Seasons of Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 MSG
1  There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
2  A right time for birth and another for death, A right time to plant and another to reap,
3  A right time to kill and another to heal, A right time to destroy and another to construct,
4  A right time to cry and another to laugh, A right time to lament and another to cheer,
5  A right time to make love and another to abstain, A right time to embrace and another to part,
6  A right time to search and another to count your losses, A right time to hold on and another to let go,
7  A right time to rip out and another to mend, A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
8  A right time to love and another to hate, A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

It was the early nineties when I received a phone call at my place of employment from my mother.  She informed me that a cousin of mine had fallen from scaffolding while working on a barn at the farm and had died.  He was only a year older than me.  I was shocked by the news.  Well I arranged for some time off and headed to Windsor, Ontario from Toronto to attend the funeral.  At the funeral the pastor began the eulogy for my cousin.  His first statement hit me like a ton of bricks, “Life is not fair”.  This is so true, the pastor stated it correctly, bluntly.  You could feel the impact among the mourners from that one statement.

I find today a fundamental mistruth.  It states that we as Christians should always live on mountains.  Always have health and wealth.

This is not so today and it was not so for the disciples and the early Apostles.  Life is not a series of mountain top experiences. It is not one steady momentum.  King David wrote in the most popular Psalm 23 that we do face the shadows of death.  The life of God’s child does go through valleys.  Christ gave us an example when he himself had to go through the wilderness. He did face temptation, but never yielded to those temptations.

As I look back on my life, I can honestly say that I have faced many battles, dry spells in the desert, and also some mountain tops.  The only certainty I knew I had in my life is that Christ was with me no matter what.  The truth that He would never leave me or forsake me.

When we come into this world we come in naked, no guide book except that of the scriptures.  Yes, maybe I could have done better in certain situations.  However, that is now in my life experiences that I can draw upon in the future when I face similar situations.  I know that the God who saw me through all those things is the same God that will be there when I face even more.

Yes, our lives do have different seasons. Seasons of harvest, planting, life and death.  So, I would say that take courage, do not lose faith and hope while going through the different seasons of your journey called ‘life’.  God is for you!

Piece of Peace

Philippians 4: (MSG)
7  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Matthew 8: (MSG)
23  Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him.
24  The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep!
25  They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”
26  Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.
27  The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command.

I cannot take credit for the short inspirational story.  I first heard this from a preacher friend over thirty years ago.

I found myself thinking about this story today.  So I went through my external hard drive to see if I had it in my documents somewhere.

Sometimes we face some very rough storms throughout our life.  Like the disciples on the boat we feel that the ship is about to capsize and sink to the bottom of the sea.  The roaring waves and strong winds holds are attention, causing us to lose sight of who is on board the boat, the master of the sea, Christ Jesus.

We must keep our focus on Christ, for just one word and the sea ceases to roll and the winds stop their howling.

I hope you will find strength in the following short.  Remember, you are never alone when Christ is on the boat with you.

Can You Sleep While The Wind Blows

Author Unknown

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him.

“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk,, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming!

Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on
the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins.

The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.

We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God.

We don’t need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms

I hope you enjoy your day and you sleep well.

II TIMOTHY 3: 16,17 


The Battle, It’s Spiritual, not Political

1 Samuel 17: (MSG)
10  I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together!”
11  When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.

2 Corinthians 10:  (MSG)
1  And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters.
2  Please don’t force me to take a hard line when I’m present with you. Don’t think that I’ll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I’m an unprincipled opportunist. Then they’ll have to eat their words.
3  The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will.
4  The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.
5  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
6  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
7  You stare and stare at the obvious, but you can’t see the forest for the trees. If you’re looking for a clear example of someone on Christ’s side, why do you so quickly cut me out? Believe me, I am quite sure of my standing with Christ.
8  You may think I overstate the authority he gave me, but I’m not backing off. Every bit of my commitment is for the purpose of building you up, after all, not tearing you down.
9  And what’s this talk about me bullying you with my letters?
10  “His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he’s a weakling and mumbles when he talks.”
11  Such talk won’t survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We’re the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person.

No one likes a bully, except the bully.  They pick on the weak and the vulnerable.  It has been my experience and observance that most bullies suffer within themselves because they feel down on themselves.  So, to make those around them think he is tough he singles out one from the crowd and tries to humiliate, embarrass the weakest in the crowd.  For the others who are weak and vulnerable they give in to the bullies’ wishes and tend to trend carefully around him for fear that they will be next.

