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August 4, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

According to a report on the CTV website, “If you’ve found you’re no longer disinfecting your hands as often or becoming more lenient toward unnecessary trips outside, you’re not alone. This unintentional phenomenon is ‘caution fatigue’ – and you have your brain to blame.”

That report was written back on June 8 – two months ago. If that was the case back then, I can’t imagine what people are feeling now. Add warm summer temperatures, and the Canadian longing to be outdoors and with other people this time of the year, and the restrictions that are put in place to keep the pandemic at bay seem even more restrictive and frustrating.

This is so typical of human nature. Once they got to wandering through the wilderness, it didn’t take the people of Israel long to start complaining. In Numbers 11:5-6 we read, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” This is one of the most powerful verses in the Bible about the human condition and our propensity to complain about any challenging circumstance in our lives, and it is because of three little words – at no cost. At no cost? Really? How quickly they had forgotten the cost – it was called slavery. Their lives were miserable. Horrific. Unbearable. After complaining to God for so long, God stepped in and delivered them. And before they knew it, they began to complain again. I can picture the Lord sitting on His glorious throne shaking His head once again at these people He had created.

Complaining and impatience are marks of humanity. The prophet Isaiah saw them as well, and in Isaiah 40:28-31 he describes the people in his day and gives a promise. It says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The CTV article mentioned earlier goes on to say: “Complex decisions require a lot of energy and we can get tired when making those decisions about which risks are worth taking versus the rewards that we get.” People are tired of the pandemic. Maybe you are. Isaiah gives us hope. The Lord hasn’t grown tired or weary. His energy is inexhaustible, so decisions don’t exhaust Him. Youth get exhausted, young men and women get exhausted. Older people get exhausted. But God doesn’t. And He promises those who hope in Him that He will refuel us. Tap into His never-ending supply of renewable energy today.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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July 27, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."
John 14:27 (NLT)

Think for a minute about the best gift you’ve ever received. It might have been something you’ve wanted for a long time, or a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Maybe it was something much closer to the heart – a child or grandchild. Whatever the gift, the best gift is the one you will never forget.

Whatever that gift, do you remember how you said thanks? Did you send a card, or make a phone call? Expressing thanks is a necessary part of showing appreciation for a gift. Some people show just as much creativity in how they say thanks as the gift giver gave in choosing the gift.

At the heart of the Christian faith are gifts. Romans 6:23 tells us that the gift of God is eternal life. But God’s giving doesn’t stop there – He just keeps on giving. The gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ is just the beginning of God’s gifts. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

What an amazing gift. It is what people long to discover. Some spend all they have, and search in all sorts of philosophies and religions seeking peace. They work hard at it, yet it continues to be so elusive. This is true both in the world and in the heart.

The best gifts we have received over the years are those that we have “always wanted.” That is why the peace that Jesus offers is such a wonderful gift. It meets the greatest need we have. And it is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ through faith.

In the midst of all the world is throwing at us these days, His peace first floods our hearts and then carries us through. How then do we say thanks?

It begins by simply saying thanks. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” That ultimate gift is Jesus Himself, but He throws in so many other gifts as well – including His indescribable peace as one of the best. Take time today to say thanks.

But there is more we can do to say thanks, and we need to. The best way to thank the Lord is by how we live our lives, by how we treat others. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word and deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” How we speak and how we live is the best way to express our gratitude to the gift of peace that Jesus has given us. That peace is not to be kept to ourselves. Jesus offers this gift to all. Let’s live in such a way that we pass on the peace of Christ to a world that is longing for it. By so doing, we express our gratitude to God, and so will others.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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July 20, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:38-40 (NLT)

There is something magical about a summer storm, if you are inside a stable building, out of the lightning and rain. If you’re out on a lake, it is another story altogether. Whitecaps form as the wind whips up the water, there is no protection from lightning strikes, and the rain soaks everything. That’s why better boaters and fishermen read the clouds and keep a weather radar app updated.

Many of Jesus’ disciples were seasoned fishermen. They knew the Sea of Galilee well, so one night as they were crossing the lake, when one of the infamous Galilean storms hit, fear rose up in them. Meanwhile, at the back of the boat, Jesus is sleeping peacefully. Mark 4:38-40 records the story this way: “Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The question that the disciples ask Jesus is asked by many today, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues – does Jesus care about all that is happening in our world? Is He present with us?

The answer is obvious. Jesus was right there with them in the boat. And when He sees their fear, He speaks right into the cause of it. He simply speaks to the wind and the waves and commands them to be still. Only the Creator of those winds and waves has the authority to command them like that and have them obey.

He is your Creator, too. And when you are fearful, learn the lessons from this story. First, Jesus is with you. He is in the boat that is your life. When fear rises, you can reach out to Him, even with tentative faith. The disciples would learn over and over again that Jesus did indeed care – enough to lay down His life for them on the Cross.

