How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie

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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

Continuing with God

You’ve heard that pride comes before the fall.  In my reading today I saw more than one example of this.  In Ps. 73, Asaph is confessing how he began envying sinners.  “Pride served as their necklace,” he said.  They were successful, prosperous, glamorous.  He was thinking that if they have it so easy and have such abundance, then surely he had cleansed his heart in vain, giving His life over to God.

Then, however, he went into the sanctuary of God and understood their end.  God’s Word is true, and those who trust in the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life are trusting in the world and not in the Father.  “This world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  1 John 2:17.  Surely they will receive their reward.

Likewise, in Pr. 9:13-18 there is a foolish and prideful woman who is so bold in her pride that she sits at the highest place of the city calling out to those who pass, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”  Isn’t this just was sin and lust do?  They are bold, crying out to us that they are pleasant…just as they did to Asaph.

Asaph questioned if it would just be better to give in, act like the world, turn His back on His suffering for Christ.   For every man who gave into the clamorous woman; however, we are told, “he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”  That is the truth of giving in to sin.  It may seem pleasant, it may sound delightful, it may even promise wonderful things, but the truth is that it leads to hell.

Asaph, upon realizing this same truth, said, “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.  But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.”

Serving and trusting in the Lord means we are submitting our lives to the One about which Asaph said, “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  We have a great reward awaiting us.  Lusts and pride of this world tempts us to give in, but we must remember that its end is death.

“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Asaph.  “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.  If what you heard abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.”  1 John 2:24-25

Keep trusting in God,

jamie

The trouble with treasure

Pr. 15:16:  “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble.”

Above all, I want to grow a healthy fear of the Lord within my children.  In order to do that, my husband and I must first demonstrate that same fear.  We want to please our Father and show respect to our Savior.  We want our lives to point others to Christ, and not to distract from Him.  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about loving the Lord our God with all our souls, with all our strengths, and with all our minds.  With all He does and has done for us, showing Him respect is a small price to pay.

The more we study and respect His word, the more I hope we become like Him.  Becoming more like Him, certainly makes us less like the world, and makes us more uncomfortable with the things that seem to be the norm to society.  Our world is more and more about pleasure, abundance, money, and sex; much like in the days of Noah, I imagine.

Shopping for clothing for my 9-year-old daughter proves it, as I am faced with the challenge looking through a sea of “sexy” clothing to try to find ones that are modest enough to be appropriate for a 9-year-old daughter of God.  I would rather my daughter have 4 outfits that reflect our fear of the Lord, than for her to have a closet full of inappropriate, sexy outfits that reflect a fear of man.

It may be challenging to find appropriate clothing, but it is worth the trouble.  While clothing is a great treasure in our society, I understand the trouble that can come from my daughter dressing in a sexy manner.  Not only could it bring unwanted attention, but she could begin to enjoy that attention.  She could discover that looking sexy gives her much pleasure, and gets her things she wants.  The pleasure that it would bring is not a godly type of pleasure.  Her dressing sexy could begin her on a path of thinking that her strength lies within herself, instead of within her Sustainer.

Dressing sexy could cause her to begin worshiping the flesh instead of the One who created all flesh.  Lust could take over in her mind, and bind her to a sinful lifestyle.  She could begin to be judgmental to others who don’t dress or behave like her, or to those who don’t have the same attributes or clothing she has.  Her sexy outfits could cause another to lust after her, thus hindering their relationship with God and possibly sending them on a path towards sin and death.  I could go on, but you get the point.

Maybe it just seems like a harmless tank top, or sundress to some, but to those who fear the Lord, the list of troubles it could bring seems endless.  We don’t need to have what the world has, or do what the world does.  The fear of the Lord is the is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.  We need to focus on imitating the only One worth imitating…not this world or our society.  We are strangers here.  We are supposed to be different.

It would be better for us to have only 4 outfits, 1 mode of transportation, and a house bare of all furniture, with fear of the Lord, than to have abundance, pleasure, and gain and not know the only One that offers salvation.  True treasure lies in our relationship with Him!

Seeking eternal treasure,

jamie

What desires are you accomplishing?

Pr. 13:19:  “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.”

What do you desire?  Whatever it is you are desiring is what will seem sweet to you.  If you rejoice in the Lord and feel that nothing else you could desire can ever compare to Him, He and His word will seem sweet to you.  If you are rejoicing in sinful desires, those pleasures will seem so sweet to you that departing from them will feel abominable.

You can tell which you are desiring the most by your habits.  Which habits are the ones you can’t give up?  Which habits would you choose to maintain if you were given an ultimatum?

When I hit “publish” this morning, this will be my 100th blog.  That accomplishment feels very sweet to me.  I can tell you that waking up in the morning, spending time with God, and writing this blog have brought me closer than ever to the Lord God Almighty.

