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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Victims or Victors, That is the Question


We cannot help it that we are too often at the mercy of other people’s choices.

Perhaps it is the stench of pot smoke wafting into the yard from an inconsiderate neighbor. Or maybe our travel plans are restricted by the constant parade of stories that someone’s bad judgment has once again shut down the Coquihalla Highway.[1] For some, it is the tragic experience of a loved one gone forever because someone thought they could drive while intoxicated.  

Whatever the case, there is ample proof of this, that a big part of life is adjusting to what is going on with others. Sometimes we are simply one of the dominoes that fall as the result of what someone decided to do,[2] while other times those choices are deliberately aimed at ruining our lives.[3] 

While everyone could come up with their own stories of how they have been affected by the choices of others, there is a very significant way in which all of us are affected by the choices of two opposing groups. Jesus described it like this: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”[4] 

We cannot change this. There is an evil spirit-being whose purpose in our lives is to steal what was given to us by God, kill the life God made for us, and destroy anything in our lives that would lead us to know God and enjoy him forever.  

On the other hand, there is someone greater than that evil being who came for the purpose of giving us life, and of the kind that must be described as, “abundantly”. 

In the early days of our daycare we had our families bring the snacks and lunches for their children. It wasn’t too long into this adventure that we noticed something that was hurting one of our little ones. She would sit at her spot at the table with a very simple collection of food items that often did not vary from one day to the next. Across the table from her a little boy opened his lunchbox to a smorgasbord of selections that were always greater than he could eat in one day.  

Because the little girl could not possibly understand the discrepancy between the meal options, we made the decision to begin offering the snacks and meals ourselves so that all the children would receive the same opportunities. However, it was clear that, even at an early age, children can tell the difference between merely getting by and having an abundance. 

Jesus did not leave us with a choice of whether we wanted to just get by or have a life of plenty. Rather, he contrasted our enemy’s aim to steal, kill and destroy, with his own activity to give us an abundance of life.  

I write this as a pastor who has witnessed a great majority of church-folk who live fairly superficial lives of self-protective role-playing rather than anything resembling the abundance of life Jesus promised to those who follow him.  

On one side, Jesus warned us about such things. Not only does the thief come to steal, kill and destroy, but he constantly schemes against God’s children to make their lives a testimony of defeat instead of victory.[5] He is pictured as an “adversary” that, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”[6] He can even lure followers of Jesus into his traps where they find themselves doing his will instead of that of their Lord and Savior.[7] 

On the other side, Jesus came for the direct purpose of giving us the abundance of life and the devil cannot stop him from doing this. He provides a whole suit of spiritual armor that local churches can wear to protect themselves in times of attack. [8] He enables his disciples to stand firm against the roaring lion’s threats.[9] He provides pastors who do not get caught up in the devil’s divisive activities but are eager to show the love of God even to their opponents in the hope that they will find their freedom in Christ.[10] 

The point is that Jesus, “came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” He laid down his own life in death to destroy the works of the devil.”[11] He came to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”[12]

The question is, who are we going to trust? The emissaries of one whose unceasing purpose is to steal, kill and destroy, or the Son of the living God who came into the world to save sinners?[13] 

How do we receive Jesus’ gift of abundant life? 

The answer is, faith.  

Not faith as its own object, but faith as a direct response to Jesus and his offer of abundant life. If you have never received the life Jesus has offered, it is received by faith.[14] 

If you have received Jesus’ gift of life but you know your experience of this life does not qualify as “abundantly,” you come into that abundance by faith. As it is written: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”[15] 

I encourage you to take the Bible verses God has breathed-out for us about our victory in Jesus Christ and pray them back to him in some expression of faith. Even if the faith can only come out as a desperate longing for what is offered, God promises that, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”[16] 

If you want your hunger for the righteousness of abundant life to be satisfied, call on God as your heavenly Father and ask him to give you everything he has promised in his Son. And let people who have already found this abundant life walk with you as you seek this life together. 


