Friday, 31 August 2018

Betwixt And Between

Proverbs 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.

      1 Kings 18:21 Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you try to have things both ways? If the LORD is God, worship him! But if Baal is God, worship him!" The people did not say a word.
      Having it both ways seems to be the desired way of life that people from the past wanted life to be. If we take stock of our own lives today, it seems things have not changed. Wanting both good and bad all the time with no consequences or accountability seems to be the goal of government and special interest groups. 

      Give me gluttony and greed with no effect on my body or personality. Give me envy and lust with no stain on my character. Allow me to reign my life with pride and wrath with no consequences or responsibility for any of my actions. When we take on this secular default setting we do not become a tolerant society, we become a nation of sloths with no ability to make righteous choices in life. We become susceptible to any kind of nonsense offered to our souls. 
      God asks us to make a personal and solid choice because lukewarmness - the state of many people today - will keep them in a place of non-effectiveness and with no authoritative power to move forward in life. Rev. 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. 

      When we are hot or cold God can do something with us, because we have made a solid decision. However, lukewarmness - an insipid emotional state, or a lack of enthusiasm in life - makes it hard for God or anyone to help humanity make a qualitative life decision with the forthrightness of heart. People are stuck between two opinions; therefore, going nowhere fast.
      This view of life is all around us and makes it hard for the general population to get a grip on what to do. The government subsidizes big agriculture to produce products for junk food and promotes the overuse of chemicals and poisoning fertilizers, while at the same time telling us to eat more vegetables and make healthier choices. 

      The governing financial leaders create easy credit of all kinds persuading people into ever-increasing and higher amounts of debt while expressing concern about the debt and suggesting restraint and control in order to keep paying the never-ending debt. They want it both ways and expect a sane decision from the population they are manipulating. 
      The credit score is a common phrase among our youth, rather than the idea of earning and saving up for a particular item. Duplicity and subterfuge are the norms that come out of our institutions, and confusion with the lack of ability to make a hot or cold decision is the result. Many students come out of college and university bewildered and believing in nothing because of the non-ethical view taught on morality and keeping a clean conscience, thus creating a new generation of sloths who are stuck betwixt and between the ability to make sound judgments.
      I do believe there are some good instructors, politicians, and advisers who are truly trying to make a difference for the betterment of our lives and country. However, they seem to be voices in the wilderness. Their numbers may be few, but thank God they are there. This is why we, as individual people, have to step up to the plate of life and make positive and righteous choices in our lives. This way we will not be dependent on the governing institutions to make our decisions for us. 

      If the will of the people is the will of a righteous and loving God, then God will do His part in changing the hearts of the leaders and kings of industry to reflect a desired blessed and healthy life. Prov. 21:1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.
      When we, as individuals, clean up our own back yard and take the Lord at His word, we will make sound choices that are conducive to the health and blessing of one another and our nation. Hopefully then, over time, common sense may become commonplace. We will grow up and stop being children with no direction stuck betwixt and between something that should be an obvious choice. Eph. 4:14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
      Choosing the fear of the Lord or righteousness in Christ with a heart led by integrity should not be odd or a foreign concept to us, unless you are like the Psalmist says a fool who says there is no God. Psalm 14:1a The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. To remain in a place of no decision is a decision. 

      If we are not sure how to proceed, we can ask God for His wisdom and He will give it to us. James 1:5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him. So we come to the same place Elijah was at when he presented his declaration of choice. Hopefully, we will answer and not stand there not saying a word. I choose the fear of the Lord and His love. Blessings.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Attempting Fate Or Faith?

Proverbs 12:15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

      Well, I've tried everything. I guess it might be time to try God and that faith stuff. I tried it once before and not much came of it. I even put a dollar in the plate and no voice from heaven thanked me. Maybe I'll just try it again and see if two times is the charm. Who knows, that might be the way to get what I want. After all, I am enlightened and sensitive to spiritual things. 2 Tim. 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
      There is a difference between tempting fate and believing by faith. To tempt fate or providence is not really reaching out to God. It is simply throwing a coin over your shoulder into a fountain, hoping for some conjured wish to come true. God is not some talisman you rub then repeat something you're wishing for three times and voila - there it is. 
      Can God meet a person who is truly looking for Him through these worldly ways because of a lack of intimate knowledge? Sure He can, because God is so loving and will meet people where they are at when their hearts are sincere. However, God is looking for a personal relationship with His created beings and not just a Deity who is a dispenser of every type of whim and fancy.
      
