Saturday, 29 August 2015

You Can't Go Back

Proverbs 7:19  For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey.

       The longing we Christians often feel in our hearts for home is a longing for the time we will be living with our Lord in eternity. This feeling of homesickness is often manifested in spending all we have on the dream home, kitchen, and other merchandise. We sometimes invest all emotion and money into moving to the dream country that seems to have a welcoming culture where we think we will fit in. 
      We end up looking for an unattainable peace of mind because of the frantic and hectic lives we live. Literally, looking for peace in all the wrong places. We think of this dream life way over there somewhere. If we could just find it, we would finally be home.
      We come up with these unrealistic comparisons of joy and peace from our youth and days gone by when things were so much better. The problem is that our hearts and memories are very selective and we end up creating a fantasy past of joviality and a life that was so much easier to live. Eccl. 7:10 Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions. 
      The word of God asks us not to say, "Things were better way back when," but to look forward to the blessing and preparation of the eternal home our Lord and Savior has prepared for us. John 14:2 My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. Being where Jesus dwells is home.
      Our human nature is to find a comfortable place and live there. However, the Spirit of God compels us to move forward with His plan for His kingdom here on earth and it often causes chafing to our comfort zones to the point of unease. We start looking in the rear-view mirror thinking we have left something important behind. Because our focus is in the rear-view mirror, we run amuck on the road ahead of us messing up the plan God has for us. We then sit there crying for the good old days and lose the vision God had in our hearts. Ex. 16:3-A 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. 
      How interesting that the Israelites had already forgotten they had been slaves under extreme bondage and now they were longing at selective memories of a moment in time, from way back when. Num. 11:5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. Is that what you remember? Let me ask you this question, oh Israelites: "Do you remember this prayer to your God?" Ex. 2:23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 
      The Israelites had forgotten they were where they were because they had asked God to help them out of bondage in Egypt. Are we not doing the same thing? We ask Jesus to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior. Then God does what we ask and life changes from that moment on. 
      Of course things are going to change, and some of the changes will be at odds with our thinking because we are not God. We are not going to continue living our old way of life. The Lord is going to help us become a son of the living God. Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 
      It is interesting that a lot of the counseling pastors and counselors do for people are basically reminding them that they are where they are because they prayed and God answered their prayers. Then with indignation, they say, "That is not how I wanted the prayer answered! I was better off back then." Oh really? Back then when you were on your way to hell and were strung-out on all kinds of addictive substances and behaviors? Back then when you were friendless and making life choices from a weak and corrupted conscience?  
     No, saints. You cannot go back to the good old days. You are here today and now. Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. The longing for home is a righteous feeling because it is engrafted into our spirit through the work of the cross. Phil. 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 
      As odd as it sounds, we are Pilgrims in a strange land because the earth groans under the weight of sin right now. Rom. 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  
      When the Lord establishes the new heaven and new earth we will say with a full heart, "I am home. Praise you Lord Jesus, praise your wonderful name, for I am truly home." Keep the eyes of your heart looking forward to where God is leading because you are truly getting closer to home. May the peace of God fill your heart with the joy of the Lord. In Jesus name.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Believing Big

Proverbs 11:18 The wicked works a deceitful work: but to him that sows righteousness shall be a sure reward.

      Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."
      Every new venture or area of life that we have had to move forward in will often seem difficult to accomplish because we look at the task from a position of doing it out of our own strength and know-how. If we remain where we are, then the currents of life will drag us along to obscure and unwanted places. 

