Thursday, 23 September 2021

The Real Prisoners

Proverbs 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.

      Quote: Not all prisons have steel bars.
      In 1980, while I was attending bible college in Australia, I ministered with a group called Broken Chains Prison Ministry out of Sydney. On most weekends, we went into the different prisons throughout New South Wales and brought with us a variety of rock bands and musos who were Christians and keen on helping in prison ministry. The musicians expressed their faith in Christ through their music and personal testimonies of God's goodness in their lives. We also provided the prisoners with Christian material they had requested that declared, "Jesus Christ is Lord," and He was their eternal hope if they chose to accept Him as their Lord and Savior. We were blessed to have had such favour of the Lord as we ministered week after week.
      The interesting thing to me was that some of the prisoners who had become Christians while in prison and had a genuine relationship with the Lord were freer in their souls while in forced confinement, than a lot of the staff and guards who ran the security systems of the prisons. Even though the guards got to go home at night, a lot of them were bound in their souls because of the hatred they had for the criminals they oversaw. Who was really in prison? Who were the ones living in manacles? How was it possible to be able to go where and when you wanted on the outside of the prison walls, and yet, be more bound and chained than the Christian prisoners who were incarcerated?
      Some of the guards were angry with us for ministering to the prisoner’s spiritual needs. Their argument was that the prisoners were evil recidivists and they deserved to be locked up forever. In some cases, this may be true. However, God's word does say to visit the prisoner. Matt. 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. What some of these guards did not realize, was that they were becoming what they hated. They had inadvertently stepped on the same path the criminals were walking. Their anger towards the inmates had caused them to voice their personal judgements of justice, revenge, and punishment. They were becoming as hardheaded as some of the hardcore inmates. Prov. 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 
      A person can be surrounded by the oppressive walls of a penitentiary, and the truth of God's word can free that soul from being bound by the invisible chains that many freed people are shackled to. John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. People can become a prisoner of their own making by hanging on to hate, resentment, and unforgiveness. In some cases, they can also become more severe and harsher on themselves because they become their own jailers by not letting go of their hate. 
      Lately, we have heard of people who were once dependable and stable citizens falling into the deep holes of believing every conspiracy theory that comes their way. They become prisoners of all the secretive and dark information they have personally accumulated to prove every single event going on in life is an attack and scheme to destroy their way of life. The sad thing is, they end up destroying their own lives by their never-ending angry conversations that alienate everyone around them. Deeper and deeper they fall into a terrifying abyss until words like Illuminati, sanctioned killings, tracking devices, microchip-readers, and listening devices become the steel bars of their personal cage they now find themselves fighting from. Even if everything they said was a fact, how would they personally stop it all? How could they go around the world and expose and fix every conspiracy that is supposedly going on? This would be impossible to do.
       Who are the real prisoners in life? Are they not the ones who are caged within their own bondage? The Apostle Paul wrote a large part of the New Testament from prison. Phil. 1:13 So that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Paul was a prisoner of the Roman Empire's system, but in his heart, Paul was the Lord's prisoner, and this knowledge allowed him inner freedom while in prison. He called himself a prisoner in the Lord, and this truth broke the chains of the world system Paul was ministering in. Eph.4:1a Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy. 
      I'm not saying Paul had an easy time in prison. On the contrary, Roman prisons were brutal. What Paul had, was the confidence in his Lord who could deliver him from all of the real treacherous conspiracies that were against him. 2Tim. 3:11 Persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. There were real plots to kill and control Paul. However, Paul didn’t spend much time defending himself against all the accusations confronting him. He remained a free man by being a prisoner in Christ and letting God deal with his enemies. 
      We who are in Christ must be circumspect when it comes to all the trappings that could trick us into a jail of our own making. If we are going to be a prisoner of anything, then let it be a prisoner of gratefulness, kindness, generosity and love. Let us be prisoners in Christ so that we may remain free in our souls and heart. Amen and amen!a

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Small Strength

Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of distress, how small is your strength!  

