Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I've known for a long time now, since right around the time I was saved and began to know the Lord and who He is in my life that I would have to write about this topic one day.  I have continually prayed to God for the ability to understand His patient nature, His enduring capacity for tolerance with this people He created...created for a purpose.  Through the years, and let's keep this in perspective...I'm far from there yet....I've been seeking what God says about patience in the Bible.  Invariably and depending on the translation we see the word 59 times in the New Testament.  Patience is not used directly in the Old Testament but translations from the Hebrew bring various synonyms of the word; different words are used which show a similar context in the translation, "hupomone and  makrothumia translate as  suffering or waiting as a determination of the will and not simply under necessity.  They also mean endurance and continuance or even steadfastness, even long suffering.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand why we must endure or have patience with anything that seems to try us, but Paul confirms that we must as he even calls God in Romans 15:5 "...the God of patience and consolation..."
He calls us in this manner to be patient, and like-minded with each other in Christ Jesus so that with one voice and one accord we glorify God the Father of our Lord Jesus.
This means we are to be like God and "have patience" with each other, as He is patient with us to grant us mercy and then grace as we take on the Christ-like nature of our Lord.  Then we understand how in His infinite patience once we see Jesus for who He is and what He sacrificed by the will of the Father, it is then through Jesus, who can sympathize with our trials and temptations that we can approach God. "Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need." Heb 4:16.
You see, there need be no fear of God and the conviction that you feel for the sin you have committed.  Of course we must repent of our wrongdoing as our conviction compels us. Then we should see the results in our lives as we are renewing our souls or our "psuche" which is the Greek word used here meaning our mind, will and emotions.
It is our soul, our mind, will and emotions that requires a changing or renewing in order to bring about the desired purpose God has for each of our lives.
Jesus spoke very clearly when he said "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Matt 10:34.  The sword of course is the Word of God, the Word of course is the Son, Jesus Christ.  "For the Word of God is living and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb 4:12.
All of this ties together neatly into the Bible that we understand as Truth,  patience therefore becoming a root fundamental process in each of our lives.  Patience in allowing our minds and therefore our souls to become renewed with the Word of God.  Patience to have the continuance of steadfastness of our Christ-like love and governance in our lives.  That through the continual application of trust and endurance through our trials we can be assured we will have the victory in our lives.  This will ultimately show us the purpose for each of our lives.
We must strive to take hold of our minds, our souls, and allow the Word which has been in-grafted into our hearts  given to us by God, "Therefore put away all filthiness and extreme wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."  James 1:21. 

It is through this patience, this enduring and our trust in knowing we are moving from faith to faith, using that control of patience in our lives.
 "By your Patience, possess your souls." Luke 21:19.

Patience people...its a journey this life in Christ.  Ultimately a destination, but then we're talking about heaven now...and that's a whole new blog!


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Real God Market (7)

This time of year always seems to be a period of musing for me as we draw closer to the Season of Joy, I mean that is Christmas.  Recently there has been a lot of hype in the media about how we should respect other groups on our celebratory methods of this important season.  We need to be mindful (in their opinion) that the Word Christmas is offensive to many of these minority groups that have established their own cultures within our communities.  Now I've never been one to stand on my soapbox and shout back at the world, (not too much) but there has been a quiet revolution overtaking all of our foundational societies in the past 150 years or so and as North Americans and Canadians, we have allowed it to happen.  Both of our countries Canada and the US of A were founded on solid Christian biblical principles.  Formed out of the blood and ashes of our forefathers as they stood against oppression and gave us the freedom we all now enjoy.
I say this, what a bunch of hypocrites we have become to bow down to these crying minorities and impale our foundational ideals on this spike we have planted in the ground.  Slowly but surely we have rolled over and fallen out of the bed to allow one group after another establish a place of rest on our pillows.
While I'm all for community and open relationship for refugees and war torn nations needing assistance from our governments, I do not agree with this sacrifice Christians have unwillingly placed upon the fire in our own cities that God has built for all of us.  And while you may not agree entirely with how you came to be or why, if you sit down and look at your own roots of your very existence, I am absolutely positive you will find a fore-father or mother who followed foundational Christian principles in their lives.