My public school years and the first year of high school was nothing short of a horror movie.  I was the one that the school yard would single out to pick on.  You see, I was not the school athlete, I was small for my age.  I didn’t have all the brute strength that others my age had.  So, I was singled out, beaten up, to the point if I could I would have rather have died then to go back to school the next day. 

So, during every recess, lunch time and school day finish, I developed a way to avoid the bullies. I would rush out the school doors and run as fast as I could to get home without being noticed.  On the way to school I would often leave home early so that I would arrive at school before the rest of the students.  I would volunteer to help teachers so that I didn’t have to be out in school yard.

In my eighth year as my family were sitting down for supper there was a knock on our front door.  My mother went to the door, opened it, and there stood my grade eight teacher.  I was terrified, trying to run through the day to see if I could remember anything I had done that would justify his arrival at my home.  He asked my mother if he could speak to her for a moment.  Well, they spoke.  He had a recommendation to my mother concerning me.  He wanted her to agree to hold me back one year because he felt I was too small for my age entering into high school.  My mom decided that she would allow me to move on to high school.

There was a grade 8 graduation celebration and my mom attended.  It felt great to me because in my thoughts I figured that my bullied days were now at an end.

Just before school let out for the summer break my teacher took me aside, he wanted to speak to me and give me some advice about going into high school.  His advice was this, if you start being bullied, pick the biggest one in the crowd, grab them by the hair, and shove their head into the nearest locker.  He told me once I did this, the bullying would stop.

Sure enough just around the second week into my first high year a bully came along.  Here I was going through the nightmare again, well, I remembered the words of my teacher, so, I grabbed the bully by the hair and shoved him into the locker.  You could see the shock of all the other kids, and more importantly the shock and bewilderment of the bully when he caught his wind and stood upright again.  From that moment on the bullying stopped.  Yet, one thing did not stop that day, the feeling that I was inadequate, the odd boy out.  I didn’t fit in with the athletes, and I really didn’t fit in the brainy bunch.  So, I went through my high school years not really having a close friend.  Yes, I was cordial during school, but after school I would immerse myself in my homework, part-time jobs, and my Bible studies along with my music.

In Sunday School were are told by the teachers about how David conquered Goliath.  Children are told that we should be like David.  It appeals to most children, the idea of bringing down a giant.  It is the great good overpowering evil story.

I though when I would read the story related more to the army of Israel.  Here they were being bullied by Goliath and they were losing men to this giant.  He was threatening Israel’s very existence.  Saul was king of Israel, he called his generals to line up the soldiers to ask for volunteers to fight Goliath.  The threats did what all bully’s threats are meant to do, intimidate.  No one from the army of Israel took a step forward to meet the giant on the battlefield.  Goliath found this great folly, and again mocked Israel to send someone to fight him.  I’m sure Goliath could smell the fear coming from the Israel camp.

Now, somewhere out of the sound of war was a shepherd boy, name David.  The son of Jesse’.  David tended his’ father’s flock of sheep.  Day and night David was the faithful protector of the sheep.  He was successful fighting off the wolves, the fowl of the air and yes, even a bear.

His father, Jesse, called him out of the field one day.  Jesse had an errand for David to run.  David was to take a packed lunch for his brothers out on the battle field.  David arrives on the front lines to find his’ brothers.  While with his’ brothers he can hear the roar of the giant and the challenges he is making to the army of Israel.

Again, King Saul is standing before his troops looking for anyone who will go to battle with Goliath.  Again, no response.  Time is passing quickly, eventually David steps forward and tells the king that he would go and face the giant.  Saul looked at David, a mere boy, ruddy, a frail looking kid.  One that most likely Goliath could snap like a brittle twig on a tree.

Finally, David begins to speak to Saul about why he feels he is qualified to fight the giant of the Philistines.  He recants his memories of how he warred against the wolves, the fowl of the air and the bear to protect his’ father’s sheep.  David tells Saul that the same God that gave him victory over the beasts will also give him victory of Goliath.

The king finally relents, he has his generals get the best armour from the kings tent.  They place it on the small boy, and it was quite the sight to the eyes.  It overwhelmed David because of its size compared to David’s.  He sheds the king’s armour and declares that he cannot use it because he had not tried the armour.  Instead, he walks over to the nearby brook, bends down, picks up five smooth stones and places them in his pouch near his sling.

