Tag Archives: pleasure

Month of Prayer, Day 23

Lord, the theme in my scripture reading this morning is that regarding Your Word is wise and will lead to eternal rewards.  You warn us not to envy sinners, but to be zealous for the fear of You, reminding us that there is surely a hereafter, and that our hope will not be cut off.

You remind us not to overwork to be rich, but to set our eyes on eternity.  You remind us to correct and discipline our children so that they may be delivered from hell.

In Pr. 23:23, we are told, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”  We are reminded throughout this chapter about wisdom.  We are encouraged to remember that while temptations may look good for the moment, they lead to bad results.  Help me to remember these verses when I am tempted to focus on earthly pleasures more than eternal rewards, Lord.

Like the writer of Ps. 119:125, I say, “I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.”  I do not want to regard Your Word as void, Lord, but to love Your commandments more than find gold, or any other earthly treasure.

Help me to hate every false way, but to focus on Your precepts, and Your promise of eternity.  Lord, You loved me so much that You allowed Your only Son to be killed so that I could live with You in eternity.  Do not let me trample on that gift just to ‘feel good’ here on earth.  I want to be with You forever.

Thank You, God, for the gift of salvation.  Thank You for the promise of an eternal reward.  Thank You for Your love that is sacrificial.  Please help me love the same way.  Thank You for Your Word, which gives me wisdom.  Please help me to live a life according to Your Word, that I may please my Father in Heaven.

I pray and ask these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Should we run or stand by?

Pr. 28:18:  “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”

I saw a remarkable sight a few weeks ago while we were on vacation in the mountains.  While sitting on the porch eating dinner one evening, I noticed a deer eating at an apple tree across the way.  My family and I watched the doe as she ate.  It was a nice, quiet evening, and she seemed to be as relaxed as us.

A cousin of mine was spending that same week up there mowing grass, and as we watched the deer eating under his apple tree, we could hear his tractor coming up the rocky road toward his house.  I watched to see how quickly the doe ran away, but as I watched, I saw an illustration instead.

As my cousin’s tractor got near to his house, the doe simply watched him and kept chewing.  He and his tractor were less than 50 ft. from her.  She was slightly more alert, but was certainly not sprinting away.  He stopped, left his tractor running, went inside and grabbed a jacket, and drove off to do more mowing.  All the while, the doe simply watched.

Later that evening, I told him how amazed I was that this happened.  He said it happens all the time.  As he mows, he sees all kinds of wildlife.  They have become so used to him that as long as his tractor is running, they don’t move, but if he turns the tractor off they bolt.

This made me think of how easily we can become so used to dangers around us that in their presence we continue to feel safe.  My cousin, if he were so inclined, could easily take a rifle with him and shoot himself a deer while he’s on the tractor, knowing they wouldn’t run.

The same could happen to us.  Just because most movies and television shows have inappropriate sexual scenes in them, and we can become used to them, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous to us spiritually.  Finding ourselves becoming comfortable in company that is putting pleasure first may not seem very dangerous, but without a doubt we will find ourselves putting pleasure first after a while.  Decorating our homes with trinkets from other religions just because they’re pretty, might seem harmless, but they invite the enemy to become comfortable in our homes.

There are so many examples I could use.  The point is that we cannot allow ourselves to become so used to sin and danger around us that we simply stand by and watch it become the norm in our lives.  We must remember that sin is dangerous and when it comes driving up that rocky road toward us, we must bolt.

Just being used to sin doesn’t make it safe.  At some point, we will fall.  At any time, the enemy can take out his rifle and fire a shot that proves it’s too late to run.

We must be on guard, and even in the presence of dangerous things that seem unthreatening, we must continue to flee and walk blamelessly on our way.

Standing ready to bolt,

jamie

Looking for a healthy alternative?

Pr.4:22:  “For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Nutrition and health are major topics in our world.  I wonder exactly how many books have been written just about Superfoods?  Scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, and every day people are constantly discovering new information about health.  I enjoy a tasty, energy-packed green fruit and veggie drink myself.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of washing our hands prevents countless illnesses.  Now we understand that eating whole foods gives us more energy and less weight than their processed alternatives.  Technology allows us to see exactly what happens inside the body when we choose an unhealthy lifestyle.  It can be quite fun to discover the vitamin/nutrient facts of kale, the many benefits of fresh ginger, and the antioxidant powers of blueberries.

In Pr. 4, Solomon tells his son that there is life and health in his words and sayings.  This is true for the entire Word of God.  If we’re searching for health, there is no healthier place than arms of Jesus, our Healer.  When we give attention to the words of our Father, we find life; and not just more enjoyable life, but eternal life!  Choosing to incline our ears to the sayings of our Father, we allow health comes on our flesh.

