When it’s Time to Fly

This week will see significant changes in many families. Children will start new grades in school, university students will leave home and settle into dorms, and graduates will look hard for jobs that may take them to new places. Parents, who know full well the difficulties of the world, long for the days when their children were safe at home. But would that be the best for them now?

When Jacob left home, he learned that the world was not there to serve him. His selfish ways brought him much hardship. He couldn’t even have his way with his choice in a wife. He learned quickly to become disciplined, skilled, and to trust in God, not just himself or his family connections. Gen.27-33.

Joseph was torn from his family as a teenager and thrust into the cruel world of slavery in a foreign country. What hurt most was that his own brothers were at fault. But despite difficult employers, hard labour, and time in jail, he learned to use his wits and trust God’s overall plan. Would he have become the trusted second-in-command over all of Egypt if he had remained at home? Gen.37-41.

David showed great courage as a young man, but only reached his stride when king Saul drafted him into the army. There he made new friends (Jonathan), fought and won personal battles, learned to survive, and eventually became a powerful leader, eventually replacing Saul. His parents trained him, but his independence matured him.

I suspect that even Jesus gained great confidence at 12 years old from his experience with the Jewish teachers in the temple, alone (Luke 2:45-49). His famous statement to his fretting parents teaches us all: “Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Good homes guide young people as they find their footing for their upcoming independent lives. But eventually we must let our children grow to adults and fly from the nest. Having done your work, they will thrive. Their faith will guide them.

– Tim Johnson

The Low Oil, Low Dollar Disorder

Every day we hear news that the price of oil is lower and the Canadian dollar is weaker. It affects those who travel outside of the country, those who send money abroad, and the price of imports.

Overall the low dollar/oil tends to drain the life and strength out of our fragile economy. We’ll hurt for a while, but history tells us that the situation will eventually be corrected. It’s going to take strategy, hard work and patience.

Our spiritual lives can similarly be affected. Some things build us up, and others drain us of life and vitality. The latter could be called “the low oil and dollar disorder.” The Bible urges us to take steps to make sure nothing is missing spiritually. To simplify, there are four parts: prayer, study, fellowship, and service. Prayer keeps us dependent on God (James 5:16). Study grants us knowledge to stay on track (2 Tim.2:15). Fellowship keeps us loving our brethren (Heb.10:24). And service integrates our talents with that of others and creates a strong body (1 Pet.4:10-11). These can enliven and reinforce us, or the lack of them can drain us of strength – just like a weak dollar and low oil does to the economy.

Are you attending every assembly possible, or conjuring up excuses not to? Are you cheerfully serving the church in some way, or naively assuming others will do it all? Are you carving out some time to pray and study, or let it be swallowed up in a busy lifestyle?

We may feel powerless to help our struggling economy, but all of us can take steps to stay strong spiritually: strategy, hard work and patience. Don’t let the low oil/low dollar disorder prevail.

– Tim Johnson

Does What You Wear Fit?

The citizens of the Island of Crete didn’t have a very good reputation. Paul quoted one of their writers, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). Not very complimentary. Yet there were congregations of the Lord’s church present comprised of people struggling to reflect Jesus in their lives. So Titus was instructed to teach “things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (2:1). He was to help them live sound, moral, sensible lives. Like well-fitting clothes, life needs to fit who we say we are. Continue reading

Jesus the Faithful Witness

The Book of Revelation gives us many names for Jesus Christ, all of them designed to teach us something about Him. In the first chapter He’s called “the faithful witness” (v4), and repeated in 3:14. A witness, in a legal setting, is someone who confirms the truth of something they have seen. In the New Testament, a witness is someone involved in preaching what he has seen and knows. The apostles were witnesses of the resurrected Jesus, and as Peter explained in Acts 10:41-42, they were ordered to preach and testify this truth. This was often difficult because apostolic preachers regularly faced violence, opposition, and threats of imprisonment and death if they continued to preach as witnesses. Therefore Jesus urged them to be faithful in their important work as witnesses, despite the dangers. Continue reading

The Greatest Graduation

It’s graduation season. Soon we’ll see limousines cruising the streets, and kids dressed in suits and gowns getting their pictures taken in the park. In addition to high school ceremonies, elementary and middle schools are graduating kids into the next levels of education. I even have a grandson who “graduated” from kindergarten! Continue reading