Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Proverbs 23:17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.

      Someone said, "Don't look back, you're not going that way."
      I was sitting at an office function dinner and listening to a lot of the business people bemoaning the fact that they had lost out because they did not buy certain properties and investments way back in the day. Some were saying, "If I had bought that property back then I would be on easy street now." Someone else said, "I could have retired by now if I would have bought that lot next to the golf course. I know I should have done it." Shoulda woulda couldas all dinner long. 

      Here we were eating plenty. Living in a free and open society in a law-abiding country with clean air and water, plus so much more, and all that was coming out of people's hearts was what they missed out on. There was no gratefulness for what was. I had to do an inventory of my own heart and wondered if I had the same attitude toward my life. Was I saying things were better back in the day? Was I looking back rather than forward and onward in the plan that God has for me? Eccl. 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.
      I realized that I had been saying things like, "I should have taken better care of my heart and maybe this atrial fibrillation would not have happened to me. I could have taken that course four years ago and would not be in the business slump I'm experiencing right now." Yup, I was doing it and I realized it was stopping me from thinking forward with anticipation. I was thinking forward with uncertainty and not sure of what was next and feelings of no real purpose were floating around my conscience. It looked like I had a small touch of the shoulda woulda coulda syndrome. What to do? Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  
      We can get caught up in the moment when things are not going so well and we start thinking that things were better years ago. We falsely think God has lost our number and connection because we are faltering. Before you know it we are talking like the children of Israel in the wilderness and all the shoulda woulda couldas start coming out of us in full drama. Ex. 16:3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death. 
      We catastrophize every little thing we stumble over and we get our eyes off of the prize that God has sown in our hearts. 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.
      We all need to take our eyes off of the circumstances and realize that God has brought us this far with His grace and that He will bring us all the way with His grace. Heb. 12:2a Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. This is the key. We keep looking to the author of our faith for the direction our lives are to follow. Isa. 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 
      When we look forward with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our confidence in Christ reemerges from within our souls and trust becomes part of our confident declarations of faith. Phil. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. We all need to lay down our shoulda woulda coulda feelings and grasp the Saviour in gratitude and be thankful that we are in Christ and part of His incredible eternal plan now and tomorrow. 
      There is no need to look back at our missteps. Christ has us in the palm of His hands as He makes sure we are going forward with Him. Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. May our lives be full of victory as we go forward in Jesus name.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Why?

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

      Why, why, why? This question is asked in some cases all day long. Why God? Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why is it not turning out the way I thought. A few days ago I heard a response to the question "Why?" Someone asked, "Why did this happen to me?" The person answering simply said, "I don't know, I can't answer that question." The answer was the truth he could not even begin to answer a question that only God could answer. 
      Now it was my turn. I asked God, in my mind, why was there no answer in the natural for this person. I started laughing within myself because I was doing the same thing - asking why. I know in my heart there are scriptures that say I can ask and I will receive. Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. 
      Other scriptures admonish us to ask God for wisdom for our lives. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. With God encouraging us to ask Him for wisdom and answers that only God can answer, why are we left wanting answers? What is missing in the way we are asking that leaves us apparently without answers?
      We read in the book of Genesis the story of Abraham who had been given a promise that Sarah would give birth to a child fathered by Abraham and fulfill the plan of God. Gen. 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Now Abraham is being given this promise from God. For some reason, Abraham starts asking God if the plan could be changed and Ishmael might be used instead of what God has stated and wants. Gen. 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 

      Abraham is basically saying. "Why can't we do it my way?" God responds by saying, "It will be done my way since I am God and you are not and I see all the blessings in the future from this covenant." Gen. 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. As I read this I thought of all the "Why Lord can't you do it my way?" The question comes out of us so easily. However, the result ends up with us standing there saying, "Why, why, why?"
      What we have to understand is that God understands our dilemmas, feelings, and being in a state of total questioning. As Joyce Meyer said, "Grace is not opposed to us making an effort toward victory." We are trying to get the answers for victory in our lives, but we have to keep on the plan that God has for us in His Kingdom. Jesus Himself had to overcome the same feelings we feel. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 

      There would be a lot less - Why Lord? - if we stuck to the original instruction our hearts received from God the first time He spoke to us by His Spirit. Like Jesus, we have to come to that place where we are saying, "Not my will, but your will be done, Lord." Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
      We have been given the grace by God to seek out a matter as the Proverb says. We have also been given an instruction to believe God is trustworthy and truthful toward us by what we see in Jesus. John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 

