Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Spirit Of Malice

Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases.

      George Harrison said, "Gossip is the Devil's radio."
      Throw another log on the fire and see the sparks fly. It does not take much rumor to ruin a person's life. It can be a false accusation and still the damage can be irreparable even after the proof has been shown that the rumor was false. Too late, the words that were spoken start to take on a life of their own and malice is born. Out of malice come the full maliciousness of man and all the results of that sin.
      My wife has been telling me of her friend's children who have been bullied in school this year. There seems to be a new wave of it even with all the anti-bully campaigns and commercials concerning this cowardice attack. All bullying starts with hurtful words that sting and bruise the inner man. Radicalism, tribalism and self-ism seem to be the polarizing factors in a lot of nations these days. Many people are just reacting to rumor and spin that is being dished out twenty-four-seven on all the McNews channels.
 Psalm 12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. 2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 
      It has become very hard to separate truth from innuendo, or even pure malice when presented as newsworthy. Many citizens have become listless in attitude toward life as a result of drowning in all these forms of tabloid media. We end up repeating what we have heard and wonder if any of it is true, meanwhile contributing to the perpetual gossip-mill. James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
      The old adage, "If someone is gossiping to you, then they will gossip about you," still wholes true. How do we distance ourselves from this corrosive pastime? I say corrosive because it does eventually hurt our lives in relationship and health. Prov. 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. 
      What does God say we can do to overcome this attack on our human condition? James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. There it is Saints, the road to perfection is in our choices of the words we use or don't use. Having the courage to walk away from the talebearer or changing the subject is the beginning of this road to overcoming when it comes to gossip.
      We read in the book of Numbers the story of Miriam and Aaron who started gossiping their disapproval concerning Moses's foreign wife. Num. 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. The result causes friction in family relations and the very health of the gossiper, Miriam. 
      There is also another important matter that we often do not think about. God will also hear what is being said and He will step in and vindicate His anointed. Num. 12:10  And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 
      As the proverb says, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." In Miriam's case, the wound entered her skin and she had to live with that hideous condition for seven days. How was her word life after that experience? Did Miriam think twice before running off at the mouth with "Did you hear what happened to so and so?" 
      I say we need to think twice before entering into and giving space in our hearts to the spirit of malice. Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. May blessings and good words come from our voices. Amen.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Bring Me Solutions

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous studies to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

     Bring Me Solutions. I walk by this sign every day when I am at the office. It is on the door next to my office door and I have to say the sign speaks loud to my heart. I am often called upon to be a counsellor in the Christian community. I find it interesting that so many of the problems that people have are over exaggerated because of a constant focusing on the problem rather than focusing on the solution who is Jesus Christ the Lord. 
      We should magnify the solution rather than magnify the problem. Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I am not dismissing the particular situation and I am not saying the problem does not exist in the afflicted person's life. I am saying that too much energy and focus is given to the attack, oppression or failure. My wife has a saying, "The person is drowning in a glass of water." 
      On many occasions, I have asked the person I am helping through a particular situation what they think the solution is for their dilemma and most of the time they know exactly what to do. "So, why have you not done it?" I ask. The paralysing affect of focusing on the problem and building it to a mountain size situation seems overwhelming and daunting to overcome. This is normally the answer given to why they have not acted on what they know to be right. James 4:17  Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin. 
      Will it take some strength of character to want to fight through the situation? Absolutely, and more than we sometimes think we are capable of. However, Christ has overcome the world and this same Jesus lives in us who have accepted Him as Lord. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 
      Accepting our position in Christ, by faith, has given us the ability and mandate to magnify the solution rather than our problems. The shift in our hearts and minds has to be a choice and will of acting out who we are in Christ. The best part of this choice is that God gives us the His grace and power to do it.
      We read in Second Kings the story of the Shunammite woman who with her husband built a room for Elisha so that when Elisha and his servant Gehazi travelled through their area had a place to rest. When Elisha asked Gehazi what they could do the repay the woman's kindness, Gehazi said she did not have a child. 2 Kings 4:14 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. 
      Elisha prophesied over the woman that she would have a son the following year and she does according to the word given her. When the boy was older and helping his father in the field, he complains of a headache and is rushed home to his mother where he dies. 2 Kings 4:20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 
      Now this woman had a real problem; her son of promise had died and yet when asked how things were with her and her son she answered, "It is well." 2 Kings 4:26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. Her focus was on the solution and not the problem. What faith and character this took, but her attitude toward Elisha was - bring me solutions! 2 Kings 4:30 And the mother of the child said, As the LORD lives, and as thy soul lives, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her. 
      The result is that Elisha with the Spirit of God brings the boy back to life and the woman has her child of promise restored. 2 Kings 4:35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
      What mountains are we looking at that need speaking to in order to bring a solution to our life today? Speak the solution out in prayer. Thank God for the power of His word that has been put in our hearts so that we can say with confidence what God says about our situation. Mark 11:23 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. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. The word of God is the solution in life. Use it and enjoy the blessings.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Constellations And Feathers

Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

      I was up very early on Tuesday morning last week and there he was in full astronomical splendor. Orion, the constellation, was riding the southeast horizon projecting starlight through a clear pre-dawn sky. Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handy work. 
      I said, "Good morning Orion, I haven't seen you since last winter." I chuckled as I noticed I was talking out loud to a constellation. Why not, I thought? God made this incredible star structure with the ability to teach us the glory of God's wisdom for today and forever. 
      So talking out loud to the star cluster was simply giving thanks to God for His wonderful genius. Why not speak out and compliment God's creativity? Isn't that what God was doing when He was talking to Job about God's own personal and unlimited ability? Job 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 
      We only have to look around us every day and be in awe of God's wonderful love and blessing for us all. The intricacy of spider webs, color patterns on bird feathers, the ripples in water and cloud formations that draw moving shapes with our imaginations. God is all over the world, talking to us all the time through His amazing creation and it is all saying, "I love you."
      We tend to fret and think that God might have forgotten us when we are going through different trials and tribulations, but the fact that we call upon God in the middle of the hard times demonstrates to our hearts that He is God and He is there for us. Jer. 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which you know not. 
      On an intimate and spiritual level, we all know that we will not be left behind because God has said in many places that He would not forsake us. Deut. 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
      If God took the time to design and splash a rainbow of colors into feather patterns on every distinctive looking bird there is, then surely the Lord has His design on and within our lives. We were created on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose. It is not a roll of the dice existence. God knows what we are made of and will guide us accordingly. Psalm 103:14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust

       We do have to be willing to be an instrument of God's faith, love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion so that we can express by existence the glory of God in this earth, and even these blessings are performed through His grace and therefore produces fruit in our lives for His mighty glory. What a King we serve who blesses us eternally.
      The next time you stop and smell the roses or look over a vast valley of God's living creation, remember that this was all done for you and me. Every breath we take is a gift of His love. Gen. 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 

      The transfer of eternal life that was given in that first breath of man was the love of the Godhead for our unique person. God could see us all afar off within Adam's breathing. We were there in that breath from the beginning, and His plans for our lives was and is a good and glorious plan. Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
      Oh! God, help us all to see your heart toward us and help us all find ourselves in your grace so that we may all fulfill our divine destiny that you see clearly. Give us all the courage to run the race that is set before us and become the blessing you envisioned us to be. Thank you for all that you continually do for us in Jesus name. Amen! 1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Happy Soul

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.