      The fatigue caused by the pandemic has sure demonstrated the lack of strength within some people's hearts. Many who thought themselves to be of strong character and would doubtlessly have thought themselves to be courageous in the face of adversity have found themselves unsure of their faith and quivering with fear in the corner of their minds. The tediousness of living under restrictions and everchanging rules is wearing down the resolve within people's hearts. Throwing in the towel is becoming an option for these tired souls, as they give up on life. Prov. 24:10 If you faint in the day of distress, how small is your strength! If these events caused by a world pandemic are causing such distress, what will happen when persecution for our faith becomes a real-life and death danger as it is in some countries today?
      A boxer looks for the weakness in his opponent and repeatedly keeps hitting the soft spot until an opening for a knock-out punch reveals itself. Suddenly the sound of a punch hitting home, and the thud of a boxer colliding with the floor, demonstrates the need for more training. In like fashion, Satan's goal is to keep hitting Christians in their weak spot until they cave. 1Pet. 5:8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. If we fall during the enemy's attack then this is an indication that more training in God's word of righteousness is needed.
      We who are in Christ must remain in constant training as we develop our skills in the use of our armour while proclaiming the living word of the Lord. We cannot allow the fears of the day to become part of our conversation when we have the weapons of God's arsenal at our disposal. 2Cor. 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We are well able to fight the good fight of faith because Jesus lives within our hearts.
      Just because someone might be small in stature does not mean they have to be small in heart. The Lord wants us to proclaim the strength that He has given us for the day of distress. God says to say "I am strong." Joel 3:10b Let the weak say, I am strong. With Christ, in our hearts, we are strong in the might and power of God's strength. By faith,  we have to believe what God says concerning our righteous strength. While wearing the full armour of God, and with courage, we step forward believing in our hearts that we are more than conquerors through Christ. Rom. 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
      We do not have to faint in the day of adversity. Our strength can be strong if we are walking with our Lord. God has a way of taking the average person and changing them into a voice of righteous excellence and an example of Godly endurance. Daniel was one of the captives Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken from Jerusalem to become a servant in Babylon. Over a period of time, Daniel rose up to be a leading governmental official in the country. Gideon was hiding and scrounging for food because Israel's oppressors were stealing everything that was not nailed down. In a short time, Gideon delivered Israel and became a judge in his time allowing Israel to become their own nation under their own rule.
      Many people come to God with frailties and weaknesses that seem insurmountable to overcome. If it were not for God, this might remain the case. However, the words, "But God," comes into play and major world events are changed. Matt 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Yes, but with God, all things are possible. Even the weak becoming strong in the Lord is truly possible.
      Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We have to get it into our hearts that God loves us and will move heaven and earth to help us fulfill what He created us to do. No saints. We do not have a small strength. We have a mighty God who strengthens us to be strong in Him. What a wonderful Lord we serve. Blessings.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Nadsat: Language Of Violence

Proverbs 4:16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.

