Beautiful Wedding Songs


Norm’s & Jill’s Love Songs

In any love relationship, there is one or more special moments that each person can look back at and say, “And that is how it all started.”  For any true and lasting love relationship there have to be some moments (which may be the same as the first ones mentioned) that define the relationship and say, “This is what we stand for, and nothing will make me break up this relationship.

When Jill and I got married in 1984, we told each other, “Divorce is not an option.”  We still believe that, but it is a strong statement put in a negative form.  When we want to say this truth to each other positively, we go back to the moments when we first started dating, until the day we got married, and we remember the words of our love songs that we gave to each other.

I wrote the first song when I wanted Jill to take a chance on a long term relationship with me.  Jill said yes to me, and then 7 months later she wrote a wedding song which she had pre-recorded and to which she came down the aisle to me.  The third song was sung by a good friend and has been the rock of truth that we have held on to all these years as we keep weathering frequent storms of life.  And the final song is the one that I sang to Jill at our reception.  You can click on the last two and hear them in You Tube.

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1.  “Why Don’t You Dance With Me?”

Norm Weatherhead to Jill MacKay – October 1983


Why don’t you dance with me, take a chance on me
And then we’ll know if we can dance right through.
I may not know just every move but that is how we’ll grow as two;
So why not come on to the floor, I want to dance with you.

Just take my hand, I’ll lift you up as we walk onto that floor.
Don’t look on back at what we’ve done, I know we’ve tried before,
But there is still a chance that we can
Be a Tinkerbell and a Peter Pan;
So why not come on to the floor
I want to dance with you.


I’d like to dance right through the night but that we’ll never know.
Unless we give our very best, to see if we can go
O’er the problems and the obstacles
That often come our way;
I’d like to keep on dancing, oh please won’t you stay.


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2.  “Jill’s Entry Song”

Jill MacKay to Norm Weatherhead May 11, 1984

In all the world I never knew just what God had in store.
He said he’d give his very best – and who could ask for more.
But never in my deepest dreams could I believe it true;
Yet here am I now walking to you.

You say you’ve loved me for some time you want me to share your life.
And that is why I come to you – I come to be your wife.
I want to give my life to you, to stay by your side,
And we will let the Lord be our guide.

I need to learn to submit to you, to give you all that I am.
And with your love and your help I know that I can.
For God has given me to you to love honour and obey;
It is His will, there is no other way.

And now we stand and pledge our love as a woman and a man.
“For these two shall become one”, this is God’s great plan.
I love you Norman and I pledge to love you all my life.
I am your friend, your partner, your wife.

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3.  Flesh of My Flesh


You are flesh of my flesh
Bone of my bone;
There’s no one closer.
You are flesh of my flesh
Bone of my bone;
We are one.

I do pledge my life to you
Forever and always;
I will take good care of you
And shower you with praise.
Others try and separate us
But they don’t have a chance;
No one else can take your place
No not even one.


I do give my life to you
Today and everyday;
I will stand right by your side
Whatever comes our way.
I have searched and searched for someone
Who’d make my dreams come true;
Nowhere else on this earth
Is there anyone like you.


The storms of life can blow and blow
But they won’t knock me down;
We’ll stand the test,
The test of time,
Cause we stand on Holy ground.


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4.  This is the Day

This is the day that the Lord hath made and I’m so glad He made you.
With each rising sun you are here by my side, you are more than a dream come true.

Oh, to have you, to hold you, to love you, to pray
To share with, to care with, to hold hands and say:

This is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice, I will rejoice,
I will rejoice with you.

This is the love that the Lord hath made that you and I we are one.
Love’s mystery is unfolding today, written for us in the Son.

Oh, for better, for worse, for rich or for poor,
Each day that pass – es I’ll love you more;

‘Cause this is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice, I will rejoice
I will rejoice with you.

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I do hope that you enjoyed this musical montage.  But remember, these are not just words on paper that are to be sung once and then forgotten.  Contained within these words are heart felt messages of love and commitment to last a whole lifetime.  May you too experience what God has made real for us in our lives.

I Was a Prodigal Son


Who Am I?  Part 11

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is exactly what it says it is, a book of many short pithy, or proverbial saying that provide a quick insight into life.  They are meant to help those who read these proverbs, to guide the reader into making good decisions in life, not bad ones.  Many of these sayings are only one verse long, but when they are put in poignant poetic form, they can have quite a punch to them.  Consider this one from Proverbs 14:12,

There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.

Many of the proverbs are couched in a contrastive nature, such as the rich vs. the poor, the diligent vs. the lazy, and the wise vs. the fool.  This verse above carries extra weight with me, seeing as I played out the part of the fool back in 1988.  In the last article about my personal journey in life, “A Pivotal Year”, I talked about how devastated Jill and I were at the loss of our first pregnancy.  Read that here.

