Friday, 26 June 2015

The Integrity Of Coffee

Proverbs1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.

      I honor my father-in-law, Roman Izaguirre.
      My father-in-law who is from and lives in Guatemala has been in the coffee growing business from birth, per se, as he comes from a long line of plantation owners. One of his purposes in life has always been to create a balanced blend of good tasting and aromatic coffee so that we all can enjoy the full pleasure and essence of a brewed tasty satisfaction. 
      His heart and dedication has been to make the best product by using the wits and intelligence God gave him and applying the years of learning in his craft. Creating the integrity of coffee has been his life walk to fulfil what Roman was created to do. 
      Isn't that what God wants of us all? To do our best and give our all to the talent He has bestowed upon us. Each one of us was thought of by the Lord as individuals in His heart and was created with a purpose and on purpose. Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. We were all given talents and capabilities that would bring honor to God, and be a blessing to others and ourselves. We have all been given a spiritual mandate to fulfil while we are on this earth. 
      Some of us have been given more responsibility than others but nonetheless we are capable of growing in what God has for us. Matt. 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
      My father-in-law - in my opinion - is a man of few words, but when he speaks there is a folksy and philosophical truth that comes across as wisdom. Like when he says, "If you don't want the chickens to peck at you then don't dress like a corn." It sounds to me like he is saying you are going to reap what you sow in life so make sure you are being responsible for your actions. Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 
      Another Roman-isms is said this way, "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are." Is he not saying, "Choose your friends rightly because you will become like them. That is fine if the friends you have chosen are forthright and brave but if they are the dredge of society, what will happen to you?" Prov. 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. 
      Roman says, "Your neighbour can live close enough so that you can see his candle but not so close that when you speak you blow it out." This sounds like live and let live, but remember to take care of your neighbour. Prov 3:29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, while he lives securely beside you. All these insights were acquired and built into Roman's character as he learned the integrity of coffee. As he did what God put him on earth to do. Ah! Satisfaction in life tastes good.
      I have noticed when different coffee farmers have come by Roman's house for consultations on how to banish a blight or fungus that has attacked a coffee tree at a nearby plantation. As a father in the faith, Roman, has helped many of the young and old coffee farmers get a better yield and improve overall productivity by growing healthier trees for the good of the coffee industry and those of us who enjoy our everyday cup of blessing. "Go see Don Roman. He will know what to do with that coffee problem," is the colloquial saying of the area. 
      Is this not like a man of faith who is now helping the next generation become strong at what God created them to be? Is this not using the talents God gave him to bring blessing in one part of life? Matt. 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.
      Maybe Roman has not stood out like a modern day evangelist but these Roman-isms reflect gospel truth. All this wisdom acquired by keeping the integrity of coffee. He has created a special blend of life and a good tasting example for his family to follow. May we all glean a page from Roman's life story and do what God put us here to do and do it well Col. 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 
      May God bless my father-in-law. Because of him (and his wife), I have been blessed by a treasure of their lives - their daughter, Celeste, who is now my wife. She takes after her dad, a woman of integrity. May God's face shine on you, Roman, and may the Lord bless you and keep you eternally well. I pray blessing upon you, Roman, and thank you for the lessons of life. In Jesus name.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Gluten Free Or Leaven Free

Proverbs 1:23 Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.

      There has been a social movement toward neighborhood gardens and backyard food production using heirloom seeds. The fear of Frankenfood, as some call it, has become a real concern. Replacing flower beds for the production of real food is becoming a trend. No GMO genetically modified food is the loud chant being voiced at local and national levels at different protest sites bringing awareness of this growing food alteration problem. 
      Corporations who are producing these products are mistrusted by people of all social standings. The government agencies that are in charge of our health, wealth, and safety have lost so much credibility that people are fearful and unsure about their future and their families well-being. Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 
      These worried people are trying to take back control as much as it is possible in these major areas of their lives. Food production seems to be one of the things they can do, so they are doing it. Food choices are another area of change as many have chosen a gluten-free diet. Some have moved in this direction for medical reasons and others for the betterment of their personal health.
      I personally have made a lot of changes in my diet since I suffered a stroke last year. I have also started a garden again in order to make sure I have the right foods that can mend my heart and give me a better quality of life as I get older. After all, we, who are in Christ, should take care of ourselves because as the Word proclaims, "we are the temple of the Holy Spirit." 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
      One of the things that the Holy Spirit does emphasize is that we be as conscience minded of what we let into our hearts because that has an eternal affect on our souls. We have to remember that we are first a spirit with a soul living in a body and the cleansing of our inner man is paramount to our Lord and Savior because that part of our being is eternal. 