He steps out onto the battlefield in front of the giant.  Goliath must have let out a hearty laugh, and roared towards the army of Israel and made the statement, I asked for a man and all you send me is a mere boy.  David, however, responds to the ridicule of Goliath by declaring to Goliath the same things he had told Saul.  He declares to the giant that the God that gave him those victories would give him victory over the giant.  David reaches into the pouch filled with those five stones.  Takes out a stone, places it into the cradle of the sling.  Starts to swing it above his head then releases.  The stone within that sling flies through the air towards Goliath, the stone lands directly between the eyes of the giant.  Goliath falls to the earth, the shepherd boy goes over to the body of Goliath takes out the giant’s sword and cuts of his’ head, takes it on a spear and brings it back to King Saul and the army.

In my study, I have found that there was one place that was not protected on the giant’s body by the army.  Yes, the spot was exactly where the stone hit Goliath, in the forehead between the eyes.

Forward almost two thousand years, place Jerusalem.  A man claiming to be the Son of God is now on the scene upsetting the religious elite and the empire of Rome.  Three years after his public ministry, he is taken into custody, placed on trial, and then crucified by the bullies of his’ day.

Now arrives another bully that is working for the Roman Empire.  His job, to find all those who are claiming to be the followers of Jesus Christ and put them to death.  The name of the bully, Saul of Tarsus.  The disciples of Christ are on the run hiding from this bully and the Roman army fearing that they are next to have their head placed on the chopping block.

A man named Stephen, the first martyr for Christ, is captured and stood before a mob.  Saul, gives the order for Stephen to be stoned to death.  The riotous mob begins to heave rocks at Stephen until his body can take no more.  Before he breathes his final breath Stephen tells all who are there of what he sees, ‘I see Jesus standing at the father’s right hand’.  The spirit of the man, Stephen, then leaves the body, and dies.

A dusty road heading towards Damascus, this bully Saul, is travelling to the modern city of it’s day.  While on this road Saul experiences something that alters the rest of his life.  He is blinded by a bright light, knocked to the ground and a voice from within the light asks Saul,

Acts 9: (MSG)
4  As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”
5  He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down.
6  I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”

Saul now changes his name to Paul.  The memories that the disciples have of this man are still fresh and they are leery of Paul’s intentions.  They are not quite convinced about the conversion story.

Paul begins his ministry, not only to the Jews, but something that the disciples were not doing, Paul is preaching and converting the gentiles to Christ.

Within the ranks of the disciples and the leadership of the early Christians there is a debate being waged.  Some feel the true leader is Peter, and others believe it is Paul.  Peter and Paul have their differences even to a very public confrontation.

Letters are circulated throughout the early Christians many of slander against Paul.  Finally while writing to the church at Corinth, Paul gives his own defence of his ministry.  The short of the story is Paul recognises the traits of bullying.

He tells the saints at Corinth the battle is not one that is physical, but spiritual.  The charges are of imaginations that have been whipped up against him.  He writes in his letter that the weapons to fight this type of warfare is not carnal, but is spiritual.

There is an adage, ‘the eyes are the windows to the soul’’’.  Could it be true, I believe that it is.  There is one area of every Christian that is hard to protect from the onslaught of the enemy.  It is no the heart, that is guarded by the breastplate, no the only area that we have to guard is the area of our mind.  The place that can bring up evil imaginations, makes us give in to gossip, surrender in fear of those who are different.  Shunning them with racism.

Yes, God gave us the example when he included the story of Goliath and how God directed the stone to the very area that was left unguarded.

Someone was stated, that we as humans only have three seconds to accept or reject a thought.  So, it must be true we are what we see, and hear.  It shapes us, the Psalmist instructed us to meditate on the Word both day and night.  Write it upon the tablets of our heart.

Yes, we have all the tools already to fight against the enemy.  There is no other tools given to the body of Christ.  It’s the Word which is sharper than any two edge sword, it cuts going in, and cuts coming out.

So, lets go forth in the power of God’s word.  You are not in a physical battle, but one that is totally spiritual.  Thoughts of depression, intimidation, suicide are all things that the Word can give us victory over.

First, Fight The Battle

 

Preface:

I have just posted “Desire of Contentment”.  I was going to watch some television, but as I sat down this following thought came to my mind.

I sat on my sofa and I could begin to hear it going through my mind like I had read it before.  I am sure I haven’t read it from some other author.

With the invention of Google, which I use quite regularly, I search quickly to see if maybe I had glanced at some written piece.

