Thursday, 26 May 2022

I Am A Short Story

Proverbs 15:23 Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
      
      We are called by God to become what and who we already are as God sees us. Finding the path God laid out for us in fulfilling that story is our act of faith toward God's gift of life He gave us. Sometimes my ego leads me to think this world would collapse without my presence making sure all things go as planned. The reality is that I am like everyone else, a short story that is here for a limited time, hoping my life makes a difference within God's eternal plan. The mortality rate for humans is one hundred percent, therefore, we had better get on with what the Lord has placed us on this earth to do. Acts 17:28a For in Him we live and move and have our being. We would be wise to start living the life of grace God has given us rather than existing until we finally die.     
      It is awe-inspiring to hear some people describe with clarity why and for what reason they are here on earth. Their insight into knowing their calling, purpose, or raison d'être with the assurance they express can make one wonder if we might have missed that class on why we are here because they seem to have all the answers for their lives. They want to change the world for the better but many of them end up bumping up against a brass wall when it comes to the strength of character it takes to accomplish such colossal feats they have set out to fulfill. As Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change themselves." Therein is the rub. We have to be willing to be changed by God for His use. God's vision of us will transform us into the individuals we truly are and develop our uniqueness that will be expressed through our saviour Jesus Christ.
      Some of our short stories are full of formidable challenges and great exploits that overcame arduous tasks. With colourful descriptions of conquering the great beyond, our stories are being engraved into the hearts of men. Other people's stories are sad and describe wasted lives that faded out just as the ink in their pens ran out. We are stories of courageous heroes who gave our lives to God to bless the inhabitants of His creation. While others created horror stories because they insisted on being nihilists who would not accept the Creator's existence. All the while, we are all being loved by God for whose affectionate fellowship we raise our hearts for. Sng. 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. What an amazing story we are part of. 
      Every story has a beginning. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And every story comes to an end. Rev. 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. However, our eternal story will go on with the Lord's infinite plans throughout eternity. What will be written of those times? What incredible mysteries of God's love will there be to discover and experience when no words can describe the wonder that we will live in. Even a thousand poets could not eloquently explain or demonstrate the continual awe we will forever be living in. For we will be alive in the eternal grace of God's goodness. 
      We may be short stories, but we are part of God's eternal ongoing story that He is writing, and that is the story that counts. Perhaps I can draw an example from the parable of the unwise virgins who did not bring enough oil for their lamps to help them fulfill their relationship with God that awaited them. Matt. 25:3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps. Have we got enough anointed ink in our pens to finish our story to the satisfaction of our Lord's vision He has for us and our rewarding fulfilment? Can we finish the story of our spiritual race that is set in this space and time? With God, all things are possible.
      Don't let Satan, the evil editor, rewrite your chronicle with his poison pen to suit his corrupted narrative and view of who he falsely accuses you of being. Do not allow the devil, who continuously blames you for sin, to have any space on your holy written pages that is recording your life's journey. No saints! This is our story expressing the victory of our relationship with God Almighty. It is not another hard-luck, woe is me and drawn-out drama depicting people who insist on living in their miry clay. When we hand over our lives to Christ and let Him become our authorized publisher, then our stories will be written in His sacrificial blood which cleanses us from all sin and will debunk any bad reviews the enemy would write about us. Our names are written in God's heart forever. What a story that is and will be. Blessings and peace be on us all.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Accusing God To His Face

Proverbs 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
      
      Jesus said, John 15:25b They hated me for no reason.
      Genesis 3:12 The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.” What Adam said with aggressive blame in his tone of voice was, "None of this is my fault, GOD! The woman YOU gave me made me eat the fruit that I did not want any part of. This is YOUR fault and YOUR mess to clean up! I am innocent of all wrongdoing!" And the Lord's love went to work right away to clean up the mess that the deceived heart of man had caused from the beginning. God judged the original liar who sowed the biggest lie of all when the serpent said, "You will not surely die if you eat of the fruit from this tree." With this deception, Satan had accused God of being a liar. Adam and Eve believed the lie and became subject to death the moment they had eaten. God's redemptive plan started immediately. Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
      We are still accusing God of all kinds of things that are our fault and caused by our stupidity. "Why God did YOU let this happen to ME?" is a common sentence that flows so easily from our mouths and our hearts. The mouth speaks what the heart contains. Luke 6:45b For of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaketh. I think the devil does his best work with the lie that causes people to question and mistrust the integrity of God. Once Satan has a person wondering about God's love, to be true or false, it becomes a slippery slope as they reject anything God says, and everything God does for them becomes questionable to their deceived heart. Mal. 1:2a “I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”
      When we think about the arrogance that humankind has become so talented at expressing, it makes us wonder how the Lord can keep loving us, and yet, He does. Mankind has learned how to justify every imaginable evil there is, and in most cases, God gets blamed for it. I know someone who is on government assistance because he chooses not to work but complains continually about how hard his life is and how bad he is treated. "Why does God let this happen to me?" he says in a way to disguise his laziness. Why doesn't he just go spit in God's face and accuse Him of not being Jehovah-Jireh? Either God is who He says He is, or God is the liar you believe Him to be. If you are at that stage of existence then your troubles are about to increase with great intensity.
      When we live our lives where we no longer trust God, we end up becoming reckless in our actions and end up blaming everything that unjustly happens to us on someone or something else. We become like the people who are described in the book of Malichi whom God is trying to reason with. These people had gone their own way and questioned everything God said. The Lord patiently explains His love for them and the good that awaited them if they chose God's leading. But the retorts from the people were arrogant backtalk. Mal. 1:11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 But you are profaning it when you say: ‘The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.’ Really, the Lord's table that is prepared before us and set in the presence of our enemies, is defiled and contemptible? How foolish they had become. 
      The Lord's remedy for overcoming the infectious lie Satan sows so freely amongst the people of this earth is to hate evil and to grow in the wisdom and love of God by accepting His gift of salvation through Christ for our eternal souls. Prov. 9:10 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. The Lord says if you are going to hate anything, then hate what causes us to blame God and each other for our sins. God says to hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and the perverseness of thought. Prov. 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. This is a good place for us to start taking responsibility for our choices. The reverence of the Lord and hating what God hates will help us remain in honest fellowship with our God.
      God invites us to come and reason with Him regardless of the sinful state we are in. Isa. 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Reasoning implies an intelligent exchange of thoughts and ideas. Even though our All-Mighty God is inviting us to reason with Him in love, it would be wise on our behalf to do more listening than talking. God is our saviour. Our salvation is not gained by anything we do to impress Him. The Lord is our deliverer and redeemer. Our Heavenly Father is the healer of our fallen condition because we do not have the answers for our healing, otherwise, we would have done it by now. No Saints! Jesus is Lord, and we are, in eternal need of His gift of salvation. Get out of God's face and stop accusing Him for your problems and start praising Him for solving them. Amen and amen!

