To Build

Denial is easier than acceptance.

Negativity is easier then positivity.

Dying is easier than living.

It’s easier to tear down than to build up.

We can say we will die for someone but refuse to live for another’s good.

We can spend all of our time looking at all the hardships of life but refuse to see all the blessings.

We can refuse to allow all the good and healthy things into our lives.

We can block out what Jesus is offering us. We can refuse to believe or listen.

It’s easy to let life destroy you, to sit and stew over all the bad breaks and mistakes you have made. We can easily let our world “go to rot”. We can choose to ruin our relationships, health, and well-being. That takes no work at all.

Yes. Building is difficult, but there is a finished product, a sturdy foundation that can withhold pressure.

For joy, peace, and satisfaction to be ours, we must accept the God who made us. In accepting, not rejecting, we have hope.

When we have hope we will see the good in our lives. When we see the good in our lives we will know we have a life worth living and fight for all that God has intended for us.

These are the tools and materials for the building of a full life.

May you accept the Savior, Jesus Christ, and all that He offers you.

May you build your life upon Him and may your foundation be strong in His truth.

Blessings

Photo Credit: Raiane Wagner

Faded


“…Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun. How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.” -2 Corinthians 3:7-12

As I read this passage I was struck by how we as Christians experience Jesus Christ much like the Israelites experienced God in the Old Testament.

Moses face faded!

Here is this Man of God called to be used like no man had ever been called.

To deliver God people from Slavery!

(To see the story of Moses encounter with Yahweh turn to Exodus 33:20-22)
Moses had seen Gods back. Or more accurately in the Hebrew it translates somewhat like “Where God had just been” Not even the back of God’s head, but where the actual presence of God himself was, the place He just stepped away from. I like to think Moses saw Yahweh’s newly formed foot print.

This is the closest any man in the history of the Earth had come to seeing God…EVER! Now this is a mountain top experience, literally and figuratively!

Moses had been so close to God that his face was shining, his face was transfigured! Now that is an experience you would think he would be carrying with him the rest of his life. I would think Moses would be changed from the inside out. Totally renewed and changed for the better. Now he was going to do things right, …totally.

Scripture says: “For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.” 

It was already fading! As Moses walked down that mountain the experience was already fading, the change in him was disappearing to a degree. The Israelites who could not even look at Moses in the face, who could barely experience a tenth of Gods presence, had to rely of Moses experience to affect them. And I am sure it did, but it faded away to a happy memory. It did not stay; it did not reside in their hearts like an experience like that should. The Jewish people had seen many miracles previous to this and would see much more after. But none of these experiences made a lasting effect in their hearts.

Is this like us, as Holy Spirit filled Christians? The mountain top experience of being saved! We come out of it with tear stained eyes and this glow, this unearthly happiness. But all to often it fades more and more each day. Until the next experience, recommitment, a missions trip, a Christian conference or retreat.

Why does this happen? We have the Holy Spirit! That is supposed to keep us on fire, which is supposed to keep us from fading. Right?

Is that what 2 Corinthians 3 says? It talks about the new covenant (Jesus Christ saving us and giving us a relationship with God through Him, the Holy Spirit coming into our hearts) being much better then the old (the law, the ten commandments).

One verse comes to mind: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” –Revelation 12:11

Testimony! Do you ever notice that when you speak about Christ, all the amazing experiences, all the blessings come back to you with great zeal? Oh yes you become bold for Christ when you talk about the good things He has done for you.

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.”- 2 Corinthians 3: 12

When we share our testimony or talk about Christ we are being bold, knowing we are part of this new way, where we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Knowing we have a personal relationship with Christ and that every good thing in our lives comes from Him.

Our faces light up again! I do not see that in the Old Testament, the Israelites need miracle after miracle after miracle and still they fade and fade. 

We do not need outward miracles. Because something has happened in our hearts, we have the Holy Spirit; we are saved that is the only miracle anyone ever needs. (Yes I still believe Christ does miracles in our age and expect God to do miracles in our lives, just to clarify)

We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory,” – 2 Corinthians 3:13

We are to share the good new of Christ openly, not covering it up; or filtering out what we are afraid people may not want to hear. That is part of sharing our testimony that is part of keeping this fire bright in our hearts.

Be bold, be honest and true, keeping none of the Good News secret.