We were able to carry on that year in our ministry effort of planting a new church.  But some of the joy of living and the hope and faith of seeing God bless everything we were doing began to wane in light of this tragedy.  (In some ways, we had even allowed the idea to take root in our hearts that God had “caused” this great loss.  I would say more correctly that God allowed it to happen, as we do live in a broken world, but God is not the author of death and despair.)

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By the early months of 1988, it seemed fairly clear that our church plant efforts were not going to be overly successful.  It certainly did not help to have the sexual scandal of Jimmy Swagart break out in Louisiana just six hours drive from where we were living.  Imagine what happened often when I would knock on doors in the neighborhood and say, “Hi, my name is Norm and we are starting a new church nearby.”  And people would say, “Oh, and I suppose you are just in it for the money too, right?”

The second major concern for Jill and me was more personal and more critical.  In July of ’88, Jill was able to become pregnant again, which was wonderful news for both of us.  But then we began to wonder and worry if something might go wrong with this pregnancy, just like our first one.  If that happened, not only would that be emotionally and spiritually devastating again, but we probably would not be able to afford the financial crisis of continual monitoring of the pregnancy or another loss of a child.

With both of these heavy responsibilities on our shoulders, we made the decision together that we should stop the church planting ministry and we should return to Canada to be able to covered by the universal Canadian Health Program.  We had to then pack up everything again, load it all up in a U-Haul and head back to Canada.  We had barely been in the States for one year.

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Now here is the place where we needed clear guidance as to where we should go from Texas.  Jill and I spread out a map of Canada and looked at our options.  I had heard many stories of the big booming economy that was just happening then in Ontario, so I said to Jill, “We are heading to Toronto.  We will have the best chance of getting a job there.”

It was quite a sight to see us pulling a large U-Haul, our station wagon full of stuff up to the windows, plus our two dogs, and even Jill’s mother (who came down to help) squished into the back seat.  Out trailer hitch was only about 2 inches off the ground.  And on the first day, going through downtown Dallas, right where President Kennedy was shot, we broke our muffler and I was under the car tying it up with wire.

We did make it to Ontario.  Jill went on to Prince Edward Island with her mom, the dogs, and all our belongings while I tried to find us a job.  And yes, within a very short time, I was hired as a security guard at the Canadian Tire head office building.  And when Jill joined me, being about 4 months pregnant now, she was hired by the same Security company as a secretary.

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This all sounds wonderful doesn’t it.  Except if you had been with us during the six months that we were in Toronto, you would say otherwise.  We lived in less than a shoebox (we stepped over the bed to enter the kitchen to to heat our shoebox by lighting the stove which was later condemned as hazardous).  And during the frigid New Years weekend, we lost hot water.

The worst part was that I got sick, starting with a cold, which went to bronchitis, which went to pneumonia.  Then I was given a drug which I was allergic to (didn’t know at the time) and I developed severe abdominal problems with colitis like symptoms.  I actually thought I was dying, and said more than once to Jill, “You’d be better off without me!”  (Boy was I delirious.)

Needless to say, my folks back in Alberta told us to come out to Calgary before Toronto killed me.  I slept on a mattress in the back of our station wagon in this delirium while my 6 month pregnant wife drove, pulling another U-Haul through one of the worst white-out blizzards of that winter.  We even had to sleep one night in the broken down vehicle while up on a hoist in the mechanic garage in the middle of western Ontario while the roads were blockaded by the RCMP.  Whew….

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So what does all this have to do with Proverbs 14:12 above?  Well, did you notice a few paragraphs above that I was the one to decide to go to Ontario, where the economic fields were greener.  But you know what?  I never remember praying, and asking God where He thought we should go.  Hmmm….  Seems to me there was a direct connection between following the wisdom of man, and experiencing disastrous consequences.  So what should we have done?  Look at another wise saying in Proverbs 3:5-6,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

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God’s Perspective (Phil. 1:12-18a)


Looking At Things From God’s Perspective

Philippians 1:12-18a  Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.  The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

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In our study of Philippians, it was hinted at in verse 7 that Paul had suffered imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel.  Now he makes it very explicit that he in fact is a prisoner, and it is because he preached Christ that he is in chains and being called on to defend publicly the claims of Christianity.  Meanwhile, there are some Christians who continue to preach Christ, but not out pure motives, but out of selfish motives which are causing a disturbance among the true believers of Christ.

For this fledgling church in Philippi, things seem to look very bad.  The founder of their church, and the man who could be the most encouraging to them is in jail.  And there are glory-seekers and hot-shot “preachers” who appear to be causing trouble for this small, but growing Christian movement.  From their perspective, everything looks bad.  And so Paul writes these verses to show them that in reality, what looks bad, is in effect really a good thing.

