Thursday, 19 May 2022
Thursday, 12 May 2022
Thursday, 5 May 2022
Proverbs 10:7 We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. I once wrote, and I still believe, "The only good thing about the good old days is that they are gone," especially when the old days are the only thing a person thinks about. People can become so trapped in the past that they no longer try to live today.
It is much easier to deal with memories that are pleasant and joyful because they sometimes encourage us to believe in an optimistic future. Good memories are helpful as they can inspire us to realize that things can get better. It is a harder journey for a lot of people to deal with and try to manage the hurts that horrific memories bring back in living colour. The relenting torment of these aching recollections will keep people from advancing beyond their ever-present thoughts of how they were poorly treated. Continually thinking about the old hurts, and rehashing the events that created the dysfunction in their present lives, will have an unnatural control of their mind and will give no room for peace to be found.
The difficulty of being reconciled with our painful history can be overwhelming for some people and a never-ending torment for others. We are now seeing how the memories of the First Nation's children who were forced to attend residential schools are still feeling the repercussions they suffered. Those children are now elderly people who are still hurting. The effects on these people and their culture have got to be reconciled or the pain will continue to be a generational curse. The brutality and shaming practices that were allowed to be used upon these children at the time, were inhumane, and cruel. Yet, these people were expected to live inspired lives and function normally once returned to their homes. How could they not become maladaptive in their plight to function when they had so many questions that needed answers as to why they had been treated like a burden society had to rid themselves of.
The anguish that is suffered within the souls and spirits of anyone who has memories of being brutalized makes it hard for them to even believe there is healing for better things. Healing in the spirit is also needed as much as healing within the soul. Ex.6:9 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. Depressive and painful memories will keep many wallowing in hurtful reminiscence while keeping them stagnant from moving ahead. We have no choice but to reconcile with our hurtful past because if we do not face that pain with God's healing power, that dark shadow will negatively control our thoughts causing a repeat performance within the next generation.
Breaking this bondage will take the light of God that can stab any darkness and rip apart the gloom that has enveloped a heart and mind. However, we have to want that healing with all of our hearts. God's righteous fire burns everything and that includes the injustices we have suffered throughout our lives. I, for one, have had to forgive the events of my childhood to be able to live a healthy and meaningful life today. I had to forgive the brutality and abuse that my father dispensed on my mother, siblings, and myself. I have written extensively on the subject of my father's inability to have loved, nurtured, and protected his family. We cannot go back and fix the problem at the point where the torture took place, but with the Lord's forgiving grace we can be healed from the point where we choose to forgive. Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
The problem for many who continue choosing the companion of old shadows that darken the present noonday brightness is that they will rewrite scenarios in their minds and will end up with a patchwork of selective memories that are distorting the real events that took place. The children of Israel had been set free by God but in their hearts, they were still slaves to their past. Num. 11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! The manna was the healing bread that the Lord had provided each day for the collective healing of a nation. Yes, it was a daily food provision, but the morning reminder as the manna was gathered demonstrated that God their provider could meet anything needed to live in wholeness. However, as is today, if we do not accept God's healing and step into His redemptive health plan with an honest heart the result will be as it was with the children of Israel - an insipid idea of existence.
The choice is ours. We can either swim and bathe in the anointed love of God's present affection that will eventually heal all pain and hurts. Or, we can drown in the infectious waters of hurtful memories that move like the creatures in nightmares coming from beneath ready to bring us into a hell of loneliness. The Lord's salvation is too precious a gift to be ignored as the way back from our painful past. If we hand over one hurt after another until the healing balm of Christ's sacrifice makes us whole, we will eventually be healed. There are enough people in this world living with a shadow-sickness that gets darker as the days go by. We who are in Christ can live in the light of God's healing. Ex. 15:26b For I am the LORD who heals you. We just have to want it. In Jesus name, Lord God, help us call on Your name for the grace needed to choose life. Amen!
Thursday, 28 April 2022
Thursday, 21 April 2022
Thursday, 14 April 2022
Thursday, 7 April 2022
Thursday, 31 March 2022
Thursday, 24 March 2022
"That's it, I quit. I'm done, count me out. It's over, I'm finished with the ministry," The minister wanted to say out loud, but couldn't because the question awaiting him, just hung there, like a church bell ready to be rung. "What are you going to do once you shut it down?" came the question to his mind. "Oh, something or other," he said. Therein is the dilemma. What are you going to do with the calling upon your life? The Apostle Peter had to answer this question after the Lord had been crucified. Not sure what was coming next, Peter went back to fishing. John 21:3a Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” Not a bad idea. Just shut it down, and go fishing. Then what?
I believe I am describing what a lot of men and women who are in church ministry contend with, as some have tried to quit and get out of ministerial responsibility, serving the poor who will always be with us, and enduring the sometimes laboriousness of church life. These worn-out ministers find themselves in a confused and wearisome situation while having deep inner questions to answer that are running at lightning speed through their minds. "What next? How do I turn off the conviction of my heart concerning the calling of God? What would I do, and if I find something to do, how do I go about it? Will God support my decision?" Rom. 7:24a Oh, what a miserable person I am! I feel miserable for staying and damned for quitting. What do I do with these thoughts? "Help me, Lord," becomes the constant prayer of desperation.
