this is impossible; such practices are deeply rooted in Eastern religions. Such a lie is simply meant to ensnare the unsuspecting in an ultimately unhelpful and spiritually harmful exercise.
How did Western culture move from the Lord’s Prayer to Eastern Meditation? Two basic things: a) as many Christian churches became nominal and prayer became lifeless people sought for an alternative to meet a most basic human need, and b) during the 60s, and through the influence of groups such as the Beatles, the West was introduced to Eastern Transcendentalism, or the practice of meditation. This fit very well with the reactive Hippy years.
Now meditation is now wrong, it just depends on how we define it. Eastern meditation involves “emptying” whereas Christian meditation involves “filling.” Both are aiming at peace but only one can achieve true and lasting peace. Christian filling produces a peace that comes from getting right with God through belief in the Gospel, a peace that comes from asking God to fill you with more of His Spirit, a peace that comes from seeking forgiveness, knowing Him, and bringing your deepest longings and needs before Him, a peace that comes from worshipping Him in thanksgiving. Christian meditation is the exact opposite of Eastern meditation. Likewise, when Scripture speaks of meditation, we think or ponder upon God’s character as revealed in His word; we meditate upon Scripture, its meaning and application (Josh 1:8).
In Lk 11 Jesus told the story of a person who had a demon cast from them, yet the troubling sequel of how, “finding the house swept and put in order,” that demon went and found seven of its nastiest friends and returned! (Lk 11:24–26). I’ve often likened this story to the ejection of nominal Christian in Canada and its replacement with many false religions more dangerous than the falseness of nominal Christianity. More specifically, if we meditate and let our mind “float,” “drift” and be open and free, what spiritual force are we opening ourselves up to be filled by (other than the living God)!
Rather than following the CAA article’s 5 steps, allow me to recommend 5 better and biblical steps:
 Nigel Scotland, The Baker Pocket Guide to New Religions. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006), 193.
It has been a rainy summer. Just this week our area has seen many storms roll through. As I pondered the weather a thought struck me. The great majority of our storms come from a westerly direction, which is our prevailing wind. To get a storm from any other direction is unusual. We’re always watching the clouds in the West. We plant hedges in this direction and build houses and projects with this in mind. The storms of this world come from the West.
Interestingly, however, Jesus will return from the East. Not least among Biblical references, this is what He said in Mt 24:27:
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
As we are dealt the westerly storms of this world and our eyes and thoughts are often inclined in that direction, keep your eye on the East, hope in Christ. Set your focus not on the storms of this life but upon Jesus and His promised return. He is the bright morning star that sheds light into our darkness and He will come again like the blazing sun to take away the darkness of stormy sin forevermore.
 Though this verse says Jesus return will be like lightening from the east, lightening is seen and covered a broad area (“as far as the west”). The emphasis is on the sudden and destructive and visible return of Christ than the direction. It remains a mystery how exactly Christ will return from the east and yet be visible everywhere.
For blogs and Christian commentary on the last election read here.
“Many seek the face of a ruler but justice comes from the LORD.” (Prov 29:26)
“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” are the famous words issued by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Looking at Canadian politics through the lens of Christ this couldn’t be more true. What is very evident is that no major party remotely represents a Christian worldview; in fact some are hostile to Christianity. So, how is the Christian to wisely exercise their civic duty, which is the means by which God appoints elected officials in His Providence?
Here are some possibilities and we’ll end with some principals:
From our summer Five Minute Moment (5MM) People’s Choice, someone asked me afterwards about what the Bible says about Cremation. This is a great question and incidentally one of the most frequent questions I receive, especially from those with more life behind them than ahead of them.
Traditionally cremation was only an Eastern practice. It has become more common in formerly Western Christian lands in recent years, particularly in places such as Europe or North American cities which have less ground available for burials or where this ground is expensive. Even here there is a movement back against cremation to natural burials because of environmental concerns.
The Bible doesn’t explicitly touch on the subject of cremation but it does provide a number of compelling principles that weightily inform a Christian perspective.
From start to finish there is a story of burial and hope of a bodily resurrection in the Bible.