      What did I take away from the events of this summer? As many of you know I did have a jolt back on August second of this year with the surprising arrival of a TIA known as a Transient Ischemic Attack. Things that were important to me on August first were not as important on August third and to this date. Priorities shifted in my heart and soul. What has become important to me might not be important to you, but if you think these things through they might become important to you as well.
      One of the first things that I cannot get away from is the value of a clean conscience. Yup, that's right, a clean conscience will give us such joy for our everyday living that the peace of God becomes a constant companion. Psalm 32:2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven. 
      Someone might say, "How can I get a clean conscience?" That is the beauty of grace. If you are in Christ you already have a clean and restored conscience because we have been baptized with our Savior's blood that washes away all sin. Now, what we have to do is believe it by faith and make sure that we confess all unrepentant sin once and for all. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Walk the walk and be the Christ-filled person you are through the Holy Spirit. A clean conscience will truly put a calm smile on your face and a big smile in your heart.
      The second thing I have been practicing lately is to do something that makes me happy every day. This can be a variety of things; it does not have to be grandiose or extravagant. Eccl. 8:15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. 
      We can find ourselves chasing stuff or we can find ourselves catching God every day while we are doing something that makes us truly happy. I like to go to the sawmill and take the old wood (with permission from the owner) that has been thrown away on the slag heap and turn it into something useful and nice. Kind of what God does with lost souls who have been discarded. 
      I like to write, research and explore ideas that bring life to my soul. The key is to take the time to do something you like so that your heart will truly say, "Thank you Lord for giving me this day, because I found pleasure in it." Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
      Another thing I have added to my daily routine is to not let the sun go down on my anger. Eph. 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. Make sure you say "I love you" to those you love - your family and friends - because like you, they need to hear it. Don't go to sleep with stuff clogging your emotions and heart. 
      Do you want to be right or do you want to be righteous? Is the argument worth winning to the point of losing fellowship? No, it's not worth our peace or a peaceful night's sleep that is a gift from the Lord. Psalm 12:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He gives His beloved sleep.  Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. 
      We get healed during our sleep, so it is no wonder the enemy of our soul tries to block it with the self-preservation of worthless arguments. No Saints. Say "I love you," before you sleep and you will be blessed and have a healthy heart. Give these three ideas an honest try. Blessings.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

You Are You

Proverbs 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.

      Dr. Seuss: "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you."
     I recently had a wonderful experience at the cardiologist when they took an Echo Doppler Ultrasound of my heart and explained everything that was happening on the monitor. There it was in Doppler color; my heart in full motion and operation as the Lord had created it. How can anyone not believe in God when watching such an incredible living organism pumping away at the rhythm of God's delight? What fool says in his heart "There is no God," when looking at God's genius at work. Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well. 
      The technician allowed me to hear the blood flowing through the different valves as the blood proceeded in and out of my heart. It was a sound of motion and life. Each vein had a different rhythm, beat and flow creating a crescendo of song; praising the creator. What can I say, I was impressed! I could have sworn it sounded like the Holy Spirit was mixing and moving the sounds around like a modern DJ creating a CD that only God and I could groove to. The song was saying "♪♫ I made you you  and no one is like you ♫ ♪." Jer. 1:5a Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee. 
      As I watched and listened to my heart, I became very happy to be who God made me to be. In the words of that great American philosopher Popeye, "I am what I am." I am a unique created being and was created for the Lord's pleasure. Rev 4:11 You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.
     What an ocean of time that has been wasted by people wishing they were someone else. We are all as unique as our own fingerprint. God knows each one of us right down to the smallest molecule of our being. God has a name for us that is as individual as He created us to be, and we will know that name and be known by that name throughout eternity. Rev. 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it. I am in Christ and He is in me. What a sound that makes in this earth.
      No wonder King David was in awe of God's attention toward mankind. Psalm 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him? 
      God's attention to detail within our lives is an expression of His love for us. How do we know that? We know that because there is nothing that can separate us from His 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. You are and I am the apple of God's eye and there is nothing that can stop the Lord from loving us as uniquely as He created us to be. 
      Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology. She says that our uniqueness is so amazing in God because no two people on the planet are the same and no two people actually think the same. Our own individual thinking is unique to us in dimension, understanding and flavor.
      We are unique in God and there is no other relationship on earth like the one we have with Him. It is true, we all need salvation through His Son Jesus Christ and that is for all man to receive freely so that we can be the unique character He created us to be. We will all find ourselves when we look for ourselves in Jesus Christ because that is where we were meant to be. Living large in humility with and in our God. Wow! Praise the Lord. 
      Every since the ultrasound, I sometimes feel my pulse and I smile and say, "Listen Lord, my heart panteth after thee." Acts 17:28 For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Everyone, please, rejoice in who you are. Blessings.
      Dr. Seuss:  “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Friday, 3 October 2014

