Saturday, 26 April 2014

I Am Grateful To Be Thankful

Proverbs 11:21 Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

      Now that I am in my sixties, I was reflecting on the events of my God-given life. I am very grateful to God for my good health, sharp mind (if I may say so) and all the blessings I have had in this short life. I can now say like King David, "I have not seen the seed of the righteous begging bread." Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
      Not that I am old, but I have had the pleasure of seeing the truth of this verse take place in my family and other families lives. Gratitude to God in life is what will help us get through life with the joy of the Lord. When Gratitude is part of our character, we will have the favor of God working on our behalf and we will be fulfilling God's will for our life. 
      1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. By simply offering thanks and gratefulness to God, in whatever we are going through, will turn our captivity around while we are being strengthened in our hearts. Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before
      Isn't one of the reasons we move with gratitude toward God in life, is we will help the next generation become grateful followers of Christ? If our children do not see the fruit of our thankfulness and gratefulness taking a real place in our hearts and marking our lives with real spiritual substance, then why should they follow a rote and insipid existence in the church? 
      If we cannot find ourselves in a place of gratefulness to Christ for all that He has done for us, why then would our children want a milky-toast relationship with a Savior not worth thanking? Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever
      One of the reasons that God made a covenant with Abraham was that Abraham agreed to teach his children about God. Gen. 18:18a Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation,19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.  
      I am not saying that if your children are not walking with God that you have failed as a Christian parent, or have not exhibited the life of Christ at work in your life. Please do not read that lie of the devil into what I am saying. I am saying that first, we must find the joy of gratitude in our walk with God before we can freely and joyfully express it with a contagious love. 
      You know this first-hand to be true. When you are full of gratefulness and thanksgiving, life looks brighter and feels lighter. Even people in the world see it. Friedrich Nietzsche said, "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 
      I look back and say, "Thank you, Lord," with gratefulness at all the great men and women of God that have influenced my life toward righteousness. I am full of thankfulness for my wife and her true love for me and whom we have become after thirty-three years of marriage. 
      I am grateful that my sons have turned out to be wonderful young men that will be a blessing in this earth. I am so grateful that I have never been unemployed over the last forty-two years. I am full of gratitude that my wife and I have no debt, whatsoever, and all that we have is paid for. 
      Better still, I am so thankful for the thirty-five years of walking with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am full of gratitude for all the healing, provisions, protections, directions and love that the Lord has lavished on my life. What can I do but give thanks to a wonderful Heavenly Father who gave everything for me. Eph. 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
      After all these years I am grateful that I have become so thankful and that I can see that the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. I ask God, in Jesus name, for all our children to be saved and reconciled with Christ. Amen.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Consenting Adults

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
    
       What have we been enticed with lately that if we consent to it, our lives will be derailed? Yet, knowing our lives might be compromised, many will still go ahead and fall for the enticement. What simple advice this proverb gives. If we are being tempted by someone who does not value God and His ways, do not do what they want. If we are being tempted by something that is contrary to God's will for our lives, do not do it. 
      Our jails are full of people who did not follow this advice. Our marriage counseling rooms and single-mother societies are appointment-filled with people who ignored the simple truth of this word. The news headlines, written in bold print, tell of sorrowful events that are the result of people who are not following this simple declaration Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
      Legislative laws are written to control the morality of nations by people with no moral compass. We pile one law on top of another to get humanity living in peace with one another while we plan war in the next room. No wonder we need a Savior. Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. What can we do as Christians? 

