Friday, 29 June 2018

Burned Out On Religion

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.

      What has been done and what is being done in the name of religion has disillusioned a generation of people. The nastiness that religion can cause in people is horrific. Just before a fanatic detonates the explosives strapped to their body, they are heard to say, "God is great." Well, yes, God is great, but His law is love. 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. God promotes life, not carnage.
      If all a person has in this lifetime is a rote exercise in religious activity without getting close to God Himself, then what good is it? 1 Cor. 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. It is not a religion on its own that fulfills, but a heart-felt relationship with God who gives life and causes us to seek more. 
      God gave us a risen Lord in Jesus Christ to put our faith in, so that we can have an eternal relationship with God the Father. The resurrection of Christ through faith, gives us the righteousness and freedom we need to become guilt-free and is needed so we could live in God's presence and be accepted by Him.   
      Paul said when writing to the Corinthians, and I'm paraphrasing here, "If all we have in Christ is a feel-good religious activity for this life, then we are more pathetic than the religious fanatics throughout the world. 1 Cor. 15:19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. 
      We have a more sure reality than just making it through this life. Because of Christ, we have eternal life. Any sin can be laid on Jesus' blood-stained cross. No matter what sin anyone has ever committed, it can be forgiven. God does not need our permission to forgive. He forgives anyone who asks for it. Rom. 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 
      Religion on its own does not cleanse us of our sins. Religion cannot restore nor heal a soul to be at peace with God. Religion without Christ cannot save the lost from the eternal destruction that is to come. If all we end up doing in life is try to balance the bad things with good things hopefully done out of our own efforts, then we will get burned out on religion and so will everyone around us. Haggai 1:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 
      Religion without Christ is boring, insipid, and hard to stick with. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to help us move forward in God and keep growing from glory to glory. We are not just getting better at being religious, we are being transformed from the inside out and becoming what God intended us to be through Christ. 2 Cor. 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. With intensifying glory, and not some repeated mumbling of religious words. There is life-changing power through Christ and only God can give it to us.
      If you are burned out on religion, then ask Jesus to awaken your heart and mind so that you can live in the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength. With that strength, we can move the mountains in life. With the strength Jesus sows within us we can have life and have it more abundantly. When we are in Christ then the Lord's joy, peace, and love will be healing for our whole body, soul, and mind. Prov. 3:8 This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. Get out of religious activity and come into a relationship with God our Father. In Jesus name.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Walking In Shadows

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.

      I was recently looking at a piece of artwork. Some of the people in the painting were clear and defined, while others were in shadow and silhouetted. I thought of the parallels we see when we accept Christ as Lord. After Jesus enters our heart, we become defined and clear within our soul and rise toward His purpose in life. However, so many people go through life just shadows of what they could be. If only they would let God in, their souls would come alive. Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
      If the Lord is not directing your life, then there is not much you can accomplish that will have eternal value. John 15:5 I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Without Jesus as the Lord of our life, we can only exist in part because we have not been made whole. Jesus came that we have life and a full one at that. John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
      We do not want to walk in the shadows of uncertainty or live in the darkness of a sinful life. The weight sin puts upon a soul is too great a burden to live with. We were never designed to live in the shadows of darkness and wither away unfulfilled. Psalm 102:11 My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I wither away like grass. 
      Our creator, God, is pure love, righteousness, and light. The light and righteous purity emanating from God is what He wants us to walk in. There is no room for shadows and darkness within God or His eternal plan for us. Our path is clear and bright. Prov. 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.
      Clarity of heart and mind is what the population of the world looks for in all their consuming ways. Day after day they strive to get that thing that will make them superhuman and perfect, but there is no magic potion to drive the shadows within the heart away. A miraculous transformation is needed so that the clear, loving, and pure heart of God comes and lives within our soul. We need a spiritual heart transplant and only Jesus can do it. John 3:7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 
      Come out from the shadows and begin to live in the light of God's love and living word. Let God paint you with a clear mandate for your appointed time on earth. Let the Lord rebuild and mold your heart to be the person you were clearly meant to be. 2 Cor. 6:17 "Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." Bring into the light all the things hidden in the shadows of your life. Allow the love of God to fill your soul with the clear peace and understanding you have been searching for your whole life. Walk in the light as He is in the light. Amen!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Painfully Painful

Proverbs 20:30 Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.

