The Battle of Truth

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

Memorial Day has come and gone. This day reminded me to be thankful for those willing to defend our country and fight, if necessary, for our freedom and safety. As I consider the daily life of a Christian, I realize how warfare and fighting are absolute necessities. The Apostle Paul often compared our walk in this world as a fight…not with other people, but with evil and anti-Christ “forces.” The clash is described as light verses darkness. As Christians, our challenge is not to see how close we can live to darkness, but to “cast off the works of darkness.” Let’s make the resolve that “darkness will have no hold over me.” Creation teaches us that darkness can only be displaced by light. Paul tells us to “put on the armor of light.” How do we do this? As I read the Word of God, I see that God’s Word is light. Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” My first piece of armor is the Word of God. It’s amazing to me how many who proclaim themselves followers of Jesus rarely get into the Word…or should I say, get the Word into them. The enemy has deceived us into thinking that reading the Bible is just a chore and obligation. It’s like the attitude toward vacuuming the floor. I’ll put it off until it really needs to be done. The truth is that reading and studying the Bible is God’s gift to you! His Word brings light to our spirit and truth to our understanding. Professor Howard Hendricks, said, “Many of us want a word from God, but we don’t want the Word of God. We know enough to own a Bible but not enough for the Bible to own us. We pay the Bible lip service, but we fail to give it ‘life service’”(Living by the Book, p. 26). So, the big question is, “How serious are we about living in the victory of Christ?” We’re in a battle where many are falling to the right and left. God has victory in store for you…but, it won’t happen without you. You must do your part to “put on the armor of light.” Start today. Get God’s strategy for victory. Read the Word!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Don’t Overlook Them!

Every day, here at Highway, I get to see the hard work and dedication of those who work with children. They wear “many hats” and exercise great patience as they counsel, comfort, teach, and correct the children. And, they do this for a very modest salary. Imagine how important this is to God! They get to shape the minds and attitudes of the next generation. Yet, the culture in our country hardly notices those who sacrifice so much for others. For example, compare the insane salary difference between a children’s worker and an athlete or an actor. Our country elevates and almost worships those who can elicit cheers from adoring masses. God’s values are often the opposite of ours. To follow the Lord means we must let God rearrange our values and learn to look at others the way He sees them.  In Psalm 68, God speaks about those whom the world overlooks. The Lord proclaims himself, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land” (Psalm 68:5-6). So we see that people are important to God, and He seeks out the lowly and overlooked…to give them hope and a future. This begs the question, “What is important to me?” Are children just annoyances to be brushed aside? Are those who are poor invisible to us? Are people in prison just forgotten? Do we care about widows or children without parents? How easy it is to entertain ourselves by simply watching the actors and athletes…but when was the last time we actually did something to help a lonely or hurting person? As followers of Jesus, we believe that our hands and feet belong to Jesus. As we love and serve the overlooked and underappreciated, so we serve the Lord Himself. Serve well. Love well. This is why He saved you.

Pastor Mark Boucher

Receive Correction!

I have decided to read a chapter from the book of Proverbs each day of the month of May. With 31 chapters in Proverbs and 31 days in May, the plan is easy. Because Proverbs was written by Solomon to impart wisdom to his children (and all of us), there are major themes repeated. For example: the gain of wisdom, the fear of God, the use of words, the value of hard work, etc. Another theme that catches my attention is this: be willing to receive discipline and instruction from God and others. If I could rewind the clock, I would have avoided some painful mistakes in my life by humbling myself and asking for help. So, how can we grow from correction today, no matter how old we are? Here are a few insights: 1) Invite discipline and advice. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Prov. 12:1). The only way to learn is to admit our ignorance and ask questions…and not pretend we know it all. 2) Repent of our pride. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Prov. 13:10). “No one’s gonna tell me what to do!” is the motto of many who misunderstand independence and respect. Criticism from others often hurts, but we can gain from it, if we are willing to grow and improve. 3) Keep the end in mind. To those who refuse correction, Solomon warns, “At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors” (Prov. 5:11-13). God loves us so much that He brings correction and discipline when we need it. Sometimes He uses the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Other times, He may correct us through circumstances. And, He often uses other people in our lives, especially those in authority. Welcome correction and discipline as loyal friends! “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Prov. 3:11). Change is often uncomfortable, but it yields good fruit to those who seek God’s ways!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Remembering Mom

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3). As you know, children don’t naturally obey and honor parents; they must be taught. On this Mother’s Day, I want to reminisce about my own mother and some lessons she taught me. First, Mom was a follower of Jesus and believed in prayer. I would probably not be serving God in the ministry today if my mother had not prayed urgently for me! The difficult trials she endured (many from her three sons!) forced her to depend on God. Another great lesson I learned from Mom was the power of consistency. She knew the importance of providing spiritual experiences for her sons, even though my dad did not share her convictions. So, every Sunday she went to church and brought us along with her. As we grew older, it was harder for her because we sometimes complained and chose to stay home with Dad. However, she remained firm in her belief that we needed the church. I’m so glad she persevered! It was through a Sunday morning message at church that Jesus took hold of my heart and changed my life! I believe the greatest lesson my mother taught me was the importance of persevering. Mom had struggles with cancer at two times in her life. God healed her the first time but chose to take her home during the second battle. I remember my last visits with her as she lay on her bed for several months, continually getting weaker. Although her outward person was wasting away, her inner person in Jesus remained steadfast and strong. She enjoyed having me read the Bible and pray with her. She never blamed God or gave up on Jesus. The Lord Jesus was her life and she is now with Him forever…no more pain or suffering! I am so grateful for my Christian mother who taught many great life lessons. My prayer today for you, Moms, is that Jesus would keep you faithful and give you strength every day so that you can leave a godly legacy to those who follow.

Pastor Mark Boucher

It’s Right in Front of You!

Why do we get it wrong so often? Too many people think the Bible is just a rule book, filled with restrictions and warnings. And so, the Word of God is avoided because it “interferes” with our happiness. But, it’s just the opposite! The only true happiness in life is found in the Lord and His Word. This morning I read Proverbs 2 and pondered all the benefits and blessings for those who seek to know God and what He reveals. “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). God’s wisdom not only keeps me from a path of despair and self-destruction but shows me the way to experience His goodness for my life. To the one who seeks God and His ways, the Lord gives understanding, knowledge, and protection. “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse…” (Prov. 2:9-11). It’s my observation in life that we get what we go after. If we ignore God and pursue superficial vanities and values, emptiness clings to us like smoke. If we want knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, it’s also right in front of us. The question then comes down to this: “What do we choose to pursue?” Walk past the street trash and dig for the treasure. It takes a little more time and effort to dig, but the treasure is there waiting for us! Develop an appetite for God and His righteousness. Starve the selfish carnal nature and “indulge” your soul in the mighty presence of God and His pure Word. “At the end of the day” you will enjoy the deep peace of Jesus and not be filled with regrets over foolish decisions. God bless you!

Pastor Mark Boucher