Saturday, 28 November 2015

Righteous Change

Proverbs 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou may be wise in thy latter end.

     "But we have always done it that way." This is often said when change is in progress and causing discomfort.
     Change is not always easy but often needed to get to the new levels God wants us to grow in. Matt. 9:17 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved. 
      Under normal circumstances, you would feel a bit silly if you were thirty years old and your mother insisted on walking you to the corner store and carrying your money for you. You would say, "Look, mom, I am old enough, I'm married with children and responsible with money, I can do this on my own." I say this with tongue in cheek. 
      Thank God for all the praying mothers out there. The point is, change is inevitable. If change had not been embraced we would all still be in the old world and the new world would not have been discovered, let alone space exploration and beyond.
      The apostle Paul who had been called to bring the Gospel of salvation to the gentiles had a pit-bull of a fight with the established beliefs of the time. He constantly had to debate the old Levitical-laws and the grace of the new birth offered to all mankind because of the risen Christ from the dead. Phil. 3:2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 
      In essence the new testament coming into reality was causing the old priesthood to be in a place where they were constantly returning to their vomit or foolishness so to speak. Prov. 26:11 As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. 
      Their hearts were blind to the moving of the Holy Spirit because they were entrenched in their old and unchangeable ways. Even though God was on the move and bringing in a new dispensation of salvation through Christ, the old guard and their way of doing things had become their folly. They were no longer looking or listened for the leading of Jehovah God whom they professed but rather dictated to God what His law said and how they would live by it. Inadvertently through traditions they had pushed God aside and were declaring how to earn righteousness without God's say so. 
      This is a dangerous situation when we start making the Bible say what we want it to say so we can rationalize something we know is wrong but insist on living that way anyways. Jude 1:4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvellous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
      We cannot add impurities to clean water and say it is healthy to drink. Rom. 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. We have to change our minds and hearts to keep our vessels and what is in it clean because the Lord is righteous and declares what righteousness is. When the Lord brings change to our lives, it is always for the good of our well being and will still be rooted with the righteous ordinance of His word. 
      The change will not be an allowance for sin just because someone says it is well and legal; therefore, the sin is alright to do now. "After all we live in this day and age," is what these rebels often say for an excuse to try and legalize their sin. 
      The principles of God's word will always be relevant to its place in history and will always lead people to the Lord's standard and interpretation of His word. The Lord will not lower Himself to a base mindedness just because people want to live in unrighteousness, but rather, the Lord will bring us up to His righteous ways. 2 Tim. 2:13 If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself.
      God, Himself does not change. Mal. 3:6a For I am the Lord, I change not. He remains righteous and faithful to His word. He uses His word to change us so that we become like His son Jesus. Don't be afraid of change, whether it is in your church or life. Embrace it because it means we are growing and going forward in the blessings of the Lord and all that those blessings entail. 
      If God has been asking you to change something in your life then step up to the plate and get it done so that you can say with joy in your heart, "Look what the Lord has done." Be a victor because you said yes to what God is doing in you and not a victim because you put the change on hold. Change is good when God is leading you into it. Blessings.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Look For The Helpers

Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man perverts his way: and his heart frets against the LORD.

      Quote: You can't fix yourself by breaking someone else.
      As I think about the tragic events happening in the world, it seems that some misguided followers in an insane sect are trying to fix themselves by breaking others. As you know this is a lose-lose situation. Any fool can break, destroy and kill. It takes courage to heal, restore, and fix the underlying problems in any society. James 4:2
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 

