Thy will be done. 

Growing up in Toronto, I enjoyed going to Centre Island and playing in the garden maze. Although I visited many times, it always had unsuspected surprises. While in the maze, I could see a short distance before me, but I did not know what was around the corner or two rows over. Imagine searching for the exit door through a giant, life-size maze. During the walk, you can see only the passageway directly in front of or behind you, and you have no real clue how your current position relates to the overall goal of getting out of the maze. We think we know what is around the corner, and on a hunch, we may make a run for what we believe is the way out, but ultimately, our understanding of the situation is only a guess, given our limited perspective. 
 
Contrast that with God, who has a bird’s-eye view of the entire maze, seeing the beginning and the endpoints. Because of this, if we let God lead us through the puzzle, He may take us around twists and turns that we might think are needless or even in the wrong direction. But they would be the steps needed to reach the goal. God looks at things in the light of eternity, whereas our outlook focuses on the here and now.
 
When Jesus taught us to pray, He said pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we pray according to God’s will, we surrender our concerns and seek God’s wants. We are affirming that God’s in control. When we pray “thy will be done,” we’re telling God we’re glad He’s in control, not us. Praying under God’s will means surrendering ourselves to God. It does not mean we are indifferent to our prayers, but it implies we care about our prayers and trust God enough to release them to Him. When we pray, “thy will be done,” we repeat what the psalmist shared in Psalm 40:8, “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” 
 
God uses prayer to change us. So, when we pray “thy will be done,” we’re exchanging our will for his, turning our needs and wants to God for him to deal with. Continue to ask God for anything, but do so with an attitude of meaning, “thy will be done”. 

Lost. 

“And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; Joseph and his mother knew nothing of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the Temple.”—Luke 2:43-46.  

Luke shares how Jesus purposely stayed behind in Jerusalem, allowing those who had been with Him to go on without him. Who has not felt a similar experience in their spiritual life? Jesus seemingly withdrew right during prayer or passing by when we thought He would remain. At times, we may be overcome by a strange feeling as if he were going to leave us. What does it all mean? The issue question is whether we realize He has left and whether we want to pursue Him. 

Luke suggests Joseph and Mary were so busy buying and selling and getting ready for travel that their eyes got off Jesus, and they drifted apart. Many have done just the same since. They have drifted from Jesus. They never intended it to happen, but they became so absorbed that it did. In some of these cases, there was no flagrant sin, but while attending to a business or occupation that was legitimate and proper, they gradually let go of Christ. They were busy buying and selling, caring for the children, attending to the spouse, and running around. There were hours of laughing and talking, days consumed in entertaining others, and contact with many people distracted and diverted their minds so that one night, after going to bed, they realized there was no Christ in their hearts. They were elbowed out of the divine companionship of Jesus by the busyness of the world around them. 

Christ does not have a fluctuating love, nor is erratic in His treatment of us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and could not be fickle. He does so in the highest wisdom and in obedience to laws that most Christians do not take the time to study and understand. God announces himself as a jealous God. He is worthy of being followed and sought after. As a mother puts down her child and makes it walk to her, the Lord withdraws and is silent to make us pursue him and call after him.

According to Luke’s passage, Jesus was lost, and He was lost by those who loved him. The same continues to happen today. He is gradually lost because God loves us too much to leave us at once. He gives us loving, gentle warnings, but those so absorbed in other things have not seen them. Are you willing to ask yourself whether you have Jesus in you? Please take some time this week and ask yourself that necessary question. 

Deployed-Podcast – “DP1”.

“Discussing faith, family, and work life as a Christian.” 

Allow me to introduce myself, Rick Campbell, pastor of Deployed Church, an online ministry of Oromocto Baptist Church.  This online ministry provides audio podcast for you to listen to at your convenience and encourage you in your faith.
 
The aim of these podcasts is to discuss faith, family, and work life as a Christian who is currently active or retired from the military.
 
The goal of these podcasts is to pass on the experiences of Christian military members and retirees to other members, their families and to the broader church family.
 
The topics we discuss are faith, family, and work. The experiences shared in these podcasts, will uplift, and strengthen you in your walk with Christ.
 
Recording are done in audio and then posted to the podcast platforms. (DP1 Deployed Podcast). Guests have the option of not using their name or using initials or a first name.

Do not hesitate to provide us with feedback or if you have any questions or comments about the podcast you can contact us at the MCF office

In Christ,
Rick Campbell
DP1 Deployed 

A Changed Life !

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
 Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) 

Why would anyone want to be a follower of Christ? It seems an odd question to be asked in this newsletter, considering that Christians maintain it. This question is worth asking because it may be the most challenging question a believer will face when trying to share their faith with another. We know there are many legitimate responses based on biblical references and theological arguments, but remember that little of that made sense before we believed. Did a logical argument convince us, or did we start thinking about Jesus after someone told us how He affected them? Can we tell others the differences in our lives after becoming followers? 