Can someone's young son or daughter walk up to someone else's dad whom they have not known or met and say, "Hey, can you please give me a thousand dollars so I can buy a bicycle?" Sure, they could ask, but most likely there will not be the desired result because they do not know the person they are asking from and have no relationship with that person. Now God is much more sovereign than people are and answers prayers of every kind, but relationship through faith is what will grant you an everlasting blessing of life and fulfillment. Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
      Jesus said in effect, "If you know me you have met God the Father. John 14:7 If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him. We see it over and over again in the Gospels that anyone who had a true encounter with Jesus - no matter how bad their lives had been - would immediately want more of Jesus. 

      The Lord inspired relationship and genuine accountability to God after the realization of the love God had toward them. The reality of faith was stirred up in these people's hearts and no longer was there a need for fatalism to determine their life's future. Faith had been manifested within their souls and could now help discern their lives.
      The list of people who once walked at tempting fate now moved throughout the kingdom of God by faith. The demon-possessed man of Gadara went from madness and insanity to wanting to follow Jesus in his healed and right mind. Zacchaeus, the dishonest tax collector, went from being a miser to an open-hearted man of generosity after encountering the love and conviction of Jesus. 
      Mary Magdalene, of whom Jesus cast out seven devils, followed and worked with the disciples throughout Jesus' ministry because of the dignity Jesus gave her through the love of God. The woman at the well who could not keep a relationship with any of the six men she had lived with could now permanently be in a loving relationship with God. When people met Jesus with their hearts - their hearts were changed.
      The Apostle Paul, after years of walking and ministering the good news of Jesus Christ, found himself only wanting more of Jesus. Phil. 3:10a I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. It is living by faith that a relationship with God is developed. Tempting fate is not conducive to a fulfilled life, but rather putting our faith in the one who gave His life for us is the way to a relationship with the only wise and loving heavenly Father. 
      People can either put their trust in worldly providence or substantial faith. As for me and my life, I choose faith in Christ because that gives me a relationship with God the Father. Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Happy Is That Man

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.

      Robert Breault said, "Be happy and a reason will come along."
      We all have our own thoughts on what would make us happy, but God knows and tells us what would really make us happy for the long term. Real happiness starts by being at peace in our own heart and in right standing with our heavenly Father. Psalm 32:1 Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. 

      There is no greater feeling of happiness than knowing in the deepest part of our heart that we are cleansed of our sins and accepted by God. When we know that we know and have no doubt of God's complete forgiveness that was given to us - we will truly know real happiness. Yes, happy is the man whose sins are forgiven. 
      When we walk in this realization of sinless happiness, we will be like the saints of old. We will do great exploits in the kingdom of our God. Dan. 11:32b But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. When your heart and thoughts are clean because of the work Christ did within you, there will be joy and happiness emanating from your being. You will be a pleasure to be around because that type of happiness is contagious, infectious, and inspiring. The everyday and mundane rote feelings of living will change to a desire to be at peace with God. Psalm 18:29 With you I can attack a barricade, and with my God I can leap over a wall.
      Another happy person is the man who God corrects. Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. We have been taught through our lifetime that failure or being wrong is somehow a short-coming within our character. This is so far from the truth. How can we ever learn anything unless we are corrected when we get it wrong? Pastor Doug Glada once wrote, "God's correction is not God's rejection." We need God to correct our going and coming so that we remain in the will of God and live a fulfilled life. Jer. 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
      If airline pilots did not correct their flight patterns along routes to the cities of destination, then most planes would be way off course. Unless a ship's captain follows a navigational chart to the safe harbor that they are headed for, they may become in danger of running unto a reef and wrecking the ship. God's correction is just that - making sure we get to where we are supposed to be in Him without crash landing or smashing up against a rock wall. God's correction helps us become disciplined in righteousness.
      A happy man is a man who finds God's wisdom and understanding for his life. Prov. 3:13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding. There is such happiness when a person gets God's wisdom and answer through prayer for a problem that seemed unsolvable. The assurance that wells up in our hearts is pure joy when God gives us direction because we had asked for His wisdom and understanding. James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 
      True happiness comes from the instructions God gives us to be in relationship with Him. The accumulation of stuff will sometimes bring temporary happiness but will wear out as the same products we once wished for will be replaced by newer and improved ones as they come along. 

      The happiness that God gives us, through faith in Him, will never wear thin because it is full of God's anointed presence. The Lord's presence in our lives is His gift that gives us true happiness in life. Where the Lord is, there is joy and freedom to be happy. 2 Cor. 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Happy is the man who receives what God gives him for a righteous life. Happy is that man.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Holy And Wholly Forgiven

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

      Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
      It's too good to be true. There has got to be a catch. Surely it cannot be that easy to walk in the wholeness and absolute forgiveness of God? How can this be a reality or even true? I am so sinful and continually fall to the cravings of every kind. God must be mad at me because I once did something wrong. Can God love and forgive a person like me?

