Monday, 24 July 2017

Tilting at Windmills

Over the years I have heard the saying "Your tilting at windmills again" but I never really understood what the saying meant - so when I read it again just this week and in the context in which it was written I decided to check it out further.

Of course when I'm in a quandary as to what things mean and when confusion or questions appear in my life of course I do what most people do and 'google' it.

Must admit I was a tad surprised by the answer I got - "tilting at windmills" could mean you are interpreting situations wrongly or exaggerating the real truth of the matter and it can even mean that you are attacking imaginary enemies.

All of these are great examples apparently of what tilting at windmills infers. Wikipedia tells me that the "phrase derives from an episode in the novel DON QUIXOTE by Miguel de Cervantes, wherein protagonist Don Quixote fights windmills that he imagines are giants".

Well armed with that knowledge I somehow couldn't get the phrase our of my mind and God somehow amazingly used it to speak to me so now I am sharing it with you - God is awesome don't you think?

Whatever tilting at windmills means to you, the thing is that we have to KNOW THE TRUTH and LOVE THE TRUTH  - we have to be so careful to know what is true and love/cling to that truth no matter what.

As Christians we have an enemy, an enemy who is out to get us and will virtually stop at nothing to confuse us and send us tail spinning into doubt and uncertainty.

In the book of Revelation God sent messages to the churches warning them of the wrath to come if they didn't heed the truths and turn from their ways and follow Him. The people were listening to lies, ignoring God's truth - and today in our topsy turvy world we are so much worse.

The Christian Church is being attacked more than ever before and lots of people I have talked to take the approach - "it will be OK - you are tilting at windmills - it's not nearly as bad as you are making out". I'm so sorry but I disagree.

As Followers of Jesus we MUST believe and love the truth that is found in the Bible. The truth about who Jesus is, what he has done for us and how we are to live.

God has given us a blue print if you like - a perfect example of how we are to live - yet we have, like those churches of long ago, become 'lukewarm' in our love for Jesus and 'lukewarm' will not cut it with God - what does He say in Revelation 3:16 if we are lukewarm? That He will 'spit us out of His mouth'. Can't get much plainer than that!

My message to us all is to watch out for anyone who does not teach us the truths found in the Word of God - there are many out there who dearly love to label us a weirdo's or cultists all because we dare to follow the teaching of Jesus and have given our lives to Him - we are born again in Jesus and the world out there does not like that one little bit. As far as they are concerned we are indeed 'tilting at windmills'.

God has indeed given us a very special map, if you like, of how to plainly get to the very special place he has promised to His followers. The world at large will be screaming at us that it is completely futile and what we are believing is false and wrong.

Just this week here in Australia the 7.30 Report (a  current affairs program) reported false and misleading information about evangelical men who are supposedly the worst sort of domestic violence perpetrators in the world, when in actual facts the opposite is true according to the latest New Zealand statistics.

There is a virtual war on Christians even as we speak and as I write this blog - a war to discourage, humiliate, belittle and condemn any who claim the name of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

When we turn our lives over to God we begin immediately to live with a completely different set of values to the world. Values that come directly from God. the world on the other hand bellows loud and long what their values are and demands our utmost attention and anyone who declines to bow before that is set of values is slandered and labelled.

The world as we know it is full of lies and we are called to fight against them - and that my friends can be extremely difficult!

Once saved we need to put on the whole armour of God to protect us from the fiery darts of Satan - the ruler of this world of ours. Like salmon migrating to their breeding spots we are fighting an up-stream battle with wild waters and our own set of hungry and pernicious bears just waiting to snatch us, chew us up and spit us out.

So the world looks at us and labels us as foolish daydreamers, living a futile and silly life content to live in fairy land, where in fact the opposite is true.

We so need to follow the truth that God has set down for us with all of our might and with all of the fight we have in us regardless of the consequences of what the world can do to us.

So no matter what will happen to us - our families may question what we do and our associations, friends may forsake and even abandon us or at the best no longer understand us. But the power of Jesus Christ now lives within us and we can be overcomers, even warriors for Him - unafraid, brave and courageous.

Not sure about you but I'm personally going to hang onto the promise in 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9
"we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

Yes, being a Christian in today's world is getting to be a pretty hard thing. But you know, Jesus overcame so much more and if we are His then there is really nothing the world can throw at us that can take that away.

So are we "tilting at windmills" as the world will charge? Certainly not! We are the living proof as to what Christ has done in our lives - we are changed for the good and for eternity. Let's show our candles to the world and charge into the darkness with confidence knowing we are His and His alone.

God bless you all this week as we step out with Christ armed with the helmet of salvation and His breastplate of righteousness.








Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Feeling Disqualified, Ruled out, Suspended?

Following Jesus was never meant to be an easy road!

We are told that God wants 100% of our lives not just lip service - not just some ordinary howdy doody kind of faith that saps your energy in TRYING to do 'things' that will get you in the back door . NO! God means it when He says that he wants 100%.

God is so so serious when He says that we must "count the cost" of following Him before we make a commitment to Him - If we aren't willing to sacrifice everything that we have then it's absolutely no use in following Him at all.

Strong words indeed  - but in Luke 14:27 Jesus Himself says 'and whoever does not carry their cross and follow me CANNOT be my disciple'. If we commit to Jesus - we must give Him ALL of our allegiance.

Lack of allegiance, lack of commitment, occupied with other things and other lives and not handing them over to God are things of which we MUST count the cost before giving our allegiance to God.

Of course we love our families, our spouses, our Grandblessings and many other loves - Jesus Himself loved in many and extraordinary ways and we are indeed commanded to love BUT when the rubber hits the road our ultimate allegiance MUST go to God.

