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

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It’s not too late!

Pr. 30:32:  “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.”

As we go into this new year, it’s a good time to reevaluate our plans and our thoughts.  This verse seems a good one to consider.

Perhaps we have begun to do what this verse says, exalting ourselves above those around us.  The more our eyes are on us and our own desires, the easier it can become easy to begin to think we are better, more esteemed, more dignified, or more valuable than others.  I’m sorry to be the bubble-burster, but not one of us is perfect.

Perhaps we have begun to devise evil.  Maybe plans are being made to advance ourselves at the expense of another.  Maybe arguments of justification for sin have laid themselves out clearly in our minds.  Rationalizations for giving into the flesh have been formulated and accepted.

Wait!  If you are reading this, it means that there is still time to stop!  Just because the thoughts have been carefully contemplated and considered does not mean it’s too late.

We still have time to put our hands on our mouths.  We still have time to stop the justifications, rationalizations, and self-exalting.  We still have time to get our eyes off of ourselves and back on our Savior.

Perhaps a few changes are necessary.  Maybe its simply time to get back into the Word.  It could be that some people or activities should be avoided.  Could it be time to lock ourselves away with God for a breakthrough?  I will remind you:  You are of God, and will overcome, because Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

When we are able to focus once again on the Lord, we become eternity-minded.  We no longer strive and plan to satisfy and glorify our flesh, but strive to bring glory and honor to God.  Now that’s a plan!

Re-evaluating,

jamie

Now is the time for mourning

Pr. 5:11:  “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed.”

Sometimes we continue on a path of sin even though we know better.  Sometimes, even though we’ve been warned and cautioned by others to refrain, we continue to imbibe.  It’s not just you.  We’ve all done it.

Let me encourage you today; however, to stop.  Whatever sinful activity you know you’re entertaining or currently undertaking, simply stop.  Put on the brakes and say, “Today is the that day it stops.”

Don’t wait until it has gone so far that your ‘flesh and your body are consumed.’  Don’t let the time of consequences be your mourning point.

I came by to remind you today that Jesus Christ died to free you from your sins.  He did not leave you helpless, to be bound by sin.  He died to provide you freedom.  He died to provide freedom for those around you.

Let’s not wait and mourn when the consequences of sin have gotten to the point of consuming us.  Let’s mourn now for any separation we have from God.  Let’s let that mourning draw us back to Him.  Let’s mourn now for the lost souls around us, and let’s do something about it.

We have a bigger purpose on this earth than fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  We have a gospel to preach.  What better way to preach than with the example of our lives?  When we tell others the sinful places and activities from which God has brought us, and the love He continues to have for us and for them, we are fulfilling our purpose.

Stopping today gives you a testimony that is real and that can be used for His purpose.  Mourning now will motivate you to mourn for others around you, and inspire you to share the reality of that same grace and forgiveness that was offered for you.

Now is the time to mourn.

Grieving,

jamie

Fruit. (with a funny story at the end)

Pr. 27:19:  “As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”

What is truly in our hearts will be reflected in our actions.  We may think that we can walk in our own strength, outside of God’s will, and still appear to be living for Him, but our fruit will eventually give us away.  The truth of the fruit in our lives reveals what, or who, is really in our heart.

Galatians 5 says that when we are walking in the flesh, our fruit will show as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are walking in the Spirit, our fruit will show as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth of the matter is that the fruit of the flesh is what comes most naturally for us.  In our natural state, we are selfish and indulgent.  The fruit of the Spirit is just that…His fruit.  It comes from walking with Him and allowing Him to be the One to feed, water, and fertilize us.  John 15:4 reminds us that we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, unless we abide in the Vine.  Jesus is the Vine, and our Father is the Vinedresser.  When we abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit, and that fruit will be of the Spirit.

Our flesh wars against the Spirit, just as drought, pestilence, and heat war against healthy plants in nature. We must pay attention to the fruit we are bearing.  If we notice something rotten, then adjustments need to be made.  We need to ask God to fertilize, prune, protect, and water us with His Spirit and His Word, so that our fruit will once again be of Him.

NOTE:  As I was typing this, my son spilled milk on our cloth couch.  Instead of reacting in the flesh, yelling and belittling, allowing it to ruin our morning, or going out to buy a new couch, God gave me His Spirit to react with His fruit.  I was patient and kind with my son.  I practiced self-control by thoroughly cleaning the couch instead of throwing it out and buying a new one (like I wanted to do), and I was able to show joy as I laughed with my kids when they pretended the uncovered couch cushions were cloud town.  🙂  Thank you, God.  What a perfect example you allowed me to live out.

