Category Archives: Intercession

Knocking on heaven’s door

This morning at church, I did something perfectly ordinary. I left my seat and stood in the aisle to let Grace pass by so that she could sit with her older sister and her parents.

We had just finished singing three beautiful songs of worship and adoration, and faith was stirring in my spirit. As I stood there in the aisle, watching this pretty pre-teen girl child make her way to her seat, my eyes were opened and I was given a vision from heaven. In my spirit, I saw Grace standing in front of a large wooden door. She had her right hand raised and her knuckles formed into a fist. With childlike confidence, she was poised to knock on the door.

As I briefly pondered the meaning of this vision, I immediately realized that it portrayed the teaching of Jesus about faith-filled prayer.

Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

Grace is a wonderful young woman, the beloved youngest daughter in a warm, loving, faith-filled family. I concluded that this was a message from God about her developing character, and I made a mental note to share the vision with her and her parents to encourage them.

But my internal dialogue with God didn’t end there. As I prepared to sit down, I sensed that this vision wasn’t just for Grace. My thoughts immediately turned to my own daughter Bethany, also the youngest in our family. Although she is married now and no longer living in my household, Bethany knows – like Grace with her Dad – that if she needs something from me, all she has to do is ask me. If I can do it for her, I will.

I realized that Father was showing me something about His heart towards His beloved people. The vision was not just about Grace. It was a picture of the Bride of Christ, His beloved, knocking on the door of heaven and asking the Father for favour.

Grace is still a child. There is much she doesn’t understand about life, but she does know that her Dad loves her. Even if he doesn’t always give her what she wants right away, she knows that he will always answer her in love. She knows that she can trust him.

The message was clear. Knock boldly, knock with confidence. Even if the answer is delayed, it’s for a good reason. Keep on knocking. The One behind the door is faithful, and in His good time He will answer.

We live in times when many things are being shaken. There is trouble all over the earth, there are wrongs and injustices everywhere, and in many places God’s people are hard-pressed. But there are also signs of the Kingdom in many places for those with eyes to see.

In times like these, some will be tempted to shrink back and become discouraged and fearful. Others will press on boldly, knocking on the door of heaven and trusting Father to answer.

The ones who press on are the ones who understand the character of the One behind the door. They know they are His beloved, they know He has a glorious destiny for them, they know that Jesus will partner with them to rule the earth in the age to come. And so they keep on knocking.

This is how the Bride grows up and comes into her glorious maturity. She keeps on knocking, standing and waiting in faith and hope and love, until she hears the Father’s answer. She will keep on knocking until her Bridegroom returns to reign on the earth, and invites her to reign with Him.

O glorious day.

 

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My dream date with Justin Trudeau

A few nights ago I had a dream. It wasn’t one of those confusing dreams that you can only half remember. The main lines of it were crystal clear.

In my dream, I was at some sort of public event (a dinner or conference of some sort) with Justin Trudeau. At this event, I had an opportunity to talk with the PM face to face. He made time to chat with me at some length. My dominant impression of him was that of a sympathetic, respectful, idealistic, engaging and likable man, who took what seemed to be a genuine interest in me and my concerns. 

As my conversation with the PM came to an end and he moved on to other things, I realized with some chagrin that throughout this conversation my focus had been entirely on myself and my own goals and concerns. I had taken time to talk with the PM about my views on various matters (I don’t remember details of what I said), but I had not offered to pray for him or asked him about his needs or concerns, or the needs of his family, so that I could pray for him with more insight.

On realizing this, I tried to contact him again so that I could ask him about his needs and how I might pray for him, but his attention was now elsewhere and I no longer had access to him. My opportunity for direct contact was over and I realized that if I wanted to offer to pray for him, I would have to send an email, which would almost certainly be handled by a member of his staff and would probably not get his personal attention.

Then my dream came to an end, and I awoke.

I knew that this dream was significant, so I asked God for insight, and He spoke to me with unmistakable clarity.

