Friday, 29 December 2017

The Epitome Of Grace

Proverbs 16:15 When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain.

      The more I look back on my life, the more I see miracles. As the above proverb says, "The king has smiled on my life with favor." Yes, the King of kings and the Lord of lords has truly smiled on my life with grace; and I am sure for many of you as well.
      We have been so blessed with the gift of God's gracious courage that He has put within our hearts to overcome overwhelming odds that come against us on a daily basis. Rom. 8:37 But in all these things, we more than conquer through the One having loved us. God's favor has given us the ability to overcome the enemy and his attacks of sickness, disease, and multiple discouragements that come our way. James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
      The abundant grace God has poured on us is not fragile, but carries a strength of holy integrity that cannot be taken from us by any battle or devious plan the enemy of our soul would conjure up in his pathetic attempt at playing god. Isa. 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness which is of me," says the LORD. 
      The gracious favor the Lord has been nurturing within us cannot be removed by anything outside of our being. The Lord's eternal grace that is at work within us has become an inner lining of our soul.
      There is no gift like it in the universe that can keep us pressing forward in the ministry work of God's kingdom. 2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. God's favor is lavish and abundant for the believers who, by faith, have accepted Christ the perfect gift of God. Eph. 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 
      The world cannot come close to anything of such value and authentic preciousness. The world falls desperately short when it comes to fulfilling an eternal need that is prevalent in each person alive today. Grace can bless the body, soul, and spirit of a man who knows his need for a savior. The striving and straining for acceptance can finally stop when God's grace is in us. 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.
       The marvel and epitome of grace is its ability to change a lost soul, a sick person, or someone with a depressed spirit into a fully living born-again man of God loving the very life he has. 2 Thes. 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
      Our life can be turned right around from the edge of the pit of hell to the lofty heights of God's joy. We can be steadfastly headed for destruction, and within a moment of time grace can rescue us for a life of a God-given purpose. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.
      May the King smile on us all and fill us with His favor, and may we live out a life that brings honor and blessing to our God and each other. Rom. 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Unopened Gifts

Proverbs 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.

      Ex. 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass.
      In Exodus chapter thirty-one we read the account of how God instructed Moses to put Bezaleel and Aholiab in charge of building the tabernacle and all the furnishings for the priests' use in the tabernacle. 
      God instilled an artistic gifting with God-breathed abilities in these men that would create beautiful workmanship for the full completion of the tabernacle to be used by the chosen people of God to worship in accordance with God's will. The Lord had created these men with special anointed gifts that would be needed when the time was right to be unwrapped, so to speak, for the time and place of God's choosing. 
      What gifting is still within you that has not been unwrapped yet? The number of unopened gifts that are just laying around in people's lives are fading over time and may become lost forever. Many of us can clearly see the gifts in others that are dormant and wasting away but cannot see the unopened gifts in our own lives. Are these gifts hidden from us to be opened when God says the time is right? Are we to help each other unwrap these gifts in God's timing for the use of the body of Christ? Eccl. 3:1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 
      How often have you heard someone say, "If I just had the ability they have, I would do this or that. I wouldn't be frivoling a gift like that away." And yet, most of the time the person saying these things has unopened gifts of their own that are clearly seen by others. It almost seems like a form of spiritual nearsightedness. Every person created by God has been created for a purpose, with a purpose, and on purpose. Jer. 1:5a Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. 
      The Lord has given each one of us a gift in Christ for our personal growth and for the blessing of others. Plus, God's gifts toward us are full of grace for our personal fulfillment on this earth and time we are in it. Eph. 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 
      We have also been given ministry gifts for the church body to help perfect and mature the people who are part of the Lord's body. Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. It seems that we are awash in gifts and abilities being given to us from God all the time. However, we are not seeing it.
      Perhaps it is time to step forward with the gift you know you have in Christ and use it for the kingdom of God. There are all kinds of needs in the body of Christ, as well as the world. The gift you have and are not using may seem like no big deal to you, but may be needed by someone who would see it as the biggest deal they ever had in this earth. Maybe if we would use the gifting God gave us, we would start to see the unopened gifts at our feet waiting for us to dive in and open them with honest enthusiasm like a child on Christmas morning. Then there would be a lot of oohs and ahhs of appreciation for all the goodness God has lavished on us.
      This will have to be done by faith because even our faith is as much of a gift as healing is. We just need to use it in all of our life's situations - including finding our gifts. 1 Cor. 12:9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 
      Gifts and blessings are coming at us all the time. Let's open them up and fill the church and world with the anointed love of God that has been poured out for everyone. Let us be generous with the gift of life God has given those who are in Christ. May your gift in God bring you peace and blessings. Amen.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Head Games

Proverbs 29:11 A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

      Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
      The head games being played out for our attention, money, and time is chasing us down at accelerated speeds. The thousands of daily ads and noises rushing toward us on a continual basis is causing a social weariness and numbness within the hearts of many. Tired minds have become the default setting in people of all social standings around the world.
      The inability to focus on the task at hand is causing a desire within these people to look for an escape to anywhere but here. Psalm 55:6 I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest." How do we get control of our minds so we are at peace within our own lives and each other? Is it possible to keep the worldly head games from playing out their agendas within us? How do we let our minds be in Christ so we are at peace in our souls?

