Only reacting

You know that aged old question, “what came first, the chicken
or the egg?” I wonder instead what came first, the thought or the manifestation?

So often I hear people say things like, “ I said that
because they said this” or “ if they didn’t do that to me I wouldn’t have done
this to them. ‘ We are only reacting to
whatever life seems to throw at us.

I wonder though… if we found out that our reality is not
defined by what gets thrown at us, instead it’s defined by our reaction, would
we change the way we react?

I have often contemplated, the commandments of Father God, maybe
are less command and more protective defense.

Also the Fruit of His Spirit we are to grow within us and
share with the world, what if He is
giving us tools for success not just do as I say, because I said so,… rules to
follow.

Take for instance self-control, if we mastered self-control,
it may stand to reason that we would become a lot less reactive, and way more purposeful in our responses to all life’s situations. Its very likely,
that most, if not all, drama and stress in our lives would disappear.

It also amazes me how easily deceived we are when it’s
pertaining to our own personal character.

We are more than willing to help in the assessment of other
people’s character, sometimes jumping in with our two cents before being
invited into the conversation.

Yet when it’s our own character being assessed, that we may accidentally overhear, rarely do
we listen self- controlled, ready to make adjustments to our own character
based on what we overheard. No… more likely we react defensively pouring out every component surrounding our
personal circumstances that may be unrealized by our assessors thereby making their
assessment of our character unmerited. Meanwhile our emotions having been
stirred are making it difficult if not impossible to remain self-controlled.

Knowing the rather high probability that this is truly the
way we would respond, still never seems to detour our two cents jumping into
either invited or uninvited conversations about others. Somehow we think only
our circumstances deserve to remain un-assessed by those without full disclosure.
It never crosses our minds that we don’t truly know enough to give any value to
our two cents in the first place so maybe we should change our thoughts instead
of devaluing our two cents by putting it out there having no backing.

No matter what life throws at us, it’s our decision and the
implementation of said decision that truly becomes our reality. Whether we are self-controlled or instead react
emotionally determines who is truly in the control seat bringing forth our
reality.

Reacting permits an open door for the enemy to take over the
control of our reality. Our reacting means an almost immediate emotional
response that’s lacking in self-control.

Not only can the enemy at that point take control of our
reality but he tends to keep it by triggering those same emotions over and over
and over again.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV — Be alert and of sober mind. Your
enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
devour.

Galatians 6:7-8 KJV — Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that
soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to
the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Father God is no respecter of person and He will not be
mocked. No He doesn’t play favorites no matter who does or doesn’t go to
church, who prays more, who’s intuitive enough to be right more often than not,
even based upon who is actually right and who’s wrong in accordance with His
Word.

Our job has never been to sit and contemplate who is or is
not acting according to His Word anyway. That is between them and God. The Holy
Spirit has never been fired and is still in charge of conviction.

Because we are weaker alone and isolated, the enemy causes
division among us and with the using of the mandate to be discerning, we are deceived into believing we aren’t
really judging people.

Ephesians 4:29-32 KJV — Let no corrupt communication
proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that
it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and
wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with
all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

No matter what situation we find ourselves in, and no matter
who we believe needs a small nudge or a big shove, back onto the straight and
narrow, two things remain true and worth our consideration,

1. To react, is
giving the enemy a very high probability of winning control, however temporary,
over our reality, keeping us in bondage.

2. We don’t get to
pick and choose what parts of God are trust worthy enough to have faith in. We
either have complete faith in Him, or we don’t.

Until next time may God-bless you and keep you as you seek
Him with your whole heart.

Giant Faith

1 Samuel 17:23-37 NLT — As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”

Instead of running away from what we say or think we cannot handle, we need to call upon His strength, wisdom, and resources.

When we run, we are doing the same as Saul and the entire Israelite army. We whine like them, helping each other justify our wallowing in self pity and confusion. We gossip and waste time, talking about our lack in abilities. We concentrate on and speak of, our weaknesses individually and as a whole, then, feeding on each other’s growing fear, we enlarge our enemy with in our minds.

We trap ourselves in the mountains of no way, no chance, no future, no help, no hope.

Then just like they did to young David, if someone comes along asking why we’re acting like this, we shut them down and try to put them in their place, trying to make them feel as small as we are acting.

But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”

Unwittingly, we block the faith we need to remove our giants. We don’t just block either,  No, we do our best Wto knock it down, stomp it into a pancake, pick it up, and whisk it away like a Frisbee. Who are you to tell me, we say, as we puff out our chest and tower over the help God sent to take away the giant we helped create.

