Friday, 26 July 2019

Ask God

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be established.

      2 Kings 1:2 Ahaziah had fallen through the latticed window of his upstairs room in Samaria and was injured. So he sent messengers, instructing them, “Go inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this injury.”    
      Why do so many people wait until the crisis has run wild before asking God for help? The warning signs were there when the marriage started falling apart, but no one asked God for help. The unhealthy habit was happening far too often before the addiction took root in the addict's life. However, no one asked God for deliverance from the addiction. Risky behaviour was practised in full view for all to see. Yet, no one called on God for help. Only after everything turned into total chaos and destruction, did the idea of asking God finally come to mind.
      Suddenly, asking God for help is a good idea. After all, everything else had been tried with no results. Why not try God. Maybe something might come of it. How pathetic we are as a human race. We treat God like third-class baggage and with no respect. Just as we're about to take our last breath, God becomes an option in our thoughts. 
      The result of this low-frequency thinking can put a person in a position of danger and loss. They could miss the chance to get real help. 2 Kings 1:16 Then Elijah said to King Ahaziah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron — is it because there is no God in Israel for you to inquire of his will? — you will not get up from your sickbed; you will certainly die.’ ”
      God should be the first person we ask for help in anything in life. Jer. 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. The Scriptures are full of promises, admonitions, and commands to call on God for help in all our ways. We are encouraged to bring our petitions directly to God by faith. 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: 15 and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
      It does not matter how deep in the mud you find yourself. God can get you out of the mess. If you humble yourself and ask God for help, God can break through the impossible for you. Psalm 40:2 He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. 
      The king of Assyria sent his top spokesman Rabshakeh to threaten Hezekiah the king of Judah. The odds were against Hezekiah. Instead of waiting until the battle got well on its way, Hezekiah immediately brought the problem to God through the prophet Isaiah. 2 Kings 19:5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
      The king did not wait until the nation was in crisis before humbling himself and asking God for help. 2 Kings 19:6 Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master this: 'This is what the LORD says: "Don't be afraid because of the things you have heard - these insults the king of Assyria's servants have hurled against me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’ ” 
      Put your request, petition, and calls for help before the Lord, then pray. Prov. 16:3 Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be established. Don't wait until the mess is in full bloom before asking God for help. Ask Him now, while the plan is clear and active in your heart and mind. Get wisdom from God for what you are doing. You do not have to go at it alone. 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. 
      Jesus came so that we could have a personal relationship with God the Father. Access to the very presence of God was made available through Christ. Why would we fight any battle in this life without God's help? We are the apple of His eye. God is for us. The Lord wants us to have victory in our lives, plus have an abundant life. John 10:10b I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Are you in trouble? Ask God for help. He is faithful. Ask God now!

Friday, 19 July 2019

Healing Family Secrets

Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

     Some of the greatest dysfunctional crashes that show up in people's lives are when a family secret is found out, or it has been unintentionally exposed. This can happen through a misspoken word, or when an innocent, or not so innocent statement is blurted out. "Oh, I thought you knew you were adopted. I thought it was common knowledge that your father had been in prison for embezzlement. Your mother died in an insane asylum, not a general hospital. Didn't your father tell you that mental illness was a problem in the family?" Many have heard worse things and it changed their lives forever.
      Most parents tell their children to always tell the truth. The children grow up to find out that they had been lied to their whole lives, because of a family secret that was covered up and deemed embarrassing or shameful. Psalm 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 