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Sinners Wanted, Apply Within

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded.

      Jesus said in, Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Our Lord Jesus is looking for sinners and wants all the sinners He can find to apply within the finished work of the cross, where Christ's blood sacrifice has been given for every sinner to be washed of their sins. Applications for this cleansing gift of grace that cleans one's soul is a simple but crucial act of faith. All a sinner has to do is admit they are a sinner, and receive Jesus as their personal Lord. Applications are open to anyone. John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 
      If you are a sinner or have ever transgressed God's laws throughout your life, you are welcome to come before God the Father by accepting the blood sacrifice that Jesus gave of Himself through the crucifixion on the cross. This sacrificial gift covers everyone's shame, hurts, lusts, and evil past or present life. Just apply within the grace of our Lord's forgiveness. Eph. 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.      
       Sometimes it is hard for churched people to welcome sinners into their assemblies of worship. Sinners do not feel welcome in church, and yet Jesus who is the head of the church invites sinners of every kind to come and join His family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Churched people often forget where they were when Jesus found them eternally lost and bound.
       I remember a dipsomaniac whose struggles with alcohol were known in the community, but he came to church regularly. At one evening service, he came in late and made his way to the front seats with his pants lowered to reveal a lot of his backside while stumbling, and bouncing off of parishioners as he made his way up the center aisle looking for a seat. Gasps could be heard, with looks of indignation expressed, and judgmental smarmy snickering was being exchanged amongst the faithful. I then heard a still small voice from within my spirit say, "The difference between him and the people here, is that their addictions and sins are well hidden and not on full display the way this man's addiction is clearly seen. In some cases, they are just as stumbling drunk, dishevelled, and weak-kneed in their daily lives as this lonely intoxicated soul is. What everyone needs to know is that I love him just as I love everyone in this building." A lesson I will never forget.
       The church is only as mature as much as we are mature and loving within our relationship with Christ. We tend to advertise Christian freedom while wearing a denominational straitjacket. I'm not saying to let any unruliness take over the assembling of the saints, but remember, sinners who show up at church looking for redemption and real love will not know all the rules of the recorded agreements and statements of faith that were voted upon at the denominational headquarters. Voicing our self-righteous indignation at the young man wearing a Megadeth T-shirt who showed up at a church service because he was invited to come and see what the Lord is doing in people's lives - would not be a righteous hand of invitation. He might not see the genuine love of God he is looking for if he is judged at the door with looks of disapproval. Don't forget, you use to wear those ugly paisley ties with a polyester shirt to church meetings, and no one crucified you.
     The Apostle Paul, who claimed to have been the worst sinner, made it clear in his epistles that Christ came to save sinners. 1Tim. 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. Like Paul, we can all lay claim to being the worst sinner because sin is sin. What really matters is that we stop sinning. Prov. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded. The sinful nature that was once predominant in our souls has been replaced with a new life in Christ, and the Lord's righteousness is now available for us to walk in for the rest of our eternal lives. 2Cor. 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
      Ex 17:1a The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the LORD’s command. I don’t know if this scripture was meant to be a play on words but nonetheless, good advice. Leave the Wilderness of Sin and follow God. At one time, we were all sinners who came to Jesus through an invitation from the Holy Spirit. Lost Sinner was stamped upon our hearts. All we could do was look to Jesus and receive the grace and gift of salvation He gave us by faith in His cleansing blood. The only qualification we had for His grace was that we were sin-stained and lost. As I walked up the center aisle towards the throne of God's grace, I was also dishevelled, weak-kneed, and stumbling in sin, but my application for eternal life was granted by God's merciful love. Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Amen! 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Drowning In Memories

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!