No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.[17]



© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)







[1] The Coquihalla Highway of southwestern British Columbia, Canada, is notorious for being shut down due to mostly preventable accidents.
[2] On my only return trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1997 I was disappointed to find out that, not long before my arrival, some disgruntled person cut down a golden spruce tree that had attracted visitors from around the world and was the focus of scientific studies to continue propagating that particular species of trees.
[3] All around the world, people’s lives are ruined by terrorist groups that target their faith and way of life, or governments that side with corrupt people, or lobbyist groups that demand everything be done their way.
[4] John 10:10
[5] Ephesians 6:10-13 describes this battle, and the whole passage of Ephesians 6:10-20 expands the description to show how Jesus’ disciples can experience victory through the corporate experience of the whole armor of God.
[6] I Peter 5:8
[7] II Timothy 2:24-26 describes believers who need help to, “come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
[8] After describing the reality of the devil’s schemes against the church in Ephesians 6:10-13, the whole passage of Ephesians 6:10-20 expands the description to show how Jesus’ disciples can experience victory through the corporate experience of the whole armor of God.  
[9] I Peter 5:8 calls us to stand firm because we are able to do so in Christ.
[10] The passage in II Timothy 2:24-26 instructs pastors to “not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” This gift of grace invites the opposers to surrender to God’s kindness that is leading them towards repentance (Romans 2:4) and freedom in Jesus Christ (II Cor 3:17-18).
[11] I John 3:8
[12] Hebrews 2:14-15
[13] I Timothy 1:15
[14] John 1:12-13
[15] I John 5:4-5
[16] Matthew 5:6
[17] Romans 8:37-39

Thursday, July 25, 2019

An Interlude of Brotherly Worth (A Story)


          “My Little Child,” Paul labored to explain, “I simply want to… to see you experience what it is like… to have Firstborn formed in you.”

          “What did you say?” Timothy gasped.

          Paul paused and looked at his Little Brother to consider what Timothy really wanted to know. “I want you to know what it is like to have Firstborn formed in you.”

          “No, not that part,” Timothy clarified, “I mean the first part.”

          “Wasn’t that the first part?” Paul furrowed his brow trying to understand what was going on in his Brother’s heart.

          “No,” Timothy fought the tears that were now brimming in his eyes as he wondered if he had heard correctly.

          “Hmmm…” Paul considered. “Oh, I see what you are asking!” he suddenly exclaimed. “Oh, my Brother,” Paul continued, “is it that I called you, ‘my Little Child’?”

          Timothy began sobbing in acknowledgement that Paul had indeed understood the words that had gripped his heart.

          Paul put his arm around Timothy and let himself feel the wonder of the moment. He had been so long in the enjoyment of Father’s love that it still surprised him with grief to see children come into Father’s House with no consciousness of their beloved identity.

          As Timothy’s sobbing eased, Paul gave him a squeeze around his shoulders and continued. “Timothy, my Little Child,” he worded with deeper meaning than Timothy could have imagined, “I want you to know who you are. And, it is clear from your sobbing that knowing who you are still does not come easily to you.”

          Timothy nodded as he tried wiping the tears away.

          “You know,” Paul reminisced, “I came into Father’s House from a life of thinking far too highly of myself and imagining I was better than others. Father’s work in me was to bring me down to the same place as everyone else. I had to realize that I was as much a sinner in his sight as anyone I had ever scorned and disdained for their weakness. I couldn’t really know what I meant to him as his Beloved Child until I could see that it had nothing to do with the way I had lived my life. It wasn’t immediate, the change I mean, but the more I saw the glory and wonder of what Firstborn did for me, and that I was equally guilty before him as all the Worldlings I had despised, the more I could feel that my worth to him was greater than anything I had ever imagined.”

          “How could you feel greater worth by seeing yourself worse?!” Timothy desperately wanted to know.

          “It’s because nothing I had once thought of myself or Father was real,” Paul explained. “When I saw myself as good enough for him, my view of him was so much lower than I realized. If he was someone who could think highly of my miserable and prideful attempts to be a Good Boy, he was not much of a Sovereign at all.”

          “A ‘Sovereign’?” Timothy wondered.

