Friday, 27 May 2016

Take My Own Advice

Proverbs 2:9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
  
       1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
      It sure is easy to give out advice but another thing to live the advice being offered. The word of God is constantly admonishing us to make sure that we put into action what we are preaching. If we do not do as we preach, then we become self-deceived. James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 
      It is so easy to say what should be done and then not proceed to do it ourselves. We have to be aware that we do not simply pontificate to achieve a status as a great orator and end up with no substance of the heart. Jesus was having to bring this sin in the open on a constant basis. The Scribes and Pharisees were excellent at public showings, but bankrupt when it came to the substance of their souls. Mark 12:40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.
      It is always so disappointing to the general public when a sports phenom or member of the privileged authorities ends up morally crashing because they were caught doing the very opposite of what they claimed their lives stood for. Many a person who had been preaching an honest lifestyle ended up caught up in a scandal or embezzlement scheme that hurt a lot of the citizens. Rom. 2:22a You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? 
      It is such a let down to our idea of what is right that discouragement steps in to create a state of abandoned helplessness. Psalm 12:1 Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. We have to become men and women of our word and stick to it even when it might cost us time, money, or something of value. Matt. 5:37 Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
      As I write this I am preaching to myself because I need to take my own advice and do what the Lord and His word has taught me to do. It is so easy to say, "Love the sinner but hate the sin." The sentence just rolls off my tongue with little human effort, but am I able to put it into practice? 
      The word of God clearly says to pray for our enemies and for those who sin against us. Great theory and easy to say, but oh to actually do it. Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Ouch! I'm going to need your help here Lord. Someone said, "Opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone has one." I venture to say that advice is similar: everybody has some. May we all become people of substance and truth and live our own advice.
      Peter had to make a decision about whether he was going to follow his own advice. His public declaration that he would never forsake Jesus came back to bite his ego very hard. He had to deal with his own hypocrisy. After living the bitterness of that experience, he recommits his heart to the Lordship of Christ and becomes an apostle of renowned. 
      From that point on Peter begins to take his own advice to heart and live what he is being taught by the other apostles and the Holy SpiritWe know this because in Galatians chapter 2 Paul confronts Peter for his hypocrisy concerning eating with the Gentiles and the negative influence his hypocrisy caused. As time goes by, Peter again changes his heart and attitude toward the fact that God is for all mankind and not just the Jews.
      Doing what the word of God says to do is how we become skilled at following our God-inspired advice. When we follow our conscience that is dedicated to the Lord, we will be able to take our own advice with a confidence that comes from God. May the advice I give come from a practiced, proven, and lived lifestyle that gives honor to God and my fellow man. In Jesus name!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Stop The War

Proverbs 20:18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

      The red placard was big and bright with the words "Stop The War." I thought to myself, "Which war? There are so many."
      The world is awash in wars, skirmishes, battles and conflicts. There are so many types of wars that the buzz word in some cases when land, sea, and air battles are involved, it is called, "theatre of war." There is a war on drugs, gangs, terrorism, borders, waterways, ideologies, and a war for the souls of mankind. Wars will not be stopped until the warring within our souls is stopped, controlled or repented of. 

      Until there is an honest desire within our hearts for the success of our neighbours, workmates or man on the street - wars will not stop. When a territory or a radical religious idea is being fought over to the point of a full-blown war, then wars and conflicts will remain in full explosion until everyone is dead, or the sickening waste of it all is finally seen for what it is. 
      The word of God says that wars are going on because the war within our hearts is causing conflict. James 4:1 What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? This conflict is the result of the fallen human condition. As long as there are humans on the earth, war will be an option.
      The battle within our souls is to be conquered and eventually to have victory over what it is that causes the unrest. These clashes within us will be defeated when we allow the power of the Holy Spirit to become the peacemaker in our lives. 2 Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. 
      Most people at war do not realize that they are fighting against an enemy that is trying to defeat, destroy and eradicate the human race. The word of God is clear that we are battling princely powers, demon influences and not humanity. 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.
      If we want to stop endless wars, then we will have to stop the enemy of our soul who has been promoting his own type of evil crusade through racism, bigotry, poverty, sickness and disease. When we become the neighbours we want to have, then we will begin to stop the war. 
      The elimination of war starts with the full capitulation of our own souls to the Lord Jesus. Someone has to surrender first. Christ surrendered to the cross so that we could surrender to Him and be victorious in a resurrection life as Jesus is. 1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 
      By surrendering to Christ the King of kings and the Lord of lords who conquered the cause of war by His blood which was spilled on the cross for us all, we can be assured of a true and honest victory because we are one with and in Christ. As we choose peace, war will diminish. As we choose life, abortion, murder and hatred will be seen for what it is. 
      When we choose the solution to any problem, then the result will be a positive change of righteousness. Deut. 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
      Making God-like choices on a daily basis will bring about better results than just being against everything. When we put our energies into using the wisdom, guidance and spiritual common sense God gave us, then it will bring about whole and real solutions. We will have a forward looking vision rather than the feeling that empty rhetoric falling on deaf ears has on us. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 
      As the Proverb says, "With good advice make war." We are to fight the good fight of faith and with the Holy Spirit as our counselor directing our battle plan, we will win the war set before us because Jesus has overcome the world. 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.
      So, what can I do to stop the war? I must start with my own heart by extinguishing the war within myself by allowing the righteousness of Christ to have complete ownership of my soul. If that is what it takes, then so be it. Lord Jesus, I surrender all!

Friday, 13 May 2016

There's A Rainbow Somewhere

Proverbs 8:29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries, and when he marked off the earth’s foundations.

