November 22, 2021

It's Time to Recover All 

by Erin Wilson


We never ask to be thrust into a season of war… it usually sneaks up upon us when we least expect. The first explosion shocks us and shakes us to the core, but the ongoing ripples of battle can send us reeling as intensely as the initial strike we experienced. It was only a few weeks ago that I was nervously surveying the post-war landscape of my life. The grenades and explosions of 2020, coupled with the aftershocks of 2021, had taken their toll on my heart, mind, and body, finances, health and relationships. Taking inventory of the damage, I wasn’t sure what kind of future I would be walking into and how I would manage it. I tried to visualize myself moving forward in life, a little more broken, with a newly acquired health condition, ongoing depression and anxiety, splintered relationships, and undermined confidence. “It’ll be ok,” I heard myself say, “I can handle a bit of brokenness in my body, mind and soul, so long as it’s not complete devastation. I can get by with a little more anxiety… a little more depression. I can handle small problems in my body so long as they don’t turn into bigger ones.” I thought myself a hero for rallying myself in that moment, doing the right thing by motivating myself to cut my losses and limp along.  Yes indeed, a hero, until moments later, when the interjecting, thundering voice of the Lord came, piercing my thoughts as He asked me: “Erin, WHY ARE YOU NEGOTIATING WITH A TERRORIST?” Had I heard right? Had I just been rebuked by God? “Why are you negotiating with a terrorist??”, He asked once again. “Erin, you are willing to give up ground that I’ve never asked you to give. This is not your season to limp forward; this is your season to RECOVER ALL.” Recover all? I wasn’t sure where in Scripture I had heard that before, but as I searched, the Lord led me to read the account of David in 1 Samuel 30. In this passage, we learn that David had just returned with his men after a season of warring victories, back to Ziklag, the place they were living with their families. When they arrived home, what they discovered waiting for them was absolutely devastating. Their homes had been destroyed, and their women, children and possessions had been carried away by the enemy. The landscape of their lives was in absolute ruins, and their grief insurmountable. The Bible says they “wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. Their losses were incalculable. To make matters worse, the men blamed David for all of this and considered stoning him. In this moment of total devastation, David, the man after God's heart, did two things: first, he strengthened (encouraged) himself in the Lord, and second, he inquired of the Lord for what he should do next. The strategy of the Lord was clear:  "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail, recover all. What happened next was exactly as the Lord had declared. David took his men, pursued, overtook his enemies, and he RECOVERED ALL. In the end, nothing was lacking and nothing was missing… in fact, David acquired additional spoils for his trouble. As I read this account of David only weeks ago, I felt the strong unction of the Holy Spirit, that the season of trouble we have been in is giving way to a season of full recovery and of spoils. As long as I would STOP NEGOTIATING with loss, depression, fear, calamity, sickness, division and strife, I could actually position myself to hear the strategy of the Lord for FULL recovery and breakthrough. The first thing God showed me to do was to write a “RECOVER ALL” list. I wrote down every last sliver of loss I had experienced in this past season, and held it out it before the Lord, with my heart realigned to His expectation of healing, breakthrough and recovery. The second thing I felt the Lord say was to move this into a corporate experience. Our church has since created a “Recover All Wall” filled with taped up sheets of paper written by families outlining every loss they are believing to be recovered. As we pray for one another, and seek the Lord for strategies to recover all, the “Recover All Wall” will soon become a wall of testimony and breakthrough, prophesying to every future problem of the Lord's goodness and power. Finally, I have sought to do as David did during this season, and strengthen myself in the Lord. For me, this means a consistent reciting of the testimonies of my history with the Lord. I recount to myself—sometimes daily—the miracles He has performed throughout my life with Him. When I run out of my own testimonies, I have been actively seeking out other people’s testimonies of breakthrough and healing to help fuel my faith.  Often, I will begin my day with a simple declaration of faith: "Today Lord, we will recover all!"  The spoil I am believing for and actively pursuing in this season is the salvation of my friends and neighbours, the impartation of greater faith for miracles, and boldness in sharing the gospel. In only a matter of a few short weeks, I already have a list of testimonies growing—ways the Lord is “recovering all” in my life.  Some are sudden sovereign interventions, and some are slowly evolving miracles as I walk forward in faith and perseverance. Each is a story of His faithfulness and every individual breakthrough becomes a corporate victory and testimony.  As we leave the war zone and fix our eyes on the horizon of His promises, may we have greater and greater faith that the spoils and recoveries of this next season will far outshine and outweigh every loss and hurt we are leaving behind, and that this truly is our season to recover all.




