Lets Rid Ourselves of Toxic Garbage for 2017

Just recently I had lunch with a non-stop-complaining friend. Whether it was the weather, her co-workers, the offerings on TV, prices for just about anything, or the behaviour of various family members, her conversation was one petty complaint after another. Later I reflected on the source of that complaining: my friend could not let go of past hurts, affronts, and various petty injustices.

She could not bring herself to simply let it go.

In other words, she could not bring herself to forgive her offender.

This inability to forgive has devastating effects.

First, it sentences people like my friend to constantly carry the baggage of unforgiveness.

The longer I live the more people I run into who carry this cumbersome baggage strapped to their back. The load weighs them down and makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to live successfully in the present. The days are overshadowed by events of the past, things long gone that continue to control the present.

This unforgiveness suitcase is heavy and burdensome. It makes the bearer unhappy.

It poisons relationships too. For such people have an odor of bitterness that infuses their whole life. Others don’t find it pleasant to be around them. Often the person becomes isolated and even more bitter.

Unforgiveness is the suitcase most travelled. In my estimation it burdens more backs and breaks more spirits than most other forms of luggage combined.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you could keep the suitcase closed tightly. But it’s not possible. And the person carrying this luggage finds that bits and pieces of “stuff” keep falling out of this floppy suitcase and intrude into virtually every aspect of their daily lives.

Jesus taught clearly and simply on forgiveness. In fact he made it a vital part of his model prayer. He said, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” He actually links the forgiveness we get from God with the forgiveness we give to those who offend us.

Indeed his overall teaching on forgiveness is really simple: Forgive your offenders or I will not forgive you.

It’s not easy to drop the baggage of unforgiveness. Sometimes the wounds we have suffered are deep and traumatic. Sometimes being angry feels really good, at least for a while. Sometimes we have just got into the habit of holding a grudge.

But there are some steps that can help us unload that baggage.
First, remember that we have all been offenders as well as victims. Jesus was the one who said, “The one without sin, let him cast the first stone.”

Try to understand and empathize with the person, rather than dwelling on what they did. What stress might they be facing? What grief are they carrying around? Does illness or a family problem make them anxious and irritable? The deed may be wrong, but compassion for the person makes it easier to bear.

Realize that forgiving is a process. Marriage partners renew their vows to each other. In the same way we may need to renew our resolve to forgive a person, until it becomes a habit that replaces the old grudge.

Get help. A friend, doctor, counselor, or minister can listen, guide and support us in our attempts to unload the baggage. And God, who is the great Forgiver, will help us when we ask.

There are those who already know and practise giving forgiveness. They are a blessed people. For they practise a spiritual, emotional/psychological hygiene that God knows is absolutely essential for making people healthy and happy.

Let’s all of us resolve to get rid of toxic baggage as we begin this new year of 2017.

Jesus: More Than Itty-Bitty Baby

This Christmas millions will for a short time focus thoughts and hearts on a tiny baby. Even some shopping malls showcase scenes of Nativity. For merchants know, yes they know that Jesus is the source of Christmas, and Christmas profits.

And so the Baby is squirreled away within the very temple of mammon. In sleep, exuding peace and serenity, He is displayed as tiny, meek, and mild.

The image while not false is not wholly true. For while shoppers bustle, while carolers sing, while sellers sell, the Ancient Power sleeps not, nor ever did, nor ever will.

Come with me now and watch awhile. Look with me at the tiny babe enclosed in strawy manger. Before our watching eyes He transforms Himself.

He morphs into a rugged man clothed in white. Still we watch, and then we see only the dazzling image of one clothed in the whitest of light. And how it happens we know not, only that it does, but we see ourselves transported back—back to the very beginning of all things.

We hear peals of laughter coming from the Dazzling One. Back, back He stretches His arm, and then with a fluid throwing motion He casts points of light into the darkened sky. But wait, for points of light they are not—they are stars—and we continue to watch as He throws again and again. We see Orion formed in the blink of an eye, and then with another toss the big dipper is pasted into place, Cassiopeia, the familiar big “W” is hurled into the ebony darkness. Then He grabs a huge handful of light and flings a whole galaxy into the cosmos, and then another, and yet another. This dazzling One—this Baby transformed before our very eyes has become the joyful designer, architect, creator of our glorious world and a million others.

