Hold My Mule… I’m About to Get Happy

Proverbs 23:16

Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

When reminiscing about the spiritual joys in my life I can seldom go too far without having Preacher Walt come into my mind. Many people have touched my life but only a few have left a thumbprint on my heart because they touched me so deeply. Walt was one such individual because he taught me how to let go of the mule. One of his favorite sayings was “Hold my mule, I’m about to get happy!” Walt was relinquishing the reins and allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge, and sure enough as soon as he did, we had a time in that service! This morning as my eyes opened at 4:30 a.m. I began to pray that God would lay a scripture on my heart that would encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. One that cause them to be happy in the Spirit of the Lord. And as always, God is faithful. The word “speak” has been on my heart for days. But not necessarily in a good sense; more aptly thinking on how the thoughts of a person’s heart are betrayed by their lips. When I speak what’s on my heart, it’s not always the right thing to say. God said in Proverbs 23:16 that He would rejoice when we spoke right things. I have to wonder if when His reins rejoice, if they don’t loosen a little.

We are held back by the reins

I hesitate to ask some people how they are because it’s often followed by a twenty minute dissertation of how terrible their life is. They’ve made up their mind that they’re going to be miserable and they share that misery with everyone who dare to ask. I don’t want to discourage someone from asking a brother or sister for prayer because they’re going through a rough spot, that’s not what I speak of. I’m talking about ‘those’ folk, and you know who they are, that seldom ever have a good day. They don’t speak right things. They won’t let loose of anger, or bitterness and because of it their reins are held tight. They aren’t allowing God to have control, else they’d have to forgive and forget. You’ll not likely see them get happy in the Lord because their content at being miserable and their speech reflects it.

Hold my mule, I’m about to get happy!

We are Lead by the reins

When our heart is right it’s also reflected in our speech. We speak truth and encouragement; and we can feel the reins loosen a little and God working in our lives. He starts directing us and putting words in our mouth. His words. And joy begins to multiply in our heart and rather than focusing on the negative things in the world we begin to look for the good, and that too encourages us and before long we’ve thought and spoken ourselves happy! And then one day we find ourselves in the Spirit of the Lord, happy for no other reason than God gave us one more breath. Life’s not perfect, but God is. He has a plan, go with it.

We are loosed by reins

If the driver of the buggy never let loose of the reins he’d never travel very far. The horse doesn’t need the reins off to get where he’s going he needs them cracked! That’s how I feel this morning. I feel like God has cracked the reins and I’m moving. He’s doing something in my life, taking me to the next leg of the journey. A mule is said to be stubborn and content to stay put. I don’t want that.

Here, hold my mule, I’m about to get happy!

 

 

Upon their advice… One step away from a bad ending

BAD ADVICE

2nd Chronicles 24:27 –  Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

At seven years old Joash was crowned King. It’s unfathomable to us today to think of someone so young being put in that position, but he was and he began to reign well under the strong spiritual guidance of Jehoida the priest. He rebuilt the house of God and turned the people’s hearts back to serving, but then Jehoida died.  And upon his death it is written in verse 16 of this same chapter “And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.” But of Joash, a few verses and a long story later we find that he has been murdered by his own servants (vs. 25) And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.

One chapter and a tale of two leadership teams in a ministry left me thinking this morning about the importance of those we surround ourselves with. With the guidance of Jehoida, Joash had accomplished great things which are written down for all to read.  But as is often the case it matters most on how you finish. Following Jehoida’s death, the princes of Judah became his advisors; they began “making obeisance,” flattering him with words and his sites were no longer toward God but toward serving idols. Spiritual advisors tried to step in, he had them killed, and low and behold the King dies at the hands of his servants, diseased and ashamed; not even buried with an honorable death.

Since salvation I have been blessed with strong spiritual leaders who advised me in the paths I should take and trained me in the ways of the Lord. To God be the glory, it was His leading and placement that got me to that place. I’m grateful, and after reading this story, very cautious. Any of us are just one decision away from enacting the next chain of events that could lead to a bad ending to our story. If Joash had harkend to Johoida’s son, Zechariah, when he told him to turn back to God, if he had not listened to the lies and flattering tongue of the political powers he could have lived a blessed life. But he chose the temporal feel good paths that lead to his destruction. God’s ways are not always the easy ways (they seldom are actually) but they’re always the right way.

