Thursday, 31 December 2020

Where Are You?

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding.

      Genesis. 3:9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” What a loaded question God asked Adam and Eve after they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This inquiry from God is still echoing and is asking us the same thing. So, where are you right now in your walk with the Lord? Where are you at? What are you doing with the precious life God gave you?
      When God comes along and asks you a question, get ready to have your life changed permanently. God asked Job if he could create astronomical laws within the constellation. Job 38:31 Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the belt of Orion? Along with many other questions that were poured out on Job that could not be answered, Job eventually said, "I have spoken out of turn." Job 42:3b Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 
      Like Job, we too have spoken out of turn on many subjects and events. We do not know it all, even though many of us think we do. We may have glimpses and ideas on things, but we do not know everything. 1Cor. 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. We need God's wisdom to get through life, and we need lots of it. So when God asks us, "Where are you?" He might also be asking why you are not responding to His will. Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
      We can be going along in our daily lives thinking everything is fine, but God comes along and asks a question. The Israelites were convinced in their hearts that everything was just fine. However, God asked a key question to point out what was wrong in their lives. Mal. 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. God lays out where the people are at by the question asked. They were robbing God and had no conviction about it. The Lord had to show them what had become of their hearts.
     It is obvious that God already knows where we are. He wants to show us where we have ended up at this point in our walk with Him. Right after the crucifixion, two of the disciples were walking to Emmaus, Jesus comes alongside asking a question. Luke 24:17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. The two disciples started pouring their hearts out as to what had been done to Jesus and the mess they found themselves in. Again, Jesus asks a key question to point out where the disciples are at. Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 
      At this point, Jesus goes on to expound on all the scriptures that foretold what the Messiah would have to go through to save mankind. As the disciples yielded to the word that was being sown into their hearts, their eyes were opened to who Jesus was and where they were at in their relationship with Him. When God says, "Where are you?" Get ready to have a life-changing event that will push you forward in His plan for your life.
      So, I ask you saints. Where are you right now in your relationship with your heavenly Father? What question has God asked you lately that demands an honest answer? With God's help, go ahead and answer the question and get a whole new perspective on the love of God. God's questions are not to trip you up but rather to help you understand His love for you. Prov. 3:13 Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding. Blessings.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Great Pretenders

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.   

      Luke 20:20 They watched closely and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, so that they could catch him in what he said, to hand him over to the governor’s rule and authority. What were these spies thinking? How hubristic to think you can trick God.
      When actors are interviewed after they have played Jesus in a movie role, their common observations and remarks about the role are how difficult it was to pretend to be righteous. Why do they say this? Because what does being righteous actually look like? These actors have difficulty expressing what Jesus was truly like because their only reference to His righteous character is what historians and movie directors think Jesus was like. You cannot give away what you do not have. If you do not have God's righteousness, how can you truly express it on screen or in life?
      We either have God's righteousness through Christ, or we don't have it at all. Everything else is self-righteousness and a form of pretence as to what a person thinks righteousness looks like in their own mind. If a person does not know what God's righteousness actually is, then it will be easy for that person to be fooled by a pretender who is displaying or acting out a form of what looks like acceptable human goodness. 2Cor.11:13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. This is why cults flourish.
      I like the fact that you cannot fool God with pretence. Some think they can, but the Word of God clearly describes these people as fools. Prov. 21:30 No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD. Imagine on judgment day as God points out some issues that have to be accounted for and answering God with, "Come on God, I think you got that wrong." Or, " Well God, I don't believe you understand the situation." Ha, what a pathetic attempt at trying to bamboozle our infinite All-Mighty God.
      No Saints, Jesus knows exactly what and who we are. He intimately knows our motives and our soul's nature. Christ recognizes the essence of our heart and what is in it. That is why we need Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. John 2:23 While He was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in His name when they saw the signs He was doing. 24 Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since He knew them all 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He himself knew what was in man.
      Jesus knows that man is a great pretender of false qualities and bias when reporting on personal attributes. Prov. 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. Our ability to pretend to be someone or something that we are not, comes to us very easily. However, pretending to have God's righteousness is an attempt at futility because that holy righteousness can only come from God Himself. No one else has that righteous gift to give.
      The rest that comes to our soul when we quit pretending, and we allow God to give us His righteousness by accepting Christ as our Lord, is a restful peace beyond explanation. We can stop striving for acceptance through pretence because we have the Lord's righteous peace reigning within us. We no longer have to pretend to be anything because we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. 2Cor. 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. What amazing grace. Amen and amen!

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow

Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

      Benjamin Franklin said, "Common sense is something everyone needs, few have, and none think they lack."
      Our old common sense rules still apply no matter how long they have been around. Don't eat the yellow snow, is still a good rule to live by, even in this capricious day and age. Especially if you live in any part of the world that gets a season of snow. Many laws are full of common sense and yet, not followed. Thou shall not steal, and not committing adultery, is still as important today as it was when written by God's finger upon stone tablets many years ago. Yet, adultery and theft are continually glamorized in our society as being the normal way to go.
      With today's flexible morality within people's consciousness, there is a tendency to rewrite the meaning of laws to suit the trends and times that we live in. God's laws are meant to preserve our life and not hinder our direction in life. Prov. 13:14 A wise person’s instruction is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death. Plus, obeying God's laws brings us an abundance of blessings and the ability to reason righteously. Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
      The jails are full of people who disregarded the laws of life. Our divorce courts are full of heartbroken souls who chose to ignore their marriage vows. We will always have those who insist on eating the yellow snow, but it does not have to be you or me who are doing it. Wisdom allows us to learn from other people's errors in life. Prov. 24:30 I went past the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking judgment. 31 Thorns had grown up everywhere, thistles had covered the ground, and the stone wall was broken down.      
      We read the story of Daniel and the three Hebrew boys who chose not to eat the foods King Nebuchadnezzar had instructed the captives to eat. Daniel had asked to be exempt from eating food sacrificed to idols. Dan. 1:8 Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief eunuch not to defile himself. Dan. 1:12 Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 
      Daniel knew the slippery-slope of losing one's holy identity in the world's overindulgences. He could see the character of those around him being changed as they were given new names and lifestyles to become assimilated into the Chaldean culture. Prov. 7:2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.  The Hebrew young men were being asked to eat the yellow snow so to speak, but they kept their hearts in the laws of the Lord. Psalm 40:8 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
      The world has always been wicked, and there has always been an abundance of sin within it. There is nothing new here. From our history's past, until now, we have always needed a saviour to deliver us from ourselves. The world stumbles along because its population does not see their need for God. Well, Saints, I do see the need for God in my life. I choose to be separated unto the Lord by submitting to God's will in heart and mind. 2Cor. 6:17 Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.
      When we walk with the Lord, we will all have to make a conscious decision to be attentive in choosing His gift of righteousness. This is not always easy, but necessary because the ways of the Lord always lead to life everlasting. John 6:47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. Blessings.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Eye Candy

Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.

