Thursday, 23 June 2022

I Remember When

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
      
      In 1969, I remember when a gallon of gasoline rose in price from forty-five cents to fifty cents per gallon. A lot of people were fearful that they were not going to make it financially. An eleven percent increase in cost at that time was unheard of. The feeling that the sky was falling - because so many people were saying that very thing, made the times seem uncertain concerning the future and everyone's well-being. Of course, looking back, the sky did not fall, and a lot of worrying and unnecessary suffering of the mind, that took place - was for naught. Matt. 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
      The above scripture admonishes us not to worry or stress when times get hard or are perceived to be overwhelming. This is still a good lesson to take to heart. Lately, many people are expressing their fears concerning the future, and they are making general statements like, "I remember when things use to be much better than today. "Maybe it is the age group that I am in, but I hear that statement voiced a lot. The words "I remember when" seem to come out as an expression of surrendering to life's difficult changes which give rise to a person's feeling of helplessness to do anything about their circumstances. So, they just sigh and say, "I remember when life seemed to be much easier to handle." Eccl. 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. I'm not sure if life was ever easier or if we are choosing a false memory that we find comfort in because we have survived life to this point. But now, because we do not know the future or the challenges that are coming, we are faced with a fresh new set of anxieties. Therefore, we stew in the thoughts of "I remember when."
      What I do know, is that wringing our hands and fretting about all the problems coming upon the earth is not good for our inner peace or our ability to be positive toward our future. Thinking constantly and fearing what we cannot control will affect a person's emotional well-being and the health of their body. The stress will eventually cause sickness and disease throughout their whole body. Job 21:6 When I remember, I am dismayed, and shuddering seizes my flesh. This is not a healthy way to live or plan life's goals. Therefore, we have to commit our ways to the Lord so that we get real answers for planning our life in the peace and health God has for us. Prov. 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 
      God's salvation is for our whole lives, which includes our spirit, soul, and body. The Lord is always ready to provide what we need when we ask of Him. But, there seems to be an indication from God's word that worry and pining for the past interferes with the flow of the blessings coming our way. Worry and stress will weaken our faith in believing that God is for us. Faith is courageous and it humbly steps forward to receive from God what we need to live victoriously. Stress and worry are born in fear, and God has not given us the spirit of fear. Authentic faith believes the love that God has for us, and in the light of God's love, there is no darkness or fear. 1John 4:18a There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.      
      Our Heavenly Father is not against us remembering events from the old days that bring fond recollections and expressions of gratefulness toward God. The Lord wants us to remember who He is. He is the mighty creator who is here for us and He wants us to remember the wonderful miracles He has given us throughout our life. Habitually remembering the Lord throughout our time on earth will help us remember Him when the days are hard. Eccl. 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.” Isn't that what people are saying when they say, "I remember when life was better than it is now." They are saying, "I have no pleasure in the days God has given me." No Saints. We need to be grateful for the life God gave us and to use our lives to bring gracious pleasantness to a hopeless world full of woes. Lam. 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
      We can sit back and bemoan the fact that things are not as they were. But I would rather remember that when my life was a mess, God, pulled me out of that ugly nightmare to live for Him today. I remember when I was an alcoholic and God delivered me from that addiction so that I could face the challenges of today in His strength. I could sit around remembering a lot of things that are probably worth forgetting, but I would rather remember the blessings and opportunities I have had throughout my life since Jesus became my Lord and Saviour. I remember when I was lost, but now I am found in Christ. That is something to remember. Amen!

