Thursday, 28 October 2021

Sore Losers

Proverbs 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?

      I cannot think of a worse sore loser than Satan. He continually tries to give his slithering character to the human race, so that mankind becomes as miserable as he is. However, we have to make a righteous effort not to pick up his traits and methods. Sore losers always accuse others of their problems. Anything that goes wrong in their lives is a result of someone else's actions. Their accusation of "The reason the country has gone to shreds is that - this or that political party is in power." This rehashed complaint is their constant excuse for blaming all that is gone wrong for their own choices they made in life. The reason they can't get ahead is because of them. Satan has been providing fodder for sore losers throughout history.
      In the garden of Eden, Satan surreptitiously accused God of holding back knowledge from Eve. Gen. 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Adam and Eve had all the knowledge they needed at the time to live a wholesome life. Satan tricked Eve into mistrusting the integrity of God, and she was deceived. The devil did this because he was and still is a jealous sore loser who wants to be greater than God. Isa. 14:13a You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. Thank the Lord for throwing Satan out of heaven forever. Luke 10:18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning."      
      One of the oddest conversations regarding Satan's accusatory nature is found in the book of Job. We read the account of the devil accusing God and Job at the same time. The accusation claims that God is being unfair in how He protects Job from Satan's attacks. Like all sore losers, Satan cannot succeed in being destructive because it is God's fault. Job 1:10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. The devil truly has a pathetic existence. To choose a rebellion against God and lose, plus try and break everything God makes, then have a tantrum in front of God accusing Him of His goodness, is absolute insanity.
      Maybe sore losers are, to a degree, insane. Was it sane for Cain to become a sore loser and lose all he had through an act of revenge because God looked favourably on Abel's offering? Gen. 4:5 But for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his face was gloomy. How had Cain's poor choices in life become Abel's fault? Like all sore losers, Cain had to find someone other than himself to accuse of the lack of character within his own soul.
      In a slick way, the ten spies accused God of making them feel so small compared to the giants in the land of Canaan. They could not muster up the courage to go into the land God promised them. It was God's and the giant's fault the people of Israel could not fulfil their dreams. Num. 14:3a Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Even though God is for us, blaming all of our woes on Him is a way to deflect personal responsibility. The loser looks for excuses and says, "Why is God doing this to me? How can I ever get ahead if God is against me?" It sure sounds like something Satan would say.
      So, let us answer the Proverb's questions. Prov. 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Who has all these problems? Those who do not take personal responsibility for their lives, and those who do not take the proper actions within life. God has said in His word, that He is for us and has asked us to choose life and not the things that lead to death. The devil, on the other hand, will help anyone choose every possible failure available to them so that they become a loser like Satan is. The devil is trying to reproduce after his own kind. Do we really want to help the enemy's agenda? The choice is ours. How do you want to live? Josh. 24:15b But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Amen!