      What have you got your eye on that is interfering with the peace of God in your life? We may not see the blatant idolatry that was written about in the old testament, as in the bowing down to man-made deities like Baal, Ashtaroth, and Dagon, but idolatry is still with us. Anything that we put before our obedience to God's word, will result in idolatry and eventually to a form of greed. Janwillian van de Wetering said, "Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough."
      Eye candy to one person may not have the same desire for another person. We all have different ideas as to what would make us happy. We have all heard someone say. "If only I had that, then I would be happy." How many times has this empty statement caused grief in a person's life? We can get so caught up with an idol, that we do not see the worthlessness of that sparkling bobble that has hooked us by the nose and is leading us astray. Luke 12:15 Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
      Our prayer to God is to ask for help to be able to see the worthlessness of the idol that is drawing us away from God's leading. Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things in life, but not at the cost of our relationship with God. Keep the things of God at the forefront of our hearts and mind so that we see clearly how to live in God's presence. Prov. 7:2 Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.
      We read the story of Absalom, King David's son, who craved power and wanted his father's kingdom so bad that his actions became treasonous. Absalom literally worked the crowd to curry favour with the people of Israel by pointing out the shortcomings of his father's realm. He pretended to be the man of the people. 2Sam. 15:4 And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.” A true politician of the day.
      Power was Absalom's idol, and it was taking over his good judgment. 2Sam. 15:6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. Absolom did not earn his position through servanthood, but rather, stole his position by stealing the hearts of the people. This idol had taken over Absolom's character to the point that he now plotted against his father for the throne. 2 Sam. 15:10 Then Absalom sent agents throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: “When you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, you are to say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron! ’ ”
      The sad ending to Absalom's life is as so many people who take their eyes off of God and get all caught up in the mess of their own making. 2Sam. 18:9 Absalom was riding on his mule when he happened to meet David’s soldiers. When the mule went under the tangled branches of a large oak tree, Absalom’s head was caught fast in the tree. The mule under him kept going, so he was suspended in midair. This left him an unprotected target for three well-placed spears in his heart, and he died. 2Sam. 18:14 Joab replied, "I will not wait around like this for you!" He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree.      
      If you have an idol in your life, then please remember, whatever you have your eye on to the point of an obsession will destroy you. We cannot serve two masters. Matt. 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Either God is your God, or He is just another thing you keep handy until something else catches your eye. This type of fickleness of heart will leave you vulnerable to the darts that the enemy of your soul fires at you to weaken your resolve.
      There is nothing on this earth that is worth turning into an idol if it keeps us from fulfilling what God has created us to do and be. There is nothing worth the full focus of our eyes unless it is for God Himself. God created our eyes to look upon His glory and be caught up with Him throughout eternity. Heb. 12:2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus because He is Lord and not some worthless idol.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

My Hypocrisy Is Real

Proverbs 26:27 Whoso digs a pit will fall into it: and he that rolls a stone, it will return upon him.

      I heard Joan Jett sing, "I hate myself for loving you. Can't break free from the things that you do. I want to walk but I run back to you, that's why I hate myself for loving you." What a perfect analogy of self-loathing because of the bondage people find themselves in and the repetitive cycle that is so hard to escape from. In most cases, we are our own worst enemy.
      This is what hypocrisy allows. It lets sin have control of a person's life. When someone lives from a position of hypocrisy, the sin and titillation that is enjoyed will cause repetitive involvement in the sinful activity. However, because the wages of sin is death, the shame, embarrassment, and guilt that the sin eventually causes will manifest in the hatred of one's self. At this point, the sinner finds him or herself under extreme bondage and vulnerability. This is why we have to come clean and repent of our hypocrisy.
      Have you ever had that unsettling feeling that you were just called out by God because of the hypocrisy you participated in? Yup, I have. Have you ever repented of sin and turn around and gone and done it again? Yup, I have. Matt. 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. This clearly shows me my need for a saviour because I cannot produce God’s righteousness through my own ability.
      The only thing I will end up doing through self-righteousness is to dig a deeper pit for myself and get rolled over by all the lame promises of good behaviour that I make, but in reality, I cannot keep. Proverbs 26:27 Whoso digs a pit will fall into it: and he that rolls a stone, it will return upon him. I need an eternal answer for the hypocrisies in my life. I need a true deliverer.
      Someone might say, "But I keep falling in the same place all the time. I feel so vile and unfaithful." Isa. 32:6a For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy. Villany and hypocrisy are part of humanities’ fallen condition that Jesus gave His life for. As real as our hypocrisies are, we have a merciful Lord who sees through all our double standards, disingenuous grandstanding, and hypocritical dialogue. God knows our human tendencies. This is why the Lord gives us the leading and guidance needed to get out from under the mess we caused and end the suffering we created for ourselves. 
      The mercies and grace of God have so much to give us because God's love carries no hypocrisy toward us. His love is genuine and perfect. James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Even though we may fall at different times, we can be assured in the power of the Saviour's cleansing blood that keeps us in covenant by giving us God's righteousness through Christ. We may not feel righteous, but in Christ Jesus, we are.
       The blood of Jesus has the power to change the character of our soul to be able to walk in the light of God's love. Even though we fall over and over again, we must continue to repent. Plus, we have to battle against the lie that Satan continually repeats, that God no longer loves us. Not true, God's love is never in doubt. However, our reaction to His love is what brings forgiveness and healing. 1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
      I once asked an elderly saint, teacher, and prophetess. "Does this battle of fighting our hypocrisies ever stop?" She said, "Not on this side of eternity. We have to continually count on and believe in the grace and blood of the Lord. Nothing else works." Our hypocrisies may seem so accusatory at times but thank God, we are loved. God chooses to love us in spite of our condition and weaknesses. Rom.5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What an amazing grace has been given to us all. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Our Lasting Legacy