      The answer that Jesus had for every question was always the will of the Father and Christ would manifest that will from healing to provision and satisfactory answers for the soul. Do I continue to ask why? Absolutely, but I try to ask in sincerity of heart because it seems to be the only way I have peace when I am asking, "Why Lord?". Eph. 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Homecomings

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

      Someone said, "Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to."
      This is the time of year for homecomings. A lot of people are waiting for someone to come home and celebrate the season of Christmas and New Year's. There is hope and anticipation of renewed affection toward all the ones we love and miss. As a father, I am looking forward to seeing my sons who live far away and out of Province. As we look over the menus of the banquets and feasts that will be served, we try to have the favorite treats and delights for the ones who will be coming home for the season. 
      As I think about these things I see our heavenly Father doing the same thing for those of us who have asked Christ into our hearts as Savior. Jesus is anticipating our homecoming and is preparing a place for us. John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. The Lord desires to be with us. John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 
      As the old hymn says, "Oh what a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, and I look upon his face, the one who saved me by his grace. When he takes me by the hand and leads me through the promise land, what a day, glorious day that will be." What a homecoming that will be when we all come home and live the eternal fulfilled life that Christ has for each one of us. There will be delightful treats for us. Rev. 2:7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 
      We will be given gifts, blessings and responsibilities. Luke 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. We will be commissioned to expand and be part of the Kingdom of God throughout eternity, enjoying the very presence of God and each other. Rev. 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 
      What a homecoming that will be for all who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. Therefore, because we are in Christ and have this hope in our hearts, we can live in anticipation of being a blessing in life and living a blessed life that honors our God.  Like Abraham, by faith, we look for the city, place, or location that God has for us in His Kingdom. Heb. 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  We do this so that we may be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ our Lord and fulfill God's purpose in our lives. Rom. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 
      We live our lives in anticipation of this glorious homecoming that when it comes to pass it will draw pure love and exuberance from our hearts and souls. The magnificence of it all will take an eternity to appreciate and understand the wonders of the Lord's very being and what He did for each one of us He saved. 
      The presence of the Lord so affected Paul that he had no idea whether he was in or out of his body. It was overwhelming to him. 2 Cor. 12:2 I know a man in Christ who was caught up into the third heaven 14 years ago. Whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don’t know, God knows. 4 Was caught up into paradise. He heard inexpressible words, which a man is not allowed to speak. 
      Wow! Beyond explanation, and we are headed there. What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see. I can say it with joy and happiness of heart. I am looking forward to seeing each one of you there one day. I will be looking for you. Hlovate said, “As truth be told, homecoming never gets old.” Blessings.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Decisions By Regret

Proverbs 8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

      When the spiral of failures overtakes a person's heart, there becomes a default position in the heart that begins to make decisions from a place of regret. Sorrow becomes a state of being and words like "Oh well, I may as well just shirk my work ethic, commitments, vows, and forthrightness because it won't amount to anything. What's the point of praying? Nothing ever happens. Most likely, God has forgotten me."
      We know deep down in our hearts that these statements are not true, but the strength to overcome the downward inertia is hard to fight with our own strength because we feel alone and thus we give into the spirit of foolishness. Wisdom becomes absent from all decisions and the result is desperate and immature choices made in regret.
 Mark 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
      We read the story of King Saul and the falling spiral he was in when he kept making one bad decision after another. He ends up using a woman who deals in divination to try and find the word of the Lord. Really saints? Is that what comes to your mind when you cannot get an answer from God. Go and find a witch to talk to God for you. Really, is that the plan you come up with? Yet, that does become the choice of many. 1 Sam. 28:7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. 
      If that is not making decisions out of one regret after another in life, then what is? King Saul was king of Israel and ordained by God to be so, but through disobedience and one sinful fumble after another, he lost the wisdom available to him to reign and started grasping at foolishness in order to keep his kingdom. Prov. 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 
      Do you find yourself without answers to some of your questions that pertain to the difficulties in your life? Wisdom wants you to cry out for some understanding because God is wisdom. God is not trying to keep your victory from you. Rather, God is trying to get it to you, but you will have to do it His way. Prov. 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
     Whenever clergy or Christians alike get into illegal trouble, there is normally a mentality of the ends will justify the needs. When the ones who have perpetrated the wrongdoings are caught or finally come to the end of their rope, they seem to see that they had been making decisions out of all the regrets that had piled up and their sense of wisdom had left them. Asking the witch of Endor for Divine favor had become an option in their lives. 1 Sam. 15:23a For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
      There will be times in life when we mess-up and thank God there is grace for us to redo, retry, and reattempt what has to be done. When this is done with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit whispering in our ear and heart, then there is fruit in the Spirit and things get done right. Isa. 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 
      When victory becomes a standard in life through Christ, then there is no room for regret or consumptive sorrow of heart. Our decisions are done in joy and love rather than dread and darkness of the unknown. Wisdom and understanding are crying out loud for us to ask them into our daily lives that we may express the will and love of our God in this dark and lost world. 
      Living from a position of regret only brings more regrets and an empty life. Wisdom is for us and belongs to us if we accept it. Prov. 8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and it is the end as well. We live our lives bracketed by the wisdom of God in order to do the will of God that our lives may be fulfilled with all manner of His love. Be wise, my friends, and choose God's wisdom.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Deployed!

Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.

      Deployed, in this day and age often refers to: Move (troops) into position for military action.
      There are many references in the word of God that we Christians are soldiers in God's Kingdom. 2 Tim. 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. We, the army of God, are to be tactical, cunning and purposeful in establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth. Matt.10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 
      There is an urgency in our time allotted to us on this earth that asks us not to be idle or frivolous with our lives. As soldiers, we are to fight and defeat the kingdom of darkness with the Lord's weapons that He has made for us to be sure of the enemy's destruction. 2 Cor. 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 
      The tactic of the enemy toward us Christians is to get us to break rank, scatter or bring confusion to our operations. This is often done by bringing in an offence toward a pastor or someone in the congregation, who by the way are also in the same army of God. If the devil can get us infighting then there is no reason for the enemy to fear our attack on his kingdom. I have just heard of a brother who left the church because he did not agree with the pastor's message on tithing. 
      The sad thing is that this soldier has broken ranks and is now a target for the devil's concentrated attack for the destruction of his life. He is out there alone losing everything else and running out of ammunition. His fatigue and weariness of the battle is weighing him down and causing his heart to think about surrender because there is no more fight in him. This is not the will of God for him. If he is to surrender, it is to God, so that God can redeploy him back into rank where he belongs. 
      We know that Satan comes to rob, kill and destroy. John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The devil's single-mindedness of hatred toward Christians is directed at the saints of our God and our fellow soldiers in the Kingdom of God. Unlike the soldiers in the world wars who had days of amnesty, where some even exchanged Christmas cards on the front lines with the enemy, does not apply in this war with Satan. There are no amnesty days off; this is a fight for our eternity. This is not a dispute over borders or a skirmish for a commodity, this is a war for the total destruction of the works of the enemy. 
      Idleness is not an option in our lives. I am not saying, "Do not take vacations and have quality time with friends and family." Yes, please live your lives well and enjoy them but remember who you are. You are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, with the answers to all the ills, hurts and sorrows on this earth. You are ambassadors of the Kingdom of our God with the right to declare blessings throughout the earth. 
      Why do we have this right? It all belongs to God. We are His army in the earth mandated to bring blessing and overcome the works of the enemy. Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. We have all been stationed at a church assembly. It is up to us to stand to our post and fight the good fight of faith. Don't break rank. Stay close to each other in prayer and expectation of victory. Be ready for your orders from on High. Stay in uniform and in full colors. Stay blessed. Attention! The King of Kings is on parade.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Loose Tongue

Proverbs 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

      Loose lips sink ships was a slogan during the second world war. This expression simply said, "Unguarded talk may give useful information to the enemy." Well, Saints, this idea has not changed to this day. We have to watch what we say about others and ourselves. I know there are whole TV commercial industries dedicated to the embellished voyeurism and so-called tattletale reporting of people's indiscretions, but that does not make it right. 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 setts on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
      
How many times have you said something that you wish you could take back, but it is never coming back. Those words are out there forever, pulsing along as amplified sound waves of your thoughts that came out too harshly, accusingly, or in unguarded anger. We can often spot this fault in others when they say something that should have been edited before it came out of their mouths, but unfortunately, we don't hear it so clearly when we speak without thought. Sng. 1:6b They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
      I was listening to a minister that I greatly respect and I learn easily from his gifted ability to teach. A few Sundays ago he said something that he should not have. I know he thought what he said was funny, but it was derogatory and just not nice. I could tell as he was telling the joke he did not feel that comfortable with what he was saying, yet, he said it anyway. I noticed that there was conviction in his heart about it because he was stumbling and struggling for words for the next few sentences in order to get his momentum back, but it was faltering.
      