      We are warned regularly as to the enticements that our soul can be tempted with. Deut. 11:16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Sin can do greater damage to our souls even more than bad nutrition can do to our bodies. We would not take a bit of arsenic every day just to see if we can still remain healthy. Yet we indulge in a bit of sinful activity thinking it's no big deal. However, it is a big deal because it does not take much sin or leaven to cause a loss of Christ's peace and assurance that is so resting within us. Gal. 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
      The reason we came to Christ in the first place was to find true rest in this stormy world. Ruining that the rest we have in Christ with sin is not wise. Matt.11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Let us make a choice to be leaven free in our hearts, then our soul will be healthy and strong in Christ. The strength we find in the Lord will give us wisdom for healthy life choices. 

      Many of us need full restoration when it comes to healthy eating and living. Not some new diet, but a real lifestyle change that will bring good results to our overall health. More importantly, however, remove and repent from the leaven that is causing spiritual ills. That is the first step to real health and understanding it for our lives. Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

What Have I justified?

Proverbs 17:15 He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

      The justifying of the wicked and mocking the righteous has become a national pastime sport. Late Night Television does a lot of justifying and promotion of the wicked while laughing with mockery at those who are expounding righteousness. There seems to be a consensus among the godless, comedy expression and tabloid TV shows that say, "If the righteous and Godly were removed from the national conscience then all the normal folks could have more fun and freedom in life." Normal meaning adulterers, thieves, gossips and drunkards. 
      That's right saints, it seems that it is our fault that the common man is bound to a fun-less and dull life. We Christians are the reason these poor saps have to keep their lives in the closet and under control. All I can say is, "Amazing, ignorance has gone to seed." Prov. 23:9 Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words. 
      The irony here is the moment there is a major injustice or national disaster these same people are all over the place crying foul and shouting that there ought to be a right thing to do about the unjust problem. They even say, "Where are the church people to deal with this dilemma?"
      Justifying the wicked is not a new concept on this earth. Eccl. 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." Justifying the wicked and condemning the just is the story of mankind and the struggle man has had throughout history. Every great and righteous advancement in human-rights and social justice has come into our civilized society through men and women of God who had a vision of what God had sown in their hearts. 

      With God's guidance through prayer, great effort and toil, society's lot improved. True, there have been some real injustices along the way as in world wars, overcrowded prisons, famines and genocides. However, most of these problems were caused by the same people who mocked the righteous and condemned the just. All through life the wicked have been mocking the righteous and they will continue until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
     
Maybe you have had wicked mockery and injustice happen to you when you accepted Christ as your Lord. Even within your families you became the butt of their jokes and lightning-rod of their anger when anything went wrong. "Where is your God now?" they would hiss when anything wrong happened to them. "You and that bunch down there at your church should all be thrown out and made to pay," would be said with fury and anger. 
      Acts. 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. No Saints. There is nothing new here. These threats are from people who have not met the true love of a loving God yet. These are people who have not met the Lord on their way to their personal Damascus.
      Prov. 17:15 He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD. As I read this verse I have to do a self-examination and see where I may have justified the wicked and condemned the just. What scriptures have I misused to justify what I want? Have I taken part in the mockery of the righteous? When I did not agree with a point, political or otherwise that a just man was making, did I belittle and mock? 

      Have I been an abomination to the LORD on different occasions because of my personal justifications? I hope not. Thank God for His grace that is poured out toward us who have been given the gift of the Lord's salvation. Our human mandate is clearly spelled out in 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? 
      If we ask God, the Holy Spirit will help us when we are justifying our actions toward men to make sure they are just and true actions. Our choices of justification should be seen through the eyes of our Lord and Savior who justified us through His blood. That same justification is available to all men. On many occasions, we are the first line of justice many people see and feel. Let it be with the righteous guidance of our God. Blessings to all who walk humbly before their God.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Are We There Yet?

Proverbs 30:3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.