I normally take many hours, days, and sometimes even weeks before I write down a post.  I like to spend much time studying and meditating on a subject.  This pattern of studying has always been my way even when I was in active ministry.

Like a computer, garbage in, garbage out.  I truly believe the scriptures when we are exhorted to write the word on our hearts.

I truly believe like the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that ‘we are to study to shew ourselves approved…’

For many that is there down fall.  They have not sacrificed time to study God’s Word, and thus they have little discernment when it comes to what God has said in the scriptures.

I hope as you read this post you will find encouragement, strength and valour to fight the battle you are facing.

D. M. Bourne

 

 

Numbers 21: (MSG)
4  They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled.
5  They spoke out against God and Moses: “Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water—we can’t stomach this stuff any longer.”
6  So GOD sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died.
7  The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke out against GOD and you. Pray to GOD; ask him to take these snakes from us.” Moses prayed for the people.
8  GOD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.”
9  So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived.

For every sports team that go into a game have one thing in mind, that being victory over their opposing team.

Not only sports team seek this goal but every being that has ever walked the planet earth.

I am not sure where the Body of Christ turned aside from Biblical teaching by wanting to only to experience victory in their life.  Yes, it is exhilarating to know the joy of victory, to reach the mountain top, but victory cannot be achieved without one thing, the battle.

If one expects to become mature in Christ, they must first realize that there is a God purpose to go through desert experiences, to know what it is like to feel thirsty, hungry, and hopeless.

The Israelites were like children, even though they had witnessed first hand the mighty power of the God of Israel, through his man, Moses.  They experienced the saving hand of God when God sent the angel of death through the land of Egypt and killed all the first born, but saved all those who had the blood covering their door posts.  It was just as God told Moses,

Exodus 12: (MSG)
13  The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Now, here they are again facing again destruction, the Red Sea in front of them and the armies of Egypt behind them.  It looked hopeless, it was either drown in the Red Sea or be slain by the swords of the armies of Egypt.  Again, they begin to question Moses and his right hand person, Aaron.  Moses went off by himself:

Exodus 14: (MSG)
10  As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them! They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to GOD.
11  They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt?
12  Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'”
13  Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch GOD do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.
14  GOD will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
15  GOD said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving.
16  Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.
17  “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen,
18  to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am GOD.”
19  The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear.
20  The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.
21  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and GOD, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
22  The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left.

Like us, the Israelites had this innate spirit that no matter how many times we have seen God bring us through so many battles we want to complain.

Now, they find themselves in a desert, it is dry and hot, there’s no water and their food has reached it’s end.  So once again they are screaming at Moses and asking, why have you brought us out here.  Is it to die?  They tell him, it would have been better to stay in Egypt, for at least we had shelter and the left overs from the wheat fields to make our bread.

God hears their complaints and becomes displeased with the Israelites.  He then allows snakes to go through the camp of the Israelites, biting an poisoning the people.  Many die.  Realising the error of their ways to then ask Moses to seek God for an answer.  The answer is simple, have the men form an image of a snake wrapped around a pole.  Take this pole and erect it in the camp, so, that everyone who looks upon it will be healed and saved.  This is a type of what Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

The second miracle of this time in the wilderness God sends food, manna, bread from heaven.  The Israelites are instructed when they rise every morning to go out of their tents and collect only enough bread to last one day.  If they take in to much, the manna will spoil.  The second part of the instruction that on the Sabbath they are to collect enough to last for the full Sabbath.

Since it would take multiple books to explore every instance of the thought I am trying to convey I am going to cut this short.

Christian, there is no short way to victory.  The battle is hard, the desert stretches as far as the eye can see, and the mountain looms large in front of us.  Yet, we have the promise God is always with us.  He gives us the armour to enter battle, the strength to climb the mountain, and even go through the valleys and cross the roaring rivers in life.

The early Christians, pardon the expression, went through hell.  There were on the run hiding from Nero, the generals of the army of Rome.  They met in secret because if caught it meant certain death.

The first of those was Stephen.  They stoned him to death, and just before he gave his last breath, he made this statement,

Acts 7: (MSG)
56  He said, “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!”

From historians we know that Peter found himself unworthy to be crucified like his’ Lord, so they crucified him upside down.

The Apostle John of Patmos was placed on the island of criminals to die.  Yet, through this God gives him probably the greatest prophecy ever given to man.