      At that point, how do these parents ask their children to trust them? Their argument for the family deception is often, "I just wanted to protect the children's hearts from getting hurt. Can't they see that? We were trying to do the right thing." Prov. 27:6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
      How does the family member who fostered the secret ask the other members of the family not to react in shame, mistrust, embarrassment, or deep-seated guilt? Depending on the weight and seriousness of the secret, the response can be devastating. The reaction within the heart of the one who was kept in the dark can be far more grievous than what was being covered up in the first place.
      My father found out in his early twenties that his last name he had used throughout his life, was not the name on his new and real birth certificate he had applied for. To join the army, my father, needed proper documentation. That was when he found out there had been a family secret. The anger that arose in him because of this secret, caused him to hate and mistrust family members from that time on. Psalm 64:2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers.
      I don't know all the reasons why my father became the angry, abusive, and peevish person he was. He had many abnormal problems going on in his mind and soul. He was a broken man who hit first and justified his cowardice behaviour with raging expletives. I think the family secret he stumbled upon, was in his mind, a betrayal that led him farther away from family and eventually all friendships. John Lennon said, “One thing you can't hide - is when you're crippled inside.”
      Joseph's brothers had a terrible family secret. They lived with a very dark deception they had all taken part in. They deceived their father, Jacob, into believing Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. Gen. 37:31 So they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. 32 They sent the robe of many colors to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it. Is it your son’s robe or not? ” In fact, the brothers had sold Joseph into slavery. This secret had gnawed at them for about twenty-seven years before it had finally been exposed in full. Num. 32:23b Be sure your sin will catch up with you. What an emotional mess this secret caused in all the family member's lives.
      I have noticed that young people today have heard everything there is when it comes to family dysfunction and outright freakiness. Many young people's classmates and contemporaries have all grown up with multiple parenting arrangments and disfunction on a daily basis. It has not made them secure people, but they have seen and heard way more than what is being hidden in some families. Letting them know the facts of what happened during their family life - whether horrific or embarrassing can be emotionally carried when it is honestly and gently brought out into the open. 
      The problem arises when things are found out by accident, or someone stumbles across paperwork that tells them a different story than the one they grew up with. That stings more than the secret itself. Being babied, overparented, and mollycoddled can seem like they were seen as mentally unfit and did not have the emotional capability to handle family matters. That is what hurts, and brings out hateful reactions, plus the cycle of secrecy may just become the way to handle things for the next generation. We often become what we hate.
      Read the Bible and you will notice that family history is clearly exposed. There are murderers, prostitutes, adulterers, and many other sin-drenched people in Jesus' lineage. God does not hide any of it from us. Psalm 90:8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. It is all exposed because exposed secrets have no power over you. When sin, deceptions, and secrets are known - no one has power over you or can threaten you by divulging the secret. Because it is a secret no more.
       I am not advocating that you plaster every terrible secret on a social media platform for all to read. Keep the family mess in the house, then clean the house. Don't create more hurts than there are already. Try not to be indignant or offended by what is said. Keep the conversation respectful and react from a willingness to forgive. Because everyone involved needs healing. 
      I am suggesting that by grace, we reveal the secrets that cause wounded family members to live outside of themselves. Let the healing begin in earnest. Mark 4:22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If you ask God, He will give you the courage to overcome. Heavenly Father, help us break the family cycle of secrets and the fear of them being exposed. In Jesus name!

