Proverbs 7 9-7-20

Has it ever occurred to you that the man in today’s chapter had no reason not to go meet the harlot? Sinners sin!

7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense.

Christians tend to forget what it was like before coming to Christ. Sin was FUN! We had no guilt concerning doing things that God considers wrong and harmful. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit began to open our eyes to God’s way of seeing things that we began to see how destructive sin is to us and how arrogant we were to our Creator. Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly [carnal thinking] delights a man who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.” We all thought in this way at one point:

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3

We were “without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12b. Aren’t we glad the LORD saved us?!!! Now that we have the Holy Spirit living inside us and we are dead to our old selves, our desire should now be to please God and give Him everything.

Our desire to do anything and be anything for Him
is the Holy Spirit burning bright within us.

Do you have this desire burning in you? Pray that it is–or pray that it does. I will be praying for you:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

The more we know Him, the more we love Him; the more we love Him, the more we trust Him; the more we trust Him, the more we obey Him; the more we obey Him, the more our confidence grows in Him, which is our faith. The more faith we have, the more we want to know Him–and the cycle continues in an upward spiral! This faith is based on the grace of God, which “teaches us to say, ‘No,’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” (Titus 2:12).                

Let’s engage the LORD in conversation, interaction, and praise as we go about this holiday. I KNOW you have time today to sit down and do it! It’s important.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would, indeed, spend time with You in Bible study and prayer today. Call them to do the work so that they can enjoy the benefits. Reveal Yourself to them. Speak to their hearts. May they feel Your desire for righteous living and holy lives. May we feel Your pleasure when we are obedient to Your Spirit. Give us that certain satisfaction that comes when we are pleasing to You. May it be our first goal all day, everyday. Amen.

Proverbs 7 8-7-20

Today’s chapter reminds me of Hansel and Gretel. Did she know she was a pawn in Satan’s hand? The result was the same, “Many are the victims she has brought down…” (26).

10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
    dressed like a prostitute…
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!

Notice the progression:

  1. She was dressed provocatively. Guys are visually tempted.
  2. She kissed him. She really had his attention now! The kiss was like the first hit on a cigarette or cocaine: it gives an incredible high and wraps the brain receptors around the drug. From that point on, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRUG!
  3. Her words were well-chosen with just the right amount of tease with an enticement of food and wine. She appealed to his stomach, as well!
  4. She lied to him! He could have been anyone. She was waiting for any unsuspecting soul to come walking by that she could snare. This guy was the (un)lucky one.
  5. Her den of iniquity was fixed up in such a way that it appealed to his senses: Linens from Egypt, perfumed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. It sounded like a tasty treat and smelled good, too.
  6. The invitation: “Come, let’s together have some real fun. Never mind that I’m someone else’s wife and property.”

At this point, if the young man (or woman, depending on reverse circumstances) has the Holy Spirit within him, the Spirit says, “NO!” If he desires to please God above Himself, then he will walk away–miserable, of course, for a few minutes, but victorious. But, if he has not settled in his heart who is God, then he is fertile soil for such sinister seed.

21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk. She knew he wanted her. She had him!
22 All at once he followed her  He made the decision. It is certainly too late to turn back now–not without outside intervention.
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
23     till an arrow pierces his liver [deadly shot],
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.

Sin makes you go further than you intend to go,
stay longer than you intend to stay,
and pay more than you want to pay.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

We must decide NOW how we will react THEN. We must learn to call on the Holy Spirit at the BEGINNING of the temptation rather than near the END of it. Guarding the way we think will govern how we feel when tempted. If we know that we have a weakness in a certain area, then we STAY AWAY from that certain area, or have someone with us who will keep us accountable. OUTSIDE INTERVENTION is an acceptable option–and a life saver!

Let us:

  1. Die to self. We died with Christ and went into the grave.
  2. Live for Him. We are resurrected to walk in newness of life with Him.

This pattern of living is something every faithful Christian does everyday, every hour, every decision. It’s a WAY OF LIFE.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they will take this pattern seriously. They will never get to know You unless they do. Oh, how You want them to know You! But, ultimately, You leave the decision to us. I choose to die to self and live for You. May they do the same. I love You and thank You for Your sacrifice on my behalf. I choose You, Jesus. Reign in my heart as we walk together today. Amen.

Proverbs 7 7-7-20

On this day, 11 years ago, I made my first post on WordPress. Proverbs followed shortly thereafter. Here ’tis.