Christmas has always been about the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  At least until recent years.  Now the focus seems to be on consumerism rather than God.  The world has created a new god around this time of year and most of us Christians are as guilty as the next guy when it comes to failing badly at Christmas.  It is incredible to me how many people are dragged into this new belief that you have to "gift" your way into developing your children.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a grinch!  I love the Christmas season, for what it is!  Not for what it has become!
Here are some consumer stats that just might blow your mind:  Many of you know about the annual shopping phenomenon that occurs each year after the American Thanksgiving day, commonly known as "Black Friday"  Well the one day sale has now become almost a month-long frenzy of  consumerism which runs not until Christmas day but fully a week past!
In the US alone 2011 spending topped out at just over 52 billion dollars for the four day weekend beginning on Nov 25 Thursday through to Sunday.  Over 50% of that spending was on credit card!  The people never even had the money to buy these "Sale" items!  Last year for 2012 the sales topped out for the same weekend at just under $60 billion, an incredible 13% increase in spending, again more than half of the purchases on credit card!  The stats are even more astounding for the next month moving right through Christmas and into the new year...all in the name of Christmas!
What is wrong with this picture?
Is it wrong to want to buy a gift for your child at this special time of year?  Have we changed our focus on what we are doing at this time of year?  Have we replaced our "Reason for the Season" with another?
Some of you are probably thinking "What business is it of yours that you can tell me what to spend my money on at Christmas"? or even "Who do you think you are, that I should listen to you?"
Frankly I pray you do give at this time of year, for it is written, "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35 ESV.  But look at the context here, give to the weak!  We have replaced our giving to the weak with giving to ourselves, even when we don't need it! 
Hear me out and please don't kill the messenger, for I am sure all of us from time to time feel exactly the same way I do about this frantic time of year that this Season of Christmas is becoming.  We all sit and watch the same news broadcasts each year of the massive crowds of consumers who end up fighting each other for this gift or that gift in a dog-eat-dog event at the local Wal-Mart.  Shaking our heads at the absolute stupidity of these people, some of whom have actually died during these events during "Black Friday" sales!  Have we gone mad as a society!
This is not the "Reason for the Season"  and my plea is very simple.
If you still believe in a Truth, a very real "Reason for the Season" then embrace that Truth before you join the world in this lie again this year.  For each year that we give in to this new doctrine of consumerism we surely replace our former belief of the Truth for our lives.
 " I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14 NASB
We are humanity, we are not depraved animals that kill each other over a bone...or are we?

My prayer is that we all remember this when someone says to us "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".
I for one will reply "Bless you and Merry Christmas!"
In love


Monday, September 30, 2013

Manifest Power, Manifest Glory

The past few weeks this summer has found our area of the North Coast enduring some of the most intense storms never before seen by anyone.  Many of the locals are shocked and astounded when these severe storms pass over, dropping what seems like an endless deluge of rain amidst the incessant and very close lightning.  Many areas report lightning strikes which result in tremendous damage to rooftops, trees and a large amount of electrical equipment.  I have heard of many who have had blown up televisions, modems, computers, radios, light bulbs, inversors, and so-on.  During the last storm two nights ago, we watched and listened for more than two hours as the storm raged and slowly passed over the sea.  We were fortunate as we unplugged almost all of our electrical devices in case a strike came near or a surge worked through into the house; it did not.  After it all we all wandered out into the yard to survey the results, a new lake had formed beside the house and pool area which frames the right of our property.  The lake was slowly draining through a new creek along the property.  This drained down into a larger lake on the property next to us.  Our swimming pool gained almost six inches of rainwater in just about two hours.

This is where my mind begins to turn and whirl with the questions most of us take for granted.  So I started to do some research on storms, thunderstorms in particular.  Some startling facts:

An average storm covers an area of about 15 square miles, some are larger of course.  Each storm contains on average about 275 million gallons of water.  In one inch of rain falling on one square mile of land, there is 17.5 million gallons of water.  This is equal to the weight of a locomotive whith 40 loaded boxcars.
So lets do some math!  (they told me there would be no math...)

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosheric Administration) reports that at any given time there can be over 40,000 storms occurring over the earth each day.  Every day.

This means that just in storms there is approximately 11 x 10^12.million gallons of water floating around the globe trapped inside these storm formations.  We know that a gallon of water weighs 10 lbs, in the US it only weighs 8.3 lbs.  We will use the Imperial standard here so the math is easier.

Then we can assume there is approximately 1.1 x 10^14 million lbs of water in these storms each day.
Lets show this longhand:  110,000,000,000,000 million lbs of water.  Or 110 Trillion lbs of water floating in the air and then coming down each and every day of the year!  I hope somebody checks my math!

Put your head around that for just a minute, This is only the amount of water that we can see in the storms!  Floating with seemingly little effort across our skies as we go about our busy little lives.

I would like you all to put this question to yourselves:  Who can do all this everyday, and not break a sweat?
There is only one.  He does all of this each day for you...take heed to His Manifest Power, His Manifest Glory.  There is none other.  He is God.
Marvel in awe at His Manifest Presence, for He exists in all that is created.
None of this in your world is an accident, all was caused to be, created for a purpose.

If you believe anything else then you believe a lie, a deception if you will.  Just do the math people, it is really very easy...


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Where did I put those Goggles?

Just got back from the hospital a while ago: had to have a metal fragment removed from my cornea after I accidentally installed it there while cutting steel.  All kidding aside, the pain was tremendous and it was all I could do to keep from punching the doctor while she worked on my poor eye.  All of this ordeal of course got me thinking: how could a little piece of metal, (I mean you could hardly see it, barely a spec embedded in the cornea of my eye, just above the pupil), cause so much pain to a grown man?

Well that's the irony of the whole thing isn't it?  The pain for me was a strong reminder of just what it is that I have and what it is I am supposed to do.  Life...and Life more abundant!