      The answer may be too simple, but nonetheless, it is a good answer. Phil. 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. The more we know Jesus, the more we know who we are in Christ. The more we know who we are in Christ, the more we will be at peace in our minds. The Lord says we who are in Christ are the light of the world. If God says we are His light in this world, then let us turn on that light to its full brilliance. If Jesus is our Lord, then let us grow up in His Lordship so we may be the light and salt of the earth and mature into who God wants us to be. Eph. 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 
      When our minds are set on God, we will recognize the head games when they come our way asking us to play. We will be able to give the game a confident "No, I don't want to play." The Lord has given us a sound mind or the ability to be disciplined in mind through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within our soul. Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
      In doing this, God is able to help us change our position of existence to be what God says we are. We do not have to be overwhelmed by all the head games that often traumatize individuals into a place of pitiful existence. If God says we have a sound mind, then let us step forward by faith and exercise this truth. 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. 
      We can focus on what God has put in our minds; however, we have to keep bringing the plan of God to the forefront of our minds. It is a daily act of faith and declaration on our part because the onslaught of the enemy is continually coming at us with his daily demonic rhetoric. Therefore, we must daily renew our minds in the word of God. 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.
      Someone might ask if this barrage of daily attacks on the Christian life and mind will ever let up? No! As long as we are living on this side of the grave, it will never let up. However, we who are practicing the life and presence of the Lord will keep overcoming because the Lord of Glory will keep leading us into His victory. 
      The blessings of God favors the prepared mind in Christ. Even though, we have eternal life, we have to remember that we live in a day to day relationship with the Lord and our strength is renewed day by day through the victory Jesus acquired for us with His perfect and holy sacrifice. Isa. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Peace of mind be with us all, in Jesus name.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Ethnic Cleansing Are Dirty Words

Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives.

      Lysander Spooner said: “Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.” 

      I have heard the words 'ethnic cleansing' being bantered about these days within the rhetoric used over national disputes. The idea is unsettling to the soul and mind to think that this option might be used again in our time. Ethnic cleansing. Those two words sound so tidy, don't they? Let's just eliminate a portion of the population and clean things up with a bit of ethnic cleansing. Let's get rid of the unwashed so we all can feel good about our way of living. Yuk, this cleansing does not feel clean at all.
      History has a way of repeating itself. No matter how much we say, "These atrocities will never happen again!" - we end up doing them again. God says in His word that past events will repeat.
 Eccl. 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Until we come under the Lordship of our God and His leading - all the terrible thing that men do will repeat themselves until the day God calls everyone to account. 
      The concentration-camps, killing-fields, and misguided use of child soldiers will keep happening as long as there is an idea that ethnic cleansing is a viable answer to a nation's woes. If an individual man cannot control his own personal impulse and wavers so easily over an ethical line and becomes base in character, then how on earth can nations made up with these individuals be expected to step up to the righteous plate and do what is right? Nations are made up of individual people with beliefs who together become a nation and project their beliefs nationally.
      Anger and jealousy are vindictive emotions and as long as the humanistic heart keeps making decisions from that foundational standard, there will be no changes on earth because the said emotions are leading them. Man with his flawed perception in charge of God's earth will bring pain and suffering as long as God is ignored. 
      The human condition, no matter how well-educated, is corrupt and devious at best and downright evil at worst. Jer. 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? This is why something like ethnic cleansing can gain momentum and take on an agenda of its own within the ideas and conscience of a so-called civilized people. 
      Man will continue to look elsewhere, rather than within himself to find someone or something to blame for his personal selfishness. Humanity will continue to war with everyone who is different and if the day ever comes when the perceived social outcasts are all destroyed, we will then turn on ourselves, because we are incapable of establishing any ethical boundaries when left to our own lusts. James 4:2 You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure. We need a righteous savior to save us from ourselves.
       Government legislation can make laws that force us to get along so to speak, but only God can change our heart to genuinely accept the unconditional right of existence of another person, language and race who God has made. Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 
      If there is to be any ethnic cleansing, then let it be God doing the cleansing within each one of us of different ethnicity. Let's clean up our own house per se, and then we will see clearly to help those who are struggling to find their rightful place on this earth. Matt. 7:5 You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
      Yes, Lord, start with me so I may see your purpose for each person you have created. Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Help us all to be clean and ready, to be a hand extended of God's grace in this world that needs cleansing through salvation in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Shush Be Quiet

Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
      
      Spanish Proverb: Don't speak unless you can improve the silence.
      When I was a young boy I spent a few summers with my grandfather on his old farm property in northern Ontario. Every summer he lived in a big one room cabin not far from the farmhouse on the property. I had free range of the cabin and property with pasture lands, creek, trees and bushland to wander throughout and use my boyish imagination. Raspberry bushes in full clusters were so much taller than I was and the berries were accessible for eating to the full. 
      My grandfather had a friend who cared for a big old black bear and another friend who had two huge ravens as pets. I was wide-eyed when we visited these reclusive men. When asked what I wanted for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I said without hesitation, "Pancakes, please." To me, this was my summer odyssey and I was living a dream in Paradise. Isa. 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
      One of the amazing things I remember the most was the quiet living conditions. My grandfather and I could be in the cabin, both busy with our own interests, and there was peace and quiet. There seemed to be no need for canned phrases or chattering for the sake of having something to say. We did not need noisy sounds to fill in the void of quiet pleasantness. The fact that I was in my grandfather's presence was safe and good. 
      I did not need the constant assurance of small talk to prove his love for me because I knew he loved me - after all, I got pancakes whenever I asked for them. If that is not love, then what is? Just being with him and in his presence was satisfying, plus the silence was a refreshing balm to my soul. Quiet was good and in that silence there was a blessed assurance of being because my grandfather was there, strong and able. What else did I need? Eccl. 9:17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
      God asks us to be still and know that He is there and able. He admonishes us to remember that He is our God and we are His people. Psalm 46:10a Be still, and know that I am God. We can sit, walk, or run without saying anything and be with the Lord. We can sit in His presence and smile at the fact that He is God and He lives within us. Acts 17:28a For in him we live, and move, and have our being. 
      We do not have to be chattering all the time for the sake of saying something - hoping God notices us or gets our meaning. Being performance oriented because of uncertain acceptance by God is not necessary as God has already accepted us through Christ. Some people cannot be quiet or able to enjoy the quiet times with God. They think they need to be saying, doing, or acting out some kind of ritual for God or man to be accepted and loved. 
      Shush - just be quiet for awhile and listen for what the Lord will say. 1 Kings 19:11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
      Yes, there are many times when we are to shout from the rooftops and in the streets the victory our God has given us. How true it is that we should come together and sing praises and worship aloud so that the heavens can hear our hearts. We want to express great joy and happiness in the Lord with crashing cymbals and trumpet blasts that declare how great and marvelous our God is. Never stop doing these acts of love and faith in our God, for this is the will of God for us toward Him. However, when the time comes for us to rest in His quiet strength, let us enjoy the healing love that comes through those times. Sng. 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
      Prepare yourself for the quiet moments and places God has created for those who love Him. Psalm 23:2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Take time and sit in His presence and hear the beauty of His whispered words of encouragement, blessing and love that give strength and eternal hope to our soul. Shush now, and be quiet. God is talking to you.

Friday, 24 November 2017

A Low-Sin Diet

Proverbs 5:22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.

      Well, at least I'm not as bad as they are. I tend to cringe in my inner being when I hear the personal justification for doing something ungodly or out of God's will. Whether it comes out of my own heart or the mouth of another person, it is still wrong, wrong, wrong. How can we compare our personal self-righteousness with the personal self-righteousness of another? Whatever it is that keeps us bound to a sin cannot be alleviated by comparing ourselves to someone else who sins worse or more times than we do.
      
This is spiritual ignorance gone to seed. Our soul does not get brownie points for not sinning a bit less than someone else who sins. Rom. 2:21 You therefore who are teaching others, you do not teach yourself. You who are preaching that people should not steal, you are stealing! 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, you commit adultery, and you who despise idols plunder the holy place!
      We must be in a state of righteousness that has been given to us through faith in the blood of Jesus and the finished work of the cross. Eph. 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

      We cannot make up our own spiritual rules as we go along to justify our own interpretation of God's word to suit what we want to do in the moment of temptation. We must overcome through grace and faith.
      When we use the world's standard of ethics and social behavior as our template for righteousness, we are simply on a low-sin diet so to speak. It becomes as silly as the term "No added sugar" to the already very sweet sucrose, corn-syrup, and artificial sweetened snacks. It no longer matters that there is no added sugar to a product when the person eating it has been digesting spoonfuls of alternative sugars daily. 

      They may claim to be on a low-sugar diet, but we already know that strategy will go nowhere but up on the weight scale. Plus, people encounter more doctor visits for help with all the diseases that come with the high-sugar diet. As the above proverb implies the man is held captive by his own cravings for sugar or any other vice and the ropes catch and hold him addicted to it.
      A low-sin diet will have the same problem in the soul of a man when small compromises become commonplace. Like the man who has tricked himself into believing a low-sugar diet is good enough will eventually be nibbling on whatever comes his way because he has no willpower to stop. 
      If the word of God says not to steal, then don't steal. Stop using so much of your employer's time to catch up and answer all your social media updates. Use your own time during your own work breaks rather than steal company time. Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
      Someone says, "I don't understand why I cannot get victory over this repetitive sin in my life. I procrastinate, and never fulfill a promise to anyone. I spend too much money on stuff I don't need and end up short all the time owing many creditors. I waste too much time on frivolous things, ignoring the word of God. I just cannot get going in life." Well, the Lord will help you fix it with an obedient heart and a mind for God. However, you have to want it. 2 Cor. 6:17 Therefore come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean, and I will receive you.
      
