A (True) Change of Heart

Have you ever heard either one of the following sayings?

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

“You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.”

Over the years there has been the pervasive belief that various forms of (civil or religious) legislation can create a sort of utopia; a society possessing a strong economy, healthy morality, and most of all---peace from crime and the threat of war.

History has clearly demonstrated that lasting peace cannot be legislated or enforced by humanity. Numerous governments across the globe, over millennia, have proven this. Dictatorships, monarchies, democracies and various mixtures of these three approaches, have all failed. Kingdoms have come and gone. Presidents have come and gone. Dictators have come and gone. Majority and minority governments within Canada have come and gone. To some extent or another, all rulers have promised peace and improved conditions to their supporters. But where are we at today? According to reputable historians, the 20th century was the bloodiest century to date. This, despite education, technological advances, access to clean water, etc. being at their highest growth rates in known history.

So what is the underlying issue?

The Bible, God’s written word to men and women, clearly demonstrates that humanity has a “heart condition”. This is a condition that heart surgery at your local hospital cannot fix! This heart condition is spiritual in nature and the Bible clearly teaches that all men and women suffer from the same ailment.

Consider this excerpt from God’s word: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

What is the solution then to our heart problem? Consider this teaching, also from the book of Jeremiah:

“Blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

The solution? We are to trust in the Lord! Trusting the Lord includes obeying Him and submitting to His ways, which ultimately always turn out for our best. We cannot say that we trust the Lord if we refuse to heed His instruction. The Lord’s ways are primarily found by spending time with Him---by reading His word and by fellowshipping with other people who want to honour Him. This is the only way our “heart” can be changed. As we spend time in the Bible our mind is transformed and, subsequently, our attitudes and thought processes are changed to be more aligned with the Lord’s heart.

Consider this portion from the Bible:

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

If we have placed our faith solely in Jesus alone, we can enjoy the hope given by the following scripture:

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)

This renewed and restored earth will occur when Jesus Christ returns to this earth at some point in the future. Although the year remains unknown, we can be assured that when Jesus returns, death will be defeated and righteousness will reign in an unprecedented way! This is the expectation of every believer.

If you wish to have this personal hope, please contact our office and someone would be happy to speak further with you about this crucial matter. We also have free Bibles and other free Bible-based books and DVDs. Our office phone number is 204-586-4103. We can also be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Fear and Faith

In just the past several weeks the level of fear and anxiety in our nation of Canada has increased at a remarkable rate. The threat of an ‘invisible’ virus upon our personal health has served to remove our typical Canadian sense of personal comfortability and control. The economy has not been spared either. Many people are facing reduced work hours, business closures and unemployment. The consequences of this virus are real. The fear of not knowing how this will play out is palpable. People aren’t sure even how to properly socialize and many relationships feel on hold due to personal interaction being reduced.

Although this is a very difficult time for an incredible number of people, the silver lining to this is that a couple of vital facts become painfully obvious: (i) we do not, and cannot, control everything and (ii) most people fear death. These facts are being placed squarely in front of us now on a daily basis. Ultimately, however, this is a good reminder.

This realization of our lack of control can cause incredible fear. But truly, at any given time, we can control very little. Did we have control over our birth? Our location of birth? Our eye color? No. The Bible clearly reveals that we control precious little. Luke 12:25 asks the reader “Can you by worrying become any taller?” Of course the answer is ‘no’ here as well. In Luke 12 the Lord Jesus says “I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” Does this teaching mean that we shouldn’t care about basic needs or working? No. Reading further here we see that the Lord is teaching us about what proper life priorities look like. Jesus goes on to say, “For all these things (food, clothing, etc) the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear little flock…” Jesus is saying that as we follow the Lord in obedience He will provide us with what we need. Sometimes what we actually need are difficult circumstances because it causes us to humble ourselves and to cry out to the Lord. Although tough times are by definition ‘difficult’ and unattractive it is at these times that we can choose to become more teachable and more open to things that truly matter in this life. Perhaps the time to do just that is now--for us and for our nation.

