Thursday, 30 December 2021

Errors To Correct

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.
     
      Whenever one of my books is published and I receive the first copy, I look forward to reading it from cover to cover. After all, it is my work in print. However, while reading and enjoying the book, I am also looking for errors that were missed throughout the editing process. I'm not looking to discredit the process of the editors or the work itself, but rather to improve the finished work. Just because there may be a few errors, does not mean the whole book is a write-off. The mistakes that I do find are eventually corrected and the next edition of the book is a better version of itself. If an error is found, I do not throw the whole book away. I correct the mistake and look to improve as a writer. I correct the errors and go on to the next project.
      Throughout life, we enact a similar editing work within our souls. With God's help, we amend what needs fixing within our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, God corrects our errors and helps us repent of our sins. Just because we miss an instruction or mess up God's directions does not mean He writes us off and damns us to hell. The Lord forgives and heals our souls, so He can present a better version of who we are in Christ. We are never going to be more righteous than the day we accepted Christ, but we will grow in the power of His righteousness. Jesus wants to present us faultless before our Heavenly Father, and this can only be done through Christ's righteousness. 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.
      The righteousness we acquired by faith in Christ does not stop us from messing up in life but guides and helps us get back on the Lord's standard of righteous living. Everything God does in our hearts is to help us become a better version of who He knows us to be. Our Heavenly Father loves us for who we are and who we will be throughout eternity. God's righteous love that He has for us is never in doubt. It protects us and keeps us from falling short of God's glory. Prov. 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.
      As we correct the errors of life and overcome the temptations of the enemy, we will be able to declare what the Lord says about our lives and speak faith into our future. We can express the wisdom of God because His righteous wisdom is at work within us. Prov. 16:13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. We should never forget that it is always the Lord's righteousness we are living through and not our own. This is why we do not have to panic in fright when we sin. We quickly repent and accept the forgiving grace the Lord works within us. What an amazing gift God has given us through His son Jesus.
      The bible has many accounts of people who had made mistakes, sinned, and had utterly fallen. However, God had a future for them just as He has for us. Jacob tried to force God's blessing to work within his life by using his own craftiness and strength. But God demonstrated to Jacob that the blessing of the Lord could only work in God's strength. Gideon thought he was a nobody, however, the Lord revealed to Gideon who he was with God on his side. Jonathan's son Mephibosheth thought he was only a disinherited, disabled, poverty-stricken castaway, but God brought him comfort and restoration through a covenant that had been made with King David. 2Sam. 9:7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “since I intend to show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul’s fields, and you will always eat meals at my table.”
      We have all sinned and fallen short of God's holy perfection. The Lord does not chuck us on the garbage heap because we messed up. He restores us and keeps leading us into better and forthright choices. There will always be mistakes, errors, and failures to overcome, but as in the example of my books, the mistakes can be corrected, fixed, and even rewritten if need be. Then, the whole rewrite can be resubmitted for publishing, thus creating a better version of what once was. Let God do the same for us. Let Him correct, guide, lead, and wash our lives through the blood of the Lord so that we come out the best version of who God says we are. Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the LORD’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Amen and amen!

Thursday, 23 December 2021

The Sharp Edge Of Hurt

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.

      
      You don’t have to die to go to hell. Just ask long-term meth addicts how much misery, grief, and hurt they live with daily. Yes, a lot of their misery is self-inflicted, but still, their lives are a living hell and full of hurt. Ask a battered wife who is trying to escape ever-increasing brutality upon herself and her children if she thinks hell could be worse than what she is going through. There are hell holes on this earth where war is manufactured year after year, displacing families to suffer want and need. The provocateurs of these wars have no qualms sacrificing their children in the name of a just war, or as repulsive as this sounds, "A holy war." There are hurting people all over the world, and no one but God can bring relief to the sharp edge of pain these people live with daily.
      We do not have to look far to realize that many people were led astray by friends and family. We can look to our past and see how we were influenced by people who knew better but chose to hurt us anyway. Hurt people will hurt other people, so we have to create boundaries within relationships. There would not be so much pain in life if people chose their friends with care and discernment as the proverb says. Prov. 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. Many friendships are toxic, resulting in the blind leading the blind into addictions, self-harm, and mayhem, resulting in unnecessary hurts in people's lives.
      It would be nice if there was a vaccine to immunize ourselves against those who are perfidious in relations, angry with life, and outright foolish in choices causing so much hurt in this world. For me, the word of the Lord is the immunizing protection that shields me from those who hurt others because of the human condition. I can walk in peace and discern the times I am living in by the leading of God's Word. Hopefully, this will also give me insight into other people's pain who are hurting all around me. God says to choose our friends carefully so that we can take care of each other and not be led astray during crazy and unstable times.
      There are seven things God hates and they are listed in Proverbs 6:16-19. We who are in Christ, should not be causing strife, conflict, trouble, or discord among our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is an abomination to our Heavenly Father because He hates this sin. Prov. 6:19 A false witness who declares lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. The sharp edge of hurt is harder to get through and forgive those who caused it when the violation comes from someone in our Christian family, rather than the onslaught of hurts that come from those in the world. We expect the people of the world to react from a position of being lost, but not those we fellowship with. The Psalmist was wrestling with the same emotions and pain. Psalm 55:12 Now it is not an enemy who insults me — otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me — otherwise I could hide from him. 12 But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! 
      Jephthah was rejected by his half-brothers because Jephthah's family lineage was not perfect. Jdg. 11:1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute, and Gilead was his father. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when they grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You will have no inheritance in our father’s family, because you are the son of another woman.” Years later, when Israel was skirmishing with the Ammonites, the sons of Gilead came looking for Jephthah's help. Even though time had passed, Jephthah was still hurt by the family's rejection. Jdg. 11:7 Jephthah replied to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me out of my father’s family? Why then have you come to me now when you’re in trouble? ”
      There is enough hurt and pain in the world without those of us who walk in Christ causing the same problems that worldly people create through their ignorance. The unsaved population has an excuse for their actions and sinful nature, as they have not accepted the redemptive saving grace of the Lord. However, those of us who are under God's grace because we have accepted Christ as Lord should be circumspect when it comes to taking part in causing pain and suffering in a fallen world. Let us be the righteous friends that others have carefully chosen. Let us be the reason people find peace and safety in their lives. Prov. 18:24b But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. To lash out and hurt another person is easy, but to extend a hand of healing, is a divine gift from our God. Blessings.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Protected From Ourselves

