Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pentecost. The Coming Down Of The Holy Spirit.

   As the time of compassion drew near when God wanted to fulfill his promise and have mercy on the lost human race, he sent his Word, who was in and with God in the beginning. By means of his messenger Gabriel, he sent Word to a virgin whom he had previously chosen. As soon as she believed, she was sealed with the Holy Spirit. Then she was told, “Power from on high will overshadow you, and the Holy Spirit will come down from above into you. Therefore, the Holy One who is to be born of you shall be called the Son of God. (Excerpt from Peter Riedemann’s Hutterite Confession of Faith)

 We can imagine how blessed Mary felt to have born Jesus, the Son of the Living God! How amazing that must have been to carry the maker of the universe inside her!

 But 33 years later mankind brutally beat, and ridiculed her beloved son Jesus, murdering him with the most agonizing and cruel death they could devise by nailing Him to a cross and mocking him till he breathed his last. But Jesus defeated death, leaving his mankind in the carved out, rocky tomb, and arising victorious. Before he left earth for his heavenly home he made a promise: He promised to send  down his Holy Spirit from above into us, to dwell in us. If we but receive his gift we can have the Spirit of God living inside us, guiding us and providing comfort and wisdom. Unbelievable passion to want to be part of the very creatures he created! 

 But unlike the Virgin Mary, whom after a short while bore the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a stable in Bethlehem with the baby Jesus, we get to house the presence of the Holy Spirit in the temple of our bodies. Imagine, our earthly body a living temple to the Creator God! We are never more alone or afraid, for in us radiates the power, love, and comfort of a mighty God who spoke the whole universe into existence with merely a word! Who loves us so thoroughly and personally that he sent his Son down to us, to inhabit human form and live according to our human conditions, knowing full well that he would be rejected and killed, but knowing also that it was the only way to reconcile man to God.

 So how grand we build that temple, or not, to his Holy Presence is up to us. The natural outworkings of our human condition are fleshly and manifest themselves as described in Galatians Chapter 5: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. 


 I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Eins Betrübt Mich Sehr Auf Erden.

One thing grieves me beyond measure,
That so few will enter heaven,
Oh, just where should I begin,
There’s so many people dying,
The Son of God they are denying,
Leaving earth, bound fast to sin.

Everywhere, in every nation,
Men live in retaliation,
From across all walks of life,
Few are those who gain salvation 
Most are striding to perdition. 
Oh, what are the reasons why?

It’s not hard to see the answer
Man is full of hate and envy, 
In a life that denies God,
Indulging their inner vices,
Just as if they didn’t cognize,
Heavens road is oh so small. 

Pride and self-glorification, 
Boasting and self-adoration,
Greed takes over more and more,
As the self fights for attention
Do we even want redemption?
Is that the way the heavens door?

Throwing banquets, eating, drinking,
Playing, dancing, fleshly thinking,
Living in the moment bold,
Can that be the path to heaven,
Then it’ll be to slight the faithful,
Surely this will not work so. 

People make no qualms of lying, 
What’s more commonplace than cheating, 
Just as if it were okay,
He who does right, he is losing,
Dishonesty ends up winning,
Greed and money pave the way.

Oh how common cussing, swearing,
Blaspheming God in heaven,
Don't the children know that well?
‘Tis no wonder, that corruption, 
Young and old die in destruction, 
Heading down the path of Hell.

Stealing honour from another,
Spiting, envy, and dishonour, 
Isn’t that now common place?
Finger pointing, accusations,
Repeating false allegations,
More and more, that is the case.

What do we hold more important, 
Than exerting every effort
Gathering material goods.
Gold and silver, rare held treasures,
Harm our spirit without measure
Loved and sought out by the world.

Those who take others possessions, 
Will in fear and pain be sweating 
Eternal in the fires of hell.
Even though so many know this,
Stand accused before their conscience,
Yet they do not seem to care. 

Who seeks virtue, wisdom, morals?
Look how far the youth has fallen,
Where is trust, humility?
Those who seek to follow Jesus,
Mocked, ridiculed, and mistreated,
Persecuted constantly. 

My child, turn and follow Jesus,
Look at what he taught and showed us,
What his deeds and actions were.
He, the truth, way, life, forever,
Follow him, you’ll make no error,
That’s the best advice for you.

Brotherly love is fundamental, 
Without it we’re barred from heaven, 
Love God with your heart and soul.
If we show love to another
We will never grieve our brother,
We will also not grieve God.

