Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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Lasting Peace compared to Good Attempts to find Peace

After a hurried rentrée (return to school after a week off) and praying through the stressful situations that many of our friends find themselves in (and you too?!), I’m reminded that we do not live in a peaceful world. There is always something for me to be worried about. There is always something trying to steal my joy and peace.

The verse that came to my mind this morning was John 14.27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I am reminded of the ways that people around me (and me included) look for peace:

  • In political powers: my own nation of Canada is groaning and rejoicing with the political shift that has just taken place. In 4 years it will all shift again. Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Ukrainians, Romas are still waiting for political peace.
  • In economic prosperity: many of the deepest economic recessions have happened after stratospheric financial booms. A bumper crop can be wiped out with a hail storm.
  • In educational superiority: just when you think you’re getting somewhere, along comes someone who makes you seem very ordinary.
  • In family stability: we are all hoping that home will be a place of peace and security and look to copy those around us who seem to have it. Family is where tension and strife is most normal (and faith can make it even worse).
  • In physical health: one accident, one illness, one unusual test result and it’s all shattered.

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The default setting is: Pray

I have often wondered how when Jesus is so amazing – his life, his power, his wisdom – and yet most of my life I have struggled to spend time with him in prayer. I want to enjoy him, but my own brain and experience seems to keep me at a distance. It’s also easier to do things for God than to partner with Jesus and to spend the time needed in prayer.

Guilt. Shame. Hard work. Failure. Boredom. These are the words that often accompany the description of my life in prayer, maybe you Continue reading


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How to know if you’re growing in love…

To the favourite children of the King,When we first arrived here in Belgium I asked God what he wanted me to accomplish in the next 2 years.  Seems reasonable, He’s the One who brought us here.  I don’t want to be busy doing anything that is not the King’s business.  What was shown to me (through songs, scripture, the Holy Spirit and other people) is that he wants my heart more alive and me more in love.  If it’s possible to measure love and life, Jesus wants these to be the true measures of my success.

What do you think, looks like a path in Belgium.

I love to see how you are growing in your love of God and your skills in the Kingdom!  It makes me proud of you to see what fine men & women you are becoming.  As you grow in your love and faith, you will go through many seasons – probably over and over – and I want you to be aware of what they are so that you can not be surprised but rather be confident that God is the Greatest Lover.  And because he’s the Greatest Lover, He has set everything up so that you’ll fall more in love with Him and grow in your confidence that His love is secure.

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Top tips for fasting well #1

I am reminded of the rewards that come by fasting and praying for this understanding:
  1. Fasting leads to tenderizing our hearts so that we feel God’s presence more.
  2. Fasting leads to changing our desires and enlarging our desire for righteousness (Heb. 1:9).
  3. Fasting leads to increasing our understanding of the Word and receiving prophetic dreams.
  4. Fasting leads to making our body healthier and changing what we desire to eat and drink
  5. Fasting leads to strengthening our sense of identity as sons of God before the Father and as a bride before the Son. Our identity is rooted in the knowledge of God’s affection for us.
The grace of fasting is God’s answer to our cry for “more.”  Fasting enlarges our capacity to receive truth, and accelerates the process of God’s truths taking root in our own hearts.  It is the God given way to make room for more of God and therefore, is an essential component to the age-old question of “How do I grow in love for God?”
– The Rewards of Fasting, Mike Bickle & Dana Candler


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Is there a point to waiting?

Dear friend,

As we prayed last night for the end of your season of waiting I thought that perhaps this is a bigger topic I need to reflect on.  Yours is just one of many stories of waiting that I’ve come across lately.  It seems that the Lord allows us to go through something and then uses it to bring help to others.  I also feel like my brief encounter with intense waiting has given me confidence that God is present in waiting.

write down what God has promised

Write down what God has promised

 Every season is a season of waiting

I walked into the post office to see if anything had arrived for us from Belgium.  It had been our 2 weeks stretched into 5 with no firm end, just empty promises.  Now Rosenort is a small town’s small town, you can’t go anywhere anonymously.

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What will the church look like on the day Jesus returns?

God’s vision for the church is found in the story of Rebekah

I was excited to bring encouragement to a local congregation recently because the scripture from the Old Testament was the story of Rebekah. I knew that this woman was an example for the Jewish people, of service and hospitality. Rabbis, pastors & scholars have used this woman’s story to describe God’s people on the day of the return of the Lord. In the generation that sees God’s messiah return, a faithful people will be found that reflect the story of this mother of our faith.

Perhaps you look at the churches in your city or at the people of faith in your social circles and, like me, you wonder, “Is this really what Jesus had in mind when he came preaching, healing & loving? Is this what Jesus died for?” The current reality seems bleak, the church weak and many people of faith can’t be distinguished from everyone else by their life and entertainment choices. Two voices come to my mind:


I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.” – Ghandi
The best money has never been on the church. Yet the church has outlasted every economic and political system.” Gary Best


 

God, in the story of Rebekah, is telling us our story. You’ll find this gem in Genesis 24 and it’s the longest story told in the book of Genesis (longer than Noah, creation or Joseph). There a number of perspectives on this, but today let’s just look at this story as a shadow of our story. Continue reading


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It’s the Easter Weekend – what if someone comes to faith?

I am not a fisherman.  There are a few reasons, primarily this: a good day for fishing is an even better day for bike riding.  Second reason?  I’m not a big fan of cleaning the fish.  Catching fish is fun, but what you have to do between catching and eating is just a little beyond me.

Alpha bannerFor many of us, the work of making disciples of Jesus is much the same.  I’m not sure about you, but I think I’m more worried about evangelism being successful than unsuccessful. If I share my faith and it’s rejected, I can carry on as usual.  If the Gospel is accepted, then I need to get to work on helping this new believer learn to walk with Jesus.  I like bringing a person to faith & I like working with mature believers, but helping them grow in maturity is just hard work.

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