Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

Pr. 29:6:  “By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.”

Well, all I can see in my mind this morning are the Three Little Pigs dancing around with fiddle and flute rejoicing in song after the Big Bad Wolf burned his bottom in the fire.

When we choose to live in a sinful state, we set a trap for ourselves.  The Big Bad Wolf didn’t come after the pigs just 1 time.  He kept coming.  The pigs weren’t too smart the first 2 times, but on the 3rd time, they set a trap.

Perhaps the snare we set for ourselves is a broken relationship.  Perhaps people lose their trust in us.  Maybe it’s a loss of hope or self-control.  Sometimes sin can actually lead to jail, hospitalization, or death.

When we choose not to sin, but to trust that God will meet our needs, then we are able to sing and rejoice in God’s glory and provision.

The pigs danced around singing, “Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf?  Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Tra-la-la-la-laa.”  That’s a catchy little tune.

I have a catchy tune for the righteous to sing today (attached below):  “The Name of the Lord is Great!  The Name of the Lord is Great! The Name of the Lord is Great, and greatly to be praised!”

Sing and rejoice with me today!!

jamie

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There is a better way

Pr. 29:22:  “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.”

My blog yesterday (Don’t let the commercials distract you) was written in a bit of anger.  Perhaps it may have even stirred up some strife.  If so, I hope the conflict or contention was directed at the same place as mine.  My anger is towards the real enemy:  satan.  Frankly, I am sick of him and his lies, deceit, temptations, distractions, and snares of sin.

I am angry that he is causing so many people to suffer, die, and become trapped in sin.  If I didn’t know there was a better way, I wouldn’t care.  However, I know that through Jesus there is redemption, healing, salvation, freedom, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, self-control, love, kindness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  I know that until Jesus returns, satan will not relent, but I don’t like to see people suffer or needlessly tempted.

Satan will do anything he can to get our focus off God and His truth.  2 Cor. 11:14 even tells us, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  We cannot simply allow ourselves to be continually deceived, or we will be devoured.  (1 Peter 5:8)

We must remain vigilant and aware of God’s will and truth, so that we will know when the enemy is trying to deceive or distract us.  2 Cor. 2:11 tells us, ” lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  We must remain fully aware of his devices.

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 4:4

He is intentionally blinding people’s minds so that the gospel will not shine on them.  Yes.  That makes me mad.  We are the salt and the light of this world and we must remain on alert.  We must make sure that we are prepared ourselves, and have put on the whole armor of God.  Then, we will be able to withstand the enemy’s darts and teach others to do the same.

There is also a lost, hurting, and dying world around us.  How can we show them the love and the truth of the gospel?  What is it you can do today?  What can I do?

We must stay in the Word.  We must make sure we know who the Lord really is and what is really the truth.  Then, we will be able to shed the light of God on the others who are deceived or lost, with whom we come into contact.  We will be ready and able to reach out with the love of Christ to bring help and hope to the hurting or dying.

Truly, there is a better way than satan would have us believe.  The truth is in the Word.  The hope for the hurting comes from the believers of the Word.  The mercy for the deceived came through the sacrifice of the Word.

Counting on Him,

jamie

 

Instead of setting a snare, speak grace

Pr. 18:7:  “A fools mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.”

A fool, as defined in the Bible, is one who says there is no God.  Such a statement and belief is exactly what leads to destruction.  John 3:16 clearly tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  We must believe to be saved.

Words can also start fights, break hearts, and sever relationships, all of which are also very destructive.  Words matter.  There are also words that are socially acceptable, but not acceptable in God’s sight.

Yesterday I was unprepared when heard someone take the Lord’s name in vain in a curse that caused me to so shudder that I had to immediately remove myself.  While I understand that as Americans we have the right to speak as we want, I also understand that weight and consequences that words carry.

Likewise, I understand that we have been taught a different way to speak than just what is lawful or accepted in our country.  I am reminded of Ex. 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”  There are still consequences to taking the Lord’s name in vain…even if everyone else does it.