Keeping reins upon our passions,
Curbing evil wants and habits,
If we seek eternal life.
Those who seek a life of pleasure,
Will not find a place in heaven,
Stand in judgement when they die.

Poverty and will to suffer,
Bravely facing persecution, 
That's food for the chosen few,
Praising God, strong hearts so faithful,
Suffer willing all that’s painful,
Blessed who learns this virtue.

Do you want to follow Jesus,
Oh, so live a life that’s righteous, 
Seek out the minority,
Once this poor, short life is over
God will give you one eternal,
Greet you into royalty.

So my friend, so let it happen,
Come what may, I will be ready, 
As God wants, so it will be.
Lord, please be my guide and shepherd, 
In my thoughts, my words and actions,
And through your love, grant me mercy. 


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thoughts on the Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash.

  I have been following the Humboldt bus crash with empathy and a great sense of loss. When I first heard about the crash it didn’t affect me too much, but as the details and stories started to emerge, as faces and names were announced, the significance of what had happened started to sink in. 14 out of 28 dead, and the rest all in the hospital. Some in critical condition, some paralyzed, reality and horror set in. 
Then comes the comprehension of the vast number of people this tragedy has affected. Every parent who has ever lost a child. Every parent who has ever seen off a child on a bus. Everyone who has ever tried to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

 As the funerals rack up, the idea of ‘not fair’ and the question of ‘Why?’ looms large. If God in Heaven is a caring and loving God, why didn’t He intervene? 

 The question that countervails in my mind is: Did we want Him to? What kind of a question is that, you may ask? Of course we want God to intervene, to prevent bad and horrible stuff from happening. But at what level? 

 Do we want Him to intervene at loss of life and limb? Yes, we do. Do we want Him to intervene at health and well being? Yes, we do. Do we want Him to intervene at injury and happenstance? Well, maybe or maybe not. Do we want Him to intervene on our bad but deliberate decisions? I think this time most of us would agree that we wouldn’t. We are our own man and want the freedom to say what we want, and do what we want, and no one better stand in our way. That is our right! How else can our lives have meaning?

  These are valid points, but we can’t have it both ways. We can’t demand that God intervene and then demand He shouldn’t. We love the freedom of free will and charting our own course, but when tragedy strikes we demand interference. We  love the promise of God walking with us through the valley of the shadow of death, but balk at the thought of walking with Him every day. In essence, we really don't know what we want, and we for sure don't know what's best for us. How can the creation argue with the Creator?

“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10.






















Monday, April 9, 2018

Where are the miracles of Jesus today?

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
 Matthew 11:4-5


Reading these accounts of Jesus makes us wish He was amongst us today. There are so many he could heal! And so many ailments; cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, the list goes on and affects us all.

But there’s one thing we can take comfort in, and that is that Jesus sees and knows the afflictions and burdens we bear and carry. If our prayers for healing don’t get answered right away maybe it’s because of the possibility that our earthly instances, sufferings, and struggles will serve to soften our hardened, wayward hearts to His message of hope and glory.

 But maybe Jesus is working miracles today. Miracles far greater than the healing of our bodily sicknesses. Maybe he’s healing our spiritual ailments, by making the blind in faith to see, the crippled in sin to walk, the deaf to His Word to hear, and the dead in spirit to live. Maybe he’s performing miracles that will make us whole not only for a few years or decades, but throughout eternity.

For even if we would get a temporal reprieve from our earthly sicknesses, there is still old age to contend with. And there’s no getting away from that. It’s only the fact that Jesus conquered the grave that we have hope. Only that truth can make the sting of death be swallowed up in victory.

Viewed from that angle, we have no argument with the shaper of the clay and the firing kilns that we walk through. They can serve to turn us into the worthy vessels that God desires us to be and oh, what a miracle that would be!


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ~Paul in Romans 8:18

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Am Ölberg Weiß Ich Eine Stätte.

I know a place near Mount of Olives,
Secluded from the rushing world,
The Kidron murmurs in the valley,
The olive trees stretch out their boughs.
There you see naught of manmade clamour
But rolling hills, forest and sea,
And all around this quiet courtyard,
The garden of Gethsemane.

There lay the Holy One in prayer,
In dark of night upon His knees,
The promised child of faithful fathers,
Cried out to God despairingly.
A heart so full of fear and pleading
An anguished and forsaken soul.
And from His sacred, stricken forehead
Flowed heavy drops of crimson blood.

