Saturday, 26 December 2015

Happy New Restoration

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
      

      Yiddish saying: "If his word were a stick, you couldn't lean on it."
      It's that time of the year again when people of different stripes, sizes, and beliefs make their New Year's resolutions to become a better person or at least try to become more accomplished at something. As so often reported, these promises to self rarely come to fruition because it takes resolve of intent, character of heart, and strength of will to accomplish anything of lasting worth in life. 

      The resolution promised to soul and character will take something more than a whimsical declaration of intent at the beginning of a new year to come about as reality. It will take fortitude and an honest desire to accomplish that which God has hidden in our deepest selves that God birthed within us and will come out at the right time in our lives. Jer. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 
      This character change within us will take more than a resolution because in most cases it takes the restoration of soul and character to overcome hindrances in life. We do not just want to be seen as doing what is right in life but actually be doing what is right regardless of whether we are seen or not. 
      When we live in that state of being we will not have to wait until a new year starts to try again. We will look for restoration immediately upon noticing we are out of alignment with what God is doing in our lives. Restoration of heart and spirit will be our desire. Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. If we allow this type of honest change in our lives, then what we say and do can be counted on as reliable.
       There are so many areas of our lives that need real restoration and healing. True restoration comes from the Lord who is the restorer of souls and lives. 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. We often think we can fix our deep personal problem on our own and yet, we just have to look around and see the mess the world is in to know we are failing to fix anything of worth. 
If we could actually fix things, would we not be in better shape as a human race? John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 
      The restoration of the Lord is a good and complete work. God restores our health and the wounds of our life. Jer. 30:17a For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD. The Lord will restore our soul if we let him. Psalm 23:3a He restores my soul. 
      The Lord will restore our ability to grow and be a blessing to one another. He will restore our dignity and self-worth in Him. Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
      
Since I have a choice between restoration in Christ or fulfilling a resolution in my own strength, I will take the restoration by the hand of God because it will be done right and will accomplish a deeper and lasting work in my spirit, soul, and body. 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.
      This year's end brings us to a place of reflection where we look back and calculate whether we are pleased with what has transpired in our lives. The year in review per-se. I am blessed that there have been some great milestones of accomplishment and blessings. I know there is room for much more from God for the coming year. So, we ask ourselves, "Did we accomplish what the Lord put in our hearts? Is there room for greater improvement of attitude and life choices?" There is in my life. 
      I don't think a promised resolution can pull it off for me. I believe it will take the power of the one who created me and knows me intimately to work a work deep within me to accomplish the purpose which God created me for. Psalm 139:13 For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. 
      This last year was definitely a year of restoration for me. I personally want to thank God for all the restoration He has done in my life. Jer. 30:17a For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD. The restoration of the Lord works and I hope we all allow the Lord to restore us to a place where we can all be counted on to be a blessing in this world and life. Happy new restoration everyone.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Christmas List

Proverbs 18:16 A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

      Someone said, "I think as you grow older your Christmas list gets shorter, because the things that you want can't be bought."
      We have a small tradition at our family gatherings during Christmas, Thanksgiving and all major feasts. Before we eat, we all take turns sharing something we are most grateful for in our lives. On some occasions, the enthusiasm of this blessed family fun time has caused another go-around when exclamations of' "Oh, oh, I have something else I'm grateful for," and declarations of gratitude are offered up to heaven as a sweet and honest prayer. 1 Thes. 5:18 Give thanks in every circumstance, because this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
      
      I sit there at the table smiling and listening like a patriarch of the family and I become so blessed to hear all the good reports and expressions of gratitude coming forth so freely. What a gift of life this joyful experience is. It cannot be bought at a big-box store or a specialty shop. It can only come from our heavenly Father who also rejoices in the gleeful offerings of thanks. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
      I hear people bemoaning the fact that they have such unfulfilled expectations this time of the year because of all the seasonal hoopla going on. Maybe it is their lists of unreasonable and unattainable gifts they are looking for to bring joy and satisfaction into their lives. Peace of heart cannot be bought with a debit card, it can only be received as a gift from the Prince of Peace. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 
      The newest toys or fashionable garments can be given and received with fun and gratitude, but it will never have the lasting effects of fulfilment that is so often looked for when gifts are exchanged. Be realistic during this time of the year and have the best righteous time you can. Make the blessing of each other and goodwill for each other's lives a must-have on your Christmas wish list. 
      My Christmas list for everyone is the blessing of life I have experienced and am so happy to have. My wife trusts me and I trust her. My sons are loved and are respected citizens. I live in a country with numerous freedoms. I can read and write, plus I have real friends. I live in a law-abiding society and my sons love their parents. 
      God's grace is poured out on me daily. These things that bring meaning to my life cannot be bought or shopped for on anyone's Christmas list that is most often grudgingly gone through just to get it out of the way. No saints, these kinds of gifts are God-given and inspired to bring about the best in each one of us.
      There is no greater gift to mankind than what God the Father did for us through Jesus Christ our Lord. God gave us eternal life if we want it. Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. What an amazing gift Jesus is and he himself is the gift that keeps on giving right into and throughout eternity. All I can say is, "Thank you, Lord God, for your mercies in my life."
      When we, as the blessed people of this earth, start to give each other the gifts that God has given us, we will be ushered into the everlasting presence of the Lord. Prov. 18:16 A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. My Christmas list and wish for everyone are great and marvellous blessings that you will not have room to contain them. May your children call you blessed. May the love in your marriage grow and be a blessing to the rest of your families. 
      May you and your neighbours be a blessing on your street. May you find forgiveness and restoration among your siblings. May your health be the best it has been in years. May you prosper and be generous with all that God has given you. May you all find the real peace you have been looking for in Jesus name. Now, that is a Christmas list if ever I saw one. Merry Christmas everyone and God bless us all.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