But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14-15

People you speak to about Christ will not necessarily understand that you are speaking LIFE, to our generation (yes even today this is true, not just to fundamental Judaism) when they hear Jesus they hear rules and restrictions, not new life and freedom. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can remove the veil from their hearts and only when Christ saves them will they understand the new way of life that you have experienced and are speaking. 

Keep your fire strong and keep on boasting about Christ no matter what walls are put in your way.

Be bold, be honest and persevere through trials.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” -2 Corinthians 3: 16-18

We are an unveiled people, we are the image of the invisible (Col. 1:15), and we are to reflect His glory.

Christ has given us a free will, we freely came to Christ and asked for salvation, and it’s up to us to come to Him in prayer and reading of the Scripture. Its also our choice if we are going to allow the Holy Spirit to light up our faces as we choose to speak of Salvation and the good things Christ has done for us in our lives.

The apostle Paul’s one and only fear was to be set aside, to be put on a shelf, not allowing the Holy Spirit to use him for the purpose in which he was called. 

This is what the fading of our faces looks like in this day and age. We as a generation have based our faith on the mountain top experiences. We have said to our selves “I am saved, the Holy Spirit resides in me, I should be glowing here in the corner of my house….Ok God lets see what you can do, I am done doing anything.”

We forget we still have free choice. God is not a cowboy whipping his children like a horse, moving them forward. He has given us His Holy Spirit, to gently nudge us; He has given us his word to guide us. We must act; we must use our free choice to speak up and the Holy Spirit will light our hearts on fire again and again.

The curtain has been torn and the veil has been removed. We are part of a new way, a generation of believers who reflect the bright Son.

Bold, Honest and Persevering believers!



Image



“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man.” – From East of Eden by John Steinbeck

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in His own image.

In the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:26-27

Man is made in the image of God.

I believe there are many aspects of humans that reflect Gods image. Humans like God are multi -layered, complex beings and many of our attributes mirror the divine.

There could be book after book exploring the topic of mankind being image- bearers of God. However today I am going to focus on what the first two chapters of Genesis have to say on the topic, and more specifically where the Holy Spirit has lead me in my study and what He has imparted to me to share.[1]

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, the first Chapter of Gods Salvation story. The first few Chapters of Genesis effect how the reader, or listener views the rest of the Bible. The creation story is fundamentally important for understanding the Bible, God and what it means to be human. Good Biblical theology starts with a proper understanding of the creation story. We cannot fully see or understand the beauty and power of our Savior without first understanding the creation story.

Genesis is the creation story.

The first thing we learn about God is that He created the world.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” –Genesis 1:1

This is the first characteristic of God. He is a creative God.

And as we look at the creation story we see out of all creation, man is the only creature that is made creative.

Man is made in the image of God in that we were made creative.

This is the first characteristic of man. Man was made creative.

If we look closer at Genesis 1 and 2, we see something interesting. We see that God is a structured, organized creator. We see that as God created He put everything in its perfect place.

We see in Genesis 1:2-5. The first thing God does is He creates light and then He separates the light from the darkness.

“The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” – Genesis 1:3-5

In Gods creation, the putting of everything in order had a very specific purpose. Our God is a powerful God and so too is His creation.

Everything had to be put into perfect order or else the world’s elements; Gods creation would be in utter Chaos.

Our God is not a God of chaos but a God of Order. He controls and subdues chaos.

Look at the wording in Genesis 1:2, 6-9.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” – Genesis 1:2

“Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”
 And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.” – Genesis 1:6-9

Could you imagine these watery depths, waves crashing over all creation, unrelenting in the their power?

The surf crushing everything in its path? Chaotic in its destruction if not separated from the sky.

Or a world without land? All creation living under the hot sun upon a mass of water, swimming and swimming, for endless days.

Without a creative God of order, It would be a chaotic world.

This is significant to us as “image bearers of God”

Lets look at Genesis 1:26, 2:15, 19-20.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” -Genesis 1:26

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” -Genesis 2:15

“So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.” -Genesis 2:19-20

What was the first job God gives mankind?

It is to organize His Creation or to be the “caretakers of creation.”

God gave this important job to the only creative creature on the planet.

Also he gave Adam the creative jobs of organizing the animals with names. Each with its own kind defined by its own creative name given by mankind.

So Mankind was to separate and organize the creation, like God, to keep order over creation

Sin/ Fall/ Restoration

You will notice if you read through the creation story that at the end of every day, as God creates and separates, subduing chaos, He calls His creation Good.

A good God created a good world. Not surprising.

However man brought sin into the world.