There are no half-measures here or part-time righteous acts for living that will conquer the sins in our lives. We cannot live on or with a low-sin diet. It has to be a no-sin lifestyle. That new lifestyle can only be received through Jesus Christ the Lord and all the work He did through the cross. 
      Don't be fooled with alternative interpretations of what you know to be true in your own heart. If Jesus said it, then it can be counted on for eternity. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. May God help us maintain a healthy spiritual and physical life. In Jesus name.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Us And Them

Proverbs 1:12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
      
      Luke 9:49 "Master," said John, "We saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." 50 And Jesus said to him, "Forbid him not: for he that is not against us, is for us."
      The lines that divide us today are getting darker and deeper to the point of creating great canyons between us and them. The stark differences between the haves and the have-nots or the unhealthy rhetoric between left and right political parties, angry men's and women's inequalities issues, plus the faith and race arguments of people's beliefs are all entrenched in a stubborn unwillingness to bend in any direction. Even for the sake of being helpful to anyone, these divides have become a gridlock of emotional frustration.
      The radical lines being drawn are separating families, friends, and neighbours to the point that honest communication is not getting through on any side. The upshot becomes an inevitable lose-lose situation. As soon as someone has a slightly different opinion on a social subject - an automatic shutdown comes into play and passive-aggressive arms are folded across everyone's chest and no solution is found.

      I grew up in the white north of Canada. I am not talking about the color of snow but of race and idealism that surrounded me. I was fortunate to be able to speak French and English. The language prejudices did not affect me personally because I hung out with both sides of the ethnic population. A large diversity and ethnicity of people of all kinds graced the town I grew up in. The us and them arguments came up often, but at the end of the day we got things done and our differences were resolved in peace.
      I had friends with French last names who spoke no French at all, and the Polish families whom I knew spoke French very well but spoke English with strong and difficult to understand accents. Somehow we made it through those years with agreeable and amiable respect for each other. Were there times when things did not work out? Of course there were those times, but life did not come down to a life or death decision based on who you voted for in an election as is happening today. Declarations of death or complete rejection of people for believing a different idea was not the country's default setting. Prov. 1:12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
      Why is absolute rage and anger being displayed when a difference of ideas are put forth? What is causing the polarization of beliefs that choke our ability to speak with an unbiased viewpoint? I believe we are dealing with a Princely Power, a Leviathan, or a lying spirit that has moved into provoking society into mayhem on a worldwide scale. This spirit can only be taken down through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. 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.
 
      God has given His people who are in Christ the power to help those who do not know the Lord. Our heavenly Father has given His sons and daughters who love the Lord the ability to overcome the provocateur of unreasonable hatred in this world. Luke 10:19  Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 
      God asks His people to pray for leadership and authorities in the world regardless of their political stripes. The Lord does not say to pray for them if they are saved or are aligned with our political choice. If anything, many of these leaders do not know God and they need more prayer than most because they have the responsibilities of leadership. 1 Tim. 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men; 2 for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. You will notice that the outcome of this prayer is a peacefulness for the ones who are praying. It does not necessarily mean there will be peace on earth, but those who are praying for leadership will live in the protected peace of God.
      We need to focus on who the real enemy is. It is not us and them. It is the enemy of our soul who puts us and them against one another. Let everyone who knows the Lord be first to extend an olive branch of peace to all man while praying and tearing down the strongholds over our land. In Jesus name. Rom.12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Like Me On.....

Proverbs 19:8 To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.

      Please, someone out there, "like me!" Like me on Facebook, Youtube, Soundcloud or on anything, but please - just like me. Are you living your life for the sake of a like? We have to like ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin so we can be happy with who God made us to be. Mark 12:31a Love your neighbor as yourself. 
      I feel sorry for a lot of neighbours if they are being loved as people love themselves. With so many people struggling with personality issues, body image acceptance and low self-confidence in who they are, their neighbours must be neurotic by now if they are being loved in the same way.
      Man's approval is fine, but God's approval is paramount for our well-being. God has already accepted us through His son Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept the sacrifice that God says is perfect; therefore, those who are in Christ are eternally liked so to speak and accepted for who they are. 
      When we accept Jesus as Lord, we now live a life that works toward pleasing our Lord. Then by God's grace, we begin to mature into a place where we accept ourselves and each other. Man's ways of acceptance just cannot do what God has done for us through Jesus our Savior. Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
      Many may feel what my sister in the Lord, Jami Rogers says, "I think it's a pretty good call that I'm in a major testing zone, and someone keeps giving me more tests than I have pencils for!" Are you overwhelmed with man's standard of passing the grade? The tests, qualifications, and endurance-races that man puts other people through to be accepted and liked is flawed at best and downright impossible to achieve at worst. Trying to pass these tests will result in burnout. Psalm 69:3a I am exhausted from shouting for help; my throat is sore.
      The like-me-meter that man has implemented for worldwide approval is a moving target from day-to-day depending on the whims of so-called aficionados of pop-culture and those with varying political stripes. We cannot get our self-worth from people who have no self-worth themselves. 
      People cannot give away what they do not have! Otherwise, we would be jumping through man-made hoops of impossible reality all day long. If we depend on man's likes to be at peace within ourselves, then we will be continually in a place of being blackballed because the only color of ball in the ballot box is black. A no-win scenario. Hag. 1:9a You expected much, but then it amounted to little.
      Let us put our life efforts into pleasing God and find ourselves in His book of likes. Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. 
      I came into the Lord's presence this morning wearing my comfortable slippers, bright flannel shirt, and plain pants. I was accepted. I had a heart full of concerns, questions, and praise. I was pacified and strengthened in the Lord's grace. As the Proverb says, To acquire wisdom is to love yourself. 
      I reckon I could say my day got started with some love and a blessed like. By God's grace, I am full of thanks for His faithfulness toward me and I know that I am loved, favored, and liked by all mighty God. Wow! I will take that any day. Psalm 92:2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night. More than a like, God loves you. Blessings.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Man Plans - God Laughs

Proverbs 10:28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

      It is interesting when a common saying comes to pass in our lives. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The definition is simply no matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.
  