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Perspective

Proverbs 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
      
      Within two days, I heard odd statements describing beauty in opposite terms. A friend was visiting from Louisiana and had noticed some very tall tulips in full bloom. She said, “Those flowers are so beautiful they look fake.” She had to touch them to make sure they were real flowers. The next day, I was at a business establishment servicing a piece of equipment when I heard a customer say to the proprietor, “Those fake flowers look so real I can’t tell the difference.” She had to touch them to be assured they were artificial flowers. It struck me that things are not as they seem. We tend to take things at face value, and once we believe something is real or not, It can be difficult to change our perspective on that belief. 
      The strange thing about perspective is how some people can end up with a point of view that just seems ludicrous. The world is flat theory, has a worldwide following, and they have explanations galore to explain away the ability of ships on the sea and planes in the air that circumnavigate around the world. Big pharma and governments are making sure that all Chemtrails in our skies are filled with toxic chemicals to control the shopping habits of society. Alien Lizard people live among us and are plotting a takeover by introducing climate change to suit their climatized needs to live here and take over the planet. I'm sure you have heard some of your friends and family come up with some of the most unbelievable ideas and perspectives out there. 2Tim. 4:3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.
      Our understanding and beliefs can be adjusted by the Holy Spirit if we let God sow His truth within us. Saul of Tarsus was on his way to condemn the new Christians for stating, "Jesus Christ is the Lord." His perspective changed when God knocked Saul off his horse and revealed Himself to Saul as Christ the Lord of the church and the universe. Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!" Not only did the Lord help Saul change his perspective of who Jesus is, but the understanding of Jesus as our saviour was so profound that it changed Saul's perspective of his own life and he became known as Paul the Apostle.
      As ambient light hinders us from seeing the stars at night, so do the ambient attractions of worldliness hinder us and may change our perspective from seeing the glorious light of the Lord that He asks us to walk in. If you believe God is out to get you, then no matter how much you try to satisfy God, your outlook on life will be arduous and bleak. If you believe that Jesus is Lord and you have been set free through Christ's sacrifice, then your standpoint of faith will give you peace and freedom throughout your life. Only after the Lord has revealed His goodness to us can we take on a new view of who Jesus is and discard what the enemy of our soul has been lying to us about all our lives. Prov. 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. God's perspective of us is a wonder to behold.
      I have been asked many times why I read the bible regularly and why I promote the idea of staying current by reading God's word. My explanation is simple. Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, who reveals His word to me, I get to see how God sees me and the perspective I need to have about myself. We can get a glimpse through God's eyes of what He sees in us. Even though it is through a glass darkly or a mirrored reflection as the word explains it, we can get a perspective of God's love that He has for us. 1Cor. 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. How good is that?  To have a sense of peace that we are loved and can call on God's name at any time, and to know that He hears us because our perspective of Him is based on His love for us and not what we do. I like that. Blessings upon us all.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Stumbling Blocks

Proverbs 26:27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
      
      Hebrews 12:1b Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. The statement of caution we are to take notice of - is, "Let us throw off the sin that so easily entangles us." We all have that sin or those transgressions that so easily cause us to stumble. I know someone who fights jealousy to the point of crying about it. I know of a person who cannot stop visiting gambling facilities and is repenting regularly for wasting so much money that he knows God has blessed him with. A few sipping-saints have reported that they are having difficulty stopping their use of alcohol. All these activities are not a problem until they are! Yes, I have my nemesis too. We all seem to have something that just beats us up and reminds us of our constant need for our saviour.
      Someone might say, "The temptations mentioned above, are not a problem to me at all." I could agree with that, but at the same time, we need to realize that what becomes a demonic dragged-out war for one person is not a big deal for another to withstand the temptation. Meanwhile, the sins you fall for might seem so lame to others as they roll their eyes wondering why you just can't get it together. There is always something we are trying to overcome and we cannot do it alone. We need Jesus at all times in all sinful situations to help keep us in the light of His grace. Eph. 2:8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 
      Even when winning our battle over sin, it is God's grace at work within us. Defeating sin is not accomplished through our willpower alone. Sin, iniquity, and transgressions are overcome through the blood and sacrifice of the Lord working within our free will so we can walk in Christ's righteousness. It is all God's redemptive grace and finished work at the cross that gives us the power to overcome any stronghold. The Lord even dresses us up in His righteous armour so we can fight the battles the enemy throws at us. Eph. 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
    Cain's stumbling block of jealousy toward his brother Abel, got the better of him because he would not listen to what God was saying. The Lord's warning that sin was crouching at the door of Cain's heart and the sin of jealous anger was waiting to destroy him. Cain rejected God's loving admonition, and the result was that jealousy won the battle. Gen. 4:10 But the LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! God's warnings are for us to hear and work out with His guidance so we can defeat the sin that so easily entangles us. It is not a one-time fight and that trespass is destroyed forever. No, it is spiritual warfare that we engage in every time the temptation shows up to tempt our souls again. The good news is through Christ we can win the battles. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 
      King Saul's insecurity and inferiority caused him to become jealous of David because of a few song lyrics exalting the battle David won over the Philistines. 1Sam. 18:8 Then Saul became very angry, for this lyric displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul was inventing a kingdom takeover by David that did not exist. It was all in Saul's mind causing his imagination to create problems where there were none. His insecurities were an entrance for the devil to create jealousies and anger to manifest. The sin of jealousy then created the sin of hatred and murderous rage in Saul's heart. Sin begets sin, and if we do not deal with the sin that so easily entangles us, it leads to uglier transgressions.
      Another stumbling block the enemy of our soul uses - is when we sin, Satan tries to cause us to hate ourselves. This is such a successful tactic. If Satan can get us into self-loathing, it can be a long way back to redemption because we cannot shake the ugly image we have created of ourselves. Meanwhile, God is in love with us, wanting us to come to Him with a repentant heart so we can defeat the works of the devil. While tangled in sin, we tend to forget that Jesus defeated Satan, death, and hell with His perfect sacrifice of Himself on the cross. Rev. 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. This battle has already been won by God. We need to use our faith and act within the Lord's master plan that overcomes any iniquity that becomes a battleground for our souls. 
      If anyone has fallen into sin, then get up, and repent. God has won our eternal souls, and our names are written in the Lord's scarred hands and the book of eternal life. Don't let the failures we have experienced sour the multiple blessings that we live in and that await us through Christ our Lord. We are more than conquerors in Him. Yes, there are stumbling blocks in life, but there are far more victories that await us in Jesus name. Amen!