November 9, 2021

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GODby Randall Heier


One of the most profound prayers in the New Testament is found in Paul's letter to the Ephesian church.

"Ephesians 1:16-19 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

Paul prays that the Ephesians would be given a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that being Jesus. I can't help but think that the church needs a fresh revelation in the knowledge of Jesus.

In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer famously states, "What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Tozer continues on a couple of paragraphs later and says, "Always the most revealing thing about the church is her view of God. For this reason, the gravest question before the church is what do we conceive in our heart, God to be like."

I often think we pray weak prayers, lack honest real confession and worship half-heartedly because we don't have a high enough view of the God we worship. 

I love Exodus 34, where God meets with Moses up on the mountain in the cloud. There God declares the "name of the Lord" to Moses. Essentially God is declaring his character and nature to Moses before they renew the covenant together. God declares himself to be Yahweh, the God who is "I AM," meaning the God who was and is and is to come. John Calvin states in his institutes that Yahweh refers to "He who is alone." Our God "is alone," there is no one like him, he is incomparable. The creatures in Revelation four declare Holy Holy Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, the one who was and is and is to come. 

God continues to declare who he is to Moses. "Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

I love Moses' response when God is finished speaking. He QUICKLY gets on his knees, bows his head low to the ground and worships.

The only correct response to encountering and receiving the revelation of who God is is to respond in awestruck worship.

Today I pray Paul's prayer for the Ephesians church that you would receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HIM.




October 29, 2021

One Inch At a Time

by Tim Mark


Mark 4:3-8
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” 

Psalm 1:1-3
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers.

In the early days of my business, sometimes there would be a total of 5 customers walk through the front door in a whole day. I would wonder how we would ever grow enough to become financially sustainable. At the end of some months, I realized that I could have made more money if I worked at McDonald’s. Still I was happy to be where I was. It felt right. But something needed to change, and change quick. 

Well, nothing changed quick. But it did change. Little by little. One inch at a time. I realized the value of small steps. Not just small steps, but continual and consistent small steps. It looked like one little addition to the website. One little update to a product label. One new pricing update. One new video. One new way of displaying product. One new product variation. The list is a mile long. But added together, the small changes led to small growth which, compounded by time, led to big changes and fairly big growth. Instead of 5 customers in a day, it would not be too abnormal now to have 5 sales within 5 minutes at some points. 

This is how we are instructed to live out our faith… as a tree growing one inch at a time. Sometimes we’d just like to blossom quickly to fullness of success in so many areas of our lives. But Jesus tells us that the one’s who bore fruit 30, 60 and 100 fold were not the ones who sprang up quickly. But the ones with roots. The ones with history and time in their story. Slow growth. 

The greatest success is not seen in a snapshot. The greatest success is seen over a lifetime. 

—————

It’s kind of embarrassing but the best thing I ever did for my walk with God was to commit to pray a lowly 2 minutes a day. I decided to pray 1 minute in the morning and 1 minute at night. I had loved God for many years, serving in the church, praying regularly (but mostly irregularly), worshipping, giving etc. But true transformation in my heart was missing. Some weeks I would go without any personal time with God. So I committed to pray 2 minutes a day and slowly increase my morning and evening prayer time by 1 minute each week. This was something I knew I could accomplish. I was ready for small steps. 

