September Giving Promotion!

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Raymond Mowla’s journey to the cross was not and easy one. Marred with abuse, desperation, heartbreak, addiction, legal troubles and more, his story tells a unique tale of God’s divine schooling for the life of his called and chosen ones.

From prison bars to Prison Fellowship, Raymond’s life now serves as a beacon of light for those whose choices in life have caused them to feel inadequate, undeserving, or hopeless towards the possibility of true freedom, and speaks revelation to the reality of the underlying battles we face in order to achieve the purposes for which we were created.

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Are You A Moon, Or A Son?

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ARE YOU A MOON OR A SON?

 

 

From the Old Testament to the New, there is a major paradigm-shift taking place in our identities that our churches are still struggling to fully comprehend today. Call it an ‘identity crisis.’ You can identify this because you’ll hear things being said like:

 

“You are called to be moons, reflecting the light of the sun, (or ‘Son’)”

 

And this might seem really encouraging to you if you haven’t wrestled through major doctrines like ‘positional righteousness’ before. But truly this was the same perspective that Old Testament patriarchs like David held as they prayed:

 

———-

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine ‘upon’ us
Psalm 67:1

 

———–

 

No doubt God’s ‘face shining upon us’ could be speaking metaphorically for God’s favour, but I’m using it as an example to convey a truth about where we stood positionally with God *prior* to Jesus coming 2000 years ago.

 

In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God could not come to live *inside* of a person, the Spirit could only come ‘upon’ a person at varying times – empowering them to carry out the will of God; give supernatural wisdom or strength; cause to prophesy of future events, and perform miracles, signs and wonders.

 

But *after* the sacrifice of Jesus was completed on the cross, for the first time since the Garden of Eden a positional change took place for every believer by faith – the very Spirit of God could now dwell *’in’* a person, in which case, man was no longer ‘reflecting’ God’s light, but had *become* the very lamp of the Lord.

 

———-

 

Consider the words of Jesus himself:

 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

 

———-

 

The promises of the New Covenant are far greater than anything that could be experienced in the Old – as miraculous as they were. But being so accustomed to the old religious systems and ways of thinking, in many ways the early Church (and we along with them) struggled to understanding what we have been welcomed into through the Gospel, and all that makes God’s immeasurable ‘grace’ toward us so wonderful and praiseworthy!

 

Imagine the scandal… The very Holy Spirit of God indwelling sinful human beings! The mere thought of that makes the religious man’s skin crawl.

 

But this was indeed the change that occurred which is why the Apostle Paul vehemently refuted every form of false teaching that ever so slightly even attempted to bring the New Testament Church believers under a yoke of ‘religiosity’ again, keeping them from understanding all that was now available to them in Christ as sons and daughters of the living God – whom God now *indwelled* by His Holy Spirit.

 

Which is why when the Church was falling into legalistic righteousness, Paul passionately penned the letter:

 

———–

 

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

 

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, (received by faith) are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Religious effort) 

 

Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?

 

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
Galatians 3:1-5

 

———

 

In other words, are we still living out our New Covenant relationship with God constantly hoping for Him to ‘shine upon us’ so that we may in turn reflect His light, but only if we keep a few laws and commandments a little bit better each day in hopes of not eclipsing our connection to Him?

 

Or will we realize that His light has been made to dwell *within us,* rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness and transferring us into the Kingdom of His Son as we are being made into the very image of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God? (Col 1:3, Rom 8:29)

 

In fact, one might add that even all ‘correction’ and ‘conviction’ is also the fruit of this un-severed relationship we now share with God at all times. For a Father only corrects those He acknowledges as His children. (Heb. 12:5-6)

 

It may seem like a trivial thing to the undiscerning, but the effects of misunderstanding this can be monumental. Which is funny, because using the celestial bodies to confer our misunderstanding of identity is indicative of the greatness of its implications.

 

It’s the difference between a moon – that has no real light of its own, desperately seeking out light outside of itself in order to reflect its shine;

 

And a Son – who experiences perfected relationship with his Heavenly Father at all times, even when he doesn’t feel like he always perfectly measures up.

 

 

So I implore you,

Dig deeper…

 

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

 

Does Truth Matter?

 

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DOES TRUTH MATTER?

