Monday, 28 October 2013

Stay Tuned And Hear

Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
    
      In the summer of 1986, we had moved to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. My wife and I had rented a furnished house within 6 days of arriving in the country. We were blessed to have both landed employment by the end of our first week in Australia. We had lived in Australia from 1980 to 1983 so we were familiar with the country's nuances. 
      The only thing that the house did not have was a radio or television. That was fine with us as there was a lot to do in getting established and also fulfilling what God had for us to accomplish in His kingdom.
      I was storing a few things under the house where I came across an old 1950's art-deco radio. I dusted and cleaned it off and plugged it in. The hum of the tubes could be heard warming up and as I moved the tuning dial to find what I could find on the old relic from the past, I hit the spot where the hiss turned into music. My wife started to laugh as a 1950's song clearly sounded through the speakers. "How wonderful is that," she said, that a 1950's song would be the first thing heard on a 1950's radio.  
      What is the sound coming from our lives when people tune into our spiritual frequency? Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Do people hear complaining, arguments, and thanklessness when tuning into our hearts? What are we broadcasting when we go to work and all the places we frequent? 
      Is there a sound of victory coming from our lips when we transmit God's love? 1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light
      As usual, the Lord is right when He said in Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. We are the Lord's voice and arm extended in this earth. In most cases we will be the only Bible people in the world will ever get to read. What will be written on the pages of our hearts that people can glean to give them life and a desire to know God? 2 Cor. 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men
      When I was dialing the old tuner to find a radio station, I was looking for a frequency I could connect to. When I am praying for direction and seeking God's face, I am connecting to God's frequency that helps me hear what the Lord is saying to my heart. There are interferences that can occur because the enemy is trying to run another station with worldly lusts and gluttonous wants across the path of my receptive heart. 
      Staying tuned to our Lord Jesus will keep our lives healthy and wise. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. The tactic the enemy uses on us is to get us fiddling with the tuning dial, even though we have a clear signal. The devil does the same thing to everyone that he did to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Satan tries to get us to question the clear and perfect word of God. Gen. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. 
      The devil did the same thing with Jesus when he tempted the Lord to question His position as Son of God. Matt. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 
      The enemy has no new strategies because the old ones work. Eccl. 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Satan is still trying to get us to mistrust the integrity of God and tempt us into looking for other stations and channels that have an anti-Christ persuasion. 
      The devil always overplays his hand and we can resist him by faith. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Thank you, Lord, that we are connected to a loving and righteous God. You have made sure that we are yours and we will not be lost in this life and the one to come.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Past Has Passed

Proverbs 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

       I was looking at some of my wife's old home-movies that my father-in-law had made in the mid 1950's. There was a sense of optimism in the actions of the people being filmed and excitement on the faces of everyone who was in these 8mm silent-home-made movies of family record. 
      The future looked bright and seemed full of great and wonderful possibilities. I realized I was putting a nostalgic and positive spin on what I was looking at, because I knew the outcome of where most of these people were at today. I was looking at everything with my rose-colored-glasses, and most likely I was mistaken at my own interpretation of everyone's life events. 
      I had almost fallen into the trap of saying, "The good old days." The only thing good about the good old days is that they are gone. Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
      Focusing on the past can paralyze us from moving toward the future God has planned toward our well-being. Luke 17:32  Remember Lot's wife. I am not saying do not look at old home-movies, as a matter of fact, please do, and you will have a fun time of belly laughter that will bring health to your souls. Prov. 17:22 A merry heart does good like a medicine. 
      I am saying you cannot go back. What happened back then, was then, and this is now. Absentee fathers cannot bemoan the fact that they were not there to tuck in their children at bedtime. Runaway children cannot go back and enter their lost home-life today. Alcoholic mothers cannot go back and coo away all the hurts caused by drunkenness. All of these extremes messes can only be healed by the Balm of Gilead that Christ spreads across our hearts. None of us can go back to our past and fix the events that caused the state of our present day biology. 
      The question we must ask ourselves is, what do we do today?  When will we stop using the excuses of the past to allow our present day misbehavior? When will we grow up? 1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 
      Our church counseling rooms are busily occupied with bruised and sorrowful people who will not forgive their past, or are obsessed with returning to the past to try and accomplish a fix that is truly an impossible mission. Their daily song becomes Isa. 6:5a Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone. Sackcloth and ashes become their portion in life and the garment they wear. 2 Tim. 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
      Looking forward should be our position in Christ, but if we look back we might look at it in the way Og Mandino quotes, “Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don't look back at it too long. Mistakes are life's way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.”  
      The Lord would say it this way. Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 
      We read in chapter eleven in the book of Hebrews, a recorded list of the heroes of faith. They were not people who lingered long around their past shortcomings and failures. They went forward believing God, and that faith was accounted to them as righteousness. With the righteousness they had, they overcame incredible odds. 
      We have a better covenant in Christ who has blessed us with His overcoming ability and grace. Let us move forward seeking Him first in all things and forgiving the past with the Lord's help. Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Lazy Faith

Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

      I was talking with a young man who had been raised in a Christian family and had attended church most of his life. He had just now, in his adult life, received Christ as his Saviour. We were all blessed and rejoiced with him in his personal salvation with the Lord, Jesus. 
      As we talked he wanted to find an easy way to grow his spiritual faith. I said the only way I know of faith growing within our hearts is through the word of God. I explained that faith was exercised through the word of God, and as he read God's word and applied it to his life his faith would grow. Rom. 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 
      The young man seemed disappointed because he was looking for an easier way to have a full measure of faith now, this minute. He wanted some kind of, "Get faith quick deal." He wanted all the benefits of faith without using his faith. Haggai 1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
     My admonition to this Innocent impatient Christian was that Christianity is not always an easy walk. Our walk with Christ sometimes involves hard decisions like forgiving those who have hurt us, or sacrificing something we want for the sake of someone else. Giving toward a need when we are in need ourselves. Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. 

      All these actions take faith and maturity in the faith to accomplish these everyday decisions. Yes, there are great and wonderful times of victory as well, but there is no app that we can download or short-cut to a higher game level that will give us immediate faith for what Christ has called us into. 
      This young man, like the rest of us, will have to become personally involved with his personal Lord and Savior in a personal everyday relationship. He will have to grow in faith as the Lord leads him in his own life's calling. Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
     The good news for this new born-again saint and the rest of us is, that the moment we even start to send our thoughts in the Lord's direction, He is here. James 4:8a Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. 
The bible says that God will teach us through His word, Jesus. Heb. 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. 
      There is great provision for our life's walk with God. We are given guidance, forgiveness, healing, prosperity, correction, love, and everything we will ever need to become the person of God that He saw us to be when He thought of us for the first time. Jer. 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
     The Lord has put a new song in our hearts, and what is in our heart will come out of our mouth. Psalm 40:3a He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. If we want mature faith coming out of our hearts, then we will have to sow faith, by His word, into our lives so our faith can grow in the grace of our Lord. 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. 
      Faith will grow in us by our belief in the word of God and the word of God will produce faith within us as we act on His word. No matter what we do to draw closer to God, we will have to know His word and there is no getting around it. A heartless effort will only produce an insipid faith. 
      The encouraging part of growing in the Lord Jesus is that His grace sustains us, as we become more Christ-like, and helps us do our best with the faith we have. His priority is our spiritual well being and His timing in our lives can be trusted. Eccl. 3:11a He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.
      So, what I practice personally, I advise all impatient Christians to open the word of God every day and be patiently transformed by the word of His love. Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Fix The Broken Walls

Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
  
       In the years that I have walked with the Lord, I have come across many people who became casualties of their own doing. They had dug a pit and fallen into it. After talking with these hurt people, their dilemmas were a result of no longer doing what the word said but rather they were going through the motions of hearing a religious homily. Paul said in 1 Cor. 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 
      Paul knew the danger of only talking a talk without walking through what the Lord had put in his heart to do. James 1:23 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 
     The interesting thing about not being a doer of the word of God is once you are self-deceived, the devil no longer has to spend time deceiving you because you are doing a good job of it yourself. 
      What was the difference between the Hebrew children and the Egyptians when the angel of death came by night? Everyone had heard the warning from Moses and Aaron. It was a clear warning to let God's people go, and if they did not, there would be death. Ex. 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 
      Only those who acted on the word of God concerning using the blood of a lamb on their door frames were saved and spared great anguish. They were doers of the word, as well as hearers. 
      We are to be doers of the word as well as hearing what the Spirit of God is saying to do. Paul called this word, "The word of life." Phil. 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 
      We want our lives to count for the glory of Christ because at the end of it all we will not be saying, "I should have spent more time at the office, or I should have built a bigger business." No, saints, we may the fact that we did not do more in the kingdom of God by faith. Matt. 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
      The word says that the devil goes around looking for someone to destroy. 1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. Our enemy the devil is a liar and the father of lies. He looks for the weak and helpless in the faith to try and destroy them by deception. 
      The proverb says that our walls get broken down when we no longer rule over our spirit. The word of God says in Eph. 6:17b And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The word of God is the final authority in our lives and how we live it in the spirit of Christ. 
     The victory is ours when we rule our hearts and spirit with the guiding word of God. We are the victors and not the victims when we submit to Christ in life. As Job had a hedge or wall of protection around him that frustrated the attacks of the devil, so we also can have the same comfort and protection because Jesus has already done the hard part for us. He gave His life that we could live in Him and have our being. Praise the Lord for the help of the Holy Spirit who helps us rule our spirit. Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Spiritual Funk

Proverbs 18:14  The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?    

      This is for my sister Toni.
      Finding our way toward a Godly solution can sometimes seem hard on our human spirit. We sometimes get overwhelmed with well-meaning brothers and sisters in the Lord who try to encourage us with scriptural platitudes like Phil. 4:14 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. 

      Perhaps this verse was hurled at your wounded soul. Eph. 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Maybe this favorite verse was served with unquenchable enthusiasm. Ex. 14:14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
     All of these sacred Scriptures are wonderful and absolutely true; however, when we are trying to overcome a battle in life, with a wounded spirit, these scriptural nuggets can make us feel like we have fallen short of some kind of qualification and all that will come out of our hearts is a question that King David asked in Psalm 43:5a Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?  
      At this moment I find myself in the same position as the well-meaning brothers and sisters who want to encourage those who have been wounded to a point of personal fatalism. So I will proceed with what I feel is sensitivity toward those who have a wounded spirit. 
      In Timothy Keller's book, "The Reason For God," there is a story of a woman who found it very difficult in all her efforts finding God's help in her time of need. A suggestion was given to her that Christ was the great Shepherd and that she should wait to be found by Him, because she was lost and He was looking for her. Shortly afterward her testimony was, yes, Jesus had found her and she is at peace now. 
      This story touched me because I could look back in my life and see how true this was for me. The Lord had come looking for me on many occasions and when He found me in a fallen desperation, He loved me anyway. He cleaned me up and healed all my wounds within my spirit. Once more, He set me on His path and guided me to a loving relationship.  
       You might ask if I got all the answers to my questions that got me into the funk of desperation in the first place. No, I did not get all the answers because I no longer needed them. I was healed from what had been bothering me and it was time to move on as Paul says in, Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
      As I move forward in my Christian walk, there may be a reality check that I will not have all my goals and wishes fulfilled. However, if I stay in Christ I will be fulfilled. Is that not what everyone is looking for on this earth? Fulfilment of soul and spirit, plus the ability to be at peace with what we know about ourselves and know that we belong to our Lord. 
      In some eyes, this may not be a lofty ambition, but in the eyes of God, this is a fulfilment that cannot be bought by anything we have. It has been paid for in full with the blood of Jesus, and that genuine sacrifice is a gift for us all who are wounded in spirit. We can be healed and gratified in the fullness of God's eternal love and His plan for each one of us.  
       So what did King David do in responds to the spiritual funk he found himself in? Psalm 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. For I will yet praise Him. Yes, because no matter how low we feel, where are we going to go, but Him? John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. May God's love shine on us all.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