Over the next months, my heart came alive. I got into a regular pattern of small changes. After a month, I was up to 6 minutes of prayer in the morning and 6 minutes of prayer at night. After 3 months I was at 15 and 15, which worked out to 3.5 hours a
week of devoted time with God. I was blown away at how easily that had happened. After 6-7 months, I was praying over an hour a day!! I never imagined I could do that. So much changed over that year. The business grew and grew. My prayer life developed. I could feel the smile of God in my heart. 

—————-

An oak tree grows about two inches a month, depending on its stage of life. It’s so minor and slow that it would be boring to watch it grow. But in 10, 20, 30, 50 years, the change is so profound, it gives joy to all its surroundings. 

Let’s not grow weary in well doing, cause in due season the harvest will come. But I encourage all of us to take one small step today and one small step tomorrow and one small step next week as well. And let’s see what God can do with our little steps and our little faith.




October 11, 2021

Thankfulness
by Joe Sinanan


Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name - Psalm 100:4

It was Thanksgiving in Canada this past weekend and it has traditionally been a time to recognize the blessings we have received from God and is an opportunity to give thanks for all that he's done.  Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, we still have much to be thankful for.  Even if things were much worse, we would still have endless room to be thankful because our grafefulness is not based on our circumstances but based on who God is and His promises which never fail us.

Thankfulness requires us to be humble and recognize that it is not us but God who makes all things work together for good.  It's our humility and contrite heart that draws His presence into our lives.  In contrast a grumbling and complaining heart is full of pride and entitlement and we know from His word (James 4:5, I Peter 5:5) that the Lord resists the proud.

Psalms 100:4 provides some insight into the power of thankfulness.  In this scripture it is coupled with praise and in fact precedes praise indicating that it is a prerequisite to praising and worshipping God.  It is our attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness that positions our hearts to praise God in the way that he deserves.  He deserves all the praise...not some, not a portion, but all of it.  If we attribute even just some of our life's success and blessings to ourselves or to others and place them ahead of God, then are we really giving Him all the praise, worship and honour that he's worthy of?

Thankfulness also opens the door to worship the Lord in every area of our lives.  When we are thankful it is so much easier to worship with our finances, our words, our actions towards others etc.  We become more generous because we recognize that it's God from whom all our blessings come from.  Thankfulness also elicits joy in our hearts and releases us from worry and anxiety as it literally changes the chemicals in our brains and reroutes our neural pathways away from negative thought patterns.

In understanding these things, my heart's desire is to give God a pure and whole offering of worship.  This leads me to posture my heart towards the Lord in humility as I choose to lay down any thought of being self-made and notion of entitlement.  No matter how difficult and crazy the world becomes, I choose to walk in the knowledge that I am alive and blessed only by the grace of God.  He is the very breath that I breathe.  And so the incense of my worship is forever mingled with thankfulness.



August 27, 2021

His Presence my Priority: Waiting on the Lord
by Erin Wilson

Isaiah 55:12 “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

The worst decisions I’ve ever made in life have not necessarily been wrong decisions, but rather, they have been wrongly made decisions.  They have been impatient decisions.  They have been hasty decisions.  They have been decisions I made when I prioritized the seeming urgency of the moment above the sometimes-slow clarity of the Holy Spirit.   It’s always the same loud racket and noise that assaults my heart and mind and pushes me to react to the situation rather than respond to His leading.  I hear alarming chatter like “you don’t have time to wait” and “you’re going to miss out” and “you’ll never get this chance again” and “bad things could happen if you don’t hurry!”  I worry about missing out.  I worry about lost opportunity.  I worry about disappointing people.  I justify the rush.  I ignore the disquiet building inside of me.   I press “play” instead of pressing “pause,” and suddenly I wonder where all my peace has gone. 