Read what the Apostle Paul wrote about trials and tribulations:

2 Timothy 4: (MSG)
7  This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way.

Paul realised that we don’t always have victory in this present time, but, one day, by way of death, we will be set free from this body that holds us down.  He declared,

2 Corinthians 5:  (MSG)
8  Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

Reader, do not become discouraged in your race, be faithful to the Lord even in times of battle, trials, tribulations, and yes even illness.

Do not believe the message that if you are going through all these things you must have sinned.  This is a lie, sent to cause us to give up, give in, and turn back towards the place that held us in bondage.

So, as you go through your life here on earth remember these words of Christ:

John 10:28-29 MSG
28  I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand.
29  The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him.


 


 


 

Contentment Learned

11  Not that I peak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.(KJV)
11  Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.(MSG)
11  I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content.(TLV)

A warm quilt, the smell of fresh baked goods wafting through the air, a comforting touch, a kind word, all these and others that give us a sense of comfort and contentment.

Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”, ‘there’s no place like home.

I have fond memories of my childhood and I refer to them often, especially of times when I would go to my maternal grandmother and grandfather’s place.  I am sure that children of today would find it like going to back to the stone age. You see, there was no television, computers, or anything electronic, except for a floor standing radio.  It was this radio that my grandfather would use while sitting in a chair listening to his’ favourite preachers and news shows.

Yet, I can say there was something special about this place, it was a place where the Word of God was always discussed, and never hidden behind a pile of other books on a shelf.  This is where I was taught to sing gospel songs that my grandfather would teach us while he played the guitar which he taught himself.

At my home church, outside stood a row of tall poplar trees.  No inside plumbing, no fancy choirs or orchestra. Just my grandfather playing that guitar.  It was a place where the children were always part of the service by being called upon to sing a song or two that we had learned through my grandfather.

The pastor was not from some high knowledge Bible school. He was just a simple man who farmed, but was willing when asked to fill the role of pastor.  He was a man that gave me the encouragement to study the Bible.  Sometimes he would ask if it was alright for me to spend an afternoon with him at his home.  While there he would allow to me use what little reference books he had.  Then everyone once in awhile would ask me to speak probably more like some would call a testimony.

These are just a few things that I go to when my spirit is feeling lonely, confused, discouraged, and even at times discontent.

I have been plagued in years past of the spirit of discontent.  While in active ministry, sometimes I would be asked by a pastor to come and help out to build his congregation.  I usually would go and help with one proviso that I would only stay six months, then move on.

During the times that I was not helping out a pastor I would travel as an evangelist, and gospel singer and musician.

I didn’t have any roots anywhere for any length of time due to the fact that I could not conquer this thing called, discontent. 

With facing certain circumstances, I finally left active ministry. I was already living in western Canada and I made a move to a small city where I still reside.  I cut off all ties to my former active ministry.  I started fresh, made new friends, and also became active in certain community events.  One was the local fair and exhibition.

During this time I wasn’t able to gather any books for study of the Scriptures.  Yes, once in awhile I would open the Bible, it wasn’t that I didn’t dwell on the Scriptures being there were embedded in my memory never to be erased.

My best friend stopped one day at my apartment that I was living in at the time.  He spoke to me about a mobile trailer that was up for sale and asked if I would be interested in it.  It sounded far better than my current place of living.  Around town the apartment building probably had the lowest rating of all places to live.

It was arranged for me to go look at the trailer, meet the owner, and then discuss the arrangement to buy it.  The owner discussed that he was open to rent – to- own the home.  I spoke up and told him I would take it.  It felt like a palace compared to my apartment.  I kept saying to my best friend that it was so large. I didn’t have my furniture or things to bring with me.  It had two bedrooms, one bedroom converted to a laundry room, and also an add-on for extra space.

It was August 1997 when I finally was given the keys.  I can remember how excited I was to actually say I owned something worth more that just a couple of hundred dollars.  With excitement I called my mother and told her of the news.  She said something to me that to this day I still can hear her voice telling me, “whatever you do, don’t get itchy feet and run”.

Well it coming up to August 2017 and I am still living in that mobile trailer.  I have made it my own over the years with many changes to the structure.  The place I thought I could never fill, is now overflowing and looking for more storage place.

The secret for me staying going on twenty years is that like the Apostle Paul is learning to be content in every circumstance.

Things were happening during this time.  At one point I was admitted to the local hospital.  The physician told me I had a blood clot in my left leg. I will honestly admit I was terrified.  I began to imagine that I would die. Or I would have to leave my home and live in a nursing home.  Well, unlike Job, the things I feared did not happen.

I found a peace while in the hospital and one that I would have with several other hospital stays over the years.