Thursday, 17 March 2022
I prayed out loud, "Lord, what is wrong with me? What is this agitation boiling up in my soul?" I feel like I'm fighting something I cannot touch. I can almost catch glimpses of it in my spiritual peripheral vision, but it remains a mercurial shadow on the edges of thought. I’m convinced I see a pending storm with a gun barrel grey ceiling pressing down upon me, even while the sun is shining on every side. My eyes are focused on a bright and clear day, but my soul feels a darkened membrane stretching against my mind. Father, I just want to give up. "Am I depressed?" I asked. I questioned again, "Lord, can you tell me, what is agitating my soul?” I heard a soft, "You are lonely."
I said, "Everyone is lonely, we have been in restrictions and lockdowns for over two years. Besides, I have friends and lots to keep me busy." Again, I heard, "You are lonely." How have I come to this lonely place? Is this one of the aspects of being human, where we must process and encounter the test we are shadowboxing? Do we have to go through a dire valley to understand the lessons being taught in our souls? This wretchedness is too real to ignore or escape its festering. Psalm 55:6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Where is our God who gives us rest?
Do I put on a mask and fake it till I make it? If I wear a mask, it will reveal what is within me by the mask I am using. If my mask is happiness, I am covering up the sadness within my heart. If my mask is bravery, I am hiding the cowardice at work in my conscience. If I wear the mask of confidence, I am hiding the fact that I feel like a cardboard cutout empty of substance. Psalm 69:3 I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Heavenly Father, I need a saviour, not a formula. I don't need three steps to overcome blah blah blah. I need to be heard in my moment of uncertainty. Are you there Lord?
Maybe this is a battle against demonic giants whose shadows tower over my existence. Satan is the one who murders the visions of holy men who end up in lonely places. From this empty place, I received an illumination of thought. The Holy Spirit is listening to my groans. From out of the depths of my groanings is my sincere heart wanting God's affirmation of purpose and declaration of love. Rom. 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Even in a dark place, we look for light to find our way, while we call upon our Lord to send His healing oil that anoints our soul and resurrects our lives into the joy of relationship with our God.
Yes, Lord, I see there is life after being buried under the lies of the enemy. If we trust in your goodness and trust your leading, we can come out of dark places. For you are a friend to the downcast and a Lord to the needy. Prov. 18:24b But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I will look to the heavens and hope again. For this dry place is but for a season. Our hope is in God, and He will sustain us with the love of His graciousness. The salvation of God is for all man, even the corrupt and inventors of evil. One drop of the Lord's blood can change the vilest of souls. Yes, Lord, there is hope in your grace.
As I prayed, God sent His healing oil through an anointed friend who ministered the majesty of the Holy Spirit upon my soul. Fragrant oil dripped upon my heart and I left the lonely place for the garden of God's Eden. I found other souls resting there. "Your battle is won," they shouted, "You have been tried and found to be alive in the grace of God's divine love." Thank you, Lord, for your goodness of heart and for delivering me from the lonesome place of endless wastelands. I will remember to put on the whole armour of God, that I may extinguish the spears of burning darkness. Lord, you are good and worthy to be praised. Thank you, God, I am home. Amen!
Thursday, 10 March 2022
The thing we want the least is to die, but the thing we want the most is to be with our Lord. To get the most, we will have to eventually submit to the least thing we want. So, how do we get the most in this lifetime so that we can courageously meet the demands of the least thing wanted? The Lord teaches that we should die to ourselves while we are in this world so that we can live forever through the redemptive gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote a fair amount in his epistles on the subject of dying to ourselves. Paul taught, that by dying to ourselves we can live here, and eventually live eternally with our God. Phil. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Dying to self starts when we accept the gift of God's salvation through Christ. Therefore, the least we can do is realize that accepting Jesus as our Lord, is the most substantial decision we could make on this side of eternity. Dying to self is not a popular subject in a world where everyone is continually being pressured to get the most out of this commercially driven system by acquiring an endless amount of plastic ready-made stuff and limitless merchandise to become satisfied and happy. The world's message is, "Don't die to yourself, but rather, give yourself everything imaginable." However, God says to live by His spirit and not the cravings of the flesh. Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Whether it is life's momentum or of shrewd design, there is a permanent campaign at work to instill dissatisfaction within our hearts to notice what we do not have. Crowds of people are being sold a bill of goods that causes wanton cravings for whatever is deemed to be missing in there lives, and these same people end up investing their energies into the wrong areas of life to obtain fulfillment. Hag. 1:9 You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. While chasing the most within the world, those who strive within this manner of living, end up with the least satisfaction and personal validation, because the world cannot give what is of eternal worth.
We are told by the advertising world that if we get everything we can wish for, we will live dignified lives and reach the pinnacles of pure happiness because we have everything we want. Although throughout history, this theory has proven to be wrong over and over again. We keep chasing the stuff rather than what the Lord offers us through His love. The questions we need to ask ourselves are, "Why do I need more stuff if my heart's desire is to be with the Lord? Why do I put so much emphasis on acquiring more of what the world has? How can I want what God wants for me and fulfill what I was created to do?"
It truly is a life-living balancing act to keep our eyes upon Jesus and continue paying the bills to live on this earth. This is why the joy of the Lord has to be our strength. The joy in stuff is short-lived. The joy of the Lord strengthens our souls as we walk closer with our God. Crucifying the flesh is a full-time job of faith but needed so that we are not consumed by what the flesh wants outside of God's will. Our integrity in the Lord is paramount. Prov. 28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
We who are in Christ, have the most wonderful saviour. If you find yourself in a position of having the least amount of joy, love, and satisfaction, then give God the mess you are in, and let Him bring the most love, peace, and strength you have ever known to your heart and life. Thank you, Father, for giving us the very best of your heart. Blessings and peace be upon us all.