Yes, this itty-bitty baby snuggled warmly in Mary’s arms is Himself the awesome Creator of a hundred million galaxies. “All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”(John 1:3).

O Ancient of Days! O Power who appears to sleep! You were there before all eternity—there with the Father, delighting in His presence and He in yours. Joyously, together you made the worlds, a beautiful cosmos—your marvelous gift to the sons and daughters of men.

O Lord of glory! You laid aside glory to take on human flesh, to be “God with us.” Jesus, I know it is but baby doll that sleeps in crèche, for you Lord of Lords and King of Kings, sleep not. Master and Friend, it is we who sleep. Be merciful to frenzied, sleepwalking, bustling shoppers. Wake us up to you, O Ancient, sleepless Power, enfleshed in tiny baby.

Published in The Fountain Pen, December, 2016

Four Reasons why people reject Christianity

In the past 20 years or so, I have frequently pondered why so many in contemporary culture reject Christian belief and practice. Fact is people in Western societies seem to be more and more resistant to embrace Christianity.

Why are so many resistant to the claims of Jesus and the good news that he brings? Let’s explore four common reasons.

1. “There are too many hypocrites in the church.” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, I would be a wealthy man. Sadly, the charge is often true. We have all met Christians whose words are not backed up by their lives. And I don’t excuse their behaviour. But here’s the rub — any fair-minded person will readily agree there are hypocrites in every club and in every gathering of people. You will find them in the political arena, in student associations, in neighbourhood gatherings, in your local sports club—I could go on and on, but we all get it. Nobody rejects politics, neighbourhood associations or dart clubs because they contain some hypocrites. Just maybe, “there are too many hypocrites,” is simply a handy excuse for a good many people. Sadly, for many, on the day of judgment it will not be an excuse that impresses God.

2. “I’m having too much fun living like I am.” Now I doubt that most would put it so bluntly. But I’m sure this thought comes to mind when some are challenged to follow Christ. And to be sure there is pleasure, fun and excitement in following immoral inclinations: The Bible teaches this fact in Hebrews 11:25 — there truly is pleasure in sin — at least for a brief period of time. Countless numbers are not willing to give up illicit pleasures and have their lives transformed. Many think it total foolishness, yes, even a nutty decision to give up certain pleasures in order to follow Christ. To put it bluntly this thinking is totally valid if this world is all there is. After all, let’s get the gusto now. But there is a world to come—and since Jesus will judge every person—this thinking is seriously flawed.

3. “I don’t need God; I’m fine just as I am.” People in Western secular culture have lost the concept of the fall of mankind. They tend to think of themselves as born in a neutral state, or perhaps more frequently as born in a state of moral goodness. However, the Bible teaches plainly that people are not born basically good, but rather in sin with the tendency to walk in crooked paths. But those who are “just fine as they are” have absolutely no concept that God sees them as lost. They do not understand that outside of Christ everyone is under God’s judgment—a truly dangerous place to be. Fact is, you’re not okay and I’m not okay apart from the forgiveness that Christ brings.

4. “Christians are too judgmental and intolerant.” Increasingly this is a common reason why people back away from embracing Christ. But as a matter of fact, this is a relatively new reason. Sixty years ago secular culture and Christian culture more or less shared the same value system. But that’s no longer the case. Modern secular society is hell bent on overturning the old consensus on ethics and values. And to a large extent they have succeeded. Historic Christianity, however, has maintained the old ethics and now finds itself accused of intolerance and being judgmental. And yes, from the point of view of the new ethics Christians may appear intolerant. For we believe in revealed truth that does not change. But, it often appears that those who fling the charge of intolerance, are in fact, the intolerant ones. After all, the Christian ethic has not changed in 2,000 years while controversial modern ethical views have been around for less than 100 years.

In the end none of the “reasons” above are good reasons to reject Christ. I believe God sees them as thinly contrived excuses. Fact is, today is the only certain day we have—today is a very good day to put faith and trust in Jesus—on the coming Day of Judgment it will be far too late.

Responding to Jihad: A better way Forward

Dear Friends,

Despite Islam being in the news virtually every single day the average person does not understand:
1. the roots of violent Jihad, and
2. Christians do not know how they should respond.