One such stay was to find help with severe depression and battling the idea of suicide.  My psychiatrist was excellent.  I kept to myself for quite a long time, barely speaking to others that were there were there own personal battles within themselves.  Finally, something began to happen within me, that peace I felt from the stay battling that blood clot, came over me again and I began to feel once again, contentment.

It has been that contentment that has kept me stable through all matters of circumstances, whether physical, spiritual, and even mentally.  Even when I was diagnosed being bi-polar. I am content knowing that I will be on blood thinners and other meds the rest of my life.  I do not look at this as a punishment, but rather a blessing within the storm.

2016 in the United States of America brought out the circumstances where the feelings of the nation was nothing less than total discontentment.  The fear was real, tangible, you could hear discontentment in the voters about their jobs, health care, their family and their children.  They wanted a change because they felt that the politicians had not done their job in creating a better environment and future for them.  It was this discontentment that caused them to vote for Donald J. Trump when they went to the polls.

I can’t help but wonder that in four years if that discontentment has been conquered or will it still persist.

The Apostle Paul learned how to be content even when facing persecution, thrown in jail and at the end of his’ life, laying his head on the chopping block. 

Discontentment is not logical, or wise.  It leads a person to make decisions, come to conclusions that leads to more discontentment.  They are never at peace within themselves or those or things that surround them.

Peace comes when we give all our fears, discontentment, and worries over to the Lord.  Like the hymn we sang in church, “leave it there, leave it there, take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.  If you trust and never doubt God will surely bring you out.  Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there”.

 


 

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV

Source: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

A Nation Founding Wanting

Daniel 5:25-28 MSG
25  and this is what is written: MENE, TEQEL, and PERES.
26  This is what the words mean: “Mene: God has numbered the days of your rule and they don’t add up.
27  “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.
28  “Peres: Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians.”

Imagine yourself, you are running from the law because you have a message for your nation, one that is condemnation and makes the citizens squirm in their flesh.  Your government has put a bounty on your head.  You are living on nothing but honey and locusts.  You hide yourself in caves.

You have been told that you are different, set aside even before you were conceived.  You have been told that God has chosen you for a mission, but you don’t like being put under the spotlight.  You know that if you are caught by the army it means your death.

The reason why you are running from the authorities is because the message you have been given to speak is one of judgment.

This is just not a hypothetical, it is true, found in the Old Testament and the man is Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1: (MSG)
1  The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin.
2  GOD’s Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amos reigned over Judah.
3  It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile.
4  This is what GOD said:
5  “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”
6  But I said, “Hold it, Master GOD! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
7  GOD told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
8  Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” GOD’s Decree.
9  GOD reached out, touched my mouth, and said, “Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
10  See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do among nations and governments—a red-letter day! Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish, And then start over, building and planting.”
11  GOD’s Message came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “A walking stick—that’s all.”
12  And GOD said, “Good eyes! I’m sticking with you. I’ll make every word I give you come true.”
13  GOD’s Message came again: “So what do you see now?” I said, “I see a boiling pot, tipped down toward us.”
14  Then GOD told me, “Disaster will pour out of the north on everyone living in this land.
15  Watch for this: I’m calling all the kings out of the north.” GOD’s Decree. “They’ll come and set up headquarters facing Jerusalem’s gates, Facing all the city walls, facing all the villages of Judah.
16  I’ll pronounce my judgment on the people of Judah for walking out on me—what a terrible thing to do!— And courting other gods with their offerings, worshiping as gods sticks they’d carved, stones they’d painted.
17  “But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work! Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say. Don’t pull your punches or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.
18  “Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work. I’m making you as impregnable as a castle, Immovable as a steel post, solid as a concrete block wall. You’re a one-man defense system against this culture, Against Judah’s kings and princes, against the priests and local leaders.
19  They’ll fight you, but they won’t even scratch you. I’ll back you up every inch of the way.” GOD’s Decree.

Now we find another man who is running from having to speak the word that God has given him to speak to a nation.  Again, it is a message of judgment.  No one wants to speak condemnation to anyone, let alone a whole nation.