24 Now then, my children, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.

“Do not be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18

For many years, I have used this verse as a platform for abstinence of any kind, be it alcohol, drugs, nihilism, fornication, etc. I would use the last part of the verse to conclude that we are not to be controlled by anything but by the Holy Spirit. This teaching is good and it is correct, but I must admit that it is elementary.

Another teaching that I preach quite often is that our works are made up of only two kinds: response to the Spirit or resistance to the Spirit. The first kind is made of gold, silver, and precious gems, the second kind is made of wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12-13. When we place our gifts on the altar, the outcome will be what we offer to the Lord Jesus at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). This teaching is good and it is correct, but I must admit that it, too, is elementary.

The Lord has been impressing me with a pattern of thought that I have read about, but never considered it for myself. I am now in the process of integrating it into my everyday life. I have been brought to the conclusion that being filled with the Spirit has more to do with being conscious of Him every waking moment than it does with what I do or not do. My salvation is based upon a relationship with the Father. The reason I needed a relationship is because I had lost the presence of the Holy Spirit (through Adam) and I have no way of knowing how to please God (Heb. 11:6 editorialized). If it is only through the Holy Spirit that I can please God, then I need to be in contact with the Holy Spirit continually. I know that His Spirit resides in and with me, but how often am I aware of all He is doing and wants to do with and through me?

So, if it’s not the doing that makes my life significant to God, then I will concentrate on what does make me significant to Him, which is my relationship with Him. I want to be aware of His presence in my life every waking moment. That is my aim. By the way, if I am successful, the doing falls in line automatically!

Have a great day getting to know the God of the universe.

Abba, thank You for Your consistency in my life. I know it hasn’t been my doing, but Your faithfulness. Your “patient endurance” with me is what I appreciate most about You: You love me because I am Yours. Now, Father, make me like You. May I grow to be just like Jesus! May my readers assume this same desire and goal. May Your Spirit fall on us, O LORD. We are desperate for it! Amen.

Proverbs 7 6-7-20

Here is #10, part 2, of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say

Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.

  1. Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
  2. Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right. 
  3. Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
  4. Why I believe in Jesus.
  5. We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us!
  6. Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
  7. Jesus is Jewish.
  8. We owe quite a debt to Israel.
  9. Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
  10. What awaits us in heaven?

My son, keep my words
    and store up my commands within you [learn them and recite them].
Keep my commands and you will live;
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye [allow them to encourage you].
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart [discuss them with the Spirit].

#10 What awaits us in heaven? Part 2

There are two things we can count on in the future. One is that God will renew all things; the second is that Jesus will set up His throne in Jerusalem.

There are two things we do not know. One is to what extent the renewal will take; the second is whether the New Jerusalem comes with the renewal or after 1000 years.

My take on Scripture is that the renewal of all things (based on Matthew 19:28), which includes the topical earth as we know it as well as all nature concerning the animal kingdom–even the planets in the heavens–will be radically reformed into a Pre-Fall state. The sheer presence and participation of the Holy Spirit WITHOUT any of the fallout of sin will make ALL the difference in how things grow, how animals interact, and how humans “rule” again, just like Adam and Eve. 

Peter gave us a pretty graphic description of “the end of the world” as we know it in 2 Peter 3.

3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” Most people believe that earth has been around for millions, if not billions, of years and will be around for as long. Evolution teaches this view.

5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. Secular scientists ignore or vehemently refute a worldwide flood. The problem is that with the invention of each new instrument, we find more and more evidence pointing to a worldwide flood! It’s getting to the point where they are looking foolish if not childish to hang onto their point of view. Even so, they “deliberately forget” because to acknowledge a worldwide flood would call them into account with the God of that flood.

7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. This event is linked to the Day of the Lord mentioned in verse 10 when Jesus returns: But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. We know what happens next because we have read it in Isaiah 65:17. 

17 “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. And in 2 Peter 3:13.

13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

When it comes to the Great Flood, water gets most of the attention, but what we now know because of new scientific equipment (and views from space), fire played a key role in the reforming of the earth during the flood. There is a ring of 50,000+ volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean that is called the Ring of Fire. Many of them are still active. There is a volcano recently discovered 590 miles NW off the coast of Hawaii (Pūhāhonu) that is absolutely monstrous, much like–but bigger than–Yellowstone, which covers the corners of four states with an even older and bigger crater underneath that is over 100 miles wide and extends to the eastern edge of Idaho. 