My dialogue with the Lord about this dream follows.  Some of this input from the Lord came immediately, as I journaled the dream that morning, and some came on further reflection. I have added links to Scripture references that undergird what the Lord showed me about this dream.

Father, what do you want to say to me about this? Why did I have this dream?

Because I want you to prioritize prayer for Mr. Trudeau and not focus on trading or expressing negative views of his leadership with fellow political conservatives. Like most people, your tendency is to think of the Prime Minister in terms of his office, not as a man. You think of what he can do for you and what you want him to do differently. You do not think about his personal needs, especially his need for salvation and a relationship with Me.

Many of your concerns about his leadership and his policies are justified, but I don’t want you to focus on this. That is not what My people are called to. You are called to pray. The governments of this age will inevitably fall short, but he is a man who has very genuine spiritual needs and he is spiritually open and hungry and has a soft heart. So pray for him. Pray for him as if it matters. Don’t just pray that he will change his political views. Pray that he will see Me for who I am, and turn to Me in genuine humility and repentance. When Paul the Apostle had access to the governor and the king, he testified. He didn’t plead his own case or try to influence the governor’s policies. His concern was for the salvation of the men in whose presence he found himself. So should yours be. Pray for your Prime Minister. He is first of all a man like you. Pray that he will put his hope in Me. That is all that ultimately matters. If Justin turns to Me, many other things will change as well. But I don’t want you to focus on that. I want you to focus on cultivating a heart of mercy towards him as a man – a man whom I love, a man for whom I gave My Son’s life, a man who is despised and mocked by many of My people who should instead be praying for him as a man in need of My salvation. 

I knew that I had been rebuked by the Lord. Over the past few days, His rebuke and his appeal to my heart have prompted the following further reflections.

By and large, most North American Christians have drifted far from the spirit of the New Testament in the way we relate to the governments of this age. When we see unwelcome changes in our culture, or when we have concerns about the direction of the nation, our tendency is to find fault with the government of the day and those who hold influence in our society. And indeed, at one level there may be much to criticize. But what Biblical support can we find for this posture? None whatsoever.

We are instructed to honour rulers, to pray for them, but not to put our hope for change in them. Our hope for change lies in the coming Kingdom of God in which Jesus our King will rule a restored earth from Jerusalem. Most of us don’t live as though we actually believe this. We live as though we believe that it’s up to us to rule the earth now, and we become offended when the government of the day doesn’t cooperate. But this is not New Testament Christianity. It is something else.

I believe the end of the age is approaching, and the Lord is purifying His people and calling us back to our true identity. Part of that identity is that we are a people of prayer whose hope is in the Son of David, the Messiah of Israel who is coming to rule the earth. When our hope is in Him, then we are free to love others without becoming offended with their failings. This includes government leaders. Our first responsibility towards them is to love them and pray for them.

I know all these things – I have known them for years – but I am guilty of allowing myself to be influenced by the political spirit that characterizes so much of the North American church. There is so much bitterness, resentment, anger and judgment in the attitude of many Christians towards government. Many of us are fearful of the changes that we see in society, and we have allowed our fears to influence our thinking, instead of keeping our hearts anchored in the peace that comes from God’s sure and certain promises.

I believe it is time for the church to renounce our idolatry of political power, repent of having placed our hope in the governments of this age, and place our hope once again in the Jesus of the New Testament. It’s time for us to be imitators of Him – to devote ourselves to His ways of prayer, servanthood and love. That is our true identity and calling.

 

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The Bridal Seal of Love

For the past several weeks I have been making Song of Songs a major focus of my devotional life and as part of that focus, I have just finished listening to a wonderful 12-part teaching series by Mike Bickle (of International House of Prayer) on the Song of Songs.

Although this is not my first time devoting a season of my life to the Song, this time around I found it so motivating that I wanted to encourage you all to consider giving some time to contemplating the message of the Song (which really is the message of the First Commandment, in poetic form).

