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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How to do a singing Bible study

Dear Worship Leader,

I enjoy worshiping and singing with you – it’s easy because your heart wants to worship.  Your role is important because the songs we sing will stay with us longer than most sermons or even encouraging words.  Your worship, helps us worship.

I’d like to give you a little tool to help your Bible Study time turn into songs between you and Jesus with a little model: Read it, Write it, Say it, Sing it, Pray it (thanks to my friend Kirk Bennett).  The goal is to take God’s word and turn it into prayerful worship, new songs and increased revelation of God. Continue reading


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How to be confident in faith

This week I was out for a walk and suddenly felt this awareness of being far away from Jesus. Do you know what I mean?  My prayers felt like they were hitting the clouds and coming right back at me, doubts were starting to creep in and everyone with no faith seemed to be doing just fine and even prospering, while I’m struggling.

What’s up with seasons like this?  Why am I experiencing this when Jesus promised to never leave me or forsake me? (Hebrews 13:5)?  Sometimes I just withdraw (“O poor me”) other times I compensate by working harder (“I will just get through this”).  Do you ever have times like this?  Fear, worry, pride driving your lack of connection with the one your heart loves?

In the Song of Songs, this is not the the Bride’s response in Song 4 – she is beginning to grow in confident maturity because she is learning to know and love and trust her Lover.  She not only knows his love, his beauty and his strength, but she also knows what he’s thinking about her.  She is beginning to understand (knowledge) and experience (emotions) the Bridegroom’s thoughts and emotions about her.  As you read them, can you believe that this is how Jesus thinks & feels about you?

3 Declarations of the Bridegroom over his Bride (Song 4.9-16)

1.  Do you know how you move Jesus’ heart? Continue reading


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Get up, let’s go together!

To the one made beautiful by Jesus,

What I believe affects deeply how I respond to situations. If I believe that my boss is like an ogre (like Shrek on a bad day), when he says something nice, I’ll just think he’s manipulating me. And if she gets really mad, I may just say – “That’s just her, she’s always going off like that.” There are some people who easily offend me and others to whom I give lots of grace.

Shrek_angryshrek - It works this way with God. Some of us believe that God is a master and we are his servants. Others think of God as a big cuddly grandpa that likes to give out hugs and treats. (These are both good pictures, but incomplete.) Still others figure that he’s quite far away and doesn’t notice what’s happening here. We all respond to God and to life based on what we believe. Continue reading


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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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Four disastrous beliefs that hold us back from enjoying Jesus

I remember many years ago being asked to speak at my parents’ church and to fit into the preaching schedule as they were going through the book of Colossians – lucky me, I got to talk about the 2 most guilt inducing topics in the church – prayer and evangelism.

Of course, we don’t all feel guilt about prayer or evangelism, some of us have just gotten so discouraged or put off that we are calloused to the call. Here’s what Paul, the missionary pastor, expected of his congregations:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-
that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Can I suggest that we (the list comes from my own experience and errors) have believed dangerously wrong ideas about prayer that keep us from enjoyable times of interceding? Which of these have you fallen into?

Do you trust God like you trust slot machines? photo by Yamaguchi先生

1. Prayer is God’s slot machine. We put prayers in and hope that we get what we want out of it. Prayer is unpredictable but we just keep hoping that we’ll hit the jackpot.

2. Prayer is a magical language. We try to get our words just right, our theology perfect, use words we never use in conversation and even copy the inflection and hand movements of our favourite “power pray-ers”

3. Prayer is like yoga. We use God and prayer as a relaxation technique. Not that it isn’t restful, but that’s not the purpose.

4. Prayer avoidance. Many of us just leave prayer to the intercessors. We’re “not very good at it,” so we avoid it. We’re not convinced that it does much good even though we are happy to have someone else praying for us.

One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” – John Piper

Time has never been the most significant reason that we do not pray.

What if there was another reason that pastor Paul calls us to pray? What if this was more than a religious exercise and an opportunity to join God in his work? Prayer is the work that Jesus is doing right now, at this moment and he joyfully invites our voluntary partnership.

Song of Solomon 2:10 “My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”
– Jesus is calling you and me to rise up and do what He is doing

Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
– And Jesus is living to make intercession for us.

My response:

1. Stop believing disastrous things about prayer.  Repent to God and move on.

2. Decide to dig in and ask God to help you enjoy prayer.

3. Schedule it.  For today and tomorrow and the next day.