So this man develops a plan.  He gathers up all his finances, goes to local ports on the ocean, buys a ticket for a boat to take him in the opposite direction from that which God has told him to go.  Well, its time to board ship to begin the voyage on the sea.  He feels that the plan is going to succeed until the winds pick up and the ocean begins to heave up and down.  As time goes by the ocean only becomes more violent to where the men on board are fearing for their life.  Someone though on board got a bit of wisdom and spoke to all those on board the ship.  He tells the group that he feels there is someone on the ship that has displeased God.  The group begins to ask each other, is it you?  Guilt begins to well up within the man and finally admits it is him who is running from God.  To save the ship and the trip the group throws the man overboard into the sea.  The ship then carries on their way to their destination, which is Tarshish, and the man they have just thrown overboard is Jonah.

Well in the ocean God calls out to the deep and has a great fish, we tend to call it a whale.  He causes the whale to swallow up Jonah where he will spend three days there until he humbles himself and tells God he will go to Nineveh to give the word of  God.
Jonah delivers the message of judgment that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days. For those forty days Jonah keeps giving the prophecy of judgment until the people of Nineveh repented, clothed themselves in sackcloth and ashened their faces.  After they did that God changed his mind and decided to spare the city.

Now you would think that Jonah would be happy about how the people repented and were spared from the wrath of  God. No, Jonah instead turns angry and sits under a tree and pouts like a disciplined child.

Jonah 3: (MSG)
1  Next, GOD spoke to Jonah a second time:
2  “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”
3  This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying GOD’s orders to the letter. Nineveh was a big city, very big—it took three days to walk across it.
4  Jonah entered the city, went one day’s walk and preached, “In forty days Nineveh will be smashed.”
5  The people of Nineveh listened, and trusted God. They proclaimed a citywide fast and dressed in burlap to show their repentance. Everyone did it—rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers.
6  When the message reached the king of Nineveh, he got up off his throne, threw down his royal robes, dressed in burlap, and sat down in the dirt.
7  Then he issued a public proclamation throughout Nineveh, authorized by him and his leaders: “Not one drop of water, not one bite of food for man, woman, or animal, including your herds and flocks!
8  Dress them all, both people and animals, in burlap, and send up a cry for help to God. Everyone must turn around, turn back from an evil life and the violent ways that stain their hands.
9  Who knows? Maybe God will turn around and change his mind about us, quit being angry with us and let us live!”
10  God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. What he said he would do to them he didn’t do.

In the two previous incidents is a great theme.  A theme that needs to be told to this present generation.  One God needs prophets, etc., who will give forth the message that God wants to speak to the people.  Men of God need to learn that it is not about them, not about a campaign to win friends and influence people.  Not to run because the message you are asked to bring forth makes you feel uncomfortable.  Fear of being hated by the very ones that God has asked you to deliver His’ message.  Yet, the majority of those who claim that they are men and women of God would rather choose comfort, acceptance, and also greed.  So, they hold back a message that if given could turn a nation around, see repentance in the land they live.

Therefore a nation like the one that Daniel lived in is found to be a nation found wanting.  A nation that has turned their back.  Given in to the desires of their flesh, greed, and false teachings.

There is coming a day however where God will hold the men who have held back the message of God responsible.  Responsible for allowing a nation to fall into the hands of the enemy who then in turn enslaves the people.

So, it would behoove those who stand in the pulpits across North America to speak that which God has for the nation and the people.  North America is hanging in the balance between a great revival or the start on the road to decline.

It is time for people to give into prayer and supplication so that North America would be saved.

A Nation Born In Rebellion pt. 2

Ephesians 6:12 – Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.

13 That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.

It has been several weeks since I posted the first part of this message.  You see it takes me some time to gather all my thoughts about a subject.  I want to make sure I have a sure foundation when I present an idea.  Most of the time I find my thoughts are clearer when it is totally quiet around me, no distraction from the outside.  Sometimes I find myself waking up in the night with a certain part of the message running through my racing mind. 

When I was just starting out and I found myself in this place I would get myself out of bed, go downstairs into my family’s dining table, place before me my Bible and begin to search the scripture until I found what I needed. It was not like today, there were no personal computers, no internet, not even a cell phone. Just me and my Bible.  Not even any commentaries or dictionairies.  Sometimes I would get so involved in studying the passage of time became oblivious to me.

So, here I am in from of my laptop with my Bible software opened and putting to words the thought s that seem to be flowing from within me.  I’m not quite sure how they would teach you to study and prepare in Bible school, because I have never attended one.  My methods may not hework for most, but they work for the person that counts, that’s me.

There is one thing that I am confident about, it is the method of study I have developed over the period of 40 plus years. Like the scripture, I depend on the innermost whisper, voice deep within me.  I do not call it, like the world, a hunch, or a gut feeling.  It is deep within my spirit man, for that is where the spirit of God speaks to each and everyone of His’ children if they are willing and are listening.  No, I don’t hear voices, or see stars or even feel the earth move beneath me.   It just I know that I know.