The fall of man did not only affect mankind but all creation.

The well-ordered, good world turned chaotic once again.

Chaos was released upon all creation due to sin entering the world.

God did not change; He was and still is a good God. His creation however was corrupted.

Redemption Plan

God couldn’t leave His creation this way.

A good God had a great plan.

His initial creation was complete, but that didn’t mean God was done with His creative forces.

God started the restoration of His creation using His image bearer’s, mankind.

That is what God has been doing since the fall,

restoring,

and redeeming

all things

bent by sin.

Responsibility

God has assigned man the job of subduing the chaotic powers of wayward creation.

From day one, right after man fell, God has been using Man to redeem His creation.

This is how we resemble God!

We resemble His creative force, not merely in that we can build a cabinet, write a novel or invent a new board game.

We resemble God in that we are part of His restoration of creation, because we as humans have redemption written on our souls

This is what the Bible speaks about,

the redemption of creation using, fallen and imperfect people to bring about His plan of redemption!

From the Flood,

to Abraham,

to the nation of Israel,

to the law system,

and finally it comes to a magnificent crescendo with Jesus Christ,

who by a single act, redeems creation and restores mankind to the stature they once had.

To be in right relationship with God almighty.

Redemption written on Mans heart

We can see humanity throughout history revealing Gods inner design.

Mankind has written story after story depicting sacrifice and redemption in every culture and in every age.

The Greeks, the druids, eastern cultures, European cultures all have story’s telling of a man dying to bring redemption or to save a people group.

It’s the same today. The top three grossing films of all time depict sacrifice, love and redemption.[2]

This is not accident, humanity longs for the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

These films, these stories may not be the gospel in the truest form but they do testify to the truth of a real God who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Just like the fall did not change a good God.

The fall did not change truth.

All truth is Gods truth.

These stories show that God is real.

The truths found in these stories belong to God.

The men that write them may not know Christ personally but there stories reveal that God has placed His stamp of authorship upon their souls.

God created this world as good, so everything that is not good is a distortion and a cheap copy of true creation. That is what sin is: a distortion of truth, a distortion of creation.

This is important to remember when it comes to our witness.

I see a lot of Christians defining themselves by what they reject. Not by what they accept. But if we reject all that is Buddhist, or Muslim, or Roman Catholic, then what do we have left to accept?

All truth is Gods truth and all people are made “in the image of God” for they have the redemption story placed on their hearts. There is a little of Gods truth in everyone!

We must affirm and accept Gods truth in people no matter what form it takes.

I affirm in the Buddhist that there is such thing as lasting peace, only true peace is found through relationship in Christ Jesus.

I affirm in the Muslim that there is only one God; only the true God is Jesus Christ.

I affirm in the mystic that there is a power un-seen, only I believe that true power is only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You see our God is the God of true reality and He takes what is distorted and corrupted and redeems it.

He takes chaos and makes peace.

Man is made in the image of God, and it is God who will reveal His image in the hearts of men, bringing them to repentance in His son Jesus Christ

In the end we must trust God to continue his good work in the hearts of those we are witnessing to.

It is like this, a man can walk around with a counterfeit bill in his pocket and believe he is wealthy, but once he is shown the real thing he will never choose counterfeit over the real thing.

It’s the same thing with people when they get the true Savior, when their longing for true redemption and revival is satisfied they will never go back to the false God they once followed.

We must be carful as Christians not to be known for what we reject, for we could be rejecting a truth given by God to those who do not yet realize who it is from.

And we must remember everything apart from God is nothing and it will burn away in the end. So why bother wasting your time on nothing.

C.S Lewis said it well

“God is everywhere, not some of Him in one place and some in another, but in each place the whole Yahweh, in the smallness beyond thought. There is no way out of the center save into the bent will, which casts itself into the no where.”


[1] Much can be gathered from Genesis 1 and 2 on the theology of Image, I do not profess to be un-packing the length and depth on that theology. This is a small section of what it means to be in the image of God.

[2] 1. Avatar, 2. Titanic 3. Star Wars.

