Friday, 31 March 2017

God's Goodness

Proverbs 24:13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.
     
      I was listening to some news reports on the terrible events going on in the Middle East. Sadly, the rhetoric was on how God was the cause of all the problems in this war-scarred part of the world. Why doesn't God do something? This was the repeated question among the pundits and reporters. 
      Judging God from a pseudo intellectual place will be difficult because God is spirit and spiritual discernment is needed. 1 Cor. 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 
      We have to get the revelation of God's goodness into our spirit. Yes, terrible things happen in the world but God is absolutely and without doubt good! We must grow into a place of knowing God is good or we will not have any real trust, peace, or faith in life. Having the truth of God's goodness in our hearts will help our mind's position change from a sin consciousness to a righteousness consciousness. 2 Cor. 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
      Good is our destiny. There will be times of trials throughout our whole lives and we will have to remember during the hard times that God is good. Our strength is dependent upon believing in the goodness of God. Psalm 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. As the Psalmist says, he would have fainted unless there was a real hope outside of his own striving and self-works. The hope the Psalmist had was in the goodness of God and it gave him strength for this life. 
      It is interesting that when Moses asked to see God's glory, God said He would show Moses His goodness. Ex 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And He said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. God wanted Moses to know that He was good. God was showing Moses that His goodness was all around him and the children of Israel. God's goodness led them, hovered over them and followed them through the desert. They were continually being covered by the goodness of God.
      Over and over again in the Psalms, we are admonished to thank God for His goodness that is evident on all levels. Psalm 107:8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. 
      Like the Psalmist we should be saying continually that God is good and His goodness goes before me, surrounds me and follows me all day long. We live by and in the goodness of God. In another scripture, we are told to taste how good God is. Come to God with a full appetite of needs because it is only God who can satisfy every need in our lives. Psalm 34:8a O taste and see that the LORD is good. 
      Job, who needed to know that the goodness of God would be his in this life, gives us an idea of the importance of consuming God's living word. Job had lost everything and was physically suffering and still knew where his hope would come from. Job 23:12 I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. 
      When we begin to desire the word of God as part of our daily food, it will be sweet as honey to our souls. The goodness of God will be like the honeycomb, a reservoir of blessing when we need to know we are loved. The goodness of God is continually in our lives. Let us thank God for His goodness. Amen. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Word Can Heal Or Sting

Proverbs 25:11 A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.

      Yiddish saying: The pen stings worse than an arrow.
      What can we believe? In this overcharged world of information that runs at a pace no one is able to keep up with and comes in through many mediums can be overwhelming and disorienting. Our senses are inundated with information overload. God did warn us that there would be a time when information and knowledge would increase at gigabyte speeds. Dan. 12:4 But you, Daniel, keep these words secret, and seal the book until the end times. Many will travel everywhere, and knowledge will grow. 
      Yet, through all the information coming at us at a tsunami type strength, God's word is still distinguishable in our hearts because God's word is alive. Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The word of God is not dormant or lifeless. It breathes the love and intent of God's ultimate design and purpose for us all. The word is alive because Jesus is the word that came and lived among us. John 1:14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
      God's word can be a balm to the soul or sting with noticeable force and conviction. This will cause repentance or outright anger and hatred toward God and His people. For the person who rejects God's word because of their personal views, lifestyle, or rebellion the word of God can become a stinging experience within their conscience. The Lord's word does not always feel like comfort or healing if we are living contrary to its intent. There is a larger and substantial purpose that the word has than just a feel-good moment with God's love working in and through us. The word of God instructs, corrects, cleanses and trains us for a life of righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 
      The word of the Lord can be a healing balm through a hard time in life, or it can be an irksome presence reminding us of our shortcomings. How we respond to the work taking place in our hearts because of the living word working its purpose is up to our free will and choice within the relationship we have with the Lord. The personal relationship we have with the word of God is ours to receive with gladness or shun with an uncomfortable effort. Deut. 12:28 Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
      What about our words towards each other? I saw a quote this week that reads, "Two things to remember in life: Take care of your thoughts when you're alone, and take care of your words when you're with others." Are our words life lifting and inspiring or empty and life draining? Have we brought life to this hardened world with the holy language of God's love? The words that come out of our mouth can build up or tear down. We can encourage or bully our fellow man with healing or stinging words. 
      It seems like it is almost fashionable to belittle every honest effort made to improve the wellbeing of people's lives. However, as a human race, we can do better if we wanted to. We have to remember that God loves the whole world and our kind words are the balm and honey that will attract the world to God. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Our words have the power of life and death. Let us be willing to have an over-abundant amount of life-giving words for each other and we will see the healing of the nations. Prov. 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Blessings to us all.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Slash And Burn

Proverbs 29:8 Scoffers set a city in a flame; But wise men turn away wrath.
      