      The rhetoric that is spoken by these vengeful murderers may have the word god in their mindless babbling, but anyone taking an honest moment to think knows God is not supporting their actions of evil. The results from large scale human-caused tragedy can leave people numb and fostering feelings of hate, anger, and demands of retaliation. However, human retribution most often leads to greater and escalated violence. 
      We just have to look at all the factious wars going on in the world and see that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth has only left a lot of blind and toothless people looking for sanctuary. Nothing changes but the names of the innocent brutalized in the cross-fire. Eccl. 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
      What is the solution and what can we do when we feel so overwhelmed with grief, anger, disgust and sadness of heart because of horrific events? Most of us everyday people are not in positions of authority and power, so we don't know how to move forward leaving a sense of frustrated uselessness. We wonder how being one person can make a difference to such a massive emotional need. 
      As simple as this sounds, start looking for the helpers and fixers who rise to the top during and after the catastrophe has left its scar. Look for and become the people who show up to be a hand extended with whatever help one can offer in spite of the size of the grotesque event. Don't focus on the fools who caused the mess, but rather focus on the helpers who move in with quiet courage doing what is right to restore the dignity of life. 
      That is how we overcome the works of the enemy of our soul who has influenced the insidious perpetrators of mayhem in the first place. Eph. 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
      By focusing on the helpers and being a helper, we destroy the works of the enemy and the fear that was intended. Look at what the Lord Jesus did when he heard his cousin John the Baptizer had been beheaded. Matt.14:10 So John was beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. 12 Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened. This was not only an unjust death for John himself. It was also a spiritual attack on Jesus personally to put him off his life mission. 
      I am sure Jesus felt the pain of loss and he knew he could call down destruction per-se on all responsible for John's death, but Jesus also knew who had influenced the whole thing. So Jesus went and destroyed the works of the enemy who is the true cause of evil. Matt. 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
      What did Jesus do after hearing of the injustice and murder of his family member? He went out and healed the sick, therefore destroying the works of the enemy and the intended fear that comes with violence. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
      Look for the helpers. They are everywhere in all tragedies. Take courage and solace from these unassuming everyday people who you also happen to be. Be a helper and you will change the events of life, no matter where you are or what you do. Helpers are the backbone of life, so be one and live well. 1 Cor. 16:23  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Dream A Dream

Proverbs 22:17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.
      
      I was talking with a brother in the Lord a few weeks ago. He was sharing his desire to have a small two to three acre farm where he can get back to raising his own animals and food he use to have many years ago. He said, "It is a bit of a pipe dream, but I would sure like to see it happen." At that moment I proffered my hand and said, "In Jesus name, I am in agreement with you for the fulfilling of your dream to happen."
      Saints, even if it is a pipe dream, go ahead and dream a dream of better things. It is very possible that God put that dream inside of your heart so that you would pursue it and look for help in the fulfillment of that dream in prayers to your God.
      
      Our Lord leads us through our dreams and puts within our souls His plan for blessings within our lives. Job 33:15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. 16 Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. We often disregard our nightly dreaming and some of the oddities about them as indigestion, or psychological life reflections. 
      However, we should not take dreams lightly and not be afraid to ask God what He is teaching us and what the instructions are that we are to take from them. Prov. 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. When a dream keeps coming back to your heart and mind, ask the Lord for the reason and interpretation so that your peace would remain.
      Joseph was a young man when God put a life purpose in his heart. The instructions for Joseph's call in life came through a dream. Gen. 37:5a And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren. What if Joseph had ignored the dream and simply said it was only the bad effects of a poorly digested meal? Gen. 37:7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. Had Joseph not taken the dream of the Lord seriously, he might have missed out on being part of saving a nation from starvation.      
      Joseph's dream kept him going through incredible obstacles that most people would have just given up on. He dreamed a dream, sown by God, that eventually became a fact of life manifested by God. Interestingly enough Joseph knew God spoke to people in dreams and because of that fact Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh's dream and the result was the will of God for Joseph's life. Gen. 41:39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Because God has enabled you to know all this, there is no one as wise and discerning as you are! 40 You will oversee my household, and all my people will submit to your commands. Only I, the king, will be greater than you. From a farm boy to the head of a nation's affairs, God can work a dream sown in sleep come to fruition in the light of day.
      Mary's fiancée, Joseph, had a dream concerning the direction he should take in his life. He was perplexed with the events happening to Mary. After all, the idea of a virgin birth had not been the first difficulty Joseph thought he would have to deal with as a bridegroom. The suspicion of virtue was foremost on his mind and he needed real direction from God. The dream was clear and well articulated so as to relieve all doubt in Joseph's heart. Matt. 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 
      Later on through another dream, Joseph is able to save his family from murder. Matt. 2:13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. How important are dreams and the instructions received in them? The wise men were also directed through a dream of the Lord for the safety of their lives. Matt. 2:12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
      Don't be afraid to dream and dream big. The dreams in your heart can bring valuable blessing to the lives of others and ourselves. May it be said of us when we walk through this earth, "Here comes that dreamer." May it also be said of us that our dreams do come to pass and are made plain before everyone for the glory of God. May our dreams inspire Godliness and forthrightness in our homes, communities and lands. Whether our dreams come through a good night's sleep or musings on ideas, may God help us fulfill them and the joy of the Lord fill our heart because of them. Amen!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Lest We Forget

Proverbs 20:18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.