Second, Jesus has the authority to speak into whatever it is that is causing your fear. There is nothing that you are facing that is greater than He. While Jesus confronts the disciples about their lack of faith, the reality is that they had enough faith to believe that He could and would speak into the storm. Can you trust Him to speak into your storms?

The disciples learned a lot about Jesus that day. Mark 4:41 tells us that “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” As we trust Jesus, in the midst of our fear, we will also wonder at first exactly who this One is who has the authority to calm our storm. But this is how our faith grows. And as our faith grows, we will discover that we are no longer walking in fear.

That is true victory.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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July 13, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5 (PHILLIPS)

I recently held a conversation with a young man who had grown up in a Christian family, attending a Christian school and Christian university. When he graduated from university, he declared that he was an agnostic and believed that when we die, we just become fodder for worms. I asked him, “Where is the hope in this?” He just shrugged his shoulders.

Later that evening, as I pondered this conversation, it struck me just how unique is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The empty philosophies of the world offer no hope. As our greatest scientific minds work around the clock to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and the world’s leaders struggle to get a handle on the tensions that are rising to the surface all across the planet, the Bible offers true hope. This is what Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5: “This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.” (J.B. Phillips New Testament).

The hope that we have in Christ, Paul says, is for both this life and the next. In the midst of the worst that this world can throw at us, we have the absolute assurance that God has our lives and this world under control. Even when the “trials and troubles” come, whether they are personal or global, they help strengthen and firm up the hope that is ours in Jesus.

How does that happen? Paul says that when we face trials and troubles, with “the right spirit” as our text says, trusting Christ in the midst of all this world sends our way, the Holy Spirit develops in us a patient endurance. I hope this has been your experience in these days of pandemic. In days when many found themselves impatient and stressed, many Christians have witnessed to Jesus’ love and presence just by how they have endured these trying times with patient endurance. God is maturing us in our faith through these days and as we mature we discover that hope is rising within us. It blooms out of the peace that we have no matter what the storm around us looks like.

I love what Paul says about this hope – it will never disappoint us. There is much that has disappointed us in these days. But the hope we have in Jesus never will. And we can offer that hope to those around us.

When your neighbours, friends and family members ask you how you are coping with all that is happening in our world, share with them what Jesus is doing in your life, and the hope that is rising within you. I suspect you will find a receptive heart that is longing for that same hope.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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July 6, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“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.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

Where I live, it is hot. 35 degrees Celsius hot. Add a little humidity and it heats right up. There is no relief in sight. Lawns are brown and the crops are crying for rain. Except the orchards. They are thriving. The cherry harvest has just begun and the trees are full. The apples, pears, peaches and plums will be just as plentiful this year.

Tree fruit can survive hot, dry weather more than field crops. Why is that? The Bible answers the question this way in 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.”(NIV)

The people of the Middle East understand drought. While Galilee is often lush and green, and with proper irrigation the Jezreel Valley produces rich crops, much of Israel is desert. In order for a tree to survive it must put its roots deep into the soil to reach down for every bit of moisture it can. In the middle of the desert are stands of tall date palms producing sweet fruit.

There is much in our world today that causes fear. With the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice issues filling the news these days, the heat is on in more ways than one. People all around us are expressing fear and as usual God’s Word speaks into the human condition. Blessed — filled with joy — is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. What a timely message for our day.

Even when the heat is on in our lives, for whatever reason — societal or personal — if our roots are deep in Christ we have the promise, the assurance we will continue to produce the fruit of the Spirit. One of my favourite social media postings this year says, “If I knew how bad 2020 was going to be I would have stayed in 2019.” We know, of course, that this isn’t possible. Time just keeps marching on. We have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring. But we do know that as we deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ, we have the promise that we will continue to flourish and be fruitful.

The majestic date palms in the desert of Israel don’t fret when the heat is on. They simply deepen their roots to continue to tap into the stream. That must be what we do as well, spiritually. Jesus is the Living Water, who promised that those who drink of the water He gives will never thirst again. (John 4:14)

When fear tries to rise up in your life, bring it to Jesus. Deepen your walk with Him through time spent in His Word and prayer. And when His peace fills your heart and life, take the peace of Christ to a world that will only find freedom from fear in Him.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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June 30, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not harm you during the day, nor the moon during the night.”
Psalm 121:5-6 (GWT)

It's umbrella season. An umbrella is an interesting device. It is designed to protect you from the polar opposites of weather – rain and sun. Think about that for a moment. Last Sunday the church met for the first time in 15 weeks. In order to meet the most recent government guidelines, the service was held outside on the massive piece of property beside the building. Everyone sat in their little circle, socially distanced from the others. The sun was shining and it was hot. A few people were able to sit in the shade but most had to sit under the blazing sun. The same umbrella that had been used the day before to keep the pouring rain off, was now being used to keep the heat of the sun at bay.

Psalm 121 is best known for its opening verses: “I look up toward the mountains. Where can I find help? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” It’s a good thing the help doesn’t come from the mountains. Where I live there are no mountains. None, nothing, nada! There is nothing around here except flat, really flat, farmland. If help came from the hills, everybody here would be in deep trouble. The Psalmist recognized that his help came from a source far greater than the most majestic of mountains. It comes from the One who created those mountains.