      Unfortunately, this is the human response to God's grace because His forgiveness is free and given from a position of pure love. The graceful forgiveness of God is just that - full of grace. Forgiveness comes to those who accept it by faith and receive the cleansing power it has for our soul. There are no antics to perform or mountains to climb to earn God's forgiveness. It truly is a pure and honest gift. Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
      I once heard someone describe what they felt like when they had finally accepted God's forgiveness. They said, "It felt like a warm bath of forgiveness." Wow, what an image of soaking in the warmth of God's love and holy blessings. Talk about being washed in the blood of the Lamb and coming out clean. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
      It is hard to comprehend this kind of love that God has for us, because the world is so full of deception and lies that when a truth like God's love comes along it becomes suspect. Our human default position is sin mindedness. A righteous mindedness can only come through the regeneration of Christ's work and sacrifice. Jesus offered Himself for us to procure an eternal work in our hearts. It must be done by God Himself so that it actually works. Our salvation was and still is God's idea. Rom. 5:8 But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      How can we understand the knowledge of the Holy One as the Proverb says, if we do not have the indwelling of the Holy One within us? The rebirth and regeneration of our soul gives us the right standing we need to be in fellowship with our heavenly Father. Wow! We have the right to stand before God and with our God because of what Jesus did for us. We are holy and wholly forgiven. Eph. 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, 8 according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
      Yes, soaking in the warm bath of forgiveness brings life to our soul, mind, and body. What an eternal gift God's salvation has turned out to be. No wonder the word of God says the devil would never have provoked the crucifixion of Jesus had he known what the end result would be for mankind.1 Cor. 2:8 None of the rulers of this world understood it, because if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
      Our salvation is Holy inspired and all we have to do is receive this gift of forgiveness wholly within our heart. Thank you, Lord, for your love that is of eternal worth. Thank you for your eternal plan and that you saw us in it. Jer. 1:5a I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Throwing God Under The Bus

Proverbs 19:3 A man’s own folly subverts his way, yet his heart rages against the LORD.

      To throw someone under the bus is an idiomatic phrase in American English meaning to betray a friend or ally for selfish reasons.
      I once used this phrase while talking to God when I casually said, "Hey God! I feel like you are throwing me under the bus here." Then the realization set into my mind and heart that it is impossible for God to betray me for selfish reasons. If anything, I was the one throwing God under the bus because of my obvious immaturity in what I was saying. James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.
      
How often do we blame God for all the misfortunes that happen to us? We rage against God while running amok in our attempts to be the god of our own life. Prov. 19:3 A man’s own folly subverts his way, yet his heart rages against the LORD. When do we finally realize that God is trying to save us from ourselves and a Christless eternity? When we become deceived into believing God is the problem in our life, we have elevated ourselves above the greatness of God. This type of hubris can be disguised as a form of righteousness, but it ends up being self-righteousness and we throw God under the bus one more time.
      
Michael Horton said, "The power of God unto salvation is not our passion for God, but the passion He has exhibited toward us sinners by sending His own Son to redeem us." Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. The Apostle Paul was confident in God's power of salvation through Christ because Jesus was Lord in Paul's heart and life.
      If we do not remove ourselves from the throne of our own heart and place Jesus there only - then we are living and preaching a Christless Christianity. What good is a Christless Christianity but to become pseudo social workers using religious expressions in controlled sympathetic voice tones?
      
Until I clearly express that Jesus is Lord of my life, I will continue to blame God for all the bad choices I make. I will end up saying, "Why did you let me do that Lord? Why did you not stop me from doing this Lord?" On and on the accusations go. The human heart is utterly deceptive and will blame anyone, including God, for the woes caused by ourselves. Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
      We seem to be incapable of fessing up and taking responsibility for our own actions. We would rather throw God under the bus than admit any wrongdoing. Rom. 7:24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? How do I overcome this unwanted human characteristic?
      Thank God for Jesus and the complete work that was done for me on and through the cross Jesus was nailed to. The accepted sacrifice and finished work that God accomplished through His Son Jesus will keep me in right standing with my heavenly Father for now and throughout eternity. The precious blood of Jesus has made it so. 

      I can count on God's faithfulness toward me and know deep in my heart that even though I may not be reliable or always get it right in life, God will never throw me under the bus. Jesus has made a way for me through His selfless life-giving gift to be at peace with God and myself. I receive it by faith. 2 Tim. 2:13 If we are not faithful, He will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.