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Mortals In Need

Proverbs 23:29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
      
      We desecrate, we flatulate, we perspirate, we defecate, we urinate, and we vomit upon this earth. I know I sound like a potty-mouth Dr. Seuss, but without God, in our lives and at work in this world, we are no more than cannibalistic Morlocks eating each other alive. The world without God is a fecal crater run by the deranged and the inhabitants spend their lives trying to rise above the stench of humanity. As we rotate on this cesspool of a planet, we cannot but notice that our planet has become the Calcutta of the universe. Please forgive me Calcutta, for using you as a reference of a paradise lost. What was God thinking when He created this place? Surely He was not envisioning this mess we insist on maintaining and calling it home.
      I am not blaming God for this mess, but the sad thing is, that God will get blamed for it, even though it is the human condition spoiling everything humanity touches. I had to turn off the news yesterday as the retelling of another mass shooting of children was reported over and over again. Real-time footage was shown with air-raid sirens screaming in the background as cities in the Ukraine were being destroyed, plus the fear of monkeypox overtaking the world. I know, it sounds like a whole lot of monkeyshines, but there it is. Then there are all the run-of-the-mill robberies, drug overdoses, people and property washed away in floods, and on and on the reporting went, and oh yeah, the economy wah-wah-wah. What will it take for people to call upon God's name and bring the needed healing to the citizens of this earth? Hab. 1:3 Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.     
      We are mortals in need of deliverance from the results of the sins we keep struggling with and repeating. We need holy restoration in the biggest way. Prov. 23:29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? The hurt, anguish, and sorrow we are living in will not give us the peace we need to live a wholesome life on this earth and with one another. There are all kinds of opinions as to why these horrific atrocities caused by humanity keep reoccurring. Statements like - no prayer in schools, no discipline for the young, no punishable deterrents, and no respect for anyone are the common whipping posts used to explain all the woes of society. The list is endless, as are the excuses for not doing what we know we should do, resulting in a life lived in a darkness that can be felt.
      This darkness that is palpable throughout our world will take more than a few moral adjustments to fix. When God told Moses to stretch out his hand over Egypt to bring about the curse of darkness that could be felt, it was to confront the darkness within the heart of man and the god of darkness they worshipped. Ex. 10:21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses reached out with his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. Someone might say, "I don't get down on my knees and worship darkness!" No, but you are allowing all kinds of darkness to take place in your life by rejecting the gift of God which is Jesus our Lord and saviour.
      Obeying God starts at home, within our own lives. Joshua asked the people of Israel how long were they going to mess around and not get on with what they knew they had to do. Josh. 18:3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you? How long are we going to put off what we know God has asked us to do in His kingdom and with His salvation that is at work within our souls? When are we going to possess the blessings He has given us to acquire victory over all the mayhem in this world?
      Let me close with a thought from Dr. Suess. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Yes, we mortals need the fullness of God, and for me, the buck stops here at my soul. I have to care a whole awful lot and stay focused on God's agenda and not what I see in the world right now. It may feel like everything stinks and is out of control, but God will deliver His people amid the world's insanity. Col. 1:17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Amen!