      One of my favorite sayings is "Man plans - God laughs." As I think back to some of the plans I had in life, I must have been a real source of belly laughter for the Lord. The plans I had and the plans God has for me have been cross-checking throughout my life and I have to say, "God's plans are winning out." All I can say to that is "Thank you Lord for your goodness in my life. Please keep leading me toward your eternal plan for my life." 
      If the world's pulse-rate was being monitored for fear right now, the world would be in danger of a massive coronary. The gnawing uncertainty in life that is filling people's hearts and minds has become unsettling because all the well laid plans are falling apart. Psalm 37:13 But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 
      There is a sense of a doomsday scenario going on and no one knows what to do about it. As more illustrious and expensive plans come out from all levels of government and worldwide organizations, the more these plans crash and fall into a heap of despair. Hag. 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. What is the answer?
      When we make plans that do not include the Lord or submit to plans God has asked of us, we end up with insipid and substandard results. Hag 1:9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. 
      When we put God first and choose His righteousness as our template for living and moving forward, He will then put us in a position of blessing and a place of absolute fulfillment. He knows us intimately and knows exactly what we need to be a holy, full, and enriched person. Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
       In the book of second Kings chapter six, there is a story of the king of Syria laying plans to destroy Israel. The plans are always frustrated and come to nothing because God keeps revealing the plans to the prophet Elisha who then tells the plans to the king of Israel. Prov. 10:28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. 
      In anger, the king of Syria starts to accuse his servants of spying for Israel and asks outright who the spy is. A servant steps forward and points out that it is none of them because God has been telling Elisha what the king of Syria has been planning. 2 Kings 6:12 It's not us, my lord the king," one of the officers replied. "Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom. Wow, how true that man plans and God laughs.
      We, who are in Christ, do not have to worry about the plans the devil or mankind has against us. We can rest assured in the Lord that He is in charge of our lives and will bring us into a place of absolute redemption in Him. 
      We can follow the plans God has for us and we can do it with a blessed assurance that God is watching us all along the way in life now, and forever. Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen. Let God plan your next life event and be at peace. Blessings.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Holiness Is Wholeness

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.

      My friend and pastor, David Kalamen, was explaining a thought from his sermon to a few of us sitting around a table. That thought lit up and stuck to my inner being like a bramble to the hide of a forest animal. The illumined thought was hooked and set. I got it! The insight from that particular word of God now belonged to me and it could be used for my wholeness in life. Prov. 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. He asked us what God's main attribute or nature was and like most of us I said, "Love." Others around the table picked justice, mercy, goodness and so on. He said, "Holiness!" 1 Pet. 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 
      My understanding of pastor David's explanation is as follows. Without holiness, love is just lust or emotional and mental euphoria. Justice without holiness is whatever a person deems it to be. Justice could easily resort back to an eye for an eye if holiness is not the foundation for justice. The mercy or goodness we dispense is just an interpretation of social mercy based on our place and manner of upbringing if the mercy and goodness is not processed through the holiness of God. Wow! I get it! Holiness determines wholeness and wellness in all things we do and become. 
      Until we filter all of our life actions through the holiness of God, these actions simply remain acts of religion, soulism, and humanism. Do the acts in themselves do any good? Of course they do. They are good works and there are often good results from these works. However, these good works in themselves will not get the traction for the wholeness of life that holiness produces through our God. 
      Holiness will sift out all personal agendas, carnal interpretations, and self-righteousness that individuals stumble around in trying to do the works of God in their own strength. The measuring stick or plumb line we use in life must line up with the one God uses and His is holiness. God is holy! He cannot be outside of who He is. Lev. 20:26 You must be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the other peoples to be mine. We belong to him, and He wants us determining all our decisions through the same filter He uses and that is holiness.
     Jesus was explaining this concept from what we call The Sermon On the Mount or The Beatitudes. In six places in chapter five, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says," You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, do not (do this or that.) "BUT I say to you." Jesus was filtering the law of God that people had brought to the lowest common denominator back to what the spirit of holiness would have seen the law to be. Man could not do this by himself but Jesus, the perfect and holy sacrifice nailed to the cross, could do it and give God's holiness to everyone who accepted Jesus as Lord. 
      Matt.5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Adultery filtered through holiness not only takes in the very act, but now through the holiness of Christ also takes in the musing and planning of the act. Holiness, through Jesus our Lord, brings wholeness to all the things we do and think. 
      Jesus has made it possible through His perfect and holy sacrifice on the cross for us to have a whole and righteous life with God. If we filter and process our Christian walk by faith in Christ and His holiness, we also will have wholeness of life now and forevermore. Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Thank you, Pastor David, for this living word. I needed it and I get it! Holiness is wholeness.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Absolutely Boring

Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

      I cannot think of a more boring existence than that of the devil. Satan has got to be bored to tears when it comes to his role of accuser and destroyer, never to get any new revelation or thought. His mind is stuck in the knowledge of eons past, never to have a moment of the Lord's modern illumination or peace. Always the same old thing century after century, just another day to rob, kill, and destroy - oh hum, will it ever change? 
      Satan spends his time looking for the weak links in humanity then pounces and robs, kills, and destroys. All he ever sees is the ugliness of the human condition, then accuses them before God of the ugliness manifested daily around the world. Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it. Back and forth, back and forth, killing and robbing, back and forth, killing and robbing, same old same old. A pathetic brat breaking all of God's creation. Talk about a life sentence without parole.
      When I hear someone complaining that life is getting boring, I often think "Nowhere as boring as the devil's existence." We have the privilege in Christ to come to God in prayer and receive new illumination and revelation of God's greatness filling our hearts and minds with new hope. We can be comforted by the Holy Spirit in our distress. We can be filled with the joy of the Lord in a moment of time, changing our sad day into a glorious victory. 
      Who would want to become an ally of a boring pretender like Satan? The devil gives you poison ivy, God gives us the rose of Sharon. Beelzebub gives the world aids and cancer, God gives us restoration and healing. Psalm 107:20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. The devil accuses our soul to the point of depression, while God delivers our body, mind, and soul through the blood of Christ giving us peace in a true relationship.
       At the end of the day when the devil is trying to add up all his mischief - all he can realize is his own misery. Prov. 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? Who has these problems? The devil does! He is simply reaping what he has been sowing for thousands of years. 
      James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Here is an exciting life. Submit your full lives unto God and destroy the works of the devil by being a blessing in this earth. Lay hands on the sick for healing. Pray for all the people God puts on your heart and see lives change for the good. If we do these things, we will not have time to be bored. We will be vigilant and aware of the enemy's tricks.1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 
      We can all agree that God Almighty has never been or ever will be boring. The devil, atheists, and recidivists will always be boring, but never God. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Blessings to us all.

Friday, 13 October 2017

May Contain Sin

Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats.

      I read labels on all packaged foods. It is one of the ways I have learned to take care of myself and make sure to keep certain chemicals, artificial-sweeteners, and nitrates out of my body. The overwhelming amounts of processed fillers, artificial-flavors, and preservatives added to packaged foods as well as to some everyday staples have become dangerous to the point of creating a toxic soup. 
      I have become so familiar with some of the unpronounceable names printed on packaged and processed foods that I no longer bother eating them. They do not improve over time. They just get more government regulated and more chemicals are added for our apparent safety.
      
One of the noticeable trends now being printed on labels is the extra warnings of "May contain peanuts or sesame seeds." This added warning has become a common disclaimer because of the severe allergic reactions some people have to these products. The smallest trace amounts can cause some sensitive people to become very sick within moments. We could say as the Apostle Paul says in Gal. 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Just one peanut can cause major health problems to their whole body.  
      These people who are allergic must make an extra effort not to come into contact with the said products. They basically have to treat these products like poison or sin so to speak. They must train themselves to be aware of food trends and be vigilant to the point of excess. 1 Cor. 9:27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
      Many people are becoming food conscience because of the myriad diseases plaguing society. Alzheimer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and disorders of every kind just to name a few. These illnesses are becoming the modern plagues of our time. Unless we take personal responsibility to take care of ourselves, we will be overrun with the deadly effects these diseases are producing in society. If we do nothing to change our lifestyle, then we will end up in a place of paralytic existence, not necessarily living out our old age with health and sound mental ability because of the detrimental effects these modern illnesses have. 
      Yes, we will all die one day as death is guaranteed to us all. However, we can go out full of life and living out our God-given purpose until the day God calls us home. There is some value in taking care of our bodies throughout life so we can live a whole life within the grace and gifts given to us through Christ Jesus our Lord.1 Tim 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 
      Since some of us are becoming avid label readers in order to maintain good health, let us not forget to read the instruction book of life God has given us to maintain a healthy spiritual life as well. The word of God is a living word that can train us to see events in life clearly. As we read His word and make it the authority in our lives, our faith will grow and become vibrant. Rom. 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We will be able to read the labels life has on it, so to speak, and recognize the warnings written, "May contain sin."
      As deadly diseases plague modern day man, hopefully, we do our best to overcome these ailments for our well being and health. Overcoming sin in our spiritual lives also benefits our health because the result of sin is also death. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
      Thank God the gift of life is ours through Christ if we want it. The choice is ours to pursue health in both cases - natural and spiritual. The best part is that spiritual health is a blessed assurance because it is received by faith. It is the gift of God that gives us the wisdom to live out our lives by faith and as healthy as we can by putting our best efforts forward. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers. May the Lord give us all the ability to read and obey the Godly labels He has printed out in His word for our lives. Amen.

Friday, 6 October 2017

An Emotional Lie

Proverbs 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.