      Ester 9:28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation, by every family, and in every province, and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.
      
We are at that time of the year when we take the time to remember the sacrifices of our great-grandparents and grandparents who fought and died in world wars past. We also remember those who have fought and are fighting in the numerous wars of today. These soldiers fought and fight for our freedom that we often take for granted. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
      Their efforts and fight for freedom has allowed me to write this blog and say what is in my heart. There are many places in the world today that would put me away for having an opinion and faith in Christ. Our freedom and rights came at the cost of many lives.
       Such a great cost to individuals and their families is so incredible that words are hard to find to express gratitude. When the wars were over these unassuming soldiers returned home to try and live normal lives, often forgotten and rarely thanked for what they gave. Many of them found it difficult to find support when their personal demons came to the surface of their lives because of the horrors they had witnessed in the trenches of human decay. Nonetheless, they put their hands to the plow and continue to build our great country. 
      We enjoy our freedom because of the work and dedication of others. John 4:37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ We are able to go farther in life because of what was sacrificially done for us and for the coming generations. So as a society, we put a day per year aside and remember all the freedom we have that came at a high cost to many. Memorial parades and services are held across our land as a time of solemn memory for the fallen and we remember them gladly.
      The Lord asks us to also remember His sacrifice with a memorial participation. 1 Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” The soldiers gave their lives for our freedom in life so we could make our own choices living in a democratic society. Jesus, on the other hand, gave His life for us so that our souls would be eternally free from eternal death and destruction. His sacrifice can also bring the living out of every bondage that keeps people oppressed. 1 Cor. 15:55  "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" I am grateful on all counts. 
      I am grateful for the sacrifices these men and women have given for my freedom, but I am most grateful for the eternal freedom I have in Christ because of His sacrifice on the cross and the power of His cleansing blood. I am a blessed man because I am enjoying the freedom of country and religion.
      When the names of the fallen are read from the monuments erected in their honor, we stand at attention and quietly say, "Thank you," in our hearts for their ultimate sacrifice. To the maimed and living soldiers who survived, we also salute and are grateful for their courage. The Lord brings our attention to a wall of fame in the book of Hebrews. Read Hebrews chapter eleven. The chapter is a list of those who have gone before us, preparing the way of faith in God. These saints gave their lives for us to have an eternal freedom that can only come through the gift of God. Therefore, let us stand and fight the good fight of faith and live free. 1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 
      During this time of remembering, let us not forget the eternal sacrifice offered to every human in existence through Jesus the savior of the world. Rather than putting a day aside per year, let us remember the Lord's love and sacrifice for us every day of our lives. Thank you, Lord, for our freedom. Amen!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Grudge Match

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.   

      Bob Marley said, "Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."
      Do you nurture your grudges like your children? Do you keep them clean and fresh ready to display as prize possessions at the moment of a woe-is-me opportunity? Why is it so difficult to see the effects grudges have in our own lives and yet so easy to see the effects of grudges in others? This is a common occurrence I run across while in a counseling session with people who just cannot get victory in their Christian lives. 

