Friday, 24 April 2020

A Butt-Kickin' Reboot

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.

      Hebrews 12:6 Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.
      I would like to thank my friend Jami Rogers for the title of this blog. She came up with the statement when we were talking about the need for a lot of us Christians to be taken out to the spiritual wood-shed so to speak, for some gentle persuasion by God. We agreed that a butt-kickin' reboot was needed to change the way many of us have been talking through this pandemic. Death, defeat, and loss are statements coming out of the saints as if they have no say in what is happening.
      A lot of what has been and still is being posted on the different media platforms is misdiagnosed rubbish, misinformation, and hearsay. In the future, there will be a clear record of what everyone's faith was during the outbreak. The question will be, were the posts and statements of faith or fear? We have to reboot our faith to be in line with what God says about who we are in Christ, and the heavenly authority we have during difficult times. Luke 10:19 Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing at all will harm you.
      I, for one, had to repent. I found myself in need of a butt-kickin' reboot. I realized I had been trusting in the church organization rather than Christ Himself for direction through this pandemic. As many of the church organizations acquiesced into passive submission to the quarantine regulations, I became disheartened with our expression of faith. The Lord had to remind me where to put my trust and faith. Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
     I am not judging any of the church leaders for the difficult choices they had to make. This is my own opinion and observation only. There are going to be a whole lot of shoulda, woulda, and couldas later on when we look back at our behaviour within our faith. There were many ways to legally come together in our buildings of worship, but our focus seemed to be on what we could not do rather than what was possible and legal to do during the lockdown. Yes, it would have taken a lot of extra effort to keep the facilities regulated, disinfected, and clean. But, who of us would not have made that extra effort to make sure that our support system remained vibrant?
      Faith, foolishness, and presumption are in full flight right now, plus all the conspiracy theories flooding our media platforms. We absolutely need to trust that the Lord will guide us through this world event. Through prayer and with the discernment of the Holy Spirit, we can listen to what God is saying, and look for His answers like we have never done before. We need a reboot of our understanding of being under God's reign. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.
     We have the authority to call upon our loving God for help during this fight and declare His word over this fear-filled earth. How are we going to do this if the body of Christ is fearful? Perhaps a word from the Apostle Paul could encourage us all. Rom. 1:16a For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Faith overcomes fear, and we need to use our faith in Christ right now.
      Father, in Jesus name, give us all a reboot and the courage of faith to take back what the enemy has stolen from us through this real and hurtful pandemic. You, Lord, are our healer and saviour. We put our trust in you and not the arm of man. Father, we do pray for our leaders that they would humble themselves and call on your name for help. Jer. 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Amen! 

Friday, 17 April 2020

Stronger Than Yesterday

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.

      Caleb said in Joshua 14:11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.
      Sometimes I am asked why I am so stubborn about my strict health routines, even throughout this pandemic. My answer is simple and straightforward. "God gave me a second chance for living after the stroke. By faith, I have recovered well to this point. Why then, would I spit in God's face and become the slob I used to be, and go back to those old bad habits? Why would I position myself for more sickness? How would  that honour the Lord's faithfulness towards me?" This is why I push toward a full healthy life.
      There is nothing really fanatical about what I am saying. I'm simply trying to be stronger than yesterday, within my body, mind, and faith. It does not matter what the world circumstances are. Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people. When we are strong in faith we have unshakable confidence in our God. When we are strong in our body and mind toward God, we have the confidence of Caleb, which helps us say, "We can do this hard thing we are going through."  
      Growing in the righteousness of the Lord will help us have the strength for the day that we are in, and help us become valiant in our acts of faith. 1 Chron. 11:22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was the son of a brave man from Kabzeel, a man of many exploits. Benaiah killed two sons of Ariel of Moab, and he went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. We may not have many lions to kill in order to survive these days, but we do have an enemy of our soul who goes around like a lion trying to destroy us. We have no choice but to become stronger than yesterday because the days we are in are evil and malicious.
      As parents, we want our children to grow up and be Godly, kind, and forthright citizens in this earth so that the goodness of God is seen and desired. When our children see that we are reaching faithfully toward God for our daily strength, they will take note. They may not voice it in the moment, but deep down, they will know that we are strong in the Lord. Prov.14:26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.
      Now please note, that the love of God is never in question toward every human being on earth. Regardless of our physical, mental, and life condition, we are emphatically and wholly loved. What I am postulating is that, if we are in a position to be positively stronger than yesterday, then do it. We are the stewards of the life that God gave us. True enough, we can waste that life on the many vices available twenty-four-seven. However, being a blessing in life has much more going for it, and we will have to make an account of the life we lived. Eccl. 12:14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
      So, as I prepare real food, and figure out my exercise routines for the coming days during this time of physical distancing, I plan by faith to become stronger than yesterday. As I walk and commune with my Lord and ask for the strength needed in my soul to overcome during this time of precarious living, I will remember to give God all the glory when we come through victoriously. 
      I will thank Him for the blessings of a full life that I am living in right now. Like many of you, I'm believing for better things. May God's face shine on us all. May He give us the desires of our hearts, to help us become stronger than yesterday. Amen!