      It does come down to our individual commitment to the Lord and obeying His word as we live. We, who are the salt of the earth can preserve the sanctity of life by doing and following the one who gave us life. Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. 
      How can we help in this misled and bruised world? Isa. 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? When we are busy with the mandate that the Lord gave us concerning His will for this world, Mark 15:16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, we will not have time to be enticed by sinners because we will be the influencing factor. Would we still fall in life? Yes, we would but, we would also be quick to repent and get back on track because we would be walking in the love of God - that place of real peace.
      Proverbs 1:10 says, "Not to consent to sin." We, as consenting adults, have to choose to obey that wisdom. We will have to grow up sometime and stop using the events of our past and current difficulties to fall victim to every temptation. 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.  
      You might say, "But you do not understand my situation!" Most likely I would not understand what you are going through, but the Lord does know and feel your situation. However, He overcame sin for us so that we, through Him, could conquer all the unholy enticements that come our way. 1 Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
      Stop focusing on all the pleasures of sin for a season and focus on the one who overcame all the sins that have ever been done, are being done, and will be done. As the song says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace." Yes, I am humming this as I write. Eph. 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
      The joy of the Lord is our strength, and the joy in the Lord is how we keep going forward from glory to glory. Sometimes it will take a bulldog tenacity to say no to sin and that is the way it is. Heb. 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 

      Who we have within our souls is a Lord God who did defeat every conceivable evil and malady that ever existed or will exist. We, as consenting adults, can say 'no' to the enemy of our soul and 'yes' to a Savior that truly loves each one of us. 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, 16 April 2014

When Life Interferes

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
     
      For my blog friend, Jami.
      May your healing come swiftly. Isa. 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. I would ask that everyone who reads this blog agree with me in prayer for Jami's healing.

       I was thinking of all my plans that never came about over the last three years. My grandiose plans failed because of circumstances that were out of my control. I had experienced a major set back in business because of events I could not have seen or predicted. Life had interfered with my plans. 
      The worst part of it was that it was the life of others that had affected what I was working toward. James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 
      A few years ago I noticed a sharp decline in business and the losses continued for three years straight. I found myself losing my customers to bankruptcy, conglomerate take over, and older company owners trying to sell their business, but there were no buyers; so they would shut down. I lost approximately forty-eight percent of my customers and my revenues were drastically down affecting my life and all the plans I was getting ready to implement as I got closer to retirement. 
       But Lord, don't you want me to succeed and be happy? Doesn't your word say I will prosper and be in health? Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. What happened? Where did I go wrong? What did I do to bring this mess down on me? Is there hidden sin in my life that is causing these events to turn on me?  
      John 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. Have you ever asked these questions when the well-meaning plans of your life have gone off the rails of your designed track? I think we all have asked something similar at some time or another. 
      We walk around perplexed and feeling alone, plus we start noticing Job's friends showing up in our lives making us focus on all the losses we have been experiencing and pointing out that most likely it is all our own fault. Not so simple a diagnosis, my fellow saints. Isa. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
        Andy Stanley says in his book Next Generation Leader, "Write your plans in pencil but write your vision in ink." Our plans do get messed up within life, but the vision that God put in our hearts for our lives is steadfast and true. It is the vision of God that keeps our faith going forward from glory to glory, even when someone is battling an insidious disease or dealing with overwhelming odds. Often Life brings grievous words and it will stir up anger within because we are not where we want to be according to our timetable.
       When we let the Holy Spirit minister to our wounded life, He will, with a soft answer, turn away the growing wrath that provokes our thoughts to fear. God's word is life and it will bring life-changing victory to any situation. Isa. 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 
      The soft answer that the Lord gives us is that He will never leave us without guidance or love. Rom. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      I pray for everyone whose plans have failed them. I ask in Jesus name for the courage it takes to get up and proclaim the day of the Lord for each one of our lives. Thank you, Lord, for your word that sets us free. Josh. 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whither soever thou goes.

Friday, 11 April 2014

God Sense Or Nonsense

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn.