      In 1971 when I was eighteen years old, the ultra crime movie for its day, Clockwork Orange, hit the movie theatres. The publicity promoting the film inferred that the 'Ultraviolence' ideology expressed in the film may become a reality in our future. The idea that gangs or mobs of sociopaths going out on a Saturday night just to beat up the homeless, rape the helpless, and torture the mentally ill while communicating in a language of violence, or Nadsat as it was called, was to my friends and I, definitely a work of fiction. We had never thought that this scenario could become a reality in our lifetime. 
      Well, we were totally wrong. Nadsat is becoming the language of so many angry people these days. A coded lingo of violent expression punctuated with actions of cruelty upon ordinary citizens is now a reality. Matt. 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. It is no longer unusual to come across an obnoxious bully picking on and screaming at a nurse, waitress, store clerk, or stewardess who has simply shown up for work, but now, having to physically defend themselves against the viciousness of these ignorant blackguards.
      This loud tumultuous castigating against people should not be the expression of anyone in the church. However, Nadsat or violent language is slipping into some Christian's vocabulary and attitudes. If this is becoming the way of the church, then what relevance is the church if we are no different than any street gang? The word of the Lord instructs us to have grace in our language towards all people, and not words of toxicity that blow people over. Col. 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. The word says, let our speech always be gracious. Is cursing at our nurses and service workers gracious? Is shoving a store clerk to the floor and belittling them God-inspired? Is this how God treats us?
      There is a vacuum of righteous leadership in the world. Because of this vacuum, the fears within the people of the world are culminating into a global vicious language of darkness that is collectively growing in the hearts of man. As this darkness takes root on a world scale, it is manifested through these evil expressions of hate. The caustic eruptions toward vulnerable employees and the man on the street are the fruit of fear and perceived helplessness so many disenfranchised people are living with. Therefore, ignorance moves these souls to express anger at everything and everyone. Proverbs 4:16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. The hopelessness they are living in is palpable and raw in their hearts and they do not know how to react. So, acting out of a child's tantrum, they lash out.
      As Christians, what are we becoming if our first reaction is to express angry hate? This Hatred-Virus that is spreading within mankind is more dangerous than any disease. The language of violence toward any form of authority seems to come so easily out of the mouths of those who were once in control of their emotions. What infectious virus has entered the hearts of once reasonable people who professed to be Christians? 2Tim. 3:5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
      Supporting the idea of harming and belittling people is not what God called us to do. Our Lord has asked us to be His hand extended that would reach out and bring peace to those who are anguishing in their souls. We are to comfort the nurse who has been cursed at for simply going to work to take care of the sick. We are to help the store clerk off the floor who was knocked down for doing what his manager asked him to do. We who are in Christ have the message of peace and love the world is so desperate to hear. Mark 16:15 Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 
      The Gospel is the good news and not a violent language of hate. The word of the Lord sets us free from bondage. God's word does not let us participate in the rhetoric of simpletons who are agitating the crowds to vocalize their pustulant edicts of nonsense. There is nothing wrong with participating in peaceful protests to point out unrighteousness and harmful laws that truly hurt a society. However, let us do it with the scriptural basis that gives us the honest conviction of heart to be out there. While marching and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, let us speak with God's language of grace which is salted with His love. 
      Before you lash out in the language of Nadsat remember that God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus. The punishment that so many people feel someone else deserves was placed upon Jesus so that we would have eternal life and peace. May God's face shine on you and give you the desires of your heart according to His will. Love you much.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Blabberers

Proverbs 10:8 The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.

      Anyone who writes a blog or any type of web page that welcomes interaction or opinions on the matter being written about has had to deal with babbling blabberers. In some cases, groups of people start arguing vehemently on someone's page who had simply asked a straightforward question. The vicious babble takes over the feed and these prating fools start posting their unintelligible manifestos, and no amount of wise interjection is heard or wanted and the intelligence of the original question becomes a distant memory. Prov. 10:8 The wise are glad to be instructed, but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.
      The Apostle Paul instructed us not to get caught up in the endless discussions of nonsense that are readily available at the touch of an app. 2Tim. 2:16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17a and their talk will spread like gangrene. I wonder how many people would be giving out their opinions if they knew every idle word they had spoken would be judged. But then, we would have to wonder if they would even care what God thought about their behavior. Matt. 12:36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
      We read the story of Korah who gathered a few blabberers who assumed their position was as holy as their leader Moses. Korah started a rebellion against Moses' leadership. Num. 16:3  They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” What is interesting in this story, is that these people had come to the conclusion that they could organize God's system of worship, integrity, and righteousness to their own idea of ministry. As the Proverb says, "The wise are glad to be instructed." Korah and his group were not glad to be instructed. They wanted power under their terms.
      God instructed Moses to give the people a chance to separate themselves from Korah and the rebels he had gathered. Like so many people today, once the babbling gets going it is hard to change course and think things through with logic and truth. People get caught up in the misguided narrative that has suddenly become popular regardless of the facts that have come forth to prove different. There is such mistrust in any kind of authority today, that conspiracy theories can run rampant regardless of how idiotic they are.
      After Moses gave the people a chance to step aside and think things through, Korah and his group were left to the scrutiny and judgment of God. Num. 16:31 And as he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, and all the people who belonged to Korah with all their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. These blabberers got more than they bargained for.
      The cost of their rhetoric caused all of their family members to be killed. They lost everything for the sake of some meaningless ideological ideas of grandeur. As the Proverb says, "Babbling fools fall flat on their faces." What are you so hell-bent on that you are willing to lose your family, home, and workplace over because you have locked onto an erroneous belief that at the end of the day will not matter? What have you been babbling about that is starting to take over your life's agendas?
      Let us bring all our ideas and thoughts to God and let Him sort them out with us. Work on life's events with the Lord and things will get done right. Before we become a conspiracy activist, ask God if this is what He wants us spending our short life on and getting all worked up about. God knows why He created us, so ask Him for our life's purpose and what is important to Him so that we can be all we can be in the kingdom of God and be at peace while we fulfill our life's calling. It would sure be better than leaving this earth a blabbering fool. Amen!