Yes I know not much of a revelation but hear me out for just a minute.  I want to give you a rationale for this small ordeal I am enduring right now and why.  The most obvious message within all of this of course is"Where are his safety goggles...dummie?"  Well, like every man I will tell you "I don't need them, I'm tough!  Just dig out the spec so I can get back to work!"
But then, that's just my pride getting in the way of the truth.

Aah, that's the ticket.  Pride got in the way.   Or did it?  It is possible that I simply forgot to put on the safety goggles that I knew where in my toolbox.  Or could it be that I chose not to put them on instead?  Opting out for the faster route, skipping the all important step of protecting my eyes and moving right on to the business at hand; cutting steel, regardless of the outcome or damage during the course of.

I hope some of you see where I am going with this: the extra result was not what I expected.  Oh sure, I got the steel cut for the project I was working on, but ended up with some unintended consequences as well!

Seems like life is full of that isn't it?  I mean speaking of course about my life, not yours.  Choosing to do what I know is right with anything always gets me the result I am looking for.  The outcome invariably changes a bit whenever I shortcut the method of operation somehow.  I might get the results I am looking for even if I do shortcut the process, but I always have extra results as well, most times unwelcome results!

My eye is just a tiny example of what can go wrong when you do not do things right.  The pain, as intense as it is, is only a small reminder of the pain that can be inflicted on a life when wrong decisions are made. 

So what am I trying to rationalize here?  Could it be that I am faced daily with many decisions that God allows me to make because He has given me the gift of choice?  Or is it more likely that I am only choosing based on my moral foundation, that given me from my family, my raising, my heritage, my common sense?
Aah, the philosophy of it all! 

Two camps available to each and every one of us: Choose to live for God.
                                                                                 Choose to live for me.
In a nutshell, is this what it comes down to, me or God?

Well, frankly...yes.  When I choose to live for me, there are always results from the decisions that I have to make each day that I may not necessarily expect; or want!  Just think about it for a second.  When you have made decisions that only build your little kingdom, your life, have there been people hurt by your decisions?  Is there collateral damage for your selfish choices?  Building the kingdom of me is selfish, greedy and has little to no concern for others.  Unless of course you have something I want, then I might pay attention to you a little more!  Most of us live our lives in the kingdom of me, creating tiny kingdom bubbles around us that we control; we decide who we talk too, associate with, give assistance too.  Take a look at your own life right now, are you living comfortably in your created little kingdom?  Is your routine so familiar that you need not think about anything going on in the world?  When things happen in the world, are they so far removed from your senses that you respond with abject boredom or even disbelief?  What focuses your attention?  Is it the newest iphone just come out on the market?  Or is it the newest year of that Toyota Tundra that just won truck of the year again?  Is your kingdom growing from within, with physical stuff that you "need"?
Don't get me wrong, I know we need to live with things in order to make life easier, after-all man-kind is very inventive, having developed technology to a level never before seen!  But what turns your head in your life?  Are you focused on the stuff more than others?

When I choose to live for God, and live by His guiding statutes, then my decisions always result without unintended consequence.  When my decisions fall in line with the Word of God,  I hurt no-one.  Invariably I am living my life in service of others building up the Kingdom of God and not mine: doing good, sharing my gifts, teaching and leading others to do the same.  The Word gives me life, and life more abundant!  Ironically, when I choose to live for God, He blesses me with more than I could have imagined!

The fact is, life is hard...and I put it to you this way.
I would rather have  a life without unintended consequences.  Don't get me wrong, I still make the wrong decisions some time, a lot of the time.  But I believe I am on the right track, each day the Lord shows up with a blessing for me, an opportunity to make the right decision and build His Kingdom through the work He has given us to do.  I hope and pray you make similar choices in each of your lives, choices without unintended consequences.

Now where did I put those goggles?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Here We Grow Again!

Greetings again from the D.R. and blessings to all of you from Mike and Laura.  With the activities of summer winding down at Rio Vista Guest House, we find ourselves with a little bit of time on our hands.  As most of you know when you have a little time it can be lost as quickly as we found it, so we must make the best of spare moments when we can.

Our goals here in the D.R. are simple; to be of service in God's Kingdom in what ever capacity we find our talents lie.  In some cases we apparently have little or no talent for some things, but we push forward with a willing heart and an open mind.  Invariably God always brings someone else along to assist us if we find ourselves in over our heads.

So we have decided to place effort into our available time and move forward with a new project we are excited about!  This project will not take us away from our work at the Guest House in fact it will surely enhance the environment and experience for all the Mission teams who use the facility.

Some time ago Laura and I were approached by fellow missionaries from our new church here in Sosua, asking us if we could be involved in a "pilot project" with them.  They needed a piece of land to develop an idea (which we have) and they in turn would assist in support for the project with design and materials.  Suffice to say that when we discovered they wished to start a pilot project which could produce fruit and vegetables in a sustenance program for remote villages near us, we were very interested.

Now this is still a hotly debated subject within the Mission World, however research has proven beyond a doubt that if you provide the means for a man to help feed his family instead of simply giving him a handout for the rest of his life, he will most likely become more self-sufficient and live better.  The handout of food simply creates a dependent society, that will ultimately sink them further into poverty.  Of course, there must be several conditions for this "pilot project" to be successful going forward, especially in a village where resources are hard to come by.