Thursday, 2 June 2022

The Dark Side

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, growing brighter and brighter until full day.
      
      Historians have recorded volumes depicting paintings, books, movies, plays, essays and every other form of recording man's journey, that describes the dark side of the human condition. Why is that? Because we know darkness intimately. Adam and Eve did not do us any favours by allowing us to know and become intimately fettered to darkness and the resulting death through sin. Overcoming dark thoughts requires a massive amount of work because we know how bad sin can get, and how awful it is. History has proven that we cannot fix the dreadful shortcomings that reside within us. Jer. 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Being focused on darkness and evil will keep us living feverishly with unimaginative minds, resulting in repetitive acting out of sinfulness, and living within iniquity's control.
      I was reading an article that said it takes five to seven positive thoughts to overcome one negative thought that has taken root in our soul or psyche. That amount of positiveness is a lot of mental work that has to be done to have a positive outcome on a particular event in one's life. No wonder the Word of the Lord admonishes us to think about the good things worthy of thought. Phil. 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Staying focused on God's integral goodness will give us life and help us stay out of gloomy places.
      In the book of Ruth, we read how after Naomi's husband and two sons died, Naomi gave credence to the idea that this tragedy was a judgment from God upon herself. Her wounded spirit interpreted those calamitous events as a form of punishment. Ruth 1:13b For it grieves me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. When darkness sets in, the battle for the mind is a battle in earnest. Even after the length of time, it took to travel back to her country with Ruth, Naomi had not shaken the dark spirit of self-blame. Ruth 1:20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Naomi could only see her misery and needed a holy wind of righteous thoughts to help her navigate the grief that had become a weight of hurt that hung around her soul.
      While this tragic family event was taking place in Naomi's life, a miracle of grace was happening at the same time. Naomi could not see it, but Ruth, a Moabite woman had risen in faith by declaring that Jehovah would be her God until death. Ruth 1:16b Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. Ruth had not only made a covenant with her mother-in-law to take care of her but also declared God to be her LORD.
     Ruth's use of the name, LORD, (Jehovah) demonstrated that God was real to Ruth at this difficult time. Grief and loss made it hard for Naomi to see the blessings right in front of her. I believe that Ruth had gleaned Godly insights into the power of the name Jehovah while married and living with her inlaws. Out of the darkness of life's harsh events, Ruth followed the only light she knew at the time, and He was the covenant God of Israel. Naomi needed a reawakening of the illumination that Ruth had believed for herself. Prov. 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, growing brighter and brighter until full day.      
      We are in desperate need of a kinsman redeemer to deliver us from our prison of unsanctified existence, which can easily bring us into a dark place. Thank God for the saving blood of Jesus, which sets us free from eternal death and our ever-increasing dysfunctions. If it does take five to seven positive thoughts to overcome negative influences in our life, then let us focus on the pure positive love of God that He has for every one of us. Let us dive into the Word of God, so we can be washed in the Shekinah glory of our Lord God. We can dispel the darkness that prowls at our doorsteps because we have the Lord within our hearts, making us through Christ, the light of the world. Let us walk in that light. Matt. 5:14a You are the light of the world. Amen!