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Mockers And Scoffers

Proverbs 9:7 The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt.

      The above verse speaks to the spirit of the day that the world is operating in. A spirit of mockery and scoffing at everything whether right or wrong. Sad to say, in many cases, the church is being influenced by the same spirit. Some of our church assemblies are becoming gathering places for scoffers and mockers who are abusing their fellow man because of what some congregants sincerely believe in their hearts. We know that the world's wickedness is far-reaching and hurts everything it touches. But the world's wickedness should not be practiced among the brothers and sisters in the Lord. 
      My concern is for the Christians who prattle on about complicated subjects they know nothing about. Without thought, they speak as though they are authorities on the subjects of science, politics, finances, and education. You would think every person expressing an opinion has a degree or doctorate in these sciences. They pontificate their canned rhetoric, as though they know all the answers to all problems in every field, when in fact they only have vague and unsound rehashed theories that have been posted and reposted on social media platforms. Prov. 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
      Rather than praying for our leaders in positions of authority that affect society as God instructs us to do, many within Christian circles condemn, tear apart, and promote lies in the same manner as the world does. This is not the spirit God gave us to minister in righteousness. We are to promote Godliness in life and not tear it down with a flood of nonsensical and useless words. 1Tim. 2:1 urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
      Real divisiveness takes place when someone tries to correct or instruct another person that may be promoting wrong information and adding to this world's problems rather than eliminating the woes within it. The reaction of the ones being corrected will result in either wisdom prevailing and hearts changing, or as the proverb says, the mocker abuses and hurts the one trying to sincerely help. Prov. 9:7 The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. The sad thing is, to choose to remain a recidivistic troglodyte by repeatedly mocking what is not understood when actual knowledge and help is available - is pathetic and an indictment against the intelligence God gave us. 
      As hard as this is for Christians to understand, we do not know and understand everything there is to know and understand. We are fortunate to know the God who does know all and understand all, therefore, this is why we pray to Him. I realize there is a lot of evil in the world and it can be frustrating to see it and feel like there is nothing we can do about it. But this is a lie of the enemy of our soul. When we read the burden of Habakkuk we see that he is going through the same thing we are experiencing today. Hab. 1:2  How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
      Habakkuk does not just badmouth God and become condescending toward everyone around him or mock everything he did not understand. Instead, Habakkuk entered into what he did understand, and that is the declaration that God is God and He has the means and wisdom to deal with all mankind. Habakkuk decides to wait it out and see what God says about the situation rather than proclaim his ignorance to everyone on every social media platform. Hab. 2:1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
      Instead of mocking our leaders, try praying for them, because if you don't, you will only become angrier at all the things being done that are out of your control. Leave the scoffing and mocking to the people in the world and grow up in the spirit of our Lord. Why does Satan put so much time laying traps into preventing people from praying for one another? Even that loser the devil knows how powerful praying Christians are when they become united under God. Christians do not have to agree with each other on everything in life, but living and praying in unity will destroy the works of the devil, and in a short time, misunderstanding will get settled and healings will take place. Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
      Anyone can curse the darkness and complain bitterly about the world's problems. It takes very little intelligence to badmouth everything going on that is not understood. Mockers and scoffers will always be screaming their fears out loud. Since we are in Christ, the good news is that we have not been given the spirit of fear but rather the spirit of power and love. 2Tim. 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Come on saints, let's use what God gave us to bring solutions to the world and peace in our hearts. Blessings.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Ah-Ha

Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

       Years ago, I planted an apple tree that took a long time to produce fruit. In the fall of one year, I said to the tree, "If you do not produce any fruit next season I will cut you down and will plant a better variety." Luke 13:8  Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ This was how I felt and I was serious about what I said, and what I would be planting in its sted. 
      Like the gardener in the parable, I gave the tree another chance. Luke 13:8 The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. The following spring there were a few apple blossoms as in the years previous. I did not see much happening until one day there was one apple doing its best to grow. I said, "Ah-ha look at you!" The tree produced one apple so I kept my end of the bargain and did not cut it down. 
      From the following year until this day, this particular apple tree has been a super producer of the finest apples. It produces so much fruit that I have to thin out the apples at different stages of growth at least three times a season to get the best big healthy apples by the season's end. From one apple to an overabundance in productivity, this tree has proven its worth. It is doing what God created the tree to do. This apple tree is full of life, and it gives and gives. Prov. 3:18a She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.
      We who are in Christ should be thankful that the Lord has the patience with us to bring us to a place where we become producers of blessing in and for the kingdom of God. Our Lord trims the evergrowing branches of our life's expression of who we are in Christ so that we produce much fruit. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 
      I am sure there are times in our life when we only bring forth something like one apple in comparison to our potential. However, God knows our full ability in Him and He carries us and brings us into the fulness of His grace so that we too become super producers of blessing. He set us on the rock of our salvation so that we will shine forth the Lord's goodness and offer the love this world so desperately needs. God helps us mature in His ability to produce kingdom fruit within us. John 15:16a You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.
      I'm not sure, but maybe God comes to us once in a while and says, "Ah-ha, look at the righteous fruit developing in your life. I will cultivate that to bring even more fruit." This is an eternal journey we are on and there will be constant pruning and trimming to get rid of anything that can hinder the growth of God's righteousness within us. This will take place in our lives until the day we go home to be with our Saviour. We just have to let the Lord take out of us what is useless and unproductive to God and His kingdom. We just have to keep our hearts open to our Heavenly Father's ah-ha moments in our lives and enjoy the victory of that blessing. Amen! 

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Time And Tides

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

      Time and Tides wait for no man, nor does it care what man says. We often think we can demand and instruct God as if we were the masters of our destiny. Yet, we cannot control one speck or fraction of time or ocean tides that God created in His wisdom. Ask anyone who has just survived and emerged from a catastrophic tornado, howling cyclone, raging fire, or a devastating earthquake if they felt they had any power to direct the forces of these frightening events. With stuttering descriptions of the terror, they went through and with teary bloodshot eyes, they come down to earth and say humbly, "We are glad to be alive, the stuff can be replaced."
      Hours earlier these hubristic souls were bragging how they were in charge of their lives, and no God was going to get in their way of progress. They forgot that they were subject to laws and rules God has placed within creation and that they live in a dangerous and precarious world. As the catastrophe erupted and they were caught in the fatal wave of the event, they found themselves screaming for God to save them. That's right, the same God they were mocking earlier in the day.
      The disciples of the Lord were riding a wave of holy popularity. All was going well until they found themselves in a violent storm, ready to be blown overboard at any moment. Even with Jesus in the boat, they became aware and were subject to their human frailties. The bravery they had as fishermen when they launched had eluded them and the realization that the tides were against them caused great cries for help from their pitiful and frightening position. Their inability to control the elements was made clear. Mark 4:38 He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die? ”
      When humanity is left to their own pride without the constraints of God's loving directions, our arrogance knows no bounds. We will create everything from concentration death camps to poison gas bombs to show how great we are. We will justify and sanction the murder of nations with a jot of a pen to paper, legalizing the insanity we are so capable of fulfilling. In the book of Genisis, we read the instructions God gave the human race. He said to go and populate the earth. But the rebellion in the hearts of man fought this directive. Gen. 11:4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.” With the twitch of a linguistic alteration, humanity became lost for words and eventually did what God had commanded.
      Our need for God is so apparent and yet, as human beings with free wills, we can become so conceited in our declarations of what is what in life. God sets the boundaries of life. We have to acknowledge that fact and realize that so many things are much bigger than we are. Psalm 104:9 Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. God is God, and we are not! Jesus is Lord, and that fact is eternal.
      It is God who determines our destiny in life. We are free in Christ, but He still guides us to do what He created us to do. Prov. 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Hopefully, we see the need in our lives to keep close to the Lord who has given us His righteousness through Jesus' sacrifice. Surely, we can see our need for redemption, restoration, and eventually resurrection. Rom. 6:5 For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
      It is true that we have no control over time and tides, but we do have control by accepting the Lord Jesus, who does have control over time and tides. This we can do with a full and expectant heart. Let us receive the eternal gift God has given us, and we will be at peace during the storms of life. In Jesus name!