First let me explain the concept  for the "pilot project".  The concept here is to provide a system from which a man can operate with minimal supervision that will grow his vegetables and fruits faster and bigger than he could before; if he could before.  Traditional farming methods work when a man has access to land, then he only requires tools to become successful.  Hydroponics is the production of ground crops using an irrigation system to provide the necessary nutrient for the food; typically foods are still grown in the ground which then has to be fertilized over time.  Hydro systems usually require a lot of ground or greenhouses to produce good crops.

Our "pilot project" uses the concept of Hydroponics only without the use of soil as a growth medium.  Aquaponics is a relatively new concept but not entirely unproven in the world.  Essentially an Aqua Project requires a nutrient rich water source, in our case a fish pond, and a grow table through which the nutrient rich water can flow.  It is a well know fact that fish waste in fresh water is a very good source of nutrient for ground crops.  One of the best tropical fish for the project is Tilapia; a freshwater/warm-water fish.  The Tilapia can thrive in a small tank system because they are considered a bottom feeder species.  In other words, they eat the moss and algae that grows on the rocks in a pond.  They also grow extremely fast and produce a large amount of waste each day.  The waste forms the nutrient stock within the water system.  In turn, the water from the pond can be moved into a growth table where you have your plants.  Plants are suspended above the table with only their roots reaching into the water.  In this way the plants draw the necessary nutrients for growth directly from the water; because the water is heavy with fish waste the plants can grow up to twice a fast and produce fruits or vegetables much larger than normal.  The grow table can be easily expanded to contain a variety of crops and virtually any kind of vegetable an fruit can be grown only in water!

Our project starts of course with a water source containing fish, in our case a large fish pond dug into the ground behind the Guest House.  Once the pond is filled and stocked with tilapia fry, the grow tables can be constructed using cheap PVC tubing.  The tubes are cut in half to become open channels through which the water will flow; all that is required is a small pump to move the water from the pond to the grow tables.

Once the pond is dug out it will be lined with concrete and rocks so we can maintain its shape.  A waterfall will be constructed at the far end.  The waterfall puts oxygen into the water for the fish.  Ducks and geese must be introduced into the system to provided extra nutrient for the fish.

This side view shows the side of the pond ready for grass.  A small bridge will be constructed over the pond so people have access to the garden area.

This area will be used for the greenhouse which will have the grow table inside.  An open-air greenhouse is all that is required; plants grow best with direct/indirect sunlight.

Once we are ready our first crop will be tomatoes and zucchini, two favorite foods here.  Later we will develop a smaller system that is affordable and can be easily funded.  We have several locations where we can test these systems for the local people.  These systems not only provide fresh foods, they are a sustainable system for revenue for a small village.  Each system can be expanded to produce vegetables, fruit and fish for sale to the public.  The entire system will require very little funding to become operational and the benefits are far reaching for the communities we can help.
More information will be forthcoming on this project; first we have to develop a working system here at Rio Vista and then we can "tweak" the bugs out of it to end up with a working prototype for the Mission Field.  Your prayers are welcome as we walk through this project in its infancy. 

Drop us a line if you have any questions or feedback!

Mike and Laura

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Changed for Good...or is it Changed for God?

I have been looking for a title for another blog and only just recently I watched several people within the last Mission Team experience this "change" I think is worth exploring.
Laura and I had the privilege of providing accommodations and meals for the team from Nova Scotia last week at Rio Vista.  Twelve people from all walks of life visited the Dominican Republic for a week of diverse Mission Field work.  The team was involved in the construction of a replacement house for a poor widow in a nearby village; this consisted of moving concrete blocks, mixing cement for mortar, and building the walls of the new house.  For three days the team labored, first in the downpour of a tropical storm, and then in the heat of the tropical sun.  For many of the team, this was the first opportunity to give in this manner, building something for someone who could only hope to have a new home; having neither the resources or the ability to accomplish this task.

Throughout the process of the construction we viewed "changing" individuals returning to the Guest House each night; tired and dirty, but pleased with the progress for the construction.  By the end of the third day the little house was finished.  The team was elated and each night during the debrief of the days activities, many expressed how they felt about the work they were doing.  Several on the team stated emphatically that it would be difficult to say goodbye to the people in the village they were working.  Many of these people had worked alongside the team, volunteering their own time and labor to help the team build this house.  Touched they were by the willingness of many in the village to help them; even the children wanted to pitch in and offer a hand in the project.  Several eyes were opened as some on the team saw humanity from a different perspective.  Looking now at humanity from the inside out, they could see what drives community, what builds a village, what supports those who cannot support themselves...compassion.

What is this compassion that pulls on the hearts of those who have never seen this before?  Many of these team members, to be fair, have grown up in a world far removed from the trials of the third world.  The trials where even finding water that wont kill you is a daily concern.  Now this does not mean that we never experience trials where we live, however, many of the basic things of life are seriously taken for granted back home.  Things like water, electricity, food, and shelter.