Living from the Presence of the Lord IS to live in a place of peace.  This is normal life for a believer.  When I am anchored to the reality of His Kingship and His Goodness, there is nothing and will be nothing to come that can phase me.   Jesus holds my past, my present and my tomorrow.  All the plans He has for me are for good and not for calamity—to give me a hope and a future.  All things work together for my good.   He my shield, my strength, my rock and my defender.  He is my light and my salvation.  My help is in the maker of Heaven and earth.   And… He’s not in a hurry.  He’s never anxious and He’s never rushed.  When the rulers of this earth rage and scheme, He simply laughs.  He is completely confident in His Lordship, in His timing and completely confident in His unfailing love for me.  There is no situation in my life that He lacks an answer for.  There is no problem I face where He lacks a solution or answer.  It’s not because He knows the answer… it’s because He IS the answer.  When I live prioritizing continual connection with Him, I become the tree planted by the rivers of living water—fruitful in every season, never dry or lacking, always blessed and always prospering (Psalm 1:3). I feed from Him continually and He becomes the source of all my wisdom and understanding.

So what does this mean in the moments when I have difficult choices to make?  When the situations around me feel like emergencies demanding my urgency?  It means I live according to a plumb line of peace, and therefore I do not yield to panicked or frantic decision making.    I’m led… not driven. Because connection with the Lord is my priority and I live anchored in His Presence, If I don’t have His peace—I don’t “pass go.”  I wait.  I don’t stew and stress to find the right path—He is my path.  I don’t freak out because it’s dark and difficult to see—He is my light.  I don’t google myself down a million rabbit holes—I climb onto His lap, and I wait.  I wait for Him to either move the situation, or I wait for Him to move me.  I surrender my busy heart and my striving—and my need to understand everything.  I worship.  I read His word.  I remember what He’s done before.  I listen.  And I wait.  Sometimes I watch with Him as opportunities and relationships slip past me—missed moments I thought were so important, but He knew better.  I wave goodbye and grip His hand a little tighter—He is my opportunity, my open door.  Waiting for His peace makes the new possibilities He opens up for me all the sweeter—He never runs out of doors.  Sometimes as I wait on His lap, I watch as the landscape and lighting around me changes—as He adjusts people and situations with His gracious hand—and all of a sudden those things that felt so confusing not that long ago, become crystal clear and my waiting makes sense.  I never needed to fret—He knew what He was doing all along.  And then there are some times it looks dark and stays dark for a very long time—even on His lap—but I will not venture off to find a quick fix “light” to explain away my pain—He IS the trustworthy lamp and His eyes still see when mine do not.   

Isaiah 55:12 is one the banner verses of my life: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  I know the leading of the Lord because it resounds with His peace, it leads me into joy (even when it’s hard), and it carries confirmation within it from the people around me I trust the most.  The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I understand how crucial it is to stay rooted to His Presence and to remain in His peace.  Compromising peace in order to satisfy a hasty decision has always led to regret.  But waiting on Him—is always the key. 


July 18, 2021

Our History Changes History
by Tim Mark

An angel appeared and spoke to Cornelius, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now…” (Acts 10:4) 

  • An angel appears to Cornelius. 
  • A vision appears to Peter. 
  • The course of church history is setup for a shift. 
  • Both supernatural encounters lead to a divine collision of people from different worlds. 
  • The outcome… the Spirit of God is poured out on a whole new sect of society and the church is forever changed. (Acts 10)

This was the beginning of salvation and the baptism of the Spirit being poured out among all nations. Even when the Jewish believers heard the whole story, “they had no further objections and praised God, saying ‘even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:18)

But how did this begin? It began with a devout seeker who prayed to God and gave gifts to the poor. It began with a single person devoting them-self in prayer to God and in generosity to those in need. 

An angel appeared and spoke to Cornelius, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now…” (Acts 10:4) 

In other words, God has seen your history of praying/seeking/gazing/burning and has remembered your selfless love. Your history has become a permanent memorial of faith and love before God. And it is now moving God’s heart and hand. 

