Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 15:13 | No Comments »

The fall of man in the Garden of Eden brought with it many consequences. Prior to Adam and Eve’s choices in the Garden, they had the privilege of communing with God daily and the deep enjoyment of His company. In those early days, they knew nothing but contentment and peace, a self-assuredness that they loved and were loved by a Holy God. Yet when sin entered the equation, things changed. Man who once applied his focus to enjoying the riches of the Garden, fellowshipping with God, and loving the mate God had provided for him, suddenly became self-aware. With that self-awareness came many things, but three traits bore a lasting impact: feelings of insecurity, guilt, and shame brought on by the realization of sin.

 

After the fall, man saw himself in the cold hard light of reality. This new revelation unveiled a man with flaws and human frailties, bringing with it doubts and uncertainty. Yet in spite of man’s failings and penchant towards sin, God remained consistent in His love.

 

The Bible teaches in Romans 8:38-39 this powerful truth regarding God and those who have accepted His free gift of salvation:

 

“ For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Though we sin and our sin causes God pain, He remains steadfast in His love for us. We cannot deny that our sinful nature brings a rift in the depth of the relationship a Holy Saviour wants to enjoy with His children, but we also have forgiveness in Him and the assurance that His love for us is not dependent on the things we do or choose not to. God makes the choice to love us in spite of our sinful state, and He continues to encourage us towards the higher calling of a right relationship with Him.

It is a precious truth that nothing in this world has the power to separate a believer from the love of God. Even though our sin grieves His heart, it does not possess the strength to cause Him to turn His back on His beloved children. The most potent forces of separation this world has to offer have no foothold over God’s love and His willingness to bestow it freely.

When the devil tries to persuade us that our lives are too marred by sin for God to forgive, it is only a ploy to get us to willingly limit God’s ability to use us. The devil wants to remind us of the things we feel make us unworthy. If he can succeed in this way, he gains an advantage when Christians voluntarily sideline themselves from God’s work, feeling they are too sinful to be of use for our Lord. But God does not view us in this way. When He looks at a believer, God sees only the blood of His Son which has washed us and made us clean. Though He longs for us to make better choices and to be freed from the bondage of sin, His love for us is given without any conditions on our behaviour.

In Ephesians 1:6, Paul encourages us with these words:

“ To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

For those who have received Christ as their Saviour, they now bear the mark of heavenly approval through the blood of God’s Son. This simple choice makes us “accepted in the beloved.” Satan wants to remind us of our past decisions that took us away from God’s path; Jesus wants to remind us of our future with Him.

If you belong to God, nothing can separate you from His love. Whether in life or in death, in this world or the world to come, those who have called upon the name of the Lord are loved freely; without any conditions.

Have you experienced the acceptance of the beloved? Are you ready for a love that will not let you go? To learn more about how you can know the unconditional love of Christ, contact our ministry at (306) 940-9554 today.


Monday, September 9, 2019, 14:36 | No Comments »

bible and Brother Andrew God's Smuggler

Brother Andrew, a missionary commonly referred to as God’s Smuggler, served our Lord by putting his life at risk to smuggle Bibles into forbidden territory during the Cold War. His mission often took him across enemy lines for the sole purpose of placing the gospel in the hands of those who needed it most. Many of his border crossings placed his life in dire peril, yet he continued on in service to His king, trusting the Lord would protect and enable him to continue in His service.

Over the years, Brother Andrew’s Bible delivery mission took him through many different locations throughout the world. He developed a prayer which became a staple of each endeavour he undertook which reads:

“Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind.  Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.”

Due to the immense danger of Brother Andrew’s global Bible delivery mission, he earned himself the affectionate nickname of “God’s Smuggler,” a moniker which later became the title of a book detailing his life and ministry. A bestseller, this book sold over 10 million print copies and was later translated into a total of thirty-five languages.

Brother Andrew’s life affected other believers deeply through the powerful reality that he was an ordinary man used in an extraordinary way by a loving and holy God. This truth gives hope to all that God still works through the humblest of people to accomplish His greatest tasks.

In the words of Brother Andrew, “The Bible is full of ordinary people who went to impossible places and did wondrous things simply because they decided to follow Jesus.”

“The real calling,” he has said, “is not a certain place or career but to everyday obedience. And that call is extended to every Christian, not just a select few.”

Brother Andrew was not only a faithful servant in fulfilling His God-given calling but also in serving as a source of inspiration for other believers. His testimony and life’s work was an encouragement to many to seek their own ways to provide tangible help and support to Christians suffering persecution worldwide.

The ministry Brother Andrew started, Open Doors, now has operations all throughout the world which provide assistance to persecuted believers in more than 60 different countries.  These workers continue Brother Andrew’s mission, risking their own lives to bring Bibles into countries where the Word of God is strictly forbidden.  