Proverbs 2:8 He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

      How many times has God come through for you, by protecting you from something you were the reason protection was needed? We see God coming to the rescue continually to help and protect people from their own dumb and nonsensical decisions. The Lord promised a saviour for Adam and Eve after they had sinned, resulting in salvation for anyone who chose God's gift of salvation through Christ. At another time, God sent a whale to pick up Jonah while he was running away in disobedience of the instructions God had given him. God is continually on guard and looking out for us. Isa. 52:12 You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
      I have recently been protected for two dumb things I did with my house and car keys. The other morning, I was looking for my keys and could not find them anywhere. I went out to the car to see if I had left them there. Then I noticed the keys in the outside door keyhole. The keys were cold from being there all night. Great burglar protection. Just leave the keys in the lock for anyone to use. Again, the other morning, while meeting friends at a restaurant, I left my keys in the car ignition with the doors unlocked. I only noticed the keys were missing as I was leaving the restaurant. Not a good car-theft deterrent. All I could say was, "Thank you, Lord, for protecting me from myself." Prov. 2:8 He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.
      We try to control everything that goes on around us. We think we can keep on top of every aspect of our lives, but time and time again, we see that we come up short of the perfection and security we are trying to create. We even try to protect ourselves from the inevitability of death which is in God's control and domain. Eccl. 8:8 None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked. We need God to protect us from our narcissistic belief that we have it all under control and that we are on top of it all. How deceived we can become, by not realizing that even our breath is lent to us by God. Isa. 2:22a Put no more trust in a mere human, who has only the breath in his nostrils.
      I often look around and wonder how we, as a human race, have made it this far. We only have to watch the nightly news to see how messed up the people of this earth have become. We keep putting ourselves in danger of annihilation. Across the continents, we have nuclear missiles pointed at each other and hopefully, no one accidentally sets one off. This would definitely throw a spanner into our Nuclear Détente arrangements that are negotiated worldwide. I mean, just one accidental nuclear explosion could ruin our day. We certainly need God to deliver us from ourselves.
      The Apostle Peter had made some bold statements about his love for Jesus. He boasted that he would die for the Lord, but as Jesus predicted, within hours, Peter had denied even knowing the Lord. Peter ran off in shame because of his cowardly behaviour. He needed protection from himself and only Jesus the forgiving Lord could restore the emotional and spiritual confidence Peter needed so he could repent and get back on the Lord's agenda. The Lord did warn Peter that he would be tested and when he came through it, to help his brothers in the Lord. Luke 22:31 Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
      Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father praying and interceding for each one of us. He prays that we fulfill what we have been created for and that the resurrection power of Christ keeps us walking in His righteousness. Rom. 8:34b Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Hopefully, we have the sense to not walk into the world's sludge and slurry that is off the path of the righteous. However, if we do miss the clear markings of the narrow road we are to travel on, we can count on the fact that God will protect us from ourselves and our foolish decisions. God has our eternal souls in His hands and will forgive us when we ask through faith in Christ.
      Praise the Lord for He is so good. May we all give thanks for all the times our God has come through for us. Amen!

