Friday, 30 August 2019

The Weight

Proverbs 3:28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

      Mark 15:21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.
      The Roman cross for crucifixion weighed about three hundred pounds. The crossbeam that a condemned man had to carry to his crucifixion weighed about one hundred pounds. Jesus would have been weak from the beating, whipping, and blood loss he had suffered before final sentencing. There are not too many accounts of people coming to the aid of Jesus. However, Simon of Cyrene was a shoulder for Jesus in a time of need. Prov. 18:24b And there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
      Simon of Cyrene, who was minding his own business, coming in from the countryside, was forced to carry another man's cross. He started his day with plans and errands to run in Jerusalem. But God had other plans for him. The Lord had prepared this man to be able to carry the weight of the crossbeam that Jesus' hands would be nailed to. Simon would not have understood the full extent of Jesus' sentence and humiliation that would take place on that cross. In fact, by this strange divine appointment, Simon had literally picked up his cross and followed Jesus right to Golgotha. 
      Talk about a detour in a man's day. Simon had become part of Jesus' personal history that day. The effect must have been profound upon his mind and heart as the next few weeks would unravel the new and better covenant that was bought with the blood of Jesus for all of humankind. The bloodstains that Simon noticed on the crossbeam would have been remembered by Simon when the gospel of salvation began to be preached, because Jesus was bleeding profusely from the crown of thorns and beatings. What a personal message that would have been for him. Simon could most likely attest to the power in the blood of our Lord.
      Has there ever been a time in your life when Jesus asked you to carry the weight of another person's burden? A heavy crossbeam so to speak, that would be inconvenient, unwelcome, uncomfortable, and cumbersome to carry. When we step out of our comfort zone to help another human being, we become the hand extended that God is using to bring salvation to the lost. Matt. 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
      We do not know how or when God is going to use us. It may be to do something simple, or, it may be something very hard that carries great weight. Nevertheless, we will be called upon by God to be a blessing in a person's life. Simon was forced to help, but God asks us to help. Prov. 3:28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” We do not know the historic weightiness our help will have until we step up and do what God asks of us. 
       As the proverb says, "Don't say come back tomorrow if you can help today." We can all give testimony to someone coming along and helping us get out from under a big and heavy weight. Is there someone who you know that could use your prayers, time, and help? Go ahead and bless them. God has already given you His permission to do so. Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Messed Up Big Time

Proverbs 3:26 For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

      ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:20 Samuel replied, “Don’t be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don’t turn away from following the Lord. Instead, worship the Lord with all your heart.” Samuel was saying, "Just because you have messed up big time, don't stop following God. Get your heart back into believing the love that God has for you." 
      Don't fall for the lie - that God no longer loves you. You might be saying in your heart, "But I have failed so many times, because of my weaknesses. How can a perfect God love me?" That's just it. God is perfect, and out of His perfection, He chooses to love you no matter where you are at. 
      Satan, the accuser, will always lie to you, and tell you that your sin has caused God to reject you and that you should run away from the Lord. The truth is the complete opposite. When we fall because of sin, we should quickly run to God. He is full of mercy and grace, waiting for us to ask for forgiveness. Heb. 4:16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. 
      Don't accept the lie that you must earn God's love. You are loved and there is nothing that can take God's love away from you. Rom. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
‬     Many people falsely believe there is no hope for them because they have messed up big time. Some of the biggest mess-ups recorded in the bible were committed by the fathers of our faith. Saul was persecuting and signing off on the brutal stoning of Christians before he became the Apostle Paul, who led many to Christ and left us with his epistles of faith. King David, had committed adultery and sanctioned Uriah's murder to cover up his sinful acts. He lived with the guilt of these sins until Nathan the prophet exposed David's transgressions. Psalm 51:2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. King David came back to his senses by repenting and reestablishing his relationship with God.
      Many of the bible patriarchs messed up in their walk with God. They were not perfect people, but they had this one thing. They kept coming back to God where their security in Him was assured, and the unwavering love of God could be found. Prov. 3:26 For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. 
      There may have been traps laid out for these pilgrims of faith, but God kept them from being destroyed by them. The Lord is still doing the same for us. He protects us from falling into the snares of the enemy. We can come to our Lord at any time and anywhere asking for help, strength, and absolute forgiveness. We can be assured that God will give it to us in the full measure of His grace.
      We may have messed up big time on many occasions in our lives, but in greater measurement, God has saved us big time. Through Christ, the Lord has made a way for us to live in His grace. Rom. 5:20b But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more. Don't let the sins and memories of our past cloud the vision that our heavenly Father has for our future. God is not finished with us. The Lord has an eternal plan for us and He is writing our story as we walk in faith. Heb. 12:2a Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. 
      The enemy of our soul has no say whatsoever in our destiny. God has the final say, and He says, "You are His, and you are loved with a perfect love." If you have messed up big time, then come home to your heavenly Father. It does not matter what you have done. There is forgiveness if you ask for it. Psalm 32:1 How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!

