obviously hanging on, to the glory of God and the amazement of the watching world.  Truth has a way of permeating a society so that it rises to the surface in trying times – at least for a while!

We are seeing remarkable acts of kindness as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of volunteers rush to the aid of suffering Texans.  They bring tireless efforts, open wallets and helpful equipment, like boats, big trucks, fishing gear, etc.   Cruising up and down the streets, turned rivers, to help people in whatever community they may be, poor or rich and all between, they are doing their best to alleviate the suffering.  There is no barrier of class, colour, creed, cash or tongue – just need!

How encouraging it must be to weary first-responders, police, firemen, and civil servants who have faced the overwhelming task of answering emergency calls and saving those in crisis situations.  For all of their tireless efforts and essential roles, they are paid and protected by job benefits – and rightly so.  But the volunteers are just kind, caring people who have seen a huge need and jumped to it with heart, soul and hand.  It is a blessing to behold.  A wonderful, wonderful demonstration of selfless, sacrificial kindness.   It is especially comforting when in other places angry, violent thugs march the streets in response to divisive political opinions and lawless attitudes.

It is the nature of God to be kind.  He is in essence love, which is a great mercy to all of us.  It is because of love He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in payment of our sins and thus to fit us for His heaven.  Out of that great love, the effects of which still linger in some, comes the kindness we see so evident and impressive in Texas.  It seems dangerous things, like Irma, and perhaps war, are ahead.  The concept of doing to others what we want done to us, remains valid.  Let us learn to be kind to one another and to teach our children what it means.  When we cannot  lend our hand to help others, let us give what we can, prayer, thanks or money, to meet desperate need.  There seems to be plenty of opportunity all around us.

A fellow pilgrim,   Arnold Reimer

DISASTERS

Throughout the history of mankind there has been no end of disasters.  For the last fifteen to twenty years, like no previous age,  television has bombarded our senses.   Instantaneous, visual media has brought into our homes horrific scenes of every kind of worldwide disaster imaginable.   The list is long, disruptive and deadly: catastrophic earthquakes, starving babies from drought-ridden countries, tsunamis, deadly plagues, mutilated bodies from genocidal wars and terrorist incidents, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, bombings, vicious attacks using cars, guns, knives, clubs, brutal street violence and deadly drugs!   Nightly, we see it with emotionally numbing effect.

A fore-runner of Jesus once proclaimed, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath which is to come?”   Has the “wrath which is to come,” come?   Is an angry God, weary of His erring, created beings, now warning saints and sinners alike that He will not always strive with us, nor keep His anger forever?  Who dares to disregard His mercy, grace, sovereignty and authority?   Never has the prophet’s word been more applicable, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteousness man his thoughts; and let Him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Do not think I am over-stating things, or being unnecessarily alarmist –  world affairs are alarming!   God, in His Word, has clearly and repeatedly warned us about devastating, disastrous situations.   We have been told how His children should react in such a time.   Hear the Psalmist’s admonition: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High.  God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns . . . Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth . . . Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

The Apostle Peter wrote, describing the judgments of the day of the Lord,  “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and it works will be burned up.”  He then admonished the believer with these heart-searching words: “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming day of God, . . .  Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation.”

One tragedy after another seems to be happening so quickly it is easy to be distracted by the incidents themselves.  We need to consider seriously and more deeply the root cause and meaning of it all.   Surely, God is endeavouring to get our attention!  Is He speaking, loud and clear to the moral decay we carelessly allow?  Is He calling us to repentance and to renewed obedience to Him and to His Word?  Is a word to the wise, sufficient?

A fellow pilgrim,   Arnold Reimer

 

FAITHFUL

One of the immutable characteristics of God is His faithfulness.  Over and over again the Scriptures declare that He is faithful.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, a troubled place, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Trace through the Scriptures from Genesis to the Revelation and you will discover a seamless story of God’s faithfulness to His promises to individuals, nations, Israel and to His Church.  What He has said, He does.  Nothing should send us to the Bible for study, understanding of the times, for accountability, worship, guidance and wisdom more quickly than this awesome fact:  God does what He says, and He has spoken, clearly!

It has always been so, I suppose, but our age seems particularly mesmerized by science, philosophy, popular opinion, technology, the ideology or “wisdom” of the rich and famous, the brilliant and successful.   Anything but the Sovereign Lord of the universe!  Add to the list the latest goddess, named, “Diversity.”  She sponsors anything and everything sexual, religious or strange by sanitizing them for North American public consumption.  Having removed Jehovah God, the Ten Commandments and the essential work of the Saviour, Jesus Christ as the essential foundation for a noble society, we have lost our ability to discern right from wrong, good from evil.  Were it not for the faithfulness of God, our condition is hopeless.  Hear the plea of a hymn writer:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide,

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow –

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy Faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

“The word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’   God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong, .  .  . that no man should boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us the wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

Trust in Jesus is the key which gives access to the faithfulness of God.  Enter in!

