Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Point Of No Return

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

      John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
      The point of no return is normally a technical aviation term in navigation to refer to the point on a flight when, due to fuel consumption, a plane is no longer capable of returning to the airfield from which it took off. Major decisions have to be made at that point to ensure the safety of lives and equipment. Literally they are at the point of flying on a wing and a prayer. We all come to a place in life where we make a decision that can be referred to as "The point of no return." 

      As we walk through life and in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ there comes a day when we say in our hearts and homes the same thing Joshua said in his day. Josh 24:15b "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." This statement was Joshua's point of no return.
      Jesus had given a very hard word to his disciples and followers. There was a clear doctrine of belief expressed that Jesus was the bread of life and there was no other way to obtain eternal life. John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. The murmuring was swift and the idea unacceptable to many. John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. At this point, Jesus asks the remaining disciples an interesting question. John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? The remaining disciples answer is the answer that comes after realizing they are at the point of no return. John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 
      How true Peter's statement is when he expressed his heart, "You have the words of life, where can we go?" How many times have you come to that place in life where things are very hard and the pressure to compromise seems to be the only option? However, you know in your heart you have already passed the point of no return when you had honestly made Christ the Lord of your life. We may feel trapped and think that compromise is the way out, but if we are mature Christian we will know that Jesus has the words of life for that situation. John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
      Maybe you are facing a difficult situation in your health, finances or relationships and feel you are at the end of your ability to know what to do and the temptation of compromise seems like the only option. Perhaps you feel like giving up on your health. Your excuse to keep using substances you already know are destroying yourself and your family seems a reasonable delusion. The idea of defrauding a company or a person seems justified because the pressures of financial ruin is threatening your ability to bring home an honest wage and theft seems to be a short-term answer. Maybe you are entering a relationship you already know will be abusive and sensually dishonoring all because your fears of being alone and unwanted are a constant reminder. You are not alone as many are facing the same points of no return in their lives. 
      Matt. 7:13 You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. Instead of compromising, face life with a bull-dog tenacity and stick to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We will overcome because the point of no return concerning God's word being our standard will take precedence. There will be a knowing deep in our hearts that God will come through for us even though we cannot see a way it could happen. Yet at that moment we will know God's faithfulness, but we have to reject compromising our righteousness in Christ. Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
      There are many hard sayings in God's word that can upset a person and their personal beliefs. We can either stay with the Lord and do what He asks of us or we can leave Him and go off and trust our own devices. The point of no return is when we act or react to what Christ says. The Lord is either Lord of all or not at all. The choice is ours. As for me and my house, I choose the words Peter so profoundly said. John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 
      I have made up my mind, I will follow Jesus. There may be times that compromise might seem preferable, but by faith and grace in God's life-giving word, I will choose life. Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants. May we all come to the place where God's word takes precedence in our lives and the point of no return becomes the point of victory. Amen!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Double-Talk

Proverbs 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you"-- when you already have it with you.

      Bertrand Russell said, "Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed."
      We live in a time of perpetual confusion where duplicity and subterfuge is promoted as an acquired skill to survive in this world. We are at that place in our history where we call evil good and good evil. Isa. 5:20 
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 
      We save whales and kill babies. Our governments allow the whims of the few to force unethical changes onto the moral majority. Our corrupt financial leaders protect and promote usurious lending and investment schemes they know are worthless. Big agriculture proclaims the safety and virtue of GMO products to the point of heirloom seed extinction. The big business of cancer saving drugs costing as much as a mortgage is promoted as health care for us all.
      All of these controversies are causing a numbness of the soul wherein Bertrand Russell might be right in that it is discouraging thinking among the masses. The apostle Paul explains this very event that is taking place in our times.
 2 Tim. 3:2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
      I am very aware that there are honest and forthright people in each one of the professional fields mentioned above. Men and women who are truly called to these professions are trying with all their hearts to make a difference while working in a broken system that has become commonplace. When talking with and encouraging these courageous mavericks they often speak of the challenges they face because of all the double-talk and political wranglings that go on behind the scenes. 
      Duplicity and subterfuge are the spiritual giants they are battling on a daily basis. 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. May God give these honorable men and women the ability to overcome the perpetual lies raining down upon them and bring a blessed Godly reform needed in their workplaces.
      What can we do as individuals to help change the status-quo of an insipid existence? How can I make sure I do not buy into this drone like thinking and slothful humanism? One of the ways of beating this trend is to do what the word of God says to do and do it by faith. James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 
      The Lord admonishes us to be vigilant in hearing what His Spirit is saying to us. There is a reward for those of us who overcome the temptation of being sluggish and shallow in our soul. 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. 
      By overcoming the temptation to live a compromising life we will be blessed with the privilege of eating the fruit from of the tree of life. Who is life? John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. When a person receives life they will speak life and double-talk will be far removed from their hearts. We will taste and see that the Lord is good and will want more of His anointed goodness in our lives because we always want more of what tastes good, and God is good. Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
      Enough with all the double-talk and trying to manipulate our fellow man. Prov. 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you"-- when you already have it with you. Bring honesty to your workplace and see what the Lord can do with the power of one righteous person doing what is right in God's eyes. Stop being part of the rumor mill in your workplace and fellowship centers. EX. 20:16 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 
      Make a covenant with your own heart that you will be what God has called you to be. Make your communication plain and without double meanings, so you can be taken at your everyday honest word. Be the miracle that people need right now in the maze of all the multicultural confusion. The principles of God's word has never changed and we can count on the honesty of what God says to us to be true. Mal. 3:6a For I am the Lord, I change not. In Jesus name, may we all grasp and acquire the skill to talk as plainly as our Lord does and live in the peace and joy found in Christ. Amen.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Health-Scare System

