Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Fifty Nine

June 25, 2020
Dear friends,

Recently, I asked prayer for Jean-Pierre, who has been under psychiatric care for many years. I was more concerned about him than usual because he had left a message on the answering machine in our office, asking me to not phone him. In the past week, he has phoned me several times and sounds more happy than he did a couple of weeks ago. He has been reading the gospel of Matthew and hoping to move to another facility. Thank you for praying for him. Having visited him in two long-term care facilities in the past few years, I know a little about where he lives, but I can`t imagine what it is like for him to be in the same surroundings day after day.

Last Sunday, our family celebrated Father’s Day. Karen and I (and our daughter, Bethany) visited my parents in the morning, before talking to our adult children via Zoom. When I was growing up, I wondered if my father would live as long as his grandfather did (90). Well, he has surpassed Papa by six years and is still going! This afternoon, I drove him to a bank and on the way, I saw a sign outside the library that has been closed since the pandemic arrived in Montreal: The sign read: “serving young people for more than 40 years.” I would love to tell the librarians that they are also serving a man who still loves to read at the age of 96.

I am doubly blessed, as my mother is an avid reader and passes books to Karen and me. One of the books that she gave us this month is “Hope in a Chaotic World” by the late Ray C. Stedman. In the first chapter, Ray writes:  “The Thessalonian letters of the apostle Paul were written to a young church struggling to survive in an extremely dangerous world. Within twenty years of their writing, the whole of the ancient East was convulsed in warfare and rebellion … We too are living in dangerous times … Many today sense an approaching world crisis.” Since Stedman wrote these words in 1990, many changes in technology, including the development of the Internet, have brought the world closer. Yet, as we witness mounting tensions between superpowers, we can`t help but wonder how long it will be before the prophecies in the Bible regarding the last days are fulfilled.

Stedman tells how, in 1972, a group of international industrial leaders and thinkers, called the Club of Rome, suggested six proposals for the survival of humanity. The first proposal was: “The survival of this planet necessitates new forms of thinking that will lead to a fundamental revision of human behavior and, by implication, of the entire fabric of present-day society.” The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)    . Some people are reluctant or refuse to admit that they sin, but the truth is that we all stand condemned before a holy God. No amount of good works can eradicate our selfish and evil ways. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can wash away our sins by His blood, which He shed on the cross of Calvary some 2,000 years ago.

I am blessed to know a man named Nicholas who was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and moved to Montreal as an adult. Thinking about how he loves the Lord and is eager to study His Word helps me picture the believers in the first-century church in northern Greece. In the second chapter of his first letter to the Thessalonian believers, the apostle Paul wrote that he and Silvanus and Timothy were exhorting  and encouraging and imploring them as a father would his own children (v.11). Although we may not have always obeyed our earthly father, let us seek to please our heavenly Father in all that we say and do.           

Scripture for the weekend: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NASB)

Thought for the weekend: “Jesus taught us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God. But there is always something that must come before that, something many people do not seem to understand. God asks us to love Him only because He first loved us.” – Ray C. Stedman (from his book “Hope in a Chaotic World”)


By His grace,