Proverbs 13:22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

      While I was studying at the Commonwealth Bible College in Katoomba, Australia, in1980, I came across a book in the college library that had been written by a Franciscan monk in the mid-1850s. The book had been translated from Italian into English in the early 1900s. The thing that made me take note was the fact that what he had written a long time ago was what I needed to read at that moment in the college library in 1980. This monk had no idea when he wrote the book that his words would reach forward more than a hundred years and minister to my soul. In other words, his written legacy had lived on and had reached out to bless me.
      Will our legacies live on after we are gone? I was talking with my publisher, Clay, about the books he publishes that I have written. What effect will the books have when we are gone? We were postulating that the audience who will read my books may not even be born yet. Maybe one day, some young man will be asking God for direction in life while perusing old books in a second-hand bookstore and happens to come across one of my titles and voila, - he gets the answer to what he had been wondering about. Wow, what a neat thought. 
      We all know the powerful written legacy the Apostles through the Holy Spirit left us on the pages of the New Testament. But, what about you and me? What are we - my fellow writers and bloggers leaving during our time on earth that will be helpful to those who come after us? Prov. 13:22a A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children. Everything we do has some kind of effectual merit or consequence within this world. Call it the butterfly effect if you want, but none the less, we can effectuate good or bad experiences in people's lives. What do you want to leave behind that will always be a sweet savour blessing to the Lord and the people of God?
      Before you go and involve yourself in some bonehead sin, consider the consequences of that action on all the work you have done so far in Christ. I was thinking about some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord who had crashed big time because of sin. The thing that hurts so much is that they had done some incredible revelatory work and lasting changes that are a blessing in the kingdom of God. What I have noticed, is when their names are brought up in conversations with other people, the sin is the thing that is remembered rather than the lasting legacy they gave to us and the kingdom of God. Prov. 25:10b And the evil report about you will not pass away. This is sad because they are much more than their failure.
      The Word admonishes us to do everything in the name of the Lord so that our achievements in Christ are full of gratefulness and righteously effective. Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. If we want a lasting legacy, then we will have to have the Eternal One directing our path throughout our life. 1Thes. 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Whatever you have in your heart to do, then bring it to the Lord in prayer. 1Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
      As I approach the shores of my old age, I do not have to fear the waves of my eternity because my soul is secure in Christ. However, what I leave behind will hopefully be helpful to others who make their choice to follow Jesus. Because, when it is all said and done, Jesus is the reason for our whole eternal existence. Heb. 1:8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. Nothing else matters but that we become part of Jesus' lasting legacy. 

Thursday, 19 November 2020

I Am Contagious

Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend.

      Acts 19:11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. Talk about being contagiously powerful in God! What a way to beat any and all diseases. I want to infect people with God’s presence, love, healing, and wisdom to do beyond all our expectations. I want to be contagious with the anointing of the Lord and influence the people I meet with God's richness.
      People either want to be around you or find a place far away from you. It really depends on what you are spreading while you are present. When you are in the room, are people growing in their hearts or are they groaning in their spirit because you are bringing them down in their faith? Prov. 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another. Hopefully, you are the reason others are becoming sharp in the Lord!
      The effect that Solomon had on the surrounding nations was contagious. His wisdom was legendary and those who had the opportunity to stand in his presence and hear his wisdom were changed forever. The Queen of Sheba expressed it beautifully. 1Kings 10:6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.
      The most interesting comment concerning her observations was the fact that she noticed those who worked and served in Solomon's presence lived in an environment of wisdom and that made the people happy and wise. 1Kings 10:8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Solomon's wisdom was contagious because it was the wisdom of God at work. Imagine being that infectious. To be able to influence people's hearts toward God. 
      That is the kind of righteous influence I want to have in my walk with the Lord. I want to contagiously affect the people I meet, by leading them into the presence of God. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have God's wisdom at work within our hearts and minds in the fulness of what the Queen of Sheba saw working within the whole royal court? We need to become that contagious in the Lord no matter the situation we are in or where we walk. Eph. 6:15 And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
      When you bring the Lord's blessings wherever you go, you are influencing the people to want to know God. As was with the Apostle Paul, who brought healing by the handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin, we too can become that contagious in the Lord. Saints, the thing is, we have to want it! Prov. 7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend.
      Heavenly Father, in Jesus name, help us become more infectious than any disease that is on earth at this time. Help us spread the love of God, rather than the wrath the enemy has been sowing throughout this world. Let us bring healing and joy wherever we go and may we imitate what was done by the apostles who changed the world with your word and grace. Acts 5:15 As a result, they would carry the sick out into the streets and lay them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 In addition, a multitude came together from the towns surrounding Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

When Paths Cross

Proverbs 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

      I have connected with a lot of people from my past over this last year. The variety of media platforms have made it easy to reach out and touch someone. One of the important things I've had to do was to make sure I did not reunite with toxic people that I had left behind or avoided from years passed. Some of these unhealthy soul-ties were broken for a good reason. Just because our paths seem to cross does not mean it is a good idea or time to reconnect. Yes, if the encounter is of God, then the Holy Spirit will prompt our spirit, and we will be at peace about being reacquainted. Otherwise, stay clear of the people who drag you down into their own destructive lives. Prov. 12:26a The righteous should choose his friends carefully. 
      My friend and pastor, David Kalamen has often said, "When God wants to bless you, He brings you a friend, and when the devil wants to destroy you, he also brings you a friend." Hopefully, we have the discernment to know who brought that particular friend. Prov. 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
       We should also know the difference between friends and acquaintances. We have many acquaintances with whom we can be friendly but, that does not guarantee that they can be counted on to have our best interest at heart. However, real friends are those who accept us with our flaws, plus stick by us in the best and worst of times. Prov.17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. As the saying goes," True friends are the ones who lift you up when no one else notices you've fallen."
      Jesus is that perfect friend who will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the one who is closer than a brother. Jesus is our Lord, and how wonderful to know that He is also our eternal friend. The Lord has made it clear that He wants our friendship. John 15:15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.
      How do we as believers in Christ, thank the Lord for His faithful friendship toward us? We simply believe in the love that God has for us. James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. I know, this sounds too easy. There has to be a catch. No! Not so. We just have to believe and respond to the Love God has given us through Jesus our Lord.
      We live in a throwaway world where people have become as disposable as plastic bags. However, when real friends cross paths, there is an immediate fellowship and building of the soul that takes place, and more so if both are pursuing the will of Christ. Prov. 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Wisdom dictates that we surround ourselves with people who lift us up in life and help us succeed in our life's treasure hunt. My father-in-law often said, "Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are." Well, Jesus is my friend.
      Is it time to reevaluate all our social media connections? It would depend on why we have the connections in the first place. But in a lot of cases, it would be good to clean up the overloaded list of names that are taking up valuable room that a real friend could fill. Prov. 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. What are you looking for when it comes to friendship? I want my friends to accept my idiosyncrasies, tell me when I'm being a jerk, and laugh at my lame humour because that is what the Lord does. May we all find the friends God gives us and may we be the friend God wants us to be. Amen!