O Lord, you worked on my salvation
You feared for me in dark of night,
Alone, removed from all creation
You cared and prayed with all your might.
My thoughts are always near that courtyard
No matter where I go or stay’
I close my eyes and see the garden

That harboured God, Gethsemane. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Global Warming. Q's from Amanda

Hi Louie Vetter! I have learned much from the articles that you post. Good reading material! I was just wondering what your view is on global warming? Does the Bible mention anything about it? Is it true that it is happening? Just curious... 


Hello Amanda and thank you for reading my posts. Yes, I have concern about the health of the earth and our role as stewards thereof. There is certainly a lot of hype out there. Canada believes strongly enough in global warming that they want to impose a carbon tax. As far as I can see, this is not so much a solution to the problem but a sort of a penance for polluters, where you still go on polluting but now you pay for it, thereby feeling better about it. 


After the Great Flood, the Bible has these words from the Lord in Genesis;

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”


Is it true that global warming is happening?
That is a good question and I won't profess to know the answer, but here's my thinking. The earth goes through (and always has) periods of cooling and warming. If humans are at fault now, what was at fault before? 
 I think there are many factors at play here, most of which we have no control over. For instance, the solar cycles of the sun have a major effect on our weather. That the earth will fall back into a cooling cycle is almost a certainty. 

How concerned should we be?
 I think we should do our very best to treat the earth as God’s creation and as home for us and our generations to come. God is still in control, he won’t let anything more happen than he wants to and not anything less. 


We know we live in a fallen world that is in deterioration mode, along with the universe, but we can feel safe that we are under God's control. Did He not say “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Biggest Fear For Your Children. Q from a Stranger.

Stranger. What is the biggest fear you have for your children?

LouieV. I would say the biggest fear I have for my children is the type of adult(s) they grow up to be. Will they be responsible, caring, loving, generous, moral, ethical adults and parents? How do I instill these values in them? What foundation do I lay for these values to be able to withstand the ferocious headwinds and shifting societies of today?

 I can think of no other worldview that provides reason along with support and logic than the Judeo-Christian one. It’s on this worldview that my children can understand the following propositions:

The value and sanctity of human life.

Our responsibility to the planet and it’s animal life.

The reason why we are here.

Why everything is the way it is.

The hope we have when everything seems to go wrong. 

I will provide two responses, one without a Creator and one with. 

The Value and Sanctity of Human life. 

Atheist. We are here by chance and evolution and every one of these propositions are meaningless. It’s survival of the fittest. Morals and ethics are unimportant and can even be a hindrance. Survival is paramount. I am the only thing that matters. Fellow humans only matter if they are of use to my survival, gain or protection.

Christian. We are made in the image of God and on that basis are of immense intrinsic value and worth. God knows and loves us on a personal level.

He created each one of us in his image with an eternal soul- therefore our lives are sacred.
Our bodies serve as a living temple for his indwelling Holy Spirit - our bodies are sacred. 
Our race and ethnicity is sacred.
Our sexuality is sacred. 
Our marriage is sacred. 

That is enough to know that we are uniquely special in his eyes and our lives have meaning. 


Our responsibility to the planet and it’s animal life.

Atheist. This planet is our home. It’s in our best interests to keep it as functional as possible for us and our offspring. Animals ensure our survival, especially in case of catastrophe, with food and clothing.

Christian. God placed us on earth as stewards of his creation, therefore we have a responsibility towards God for keeping our planet undefiled and unpolluted. He gave us dominion over the animals, they are for our use and to be treated with care and respect. 


Why we are here. 

Atheist. Pure unadulterated chance. 

Christian. We are here in our place in history in accordance with God’s plan for us. In the Old Testament, God interacted with the world. In the New Testament, God sent his son Jesus to walk and interact with the world. In our time, God is sending his Holy Spirit to dwell in us to interact with the world. A huge responsibility and gift. All those gone before us, along with the patriarchs, prophets and people of the OT and NT are not alive to worship and carry on God’s work. It’s our turn now. 

Why everything is the way it is

Atheist. Pure unadulterated chance.

Christian. We know that we live in a finely tuned universe and the likelihood of that happening by chance and out of nothing is almost certainly a mathematical impossibility. God, as Creator, solves that problem and at the same time provides meaning. 


The hope we have when everything (seems) to go wrong. 

Atheist. There is no hope. Wrongs stay wronged and rights are inconsequential. We are a random compilation of atoms hurling across an unending dark, cruel, and cold galaxy at mindblowing speeds towards certain destruction on an unordinary, fragile sphere of earth, rock, air and water. 