      Slash and burn is a term used to describe farming methods. However, when used to describe a strong person's attitude toward a life choice it means extremely ruthless, unsparing, aggressive and merciless. Christians should have this attitude when it comes to destroying the works of the devil. A slash and burn policy that is ruthless and aggressive should be one of our raison d'être when fighting the wicked works perpetrated by the enemy of our soul. 
      When we fight the good fight of faith we are to be as cunning as serpents and as gentle as doves, while not giving any place for the devil to rule anywhere in our lives. Eph. 4:27 Do not give the devil an opportunity. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
      If we do not submit to God's way of fighting the good fight of faith, we can find ourselves simply quoting scripture without faith. The result of this slackness of heart can backfire and we simply become sloganeers of Christian jargon and not doers of God's word. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
      The thought of slash and burn policies always leaves us with visions of large swaths of jungle or forested areas seen through a smokey film of charred stumps to make room for industrial use. We see miles and miles of scared landscape in the middle of pristine country. Let us reverse the process by walking through large swaths of stolen territory that Satan took and transform it back into God's paradise. 
      If we were unsparing and merciless when it came to destroying the works of the devil through prayer and being a hand extended from God, we would have great victories in Christ. We could help the next generation fulfill their call and purpose in life.
      Each generation has something to offer mankind. We were created with a purpose and on purpose by the will of God to bring life to this lost and fractured world. 2 Cor. 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 
      We were created to bring and restore friendship with God through God's plan of salvation and direction. Each one of us has a part of the puzzle that can help mend the ripped relationship that divides many people from God and each other.
      We need the diversity God created within mankind to bring out the whole plan God has for His world. The devil tries to corrupt our hearts by deceiving us into thinking that all humanity under God is impossible. Satan wants us bigoted and ethnically divided because he knows united under God we are the most powerful force on earth. 

      United in the Lord can burn and expose the destructive lies of the enemy. Lev. 26:8 Five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. With God leading us we can put the devil to flight and keep him running.  
      End of life statements or deathbed confessions never proclaim "I should have spent more time at work or I should have ripped off more people." A statement like "I should have owned more stuff" would sound like nonsense at the time of departure from this world. The things that come to heart and mind as we get older are deep soul issues. Things that are weighty and of eternal value have more importance to our souls. 
      We question our own hearts as to whether we fulfilled our life purpose and calling. Were we part of the problem, or were we the force God made us to be in this earth through Christ the Lord? As for me, it is time to take on a slash and burn attitude through Christ over sin and deception. Let us rise up and slash the devil's plans and burn his lies by entering into a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen and amen!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Then They Were Gone

Proverbs 5:11 And at the end of your life you will groan when your flesh and your body are wasted away.

      I have been thinking of people who influenced me during my life and who are no longer here. They have moved on to different parts of the world or passed on to their eternal rewards. They are no longer here to dispense and offer their friendship or give their timely wisdom I once gleaned from them. I find myself saying, "I had a good relationship with them and then they were gone." 
      They left part of themselves within my psyche and I project some of their knowledge and philosophy through my own life filters, but they are gone. We will meet again one day in the presence of the Lord, but here and now there is a vacuum where they once walked with me and spoke into my life with clear, factual, and sound wisdom for living a good and righteous life.
      