      The only way to advance forward in the life God has for us is to get our hearts and thinking in line with God's plan, even if it means we will have to believe big as God does. Matt. 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
      If all things are possible with God, why do we limit His work in our lives with unbelief? Why is Satan so hell-bent on distorting our awesome creativity and well being in Christ? What is it that God has created in us that makes us so wonderfully unique and well able to soar? 
      These are questions that we will eventually have to answer in order to stretch our faith and start believing for bigger and larger visions in God. The Lord God admonishes us to think and ask for greater abundance in the kingdom of God and enlarge our vision of the heart. Isa. 54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
        When God asked Isaac to stay in the land that was in famine, what do you think was going through Isaac's mind? Gen 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father. 
      God was saying, "Stay in this land and see what I can do with a man in covenant with me and believing for the bigger vision." Isaac obeys the Lord and he sows a crop only to see the miraculous unfold in his life. Gen. 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. 
      What is stopping God from doing the same for any one of us who love and serve Him? Nothing but our own limitations we put on God and His word. God promises His people houses we did not build and vineyards we did not plant. Deut. 6:10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build,11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied,12 fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. When was the last time you asked God for these promises while in prayer?  
      Many of us have a vision God has put in our hearts and yet we stand around waiting for some kind of burning bush experience to go forward with what God has already told us to do. We become paralyzed with analysis-paralysis trying to figure out how we are going to do what God has promised us. Meanwhile, God is saying, "Hey, I'm over here. Call on me to get this vision going; after all, it is my idea. I want this to work more than you do." 
      We have to stop thinking that we are alone in prayer. Remember, we pray with God and to Him. The Holy Spirit is the one inspiring us to say what God has put in our hearts. The more we speak it out loud the more real it will become. 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.
      It is time to believe big and bigger yet. What harm can it do to believe God for the stars? The worst that can happen is you might get the moon and all its' mineral rights. Is there a ministry or passion that has been birthed in your heart? Ask God to set you up to do and fulfill it. Is there a desire to become a mother, business owner, university graduate, pilot, president of a firm or country? Ask big, and ask the only one who can bring the big desire to pass. 
      Get out of the mentality of just hanging in there till the next morsel of blessing comes floating by. No, saints, bring your big dreams to God, the dream giver, and reason it out with Him in earnest prayer because He loves you so much. Isa. 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. Start believing big and let the windows of heaven pour out a blessing that you will have no room to contain it. Amen and amen!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Writer's Block

Proverbs 3:3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

      Writer's block: The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
      So, if a Christian cannot think of what to do next or how to proceed in his or her Christianity, is that Christian Block? Just wondering. Sometimes we just don't know what to do next, even though we have the Lord of glory living within our very beings; we just get stuck. Someone said to me, "At my age, I should have it figured out by now. I should know what to do next because I am supposed to have a lifetime of knowledge accumulated, but I just can't take the next step. I'm at a loss as to what to do." 
      Job was going through the same thing when he was stuck in his predicament. Job 32:7 I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ It sometimes seems like it will take forever for the tides of change to come along and deliver us from the mess or misery we find ourselves in. It might even be the stagnation of living in mediocrity that makes life seem like it has no zest to it. No, saints. We are more than earth-suits walking around in wonderment as to what will happen next. We have prospects. We have a future and we have God. This is a winning formula in any stage of life.
      God gives us a hint as to what to do when we seem to be at odds with our own sleepiness of spirit. God says, "Get rid of that writer's block by writing the vision down. Get your heart's thoughts on paper, cardboard, wood, slate or anything that can record a written word." Hab. 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it. You will notice that obedience to this word will help you become someone who is running with the word of the Lord because God says, "He may run that reads it." 
      We often think the vision God put in our hearts is taking too long to come to fruition but God says, "The time is near and not to give up on our hopes and dreams." Hab. 2:3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. What a profound statement: "It will not be delayed." God is in the ministry of fulfilling visions and knows how to make all things work toward our good. Rom. 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
      Don't let writer's block cloud the view of your awesome and mighty God who is on the throne of your heart giving life to your spirit with an all-powerful vision that only you and God can fulfill. You have to remember that you and God are a majority. What God has put in our hearts is eternal and will accomplish that which God intends. 
      Don't let the enemy of your soul lull you into spiritual drowsiness by reminding you of your past disappointments. No, saints, we look to the future and upon new horizons that await us in the power of our Savior and Lord Jesus. There has never been or ever will be a disappointment in Jesus. The Lord Jesus is life, joy, peace and wonder to our souls. If the Lord be for us and with us, really, who can be against us? Rom. 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
      Take the time this week to write down all the blessings of the Lord that have taken place in your life this past decade and see the faithfulness of God. You will notice so many good things have happened to you and for you that you may not have enough room to record the love God has lavished upon you and your loved ones. Psalm 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 
      I venture to say that if you do write down all the blessings and visions fulfilled in your life, any writer's block that might have been prevalent will utterly dissipate with your memories of God's love and glory residing in your heart. Go for it. Try writing down what good things God has done for you. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Nothing Is Working Out

Proverbs 2:8 He keeps the paths of judgment, and preserves the way of his saints.