Christian. There is hope. We may not (and may never will) understand the hows and whys of what befalls us, but the comforting hand of God is always stretched out and there, if we only reach out, take hold and trust completely. We can take solace in the knowledge that the Ruler of the heavens and earth will rule justly, that the tears of pain and frustration will be wiped away with a loving hand, if not on this world then on that distant beckoning one. That the wrongs that were seemingly gotten away with on this world will be judged rightly. That those that were gone too soon and those that lived out their lives in pain and sorrow will not give a thought to those bygone, trying times, nor care. 


Postscript 

Atheist. The fact is that life is unliveable with these premises. It would be best to pretend that we matter, that there is a God with a personal love and plan for each and every one of us. 


Christian. The fact is that we do matter, that there is a God that loves us and has a personal plan for us, this serves to quell any fear or uncertainty we may have. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mission Work. Q and A with Matthew



Matthew. What’s your thoughts on being called to spread the Gospel in foreign countries. Won’t their blood can be on our hands if we don’t?


LouieV. It depends on what you mean by being called. If we get called like Jonah got called, we will go, even if in the belly of a fish. 

   If we don’t maybe it’s because of the many from foreign countries immigrating here. It’s not uncommon to walk around in a shopping mall and hear many strange tongues.  What are we doing to spread the gospel to them? What of all the people we see, meet or interact with in our daily lives?  Are we letting our light shine that beckons to a lost and lonely world and that says “ Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, I will give you rest?” Do people sense in us the peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace? Do we treat people with the respect and love that tells them we are all His children and loved by Him? Do we give off the air of wanting to serve our fellow man instead of wanting to be served? Is our language fitting of a unworthy sinner graciously saved? Is there anything in our demeanor that would appeal to a non Christian? 

People will always believe more on what they see than what they hear.  

Yes, Matthew before we worry about mission work in foreign countries let’s see how our mission work is going on this one. Which is every bit as, if not more important because we either affirm in the eyes of the world what we believe, or our message is ‘Hey, we really don’t take belief in God seriously, don’t look to us for affirmation.’  Especially in the case of us Hutterites with our distinctive dress code and our purposeful separation from the world. When we walk down the streets of our local western Canadian towns our peculiar dress shouts out to the world “We stand in accordance with what our Anabaptist forefathers burnt at the stake for, we believe in a Holy Christian community, forgiveness of sin and eternal life”! 
 Does our life show what our dress proclaims? Does our fruit accurately portray the Tree of Life? Are we a light to a watching world or are we potentially extinguishing any light that may arise in them?


Monday, February 26, 2018

Hutterites and Socialism, Q and A with Rebecca.

This post is a result of some tweets i posted


@louie_7; #socialism is not just a question of
labor organization; it is above all an atheistic
phenomenon, the modern manifestation of
#atheism ...

@louie_7 ...one more tower of Babel built
without God, not in order to reach out toward
heaven from earth, but to bring heaven down
to earth.

@louie_7  The Brothers Kamazarov ~ Fyodor
Dostoyevsky

@rossign... You do understand the irony of
a hutterite tweeting this, right?

@louie_7 Key words "without God"

@rossign... Yes. Im not disagreeing with you,
just wondering about the nuances of
communitarianism.

@louie_7 Deep subject

@rossign... Yeah, I think you should write
about it on your blog.



So here are the set of questions that were posed.




Rebecca. I’m not disagreeing with you, and I don't think I'd presume to disagree with Dostoevsky.  Certainly the kind of socialism he encountered, and the kind that triumphed in the USSR, became unimaginably evil and oppressive.  But do you think all manifestations of socialism fall into that category? 


LouieV. Certainly all state enforced ones seem to turn out that way.  


Rebecca. What kind of secular government would best serve people, and would be the best context for your own communities?  


LouieV. I think the best secular government would be one that is based on the Judeo-Christian world view. This may sound self defeating but where else can you find the basis of the value and sanctity of humanity? Only in this world view are we created in the image of God and as such each individual is of infinite and intrinsic value. each and every one of us. Let’s break this down a little more. 
Created in the image of God means God knows us personally and desires our bodies to be a living temple for him. That also means he knows our birth place, birth parents, gender, and race and called it as good. What this means:
Our life is sacred
Our race is sacred
Our bodies are sacred
Our sex is sacred

I think with this basic knowledge we can start to derive a pretty good society. 


Rebecca. Do you see any role for common ownership or common responsibility in state governments? 


