Thursday, 25 March 2021

Don’t Stay Stupid

Proverbs 12:15 Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice.

      Stupid: Having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense.
      Well, there you have it. Lacking intelligence and common sense are describing the majority of the human race at this time in history. Am I being a bit too harsh in my observations? Well, after a year of living through a worldwide pandemic - you tell me. What do you see as you look around? Stupid is as stupid does.
      This morning at breakfast, my publisher Clay said, "Don't stay stupid. Stop repeating the same things that keep you doing foolish things, reinforcing your stupidity." We were dealing with our own issues and character-flaws we have to change in our lives, to become better representatives of the ministry our Lord has called us into. We have to respond to the good advice that God brings into our hearts. Prov. 12:15 Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice.
      The amount of wisdom that is needed in this world right now cannot come fast enough. People sit back, wringing their hands in disillusionment, wondering what has happened to common-sense. The wisdom of God is needed, but these same people have rejected Him. The reverence and love for God and His Word will bring the wisdom that will remove the stupefaction that has captured the minds of humanity. Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
      Foolish arrogance can lead to stupid thinking. We read the story of David when he wanted to feed his men. He asked for some supplies from Nabal, a rich landowner who was benefiting because David and his men were camped in the hills near Nabal's grazing lands. 1Sam. 25:7 I hear that you are shearing. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harass them, and nothing of theirs was missing the whole time they were in Carmel. 
      David had been protecting the area and the shepherds who worked there. David was kind to them and now was asking Nabal to be kind to his men.1Sam. 25:8b Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them. Nabal's answer was harsh and belittling. 1Sam. 25:10 Nabal asked them, “Who is David? Who is Jesse’s son? Many slaves these days are running away from their masters. Ouch! Stupid is what stupid says.
      David decides to kill Nabal and orders his men to head out and deal with this arrogance. Nabal's wife Abigail hears about the whole exchange and acts fast with wisdom. She orders the preparation and the packing of a whole lot of food, then rushes out to reach David before he runs into Nabal. Abigail meets David and reasons with him by explaining that she had not seen his men come with David's request and that her husband's name said everything there was to say about his character. 1Sam. 25:25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent.
      David accepts her gift and intercession on dumb dumb's behalf averting a tragedy. The sad thing is that Nabal died a stupid man. 1Sam. 25:37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. This seems to be the choice that a lot of people make. They die in their stupidity, and full of foolishness. I am not the one calling people fools. The word of God calls them fools. Psalm 14:1a The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” 
      The question we have to answer is, "Are we going to stay stupid, or are we going to accept God's saving advice?" For those who do not know the Lord, God's counsel is to accept His Son Jesus as their saviour. For those who do have a relationship with God, through Christ, His command is to love one another and to share the gospel with all of mankind. In short. Don't stay stupid, but rather be wise in the wisdom that God has given us by obeying what God has said to do. Blessings.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Sunset Sunrise

Proverbs. 3:12 For the LORD disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.

      Genesis‬ ‭28:11 “He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place. Jacob had come to a place where the sun had set upon his life as he knew it. Jacob was about to learn some hard and humbling lessons in life, and like many of us who learn the hard way - Jacob found it rough. Eccl. 2:17 Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind. 
      From this time on, Jacob had to learn how to develop a relationship with God on God's terms. The many struggles that he came up against caused him to finally arrive at a place in his life where he called upon God to bless him, no matter what it cost him. After wrestling with God, the sun finally came up upon Jacob's life. Gen. 32:20 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.” 21a Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel.
      Until we have a personal relationship with God through Christ, the sun cannot rise upon our lives. Before the sun can rise upon us, we will have to embrace the love of our heavenly Father and accept the gift of salvation He has provided through Christ Jesus. We will also have to allow the Lord's correction that will make the changes God wants manifesting in our lives. Prov. 3:12 For the LORD disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights. 
      Our character and heart will be tested and put through the purifying fires of the Holy Spirit so that we come out as gold and able to be used by God. Prov. 17:3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart. Our past may have demonstrated a dark sunset that was laid out before us, but in Christ, we have a bright sunrise ahead of us. The Lord has conquered darkness for us. We only have to walk in the light that Jesus has brought us into. 
      When the word of God becomes our guiding light, we will be able to see what God has purposed for our lives. Psalm 119:45 I will walk freely in an open place because I study your precepts. When Jesus becomes our Lord, the light of His righteousness will guide us. John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
      Jesus came so that we could come out of darkness and be healed of all the corrupt sickness dwelling within our lives. Mark 1:32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to Him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. So many of the ailing sick who came to Jesus had been living lives that the sun had set upon for many years. The religious traditions of the day could not take the darkness away. Once Jesus showed up on any scene, the darkness was destroyed by the light of His perfect radiance. How beautiful the image of Jesus - the light of the world! 
      We who are in Christ have been given the Lord's illumination on eternity so that we no longer have to let the sun go down upon our lives. Matt. 5:14a You are the light of the world. In Christ, we are the light of the world, and through the finished work of the cross, we can bring the brightest sunrises into people's lives because of what Jesus had done through His sacrifice. Let us keep our hearts in the place where God's Son is always shining through our lives. Amen!