Friday, 10 April 2020

No Atheists In Foxholes

Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

      Psalm 14:1a The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. 
      Have you noticed in times of great upheaval and national terror or disaster, that all the God-haters seem to disappear? Their voices become muted and they quietly go away. These fools who use up media space and parliamentary time to advocate the removal of the word 'God' from our national anthem and anything else that reminds them of true righteousness become the background noise of no importance. Their very presence and all of their other anti-Christ rhetoric seem to disappear. 
      These blustering populists claim to be representing the national interest of the people. However, when there is a national disaster these same so-called caring individuals all crawl away into the shadows not to be heard of during the hard times. They become very quiet while world leaders and stressed-out frontline workers are asking everyone to pray. There truly are no atheists in foxholes.
     In 1 Kings chapter thirteen, there is a story of a man of God who spoke against the altar that was being misused by king Jeroboam. The altar was split apart as a sign from God. The king, in his arrogance, stretches his hand toward the man of God, and paralysis took over his arm. 1 Kings 13:4b Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. Not until terrible things happen to a person do they stop and rethink their philosophies.
      When there is no hope in the middle of a crisis, there tends to be a reevaluation of all the nonsense that a person has been spewing over time. When death, sickness, and great loss are personal and there is no hope, God becomes more than an option, He becomes real. 1 Kings 13:6 The king cried out to the man of God, “Please ask the LORD your God to restore my hand again!” So the man of God prayed to the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and he could move it again. There truly are no atheists in foxholes.
       We are going through a time of great change in our country, and for this reason, God's name is being called upon. This is good for us to see and hear. There are great testimonies of God coming through for people who simply ask for His help. Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Ordinary people asking God for help and getting an extraordinary blessing that is reaching deep within people's hearts. It is the goodness of God that changes a person's heart. Rom. 2:4b God is kind because he is trying to lead you to repent.
      The arrogant have taken some time off from their mendacious agendas. History shows us that they will be back when times are safe, and complacency has set in again. Hopefully, this will be a long time from now. Their babbling will pick up steam until the next crises when they will slither away again. That is their character. Prov. 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.   
      What we can do in the meantime is be the hand extended that reaches out and blesses our family, friends, and neighbours. This is a time of great need and we have the mandate from God to intercede for all people. We have been chosen for this time. Therefore, let us do what God has put in our hearts to do in His name. Est. 4:14b Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Amen!

Friday, 3 April 2020

Our Season

Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.

      One of my pastors was sharing some observations he had during the outbreak of the recent pandemic. He said, "The people I expected to rise to the forefront and lead the church through this mess have turned out to be fearful, uncertain, and blowhard talkers. At the same time, the ones who did rise to the challenges of these hard times were the ones I considered lame and not really committed Christians. I am disappointed and blessed at the same time." 
      Wow, what camp do you find yourself in? In the Gospel of Matthew 21:28-31 There is the parable of two sons responding to their father's requests. One son was asked to go and work in the vineyard and he said, "I will not," but afterward, he repented and went to work. The other son said, "I will go," but did not obey. Our obeisance in the seasons we go through will either sharpen our resolve to walk closer with the Lord or will dull our taste-buds to even want to be walking the walk God has asked of us. John 6:67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
      Someone said, " Diamonds are formed under extreme pressure and knives are sharpened through friction." Saints, some of us are going to be a sharp sparkling people after this hard season has burned the dross out of our character. Eccl. 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. If we respond by faith and obedience to our heavenly Father, then the habitual complacency, fearfulness, and noncommittal attitudes toward God's calling in our lives will be burned out of us and we will become a refined product for the Master's use. Prov. 25:4 Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.
      What an opportunity these strange worldwide events have given us to create some spiritual backbone. When counselling, I have often used one of my Normism, " You only feel and know you are really alive when you are in the middle of great adversity." 
      This is so true. We don't notice things when everything is smooth and moving along without any challenges. But, the moment there are inconveniences, tests, and great obstacles we start screaming because of the discomfort we are actually feeling. All our senses are turned on and tuned into very noticeable feelings in the forefront of our thoughts. Gen. 4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Cain could now physically feel the pain in his emotions, feelings, and his understanding of life. Cain could feel each thought that he would need to go forward. 
      What are you feeling right now? God has not given us a spirit of fear. The Lord has not asked us to lay down our armour and offer full capitulation to these uncertain world events. Our Heavenly Father has not stopped running and ruling this universe. This is our season to exercise faith, strength, and experience victory because we are the blood-washed saints of the Lord. 
      We have been given authority to proclaim the blessings and the Word of God in this earth. Matt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
      This is our season to grow, express gratitude, and live for something worthwhile, rather than just exist within the conveniences of modern life. Jesus is Lord. This truth has not changed. We may be living in a time that is changing, but our God is steadfast and dependable. Let us walk the talk, and be in Christ so that when our Lord returns, He will find us faithful. Amen!