LouieV. Common ownership comes with its problems. In society you’ll always have over achievers and under achievers, trail blazers and stragglers. I believe common ownership strives to make everyone equal and average and it’s hard to make progress that way. Where’s the incentive to work hard and innovate if you don’t socially or monetarily advance past the ones you’re dragging behind? We humans are geared to be fiercely independent, to advance and rise above the pack in order to make ourselves and our lives of relevance. 
Common responsibility is a tougher one, so much of our thinking and what we hold dear and important is based on our world view and personal interests. Common responsibility would mean to set aside our personal interests and focus on the bigger picture, which brings up another problem, do we as a society have a clear agenda or set of goals we want to achieve and can we all agree on those issues? Think of the pro-life pro-choice debate for example. If we can’t reconcile on issues of basic life, where do we find common ground? 


Rebecca. When you say "without God," what exactly do you mean; how does the inclusion, the centrality of God in the mix specifically change the dynamics of a group which "holds all things in common"? 


LouieV. Well, as soon as you put God in the picture everything changes;

Voluntarism: With God as the author of free will this movement has to be run voluntarily with God at the top. Government run, this movement would be compulsory with enforcement and penalties with Man as God on top. 

Motive. The motive of a group to hold all things in common (Acts 2:44-45) is inspired from the rewards of the next world and not this one.

Action. The desire and the accomplishment to actually live out a life like this is a work from God. Man, left on his own will and accomplishments self destructs rather quickly, especially more so in this age of instant gratification. 


Rebecca. As the devil's advocate, I might suspect that that is just a way for those in power to point to God as an even bigger stick to back up their positions, whatever they might be.


LouieV. And I might suspect if those in power are not true Christians then that is exactly what will happen. 


Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Years Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come to you in prayer at the start of this New Year with bended knee and humble heart. We start by first giving you thanks for the year that just went by. We thank you for keeping watch over us and shielding us from the many misfortunes and disasters that undoubtedly swayed over our heads and homes. From fires and floods, from accidents and calamities, and from Satan himself who stalks around the House of God like a roaring lion to see whom he can trick or beguile into his dark empire with his traps and snares.

 We also thank you for the health of family and friends. For the wind and the rain that made our crops and gardens grow so we your children can nourish, clothe and house ourselves. For the many and uncountable blessings you bestowed upon us when we were too busy or too distracted to notice. 

We pray for those who are hurting, going through illness, hard or troubling times, or may have even lost a loved one or friend this past year, we ask you Father to give them special care, bind their wounds and salve their broken hearts. Take them in your arms and comfort them. Shine upon their darkest hours, Oh Light of the World. Give them solace through your Word. 

 We have gotten another year older, but have we gotten closer to you, Father? Have we dedicated enough time and praise to you? Have we been thankful and grateful enough for all that we have and for all that you do? Have we spent enough time throughout the year with your Word?

 I think we all have to hang our head in shame at these questions, but Father it is you who works in us, both to will and to do for your good pleasure. As we enter this New Year, pour out over us your Holy Spirit that we shall be like a watered garden, like a tree that has its roots by the stream. Produce in us the fruits of your Spirit; love, joy and peace, gift us with patience, kindness, gentleness and goodness, and grant us self-control and faithfulness.

 We ask you to lead and guide us through this new Year. Help us to be the person that you want us to be and do the things that you want us to do. Give us a humble and thankful heart. Make us be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Make our light shine that it may glorify you, O Father.

We ask for your blessings when we go out in the spring to seed, for the morning dew and the summer rain, for the gentle wind and the warming rays of the life-giving sun. Multiply our seeds and herds, that by reaping and gathering we can sing your praise. 

We also ask you for health and wisdom, for peace in the land, for justice and stability in government, for the freedom to praise your name, and for grace and mercy from your loving hand forevermore. 

 This all we pray in the name of Jesus


Amen. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What if Christmas was about receiving a gift instead of giving one?

Do we miss the point of Christmas by giving away material gifts instead of receiving the immaterial? Do we spend so much time choosing, buying, wrapping and giving gifts that we pass by the ultimate Christmas gift? 

Our gift was chosen for us to bring us joy, peace, love and comfort, bought at a unimaginable price,  came from a place so beautiful our imagination can not fathom, and wrapped with all the tender care and love that a mother’s heart can possess. But can we receive that gift?  Have we room for it in our materialistic world? Have we time for it in our tightly scheduled lives? Or is it a gift that only appeals when we are left with no other options? 

It’s a strange gift, instead of us having to sustain and nurture it, it will sustain and nurture us. It’s a trusty friend that will never leave our side. It’s a warm and comforting hand that will lead us through our most troubling and trying times. It’s a rock solid foundation to stand on in an ever-changing troubled world. And most of all, it’s a gift.

Free.

If we only accept it. 



Merry Christmas 

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