      Have you ever had the feeling like the world was plotting against you? Nothing seems to be working out and you are sure there is some master plan that is out to get you. Jesus said," In this world we will have trouble." John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. It is interesting that when things are going right we think God is in full control; however, when things are going wrong according to our spiritual analysis, we somehow think God has lost control and we have to take over and get things right on our own. 
      I know these verses would not be found in a promise-box, but it is scripture nonetheless. Matt. 10:22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. In another place the word says in John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. I'm not trying to make out as some martyr or looking for punishment because our punishment was put on Christ at the cross and we are saved because of it. 
      I am saying all the things we go through God is still in control, whether the events are seemingly good or bad, right or wrong. God is in control of our lives. We just have to believe that God is God and is working things out for our eternal good regardless of whether we feel things are going well or not.
      There is a story of four lepers who, by reason of their leprosy alone, were having a hard life. They were also living through a severe famine in the land to the point that cannibalism had started to take place. 2 Kings 6:28 And the king said unto her, What ails thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. 29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. 
      To make matters worst they were under siege by the Syrians. These four lepers were debating their options of death because that was all they could see for their future. 2 Kings 7:3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. What else could go wrong?  Nothing was working out for them.
      With hindsight and this recorded bible story, we can see the hand of God at work and in control, but these lepers could not. It looked bad but in a one day life was about to change. God had sent a sound of many armies into the camp of the Syrians and it brought fear to the point that they ran off and left everything, from food to animals with all paraphernalia for living. 
      The lepers walked into an abandoned camp, feasted on the food, then realise they must share this news with the city in famine. 2 Kings 7:9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household. 
      The famine is over and the city restored. Just a few hours earlier all that could be seen and understood was death and destruction; yet God was in control the whole time. God was preparing a victory out of a devastating situation. As starvation and fear were taking their toll, I'm sure victory was the last thing in their hearts. Yet they had been given a promise that there would be food in the city the next day. 2 Kings 7:1 Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. 
      How many actually believed this report? The murmuring would have been hard to avoid because the odds of survival were insurmountable. Elisha was in essences saying that God is in control even though it looks and feels so bad. What are you going through that makes victory seem so out of reach? Have you become convinced that nothing is working out? Are you now so desperate that something like cannibalism (so to speak) is your only option? 
      No, saints, if we could have God's view of things and events we would see that God has our victory ready and waiting for our faith to lock onto it. We need to see our situation the way King David sees it. Psalm 34:19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. One day we will look back on our Christian walk and we, too, will say like the Apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 3:11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra--but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 
      Yes, the Lord rescued me from all of it. What we often think is not working out is working in our favor and will work out a good work in Jesus name. Stay in faith my friends. God is good.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Perpetual Restoration

Proverbs 2:7 He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

      Jeremiah 30:17a For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD.
     
It was a year ago this last week I suffered a stroke and was saved by a miracle of God's goodness. I was delivered from the destruction and after-effects that often occur after a stroke. I am so blessed in the Lord's goodness to not have suffered any ill effects of the TIA Transient Ischemic Attack. As I had blogged last year the TIA caused me to lose control and use of my arm, tongue, facial mussels, cognitive functions and vision. A very frightening experience, but thank God for His goodness toward me. Psalm 103:4 Who redeems thy life from destruction; who crowns thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. 