Proverbs 1:27 When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you.

      Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.
      I am in my early sixties and I have noticed in general my grandmother's and mother's generation believes absolutely and without question everything the doctor says. My generation, myself included, is very skeptical of what the doctor says and we tend to research everything talked about in the doctor's office. The next generation of forty-something and younger believes nothing the doctor says. I am not sure what this is going to do to medicine as we know it in the near future, but I think a big change will be coming to the whole health-care system as it is presently known. 

      The lack of trust and disbelief in the big pharmaceuticals and their role in influencing the whole medical service plan will have a consequence down the road. This younger (everything is a conspiracy-theory and look out for zombies) generation are finding it hard to trust any type of authority and this is causing fear on an accelerated level. 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.
      This past year of my life I have gone through a battle trying to coordinate my doctor, fibrillation-specialist and cardiologist to approach the healing of my heart from a holistic point of view. In the beginning, these medical specialists continually tried to sow fear into my heart so that I would accept the multiple prescriptions they were recommending under the standard status-quo of what they normally hand out as healthcare. 

      I began to call it the heath-scare system because they were trying to instill the fear of every negative possibility that could happen to me during my day and when I slept if I did not take all the pills they were recommending. Gradually all three of my medical professionals started to work with me on a holistic approach when they saw the results from my own healing efforts. Every day and every way I am getting better. With a lot of prayer and faith in the healing power of God, I have come a long way to a place where I am the healthiest I have been in many years. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.
      I think the main reason for the favorable turn around in my health is that I will not buy into the doctors' fears. 2 Tim. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Every time they tried to push fear on me so that I would acquiesce to modern medicine (which in most cases adds up to taking prescriptions) I would call on the name of the Lord and fight the good fight of faith rather than believe the fearful report. 

      Please don't get me wrong, I do respect the knowledge and years of practicing medicine my doctors have built up in their lives. I also respect their views and the information they have gleaned concerning Atrial Fibrillation: the problem I am overcoming. 
      I am constantly inquiring from their vast amounts of knowledge so that I know what to pray for. However, I will not submit or react to all the dialogue that is fear based and promoted. Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. They can only give me facts about the situation I am in, but God, can deliver the truth of His word over the situation and I choose the truth of God's healing word.
      Fear is not of God but it is a main staple within the world. The Lord went to the cross for each and everyone of us to deliver us from fear and shame so that we would live in relationship with Him without fear. Luke 1:74 That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. 

      Whenever we seek the Lord, the first thing He does is deliver us from fear. Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Every time the Lord presents Himself to anyone in the bible he always says, "Fear not." Some of you may be facing some of your greatest health battles you have ever been in. Know that the Lord is good and He will help you quell your fears and help you overcome the fears of the people you have to deal with so you can defeat the sickness trying to invade your life. Speak words of faith and don't be shy in saying you are strong. Joel 3:10b Let the weak say, I am strong.
      Fear is the only weapon the enemy has because he himself is full of fear. Jesus is full of love, life, and He is fearless. Christ's fearlessness lives within each and everyone who has received Him by faith. Do not buy into the fear that is dispensed on a daily basis as if it is a prescription for living. You have the right to reject it because it does not belong to you. Isa. 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  As my friend Monica Izaguirre says, " If you are in Christ, then be fearless!" I say "Amen to that."

