Friday, 30 January 2015

With Or Without

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

      I had a friend show up one day from my far distant past who was asking me about all the mutual friends we used to hang out with and where they had ended up. The people he was asking about was history from before I knew the Lord as my Savior. Back in the early 1970's, there had been about eight of us who had moved out from Eastern Canada to Vancouver Island, British Columbia in particular. 
      As we reminisced about the times long gone, I became aware of the fact that there were three of us friends who had received Christ as Lord at the end of the 1970's and the rest had not gone through this miracle of life. The fact that the three of us who had asked Jesus into our hearts, myself included, all live in the same town of Kelowna B.C. to this day. We are all still married to our first and same wives for over thirty years now. 
      We men and our wives are serving the Lord in some capacity. My friend was in awe of this coincidence of events as he called it, where I call it Divine appointment and God's grace. "What about the others?" he asked. "Well," I said, "This one died of an overdose and that one is having a hard time dealing with a meth addiction in his life, and so and so is dealing with alcoholism and all of them are divorced." Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
      There it was, as plain as day. The conversation I was having with my friend was bringing something to light. With the Lord, there was a description of life and living. Without the Lord, there was a lot of self-inflicted woes and heartache leading to death. Do we three who have Christ as Lord have any problems in life? Absolutely we do, and some of the problems are real doozies. However, we have the Lord and His love to help us get through them.  
      Are there failures and losses in our lives? Yes, there are, but Jesus gives us the strength to go on and continue to choose life. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. The more I think about it, how do people get through life without God? With Him there is life and without Him, there are vast amounts of questionings about life and only distorted answers faintly coming through. Prov. 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. There is no outwitting life on our own terms. We are either with the Lord or without Him and His counsel and eternity will declare that fact.
      When we become slothful in our walk with Christ and living our lives without praying and reading the word of God, we end up without. When we also stop acting upon the illuminations that are poured into our spirits, we find ourselves without. Without peace, without grace for others, without direction, and without a clue of what is going on as we think we are the main focus of Satan's attack because we are being blinded to the truth of our Lord's word. We become children without purpose and end up self-deceived. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 
      This is why we have to stay with the Lord, through thick and thin. Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. When we are walking with Christ our Savior, we have everything that comes under Christ's authority and the Kingdom of God at our disposal for the blessing of the saints and the needs in the world. We become proper ambassadors of God's kingdom. 2 Cor. 5:20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God. 
      With God, the joy of the Lord is our strength. With God, we are more than conquerors. Rom. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. With God, we have peace that is beyond explanation. Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Why do so many fallen Christians wait until the world is falling down around their lives and living in a self-destructive way before they wake up to themselves and get back to walking with the Lord? The question is simple. Do you want life with or without blessing? Do you want your children with or without health?  Do you want your marriage with or without peace? Do you want your soul with or without a God in it? That is the question. With or without God? Josh. 24:15b But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Well, what say ye? With or without God?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Unequally Yoked

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts.


       Everyone has their favorite bible verse that often helps determines their personal persona, drive, and beacon. The one that guides me often is Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? This is a question I ask myself in most cases when hard decisions have to be made. Will God and I be on the same page if I go ahead with this plan? Will God and I still be yoked and will I be walking in the peace of the Lord after I act on the said decision? 
      I use this bible verse as one of my guardrails and plumb lines in helping me walk the walk Christ inspires in my life. I like this verse because it is simple in explanation. The question asked in the verse answers a lot of the guesswork that comes up in my life. Another way to interpret this verse is by asking, "Will God agree with this?" 
      A common question today among young people who are looking for a life mate is "Should I, or do you think God would be OK with me marrying this person?" As I am not a match-maker, I can only ask the question, "Are you both equally yoked?" 2 Cor. 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? If you go ahead and marry that person, will you be living in the blessing of God or the dwellings of despair? Will you and your prospective spouse be walking with the Lord together after marriage or will you be dragging his or her sorry carcass to church? 
      Please forgive my slight touches of sarcasm as I have seen this movie replayed over and over again in the last thirty-five years in different ministries. I am not saying that marriages do not work when one is serving the Lord and the other wants nothing to do with God. Yes, they love each other and life goes on; however, the number one thing on the heart of one who is serving the Lord is that God would save their spouse. They spend the rest of their lives wanting, wishing and praying for that blessed event to take place. 
      Thank God when it occasionally happens, but more often than not these people end up separated and many times the parties involved end up mad at God. It is very hard to reason with people who are in love with each other. They have this Teflon covering over their ability to see the potential pitfalls that may be just around the corner of their covenanted commitment. God is either the Lord of all or not at all and that is also in marriage. 
      Why does God say in His word to take his yoke? Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. The Lord's yoke might be easy and light, but it is a yoke nonetheless. We still have to wear it and learn how to live our lives in Christ with it so that we are pulling and adjusting as the Lord teaches us to use His yoke for His work and His way. 
      When a new young bull was to be fitted with a yoke and be taught how to pull, he was paired off with an older bull who already knew how to work and pull. The trained bull would, by default of being yoked to the young one, would train the young one how to pull without the yoke chafing and gouging the animal. The young bull, also by default of the yoke, would learn how to work side by side with the more experienced bull and the work got done. 
      In our case, the yoke is easy because Christ Himself is right there beside us going through life. We are step-in-step with our Lord. Therefore, not an irksome or chaffing experience unless we are pulling in the opposite direction.
      Regardless of whether we are looking for a spouse, business partner or friends to hang out with, we all have to walk circumspect and remember that there are times when we will have to ask ourselves and the Lord if we are unequally yoked. We will have to determine if making a life covenant with an unbeliever is the right move for our eternal life. James 3:11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 
      As Amos points out so well in Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? The beauty of being human is that we have a free choice to walk through this life with or without listening to God. Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Hopefully, we have learned over the years to do our best to be in agreement with God and obey Him because He is Lord. God bless you all.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Ask Your Doctor