Thursday, 26 May 2022

I Am A Short Story

Proverbs 15:23 Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
      
      We are called by God to become what and who we already are as God sees us. Finding the path God laid out for us in fulfilling that story is our act of faith toward God's gift of life He gave us. Sometimes my ego leads me to think this world would collapse without my presence making sure all things go as planned. The reality is that I am like everyone else, a short story that is here for a limited time, hoping my life makes a difference within God's eternal plan. The mortality rate for humans is one hundred percent, therefore, we had better get on with what the Lord has placed us on this earth to do. Acts 17:28a For in Him we live and move and have our being. We would be wise to start living the life of grace God has given us rather than existing until we finally die.     
      It is awe-inspiring to hear some people describe with clarity why and for what reason they are here on earth. Their insight into knowing their calling, purpose, or raison d'être with the assurance they express can make one wonder if we might have missed that class on why we are here because they seem to have all the answers for their lives. They want to change the world for the better but many of them end up bumping up against a brass wall when it comes to the strength of character it takes to accomplish such colossal feats they have set out to fulfill. As Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change themselves." Therein is the rub. We have to be willing to be changed by God for His use. God's vision of us will transform us into the individuals we truly are and develop our uniqueness that will be expressed through our saviour Jesus Christ.
      Some of our short stories are full of formidable challenges and great exploits that overcame arduous tasks. With colourful descriptions of conquering the great beyond, our stories are being engraved into the hearts of men. Other people's stories are sad and describe wasted lives that faded out just as the ink in their pens ran out. We are stories of courageous heroes who gave our lives to God to bless the inhabitants of His creation. While others created horror stories because they insisted on being nihilists who would not accept the Creator's existence. All the while, we are all being loved by God for whose affectionate fellowship we raise our hearts for. Sng. 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. What an amazing story we are part of. 
      Every story has a beginning. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And every story comes to an end. Rev. 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. However, our eternal story will go on with the Lord's infinite plans throughout eternity. What will be written of those times? What incredible mysteries of God's love will there be to discover and experience when no words can describe the wonder that we will live in. Even a thousand poets could not eloquently explain or demonstrate the continual awe we will forever be living in. For we will be alive in the eternal grace of God's goodness. 
      We may be short stories, but we are part of God's eternal ongoing story that He is writing, and that is the story that counts. Perhaps I can draw an example from the parable of the unwise virgins who did not bring enough oil for their lamps to help them fulfill their relationship with God that awaited them. Matt. 25:3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps. Have we got enough anointed ink in our pens to finish our story to the satisfaction of our Lord's vision He has for us and our rewarding fulfilment? Can we finish the story of our spiritual race that is set in this space and time? With God, all things are possible.
      Don't let Satan, the evil editor, rewrite your chronicle with his poison pen to suit his corrupted narrative and view of who he falsely accuses you of being. Do not allow the devil, who continuously blames you for sin, to have any space on your holy written pages that is recording your life's journey. No saints! This is our story expressing the victory of our relationship with God Almighty. It is not another hard-luck, woe is me and drawn-out drama depicting people who insist on living in their miry clay. When we hand over our lives to Christ and let Him become our authorized publisher, then our stories will be written in His sacrificial blood which cleanses us from all sin and will debunk any bad reviews the enemy would write about us. Our names are written in God's heart forever. What a story that is and will be. Blessings and peace be on us all.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Accusing God To His Face

