What to do When Your House Falls Apart

“The inheritance to which we are born is one that nothing can destroy or spoil or wither.” (1 Pet.1:3, NEB)

As a homeowner, I’m always amazed at the endless work it takes to keep things in good shape. One house we had needed painting every few years due to the damp Maritime climate. Tired of scraping and painting, I tore all the clapboard off and installed new wood, painted the whole house, and hoped it would solve my problem. It didn’t. A contractor friend said there was too much humidity inside the house (4 kids and all those showers…), so I installed an air exchanger, and had the whole house covered in vinyl siding. That fixed it.

That same house also had a leaky basement. We had to dig a trench, 5 feet deep, all around the foundation to repair cracks, install drain tiles, and then fill it all in, rebuild front and back porches, repair the lawn, restore the driveway…Oh my!

Sometimes home ownership can be tedious indeed. One works on things inside and out. If you own a house, you know what I’m talking about.

The scripture above tells us we have a home waiting for us in heaven that will never need the kind of upkeep we do in this present world. “Nothing can destroy it,” Peter declares. It will never suffer from fire, floods, or simple aging. It will never “spoil” from damp weather, rotting materials, insects, or our endless wind. And it wont “wither” (fade away) from the hot sun, blasting weather, poor materials, and shifts in the ground. It will always be in perfect shape and carry no worries or expense.

It’s an inheritance God reserves for those who faithfully serve Him as Christians, even when life is hard. He has a spot for you awaiting your arrival in the next life – a reservation in heaven.

The next time you are knee-deep in dust, dirt and paint, remember that you won’t have to do any of that in heaven. “In this you greatly rejoice…” (v6).

– Tim Johnson

A Living Hope

A LIVING HOPE

The Prairies can be a lonely place, but it was especially so for Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant who moved to Saskatchewan over 100 years ago. He’d walked 600 miles from Minnesota, where his family waited for him to later return and get them. Seven years later he did, but his wife had passed away and all his children had been placed in foster homes. Alone, he returned to his homestead near the South Saskatchewan River. He dreamed of returning to Finland and, having been trained as a shipbuilder, decided to build a sea-going vessel he could sail up the river to Hudson’s Bay, then across the Atlantic. The Great Depression hit, and at great sacrifice, he managed to build his craft in sections, moving each by himself 17 miles to the river. The heaviest piece needed help, and no one would lend a hand. He sank into depression, especially after vandals stole some of the metal parts. Institutionalized in a hospital, he died in 1943. Decades later, the community organized a museum and Tom’s ship is the crowning piece. You can visit it today, just southwest of Moose Jaw.

Sukanen’s sad story teaches us many things, but one thing stands out: the futility of unreasonable hopes. While we all would wish for Tom’s success, there were just too many obstacles. It’s different with the hope that every Christian carries in his heart – to live again after death and enter heaven. Peter put it this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) He emphasized that it is A LIVING HOPE. It’s not an impossible, and therefore unreasonable hope. Jesus Himself rose again, demonstrating forever that the coming resurrection will indeed take place. Our hope is real, and it will not fail.

– Tim Johnson

Lights in our Community

Jesus said in Matt.5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” With the dawn of 2017 upon us, what should the people in our community – especially those near our church building – see in us? Here’s a few thoughts.

1. A godly people. In our profane, modern society people should see something better in the Lord’s people. Peter said, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Pet.1:14-15).

2. A kind people. There are needs all around us, and our neighbours should view us as people who are concerned for them. We can’t deal with everybody’s problems, but we can be kind. Paul said, “…Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col.3:12). Will people view us as cold and indifferent, or warm and helpful?

3. An engaging people. If we want the community to be interested in our message, we must be open to them. People have questions and wonder about who we are. Peter, who wrote about the church’s relationship to the world, said, “…always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet.3:15).

4. An enthusiastic people. Many religious groups practice rituals with lukewarm habit. The community needs to see us as people who are happy and enthused about the faith. Few are interested in religion that is sleepy and dreary. “Therefore, gird your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).

5. A people of the truth. Some think the church should accept everything and stand for nothing. More respect is given to those who know the truth and stand on it firmly. John wrote to “all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever” (2 Jn.1-2).

Let’s be determined to let our light shine effectively in 2017.

– Tim Johnson

A Data Plan That Never Runs Out

This is a time of year when we want to spend time with family, or at least hear from them. Traditionally, the phone lines become too overloaded with calls on Christmas day and you just can’t get through. We have become well equipped with alternate ways to visit with people, such as computer programs (Skype, etc.), and cellphones by which we can text or Facetime. We spend a lot on equipment to allow it: computers, smartphones , and Internet access. According to the Financial Post, the average Canadian family spends $185 a month on communications.

Have you ever considered how remarkable our God is when it comes to our ability to speak to Him? He is the Master of communication. You can pray to him anytime, night or day. Daniel prayed without fail three times a day (Dan.6:10). Peter seems to have followed a similar pattern (Acts 10:9). Paul told the Colossians, “…since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you” (Col.1:9). He also said to the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess.5:17). God is open to our prayers without cost. You will never receive a bill, and you will never exceed any limit of time with Him.

Somehow, God can handle all this communication. No computers jam up, no extra memory needs to be installed, and no new facilities need to be built. He has always had the ability to listen to the prayers of a limitless number of people – all at the same time! If everyone in the world prayed to Him to Him today, God wouldn’t miss a thing. None of our marvelous technology today can come anywhere close to that kind of ability.

Rather than discourage an overload of voices, God urges us to open up and pray to Him. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). God wants to hear from us, and hear regularly.

What a marvelous privilege prayer is.

– Tim Johnson

The Unknown Grave

There’s a curious note at the end of the book of Deuteronomy describing the death and burial of Moses. As you remember, God allowed him to see an overview of the Promised Land from a perch on top of Mount Nebo, then he passed away. “And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.” (Deut.34:6) Continue reading