Friday, 25 August 2017

''''S'T'R'E'S'S''''

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit drains one's strength.

      The dictionary describes stress happening to a person as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances." 
      We have come to know that stress is a lot more damaging to the health of the human body, soul, and mind than previously thought. Stress is responsible for countless deadly ailments people are struggling with today worldwide. 
      Stressfulness in society is affecting people's ability to sleep, digest foods, work efficiently, be at peace, and even get along with their neighbour. Things seem to be at the point of snapping when any extra stress comes along to weigh down the mind more than it already is. Every little thing can be blown up into a stressful situation because peace is eluding so many people. Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? 
      I remember a conversation with my doctor after I had experienced a stroke three years ago. Apparently, stress was one of the main factors that caused the stroke. The doctor said, "You will have to get rid of stress in your life." I said, "Really. What does that look like in my life?" The doctor was reading from a general menu of platitudes and suggestions for helping their patients; therefore, my question caught her off guard. She looked at me questioningly and I said again, "What does a stress-free life look like for me in my life? How do I go about getting it?" I went on to say, "Look at yourself. You have a small twitch under your eye and your left hand has a small tremor and you look overworked and fatigued. Shouldn't you be following your own advice?" She began to laugh and I joined in the laughter because that was true medicine. Prov. 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit drains one's strength. 
      She let me pray with her so that she would also get a handle on life and her diagnoses of patients would be accurate. The reality was I had to learn how to get rid of the stress in my life. The medical industry can only suggest we become pro-active and do it ourselves or buy the many synthetic drugs available and waiting in abundance for anyone who wants them. I chose to do it holistically and so far, so good. 
      One of the natural prescriptions I found for a stress-free life is found in 1 Thes. 5:18 Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Gratefulness and thankfulness is a whole-life medicine that helps the entire body, soul, and spirit stay healed. Another thing I have tried to do is see the word stress as an acronym. 'Stop Treating Regular Events So Seriously.' Stop the madness so to speak. Take joy in the day we are in and be grateful for that day as tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
      Every generation has had to deal with stressful events. Whether it was the invading Vikings, Barbarian hoards, Church atrocities and inquisition, Spanish invaders, Nazi cruelties or fanatical Islamic insanity - there has been stress throughout world history. Eccl. 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Everyone throughout time has had to learn how to de-stress or fall to the consequences of a life of debilitating stressed out fear.
      God asks us to trust in Him for the peace that will eradicate stress in our lives. He admonishes us to look to Him and look for Him in a meaningful way. Jer. 29:18 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. The Lord directs us to keep our eyes looking heavenward, focused on the solution and expectation of receiving from Him the answers to overcoming stress. Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Stress is a tool of the enemy of our soul. If the devil can get us focused on the problems in life, then stress will build up.
       This is the medicine I have prescribed for myself and this prescription can be shared. Stop treating regular events so seriously and start giving thanks to God in all things. With His grace actively working in our lives, we will find the solutions we are looking for. Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Amen.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Eternity Is A Long Time

Proverbs 29:14 The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.

      1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life.
      Through Jesus Christ, we have been given eternal life. We have been made the righteousness of God through the finished work of the cross and the blood of Jesus our risen Lord. 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. Forever is a long time to lick one's wounds inflicted by a personal choice to disregard God's gift of eternal life. 

      This incredible gift of eternal value is for anyone who would receive it. What is worth having today that you would give up eternal life for? What is the tradeoff? Wealth, sex, stuff or a new car, house, vacation? What is worth your eternal soul? Matt. 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Stop, and think, how long eternity is and to be in it without God and all alone. Eternity is a very long time and hard to comprehend within our limited time structure of existing.
      God gives us space to repent and take what He says to heart. The Lord gives us time to reason and choose the forgiveness God has for us. Isa. 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. It does not matter what anyone has done, no matter how heinous or odious, God will forgive. 
      God says He gave Jezebel space or room to repent but she would not. Rev. 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Jezebel was responsible for child sacrifice, euthanasia, murder and robbery of lands and stock from her own people and yet God was giving her time and space in her life to repent. God is a king who judges the poor and rich alike with His truth and love. Prov. 29:14 The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever. What more can He do for us? The Lord is open-handed toward us and not tight-fisted. He meets us where we are at and lovingly reaches out and asks us if He can save us. Oh gentle Lord, how marvelous are your ways. 
      We have all been given plenty of room and time to repent. God has shown Himself to be merciful and kind. However, there does come a time when we have to make up our mind that we will receive what Christ has done for us. Jesus tells a parable of a man who was accumulating wealth continually but had forgotten that time was slipping away. 
      Luke 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. There is nothing wrong with an investment plan for the future, but not at the cost of your soul and relationship with God. Time had run out for this self-made-man because he was not rich toward the God who gives us eternal life. 
      Eternity is a long time to exist in regret as it literally is forever. God says He put the choice of life and death in front of us. He hopes we choose life because out of His love for us He asks us to choose Him. Deut. 30:19 Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 
      Our freedom in God to choose where we will spend eternity is an awesome freedom. Don't waste it on a frivolous, temporary, or corroded piece of stuff that will remain here after you die. Choose life as it is eternal. Blessings to you.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Leaky Souls

Proverbs 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

      Ecclesiastes 10:18 Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.
      We sometimes think we have autonomy from the commands of the Lord because we have walked with the Lord for a long time. We rationalize that some of the commands and directions in the word of God do not apply to us anymore because we think we have earned some kind of carte blanche that exempts us from the common man's rules so to speak. We begin to leak in our soul by thinking we have graduated to some level of autonomy beyond the reach of God's word. After all, “I am He who worships thee!”
      Believing we have freedom from external control or influence can lead to a leaky soul. We are the house of the Lord and we have to ask ourselves if we are leaking. Is your soul leaking? Do the rafters of your character sag? Is this why we sometimes have an unfulfilled hunger in our soul?