The thoughts in this post are mine.  I thought about this subject many years ago and haven’t given it much time until now, the election of 2016 in America.

I know about the history of the founding of the United States.  The civil war over slavery, the assination of Lincoln.  Also, the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, again another president assinated, John F. Kennedy and then his brother Robert, the nominee for the Democratic Party in 1967-68.  However, I was only about seven years old, yet I still have memories of looking across the Detroit river from Windsor, Ontario and seeing the smoke rising from the riots where buses were lit on fire.

Then in the 1980’s the attenpted assination of Ronald Reagan. A true visionary for the Republican Party.  Lessons could be learned by both nominees this election, for neither has a hopeful vision of what they see for America.

So, as I look through all the history of America I see a nation that underneath there is a cauldron seething with rebellion.  It seems to simmer for quite some time, only to find the cauldron reaching a boiling point and pouring over the top onto the streets of the United States.  2016 is one of those times.  Unrest it seems is everywhere.  Anger seems to be the emotion that is on the lips of every person and voter.  African Americans angry because of all the deaths of black men dying by the hands of the police who are sworn to protect them.

The older white population that feels time has forgotten about them as they see their America slip away being replaced by a much different color of people.  News pundits call it “the browning of America”.  The blue collar worker sees their jobs fall by the side of the road either by being outsourced to another country or by technology that is much more efficient and cheaper.

Then there is the biggest fear that is on the minds of every American that remembers what happened on 9/11.  The largest terror attack on American soil since Pearl Harbour.  They realise that The United States is no longer a safe place, and now the terrorists have landed on their soil.  So they are angry with Capitol Hill, both Congress and the Senate.  Neither side of the isle willing to make the first comprimise so that some goal can be achieved to bring safety back to the homeland.

Politicians are stoking fears about those who may not have the same faith as those they know.  Fear not from knowledge, but that which comes from the root of ignorance.  They seem to forget that every young, old, man, woman, child has someone in their lineage, maybe just one generation back, that came to the shores of America from another country, who was seeking a better life for those that would follow in their footsteps.

I started my last post by quoting scripture about rebellion.  Rebellion is a powerful gripping entity that takes hold of one person, or a multitude of people.  America’s rebellion started as they demanded they did not want to be ruled by and elite group, family, a person who sat in a palace somewhere that made all the rules.  Where the population had no voice in what happened in their country or nation.

They wanted a different type of nation, one where the people’s voice decided who would be their government.  The war between the United Kingdom and America was hard fought.  Eventually though British troops withdrew and the republic known as The United States was born.

This planted a small seed within the spirit of America one that has cried out every once and awhile and gives way to anger on the streets of the nation.

Scripture tells us that ‘rebellion is as of the sin of witchcraft’.  Paul writes in the book of Ephesians that the child of God does not war with human armies, but of spiritual wickedness in high places.

It is my opinion, that this same war is constantly fighting over the nation of America.  The only way it can be brought to nothing is for the Body of Christ to regain that which they have lost because of being intoxicated with greed and power.  Paul instructed the church to pray for its leaders.  As I have said in prior posts or on my Twitter feed, every time that people of God became close with government, they landed into the trouble of being captured and becoming slaves to their captor.

I truly believe when the Body of Christ in North America wakes up from it stupor of greed and power and shakes off this rebellious nature that has them enslaved they can bring about the falling of the rebellion that lies within the shores of America.

We were given the armour of Christ.  The Body of Christ cannot fight with the armour of the world, for like King David it has not been proven.  The Body of Christ must put on the full armour of God.  Cast of the armour of politics, wall street, and false doctrines and become what God would have it to be.  If not,  it may be just too late to see any reprisal from the path the nation of America is going down.

Instead of warring against those of different religions, begin to show compassion, and love. If we are strong in our faith of Christ Jesus, then nothing can shake you.  We were told to build upon the rock, not upon the sand.

I pray and hope that maybe the divisiness of the election of 2016 is that last election of its kind.  If not, somehow I see America, like empires before it, begin to decline and fade into the books of history.

There is another empire in the wings just waiting to come to full fruition, one that will declare war on the saints and on Israel.  An empire where a leader known as the anti-christ will take his place to rule the world.

Just one last question, ‘Are you truly ready for what is to come upon this place we call earth?’