In Mt. 12:36-37, Jesus teaches us, saying, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  It is clear that our words not only matter, but have an affect not only here in this life and when Jesus returns.  In order to not set a snare for our soul, we must be careful how we are speaking.

Eph. 4:29 tells us, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to hearers.”  Here we see that edifying words impart grace upon those who hear.  That’s another effect of our words, but one that is much more positive.

Pr. 16:24 tells us how, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”  Isn’t that so true?  Oh, and Pr. 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  Words matter.  With all the adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs in our vocabulary, there are countless words that are more interesting than curses, and vast expressives that could be used in substitute for the Lord’s name.

In Ps. 19:14, David reveals his hearts desire to, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  Oh, that in speaking this would also be our goal.  Regardless of our rights as citizens on this earth, we know the power of our words goes far beyond this broken world.  Let us consider wisely what we speak.

Thoughtfully,

jamie

Trust in the One who is faithful

Pr. 29:25:  “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

This is one of those verses I use to remind myself of the truth.  When we begin to fear man more than the Lord, we are on a slippery slope, at best.  A snare is something that entraps us, entangles us, catches and keeps us.

In Mt. 16:26, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

This world offers so much.  We can be the most popular, the sexiest, the best dressed, the richest, the most successful.  We can be housewives with immaculate homes, and the cleanest, most well dressed, and sportiest children.  We can have the latest hairstyle or color, the best car, the coolest gadgets.  We can watch all the right shows, have the biggest and best network of contacts, drink the most revered drinks, party at the most sought after places, or hold the most prestigious jobs.

All of it; however, has the potential to bring a snare upon us to entangle us, and to distract us from our true purpose.  If the opinions of others becomes the driving force in our lives, we will become ensnared in the constant pursuit to keep up, to fit in, to be noticed for those titles we hold.  Man’s opinions are fickle, let me remind you, and what’s the best today can easily become the most out-dated tomorrow.  Also, we must keep Jesus’ words in mind:  what profit is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls?  We simply cannot give in and exchange our souls for dust and ashes.

While man’s opinions continually change, the Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The Lord does not change.  Unlike those who may only be a ‘friend’ while you’re doing as they like or approve, the Lord loved us so much that even in our worst state, He sent His Son to take our sin and disease upon Himself to give us eternal life.  Surely we are safe with One such as this.

Also, the Lord, who promised to care for and provide for us, is faithful to keep His promises, never turning His back in our time of need or despair.  The same God whose glory passed before Moses, turning his hair white and causing him to shine so brightly that he had to cover his face with a veil, is the same God who goes before you and keeps you safely in His mighty arms.

His name is actually a refuge to which we can run.  We need not fear.  What can man do to those whose Helper is the great and mighty Lord of Lords?  Don’t allow yourself to become ensnared by the ever-changing opinions or expectations of imperfect people.  Trust in the Lord who will never leave you nor forsake you.

In His arms,

jamie

 

There is a better reward for honesty

Pr. 21:6:  “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.”

The first thing that comes to mind for me with this verse is games.  Cheating to win a game may bring a moment of exhilaration, but certainly it is a delusion that is short-lived and distorted.  The lesson that must eventually be learned is that if you had to cheat to win, then you really didn’t “win” at all.

Some, however, never learn this.  Some get used to the feeling of winning, to the feeling of exhilaration that comes from manipulating their environment to get what they want.  I remember when I was a young kid, maybe 5 or 6, and I stole something from a store.  My mom eventually found out and she drove all the way back to the mall, made me hand my prize back to the cashier, and I had to tell them that I had stolen it.  I still remember the terrifying feeling of having to do that.

What if my mom had not done this?  Her plan wasn’t fool-proof, but she had to try if she was to teach me about integrity.  If I had been allowed to relish the feeling of getting something free, perhaps I would have tried it again the next time we went shopping.  Time after time, if I continued, my path may have led me to cheat and steal in other areas of my life.  Lying and stealing would have become second nature to me.