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Even If You Limp

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

      I saw stars, then tears started to form just after I had stubbed my big toe on a forty-five-pound steel plate I had been using to exercise with. The weight did not move, but my toe did as I walked into the solid piece I had just put down on the floor. "Ouch, ouch!" I cried because I could have sworn I heard a crunch when I stubbed my toe dead on center. "Oh Father, Oh God," I said as I limped around. As the pain subsided, I then said, "Listen, Norm, this is not an excuse. Even if you limp, finish your workout!" 
      Even if you limp, don’t stop believing God’s word for the healing and restoration you need in your life. Even if you are lying flat on your back keep believing God to help you stand into the fulness of His blessings. While you are hurting, keep believing God for relief and restoration. Even if you limp, keep walking toward God's goodness. Prov. 30:1b I am weary, God, but I can prevail. 
      The key to our victory is to keep our hope and confidence in the character of God who does not lie. Num. 23:19a God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. The question we have to answer comes down to who are we going to trust, God, or all the varied assumptions that mankind comes up with? Prov. 25:19  Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. The world system can only offer a patchwork of substandard help that falls short of God's perfection. Only God can give you the real help you need in the moment of your suffering. Our Lord has all the answers for what we have to face in life.
      In the Gospel of Luke, we read the story of the ten lepers who stood afar off crying out to Jesus for help. It was while they were in the state of their bacterial flesh-eating sickness that they shuffled and limped their way toward the Lord, looking for mercy. They had been shunned, exiled, and exploited by all people. No one could touch or hug them. They were left to themselves and left to survive on the fringes of the wastelands. As close as the law would allow, they limped their way into the presence of the Lord to get the help they needed.
      Jesus acknowledges them as redeemable souls and spoke into their lives, with an instruction that would give them hope for their future. Luke 17:14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. As they obeyed, they noticed that their limp was leaving them. The tingling feeling that once ate them alive was now bringing a joyful sensation to their nerve endings. Their act of faith in the Lord's instruction was cleaning up their skin right in front of each other's eyes. Even while they limped, they did as the Lord had said, and healing became their testimony.
      Trusting the Lord with all our hearts is the only way we will get victory over the limp that we are suffering from. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. It does not matter what the problem is. God can and will help us if we ask by faith. However, we will have to do what the Lord says to overcome the effects the limp has caused.
      We will have to put our full confidence in the Lord, His Word, and the love He has for us. Even if we limp, we cannot stop believing God. Troubles will come, and battles will happen, but those who trust in the Lord will be saved. Isa. 40:31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. We do not use our limp as an excuse to stop coming to God, we use it to keep seeking God. Blessings, healing, and peace be upon us all.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

The Problem With Experts

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.

      Nassim Taleb said, "The problem with experts is that they do not know what they do not know."
      Experts can get caught up in believing their own importance and narrowed opinion, even when the evidence begins to dispute their analysis within their field of expertise. Alvin Toffler put it this way, "We need people who can see straight ahead and deep into the problem. Those are the experts. But we also need peripheral vision and experts are generally not very good at providing peripheral vision."
      It has become apparent during this pandemic, that there are too many experts who are not on the same page, causing many conflicting reports that are pounced upon by the fear-mongering news channels. No wonder people find themselves shaking their heads at the whole thing. Mark Twain said, " There are lies, damned lies, and statistics," We have sure had our fill of all three on every imaginable platform there is during this pandemic. Prov.14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.
      History will show who made the right calls during this worldwide contagion. It will also show how our officials legislated so many errors in judgment, missed opportunities, and slow responses to problems on all fronts. There will be plenty of blame to go around. This contamination was a new horror that the world had never experienced on such a scale.  Luke 21:11a There will be famines and plagues in various places. 
      There will be those who felt we did not enforce stronger measures in locking down, and those who felt the legislated cures were more destructive than the disease. I tend to lean toward the latter. The experts and government leaders have caused so much damage to our citizens, that the restoration of mental health, physical breakdown, and fiscal bankruptcy will be felt for decades throughout the world.
      A friend asked me, "Why are you not afraid of this pandemic?  Don't you believe the virus is real?" I said, "Yes, it is very real and destructive. However, in the same way, that I know Satan exists, I do not acknowledge or put my faith in him because I do not belong to him. I put my faith and confidence in the Lord and I use the commonsense He gave me." My attitude toward the virus is no different than it is toward any disease available to mankind. I believe the virus is real and dangerous, but I do not give it my continual attention. 
      I especially do not give much time to the medical and government experts who only focus on the virus all day long. These specialists have come to believe in the essence of the virus which is continually at the forefront of their minds. Their hearts and minds are ruled by it. I focus on the healing word of God, even though the virus is as real as sars, heart-disease, and ebola. My attention belongs to God, and not the virus. Psalm 141:8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
      If you can trust God to protect you from the devil, who is real and viciously deceptive, then why can we not trust God to protect us from a virus that is just as real? They both exist, but neither have the rule in our lives nor have the authority over us. On the contrary, God's word says, We have authority over both, the virus and the devil. Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 
      There have always been experts and they have been involved in every event throughout history. Just because they are experts does not mean they always get it right. In 1876 the experts at Western Union said in an internal memo, “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherent of no value to us.” In 1962 the experts at the Decca Recording Company said, “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” So they declined to sign the Beatles.
      The experts in the law were continually trying to trap Jesus in His words. Mark 12:13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. These experts had become so narrow-minded they could not hear the Lord because of their biased knowledge and stubborn hearts. They were the experts, after all. They knew better than God. What a crazy thought, but at that time, they actually thought that way.
God is the only expert we can trust. What He says is the only truth we can rely on. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Our understanding of any subject can be biased and therefore, we should defer our expertise when God shows us a better way. 
      The Lord's word is the only solid truth we have right now. It can bring peace to our hearts during this worldwide mess. Therefore, read, absorb, and declare God's living word over your health, life, and direction to take as we go forward in Christ. Pray for the authorities and experts who are trying to get the world back to a semblance of normal, because they sure need all the help they can get. Amen!