Consider this quote, “The letter to the Philippians was written in part to address their concern for his circumstances in prison and its affect on his ministry. From their perspective, imprisonment meant a huge setback. Paul shatters this notion in 1:12, claiming that his circumstances actually served to advance the gospel rather than holding it back.”  (Runge, S. E. (2011). High Definition Commentary: Philippians. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)

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I think this is an important spiritual principle of life for us to learn well.  What we may consider to be bad and detrimental to the advance of the Kingdom and God’s work, can actually be something that God can use in a more powerful way than we can ever imagine.  Romans 8:28 promises us that God can bring good out of every situation.  I have seen that to be very true in these last three years of my ministry and life.

At the beginning of 2008, I felt like I was on top of the world in my ministry experience.  And in fact, I was being asked to help with training nationals in East Africa, to return to Papua New Guinea on a regular basis as a translation consultant, to help open up a new field of work in the subcontinent of Asia, to teach new missionary recruits in the States, and to be the head of our mission group in Canada.  And then this muscle disease hit.

I literally went from being a globe-trotter to barely walking across our living room floor.  Over the coming months of 2008, every aspect of global ministry had to be released and let go except for occasional trips to PNG to do consultant checking work.  I thought that it was the end of my ministry life.  But instead, as I trust God to give me strength, I have seen God bless others in mighty ways that I might never have seen happen before as they witnessed God’s power working through me to get this work done.

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The second thing that discouraged the Philippian believers was seeing many other people “preaching the gospel” but in such a way that these people were getting all the attention and glory.  Paul talks about these kinds of people and he uses the Greek word “eritheia“.  This is a strong word and can be translated as “rivalry” or perhaps better “selfish ambition”.

The “Translator’s Notes on Philippians” says that “Paul meant that these people wanted to be important. They wanted people to respect them and obey them rather than Paul, so they tried to get more people to follow them than Paul had.”  Do you remember the evangelistic fiasco of Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker?  Or the scandal caused by Jimmy Swaggart?  What shame they gave to true Christians.

And then I recall meeting a missionary in the back hills of Honduras in 1979.  He spoke of all the thousands of dollars that he had gotten churches to donate to his work of planting churches.  Meanwhile, he had built himself a virtual rustic mansion as he did his work of “ministering” to the nationals.  I heard a few years later that his financial “irregularities” caused him to resign and fade back into American life.

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So what are we to think about these kinds of Christians who speak about Christ, but are often in it more for the money and the glory?  Paul says in verse 18, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.”  I must say that I feel bad for those who were hurt or disillusioned by these Christian hot-shots.  But then I also have to recognize that there were still many true and lasting decisions for Christ made under the Bakker’s work or under Swaggart.  And there are still some good functioning churches up in the hills of Honduras.

So the bottom line is this:  we are to serve our God with integrity and honesty.  And we are even to be thankful for the fruit that is borne even by these masquerading Christian leaders.  Above all else, we are to give thanks to God whenever the name of Jesus is exalted, whatever the motive might be.  We are to rejoice in this, just like Paul did while he was in prison.


The Resume of Jesus


Would You Make Jesus Your Lord?

Matthew 22:37 says, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

We are commanded to give our hearts to Jesus Christ, and just in case any of you haven’t already done that, He sends you a copy of His Resume for consideration.

(The following was posted on “Great Commission Ministries” by a good friend of mine.  Read it slowly and take time now if you can to look up the verses.)

What a wonderful Saviour we have.

The Resume of Jesus Christ

Address: Ephesians 1:20

Phone: Romans 10:13

Hello. My name is Jesus – The Christ. Many call me Lord! I’ve sent you my resume because I’m seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.


* I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)

* I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)

* I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)

* I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)

* The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)

Occupational Background:

* I’ve only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49).

* I’ve never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.

* My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15-17)

Skills Work Experiences:

* Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).

* I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33).

* Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)

Educational Background:

* I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).

* In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).

* My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).

* I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).

Major Accomplishments:

* I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26).

* I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15).

* I defeated the archenemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15).

* I’ve miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!

* There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot – the BIBLE. You don’t need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.

Good Quality Traits: (in pictorial form)

“I’ve learned humility.”          “I’ve practiced servant-hood.”     “I’ve exercised forgiveness.”



* Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healings, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance


Now that you’ve read my resume, I’m confident that I’m the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Prov 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47). When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15).

2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 says, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

May I encourage all my readers to save this article and take the time later as well to look up these Scripture references again.  The Bible is full of such wonderful and rich promises from God to us.  He loves us so much, how could we not love Him in return.