The discomfort of the audience could be felt and it was too late to take back the words said. I think the Holy Spirit dealt with him right there and then because we could sense conviction taking place in his heart. Sometimes it is the little things said that are corrosive and gives the enemy substance to accuse us with. Sng. 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Yes, the little foxes spoil and ruin things.
      Psalm 73:15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. Reading this scripture helps me see that King David is struggling with a decision of thought. He seems to be saying "Should I say this or not?" King David is wrestling with what he perceives as God's unwillingness to enforce judgment on the unbeliever. He wants to voice his thoughts but realizes that if he does vocalize what he is thinking then the words would offend God's children.
      There might be irreparable damage that will take place if the words come out. However, thank God in the next few verses he gets the illumination on the truth of the matter.
Psalm 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. There is a right time and way to say what has to be said. We just have to control the unholy rhetoric that so easily comes out of our mouths. Prov. 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 
      A graceful tongue is what we, as Christians, are trying to accomplish. We hopefully speak words to our friends and neighbours that build up and help fulfill the love and blessing of the Lord in their lives. I am not advocating that false platitudes and phony compliments be thrown around with an obsequious and smarmy attitude. I am talking about a genuine heartfelt leading of the Holy Spirit that expresses exactly what a person needs to hear to be lifted out of their funk or a word that nourishes their soul onto higher ground where they meet the Lord. 
      We can do this because the Lord of glory lives within us, but we have to give the use of our tongue to the will of God to speak blessing upon blessing in this world in need of an overwhelming amount of healing. Unguarded talk may give useful information to the enemy. Guard our talk so that we can destroy the works of the enemy and be a blessing to the Kingdom of God. Matt. 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Amen!

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Junk Drawer

Proverbs 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

       I can venture to say that most homes have a junk drawer and some have a few of them. I was looking for a phone number that I had written on a card and put it at the back of a small notebook. I thought the notebook was in a particular drawer and I went looking for it. Well, I found many things in that drawer but not the number. I found instruction manuals for products I no longer owned because they had worn out or been discarded. I found other numbers of people that had a long time moved away and in some cases passed away. 
      I found pens and markers that I thought were lost. I found photos and clippings of longtime memories past. Scratched DVDs, guitar plectrums, batteries, bits and parts of thing I was not sure what they were for. Literally, everything but the kitchen sink was found in this drawer. but not the card I was looking for. I even forgot what I was looking for as I was drawn away by all the junk that had to be sorted, re-purposed and thrown away. I thought of the word of God that said, " All the cares of this world enter in and choke the word." Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
      All the accumulated stuff in our lives can pile up and we can become lost in the junk drawer of our being and find out there is no substance or quality items. Just a lot of junk that has to be chucked out. We sometimes go looking for an answer from God but the detritus of life is clogging up the clarity of His answer. 
We approach in prayer with a ready-made view of how we think God should answer the prayer and thus miss the entire blessing that He had for us. No real substance, just junk in the way of growth in life.    
      When I find myself in that place, I stand up like Moses and with my arms held high to the sky, I pray the prayer that never fails. Matt. 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. It is one of my shortest prayers but it is the one that delivers me when I say, "Thy will be done." I know I cannot go wrong with this prayer and I know it is the will of God. I have found that this prayer is the only thing that cleans up the junk in the drawer of my life. 
      All the books on five steps to receiving, three steps to getting, and the four principles of having all get chucked out and replaced with the proclamation of "God's will be done." This only clears the junk out of the way. 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: 15 And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
      What has been choking the word of God in your life lately? Is it a lot of stuff that you are trying to juggle around God's word in hopes of making everything fit and run smoothly? Where is our treasure in God? Is it in the stuff we can get from Him or in the heart of Him? Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 
      I want the junk in my life removed and thrown away so that I can fill my being with the true substance of God's being. I want what counts in this life and not the temporary bobbles the world offers at an overrated extraordinary price. Creating a habit of removing junk from our lives is a good habit. Someone said, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.” 
      Have we become used to having a lot of junk in our lives? We have to break that habit now before we are overwhelmed with all the stuff that gets in the way of the blessing of God. I, therefore, speak a word of overcoming victory over all of us. Isa. 57:10 You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary. Amen!