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!