Friday, 28 June 2019

The Death Sentence

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

      The death sentence that many of us participate in is not the death sentence that might occur in someone's life who is serving time in prison for capital crimes against humanity. I am referring to the sentences that come out of our mouths while speaking without thinking of the words we say and use. Many people live and speak from a position of low-frequency thinking. They just open their mouths and death starts to come forth in full measure. Mal. 3:13a “Your words against me are harsh,” says the LORD. People verbalize before they rationalize, and death comes through the words they have spoken. 
      Hanging around people who have nothing nice to say, or are always negative can draw a person's spirit down into despair. Psalm 43:5a Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? Depression and fear can become a constant companion when someone allows negative words and attitudes to become their mind's default setting. You will have to make hard changes to break free from the death sentences that surround you. 
      Some people have a way of saying something that will bring healing to a person's soul or mind. Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us? ” Jesus had the ability to speak life into a heart that was crushed or a life that was in need of restoration. Christ's words were spirit and life to anyone who took them to heart.
      What are you saying that is keeping death alive in your everyday life and body? Have you made a personal claim to the diagnosis your doctor has given you? Have the test results become what you have faith in. Is it now your diabetes or your cancer? Are you now reinforcing word for word what the doctor has pronounced over you? Or are you saying what God says about you and your blessed, restored, and healed position in Christ? 
      Shouldn't we be declaring God's promises of healing, blessings, and victory over our lives regardless of circumstances? Therefore, changing the death sentence to a healing life-giving sentence? Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
      We can either pronounce the death sentences over our lives, or we can pronounce the victory God says we have. What's it going to be, low-frequency thinking, or the higher righteous mindset that was given to us by the Holy Spirit? What we say matters. Our words and sentences can set our lives on fire, or they can set us up for the blessings of the Lord. Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
      The twelve spies returned from reconnoitring the land of Canaan. According to God, ten of the spies had an evil report because of the death sentence they pronounce over themselves. Num. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim there — the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them. The ten spies saw themselves small and insignificant. They assumed the Canaanites saw them the same way. 
      Even though God said He would deliver the land and people into their hands, they chose to believe their own fears. They pronounced death over themselves and got it. God gave them their death sentence according to their own words. They claimed they could not go into the land and possess it, and that is what happened. Num. 14:23 They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it.
      Joshua and Caleb did believe God and kept saying what God had said was possible. Num. 13:30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” They did get to go into the land and possess their inheritance for themselves and their families. They believed what God had said and acted upon it by faith. There was no room in their hearts to start babbling the death sentence that was coming out of the mouths of the other spies. They knew death and life was in the power of the tongue. Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
      We have got to choose our words and sentences wisely. If we are the Lord's people, then we need to talk and say what God says we have and who God says we are. According to God, through Christ, we are kings and priests who are to rule and minister in His kingdom. Rev. 1:6a And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father. We have been given the righteousness of God and are forgiven for all our sins. This is not a death sentence. This is an eternal life blessing that belongs to us in Jesus name. Let the words of peace, joy, and love flow from our mouths and bring healing into this dark world. Amen.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Jam

Proverbs 18:9 He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

      A Lee MacLennan saying. "Time gained in laziness is time lost in hard work."
      Lee was telling me how he came up with the Jam Principle. Lee was spreading jam on bread for his son and some jam plopped on the table. He knew he should clean it up right there and then, but didn't. Later, when he tried to clean it, the jam had congealed and stained the table. The clean up took way longer than it would have had he cleaned up the mess when it first happened.
      We have all done this very thing. We have put off something we should have done immediately but left it for later. And true enough, we have all paid for it in spades with different degrees of consequences. Procrastination, laziness, and sloth are enemies of our souls and lives. Prov. 18:9 He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer. 
      We do not have to try hard to be lazy - it comes easily. It's as if being lethargic is our human default setting. To overcome this state of being, we have to stay vigilant to do what God has birthed in our hearts to accomplish. As odd as it sounds, it is easy to put God aside for later - even when the Lord is trying to get us to act now.
      How many people are going to get jammed up because they kept putting off the calling of God? I was talking with a minister's son, who was in his late forties. He said he would accept Christ as his Lord on his deathbed just before he passed away. He actually thought he could live a carnal and sinful life until the time of death approached. I said "You can't be that naive to say something so stupid! What if you die in your sleep? What if you are in a car accident that happens in a millisecond? Do you actually think you can outwit God with childish games?" He had no responds to my questions because he knew he was putting off what should be done right away. James 4:17 So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.
      The Apostle Paul was ministering on the Lordship of Jesus and the resurrection power that comes with accepting Christ as a personal Savior. Like so many people, King Agrippa answered Paul's invitation to salvation with a non-committal attitude. Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” Almost - is not a strong commitment to anything. 
      I almost finished high school. I almost joined a gym to gain better health. I almost tried to get that promotion at work. I almost showed up on time for that appointment. Why doesn't anything good ever happen to me? Perhaps you have jammed up your life with lame excuses, rather than live by a code of integrity. Maybe your attitude has lost its resolve. Perhaps your character has become shallow like King Agrippa's - slothful when it comes to commitment.
      What has God been saying to us individually that needs an attitude adjustment to fulfill what He has asked us to do today? When will we act on God's timing rather than - a ho-hum attitude of - I'll get around to it when I feel up to it. My friend, Scott Moore, would say it this way, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?" We only have one life. When will we find time to do it over. Today is the day of salvation, not tomorrow. 2 Cor. 6:2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
      Remember what Lee said, "Time gained in laziness is time lost in hard work." The Lord Jesus has done the hard work in securing our victory and salvation. Don't let laziness stop you from accepting God's gift of eternal life. The Jam Principle tells us - we have no time to be lazy today, because there are no guarantees you will have options tomorrow. Eph. 4:22 To take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
      Thank you, Lord, for being patient with us. Help us see the blessings you have given us today. Lord, by grace, help us respond to your instructions for our lives. Help us do today what You have sown in our hearts to do this day! In Jesus name!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Only A Servant

Proverbs 14:35 The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.

