How can I save those I love?

Pr. 24:11:  “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”

I have not been able to shake this verse since I read it yesterday.  My heart breaks when I think of people I know and love who are stumbling towards the slaughter.  Some are walking there willingly, and others are being deceived.  I want nothing more than to grab them in an embrace and lead them to the Lord.  But what can I really do?  I can’t make up people’s minds for them.  I cannot convince them with smooth words, or even stop them with my insistence.  How can I deliver them?   How can I hold them back?

The fact is, I can’t.  This is where I have to pray and trust that God will be able to get hold of them, to deliver them and hold them back.  Maybe God can use me in some way, but the truth of the matter is, it is between them and God.

Genesis 3:4 is where the serpent convinced Eve to sin against God.  “…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Satan is still using this same tactic–telling us we will get something from the sin.

“You will know what it’s like to really feel loved.”  “You will finally have peace.”  “You will get what you’ve deserved for so long.”  “Your pain will finally go away.”  “No one will ever know.”

This is how he leads people to the slaughter.  His empty promises that are actually lies in disguise.  1 Timothy 4:2 tells us that our own consciences can become seared with a hot iron.  When that happens, we no longer view sin as sin.  It becomes a right to which we cling.  Our lives become about us, our wants, and our desires.  Our lives become about what we deserve…just as Eve ‘deserved’ to have her eyes open to know good and evil in just the same way that God did.

The truth is that it is God’s will for us on this earth is to tell people about His kingdom.  We can find this truth in His Word.  When the focus of our lives is only our own will, then we have departed from God.  God has and is all that we need, and more.  All the things satan promises, are things that only God provides.  Satan has wanted to be like God from the beginning, so he tries to promise what only God can give, but his path only leads to pain, destruction, and death.

Knowing this, my heart breaks that people I love are being led to the slaughter.  Oh, how I long to open their eyes!  God, please open their eyes.  Holy Spirit, please bring back to their remembrance the truth of Your Word.  Lead them away from death, and hold them back from the slaughter, dear Lord, I pray.  In Jesus’ saving name, Amen.  

Trusting,

jamie

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Integrity? Or just the appearance of it?

Pr. 10:9:  “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.”

Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

It is important to have moral principles and live an upright life, but if it something that is only for appearance, then we’ve erred.

Jesus spoke to the ‘religious’ people, the scribes and Pharisees, about their own integrity.  Outwardly, they gave the impression that they were full of integrity and religion.

Jesus pointed out to them; however, that they were missing the fundamental things of Him:  justice, mercy, and faith.  Their ways had become perverted, and Jesus made it known.

Maybe others cannot, but the Lord can see past the surface into the truth of our hearts.  And a relationship is a choice that is made on the inside.

We can say we have a boyfriend or girlfriend.  We can wear a necklace that bears their name, change our status on Facebook, tell everyone we know all about them.  If we are still secretly dating other people; however, the truth is we have not made the choice to be in a true relationship.

When we have a relationship with God, it is what is truly in our hearts that matters.  No amount of cross necklaces, church attendance, or declarations will replace the decision to turn our lives over to Him alone.

God doesn’t want us to pretend we have a relationship with Him anymore than another person would want us to do that with them.  He is worth us making the choice to truly choose Him and devote ourselves to investing in our relationship with Him.

That’s the integrity that brings security:  security in knowing that God is for us, with us, and that eternal life is ours!

In a relationship,

jamie

 

Those enticing deceptions

Pr. 7:27:  “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.”

This chapter in Proverbs is speaking about the immoral woman and the young youth who yielded to her enticements.

Certainly he was not the first one to whom this has happened.  We have all been seduced by sin.  We must learn by our mistakes; however, and the mistakes of those around us.  We can see clearly that the end result of sin is death and hell.

We don’t want to believe that.  We really want to justify and rationalize.  We are so good at trying to figure out the loopholes.  Sin is attractive.  Just like this harlot, sin is alluring.  It fascinates us with its sensations.  The rationalizations that accompany it tempt us to believe that it can all work out.

However, just as this simple youth was led to the slaughter by this enchantment, we are also led to death when we succumb.

Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to “exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is deceitful.  The rationalizations and justifications that accompany sin are deceitful.  The bewitching package of sin is deceitful.  It is all a ploy.  Satan wants us to give in to sin.  He wants us to allow our flesh to win the war against the Spirit.

When faced with this seducing bait, we must remember that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit are contrary to one another.  We cannot live in intentional sin and still be walking in the Spirit.  That is a lie.  If we find ourselves believing this, we have been hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

We must be vigilant to guard ourselves from giving into temptation.  We must continue to feed on the Word of God and allow His Spirit to be our guide.  Temptations will still be presented, but when we are walking in the Spirit, His wisdom will keep us from stepping where we should not.