How did this get from umbrellas to mountains? Because that’s where the psalmist takes us. He begins with mountains at the beginning of Psalm 121 but then goes on to write this in Psalm 121:5-6: “The LORD is your guardian. The LORD is the shade over your right hand. The sun will not beat down on you during the day, nor will the moon at night.”

Like an umbrella on a hot, shadeless summer afternoon, the Lord hovers over us to be our shade and guardian. In a hot climate like that of the Middle East, finding shade in the heat of the day can be the difference between heat stroke and health, even death and life.

The Psalmist takes all of this and drives home a spiritual lesson. Life can be challenging – it certainly has been for many recently. We are constantly reminded of how fragile life can be, and how uncertain. Statistics Canada reports a significant increase in health concerns, stress and violence in the home.

The Lord Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. And because He won’t, we can trust Him to be our guardian – our shade when the challenges of life beat down upon us like the summer sun. The umbrella of His presence brings us relief and hope.

When the heat is on in your life, place your life under the protective and guarding presence of the Lord Jesus. The moment you do, the things of this world will lose their power to bring fear to your heart. Allow Him to be the provider of shade for your soul.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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June 22, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31 (NLT)

Before we realized it, the nest was built. In the corner where the garage meets the house, we would soon have a family of robins! Soon, wide-open little beaks appeared over the edge of the eavestrough and mama robin flew in constantly, worms hanging from her beak. The chicks quickly grew, and this past Saturday it was time for them to take their first tentative flight.

Mama robin didn’t inform us of the timing of this important moment in the life of her little family. So we had no idea that we were interrupting her plan when we decided it was the perfect morning to spread mulch over our front gardens – right under the nest.

Panic struck mama robin. The little ones began to spread their wings and with wings flapping, tentatively and erratically left the nest for the first time. Meanwhile, mama flew over our heads, and in her flapping and swooping we sensed her fear. Our presence caused her to panic, desperately concerned for the safety of her young ones.

What she didn’t understand was that, in reality, we would have done anything at that moment to protect her and her young chicks. We were not the enemy. We were the best human friends she and her little ones had in the world. They had nothing to fear. If they had just trusted us, the fear would have disappeared.

There is a profound spiritual lesson here. There is much in this day that can cause fear, and many are fearful. The Center for Disease Control says this about that fear: “The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.”

Jesus understood how easily fear can grip our hearts and lives. As He so often did, He taught a lesson to His followers from things they experienced as they traveled through Israel. In Matthew 10:29-31 we read, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

If mama robin had only known that the nearby human beings would have done everything necessary to protect those little chicks taking their first flight. Like that mama robin, we too often keep our focus on the cause of our fear. Instead, Jesus reminds us to keep our eyes on the One who loves us deeply. This is the heart of faith. As we keep our gaze on God, we notice that He has His gaze on us. We are valuable to Him. With assurance, fear flees and faith rises. Hebrews 12:2 puts it this way: “We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.”

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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June 15, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

If you have an interest in history, particularly 20th Century Canadian history, the next time you are in the Ottawa area, plan to take some time to visit the Diefenbunker. Although it has an interesting and perhaps humourous sounding name, there was nothing funny about its creation, or potential use. The Diefenbunker, a massive four-story underground shelter, was built between 1959 and 1961, during the Cold War, and while John Diefenbaker was the Prime Minister of Canada. It was designed for top Canadian officials to be safe in the event of a nuclear war. It remained active as Canadian Forces Station Carp until 1994.

Leaders have always recognized the need to be safe during challenging times. If there was anyone for whom this is true, it was King David. Throughout his life he faced opposition from the likes of King Saul and his own son Absalom. And when he sinned by adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for the death of her husband Uriah, he faced the opposition of the Lord God Himself. What did David do when faced with such opposition, and where did he hide for protection?

He answers that in Psalm 27. The Psalm says “The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. The one thing I ask of the LORD—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.”

The days in which we live are challenging ones. We are faced with social isolation and economic upheaval. There is the temptation to pull the blanket over our heads and ignore it all. As followers of Jesus, we simply cannot do that. Jesus commands us in Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” We must enter the fray, acting in love and speaking up for justice, telling the world about Jesus who is the ultimate source of peace and who is all about reconciliation, between us and God, and each other.

As we do, abiding in Christ, we will experience what David did. God protects our hearts and minds, and no matter what is happening around us, we will not be afraid either. David constantly placed himself in the presence of His Lord. We must do the same, delighting in the Lord and meditating on Him. As we do, His peace will flood our hearts and He will place us out of reach on the high Rock of Jesus Christ.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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June 8, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

In the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, are two of the most impressive buildings on the planet – Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. At the back of the Blue Mosque is a model of the tomb of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, which is found in Medina, Saudi Arabia. 1200 km north, just outside of Jerusalem, is an empty tomb. On the back of the modern door on the ancient tomb is a sign that says “He is not here. He is risen.” Those seven words speak volumes about the contrast between these two faith systems.