One man’s personal history in God made a difference. God saw him. His family and household were the first ones outside of the “local church” as they knew it, to receive the gift of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Our times seeking God and praising Him, are not forgotten. They are not meaningless. The times of not seeing immediate results are not without reward. Our gifts to the poor and our moments of surrender are the setup for a God intervention. They are going up before God as a memorial. God is remembering the times we have turned to Him, the times we have sung, the times we have cried.

He sees every personal moment. He hears every Burn set with 3 people or 300 people. 

Our history in God is changing history. 


July 3, 2021

A Time To Sing
by Joe Sinanan

You likely know the story of Paul and Silas praying and worshiping God while they were in chains after being put in prison (Acts 16).  The place was shaken, their chains fell off and prison doors flew open.  This led to the jailer and his entire family being saved and baptized.  But we may forget the context of the situation and the series of events that led to them being incarcerated.  

Paul and Silas were on a missionary journey, travelling throughout the region preaching the gospel.  They encountered a demon possessed slave girl who had the power to tell the future. She followed them around for days proclaiming that they were servants of the Most High God and had come to tell the people how to be saved.  At first glance, this doesn't sound like it would be something bad, but the Bible describes Paul as being so exasperated (New Living Translation) by the situation that he cast the demon out of the girl.  Perhaps the demon was saying these things in a mocking manner...we don't know.  But what we do see is that Paul got to the point where he had enough and cast the demon out of the slave girl.  It was only at this point that trouble started for Paul and Silas.  No one kicked up a fuss about them preaching the gospel and getting people saved, but when the masters of the slave girl saw they could no longer make money from her fortune telling, they dragged Paul and Silas before the city council who had them beaten and thrown into prison.

How many times have we found ourselves doing good and walking out the call that God has placed on our lives, to all of a sudden be blindsided by a situation intended by the enemy for our demise.  When our adversary cannot attack us directly for sharing the gospel, doing good, or simply walking out our calling, he will use some other tactic to try and prevent the Kingdom of God from being extended in and through us.

In times like these, it can be easy to start questioning why we were ever doing what we felt called to do, or to blame others for the suffering we find ourselves in.  It can lead us to questioning God and ask how He could allow these things to happen.  After all, if we were doing what He called us to do, so should we not expect to experience complete victory?  

Just imagine one day walking in complete victory like Paul and Silas.  They were anointed and called to preach the good news.  They were seeing the sick healed, demoniacs delivered and people saved.  Then suddenly they find themselves badly beaten, wounded, hurting, imprisoned and chained, not knowing what their fate would be.  You may be called to work in a certain field or operate a business.  You may experience success in the work place and prosper in everything you put your hands to.  Then suddenly, you may find yourself in a set of challenging circumstances - out of a job, dealing with sickness or injury, abandoned, rejected or marginalized.  It would be easy to spiral down the dark hole of despair in those moments.  

But in spite of everything Paul and Silas endured, the mistreatment and injustice of their situation, they chose to worship and cry out to God in prayer.  At this point they let go of any entitlement or right they may have felt to receive God's blessing and favour and simply started to sing praises to God Almighty who they believed to be sovereign and in control and worthy or their worship.  What follows is a revival in the jailhouse.  Though the Bible only provides a record of the jailer and his family being saved, we know that the other prisoners were impacted by Paul and Silas' miraculous deliverance as the chains on every prisoner fell off (verse 26).
When we choose to worship in spite of difficult situations, the victory not only comes to us but extends to all those around us.  As we gather with the intention to worship over our city and region, we do so in faith, knowing that chains are being broken off multitudes and that the spirit of revival is being sown in our land.  It's time to sing!



June 10, 2021

He Reigns

by Melanie De Siqueira


You know the phrase "When it rains, it pours"? I've always wondered if that was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as we can begin to expect trouble to be added to us when we are facing hits that come in various forms. Recently we have had several trips to the ER in our family for broken bones and various issues, and I noticed in myself a common thought process of, "Here we go again..." 