Another fact that has been revealed at this time in our country is that people fear death. If we are honest, we all have feared death at one time or another in our lives. Perhaps you are struggling with that fear of death even today. Not wanting to die is a perfectly understandable desire. You see, the Lord originally created men and women to have an eternal relationship with Him (as described in Genesis 2 and 3) on the earth apart from death. However, because of mankind’s rebellion (‘sin’), death was introduced into the world. Humanity was no longer relying on God for their life supply and our relationship with our Creator was changed dramatically. Death is now ever present. In fact, Scripture (the Bible) says that the consequence is that “death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Sin is the ultimate virus. It is a ‘spiritual’ virus that inflicts the well-being of our soul. It has infected every human being that has walked on this planet. How can we fix this? Can we fix this? Scripture teaches that Jesus was the only one to walk a sinless, holy life. As a result He qualified to be the perfect payment for our sins. You see, a sinful person can’t provide payment for sin. That is why I cannot pay for my sin or for your sin. You cannot pay for mine either. We are not qualified to pay for our sins, because we have sin permeating us. Jesus, by dying for humanity, conquered death and the fear of death, for all those who place their trust in Him. The Bible says that Jesus’ death served to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). Ten out of ten people will physically die. Unfortunately ten out of ten people do not place their faith in Jesus Christ. This ‘eternal life’ that Jesus offers us is a free gift. It is received by trust (faith). The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This gift is not earned or deserved. Our supposed ‘good works’ are not sufficient. The Bible also says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Bible teaches that physical death has no power over anyone who believes in Jesus. This does not mean that Christians won’t physically die. What it does mean is that when Jesus returns to the earth one day all believers will receive a new body that shall never again be destroyed by sin, sickness or death. Consider these verses from the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:4; Acts 3:19-23. This could be a timely opportunity for many of us in our nation to seek the Lord. Ponder this and consider your decision.

If you do sense conviction by any of this writing please feel free to contact us. We have free Bibles and other free Bible-based books and DVDs. Our office phone number is 204-586-4103. We can also be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Practicing Quietness

Let’s Cultivate Simplicity and Solitude (A.W.TOZER, 1960)

We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity.

Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again. “The thoughtful soul to solitude retires,” said the poet of other and quieter times; but where is the solitude to which we can retire today?

Science, which has provided men with certain material comforts, has robbed them of their souls by surrounding them with a world hostile to their existence. “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. What was intended to be a blessing has become a positive curse.

No spot is now safe from the world’s intrusion. One way the civilized world destroys men is by preventing them from thinking their own thoughts. Our “vastly improved methods of communication” of which the shortsighted boast so loudly now enable a few men in strategic centers to feed into millions of minds alien thought-stuff, ready-made and predigested. A little effortless assimilation of these borrowed ideas and the average man has done all the thinking he will or can do. This subtle brainwashing goes on day after day and year after year to the eternal injury of the populace a populace, incidentally, which is willing to pay big money to have the job done, the reason being, I suppose, that it relieves them of the arduous and often frightening task of reaching independent decisions for which they must take responsibility. There was a time, not too long ago, when a man’s home was his castle, a sure retreat to which he might return for quietness and solitude. There “the rains of heaven may blow in, but the king himself cannot enter without permission,” said the proud British, and made good on their boast. That was home indeed. It was of such a sacred place the poet sang:
"0, when I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome; And when I am stretched beneath the pines, Where the evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, At the sophist schools, and the learned clan; For what are they all, in their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet?"

While it is scarcely within the scope of the present piece, I cannot refrain from remarking that the most ominous sign of the coming destruction of our country is the passing of the American home. Americans live no longer in homes, but in theaters. The members of many families hardly know each other, and the face of some popular TV star is to many wives as familiar as that of their husbands. Let no one smile. Rather should we weep at the portent. It will do no good to wrap ourselves in the Stars and Stripes for protection. No nation can long endure whose people have sold themselves for bread and circuses. Our fathers sleep soundly, and the harsh bedlam of commercialized noise that engulfs us like something from Dante’s Inferno cannot disturb their slumber. They left us a goodly heritage. To preserve that heritage we must have a national character as strong as theirs. And this can be developed only in the Christian home.

The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. What the world will do about it is their problem. Apparently the masses want it the way it is and the majority of Christians are so completely conformed to this present age that they, too, want things the way they are. They may be annoyed a bit by the clamor and by the goldfish bowl existence they live, but apparently they are not annoyed enough to do anything about it.