Because the Song of Songs is poetry, and because it is set in a culture very different from ours, some parts of it may seem strange to us. For this reason a guide may be helpful. I have been greatly helped by Mike Bickle’s teaching on the song – as well as his testimony of how God overcame his reluctance and taught him to love the Song. So, for any who would appreciate some help, here is a link to the final teaching in the series, to give you a taste and get you started.

I debated whether to share this with you all, because I don’t want to just promote my own agenda. But I don’t think it is just my agenda. Teaching the Bride to love the Bridegroom is central to God’s purposes in the Last Days. Nor is this at odds with focusing on the Great Commission. Rather, it’s the fuel for carrying out that commission without burning out.

Often we pray in a task-oriented or results-oriented mode. We pray for this need or that need. There is nothing wrong with this – Jesus told us to bring our requests to the Father – but the highest goal of our life, and what Jesus is returning for, is to be a Bride that is fully in love with Him, so that whatever we do is fuelled by our love for Him which in turn is fuelled by His love for us.

Increasingly, this is the mandate that the Lord is bringing to the forefront of my attention – to go deeper in knowledge of His love, and then to let everything else I do be motivated, shaped and fuelled by that love. Although I fall far short of this, it is my vision and my heart’s desire, and I believe it is also the call of God, the reason He created us and the reason Jesus came to earth – that He would have a people who know the fulness of His love.

In Jesus

Peter

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You make me brave

In recent weeks the social media have been full of reports of the horrific brutalities committed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Beheadings, crucifixions, rapes, genital mutilation – these are only some of the atrocities committed by ISIS against those they consider infidels, including many Christian believers. The capital of Kurdistan in Iraq is now full of refugees and surrounded by bloodthirsty jihadist armies. The only thing holding the jihadis at bay is the threat of American airstrikes should they proceed to march on the Kurdish capital.

As one who is called to intercede for God’s people, I have found that I can only take these reports in limited doses. I do need to be aware of the strategies and schemes of the evil one, but if I allow my attention to be riveted by the works of darkness, my soul can easily fall into the grip of lethargy and my prayers become negative and faithless – if I pray them at all.

This is not the lethargy of one who does not care. It is the lethargy of one who cares, but feels small and hopeless in the face of the seemingly overwhelming power of evil. Perhaps you are familiar with these sorts of thoughts and feelings.

Today I rediscovered God’s antidote for this sort of lethargy. While going through my mail pile I came across a number of missionary newsletters containing testimonies of the hardships, sufferings and needs faced by Christian workers in Cuba, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Iran and elsewhere. But these newsletters were not full of despair. On the contrary they were full of hope. To borrow a phrase from one of the newsletters, despite these difficulties, there are many good news stories to celebrate.

There are always good news stories to celebrate. Even in Syria and Iraq, as Christians are being slaughtered, others are turning to Jesus as Muslims search for a better answer. As darkness seems to be increasing all over the earth, we need to remind ourselves that the Spirit of God is also at work all over the earth, revealing the glory of Jesus in increasing measure to hungry, seeking hearts. John the apostle reminds us that in the hour of Satan’s rage, when he makes furious war on the people of God because he knows his time is short, God’s people overcome the enemy by a powerful but simple three-part recipe – the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and the willingness to die for their faith if need be, knowing that the Lamb has already conquered death on their behalf.

The title of this post is taken from a great new worship song by Amanda Cook of Bethel Music. I love this song because it calls my attention to the power and goodness of God, and causes faith and courage to rise up in my heart.

I don’t want to escape the hard realities of life. I want to face them with hope, in the knowledge that the Lamb of God is victorious. So I turn to the Lord to receive anew the assurance of His great love and His keeping power. In that strong confidence, I find that I am empowered once again to pray prayers full of renewed faith and courage for those who are facing an uncertain future in this life, but who have placed their hope in the risen One and his coming Kingdom.

 

 

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Tip of the iceberg

A week or so ago, I was talking with a relative about the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas. His response was that he was thankful to live in Canada.

This seems like an innocent enough response. It’s the kind of thing Canadians often say, especially around Canada Day.Yet for me it’s not so simple.