      The polarisation within human relationships is at a new level of anger on the emotional and human sociological Richter-scale these days. There seems to be difficulty in finding a middle ground for anything. Matt. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 
      If I say I do not agree with the same-sex-marriage law proposal, in that instant I am automatically accused of homophobia and hatred of other human beings and reject their right to live, and I am promoting hatred toward these peoples. All I did was answer their question and said, "I do not agree with the new law that says they are married." 
      I did not say anything else. I did not in any way say that these people deserved death and punishment and should not be treated as people whom God loves. However, they (whoever the collective they are) say that I did say all those destructive things because I did not agree with what they wanted to hear when they first asked the loaded question. Isa. 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
      I was reading an article about a married couple who are divorcing because he found out that his wife had voted Republican in the last election. The hatred in this man has taken root in his heart toward anyone who thinks differently than himself and is reactionary to the point of the ridiculous. 
      Us, and them, is becoming the line drawn in the sand. You are either for euthanasia and if you are not, then you are my enemy regardless of a sound rebuttal. Luke 12:53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
      It seems that in the attempt of mankind's promotion of individualism and new thinking, they have become common and stupid. Mal. 2:17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? 

      The human condition is trying to perfect a communal agreement, but they end up creating nonsense and then promote it as clear thought. Carl Jung said, "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong."
      What is truly needed, is our minds renewed to the word of God, and by the word of God. Eph. 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 

      Our ability to have faith in God comes from God, not from trying to legislate every whim and desire into a nonsensical social law that will not hold up to the scrutiny of a man with common or spiritual sense. As the proverb says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice." God, who is our righteousness and our authority, who continually rules our lives with love and truth no matter who is in Government. Rom. 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
      We can break the polarisation that is prevalent in this day by being at peace in our own hearts as to who really is the ruler of life and lands. Keep God in your thinking and He will guide your vote in life for any controversy there is. Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. 
      Take courage in the ability of God to lead our hearts and minds in this ever-changing world. We will stand in a peaceful blessing of knowing that our God is in complete control of our lives and is the ruler of heaven and earth. Father, in the name Jesus, help us have the courage to overcome what the world throws at us. Amen.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Victim Or Victor

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desires, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

      Sometimes we have to dig deep within ourselves to get back up and dust ourselves off and try one-hundred more times. During these time of trial and character building, are we praying or whinging, are we praising or complaining? Are we pursuing God's face or giving-up on His truth because we don't have the backbone it takes to breakthrough into victory?
      These are questions I had been asking myself over this last winter of my discontent. I asked myself on many occasions if I have the jam to keep going forward, even when I did not see all the results I was expecting from my God. Was there any faithfulness in my heart? 

      The truth is that there sure is faithfulness in the Lord's heart. Has anything in the Kingdom of God changed? Is Christ still Lord? Is God still on the Throne? Is the Holy Spirit still convicting the world of righteousness? Yes, yes and yes these truths and eternal facts are still in order and being carried out. Mal. 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
      Sometimes it will take a bulldog tenacity from deep within our hearts to keep on keeping on in the blessed word of our living God. Jer. 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? The facts that are taking place in our lives are not always the truth of what God says about our lives. 
      The facts may be that you are sick, but the truth of God's word is that healing belongs to us by faith. Psalm 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers. 
      The facts might be at this time in our lives that we are experiencing a short fall in finances and we are not even able to make ends meet. The truth of God's word is that Christ is our provider and will not let us perish. Gen. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. The Lord who provides. Matt. 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.
       The facts are that we do not continue steadfast in the word of God and our souls become a bit sluggish because we think we have some kind of pass on using our faith. After all, I have been a long-standing member of First Church and have paid my dues; therefore, I deserve all that I ask for. Ya right! The truth of God's word does not change, but how we approach and apply the word are the growing pains we are experiencing. 

      We forget that it is a privilege to seek out and discover a truth. Prov. 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. We want the word to deliver in the same way a drive-through window hands out products with no relationship, other then a few pleasantries if there is an attendant, then we are off to consume something else.
       The word of God is truth and what we are going through in our lives are the momentary facts that can be discouraging, but take heart. 2 Cor. 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. How much is all? All! We will never be left in the desperation of heart. Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness;and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 

      In another place, the Lord has encouraged us with an eternal promise. Isa. 54:10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. We will be victims, or we will be victors, and that is the choice we have to make in our hearts. 
      We will believe what God says about us or we won't. The choice to believe in the truth of God's word is a conscious choice that we have to make daily. Num. 11:23 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!” Thank you Lord for this word, I needed to hear this in my spirit. Amen.