Friday, 16 August 2019

Self-Worth Or Self-Esteem

Proverbs 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.

       While we are on this side of eternity, we may never fully understand the incredible worth God put on every one of us. Rom. 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. The moment we grasp some of the never-ending workings of the cross, and what Christ did for us individually, we will explode with unexplainable gratitude toward our God. In that moment of illumination, we will discover our self-worth as seen through the Lord's eyes. The worth Christ put on us by offering Himself as the sacrifice for our sins is immeasurable. God saw us as people worth dying for. Truly an amazing love.
      The shelves in bookstores are lined with multiple self-esteem books for self-improvement, self-help, and learning to love one's self. However, self-esteem can only come through a realization of our self-worth. If a person has no self-worth, all the self-esteem books will do little to improve their disgruntled opinions, emotional fallibilities, or muddled feelings of themselves. 2 Tim. 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
      When we accept the worth Jesus put on our individual lives and come to believe and accept Christ's worthy love for us, then the self-worth we are abiding in will overflow into self-esteem. The fruit of walking in the Lord's worthiness that He has given us through faith will grow into self-esteem and honest humility. Psalm 18:35b Your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. How can we not give glory to our heavenly Father, for the loving gift of self-worth He has given us?
      Living from a position of feeling worthless, many people in the world are trying to prove to God how much they love Him. Some do it through declarations of humanistic laws that are humanly impossible to keep, and some bring their religious fervor into extreme outrageousness by blowing people up in the name of God. Prov. 10:20b The mind of the wicked is of little worth. All in the hope of being accepted by God. Meanwhile, God has already given the world His Son, Jesus, as the acceptable sacrifice for all of mankind to find their lives and live in God's holy worthiness.
      The Apostle John had an understanding of his self-worth. In the Gospel of John, in five different verses, John refers to himself as, "The disciple, whom Jesus loved." Rather than John putting his full trust in the love he had for Jesus, John put his full trust in the love that Jesus had for John. The self-worth that John had gleaned because of the love he knew Jesus had for him, gave John the ability to become the Apostle of love. God wants us to trust in His love for us. That is where the self-worth of our life will become a strong foundation for living in Christ. Knowing who we are in Christ makes all the difference in our daily walk with God.
      We can read hundreds of self-esteem books and never find the self-worth we are looking for. When we acknowledge how worthy the name of Jesus is, then we will find our selves in His perfect name. What an amazing Lord we have. Christ gave us our worth through His divine deity. Only God, who loves us, could have made this miracle come true for our lives. Thank you, Lord, for giving my soul eternal value in Christ. What an amazing grace we have been given.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Turn Your Faith Back On

Proverbs 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.

      Pope Francis wrote in his book, Happiness in this life, "A saint that is sad, is a sad excuse for a saint." He also wrote, "A gloomy disciple, is a disciple of gloom."
      As believing saints and disciples in Christ, we should be the happiest people on earth. By the grace of God, we who are the saints of our Lord can bring hope to those who have lost their way in this ever-changing world. After all, we do have the Godhead living within our being, and the ability to be a heavenly-encouragement. These Godly blessings should be flowing out of our lives. Philemon 1:7 For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. 
      Sometimes, we, the saints of the Lord, can become battle-weary and begin to lose the vision that was once clear and attainable in our hearts. Tiredness in our soul can affect our faith and walk with God. Therefore, we have to choose to turn our faith back on. Gal. 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
      It is not up to your pastor, spouse, friend, or leader to get your faith working again - it is up to you and God. Where the aforementioned people can be helpful, is after you have chosen to turn your faith back on. Once you have prayed and asked God for help and strength, God can use these people to spark your soul into a faith-filled life. 
      God instructed Samuel the prophet to anoint David as the future king of Israel. David had conquered and killed the giant Goliath. He was on the heavenly fast-track for kingdom promotion. He was married to King Saul's daughter and living the good life in the palace. What could go wrong? Everything went wrong. David was falsely accused of treason and conspiracy to take the kingdom from Saul. He ended up hunted and running for his life. Now, having to live in caves and on the outskirts of villages in the hillsides, he had become a fugitive. 
      David must have prayed to God, and said, "I thought Samuel said I would be the king of Israel. I must have misunderstood. What did I do to deserve all this calamity in my life?" David had to encourage himself in the Lord and decide to turn his faith back on. He travelled to the town of Nob, and there, he was given Goliath's sword. 1 Sam. 21:9 “The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.” “There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”
      God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Just as David's faith needed encouragement, God reminded him of who he was, and that his future was still in God's hands. The sword David used to cut off Goliath's head was a timely reminder of all the victories that David had gone through. 
      David also remembered that the prophecies that had been spoken over him were still true and an inspiration to turn his faith back on. He was walking through the wilderness of his life, but God met him and reminded him of the vision and promise for his life. Now, David could say with courage. Psalm 63:9 But those who intend to destroy my life will go into the depths of the earth. 10 They will be given over to the power of the sword; they will become a meal for jackals.
      If gloominess and sadness have replaced your saintly shout in the Lord, then turn your faith back on. God knows what you need and that your strength will come through the joy of the Lord and faith in His name. Neh. 8:10b For the joy of the LORD is your strength. 
      What have you let go of that was once the vision of God for your life? How have you let the circumstances of life take your call, strength, and ministry away from the forefront of your mind and spirit? Turn your faith back on and get with God's eternal vision for your life. 
      We can count on God to preserve the dreams He sowed in our hearts when He created us. As saints in the Lord, we stay on the path God has laid out for us so that our life's purpose may be fulfilled. Prov. 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. There will be times when we fail, but our faith in the Lord can lift us above the failure and put the shout of victory back in our hearts. 
      As saints in Christ, we can help many overcome the sadness that is prevalent in this world. May our God remind us of the giants we have slain and the victories we have won in the Lord's name. Yes, we are more than conquerors, through Christ, who gives us the victory. Amen!

