Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Take Up Your Cross

In the ninth chapter of Luke, the 23rd verse, Jesus says to those who want to follow Him, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

That has always been such an ominous verse to me. With visions of Christ on the cross, reinforced by scenes from 'The Passion of Christ' it has always seemed such an impossible task for a mere mortal, and imperfect mortal at that, to accomplish.

But, as I contemplated God's word and it's implication for me and prayed about what God wanted of me, I began to see a picture. The verse says to pick up my cross daily. I have come to understand that, as a believer indwelled by the Holy Spirit, God has promised to guide, convict and direct my life. His word says, "Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path."

To take up my cross daily, I am careful not to ignore or grieve the Holy Spirit, but to listen to His conviction and correction, repent, ask for forgiveness based on the work of my Saviour and nail that offense to the cross and move on in the work before me.

Does that mean it is over and done and I am good to go? No, even the offense crucified today may require it again tomorrow. That is why Jesus tells us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. And, it is why I can continue in the knowledge that He died and was crucified for my sins...past, present and future.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Another Generation

In Judges, after Joshua's death, we find in Chapter 2, verse 10, this notation and, personally, it is one that scares me.....

"When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel."

The book goes on to tell how the new generation "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and worshiped other gods and it angered the Lord and He "delivered them into the hands of plunderers."

The Jewish people had been told to write the law on their hearts and to pass it on to their children. Obviously, this did not happen. Did they not acknowledge God as He provided for them in both war and peace after bringing them to the land promised to their forefathers? Did they forget what He had done or just take it for granted?

Do our children know the Lord? Are we careful to acknowledge God in the many blessings and mercies that we receive? I was thinking that, yes, I do, but do I share that acknowledgement. It isn't enough to say a prayer of thanks to God, my children and my friends must know that my God provides for me in so many ways, including my salvation and eternity.

In the New Testament, Jesus said the "harvest is great, but the workers are few." We must spread the Good News in both Word and deed. I want to make sure that when I am "gathered to my fathers"  the next generation within my territory knows the Lord and all that He has done for me! I don't want to be any part of the reason God might have for delivering those who come up after me to the plunderers!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Secret of Forgiveness

For years I searhed for the secret of being able to forgive those who do their best to destroy me in one fashion or another. I found, in the last chapter of Genesis a verse that should be the foundation of all your contemplation of forgiveness.

 In Genesis 50:20 Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery in Egypt, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as IT IS THIS DAY, to save many people alive."

As I look back on the wrongs done to me in the past, instead of harboring hate and resentment in my heart against those who did them - as I used to- I try to think of them in the light of this verse. I am not saying it is an easy thing to do or that I have been able to make it happen immediately in all situations, but it is necessary if we are to be in right relationship with God. It helps me to catalogue the good that resulted, good that would not have been had the evil not been first, evil that changed the course of my life in a direction charted by God.

It is a given that this will be our lot in life here on earth thanks to Adam and Eve. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they sealed mankind's fate. We cannot have knowledge of good without first knowing evil. What God wants for us is that we choose good when we experience the other and the best way to start is with forgiveness.

Without a doubt, the greatest example of this in found in Christ upon the cross. After being nailed to the cross between two theives, the Man who had led a perfect and sinless life, is recorded in Luke 23:34 as saying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

What they all meant for evil against Jesus, God meant for good in order to bring about the very day, so that many people would live in God's presence for eternity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Get Out Of The Boat!

Matthew 14:28-30
"And Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord save me!'

I guess this just puzzles me when I read it. Peter wasn't scared because he was doing something totally impossible for man (walking on water), but he was scared of something I am sure he dealt with on a regular basis as a fisherman. We have to remember that if God calls us to get out of the boat and we choose to respond as Peter, Abraham and others did, there will be nothing else to fear and , especially, nothing within the humanly common circumstances  or surroundings experienced in the affirmative response to His calling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Are there any who seek God?

There were a few verses that stood out to me in my reading in Psalms today...

Psalm 14:2,3  " The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one."

Psalm 16:11 " You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 17:15  "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness."

I think of the great and catastrophic circle of history.  I thank God for His promise in Genesis, Chapter 8, which reads, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done." When I look at the state of our humanity, I wonder how much worse it could have been in Noah's time? Are we, in general, not as wicked as humanity was then?

I have made a decision to be more along the line of Noah and his family. As for me, I am going to continue to seek God and pray that He will "show me the path of life" until I  am "satisfied when I awake" in His likeness.

Sin Lies At The Door

After doing my morning reading  in God's Word, I decided to write again in my old journal. When I opened to the last page that I had written on and looked at the last words I had written, it was concerning the same scripture I am now reading again and the last entry was from November of 2016, a year and a half ago.

The scripture quoted from that date was: Genesis 4:7 "...sin lies at the door. And it's desire is for you, but you should rule over it." This was a discussion God was having with Cain before he killed Abel. God had rejected his grain offering, not because it was grain and not the animial offering of Abel, but because of the sinful life Cain was embracing and holding in his heart. Right before these words, God asks Cain, "Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen?"

Cains anger comes from the "sin" in his heart, the knowledge that he was living a sinful life. He was angry because he knew that God knew this also and  that was why He rejected his offering. Once sin is welcomed into the heart, it grows and this is why Cain killed Abel.

The sin in mankind is unavoideble as long as we live on earth,  but we can "rule over it." with God's guidance. God destroyed the earth with a flood, but he kept Noah, his sons and all the wives and with these, sin, although sin  "ruled over" by these people who walked with God, stayed on earth. Genesis 8:21 says: "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from youth...."

We must allow God's Holy Spirit to give us the desire and power to rule over the sin in this world, including the sin that lies at our door. As the world changes, that door just gets bigger and harder to guard, But God is bigger that all that may come against us.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I was listening....

I was listening to T.D. Jakes Sunday. He was talking about the times that your faith is essential if you are to survive. He talked of Paul and his thorn in the flesh and went on to say that God has to allow balance in your life. He talked about the fact that when we ask things of God and He says yes and we are truly blessed and happy, the need for our faith is less in a sense, but that "When all Hell breaks loose," that is when our faith is of the utmost importance to our walk in life.

It was interesting that I had just watched a movie about a Buddhist Monastery in the midst of  war torn Japan. It seemed that with every tragic event, the response of the monks was always, "Buddha be blessed."
I was thinking to myself, why are us Christians not more like these Buddhist monks? Does God's Holy Word not say, "In everything give thanks."?

My theory became that, in most other religions, salvation is based on works. I think in those religions, followers assume that if things go south, they must of done something wrong in their works towards enlightenment. In our faith, salvation is a gift and not of works, "lest we should boast". Sometimes when "all hell breaks loose", we assume God has deserted us, that we are all alone. We must learn to, immediately, turn to the God that has never left us, the God who stands beside us through the good and the bad.

Personally, I am happy and give thanks that God allows balance in my life, the Yin and Yang. I will say that I do not always like the balancing things that follow my great blessings, but they help me to exercise my faith. I look forward to the day I am no longer in need of the balance that my flesh requires. I continually want to be like Daniel, for people to know I am a Godly man, this His Spirit is in me. It is I that prevents that from happening, but the thorns of the flesh I receive are helping me to move towards my mark.

I thank God that my relationship with Him is a gift, because my works fall far short of the mark. Of course, the God who new the end from the beginning, knew this and provided a plan of adoption into a Kingdom of Victory and of no end.