      Laurell K. Hamilton, “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”    
      Pain comes in all forms. It can cripple a body, confuse a mind, and crush a soul. it can make us feel like we are the only person on earth. It can be a cruel teacher if we do not hear and respond to the lesson. Happiness does not create scars; it normally creates memories, and smiles but pain can deliver scars of all kinds.
      Pain is hard to live, work, and think with. In many cases, chronic pain sufferers end up existing, rather than living. Pain consumes the total strength of their mind and body while they try to get work done. Some people have to endure excruciating migraine headaches, while some fight throbbing fiery gout in their knees and toes. There is crippling pain of the numerous arthritics, plus the burning pain of cancers which are all screaming for relief. Painful seizing back spasms are described as being whipped and lashed with the cat of nine tails. No wonder so many self-medicate to the point of numbness. All they want is to alleviate the constant pain they are living with - even if it is just for a day.  
      I could not imagine having to suffer or endure pain on the levels or the length of time some people have to exist in. I have only had to deal with gout on a few occasions and the fiery throbbing pain could quickly be pharmaceutically dealt with and eventually controlled through diet. I am fortunate and grateful that there was pain relief for me. However, for some people, pain is their default setting in life. 
      I cannot fathom the pain the mentally ill have to live through. Psalm 69:3 I am worn out from calling for help, and my throat is aching. I have strained my eyes, looking for your help. My heart does not fully understand the emotional soul-wrenching grief paraplegics, war crime victims, or street drug-addicts have to fight through every day. Pain is in abundance on all levels and is not prejudice as to who it attacks. Who will deliver us from all this pain? The Lord is able to help us overcome the pain in this world.
      Jesus was acquainted with pain. Isa. 53:4a But it was our pain he took, and our diseases were put on him. He suffered pain on all the same levels we have to deal with in life. Jesus was rejected, betrayed, maligned and beaten before he was crucified. He suffered in great anguishing in the garden of Gethsemane where He sweat blood. He has made a way for us to give Him our grief, sorrow, anxiety, and suffering of the mind. Jesus has opened the door for healing for us in this world. He gave Himself as a sacrifice so that we could overcome all the pain sin brought into this fallen world. 
      The Lord Jesus, while being crucified, was racked with pain and convulsed through the torture of the cross. Yet in those unbearable moments, He was able to say, "Father, forgive them." Luke 23:34 Jesus kept saying, "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing." Then they divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. The finished work of the cross gives us access by faith to healing for every part of our lives. 1 Pet. 2:24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
      There is so much pain and suffering in this world that has been brought on by sinful men. Jesus, through His blood, has given us salvation and healing if we want it. It cannot be earned. It must be received by faith. We put our faith in the perfect and acceptable sacrifice that God the Father gave us. Jesus is that gift. 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. 
      In many cases, pain is a hard fact in people's lives, but the truth is that Jesus is the healer and can be approached so that we may touch the hem of His garment and be made whole. Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him. Trusting in the Lord and the finished work of the cross is the beginning of our healing. Let us receive all the blessings God has for us through Christ. Let us remember, Jesus took all our pain with Him to the cross. In Jesus name, we ask for healing. Psalm 69:29 But as for me--poor and in pain--let your salvation protect me, God. Amen.

Friday, 8 June 2018

One Way Ticket

Proverbs 12:28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.