 

Jesus answered “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Pilate said to him, “what is truth?”
John 18:37-38

 

————

 

In prison, as with all life, you never quite know what kind of people you’ll meet, but I’ll never forget one particular acquaintance.

 

To pass the time, I used to attend the prison gym regularly. In prison, there’s an unwritten code among inmates that you never ask what a person is incarcerated for. If it is ever something worth the inmate population’s knowledge, (like the crimes of Paul Bernardo for example) there are often inmates volunteering in the administrative sector that will usually inform the population long before the inmate is released into the general population.

 

More than six months would go by of faithfully attending the gym with this other inmate but never really knowing each other more than just superficially, saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ alone pretty much week to week before one day I no longer saw him there.

 

I didn’t really think too much of it at first. But when I got back to my cell that evening and turned on the CP24 news as I would regularly do, I was shocked to see my acquaintance from the gym was on the news standing just a few hundred feet away from me, but on the ‘outside’ of the very prison doors of the institution we were housed at.

 

I quickly grabbed the remote to increase the volume.

 

“It has been officially determined due to further investigation that Mr. ‘so and so’ and his wife, who were both serving sentences of 5 & 10 years for the death of their infant child, have been exonerated of all charges due to recent evidence brought forth that proves that the child in fact died from a very rare case of S.I.D.S (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) at no fault of the parents.”

 

———-

 

I was sort of frozen as I tried to process it all. He was in the ‘eighth year’ of his ten-year sentence, and his wife who had served her full five, was waiting faithfully at the doors of the prison to welcome him at his release.

 

Of course they always knew they were innocent, but now their whole community would know it too.

 

 

 

I can only imagine that some close friends and relatives had long agreed with their conviction of guilt by the courts and how painful that must’ve been to go through. Not to mention their employers and co-workers who probably voiced their suspicions of their guilt around the offices where they once worked. There could’ve been neighbours who saw them taken away in handcuffs, news articles that defamed their character, and relationships completely severed by the mere idea that they could’ve been guilty of hurting a child.

 

———-

 

The reporter questioned: “Will you be seeking some recompense for this wrongful conviction?”

 

Before he could answer, I could already hear other inmates angrily shouting ‘eff yea!’, who were watching along from their own cells.

 

Completely unprepared for his answer, he replied: “My wife and I are only now able after more than ten combined years of fighting our own personal battles, to properly grieve the loss of our child and hopefully move on. I sincerely forgive the prison system, mostly because I don’t want to waste anymore of my life or time fighting for something they will never be able to return to me anyway.”

 

———-

 

I’m not sure if I was more perplexed by the humble demeanour I witnessed each week at the gym unexpected to be found of a man so wrongly accused, or at his radical forgiveness and gentleness with which he spoke in earnest of sincerely moving forward beyond this incredible injustice that robbed him of eight years of time together with his family and his freedom where he could easily find every self-justifying reason to be upset.

 

For the first time in my life I witnessed a level of spiritual maturity I so rarely ever see in this lifetime. Something so incredibly beautiful that is only ever given opportunity to pour forth from the most overwhelmingly painful injustices of this lifetime.

 

In God’s divine planning for my life, I was privy to what now serves as my most memorable example of Christ-like forgiveness – not from professing believers at the local church – but from one of the most challenging season spent in a prison that I was once ashamed of.

 

———–

 

I think that many painful injustices throughout our life can severely affect our ability to think objectively about truth, and not everyone has the spiritual maturity and clarity of sight to see life with such profound perspective as this man has demonstrated.

 

In the opening text I used, I think that when we consider Pontius Pilate’s life, because of the position that he occupied in Rome, what we see is the retorts of a man who had been completely disillusioned by the constant injustices he was privy to and maybe even partner to throughout his life. And I’m sure something I his response to Jesus even resonates with many because of the various things we’ve all been through.

 

But does truth matter?

 

If you asked this acquaintance of mine from prison, undoubtedly he’d be the first to tell you a definite “Yes!” but only because he thoroughly understood through his experiences its power to affect the outcome of his situation.

 

Truth is often treated as a mere conceptual idea without any real objectivity, so it may seem irrelevant to some, but only until the day that they find themselves on the receiving end of all the harm that is caused by a lie.

 

Which is why I’ll never cease to implore you, if today you hear the Truth calling you,

 

 

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!