Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.” So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals.” (Genesis 1:26-28 GNB)
In the creation story, we see that we were created in God the Creator’s image to be creators ourselves (e.g. children, environmental care). Of course, not everything we create is good for us, but that does not deny the good creative instinct.
Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 GNB)
Jesus invites children to approach him, blesses them, and even says that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. Children were no afterthought for Jesus, even if his disciples didn't think he should spend his valuable time on them.
Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.18-20 GNT)
Most Canadians have the Bible easily available to them in their preferred language, often with many translation options. We might even take for granted having multiple Bibles on our bookshelves or devices.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. (2 Timothy 3.16-17 GNT)
All of Scripture is useful. It is reliable. It will help us in real, practical ways. It helps equip us for life. This is the main claim that the Bible makes about itself and it is as essential today as it was when written to Timothy. Unfortunately, many Canadians believe the opposite: that the Bible is irrelevant.
I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse… Choose life. Love the LORD your God, obey him and be faithful to him. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20b GNB)
As Christians, we seek, as Israel did, to choose a life of loving God. God has given us the Bible as an invaluable resource in helping us choose life every day. Many of us would agree that we want to read the Bible more, but then quickly come up with many reasons why we don’t follow through. For example, our busy lives keep us from reading the Bible, or we believe that we will not know how to interpret and apply what we read.
There is no evidence in the Bible that Jesus was born on December 25. The earliest followers of Jesus and the people who wrote down the events surrounding his life and work on earth do not seem to have been very interested in the date of his birth and did not record it or celebrate it. Origen, one of the early Church fathers (c.185-c.254), preached against a birthday celebration for Jesus. He said it would be wrong to honour him in the same way political leaders like Herod were honoured. Early Christians believed that birthdays were pagan rituals for pagan gods. If observed at all, the celebration of Christ's birth was usually lumped in with Epiphany (January 6), one of the church's earliest established feasts. Eastern Churches adopted this as the date for the celebration of Christ's birth and his baptism. The Armenian Church continues this tradition.
Ah, New Year… new resolutions. The prayer above intends to bring a smile to readers, but there’s some truth to it. We cannot deny the fact that at least once in our life, we have made resolutions intending to make our Bible reading more meaningful in the New Year.
The tricky part about making resolutions is the actual implementation. Most people fail to follow through after only a few weeks. In fact, a research revealed that only 8% of goal-setters actually accomplish their New Year targets. This shows that we need help! The good news: there are a lot of resources out there to help you reach your Bible reading goals. Here are a few suggestions.
This is my last post. I have now returned home. From the time I boarded the plane in Kigali until I touched down in Saskatoon it took 28 hours – which included two 3-hour layovers in Amsterdam and Toronto. I am slowly getting re-acclimatized to life at home.
I learned so much during my one-week stay in the “Land of a Thousand Hills and a Million Smiles.” There is so much we can learn from the Rwandan people; I have found that God really can supply all their needs in Christ Jesus. They are not survivors, they are overcomers.
At the beginning of the journey, each of the participants spoke about what they wanted to have happen. These testimonies were posted earlier in this blog. Well, the journey is over and the question must be asked – “Were the expectations met?” Listen to how this question was answered.
Our report on the last day starts from the night before. We were the guests of the Bible Society of Rwanda who took us to a restaurant for an excellent meal and an evening of Rwandan culture. It was interesting going down a buffet line, not knowing what it was that I was about to put on my plate. Sometimes it’s better not to know!
After our meal we were entertained by a group of extremely energetic dancers accompanied by a drummer who must have lost several pounds during his performance! At the end, the dancers brought each of us on stage to dance with them. I am an old, very white Mennonite whose sense of rhythm is nonexistent.
On Thursday morning we took a short ride to the Genocide Memorial in Bugesera. I thought I’d share a little history before I proceed.
It’s hard to believe that so much has happened in such a short time! At the end of each day I feel that I have reached the climax of the journey and everything will be downhill from here. And each time I am proved wrong.
This morning started with a breakfast meeting with Harriet Hill who is one of the founders of the Trauma Healing Institute. She told us about the genesis of the program and how it has been working. Rather than try to summarize her comments, I captured them on video. This video will give you a better understanding of this program and its impact.