I am privileged to live in a prosperous and peaceful country, and recognize that much is required of those to whom much has been given. My primary identity is not that I am Canadian, but that I belong to Jesus. And so, I can’t simply hide behind the safety of my Canadian identity and ignore events elsewhere. As someone who prays regularly both for Israel and for the Muslim world, such events touch me deeply.

At one level, it’s a simple human tragedy. Both the Jewish young people who were murdered, and their murderers, are people for whom Jesus died. Their lives, and the lives of their families, matter to God. And so, I lift them up before the Lord and ask for justice, mercy and reconciliation.

At another level, I recognize that this particular act is a provocation. There is little doubt that Hamas was trying to elicit a retaliatory response from Israel, which will in turn serve as a pretext for further attacks on Israel. The Hamas charter is straightforward and unapologetic about its intent to destroy Israel and see it replaced by a Palestinian state.

I believe that we are approaching the End of the Age. I believe this for many reasons, which I won’t take the time to spell out in detail in this post. My study of Scripture, and observation of world events, has led me to expect that as the end of the age draws near, several trends will accelerate. Persecution of the people of God will increase, and followers of Jesus will be hated by more and more people, and blamed for all kinds of evil. Increasing opposition, as well as the pleasures, worries and pressures of life in this age, will cause many who once professed Christ to fall away as their love grows cold. An enemy of God’s people will arise and will become a focal point for this persecution, especially in Israel. At the same time, those who truly love the Lord will be drawn to Him more and more, setting aside other allegiances, and will be increasingly transformed by His glory, power and love. The good news of the Kingdom of God will be proclaimed in every nation. Israel will be regathered to her land (this has already begun and is continuing), will go through a time of intense trouble, and the remnant of Israel will turn to her Messiah. At just the right time, the Lord Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven and will establish His Kingdom openly on the earth.

I believe the Scriptures are clear that while salvation – for both Jew and Gentile – is through the blood of Christ and faith in Him, God has a particular purpose for Israel which is not yet complete. He also has purposes for other nations, of course, and it is right and good that we should pray for our own nation and seek its welfare. I have recently been convicted in a fresh way (by Anne Graham Lotz’s 7-7-7 call to prayer for the USA) of the need to pray for national awakening in Canada. But I also believe that as a follower of Jesus, I must pray for the salvation and protection of Israel. If you are a praying person, I urge you to do the same. Because I live in a free country, where I have a voice, as the Spirit of God leads I must also use my freedom to be an advocate for Israel as she is increasingly scorned and hated by the nations and even by many in the church. And yet, at the same time, I must also keep my heart open to everyone who is sincerely seeking God, specifically including my Muslim neighbours. Lovers of Jesus must hate nothing but sin, while asking the Holy Spirit to give us genuine love for all people, even our worst enemies.

I am convinced that this attack on the three teenagers is the tip of the iceberg. Israel’s enemies are looking for any excuse to destroy her. Ultimately, only Messiah Yeshua can bring peace to Israel – and all who put their hope in Him, including Palestinians and people of every nation. But until that Day, we can expect a roller-coaster ride of both glory and trouble, both tests and blessings, both upheavals and miraculous deliverances.

In the relative safety of North America, such talk may seem extreme. We prefer our comfort. But our comfort is lulling us to sleep. It is time for us to wake up.

 

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What does ISIS have to do with us?

Many Westerners probably think of the current war in Iraq as an unfortunate but far away conflict that has nothing to do with us, and no effect on our lives apart from higher oil and gas prices.

The reality is that ISIS, the group behind the conflict, is far more than just a band of terrorists. This is a highly-religious Islamic jihadist army whose goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate (empire) in the Middle East, in the conviction that this is a key step in preparing the way for the return of the Mahdi, the Islamic saviour.