Thursday, 5 August 2021

I Thirst

Proverbs 5:15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.

      Mother Teresa said in reference to Jesus' words, "I thirst." - “He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you.”
      To add to Mother Teresa's observation, I also believe Jesus was feeling and experiencing the weight of the sin of the world in His soul from a mortal's position. Nailed to the cross, Jesus was aching and feeling the thirst that the human condition existed within because of humanities' fallen nature. The mental, physical, and selfish drive that sin has brought within the lives of mankind was being felt in its fullness by our Saviour. Our craving for validation, acceptance, and fulfillment that was lost in the garden of Eden could be felt by Jesus as He hung in the humiliation of man's state of being. 
      The Lord was expressing the totality of what man had become - a ravenous thirsty soul. Because of our sinful nature, humanity has always been and is in a constant state of being thirsty for some kind of satisfaction. The human race thirsts for redemption, restoration, and reconciliation with God, but left to themselves, they have no way of knowing how to quench the thirst or control the constant gnawing at the soul and psyche within man. Mankind needed a saviour. Thank God for Jesus.
      What sin do you keep repeating because you have a thirst for it? What cravings do you fight that you feel God does not understand the pressure you are under when you feel overwhelmed by that temptation? Jesus does know the thirst of what you are feeling and He paid the price of that parasitic grip that tries to latch on to your heart. The Lord knows the pain you suffer through! 
      In Christ, we can resist the sin that so easily defeats us, when we call on our Lord to quench the thirst that drives us. Heb.12:1b Let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. If we step forward by faith, to throw off the sin that we are easily entangled in, Jesus will be there to help us get the victory we are after.
      The good news is that Jesus overcame on our behalf and we have an eternal promise in Christ that we can master the thirst of sin. The Lord rightly said to the Samaritan woman that her thirst will always be within her as long as she puts her whole trust into the relational realm of this temporal world. John 4:14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life. Jesus said we would have to drink from His eternal well of clean water to never thirst again. Rev.7:16a Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. 
      How do we acquire a thirst for the things of God? We know it is a deep-seated desire of man to want to know God because the psalmist declares it with a full heart. Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? There seems to be an indication that meeting God is possible and desired. Thank God it became possible through Christ to be able to have a relationship with our God.
       Isa. 48:21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth. Jesus the rock of our salvation can satisfy our parched souls who thirst for more than what can be found in this lifetime. Psalm 105:41 He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. Out of the rock came water to satisfy the natural thirst of the nation of Israel in the desert. Out of the same rock comes our spiritual deliverance for life and victory during our lifetime. We can live in the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit who will quench our thirst as we live for the Lord. Let us drink fully in what God has given us through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Blind Trust