God's Currency

Proverbs 8:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

      God's method of payment is not always in cash but can sure be of the greatest value for life and soul. I remember talking with a friend who had asked for prayer so that God would help him with his business. We had prayed and asked for the favor of God on the business and we were in faith together for a blessed result. 
      A few days later we met for coffee and he said that God had paid him in full. He had a smile the size of a half moon on his joyful face when I asked him if he had landed the deal of a lifetime. He said, "Yes, God is so faithful because last night my daughter came home and declared that she had broken up with her fiancée because the relationship was not of God and she realized it."  
      My friend said that is the best gift he and his wife could ever of had from God because their daughter was finally happy and smiling again. He said, "We got paid in God's currency and there is no money or business deal on earth that can compare." Deut. 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
      How true it is that God's currency of absolute blessing can continue to be a blessing for years to come with no loss of value. I have had the same blessing when I was asked by my son if I was being paid for ministering in different churches as an itinerant minister. I said that a lot of the ministry I did was gratis and I loved doing it because God's currency was beyond cash flow. 
      I used my son's life as an example since I was talking to him. I reminded him of his own miracle when God had thoroughly delivered him through the prayers of many of heroin and methadone addiction and he now lives clean and free. I said, "This kind of answered prayer could never be bought or purchased with money, but only God's currency could give such value and do a deep work within a soul. That miraculous blessing will always be beyond wonderful for the rest of your mother's and my life." So thinking about what God has done for me I would gladly give my time to the Lord because God is so good. Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. 
      How much of God's currency has come into our lives? Have we stopped and noticed the eternal value of His riches towards us? Did you get to reconcile with any of your parents before they passed away? "Yes!" you say. Have you thanked God to this very day because those who did not have that chance in their lives know the sorrow of not being able to have done so. 
      Did you receive the deal of the century even though you were not expecting it or even thought worthy of such an incredible blessing? Have you been delivered from a devastating illness and now you are well again? How has God gone beyond that which you could even think possible? His overabundant riches in our lives continue to bless and bless daily. Eph. 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 
      We take so much for granted because we live in an over-consumptive society run by the idea that the accumulation of stuff is valuable. The numbing result is we are having difficulty seeing what is of true worth in life. In many kitchens in North America, there are hand painted artsy signs that say, "Count your Blessings." The meaning of this sign is most often seen in a person's peripheral vision along with all the other kitsch is fading and losing its luster because God's currency is seen with the heart. 
      When our hearts belong to God, then our lives belong to Him as well. When our hearts belong to God we will be able to see all the riches of His glory working within us. We will then see what an amazing life we have because of Christ and we will see how rich we really are. Eph. 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. God bless us all.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Sleep Of The Innocent

Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

      A lot of families and coworkers are worried and rattled by all the problems causing mayhem in the world these days. Some have said they wish things would just go back to the way things used to be, so they can get a peaceful night's sleep. The sleep of the innocent is dependent on our relationship with God and not events taking place in the world. Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He gives his beloved sleep.      
      As responsible citizens, we should take notice of events going on in the world, but not be controlled by the reactionary fixes that often have worse consequences than the original cause of the said problem. We can prayerfully ask God what we can do as individuals to be a solution in the mess, but not be inundated and overwhelmed by the fear sweeping the nations. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 
      There has been a lot of politicized rhetoric from every political stripe and religious belief that has put into motion a dark and undulant effect causing fearful anxiety and sleepless nights for many. Prov. 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes. 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare. Real peace of mind and heart during these world catastrophes can only be given by the Lord Himself. Isa. 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.
     If people are looking to world leaders for real answers for a peaceful sleep, they will find it difficult since a lot of the same leaders being looked to are the ones causing the mayhem in the first place. It is the fox guarding the hen house scenario or in this case political weasels with their fingers on the peace trigger. Eze. 13:10 Since they have led My people astray saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace, for when someone builds a wall they plaster it with whitewash. 

      You cannot give away what you do not have. Leaders who do not have peace in their agendas cannot promise peace because they do not have it themselves. Christ, the prince of peace, has peace; therefore He alone can give it. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.
      
Someone might say I am being too simplistic. I say, "Not so!" We are in a corrupt world with corrupt agendas and in a lot of places led by corrupt people. That does not mean we have to be corrupt ourselves or even submit to it. As a matter of fact, we overcome corruption by being and doing what is right even though we live in a corrupt system. Evil may come easily to some, but we shun evil because Christ has given us the power to do so; therefore, by not submitting to evil we have peace in our hearts. Does that mean we will have peace in our land? Maybe not, but we will have it in our souls and we will sleep the sleep of the innocent. Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety.
      Jesus Himself had this peace of heart. He was sleeping the sleep of the innocent in the aft of a boat being tossed by the waves of a storming sea. Mark 4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Jesus could give away His peace to the situation because He had it to give. How much more will He give us His peace if we ask for it? 

      This is the reason we can be at peace in a stormy and fractured world where world peace is fleeting and hard to maintain. If the prince of peace lives in us, then we have a blessed head start to help bring peace to a corrupt world system that we live in and yet we are not of. Rom. 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. May we live well and not be fearful of world events that are out of our control. Rest in the Lord and may the sleep of the innocent be part of all our lives. Amen.