Things We Say

Proverbs18:4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

      Do as I say, not as I do. We have always done it this way. It's my way or the highway.
      Here are a few of those sayings that can get someone cornered, especially when our children call us out on it. I remember my mother with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other telling me as a teenager not to take up smoking and drinking. Who would think this kind of advice would work on a teenagers mind? Plus, it was already too late.  
      Yet many people live their lives this exact way, all talk and no conviction. Thank God my mother now serves the Lord and we are able to laugh about this old scene from the past. The ridiculousness of it is funny, and yet, how many parents who are trying to lead their children into making the right choices are choosing destructive behavior themselves. Rom. 2:21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?
      Does this mean that we, as parents, can never do anything wrong? No, I am not saying that at all. What it means is that we will have to do our best at living our convictions so that our children can see what honesty in life actually looks like. It does not mean our children will choose the right thing but, it does mean they will always have an example of righteous character. It means there will be a standard to draw from when they come into a place of decision and hopefully make a mature one. Prov. 26:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
      This is why it is so important to be open and honest with our children when they ask questions about our past. When my sons asked me about the drugs and lifestyle I lived before I met the Lord, I was totally upfront with them. When they asked me why I quit school at a young age, I told the truth. When they asked me about my shortcomings when I was growing up, I was upfront about my life before Christ.
      One day my youngest son came home from high-school and he was telling me that the teacher was talking about social issues that were formed because of my generation; the baby boomers. The question came up in class asking if the students knew if their parents had ever taken drugs. Apparently, my son and his best friend were the only two whose parents had done drugs and drank to excess. All the other students had said that their parents had claimed they had never done drugs. 
      I asked my son if he thought the other parents had been honest with their children. His emphatic "No," and the logic within his statement said a lot. He said, "The percentages just don't add up because I look at my own friends and there are a lot who do not do drugs, but there are many others who do. Besides, one of the parents is for the marijuana political party." Very hard to scam young people. They already know most of your secrets, so the more open and honest you are with them the more they will trust your advice. They may not always take your advice, but they will listen when hard decisions have to be made in their lives. 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.
      Generational misbehavior can be stopped when we, as adults, stop the madness in our own lives. We want our children to be upright citizens; therefore, we must be and do what it takes to be an upright citizen as well. What we say out loud about our neighbours will be the same things our children will say about their neighbours when they have some of their own. Prov.18:4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. 
      The love that we show our spouses will be mimicked by our children when they grow up and pair off in life. If adultery, theft and covenant breaking is what is lived in your home, then chances are this will continue into the next generation. Often the grandparents end up raising their own children's offspring. With loud protestations of "Why can't these young people make any right choices?" Meanwhile, the single grandparent with custody is still badmouthing the spouse they divorced and wondering why things are the way they are. As my Latin wife would say, "What an enchilada!" Matt.15:14b And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
      This is not a new problem. Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister. Gen. 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. God took care of this problem by warning Abimelech in a dream. Then years later Abimelech goes through the same thing again with Isaac who also lied about Rebekah being his sister. Gen. 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how said thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. Both men, Abraham and Isaac, had the same fear of death and lied using their wives to protect themselves. Is it any wonder Jacob had a self-preservation streak running through him.
       Things we say within our family environments carry a lot of weight with the ones who watch and hear us daily. Years ago my wife was a preschool teacher and the things that the children said to each other clearly showed that there were no secrets in the family and values were being gleaned by what was said and done by the parents of the said children. What have you been saying lately? I hope one of the things is "God is good." Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.