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 1: 27, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” God takes His greatest pleasure in using ordinary men to do extraordinary things for His glory. What extraordinary job does God have in store for you?
 


Wednesday, August 28, 2019, 14:05 | No Comments »

dare to be different - woman in wide brimmed hat and fancy dress

In the world today, people are encouraged to conform to a specific standard established by people whose hearts serve another god. Unfortunately, the world’s ideals of beauty, morality, and lifestyle fall far short of the one true God’s expectations for His people. Not wanting to stand out from the crowd, many Christians fall prey to the temptation to simply blend in with the landscape, adopting the dress, mannerisms, and sometimes even the actions of the unbelievers they encounter every day. Though we are free to choose our own path, God’s command to be salt and light in the world is given for our protection and to enable us to be fit for His service. When we opt to conform to this world’s system, we dampen our efficacy for Christ. Why would the world seek Jesus when His followers look and act no differently than they do? Conforming to this world dims our light and hides the message we are called to carry to the people in our community.

 

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul shares these words:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

Though God has given us free will, we are not free from the consequences of our choices. When faced with a decision regarding our dress, lifestyle, or activities, we must remember that we are to present our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice.” To us, the word “sacrifice” is synonymous with something that is given at a high price; sometimes even requiring the lifeblood of the giver. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins when He shed His blood on Calvary to make a way for us to be reconciled unto God the Father. Yet, God does not demand an equal sacrifice from us. Though our sin is deserving of death, He has made a way for us by instead asking that we present our bodies as a “living sacrifice” for Him to use in His service. God doesn’t want us to die for Him; He wants us to live for Him. The commitment to maintaining a life that seeks holiness is all that He requires. Isn’t that “reasonable service” for the One who gave His life for all?

 

Still the pursuit of holiness is a tall order for sinful man. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to attain it; we are simply to pursue it.

 

Paul lays out a road map for presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice committed to the goal of holiness for our God in verse 2 when he says:

 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

What is the formula for being a living sacrifice for Christ? It is in the choice to be different. All our Lord and Saviour asks is that instead of conforming to the standards favoured by this world that we instead choose to be transformed for Him. This one simple act propels us towards the holiness we so desperately seek.

 

Where is holiness found? By the renewing of our minds. By choosing to fill our hearts and thoughts with the Word of God daily. This intense focus on God, His Will, and His Word provides us with the skills we need to better understand our Lord’s plan for our lives. When we dare to be different, instead of focusing on fulfilling our own desires, we maintain dedication to God’s plan for our lives which includes acting as a beacon of light in a nation of darkness to guide lost souls to the One who can make them whole.

 

Just as Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice to atone for our sins, we are called to offer our own bodies as a living sacrifice unto our God. This one commitment is difficult for us as our sinful nature compels us to acknowledge our own wants and desires above all. We need the gentle reminder that yielding control of our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to a Holy God is only fitting tribute to the One who gave His life for us.

 

Are you willing to dare to be different? While the world preaches conformation, believers are called to transformation through the renewing of our thoughts through the Word of God.

 

Want to learn more about the transforming power Christ wants to bestow upon your life? For more information, contact us at Anchor Prison Ministries to learn more about the sacrifice Christ made for you and how this simple gift can transform your life.

 


Thursday, August 15, 2019, 00:28 | No Comments »

Penned by King Solomon near the end of his life, Ecclesiastes is a poignant book of reflection. “Vanity of vanities!” he writes, and you can almost hear his world-weary tone. Yet, in these brief chapters, he also writes of hope, joy, and how to find meaning in your life. In 2019, his words are as fresh and applicable as in centuries gone by.

Here are 5 important truths that Ecclesiastes teaches us about life.

 

1. There is a time for everything.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is lot like surfing an ocean wave. One day, you’re riding the crest and feeling on top of the world. The next, you’re plunged into a trough and struggle to keep your head above water. We all go through times of joy and sorrow, success and failure, light and darkness. 

Perhaps you’re in one of those “struggle” seasons. Instead of longing for the next season, learn to embrace the one God has given you today. Compared to eternity, each season only lasts a brief moment. And it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

 

2. God wants us to enjoy life.

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

Ecclesiastes 2:24

Throughout the centuries, ascetics have (incorrectly) taught that physical comforts are wrong. They slept on beds of nails or lived atop poles, hoping to atone for their sins. Many ascetics lived a celibate life, fasted for lengthy periods, and denied themselves physical comforts. According to their teachings, denial of self is necessary to develop spirituality. Ascetics can be found in both Christian and Buddhist history.

Yet God never taught us that pleasure is wrong or that earthly comforts should be rejected.  First Timothy 6:17 tells us to, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” And Philippians 4:5 teaches us, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” According to New Testament Christianity, we are to enjoy pleasures regulated by self-control and moderation.