Be blessed,


Our Battles With Satan – Part 2

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How To Do Battle With Satan

My article two weeks ago ended with the words, “Engage in battle against our true enemy – Satan.”  We don’t often talk this way to one another, but we must realize that we are in fact in the middle of a spiritual war.  Mark Atteberry in his book “Walking With God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel” says this on page 57:

His goal for the last two thousand years has been twofold: to keep unbelievers right where they are and to destroy the faith of believers.  Therefore, every grave you see along the hard road you happen to be traveling represents a victory for him.  Every time a believer gives up the struggle, Satan laughs and thumbs his nose at God.

Personally, I find it distressing when I hear of Christians in North America not taking Satan seriously.  For some, the idea of Satan has been watered down to see him as a funny cartoon figure in a red suit, pointed tail and pitchfork that has him be just a nuisance or a little voice in the ear whispering to people to show them how they can have more “fun”.

For others, Satan is not even real at all.  Either the “love of God” is emphasized which makes them rule out the idea of the existence of an evil Being, or the physical materialism of our culture has masked over the reality of the spiritual realm.  Sometimes Christians actually play around with the spiritual realm, but they don’t know that they are playing with fire.  Let me tell you a story.

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Many years ago, when I was going to Youth Group, we went to another city for a youth conference.  Our group shared the basement of a church with another group.  On one of the afternoons, I was back at this church with some of the other youth and they decided the conference was boring and they wanted to have some fun.  So one guy turned to a girl and asked if she wanted to black out again.

When I heard that, I was immediately concerned.  But the guy said, “Don’t worry, we’ve done this lots of times.  It’s fun!”  So the girl (who was probably only 5′ 3″ and weighed maybe 110 lbs) started to breathe real fast and hyperventilate.  Her face turned red and then she held her breath.  The guy then picked her up and squeezed her real hard until she blacked out and her body went completely limp.

The girl was eased on to the floor and the group waited.  Slowly the girl got up and opened her eyes and her eye balls had turned back into the sockets so all we could see were the whites of her eyes.  Then suddenly she started to lash out and punch the guys while they tried to hold her.  I was shocked and dumbfounded as I saw this petite girl fight off five guys that were so much bigger than her.  Then she finally slumped down semi-conscious and we waited….and waited….and waited.

The guy who had begun this started to get nervous, and I asked how long she had ever been like this before.  He said the longest was about 6 or 7 minutes.  This time it took over 15 minutes for her to come back to her normal conscious self.  Now I don’t know what others might think.  The group thought it was real funny (after she finally recovered).  But from what I had witnessed, I believe that I may have witnessed a person open themselves up to demon possession.  And that is NOT funny.

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What does our author have to say to all of this.  How are we to do battle against our enemy, Satan.  Atteberry says there are four things that we can do to “confound and frustrate the devil’s efforts to destroy you” (pg. 59-63):

  • First, you can take control of your thought life.
Paul makes it quite clear in 2 Corinthians 10:4 – 5 that our battles are primarily in the spiritual realm, and that includes our thought life.  He says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
  • Second, stay in fellowship with other people who are actively resisting the devil.
Regular fellowship with other strong believers is critical to our spiritual health.  Hebrews 10:24 – 25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
  • Third, if you’re serious about resisting the devil, pray like crazy.
Ephesians 6:10 – 17 is the well-known passage about the “Armor of God” that we are to put on if we are going to fight the spiritual realms of darkness.  But verse 18 really needs to be attached to this passage, and note what we must do in addition to wearing and using the armor of God, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
  • Finally, if you’re serious about resisting the devil, always run from trouble.
Running away from situations that we know in advance may cause us to stumble or be tempted to do something wrong is not a weakness.  Actually it is the sign of a strong person to know your areas of weakness and avoid them rather than to test or tempt yourself.

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There is so much more that needs to be said on this topic of the reality of Satan and our need to do battle with him on the spiritual level.  The most important thing in our study together here is to keep on keeping on the journey of faith, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.  Do not let Satan fool you into thinking that he can have the victory over you.  In Christ, we are always victorious in the end.

A Heart-Felt Prayer (Phil. 1:8-11)

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A Heart Felt Prayer

Philippians 1:8-11  God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.  I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

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In this short passage, Paul speaks about the great love that he has for the Philippian believers.  Although Paul was instrumental in bringing the Gospel of Christ to the Island of Cyprus at the port of Paphos, then on to the lower mainland of Asia to such cities as Perga, Antioch, and Iconium, Lysrta and Derbe, I believe that the visit to Philippi had to have been one of Paul’s most memorable events and was certainly directed by God’s Spirit in a powerful way.

Think about the idea that when Paul preached near Philippi and Lydia and her household members believed and were baptized, that this was the first time the Good News of Christ had taken a foothold into the continent of Europe.  It was a very resistant city towards anything religious, and so it was at a great cost of perspiration, perseverance and persecution that the new church was birthed.