A fellow pilgrim,   Arnold Reimer

CLIMATE CHANGE

Scientists have had difficulty naming the global problems of weather.  Years ago it was the threat of cooling down, while more recently it has been the heating up affect.     Identifying the root causes has been even more complicated.  At the present time the chief culprit seems to be carbon emissions.  Huge efforts toward international agreement, at immense expense, are being applied, with catastrophic threats of doom providing the impetus to action.  Any naysayers are ridiculed, sidelined, debunked and defunded.  That should raise many more questions than it has to-date.

As long as memory and statistics exist weather has been changing.   Anyone my age can attest to that without scientific validation.  Our parents, grandparents and theirs told the stories of yesteryear’s weather extremes.  But, unquestionably, we are going through a serious phase of weather disruption.  The daily news bombard us with pictures of horrendous fires, frightening floods and mudslides, crushing, crippling earthquakes, deadly famines, and devastating tsunamis.  It is happening all over the globe.

Happily, but also worrisome, scientists, rushing to find root causes and ultimate consequences, are the only voices being heard.  What does climate change really mean?  What is behind it?  What can be done to stop or control it?  Politicians and people clamour for explanations.  It is not acceptable anymore, but God-centered, biblically committed theologians have their own questions and possible enlightenment to offer for consideration.  Is the Sovereign God of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth,  involved in all of this?  Is He trying to get the attention of His troubled creation?

Faithful readers of the Bible know that for millenia God has used weather as an instrument of judgment and moral correction.  That is the point of the flood of Noah’s day, the brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah, the “if’s” of Solomon’s prayer at the inaugeration of the first Jewish temple, Jonah’s forced trip to Ninevah, the dour warnings of the prophets, and the fiery judgments spoken of in II Peter and The Revelation, wrapping up the end-times scenario.

The question I am raising with all sincerity and concern is this: Is climate change, its dangerous and destructive results, merely the result of environmental mismanagement, or is it an act of God Almighty, judging mankind’s rejection of His works and ways?   Is it a dramatic call to the acknowledgement and repentance of the crass indifference of nations and societies to His rule, commands and grace?  Are we living with the consequences of rejecting the sufficiency of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection to cleanse us from all unrighteousness?  Are we being prepared for the end of things as we know them, and thus the return of Jesus Christ to set up a new heaven and a new earth?

If these things are true, (and they make good biblical sense!) then the devil is gleefully feeding our concern over carbon emissions in order to deceive or distract us from the real issue:  A loving voice from a holy God, calling us to repentance?  “Do not love the world, (its systems, control and ways) nor the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

Sobering thoughts with which to search our hearts, to interpret the news, and to bring us to repentance and dependence upon the saving work of Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Is it time to take our eyes off the symptoms, so as to consider the real cause?

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer

JUSTICE?

God has a strong opinion on justice, as His Word declares.  “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne.”  “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”  “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all things.”

Unfortunately, a document, (the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) that once was intended to protect and support the innocent, misused and misunderstood, has become an instrument of crass injustice in the hands of unscrupulous lawyers and befuddled judges.  The most bizarre decisions are being made to accommodate the immoral behaviour of a few individuals, while disregarding the wellbeing and rights of others.  Democracy only survives when its law-givers, leaders and followers have a common sense of right and wrong, good and evil, and a standard from which to find foundation and guidance.  Increasingly, that has been undermined as absolutes are trashed and relativism rules, thereby weakening the whole.

For the most part, Western Democracies once claimed the Bible and its principles of behaviour as that standard.   It made our nations great, responsible, prosperous and free.  The more we abandon that thinking and its influence, the more we spiral into political, moral, social and spiritual chaos.  Observant, thinking people can only be concerned by the direction our nation is going and what is increasingly happening all around us!

Bad enough is the sexual perversion of a strangely influential minority.   Soon we shall add to that the insane approval of a mind-altering drug, sponsored by governments, simply to find another source of revenue.  Now, a new twist is the unconscionable reward to a Muslim terrorist of many millions of dollars – the people’s money – not just wasted but blatantly abused!  No legal obligation required it.  No strings were attached as to its use!  A small, private circle of government officials, unconsidered by the House of Commons – the people’s court – made a decision to bestow it on a child/man.  Their motive?  He was jailed and denied sleep for some information that could possibly save lives in a war zone.

