Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why Not Me?

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (Psalms  22:1 NLT)

         Life’s experiences can sometime cause us to cry out like David did.  These emotions if unabated can lead us to start to doubt the character of God.  In the midst of heart wrenching circumstances, some cry out why me, and others say, why not me?
         The Bible says, The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings (Psalms 145:17 NRSV).  God is good, just, and kind. These are character traits of our eternal God.  Nothing that happens to us ever changes these attributes.  One of the favorite sayings of a missionary friend of mine is, “Never judge God by your circumstances, but judge your circumstances according to the character of God.”  A good God allows bad things to happen to good people.   But in the midst of heartache and pain our heavenly Father is always choosing our highest good.
         Grace is God’s unmerited favor.  It has been said that we only appreciate what we have after we have lost it.  God in his sovereign will sometimes withdraws a measure of grace and things happen.  I have often said that God could send a bolt of lightning and destroy me and not have to apologize to my family and friends. I would have gotten only what I deserved.  I don’t pray much for justice any more because I am afraid I might get it.  In the future when tempted to say, why me God, I hope my reply is, why not me Lord.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Voice Of The Lord

My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word. (Psalms 119:25 NKJV)    

         The word rhema in Greek means “utterance.” Biblically speaking, it refers to portion of scripture that “speaks” to a believer.  Without hearing the voice of the Lord, it is very difficult to navigate all the ins and outs of the Christian life.
         Permit me to describe a recurring scene in my life. Spiritually I am struggling.  Life’s challenges seem overwhelming.  I feel like a man that is going under for the third time.  I am desperately praying but the heavens appear to be made of brass, and God seems to be on vacation.
         I open my Bible and wait quietly before the Lord. He speaks Psalms 46: 10, Be still and know that I am God... Or he brings to my mind, James 5:8, You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. As I ponder and start to meditate on these verses something begins to happen in my mind and heart. These passages become alive and I realize God is speaking to me.  Yes, to me personally.  Hope rises in my heart, and its good buddy faith is not far behind.  The sword of the Spirit comes forth from my mouth. “The Bible says, submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NASB). Satan, obey the Word of God!"  The devil recognizes, though he is stronger than me, that he is no match for the God’s Word. He turn tails and runs.
         When Jesus was confronted by the evil one, his response was " it is written" (Matthew 4:4).  We can only use "it is written" if we know what is written.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places  YWAM Publishing

Monday, October 5, 2015

Save All Those Crocodile Tears

....They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, 
‘Come and save us!’ (Jeremiah 2:27 NLT)

         Jeremiah was speaking about the fickle nature of Israel of his day.  His words should teach us that even our repentance can have a self-serving character to it.
         In my early years as a Christians I used to preach at a county jail near my home.  I noticed that same prisoners would return and be incarcerated over and over again.  I listened to their stories and watched as big crocodile tears rolled down their cheeks. Oh yes, they were sorry.  They were upset that they had gotten caught and sad that they were in jail.  They were distressed about the consequences of their actions but were they sorry for their sin?  I don’t think so.  If they were they would have stopped what they were doing that repeatedly landed them back behind bars.
         True repentance always starts with God.  King David, a man that knew how to take responsibility for his wrongdoings, got it right.  Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”..... (2 Samuel 12:13).  First and foremost we always sin against a kind and merciful God.  The prisoners in this story never grasp that they were rebelling against the reasonable and loving requirements of a God who was only out for their highest good. Therefore, their remorse never brought lasting change to their behavior.
         Worldly sorrow is all about us. What is in it for me?  Godly sorrow is brokenhearted over what our sin does to a good and kind heavenly Father.  One motivation leads to death and the other to life.  Let’s save our weeping for true repentance and spare God all those crocodile tears.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places  YWAM Publishing