Let's understand this, humanity is the only species on the earth which can express compassion in this manner; the only species whose own hearts and minds are filled with agony when we see others suffer. Each of us knows inwardly that we must do something whenever we are exposed to this level of suffering, we must get involved and offer at least a hand or a shoulder to cry on.  The root of this is very obvious to those of us who have seen the Mission Field up close and personal for any length of time.  This compassion that has driven us and now will drive the members of the Mission Team from Nova Scotia comes directly from the heart of God; "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Eph 2:10

This is where the rubber meets the road, we are a created being, made by God, with all of His attributes, "in His image"  Gen 1:26.  This includes His heart, His compassion to all of His creation, especially His children: us.  Once you have felt the heart of God; through His compassion to others; then therefore are you "changed for good".  Or rather should I say..."Changed for God."

Of course we all still have a choice:  we could go back to our mindless lives, existing for nothing except ourselves in what appears to be a "dog-eat-dog" world.  Or we can accept the truth of the matter and realize that each of us was born, no, created for a purpose. 

When you boil it all down, casting aside everything that does not matter, everything that does not show compassion, giving for the sake of others who have not; at the very base of all is compassion, which essentially is love.  Within that love is the God who created us.

Yes I believe we witnessed several people this past week who were "Changed for God"  Touched so deeply by the imprinted compassion of God on their hearts; changed for good for the rest of their lives.

I pray they choose wisely.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

In the Eye of the Storm

Recently, Pastor Goodman spoke to the church regarding our perfect center, with respect to what we revolve our lives around and base our life around.  I wrote this blog 2 more than 2 years ago and I wanted to re-post this message as it speaks affirmation to me about his message about Jesus for all of us.  Only slightly edited from the original post to reflect current events, be blessed.

How many of us can accurately say that we can live daily within our own respective bubbles, surrounded by our immediate world, but never see the perspective of what it is we are supposed to be doing?  Think about it for just a minute...take a moment to look at your daily grind and try and step out of it for just a minute to visualize you as you go through each day.   What are the things you do that make you shake your own head?  Are you angry or short with those in your life?  Are you trapped by a consuming addiction that tears holes in your life?  Do you find you have little patience for others?  Are there things going on daily that cause you to be distracted from the tasks most important?  What are those tasks?  Do you have all the tools to complete those tasks?
In most of our lives we tend to think we are the only ones who are enduring problems, especially when the problem is occurring; however, whatever they may be; we believe that we must be the only one who is in a storm. 
Now of course we realize that not all of us are in storms all of the time.  Storms of life come and go and there are times when you are in calm seas and no trials are coming at you.
This is a perspective I like to refer to as being in the Eye of the Storm.  Like a hurricane, life can produce tremendous storm and winds with rain and sometimes even floods.  These I liken to the problems that all of us can go through from time to time.  At other times we find ourselves sailing through calm waters and clear skies, when life is good and all things seem to be going our way.  In the eye of a hurricane, meteorologists constantly observe a calm pattern within the storm.  Sometimes this "eye" is very large and other times it can be very small; with the intensity of the storm raging all around the eye.
Couple of points here:  How often do you find yourself in the storm compared to how often you are in the eye?
                                      Do you actively try and stay in the eye of the storm, or do you just drift along with the current, eventually ending up back in the storm?                       

Many times the storms of our lives of course are likely a result of the choices we make daily, choices that cause un-intended consequences for our lives; the repercussions for our decisions.  I believe equally so, the choices we make also allow us to ride calmly through the eye of a storm.
So we can liken the eye of the storm as a perfect center for our lives, the place where we can sail along smoothly, at times we may veer off course and sail into choppy waters, but if we know where the perfect center is then we can find our way back to smoother waters.
Of course I am likening each of our lives to what the scriptures tell us to look for.  That we must first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matt 6:33
These "things" referring to everything you need to live!

This is inherently the root of many of the problems that plague us; at any time we can represent one or two of three possible kingdoms, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of darkness, or the kingdom of self.  Yes, we can and many of us do, operate in any or all of these kingdoms, but most likely we are operating in the kingdom of self.  Surprisingly, the decisions we make in our own kingdom can look very similar to the kingdom of darkness
Let's be honest with ourselves here, even if we believe in God, we can create habits and go through life still making decisions on our own counsel.  The problem with trusting our own guidance is that if we are making decisions that only feed my kingdom and not the Kingdom of God, we can create religion and even false idols in our lives that lead us into storms.
This is a small example: When we seek "things" in our lives that we think we need, or simply cannot live without, we can easily move into making decisions from the kingdom of self.  In effect, this is covetousness, boiled down, we want because we see that others have.  This is a potentially gray area folks, and I know we all want to be comfortable and of course God wants us to be happy and be able to provide for our families, right?  This is only an example, just be careful when you are faced with these decisions that can cause you to be burdened with more debt.
Let's look at this as the church, and expand the example to involve the body of Christ.  The ramifications are now very visible.  When the people of the body of Christ burden themselves with mountains of things, and create debt filled idols, the entire church is now saddled with the burden.  The available resources of God can so easily be wasted on useless projects or things that only bring glory to ourselves and not God.  This is the warning.
If what we are doing, is tying up our time, resources and wealth in building up ourselves, we cannot possibly be available to God when He calls us out.  We  cannot "go" and "make disciples" when we are working two jobs and paying down three credit cards after all the Black Friday sales! 