      I heard someone say, "Wherever time goes it takes your life with it."
      We have all been given a one-way ticket in this life. We move forward with time creating our own history. There is no way back to our youth, or even to yesterday evening. It is done and gone. What we do have is the present moment in our existence, and what we put our heart into at this moment will determine our future. Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
      We think we are in control of our future, but this is an illusion we fool ourselves with. We cannot predict anything for sure as life and living is fleeting and without guarantees. James 4:14 Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. Our one-way ticket was punched from the first day we took the first breath on this earth. It will only take us as far as God has determined it will. We can go kicking and screaming or we can go in peace, but we're going forward toward our eternity with or without God; this is our choice and free will.
      For those of us who are going forward with God, we have been given additional blessings to help us along the way of life's journey. Our ticket has been bumped up to heaven class, so to speak, as the blessings of God's promises have been given and made to us who are in Christ. 2 Pet. 1:4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.
      Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. 12:2a Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. The only thing in life we have control over is whether we give full control of our soul to our savior and let Him direct the path of our life and immortality. Prov. 12:28  In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. The choice is truly ours to make. We decide whether to go with God, or we go with ourselves on our own. Eze. 21:16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed.       
      Time waits for no man. Time doesn't even wait for time. We are on the track of life and our motion and momentum picks up and moves faster every day toward our eternal station. I often hear people saying, "Enjoy the ride." I have to agree in this case, because this life is the only one we have. Let us fill our life with joy and hope so that our travels are blessed and fulfilling. Let God be our guide through all the difficulties life can hand out. Let us take part in all the blessings that God has for us, so when we get to our eternal destination we are whole and full of the spirit of God.
      I don't know where time goes, but I know where I am going. I'm traveling with the King of kings and the Lord of lords toward a love-filled eternity Christ gave me. I press toward the promises God has given me through Jesus and I live in the here and now with Him. Phil. 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Thank God For God

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

       My mother was telling me of a young boy who was being baptized. When he was asked if he had anything to say before he was submerged he said, "Thank God for God." Yes, absolutely, thank God for God. Without God in our lives, I doubt this earth would still be rotating with life on it.
      When was the last time we thanked God for being so good to us? There is freedom in being continually thankful. I know this to be true because God instructs us to give thanks in all things. 1 Thes. 5:18 Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God toward you in Christ Jesus. 
      Someone might say, "How can I be thankful for this great and menacing problem I have right now?" We are thankful within the situation because we know that God is still God and He is the answer within that great problem. Who else can fix it? If it is an overwhelming disaster you are going through, then who else can deal in the areas of the overwhelming and impossible?
      Where can we go, other than God, to handle a world crisis caused by unrepentant man? God has the answer; we just have to be willing to submit to it when we hear it. 
      The Apostles had to answer this question when asked by Jesus if they would leave Him after He had said something controversial. Peter answers with the only answer available to them and to us, once we realize Jesus is Lord. John 6:68 Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. There it is. The Lord has the words and solutions we look for in our daily walk. Therefore, we give thanks to God because He guides us through this precarious world and all the snares that come our way every day.
      Yes, thank God for God! He knows the future and what He has determined for our lives will come to pass. Isa. 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. The blessing we have in life is that God does not need anyone's permission to bless us and have a relationship with us. 
      God's love for us is not determined by our ideas or thoughts of what love should be or how it is given. His love for us is His choice and will. He loves us with a perfect heart and nothing we do can stop His love toward us. He is holy, He is love, He is pure. Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Yes, thank God for God.
      The goodness of God provides us with all that we need in life. Psalm 104:14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth. It is easy to lose sight of God's goodness when we are grudgingly moving along in life. 
      When bitterness and a lack of gratitude takes the place of thankfulness, we can start looking at all that is wrong in the world and become overwhelmed. When hopelessness starts to move in, that is when we need to turn things around and start giving thanks. The fog will lift and the possibilities within our heart will be reachable again.
      The power of thankfulness can keep us strong and faith-filled throughout our life and walk with God. I am thankful that God keeps me in His heart and His love never fails. I will be thankful. Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Yes, thank God for God.