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Paul talks in verse 5 about how they had been partners together in spreading this Good News.  And in verse 7, Paul speaks of the intimacy he had with the Philippian believers as they shared the experience of also being mistreated, and perhaps jailed along with him, and that they too took a stand publicly by making it known that they believed in the truthfulness of God’s Word.

In fact, in verse 8, Paul goes to the greatest possible lengths to express just how much he loved the Philippians.  He calls upon God to be his “witness” that it is true Paul has a great love for them.  This word comes from the Greek word, “martus“.  This is the root word for “martyr” as well as “testimony” or “one who testifies“.  In other words, Paul calls upon God himself to testify, and Him be willing to die to prove the fact that Paul loves the Philippians in all the depths of his heart.

Now actually, the Greek word for this expression “the depths of his heart” can be literally translated as “inner parts” or “intestines“.  This was their idiomatic way of saying “I love you with all my heart and soul, my very being“.  In old English, they talked about having “bowels of compassion” for someone else.  Today we say we love “with all our heart“.

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It is interesting to see the various body parts being used metaphorically to express the center of our very being, the deepest level of emotional love and commitment to another.  Over in Papua New Guinea, one will say that his inner most being is “the stomach“, “the liver“, or “the throat“.  In any case, the Philippians could not doubt that what Paul was sharing came from the depths of his inner most being.

It is at this point, when Paul was able to reflect on the intimate relationship he had with the people, that he then is able to offer up his heart-felt prayer, and the Philippians would receive it at this deep inner intimate level.  In verse 9 then, he begins his prayer for them and he prays for two important things to happen in their lives.

First, Paul prays that the people would increase more and more in their love for other people.  Think back to all the teachings of Christ, and you will recall that “love for others” is the greatest command, second only to loving God.  And then Paul prays that the people would increase in their knowledge and depth of insight, which most likely referred to them having a greater knowledge of God and how He wanted them to live.

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This brings us to verses 10 and 11, and I believe there is a powerful prayer tucked away in these two verses.  They can be brought out and stated as four distinct things that Paul prays for the believers:

  1. That they would understand/approve/discern the things that are best or excellent, or to basically “discern what really matters“.  This leads to the second thing Paul prayed.
  2. If the people came to know what really matters in this life, what things are truly excellent, then one result from this is that they would live pure lives.  They would be able to discern evil, even in its many disguises, and turn away from it before it touched and polluted them.
  3. The second thing they would discern is that when they know and do what is pure and true, then these people would be seen by God as being blameless or without guilt.
  4. By consistently following these practices above, this provides something that is more valuable than gold itself.  According to verse 12, the people described above would produce spiritual fruit in their lives, and have a consistently righteous character, and by means of their faith in Christ, one day would see the salvation of their souls.

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Now after examining the passage, I turn briefly to ask some practical questions.  Do you have anyone in your life that would pray a prayer like this for you on a regular basis?  Or is there someone for whom you could be praying this prayer for them?  Remember the example of Paul, that it was never a half-hearted prayer he made.  So we too must say our prayers for others from the deepest part of our being for another, whether that be from our heart, our liver, or our intestines.

May we always honor God and may we take up this example and know and practice how we can and ought to be praying for one another.  Amen.

Powerful Prayer Partners

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God is Not Finished With Us Yet

It has been three years now that I have lived with a muscle disease.  Undoubtedly, there have been some discouraging days, and there was a period of time when I thought that my service for God would be ending due to the many restrictions on my physical activities.  I’ve wrestled with the battle to give up and give in to the disease, and I think for the most part I have believed that my desire to serve God has won over the pain and disability.

For those who are interested in more details of what choices I face on a daily basis you can read more in the article “My Pain vs. Serving God.”  In that article, I mention how the trip to California was a test for a new pain relief medicine as well as the plan to go back to Papua New Guinea for two months to do Bible translation consultant work.  I am very happy to say that both trips went extremely well, and now we are looking at what future plans of ministry God has in store for me and Jill.

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In talking with the PNG and Dallas (International office) leaders of Pioneer Bible Translators, we have been offered three very exciting opportunities of ministry.  We still expect to take another long trip to PNG next winter (Jan. – March/April) to do more consultant checking of Scripture.  Second, the Dallas leaders would like me to come down later this year (Aug. – Dec.) to help teach and mentor our new missionary recruits.

And then thirdly, I have been asked to help a Bible translation project in Southeast Asia as a consultant.  The translation is a new version of an official language, but written at an easy reader level.  What is exciting for me is that the team is so well-connected by internet that I can trade files electronically and do some face-to-face consulting sessions by means of a Skype conference.  This allows me to work year-round from my own home.