If You Say

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

      We read in the old testament of Samuel, a Judge and Prophet to Israel. There is a noteworthy statement made about him as he grew up in his calling, 1 Sam. 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. All his words had spiritual weight to them. What he said in the name of God would come to pass. 
      Many in the church today express the desire to have the same type of anointing. The truth is, that we do have that anointing. Jesus said in Mark 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 
      As the Lord says in this verse, what and how we say things is important for the expected result of our prayers. I heard Kenneth Copeland say, "People can have whatever they say, but they have been saying what they have." 
      Solomon, the wisest and richest man, saw the result of his proverb working in people's lives day by day. The conclusion was, death and life is in the power of the tongue and they would get the fruit of their words spoken by faith or unbelief. James was concerned about how we used our words. James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 
      I agree with James that these things ought not to be. We should use the authority of what we say to bless and bring prosperity for the growth of the Kingdom of God. We should be talking like Jesus who gave us His mandate to go into all the world and minister His word so that all may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. How could God send us into the world prowled by wolves without there being an authority in our faith spoken words? Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit so that we could speak with Christ's authority. 
      John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. What word was that? The everyday words that Jesus used that never fell to the ground. Words of faith, spoken and said with authority. 
      Mary must have noticed the way Jesus spoke and the results of His words as Jesus grew in stature of manhood. At the wedding in Cana, Mary says something incredible to the servants. John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he says unto you, do it. Whatever HE SAYS, do it. Since we are to do what Jesus says, then when the Lord says to say to the mountains that are in our lives to be removed, then it is time to do what He says. Say it from a heart of faith. 
     Paul exhorts us in the Epistle of Ephesians to put on the armour of God, plus, pray with all manner of prayer; then he asked for a specific prayer request. Eph. 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel. Paul wanted his words to have an impact on those who would hear and that his words would not fall to the ground. 
      I find it hard to understand why we do not take this admonition from the Lord to our hearts and believe His word on this matter. Why is it so hard to believe what God is saying here? He says to say to the mountain, "Be removed and it will obey us." Num. 23:19a God is not a man that He should lie. 
      If the Lord says that death and life is in the power of the tongue, then that is our starting point. We use our faith-filled words that contain the power of God and we say, "Mountains be removed." Christ said it, therefore, so be it!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Who Do You Trust?

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

       How many cult leaders have led thousands astray to a Christ-less end? The people who followed had put their trust in an unfaithful, yet charismatic, and maybe even sincere man. Within the last four decades, there have been some terrible tragedies with the likes of Jim Jones with the People's Temple cult whose legacy ends with, "The Jonestown Massacre." 
      There was David Koresh who brought his followers to a fiery end, and their legacy reads, "The Waco, Texas, Massacre." Sadder still was Marshall Applewhite who was leading a UFO doomsday following known as Hale-Bopp and Heaven's Gate cult. Their legacy was just as tragic and similar to all the other victims who had put their trust in an unfaithful and finite man. Heaven's Gate ending headlines read, "Suicide of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult." Prov. 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 
      These examples are not extreme as there have been many others all over the world and their ending was just as fatal. In whom we put our trust is important. Jesus says in John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me. 
      This word can be taken with full belief and heartfelt trust because Jesus is still a faithful Saviour and Lord. Christ gave His life for us so that we would not have to resort to self-flagellation and suicidal-beliefs in order to be accepted by God. 
      I am sometimes asked, "How can I have confidence in my spiritual leaders and know if they are not sheep in wolves clothing?" We are given a criteria to look for in Heb. 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. 
      Plainly stated, the word is saying when it is all said and done, look for this fact. Are the words and actions of your pastors, teachers, and spiritual leader's saying Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Is the end result of your pastor's leading saying this very thing about your Lord Jesus? Are your spiritual leaders' lives living and saying that Jesus is Lord? If so, then follow them with the leading of the Holy Spirit, while remembering that your leaders are also being changed by the Lord as they grow in Christ throughout their lives. 
      We can also trust God's care for us because He says that we will know the hearts of our pastors by the fruit in their lives. Matt. 7:16a Ye shall know them by their fruits. Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
      If you have been graced by God with wonderful leadership as I have, then we need to give a collective shout of gratitude to our Lord and Saviour. To be able to find faithful men and women who honor the call of God in their lives, in this day and age, is a precious commodity in our era of selfish-frivolousness. 
      With thanksgiving, we should bless and pray for our church leaders that they continue in the faith with Christ as their plumb line. Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. 
      As we all attend our congregational meetings this week, let us make a special effort to thank our pastors and church leaders for their love and dedication to Christ and us - His body who we are. I say, "Thank you, Lord, for the pastors you have given me to help me get closer to you, Lord God, and your plan for my life." Amen.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Because I'm Forgiven

Proverbs 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.
       