Proverbs 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

        We have all thought the same after we have seen and heard the countless amounts of commercials that say, "Ask your doctor if this toxic drug is for you" (paraphrased). How would anyone on earth have time for all the appointments it would take to ask your doctor of the healing claims and side effect warnings of all the synthetic drugs that are offered to heal a natural body. On top of that, does the doctor even know all the reams of information on all the synthetics snake oil treatments offered? 

      If I were a doctor I would cringe every time I heard another commercial directing the fear-filled public to make an appointment to "ask your doctor." We have all heard the term looking for love in all the wrong places; well, the same public is looking for peace and well being in all the wrong places also. 2 Tim. 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
      As strange as this sounds, one of the questions I now ask a person when depression is the reason for a consultation is, "What medications are you on?" You have heard the expression  Prozac Nation; that comes from the book title. Well, it is not just an expression. It is main steam and yes, even in the church. 
      Most of the time the story is the same. The person was feeling depressed and the doctor prescribed an antidepressant and it worked great for a day or two, then it was downhill from there on and the depression is still in full aggression to a point of desperation. Now, feeling sick and overwhelmed with a heavy heart and still depressed, they are seeking any kind of help for healing. Another one of those vicious circles that some people fall into.
      The Lord Jesus has been described as the great physician and healer of all who come to him. Jesus healed every type of disease and malady imaginable. This blessed healing is still available to us all when we ask by faith. John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  
      Thank you, Lord, that there is healing in you even in this skeptical and unbelieving time in our nation. Psalm 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. If you are going to take the time to ask your doctor for some help, then take the same time and ask your Lord for healing or at least wisdom for the doctor that will give you the right health care.
      I think of the poor woman who had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and spent all that she had on trying to get healed for twelve years. This sounds like a typical North American medical story gone bad, but it was another healing that Jesus gave to an everyday ordinary person just like you and me. Mark 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. 

      The more things change, the more they stay the same. She had a medical problem for twelve years that many doctors gave prescriptions and practiced medicine on her to the point where she went broke and her condition grew worse. At this point, her medical insurance would not cover what she actually needed because of big pharma. Oh well, you get the picture. The good news is that Jesus healed her. Mark 5:34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.
      Like this woman, many of us will come to the point of desperation before we reach out and touch the hem of the Lord's garment per-se, or reach for the healing power of Jesus Christ by faith. Mark 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. The master physician lives in our hearts and His anointed healing power also resides there. 

      Ask Doctor Jesus for the cure to all your ailments. Talking with God is the better place to start because you might get wisdom from God as to what you should change in your lifestyle, diet, or devotion that will heal you. This was my experience when the Lord helped me find healing when I was suffering from extreme gout. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.
      I prayed and believed for healing and it did not matter to me whether the Lord used the medical system or not. I was in major pain and wanted an answer that brought healing. The strange thing was that God hinted clearly that if I lost thirty pounds my feet would appreciate it and the pain would not be so harsh. I lost over forty pounds over a one year period. The next thing that was dropped into my spirit was to lean toward a healthier vegetable diet and a few other food adjustments. I did and the attacks became less frequent. 