The Lord Speaks

The Lord Spoke to me last year around this time. It was at Encounter weekend at Eston College and it is again Encounter weekend (right now). He told me to deliver a message to the students of Eston College and ever since then He has been adding fuel to the fire that would become my message. Week after week, month after month He has been speaking to me, and telling me to continue on seeking His face for what to say and what not to say. I took a preaching class for winter mini semester which helped me with my forming my sermon, and finally I went over my sermon with my wife Jasmin who has a passion for Christ truth in the area I was to speak on. Then I was to speak Feb. 18th. I felt greatly attacked by the enemy and had to leave the chapel during the worship in tears. “How can I deliver such a hard message?” The enemy reminded me that many would not like what I had to say, many will not listen. I said a silent prayer, and the Lord reassured me that this message was formed over months and months of prayer and tears. It is from the Lord, to be given to the student body. As I got back to my seat and praised the Lord my confidence in the Lords calling climaxed as the student beside me whispered in my ear. “Preach like a lion, bold in the word the Lord has given you.”

This the result, though I was nervous and felt a great deal of pressure, this is the message of the Lord, the most important message I have ever delivered.

listen to the audio (the intro is missing) or view the video

https://archive.org/embed/TheSubmissionHold02.18.11

Camp 2010

Jasmin and I spoke at Keddelson Gospel Camp this summer. This is the first time Jasmin had preached ( she has given her testimony and has spoken but never preached a message.)
We spoke to 10-12 year olds. Pre-teens.
In preparing, we prayed “What would you have us speak on?”
Pre-teens are in the stage before high school. The majority of these young people will face a great deal of temption, from drinking, drugs, pre-marital sex. But these are all symptoms of a greater issue. A need for Christ. The Holy Spirit led us to concentrate on the need for him. So we spoke everyday concentrating on the basics, Who God is, what Jesus has done for us, what it looks like have a reltionship with Christ, Loving other, Sacrafical love, the importance of Bible reading and prayer and being a true disiple of Christ.
Two boys got saved, and all most everyway made the committment to be a true disiple of Christ. It was a thrill to see the response of young men and women, excited to serve the Lord with the whole heart and lives. It was highlight to pray and comission these kids in service in Christ.
It was a great week! we loved speaking and we loved spending time with fellow belivers, we had a chance not only to connect with the kids, but also the staff and some visiting pastors and former staff.

Jasmin personally feels more open to speaking her heart in the form of public speaking, which is exciting for me, because she is my favorite speaker.

Blessings

Byron Frank


“…God gave man a nature that was ordered to a supernatural life. He created man with a soul that was made not to bring itself to perfection in its own order, but to be perfected by Him in an order infinitely beyond the reach of human powers.” – Thomas Merton


“It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” – Paulo Coelho ” The Alchemist”

“And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:4

To live and breath in this moment! There are feelings that are all mine. No one else’s. No one has ever felt this way and no one ever will. Those feelings that identify with ones very soul; When ones soul is completely in line. The fulfillment of a feeling that is all your own.

No one can view or tap into the ora, the scent of the divine connectedness that is Byron Frank. It’s like I am plugged into something wonderful. I have power, I have life. I know it is from God because it is what I feel when he speaks to me in prayer and from his word.
I feel it when I recognize or identify with something. A poem, a book, a song, a person. For some reason I see this deep down part of my self. It releases a surge of happiness like no other. The effects? ….. Dreams
I believe God is in my dreams. He has made me; he has made all of us to do somethings. To accomplish certain goals. To live out our purpose!
The Bible talks about being made perfect through Christ. If one would go back to the original Greek we would see the word used for perfect was teleioun. Teleioun is the verb of the adjective teleios. This word does not mean abstract and metaphysical perfection. It is more referring to function. So teleios means a thing that perfectly carries out the purpose for which it was designed. So to be made perfect in Christ is not to be perfect in deed and character but to carry out the function in which you were designed. So what we really should be doing is to be striving to live out the purpose Christ has for you and me as individuals that love the Lord and want to do his will. Its not about getting to this place of complete Christendom where you are faultless and never make a mistake. Its about being who God created you to be, doing what God made you to do; “Discovering your personal legend “.
Its more about discovery your spiritual gifts then saying what a good christian should say, or reading what church people say you should read or having the right “church” friends. “Identity”, “freedom”, those words are what we should be thinking on.
So often in my life and I am sure in many others lives we hang onto other purposes. We feed into false purposes that were never ours, are goals are false goals. We collect possessions thinking they will fulfill that need, they never do, we watch shows that are about adventure so we feel like we are part of it, but we are not, those are stories of others adventures. We see someone walking with confidence, in the purpose that God created for their lives and we imitate them. We put their life goals on our shoulders.
“We could be like Billy Graham or mother Teresa or Rob Bell ?”
No we could be like Byron Frank, Dana Wagner, Calem Albert, Jayde Hayden ! (Just some people who I think are great and I see God has lots for them and for the sake of flow they all have different last names.) To be me, for you to be you! To be made perfect through Christ Jesus! To live out the adventures he has sent us on. To find your identity in Christ.
Thats not an easy task, to find ones identity in Christ. It takes a lot of soul searching, prayer and learning. However there are these moments of true identity. Bam! your hit with inspiration, dreams and goals that rip through your insides.
I have many dreams and goals (many unrealized, unfulfilled dreams and goals) Jesus wants me to live them out with courage and confidence, not with reluctance and tippy- toes. To live for the fullness of his glory, “my utmost for his highest”.
He wants that for you too. Find out what God has made you for, find out what he placed in your soul to accomplish and do not let anyone or anything hold you back from doing them. they could be your destiny.