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Off With Their Heads

Proverbs 18:13 The one who gives an answer before he listens — this is foolishness and disgrace for him.

      "Off with their heads," said the Queen of Hearts. Not a lot of heart or mercy in that statement and there does not seem to be a lot of heartfelt warmness in similar statements online these days. Cutting and unkind remarks are blasted out with emphasis just because of someone's different point of view. I personally do not believe all social media discussions are harsh and brutal, but when the barb comes from a friend there seems to be a noticeable ouch factor that can exaggerate the pain of the exchange.
      I have noticed some comments within my circle of friends who have become upset. They have expressed their dismay and confusion with all the personal attacks and the inability to have a calm and civil conversation with friends during this past year's events. There seems to be growing mental exhaustion and wounding of the soul that is leaving rational people despondent in their hearts because of the lack of commonsense discourse. Some have been left standing with jaw-dropping bewilderment at the scope of who and what is being said with hurtful acidness toward supposedly good friends.   
      The deception that many are becoming victims of and what people are falling for is called the ad hominem fallacy. The basic dictionary explanation is: An ad hominem argument is a personal attack against the source of an argument, rather than against the argument itself. Essentially, this means that ad hominem arguments are used to attack opposing views indirectly, by attacking the individuals or groups that support these views. In other words, “Off with their heads, because they do not think as I do!” 
      This is a common political practise, and some companies have adopted this negotiation method for controlling the agenda. The agenda gets hijacked through shouts of, "Off with their heads," so to speak, and before you know it, we have normally nice citizens posting and reposting misleading information because they did not hear or listen to the whole discussion. Sad to say, that this is also happening within Christian circles. Prov. 18:13 The one who gives an answer before he listens — this is foolishness and disgrace for him.
      Saints, this is not a new strategy that the enemy is using. If there were false witnesses brought forth to attack the character of Jesus who was and is a blameless man, then why would it not happen to you or your friends? Mark 14:56 For many were giving false testimony against Him, and the testimonies did not agree. They were attacking the messenger because they did not accept the message. There really is nothing new under the sun. Eccl. 1:9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
      Most of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians is a written account of Paul dealing with all the ad hominem attacks that were directed at Paul's character, his work, and his revelatory beliefs. 2 Cor. 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying. Again, if the enemy of our soul has always sown hostility within the church, then why would he not keep it up to this day within our assembly? Why would Satan change a tactic that works so well? In a lot of cases, Satan tricks the people into promoting the deception because they only hear a half-truth and respond out of their flesh rather than the spirit, causing disunity.
      This type of aggressive behaviour comes from the fear within people's hearts. They have no real peace and therefore, go forward in life with doubts and apprehensions. They live in their perceived dangerous world where no one or anything can be trusted. Therefore, they create their own belief system that they can live with and will defend vehemently. This is their way of self-preservation. 2Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. 
      When a person's argument or belief becomes their god and that belief is defeated, then in effect, their god has been defeated. A person with a weak god or is stuck with a god that can be defeated, has nothing to get strength from. Therefore, they become belligerent. Watch out if you are in the way of their poison pen. Their problem is twofold. What they believed in was never real in the first place, and had no substance to it, plus their belief system is fragmented because it is subject to the whims of multiple world views that are fickle, causing a major letdown. Rom. 1:21b Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.
      There are approximately seven billion people on earth and it might be possible or even have the smallest of chances that there is another view on a subject other than yours. I’m just saying, it might be fractionally possible that there is another opinion on a subject besides yours. Now don’t get all ad hominem on me or start shouting, "Off with Norm's head," just because I'm using my imagination to think this way. I'm being a bit ridiculous to make a point. 
      Of course, there are many ways to look at different ideas because we are all unique and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14a I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. But, we have to recognize that fact. We were all created to participate in the diversity of life because as humans we are diverse. Rom.12:4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function. How would it even be possible for all people to think alike when we all have free will? No saints, let us be respectful of one another and not give the enemy room in our lives by demanding the head of another just because they do not see our point of view.
      If God had taken that same viewpoint with humanity after the fall, He would never have saved us through Christ. Instead, the Lord had mercy and brought salvation, healing, and restoration to our lives. Let us use the same grace with one another. May peace and kindness be with us and in us all. Amen!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so also a fool repeats his foolishness.