      Adam and Eve had been living a protected and blessed life in the garden of Eden. Eve was used to straight talk with Adam and God. "What is that Adam?" "That is an Elephant." "What is that God?" "That is the tree of life." "And that one?" "That is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, do not ever eat from it or you will die." Gen. 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. 
      I believe the everyday communication Eve had with the Lord and Adam was honest and to the point. Eve was emotionally safe because her conversations had no ambiguity, cynicism, or crassness in it. The communication Eve experienced was clean and pure.
      Then the devil came along and lied to Eve and tricked her into mistrusting the integrity of God. The devil said to Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” When defending what someone said it is easy to become emotionally responsive as Eve did. It was an emotional lie Eve fell for and resulted in her wanting something more than God could or would give her at the time. Gen. 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
      Judas also fell for an emotional lie while walking with Jesus for three years. Judas betrayed Jesus at the last supper. John 13:27a After Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. There was a belief that a Messiah was going to deliver the chosen people from their oppressors. The Lord was trying to save mankind from eternal oppression and death, but Judas was trying to provoke Jesus into saving Israel from Roman oppression. Judas believed the emotional argument the religious leaders put forth. Prov. 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue. Judas' emotions were right off the chart. When he realized what he had done, he ended up committing suicide and paid dearly for his sin.
      It does not seem to matter how long we have walked with the Lord or have overcome past temptations. There are always new temptations coming along to test us one more time. The sin we take part in that seemed so innocent and even harmless at the time now creeps up our spine with squeezing reptilian thoughts of "What have I done?" 
      That is always the result of falling into temptation because the emotional lies are always the most disappointing and crushing to our soul. It is so personal. The sin at the time was so titillating and looked to be an ultimate privilege in life, but the results are never satisfying or fulfilling. True enough it was seductive to look at and desire as Eve noted, but not satisfying, as we all found out.  
      These sinful ideas or desires shout "It will all be good and fun. You will never have a better chance for happiness." In the end, however, it always leaves us feeling like we were let down so hard our inner man hurts and feels uncomfortably anxious. Rom. 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 
      The seemingly harmless sin that looked good a few minutes ago now has a stench of utter disappointment about it and we are not sure what to do with it. We realize what an emotional lie it was that we fell for because our self-satisfying gratification had not been met as promised. Now our emotions are judging our mind and heart with no mercy. Rom. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 
      Thank God the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ meet our every need and that includes the emotional needs as well. For the salvation of God has cleansed us from all sins of the body, mind, and soul. We can bring our emotions to the Lord and have them tenderly touched, healed, and sorted so that we can get up in strength to fight the good fight of faith in Jesus name. Rom. 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Thank you, Lord, for keeping us emotionally sound in Christ. Amen.

Friday, 29 September 2017

First Name Basis

Prov. 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

      I was talking with a friend who was concerned about her husband's fears and uncertainty for the future. She felt he was too focused on all the things that are missing in his life right now. I had to remind her that she was a born again child of the living God and her husband had not stepped into that relationship yet. Her relationship with God is on a first name basis.
      When the Lord talks to her He calls her by her name and she responds in like manner saying, "Yahweh, Jehovah, or Jesus." Her husband, on the other hand, is living and trying to access life from the position of an outsider. He is looking in on what God is perceived to be and he may not have the assurance his wife has in her faith because she knows her God personally. Dan. 11:32b But the people who know their God will display strength and take action.
      This is one of the most amazing and fantastic things that happen to an individual who becomes a blood-washed child of the living God. We who know our God have the opportunity to come into relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and we become children who are known on a first name basis. Rom. 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." This is a hard concept for many to accept because it must be done by faith in Christ and the belief that God is initiating this covenant relationship. 
      God knows us by name and we also know Him by name. We will spend an eternity finding out the depths of all the Lord's name because of the infinite nature of our God. He will always be approachable throughout eternity and will forever reveal the full beauty of all the meanings and riches of His name. The name God wants us to know and love is the name of Jesus. For God has exalted His name above every name that is named. Phil 2:9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It does not get much plainer than that. Jesus is the name to know and know it intimately and receive it by faith.
      Friendship with God is possible and actually expected from God's point of view. James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, "And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness," and he was called a friend of God. Jesus made a remark that expressed friendship was the relationship He desired. John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. What an awesome thought that God wants friendship with all those He has created. 
      Through the cross and the blood of Jesus Christ, God has made it possible for every living person on earth to enter into a loving friendship with the All Mighty God of the universe. Think about how overwhelming it would be if we were trying to get to God on our own good works. The pressure would be too great to handle and we would end up ruled by a religious self-righteousness and full of doubts. God's gift of friendship is righteous and already done for us. We just have to say, "Yes, Lord, I accept your gift of eternal life through Jesus our Lord."
      Psalm 103:14 For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. Only a God who knows our frame and humanity can reach out and create a way of salvation that brings us ever closer to His Majesty and loving heart. Wow, God knows my name and I can call Him anytime whether my life is going well or seems misdirected. I can count on His perfect love for me to guide me back to His side where I can say,  "Jesus you are so good to me," and hear the Lord say, "I love you Norm." Wow! Count me in that blessing any day. Prov. 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Friday, 22 September 2017

World's Best Offer

Proverbs 24:3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.
      