       Many of the Saints that have walked with the Lord for a long time in their lives have come up against a wisdom-wall per se. According to the word of God we know God is talking to us, but often we are not sure we are hearing Him. We hit this wall face first and stumble backward realizing we have not reached any significant holiness on our own. It is all grace and all God all the time. 1 Tim.1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 
      We move along absorbing and learning the word of the Lord for our lives. We do this in all sincerity, but every once in a while we stop and recognize the fact that we do not know anything and we feel we lack significant wisdom and knowledge of the most High God. We know the Lord is real in our lives but a dissatisfaction begins to mount in earnest within our hearts and we look to God for His presence within us to bring back the peace we long for in Him. 
      God is forever expanding our knowledge and love of Himself within us and just when we think we have Him in a controlled setting of our understanding, He brings it up a righteous-notch to utterly amaze our hearts and minds with new and burning awareness of His magnificence. Heb. 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.
      I was praying and reading the word of God recently and the realization hit me that I had no idea of the greatness of my God. I was dumbfounded by the wonder and goodness that my God extends toward me every minute of the day. I began to proclaim the words, "Oh, that I might know Him." when I realized the apostle Paul who wrote most of the new testament by the anointing of the Holy Spirit had said the same thing but with holy profoundness. Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death
      Paul, who had such spiritual knowledge and faith in Christ, was longing to know the Lord even better and closer then he did. Paul never trusted his ability in God, but only the working of Christ within his heart was he coveting. The truth of the matter is that we will forever be learning and growing in the righteousness of our Lord here on this side of eternity, and the other side as well. 1 Cor. 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 
      Our amazement in knowing God anew continually will never ever end. How great and wonderful is that? After billions of years of living and ministering to and with our Lord, we will still be overwhelmed by His beauty and love for us. I know this idea is so beyond our insipid understanding of God and His infinite being, but we have to open our hearts for His greatness and grandeur so that we, like the apostle Paul, will desire and covet the working of the risen Lord in our hearts. Isa. 40:18 To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him?
      Prov. 30:3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One. How true this proverb speaks of us all who daily walk under the blessed shadow of the Almighty's love. It is with dedication that we press toward the high calling of God by the renewing of our minds and hearts through God's word so that we might know Him more and more to the fulfillment of our very beings. Phil. 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

      It all comes down to our faith in the Lord and His finished work. Our faith in His work of redemption is active and at work within our beings, because He is in us and we are in Him at all times; regardless if we feel it or not. Acts 17:28a For in him we live, and move, and have our being. 
      In all our growing and walking with Christ, we must always remember that It is all God and His gift of salvation that brings us life and life eternal. Never make the mistake of believing that somehow we have earned anything of our salvation. It is Christ and Christ alone that has assured us of this incredible gift of eternal life. What a God we serve. What a good God we serve.
      It is true that within ourselves we are not there yet. We have not mastered all human wisdom, nor all the knowledge of God Himself. However, as we humbly walk before our God, He will guide and teach us in everything we need for this life to bring us joy here and prepare us for our eternity so that one day we can assuredly say, "We know the Holy One intimately." 
      When we come up against any wall that is hindering our progress in Christ, may we have the faith and power to break through or go over it to victory. With God, we can do all things. Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Getting It

Proverbs 1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

       Eureka! Wow, that makes sense. Ah ha, I get it! What a flash of honest joy it is when the Holy Spirit finally gets through to our hearts and we see clearly what God was nurturing within us. That blessed and assured moment of spiritual clarity that we know, that we know, the Lord has hit home and we get it. In that heart smiling moment of relationship with Christ there is no better feeling or high on earth that can compare. 
      The reality that we know there is nothing that can interfere with the closeness we have with God right then and there is worth life itself. 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.
      In January of 2014, I was praying out of frustration and asking God for answers on difficult things I was going through. I was praying, "I need a real answer here Lord and not one of those Yea! Behold! things but something in plain English." I was not being rude but asking in real earnestness because I wanted real answers I could understand and follow. I stood there in quiet surrender to what God would say. Hab. 2:1 I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. 

      I could have fallen over when I thought I heard this in my spirit. "Build a banqueting table!" "A what?" I said. In the quietness of spirit, again, I thought I heard, "Build a banqueting table." The strange thing is from that moment on I had a desire to build a banqueting table. I started coming across different types of wood that people gave me and also wood I found on the slag heap at a sawmill. In my backyard, in the warm days of spring, I started putting a table together from different types and sizes of wood. I eventually built a farmer's banqueting table that was seven foot long by three feet. 
      It had a cedar top with pine panel legs, spruce brackets at the footing, douglas-fir braces under the top and a large ash wood brace on the bottom. Why the different types of wood?  The simple answer. It's what I had to work with. As I was sanding and finishing the table project, I was amazed at the beauty of it with its wormhole scars and dark colored knots. Wood grain designs of different shades meandered through the table top. The beauty of the wood just spoke of God's creation and diversity. Isa. 55:12a And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
      I was gushing out words of joy to my God about the beauty of the table's finished look and said, "I venture to say, Lord, that there is not another table like it in the universe. I love the way it turned out with all its numerous flaws, imperfections and genuine scarring. I love the way the wood feels with its lines of textured grain. I just love the way this table turned out. It is so unique." Then with a thunderous voice, I heard, "JUST LIKE YOU!" 