How does someone become a person who consistently lies to get what they want, steals from others, embezzles, or cheats people out of their own possessions or money?  Almost certainly it is not a decision they wake up one day and make.  It is more probable that the trajectory of their life has led them to that place. Little by little, understanding that lying or stealing can get them something they want or make them feel good, they begin to trust in that feeling and grow comfortable that consequences won’t come.

Still those feelings are a fleeting fantasy, and while they may not be purposefully choosing to seek death, the snares of death have taken hold of their lives.  The only way to be released from the snares is the truth.

Confessing our sins to our Savior (whatever they may be) and asking for forgiveness allows God to release His forgiveness and grace over our lives.  Honesty from that point forward will continue to point to the Savior and to eternal life.  The power and presence of God is a reality that brings better things.  There is a great, enduring reward for those who believe in the Lord.  Now THAT is a real Win!

Let’s be careful not to pursue fleeting fantasies of sin, but to endure for a great reward in heaven.  We will be ever so grateful that we did.

Sincerely,

jamie

The fountain has been found!

Pr. 13:14:  “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

I love this word picture.  A fountain of life.  Isn’t that something for which people have been searching for ages?  Oh, wait.  That’s the fountain of youth.  🙂

A fountain of life sounds so much better.  Life springing forth; arching and splashing; shining, shimmering, and refreshing.  Wow!

The Word of God is just such a fountain.  His laws, His wisdom, His words of salvation are full of life…eternal life that will keep us from the snares of death.  His laws aren’t binding, restrictive constraints to keep us enslaved.  His laws give us freedom.  His Spirit gives us liberty.  His salvation gives us eternal life.

Sin, on the other hand, binds us and keeps us captive to its ways.  It brings pain, heartache, destruction, and death.  Satan came to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus came to bring to salvation to all who believe and call upon His name.

Who has been bound in a negative way by forgiving?  I can see that forgiveness splashing over onto others.  Who has been enslaved by loving others as himself?  Love springs forth, creating even more love.  God’s Word offers life that is beautiful.  When you love God with all your heart and soul, you become a light that shines in the dark places of the souls of others.  You refresh the dry soul and lead them towards eternal life and joy.

If you want to turn away from the snares of death, the Word is what you need.  If you want to enjoy a fountain of life, the Word is what you need.  Don’t believe the lies that the Word will bind you.  It is satan and his sins that bind.  Jesus came specifically to set you free!  Splash through the pages of the fountain of life today.

Enjoy the freedom,

jamie

Are you a sharp friend?

Pr. 27:17:  “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

As friends, we are able to sharpen our friends in order to strengthen them, build them up, and guide them to keep them focused.  They are able to do the same for us.  Friends are able to speak into each other’s lives in ways that others cannot.

I was reading 2 Timothy chapter 2 this morning, which relates well to this scripture about friends.  We are told in vs. 24 that, “a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

While this verse is speaking about correcting those who are distorting the truth of the gospel message, it is also applies to those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior, but are living a life opposed to their beliefs.  As friends, we have a more intimate knowledge of one another’s lives and true thoughts.  We are able to see discrepancies in each others lives and know if repentance is needed.

Paul tells us not to quarrel, but be able to gently, patiently, and humbly teach each other, in order to let the truth be known and repentance be granted.  The truth is in this verse.  If your friend is not walking in their faith, they have lost their senses and have been taken captive and ensnared by the devil, to do the devil’s will.  As friends, we have the unique opportunity and duty to gently guide our friends to the Lord, so that He can bring repentance and sensibility to them.

We will need to know the Word in order to guide them.  We need to be able to tell them that they must be diligent to present themselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.  (vs. 15)  We need to able to encourage them to flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (vs. 22)  We need to be able to remind them that if they cleanse themselves, they will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  (vs. 21)

Likewise, if you have a friend rubbing you with the truth of the Word, examine your heart to make sure you haven’t lost your own senses.  Perhaps your friend is trying to faithfully sharpen you.  Be grateful for a true friend that doesn’t desire that you remain a captive of the devil, to do his will, but instead desires repentance and eternal life for you.  Now that’s a friend!  🙂

Gently,

jamie