At the heart of the Christian faith is the promise of God’s abiding presence with His people. In John 1:14, speaking of Jesus, we read “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Greek word translated “dwelt” literally means “tabernacle.” Jesus came and set up His tent among us. To use a modern idiom, he hunkered down with us. He came to live among us. And because that Jerusalem tomb is empty, He still does.

We live in a time when the world seems to be in chaos. We are forced to isolate from each other, forbidden from gathering together and urged to wear a face mask that makes us unrecognizable. Many have had family members suffer and die from COVID-19. Our global partners are telling us that in Africa and India there are millions who may soon be on the edge of starvation. The United States is facing urban upheaval not seen since the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. So I wasn’t surprised to read a question online from an atheist, “Where is your God in the midst of all of this?”

Good question. To answer that we must look at what the Bible says about God’s abiding presence. The Hebrew prophet Zephaniah wrote this in Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

There is no caveat here. The Lord Jesus isn’t in the midst of just our good times, our times of celebration. He is in the midst of our daily lives, whatever today looks like. He is with us in the times of pandemic, racial tension, economic and financial challenges and famine. Which begs the question, “How?”

I received the following from a partner in Africa: “We are bracing for thousands of deaths here. As we trust in God, I am helping to reach out to those who are vulnerable. Last week we supported 30 frontline church planters in very desperate situations in remote areas. We started a feeding program for 50 vulnerable groups, 12 households with over 450 members got one month of food and essential supplies. This is just the beginning and I’m helping to organize local support while trying to be safe.”

This dear brother is the hands, feet and heart of Jesus in the midst of a great tragedy. Each of us who belong to Jesus are called to be as well. Jesus said in John 13:15: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

In the midst of all that is happening in our world, how can you be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus, bringing His peace, His healing, His reconciliation to a world that desperately needs to know that Jesus is in their midst? He is alive. The tomb is empty. He has taken up His residence in you. Now He calls you, me, all of us who love Him, to do as He has done for us. Take His presence into your world today.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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June 2, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die.”
Philippians 1:20 (TLB)

Measles are not fun. I had them as child, and I remember that I wasn’t allowed to go outside or play with my brother or friends for about a decade. Well, it was only about a week, but when you are six, and an extrovert, a week can feel like a decade. Even after I started to feel better, I was told that I couldn’t go out to play with my friends. My mother, who had been a teacher, didn’t want that time to go to waste. Each day we did the work the teacher had sent home for me to do, we learned new songs, and we worked in her garden. It was a wonderful time, and I didn’t just cope with my illness, I thrived.

Over the past few months, many of us have been forced to self-isolate. Some of us have been under ordered quarantine. COVID-19, like so many other communicative diseases, has caused us to have to separate ourselves from others. While we may not have much of a choice about being isolated, we do have a choice about what we do with that isolation.

At the beginning of this unique time, many people were having a hard time dealing with being separated from others and found it difficult to cope with all that life was throwing at them. Others did manage to cope by convincing themselves that they were going to get through this. This might have been better than not coping, but most days, not by much!

There is a third way. Toward the end of his life, the apostle Paul found Himself in a prison in Rome. Back in Israel he had been charged with taking a Gentile into the Temple. When he announced he was a Roman citizen and appealed to Rome for justice, his fate was sealed. Eventually he ended up in a prison in Rome. There he faced not only the loss of his freedom, but his life. In the end he would die as a martyr for the sake of Jesus Christ.

How did Paul respond to this forced isolation? Did he crumble under the pressure? Did he somehow cope? Listen to what he writes to the Philippian believers from his jail cell in Rome. Philippians 3:18 tells us “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

In the midst of the most challenging time in his life, a life that was filled with challenges, Paul was able to thrive. He did so because his focus was not on what he was facing, but on Christ. His goal was to bring glory to Jesus no matter what his circumstances. In Philippians 1:20 he wrote: “For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die.”

When we keep our eyes on the world, when we look only to what we are facing, at best we will be able to cope. But when we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, desiring to bring glory to Him no matter what is happening in our personal life and in the larger world, we will thrive. During these challenging times, keep your eyes on Jesus. And as you do, others will notice you thriving, presenting you with the perfect opportunity to lift their eyes to Jesus too.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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May 25, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Mary Berry, one of Britain’s most famous bakers, contracted polio when she was 13. It left her with curvature of the spine and a slightly misshapen left hand. Mary was then subjected to drastic measures in a bid to contain the disease, revealing she was placed in a glass isolation room for a month. She said: “Alone and feeling terrible, the one thing I wanted was my mother. But my parents had to stay on the other side of the glass, only able to smile and mouth words of reassurance. During their visits, I was in floods of tears. I just couldn’t understand why Mum wasn’t coming in to give me a cuddle, to talk to me and comfort me.”