I would not trade this for anything in the world.  Reading the Word is crucial to my existence, but digging in, giving it further thought, and trying to make my thoughts make some rational sense has brought me to a new level in my Christian walk.  The Word literally replays in my mind throughout each day, and I see illustrations that relate to it in my daily life.

Contrast that with sinful habits.  How could telling the truth actually be in your best interest?  Do you think that lying will help you get out of sticky situations and will make you look better?  Not so.  Being a man or woman of integrity not only makes you trustworthy, but allows you to place yourself in God’s hand, knowing that He blesses those who follow His commands.  Desire to be honest and full of integrity and look back in 100 days at the difference it has made in your life and the lives around you.

Do you feel like those lustful thoughts or actions cannot be avoided?  Look at Job.  He actually made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a woman.  His covenant made him virtuous, but also allowed Him to trust in the Lord with all His heart.  He understood that God is the only desire that truly satisfies, and he truly believed that God was enough.  He knew that honoring the Lord by his actions would allow the Lord to be his strength.  Ask God to help you make it through the day, honoring Him by not looking lustfully at a man or woman.  He will help you, and at the end of the day You will see that God is faithful and that your desire accomplished is sweet to your soul.

We could go on and on listing sinful and damaging habits.  The fact is Jesus came and took our sins on the cross.  The blood of Jesus can cover any sinful habit we have.  1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is born of God, and that His death on the cross has taken away our sins, we can also have faith that we have overcome the world, just as 1 John 5 tells us we have.

We can also know that our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.  He will deliver you, answer you, and be with you in trouble.

In faith, let’s get rid of all our shameful habits and replace them with habits that bring pleasures in the Lord.  Start today.  Imagine your life after you have accomplished your new habit 100 times.  It will be worth any sacrifice you may have to make.  James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Your crown of life awaits,

jamie

 

There is death behind those beautiful eyelids

Pr. 6:25:  “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids.”

There are so many things in this world that allure us.  It can be another person, as Solomon talks about here, or it can be anything.  So many things in our lives can cause us to covet and strongly desire them.

Let’s assume these eyelids of which Solomon is speaking are painted beautifully with extra lashes, lovely colors, and that they are positioned just right for optimal seduction.  Do you know that there are entire companies, workforces, and campaigns designed for marketing in this world?  People have meetings upon meetings to dress things up exactly right for optimal seduction.

Other times, satan does the alluring directly.  He’s an expert in marketing.  He points out the highlights, makes promises, and doesn’t mention the down-side.  Satan doesn’t care about your checkbook, your health, or your soul.  Remember that the next time you are seduced.

Before you are allured again, make a commitment to yourself to pray before making decisions going forth.  The more last-minute, spontaneous, or uncertain it is, the more likely you are being seduced.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about spontaneity.  I believe we should live life to the fullest.  I also believe; however, that we need to run things by the Holy Spirit before making that final commitment.  If any part of you questions the morality of the choice in front of you, you are likely being allured.

If you’re seduced by anything, let it be the Lord.  His promises always come true, and there is never a downside in a life surrendered to Him.  He gives all we need and more.

Under His sway,

jamie

Speaking of sin…

Yesterday I wrote about sin and the fact that we must have a faithful witness in order to show others the Way.  We must allow the Lord to examine and weigh our hearts to get rid of the impurities.  However, please remember this:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.  Then each one’s praise will come from God.”  1 Cor. 4:5

This verse tells us something wonderful…the Lord knows what satan does to each of us.  We each have individual battles and temptations that we daily must fight and the Lord will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness.”  He knows what satan is doing to us every day!!!  Is that not reassuring to know?

We no longer have to live in condemnation.  Judgment has not yet taken place.  The Lord understands that satan comes in and offers “counsels of the hearts.”  Do you not think the enemy whispers in your ear anything he can to distract and dismay you?  Of course he does.  He will stop at nothing to get your eyes off God.  He will fill you with negative thoughts, regret, overwhelming guilt, and condemning thoughts about yourself.

Of course the Holy Spirit will examine our hearts and give us wisdom on how to live holy lives, but God knows our frames and ultimately He knows what battles we fight every day.  Maybe you’re not a murderer, but maybe you overcome the temptation of lust every hour on the hour.  Maybe you haven’t stolen millions from the fatherless, but maybe you have to make the choice each day not to harbor anger in your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Maybe you haven’t created a room in your home and filled it with idols, but perhaps you constantly fight the temptation to idolize something or someone and instead decide…one more time…to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength.

The Lord knows our battles and He knows what satan throws at us each day.  Let’s let Him be the judge of us.  Only He truly knows how we battle temptation each day in order to choose Him.  Then on that day of true judgment our praise will come from God!  🙂

Thankful to truly be free,

jamie