Whether we believed in Jesus 25 years or 25 minutes ago, we should expect to see changes in ourselves. Some changes occur instantaneously, while others require time and effort. When we accept Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, we can recognize and measure changes like those recorded in Galatians 5:22-23. Do you want to share a reason why people should want to follow Jesus? Tell them how you used to be a miserable so-and-so that flew off the handle at the slightest provocation. Tell them self-control and gentleness seemed to overtake you after you accepted and started to follow Jesus, and you changed. Admit that you still slip and react poorly at times, but not as often or in the same way you did before. If we share a before and after story about a change in our life, we may even slip into the “and I get to spend eternity with Jesus” truth. 

If you take a few minutes to reflect on your life before you chose to follow Jesus, and then think about how the decision came about, and then identify changes that have occurred since your conversion, you will find that you have the reason why someone would want to follow Jesus. 

“Father, thank you for choosing to change me. Holy Spirit, thank you for revealing the truth to me. Jesus, thank you for the sacrifice that allowed me to choose you. God continue to change me and use me to share with others. Amen”  

We are the light

“You are the light of the world”. Matthew 15:14

Jesus often spoke to crowds of people, telling them of God’s desires. Not everyone in the crowd agreed with what He said, but they listened. Matthew 5 tells the story that contains the phrases we call the beatitudes, statements that speak of the types of truly blessed people. These ideas contradicted their daily experiences, where money and titles seemed to suggest a blessed life. Jesus told those present that they are a light to the world around them. Although that term is later used to describe Christians, Jesus was saying to them that people are watching what they do, and they could have an impact on those watching. 
 
The world around us, including families, colleagues, and neighbours, is watching you, and Jesus wants to know if you will make a difference for them. Each of us reflects church life to those watching, whether we have good days or bad. However, we can’t let that worry us because we want to show how our relationships hold us together during the good and bad times. It is a challenge to be a light to the world, but we have Jesus as our guide and the church family as our support. 
 
Please join us as we pray this for our Military family: 
 
“Heavenly Father, enable us to do Your will. Help us look outward into our community, workplaces, and families with compassion to share Jesus’ love and truth. Amen”

Pray, and Pray Some More !

 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour,
           serving the Lord.  
  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
 
  Romans 12:11-12 (NIV) 

Prayer is the way to give our hearts a voice. So, why do we often communicate with God about our heart’s desire differently from how we speak with the world? God created us with the unique ability to touch, smell, see, hear, and taste the world around us while engaging emotions such as happiness, fear, and anger. We use these blessings daily as we interact with others. Yet often, when we speak with God, we muffle or hide our desire, put on a prayer façade, use a prayer voice, and expect God to speak truth into our lives while we approach Him in disguise. Because some pray differently from how they talk, they will toil in their attempts to speak to God with the characteristics, personality and baggage that defines them. 

We enter into prayer knowing that we are privileged to be granted an audience with the King of the universe. We should not confuse that privilege as a right and speak to our Father as if He needs to react to our problems because we boldly asked Him. We must recognize who is the recipient of our prayer and fear His power while, at the same time, remembering He wants to tell us His will so that we can live a life pleasing to Him. He wants us to tell Him what is on our hearts so He can share what is on His.   

Many struggle with prayer because it restricts their interaction. We want to differentiate between coincidence and divine intervention. Still, if we are not in the habit of talking to God, we certainly will not be able to recognize His response. Some treat prayer as one way of communication, where they do all the talking and leave no place for listening. They have actual needs breaking their hearts and want to tell God as best as possible. However, they can feel abandoned when they can’t sense an answer. Hindsight usually reveals they said a lot to God but never gave Him a chance to speak back. Prayer requires that we practice speaking and listening, but above all, it requires faith in the fact that God answers prayers.  

Prayer is a comfortable act for many, while being painfully challenging for others. We know we are speaking to the one who spoke the universe into existence, so some fear sounding shallow with their words and requests. However, we must not forget we can ask anything in Jesus’ name. The more we speak to God, the more we will be able to talk to God. Eventually, we will speak and pray about things He wants for our lives while leaving meaningless words behind. 

Prayer requires remaining faithful to the act. When we commit ourselves to becoming followers of Christ, we are told we will be transformed into a new creature who can be holy and pleasing to God. Some can recognize and see instantaneous change, while others are changed over time. Why does it happen that way? Only God knows. Regardless of the quick change, we must be faithful and know God wants to be joined to us. 

Does How You Spend Today, Concern You?

“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”.
John 10:10b

What does God want you to do today? Asking God that question is not a wrong way to start your day. Questions make us think. They help us connect, and they are the building stones of wisdom. When we use the internet to find out something about a business, we often can click on the FAQ icon because it contains the most frequently asked questions people ask about that business. We may find what we are looking for or be left frustrated because our question, and therefore the answer, is not there. We often jump to another site to continue looking for an answer because we have a question about something that concerns us. Nicole, does how you spend today concern you?