Jesus is still on the throne where He is able to aid those who are tempted.  (Heb. 2:18)  We have the ultimate ally, who will literally supply us with every single provision we need to stay true to His desires.  Let’s take advantage of all we’ve been given through Him.

With Jesus, there is life, and the victory of death has already been won!  Instead of allowing sin to lead us to the slaughter, we can allow Jesus to lead us to eternal life.  Praise God for this amazing blessing!!

It’s still Today!

jamie

What’s that in your eye?

Mt. 7:3-4: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

Have you ever wondered if the speck we are seeing in someone else’s eye is really a reflection of the plank in our own eye?  Perhaps the shadow of our plank is reflecting off the surface of their life.

It is so easy for us to notice the imperfections in others.  Sometimes I think we even create issues that aren’t truly there, as a result of our own guilty consciences or our own inner feelings.

A simple example of this is a tired child who cries over the unfairness of everything.  The real issue isn’t that everything everyone else is doing is actually unfair.  The real issue is their own plank:  they are tired and need to rest.  The specks they are seeing in everyone else are only a reflection of their own plank.

The examples of planks grow more serious as we grow older:  jealousy, insecurity, dishonesty, adultery, deception, addiction, two-facedness, etc.  All can result in an hypocrisy in our lives…we have these things within us, but harshly project them onto others or judge them in error, when what we “think” we see in them is really the reflection of our own internal issues.

Has anyone else noticed this?  This morning I read John 8 about the adulteress that was caught in the act and brought to Jesus for stoning. Certainly she had sinned and broken the law, but what Jesus asked her accusers was, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

It is so easy for us to see the sins in the lives of others, and sometimes, perhaps the sin we see is real, but we really need to worry more about our own issues.

When we notice specks in the lives of those around us more often than we notice them in ourselves, it is likely that we are actually carrying around a plank.  Our plank is probably reflecting off of them and showing something that isn’t even there.

If that is the case, we need to seek the Lord’s counsel and help for our own sins and issues, and pray that the Lord would help us see others through His eyes of love.  When we submit to the Lord and allow Him to change us, the Word says that we will see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.  (If it’s our place to do so…and if there truly is one)

I hope that today, like me, you will bear with the specks on those around you, and ask God to remove the planks from your own life.  What a happier environment we will create as we do so.

Trying not to leave splinters,

jamie

Don’t give in!

Pr. 12:5:  “The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”

Last night, my daughter was instructed to clean her guinea pig’s cage.  When it was time for her to put new bedding in the cage bottom, her little brother went to “help.”  The bedding is in a closet on our back patio and through the screen door I could hear them both yelling, laughing, and just generally making a ruckus.  After the 1 minute warning period had passed, I went outside to check on the progress.

To my horror, I walked in to find bedding strewn about all over the floor of the closet and most of its contents.  Interestingly there was only about a handful of bedding actually in the cage bottom.  Either the bag of bedding had exploded or the cause of ruckus I had heard was now being revealed.  My daughter quickly let me know that it had been her little brother’s idea to toss the bedding about like confetti.

Leave it to God to use something like that to illustrate His word to me.  🙂  Can you infer from this situation, as I did, that the counsels of the wicked are indeed deceitful?  They may sound fun, exciting, intriguing, interesting, possibly ok, or even invigorating, but that is a deception.  While tossing pine shavings about may have seemed stimulating in a moment of madness, the consequences of such a choice are bigger than those kids could have imagined.

Because of the choice they made, they not only have to pick up each and every piece of pine; they also lost several privileges.  Perhaps it was my son’s idea, and he was truly the mastermind behind it all (I don’t doubt it), but my daughter is responsible for the choices she makes as well.  Had she simply done her job and left him to his own mess, she would not have to face the same consequences.  However, she chose not only to condone his actions, but to be deceived by and entrapped in his unwise counsel.  Sadly, she now has to face the same consequences as he.

This is what happens so often.  We get some bad advice.  We may know better, but we lose ourselves in a moment and become deceived by the allure of sin.  Consequently, we will then have to face the same end as the one who lured us in.  Be careful whose advice you’re taking.  If you are righteous, bought with the blood of Jesus, then you must take responsibility for your own actions and choose what you already know to be right.  Through the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, we know what is right.  We must not let a moment of deception lead us astray.

There ARE grave consequences to sin and we must remember that our souls are far too important to put into the hands of those deceptions.  Keep doing what you know to be right.  Heaven awaits and we will rejoice for eternity!

Persevere,

jamie