Everyone has advice, but it’s not all good, and it’s certainly not all in your best interest. When making any decision it’s important to surround yourself with godly people, and to be wary of flattering tongues. King David knew it when he penned the words in Psalm 12:1-2, “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

Is this the hour of decision for you? Pray! Seek godly counsel and then decide. Remember you are one decision away from a bad ending. Finish well!

A Starring Role!

Genesis 1:16

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

In the beginning, long before I was a glimmer in the eyes of my parents God made the stars in Heaven to glimmer creating us both with purpose. I love the scripture in Jeremiah 1:5 where God attests that “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Purpose was in place and I was some place, though I know not where. In my miniscule mind I often wonder if God and Satan had a conversation about our souls to which Satan said, “They only love You because they’re with You, send them forth on their own and they’ll not return.” God knew us before we were born, so we had to be there with Him. What if… and it’s a big what if, He sent us forth to prove to the arrogant and jealous Lucifer that there were those who would desire to be with Him at all cost. Those who would die in and for Him. And to those He gave purpose. I often do things without a thought as to the outcome. To every star in the sky God has purpose, as well as all other creation.

He made the stars also…

That big bang. I would surely think that it was loud when God began to speak things into existence. I seriously doubt that it was a little “phhhttt”… there it is. The earth. No, it was more like a sonic boom, only greater, larger and more explosive than any sci-fi movie special effect! And the stars also… the first bedazzler. They weren’t an afterthought, I doubt God had spare parts from the planets and said… Hmmm… what can I do with this? Ah yes, stars. No, they had purpose!

Declaring God’s Glory

Psalm 19:1 ~  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

A clear night in the hills of West Virginia where dusk to dawn lights are scarce declare and reveal God’s Glory. It is said that in Calhoun County, West Virginia where I live we have the number 1 site for stargazing because of the absence of artificial light. There are many advantages to country life, and one is certainly that we see clearer images of Heaven. I believe that one of the key reasons people neglect to see God’s glory is because of the artificial light of Satan. Not everything that sparkles comes from God.

2 Corinthians 4:4 ~ In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Take the path of Saul, God had to darken his path so that he could see the way. His focus had been entirely on the law. It made perfect sense to him. He could see right from wrong. But grace? That made no sense. Who was going to pay the price, someone had too? I’m not sure of the volume of God’s voice in Acts 9 when He spoke out of the sky on the road to Damascus; for some reason I don’t envision it as a “still small voice.” Saul dropped to his knees, blinded by the light. Some of us have a harder head than others. Saul eventually got the point, he got his eyes off his accomplished laws and got them on the Creator’s accomplished grace at the cross. The cross declares the Glory of God. He did that for us. That cross takes all the glory off of man’s vain attempt at self-righteousness. When Saul seen himself as he truly was, a murderer and a breaker of the law without justification he knew Who deserved the glory. God had created Saul with purpose, and when he finally figured out what that purpose was he shined!

God made the sun and the moon, and also the stars. They were of no lesser importance. Whether God speaks to us in a small circumstance or a thunderous happenstance, it’s no less significant. It is also no less significant if God speaks to Saul, who’s life as touched countless throughout the ages or a Pastor of a church of 22 in the hills of West Virginia. The Creator of the universe Who spoke the Heavens into existence and you also, did it with purpose; so that He could be glorified.

When did God get your attention? Was it a still small voice, or a loud thunderous clap! It’s important to remember. God marked the birth of Christ with a star in the Heavens; markers were important throughout the Bible to remember a place, a time and the significance of it. It usually was followed by a change of direction or a purpose exposed. In the scope of eternity your purpose is a starring role that can be filled by none other than you. Make the most of it today!

We Cannot Sit in Yesterday’s Grace

1st Samuel 20:27 ~  And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?

David had discovered Saul’s intentions to kill him, and even so, he gave his best friend Jonathan the opportunity to prove to him that his father had no ill will toward him. Once both Jonathan and David were aware that Saul was indeed plotting to kill David, Jonathan and David met one last time to say their goodbyes.

