Glass Castles

 There’s an old Gospel song, that been around for years, with words that go something like this..

“I woke up this mornin’ feelin’ fine.  I woke up with Heaven on my mind.”

It’s a kind of  ‘feel good’ song, the kind that makes you want to clap your hands and tap the foot to it’s fun, little tune. 

Although I woke up with that song on my mind, I didn’t wake up to that feeling on my heart this morning!  I woke up to a rather different beat today in the key of minor.  Mine was a whirling mind, churning over the stupid stench of sin in this world. How it’s rampant and everywhere, and so sadly in all places where we don’t want to find it.  Where we think, in our naïve and simple trusting spirits, it would never exist.  It’s not just in that Garden of Eden, where it all began,  but it’s in our present-day gardens of sweet nothings, where the old serpent slithers.  He crawls so slyly into our homes, our workplaces, our schools and into our churches!  His egotistic,  narcissistic character gains only a slight foothold yet begins to manipulate, coerce, groom, gain our favour and ultimately tear down even the elect, leaving his victim alone and broken and so many others reeling in anguish, mistrust, bitterness and disappointment over whatever goes down.

Sin plays its game well, not smart but well. I’ve witnessed its evil gain a foothold in churches, where leaders would rather turn a blind eye than rock the boat with truth.  The thing is, to surface the reality of wrong with truth in confrontation only serves to bring on a form of politics, gaining of power, support and a form of horrendous persecution.  Yeah, not the ‘gallows’ type of threat and physical torture but the power, politics, gossip, lies, threats, and unbelief, paired with emotional and verbal abuse is a form of gallows that kill by crushing the spirit and grinding it into the dirt. It’s a form of abuse not becoming to the ‘spiritual’ leaders dishing it out.  Yet it happens!  Sin rules our cultures our societies, our world and sadly, our own lives if we succumb to self and as the prophet Jeremiah, reminds us of our wretched state, through the LORDS own words of wisdom in Jeremiah 17:9,

This is what the LORD says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”  

So, friends, in our wretched sin-sick world, in our wretched sin-sick state, only God knows just how deceitful we can be.   Yes, it touches our lives, our families and our ministries! It plants its seed of lies, and deceit and builds pedestals of pride with power and money and off it goes on a wild tangent in cahoots with a wicked heart or two in tow, beckoning to its every call and bowing to its every selfish whim.  

Bingo! And don’t we know that glass castles shatter and pedestals crack and crumble and proud hearts are bent low to breathe the dust of the ground.  And don’t we know the lights go out and the power goes out!  And don’t we know that the money looses its luster to a sickening stench as the whole truth unfolds. 

Yeah, it’s a wretched world held in the grip of sin and what do you know, it’s not just those who have joined the ranks of fame and popularity,  who we point fingers at, but it’s us in the thick of it, just like everyone else.  “We” are the sinners with the deceptive hearts, no one better, more righteous than anyone else.  We’re all in this together, all with the same potential to sin, all in the same sinful world, with the same sinner’s heart in the same little boat struggling to stay afloat, with the need of the same Saviour that brings the powerful gospel message of light and Truth. A message of power that doesn’t change or go out or lose luster just because a glass castle cracks and shatters, a pedestal crumbles and someone falls so far short of what we believed even possible.  

Sin?  Yeah it’s out there and it’s in us and Isaiah reminds us that it’s part and parcel of all of us, when he pens the words of Isaiah 53:6

“We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

So, when our minds swirl in confusion over stuff that goes down within our circles of influence.  When the power goes out in our churches, our families, our schools, and within those of leadership, who we thought we knew and so highly respected, we can know their fall, our fall, or anyone’s stumble doesn’t change the power of God and the message of the Gospel.  That message of saving power that cleanses a heart of repentance with unconditional love, mercy and amazing grace will stoop down into the depths of stench and muck and lift us out to carry each one of us who ask, to new heights in the heavenlies!

So, it turns out whatever has your heart wrenching today, our Lord knows well the hurt, pain and disappointment of your soul and though the temptation to give up is very real, our part is to stay faithful even to the end, even when and even if the glass castle shatters and threatens to take our faith into the garden of sin and doubt.