      Mark 13:1 As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” 2 Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
      When reading this scripture we know Jesus is talking with His disciples about the ominous tribulations that would mark the events of the end times. However, there is an interesting side-bar going on because what seems to impress the disciples is the grandeur and magnificence of man's ability to create monuments and works of art to glorify man's accomplishments, even though the building may have been dedicated to God. 
      Throughout history, different cities and cultures were the epicenters of their time. Whether it was one of these locations that brought us the Egyptian Pyramids, Mayan Temples, Babylonian Gardens, Greek Pantheon, Roman Colosseum or Las Vegas the glitter and perceived greatness have been to declare the same thing - look how great and godlike we are.
      Mankind tends to look upon its accomplishments while the Lord is always looking at the people. We build stuff and God builds character within human hearts. We focus on art while God focuses on the artist. We put valuable importance on the buildings while the Lord puts all His heart and love into the population who will inhabit the buildings. Isa. 55:8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. The best the world has to offer is temporary and earthbound at best. The world system only works in the world and cannot progress into the heavenly courts of God. 
      By faith, we have to be seated in heavenly places for our lives to be fulfilled in what God has created for us and what we were created for. 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. The old expression "We are just traveling through this life and time" seems to be the state we need to understand and live in. We are admonished by the Lord to make sure the temporal things of the world - no matter how wonderful they are - do not take control of our soul and poorly influence our relationship with Christ. 2 Cor. 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
      The world's best offer no matter how glamorous, expensive, or beautiful it is, will never compare to the eternal riches that are ours through faith in Christ. Jesus is the perfect gift of God who meets our very essence of being. The world's best can sometimes meet our human needs, but God's gift reaches beyond that which we can imagine or think. God's best will meet our eternal existence both now and forevermore. The world's best will help us be a bit more comfortable while we live out our lives on this side of eternity. 
      There is nothing wrong with wanting or having nice things this world has to offer. They are wonderful blessings to be enjoyed and received with thanksgiving because they are part of God's gift for living. Just remember to keep the world's best in perspective. Don't become so enamored by the temporary glory of the latest fad, toy, or fashion. As the Lord remarked these things will be completely demolished or lost to our ownership because we are only here for a short time. 
      The house we are to build by wisdom is the one offered in the kingdom of God through God's grace. The one building or place that will not be broken down or demolished will be the place Jesus prepares for us because we chose Him first. John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. Now that is an offer I cannot refuse. Blessings.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Getting Even

Proverbs 24:29 Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.”

         When it comes to getting even with someone who has hurt or betrayed our personal pride, feelings, or even injured our body, the downward spiral of evenness can only bring more hurt than the original offense. The problem with getting even is the process always brings a person down to a lower level of existence of being because the original offense or slight was already a low blow. You end up at the bottom with the bottom feeders, so to speak, and coming back up to where the Lord is trying to mature your soul can be a hard and arduous time. This is why God says vengeance is His affair and not ours to take into our own hands. 
      God knows the right judgment for the offender and the right cure for those affected. God's purpose is to get both sides into a righteous plan of love and honor. God understands the discipline needed for the offender and the right curing ointment for the one who got hurt. Satan wants us angry at the world so that we become a reactionary and violent people continually living is a state of craving vengeance. John 10:10a The thief comes  not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. At this point, madness creeps into our once peaceful lives and we become unhappy victims of offence.
      How can grace work if retaliation is the constant automatic response? History shows us the affects of keeping grudges alive and festering. The oozing open sore of hurt pride will only put the next generation on a course of prejudice and bitterness. Eze 18:2 Why do you cite this proverb when you talk about Israel's land: 'The fathers eat sour grapes but it's their children's teeth that have become numb.' The children suffer because forgiveness is not a part of their everyday lives. Families who are always looking to get even forfeit the freedom of forgiveness. 
      By this time vengefulness reaches a generational feud, then getting even is no longer the point and the atrocities become greater. We can see this in our recent history with the fallout from the second world war and the festering hurts that came up again in the Kosovo conflict of the 1990s. It will never stop till someone says, "I forgive you and I do it with the grace of God." Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
      We read in the book of Genesis the story of Lamech whose pride had been hurt to the point of dictating the amount of payback that would be satisfactory to his self-importance. Gen 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; 24 For if Cain is being avenged seven times, then Lamech will be avenged 77 times." Seventy-seven times more hurt in return was now the accepted amount of getting even. If that amount was personal, then how much worse will it get throughout the next generations? 
      This is why I say when people get involved in this endless eye for an eye lifestyle, they become the bottom feeders in society. They are always looking down to a greater baseness of vengeful fulfillment rather than looking up to heaven for healing for their generational hurts.
      If we want to get even with anything in life, we must put ourselves at the same starting line the Lord is standing on. If we start from the top and work the hurt and problem from the top where the Lord is ministering to our soul, we will have ammunition toward the temptation to lower ourselves to the lowest common denominator of a street thug. Yes, there is always forgiveness when we finally turn back to the Lord, but hard to do when we have spent so much time living in past hurts and fantasies of revenge. 
      Jesus uses a reference to put on His yoke. The picture is you are yoked or walking even with Him side-by-side, working out all the problems and hurts. As long as we stay yoked, we will be even with the Lord and that is a place to put our energies into getting even. Let us get close and personal with our Savior. That path leads to forgiveness and peace. May we all find it.