The story of Jonathan and David is one of my favorites. Their friendship is the epitome of what true friendship should be and is set before us as an example of what Christian friendship should look like. As I read this text this morning, the first thought that came to my mind was “David didn’t sit in yesterday’s grace, and neither should we.” Why this message is on my heart I do not know, but the Lord does. Perhaps it is you that read it today, or another week or month down the line that needs to comprehend what the Lord is saying.

David had served King Saul honorably, but when Saul rebelled against the Lord and the Lord’s hand was removed he was aware that David was next in line to the throne and that God’s favor now rested on David. Broken hearted, David made the choice to leave. He could not sit in yesterday’s grace, it was gone. If he stayed he’d surely be dead.

There are times in our lives when we must realize that it is better to move on than stay put and die. I’ve had to make that decision multiple times. Sometimes on the secular front with my career and other times on the spiritual, but both were fronts of a battlefield. It’s not easy to leave friends and it’s extremely hard to swallow that a friend has become an enemy. Things change; and where we once found grace, it’s now gone. If I had stayed in the position I was in my zeal for life would have died; enemies have a way of draining the life out of you.

Don’t live in yesterday’s grace. Ministry should be a mobile force, and by mobile I mean moving forward! If David had stayed in that place we would not know of King David. God’s plan would have moved forward without him and David would have missed out on the greatest adventure of his life. Yes he made mistakes, he was far from a perfect man; but what made him a man after God’s own heart was his servitude. And when the opportunity to serve ceased… he moved on.

The Real “After Earth”

Intrigued by the title I watched the movie trailer for After Earth this morning. The action packed film will no doubt be riveting with special effects and fear producing plots that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with anticipation of the outcome. But I’m here to tell you they will fail in comparison to the real one! As I read www.biblegateway.com’s verse of the day, Revelation 21:2-5 (prior to watching the trailer) I thought “I need to write on this!” Then as is often the case I got distracted, by a blueberry muffin mix calling my name from the kitchen. But God is faithful! When I returned with my muffin in hand I searched for trends of the day to see what webwatchers were watchin’. And low and behold the movie “After Earth” came up as the second highest. NBA was the highest, but that didn’t capture my attention like the second.

After Earth stars Will Smith and his real life son Jaden as a distanced father of a teenage son who takes off on an adventure to restore their relationship. A description from the site describes the movie as such: “The action is set a thousand years after humanity had to evacuate a despoiled Earth for a distant solar system, to which the species has adapted. Mankind’s main obstacle is a monster race, called Ursa, which is blind and detects its human prey by smell—literally, by the scent of fear.” A one liner that I’m sure will be remembered is “Danger is very real, fear is optional.”

I’m sure it’s an awesome movie for fans of that genre, but the real thing…the one that’s in truth destined for earths inhabitants is going to be a jaw dropping, no special effect, gospel truth reality.

Revelation 21:1-5 ~ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Will Smith’s  broken relationship needing restored with his son is very reminiscent of our own with the Heavenly Father. Our relationship with Him was broken in the Garden of Eden and has been crippled by separation since then. But there will come a day that it will be restored! Shout the house down on that one!!! Our new earth will not however be filled with scary and dangerous demonic forces; there will be no fear or anything else that causes sadness, it will all have been destroyed. When John saw New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven, that Holy City was about to land on earth with God himself piloting the ship. I want to put an exclamation point after everything I write, that’s how excited I am thinking about that glorious day!

But for now there is a very real danger, and fear is still optional.

1 John 4:18 ~ There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

How do we cast out fear? Because it seems very real does it not? A perfect love is that relationship with God the Father, which doesn’t have to wait for the new earth. As a matter of fact it can’t.  By that time it will be too late. A relationship with God doesn’t take the dangers of this world away, it relinquishes control to the One with power over all and affords you the peace in knowing that come what may, demons, Hell or high water, God has your back. And there will come a day that we’ll see that New Jerusalem, or we’ll be riding down with it if we’ve gone on to Heaven before that day. Our New Earth will be more than any mind can imagine; there’s not enough exclamation points in the world to illustrate the excitement level of that day.

Want to know more? Read the book! It’s in there.