In response to a recent ISIS recruitment video, now apparently no longer available, Joel Richardson writes in his blog

What modern Christian movement or expression matches the zeal and commitment of this Satanic movement? Its going to take a prayer and missions movement unlike anything we have seen to date. Its going to take a return to the early Church theology of the cross and martyrdom. Its going to take a genuine Global Jesus Revolution.

In the West, most Christians are dulled and lulled by the comforts and cares of every day life. I understand this very well – I battle with it myself on a daily basis. We have grown used to a domesticated, Westernized, comfortable, compromised Christianity – a far cry from the gospel of Jesus. Our hearts cry out for intimacy with Jesus, but we can only have genuine intimacy with Him if we understand who He really is, and the true nature of His Kingdom and the battle in which we are engaged. The only way to fight is to keep our eyes on Him. When we speak of seeing the Lord’s House of Prayer established, we are not just crying out for personal intimacy with Jesus (though that is undoubtedly very important). We are crying out for His return as openly-acknowledged King.

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God’s strong-willed children

Our feisty, spirited and very cute granddaughter Alivia (Livie), not quite three years old, is learning the power of her own will. Although she clearly looks up to big sister Sophie, Livie also has a mind of her own and doesn’t hesitate to make her wishes known. She knows what she wants, and she expresses it clearly. Sometimes she can’t have what she wants, but her Mom and Dad are wise enough to curb her will without crushing it.

Sophie, now five years old, has been learning some of the ways of the Lord. She has a sensitive conscience, wants to please the Lord, and is usually quite good to her little sister. However, like Alivia, she too has desires, and sometimes this leads to conflict.

Yesterday Alivia wanted her tricycle back. Her big sister had taken it. Alivia complained, and her Dad intervened and told Sophie to give the tricycle back to Alivia. Justice was done, and Alivia was satisfied.

However, from Sophie’s perspective, this was not a perfect solution, because for Alivia to get her tricycle back, Sophie had to give up something that she wanted. It took a father’s wisdom, and a time out, but eventually peace was restored. Eventually Sophie was able to see things through her father’s eyes, and the sisters were friends again.

This classic conflict scenario illustrates several key truths.

First, our Father wants us to present our desires to Him. It is not wrong to ask him for things. Both girls presented their cases to their father, and he listened to them both with compassion as well as firmness.

Second, when we present our desires to our Father, we also need to recognize that He is God and we are not. For peace to be restored, both Sophie and Alivia needed to be willing to let their Dad settle the dispute.

Third, we need to stay engaged with God even when the answers are not immediate, or not what we had hoped for. Even though it took some time before Sophie could see things her Dad’s way, she trusted him enough to yield to his discipline, and eventually, she too was satisfied.

Sometimes we need to let God adjust our perspective before we can receive the blessings that He desires most to give us.  If we stay engaged, and keep talking to him and listening to him, eventually he gives us the desires of our heart, although sometimes He first has to awaken in us a desire for those things that lead to true peace and lasting satisfaction.

Like Sophie and Alivia, all God’s children are on a journey to maturity. The plans God has for us are far beyond what we can now see or imagine. If we want to come into all that He has for us, we need to learn how to deal with the strong desires that arise from our souls.

Desires can cause conflict, and they can be destructive. But unlike Buddhism, which teaches its adherents to extinguish all desires, the God of the Bible chooses instead to work with our desires and shape them for our good and for his glory. In this process, we do need to reject some desires and embrace others. But let’s not reject the whole concept of desire. It was God who gave us our wills, and God who placed in us the capacity for desire. When we come to him in faith, and allow Him to sort through our desires and respond according to His wisdom and love, he does not extinguish our wills or our desires. Instead, he shapes them to His purposes, and awakens in us a desire for His glory, so that He can bless us far beyond what we can imagine or conceive.

Thanks be to God for his amazing wisdom and goodness to us!

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Stirring Up Desire in the House of Prayer

We had a wonderful time together as the House of Prayer gathered on Thursday evening. We sang love songs to Jesus and asked Him to increase our desire for Him. We also prayed for the people of God, for the Bride to have her love and desire for the Bridegroom greatly increased. And we prayed for those not yet saved and for those caught in various forms of sin and bondage. that they would have eyes opened to see the glory and goodness of God and they would find desire for Him rising up in their hearts.