Light the Darkness Ministries is sponsoring an evening conference to address both of these issues.
Please mark your calendars and register for this upcoming Wednesday, May 25th conference.

Responding to Jihad: A Better Way Forward
Parkwood Gardens Community Church
501 Whitelaw Road
Guelph
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

There is NO CHARGE for this event. Since seating is limited we do need you to register in one of two ways.
1. Go to www.respondingtojihad.eventbrite.com or
2. Simply email Royal Hamel and let us know how many in your group will be coming.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at this event. You will not be disappointed you came. Steven Martins is a staff apologist at the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity and is an excellent speaker.

How to find a safe place in an age of Terrorism

Some time ago I called a meeting so that people could get together and just pray. Among others three people came who were unknown to me. I approached them and asked what had prompted them to come. They shared openly, “We’re scared by the terrorist acts happening around the world. We’re looking for answers.” Their urgency and transparency deeply affected me.

Later, I asked myself: How many other people are fighting fear in these uncertain days? This chance meeting took place shortly before the Paris terror attack where ordinary young people at a concert, and others dining at a restaurant were targeted and murdered. The French noted the targets were anybody and everybody. Since the Paris massacre we’ve also seen 32 killed and 300 wounded by terrorist bombs in Brussels, Belgium. And not long ago ISIS has expressly announced that Canada is on their hit list.
So how do people deal with such horrific acts? And how does a person find a “safe place?

One interesting response is simply a kind of defiance. The odds of my being a victim are in fact very small so we might say, “I won’t let the terrorists win—I will live my life exactly as before.” It’s kind of like, “To hell with you, you can’t scare me.” Admirable as this may be, it certainly will not work for everyone. And of course every new terror attack makes it increasingly difficult to live like this.

I suspect the average Canadian deals with the threat by, get this—deliberately thinking of other things. Many of us probably reason that we can’t do anything about it so there’s no point in worrying about it—we might as well get on with living our lives. In some ways there’s wisdom in this approach. Of course it’s not a solution that targeted people in the Middle East like Christians or Yazidi’s can afford to adopt.

Now I don’t have a worldwide solution to stop the terrorist threat. But as a Christian I certainly do have a solution to living above the fear. Yes, it’s a spiritual solution, but it is very real.
In a passage on persecution the Bible says, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). Immediately following this command to “fear not”, we are told why we should not allow fear to control us. The first reason is simply this—we are to have a greater fear (reverence, awe, esteem) of God himself who has ultimate control over both body and soul. Ironically we are called to overcome fear of the lesser threat of dying by making sure we take care of the greater threat—we must make sure we do not die in an unprepared state.

Jesus then gives a second reason why we should not be fearful. He says that even a small sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from God’s will. And then he says, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. In essence Jesus is saying, God loves you, he cares for you, he watches over you, and nothing will happen to you outside his will. No matter what comes into your life, even death itself—it does not mean he has ceased to love and care for you.

Christians have always found freedom from fear in their lived out experience of God’s love. In a related text the apostle Paul says in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come … shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Bible teaches that Christ-followers need not fear death of any sort. And why does it make such an astounding claim? Because God promises that whoever believes and follows his Son—in the life that’s coming will spend eternity in the presence of Father and Son.

In this age of terrorism where innocents are murdered in so many parts of the world—is it really possible to live without fear? I cannot speak for unbelievers. But as one follower of Christ I can say, yes. Thank God, yes, “absolutely yes.”

Published in www.thefountainpen.com

Cultural Christianity? There’s a Better way Forward-Part 3

Have you heard about the Israeli man who applied for a restraining order against God? The unnamed petitioner at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court claimed God had, “been particularly unkind toward him.” Now he wants to bar God from messing with his life.

His action was extreme — it might even make us laugh. But lots of people who call themselves Christian actually do try and restrain God’s role in their lives. They’re okay with a little bit of God, but only a tiny slice, thank you. They practise what I call cultural Christianity.

In my last article on this theme I touched on three elements of genuine Christianity: repentance, faith in Jesus, and following him. Having explored repentance in my last column lets now look at the other two elements.

Numerous passages in the New Testament call us to believe in Jesus (John 3:16, John 6:29, 35-40, Acts: 16:31-32). But what does the Bible mean by belief? It’s not merely intellectual assent, and it’s not just believing him for material things in this life.