      Years ago when I was ministering in Australia an elderly missionary said to me, "Think of the person you love the least and that is the most amount of love you have for the Lord." How do we know if the love of Christ has really changed our hearts? When we start praying and blessing our enemies and the people who have abused us. Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
     Many of us can think of people who have hurt us, impacting our hearts and attitudes, with negative choices or positive ones depending on how we process the hurt. My father was a brutal man and hurt me severely, but one day God asked me to forgive him. This took a lot of time and heartfelt growing; however, with the help of the Holy Spirit, eventually I was free from all the memories and affects of my father's abuse toward me. 
      Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. I was honestly able to pray for my dad's salvation and restoration toward all our family members. Did this erase the evil actions toward me that were done? No, but by faith, I chose to cancel the debt that was owed me because the Lord Jesus cancelled my debt owed God. 
      Free at last from all past sins and hurts. It is the only way to be set free from all the horrors that were unjustly inflicted on us who have been victimised by the bullies in life. Did Jesus deserve what happened to Him at the cross? I am sure you can answer that yourselves. 
      Many of us want the forgiveness of God for ourselves and the judgement of God for those who have harmed us. The truth is that we have all fallen short of God's perfection, but by His grace and forgiveness He loves and will heal us. Rom. 5:8 But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
      We were saved by grace, (God's unmerited favour) then we were filled with His grace, (God's ability in us) so that we would extend grace, (unmerited favour) to others. That is how we are going to be able to forgive those who have trespassed against us.
      There is a story of a wicked servant who had been forgiven a great debt owed a king. The debt became impossible for the servant to pay it back in full, but the king out of his mercy forgave the debt that was owed him. However, when the wicked servant found someone who owed him a small amount he would not extend the same mercy that was given to himself. Matt. 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desired me: 33 Should not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
      This is how the kingdom of God works when it comes to forgiveness, and if we are in His kingdom then that is how we must extend forgiveness. The wicked servant owed a debt he could not pay, but the king forgave his debt. The wicked servant was owed a debt that could be eventually paid, but would not extend the same mercy freely offered to himself. 
      In the same way, we owed God an eternal debt that we could not pay, but God in His mercy and grace forgave our debt completely; therefore, we should also forgive the debts owed us by the people who also have access to the same forgiveness that was freely given to us. 
     Is it easy to extend a merciful heart to someone who has violated our lives? No, it is not easy, but it is necessary in order for us to move forward and be an overcomer in Christ. This is something we will have to bring to the Lord in prayer and work throughout our Christian lives, but it will be worth it in the end. Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Good Perception

Proverbs 31:18 She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.
   
      One of the hallmarks of a good sales company is that they know their products are superior and will do their customers good. Their products can overcome any scrutiny and questioning that the competition can throw at it. Paul was clearly stating this when he declared in Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
      We have a superior product that can do anyone in the world good. The word of God that proclaims Christ crucified for every soul on earth has the answer to whatever ails any human being. We do not have to be ashamed or timid about our Lord Jesus, and we do not have to shy from proclaiming Him as the answer to the human condition of lost souls. Jesus Himself said that He was the answer to all mankind. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.
      When we perceive that our Lord is the King of kings and the Lord of lords our candle will not go out by night, because Jesus is the light of the world and will shine His love on all darkness out there. We have been given this light and are encouraged to let it shine so that the world may know there is a way out of their misery. Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. No matter the need, Jesus within us can manifest any help that anyone could receive to change their lives for their eternal best.
      We are the hand extended that God uses to introduce Himself to a lost world. God shows Himself as Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider. Jehovah-Rophe, our Healer. Jehovah-Nissi, our Banner. Jehovah-M'Kaddesh, our Sanctification. Jehovah-Shalom, our Peace. Jehovah-Tsdkenu, our Righteousness. Jehovah-Rohi, our Shepherd. Jehovah-Shammah, God is there. All we have to be is a willing instrument of His name. How can we not perceive living within us a Savour of such awesome power? His thoughts of love are toward us, His creation. Psalm 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
      We can also say as Paul did, we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because there is no other name under heaven than Jesus who can minister to all our needs in this life. Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
      As the proverb says, our merchandise is good and it will not expire in the dark. It will overcome any darkness and bring life. God-giving life to all who ask for it. John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.