      I could have sworn the neighbourhood heard that voice. It was loud and right over me. The hair on the back of my neck was up and tingling. "I get it Lord. So that's what you were trying to say to me back there in January when I was praying in frustration." I said with loud exaltation in a perfect moment of clarity. I am unique! I venture to say there is no one like me in this universe, just like everyone who is reading this. You are so unique and God loves your uniqueness because He made you that way. Wow! What a word in its season. 
      Yes, we might have a few wormholes, nicks, and knots distorting our looks but that does not matter. God made you and me unique to Himself and we need to embrace the individual love God has given each one of us. Psalm 139:14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous, how well I know it.
     There is an intimate moment when Jesus is talking with the apostle Peter. Jesus asks Peter. "Who do the people say I am and who do you say I am Peter?". Peter gives Him this answer. Matt. 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 

      When things are revealed to us by our heavenly Father and we get it and respond to the truth of it, then we are a blessed people. We experience wonderful moments of understanding who we are and why we are. We are uniquely God's workmanship created for his 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.
      The interesting thing is that I cannot remember what the reason was for the frustration that made me so intense to pray back then in January. I don't remember what it was about. I can only remember the joy of the project and finding out I am as unique as each one of you. We are uniquely owned and loved by God and He pours out His goodness toward us. I get it! Praise The Lord.

Monday, 1 June 2015

House Of Cards

Proverbs 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

      ♪♫ My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
      I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.♫ ♪
      On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.♪♫
      All other ground is sinking sand.♫ ♪♫
      Need I say more? But I will. "What is going on in this world?" they were asking each other at the next table with genuine fear in their question. "What is up with all this excessive killing and robbery going on every day? Has the world gone mad?  Man-made disasters one after another, can't anyone do something to stop this craziness? What has happened to the life we once knew?" they said with disgust at the human condition oozing out as pus all around them. 

      At least that is what it sounded like to me as I eavesdropped on their expressions of fear that were being voiced at the next table and I reckon on a daily basis at many restaurant tables these days. 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. One of the reasons this is happening is that it is our own fault. Prov. 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Ladies and gentlemen, when you remove God's principles (the ancient landmark) from the national conscience, the inmates are in charge and the result is helter-skelter.
      People are crying injustice and in the same breath crying for personal rights regardless of the injustice it causes others. They want it hot and cold, black and white, while bringing accusatory judgments on those trying to administer justice. We are becoming a nation of neurotics and demanding the right to be so. We are removing the ancient landmarks and principles that kept us a righteous nation, then we wonder why this patch-work of humanism built on a house of cards is not working. 

      We have allowed the corrupt and lawless to guide our morality and create laws that are so full of pretense that there is a gangrenous stench rising up in the hearts and minds of the people. Rom. 2:21 Thou therefore which teaches another, teaches thou not thyself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that say a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?  Some people are starting to ask, "What is right and how can I get there?"
      I often hear that church attendees are hypocrites. I say the hypocrisy is in everyone who writes their own gospel by cherry-picking the verses and philosophies that suit themselves for a lifestyle they have chosen of their own free will to live any way they want; regardless of what God says about it. James 2:11 For he who said, "You shall not commit adultery," also said, "You shall not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 

      The reality is that this syncretistic cult like way of living is causing the moral landscape to erode into a vast desert of empty psychobabble, producing a sloth mentality of unrealistic and unsustainable logic that sounds good until truth permeates the weak validity of their reason. It is nothing more than self-promoting, and ignorant repetitions of shallow one-liners heard on tabloid TV. Rom. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
      
It makes the normal person want to cringe and shout what the apostle Paul said. Rom. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? These feelings and events are not new to God or man. Habakkuk was going through the same thing in his day. Hab. 1:3 Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. 
      Wow, sounds like Habakkuk was looking at the same house of cards with the same jokers in charge. As then, so will God now protect and guide those who belong and trust Him. Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
      We can count on the fact that God has the last word in this universe, but while we are here on earth we are to stand in the righteousness that Christ gave us through His blood and be the blessing the world needs right now. 

      Isa. 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. The word of God is something we can truly count on to build a house that will stand the test of time and the ridiculous. Don't let the events going on around you trouble your hearts and spirit. Know that God has the number of our days in His hand. Our hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. Blessings to you.