      My friend Don Bird, answering the phone to someone asking for donations to help out at the local dog shelter, said, “You're barking up the wrong tree.“ Yes, I thought it was funny too. 
      I have noticed a lot of people barking and howling up a whole bunch of trees during this time of contagion and electoral mayhem. The sheer volume of facts and figures as well as the quantity of misinformation keeps coming at us all day long. Information overload is weighing down the psyche of many citizens and the result is confusion in all areas of life. It is hard to believe anything being reported because of the ever-changing whims of those who are in charge of our official departments and the agendas of the broadcasting corporations.
      This is nothing new. The Apostle Paul had to deal with religious information overload that was making its way throughout the new churches that were being established at the time. Paul warned the people to beware of dogs and what they were promoting. Phil. 3:2  Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. The old teachers of the law and the power-hungry of that day were literally barking up the wrong tree when it came to the doctrines being taught concerning the need for circumcision to be saved.
      Even though the new covenant no longer required circumcision to be a part of the formal relationship with God, the doctrine was still being taught and was causing problems for the new church. This law was no longer required to be in fellowship with God. Those who boasted of having all the answers to knowing God could not resolve in their own hearts the new covenant changes that were taking place. They insisted on barking up the wrong tree because they kept returning to their old ways regardless of the fact that God was now going in another direction. Prov. 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so also a fool repeats his foolishness.
      There was a mixed message being broadcast and the people were confused. The New Testament of the Lord was bringing into the world new freedom and deliverance through Christ for all souls and the old teachers could not handle the simple message. The religious ruling class were losing their authority and grip on power over the people of that day. To maintain power and the old teachings, some of these unscrupulous teachers started forging letters to look like Paul had written them declaring the need for circumcision to be saved.
      Paul had to make it clear when he wrote to the churches that he was actually doing the writing. 2Thes. 3:17 Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul. I do this in all my letters to prove they are from me. Gal. 6:11 Look at what large letters I use as I write to you in my own handwriting. As odd as it sounds, Paul had to deal with fake news. 
      The Apostle Paul and the Christians of the day lived in a time of great historical transformation. The misinformation was rampant and had to be dealt with, and lived through. We have to do the same thing today. We have to reconcile our daily information by asking God to make it clear to us what is important and what is fluff. As the Apostle Paul put it, we have to be wise when it comes to the doctrine of dogs. We have to look at who is mutilating the information for their own ends. We must not join the pack and find ourselves barking up the wrong tree.
      This is the criteria God gives us to filter our everyday information. Phil. 4:8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things. Let us dwell on the things that give us life and ask God to show us plainly what is needed to go forward in our daily walk with Christ. Don't be a dog returning to the mess the world is dishing out all day long. We were made for better things and ways. May God's grace keep us clean and blessed.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Fake News

Proverbs 14:5 A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.

      Quote; "Don't believe everything you hear, don't believe everything you read and only believe half of what you see." Fake news is nothing new. The Nazis used fake news to discredit the Jewish people. What is known as yellow journalism and sensationalism in writing false stories to increase the readership of newspapers has been around since the late 1800s.
      The intensity caused by the ever-increasing information that we are experiencing today is that sensational and fake news is available on all media platforms, as well as the old traditional ways of news reporting. It is so easy to be overwhelmed and duped with false information that people are having trust issues with all the so-called reliable sources. False stories, inaccurate witnessing, and conspiratorial blabbering is rampant. Prov. 14:5 A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.
      The Holy Spirit admonishes us to test the spirit of what is said. 1John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Those who are in Christ, are blessed to be able to ask God to help discern what is being promoted as reliable news, whether it is secular or religious. Even though we are not of the world system, we do live in the world, and we need to know what to pray for so that God can influence the leaders in this world.     
      Jesus had to deal with fake news concerning Himself. Matt. 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” There were rumours and hearsay going around as to who Jesus was. Matt.16:14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” There were rumours then as is today. If Jesus was John the Baptist, then this would be one of those alien tabloid shapeshifting stories because John had been executed not long ago.
      If Jesus was one of the late prophets or Jeremiah, then this worked out for the Scribes and Pharisees, because they could keep their power structure going and keep looking for a Massiah who represented their own values. If Jesus was Elijah, then again this worked in favour of the Scribe's self-righteous beliefs. Matt.17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? Even though Elijah had come in the spirit of John The Baptist the Scribes could calculate within their own narrow-mindedness and keep Jesus as an enemy of their sacrosanct system.
      The Lord asked Peter a key question, just as Jesus is asking everyone today. "Who do you say that I am?" If our answer is not clear and to the point as Peter's declaration was, then we have fallen for fake news as to who Jesus is. Matt. 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The blessing that we have is when we are honest with God and truly want to know the truth, God will reveal it. Matt.16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
      How much fake news have we been responsible for? What have we reposted, gossiped, and retold with our slant on it without validating the facts or the truth of the matter? Have you muddied the waters even more than they are? How much fake news do we put out in the world while complaining of all the fake news coming our way? Stop it! Let us get a grip on our own hearts that Jesus has secured through His blood and the cross. 
      Stop blaming current problems on everything going on around us, and let us take up our position as saints in Christ. We need to open our mouths and declare the good news - Jesus is Lord! Let us live in the peace Christ gave us and not get caught up in all the exploitative journalism. John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world. Be courageous, we are more than conquerors. Keep your ear to the ministry and direction of the Holy Spirit. Amen! 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Burning Spears

Proverbs 6:27 Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?

      Do you feel like everything you do is under some kind of scrutiny and at any moment a burning spear will pin you to the wall of social opinion and judgment? If you are living your life in expectation of others affirming your worth then you will be sorely disappointed. 
      Only the Lord can affirm your existence and reason for being because He made you. Only God has the blueprint to your particular needs and nothing in this temporal world can satisfy your eternal nature. If you are going to depend on the affirmations of public opinion to feel good about yourself, then you will leave your soul open to the fiery spears that are flying in all directions and you will get burned. Prov. 6:27 Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?
      If we are in Christ, then it does not matter what burning spear the devil throws at us, because God, has given us His armour to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. Eph. 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. We don't need the world's acknowledgment to affirm our divine existence when we have God proclaiming our citizenship in His kingdom.  
      Goliath had a spear that had gone through many men. It was a weapon to be reckoned with. 1 Sam. 17:7a His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed fifteen pounds. If Goliath had social media, he would have been a troll. His blowhard bellowing dialogue was loud and obnoxious. He had nothing but contempt for the nation under God. This giant thought he could bad mouth God's people and scare them into slavery. Prov. 16:27 A worthless person digs up evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
       Thank God the Lord's plans are way ahead of everything and everyone. Goliath may have had a plan to destroy God's chosen, but God had a better plan for His people. The Lord used a young man who honoured and believed God's word.1 Sam 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
       Satan's methods of attack toward the citizens of this earth are to keep throwing hot spears in the hope of frightening the people into fearful choices that will cause bondage in life. However, we who belong to the Lord have the word of God that delivers us from the threats and accusations of the enemy. We have God's promises that lead us to become overcomers in the battles of life. Our heavenly Father has more than one plan to make us victorious. Job 5:19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
      There is a spear that speaks loudly in our devotional life. The spear that pierced the Lord's side while He suffered on the cross was the final wound our saviour would take from mankind. John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. The last abusive thrust upon the Lord resulted in our first steps toward eternal freedom. Satan thought this burning spear would end God's plan for man, but it became the fiery spear that would sentence Satan to eternal damnation. 
      What a God we serve. The Lord can take all things that are meant for our harm and turn them into the victories for our life. Rom. 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and affirming us as your own.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Carnal Brain Damage

Proverbs 21: 30 No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the LORD.

