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.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Lost And Finally Found

Proverbs 24:14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.

      Now, what do you do once you are found?
      Proverbs 12:25a Anxiety weighs down the heart. The anxiety that overtakes us when we suddenly realize we are truly lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere can be overwhelming. We have to backtrack and find our point of origin and look at the maps again. A lot of life's problems that people have right now, are a result of not stopping and reading their book of instructions. Their maps and directions for living a righteous life, is lying on a shelf somewhere and has not been read in a while. Therefore, they exist with no sense of direction.
      A majority of people have bible apps on their devices, but the app has not been opened since it was installed. How are we going to find our way, if we are not asking and seeking for the right direction? Matt. 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If you were travelling in a foreign country, you would make sure that you had directions to where you were heading. As we travel through our time on earth, we are looking for that place of refuge made by God. We need to follow the instructions to get there, as God wills. Those who are in Christ are strangers in this land and need God's word to keep their lives on the Lord's righteous track.
      We cannot just snack and nibble on an occasional sermon from a pulpit or podcast every other Sunday, and expect to know the whole will of God for our lives. If we look at our personal relationships with friends and family, they work when we are hanging out, asking questions, and genuinely being involved with each other. It works the same way when we are walking with our Lord. John 15:15b I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. We commune with the Lord in the spirit so that we know what the Spirit of God is saying to our hearts, and showing us what to do next.
      I am so grateful that God's grace is available to His children and allows us to grow up to become the adults of God. This will not happen if we remain childish in our relationship. Yes, we are to have a child-like faith, but that does not mean we remain childish by living on pablum and milk. Heb. 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
      The blessing of being in Christ is - if we find ourselves lost and confused, God knows who we are and where we are at all times. The Lord has seen our future and knows exactly where we are in heart, attitude, and destiny. Even when we were lost in our trespasses and sins, God loved us and kept calling us to Himself so that we could find our way to Him. Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      Our heavenly Father has made a way for us to find Him through Christ. Therefore, when we notice that we have drifted from the will and directions God gave us for righteous living, then take stock of the situation. Come back before we get lost and the hounds of life start to persecute us again. We need to stop putting ourselves in a position where we keep stumbling off the cliff because we have become so undisciplined. 
      Return to God's word which is our compass for life, and you will change your direction. Let us go on to the maturity God has for us, and become the hand extended that brings the blessings and healing that Jesus has for everyone. Isa. 35:4 Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Praise the Lord that He is there continually to rescue us.
      Let us share the bright future we have found in Christ. Prov. 24:14b You will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. God rescued us so that we too can rescue those who are lost, and finally want to be found. Come on Saints, there is work to do. Blessings.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Pandemic Doublespeak

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

      Eric Arthur Blair or as we know him by his pen name, George Orwell said, "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Whether we are in a time of deceit or fake news as some have implied, telling and sharing the truth is what we who are in Christ are going to have to do. We cannot get caught up in every imaginable deceit that is rumouring throughout the world. The only person I know who consistently tells the truth is the Lord. As a matter of fact, Jesus said, "He is the truth." John 14:6a Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. 
      The daily number-counts concerning the world pandemic sure has an Orwellian doublespeak aspect about it. So-called accurate statistics are continually being projected and rehashed ad nauseam on every available device in every corner of the world. Governments of all kinds proclaim that they have our best interests at heart, and are just trying to keep the masses in harmonious step because, as they say, "We are all in this together." What a load of funggully.
      How can any of the world leaders be so sure about what they do not know? Words and phrases like maybe, might have, could reach, best guess, it has the potential, not sure, probably, possibly happen, perhaps, considerably risky, not optimistic, and, for all we know, are the best reassurances the world can come up with to try and give a weak guarantee of tentative safety. Rom. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. What a gospel of straw! No wonder mental illness is on the increase.
      The pandemic doublespeak amounts to a collection of watered-down catchlines broadcast daily to try and grab the fear-filled minds of people who have lost all resolve to think things through. Many people who are physically fatigued with tired minds are just wondering what the blazes is going on. Statistics of every kind, whether true or not, are used to persuade frightened citizens into docility. George Orwell also said, "We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it." So, it looks like we are going to have to make up our hearts and minds as to what we will do in our walk with God.
      Thank God there is no hesitation from the Lord when He says what is and is not. The Lord admonishes us to buy the truth and not to sell it. Prov. 23:23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. When we have God's living truth working within us, we have a sure word of understanding. This is why we make sure to not even think about selling it because it is so valuable to the person using God's truth to live a resurrected life. It is a life-giving truth and infinitely worth more than anyone can imagine.
      Living a resurrected life means believing God is in control, and that we have the promises of God to live by and rely on. 2Cor. 1:20 For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through Him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God. Our faith in the Lord's ability to protect us is a divine assurance and not some cheesy insurance. Psalm 91:7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. We know this virus is from the enemy of our soul. Therefore, who we are in Christ gives us the power to trample over sickness and disease. 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.
      We are either going to believe in the fear-filled pandamonium being advertised throughout the world, or we are going to get locked into who the Lord God says we are and what we can do in His name. Yes, the virus is out there, but we do not have to claim a piece of it. Rather, a believer in Christ will claim and declare everything God says is available to those who believe by faith. 
      Life and death are in the power of the tongue. God has asked us to choose life and declare it at all times. Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live. What's it going to be, the pandemic doublespeak or God's true living word? Make your choice as to what you are going to believe, and live with it!

