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.