Yeah, I get that it’s a narrow way to walk but it’s safe there in His keeping.  It’s the safest place you can be when the winds howl and storms blow! So you and I and we and us let’s accept that glass castles shatter, that pedestals fall, that power goes out and still realize with every once of faith that we can muster, that Sin will sadly have its way in this world,  but our Saviour is still the victory One and still ‘all for us’, not against us.  Let’s be challenged to keep our eyes fixed on the Sovereign God in charge and not on the man, the pedestals or the sin that can so easily entangle.

“Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life.” Life meaning salvation. 

Matthew 7:14

Focus On Truth

Forty years of wilderness wandering plagued the Israelites because they listened to the report of ten spies instead of God’s promise to give them the promised land. They had experienced God’s miraculous works for their deliverance, yet still, rather than believing God’s promise and facing their enemies with faith, they were caught up in human deception and discouragement.

The giants occupying their land were huge and the enemies were strong, the challenge too dangerous, the risk too great. They refused to move out and take possession for fear of their lives. They wept and wailed through their night with bitterness! They complained and grumbled about their plight! Why did we leave Egypt? We’ll die in this forlorn land! Shouldn’t we just go back? Wouldn’t it be better? Be safer? Wouldn’t it just be easier back in captivity?

Those unfaithful, unbelieving, grumbling Israelites twenty years and older never made it into the land of promise because God saw to it that their unbelief would not be honoured.

Oh, the wilderness wanderings we face when we focus on deception rather than truth. When we focus on the giants instead of the promises; when we rebel instead of trust! You know it don’t you? The wilderness of rebellion, unbelief, deception and despair? Does your old slavery and bondage to sin just seem more comfortable, easier and safer than trusting God for deliverance?

We need to move on out and take what God has promised through trust, while He still gives opportunity. Courage is found when we take God at His word and trust Him even though the giants are many and the tasks impossible. I wonder who we hear? The reports of people or the Lord’s promises to us.

1 Corinthians 10:11

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

#soulnotestoself

The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth

 

I sat and chatted with the Pastor in the early morning hours over that first cup of coffee and we talked over some of the issues of these strange days. There are many aren’t there? We’ve been through lockdown, quarantine, phases one, two and three of re-opening and now, with twin-demic threats of both flu and COVID, it seems we’re well on our way to a possible second lockdown if proper steps aren’t taken.

So, thing is, there is a COVID 19, somewhere out there and it seems that as the daily numbers rise there are many finding out it’s very real. Whether you or I know of any is irrelevant at this stage, because whatever the problem is, media states that we, the people, with our masks, hand washing and social distancing are a very real part of the solution in a very big way. So here, we sit with these government rules and regulations and a big pandemic problem on our doorstep, that we really know nothing about, but yet we know we’re a part of and apparently a part of the solution. Rumours of a vaccine nipping at our heels, as a solution somewhere down the road, is all the talk and depending on who we listen too and what we believe, we may be lining up for it when it’s made available, or we may be running in the other direction. And so we ask, what is Truth these days? So, you and I and we and us, we sit in our socially bankrupt states feeling very attacked and manipulated on all fronts with health threats, economic crisis and so many invading fears of the day. It’s crazy ‘day’-sies isn’t it, that we cozy up by the fire in our livingrooms and invite the whole world in through a hyped-up media invading our small closed-in quarters, overwhelming us with facts, that, true or not legislate our daily decisions. So we turn off the loopy news and head on into our offices where a click of the button brings artificial intelligence and hundreds of other opinions to light, feeding our news feeds and our minds with socialities and feel-good stuff that just adds to the mix of truth or error, and who knows which is which in these strange days? And so we turn it off, maybe? And we walk away from it all with a mixed-up mind and a bag of emotions that we carry in our heart and wear on our sleeves and wonder what’s next?