      The thing we have to realize is that the older we get in our walk with the Lord the more God expects us to live by His word through His grace. Heb. 5:12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 
      Unlike the world system when someone gets perks or a promotion and a title beside their name, they sometimes tend to take more liberties and advantages because they are now upper management. It does not work that way in the kingdom of God. The more senior you get, so to speak, the more diligence and forthrightness is expected of you. 
      We have seen this type of unfortunate scene take place over the years. A mighty man of God grows and becomes known world-wide and the ministry he is expanding is doing great things in the kingdom of God. Then he or she gets sidelined with a scandal of adultery or embezzlement and sometimes something worse. Is there forgiveness for these misled ministers who are now dealing with a leaky soul? Absolutely! 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There is complete forgiveness if they ask for it by faith and repent of their sin, but the damage to the ministry is often irreparable.
      The Apostle Peter was having a hard time with one of these leaky soul problems. Jesus had said the time was coming when He would go to Jerusalem and would suffer at the hands of the spiritual leaders. Matt. 16:22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Imagine taking Jesus aside and reprimanding him! Peter's understanding of the Lord's ministry had become man-centered and not God-centered. 
      Peter forgot Jesus was there because of God's vision for the world. Even working with Jesus it is possible to start leaking in one's soul and miss the mark as Peter did. Matt. 16:23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God's."
      The word of God says that faith comes by hearing the word of God and also doing what it says. That is how we plug up the leaks and stay full of the Holy Spirit's oil. 2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The word instructs us to study and be diligent in God's truth. This is a lifetime assignment and not something we can pick up over the weekend and it's all done. We will always have to make sure we are not leaking worldliness and becoming lazy in our walk with the Lord. Stay sharp Saints.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Dirty Tricks

Proverbs 16:30 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil; with a smirk, they plan their mischief.

      Matthew 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
      I was working with some new grape vines I had planted from containers last year and noticed how well they were doing. They had so many grape clusters on them for just being a few years old and the weight per cluster was good. Some of the grapes were starting to change toward their color of dark blue. I took a few of the grapes and squeezed them to see the juice content when to my surprise along with the juice some seeds came forth as well. "What?" I said in a loud voice. "These are suppose to be seedless grapes! I was told emphatically they were seedless. Who mislabeled these tags identifying this type of grape?" I felt gypped, ripped off, and lost for words because I was sure they were seedless. 
      I could remedy the situation by creating notch grafts next spring from other seedless grape buds, but all the extra work and time was bugging me. I thought someone had mislabeled the vines at the nursery and they were actually getting paid a wage to make these errors. Matt. 7:16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Where was the pride of doing a good job? Col. 3:23  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. I was just venting loud thoughts throughout my mind and scripture was flowing at rapid speed. "Settle down," I said to myself. "It's only a couple of vines and this can be fixed."
      I went to the plant nursery with sample grape clusters, the tags with the type and seedless label, plus the receipt. I presented all the information to the head-gardener and all she could do was give me some new seedless grapevines as compensation and replacement. She was sorry but the error had been done at their supplier and not at their facility.
      While I was there I noticed they had some of the same grapes with the same labels so we went over to them and a few of them had some small clusters. She checked them and sure enough, the grapes had seeds and were also mislabeled. She said, "We will most likely be getting a lot of calls in the near future because of this mess-up." With empathy for her, I realized that for me the mix up will be a bit more work to get the type of grapes growing I want, but for the head-gardener, it will be a customer relations mess. Whether this was done by accident or on purpose, this turned out to be a dirty trick on a lot of people. 
      What an object lesson this was turning out to be. I thought of what the gospel of Matthew says. Matt. 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. This is what the enemy of our soul does on a regular basis. The devil's number one agenda is plotting and sowing dirty tricks into our lives to destroy those who are in Christ. As the scripture implies he comes under the cloak of darkness and sows his seeds of doubt, mistrust, and anger into the soil of our hearts to disrupt the wonderful work of the new birth Christ has done in us through the cross and His blood. 
      The devil uses people who pretend to walk with God to sow seeds of betrayal and hurt into our lives. Phil. 3:18 For as I have often told you before, and now declare even with tears: Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. However, the truth of God's word is - we have overcome the world through the work of the cross and our faith in the blood Jesus shed for us. 
      There are those who will plot evil and smirk with plans of mischief toward the saints of the Lord. They will always have a dirty tricks campaign going on to try and defeat those who are in Christ, but as the Lord says, the weeds will be gathered and burned and the wheat will be gathered for the Lord's use. As for my grape problem, I will transplant the mislabeled grapes along the fence in early spring and as summer comes along I will enjoy the green beauty of them. Thank you, Lord, for turning this trick around. Amen.