      Romans 1:21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 
      Imagine, your thinking becoming worthless. How pathetic it would be to come to the end of your life and realize that what came out of your brain was damaged and worthless expression. We are not talking about people who actually have brain damage, Those poor souls have a reason for their behaviour. We are talking about people who think they know more than God and have no problem saying so.
      In 1961, becoming the first human to enter space, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin said, "I looked and looked but I didn't see God." The narrative that followed on the newsreels of this condescending quote was the so-called supreme minds of the day who had just conquered such incredible space travel, had declared God dead and none existent. Wow! How pathetic to think themselves so above the knowledge of God. Rom. 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools. Psalm 14:1a The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.
      I read on Cross Examined .org: The French philosopher Voltaire, who slandered the Christian faith and claimed the bible was written by fools, said in 1776, “One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible on earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity-seeker.” The irony of this declaration is that fifty years after Voltaire's death, the very house from where he once lived and wrote his vicious attacks was used by the Evangelical Society of Geneva as a storehouse for Bibles and Gospel tracts. Also, the printing presses Voltaire used to print his odious accusations were used to print bibles. Prov. 21:30 No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the LORD.
      There have always been puffed up carnal minds who think they can outwit God. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy of the same type of nonsense that is heard and seen on our newsfeeds today. 1Tim 6:20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Paul's statement of "So-called knowledge," says it all. These so-called enlightened thinkers have passed this way before. Paul's admonition to us who are in Christ is to, "Guard what God has entrusted to us, and avoid godless, foolish discussions." This expresses what we are to do in our faith so that we do not fall for the foolishness of these self-proclaimed know-it-alls.
      This carnal brain damage syndrome or the foolishness of the carnal mind floats around us and is becoming a default setting for the masses. We have to rise above this thinking and take responsibility to study the word of God to become skilled in righteousness and be spiritually mature to recognize mindless dribble when we hear it. 2Tim. 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 
      The carnal mind does not seek out God for God's purposes because the carnal mind is not capable of discerning the Spirit of God. 1Cor. 2:14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Instead, the carnally minded seeks out so-called knowledge so they can become their own god. 
      The truth is easy to live by when you have the Prince of Peace and truth living in your heart. We do not have to become damaged in our thinking, by seeking out mysterious knowledge to find God. We just have to humbly ask Him to come and dwell within us through Christ and teach us all we need to know to be a blessing to Him and each other. The Spirit of God will lead us if we let Him. Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Amen and amen!

Friday, 2 October 2020

Good Governance

Proverbs. 21:1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever He pleases.

      My wife translates my blogs for my Spanish blog page and is astute when it comes to seeing the trends I am writing about. She remarked that it could be construed that I am anti-government by some of the remarks I have made in my recent blogs. Therefore, I do apologize if I have left the impression that I am anti-government. I am firmly for good government and I am definitely for good and righteous law-enforcement as most of you are. We all want to live in a law-abiding society enjoying our civil liberties to live out our faith.
      What I have tried to communicate is my uneasiness with the nanny-state we are becoming. The intrusiveness our government has taken to lately has left us with a sense that we are immature children needing babysitting. Plus, I am not at peace with what seems to be a department of the thought-police measuring the weight of all my words and conversations because someone may have been offended by what I said. Yes, I question policies that are contrary to the uplifting of human dignity. I think we should question governments when unrighteousness is promoted as being good for the people. Isa. 5:20 What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. Perhaps the pandemic has awakened this focal change in everyone and we are all seeing more than usual. 
      I am a hundred percent in favour of good governance in all areas of our political systems. It does not matter if it is national, provincial, or municipal government, I do pray for my leaders regularly whether I voted for them or not, because God asks us to. 1Tim. 2:1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 
      The word directs us to pray for our leaders so that God can move their hearts in the direction God wants them to go. Prov. 21:1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; He guides it wherever He pleases. I realize this is a hard word for some patriots because the hatred of politicians has become a national sport. There are newspapers and TV channels dedicated to only reporting news that is negative when it comes to certain politicians. Be that as it may, God still expects His children to obey the word rather than the directives of these so-called unbiased news reporters.
      Good government is God's idea. We only have to read the laws in the old testament to see that God wanted the right and fair treatment of all people. The problem arose when kings and nations rejected God's idea of governance and went their own way as we are seeing today. It is hard to follow leaders who have no integrity of heart. Since we cannot see the inner man and only God knows the heart of a man we, therefore, pray for our leaders because God has directed us to do so. As in all hard things, if we ask God for help, He will help us pray for our leaders.
      There are always going to be problems in government because people are not perfect even though politicians sometimes tell us differently. So what is the answer to all the mayhem in government? Even though I feel the way I do about what I see at this time in leadership around the world, I only have one option. I am to do as the Lord said. I am to pray for my leadership within my country, province/state, town, and church so that I may live in peace. 
      Pray for your leaders and the reward is living in peace even though there is no peace in the land. 1Tim. 2:2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Notice the promise is - we can live peaceful lives! If we all prayed for whoever was leading our country, there would be such a manifestation of peace throughout the land, because we ourselves would be at peace. No wonder Satan keeps pointing out all that is wrong with our leaders and we get suckered into the devil's negative.
      Yes, there is lots going wrong with the government but we serve the King of kings and the Lord of leaders. Jesus is Lord. Let us pray for the leaders who God created, and we will live in the peace God has made for us. Blessings.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

In My Own Defence

Proverbs 18:17 The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins.