Why do we choose to be defeated and keep company with others who choose defeat, while mocking and jealously making a joke out of those who choose not to ever give up. Those who choose faith over forfeit.

1 Samuel 17:40-49 NLT — He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

Our giant may not be a Philistine giant named Goliath, maybe it’s the lack of patience, for an unruly child, who is always disrespectful and mean, or, it could be giving ourselves  over to self-pity, as the sting of life’s lemons, catch us off guard, seaping into our sores, from watching the lazy get handed what we work so hard for, on a silver platter.

It could be that the giant we face is called self-righteousness or pride. Maybe our lack of self control, when we cannot bring ourselves to submit to the authority of someone who knows so much less than we do, by a long shot.

Sometimes our giant is trying to defend ourselves from the lies of those who falsely testify against us.

No matter what name our giants may go by, when we try to battle them on our own, we come out defeated, tired, confused, and sore. Because of the hell we go through, and the battle scars we obtain, from going out to battle on our own, we often get angry when confronted with the Truth of God’s word and we reject it, run from it, twist it or turn it while at the same time, shoot with the intent to kill the messenger.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT — Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We neglect to realize, God knows we are not capable of handling our own giants, much less anyone else’s, still we are called to battle both. We just weren’t called to battle them, with our own strength.

Exodus 14:14 NLT — The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Until next time, may God-bless you and keep you, as you seek him, with your whole heart.