Friday, 7 August 2020

The Most Evil Thing

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

      In a world where evil abounds, and in a lot of cases is practiced, admired, and even defended as a personal right to participate in - the evilest thing of all is still pride. CS Lewis said, "Pride is spiritual cancer." This sin is insidiously evil because all sin is rooted in it. Whether the pride is arrogant, boastful, or displayed as false humility, it is ugly and causes a stench that permeates the human condition. When pride has run its course on an individual's heart, it brings destruction to the one who is living within their chosen arrogance. Prov. 16:18 Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. 
      It was self-obsessed pride that destroyed Satan and it is the same sneery conceit that is at the root of every imaginable evil. Eze. 28:17a Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty.  Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. It was sanctimonious pride that persuaded one-third of the angels to rebel against God. The pride of the eye deceived Eve into sin. The smugness of pride and jealousy provoked Cain to murder his brother. Religious pride that was resident within the self-righteous priests caused the crucifixion of Jesus. To this day, narcissistic pride has caused many to reject salvation. Acts 26:28 Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
      In the not too distant future, the ugliest of human pride will allow the Anti-Christ to set up a reign of terror. Yet, as people's souls swim in the darkness of this sin, they will not repent, even in the middle of their painful misery. Rev. 16:11 And they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. Once Satan has a man or woman living out of a prideful heart, the vice-grip of self-conceit becomes hard to overcome. 
      Thank God for Jesus who can break every bondage there is. However, we have to repent of this sin and hand our vulnerable hearts over to God so that He can heal it from the effects of this iniquity. The love of God conquers all. When we read what love is, we can see that it is the exact opposite of pride. 1 Cor. 13:4a Love is patient, love is kind. 6b rejoiceth in the truth; It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. When we read what love is not, we can see that it is pride at work. 1 Cor. 13:4b It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6a does not rejoice in iniquity.  
      Notice, pride is the opposite of love. If we want to conquer pride, we do it with God's love at work within us. If anyone is having a hard time loving, then chances are pride has entered their heart. Somewhere, somehow this sin has disrupted their ability to step out in love. Therefore, repentance is needed and we overcome pride by expressing authentic love. We do this by faith in the finished work of the cross and the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, including pride.
      Why does Satan promote this particular sin within the human race? Because once pride has a foothold in a person's life the chances of looking to God for life's answers begin to wane. Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Imagine, having no room for God in all or any of your thoughts. What an insipid existence that would be. No Saints, Jesus came that we have life and have it more abundantly. Pride will stop that abundant life and the most evil thing of all will become your lot in life.
      So, let us lay aside the sin that so easily tricks us into self-absorption and ask God to give us the strength to overcome this vilest of temptation. Heb. 12:1b Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. Father, In Jesus name, help us to overcome the sin of pride that we may look to your salvation in the joy and victory of the Lord. Amen!