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Nothing To Lose

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

      When a person reaches the bell curve of their struggle, this is when that person has to dig the deepest within their soul to break through and overcome the unwanted addiction, bad-habit, or toxic codependent relationship that has to be broken. You may even hear someone say at this point, "You have nothing to lose but your chains, so keep fighting." Thank God the Lord is there to help us conquer the vice the enemy has tried to destroy us with. 1Chron. 14:11 So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”).
      How did we get to a place in our life where we were left so vulnerable to the attack of the devil that even an addiction took over our will? In most cases, self-control was no longer being practiced in our everyday choices. Prov. 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Our walls of defence were breached because we became careless with our words, choices, and attitudes. The Lord has placed a wall of protection around us but we have to maintain the integrity of that wall as we walk with our Lord and live in our salvation. Job 1:10a You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property.
      If you find yourself in a place of utter desperation because of the mess you created within your own life, please be assured there is a way out. If you are at the bottom of an endless grave and the shadows of death are stalking your every move and thought, please know there is a mighty God who can deliver you. You have nothing to lose but the chains that have you bound at this time. Christ is well able to turn your life around and break every chain that has been wrapped around your life squeezing your very essence away. Psalm 107:14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains.
      The madman of Gadara had nothing to lose but the insanity the devil was destroying him with and the chains the villagers had bound him with. Mark 5:5 Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. It is amazing that this man did not start in with all the false humility like "How can Jesus love a demon-possessed guy like me? Or, how can God ever forgive a super sinner like I am?" and all the rest of that self-righteous rubbish people come up with in the middle of their despair.
      In the full-blown manifestation of blasphemous howling, self-harm, and demon-driven insanity, the possessed man saw Jesus and ran to Him and worshiped. The madman had nothing to lose but what he had become to this point in his life. No matter the mess you are in, Jesus our Lord came to save sinners and that includes you and me. We have nothing to lose but the filth and detritus we have created in our lives. If we hand our lives over to the Lord and let Him exchange our sin-stained souls for His salvation, we will be victorious in Christ. Isa. 61:3 And provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
      There is nothing in this world that will be coming with us when we die. We really have nothing to lose but our souls. Since this is the reality, our life's efforts should be, to live fully with the gift God has given us through Christ. As we have so often heard from the scriptures, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" This question has to be answered. We have nothing to lose on this side of eternity and so much to gain as we enter eternal life with all that God has for us. What an amazing gift salvation is for those who choose it. Blessings.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

All I Need

Proverbs 13:25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in need.

       "All I need is you," booms out from the majority of songs coming through the speakers at the gym while working out. Sometimes, I find myself responding to whom these songs were written for. I end up saying "Don't believe anything they say, it's all cheap infatuation." All I need is you, which is a common theme in so many songs, poems, and videos are available at any time and in all forms of artful communication. A constant declaration of - "All I need you, and if I get you, we will be happy forever."
      If we actually knew what we needed there would not be so much confusion in life. One thing we do need is each other. We need the love of our Heavenly Father and the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We need to lift each other up in prayer and honour one another in the sight of our Lord. Mark 12:30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.
      When we are at peace with who we are in Christ, our hearts will be able to believe in the will of God for our lives, and we will learn to be content throughout life. Phil. 4:11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. What we really need is what God has for us. Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Yes, we have to make our requests known to God, and we have to trust that the Lord will guide us in our prayers that are according to His will. God's will toward us is favour and soul-fulfilling eternal life. God wants to help us become a blessing.
      There is an account in the Book of Second Kings that explains how God understands our needs in this troubled life. The Lord knows we need deliverance from our own unwise choices. One of Elisha's prophets died and left a widow in a desperate situation. She was broke and her son was about to go into an arrangement of forced labour because of the outstanding debts that could not be paid. This woman was alone, without resources, in debt, and spiritually crushed because of the weight she was under. This sounds no different than so many people's stories today. I'm sure she had said on a few occasions, "All I need is HELP!!"
      Help did come to her, but most likely not in the way she thought her needs would be met. We often have an agenda for God and instructions as to how He can help us. However, God knows how to meet our needs so that there is no doubt where the help came from. 2Kings 4:2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” God may ask, what do you have in your house? You may feel that you have nothing because of the stress you are under. But if we take a moment and answer God by offering Him our heart, He will be able to use what we offer as a way out of our mess.
      Elisha's instructions were clear and precise. 2Kings 4:3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled. The instruction to close the door was key. Could you imagine the neighbours from whom she had borrowed the jars looking in on her activity? If they could see into this private miracle taking place behind the closed door they would have had all kinds of suggestions of how to make the miracle even better than God had given her. The Lord was protecting her faith from being tainted by all the pseudo advice and religious opinions that would be proclaimed out loud.  
      God knows our needs and will bless us, not because we are in need, but rather because He is so good. Not only did God help the widow pay off her debts, but also made it possible for her to start an oil business that would take care of her and her children into the future. 2Kings 4:7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. The God of more than enough came through for her. She was able to live on the extra oil God had provided. Prov. 13:25a The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite.
      All I need is God working in my life and all I need to do is submit to the work He is doing in my heart. The Lord will provide what we need to get through this life and well on our way into our eternal life. Praise the Lord for His goodness toward us all. Amen!