Once we have decided that we are indeed His and accept Him as our personal, and I mean PERSONAL, Saviour and Lord - once we have come to the cross of Calvary and left our burden of sin there - once we have asked God's forgiveness of our sins no matter how obtuse, disgusting, scandalous or obnoxious they may be - once we have decided that to follow the Lord is to gain freedom the likes of which we have never known, then God won't let us go.

I know I walked away from God for 14 long years- I thought I knew better than anyone else and I knew deep down that how I was living was wrong but I wanted to 'do it my way' - Praise God He brought me back to Him! - In lots of ways we can walk away from God - it is a dangerous and stupid thing to do but many have, and alas, many have just 'gone through the motions' of being a Christian with no real 'heart change' at all.

If you have truly become of Christ's followers then you WILL change - your life will be completely different - you WILL have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Sure we have the old life living there as well but you will find that when you are tempted or fall into a sin trap then the Holy Spirit will immediately convict you and you really can't continue until you have confessed your sin and repented (turned away from) that sin and asked God's forgiveness.

So let's re-hash what we have chatted about here:- If you have truly turned to God and given to Him 100% of your life - If you have given to Him your total allegiance. then He won't let you go, even if you think your finished, even if you have felt that you have 'hit your limit' and that it's all over - you WON'T  be disqualified - you just won't.

If you keep on falling into sin and keep on being convicted of it over and over again - if you reckon deep inside your heart that you  'just can't get past this one' - if you feel like you are fighting a constant war - then please take heart - that is exactly what it is all about - we are in constant warfare.

Satan walks around trying to persuade us to 'give it up - throw in the towel - you are just TOO bad' - that's exactly why we keep on fighting - and if we do that's exactly why we won't get disqualified!

God is saying over and over again to us that HE is manifestly GREATER than our sins - Romans chapter 5 says that 'where sin abounds, God's grace abounds much more'. God's amazing grace and forgiveness is HUGELY greater than our sins not matter how gross those sins may be. God can QUALIFY us even if the world out there DISQUALIFIES us. P
pretty cool eh?

Please don't get discouraged in your walk with God - keep trusting Him - don't let your stumbles tell you that you are somehow disqualified from a life walking and trusting in God.

Take heart this week as you walk with God - Let His Holy Spirit guide and direct you as you go - Take heed to listen,  ready to act on the promptings that He gives - He only wants to best for you - Let Him encourage, inspire and restore you to Himself - no matter what you are going through.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Assumptions

I heard once that "assume makes an ass out of U and me".

It has been brought home to me recently just how easily we can assume something and so easily be so wrong in our assumption.

We can assume someone is guilty and then so quickly we can judge - we may not mean to but there it is ~ we can assume almost anything and sometimes assumptions can take us down some really scary paths indeed.

Because sin is offensive, intolerable and unacceptable, God opposes it. He punishes and judges.

Just as fire consumes all that is combustible, so God destroys all that is contemptible. BUT we must let God be the judge of others NOT US!!  It is not right for us to ASSUME we are so right and others are so wrong - even when we know that God has led us through His Holy Spirit to come to a place where we know that he is living in our hearts and souls.

We just can't ASSUME and we certainly can't JUDGE.

In proverbs 18:2 King Solomon writes "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing their own opinion" ~ in other words it is so foolish to ASSUME you understand other people and then turn around and find huge delight in airing your opinion to all and sundry around the place.

Judging and assuming can lead us into sin quicker than we even know.

We have NOT been called to judge others, much less punish those who oppose our God, however, we should develop a strong and vigorous aversion to sin.

Matthew 7:1 tells us NEVER to JUDGE because if we do then we will be judged accordingly ~ pretty sobering thoughts.

In our daily lives, as we more and more rely on God's wisdom and might, we can love ALL people - un-judging and un-assuming ~ without ever approving of their sin.

As a BIBLE based Christian I believe what it says - and try to live my life according to God's principles set down in the Bible - God is emphatic when he says that we DO NOT JUDGE - and assumption can be virtually judging!

God is the Judge and he alone - we cannot even ASSUME to put ourselves in the seat of judgement over anyone! There is certainly a HUGE amount of evil in this world of ours ~ there is absolutely no denying this but we can overcome evil ~ not with our fiery judgments, but with good (read Romans 12: 17-21)

Another dangerous path in ASSUMPTION is ASSUMING that God will lead us down amazing and wonderful paths of fulfillment - we are NOT and never have been guaranteed health, wealth and success!

We often ASSUME that if we obey God then all will be well for us in this life  ~ that our marriages will be perfect, that new jobs will come easy or that our family will grow in love and harmony.

God has never promised us a life of happy-ever-afters here in fact quite the opposite - we will suffer here and we can't ASSUME otherwise.

Another HUGE ASSUMPTION we make when we come to Christ is that we will live perfect lives for Him constantly - we all fall and sometimes we fall a looooong way - I know I did for fourteen long years  I walked away from the Lord who saved me.

In fact we mess up all the time - in this life we will never be perfect for God not ever - BUT the thing is we can come back to Him each and every time we do mess up and return, repent and be restored by the very grace and mercy of God.

OK so where does all this leave us? - Assumption can be dangerous - assumption can lead to judging - assumption can lead us to misunderstand God and His plans for us - Assumption can often, through misunderstanding, lead us away from God and assumption can quickly lead us down wrong, dangerous and very scary streets.

God alone is our strength and our understanding - Give to God what he wants most of all - our lives and our very souls - he wants 100% nothing less.

Let's not assume anything as we go this week - Let's not judge anything either - at the same time let's not bury our heads in the sand. Let's trust God openly and honestly, being very aware that His plans for us give us hope not rejection regardless of what happens around us.










The Return of the king

Loved the Lord of the Rings - The Return of the KING!! "The eye of the enemy is moving - the end has come - Frodo moves closer to Mo...