Friday, 2 August 2019

Laban's Labor Laws

Proverbs 10:16 The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.

      Genesis 31:41 For twenty years in your household I served you — fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks — and you have changed my wages ten times! Most of us have all worked for an unscrupulous Laban at onetime or another in our lives. Many of us have been manipulated, mistreated, and taken for granted by an employer, leader, or boss who didn't care about our well being. 
      In the above scripture, Jacob was fed up with being duped and mistreated for twenty years by his father-in-law Laban. Jacob was voicing his case in front of Laban and God. He had labored during the very hot days and the bone-chilling nights, plus the constant pressure to produce wealth for his ungrateful father-in-law. Jacob had hit the proverbial wall, and enough was enough.
      The fact that we can all relate to Jacob in this situation should give us pause. Why are we so quick to gather our forces to deal with a bully and a Laban type spirit when it is prevalent in the everyday workplace? Yet, we put up with the attacks of the enemy when it concerns our soul. This Laban craftiness and ripoff approach is the same attitude the devil uses on us in the spirit realm. When are we going to shout? "Enough is enough, I rebuke you, devil, in the name of Jesus!" Matt. 4:10a Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan!
      I once worked for an owner-manager of a company who had this same Laban spirit. He changed my method of remuneration three times in three years. He kept changing the program to suit his fiscal advantage. Work became hard to accomplish anything of worth because the pay structure could not be trusted. If it hadn't been for God's favor in my life during those hard days, I would not have prospered. The day came when I had to say, "Enough is enough. Time to move on."  
      The Lord led me toward better prospects in life, work, and ministry. Prov. 10:16a The wage of the righteous leads to life. I learned how to hear what God was saying to my heart, rather than listening to the crafty speeches Laban was using. Isa.30:21 And whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk-in it.”
      So many people think they are stuck in a dead-end job, life, or career with no future. They wrongly believe that no one knows they exist and that God does not even care whether they make it or not. This is so far from the truth. They have been listening to Laban's voice for so long that they have become tone-deaf to the voice of possibilities. With God, all things are possible!
      The devil will lie and steal our dreams and visions. A liar will always lie and will blind many with tricks and traps. 2 Cor. 4:4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. If we would just turn our eyes upon Jesus, then the bright light of truth would breakthrough the bold-faced lies being told twenty-four-seven by the enemy of our soul.
       Jesus came to break us free from the vice-grips of poverty, sickness, and spiritual death. We do not have to work for our salvation as the devil would have us believe. Salvation is a gift from God, the Father, for those who would receive Jesus as Lord. Grace upon grace has been lavished on us, and the love of God overflows toward us continually. If God freely gave Jesus to us, will He not give us all the grace we need to have victory in life? Rom. 8:32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
      The Lord has broken the spirit of Laban's ruthlessness over our lives. The devil has no authority, hold, or legal right to our lives. We have been bought and paid for in full with the blood of Jesus. Leave the dead-end thinking that can happen when working under Laban's labor laws. It is time to shout, "Enough is enough, I am a child of God, and I am fully loved by my heavenly Father. In the Lord's presence, is where I live, work, and play." Acts 17:28a For in him we live and move and have our being. Blessings and peace be on us all.