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

      Whenever I think of a faithful man with blind trust in a human leader, I think of Uriah, who was doublecrossed and set up to be murdered by his own king whom Uriah had faithfully served. 2Sam. 11:15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” He was left for dead by his fellow soldiers who did not protect his back in battle by orders of King David. Uriah's blind trust in his king got him killed even though the king supposedly followed the laws of God. Whatever trust the soldiers had in their king, up to that point, most likely started to wane because the generals and soldiers knew who had ordered the murder of Uriah.
      This is only my speculation here. I wonder if David having betrayed and murdered his own faithful soldier for no crime or cause, (except to cover up David's own sin) might have tipped the scales against David in building the temple. Because in this case, there truly was innocent blood on David's hands. Now, this is the recorded reason God gives David for not letting him build God's temple.1Chron. 22:8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth.
      God wants us to trust Him with all of our hearts, but does that mean we are to trust the man of God with the same trust we have in God? Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. I believe we can trust men when their lives line up with the word but never give them blind trust. The Bereans did not put their trust in the Apostle Paul because he was a great apostle, but rather, he was eventually trusted because what he said could be backed up by scripture. Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
      Blind trust without God's protection in our hearts can get a lot of people into a world of hurt. How many spouses have felt the pain of unfaithful betrayal because they had unconditional trust in their spouse? How many people had put blind trust in the pension fund of their company, only to find out the CEO and a few of his slick sharks embezzled everything? How many iatrogenic deaths have occurred because people had complete trust in their doctor's advice? Jer 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 
      This is why there are so many cults. People can be distracted by a person's charismatic froth and showmanship. We are to follow the peace and leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to matters of trust. Maybe the trust that comes from my heart toward God may seem like a blind trust to the secular world. However, God has earned my trust because He is and has been faithful, plus, He is not a man that He should lie. Num. 23:19a God is not a man, that he should lie. 
      The Lord can, without doubt, be fully trusted because our trust is built and established in His righteousness which is the righteousness of the Godhead. To trust blindly in a person, concept, or even a religion is not the same as trusting wholly from our heart in The Almighty God. Our trust in God's love for us can be trusted in every way. The Lord has made sure our eternity is established even if something unreasonable or accidental happens to us on this earth. We can trust God even as we transition through death. Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
      Unlike the insecure trust that often happens within the limitations of mankind, we are to trust in the love that God has for us. God has an intense trust in His love for us because it is the same love the Godhead shares. God's love is true and emphatically real. It is for everyone who accepts it. If you are going to put blind trust in anything, then put it in the love of God. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Oh Lord, help us trust you fully. Amen.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

The Fifth Gospel

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

      We all know about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Have you ever heard of the fifth Gospel? That's right, the fifth one. The Gospel of Norm. Just insert your own name as the name of the fifth Gospel. The Gospel according to self. This is the Gospel we have written with all our own interpretations and highlights of all our cherry-picked verses we have collected over the years. This personal gospel gives us permission to believe what we wish to believe during times of hard decisions. Prov. 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
      I am amazed at the amount of energy and subterfuge people use to find ambiguities in the word of God to get away with what they want to do outside of God's instructions. Even at this point these people whether they realize it or not, have God's grace working within their souls. The only reason they keep searching for loopholes in God's word is that their conscience is still working. This is a good thing because otherwise, they would just go ahead and sin without thought. Once the conscience is seared and has become reprobate, it is a long repentful journey back. Even our own self embellished gospel will not help us out during this difficult time. We need the word of God and His word only to get us back on Christ's righteous track. 
     If the amount of energy and craftiness being used to look for a way out of obeying God were used to develop a sincere relationship with the Lord, we would become powerful in the Lord's righteousness and not need the distractions of sin. Plus, if we apply our hearts, dedication, and obedience to the directions found in the four Gospels of the New Testament, there would be no need for anyone's fifth one. The word of the Lord would be satisfactorily sufficient for life.
      The promises that have been given to us according to the Lord, are that our burden and yoke would be bearable. God's light yoke is better than man's heavy religious rules. There is truth and mercy with God but rarely is there mercy with man-made laws even when they get the laws from God's word. Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
      The Lord took a big chance when he created us with free will. He gave us the choice to walk with God or not accept Him or His way of salvation. We can apply and live within the loving instructions of His word or make up our own rules as we see fit. The gospel of whatever feels right at the time is the modern-day gospel. There is nothing new here. This road has been travelled many times. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. The problem with this road is that it always leads to the same place of loss.
       We need to throw away all that extra-biblical revelation that we have accumulated over time. Get real with the Gospels that God has provided and we will do very well to find all we need in the Lord. God's word is pure and gives life to those who apply it to their lives. Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can, through grace, be all who God says we are in Him. Thank you, Lord, that your gospel is truly the good news I need to live a righteous life. Amen!