As early as Gen 15:15 there is mention of burial, and though the practice was to be buried in a tomb (Gen 23:6), there is a sense in which a burial is a burial. It was the Egyptians and Babylonians who used coffins and embalming, in preparation for their future life. The greatest example of burial is of course the Lord Jesus, who was buried and on the third day rose (1 Cor 15:4). Because the Bible says Jesus will return from the east Christian graves traditionally always faced that direction, in anticipation.
Likewise, a bodily resurrection is the hope of the believer. The wages of sin is death (Ro 3:23). Though we are spiritually ensured eternal life upon belief, the physical benefit awaits the Resurrection. The Old Testament foresaw the Resurrection in verses like Isa 26:19a and 53:11a. It became a key tenet of the Pharisees (Acts 24:21). In fulfilment of these foreshadowing’s, and Christ’s own Resurrection, is the promise that the believer will share in a resurrection like His (Ro 6:5). This is why Christians have always believed in the Resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting (Apostles Creed).
The Bible values the entire person and so the entire person, including the body, is treated with respect both during life and after death (hence why we don’t desecrate graves).
Not so in Eastern religions (from which we get cremation). Here the body is of little consequence in comparison to the soul. Eastern religions believe the body can impede the soul from moving on to its next journey. As such, the cremation and funeral is undertaken speedily in order to free the soul.
The grand theme of the Bible is one of burial and resurrection. While there are no commands to “be buried” the weight of these principles and the living example of Scripture is why Christians traditionally have always buried their dead. In fact amongst the Eastern Orthodox (and Orthodox Jews) cremation is prohibited.
Yet we know people can die terrible deaths, be eaten, incineration, exploded or suffer death at sea. Certainly the power of the Lord is able to resurrect their bodies, even from dust. He can do the same with cremated bodies. Still the imagery and care of the body is absent in cremation.
I am not going to be cremated. I don’t believe it is prohibited in Scripture but I also don’t believe it is encouraged. Like the Lord Jesus and the saints before Him, it is my wish to follow his example and be buried. There my body will await His return.
Reposted from our FAQ evangelism page.
When many people think of God they wonder about His relevance, or desire more than a get out of hell free card (in that case, “I’ll just wait until closer to death before pursuing Him,” they think, which itself is dangerous, c.f. Isa 55:6, “seek the LORD while He may be found.”]).
I’m reminded of Jesus’ comment in Mk 12:27, that “He [God] is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” In the context of the Resurrection this means He’s the God of those who are spiritually alive, both those in Heaven along with followers of Jesus today. More broadly spun you could say God is not just a God for the afterlife but for life today.
Christianity is a religion for today and not simply the afterlife. Here are some examples as to why:
1. Peace with God
The heart of the Bible’s message is that humanity has fallen from its original state of friendship with God and now in sinful rebellion is under just condemnation. We are God’s enemy. Having an enemy such as this along with the eternal guilt that accompanies it bears heavily upon one’s body, soul and spirit. Suppressing the truth of our condemnation, we seek to evade the thought of this rebellion with still more rebellion. We try to substitute being made for God with other things (e.g. money, sex, power, etc). While some of these things may satisfy for a time they do not do so completely. As such we’re left with anxiety and depression. The only solution that can bring us peace is to become at peace with God through repentance and faith in Jesus. The moment we believe, we enjoy this peace; peace from the penalty of sin, friendship with God. Ro 5:1 says, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Life to the Full
Many people think they are living a full life; however, our fullness can only extend as far as our sin inhibits—not far at all. We’re not living life fully because we’re not living as we were design to live. We’re not living for God and His glory; we’re living for self and today. As a result of not being at peace with God we’re actually spiritually dead. We may think we’re alive but it isn’t even a shadow of what we were created for. Jesus came not only to give us eternal life (Jn 3:16) but abundant life today. “I came that you may have life,” He said, “and life to the full.” (Jn 10:10). This life comes through His Spirit that He gives every believer; the purpose He enables them to fulfil.