Connection


Note: The following is adapted from a sermon I gave in Wiston Sask on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”– Luke 10:30-37

The opposite of love is selfishness, the idea that it’s me vs. the world. No one can be totally self-sufficient, because in the end we all rely on others. The world tries to tell us that people will let you down and so it should be everyman for him self.

However it is self-defeating to alienate those around us. At one point or another we will need the help of another human being.

I recently went to Bakersfield California where there is a high homeless population, talking to many individuals I found that the reason for many of their homelessness is they have no one to support them and help them. One man has been homeless since the early eighties, he told me he came from New York to take care of his dying mother, when she passed away he had no money to get home and no friends or family to help him get home. Another gentleman had a full scholarship, academic as well as for basketball, at a New Orleans university when the hurricane hit. He was left without house or home and the university he attended was destroyed. The government put him on a bus to Bakersfield, well when he arrived the told him all the shelters were full and they had no room for him. He was homeless, without friend or family for help, not only that but he was without a birth certificate so he was unable to get aid. It was just this year that FLOOD (the organization I was working with) was able to help him finally get a birth certificate. So we all need help from time to time.

The true way to live is to affirm others, to love those around us, help one another and receive help. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 5:43-48-

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The question we must ask is how do we as Christians truly love one another?

The first step is closeness with God.

1 John 1:6 and 7 says: So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin

and 1 John 5:1-5: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

As Christians to love those around us we must first be in good relationship with Christ. All throughout 1 John we see the author talking about living in the light. That is living in Gods truth, living a life where our actions and character are in step with the life God desires for us, which is righteous living. These will bring us closer to Christ.

If we are living in the light of Gods presence, walking in his ways, following his words, worshiping him in all we do then we are in a place where we can truly grow closer to another person and truly love them.
Jesus Christ is the connector; Love is the person and transforming power of Christ Jesus.

All Relationships, all love must be built on our relationship with Christ Jesus.

I find that we as Christians have an easier time showing love to people we see as moral and upright, or more accurately people we get along with and agree with. What about those who we see as our enemies? We often have a hard time with those!

What about the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the homosexuals, the adulators, the thieves, those who hate the church? We are not called to love their sin, however let us not forget we were once sinners not unlike them, until a God of Grace called us to be in relationship with Christ Jesus!

Ephesians 6:12 says: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

We must love everyone; we must say yes to love all people. Not being indifferent, not in careless friendliness, not blindly accepting their beliefs and practices but accepting them as lost people that Christ loves.

Do we as Christians identify our selves by what we deny? If I call my self a Christian merely by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Christian: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it! For we have been given a Holy Spirit of Love. We have been given a faith of love. The whole world is our neighbors so we should love each person individually as Gods unique and special creation.

1 John 3: 14-16 says If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Christ died for us while we were still sinners; we are to be Christ’s representatives here on earth. When we love it shows that we have passed from death to life. We are to give of our selves sacrificially. Sacrificial love should be a sign that we are saved.

What does this mean? Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. He was of a different people group, a different religion than the orthodox Jews. He gave of his time, he gave of his money! He sacrificed those things to love someone he didn’t even know.

When I was doing Missionary work in the Philippians, I met many homosexual men. The majority of young men in the Philippians are homosexuals, due to the previous generations mistakes. The fathers of the previous generation have neglected their role as father and provider for their family. Most have left their wives to raise children on their own, or get involved in illegal activity and neglect raising their boys to be men. Because of this young boys she their mothers and being the strong role model in their family unit, so they admire and want to be like their mothers. As a result they seen females as the stronger sex and want to be female and so they grow sexual confused and participate in a homosexual life style, many dressing like women in their daily lives.