Listen people, I am just as guilty as the next believer when it comes to falling into this trap, and I know I can be tempted when it comes to buying that big Tundra truck!  But, I refrain because I know the debt will burden me with a storm that I create!  You may think the God wants you to have that "fill in the blank" but if you cannot afford it or you have to create a debt to get it, then it cannot possibly be God's will for you.  He would never cause you to become burdened through His provision of anything!  His provision always comes without strings, without burden!  That's grace.

Please, folks...hear my heart on this:  The body of Christ is far more effective at reaching and helping people when we ourselves are not burdened with the cares of the world.  This is the whole point of Mathew 6:33.  We cannot do what we should do as Christians, if we are saddled by the cares of the world, and when we try, we will struggle.  When this happens we will always choose to do only what our time, and resources allow us to do.

Of course this is a process, first seeing who Jesus is, what He has done for you, and what He can do for you after you know Him.  All of this works hand in hand as we go through each day of our lives...trusting that God brought us into the world and therefore He will keep us and provide for us.

Sometimes the storms of life are unavoidable, sometimes they are just too big to sail around.  But know this, you do not have to continue to weather the storms alone; seek the Lord and His wisdom and He will guide you to the perfect center; the eye of the storm; the calming seas and His calming presence.  Choose not the cares of the world, for the world is in the winds of the storm.  Only in the perfect center will you sail smoothly.  Within that center is the Lord, and He will endue you with wisdom, focus and direction for your life.

You only need to choose...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is the Measure of a Man?

This is an age old question that has been asked probably since the beginning of knowledge.  However, the question cannot be answered without perspective, without an understanding of when mankind began.  The almost endless debate will undoubtedly continue even after many proofs have been brought forward, discussed, argued over and then cast aside simply because of unbelief.  Unbelief that we have all been created for a purpose, that each life has meaning and direction.  The tragedy occurs when those who cannot wrap their minds around the thought of having a creator who has a purpose for mankind, blindly stand in defiance of the truth and will even seek other fantastical ideas in order to give themselves satisfaction for their lives.  Too many have forgotten the past or have failed to look at the vast amounts of information gathered in libraries and universities that point mankind back toward a creator.  The simple fact is that in the face of all the information mankind has created to fit his theories of evolution or the age of all things, there stands a consistent yet pervasive line of control weaving throughout our known timeline of existence.  This line indicates that something is behind the scenes moving our environment in order to give us the world we as mankind can exist in and help to develop.  Upon that line is an unprecedented number of believers who followed the precepts handed down by God from generation to generation.  Sure there have been many who have fallen off of the line as they walked through life, even leading others astray as they fell.
There is also only one written authority that parallels the line from beginning to present day; The Bible.  Of all the ancient writings that archaeology has uncovered, only the Bible remains the oldest and most consistent, verified manuscript, with proven documented events from our history.  Other writings of course exist, but none to the graphic extent of the Bible.  No other genealogy from any other nation at any other time has ever been written.  The History of the Bible is pervasive from almost the beginning of mankind, with some of the writings dating back over three thousand years.
The non-believing world of today has stated that science will discover the true reasons behind the creation of everything and soon we will know why it all began.  Simply because the rules of physics and mathematics are pure and can not change, therefore they have always existed.  Ironically, the deeper man delves into the inner and outer workings of life and the universe, the more complex are the discoveries.  This complexity is creating a mathematical problem for the "accidental creation" theorists.  Science has looked deep into our own body only to discover we have so many working, moving parts, all working together in perfect harmony that the odds of our having come to being by "Accident" is a mathematical impossibility.
Science has already proven mathematically that the universe we live in and all that surrounds us cannot exist the way it does given the vast amounts of evidence pointing toward the creation a long time ago.  That said they are all still speculating about ages of all things; it has been "assumed" that our world and our universe must be exceedingly old because it is so vast and rates of expansion create a large timeline for all things in the universe. However, these same scientists have also not answered the question of why all things exist.  How did it all start and if it was a start as they surmise, then there must be a purpose to all of it.  Science has also been unable to answer the question of why our relatively "short" existence as mankind on the earth has shown to be the most intelligent, creative, sentient species to have ever existed; that we know of.  These same scientists cannot fit the evolution of man into the relatively large window of evolution, (origin of the species) given all the existing evidence so far.  Mankind appears to have suddenly developed no more than 10,000 years ago; there of course are anomalies in this timeline, but suffice to say that there is simply not enough evidence to have man existing longer than this small period of time.  There is no evidence of man running around on the earth forming himself into communities and building things prior to this point in history.  Moreover, the development of language and writings appear at almost exactly the same time, with little to no evidence of development from no communication to immense vocabularies and differing types of language.  All this in 10,00 years or less?  This begs a huge philosophical question, "Mankind evolved from a beast unable to form words and communicate into the great thinker that he is today in the smallest evolutionary window compared to the age of all things?"  This is essentially what stands between belief in a creator and belief in life having no purpose.
There then stands only two points of view, creation by a creator for a purpose, or existence by accident, we are just a chance happening.