It isn’t just children who are deeply affected by isolation. Every terrorist group in the world uses isolation to break the spirit of those they have captured. So it shouldn’t surprise us that there are many who are finding these days of social isolation and physical distancing to be a real challenge.

Other than having the pandemic come to an end, is there a solution? What answer does the Bible have for those who are finding these days particularly challenging? Those like seniors who are living alone and can’t see their loved ones face to face. Or those in the hospital with COVID-19 or some other illness, and not allowed any visitors. Or maybe you.

The early Church was used to dealing with persecution. Paul himself would spend years under house arrest before being imprisoned in Rome. Talk about isolation. So he knew what he was writing about, when in Romans 8:38-39 he said, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NLT)

What a great word from this godly apostle. No matter how alone he was forced to be, no matter how long he had to go without being able to be with those he loved, he was able to testify that the love of God cannot be constrained or restrained. There is a sense by which nothing can separate us from anyone’s love. You may not get to see your parents, siblings, grandchildren, or any other family member or friend, but they don’t stop loving you. Neither does the Lord Jesus. But there is a difference with God’s love.

The God of the Bible is not bound by space. The Bible tells us that our God is spirit. His presence fills our world and His Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the lives of all who have trusted Jesus Christ. So He can be found in the darkest prison cell, in the quiet room in hospice, or the apartment where a senior lives alone. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ, because there is no place on earth where Jesus cannot be.

When you belong to Him by faith, you can be assured of His loving presence. Right with you. Right now. Invite Him to manifest His loving presence in your life, enveloping you with His love.

This is a link to one of my favourite new worship songs. “I will Wait For You” by Shane & Shane is a beautiful rendition of Psalm 130. Enjoy!

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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May 19, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Joshua Becker, a leading spokesman for what has come to be known as the Minimalist Movement, once wrote, “If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy this weekend to change that.”

In these days of pandemic, Christians are asking the Lord what He is trying to teach us. I believe the simple answer is “lots of things.” But one of the key lessons I believe the Lord is wanting us to learn is one of the foundational principles of the Kingdom of God – to be content with what we have.

This is more than just being content with what we have materially, although that is certainly part of it. At the heart of this Biblical principle is something much deeper. The apostle Paul describes it this way in Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul was set up to have a wonderful life. Well educated, intelligent, from a comfortable family, a Roman citizen. He could have been a leader among his people. But then Jesus grabbed his heart and he gave it all up to take the Gospel to the world.

There were lots of blessings in doing so, but there were also shipwrecks, beatings and imprisonment. Talk about social distancing!

What Paul learned from Jesus was that contentment does not come from material things, or freedom of movement or freedom from illness and pain. If it could, we wouldn’t keep reading about the latest heartbreaking suicide from among the Hollywood or Wall Street elite.

The result of lack of contentment is obvious. James 4:1-2 says this: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”

What Paul learned is what God wants to teach us through these COVID-19 days – to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. This is only possible as we bring our lives daily to the Lord and find our contentment in Him alone. As James says, we lack contentment because we do not ask God.

Our leaders are struggling to find the balance between protecting people from illness and opening our society again. We need to pray for them that they would seek God’s wisdom in it all. In the meantime, we who know Christ can be at peace, testifying as Paul did, that we can do all things, including experiencing His contentment, through Christ who gives us His strength.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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May 11, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

“These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
Revelation 2:8-10 (NIV)

The city of Izmir is the third largest city in modern Turkey. A port city with a population of around 3 million, it is a bustling, busy metropolis. In the heart of modern Izmir is the historical ruins of what was known in Jesus’ day as Smyrna. Early in the history of the Christian Church, the Gospel arrived in Smyrna, and it gained renown as one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation.

The apostle John, who received the vision upon which that book is based, tells us that the Lord said this to the Church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-10: “These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

The most common command in the Bible is “do not be afraid.” In the case of the Christians in Smyrna, God warns them that they are going to be facing persecution because of their faith in Jesus. In a wealthy and thriving city they were already facing opposition that was keeping them financially poor. Jesus tells them that they are spiritually rich, and unlike the announcements to the other churches in this region, He has nothing negative to say about their faith or lives. He simply calls them to two things – do not fear, and keep on being faithful no matter what happens.

As we live through these COVID-19 days, we are not facing the same kind of persecution these Smyrna Christians faced. The book of Revelation was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, who towards the end of his reign declared he was a god and demanded that he be worshipped by all. When the Jews and Christians refused, many were tortured and martyred. While that kind of persecution is still happening in our world today, it is not happening here in Canada. But these are days when many are fearful about things over which they have no control.

We must hear the command of Jesus – “Do not be afraid … be faithful.” How is this possible? We have two promises here in these verses in Revelation. First, the Lord is aware of all we are facing, just as He knew what the Christians in Smyrna were facing. That means He is with us, and keeping an eye on us. Second, He has our future in His hands, and in the end it will all be okay. A crown awaits.