A few months ago, the world seemed fine and wonderful to those of us who lived in the old “normal” of things. Travel was unbridled and unchecked as we quickly made our way from point A to point B in short order without much thought other than we were in control of the situation, our lives and our future. We partied without thought and joined in festivities at home and abroad socializing in close quarters without any threat or fear of endangering those in our circles of influence. Yeah, a few short months ago, we, the people, pretty much did what we, the people, wanted to do without restrictions, no strings attached. Thing is, things are different now and so the new “normal” is now the old world sitting on a tight shoestring, dangling on the edge of the precipice, and we, the people, are left wondering what’s next, what’s truth and what’s around the corner?

So many questions and not too many answers meet us in our morning and walk us through our days. Thoughts that taunt and tease and strike fear into the very heart and soul of us. Big men of faith, who we’ve followed and perhaps put on pedestals speak out loud and clear to sometimes confuse the issues even more and we can choose to follow them or not, maybe to our ruin, or we can turn to the only One who knows for certain. The only One who holds the world in His care and keeping. The only One who holds this whole, old world in His hands and carries us over these uncertain days. The One Sovereign God who loaned us His only Son, and gave Him up in death to bring us absolute Truth, Life, forgiveness and salvation, comfort and peace. So yeah, these days, we can run to men for feel-good answers and comfort words to tickle our ears, with sweet pleasantries! We can criticize government powers and what they stand for, and what they mandate, but somewhere along the way, we, the people,  do have to get it, that the only source of comfort comes from the only source of Truth.

Jesus, said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6!   So you there, sitting on the other side of this screen, You seek Him out for yourself! Hear Him out! Let His words permeate that socially bankrupt soul of yours! Let Him be your friend in your isolation and let Him help you find your way and bring you real-life for the days ahead. It’s only in our Sovereign God we can find the comfort, relief, peace and joy that we so need right now and know with discernment any kind of Truth.

#Soulnotetoself #COVID19 #Truth #Hopeinhardplaces

Soul Shake

DSC_2488I wonder if we, as believers just sit in the church pews Sunday morning half asleep? Oh yeah, we sit and hear messages of social gospel and nice things and good people and how we can be good people and how it’s good enough just to be good people. Or perhaps we do hear powerful, biblical sermons but yet not really hear the words nor be impacted enough to let them change our lives or our worlds. We come, we smile, we chat, we go and we walk to our cars feeling like we’ve done our duty to attend and yeah we’ve given God His Sunday time, and possibly our tithe, maybe even our talent but deep inside our hearts are empty, cold ~ and far from the Father, the Sovereign One who longs to have real fellowship with us. What is it we don’t get? What is we don’t understand? We can judge from critical hearts, and call the shots for others putting them in their place, while all the while our own problem goes undetected and unnoticed by our own heart. Our own selfish, spiritual blindness is our downfall and our spiral downward.

It’s time to wake up our pulpits and shake up our souls for such a time as this, when our world reels out of order, under every manner of evil, under the power of our enemy, the father of lies.

DSC_2475_edited-1
God IS in control but His holiness can’t look upon the wicked sin that has infiltrated even into our churches because of hearts, hardened in selfish ambition and compromising life styles. Truth is, as believers, God’s call on our hearts is to be salt and light to a world in desperate need! God has given clear warning of judgment and we hear it but do we really hear? Are we getting it? Are we understanding the reality of it? The people of Noah’s day, didn’t get it and faced God’s judgment! They woke up when the rains began but it was too late for their salvation. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t get it and their wicked city was destroyed! People of God ~ it is time to stand on holy ground without compromise and march the victory march with the Sovereign God whose deepest desire is to bring sinners into His Kingdom. To save them, forgive them, change them and renew their lives, through the power of His cleansing blood. Oh let it be our desire to reach out of of our comfort zones, and into the lives of needy souls, desperate for hope!  Not for our own praise but only for God’s glory. Now is the time, people of God, to search our hearts and live in such a way that we influence our world as we share the Gospel message of salvation before the fire falls from heaven.

~k
‪#‎SoulFire‬

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known by all. So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away.”
Luke 8: 16, 17, 18

Luke 8: 22
“One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out……
As disciples, let’s embark on a holy journey, out of our comfort zones and cross to the other side of the lake.