          “Yes,” Paul considered how to describe this distinctive quality of their Father. “A Sovereign is the ultimate or supreme ruler over all,” he explained. “Even in my old life of arrogant religiosity I knew he was the Sovereign-ruler over everyone and everything. But I lowered him down to the place where he was a Being who could be impressed by what my little speck of dust was doing.”

          Paul shook his head as he paused to gather his thoughts. “It is unthinkable that I could have imagined myself worthy of him,” Paul sighed.

          “I know what that feels like!” Timothy lamented.

          “You struggle with thinking your good works make you worthy of him?” Paul asked in surprised.

          “No! No!” Timothy corrected, “I know that it is like to think it is UNTHINKABLE to imagine myself worthy of him!”

          “Ah, yes, Little Brother” Paul chuckled. “Methinks that your ‘unthinkable’ is a bit different than mine.”

          “I know,” Timothy admitted quietly. “You were thinking too highly of yourself then, but now you see yourself as Father sees you.”

          “Yes,” Paul affirmed, “and you are still thinking such low thoughts of yourself because you don’t see yourself as Father sees you.”

          “But I have never had anyone think of me as their Little Child!” Timothy defended.

          “No…,” Paul cautiously clarified, “you have never KNOWN what the Triune thinks of you as their child.”

          Timothy grew quiet as he contemplated the difference between the two thoughts.

          “What I’m getting at,” Paul continued, “is that my starting place was so opposite to yours that I need to be reminded that Orphans come into Father’s House with such a low view of themselves that even the most normal expressions of endearment seem…”

          “Weird!” Timothy exclaimed. “Foreign! Does-Not-Apply!”

          “Yes, Little Brother,” Paul smiled as he tousled Timothy’s hair. “I understand that this is how you see it.”

          “But I’m wrong, right?” Timothy grinned mischievously.

          “Yes, my Little Brat,” Paul grinned back, “your wrong is right.”

          Timothy grew more serious as he asked, “Did I miss what you were really trying to say by getting stuck on what you called me?”

          “What I called you was as much what I was really trying to say as the rest,” Paul clarified. “In fact, the only way you can appreciate the wonder of something so amazing as Firstborn formed in us is if you know you are a beloved Little Child.”

          “I guess it makes sense that Firstborn wouldn’t want to hang around with someone if he didn’t love them,” Timothy acknowledged.

          “You know what you see of Father and Firstborn always being together,” Paul directed, “and Daily Companion always seeming like he is with them even though he is with us at the same time?”

          “Yes…” Timothy considered carefully. “They do seem inseparable even when each of them is doing different things to make things work together.”

          “Do you understand that Firstborn wants that with you as well?” Paul asked.

          “He wants to be with me?” Timothy clarified.

          “You are his beloved Brother,” Paul reminded.

          “So you say,” Timothy again inserted his mischievous grin to the picture.

          “Ah,” Paul smiled, “so my Little Brother knows he matters to me enough that he can be a Little Troublemaker whenever he feels like it!”

          “Hmmm…” Timothy considered, “I guess I hadn’t thought about it like that.”

          “Like what?” Paul encouraged.

          “That part of me does seem to know that…” he struggled, “well… that you must… you know… that you must think of me as… as someone important to you?”

          “But the other part?” Paul invited.

          “Yes, the other part is quite different from that,” Timothy added. “It still finds it strange that anyone in Father’s House would speak of me as being special to them in any way at all.”

          “And that is all the more reason that I am so desperate for you to know what it is like for Firstborn to be formed in you,” Paul returned to his earlier thought.

          “What a weird… uh… consideration?” Timothy wondered.

          “I want you to be so filled with Firstborn,” Paul wished, “and so aware that he is in you, and you are in him, and that Daily Companion makes this real for us all, that it will feel wonder-filled instead of weird.”

          “Wonder-filled?” Timothy considered. “Don’t you mean, ‘wonderful’?”

          “The way the Triune love us is wonder-filled,” Paul explained. “Yes, it is inherently a wonderful, glorious, amazing, delightful, awesome, magnificent thing that they love us as they do. But it also fills us with wonder of what it is like to be loved by the Sovereign Ruler of everything.