Over the years, I have come to learn one very important principle of ministry.  The work of the ministry cannot function at its best without the involvement of others in the ministry.  First and foremost, there must be a significant group of Christians committed to supporting the work in their prayers.  There will be much more that I will say about this translation ministry over coming months, but in this article I want to call on the help of others to pray with us about these ministry opportunities.

As we go forward by faith to do all that God is asking us to do, we ask that some of you who are reading this article will join us as prayer partners.  I know how busy life can be for most of us, but I believe that many of you can commit to at least one or more of the following patterns of praying for us and our work:

1.  Regularly Praying

As you may know, I post three articles a week on this devotional blog site to talk about God in my life and work as a Bible translator.  I try to write a short News Feed on Facebook each day to let people know the topic of these articles.  I would ask that any time you see my name on FB or read an article that you offer up a short prayer to God on our behalf.  Pray that God would work through us to bless others in our ministry work for God.

2.  Monthly Update Prayer Partners

Each month, Jill and I write an update that tells more about our ministry work, as well as how the family is doing.  Normally we send out our ministry updates by email, but I have also started to include some of them (in an edited form) as an article here on this blog site.  We include some specific prayer and praise points in these updates, and you could receive them if you would like.  Then you can pray more specifically each month for us.

3.  Weekly Special Prayer Partners

Finally, I would like to start up a special prayer team.  The work that God has placed before us is so important to the advance of God’s Kingdom here on earth, that I believe we must have a group of committed prayer warriors who will lift up this work before God on a weekly basis.  Chapter 6 verse 12 of Ephesians says:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I ask you to please consider becoming one of our Special Prayer Warriors.  But if not a Prayer Warrior, would you pray for us monthly or on a regular basis?  Here is how you can tell me what you have decided:

This website is very secure.  Anyone who sends me a response, their answer will only be read by me.  I would ask you then to consider copying and pasting one or more of these next statements into the Reply Box below.  I will reply to you privately and thank you for becoming a member of our team.  God bless you.

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Please copy and paste the statement or statements below in the Reply box:

1.  Yes, I will pray for you and your ministry work every time God brings you to mind.

2.  Yes, I want to receive your monthly updates with your prayer and praise items so I can pray for you on a monthly basis.

3.  Yes, I want to be one of your Prayer Warriors and pray for special requests on a weekly basis.

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Thank you so much for your interest and support of our Bible translation ministry for the Lord.

1987 – A Pivotal Year


Who Am I?  Part 10

For those who have been following me in this series which gives a rough outline of my major life events, we come now to a pivotal year for both Jill and me.  It was 1987, we had been married for three years, and both of us had completed our studies for our vocations.  Jill received her Nursing Diploma, and I had finished my Master of Divinity Degree.  You can read about these things here.

After a number of years of education, some short-term mission experiences, some practicum work for Jill and some minor ministry experiences for me, we felt like we were ready to go out and make a difference in the world.  While still in school, Jill attended a hospital recruitment meeting and things fell into place, and the next thing you know we were packing a U-Haul to head to Texas.  In addition to this, Jill announced with excitement, “WE’RE PREGNANT!”

Now I must admit that I was more stunned than excited at this announcement.  But as the weeks and months crept along, I began to really warm up to the idea of being a father.  There were a few little snags in our paper work to cross into the States, which caused us to delay and stay with my folks for over a month.  So by the time we finally started out with our U-Haul, there was definitely 2 1/2 people ready for the adventure that lie ahead.

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We arrived in Port Arthur, Texas where Jill would work at a charity hospital (which the recruiter had promoted as a great place to work just off of the Gulf of Mexico).  He neglected to tell us that most of the bay area around Port Arthur was filled with oil refineries which blocked the view of the Gulf and blackened the port and town area around them.

But we were young, and it was an adventure in many ways for us.  And one of the first adventures for us was to find a church to fellowship with.  Having just graduated from a Christian and Missionary Alliance seminary, we looked for one of these in the area, but the closest C&MA church was 50 miles away in Baytown.  This wasn’t too bad, as it gave us time to talk and be together on the drive to and from Baytown each Sunday.

As a result of these visits we made regularly to this church, something very interesting happened.  I was approached one day by the pastor of the Baytown church and asked if I would be interested in helping to start a new church in Beaumont, the large city next to Port Arthur.  I accepted the offer as I saw this as a way to serve God.

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The excitement of this new ministry opportunity was almost immediately crushed as Jill and I experienced the most bitter of all events, the death of our child.  Jill was 29 weeks pregnant in October of 1987.  There was no warning and no indication of anything wrong.  One day our baby was alive and kicking hard, and then the next day there was no movement.

We couldn’t believe anything bad had happened, until finally after waiting anxiously for a doctor’s report, they informed us that the child had in fact died in the womb.  Because Jill was so far along, it was necessary to have her induced to deliver our daughter.  When it was over, we held our little Deborah in our arms.  She was over a foot long and almost looked like she was sleeping, except that she wasn’t breathing.

