Thoughts for 2021

A Thought or Two: November 14

Philip Yancey tells the story of a Parliamentarian in Paris many years ago who became disillusioned with the slow pace of government to help the poor living on the streets in the midst of an unusually harsh winter. He gave up politics and became a Friar to work among the poor and organize them to help themselves. They scoured the city for bottles, obtained a vacant warehouse, and began selling the bottles. The effort caught on, and in a few years the charity was named Emmaus.

Eventually there were few beggars in Paris. So Pierre went to India, reasoning ‘if I don’t find people worse off than my beggars, this movement will tum inward. They will become a powerful, rich organization, and the whole spiritual impact will be lost. They will have no one to serve.’

At the leprosy colony in India, Pierre found people worse off than the Paris Beggars. He returned to Paris and mobilized the Paris beggars to build a leprosy ward in India. “It is you who saved us,” he told the grateful patients. Thoughts to ponder, are they not?

What was it Jesus said? ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.’   (Mark 10: 45; Luke 9:23-25)

Blessings to you and yours this week.

Pastor Leon

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October 24: A Thought or Two

In the summer of 1963, after an all-night bus ride, civil rights activist Fanny Lou Hamer and six other black passengers stopped to eat at a diner in Winona, Mississippi. A local State Trooper arrived, forced them to leave, arrested them, and carted them off to jail. Arriving at the jail, they were severely beaten. Fanny burst into song: ” Paul and Silas were abound in jail, let my people go.” Other prisoners soon joined in.

Most of us will not face such dire situations. But each of us will at times encounter uncomfortable situations. When that happens, just remember our strength comes from our faithful God. May there always be a song in our hearts that honours the Lord and He will give the words to speak for Him in the midst of all challenging situations.

Blessings to you and yours this week.

Pastor Leon

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October 17: A Thought or Two

At the beginning of World War 2 aerial bombings flattened much of Warsaw, Poland. Cement blocks were strewn all over the place and glass shattered to dust. In the center of the city however, one building stubbornly stood. It was the Polish headquarters for the Polish Bible Society. Still surviving on the front wall and clearly readable were these words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away.” That is a quote of our Lord from Matthew 24:35. Those words give us confidence in this time of uncertainly as well.

The Psalmist also affirms: “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens, Your faithfulness continues through all generations”(Ps. 119:89-90).

As we face uncertain times we can define them either in terms of despair or of hope. Because God will never abandon us to our circumstances, we can confidently choose hope. His constant love for us assures our future is secure.

Blessings to you and yours this week.

Pastor Leon

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September 19: A Thought or Two

Someone said to me the other day that the past months during this pandemic was about like being forced to take a boat ride through some “white water rapids,” with no lifejackets. But to be truthful, the song writer was more accurate, with lyrics to the song: “I never promised you a Rose Garden.” There are challenges all through life—times of transition, college to career, changing jobs, and loses, up to and including a loved one. There were certainly some “white-knuckle rapid” experiences.

One such stressful transition was recorded in the Old Testament when Solomon assumed the throne from his father David. He must have been scared out of his boots to follow King David. But King David gave him the best advice for any transition, wanted or not, rough or smooth: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work…For the Lord God, my God, is with you.”

We all have our fair share of tough transitions in life. But with God in our boat we are not alone. As we keep our eyes on the Lord, He will give us never ending joy and security. He has taken many through before us, and there will be many more after us.

Blessings to you and yours this week.

Pastor Leon

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September 12: A Thought or Two

We are living in an increasingly anti-Christian world. I saw an Anti-God bumper sticker some time ago and I was  angry. Then I thought to myself: “Jesus was never angry about the rejections He suffered during His earthly ministry. Who am I to take offence?

On one occasion, when a village refused hospitality to the Lord, James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven to destroy them (Luke9:54). Jesus didn’t want that, and He rebuked them(verse 55). Indeed, Jesus told the disciples in John 3:17 “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

I guess the bottom line is to understand that God does not need us to defend Him. He wants us to represent Him. That takes a life time of work, restraint, and love. When we are confronted with hate, may we respond with prayer as our blessed Lord did: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do(Luke 23:34).