      In the poem, Paradise Lost, Milton wrote that Satan said, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."
      All I can say is, "Not so!" There will not be any parties in hell nor good times for the good old boys and their friends. However, there will be a lot of gut-wrenching regrets on an eternal Richter scale of ever growing pain. Mark 9:48 Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. Separation from all that was ever known and understood will be the reward of a soul left in hell. Eternally left to one's own thoughts of what could have been. The torment of that mental anguish is not understandable to our free and present-day mind.

      What Milton said is poetic fiction. The truth is - being a servant in God's kingdom is freedom and life. King David wrote that a servant of menial ranking was in a better position in God's service than anything offered in the establishments of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Of course, menial in the kingdom of God is greater than anything that could be thought of or gloriously imagined in Satan's realm. The least in the kingdom of God is much greater than the best promotion ever given in the world system.
      No wonder Satan rails against God and man. No matter who we are in Christ, God honors us, and we are fulfilled through His love. We are the apple of God's eye. The jealousy Satan experiences because of our anointed position in Christ, causes the devil to break out in a tantrum and scream his nonsense of, "Hell is a great place." What a lose-lose offer Satan has for the gullible. There is nothing the devil can offer mankind that will ever give life or fulfilment. The wages of sin is death regardless if the sin is fun or not. The end game is a hellishness of eternal anguish. Try and reign in an insane asylum and see what you get.
      You may be taunted by the devil that you are only a servant in God's kingdom. And on top of that, be accused of the sins of your past and therefore, not deserving of God's love. Psalm 35:21 They open their mouths wide against me and say, “Aha, aha! We saw it! ” Don't worry, a forgiven servant washed in the blood of Jesus, is greater than the highest ranking and station in hell. As a result of the new covenant that we have through Christ, the lowest servant is blessed in the kingdom of God. Matt. 11:11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he! 
      "Only a servant," you say! Well, the good news is that we who are in Christ are all servants of the most high God. We do not have to worry about eternal rankings and positions. Luke 22:24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus said those who serve would be blessed. Luke 22:26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 
      I know this is contrary to the world system of promotion and goal reaching. The enemy of our soul would have us scratching and manipulating our way to success. Satan would have us kill each other for the sake of raising our own kingdoms. God has a better plan. It may seem old-fashioned and unaggressive - but trust the Lord's integrity for your life. 1 Cor. 1:25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
      Prov. 14:35a The king's favour is toward a wise servant. I would rather be a servant with God's favour in the kingdom of heaven than floundering my way through the maze of the world's uncertainty. God is good, and His thoughts toward us are love, peace, and the joy of our victory through Christ. Let us raise our servant's heart toward Him and thank the Lord for all He has done for us in our past, present, and for what He will do in our blessed future. Amen!

Friday, 7 June 2019

Sinners Judging Sinners

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded.

      Oscar Wilde said, "True friends stab you in the front." 
      Public opinion is a hard standard to live by. Especially with access to all the social media platforms that spawn hate and fulminate expressions of outright judgment on anything and anybody. The judgments that come out of people's hearts and mouths are, in most cases, impossible to live up to. 
      The double standard that is often used by these perpetual slanderers is only expected of others, but not themselves. They can point out everything that is wrong with the decisions, directions, or plans put forth by people who are trying to better other people's lives. However, they have no concrete answers for what is the right thing to do. 
      It comes down to a mish-mash of sinners judging sinners from a position of self-righteousness. The scary thing about this type of judging without mercy - is that those who judge in harshness and anger, will themselves be judged with the exact standard and measuring stick they have used on others. Matt. 7:1 Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. This is why God admonishes us not to judge without mercy. Prov. 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
      We have to be on our guard, because it is so easy to slip into the momentum of the crowd. With loud voices, we can get caught up with the angry mob, and in no time at all, we are shouting, "Someone should be crucified." No saints. This is not what we have been called to do. We have been asked to discern and keep ourselves forthright in our hearts and deeds. Rom. 2:21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
      One of the most hated and judged tax-collectors in the New Testament was Zacchaeus. The social media platforms of the day marked him as the number one sinner of all time. He was a Jewish man who worked the system collecting taxes for the Romans who were the oppressors of the day. Everyone had an opinion and a ready judgment on the tip of their tongue. The sinners were judging this sinner to the max and without mercy. Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, that He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.  
      Jesus saw something more than a sinner. He saw a soul that could be redeemed if a kind word was directed in Zacchaeus' direction. Jesus saw what this man could be, while the crowd could only see what Zacchaeus was. 
      When you have no mercy within your heart, you have no vision. The goodness of God came upon Zacchaeus in a profound way. Zacchaeus became the generous man Jesus saw him to be. Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 
       Like a reaper's scythe, the mercies and goodness of God swooped into Zacchaeus' life and cut out the old nature and salvation took place. Luke 19:9a And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house. 
      When we judge people without the filters of Christ's love in our hearts, we can miss the potential and wonder of others. We have been chosen in the Lord to be the hand of God's mercy in this unkind and volatile world. Let us start by not being influenced by all the rhetoric that is spued out on a regular basis from all corners of the world. 
      Sinners will continue to judge sinners, but we who are in Christ will walk in the righteousness that Jesus has given us to minister with and to live by. Prov. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded. Yes, may our persuasion be from God. Blessings to us all.