      Then the Lord pointed out some spiritual things that had to be changed in my life. I responded and for the last year I have been gout free. I do not have to ask my doctor for Allopurinol, Uloric and Colchicine anymore. That is what worked for me. Now I have started a new faith winning attitude overcoming atrial-fibrillation and will continue to ask Doctor Jesus to bring about the complete healing of my heart. 
      At the same time I am listening to the Spirit of God as He leads me holistically while my faith is built up for the blessing. Yes, I still visit my doctors in cardiology to get updates from them so that I know what to pray for, but I do not take all the extra prescriptions offered. I took the one I needed until my healing is complete.
      Don't forget your Lord in all your searching for healing of all the ailments in your life. Stay on message with your God and do the things that will heal you, but most important also do the things that will keep you well after the healing has come to full fruition. Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases. Love you all.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Seriously?

Proverbs 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death.


      Someone said, "The difference between try and triumph, is the humph!"
What have we been trying to overcome in our lives that we know will make a difference in our relationship with God? If we could just get over that humph that is hindering us, what would our God-walk look like? We apply so much focus on the problem that we have not stopped to ask God for the help that will actually work in our victory. It seems as though God is the last person we go to for help when trying to get closer to Him.
      Seriously, why is that? We spend all kinds of time, money, and energy on things that will give us free time and so-called rest so that we can spend time with God. Meanwhile, the Lord is saying in His word that He will give us the rest we actually need. Matt.11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. However, we have to do it the Lord's way and in this case it is "Come to me," says the Lord. 

      We are trying to get to God with our own logic and interpretations. It is Christ's righteousness that gets us into a relationship with God and not our own doing. It has to be that way because God is righteous and functions from that position. If it were left up to man we would end up trying to buy, bribe, cajole and steal the favor of God with different antics and activities. 
      The results of this human attempt for relationship with God would be a hodge-podge of dead works that look like filthy rags. Isa. 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. It's not that man is not sincere in his attempt to reach God, but man cannot see what is needed from God's point of view and thus wisdom vanishes from man's heart. Just look around the world and you will see no lack of stupidity.
      I was listening to a story about a smoker who was complaining that his doctor wanted him to quit smoking because the beginning of emphysema had started in his body. Seriously? He was complaining that he should stop smoking because it was killing him. 
      I wondered if I was that thick when asking God for help as the Lord stated the clear and obvious solution out to me. Seriously? Do I complain to God for the fact that He is trying to save my life? Mal. 3:13a "Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD. Yes, Lord. Forgive me for my arrogance and presumption toward you. You are Lord! Righteousness delivers from death and you are righteous.
      
We read the story of Simon the Sorcerer who thought God could be bought. Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God. 
      The apostles were preaching Christ crucified and laying hands on the people that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw this miracle taking place, he asked the apostles if he could buy from them the power that did this great work. Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 
      The answer that Peter gives is stern and to the point. God cannot be bought! There has to be a heart transplant per-se to be in a relationship with him. Acts 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. As you can see, if left up to man the approach to God is corrupt and devious.
      Seriously Simon, you want to buy the Holy Spirit? Seeking God is our privilege, because we are human, but we are to seek and find Him God's way. There is nothing wrong with putting a bit of humph into our seeking and loving of God. Let us proceed with God's way of doing things and bring about the Kingdom of God and its fullness. 
      The first step has been made for us; we just have to believe it and live it by faith. Rom.10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Seriously, it is that simple.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Huummmmmmmmmm

Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

      L
ately, some people I know in the workplace have been encouraging me to meditate. I need to empty my mind and just not think about anything others say. This will do me some real good. I explained to them that I do meditate on the word of God. They say, "That is not clearing your mind and I need to be more open-minded and venture out from the word of God only." 
      They say "I need to allow other influences into my spirit so that I can be elevated to a new reality. Test the other things, other than my narrow ideas of God." No, I don't think so. I like my relationship with my God and Saviour. God's thoughts toward me are to do me good.
      I don't think that is what God meant when He asks us to meditate on Him and His word. God seems very clear that we are to meditate on Him and his word regularly. The word of God encourages us to meditate in the word of God and on the works of His hands. Psalm 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Psalm 77:12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 
      As a matter of fact, God told Joshua the answer to his success was that he should meditate on the law of God day and night. Josh. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success
      Paul admonished Timothy to meditate on the things that had been prophesied over him by the word of God. 1 Tim. 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
      We read in the book of Judges the problem with mixing in the smorgasbord of other beliefs with the foundational truth of God being the only God. After the death of Joshua and the elders who had seen the miracles of God's deliverance of Israel into the promised land. There started to be a problem with the next generation. Judg. 2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.
      The next generation had not learned how to meditate on the law of God for success because they were living the dream per-se. They had become comfortable with their surroundings and social standing that expressed, "Live and let live." So what if there were still Canaanites, Jebusites, Asherites, Amorites, and the Philistines influencing how Israel should worship. After it is all said and done, all roads lead to the same god. 