I believe Donald Trump exists and that he has done and said certain things. I believe statements about him, but I don’t believe in him in the sense of wanting to be under him as President (assuming I lived in the USA). Believing in Jesus goes far beyond merely believing statements about him.

Many people have a kind of faith in Jesus that is limited to needs and difficulties of this world. What do I mean? They hope he will give them peace in times of stress. They hope for rescue from danger, and they hope he will watch over their finances. And they pray about these things. I’m sure you get the picture. Now please don’t misunderstand me. Trusting in Jesus to protect and act in the burdens, losses, and uncertainties of this world is not wrong — but it is woefully incomplete.

True belief recognizes that God sent Jesus into the world on a mission — to grant eternal life to people who didn’t deserve it (you and me). He completed his mission by dying a death he did not deserve and rising from the dead. True belief is always a personal faith. I must individually embrace this great exchange: I give my guilt and sin to Jesus, and Jesus, in exchange, gives me a healed relationship with God. After this, God no longer counts my sin against me. God and I are reconciled in a face to face relationship. I am now part of the family of God.

But how can we know if we are a true Christian or merely a cultural one? This brings us to the third element of true Christianity. Genuine Christians delight to learn and know the teachings of Jesus. True Christians are sincere followers of Jesus. They take joy in striving to obey even his hard commands (loving enemies, blessing those who curse us, forgiving those who offend us, avoiding sexual immorality, lying, stealing, abusive anger etc). They seek God’s will, however imperfectly, in all their decisions and dealings with people.

Cultural Christians want to live like they have a restraining order against God. They don’t want to live under the good commands and teachings of Christ.

True Christians, on the other hand, don’t want a restraining order against God — they welcome God’s good order, and his good rule to bring blessing and flourishing into every part of their daily lives.

Cultural Christianity? There is a better way forward-Part 2

Cultural Christians deserve our pity (though they probably don’t think so) and our help. They are in the unenviable position of believing they have something spiritually genuine when in fact they have only a social veneer instead of true faith. Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame them. In many ways it’s not their fault. The vast majority have been influenced by Bible-denying, Christ-diminishing, sin-tolerating, supernatural-rejecting ministers of all types and stripes.

Professor Chad Walsh commented about this type of Christian: “It is much safer, from Satan’s point of view to vaccinate a man with a mild case of Christianity, so as to protect him from the real thing.”

But there really is a much better way forward. We can always embrace true Christianity.

The faith of a true Christian involves three issues: repentance from sin, a belief in Jesus, and following Jesus’s commands and teachings.

Jesus preached on repentance (Matt. 4:17), the apostles likewise (Acts 3; 19-20), and the early church carried it on. To repent is essentially to change your mind. It means to change your mind about Jesus himself and to change your mind about sin. A person must turn from thinking of Jesus as mere man and see him instead as Lord. We all need to quit thinking that sin is normal and natural. Rather we should view it as the breaking of God’s law and a missing of God’s best for our lives. Abusive anger, jealousy, stealing, coveting, sexual immorality of all kinds, swearing, rebellion against parents, human trafficking, and all injustice committed against our fellow man must be seen as offenses against God. We are called to admit the evil of all such actions and to have an attitude of wanting to turn away from everything that defiles soul and body. Repentance is not just an intellectual response – it always includes an element of sorrow and remorse for our misdeeds.

Why is the call to repentance so crucial? Until we see our sinful actions and thoughts as truly wrong and rebellious against God we will see no need whatsoever for a Saviour. We will see no need for him to save us from past guilt and present bondage to sin. Sadly, we all have gotten so used to sin and sinning that it appears to be a natural part of human existence – it is not. It was never part of God’s original creation. It is a kind of deadly virus that must be dealt with by God himself. He has done just that in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

What happens when ministers fail to teach the necessity of repentance? Unwitting people conclude that sin and breaking of God’s law is not a big deal. So, while they in one way or another may believe in Christ, they have no understanding Jesus calls them to live a transformed life. Previous generations of Christians were taught to change their mind about sin and turn from it as they embraced Christ. But, in many parts of the Christian church today, even among some evangelicals, this is largely a lost teaching.