Proverbs 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
      
      Jesus said, John 15:25b They hated me for no reason.
      Genesis 3:12 The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.” What Adam said with aggressive blame in his tone of voice was, "None of this is my fault, GOD! The woman YOU gave me made me eat the fruit that I did not want any part of. This is YOUR fault and YOUR mess to clean up! I am innocent of all wrongdoing!" And the Lord's love went to work right away to clean up the mess that the deceived heart of man had caused from the beginning. God judged the original liar who sowed the biggest lie of all when the serpent said, "You will not surely die if you eat of the fruit from this tree." With this deception, Satan had accused God of being a liar. Adam and Eve believed the lie and became subject to death the moment they had eaten. God's redemptive plan started immediately. Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
      We are still accusing God of all kinds of things that are our fault and caused by our stupidity. "Why God did YOU let this happen to ME?" is a common sentence that flows so easily from our mouths and our hearts. The mouth speaks what the heart contains. Luke 6:45b For of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaketh. I think the devil does his best work with the lie that causes people to question and mistrust the integrity of God. Once Satan has a person wondering about God's love, to be true or false, it becomes a slippery slope as they reject anything God says, and everything God does for them becomes questionable to their deceived heart. Mal. 1:2a “I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”
      When we think about the arrogance that humankind has become so talented at expressing, it makes us wonder how the Lord can keep loving us, and yet, He does. Mankind has learned how to justify every imaginable evil there is, and in most cases, God gets blamed for it. I know someone who is on government assistance because he chooses not to work but complains continually about how hard his life is and how bad he is treated. "Why does God let this happen to me?" he says in a way to disguise his laziness. Why doesn't he just go spit in God's face and accuse Him of not being Jehovah-Jireh? Either God is who He says He is, or God is the liar you believe Him to be. If you are at that stage of existence then your troubles are about to increase with great intensity.
      When we live our lives where we no longer trust God, we end up becoming reckless in our actions and end up blaming everything that unjustly happens to us on someone or something else. We become like the people who are described in the book of Malichi whom God is trying to reason with. These people had gone their own way and questioned everything God said. The Lord patiently explains His love for them and the good that awaited them if they chose God's leading. But the retorts from the people were arrogant backtalk. Mal. 1:11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 But you are profaning it when you say: ‘The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.’ Really, the Lord's table that is prepared before us and set in the presence of our enemies, is defiled and contemptible? How foolish they had become. 
      The Lord's remedy for overcoming the infectious lie Satan sows so freely amongst the people of this earth is to hate evil and to grow in the wisdom and love of God by accepting His gift of salvation through Christ for our eternal souls. Prov. 9:10 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. The Lord says if you are going to hate anything, then hate what causes us to blame God and each other for our sins. God says to hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and the perverseness of thought. Prov. 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. This is a good place for us to start taking responsibility for our choices. The reverence of the Lord and hating what God hates will help us remain in honest fellowship with our God.
      God invites us to come and reason with Him regardless of the sinful state we are in. Isa. 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Reasoning implies an intelligent exchange of thoughts and ideas. Even though our All-Mighty God is inviting us to reason with Him in love, it would be wise on our behalf to do more listening than talking. God is our saviour. Our salvation is not gained by anything we do to impress Him. The Lord is our deliverer and redeemer. Our Heavenly Father is the healer of our fallen condition because we do not have the answers for our healing, otherwise, we would have done it by now. No Saints! Jesus is Lord, and we are, in eternal need of His gift of salvation. Get out of God's face and stop accusing Him for your problems and start praising Him for solving them. Amen and amen!

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Sinners Wanted, Apply Within

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded.

      Jesus said in, Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Our Lord Jesus is looking for sinners and wants all the sinners He can find to apply within the finished work of the cross, where Christ's blood sacrifice has been given for every sinner to be washed of their sins. Applications for this cleansing gift of grace that cleans one's soul is a simple but crucial act of faith. All a sinner has to do is admit they are a sinner, and receive Jesus as their personal Lord. Applications are open to anyone. John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 
      If you are a sinner or have ever transgressed God's laws throughout your life, you are welcome to come before God the Father by accepting the blood sacrifice that Jesus gave of Himself through the crucifixion on the cross. This sacrificial gift covers everyone's shame, hurts, lusts, and evil past or present life. Just apply within the grace of our Lord's forgiveness. Eph. 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.      
       Sometimes it is hard for churched people to welcome sinners into their assemblies of worship. Sinners do not feel welcome in church, and yet Jesus who is the head of the church invites sinners of every kind to come and join His family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Churched people often forget where they were when Jesus found them eternally lost and bound.
       I remember a dipsomaniac whose struggles with alcohol were known in the community, but he came to church regularly. At one evening service, he came in late and made his way to the front seats with his pants lowered to reveal a lot of his backside while stumbling, and bouncing off of parishioners as he made his way up the center aisle looking for a seat. Gasps could be heard, with looks of indignation expressed, and judgmental smarmy snickering was being exchanged amongst the faithful. I then heard a still small voice from within my spirit say, "The difference between him and the people here, is that their addictions and sins are well hidden and not on full display the way this man's addiction is clearly seen. In some cases, they are just as stumbling drunk, dishevelled, and weak-kneed in their daily lives as this lonely intoxicated soul is. What everyone needs to know is that I love him just as I love everyone in this building." A lesson I will never forget.
       The church is only as mature as much as we are mature and loving within our relationship with Christ. We tend to advertise Christian freedom while wearing a denominational straitjacket. I'm not saying to let any unruliness take over the assembling of the saints, but remember, sinners who show up at church looking for redemption and real love will not know all the rules of the recorded agreements and statements of faith that were voted upon at the denominational headquarters. Voicing our self-righteous indignation at the young man wearing a Megadeth T-shirt who showed up at a church service because he was invited to come and see what the Lord is doing in people's lives - would not be a righteous hand of invitation. He might not see the genuine love of God he is looking for if he is judged at the door with looks of disapproval. Don't forget, you use to wear those ugly paisley ties with a polyester shirt to church meetings, and no one crucified you.
     The Apostle Paul, who claimed to have been the worst sinner, made it clear in his epistles that Christ came to save sinners. 1Tim. 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. Like Paul, we can all lay claim to being the worst sinner because sin is sin. What really matters is that we stop sinning. Prov. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded. The sinful nature that was once predominant in our souls has been replaced with a new life in Christ, and the Lord's righteousness is now available for us to walk in for the rest of our eternal lives. 2Cor. 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
      Ex 17:1a The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the LORD’s command. I don’t know if this scripture was meant to be a play on words but nonetheless, good advice. Leave the Wilderness of Sin and follow God. At one time, we were all sinners who came to Jesus through an invitation from the Holy Spirit. Lost Sinner was stamped upon our hearts. All we could do was look to Jesus and receive the grace and gift of salvation He gave us by faith in His cleansing blood. The only qualification we had for His grace was that we were sin-stained and lost. As I walked up the center aisle towards the throne of God's grace, I was also dishevelled, weak-kneed, and stumbling in sin, but my application for eternal life was granted by God's merciful love. Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Amen! 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Drowning In Memories