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Public Opinion

Proverbs 17:13 Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

      At the beginning of the pandemic, public opinion had our courageous nurses at the top of the popularity meter. However, within a short time, the same public opinion group was protesting and cursing these same overworked, vulnerable, and tired health servants. This obnoxious public voice was trying to make our nurses the new social outcasts that we are supposed to hate. If these same protesters had been born two thousand years earlier, they would have been the ones shouting, "Hosanna" as Jesus rode a donkey into the city of Jerusalem, only to turn around and scream, "Crucify Him" days later. Public opinion can be fickle and cruel.
     Since when have we, as a society, modelled our lives to the standards of public opinion? How did the gospel of public opinion become the go-to training manual for living in this scornful world? The cesspool of thought that public opinion contains is an offensive stench that has no value for establishing any integral standard of good living practices. The mercurial nature of public opinion is in itself unable to find any level of forthright behaviour because it sways with the voice of discontent and the confusion of dysfunction. Public opinion's foundations are nothing more than toxic slurry and quicksand, resulting in a dark mass of ugliness.
      Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.” Online statistics (if they can be trusted) state that conspiracy theories and lies that public opinion is built upon will spread six times faster on social media platforms than the truth will. This would also explain why there is no way these online web giants are going to stop this type of online posting because it is such a large part of their revenue stream. Every level of government can drag all the CEOs of these mega-web platform companies before all kinds of congressional panels and grill the life out of them, and still, it will make no difference to the content posted. There is just too much money to be made with online falsities. Prov. 17:13 Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.                  
      Why is it easier to believe the fabrications of public opinion than the truth? I believe, the truth often contains a moral substance that can be hard to follow, and since the character of mankind is weak and sinfully flawed, the lie is easier to digest, even though it tastes bad. Rom. 1:24a So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. Therefore, we have to become the gatekeepers to what we allow into our hearts. We should be asking the Holy Spirit what the truth of the matter is so that we can proceed in confidence.
      If we are to overcome the storms and influences of public opinion, we are going to have to become secure in our souls by being established on the solid ground of God's word. The only solid foundation that does not buckle under pressure is the ground held by the Rock of Ages. Jesus said that we should build our house on a rock so we could weather the storms of life and every lie that the world throws at us. Matt. 7:24 Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 
      Wisdom is building our lives on what God says rather than unproven conspiracies. Eph. 4:14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. God has never lied to us and never will. It is not in His character nor His heart to do so. Jesus said that He is the truth, and truth acted upon will set us free. If you have aligned yourself with a false public belief that has bound your mind and heart, then it is time to seek the truth and be set free to become who God created you to be. John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. 
      We were not created to become a mouthpiece for the lies the enemy has promoted in this life. We are not to encourage the vitriol of public opinion. We are to be a voice of wisdom and calm in the turbulent storms that are taking place in this world. Let us bring the wisdom of the Holy Spirit into the harshness that surrounds us on all sides. God's truth and blessing be upon us all. Amen!

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Worse Than Dead

Proverbs 2:18 For her house sinks down to death and her ways to the land of the departed spirits.

     What can be worse than being dead? I think existing within an empty life, and not living the life God gave us could be as bad as being dead. Having no reason or purpose to get up, would be a terrible daily death. Always chasing the elusive - if I could have that, then I would feel alive, would be an empty existence, because the thing wished for is continually out of reach. I believe having to contend with the knowledge that we are wrapped within death's grasp and not able to do anything about it, could be frightening and weigh heavily on our soul. Being conscious of the fact that our bodies are in a state of dying, and heading to the end of life as we know it, can gnaw at our consciousness. 
      The reason we cannot phantom not existing is that there is a deep knowing in our soul that we will live forever. In most cases, this feeling cannot be explained, but, there is an intuitive knowledge concerning its reality. Eccl. 3:11b He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. We know that we know, we will live forever, but in what state of being, we do not know. To think about the idea of being eternally dead, yet living in that state is a hard concept to process. Therefore, these introspections are pushed to the side hoping the mental anxiety these thoughts cause go away.     
      Some people choose a dead life and are keen on causing others to do the same. Why? I have no idea, other than ignorance of their worth in God's eyes. Why would anyone choose the worst things in life as a good idea to live by? Jude warns us concerning these people. Jude 1:12 These are the ones who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, like shepherds caring only for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, churning up their own shameful deeds like dirty foam; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever.
      Thank God there is good news. We have been delivered from all of this death and darkness. Our Lord Jesus has taken away the sting of the mental torture that death can bring to a mind. 1Cor. 15:55 O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The blood sacrifice Jesus offered of Himself on our behalf is the soul-saving balm we can apply to our hearts and consciousness. This allows us to let go of the fear death tries to bring into our minds. We have been set free from the chains death once had bound mankind with. The good news is that death, our last enemy, will be destroyed with all manner of evil on that great and glorious day of the Lord. Rev. 20:14a Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. 
      We are blessed that Jesus said we who are in Christ would be the light of the world. We are not a dark reflection of the human condition that Satan wants us to believe. Matt. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We have the choice to let the light of God's word lead us into the freedom Jesus came to give us through the finished work of the cross. Our Lord has given us His word, His armour, and His Holy Spirit to make sure we live a victorious life and are able to defeat the works of darkness. The truth does set us free from the dire judgment the world is under.
     The Lord has given us eternal life, and what we do with that life is paramount to our living in peace. With Christ in our hearts, we can do more than just exist. We can live a fulfiled life led by the Holy Spirit. We can count on the fact that God wants us to be a living testimony of God's goodness, so that those who live in darkness may see there is a better choice in this life. Psalm 23:5a You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. What is worse than being dead is not living fully with the life God has given us. Be blessed and live free.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Tribalism

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise person holds it in check.

