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.