Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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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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Love, Reflect & Pray

As you may have picked up, I have a bit of an unusual hobby. I love to read, study, reflect on, meditate on and pray with a most unlikely book of the Bible. The Song of Songs, avoided by many contemporary Bible teachers, has a rich history in both Jewish and Christian traditions. One of the most interesting things about this book is that there are different layers that all help us to grow. So just like other books in the Bible, Song of Songs is part of the scriptures of which the Apostle Paul says:

2 Timothy 3:16(NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

So, how are we to read this book of the Bible?

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1. The Song is a clear demonstration of what God honouring sexual love is to look like.It’s a love poem with language of love and appreciation. Many husbands would do well to be instructed by Solomon on how to see and call out the beauty in their wives. Continue reading


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The best song ever, hands down

To my favourite, most loved children in all the world,

What is your favourite song of all time?  Is it a happy song, a reflective song, a love song, a sad song?  Is it the message, the tune or a special memory that causes you to love this song?  What do you think God’s favourite song is?  Ask him.

from http://i.telegraph.co.ukDid you get a chance to read through the Song of Songs last week?  Did it make you blush or did you just read really quickly over any sections?  In a book like this, it’s easy to see how people get messed up on it.  Also easy to see why many people avoid it altogether.

Many of the ancient Jews and also many Christian Bible teachers considered this to be the most important book in the whole Bible?  One guy preached about 100 messages and only got to chapter 2 – he just kept getting new insights into God’s loving heart for people as he read and meditated on the words in this book.

For this week, here are some cheat notes to understanding what’s going on in this book.

The Song of All Songs:  “The Song—best of all songs—Solomon’s song!” (Song of Songs 1.1, The Message)

There are many ways people read this book, and a few that I enjoy, we’re going to look at this as a story of the love between God and an individual believer. Let’s meditate on this story and try to understand our place in the Divine love story.  We will also see how this story of passionate love is played out in the life of Jesus and the experience of the early church.  (I have a suspicion that Song of Songs was the Apostle Paul’s favourite book too.)

There are 4 characters in the story:
The Lover: This is the bridegroom king (Solomon) who to us, represents Jesus.  The one who loved us, even before we loved him.
1 John 4.19We love because he first loved us.” 
Jesus also considered himself to be the Bridegroom in Luke 5.34Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?”
The Beloved: This is the bride (the Shulemite) who represents the sincere lover and believer of Jesus.  She is being made ready to meet her husband.
Ephesians 5.27 “ and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
The friends of the bridegroom: This is probably the easiest way for guys to begin to meditate on the story, as groomsmen or family of the Groom.  These are the ones who watch and enjoy the blossoming of love between two lovers.
This is the role John the Baptist saw himself in John 3.29 “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”
The daughters of Zion: These are the ones who see what is happening but don’t understand it (at first).  The love that the king has for his bride is captivating for them and love the bride has for her Lover is motivating.  You might imagine them as young and immature believers.
We are encouraged to love Jesus in such a way that it is visible by Peter when he says: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3.15

This week, read the whole story through up to 4 times.  Each time, imagine that you’re a different character (Groom, Bride, Friends, Interested observers).  What do you notice when you read it this way?

I love you.


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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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How can you make space for more joy in your life?

   This is your invitation to enjoy Jesus.  Now I suspect that some people might react to this statement with questions or even shock – how could I enjoy Jesus.  Serving sounds easy, worshiping is understandable but enjoying?  This is the journey that we will take together through the season of Lent.  A journey of discovering God as lovesick over us and of enjoying Jesus, the great bridegroom.

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What is Lent?

     Imagine that your mom is making your favourite meal for you.  She’s spent time this week shopping and planning and she’s spent all day in the kitchen baking and cooking and thinking of you with every dish she’s preparing.  Now imagine that on your way to this feast, you stop off at McDonalds and have a Super-sized Big Mac Combo and a milkshake.  As amazing as that might sound, it’s garbage compared to what your mom prepared and when you show up to eat, you aren’t even going to be hungry.  Who of us would do this (at least intentionally)?  No, if someone is making us a special meal, we want to come to the feast hungry.

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Give it up

With the season of Lent coming quickly (Pancake Tuesday on … Tuesday!) I’d like to share a short reflection by Sandy Millar (former vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London).

“The point of Lent is not just to give up coffee or alcohol or whatever it is we have resolved, worthy though that may be. It is to give up sin.”

In my life, starting afresh today, I declare myself an enemy of sin and willingly turn aside from everything that keeps me from the Love of God.
Amen.