Proverbs 10:7 We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.


      Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. I once wrote, and I still believe, "The only good thing about the good old days is that they are gone," especially when the old days are the only thing a person thinks about. People can become so trapped in the past that they no longer try to live today.

      It is much easier to deal with memories that are pleasant and joyful because they sometimes encourage us to believe in an optimistic future. Good memories are helpful as they can inspire us to realize that things can get better. It is a harder journey for a lot of people to deal with and try to manage the hurts that horrific memories bring back in living colour. The relenting torment of these aching recollections will keep people from advancing beyond their ever-present thoughts of how they were poorly treated. Continually thinking about the old hurts, and rehashing the events that created the dysfunction in their present lives, will have an unnatural control of their mind and will give no room for peace to be found. 

      The difficulty of being reconciled with our painful history can be overwhelming for some people and a never-ending torment for others. We are now seeing how the memories of the First Nation's children who were forced to attend residential schools are still feeling the repercussions they suffered. Those children are now elderly people who are still hurting. The effects on these people and their culture have got to be reconciled or the pain will continue to be a generational curse. The brutality and shaming practices that were allowed to be used upon these children at the time, were inhumane, and cruel. Yet, these people were expected to live inspired lives and function normally once returned to their homes. How could they not become maladaptive in their plight to function when they had so many questions that needed answers as to why they had been treated like a burden society had to rid themselves of.

      The anguish that is suffered within the souls and spirits of anyone who has memories of being brutalized makes it hard for them to even believe there is healing for better things. Healing in the spirit is also needed as much as healing within the soul. Ex.6:9 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. Depressive and painful memories will keep many wallowing in hurtful reminiscence while keeping them stagnant from moving ahead. We have no choice but to reconcile with our hurtful past because if we do not face that pain with God's healing power, that dark shadow will negatively control our thoughts causing a repeat performance within the next generation. 

      Breaking this bondage will take the light of God that can stab any darkness and rip apart the gloom that has enveloped a heart and mind. However, we have to want that healing with all of our hearts. God's righteous fire burns everything and that includes the injustices we have suffered throughout our lives. I, for one, have had to forgive the events of my childhood to be able to live a healthy and meaningful life today. I had to forgive the brutality and abuse that my father dispensed on my mother, siblings, and myself. I have written extensively on the subject of my father's inability to have loved, nurtured, and protected his family. We cannot go back and fix the problem at the point where the torture took place, but with the Lord's forgiving grace we can be healed from the point where we choose to forgive. Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

     The problem for many who continue choosing the companion of old shadows that darken the present noonday brightness is that they will rewrite scenarios in their minds and will end up with a patchwork of selective memories that are distorting the real events that took place. The children of Israel had been set free by God but in their hearts, they were still slaves to their past. Num. 11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! The manna was the healing bread that the Lord had provided each day for the collective healing of a nation. Yes, it was a daily food provision, but the morning reminder as the manna was gathered demonstrated that God their provider could meet anything needed to live in wholeness. However, as is today, if we do not accept God's healing and step into His redemptive health plan with an honest heart the result will be as it was with the children of Israel - an insipid idea of existence.