Abiding in the Vine,

jamie

Turn it off

Pr. 14:7:  “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.”

This verse could be talking about a lot of things.

Turn off that song when you realize the lyrics are giving you knowledge that is against what the Word says is beautiful, true, and for eternal life.

Turn off that movie or that tv show when you realize that you’re learning to become desensitized to sin and neglectful of your real purpose on this earth.

Turn off that podcast when it is teaching you something other than reliance on the Lord as your Source and your Strength.

Turn off the computer or your phone when you find yourself reading or looking at things that are draining your devotion to, or your knowledge and understanding of the Holy One.

Turn off that relationship when you know it’s not of God.

Turn off your ears when hear someone preaching a different God or Jesus than the One of the Bible.

How can we know when it’s time to ‘turn it off’?  We must know the Word.  When we know the Word, we understand more easily what things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  (Ph. 4:8)

It’s ok!  Just turn it off.

Satan tries to distract us in the flesh, but God’s knowledge gives us life.

Jesus is the One who said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are LIFE!”  (John 6:63…exclamation mark and capitalization added by me)

Wanting more Life,

jamie

Which do you desire more?

Pr. 24:1:  “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them”

Ro. 13:11-14 encourages us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  It says, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Why?  Because the day is at hand.  Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Make no provision for the flesh:  making provision for something means that you gather necessary supplies, plan and prepare, set the stage.  We are not to do those things for the lusts of our flesh.  We are to cast off the works of darkness, getting rid of the provisions and plans for our lusts.

Some associations in our lives make it difficult to walk as in the day.  Choosing not to walk in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness usually involves ending some relationships.  Making no provisions will mean that certain actions will have to be changed.  Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ will mean that new choices will need to be made.

Change is never easy, but with the day of our salvation nearer than ever before, it is necessary.  Anticipating the day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, take away sorrow, death, crying, and pain, we must not give up or continue to willingly give in.  On that day, former things will pass away, and The Word tells us that, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by My son.” (Rev. 21:7)

Since the former things are going to pass away anyway, they are not worth hanging on to.   Rev. 12:11 tells us not to “love our lives to the death.”  Choosing the idols of our flesh over God reveals what we love most, and will only lead to our death.  We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  It is our relationship with Jesus that bring salvation.

Making provision to put on the Lord Jesus Christ every day will allow Him to bring to us His great reward.  Choosing Him gives us rights to the tree of life and access to the gates of the city of heaven.  Confessing, by our choices, that He alone is our God allows us to hear Him say, “Come!” on that great day.

Let’s allow God to help us get rid of the provisions we’ve placed in our lives that help us feed the lusts of our flesh, and to give us a new testimony that includes the healing blood of the Lamb.  Together, we will worship, knowing that He is coming quickly…for us.

Here is a song to help set the stage for those changes.  I pray God will speak to, strengthen, and cleanse us all today.

Desiring what will last,

jamie

Carefully feeding your teacher

Pr. 16:23:  “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.”

Last time we talked about how filling our hearts with righteous things would help ensure our chances of speaking righteousness over transgression.

Proverb 16:23 reminds us that our hearts actually teach our mouths and add learning to our lips.  The things with which we are filling our hearts are teaching us.  They may be teaching us good and righteous things, but they could also be teaching us harmful/sinful things.

There is a particular music group that I cannot listen to.  I love their music!  Their style is fun, the tunes are catchy, and their voices blend in a harmony that pleases me deep in my soul.  I’m not the only one, either.  They are very popular.  The lyrics; however, are not exactly conducive to my Christian walk.  They sing about things I shouldn’t be thinking about, but I get those catchy songs in my mind and can’t quit singing them throughout the day.

As I sing those lyrics, those thoughts begin to take root within me and I find myself become discontented with my current walk.  I begin to think about the scenarios they create with their music and my flesh reacts to those thoughts.  I also feel my flesh begin to justify the sinful thoughts.  They’re popular songs, afterall.  It’s just the norm, right?

Those singers aren’t awful people, and I’ve certainly heard worse lyrics before.  I know my limits; however, so I in order to keep my heart from teaching my lips to sing those harmful/sinful things, I have to intentionally avoid this music.  (Not always easy.  I actually find myself sometimes craving those tunes.)

If we want to speak righteous things, and we understand our hearts teach our mouths, then it’s logical that we make intentional decisions in our lives.  We must be careful to fill our hearts with righteous things and to avoid those things we know are filling our hearts with harmful/sinful thoughts.

Even if it’s hard and unpopular, we must guard our hearts.  If we do, then we can be sure that the Lord can speak through us.

Carefully choosing,

jamie