Don’t reach for that compromise

Tuesday night we headed outside for a family activity.  Within minutes, we realized that the mosquito families had joined us.  My husband was quick to declare it time for bug spray.

Not speaking in time to ask for my own chemical free bug spray, and not wanting to walk the 200 ft. inside to get it myself, I decided to tough it out.  It wasn’t long before I was so uncomfortable that I actually reached for the chemical laden bug spray and sprayed it on my skin.

Although I was uneasy with my decision and trying to spray it a bit lighter than usual, I covered all exposed areas.  As I wondered why I wouldn’t just walk back in and grab the spray I’m more comfortable with, I began an internal dialog:  “Just once won’t hurt.  I need this.  It will be alright.  If you go inside you might miss out on some fun.  Quit stressing about this one decision.”

I compromised my standards about intentionally using chemicals on my skin and still ended up with 10 mosquito bites.  Not only that, but the effects of the chemicals absorbing into my skin are not yet known.  Who knows the damage that my “just this once” decision has left?

Sinful temptations are just like this.  We are faced with a real issue.  Maybe we’re too lazy to walk away or too proud to ask for help.  Sometimes, because of those things, we justify the reasons why it’s ok just this once.

Most of the time, we end up with visible wounds right away.  Sometimes, the damage done under the surface doesn’t show up until later.  The fact of the matter is; however, no matter what we feel at the moment, the universal laws of cause and effect ensure that there is damage being done.

Sadly, we do these things intentionally.  What can be done to stop us?

Well, we can grab the warnings from my bug spray episode and remember to ask for help, walk away, or to refuse to give in.  We can remember that justifying harmful actions will only invite and accelerate afflictions in our life.  Not compromising on our standards, we can choose to stand firm and say no.

I’m reminded of Heb. 2:18 and 4:16, which say, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have a Helper upon which we can call.  We don’t have to intentionally inflict harm and destruction upon ourselves.  I’m so grateful we’ve not been left stranded and helpless.  Thank you, Jesus, and right now, Lord, please help us all.

Still itchy, but much more alert,

jamie

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Keeping secrets with God

Pr. 3:32:  “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”

The perverse person in this verse is one “who transgresses the law.”  It is one who deliberately disregards the law and will of God, choosing to live a sinful life outside of God.  With such, God cannot commune, as He cannot tolerate sin, and finds it abominable.

With the upright, on the other hand, He has secret counsel.  He speaks to them, teaches them, and guides them moment by moment; readying them for their path ahead.  I noticed an example of this in my reading this morning.

In Acts 2:14, Peter stands up, raises his voice, and begins speaking to a large crowd about Jesus.  Peter had just been filled with the Holy Spirit and due to that, he who had previously denied Jesus boldly stepped forward, raised his voice, and proclaimed Jesus for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit gave him utterance, but God had most certainly been working within Peter’s heart to ready Him for this.

In my experience, God does not send us forward to do something that He has not prepared us to do.  He works within us, readying us, preparing us, equipping, training, and guiding us toward that moment.  It is a secret counsel that we have with the Lord Himself of which no one else is likely aware.

When we choose to deliberately live a life outside of Him, this cannot take place.  However, when our hearts are open before Him in fear and in loving submission, He can work within us, readying us and guiding us secretly for His greater plans.  He can teach us and train us in the private depths of our hearts.

Just as the Lord readied Peter’s heart for the boldness the Holy Spirit would bring, He readies the upright for their own journey ahead.

Do not doubt the preparations of the Lord.  He is mighty and able.  If you are open to Him, He will teach, guide, and ready you for the journey He has in store for you.  If He has been speaking secretly to you, continue with Him.  When the time comes, you will be fully prepared and equipped.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will be with you, helping every step of the way.

Keeping secrets,

jamie

Find Jesus!

Pr. 21:31:  “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the deliverance is of the Lord!”

This morning I read Mt. 5, in which we find the story of the demon-possessed man who was healed in Gadarenes. Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, people had tried to tame and bind the man.  It says he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but had pulled them apart and broken them into pieces.  It also says that no one could tame him.

All Jesus had to do was step out of the boat.  The man ran and worshiped Him there.  Deliverance came when Jesus spoke.

In the same chapter we find a woman who had been afflicted with a flow of blood for 12 years.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we are told she had “suffered many things from many physicians.”  Also, her entire income and savings had been spent on the medical bills she incurred trying to find her answer to a cure.  (I’ve been there)

All Jesus had to do was walk by.  The woman found Him and touched His garment.  Deliverance came when Jesus was present.

We also find a synagogue ruler in chapter 5, whose daughter was deathly ill.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we know that many people were present with the girl, and we can assume they had done all they could to help her.  We find; however, that some from the ruler’s house came and told him that his daughter had already died.

All Jesus had to do was show up.  The ruler sought Him, fell at his feet, and begged Him earnestly.  Deliverance and restoration of life came when Jesus took the child by the hand and told her to arise.

Insert your situation into this next paragraph.  We find ourselves in the middle of something.  Just as the horse is prepared for the day of battle, we have done all we can think or have been advised to do, but our situation remains or has even grown worse.

All Jesus has to do is hear our prayer.  We will seek Him, draw near to Him, boldly approach Him and believe.  Deliverance comes when Jesus moves on our behalf.

We know He doesn’t always answer in the exact ways He did in Matthew chapter 5, but He always hears our prayers, He always offers aid, and He always works things out for our good.  He is faithful and just.  He is no respecter of persons.  He is still love and is still moved with compassion on His people.

He still shows Himself strong on behalf those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  I’ve even seen Him show Himself strong on behalf of those who aren’t…they were just too blind to see it.

If deliverance is needed in your life, find Jesus!  He is the only One from whom deliverance comes.

Seeking the One,

jamie                                                                                   –i picked this you tube because it has the lyrics