      Tribalism according to the dictionary: The behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one's own tribe, party, or social group.
      The religion of tribalism is flourishing. The world's population is merging into different camps of belief that are available to those who want to take part in something they can relate to. There does not have to be any logic, common sense, or even an altruistic purpose within the movements of these tribal structures. The fact is, that these tribal entities exist and are available to be joined by anyone. 
      At this time in North America, we have the tribes of the far left and distant right political parties fulminating on every sentence being spoken. We also have the vaccinated versus the not vaccinated pointing out each other's false claims. Plus, the no masks demonstraters versus those wearing masks have squared off in bitter arguments, separating friends and families. Our ability to control our emotions is becoming no better than the thugs who break everything and fight after the loss of an international soccer game. We are bringing this spirit into our homes, neighbourhoods, and churches. All because we want to give someone an angry piece of our mind. Prov. 29:11a A fool gives full vent to his anger. 
      Some tribal members are picking battles that are lost before they start, and yet, they put their whole souls into the fight. A few boisterous souls are fighting for their belief that the world is flat. To me, this seems to be a battle that will just go round in circles. Thank God that members of The Flat Earth Tribe do not work for NASA, at least I don't think they do. What is causing people to drop their guard and become advocates for nonsense and are expressing personal rage to fight for absolute foolishness? 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.
      There is nothing new here. The Apostle Paul had the same problems to deal with. The political parties of his day maintained a religious port-folio that was daily present to the people. The Herodians were members of Herod's government watchdogs making sure taxes were paid, and insurrections did not take place. Judaism was represented by the Scribes and Pharisees who hung out with the Herodians to find out what the ruling class was up to. Circumcision had become a sharp divisive argument among those who were doing church in a new way. Lost in all of it, was the love for God, and the eternal love that God has for mankind.
      Paul had to address the dangers of tribalism slipping into the church. There were those who felt their tribe was more significant because they had been led to the Lord by Paul, where others had only been led to the Lord by some of the other leaders. Thus creating a tribal instinct that had to be quashed within the hearts of the new Christians. 1Cor. 3:4 For whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not acting like mere humans? 5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. 
     The enemy of our soul has been dividing people from the first day that man was created. We who are in Christ have to realize that people will have different persuasions that they will feel comfortable with throughout their life. However, we are not to make these sidebar ideologies our gods. The Apostle Paul had a solution for the differences he was coming up against. He remained in Christ while reaching out to the people and bringing Jesus into the belief that some were so passionately expressing. 1Cor. 9:20a When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 
      Paul did not get overwhelmed by all the different trains of thought, but rather, he brought Christ into the person's belief, thereby allowing Jesus to deal will all the fears, uncertainties, political views, and even the nonsense of the day that the person was living in. When Jesus is the Lord of our life, stuff will get straightened out in our life. Jesus was and still is the answer for dealing with the wars and conflicts within people's hearts. If we would allow the Lord to straighten out our doctrines and beliefs, we would not get suckered into arguing about all the narratives going on around us that Satan continually promotes. Real peace would be our guide, and we would leave the bitterness caused by all the vitriol to the trolls who sow all manner of discourse.
      It might be time to leave the tribe you have been foolheartedly speaking for. If we have to identify as a tribe, then let us become full citizens within God's kingdom where there is no doubt who the King of kings and Lord of lords is. The light of our Lord, can stab any darkness and rip apart the gloom that has enveloped a heart or mind. Jesus makes us one by His Spirit. We can extend the hand of fellowship with patience toward those who are grappling with their maturity in Christ. We all need to be extra patient with each other because God is not finished with us. We are all an ongoing project in God's salvation plan. Jude 1:24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. Let us receive our peace through Christ for the day we are living in. Amen and amen!