          “However,” Paul continues, “as the sun shines the glory of its light all the time, even when it is nighttime on our side of the planet, or storm clouds hide it from our sight, we must know that the love the Triune has for us is wonderfully constant and constantly wonderful no matter what any of us think about them or how they view us. And the wonderfulness of this reality makes us wonder-filled as we embrace it for our own.”

          “Hmmm…” Timothy interjected, “so you know that my struggle to see my worth to you and Father is not the truth about the Triune, but evidence that I’ve got clouds in my heart?”

          “Yes,” Paul smiled. “Clouds in our hearts is a common malady of us adopted children.”

          “Malady?” Timothy grinned mischievously once again.

          “Yes, my Little Child!” Paul exaggerated, “A malady is a sickness that very easily takes us down.”

          “So, me feeling like being special couldn’t be true is a malady?” Timothy asked.

          “Exactly,” Paul affirmed, “just like thinking the sun isn’t shining just because there are clouds overhead.”

          “You mean like right now!?” Timothy exclaimed as a big fat raindrop smacked him on the nose.

          “Uh… I suppose so!” Paul laughed as he too felt the beginning of rain.
          “Where did those come from?!” Timothy shouted in surprise.


          “Where did they come from indeed,” Paul welcomed the sudden turn in their adventure.

          As the two Brothers ran into the House, they both knew that they had shared a visit in the Light that would continue to shine into their hearts even when cloudy skies hid Father’s love from their sight. They would continue to grow in love because Father had loved them more and longer than they would ever fully comprehend. But knowing it was so would grow stronger every day, rain or shine.



© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com



Friday, July 19, 2019

Good News of Great Joy ~ Part 3 ~ Parables of Joy


In our “Good News of Great Joy” series we have seen that the gospel itself is the good news of great joy because it brings us back into relationship with the most joyful person ever, which is God our Creator. However, while many of us may be familiar with the idea that the gospel expresses God’s love for his lost children, seeing him as joyful in his love may not come so easily.

What that in mind, in this third message of our series, we look at parables Jesus told that clearly reveal God as a joyfully relational person who delights in finding the lost and bringing them home.[1]

The effect on a person of finding the joy of this kingdom is expressed in the parable of the treasure hidden in the field,[2] and the joy of our life with God in the new home Jesus is making for us is expressed in the parable of the three servants.[3]

The overwhelming message is that, the kingdom of God is a matter of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”[4] and our heavenly Father wants us to enjoy these realities both now and forevermore. These parables are clearly designed to help us in that direction.




© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] Luke 15:1-32
[2] Matthew 13:44
[3] Matthew 25:14-30
[4] Romans 14:17

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Good News of Great Joy ~ Part 2 ~ “Father’s Joy is Our Strength”




Everyone needs a joyful Father. We’re made for it. Just look at all the father-wounds people have experienced from joyless dads.

God gives us a choice. We can either believe what life and experience have told us about ourselves from people who have never lived in his joy, or what he tells us about himself that will heal all our wounds and return us to our Father’s joy.

In this series on, “Good News of Great Joy,” we are pursuing choice number two. The God who sent his Son into the world to call us into joy, works to help his orphan-minded children know the joy he has over us.

Join us as we explore the theme-verse, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”[1] And tell God that this is exactly the way you want to know him.




© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] Nehemiah 8:10

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Mindless Evolution vs a Mindful God


The reason that evolutionists need to believe that nothing can suddenly bang into something is because, if that is not true, it means that someone brought everything into existence. If people want to delude themselves that there is no one to whom we must give account, believing anti-scientific nonsense that nothing can produce anything at all is their only option. 

The reason that evolutionists need to believe that non-living things can morph into living things is because, if that is not true, it means a living being is responsible for living things. If a living being made living things, then there is someone to whom we must give account for our livingness. Since people love darkness because their deeds are evil, this darkened understanding will have to do, no matter how it contradicts the observations of science. 