Back in 1943, at the height of the Second World War, days that were filled with fear like in today’s world, a pastor’s wife by the name of Ruth Caye Jones was reading her Bible and came to 2 Timothy 3 where she read, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” As she read those words, she thought of Hebrews 6:19: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast.” She took out a pen and wrote the words that became a popular hymn in those challenging days: “In times like these you need a Saviour, in times like these you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor grips and holds the Solid Rock. This Rock is Jesus, yes He’s the One. This Rock is Jesus, the only One. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.”

A new song that shares the same truth.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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May 7, 2020

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May 4, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

Opportunity knocks…

Recording artist Rita Coolidge once said, “Too often, opportunity knocks, but by the time you push back the chain, push back the bolt, unhook the two locks and shut off the burglar alarm, it's too late.”

What an appropriate quote for these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are living in fear, and self-isolating often grows that fear. For all intents and purposes, they have chained, bolted and locked their doors, if not literally, at least figuratively.

Christians are called to be wise in these days, but not to fear. The most common phrase in the Bible, used 365 times, is the phrase “do not be afraid.” God really, really wants us to be at peace, no matter what we are facing. My favourite verse is the promise given to Joshua at the beginning of the book named for him. Moses has just died and now Joshua is tasked with leading the people of Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. It must have been an overwhelming moment for him. In Joshua 1:9 God gives a command with a promise: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Assured of God’s presence, Joshua successfully led God’s people into the Promised Land.

I’m sure you haven’t tied the Promise Land together with these days of pandemic. At least not until now. But ponder this: these are days of fear for many people, just as they were for the people of Israel as they stood on the east side of the Jordan. The future is uncertain and we appear to be facing giants. If you are a follower of Jesus, the command of Joshua 1:9 is for you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. The Lord Jesus is with you, wherever you go.

With the peace of Christ experienced, how do we then move forward in these days? Paul the apostle wrote these words in Ephesians 5:15-17: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

These are days of great opportunity, unlike any we have had since 9-11, and in a global sense, long before that. Many of our non-Christian friends are uncertain or fearful. That includes your neighbours. We are called to make the most of every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with those around us.

It is true that not being able to get within two metres of anyone is a big challenge. But there are ways to show the love of Jesus to others in these days. One pastor I heard recently felt led by the Lord to put a post-it note on the front door of houses in his neighbourhood, leaving his phone number and assuring them that he was available to pick up groceries, to offer a listening ear, or to pray with them.

How can you, walking in faith and not fear, take advantage of every opportunity the Lord gives you in these unique days? Opportunity is knocking. Quickly open the door!

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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April 30, 2020

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April 27, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You."
Job 42:5 (NIV)

Five years waiting in line.

An average person, throughout their lifetime, spends five years waiting in lines and queues, and typically, six months of that is waiting at traffic lights. Now, if you’re in line at Disney World, waiting to ride Space Mountain, the waiting is exciting. But if it's stopping at a traffic light on your way to the hospital to have a baby, now that’s another thing!

We live in a day when the entire world is waiting. We have no choice. We are waiting to be able to hug family and friends, and shop normally. We are waiting to be able to go back to church. We are waiting to get back to work, pay bills, and take the kids to the playground in the neighbourhood park.

For some, the waiting is much more nerve-wracking. We are waiting for a turnaround in the health of my wife’s cousin, who is in serious condition in the hospital, fighting COVID-19. The entire family is praying, waiting for the latest update on the private family Facebook page. And waiting for God to perform a miracle.

We have all had to wait on God. His timing doesn’t often match ours. It didn’t when Lazarus died. As Lazarus’ sister Martha said in John 11:21, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” That was true, but Jesus purposely waited, knowing that what He was about to do in raising Lazarus from the dead served a great purpose.

In the book of Job, the ancient loses everything – his possessions are gone, his children are dead, his body is ravaged by disease. For the first 37 chapters, Job is left with only his thoughts and the horrible theology of his friends' opinions. For the first 37 chapters, Job waits, wrestling with all that is happening to him.

It isn’t until Job is hanging by a thread that God shows up. And when He does, He shows up not with answers, but with questions. Is it because God doesn’t care? There are many people who are asking that these days.

In his book A Sacred Sorrow, Michael Card writes, “Without the pain, he would never have known the need. Without the need he would have never seen ahead to the One who will perfectly fulfill the need. The shadow of Jesus of Nazareth is there in Job. His prayers of protest are only a small drop in a sea of laments that would eventually call forth the coming of Jesus.”

Jesus always shows up. Use this time of waiting to trust God that in His time, He will show up in your life. Perhaps He already has. At Bible League Canada we are hearing stories from all over the world, that those who once persecuted Jesus followers are now turning to those they formerly harassed, asking them to pray for them, and asking them where they get their peace. Jesus is never late.

Because of all that Job went through, and because God did show up, Job was able to say, in Job 42:5, “My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.” This is the heart of the book of Job. God would no longer simply be someone Job trusts from afar, but as we have discovered through our relationship with Jesus, He is Immanuel: God with us.

During this time of waiting, keep looking. The Lord Jesus will show up. He always does.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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April 21, 2020

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April 20, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with
the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,
so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Canadians are reeling this week.