There are no other choices in our short history: Mankind had suddenly appeared and assumed the top position on the ladder of life on earth when it is just as likely (mathematically) that any other species could have done so.  However, mankind is so much further advanced than any other species, our own evolution stands as an anomaly to the very theories of man.  We just don't fit the mold of evolution; we measure up much higher than anything else we know or have ever known.

So this is the question then," What is your measure?"  "Why are you here?"  "What do you believe?"
Why are so many opposed to seeking the truth for themselves to find purpose in their lives?

I believe that many are afraid to seek the truth, for knowing the absolute truth means we are not number one in each of our lives, for if we were created for a purpose, then something is bigger than we are: a lot bigger.  Fear drives mankind into assuming he is on the top of the food chain, life becomes dog-eat-dog, we seek to become king of our world as we know it.  Belief is what it is, you can choose to believe whatever you want, but if your belief leads you to a life with no purpose having come from an accidental beginning, a chance occurrence then I believe you are not looking at all the evidence.  You are simply following the crowd, you are a lemming if you will.  Doomed to live a life with no direction, no purpose, no fulfillment because you are following a lie.  Ironically, those who are following the lie will say that I am following a lie; that there is no evidence of God in the world.  They would say. "How can you believe in a God that allows so many of His people to suffer?"    The fact of the matter is that all who are born will live and then die, how we choose to do so is what causes suffering.  God also chooses indiscriminately whom He will take, both believer and non-believer, both child and adult.  Yes I believe in a God that allows mankind to suffer, because that very same God also blesses me with life, and life more abundantly.

There is hope though, for the Measure of Man is to seek the Truth.  When you seek the Truth you will find God.  Once you understand then you will see your purpose;  to deny the Truth is to deny yourself, of your very existence, of your very real purpose.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Give credit where credit is due...

I have to tell you that I am a little tired this morning.  This is a good tired though, knowing that the week we have just enjoyed was chock full of experience, blessings, new found friends and the confirmation of God's tremendous love for all of us.
Just over a week ago Rio Vista received their first ever Mission Team from Florida on April 5, 2013.  15 people arrived safely in the wee hours of the morning and slept quickly as the morning was only five hours away.  After a bit of a chaotic start the hosts soon found their groove and never skipped a step for the entire week.  We must however, thank our very good friends James and Sylvia Stroeve who came down to see Laura and I for a holiday and I worked them everyday getting the facility ready for the team.  More than that, they were strong assets in our initiation to the Guest House Industry, helping out wherever necessary. 

The team enjoyed our hospitality and the facility God has built for them;  very few problems appeared while the team was here. The hot water on demand performed perfectly! As well the power stayed on for nearly the entire week! 
We must give thanks to all of you who helped see us through to this point in our journey!  You all know who you are so I won't name names.  We are so blessed to have had such support around us as we worked to get the Mission House ready for teams.  It is interesting to note though that while the team was here one of them came up to me and asked me to share how we had come to the D.R.  I gave them the "short" version stating that God gave me the vision and we had just enough Faith to make the step.  The lady asked me how I could hold onto the dream for so long, "What was it that made you keep going?"  She asked.
"Faith in Him,"  "Faith in knowing His promises to me if I followed Him,"
"Faith in seeing the continued blessings come from all over the place, through people we had never met"
"Faith in understanding that it is through our hands that God does His Great works, it is through our hearts that God shows us His compassion for His people."

The short version is Faith...the long version is still my life everyday, through Him who lives in me I give all the glory.  For I am just a man doing what God has called me to do, feeding His sheep.
Bless you all


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Living The Dream!

April 8, 2007 was a banner day on my calendar.  It started out as a typical Sunday morning, I arose early to flip on the television to find the early broadcast of the Formula One race.  So at 5:30 in the dark of morning my day began, a few hours later Laura was awake, the race was over and we enjoyed our usual pancake breakfast with coffee before we got ready for church.
All was normal in our lives, well as normal as caterers could be.  We usually worked most weekends catering some private event or a private wedding.  We were operating a successful company and had a large staff of young employees to help us.  I was not expecting anything to change as I sat down in my normal seat at 10:30 April 8, 2007; six rows back, left side of the church, aisle seat, my wife Laura beside me.

