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.