However, there are a few of God’s children who have had enough. They want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life. They want to discover the blessedness of what Dr. Max Reich called “spiritual aloneness.” To such I offer a brief paragraph of counsel:

Retire from the world each day to some private spot, even if it be only the bedroom (for a while I retreated to the furnace room for want of a better place). Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelops you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind-short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings. Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life. Never let your mind remain scattered for very long. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration. All the above is contingent upon a right relation to God through Christ and daily meditation on the Scriptures. Lacking these, nothing will help us; granted these, the discipline recommended will go far to neutralize the evil effects of externalism and to make us acquainted with God and our own souls.

A Fence or an Ambulance

The poem below is a good reminder that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. How much more so in our walk before the Lord? Although forgiveness from the Lord is always available to a repentant heart, our desire should be to honor the Lord everyday in our decision making and in our conversations with others. It is better to suffer for doing what is right before the Lord than to simply be suffering for our mistakes and poor choices.  1 Peter 2:20-21 says "For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God."

A Fence or an Ambulance (by Joseph Malins, 1895)

‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence ’round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

"For the cliff is all right, if you’re careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they’re stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: "It’s a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they’d much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but ’tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence ’round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.

Why is Jesus the only way to God?

People are constantly asking, “What’s so special about Jesus? Why is He the only way that someone can know God?”

Along with the problem of people who have never heard, there is no question asked more often than this one. We are accused of being narrow-minded because we assert there is no other way to get to God.

The first point to make is that we did not invent the claim of Jesus being the only way. This is not our claim; it is His. We are merely relating His claim, and the claim of the writers of the New Testament.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6, NASB) and, “For unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24, NASB). The apostle Peter echoed these words, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, KJV).

St. Paul concurred, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… . ”(I Timothy 2:5, KJV). It is therefore the united testimony of the New Testament that no one can know God the Father except through the person of Jesus Christ.

To understand why this is so, we must go back to the beginning. An infinite-personal God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and man in his own image (Genesis 1:26). When He had finished creating, everything was good (Genesis 1:31).

Man and woman were placed in a perfect environment, with all their needs taken care of. They were given only one prohibition; they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die (Genesis 2:17).

Unfortunately, they did eat of the tree (Genesis 3), and the result was a fall in four different areas. The relationship between God and man was now broken, as can be seen from Adam’s and Eve’s attempting to hide from God (Genesis 3:8).

The relationship between man and his fellow man was severed, with both Adam and Eve arguing and trying to pass the blame to someone else (Genesis 3:12, 13).

The bond between man and nature also was broken, with the ground producing thorns and thistles and the animal world no longer being benevolent (Genesis 3:17, 18). Man also became separated from himself, with a feeling of emptiness and incompleteness, something he had not experienced before the fall.

However, God promised to make all these things right and gave His word that He would send a Saviour, or Messiah, who would deliver the entire creation from the bondage of sin (Genesis 3:15). The Old Testament kept repeating the theme that some day this person would come into the world and set mankind free.

God’s Word did indeed come true. God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 29). Jesus eventually died in our place in order that we could enjoy again a right relationship with God. The Bible says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” and “he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:19, 21, KJV).

Jesus has paved the way! God has done it all, and our responsibility is to accept that fact. We can do nothing to add to the work of Jesus; it has all been done for us.

If mankind could have reached God any other way, then Jesus would not have had to die. His death illustrates the fact that there is no other way. Therefore, no other religion or religious leader can bring someone to the knowledge of the one true God.

But the death of Jesus is not the end of the story. Let us illustrate why we prefer Jesus over other religious leaders. Suppose a group of us are taking a hike in a very dense forest. As we get deeper into the forest, we become lost.

Realizing that taking the wrong path now might mean we will lose our lives, we begin to be afraid. However, we soon notice that ahead in the distance where the trail splits, there are two human forms at the fork in the road.

Running up to these people, we notice that one has on a park ranger uniform, and he is standing there perfectly healthy and alive, while the other person is lying face down, dead. Now which of these two are we going to ask about the way out? Obviously, the one who is living.

When it comes to eternal matters, we are going to ask the one who is alive the way out of the predicament. This is not Mohammed, not Confucius, but Jesus Christ. Jesus is unique. He came back from the dead. This demonstrates He is the one whom He claimed to be (Romans 1:4), the unique Son of God and the only way by which a person can have a personal relationship with the true and living God.

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© 2019 Josh McDowell Ministry. All rights reserved. No part of these Materials may be changed in any way or reproduced in any form without written permission from Josh McDowell Ministry, 2001 West Plano Parkway, Suite 2400, Plano, TX 75075. www.Josh.org. +1 972 907 1000. Used by Permission.*

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