      I was listening to a lady on the radio who was complaining that she could not find any peace in her life. She was trying to justify herself by explaining all the sacrifices she was doing for others and still had no genuine peace in her soul. She started sounding like someone with a martyr complex. This is a common complaint among the dissatisfied in this world. What they are saying in their self-righteousness, is a declaration of, "In my own defence I have tried to outweigh the wrongs in my life with a lot of what I consider to be good deeds." 
      When we stand before God on that glorious day making an account of our life, the last thing we are going to want to say to God is, "In my own defence, I believe that I earned a place in your glorious kingdom because I outweighed the evil in my life with some good works." Rom. 3:10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one." The only plea we are going to have in our so-called defence will be, "I plead the blood of Jesus and receive His righteousness through Christ."
      As the proverb says, the first to speak in court sounds right until the judge of the universe cross-examines your heart. Prov. 18:17 The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins. How have the people of this world become so full of their own conceit that they actually think they can maneuver God out of His salvation plan with personal justifications of self-righteousness? Talk about being deceived and in absolute need of God's mercy.
      A problem arises when God is rejected throughout a person's life. They live with no authority or righteous king guiding them. They end up doing what is right in their own eyes or what is right according to their own standard. This is not a new problem. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. 
      A person's moral code varies depending on what they justify so they can get what they want. Their standard becomes flexible and they end up saying things like, "In this particular situation I can lie and cheat because I desperately need this money." At the same time, these same people will declare that it is not right for others to steal from them. We can rationalize any sin when desperation is crushing against our evermoving standards of personal moral code.
      We need a real standard created by the real God. We desperately need Jehovah-Nissi in our lives. Ex. 17:15 And Moses built an altar and named it, “The LORD Is My Banner.” We need a standard that is so above anything a man can imagine, and that is a righteous God to set the standard of our defence. We need a saviour to save us from ourselves. 2Cor. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
      What I have learned over the years as I have walked with the Lord, is that my own defence does not have much going for it. The reality is, all of my defence and righteousness is found in Christ. I am not saved by the good things that I do and I am not damned by the wrong things that I do. I am saved by the blood of Jesus and the finished work of His sacrifice. He has given me His life for mine. The gift of my salvation has allowed me to participate in the good works that are what the Lord says is needed to be done.
      So, in my own defence, I have none. However, in my righteousness through Christ, I have a real defence that when the God of the universe cross-examines my heart He will see Jesus alive and reigning supreme throughout my soul. May it be the same for all of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Amen!

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Lies We Want To Believe

Proverbs 29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

      Elections are an interesting time if only, to see what lies people want to believe. Why do we have certain lies we nurture and want to believe? What is it about the human condition that we will let our guard down when it comes to certain lies? The drug addict wants to believe the lie that says, "I can stop this addiction at any time." Yet, their lie keeps them addicted. The man who is sixty pounds overweight swallows the lie he wants to believe. He says to himself, "I only have a small weight problem and I have it under control." The woman who has been beaten up for the fifth time wants to believe the lie that her husband didn't mean to break her arm again.              
      Why does our human character fall for the same lies over and over again? Is our fear of the unknown future so terrifying that we feel safer living in the present lie while tolerating the effects the lie has on our lives? For this reason alone our need for a saviour is so apparent. Over and over again as we live in our lie, we prove our need for God. Rom. 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Only the Lord can deliver us from our chosen deception.
      The biggest lie we all fall for and want to believe is that we have lots of time to do what we have always wanted to do or what God has called us to do. 2Cor. 6:2 For he says: At an acceptable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now is the time. Stop putting your life on hold. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any man. James 4:14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring — what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
       We read the story of Nehemiah who was called to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. Neh. 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. As it was with Nehemiah and his construction crew, Satan will come to us with his lie saying, "We have lots of time to do what God has asked us to do." 
      Satan uses these deadbeats Sanballat and Tobiah to try and stop the work by using mockery. Neh. 4:1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious. He mocked the Jews. When this did not work the devil tried persecutions and distractions. Neh. 4:8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw it into confusion. Nehemiah did not take his eye off of God's plan but kept his crew vigilant. Neh.4:18 Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me.
      When the distractions of life did not work on Nehemiah, Satan pushed again by coming to Nehemiah in the lie of false friendship. Neh. 6:2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” They were planning to harm me. The lie we often want to believe is that our acquaintances we think are friends would not hurt us. This lie is insidious because we want people to like us. Satan knows how to use this lie against us. However, Nehemiah knew better. Prov. 29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. Nehemiah responded wisely. Neh 6:3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing important work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you? ” Why should we waste our time with the world when God has occupied our hearts?
      The walls of Jerusalem got built in record time because the lies of life were dealt with. When we become honest with ourselves, we too will be able to discern the falsehoods we have willfully been believing and will become wise to their destructive temptations. We have been delivered from this spirit of deception. Prov. 30:8a Keep falsehood and lies far from me. Let us ask God to show us clearly what lie we have to cut out of our lives so we can live in the peace Christ has ordained for us all. Amen!

Friday, 11 September 2020

The Gospel Of Shame

Proverbs 3:35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.

      Benjamin Franklin said, "Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame." 
      There is a whole lot of anger in the world right now and is polarizing people into picking a side of many irrational arguments. The new scarlet letter is upon us. As the scarlet letter labelled a person for an adulterous act, so now the narrative toward masks, vaccines, and flu shots are labelling those who are not submitting to government rhetoric an enemy to those whom we love. 
      What these new advertisements are implying, is that If I do not get a flu shot this fall season, then it means that I do not care for my elderly family members because I will be responsible for their death from the flu. If I don't wear a mask it means I hate my fellow citizen. If I don't get vaccinated when the inevitable vaccine comes out, it means I'm indifferent to my society. This gospel of shame is leaking through the propaganda which is creating a culture war among the people and is being fed to us on all media platforms.
      Whatever side of the argument a person is on, is not a reason for anger and hate. If you want to wear a mask then wear it, if not, then don't. But stop creating a wall of division that is so intensely defended at any cost including everyone's freedom. Stop making the other person feel shame because they do not think as you do. Marilyn J. Sorensen said, "Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong." 
      Yes, we are to take precautions during this time of a global pandemic. However, to react in a tyrannical manner toward each other is not the answer to healing the world's residents of this disease. The damage done by all the anger and hate to the souls of our population will be worse and longer-lasting than the virus's effect on the world to date. 1Cor. 4:14 I’m not writing this to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children.
      Our shame was nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified. I do not have to pick up anyone's accusation of shame and make it my own. This is the same argument of getting a tattoo or not having one and smoking or not smoking. The difference this time is that the governments are the jokers dealing from the deck that is affecting our lives. If Christ went to the cross to get rid of our shame then why are we so quick to lay shame on others?
      Maybe if the governments of the world were not so obsequiously disingenuous we might be trusting of them, but absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we end up fending for ourselves when it comes to the truth of any matter. This is why we are going to have to trust the Lord when it comes to what we are going to do and believe. Whether or not we will act wisely or foolishly. Prov.3:35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.  
      The Lord asks us to trust Him with all our hearts and not our own made-up answers. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. God's word is full of promises that encourages us to believe that God will take care of us. The question becomes, "Do you believe Him?" The choice is believing God or the government agencies that are scrambling for answers to things they do not fully understand. True enough, we are learning how to defeat this pandemic together, but we who are in Christ can be calm in the middle of this worldwide storm.
      This gospel of shame does not have any part in our inheritance and we should not be passing the shame along. On the contrary, we should be breaking the yoke of this debilitating weapon that the enemy of our soul uses. Do what you have to do to get through this mess but don't drag anyone down with you because of your fears. The Lord has not given us the spirit of fear. Fear belongs to those who wallow in the anxiety of the world. 2Tim. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Come on Saints, give out the love. It is truly needed right now.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Sleeping With The Light On

