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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Lessons from Captain Hook

This morning I saw a cartoon where Captain Hook was sitting in some water.  He asked, “What is underneath me?”  Surprise, surprise, it was Tick-Tock Croc.  Isn’t that crocodile always right there, waiting to take a bite out of Captain Hook?

It reminded me of temptation.  It seems that we all have that one vicious temptation that seems to always be there, just waiting to attack.

But what does Captain Hook do?  Well, first he flees.  I’m reminded of 2 Tim. 2:22 that tells us to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Next, after the Captain gets away, he just keeps on going about his swashbuckling business.  We can’t live in such fear of our temptations that we hide away and stop living our lives.  We have to keep moving.  Just as Captain Hook has a job to do, so do we.  We have been commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world preaching, teaching, and baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One more observation:  that crocodile was underneath him.  Romans 16:19-20 implores and reassures us, saying, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”  Sin and temptation have no authority over us.

So, our lessons from Captain Hook today:  flee, don’t give up, continue to learn God’s wisdom, and remember that God has already won the victory!

Not just blathering,

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 16:25:  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

This verse is so fitting in our world.  Although, it has been since time began.  Didn’t satan twist words just so to coerce Eve into believing the way she was taking was right?  Certainly its end was the way of death.

Today, he is still doing the same.  He twist words to make them sound right.  Sure, there may be some truth in the words he whispers, but is it THE truth?  The Word of God reveals the truth of Jesus who is THE WAY, the truth, and the Life.

It is an imperative that we verify our path by the Word of God.  The way we’re headed may seem right, but is it truly?  In order to end up with eternal life, we must go by way of Jesus Christ.  All other ways, even as right as they may seem, lead to death.  Find the true Way.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Mt. 7:13-14

Walking slowly,

jamie

Nourishment to complete the tasks

Pr. 19:27:  “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

It is easy for us to give in to busyness in this life, especially during this season of year.  There are so many things pulling at us each day.  We have countless responsibilities.  We are asked to help with many things from those around us.  We have personal things we want to do.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with being busy.  Currently, our “Christmas break” schedule is jam-packed with things to do.

The danger; however, is neglecting the only thing that really matters:  our relationship with God.  With all the busyness, it can be easy to put aside our time with God in an effort to get done all the things that are pulling at us.

Without God, though, we can do nothing.  He is our Strength.  He is our Provider.  He is the One who guides and directs us.  He is the One who instructs us.  If we put Him first, He will help us get done all the things we need to do, or He will direct us when we need to say no to certain things.

Because it is true that when we cease listening to instruction we are more likely to stray from the words of knowledge, we must be diligent and intentional in setting aside our time for the Word of God.

If we are going to choose to say no to something, we must make sure that something is not our time with God.  Above all else, we need to continue abiding in the Vine.  We must remain attached to Him, allowing Him to nourish and enrich us.  It is only abiding in Him that brings the fruit in our lives.

John 15:6 reminds us, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

We cannot risk not abiding in Him.  Once we become unattached, we stray, and eventually fall away, being then cast out and withered.  After that, we see what happens.

It may seem like I’m being overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen it before.  Sometimes it only takes a few days for the enemy to cause us to become so distracted that we get out of the routine of making time with God our priority.  Once that takes place, we are vulnerable to his sway.  His sway will always lead us away from God.

During this season, during all the busyness, giving, and frivolity, we must protect our time with God and in His Word.  We must ensure that abiding in Him is at the top of our to-do list.  If we put Him first, all the rest will fall beautifully into place.  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Let’s remain in Him,

jamie

Hide yourself

Pr. 27:12:  “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.”

Prudent:  careful, cautious, discreet, sober.  the ability to govern & discipline oneself by the use of reason.  acting with or showing care & thought for the future.

Understanding that Jesus came to save us from eternal death and torment, (Thank you, Pastor) it is wise for us to hide ourselves from evil.  You may think of evil as some hidden force around us, over which we have no control.  However, there are many evils that we can foresee and from which we can hide ourselves.

We understand that drugs are an evil that can eventually rule us, therefore it is prudent to keep ourselves away from those who would persuade us that doing drugs is no big deal, from those who would like to make money by selling us drugs, and from situations where drugs are readily available and given a place of prominence.

Likewise, we understand that committing adultery or having sex before we are married are things that can be prevented.  Foreseeing the evil, we can take measures to prevent ourselves from creating the opportunity for such things.  Instead of thinking “simply” and allowing ourselves to be alone with someone we’re attracted to, allowing ourselves to have private conversations with someone other than our spouse, or allowing ourselves to push the bounds with someone physically, we can prudently place boundaries around us to prevent those situations.

Not only do we have authority over evil, through Jesus, but God gives us much wisdom.  We are not at the mercy of satan or the evil that is around us.  We are able to perceive evil situations and prevent ourselves from being overtaken by them.  By placing wise boundaries in our lives, carefully and cautiously governing ourselves, or acting with thought for the future, we can hide ourselves from the evil that would seek to lead us to ultimate punishment.

Perhaps you need to end a relationship, find a new job, take a different route to the gym, join a new gym, shop at another store, find a whole new set of friends, or find accountability partners.  Whatever you have to do to hide yourself from evil…do it!  Don’t be simple and continue “flirting” with the evil situations that loom around you.  Don’t think that you just need to be stronger.  With your future in mind, hide yourself, remove yourself, protect yourself.

We cannot allow satan to distract us or lead us down paths that will lead to the punishment from which Jesus saves.  Our God died so that we can live.  Be prudent.  Be cautious.  Be careful.  With our minds on our future…meaning eternal life…we must keep ourselves from evil.  Our salvation was bought at a high price, let’s not treat it as something worthless.

Soberly,

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