We went out for supper with a group of young people, girls and guys and most of the guys were homosexuals. How did we treat them, we laughed with them, we talked with them, we shared our faith with them. We didn’t treat them any different. They are still made by God and are still loved by Jesus. He died for them the same as he died for us.

I find it so heart breaking when Christians fall away from the path God has for them. What are we going to do when a Christian we know goes back to drugs, or commits adultery? We must still love them.

1 John 5:16-17 – If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
We must lift them up in prayer! Lay hands on them and pray for them in love, not keep them at a distance and yell unclean like they did to the lepers in Jesus’ day. We should try to help our brothers and sisters who fall short. Help get them back on track, into a recovery program, consoling. In verse 16 it says God will give that person life! What a wonderful thing. Do we believe God can restore people? I believe it, because he has restored me, He keeps restoring me in his amazing grace.

1 John 3:10 – So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

The verse says if we do not love we do not belong to God.
We must love!
We must be in relationship with Christ so we can Love.
We must ask Jesus to give us a heart of love for all people!

1 John 3:17-19 –If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
We must give of our selves, our resources; meeting people’s practical needs with action. That’s the way we are called to love!
Giving of our selves.

We must pray for our enemies.
We must pray and support our fellow Christians who have lost their way.

1 John 4:7- 20-
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

and so I pray:

Lord Jesus, give us your love, your perfect love. You are with us always, so we have seen your love. Graft that love to our bones, to our very being Lord Jesus. Help us Lord God to come to you humbly and bow low before you in worship, asking to know you better. Grant us our desire, make us more like you and as a result help us to love more like you. Take away our pride Lord Jesus, or self-righteousness, we are saved by your grace, by your blood, nothing we did, but what you did. Remind us dear Lord of your sacrifice and help us to remember we were once lost. Give us a heart for real evangelisms, a real heart for the lost. Also Lord give us a heart for our brothers and sisters who have lost their way, who have forgotten their identity comes from you Jesus. Help us to be gracious and loving but honest Lord God, not avoiding their sin but encouraging them to tackle it head on by giving it to you and walking forward with you Lord Jesus. Open their hearts Lord Jesus to your correction and conviction of your Holy Spirit. Lord give us strength and protect us against the onslaught of the enemy. Unite us as a church and as believers. Bless and keep us this week, we pray these things in the name of Jesus
Amen.

The Race


Blessed are the pure in heart,  for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)


When Jesus is talking about the pure in heart he is not saying they are innocent or blameless. He is not excluding those who have done wrong. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  The purity Jesus speaks of is attained by keeping in relationship with him, with the deep spiritual connection that  allows us to walk in his will. 

“Being in the light as he is in the light.” (1 John 1:7) This describes the one-on-one relationship between you and your Father, where the more you learn of his goodness, the more his goodness shines through you!
We have to grow in this kind of purity, the kind that comes from the Father, not from our own self-righteousness.

We may be doing alright in our walk with God. Inside, things are not too bad. We do not lust, hate, envy. We have joy, peace, love. We are not severely damaged or scarred. We are walking. But could we be running? And for those who are not doing alright, for those of us who find the fruits described in 
Galatians 5:22-23  so hard to hold onto in our daily lives? For we who long to be close to the Father, but have been hurt and scared and still have our sins coming up to haunt us, for those of us who would love to just be walking forward instead of taking two steps backwards for every one step forward? Oh yes! A simple walk seems like a wonderful thing to those who have been struggling to walk for so long.

The problem  with being content with walking is that we can soon stop walking and stand still. That does not work in faith! You need to be moving! Dare I say, “running”? Paul did not speak of being content with a walk. No, he talked about winning the race by 
running! (Hebrews 12:1, 2 Timothy 4:6-8) It is like going up an escalator which is going down: you have to run up or you will not make any progress. You cannot stop or you will not only never reach the top, but will start going back down. 