Over the past few weeks we have settled into a simple pattern of Harp and Bowl worship and prayer that works for us. On a typical Thursday evening we will have one devotional and two intercessory cycles, organized loosely around a common theme. We begin our first Harp and Bowl cycle shortly after 7 pm by reading a few verses of Scripture to focus our thoughts, and we usually have a time of conversational sharing after concluding our third prayer cycle. Our aim is to wrap up by 9 pm, although this past Thursday evening we spilled over a little bit.

Numbers have varied greatly. This past Thursday evening our living room was full. Some nights there have been as few as three of us (Marion and I being two of those three).  The Lord has settled it in our hearts that we are doing this for Him, not for the acclaim of people, so we are going to worship and pray on Thursday evenings no matter who shows up, as long as the Lord gives us strength and grace.

Anyone with a desire to grow in love for Jesus and to present the needs of others before His throne is welcome to join us as we pray for the people of God, for the city where we live, and for the world that Jesus died for.  Thursdays, 7:00 pm, in our living room in Vanier.

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A walk in the park

Over the past couple of years, in response to the call of God to plant a local House of Prayer, I have set my heart and will to pray for Vanier, the historic Ottawa neighbourhood where Marion and I have made our home for the past six years.

Staying motivated in prayer can be a challenge at times. The enemy doesn’t want us to pray, so he is adept at finding ways of convincing us that we are wasting our time. Thankfully, the Lord is more than ready to encourage us when we get weak and weary. It is always energizing to draw near to Him in worship and seek Him in his word. Sometimes, though, we need signs of the coming harvest to keep our hope bright.

I received one of the Lord’s signs last Saturday morning while I was out prayer walking in Richelieu Park. Marion and I had gathered with a small but vibrant group of praying friends for the fourth and final outing in Vanier House of Prayer‘s Summer 2013 series of prayer walks. I had sent everyone out to walk and pray on their own for a few minutes, after which we were going to reconvene and pray together.

I was walking along a pathway through the woods. I met a young boy who enthusiastically told me what a nice day it was, and how much he liked walking in the woods. I loved his innocent enthusiasm and spoke God’s blessing over him. He went on his way and I continued walking and praying.

Soon the path opened up onto a wide grassy area, and I came upon a middle-aged man and a young woman (I had the impression that they might be a father and daughter) lying on a blanket talking. I apologized for disturbing them and the man said “You didn’t disturb us. Actually, I wanted to ask you a question”. He then seemed a bit embarrassed at having been this open, and instead of asking his question, he said he wanted to borrow my cell phone. When he had made his call, I flashed a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit. I didn’t have long, because I was supposed to be meeting the other prayer walkers shortly, but I was sure he had wanted something more than just the use of my phone.

Lord, what do I do now?

Why don’t you ask how you can pray for them?

Brilliant idea, Lord! Thanks!

So that’s what I did. I told them I needed to be on my way because I was meeting some people who were here in the park to pray for Vanier, and I asked how we could pray for them.

The man looked at me and said, “Actually, I need forgiveness”.

This blew me away. How many people do you meet who are so open about their need for forgiveness? It was quite amazing.

I knew this was an important moment. I talked to them about Jesus. I said that forgiveness was easy – that Jesus had come to earth to make a way for us to be forgiven. The young woman then spoke up and said “Yes, but not everyone believes in Jesus”. I allowed that this was true, but affirmed that Jesus is alive and would hear their prayers. They both nodded as if this was what they had needed to hear. I then spoke a quick prayer over them and went to rejoin my friends.

What a revelation! There are people right here – right in my neighbourhood – who are hungry for the good news that God loves them and has sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for their sins.

I left the park that day feeling greatly encouraged. God had sent this man and his daughter the encouragement they needed, but he had also sent me the encouragement I needed. I knew again that our ministry of intercession was worth the effort.