Not only does the believer gain peace and life but also wisdom. The Holy Spirit is called the “teacher.” He, through Scripture, teaches us in the way of God. When we do what pleases God, we not only honour Him, but life generally goes better for us. Proverbs 3:8 says, “[Wisdom] will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Walking in the Lord’s wisdom brings the steadfastness of truth to our lives that we don’t naturally have in this world tossed to and fro by changing ideas and thought patterns.
4. Strength For Today
Life can be difficult, even for Christians. God never promised that it wouldn’t. Believers have been freed from the penalty of sin (through the Cross), are being set free from the power of sin (by the Spirit) and will be freed from the presence of sin when Jesus returns. Yet in the meantime Jesus promised to comfort us through His Spirit’s presence. Christ “dwelling in our hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17) and such promises as “I am with you always, to the end of the age” Mt 28) mean that even in the valley of deep darkness the believer can be assured of the Lord’s presence, comfort, help and strength. All of this increases our relational knowledge of God and produces character. This is an assurance and experience a believer does not enjoy.
5. Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Yet not only “Strength for today” but “bright hope for tomorrow” as the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness reminds us. Yes, but I thought we were talking about the here and now, not the future. Indeed, but the future impacts how we live today. The assurance of eternal life means that the believer has hope amidst of the hopelessness of today. One’s belief about tomorrow does shape how we live today after all.
So don’t just think of God when you think about tomorrow, know He is immensely relevant for today too. Would you “call upon Him while He while He is near” today through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ?
Recently our small town has become host to, not one, but two pot shops (and also boasts a grow op)! Additionally, in visiting someone in the community I came across their legal limit of marijuana plants growing on the deck. Canada is truly going to pot.
Aside from critiquing the fact that the government is promoting this and yet also promoting not smoking and other contradictions (such as the argument that legalized marijuana would get rid of the black market), what shall we make of Christ and Cannabis as Christians, are they compatible? As a general statement, NO! I can think of at least 7 basic Biblical principles:
1. Delight and Idolatry
The Bible resounds that we were made to enjoy God. To find ultimate enjoyment, or delight, in anyone or anything else is idolatry, the worship or enjoyment of someone or thing other than God. Certainly this does not mean we cannot enjoy lawful and good exercises but arguably (see below) substances don’t fit this category, and what is more so, they are consumed purely for the purpose of getting a ‘high.’ If we knew the Lord we wouldn’t have need of such a high and so at its very core people seek it out for idolatrous spiritual reasons rather than rejoicing in the Lord.
2. Upon Whom Do You Trust?
The Bible likewise resounds with the call to faith, to trust in the Lord and His word. Those who use substances are placing their trust in a substance to meet their deepest and spiritual needs and not the Lord.
3. Dominion and Lordship
The Bible, again, is very clear that Jesus is Lord. He is our creator, we’re meant to love and serve Him. The addictive nature of substances means that our lives come to be under another power (the substance) rather than Christ.
4. Loss of Control
The high received by substances comes at the expense of one’s mind such that we lose self-control, something which the Bible says we are to be vigilant to maintain. This can lead to other sins, which is why the Bible prohibits drunkenness for example.
5. Harm to Bodies
We were created in God’s image, given our whole person (including our mind and bodies) to be stewards of (not to mention our finances). Being ungodly stewards is therefore sinful. Further, if we are a Christian, as we are united to Christ, to smoke pot would be to make Christ a pot smoker Himself! Not only does smoke harm our lungs it also harms our brains. Studies have shown how progressively the brain dies as one smokes marijuana.
6. Seek Goodness
The Bible commends us pursuing things that are noble and good and lovely. Smoking something that smells like skunk, not to mention the other negative spiritual and moral outcomes, surely doesn’t qualify here.
In Scripture we’re called to live above reproach and not associate with questionable company. Cannabis, however, has a long and present history of being associated with the morally questionable to the outright dangerous (like gangs). It is a portal into darker things.
Whether a non-Christian or a Christian there is ample evidence why you should put a lid on pot; Christ and Cannabis don’t mix; nor should Cannabis be legal in Canada.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.