Monday, 12 October 2015

A Second Chance

Proverbs 24:16 Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

      If I could just have a second chance, I would fix the hurts I caused in life. How often have people asked for a second chance to make things right after the consequences of messing up royally? Things that were done because of stubbornness ended up altering the course of life and now living with the results. What would you have done differently had you known the outcome of the selfish act you insisted on doing? Prov. 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 
      God gives everyone a second chance when they ask Jesus into their heart for the first time. 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The new birth in Christ is the ultimate second chance that has ever been offered to mankind. When you say in your own heart, "If I could just have a second chance at overcoming that problem." God is there willing to give you that opportunity. 
      The beauty of God's redemptive work through Christ is that we get to repent and try again with the help of the Holy Spirit guiding us to conquer whatever has come against us. Whether through dumb behavior of our own free will or falling because of an attack by the enemy of our soul, with God we can get up and try again for a better and righteous result. 
      Some people bemoan the fact that through Adam and Eve's sin we became victims in a fallen world. We start life from a sin default per-se. That may be true, but we are also given an eternal chance to change the result of that first sin we were born into. 1 Pet. 3:18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. There it is. We do not have to remain victims of a fallen state of being. The love God has for us is given to us so we can come home to the Lord's loving embrace and relationship. Matt 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
       Samson made a lot of poor choices and ended up sightless in the world of the godless. He got a second chance when his hair grew back and his strength returned. He called on the name of the Lord for his final act as a judge of God's people and took out the enemy. Judges 16:30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 
      David and Bathsheba lost their child conceived during their adultery but got a second chance when they repented. God gave them a child who would be king in their future. 1 Kings 1:37 As the LORD was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David! 
      Peter who denied knowing Christ the evening of the Lord's arrest became an apostle of apostles after receiving a second chance from Christ the risen Lord. John 21:17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 
      The woman who had been brought to Jesus for judgment because of adultery received a second chance and the grace to go and sin no more rather than death. John 8:10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" 11 "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."
      What a Savior we serve. A God who is constantly giving His love to us and calling us to Himself through faith in Jesus. I have had more chances than I can count from my Lord and Savior to walk with Him in the beauty of His Holiness. Christ has always had a hand extended toward me and anyone who would reach out and take His pierced hand of love. We have all been given a second chance to choose righteousness. Only a fool would reject such a gift as that. Psalm 14:1a  The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Thank you, Lord, for your everlasting love you have given each and everyone of us. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Deferred Gratification

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

      "I want it now!" is the mantra of our overindulgent generation. The idea of waiting and saving for something wanted has become so old-fashion. Those of us who still do things that way are mocked as people who are not in touch with the times. Having self-control over one's spending habits is seen as a waste of time when all you have to do is get it now and pay later. Offers of easy money that should not be refused is promoted twenty-four-seven with the added enticement that says "You deserve it." 

      We live in an overcharged consumptive world where nothing is denied and no one seems to be happier with all they can get at the click of an icon or the swipe of a charge card. The Lord warned us of this treasure hunting attitude that can take a toll on our hearts. Matt. 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
      No! I am not against shopping at the mall. As a matter of fact, the majority of the miracles in the new testament were manifested in the streets and marketplaces where Jesus and the apostles ministered. I am only thinking out loud as I watch people shuffling their way through their daily grind, looking for that thing that will bring joy and satisfaction to their souls. The assembly of the first mall is attended regularly with heartfelt dedication and the willingness to offer up hard earned or borrowed money to the gods of glitz and glam seems to be done without thought. 