Blessings to you and yours this week

Pastor Leon

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September 5: A Thought or Two

The Poet Samuel Foss wrote: “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” Is that not what we need in this old world of ours, at this time? People who desire to be friendly, and if possible, enter into relationship with others and be a true friend. Many people are living crowded lives, cluttered lives, and rushed lives. Going where? They do not know.

Melchizedek, both a king of Salem and a priest, blessed Abram when he was returning weary from battle(Gen. 14). A blessing is more than a polite response to a we bless others when we bring them to the One who is the blessing. Melchizedek blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High Creator of heaven and earth “(v. 19). May the Lord give each of us insight of how we may be blessings to others leading them to the blessing of knowing the Lord.

Blessings to you and yours this week

Pastor Leon

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March 7: A Thought or Two

The little girl moved joyfully, and gracefully, down the aisle of the church, dancing to the pre-service organ music. The congregation smiled, and her mother looked mortified. The little girl danced up to her mom and said, “come on mom, it’s ok.” But the young mother stayed glued to her seat. She was too embarrassed to ‘step out’ in that special moment for fear of what some would think.

A wise old man ‘stooped over with age’ seemed to read the little girl’s disappointment. He raised himself from his seat, hung his cane on the pew, and took the little girls hand as she led him down the aisle to the front of the church, patiently tutoring her elderly student on his timing.

As the minister walked up to the pulpit he too joined in the special moment. When the music stopped the congregation was seated, after standing in applause of the spontaneous serenade. The minister, quite moved by the scene, said: “Now I understand more clearly what Jesus really meant when he said: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.(Mark 10:14).

A scene to ponder is it not? I wonder if we too sometimes miss the joy?

Blessings to you and yours

Pastor Leon

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February 28: A Thought or Two

Recently I was speaking with a friend and he shared with me that he was a nervous wreck and he spent most of his time worrying. He is in good health and he is showing good sense in obeying the government directives for living during the present pandemic.

I said to him: “You are being cautious at this time, what’s the problem? You are a born again Christian, don’t you think God can take care of you?”

“Well I suppose so.” he replied rather unconvincingly.

The Lord knows our tendency to worry. He tells us to come to Him first, trust His presence and provision, moment by moment, day by day, as we live by faith. As we face what may seem overwhelming troubles and uncertainty, we may bend a little under the load, but when we think of our blessed Saviour, the storms will surely become manageable. He will calm them as we go forth in faith, one day at a time, our hands firmly clasped in His. (Matthew 6:24-34)

Blessings to you and yours

Pastor Leon

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February 7: A Thought or Two

St. Paul advises us in Philippians “be anxious for nothing, but…let your requests be known to God.” The results? “the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts though Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But we all have to admit that our natural response to the cares of life are anxious thoughts. Some of us spend sleepless nights dealing with anxious thoughts. And we toss and turn the night away. The bible tells us to give them over to the Lord: “Cast all your burdens on Him, for He cares for you”

(l Peter 5:7). Friends, let us remember that the way to forget our worries is to concentrate on the goodness and loving care of God, not on the problems that trouble us. When we do this we will be able to shout with the psalmist, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul”(Psalm 94:19).

Blessings to you and yours

Pastor Leon

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January 31: A Thought or Two

Back in the 1920’s, a young orphan girl in New York City was placed on an “Orphan Train” and shipped to a small town in the Midwest. Although most of the families loved these children, many of the neighbours looked at them as tainted and unworthy.

One lady in her senior years recounted a painful experience she had as one of those children. She was playing with the neighbours 9 years old daughter when the girl’s mother stepped out on the veranda and shouted to her daughter: “Mary come into the house! I told you to have nothing to do with that scum!”  As the elderly lady shared this memory with her pastor, tears streamed down her cheeks, revealing the remaining hurt still haunts.

St. Peter describes how we ought to view all others in 1 Peter 2:17: “…honour all people…”. We do this by recognizing that each human life is a creation of God and is highly valued by God (Genesis l:27; 9:6). As we live each day, may we reflect on God’s great love for us, and honour all we meet through the day.

Blessings to you and yours            

Pastor Leon