Jesus asked His followers questions all the time. Questions such as:
“Have you never read the scriptures: …?” (Matt 21:42)
“Can any of you add a single moment to your lifespan by worrying?” Matt 6:27
“Do you love me?” (John 21:16)
“If I am telling you the truth, why do you not believe me?” (John 8:46).
He asked these questions and many more, because he was concerned about how people would spend their day, the following day, and even how they would spend eternity. He wanted them to ask simple questions about life to make their days meaningful. He wanted them to realize their purpose. 

When we pray, read scripture, or talk with others about God, we can understand what God desires our days to be like. Today, He wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, mind, and He wants us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). Is it that simple? How would we do that? We begin with a prayer of gratitude for being given today, offer encouragement and love to those we encounter, and look for God’s presence in all we see and do. When the day ends, we thank Him for the blessings and ask if we can do it all over again tomorrow. 

Lord, you have given me today for your purpose. As I start this day, I ask that you help me see how I can love you and others today. Amen”  

Self-Examination

Reverend John Wesley and a some of his close friends started a group nicknamed the “Holy Club”. They met daily and discussed these 20 questions with an aim to be supportive of each other in their walk as Christ followers.
How would you respond to these questions? 

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?

2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?

3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?

4. Can I be trusted?

5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?

6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?

7. Did the Bible live in me today?

8. Do I give it time to speak to me every day?

9. Am I enjoying prayer?

10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?

11. Do I pray about the money I spend?

12. Do I disobey God in anything?

13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?

15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?

16. How do I spend my spare time?

17. Am I proud?

18. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard?

19. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

20. Is Christ real to me?
 

The truth must be shared

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” 
John 15:18 

Jesus was straightforward with his disciples when He spoke about the type of life they would face once they declared they were His followers. He spoke about heavenly rewards that will be given to God’s children. At the same time, He did not avoid talking about what they would face once they decided to follow Him. The Gospel of John records Jesus saying the world will HATE His followers. The Greek word used implies being detested to the point of persecution. Knowing this, we must ensure that we do not hate the world. 

It is difficult to comprehend how spreading the Gospel can lead to hatred. We know Jesus spoke often of God’s love for His children. He also mentioned several times that we must love our neighbour as we love ourselves. So, where does the hate come from? Jesus’ teachings go against human instincts, against killing, abusing, making a profit, and so on. He spoke against the things that drive this world today. 

God has stated that He is against sin, against anything that is offensive or causes harm to ourselves, to other humans and God. We must speak the truth, but the fear of offending someone may interfere with our relationship with God. We can worry about “political correctness” to the point that we can stop sharing the truth. We point people to Jesus and scripture because the Holy Spirit prepares them. We can be offended by sin; as the expression goes, we can hate the sin, but we must not hate the sinner. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help the unsaved see sin as offensive. All the while, we love them with our words and lifestyle.  

Pray that you can be an example to others by asking the Holy Spirit to help you look past the sin so you can focus on loving the sinner. Pray for strength to live in the world and ask God to protect you from the pressure to compromise your beliefs. Pray and ask God to use you to share His love.

Sean with Prayer.

“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

 When the Holy Spirit started preparing us to hear God, it began a relationship. There is no doubt that God started the relationship, but it began with the desire for us to participate in it. Scripture shows us that the way we join with God is through prayer. Prayer is listening and talking with God so that we can understand Him and strengthen our relationship with Him. 
 
Most of us don’t start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves. Our growth is guided by others, by attending church, by reading books, and by fellowship. So, when we begin to study our bible seeking God, we carry all that guidance with us and look at God with those things sitting in the back of our minds. Most followers form their opinion of prayer by observing others and listening to how they pray. They may mimic their prayer pattern if they think it works for the person they are observing. When listening to others pray, we mostly hear them asking for something, so we can quickly get the impression that we only pray because we need it. The general approach seems to be to go to God in humility, ask for whatever we desire and instead of ending the request with abracadabra, we say “in Jesus’ name” or “Amen”. Then, we wait and possibly don’t pray until we need it again.  

What do you talk about if you are in a relationship with someone? Is the only time you speak to them is when you want something? Are these the first words you greet them with: “can I have” or “could you”? Is that even a relationship?

God wants to reveal Himself and His truth to us personally, and He does this through prayer. It isn’t easy to be in a growth relationship, thinking that the sole purpose of the other is to meet our needs. Before we dare ask, we should know who we are asking. When we discover who God is, we will change what we ask for. James tells us we don’t get what we want because we ask with the wrong motives. He implies we don’t even know what we need, so we ask for things that impact us personally. Isn’t it time to change our relationship with God?   
 
Why do we pray?
We pray to know God and His plans so that we can line up our lives to live in that plan. No matter what we pray, He will listen; how about we try listening to Him for the next little while? We can ask God for His grace to reveal Himself to us. We can pray, asking to understand Him. We can humbly ask Him to grow our relationship.