Cancel culture

I’ve heard it called cancel culture. This idea we shouldn’t have to put up with other people. We can either leave when someone hurts us, annoys us, disagrees with us or doesn’t like us, or make them leave. Today’s society has made it exceptionally easy and justified to just walk away from people. 
Kids walk away from parents, parents walk away from kids, husbands walk away from wives, wives walk away from husbands, friends walk away from friends, sisters from sisters, brothers from brothers, etc. Every kind of relationship in life has been affected it seems by this cancel culture. If we don’t get what we want from someone, if they are no longer a value to us, they no longer make us feel good, we just cancel them from our lives. Easy as that. 
In today’s society we cancel anyone who doesn’t feel good and  hold onto those who do. We are always talking of what’s fair, what we do and don’t deserve, whether or not it’s worth our time, etc. Etc.
We are in charge of our lives and our own happiness, we are kings and queens of our own domains. It’s our “God given right to be happy and emotionally sound and we will make sure we exercise our rights. 
You know what the problem is with this? 
We never learn and we never grow. When we get to be kings and queens or else, we never learn what true selflessness is. We never learn to share even when it hurts, we never learn the value of those who don’t think like us, act like us, smell like us, eat like us, work like us, cry like us, laugh like us. Because we get to decide and we have the option to leave, because there’s always a back door.
We learn to migrate toward like-minded people and quite comfortably go through only surface changes. We never allow ourselves to be refined by the fire because the first sign of sweat we run to the air conditioner. 
All of life is for the most part,  to our standards.  What we think, every single situation is judged by our standard beliefs. Right wrong, clean dirty, good bad, all set according to us. If we don’t like, we leave if they won’t, then they can get out. 
We never have to go through the uncomfortable, embarrassing, unjust, lessons meant to break down our self-righteous, worldly attitudes that in no way resemble Jesus no matter what disguise we present them with. We may struggle all types of hurt, heart ache, pain, but not fire. 
We’re not teachable because we are the teacher, we already mastered how we like things to go in our life, now all that’s left is making sure others fall in line. If they choose to go at things different, than they are choosing to go at them alone.
There is nothing for us to learn really, as we are already us. When given spiritual lessons through reading His word or hearing it preached, our mind swiftly recalls those in our life who would benefit from hearing this message. We get so busy helping others who we know need the teaching we never have time to reflect on ourselves and where we might be in need of the lesson. 
When we give, its with a price tag because if anyone we are giving to steps out of line according to our standard of measure, then they get cut off, left out, excused from receiving from us until they decide to conform or until they can convince us of their reasoning or worthiness. 
We don’t always notice that we are actually taking part in this worldly “cancel culture.”
Luke 6:32-36 NLT — “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Jesus didn’t mandate for us to love the lovely, He didn’t say to love those we get along with, those we call family and friends, no He said to love those who are unlovable. We are to love those who are ugly to us. Those who put us in prison, that talk bad about us, tell lies about us, who steal from us, curse us, etc etc. Jesus said love not cancel. Not stay away from, ignore, leave, reject, gossip about, abandon etc. 
The word tells us
Matthew 18:15-17 NLT — “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Notice hear what it actually tells us,
1. Try privately to go and work it out. Why is this do you suppose? Could it be we might be wrong also? Maybe to save us the embarrassment of finding out our perception was wrong and therefore because we sought out an end to the division privately, we now can still hold our head up. We are not found to be wrong in front of others.
2. We are told bring two or three with us to seek an end to the problem. What for? Well it continues and says so we have witnesses to back up what our intentions were and theirs. So if both sides think that they’re correct, we bring witnesses in to hear both sides and they can help us determine if either side is correct and help both sides see where we might be wrong or right.
3. Now if none of that works to bring reconciliation between the two of us, as we are both pieces of the body of Christ, then that’s when you take it to the church.  Our witnesses then are also question by the church, those ones that try to help us reconcile already. Then the church decides, and what the church decides is final.  If either of us don’t like the decision, we have the option of leaving. But see at this point if we leave, we are leaving wrong.  We are leaving prideful, self-righteous, arrogant, unapproachable.  So we leave of our own free will because we will not listen to any reasoning at all. Because we would not see reason, because we would not put aside our pride, our anger, and hurt to stay apart of the whole, we lose the whole thing, the entire church. 
See in all three steps one thing it does not say is that we have a right to excommunicate anybody without going through these three steps first. Here in today’s society we cancel people left and right.  So much hurt around the world from abandonment.   Abandoned by Christians.  Nice twist of the devil don’t you think. 
The Body of Christ has many parts, each unique in it’s own purpose and place. Each part needs all the other parts in order to function ultimately. When we want things our own way, when we act self-righteous, in self-pity, in charge, in judgment, we are trying to change someone from what God made to our ideal of who they should be.  We often use scripture to justify our actions yet scripture tells us (love)
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NLT — If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
To forgive but don’t forget, is keeping record of wrongs. You know what that bitterness toward the one we won’t forget their wrongs causes? Deep wounds! Deep deep wounds in us and the one we kept record against. It also causes stagnation in spiritual growth, slow changes, lack of faith, makes people question their value, their worth. Any changes God may be making in the person we have kept record on, won’t be noticed or believed. Because we won’t let go of the past, we miss the blessing our prayers may be producing. We may be productive in our praying for them but not in watering the sprout God started from the seeds due to our prayers. Our bitterness can stunt their growth as well as our own.
Jesus never said love if they don’t make you mad, if they are respectful, if they are a brown-noser, if they never steal from you, if they follow your rules, if you have compatible personalities, if they can give you what you want, if they call you and make you feel wanted, if they act according to what society tells us isn’t crazy, no…. He leaves no room for argument on this very subject as He foreknew what was coming and all the excuses we might come up with to justify our actions against His love mandate. Excuses for our wrong, hidden beneath the, they did to me so I couldn’t help it. 
Wake up humans!!! We do not fight against flesh and blood …
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT — A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Make sure who’s side your on! The end is inevitable and coming quick. God is about love in the midst of the worst storms, the enemy is about hurt feelings and bitterness from unforgiving hearts causing division and isolation. This is not a no big deal, not my problem kind of war. No, it sure is your problem because if you don’t pick a side and give it all you got, the enemy will take you over and use you as his weapon against God’s true people.
We need to get far far away from this cancel culture and look inside ourselves, at what needs to change within us, to bring about unity not division.
The people that are hard for us to get along with, are not meant to cancel out of our lives. They are there to help mold and shape us into our true selves. They give our faith a workout, to strengthen us for battles yet to come. We do ourselves a huge disservice when we decide to cancel them, abandon them, ignore them, etc. We are telling God, He made a mistake so we have to protect ourselves. God knows exactly what He is doing and the answer to our prayers may be in the person we chose to reject and in so doing decided against having faith in God’s ability to work in our lives. 
Don’t cancel anyone friends, it’s a trick of the enemy and isn’t a good trap to get stuck in. When you forgive, yes forget, unless you would rather that Father God remember your sins against Him. Choose Love always, no matter what’s done to you, for your sacrifice is where true courage and strength are found, and what All of Heaven is cheering for. 
Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart. 



Prison Walls

They say the world

is overpopulated,

yet her people
feel caged and alone.

Dressed in our best
to sit beside someone,

both engaged with what’s on our phone.

Does anyone remember,
what it feels like to be happy?

Before we took,
the community out of humanity?

We accepted social distance,
and wearing a mask,

without so much as a fight.

Will we ever again find our voice,

to stand and speak up
for what is right?

Brainwashed, addicted,
poisoned and dependent,

never noticed
we’re not free at all?

Fool me once,
shame on you,

twice it’s on me,

third time,
I helped build my prison Walls.