I felt an invitation from the Lord to arrest the thoughts that would leave me resigned to a belief that we have to grin and bear it, or even become triggered because of past trauma in this area of physical health and well-being. He has been taking me on a journey of finding Him in the midst of pain, and in doing so encountering joy while we walk out our healing.  I have been able to lay down expectations of doom and break agreement with a spirit of foreboding.  Instead of fearing when the hurts come, I have been experiencing incredible peace that no matter what, He is right here walking with me hand in hand. He's got us. And He's got YOU. There is nothing that can take you out, when you realize He is holding you. There is nothing too great, even in pain, that we cannot endure, and overcome. And in the healing process comes strength, and increase, and beauty for ashes.....everything we are promised in the Word of God we get to have as we embrace Him through it all.


So how about instead of declaring "When it rains it pours...." we can finish that thought with "...but when it pours, HE REIGNS." And we can trust in our good King Jesus to see us through every moment, giving us grace for today; and bright hope for tomorrow!


I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty. - (Phil. 4:11-13 TPT)



May 26, 2021

What Do You Expect
By Joe Sinanan

Living in expectation of God's blessing and favour is something we know we should do as believers.  However it is something we have to fight for in these days we find ourselves living in, especially in Canada.  With continued shut downs, being isolated from friends and family, not being able to attend church and for many dealing with job losses and more, it can be easy to give into despair.

In the face of hard circumstances, it's important to remember who we are...or rather who God says we are.  When we see, understand and accept the promises laid out in God's word, it gives us focus and creates a resolve in our hearts to persevere because we know there is something good for us at the end of our perseverance.

Romans 5:3-5 says "...Even in times of trouble we have joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance.  And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us." (TPT)

As disciples of Jesus we have the option to face trouble with joyful confidence because we know that the journey leads us into a deeper experience of God's endless love.  And it's not just His love but it's Him.  We can actually experience more of Him through the difficulty, hardship and heartache.

Notice there's no promise of resolution to the trouble we will face.  In fact there's nowhere in the Bible that we are promised relief or insulation from all trouble while we are on the earth.  But we are given the opportunity to be filled with power, love and a sound mind, to step into the role of being an overcomer, to walk by faith and not by sight.  And as we do so, God's blessing and favour comes to us in many different ways.  His goodness and mercy will follow us as we sit at the table He has prepared for us and cultivate fellowship and relationship with Him.  So even though we are walking through a valley and even in trouble and in the presence of our enemies, we can experience blessing.

With this knowledge of who God is and who He says we are, we can live the with expectation of blessing.  Whether we're on the mountain top or in the valley, in every season of life, our focus can be steadfast with our gaze fixed on Jesus.  

This is what we endeavour to do every time we gather at the Burn to worship and pray.  We face our personal, national and even global circumstances with joyful expectation that God is moving and His kingdom is being expanded in our lives and on the earth.



May 16, 2021

TRUST
By Nola Sinanan

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5

What does it really mean to trust in the Lord?

I trust Him to lead me, to guide me, to direct me.  I trust that He will fulfill His promises laid out in His word.  I trust that He is who He says He is.   But what happens when that trust is put to the test?  What do I do when I go through trials and tribulations?  What happens to trust when circumstances seem to reveal the opposite of what I believe?  What will my response be?

Our God is not a distant God.  He is ever near and ever close, even when we don’t feel His presence.  He is a God who wants relationship and intimacy with us.  It’s easy to “trust” in the Lord when things are going well and we’re having mountaintop experiences.  When I was younger, I used to believe that the Christian life was meant to be easy, that being an overcomer meant that life was grand, and everything went well.  But God does not promise that.  In fact, Jesus said the exact opposite.  In John 16:33 Jesus said, “And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me.  For in this unbelieving world, you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”