He has been rewarded simply because he was young in our culture, though not at all in his.  His very religious family, guided him into a path of hatred, killing and blind obedience to their view of truth.  He was doing the will of his god.   No one knows how many others he might have killed nor who they might be.  Our extended family lost a grandson and father of two children in that war!  And, because no one knows his heart, we know not when, where or if he might do it again.  He certainly has the means!  Our leaders have honoured radical Islam, and probably given it more millions to do its wicked work.  “What fools we mortals be!”

Democracy requires an understanding of the common good.   It was denied its vital role in this situation.  A few select people, in a private setting, without consultation beyond their partisan point of view, made an evil decision to give a wayward young man more money than seventy-five percent of all Canadians will earn in a lifetime of hard work – by three or four times!   That is a travesty of commonsense and an injustice so outrageous as to defy explanation.   No better example could be listed of a government’s indifference to, or ignorance of, its bewildered constituents.

“Evil men do not understand justice . . .”

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer

 

 

CANADA

My great-grandfather, and his son of eight years, came to Canada from Russia in 1874, settling in Manitoba.   A Mennonite, he was strongly committed to God, the Bible, family, community, farming and pacifism.   He was a founding participant in the development of the town of Steinbach, where he built the first Dutch windmill in Canada.   He left his mark on this land through his many off-spring.

At that time the Canadian government needed people to settle on, and to develop, the Prairies.  The Russian Mennonites were considered ideal candidates because of their cold weather experience, farming skills, industrious character and large families.  They were described by the Commissioner of Immigration and Agriculture, who visited them in Russia,  as “hardworking, sober, moral and intelligent people . . . superior agriculturists, have good farm buildings . . . homes which excel in order and cleanliness, prosperous merchants, manufacturers and mechanics.”

Over the years, they have proved themselves to be all of that and more.  The downside, certainly at first, was the clannishness that separated them from much public life, and their tenacious belief in pacifism which kept them from military and civic service.  Time and obligation changed their attitude so they could served in various levels of civic and government leadership.

The Mennonites are just one small example of the important influence faithful followers of Christ, the Bible and righteousness have had on our history as a nation.  Strong and numerous Christian churches have dotted this land since its founding, impacting for good our culture, governance and lifestyle.   Judeo-Christian values once strongly marked our nation.   Many of our finest institutions are rooted in, and have been guided by, biblical principles.  God has blessed that to the point we are a premier choice for immigration by many across this hurting world, and for good reason.

It must be confessed that there is increasing evidence that the spiritual influence of Christians is in sharp decline.  The church has often failed to be the salt and light needed to expose evil and to hinder decay.  As a result, it has been side-lined, while secularism and relativism have become dominate influences over government, politics, education, law and business.  It manifests itself in the increasing evidences of corruption, lack of integrity, public and political thievery, increasing lawlessness, burgeoning indebtedness, and a broad acceptance of blatant, state-approved immorality.

Perhaps, the clearest evidence of this decline is the lack of public dismay at the shameful and inexcusable participation of our Prime Minister, his wife and children at the recent homosexual parade in Toronto.   It is disheartening to see rainbow flags waving unashamedly on the grounds of what should be our finest institutions.  There are lots of things that we, as a free society, accommodate; but for the common good it is not necessary or right, that we approve, support or celebrate them.  Obviously, few of our leaders or people understand that!

As disappointing as such things are, thankfully there is still much more that is worthy of praise and gratefulness.  We must remain vigilant lest we lose the many benefits we have inherited from our forefathers.

I sing with pride, but some grief, “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”   I pray, because it is a critical petition, “God keep our land, glorious and free.”  No enemy without or within can seriously threaten a nation that pleases God, seeks His blessing, obeys His Word and pursues His righteousness.  To lose that focus, as we most assuredly have, is to lose God’s blessing, protection, guidance and wisdom.   Have these things already been lost beyond reparation?   Only God knows the answer to that.   On this occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday, it behooves the followers of Christ to seek His face in humility, fear, repentance and confession.

Fearfully, other than in the singing of our National Anthem, not one mention of God, nor even a prayer, was heard throughout the celebrations!  Neither diversity nor multiculturalism should be allowed to undermine the very values and faith that have blessed this land with so much good.  To disown the Lord God and His blessing is to invite the very things many Canadians fled from to come here.

A fellow pilgrim,   Arnold Reimer