The end result is that myriads of people are in the church who claim the name of Christ and yet their lives look no different from their atheist neighbour. A dramatic case in point concerns the notorious pornographer, Larry Flynt, publisher of the pornographic, Hustler magazine. Sometime in the 1970’s Flynt supposedly converted and started including Christian content in his porno magazine. No, it didn’t last long as he quickly abandoned his new found faith. But here’s my question? Why did no one ever tell him the truth about repentance? How could he ever have professed Christian conversion thinking that somehow it would make him a better pornographer? This bizarre incident could never, never have happened if he had been told that God calls us to turn from sexual immorality and to keep sex within the bonds of lawful marriage.

Today, we live in a hyper tolerant culture. A whole lot of immoral behaviour is regarded as normal and acceptable and woe betide the person who dares to say that God calls us away from sin.

Nevertheless true Christianity has no option. We must fully embrace, preaching and teaching the turning away from sin even as we call for a turning to Christ.

In part III of this series we will next turn to what it means to truly believe in Christ.

UnMuzzle Your Inner Sheep Seminar: June 18th, Kitchener: Hazelglen Alliance Church

Hearing the word ‘evangelism’ sends a shiver down the spine of many Christians. Ever had these thoughts come into your mind?

“I won’t know what to say.” “I want to get to know the person better.” “They seem like they wouldn’t be open to the Gospel.” “Evangelism is not my spiritual gift.”

At Light the Darkness Ministries (LDM) we are convinced the majority of Christians have a deep desire to witness. The problem is this—they’ve never been shown how to do it!

In response to this age old problem we’ve created the UnMuzzle Your Inner Sheep Seminar. We created this interactive half-day seminar for new and mature Christians, the introverts and the extroverts and everyone in-between.

So, what makes this seminar of ours so unique? Why would you want to come and be part of this Saturday morning seminar? The answer is simple. Because it works! People leave our seminars with a new passion for sharing their faith and with practical basic tools to help them on their journey.

Our seminar has been designed to move people forward to develop over time a lifestyle that leads to sharing faith with friends and loved ones. This seminar is so unique it will instantly open your eyes to a totally new way of witnessing and it will show you how to begin immediately.

I don’t have to tell you the church at large is shrinking in numbers and many in this country and province have had to close their doors. Now is the time to remind ourselves (once again) of The Great Commission and the part that Jesus calls all of us to play in it.

Our prayer is that you will,
1. Forward this post to 10 of your closest church friends,
2. Talk to your pastor about coming to check it out for himself, and
3. Plan on being there yourself AND bring a friend.

Our seminar costs are $30.00 couple / $20.00 single / $15.00 student.

For more information and how to register, please visit www.lightthedarkness.org

Cultural Christianity? There’s a Better Way Forward-Part I

A good many people have the idea Canada is a Christian country. And many would casually think, “Well I may not go to church, and I’m certainly not a `religious’ person, but I was baptized as a baby, I have some vague ideas about Jesus, and I do live in Canada so I suppose I must be some kind of a Christian.”

Whoa! Not so fast. Such misguided thinking is dangerous. It will cause millions of people to miss out on knowing God in this life and put them in great danger for the life to come. For cultural Christians, while possessing an outward veneer of the real thing, are missing out on the historic Christian faith.

Now you might ask, “So, what is a cultural Christian?” I would describe such a person in the following ways: 1) This person might believe their birth in a “Christian” nation qualifies them to be a Christian. 2) He/she might have been baptized as an infant-and would consider this adequate to qualify them as a Christian, 3) Such a person may occasionally darken the door of a Christian church (at Christmas, or Easter for example) and conclude this makes them a Christian, 4) This person may possess no belief in Jesus, nevertheless they self-identify as a decent, moral person. So he/she feels entitled to claim the name of Christian, 5) A person might see themselves as a “spiritual” person with a vague belief in Jesus as a good teacher, but would reject many of the teachings of the historic Christian faith. Nevertheless they might use the term, “Christian” to describe themselves.

Why is cultural Christianity so hugely dangerous? Because it is a counterfeit. It deceives many into thinking they have something when in fact they have nothing. It distorts biblical Christianity and misleads millions of people about what it means to be a true Christian.