After having to deal with weeks of COVID-19 self-isolation and the loss of loved ones to an unseen enemy, now we have to deal with the largest mass murder in Canadian history. Although many have tried hard to turn off the 24-hour news channels, this has drawn us back, hoping to hear some reason why a seemingly pleasant professional would go on such a horrific killing spree.

Many are asking where God is in the midst of all that is happening in our country and our world. It is a fair question and when asked with a longing heart, it deserves a response from God’s people. The answer is found in the lives of followers of Jesus.

In an interview with Mayor Christine Blair, mayor of the County of Colchester Nova Scotia, the epicentre of the mass murders, the word comfort was used over and over again. It is what Canadians are longing for more than anything else at this time. Particularly for those who have lost loved ones in the killings or to COVID-19, and who, because of the current ban on assembly, cannot gather with family and friends for memorial services. This will prolong the grieving process, and deepen the need for comfort.

The Lord is not absent.

He loves us so much, and millennia ago He put a plan into place to bring His comfort into a hurting, grieving world. Look at what the apostle Paul says about it in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

Those of us who experience the abiding presence of Jesus have experienced His peace and comfort in the midst of our darkest times. I will always remember when my father passed away. I was standing alone in his hospital room moments after he had died. I was frozen with grief. So I didn’t notice a nun slip in beside me. I was a bit startled when I heard her voice beside me asking, “You are a Christian, aren’t you?”

I said to her, “Yes, I am.” And she said, “So let’s pray together.”

I don’t know what she prayed, but I will always remember the overwhelming sense of God’s comfort filling my heart at that moment. To this day, I wonder if I experienced an angelic visitation at that moment. I do know I felt the comfort that only the Lord can give.

Amid the tragedies taking place around us, we who follow Jesus experience His comfort regularly. He is still the God who draws alongside. That comfort is not to be kept to ourselves. He comforts us so we can share His comfort with others around us, and as we do, we answer the question many have – “Where is God in the midst of all of this?”

Bring the presence and comfort of our God to others around you today. Send a note, an email or a message. Bake a few extra cookies or muffins. Draw alongside virtually and pray with them. Pray with them. Let your comfort abound through Christ.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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April 16, 2020

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April 14, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

During this COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have seen a 96% decline in passengers. 96%! Those who fly a lot know that most of the time flights are overbooked. Announcements are often made at the gate inviting anyone who can wait for a future flight to do so, and be rewarded richly. Now, the gates are empty, as people, wisely, are forgoing vacations and business trips and will do so until the pandemic is over.

It isn’t just travel plans that are being cancelled in these days. One major Christian organization has already announced that none of their summer camping programs are going to happen this summer. All sorts of events have either been cancelled or postponed.

Despite how disappointing this can be, and I’ve seen a lot of disappointment expressed on social media over all these cancellations, John Lennon might have hit on something when he said, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

I think a lot of us are learning during this pandemic that a lot of life can happen when we are self-isolated. We have time to be in touch with old friends that we haven’t spoken to, or connected with, in a long time. We connect with our children and grandchildren, taking advantage of social media in its various forms. In fact, maybe because we aren’t so busy making plans, we are taking time to experience some of the most important things in life – time with ourselves, with those we love, and with the Lord Jesus.

As followers of Jesus, we are reminded of what wise King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” If we have put our trust in the Lord Jesus, we can live with the assurance that He has our lives completely under control. He isn’t surprised by COVID-19 and He isn’t wringing His hands wondering what to do about it.

We live in a world that is far from the way God created it. And since the Fall, He has been redeeming it, calling this world back to Himself. Solomon was correct. Men and women make plans. But ultimately the Lord is in control. In complete control. Of me. Of you.

So instead of fretting and being discouraged by our plans not coming to fruition, let’s rest in the fact that the Lord is establishing our steps. He has given us these days of isolation. They will not last forever. We will get back to being able to make plans. So let’s stop and ask ourselves, and the Lord, why He has established this moment in our lives and what He wants us to discover in these days.

“Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.” Romans 8:28 (PHILLIPS)

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

***

Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

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April 8, 2020

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April 6, 2020

Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection

"I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me: let us exalt his name together.”
Psalm 34:1-3

Currently, the various social networking platforms are busier than ever.

While people are self-isolating, they have more time on their hands. I’ve noticed something else as well. I have many friends on Facebook, but not all of them are Christians. And particularly among those who are not yet followers of Jesus, life in a COVID-19 world is too often marked by fear and apprehension. Some have expressed terror at the thought of contracting this virus and the uncertainty of the future.

As I pondered all of this, the Lord reminded me of a time in the life of young David as he was fleeing from King Saul. To where does David flee? 1 Samuel 21:10 tells us: “That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.” David flees to Gath. Gath! Goliath's hometown! Goliath, the Philistine giant, the hero of his people, whom David had recently killed. It was the one place King Saul wouldn't dare go. But, it was also the last city where David would be welcomed!