It happens to all of us: we all sin, we all make huge mistakes. I say huge because so often people say “slipped”.  It is much more serious than simply slipping. Slipping implies we had no chance or choice, we merely lost our footing and fell. It is always a choice to sin and the scriptures make it clear that Christ always gives a way out. (I Corinthians 10:13)  I believe God lets us make our choices. If we sin there are consequences and God does not keep us from them. He allows them. I am not saying he causes sin to come into our lives. God is not the one who tempts us to sin. (James 1:13) He simply allows us to get ourselves into situations where we can be tempted. Then we see how much we really  need to be in constant companionship with him, how we need to keep up-to-the moment with God so our vision does not become hazy and so  our core personal purity is not greatly affected. Personal purity is how we are doing inside and out. Are our actions lining up to the word of God? How is our thought life? Do we have the mind of Christ? We are to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16). A pursuit of purity is a pursuit of Christ, a pursuit of relationship with him.  Christ is not only the example of perfect purity, but the one who offers the chance for a life of meaning through holiness. Compared to Christ all of our efforts are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). I want to highlight that it is through Christ we come to a personally radically life-changing purity. By no means can we achieve any kind of purity or holiness in our own strength.  

When we see a flaw in our purity we must stop (not stop running towards Christ!)and put all the worries of life aside and determine what went wrong in our life. Even the slightest degree of character flaw needs to be fixed. Our spiritual eyes, our vision, depends on our  character. Remember it is “the pure in heart” who “see God”. (Matthew 5:8) Your heart is a living and breathing thing, always exposed to your surroundings, always raw and easily affected. It is the most precious part of you, the source of your character. A flaw is a sin issue.

 If it is something new, a sin that you have not struggled with in the past it is a easier matter to deal with then one that has been a reoccurring temptation. You stop and repent, ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. Then you look at how you got to the point of committing the sin. If you truly look at your life and the direction you took it is often many little choices that lead you to the point of sin. You repent and choose change and move on. Do not dwell on the sin after you make choices to change your life-style and choose to walk away from heading down the wrong path. 

If it is a sin that you have dealt with for a long time – perhaps you were once addicted to drugs, alcohol or sex – it will be much harder to uproot the  sins.  You must look to Christ to take away the tendancy and give strength to resist the temptations! You have to not only change your choices and your life style, you must uproot things in your thought life. 

Example in my life: I am finding media, particularly movies to  not only be a waste of time in my life but also a hindrance to my relationship with Christ. I see all these lies on the screen glorifying pre-marital sex, which is such a destructive path that ruins lives. I had to first listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. A question came to me when I viewed such scenes :”Why am I watching this?”

The acceptance of sex outside marriage is a  lie of the devil. This is gross how they are selling this to people. This is brain washing!  The thing is, I know how wrong sex outside of marriage is and how it has damaged the family structure in North America,  how it hurts whole families, how our society is being tore apart. Yet when I watch these movies I start to entertain thoughts on how good it seems, in a small degree I start to condone it as a healthy normal thing. Thoughts lead to actions my friends. And I know, I know, I know… if anyone knows its me! So what do I do? I ask Jesus to forgive me for those thoughts and for disobeying his Holy Spirit in watching such films. I look where my decisions have led me and I make a change. I love movies, but I love Jesus more. I am fasting them for forty days (and here is the key) and replacing the time spent on watching films with spending time with Jesus. You must replace your negative life style choices with good. This is illustrated in  Matthew 12:43-45.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”   

The demons came back and found the house clean! This man did not fill his time with anything productive, he did not fill his heart and mind with God! You must fill it with Christ! Bible study, prayer, fellowship, serving. You cannot sit and twiddle your thumbs and think of your old habitual sins. The evil spirit of addiction whether it be gossip or pornography will come back worse then ever. Christ wants you to run from it and run to him! The devil wants you to feel dirty and unworthy to come to Christ and stay in sin! 


Jesus Christ made us wholly (or is it holy?) pure by a single act of his amazing grace when he gave his life on the cross. However, he never meant for us to abuse our salvation as we have. My favorite sentence in scripture which is repeated many times is “watch out”. There are many  snares out there to trip us up as Christians. Why do you think more then half the New Testament is spent dealing with  how we should live? We must be careful. We have to watch what we feed on. We come in contact with people everyday. Everyone gives opinions. It is through others’ points of view that we get tripped up, trapped and scared. Be careful who you trust, know your scriptures so you can discern  who to put confidence in. The mind runs into the arms of other lovers: humanism, materialism, sexual perversion, addiction to alcohol and drugs, the lies of this world and ultimately, the lies of the devil . People are used by the devil. Often times it seems like common sense or good advice. It could be from close friends or even family. Look into scriptures and consult God when given advice.
   
Not only do we have to watch out for what is coming from the inside, from our hearts, we must also watch what our outer bodies are exposed to. The habits of our eyes and ears soon penetrate our hearts and minds. Habits as in where our eyes are inclined to look and how they view what they are seeing. For instance, when we were not following the Lord, did you like watching soap operas which promoted affairs and backbiting, or if you are a man did you look at women in the wrong way? Did you enjoy listening to gossip or violent and crude music? Those are habits that can influence your actions and need to be changed. Our inner persons need to be  kept right with God, but our bodies, our “outer courts” must be kept inline with the purity God gives us through his grace. Our spiritual vision, our understanding, the Holy Spirit’s work in us, will be greatly hampered if our outer selves are stained. 

To hold onto our intimacy with Christ Jesus we must take our lives captive for his sake by refusing to do or even think certain things. We cannot have the mindset or view that what other people find acceptable, is acceptable to us. Nor can we justify ourselves by thinking that what they do or think makes it alright for us to do and think the same things. Most things that are acceptable for others are unacceptable for us. We are to be set apart. ( 2 Cor. 6:3-10) We are to be different. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

I pray that we are taught to run by giving up our wills to our Lord Jesus Christ. That when the Holy Spirit urges us on to a new level of personal purity, that we will be obedient to his will. 
Lord Jesus, work in our hearts and give us the strength to resist temptation so we can grow more like you. Thank you so much for your grace that allows us to walk with you. Let your words penetrate deep into our souls so when we are in our moment of greatest need, your words will cover our whole being in a warm embrace and will  renew us in your love and will for our lives. Praise be to you, Lord Almighty!

Blessings 

Byron

Plastic

16-17 Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’
18 “Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’
19 “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’
20 “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’
21 “The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’

– Luke 14: 16-21 (The Message)

Dear Friends:

Jesus is talking about the call of Salvation. Jesus calls many great people to come to him, to join him in bringing the good news, as vessels for the Spirit of Christ to work in and through.

Look around you and see all these talented people in this world. I see movie after movie; Compelling characters, well shot, well written. I hear band after band, great sound, great technique, great musicianship; they invoke emotion. Talented people! But what are they using it for? I see all these God gifted people frustrated, these rich people frustrated. Its because they have hit a brick wall of wanting something they do not have. Jesus Christ has designed, has invited them to dine with him but instead they sit at the cheap, poorly constructed tables they built themselves out of plastic instead of the majestic wooden banquet table God the father has built. These plastics are manufactured by the excuses Christ spoke of. If these talented individuals know its God who called them to something better they say:

¨I will serve him when I have the time, ¨
¨When I have enough money¨
¨Well you see I am so busy¨
¨When I get older and am mature enough¨

And if they don’t know they make excuses not to know.
¨Church is boring¨
¨I don’t like the music¨
¨I do not like the people¨ etc.

We as Christians do the same thing. We are all too self-sufficient and comfortable. Gods invitation to really live gets drowned out by our I-Pods, movie theaters, T.V. shows, video games, magazines, clubs, hobbies and our oh so busy lives (though we find time for all the distractions listed above). So we sit at plastic tables, eating heated up spam, wondering why we can’t seem to hear from God and where that desire we once felt has gone. All the while there is delectable banquet to be had.

So who is eating at the wonderful dining room of Christ! Those who lack the luxury of western- civilization. The poor and downtrodden, the ones who have nothing but a dog eared copy of the new testament or less then that; only the fellowship of fellow Christians who join together in prayer seeking Gods wisdom in their lives. They truly live out their salvation, for they appreciate the gifts from Gods table.

A young pastor from Africa who’s Bible training consisted of being in the word constantly and monthly sabbaticals into the wilderness for weeklong prayer and fasting said that he never wanted his church to see how we as Christians live in the west.

For we have become fat on hot dogs and Mac and Cheese when Lobster and Steak our offered to each of us everyday.

These third world countries are not so poor as we think. By majority they are far richer in the important things. Open hearts that truly receive Gods gifts. Can we put aside our excuses and come to the table of blessing? Of Course we can! We have so many more resources at our fingertips. My generation, its time we take hold of all the potential in our lives! Its time to eat with silver spoons instead of the plastic ones bought at dollarama. Jesus has called many to take their places at His table; many are enjoying the banquet already. The rejected, the poor, the crippled and sick are blessed to be called to that table. Our country has become the broken and poor in spirit and I believed we are being called again. I have seen the countries that we ignore rise up to the table. However His table is ever increasing and He will make room if you and I truly open our hearts to serve Him.

Blessing to you brothers and sisters!

Your brother and friend

Byron Frank