Picture with me that you’ve made a trip to Europe where you bought yourself a pricey Rolex. You paid big money to get this watch. But unknowingly you actually bought a cheap knockoff worth only a few dollars. But here’s the problem-since you think you have the genuine article you will have no interest in buying the real thing. So it is with genuine Christianity. If a man or woman embraces a false, knock-off version of true faith they will have no interest when they are exposed to the real thing.

True Christianity involves three issues: repentance from sin, a belief in Jesus that includes a personal receiving of Jesus, and the following of Jesus’ commands and teachings.

It may help us to view a passage of Scripture that describes this experience. The contemporary version, The Message, puts it this way in John 3: 17-18:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

In Part II of this article we will explore in more detail how someone actually puts faith in Christ, and what their life might look like after that point. Eternity is going to last a very, very long time. Some issues are so momentous, so crucial-you and I simply must get it right.

Cultural Christianity may look genuine. In fact it is often the pathway most travelled. But God has provided a more certain pathway. Thank God there is a better way forward.

Published in the Guelph online paper: The Fountain Pen, April 18, 2016
www.thefountainpen.com

Finding Light in the Crisis

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

The crisis came to me in my late teens. It became the fork in the road, changing everything else in my life.

From my earliest years I remember God being important to me. Walking home from the skating rink, in my little prairie town, looking up at the star-studded, Saskatchewan night sky somehow I knew God was real. Mesmerized by his dazzling creation, I sang my own made up songs to him in my childlike way.

In my early teens I listened regularly to a radio program majoring on biblical prophecy. My mom and I sat riveted as we listened in our comfy living room. The preacher spoke about wars and horrific future events. His words were scary, but fascinating. One verse of the Bible in particular stuck in my mind. In Isaiah 59:1-2 the scripture says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

As an older teenager I became friends with a couple of other teens who had found the Light. They encouraged me to seek that same Light, but I had found other interests by this time. I thought, maybe later I’ll seek God. But first I wanted to enjoy the world, its pleasures and its sins. Yet I was floundering-bored, lonely, and purposeless. Yes, the Light was beckoning me. But I refused-I pushed God away to seek my own path.

Then came the “crisis” that would forever change my life. To an outsider it might seem insignificant, but to a confused, lonely teenager it was a crisis indeed. It came in the form of a decision. I was being pressured to work closely as a volunteer with a demanding, authoritarian person. I didn’t know what to do. I sensed the decision was very important-so I was desperate to make the right choice. Fortunately I had enough spiritual background to know I could pray. So that’s exactly what I did.

It’s odd, isn’t it, how one type of crisis can lead to another? As far as I was concerned I needed guidance. I wanted God to tell me which fork of the road to take. I just wanted a simple answer. And so on my knees in my darkened room I prayed to God for direction. But a strange thing occurred while I was praying: the Light who loved me confronted me with a much bigger crisis, and carried me to a much bigger fork in the road. God reminded me of that Bible verse I had learned years ago, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” God used that truth to let me know I had a problem far greater than trying to make the right decision. He convicted me that I had many sins separating me from him. I was overcome with sorrow and contrition for my sins. I felt my great need to have those sins removed, and I knew I needed the Light in my life. So right then, forgetting totally the lesser crisis, I confessed my sin to God, I turned away from those sins and turned my face to him. I asked Christ to forgive and clean me of guilt, to come into my life and be my Lord and Saviour.

Immediately I sensed that my life had changed. I felt as though I had been washed. I had a new sense of peace and tranquility. I even looked different to myself-the face looking back from the mirror shone with joy. The other decision I had worried about was pushed into the background, and would be dealt with in a few days. But for now my new relationship with God was everything.

Shortly afterwards I found a community in a local church that embraced me, loved me and supported me in my new found walk with God. As I grew in my walk with the Light, little by little I found new purpose and new meaning. I also found answers to the why’s and how’s for a host of difficulties that life throws at us.

I found the Light when I was just a young man. Or perhaps I should say the Light found me. At this stage I have travelled many miles down the road less travelled with Jesus Christ. He is Light of the world-he has been my guide, my companion, the one who rescued and rescues me from sin. It has been a rich, rich journey. I have no regrets. No regrets of any kind.

published in www.thefountainpen.com April 10, 2016

Royal Hamel is ordained with the Alliance Church of Canada.
He is the author of, Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep, a freelance journalist and past president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Guelph.
Contact him at watchman2003@sympatico.ca

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