More afraid of Saul than King Achish of Gath, David runs to that city. When he gets there, he discovers that King Achish doesn't want him. So, David feigns insanity, is cast out of Gath, and ends up in a cave with 400 other homeless and disenfranchised people.

While there, he writes a few Psalms. One, Psalm 142, is a lament. We understand that. Who wouldn't lament at a time like that? It is another one, Psalm 34, which amazes me. In the midst of being chased by a king who wants to kill him, and another king who thinks he is crazy, David writes these words in Psalm 34:1-3:

"I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.”

Praise. David, in the midst of a life altering challenge begins with praise.

I encourage you to get out your Bibles and read ALL of Psalm 34. There is no better passage in God's word during these challenging COVID-19 days. Written by David at one of the most challenging moments in his life. He was between a rock (King Saul) and a hard place (King Achish). And what does he do? He praises! So should you.

Praise not only lifts our eyes from the circumstances in which we find our world, and ourselves but it will have an impact on those around us who are not followers of Jesus. David reminds us of the 400 others hiding in the same cave when he writes, “let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” As you express praise to the Lord who is your rock, and His peace marks your life, others will notice and be drawn to Him as well.

I was reminded as I am writing this of a worship song written by Johnny Parks and recorded by Robin Mark. It is a song for just such a time as this. So, as you listen, praise the Lord for all His blessings. Most of all, for the blessings of His presence, His mysterious, abiding, immutable, assured, peace-filled presence.

With that assurance, all is well.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.

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Words from the Heart is a daily e-devotional brought to you by Bob Beasley, Bible League Canada's Chief Ministry Officer.

Each morning you will receive a daily verse, short reflection point, as well as a 3-minute podcast and written devotional. All in one email!

Subscribe now to start receiving Words from the Heart.

Urgent-Appeal

March 31, 2020

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

Your help is needed immediately

I have hard news to share.

All 52 of the Mission Thrift Stores across Canada – that provide much of the revenue that funds our ministry programs – have been closed because of the pandemic.

Will you please send a special, emergency gift to share God’s word by funding our ministry programs?

If emergency funding is not raised, most of our ministry programs this year will have to be cancelled.

I’m asking for your support so that ministry can still continue. So that people without a Bible can still receive one. So that people who don’t know Jesus can still hear about Him.

In many of the 40 countries you support, in rural areas especially, there is still an immediate need for Bibles for children’s programs and adult literacy. Our mission remains the same, advancing God’s Kingdom, by His grace.

The closing of the Mission Thrift Stores means a drastic loss in income. This will cause the cancellation of ministry programs that are currently running and programs that are planned. I am not writing this from a posture of fear, but out of deep passion for our champions on the field and out a deep burden for the lost.

I don’t want this pandemic to cause a single person to not hear the Word of God!

I know this pandemic has a wide-reaching effect, and you are trying to navigate it day-to-day. But can you help today? The need is urgent and the situation is unprecedented.

Please give an emergency gospel-sharing gift. You can give securely online by clicking on the button below, or by calling 1-800-363-9673.

With much faith and gratitude,

Paul Richardson
President

P.S. The pandemic just caused a massive reduction in our income, and programs will need to be cancelled unless emergency funding is raised. Your gift will make the difference between a program being cancelled – people receiving a Bible and knowing Jesus this year – or not. Please help today.

Urgent Need – Donate Today

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Your Work Continues

March 26, 2020

Your Work Continues

Your desire to share the Living Word of God around the world in more than 40 countries continues. Wherever possible, ministry is still taking place.

However, in accordance with the Ontario government, and in an effort to show love to our neighbours during this time, our office building is closed until further notice.

Bible League Canada is still active and staff is working from home, welcoming your phone calls, replying to your online contact requests, and gratefully accepting your donations for the field. Your work continues!

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

In Christ’s love,

Paul Richardson
President

Presidents-Letter-Social

March 19, 2020

A Message from the President

In light of what is happening around the world, and here in Canada, I want to reassure you that the work of Bible League Canada continues. We are committed to doing all we can to carry on the mission you faithfully support and make possible.

Because we work with local believers in over 40 countries, we are not dependent on international travel to carry out the ministry. This means that Bibles are still being placed and ministry programs are still happening, with few exceptions. Not only do we believe this partnership model is most effective, it is also a strength in a time of pandemic and uncertainty.

In an effort to do what we can to slow the spread of Covid-19, our team here in Canada has made adjustments and are carrying on their important functions remotely. In every way possible we are doing our best to act stewardly and demonstrate love for our neighbours. We ache for those around the world who are ill or who have lost loved ones and we join tens of thousands who are praying.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We believe in living out all parts of this verse. We, as believers, need not be afraid. We are trusting in the power of God Almighty, the one Who created all things. We are called to show love to those around us and to make decisions and take actions based on wisdom.

While daily life is being impacted, with updates almost hourly, lives around the world are still being transformed by the powerful and living Word of God. Thank you for your continued support.

In Christ’s love,

Paul Richardson
President