      Well, God did not think this to be true. Ex. 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. The problem Israel had with falling for other gods is that they ended up eating the fruit of the other gods. Judg. 2:19b They ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. 20a And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. 21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died. They could have had a great relationship with the All Mighty God but they ended up with the common everyday detritus of a dime a dozen gods.
      What has the world asked us to meditate on lately? Fear of the future. Lack of supply, ending up in starvation. Sickness and disease in old age. Wars and devastation for our children. No saints! That is not why God wants us to meditate on His word and His ways. God wants His wisdom to be our thought life and therefore our prayer life will declare the wishes and desires of our God into this lost world. 
      We are the salt and light of this world because we meditate on the life giver. No friends, I would not trade that for a mantra. No, not ever. Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Blessings and prosperity to you all.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Use Before Date

Proverbs 2:3 Yea, if thou cry after knowledge, and lift up thy voice for understanding.

      There have been a few deaths this past month of people in the assembly I am a member of. I was reading the life and death dates of these people who have passed on. A thought came to me as I read these dates. The days of our lives are numbered and in the hands of our God. Job 14:5 You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer
      I suddenly saw the date of death as a Use Before Date because there will be no more use on earth after the date of death. I could see the Lord going through His list of people that are His servants, and since God knows the number of our days He had to implement our use before the Use Before Date ran out. A strange thought, but in the moment it made a quirky sense to me. 
      I have an allotted time on this earth to bring glory to His name and be a blessing that represents the wonder and all infinite love that our Lord has for mankind. Time is truly short. I thought, "What have I done in the time given to me?  What is left to do before my Use Before Date expires?" James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 
      I have to say these questions brought on some deep thought and consternation to my heart. What do I do with the time left to me? Wait a minute here. Am I stressing about the future in the Lord? Where did my peace go? I had it until I started this line of thinking.
      The word of God says not to worry or stress about tomorrow. Matt. 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. I have been told this by the numerous doctors that I have seen over the last six months. They say, "You need to get stress out of my life because they are convinced that is what caused the atrial fibrillation I am struggling with right now." 

      I have thanked them for this insight and I have asked all these learned medical practitioners this same question, " What does a stress-free life look like?" As they stress over the answer, I can see that no one knows. They all have these canned answers and ideas of what they think it looks like but no one really knows. Most people are suffering from some sort of stress related ill affect. Everyone knows they need to destress, but what does it look like? 
      We live in a world that has pushed the over consumptive populations to operate at maximum stress for the productivity needed to keep the stress levels moving along. People are working and trying to live from a position of fear and stress because they are afraid of losing out. When I ask them what they are afraid of losing out on, they are not quite sure because they are too stressed to think it through. 
      No wonder so many well meaning people are burning and expiring before their actual Use Before Date is due. Luke 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
      I would like to think that my Use Before Date is way out there in the long distance future, but if it isn't then it is what it is and stressing about it will only bring that date closer. Kind of a lose-lose situation. So, I need to implement what the Lord says about all my stressing out in life. Matt. 6:31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 

      My heavenly Father knows what I need to live a blessed life and overcome stress. Jesus is saying, "This is what it looks like to start living a stress-free life." I am to take my eyes off of what is stressing me to the point of illness and change my focus to what Jesus focused on. Matt 6:3 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 
      Healing is what I need. The kingdom of God is where the answers are for now and throughout eternity. I don't believe another prescription of beta blockers, blood thinners, antidepressants and blood pressure pills will bring down the stress in people's lives. As a matter of fact, I think the stress levels will go way up when they see the pharmaceutical bills piling up month after month. Plus the reality of no real relief from stress taking place but only a bunch of side affects from the pills that will cause more stress. What a vicious circle. Oh God, thank you, that you have the answer.
     Lord, Jesus, I can only ask you to keep showing me and my brothers and sisters in Christ what a stress-free life looks like. As I seek you and your kingdom first, may the eye of my understanding open up and see what steps to take day after day and may this action extend my Use Before Date to give me the ability to keep being a blessing in the Kingdom of God. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 
Amen and amen!