Through discovery, we know that the simple act of believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life brings salvation.  It can be quite fun to discover all the way the Lord has been faithful to His children over the years.  Reading the word, we understand exactly how sin affects us and how submitting to God brings true freedom to us and to those around us.  Inclining our ears to the Word, we find a God full of grace and mercy, who lovingly guides and directs us.  Jesus gives us glimpses into what is going on within the body to bring forth filth from our mouths.  It’s all so exciting!

As I think back to the moments when I was living outside of the Lord’s will and purpose for my life, I remember the aches I always felt.  Sure, I may have had moments of exhilaration or pleasure in my sin, but once the moment passed, I was left with guilt, shame, pain, confusion, feelings of being out-of-control, hopelessness, and despair.  Sounds like unhealthiness to me!

Giving my attention to the words of my Father has brought health to my flesh and my mind with signs like joy, peace, hope, security in forgiveness and grace, self-control, reassurance, desire of better things, faith, and confidence in the strength of my Lord.  Truly, God has breathed life into me once again, and continues to give health to me as I grow closer to Him and make new discoveries in His Word.

Are you excited about health and nutrition now?  Me, too!

Getting healthy,

jamie

 

Don’t take that left

Pr. 4:27:  “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

This verse is pretty self-explanatory.  The verse before this says to let all your ways be established.  When you establish something, you make it firm, or stable; you give it a solid basis from which it won’t move, or institute something meant to be permanent.

When you establish your life in Christ, you are making a solid, stable place on which you are declaring to stand.   Not to be moved, you are instituting a relationship meant to be permanent.  You are declaring God as the Lord of your life, and saying that your trust in Him and His faithfulness is enough for you to place all your hope.

From that place, we are told not to turn to the right or to the left.  We are told to remain on the solid ground that is Christ.

If there is any evil in our lives, we must remove our foot from it.  If any evil comes to us after we have established ourselves, we must remind ourselves that our relationship with the Lord has been established, never to be undone.  Remembering God’s faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him, we must not turn or be moved.

Satisfaction from evil and sin is a mirage.  Sin always brings shame, guilt, pain, destruction, and death.  God is and always will be more than enough.  Nothing can compare with the pleasures that are at the right hand of our King!  In His presence alone is fullness of joy.  Why leave?

In Him,

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

 

What are you consuming?

Pr. 4:17:  “For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

This is what the wicked are said to do in Proverbs 4.  It could be easy to type the contrasting words, “Christians eat from the Bread of Life,” but we all know that’s just not the plain facts.  All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God.  If we weren’t sinners, we wouldn’t need a Savior.  Thank God for the Lord’s mercy and the forgiveness that came through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Let’s pause this morning, and ask ourselves what bread we are eating right now.  Are you eating the bread of wickedness?  Is there a sin that seems tasty right now?  Are you savoring the morsels of a sinful act?  Your heart has been deceived and the bread you are eating will turn to ash in your mouth.

David told the Lord, in Ps. 119:103, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  You can once again taste the sweetness of the Lord and His Word.  Turn to The Bread of Life and ask Him to forgive you for finding pleasure in lesser things.  Ask the Lord to fill you, to satisfy the depths of your soul, and ask Him to help His word to become sweeter to your taste than honey.  He is faithful.  He will not only forgive you, but He will fill you so that you won’t hunger for lesser things.  (John 6:35-36)

What have you been drinking?  Have you been drinking the wine of violence?  Are you being so consumed by violence and wickedness that you are drunk on it?  Sin can be so consuming that it seems there is no way out.  Satan gives us one taste, and if we don’t turn back and repent, we can become addicted and consumed.  It seems that life without our sinful pleasures is no longer possible.  This is a lie.

If we drink of the living water we will never thirst for lesser drink.  Jesus said the living water that He gives will become in us a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.  Sin causes us to cling to dust.  When our souls are parched, dry, and thirsty, the only thing that will truly satisfy our thirst is the Living Water.  The Living God revives us and pours life into our souls.  The fountain that will spring up within us springs up into everlasting life.  Are you thirsty?

Thank You, Lord, for providing salvation for us.  Thank You for your love.  Thank You for Your faithfulness; for being the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  Thank You that Your proven Word reminds us that You do not change.  If You said Your water would cause us not to thirst, then its true.  You said that the one who comes to You, You will by no means cast out.  It is impossible for You to lie.  Thank you for this promise.  Thank you for everlasting life that comes through you.  We are all sinners, but You loved us so much that You wouldn’t leave us without a Savior.  Help us, Lord, to accept that gift and rely on Your strength and Your truth to hold on to it and not become drunk with sin ever again.  Holy Spirit, consume us, and make us new.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen.