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


Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 13:19 | No Comments »

Have you ever struggled with depression? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, “An estimated 1 in 4 Canadians has a degree of depression serious enough to need treatment at some time in his or her life.” If you are struggling with prolonged symptoms of depression, see your family doctor. However, most of us deal with milder forms of depression from time to time. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced a serious trial and struggled with symptoms of depression. He even sweat tears of blood, which is a medical symptom of extreme grief. Yet, He overcame and, the next day, won the victory on Calvary. What can we learn from His example? 

Read on for 4 ways Jesus overcame depression.
 

1. Jesus asked close friends for their support.

After the Last Supper, Jesus came to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. Leaving most of them to sit down, He invited Peter, James, and John to pray with Him. He told them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38)
 
Just having His closest disciples by His side was a comfort to Jesus. He didn’t have to face the terrors of the night alone. Instead, He drew strength from their physical presence. At the local church’s prison ministry, we are so grateful for godly friends.
 

2. Jesus sought His Father.

Desperate, Jesus fell on His face and prayed, “ O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39) Only Jesus knew what horrors He would be facing in a few short hours. He pleaded for God’s intervention, knowing that the Father could change the plan if He wanted to. 
 

3. Jesus chose to obey His Father’s will.

Despite His pain and fear, Jesus prayed, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He did not argue or complain bitterly. Jesus yielded to His Father’s will completely. Though His brow was wet with drops of blood, He was willing to be obedient even to death. 
 
What an incredible example of submission! Jesus wouldn’t have chosen the Cross, but He chose to obey…even to the Cross.
 

4. Jesus looked beyond the pain to the prize.

In Hebrews 12:2, Paul describes what carried Jesus through Calvary. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of ourfaith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 
 
When Jesus looked at the rugged cross, He didn’t see a Roman instrument of torture. He saw the precious faces of millions of boys and girls, men and women, whose sins would be washed clean by His blood. He heard the songs of praise that would echo through the ages for His great love. And He felt the smile of God shine warm upon His face. 
 
Jesus knew that Calvary, painful though it was, would be worth it.
 

What about you?

How can you follow Jesus’ example in your life today? First, spend time with close, godly friends. Pour out your heart, and ask them to pray for you. Seek the Lord for comfort and strength! Submit yourself to God’s will, even when it’s hard. And, look forward to seeing Jesus someday. If you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour and are following Him, know that, “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Join us at the local church’s prison ministry to learn more!
________________________________________________________________
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, July 21, 2019, 19:50 | No Comments »

Fear is an unseen enemy—gripping your throat, sending chills up your spine, and stealing your sleep. But God doesn’t want you to live in fear. Because of Christ, you can overcome fear. You can have joy, confidence, and peace again. 

Here’s how you can live bravely in the face of fear.
 

1. Know that you are forgiven.

“…But thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.”
Isaiah 38:17
 
We have all sinned, and we all deserve God’s judgment and punishment someday in a place the Bible calls hell. But the good news is that, because of Jesus, we can be forgiven. He took the punishment for our sins on a rugged cross. If we turn from sin and believe on Him, we can be forgiven! 
 
Have you been forgiven by God? If so, rest in that knowledge. Don’t let the devil make you wonder if God won’t forgive you. He has already cast your sins behind His back!
 

2. Know that He will never leave you.

“For he hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
Hebrews 13:5b
 
One of the greatest comforts in our ever-changing world is the Rock of Ages. In the shifting sands of time, He is always there for us. He’ll never walk away when things get tough. People may disappoint us, but He will never fail us. At the local church’s prison ministries in Saskatchewan, we’re so glad that God will always be with us. We can trust His Word and find strength in Him. 
 

3. Know that He will always love you.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Jeremiah 31:3
 
Perhaps you have committed a great sin. You wonder, like the apostle Peter did, “Will God ever forgive me? Does He still love me?” But the truth is that God has never stopped loving you. He loves you with an everlasting, heart-stopping, mountain-moving love. Until Heaven, you won’t even be able to understand this love. It’s that immense! Learn to rest in His love, and He will cast out your fear. 
 

4. Know that He has already overcome.

“...In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33
 
When Jesus breathed His last on the cross, the devil must have shouted in triumph. At last, his fatal enemy was dead! Nothing could stop his evil plans now. (Or so he thought.)
 
Three days later, when Jesus split the tomb open, it was obvious who the real victor was. In His resurrection, Jesus overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil. He won the victory once and for all. And, through Him, we too can overcome our fears!
 

Let’s Chat:

Do you struggle with fear? If so, which of these truths do you find most helpful? Join us at the local church’s prison ministries in Saskatchewan to learn more.
________________________________________________________________
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


Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 14:36 | No Comments »

Where do you go to get advice? Perhaps you ask a godly friend, a spiritual leader, or a person at the local church’s prison ministries. Hopefully, you open up your Bible and look for God’s wisdom. Our Bibles are packed with life-changing wisdom on living our best lives. Not sure where to start? The book of Proverbs has an incredible amount of wisdom in 31 short chapters. Let’s look at a few principles from Proverbs today.

Here are 5 practical ways to live by God’s wisdom.
 

1. Be slow to get angry.

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
Proverbs 16:32
 
Have you ever misunderstood a situation and angrily said things you later regretted? If so, you can understand how important this principle is. God instructs us to be slow to anger because quick anger usually leads to sin. We might say wrong things, do wrong things, and hurt important relationships. You’ll never regretting taking the time to think beforeyou allow yourself to get angry.
 

2. Avoid getting into debt.

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Proverbs 22:7
 
Unfortunately, many Canadians are up to their ears in debt. It’s culturally acceptable to have massive car loans, student loans, maxed out credit cards, and more! Although these things promise convenience and a better standard of living, they actually enslave you to debt. This verse from Proverbs means that, if you owe something, you are a “servant” to your lender. You have to work to pay back the money you borrowed. And that debt will prevent you from spending money on other things—even good things! 
 
If you have a problem with debt, check out the free resources available on Dave Ramsey’s website. He has a lot of Biblical wisdom on money management and has helped thousands of people get out of debt.
 

3. Be kind to animals.

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
Proverbs 12:10
 
One thing our culture does right is promote kindness to animals. As you can see from this verse, this is a Biblical principle. God wants His people to show mercy and compassion toward their animals. If you have pets, treat them well and be patient with them. If you find your neighbour’s lost dog or cat, bring it home. Don’t turn a blind eye if you see an animal in distress. Instead, help the animal (and get professional help, if necessary). God wants us to be kind to people and to animals! 

 

4. Listen to your parents’ advice.

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be a ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
Proverbs 1:8-9
 
If you’re over 25, you can probably appreciate this quote (attributed to Mark Twain), “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
 
Teenagers and young adults often (mistakenly) think that they know better than their parents. However, they usually realize their mistake as they grow into adulthood. If you have godly parents, you should always listen to and follow their advice. They may have different strengths and weakness than you, but they have one key thing that you don’t have…experience. Learn from their mistakes and successes! It will save you a lot of trouble.
 

5. Speak encouraging words to others.

“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.”
Proverbs 12:25
 
When was the last time you told someone what a great job they were doing? People need to be encouraged. They are hungry for affirmation and acceptance. And this cold, competitive world often ignores their hard work and says nothing. You will be amazed at how people react when you speak an encouraging word to them! Start today by looking for the good in others. Thank them for their efforts. Praise their successes. This will strengthen your relationships + make you feel good, too!
 

Let’s Chat:

Which of these five tips was your favourite? And which one are you going to apply today? Join us at the local church’s prison ministries to learn more!
________________________________________________________________
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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