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.