 

3. Marriage is important to God.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

As our culture moves away further away from traditional family relationships, its foundations are crumbling. When the family is divided, and each member lives independently, it is vulnerable to spiritual attack. People are waiting longer and longer to marry, preferring the independence and self-centred focus of the single life. 

Yet, according to the Bible, marriage is God’s plan for most people. As Christians, we should take marriage seriously and support others in their marriage. If we are married, we should love, honour, and respect our spouses. Marriage is important to God—and it should be to us, too.

 

4. Wisdom is crucial for a successful life.

“Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.”

Ecclesiastes 7:19

Talent, strength, and ability do not guarantee that anyone will be successful. Rather, we should seek wisdom from God’s Word. Wisdom is defined as “the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments.” (Cambridge English Dictionary) Humans are not born with wisdom, as any parent of toddlers can verify. Rather, wisdom must be learned.

 


The Bible tells us how we can gain wisdom.

Fear God- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7)

Ask- “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

Seek it- “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)

Listen to good counsellors- “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5)

Read God’s Word- “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)

When you seek and obey God’s wisdom, you will reap the benefits in your life.

 

5. Our Father is in control.

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”

Ecclesiastes 11:5

In this life, there are many things which we do not understand. Yet we can pillow our weary heads on the truth that God is in control. Nothing surprises Him or escapes His notice. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without Him. He is watching over us with love and tenderness, and we can trust Him to work on our behalf. 

No, we are not in control of this uncertain life. But our Father is, and we can trust Him.

 

Let’s Chat:

Have you read the book of Ecclesiastes before? And which of these truths was your favourite? We’d love to hear in the comments!

________________________________________________________________

Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com


Sunday, August 11, 2019, 17:28 | No Comments »

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

 Ephesians 5:1-2

In these verses, Paul gives us a primary pattern for the Christian life. God isn’t looking for cookie-cutter believers who all look the same, talk the same, and do the same things. Instead, God wants us to imitate His Son. Jesus walked this earth for 33 years, living a perfect and sinless life. Through the pages of Scripture, His example is still shining brightly today. What does it mean to imitate Jesus Christ?

Read on for 5 ways to be more like Jesus.

 

1. Be prayerful.

Although Jesus was fully God, and already had all the wisdom and power He needed, He was constantly praying to His Father. The Bible records that Jesus prayed in public and in private. Before choosing His twelve disciples, He spent all night in prayer (Luke 6:12). He also taught His disciples how to pray and gave them a model of prayer (Luke 11).

Jesus challenged them to be faithful in prayer, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) And He commanded them, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41)

 

2. Be obedient.

As humans, we struggle with obedience. Our hearts are naturally rebellious and self-willed, and we often don’t feel like listening to our teachers, employers, and supervisors. However, Jesus’ example puts us to shame. 

When He was a child, Jesus obeyed His parents completely, despite their sin nature and imperfect parenting. He never rebelled against His teachers, priests, or authorities. And, throughout His life, He obeyed God the Father completely. The Bible tells us that He was, “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) If we want to be more like Jesus, we ought to be obedient.

 

3. Be slow to speak.

In James 1:19, God commands us, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Throughout His life on earth, Jesus was slow to speak. This didn’t mean that He was shy or lacking confidence. Instead, He knew the power of well-timed words. 

When the angry scribes and Pharisees called Him to condemn the adulterous woman, He drew in the sand. In Matthew 15, Jesus did not immediately answer the Canaanite woman who begged for her daughter’s life. Instead, He tested her faith and then healed her daughter. 

When He was accused before Pilate, Jesus didn’t defend Himself. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Like Jesus, we need to carefully weigh our words before speaking. This is a mark of true wisdom.

 

4. Be humble.

In 1 Peter 5:5, we read, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 

Jesus’ life was marked by authentic humility. He didn’t ask for worship, praise, or public recognition. He never demanded service or attention. Instead, He quietly served others. Jesus didn’t think of Himself as less than He was. Instead, He did not think of Himself at all. 

Humility doesn’t mean criticizing yourself or focusing on your faults. It means forgetting about yourself and focusing on others. Like Jesus, we should be humble and submissive to others.

 

5. Be joyful.

In John 15:11, Jesus promised a reward for those would obey His words. He said to His disciples, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Joy is the natural result of obeying God and walking with Him. If you’re not experiencing joy in your Christian life, there is a problem. Contact us at the local church’s prison ministries to learn more.

 

Let’s Chat:

Which of these 5 character traits do YOU most need to develop? We’d love to hear your answers in the comments! At the local church’s prison ministries, we want to become more like Jesus every day.

________________________________________________________________

Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com


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