      The short version and reason for the TIA is that I have Atrial Fibrillation and my heart skips a beat here and there. Norvel Hayes says, "All these different names of diseases are names given to devils by the medical establishment." Eph. 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Thank God there is healing available for our soul, mind, and body no matter what we come up against in life.
      This last year has been a season for the healing of my heart. I had to make a lot of lifestyle changes that will take care of my heart that acts out in Atrial Fibrillation. I have had to put everything I know of faith into real practice and have been blessed to learn the difference between sustaining faith and delivering faith. Prov. 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. By faith in God's goodness, I've come a long way in the healing of my heart and am grateful for the new lease on life plus a revised vision for life that God's word has led me in. Psalm 107:20 He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
      The lesson I have come to understand the most is that the number of my days are in God's hands. The Lord has guided me to take better care of His temple (who I am) so that I can continue to exalt the righteousness of God. Something else I've learned is what Joel Osteen said, "You were not defined by your past, you were prepared by your past." The events of the past year could have had an ill affect on my life if I had let it but I have a mighty God who fights my battles for me and with me. 2 Chron. 20:15b This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 
      My God is able to fulfill in me what He has created me to be and do. The stroke was a knock-down but the last year of getting better every day and in every way has been a building up for better things to come. Oh, I've had my bad days when it looked like there were monstrous walls to overcome because health is a moving and living thing that has to be lived through. However, God's grace is sufficient and has allowed me with the right attitude to say in my heart, "I am well able through Jesus my Lord to be completely healed. Joel 3:10b Let the weakling say, "I am strong!" So I'm saying it everyday, "I am strong!"
      The word of the Lord promises that there is restoration for our lives. Through faith in God's word, we can walk out our faith to obtain the blessed promises of God for our lives. The Lord will restore our years. Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. Our God will also restore our minds and souls. Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Our heavenly Father will restore our health and the health of those who are believing with us. Isa. 57:18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
      Our Lord is in the ministry of restoration and He will restore our lives. Jesus will even come looking for you to restore faith, assurance and blessing if our hearts are open to Him. It says in the book of John that a blind man who had been healed by Jesus on the Sabbath had been cast out of the synagogue because of a broken law. This man had been healed and cast out because the healing he received had been done on the Sabbath. The Word says Jesus went and looked for him. Jesus searched him out to be a blessing and bring restoration to his soul and assurance of his healing. John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  

      Saints! What a God we serve who looks for ways to restore our faith, love and healing. So I say, "Be restored in the Lord this day!" May there be even more restoration in the years to come for my life and all who read this. Thank you, Jesus, for your goodness. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Its Our Victory

Proverbs 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

      Old proverb: Victory has a hundred fathers.
      How true the old proverb is. As much as we like to think we did it on our own, well, we did not. Our victories were won by many who went before us and victory is also won with those who are walking with us right now. Victory is an all-inclusive win and growth plan for the hearts and minds of the saints. Eph. 4:11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
 
      We are victorious because of all the good that has been sown into our hearts over the space of time by all the people who God brought our way to bless, test, and strengthen us. Everyone's victory is ours if we apply the lessons learned from them. Our victories have come because we have stood on the shoulders of the brave saints who went before us and prayed down the walls of unrighteous laws and ideas that kept people in bondage to all the abuses that man can imagine. 
      Each generation has had to spiritually discern and trail blaze so to speak the minefields of unrighteousness and human degradation that is brought about by the enemy of our souls. We live in a fallen world under God's love and the provision of salvation that is laid up for His saints to do the work the Lord has called us all to accomplish. 2 Cor. 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
       Where we start to lose the blessing of God's victory is when we start trying to make the word of God subject to the church, rather than the church being always subject to the word of God. At no time should I make the word of God say what I want it to say to justify something I want because it does not jive with a current fad and lifestyle. Deut. 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. 
      Making the word of God subject to personal whim is often done by people regardless of what God says in His word to be right and righteous. This is why we often have great contention in the world because the things of God are spiritually discerned and the natural mind is warring with what God says about the truth that God has established in His love for us. The masses perceive a controversial subject, but it is not controversial to God because His word is spiritually discerned and God is right. 1 Cor. 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 
      Someone said, "What you gain in God, you keep. What you gain in the world, you lose." The victories we have all gained in God the Father have become part of our eternal lives and will be a blessing to us because these victories are God-breathed. So it stands to reason that we should seek the things of God that will give us eternal victory in our lives and the lives of our contemporaries. 
      When you win a battle in the Lord, I win as well because we are the body of Christ. When you come through a hard warfare, I am strengthened by your victory. Your testimony gives me hope that I can also overcome my battles through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
      When I overcome the tricks of the devil, we all win because what we gain in God we keep and it becomes part of our legacy. This is why the Lord admonishes us to pray for one another so that we all come to a place of victory in Christ. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
       I am so grateful to my heavenly Father for all the people, great and blessed, that God has used to help me be the man of God I am growing into. I know I did not get this far alone. I got here with the help I have received from all the saints who have sown love, time, grace, and fortitude into my life. To you, I say "Thank you." I ask God to bless you. Num. 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. Amen!