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Life on the beach – or on the farm?

Over the years I have had many conversations with colleagues at work about their goals in life.

I remember one man in particular who made it quite clear what he wanted. His goal was to build up a nice financial nest egg so that he could retire, relax, and enjoy life. As he saw it, the good life is “life on the beach”, or “life at the cottage”, or some other form of permanent vacation, and the purpose of work is to build up enough wealth so that we can spend the rest of our days doing exactly as we please, with no-one to answer to but ourselves.

More recently I had a conversation with another colleague. In addition to working as an IT consultant, she and her husband own and operate a small farm where they raise goats, beef cattle and horses. Marion and I like buying meat from her because we know it’s not laced with antibiotics and hormones. This colleague told me recently that she had considered giving up farming but she couldn’t do it, because she doesn’t want to live without a purpose. For her, farming is a way of life that embodies purposeful and therefore satisfying activity. She enjoys finding cost-effective and inventive ways of meeting the challenge of raising animals organically. Her dream isn’t “life on the beach”, it’s “life on the farm”. She does want to have sufficient freedom to be able to take a vacation with her husband every now and then (a challenge for many farmers) but she can’t stand living without a purpose.

Life on the beach – or on the farm? A permanent vacation – or a life of purposeful activity? Serving yourself, or serving others? Which would you choose?

I’d pick life on the farm any day.

Let me be clear. I love vacations. I know I need rest. It was great to go to Florida for a week last year, and Marion and I loved our holiday at a cottage on Drummond Island with children and grandchildren the year before. I thoroughly enjoy weekends with their (somewhat) more relaxed pace. But I can’t stand the thought of living without any purpose but to satisfy my own desires. That kind of life would kill me. The beach is great for a break from the farm, but give me the farm over the beach for a satisfying life that’s well-lived.

No, I’m not considering another career change, nor a change of location. I am now thoroughly and happily transplanted from my former life in rural Russell Township to my current life in inner-city Vanier, and I have no regrets about the change. Although I do have a small garden, I have no plans to take up farming. I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

But like my farming colleague, I don’t want to live without a purpose. And like her, I see myself as a type of farmer. I’m not raising hay, grain, goats and cattle. I’m tending people’s hearts. The farm isn’t mine, it’s God’s. But I am one of his sharecroppers. Other servants have planted the seed of His saving, lifegiving truth in many hearts, and my job is to tend and nurture the seeds that have sprouted into young, growing plants.

On God’s farm there are lots of jobs to be done. Some people do more planting than anything else. These are the ones who love telling complete strangers – everyone they can find – about Jesus. Others spend more of their time fertilizing and watering the crops. These are the ones who love to help others understand the word of God and how it applies to their life. Some people spend most of their time feeding and looking after the other workers. That’s just as important. There are other jobs as well. Like on most farms, everyone does a bit of everything at times, but some people specialize more in some areas than in others.

In my years of working on God’s farm I’ve planted seeds, and I’ve also watered and fertilized them. But what I love to do most is to make sure that the young plants can see the Son. That, to me, is what the ministry of worship and prayer is all about. Plants don’t grow if they can’t see the light. Believers need to be able to see the Son so that they can become like Him. God has an enemy who is constantly planting weeds in the midst of His good crops. Sometimes those weeds threaten to choke the life out of the crops that God’s servants have planted. Sometimes the weeds seem to get so thick that it’s hard to see the Son. When that happens, the ministry of worship and prayer has a wonderful way of clearing spaces in the undergrowth so that we can see the light of His face. In fact, the more we worship, the more the weeds seem to just disappear, and the crops of God’s planting begin to flourish and thrive and reproduce. It’s amazing.

All workers need rest. I’m glad that on God’s farm there are refreshing streams and green pastures where his servants can be renewed and restored. But I’m so glad that God has made me for fruitful labour in his fields.

The day of harvest is coming. When that day comes, I want to be found faithful in the labour to which He has assigned me.

 

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