The doctors have never to this day explained to us what happened.  It was an inter-uterine death, but no cause could be found.  That day in October was the blackest day of our entire lives, and it continued to cast a shadow and have a negative effect upon us for many years after.  One wise person said to us, “The intensity of the pain will never really go away, just the frequency of it.”

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There is no doubt that we were in pain because of this event.  For many days there was a sense of emptiness in our apartment.  Jill took a few days off to recover physically.  The hospital and the doctors were so gracious to cancel our medical bills, so we were not hurt financially.  But the emotional and spiritual impact of this tragedy was very huge.

The church people in Baytown were so good to us.  Some of them visited us, or sent us flowers and cards.  The pastor visited us quite a few times.  And with his support and encouragement, we still went ahead and tried to lay down the foundation for a new church plant in Beaumont.  I think us moving from our apartment in Port Arthur to Beaumont was good for us.  But even after a year of hard work, this church plant also did not get birthed and it was closed down when we came back to Canada.

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Of all the different aspects of this major life crisis for us, there is one memory that stands out the most.  Jill and I had gone to the cemetery where we had buried Deborah.  We knelt down by the unmarked cross and held hands and gently cried together.  Then we sang a song together to reaffirm our faith and hope in God.

But while we were there, another woman came and knelt down by her child’s little cross.  Then she broke out into wailing and threw herself on to the ground and wept in great torment at the loss of her child.  Jill and I quietly left that woman to her grief, but we could leave the cemetery with the song still in our heart.  The song says:

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone;

Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives.”

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Partners In The Gospel (Phil. 1:3-7)


Sharing in the Work of the Gospel

Philippians 1:3-7 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.

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It is very clear that Paul had a close and special relationship with the believers in the church at Philippi.  He prayed for them, often.  And it says here that he gave thanks to God whenever he remembered them, and in his prayers for all (not just some of them, but all of them), he was filled with joy as he prayed.  And note how he says, “for you have a special place in my heart.”

We must ask ourselves, why did Paul has such a strong and positive emotional attachment to these people in Philippi?  If we look back into the book of Acts (chapter 16), Paul spent a very short time in Philippi, probably a few weeks or so.  And the highlight of his visit there was spending a night in a dirty, dingy jail.  Or was it?

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We are fairly certain that there was no active worship building, like a synagogue for the Jews.  Paul and his companions had to go outside the city to the river where they found only a few woman gathered there for a time of prayer (Acts 16:13).  By the time Paul left Philippi, he had preached the gospel and we know that Lydia and her household, plus the jailer and his household had accepted Christ and were baptized.

There may be more who joined the fledgling church when Paul was there, although we don’t know who they were.  But what we do know from the book of Philippians in this short passage is that Paul says they were “partners in spreading the Good News about Christ.”  And in 4:15 he says, “you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this.”

To fully appreciate what is going on here, we want to exercise the skills I introduced a few articles back about doing an Inductive Bible Study.  There are a few very interesting key words in these verses that are worth taking a closer look at.  Specifically, I want to examine “partners”, “defending and confirming”, and “special favor of God”.

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Partners:  In other versions, the term for “partners” has also been translated as “partnership” or “participation”.  Upon reflection, it suggests to us that there was a close relationship between Paul and the people in Philippi in evangelizing the city.  It was not as we might think today of a “business partnership” where the executives decide how the employees should do the work, but they themselves do not get involved.

The partnership in mind here is the shoulder-to-shoulder “let’s go out and get this work done together”.  Now the reason why I find this word so interesting is that it comes from the Greek work “koinōnia“.  And this word is quite often translated as “fellowship”.  In one Bible dictionary, this word is explained as “an association involving close mutual relations and involvement”.

The key for me here is that “Christian fellowship” is meant to have an emphasis upon “involvement” with others and in other’s lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I love when we have potlucks at church, but I wonder how deep the thought is when we say, “Let’s stay for the potluck fellowship.”  I think it often just means to people, let’s chit-chat and fill our bellies with food.

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Defending and Confirming:  This leads us to consider in verse 7 what it was exactly that Paul was doing, and that which the Philippians were partnering together to do.  We have already said that they were “spreading the Good News“, but in this verse, Paul says that he was defending it and confirming it.  And the implication in this passage is that Paul was engaged in doing this activity whether he was free or whether he was in prison.

Both of these key words are Greek words which carry a legal courtroom-like aspect to them.  The first one “apologia” means to “defend publicly that something is not wrong”.  We get the word “apologist” and “apologetics” from this word.  And many 1st and 2nd century Christian leaders were called apologists as they stood up and declared that Christianity was not a false religion, but was the very Truth of God.  And that is the other side of what they did, they were “confirming the Truth of the Good News“.