Friday, 12 July 2019

Lock Stock And Barrel

Proverbs 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

      When we use the expression, "Lock, stock, and barrel," we are referring to the ownership of the whole thing or the whole enterprise. Isn't it wonderful that Jesus paid for our souls in full? He paid for us lock, stock, and barrel when He paid for our whole lives with His own life. We have been bought by the Lord, through His life-giving sacrifice that was accepted by God the Father. 1 Cor. 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord, we gave Him ownership and authority of ourselves for His eternal plan and our eternal purpose.
      After man had fallen because of sin, Satan went on a rampage looking for souls to manipulate and destroy. 1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Fortunately for us, God had put into motion a salvation plan that would take us out of the enemy's camp and restore us to our rightful place with the Lord. God had promised that someone would come and crush the devil's authority, which he had usurped by deceiving man into sinning against God. Gen. 3:15b He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. This mystery was hidden in Christ. God had a plan to get us back lock, stock, and barrel.
      There truly is no peace for the wicked. Isa. 57:21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” Until the resurrection of Christ, the devil spent so much of his time looking for the promised savior. Somehow or someway, Satan wanted to spoil the coming of the redeemer. The devil was always looking over his shoulder for the prophetic promise. Job 1:7 “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” I think this might be one of the reasons why the devil had taken notice of Job. He had seen first hand that Job was protected with a hedge from God. The devil has no revelation knowledge, therefore, his thoughts might have been, "Is this the man who will crush my head?" Subsequently, Satan went after Job with an aggressive hatred.
      Until the day John the Baptizer proclaimed and spoke these words over Jesus, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," Satan, had no clue who he was looking for. Little did the devil know that God's redemption plan for mankind was to save us from eternal death. God's plan was also designed to destroy the works of the devil forever. Jesus had to claim us for Himself and plead our cause for our eternity. Therefore, Jesus died for our souls and got us back lock, stock, and barrel. Prov. 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
      The best part about being owned by God is that we too have ownership in all that God has for us through Christ. Those who are in Christ are heirs of what Jesus has. John 17:22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. To be loved by God as equally as God Loves Jesus is a concept so hard to grasp, but none the less, it is true. Praise the Lord! Count me in!
      The Apostle Paul said that everything he personally owned was rubbish compared to being owned by Christ. Phil. 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. When we give ourselves fully to Jesus, we become lovingly owned by our heavenly Father. There is nothing better than being loved by God lock, stock, and barrel. There is nothing missing in God's love. It is fully given to us and ours to receive freely. What an amazing Lord we serve. We are entirely His through faith in Christ. Amen.

Friday, 5 July 2019

The Sins of Angels

Proverbs 16:18 Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.

      Ezekiel 28:17a Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. Lucifer and the angels who fell in sin were filled with pride and the vanity of their magnificence. It is no wonder that the temptation offered to Adam and Eve was birthed in the sin of pride. Gen. 3:5 In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Imagine being tempted to be like God. The insidiousness of the sin of pride cannot be overstated. Satan tempted Eve from the depths of the envious pride that was now permanently part of Satan’s character.  
      We could say that this prideful vanity found in the hearts of the fallen angels is the zeitgeist of our time. The narcissistic behavior and puffed up self-image that many people have of themselves has found its way into the very persona of our generation. "My opinion is my god, and you cannot dethrone me with your opinion," is said with force from all manner of media platforms and acted out in crass exhibitionism. Hubris and arrogance have taken over their minds and they have lost their ability to blush. Vulgar expletives have become their spoken word. Prov. 14:3a A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride.
      The sins of angels are powerful temptations to overcome because these angelic beings were in fact, so beautiful. If supernatural beings like angels could not control the pull of these sins, then what makes humans think they can resist the temptation of pride in their own strength? All sin is rooted in pride, envy, and vanity. We need a savior who defeated sin in all its ugliness. Plus, He has the ability to bring us into a position of righteousness - because of the power of Jesus' blood that was shed for us. We need Christ guiding our thoughts and intentions of our heart to overcome the slithering wickedness that results from acting out in pride.
      Why is pride so destructive to the human soul? Because, it causes mankind to stop seeking, longing, and praying to God. Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. This is what happened to Lucifer when envious pride filled his heart. He felt he could take God out of the picture so to speak. He thought he was greater than God. Prideful vanity distorts the image within one's heart and mind.
      Lucifer thought he could reign over God rather than serve Him. Isa. 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Lucifer imagined he would rule but the exact opposite took place. He was cast out of heaven at the speed of lightning. Luke 10:18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. The sin of pride sealed Satan's fate forever. Isa. 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
      If we want to be exalted in life, God says to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. 1 Pet.5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. It is so incredible that God humbled Himself, and came to earth as a man. If God uses humility to reach us in love, then we too can be humble in our hearts when expressing love and submitting to our Heavenly Father. 
      There is no need for pride, envy, or vanity when we are in communion with our God. These sins of angels only show up in our lives when we forget to walk in forthrightness with our Lord. Don't let Satan give you part of his character. Happy is the man who walks with no sins weighing him down. Psalm 32:1 How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Do you want victory over pride? Then give all unrighteous pride back to the enemy from where it came. May real peace fill your lives. Amen!