When someone important in our life moves on to another part of the world or passes away from this life, we can become unsettled and bewildered. The part of our life they were propping up, so to speak, tends to feel like it is drooping to the ground and exercise is needed to strengthen that part of our life. Every person created has to deal with this type of loss during their short time on earth. We are temporal beings, after all, and one day it will be said of us, "Then they were gone." James 4:14 You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 
      Sometimes God moves these people out of our lives. The skills these people had and we became dependent on were good for a while but now it is time for us to mature, man-up or take the responsibility for our part in God's great plan. Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. We will always be grateful to those who thaught us and helped us through that portion of our life, but the time comes when we have to take the reigns God gave us. John 16:13a When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
      If there was ever a hard time for a man to step up and take the reigns of life and leadership, it is when Joshua had to take over when Moses had been taken by God. Now those were big boots to fill and a gigantic step of faith that had to take place in Joshua's heart to become the next visionary and leader. I am sure Joshua said on a few occasions: "Now what do I do? Moses is gone." Joshua, like everyone else in life, needed direction and encouragement from God as to what to do next. Joshua 1:2 Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 
      Does the Lord move these mentors out of our lives to make us depend on God more than we have been doing? Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua, like us all, needed that word of the Lord to accelerate him toward his destiny written by God. I am sure there were times when Joshua and Caleb said to themselves: "Then they were gone and we have to step up and do it." However, they became legends in life and a blessing to their generation.
      I write these thoughts in memory and gratitude of all the people throughout my life who have given me good and honest insight into living a worthwhile life. I might sound like I'm at a podium, the recipient of some award listing all the people who made my life possible and victorious. Maybe there should be a list written up and then prayed over, giving thanks to God for His goodness toward all the great people He brought into my life for the growth I needed. This might be a good idea because inevitably we will all look back one day and realize they are gone. Hopefully, they will be blessed with what we did with the impute they gave us for a God-like life. To everyone who has blessed me with their friendship, I say: "Thank You."

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Fool And His Folly

Proverbs 26:4 Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness or you'll be like him yourself.

      Yiddish saying: "If he were twice as smart, he'd be an idiot!"
      The Apostle Paul warned us about arguing over words, or as some call it, "Alternative facts." Truth is truth. Whether someone hears it or not is not up to us, but rather the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in the Gospel of John: "The Holy Spirit would do all the convicting, convincing and reproving." John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. 

      Christians are to influence the world with the love we have for one another. We are to be ready to explain and demonstrate why we love the Lord and the reasons for the joy and peace that leads us toward following Christ, regardless of circumstances. 2 Tim. 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 
      The reason we are instructed to not argue, fight, and bully concerning the word of God is simple; arguing with a fool will go nowhere and amount to nothing. Prov. 26:4 Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness or you'll be like him yourself. If a person has chosen to speak out his folly by declaring there is no God, then we are dealing with a soul issue that only God Himself can heal. 
      Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. This kind of stubbornness is deeply influenced by the enemy of our soul and only the love of God can break through such hardness of heart. The Holy Spirit can shed light on the hidden darkness of any soul.
      The world is awash in foolishness and half-truths that have become mainstream. In some circles foolishness has become the normal direction being chosen by governments, school boards, and numerous companies who have through legislation maneuvered their ways into our lives. 
      Big medicine, agriculture, banking, and industry have lobbied their way into positions of influence and have moved into our everyday normal existence. Day by day we become deeply connected to these systems and must keep our spiritual ear tuned to what the Holy Spirit is saying so that we do not become wholeheartedly dependent on them for the nourishment of our souls. 
      We often cringe at the foolish choices being made by our leaders and authorities and realize why God instructs us to pray for them. They do not have the wisdom of God; therefore, are found in need of divine help. 1 Tim. 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. God asks us to pray for our leaders so that we may live peaceful lives. It does not guarantee there will be peace on earth, but rather we would remain in peace regardless of what foolishness is manifesting. Pray for them so we may be at peace.
       Peace is not the absence of war. The world's example of peace is living without war and is the only peace the world can offer. However, real peace can be had within our beings in any place and time if we are fully in Christ. Matt. 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. The world system, often through its own methods, brings great chaos and harm to multitudes of people. Then when there is mayhem, they turn around and blame God for the terrible consequences inflicted on humanity. Now that is foolishness on a grand scale.
      Saints, the fool and his folly is all around us because the wisdom of God is not accepted as truth. People claim to have there own truth and will argue their view to the point of ridiculousness. Prov. 14:12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 
      In Christ, we have a great and wonderful God whose love we have responded to. Yes, there will be times when we will be foolish and do foolish things, but God will guide us into all truth if we let Him. The Kingdom of God is not just all about talk. It is a Kingdom of power and blessing that can remove foolishness from our hearts. 1 Cor. 4:20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power. May we all become wise in the name of the Lord. Amen!