The service began as usual with a lengthy worship followed by the usual announcements and the usual offering.  The sermon that day was given by Daniel Zopoula.  While I like his messages and his manner of speaking, I cannot recall to this day one word of which he spoke; no offence to Daniel, I know God was preparing something bigger.  After Daniel finished his message he invited the church to enter into a prayer time with him; the air was thick with the Holy Spirit, I could feel Him moving through the congregation.  The air seemed heavy around me and I could feel myself getting warmer, as though someone had suddenly turned on a heater beside me.  I could hear the sound of Daniels' voice as he prayed to God for intercession for many things; I looked up from my prayer (I had my head down with eyes closed) to look at Daniel.  He was standing center stage with his eyes closed as he prayed; I remember looking around to other people and noticed many involved in deep prayer as well.  I dropped my head again and when I closed my eyes I immediately saw a clear vision in my mind; as bright as a normal day I was standing on a paved road looking at a large stone wall to the left of which was an immense wrought iron gate; one side was open and a narrow driveway wound around a corner back to where I could not see.  The sides of the driveway were grown over with lush tropical plants and trees.  Mounted on the face of the stone wall were the words "North Coast Missionary Services,  Michael and Laura Boisclair with a large Ichthys or "Christian Fish".  The letters were made of a shiny steel.  Suddenly the vision flipped to the view of a large white concrete house, two stories high with a set of stairs leading to the second floor; in the yard out front a large fountain gushed water onto three tiers; palm trees dotted the sides of the property.  The vision flipped again and this time I was sitting in a large white van in the airport parking lot of Puerto Plata; a group of people were coming toward the van.  One man in particular stood out, he was slightly taller than me and I met him just outside the van with a great bear hug; his skin was fair and his hair was a mass of white curls, he spoke to me with a European accent, a country of origin I cannot place.  The vision flipped again and I recall looking at a computer screen with a Google search listing for North Coast Missionary Services; it was the fourth listing on the page in large bold blue letters.

Suddenly the vision ended and I found myself now looking at the back of the head of the person directly in front of me.  Daniel was still speaking a quiet prayer to the congregation, I looked around quickly to see if anyone else had seen what I had seen, but everyone had their heads down in prayer.  I looked at Laura and she too had seen nothing, her eyes still closed in prayer.  I was visibly shaken by the event, sweating now, my heart was racing and my head and ears still burning from an unknown heat.  It seemed like minutes had passed with the vision but it must have only been seconds.  I knew instantly what it was, I didn't know how or why but the words just formed in my mind: A Mission House for teams!  As soon as Daniel finished praying and gave the blessing to release the people I grabbed Laura's hand and said "Let's go."  All I could think of was to get out of the church as fast as I could.  We were still in the building when Laura asked me what was "Up?"  I was almost dragging her out of the church.  I told her nothing but she could tell something was different.  I quickly started the truck and raced out of the parking lot.  She again asked me what was going on stating that I was scaring her.  As I drove home I quickly relayed what I had "Seen"  Laura stated promptly, "We have to write this down!"  Which we did when we got home.
Then she said, "We have to tell someone about this!"
"What" I exclaimed, "Are you nuts!  They will think I am crazy or something!"  I disagreed at first but as the day went on and I realized just what had happened; I relaxed and began to see the future from a different perspective.  The next morning we called a good friend and pastor whom we both respect and booked a meeting with him.  After I again relayed the entire event to Alan he advised me to just see what God revealed over time.  I was not "crazy" as I had first thought because true vision from God will always come from confirmation towards the dream over time.  If it was to be God's will then things would happen without my control in order for the will of God to be fulfilled.
So true it was.
I can sit here today and tell you that now almost five years later I am living the dream God gave me.
Five years ago I had no interest at all in changing what I was doing.  We were very busy with catering and the company was doing well; we were blessed to have a good home, plenty of good things to fill our lives and that of our children.  However, I will tell you that I was tired  and daily I prayed for God's will for my life.  He granted my request as He began to disconnect us from that life to get us ready for a new one.  Within the first year I would disassemble a large part of my company and move into a transition period for the next 3 years while God slowly disconnected us from Canada.  Finally the time came when we had to make the decision of exactly when we would go; October of 2010 Laura and I announced to the people and family we know that we were leaving in the new year.  In the next two months we sold our small company and secured a buyer for our house.  We moved in February of 2011 after almost 4 years of waiting and watching the signs for God to line up the things that needed to happen beyond my control.  We counselled the entire time with friends and pastors at River Of Life Church, understanding that ultimately God would give us the desires of our hearts only if we chose to be obedient to Him and His ways.

Ps 37:4
4 Delight yourself in the LORD 
and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
 I really must emphasize this point, we must "Choose" to be obedient to His Word and His ways.  We must "Delight ourselves in the Lord"  He never pushes Himself upon us.  When we come into agreement with God with our soul and our spirit only then will He give us the desires of our heart; the dreams we can visualize; the life you never thought you could have.

Understand as well, my dream given to me by God, had to line up with His will in order for it to come to pass.  That means that His will for my life must be represented by His character or His nature, and that is a caring, compassionate Father who loves all of His children.  My dream must represent the same desires God has; anything else, then it is not from God.
Those who have followed our story from the beginning understand how we see God's will for our lives here in the Dominican Republic.

Through all of this my deepest prayer for all of you is that you earnestly seek the Lord, that you do not buy into the world and all of its trappings because they are only distractions designed to keep you away from God.  That each of you discover what dreams God has for you and that you are living within His will.  My fervent prayer is for you to understand also that my dream is not your dream, but yours could be similar; and when you see it, it will be distinctly yours; and if it lines up with God's will and you choose to pursue Him, He will bring your dream to fruition.

Bless you all, bless you well.