      Worshipers of the newest device lineup for hours and sometimes days in order to get the product that will ordain the individual as acceptable in society. The rush to spend money they don't have on brand names not needed to impress people not liked is the doctrine numbingly followed. All this froth of activity in order to have a sense of self-worth while Jesus says to us all that the rest and gratification we are looking for is in Him. Matt. 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
      There is nothing wrong with owning the latest device offered in the marketplace, but not at the cost of your personal peace and integrity. Counseling the young and old who are in debt to lenders of fast money has been heartbreaking. All they can think of is declaring personal bankruptcy and starting all over again. Therein is the problem. Starting all over again and not fixing the problem that got them to the point of bankruptcy in the first place. 2 Tim. 3:7 Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 

      Deferred gratification is such a foreign idea to these indebted ones. When I bring it up in counsel they look at me as if I am an alien. Maybe I am an alien, but this alien is not in debt and hopefully has developed a sense of self-control in life. 1 Pet. 2:11 Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and sojourners, to abstain from fleshly desires, which war against your soul,12 keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
      If you want to covet and cannot wait for the next thing, then covet the things of God. 1 Tim. 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. With the enthusiasm of the overnight shopper in line for the newest toy, how about lining up in God's presence for an evening of prayer and searching the scriptures for the answer needed in your life right now? Instead of spending money you do not have, why not spend some time with God finding out how to create wealth that will bring joy within the kingdom of God and to your life. 

      Work out a faith project with the Lord and see what He can do when God becomes your gratification in life. Use your life given energy to become God's blessing in the world rather than another statistic of human failure because you just had to have it now! Become grateful for what you have and stop worrying that you will miss out. God is not finished with you. The Lord has you in the palm of his hand and is working a miracle in your life right now, so be at peace and be gratified in His love. 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, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Spiritual And Lost

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end there of are the ways of death.
     
      "You know, Norm, your problem is you think Jesus is the only way to acquire righteousness. You talk as if Jesus is the one all and be all - as if there are no other spiritual roads to reaching God. I am very spiritual and feel I am just as blessed as you are without all this Jesus stuff." 
      I am paraphrasing the comments made to me in a moderate tone as I talked with an office acquaintance about my faith. I thought, thank you, Lord, if my problem is thinking that righteousness through Jesus Christ is the only way to my heavenly Father, then that is a very good problem to have. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
      The real problem is the people who think any kind of spirituality is the same as having a personal relationship with Christ. This idea is clearly not the same. Organized religion in a lot of cases is a person's idea of being spiritual. True enough, people who are in Christ do attend a church building to assemble for praise and worship of the Lord, but they themselves are the church body of Christ and not the building they are in. Eph. 2:20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 
      In Christ, by faith, I am part of His body that makes up the church; therefore, in spirit, I am a living member of the church body of Christ. I am a spiritual being whether I walk with God or not. I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body. Of course everyone is spiritual as it is our default position as human beings from the day of our conception. The body was dead as clay until God breathed His spirit into man and he became a living soul. Gen. 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 
      People who say "I am very spiritual" are not shedding any light on their personal position as everyone born on earth is a spirit and spiritual. The thing that matters and the question that has to be answered is, "Is your spirit within your body alive or dead to the righteousness of God?" What these pseudo religious people are saying is they have chosen a belief system or creed that meets their own personal standard of what is expected from God. The error is they forget to ask God what His expectations are in order to be in a relationship with Him. 
      God says, "His gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is His answer to mankind." Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Saying "I am very spiritual" is not saying much. Saying "I am trying to be as good as I can so God will accept and love me" is not going to earn God's love. News flash! God already loves you and that is why He gave you Jesus, so you could be right there near His side throughout eternity. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
      Satan has a smorgasbord of spiritual choices to choose from if anyone wants to eat from his platter of deception. 2 Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. The devil masquerades as a beautiful alternative to Jesus. Take a good look at the condition the world is in where religion is a battle cry rather than a way to heal the masses. Look at the countries where you have to die for your god rather than having a God who died for you. Look at the stench and degradation promoted by pathetic leaders who make slaves of their own people, only to end up in abject poverty. Jesus came to deliver all man from the personal hell that is being inflicted on them on a regular basis. 
      Ignorance and want are what Satan offers over the long run. John 10:10 The thief comes not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. What Satan offers is not for me! Because of religious ideology, in some countries, I would have been severely persecuted and in some cases to the point of death because of the discussion I was having at work with my fellow office worker talking openly about the subject of Jesus and being spiritual. I am in Christ and the coworker is still very spiritual, but we are both free to love and respect each other. That is the beauty of our freedom in Christ. I can still pray for all my office coworkers and live in peace with them.
      God made me an offer I could not refuse.
 Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Being spiritual is fine if you want to meander through life on this side of death and feel good about yourself. However, our lives were made eternal the moment God breathed His life into our souls. Since God is the creator of my life, is it not prudent to accept the gift He offered me? Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. May God reveal to each one of us His plan and purpose for our lives. Amen!