Proverbs 3:24 When you lie down you will not be filled with fear; when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant.

      When I sleep, I know I am sleeping with the light on because God is light. God is awake and on the scene at all times. We can rest and sleep in peace because God, who is light, takes care of us even during the hardest and darkest times. Psalm 3:5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. 
      We never have to worry about missing out because God keeps us in the loop so to speak while we are sleeping. God sows within us our instruction for a victorious life. He makes sure that we get ahead of the pride that can be so destructive within our hearts. Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds. 16 Then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17 in order to turn a person from his actions and suppress the pride of a person.
      Whether we are awake or sleeping, we can be at peace and assured that God is in control. The Lord has the best intentions for our souls. Even during times of heartache and loss when we want to sleep just to escape or get away from the turbulent pain within our being, we can be assured that God is at work within us. This is why the Lord continually leads us to rest in who God is. His rest brings the sleep of the innocent into our lives. Prov. 3:24 When you lie down you will not be filled with fear; when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant.
      In the books of Acts, chapter twelve, we read the story of Herod persecuting the newborn church. He had killed John's brother James and saw that it had pleased the Jews, so he went after Peter and arrested him. Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was praying fervently to God for him. The night before Herod was going to bring Peter to trial, Peter was sleeping in chains between two soldiers and there was a gatekeeper for extra security.
      What did Peter have in his heart that gave him such calmness of life? He is in complete peace sleeping in a dark prison as if a light was on. He is so comfortable that an angel has to disturb his sleep to wake him up and bring him through a divine jailbreak. Acts 12:7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up! ” And the chains fell off his wrists.
      What should have been a dark and bleak event in Peter's life turned out to be a time of rest. Peter did not know the church was praying for his deliverance. Yet, he was wrapped in the peace of God. The Lord who is light was battling on Peter's behalf. He was literally sleeping with the light on in the darkest of situations and God delivered him. Psalm 34:4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
      We do not have to worry during the darkest times of our life. God is awake while we sleep and He is in control when we are awake. No matter the situation, the Lord of the universe is always at work so that we can see clearly when the murky darkness of life come against us. Saints, as Jesus walked in the light, we walk in the light that is shinning forth at all times. John 8:12 Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” May our lives display the brilliance of our God who is shining through us.

Friday, 28 August 2020

You Cannot Hide From Yourself

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

       The countless cases of identity issues that are showing up in people's lives have become an unsettling social problem. From gender dysphoria to every possible disorder that can be imagined. Prov. 12:25a Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression. This is causing levels of anxiety to the point that the anxiety itself, is referred to as an anxiety disorder. In numerous cases, these suffering people are hanging on to some personal hurt, insult, or slight that should have been forgiven years ago. In some cases, the resulting bondage of their perceived rejections is causing a death wish of self-hatred, and soul-crushing anxiety resulting in the fear of the future. Who is in prison here? You cannot hide from yourself. 
      Wherever you go, there you are. You cannot hide from yourself and what you were created to do. If you do not believe me, just ask the thousands of depressed people who are looking to get away from their number one problem - themselves. Jonah could not escape his anger and depression when God was going to be merciful to the Assyrians who Jonah considered an enemy of his people. Jonah 4:3 And now, LORD, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live. Jonah knew the potential problems the Assyrian empire could cause the nation of Israel. 
      This is why Jonah schemed an escape to Tarshish. He thought that if he ran away, he could maneuver God into judging Nineveh. However, while Jonah was on the run, he realized he could not hide from God or himself. So his demoralizing answer to the sailors was, "Just throw me overboard." Jonah 1:12 He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so that it will calm down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this great storm that is against you.” Jonah's answers for his depressing pain are, "God, just kill me. Sailors, just throw me away." What a death wish. This is why we have to forgive ourselves when God has already done so. 
      The Psalmist David was having difficulty escaping his own fears and trembling-horrors as he called it. He was overwhelmed. His answer to getting away from his mounting anxiety was wishing he could fly. Psalm 55:6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! When you cannot deal with your own heart's issues, the answer seems to be - just get away from the pain even if you caused it. But it does not matter where you go, because you are still there.
      The Lord understands this restlessness we can fall into when we do not hand our burdens over to Him. This is why He asks us to come to Him with all our life's problems Matt.11:28 Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. The thing we have to realize, is, if we surrender to Him with our life's mess, then the Lord will expect us to cooperate with Him in getting our hearts healed. This healing often means we will have to forgive those who offended us and forgive ourselves for what God has forgiven. Once you forgive, you do not have to hide from yourself anymore. The prison doors that you had created are now open wide, and you can discover who you are in Christ rather than trying to overcome another disorder.
      We will be who we are in Christ for eternity. There will be no place to hide in the kingdom of God. There will be no unforgiveness or any disorders following us as we walk through death's door. The finished work of the cross has given us the opportunity to be transformed into the person God created us to be on this side of death. Why crash a party you have been invited to? Why hang on to a death wish when death is a certainty for all of mankind?  
      It is time to rip off the whole bandaid on the wounds we have caused and get with God's healing program. Time to stop trying to hide from ourselves and accept that God created a miracle in who we are. Psalm 139:14 I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.