The reason that evolutionists need to believe that one kind of living thing can evolve into a different kind of living thing is because, if that is not true, it means each of the creature-kinds were made with all their distinctions in place. However, that sounds too much like what God describes in his Book, so endless fairy tales are written to make it sound like the God-deniers have a voice after all.  

The reason that evolutionists need to parade naturalism as the only explanation for all that we can witness of space, time, matter and energy is because, if that is not true, and there really is a spiritual reality as well, it means there is a Spirit-being to whom we must give account one day. However, since they don’t want to do that, and even though naturalism has no way to measure for spiritual things, believing that a naturalistic philosophy explains everything will just have to suffice. 

God’s Book declares very clearly that, “by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” It clarifies that, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made”, and then reveals that, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” 

People living in darkness believe that nothing produces something, and non-living somethings produce living somethings, and living somethings can turn into living anythings-they-want, and that all the intricacies and complexities of life don’t tell us a thing about the God who created us.  

Into this darkness Jesus continues to shine, and the light of his life calls you out of your darkness and into his marvelous light today, and forevermore. Amen. 


© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Morning Time With God ~ The Joy Who Changes Our Minds




This week I’m focusing on parables of joy. Now that it is so firmly entrenched in my mind that Father is a joyful person, reading these parables from that perspective is very good for my heart. 

Part of this focus is on how Jesus uses parables to show the contrast between the good religious people who were hypocrites and the bad sinners like tax-collectors and prostitutes who were sincerely coming to Christ for salvation.  

One parable was about two sons who were asked by their father to go work in the vineyard.[1] The first replied, “‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went”, and the second replied, “‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.” 

The religious elite understood that, in the parable, it was the first son who did the father’s will. That, of course, represented the prostitutes and tax-collectors, something the hypocrites could not accept as true.  

Today it is very clear to me that the description of someone saying to God, “‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went”, is just as characteristic of me as it was of the prostitutes and tax-collectors. It grieves me how many times I have felt the conviction of God to do something and it has taken me forever to get around to it. Fears argued against it; insecurities refused to submit; injustices demanded their day in court; all kinds of hurts and heartaches crowded around my heart so that I felt justified in not immediately getting into the boat, so to speak.  

What’s the point? That justifying myself as a “good Christian” is a joy-stealer because it keeps me relying on my pitiful expressions of “trying”, while confessing myself as a sinner who keeps saying no to father humbles me under the mighty hand of my joyful Father who delights to change our minds so we join him in his work.  

This morning I am blown away by God’s grace in this, and suddenly find myself feeling peace and joy. Strange how that works.



© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)





[1] Matthew 21:28-32

Friday, July 5, 2019

Home Church Video ~ Good News of Great Joy ~ Part 1 ~ The Source of Joy is a Person




One of my pet peeves against the Christmas package is that it makes it difficult to talk about Jesus’ birth without it feeling out of season, so to speak. As soon as we start speaking of Bethlehem, and angels, and shepherds, and the baby in a manger, it conjures up all the tinsely entrapments that confine such things to one tiny window of distractions.

How then do we address the wonderful message that there is “good news of great joy that will be for all the people”[1] without reducing it to a materialistic season of enchantment? How do we revel in the Scriptures that describe Jesus’ entrance into our world without limiting them to a season when they so clearly offer us a lifetime of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?[2]

After finishing up a very encouraging series on agapè-love, I found myself wanting to address our equally desperate need for joy. What I have come to realize is that the message of joy in the Bible does not match the experience of joy in so many church-folk. “Why is that?”, I wonder.

In the first message of this series we look at how clearly God intends for his people to experience a life of “good news of great joy”. This will be our theme for the whole series as we look at every aspect of joyful living we can find in God’s word. It is clear that he has spoken his mind on the matter. Our aim is to let his words dwell in us richly until what we feel inside us matches his will and work.

Join our home church as we attempt to throw off the trappings of the Christmas filter and receive God’s gift of everlasting joy as our right and heritage all year round, and on into eternity. Unto us a Savior has been born, who is Christ the Lord,[3] and we can enjoy his transforming love and joy every day of our lives.





© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)





[1] Luke 2:10
[2] Romans 14:17
[3] Luke 2:11