      It is interesting listening to some of these people express their desire for the judgment of God to take place to someone because of a slight or wrong that has happened to them and at the same time claim the mercy and forgiveness of God for their own lives. Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. I know it seems obvious when reading it here on this page but just not obvious enough when it is happening in one's soul. 
      Grudges have a way of wearing down the joy of the Lord in a person's heart the same way sandpaper wears down balsa wood. Unforgiven grudges can show up unexpectedly within a soul out of nowhere. It can be an old photograph peaked at or fragrance on a light breeze that sparks an old angry memory. 
      It can come and sneak up on you like a mugger through a sudden loud sound or a bad taste when biting into something. Before you know it all hell breaks loose and all because of an old nurtured hurt that has turned into a festering grudge against someone who did you wrong. Gen. 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven time. 
      How far can a person's heart get distorted because of a grudge? In this case, the grudge resulted in murder and arrogantly bragging about it. It does not take much for a grudge to happen, but it takes courage to stop it in its tracks. When someone takes up a grudge and lets it build into something that eventually will control them, it can have long-lasting irreversible effects. 
      We read the story of King Saul putting David in charge of the men of war. 1 Sam. 18:5 And David went out whither soever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. Life is going well then by chance something happens that causes a grudge to mount up in Saul's heart against David. 
      1 Sam. 18:6 When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. 7 This was their song:  “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” 8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. Wow, talk about being insecure. 
      It was the words of a song that caused a grudge that would last for years and drive King Saul to make numerous insane decisions concerning the kingdom of Israel. Saul ended up losing everything, including the dedication of his own son Jonathan. Was the grudge worth all the misery brought into a nation and individual families over the rhymes and musical notes of a few dancing girls?
      We might laugh at Saul's immaturity but what grudges are you nurturing that can bring catastrophic effects to your life? There are family members today who will not talk to another member of the family because of something that happened way back in kindergarten. There are people whose grudges have become part of their persona. They make all their decisions based on the hurts they experienced when they were in high school. When is enough, enough? 
      What grudges in your life are worth keeping and disobeying God? Will you be able to bring those well-nurtured grudges into heaven with you? I think not. 1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 
      It is worth noticing that on deathbed confessions, people always want to get rid of the grudge in their lives before they meet their Lord. Why wait so long? Do it now and have an abundant life so that the joy of the Lord is with us now and forevermore. No grudge match is worth winning and definitely not at the cost of our life long peace. Amen! 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Daylight Savings

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.

      The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. We then take that hour back during the winter months to give us a brighter morning start.       
      We are trying to get as much daylight as possible so we can live a safe and productive life. In fact, we are redeeming the time so we can have more light. If we who live in this natural world can see the need for light and brightness in our everyday existence, then how much more do we need the light of the Holy Spirit to live an eternal life in God? John 1:9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? If anyone walks in the daytime, he will not stumble, because he sees by the light of this world.
      Jesus was stating the obvious in explaining the difficulty man has in understanding the things of God because of their dark hearts. John 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. The light of the Lord has to be within a man in order to walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, otherwise, man will just stumble through life wondering why everything they do is such a dreary task. Prov. 4:19 The way of the wicked is like gloomy darkness; they do not know what causes them to stumble.
      As we get older a regret we often have looking back at our lives is we did not redeem the time well in and at certain times and places. There is no point bemoaning that fact because we did not know what we did not know at the time and we may not have had the illumination in God we have today concerning certain subjects and events. Today is today. Let us redeem the rest of our time for the love of God and His purposes. Rom. 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 
      Let us walk in the light of this day we have been given and be joyful in gratitude so that we can move forward with the light of God's word in our hearts. Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 
      The life of Jesus is a perfect example of someone who redeemed the time for the task at hand. We see what can happen when a life is dedicated to the ways of the all mighty God. Someone might say, "We have nowhere near the ability Jesus had when He walked the earth." Yet, the word of God says we do have His ability because Jesus lives in us and therefore all things are possible. John 14:12 Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 
      It took Jesus three years and a few followers to change the course of history. Jesus said He would build His church and even hell would not be able to stop it. Talk about redeeming the time and using what was available to Him to change history. All the apostles had to work with was a born-again message that was written on parchments and scripts, but they moved throughout the known world and changed it forever. 
      With the modes of transport available to these dedicated saints they used what they had and developed rich lives in Christ. How much more effective can we be in the kingdom of God with every possible communication device available to us today if we would just redeem the time in our lives and use them to be history changers.
      There is no excuse today for anyone not reading or learning the word of God in order to be a person of blessing in your community. The Scriptures are available twenty-four-seven if anyone has the capability to stay up that long. Finding time to play games and watch mind numbing television seems easy for a lot of people. Finding time to ask God for His direction and help in a life decision seems to be put off till there is a crisis in the person's life. They can rationalise shopping as being easy, but praying is hard. 

      When was the last time you actually talked with God to see what He wanted rather than showing up in panic mode screaming for help? Thank God we can call for help, but there is more in Christ. When Christ returns for His church, will we be walking in faith and redeeming the time of day? Luke 18:8b Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth? 
      Redeem the time you have now and develop a relationship with your Lord. Ask Him anything! There is nothing that can shock God as He has been here from the beginning. Walk in the light of His word and God will answer you. Jer. 29:12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Thank you, Lord, for hearing our hearts. In Jesus name!