Have you ever noticed that in human relationships, when we experience hardships together, if we allow it to, it is the greatest opportunity to bring us closer and deepen our relationship?  And so too it is with God.  I think we discover our true level of trust when we are confronted with difficult experiences, things that seem beyond our finite ability to comprehend.  When we experience chronic pain and illness without being fully healed.  When we suddenly lose a loved one too soon and don’t understand why the Lord didn’t intervene.  When one experiences infertility or miscarriage.  When we experience mental illness, either ourselves or with those close to us.  When our relationships fracture and fall apart.  When we lose our business or our job and are unable to find another.  When we hear of those who have experienced the unspeakable.  When our world is seemingly going crazy in all sorts of different ways.  There are so many things we see and experience here on earth that do not make sense to us with our limited understanding, that can challenge our faith and our beliefs.  And therein lies our opportunity to examine our hearts and our beliefs, to ask the Lord the deep questions in our hearts and to allow Him to take us on a journey into deeper relationship with Him, into a place of deeper trust.  This is not an easy journey.  It is not necessarily a natural response.  In some of the most difficult experiences of my life, I have found it easier to harden my heart, to put up walls and insulate my heart from feeling the sting of pain, doubt and confusion.  But I have found that if we choose to do the hard work of keeping our hearts soft, of going to Jesus with our hurt and confusion, He reveals Himself in new ways to the deep places of our hearts.  If we choose to lift our eyes up, to lift our gaze higher and focus on Him, to look into the depths of His eyes of fire, to feel the intensity of His love for us, we can gain His perspective and retain His peace that passes understanding.

It is important to understand that the Lord may not give us the answers we’re looking for.  Job experienced all sorts of loss, heartache and grief, and he asked the question, “Why?”  Do you realize that after Job’s friends made all their foolish attempts to answer his questions, when the Lord finally spoke to him in Job 38-39, He was silent on the question of why.  He simply reminded Job of how limited Job’s understanding was and of who God is - of His greatness, His creativity, His power, His might, of how infinite He is.  I believe the Lord wants us to ask our questions.  That’s part of a loving relationship.  But when He does not give us the answers we’re seeking, it’s important to remember who God is and who we’re not.  Give Him the honour, the respect, the awe and wonder that He deserves.  We are to fear the Lord.  My challenge to us all is to trust Him, especially when we don’t understand.  When we don’t understand, do we still trust His heart?

“I lift my eyes up, to the mountains
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, Creator of the earth

Oh how I need you Lord
You are my only hope
You're my only prayer

So I will wait for you
to come and rescue me
Come and give me life”
-Brian Doerksen, I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121)

April 30, 2021

FIRE ALWAYS FALLS ON SACRIFICE
Joe Sinanan

Lately I've been thinking of the way God responds when we step out in faith and take a risk.  When we do something that is not safe or comfortable or simply engage in kingdom activity that is not convenient, God always shows up.

This has been my experience, whether it's been on a mission trip to a war torn county like Iraq or praying for healing for a stranger in India or doing street ministry in Calgary.  God has always shown up in the greatest measure when I am sacrificing my time, my finances, my energy for the sake of His kingdom.  I've seen this principle at work not only in my life but in many others as well.

This is also true with doing the Burn in Calgary.  For ten years my wife and I and our team have laboured to create a landing strip for the presence of God to come be enthroned on the worship of his unified church.  Even though it is a sacrifice that has cost us time, money and a lot of energy, we and our team happily do it because we love God and we love our city.

I do not share this to be boastful or to pat ourselves on the back but rather to invite you all to come join us in offering a sacrifice of praise, worship and prayer at the Burn.  Though it may not always be convenient to come out on a Friday night after a long week, it is well worth the sacrifice to see the Lord move in our city and nation. 

1 Chronicles 21:24
But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

David understood the principle of costly sacrifice and that God is honoured when our actions for him is not from a place of convenience or comfort.  We can certainly worship anywhere at anytime and the Holy Spirit will show up.  But he shows up in a much greater measure when there is a sacrifice of time and effort to come together as one.

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