      I was having dinner with my wife the other evening. We had a nice table next to a large window with a full view of the ominous skies and shards of colorful sunbeams between the dark gray clouds. The rain was coming down very hard and the sun's brilliance was reflecting off the raindrops. My wife looked out the window and said, "There's a rainbow somewhere." 
      I thought, "How true that is, we just have to look for it." Just knowing there is a rainbow around the corner will give a person hope. It is true that there are a lot of problems in this fallen world, but there are also solutions or rainbows so to speak that come our way and we have to be grateful for them. 
      The promises of God in His word are like the promise of the rainbow that was given to Noah. Gen. 9:17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth." From then onward, every time it rained Noah and his family would be reminded of God's goodness. The rainbow would help them remember that God keeps His covenants. We are fortunate to have the word of God that declares all the Lord's promises and covenants for all who walk them out by faith. 2 Cor. 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 
      God says that creation speaks to us about the greatness and the glory of God. Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handy work. We just have to look around and seek the promises of the Lord. God has the ability to take any problem that looks like monster storm clouds appearing on the horizon of our lives and turn those threatening menaces into blessings of hope and victory. 
      We might be at the bottom with life's hardships pressuring us with feelings of being destitute. Yet, somehow God will turn what appears to be a no-way-out situation into a victory and a testimony of God's love, power, and restoration in our lives if we let Him. The storm never feels good at the time while we are going through the trial and tribulation, but there is a promise of a rainbow somewhere that will give us the courage to believe God's promises of victorious living.
      I am sure Noah was not doing a happy dance or declaring a judgmental shout of "Hey, God, we sure showed them, didn't we?" Just because Noah was right didn't mean it felt good to know everything and everyone had perished because of rampant sin. 
      When Noah saw the scope and devastation the world had gone through because of the judgment laid upon the earth through the great flood, Noah's heart must have been emotionally wounded. The surreal feelings of looking over the new world would have been incredible to take into his mind and heart. 
      God, therefore, makes a covenant with Noah and his family. Gen. 9:12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 
      In essence, God was showing us that no matter how great the devastation and catastrophe we may go through in life, there will always be covenantal promises in God's word that will bring us through it. God was saying to Noah that there will always be a rainbow somewhere if you look for it. When you find it, you will be reassured of God's goodness toward us all. 

      If you are going through a hard time, then search the scriptures and find the promise God made to you and bring it to Him in prayer. Let the perfumed balm of Gilead calm your heart and renew your strength in the hope of the finished work of the cross that was done for you. 
      Press into the love of God through His word that gives your soul renewed strength and faith for the victorious triumph that belongs to you in Christ. 2 Cor. 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. Let us give God thanks for His goodness toward us and look for the rainbow of promise that will give us the victory in Christ. Remember, there's a rainbow somewhere.

Friday, 6 May 2016

For Such A Time As This

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

      Esther 4:14b Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.
      There is a reason why we are presently alive and living on this earth. When we consider the odds of making it to this day and still breathing to tell about it, we must recognize the abundant grace at work on our behalf. In my own family, my younger brother passed away at a young age and I have already lived longer in years than my grandfather did before he passed away. 

      Why has there been such favor and blessing of years given to me? We just have to read and watch the news to know that if we are alive and well, we should be most grateful. With all the wars, earthquakes, floods, texting and driving, hurricanes, hailstorms and catastrophes going on a regular basis, we are sure blessed to be alive. Job 14:5 A person's days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed
      We are alive in spite of all the poisons in the atmosphere, prescription drugs leaching and polluting our drinking water supplies, plus the numerous artificial flavoring, preservatives and toxins in so many processed foods. It is a wonder that we are still moving along with purpose and vision. All I can say is "Wow, God is good to us and thank you Lord for keeping us well."
      Like the Psalmist I also wonder why I am still alive and marvel at the grace God has shown me through the years. Psalm 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visit him? It is no accident or coincidence that we are still here being guided by God's wisdom and hand. 
      Some people muse and say that they should have been born in another time or period in history. No, you were born for such a time as this. God has put within each one of us the ability and tools needed to meet the extreme challenges facing mankind at this time in our history. We were on God's mind when He thought of what would be needed in this world for our appointed time of life. Jer. 1:5-A Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
      We were created for such a time as this period in our history. We are to go forward with the plan God has put within our hearts because the world needs that plan now. You do not have to go televise the plan nationally; you just have to step out in your own family, church, workplace, and neighbourhood. 
      We are often the miracle someone needs. If you have the ability to teach, then teach the next generation to get a hold of God with honest fervor. If you can dance, then teach someone to dance. If you can sing, then sing for some old lonely souls who need an uplifting moment in their day because you were born for such a time as this. Use what God has given you for the glory of God and the expansion of His kingdom. 
      God has given everyone talents according to their capability of managing them. Matt. 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. It does not matter if someone is more talented than you are because if they do not use the talent they have for good or even bring it out into the open, then what good is it? 
      Don't do what the lazy servant did; burying his God-given abilities. If you do that, then at the end of life you will bemoan the fact that you never really lived a full-hearted life. You want to hear the Lord say, "Well done faithful servant and not Matt. 25:26a But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!
      One of the tricks the enemy of our soul uses is to say that the time is not right in order to delay, discourage and damage our life purpose and vision. The time is now and the season has come because there has never been so many opportunities to be a voice for God in this earth. Eccl. 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. 
      There are more ways to communicate the vision and plan God has put in our heart than ever before in history. At the touch of a keyboard or any communication device, we can give out our God-inspired message to multiple people at the same time and reach areas of the earth that were in times past unreachable. Step out with the gift you have and see what the Lord can do with anyone who is willing to be used of God. Your time is now. You have been created for such a time as this.