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Special Favor of God:  Now I don’t know about you, but I must admit that there are many times that I feel awkward and embarrassed to share my faith.  But Paul tells the Philippians that it is a “special favor of God” or “grace” (the literal Greek) to be serving God by publicly standing up for the faith.  And if that is the case, then God would provide the courage and the words to be His spokesman or spokeswoman.

And Paul says here that for these kinds of people, those who count it a privilege to be followers of Christ and let others know publicly about it, he has a special place in his heart for them.  Just as Paul is bound or “united” with Christ in his faith, so he is also bound intimately with those who are willing to share their faith with others.

So how about you?  Do you feel the same kind of passion as Paul had, to be willing to live out your faith in public?  And even to suffer because of it?  Then you stand as a partner with Paul, and are in true fellowship with the apostles and prophets, and are united (stuck) to Christ, who grants us His grace / favor to do this awesome and important task.  May God bless you as you live for Him.  Amen.

Pray For Our Government

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A Majority Government For Canada

Last week, on Monday May 2nd, Canadians went to the polls to elect a new government.  There it is.  A matter-of-fact and rather bland sentence.  And for the people who read this article who are not a Canadian, I would imagine that this event probably did not mean much to them, and in fact, they may not even have known that we held an election.  After all, it was only a 37 day event.

But wait, there is much more going on than many non-Canadians may realize.  Read the following news article that shows just how stunning and historically monumental this election actually was.

“Canada rarely gets earthquakes but it felt a big temblor on May 2. When the rest of the world was glued to news about Osama bin Laden, Canadians voted in an election that shook up their political landscape.

On the surface, the election simply saw more of the same: Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who took office in 2006, will stay in power. But wait, much more happened below the crust:

1. For the first time in Canada’s history, the Liberals came in third place, with only 19 percent of the vote. The party of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, and Jean Chretien that so dominated politics for decades and defined Canadian identity fell from grace. The loss forced its leader, former Harvard academic Michael Ignatieff, to resign. (He even lost his own seat in Parliament).

2. Bloc Quebecois, the political party that long championed separation for Quebec province, also lost big time. Its seat count went from 47 seats to 4. This will alter one of Canada’s long-standing debates about its unity.

3. A party with socialist roots in the Great Recession, the New Democratic Party, essentially grabbed the left-of-center votes from the Liberals. It came in second with 31 percent. The NDP, long a small minority, is now the official opposition party for the first time in Canada’s history, with the charismatic Jack Layton at its helm. Many of its MPs are fresh faces, some of whom didn’t even campaign.

4. For Conservatives, their victory was sweet and historic. The party has not won a majority in Parliament in 23 years. Mr. Harper has had to rule over a minority government for the past five years, forming coalitions to get anything done.

(Article Written by Clayton Jones)

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Most Canadians knew that there was a lot riding on this election for everyone involved, the politicians and their political parties, and the people of Canada as a whole.  It was crucial for Stephen Harper to win a majority government, after having only managed a minority government in 2006 and 2008.

If he did not get the majority, then most likely he would be removed as the head of his party.  And even if they had a strong minority, many people feared the rumor that the other opposing parties would form a majority coalition and throw the country into total chaos.

Thankfully (my opinion, and that of 40% of all Canadians), Harper did get a majority victory.  And a strong statement in and of itself is that the leaders of the parties that won 2nd place and 3rd place in the 2008 elections did not even win in their own personal electoral riding, and their parties were almost decimated.  The very next morning, both of these powerful political leaders officially resigned.  What a stunning realignment for the political makeup of our country.

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And now I reflect on what Scripture may have to say about all this.  I must confess that as a Christian I have not always paid a lot of attention to general politics.  I do obey the laws of the land, and I pay my taxes.  But until this election, I did not do a whole lot more.  But the Bible tells us that the should be more mindful of the people who will be the leaders of our countries.

In Romans 12:1, God says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  And in verse 4 it says, “The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.”

Even more importantly, Paul urges us to offer up prayers not just for each other or people in general, but for the men and women who are our political leaders.  He says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”

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And so in light of the importance of this past week’s election, I know that many Christians were in prayer for a good outcome.  I was as well, and for the first time in my life, I contributed financially in hopes to help us gain a strong and stable government.  And one more unique thing for me and for my son Glen, we attended the political rally where Steven Harper came in and gave his victory speech.  (Glen is holding the ‘Harper’ sign by the reporter’s shoulder of this nationally televised event.)

It is my prayer now that all those who are now elected officials in the House of Commons for the people of Canada will heed the wishes of the people.  We crave a strong and stable government, but also one that will listen to what the opposition says, and will not forget the average Canadian citizen.  Most of all, I pray that the newly formed government will allow themselves to be used of God to be good servants for Him as they govern all the people of Canada.

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