      The choice is ours. We can either swim and bathe in the anointed love of God's present affection that will eventually heal all pain and hurts. Or, we can drown in the infectious waters of hurtful memories that move like the creatures in nightmares coming from beneath ready to bring us into a hell of loneliness. The Lord's salvation is too precious a gift to be ignored as the way back from our painful past. If we hand over one hurt after another until the healing balm of Christ's sacrifice makes us whole, we will eventually be healed. There are enough people in this world living with a shadow-sickness that gets darker as the days go by. We who are in Christ can live in the light of God's healing. Ex. 15:26b For I am the LORD who heals you. We just have to want it. In Jesus name, Lord God, help us call on Your name for the grace needed to choose life. Amen!

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Our Credibility Is Waning

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

      Our credibility will become real to ourselves when we stop borrowing the credibility of others or using high-end stuff, such as (cars, portfolios, and properties) to define who we are. Take away the possessions of a person and what remains is the real person. We do not have to borrow or steal the status of others to be affirmed in this life when we have the Lord's assurance of His love abiding within us. Our standing in the Lord is based on what God says is true and what righteousness is in Christ, and not what we mistakenly think it might be. Righteousness, integrity, and credibility in Christ are what God proclaims these virtues to be.
      At times, some Christians presume to have spiritual credibility by trying to make God say something He did not say or even meant to be implied. They sometimes mix their faith and the spurious correlations of their syncretistic beliefs into a form of personal dogma, creating an illusion of credibility. These polymorphic views are manifesting in church circles because of undisciplined lifestyles, uncontrolled emotions, and their adopted soulism that leads them into carnal choices rather than being changed from glory to glory by the conviction of God’s word that leads believers into righteous living. 
      The upshot with this loose method of belief is that any hair-raising or goosebump sensation these people experience will become their divine guidance system to their high-minded spirituality, when in fact, their soul is now in a position to be self-deceived by any bump in the night noise. The credibility they thought they borrowed from God's word to falsify their personal value and fabricated doctrine, ends up judging their immature faith. By claiming to be more open to the ways of God, they end up closed to the Lord’s conviction of true righteousness that validates our eternal lives in Christ. 1Tim. 6:20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. 
       We see what happens when credibility and integrity are borrowed rather than lived and grown into. Samuel's two sons had corrupted the priesthood that came to them through nepotism. Samuel was a man of God who lived by faith, and all of Samuel's prophecies came true. 1Sam. 3:19 So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. Samuel was a loved Judge of Israel. His sons took over the responsibility for the nation's spiritual well-being. The problem was that Samuel's sons Joel and Abiah were corrupt, and the only reason they were in control of judging Israel and the priesthood was that they got the job by default. The little credibility these young men had, was the credibility and integrity that Samual had walked in his whole life.
      Joel and Abiah had no integral heart for God to minister the way God wanted the priesthood to work. Pretending to have a form of Godliness because of the priestly office they held, and the garments they wore, did not hide the reality that they only wanted the money and power that came with the position. 1Sam. 8:3 But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. The sad thing is that these (I'll do religion my way) sons had corrupted the priesthood to the point that the people of Israel felt better off with a worldly governmental system rather than what God had set up for them to remain free people. 1Sam 8:5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
      Without the Lord's righteousness at work within our souls, our credibility and integrity are only as strong as we are in the flesh. Whereas, when we are walking in the Lord's salvation we have the leading of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our resolve to choose God's righteousness rather than our own. By faith, we have the strength to make the harder choices that have to be made because the integrity of God is at work within us to help us make the hard decisions our flesh does not want to make. To stop our credibility from waning, we will have to keep choosing Christ's righteousness and not our version of it. Prov. 22:1a A good name is more desirable than great riches. We will have to depend on more than our good name to be in right standing with our Heavenly Father. We will have to be saved in the name that is above every name Jesus our Lord. Blessings and peace be on us all.