The key to “the end of the world” is that Jesus has promised to make all things new! Listen to this promise:

5 And the one sitting on the throne [Jesus] said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Jesus instructed John to write it down for us so that we would be encouraged. Let’s be encouraged today knowing that He has everything well in-hand. When the time is right, He will come again and restore/renew all things. COUNT ON IT!

Tomorrow: the New Jerusalem!

Abba, thank You for such a wonderful promise. I love that You don’t scrap anything, but redeem everything to be as it was intended–including me! I am SO looking forward to seeing firsthand everything in its renewed state and to enjoy Your world(s) as they were intended to be enjoyed: WITH YOU. Until then, may I keep my eyes on You, my Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 7 5-7-20

What does it take to have a Christ-honoring home? Is that something we really want? How badly?

21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
23     till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.

It’s important to realize that temptation is everywhere. Satan has done a GREAT job of bringing it right into our homes–not that we needed a lot of help being tempted. We are quite capable of taking any good pleasure and turning it into an obsession. Beth Moore says that she is twice the enemy to herself than Satan ever thought about being. All we need is a suggestion and off we go, not knowing nor even caring–at the time–what the cost will be.

When Solomon’s temple was dedicated (see 2 Chronicles 5-7), it became the “home” of God. Solomon knew that God was too big to actually live in the temple, but he prayed that God would turn His attention, His eyes, toward the temple (2 Chronicles 6:18-21). The famous verse, 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” is taken from Solomon’s conversation with God after the dedication. Here are the next two verses:

15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

We know that at Pentecost, God made our hearts His home. We are now mobile temples! 1 Corinthians 6:19 confirms it: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? One day, we know that God will once again turn His full attention toward Jerusalem (Isaiah is chocked full of prophecies and verses about God’s unending love for Jerusalem, the temple, and the people of Israel), but we also know that Him living in our hearts was where He has been heading since the Fall (see Genesis 3:15). Installing His Spirit in each believer is exactly what Christ intended when He went to the cross:

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 15:7

27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

We are now our own priests to God! Peter even calls us “a royal priesthood.” Therefore, WE are responsible for what goes on in our homes. WE are responsible for the spiritual barometer of our homes. WE are responsible for Christ being “the head of the home, the unseen guest of every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.” WE must dedicate our homes to Him for His glory–whatever that takes!

God consecrated the temple for Himself; I believe He does the same thing with us. May we take our consecration seriously every day. May we dedicate ourselves first and then our house and household. Who knows? One day–soon–we may be having church in our homes with YOU leading!

Abba, we know that “as goes the family, so goes the nation.” Even households of one need to be consecrated unto You. So, I pray for all my readers that they would dedicate themselves to You each morning, committing themselves to prayer and Bible study, and then dedicate their households to You, committing themselves to creating and keeping a godly atmosphere in the home. This action by itself will bring revival to Your church! May it be so, O Lord. Make it happen. Amen.

Proverbs 7 4-7-20

What are you keeping around in your life that keeps calling you back to a life of sin? Isn’t it time to get rid of it?

13 “She took hold of him and kissed him…”

I have Hillary’s old X-Box 360 Game station in a box in the closet. I LOVE to play HALO. But, I know something about myself: It can become an obsession and take over my thoughts so that it’s all I think about during the day. So, it stays in the closet. A couple of times a month, I go over to Hillary’s and we play on her game station; that way, I’m not tempted to sit down anytime I feel like it–because I ALWAYS feel like it!

How about you? Is there something in your life that has its claws in you? Is there something to which you are hanging on “just in case?” Does something take hold of you and “kiss you” and lead you down a dark path? It’s time to give it to the LORD and ask Him what to do with it. He may want You to get rid of it completely: a boat, a motorcycle, and old sport; or He may have you put it away for a while, or make it not so accessible (like He did for me).

This time of quarantine can teach us a lot about ourselves. It has a way of revealing our tendencies: Do we watch too much television? News? Movies? Banal fillers? Do we spend too much time on FaceBook, YouTube, and other social apps? What SHOULD we be spending our time doing?

The Holy Spirit longs for us to spend time with Him. We know He is always with us, but He has lots to share with us that we can only be able/ready to receive when we sit down, become quiet, and tune in to His voice. He speaks to us in our hearts, and He speaks even more loudly in His Word. The Bible is His written words, His tangible communication with us! Why, O why do we ignore it? HOW can it be relegated to the bottom of our to-do list?

Here is a verse to keep in mind:

12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 AMP

King David was a man after God’s own heart. How so? Let’s look:

9 How can a young man [anyone] keep his way pure?
By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts].
10 With all my heart I have sought You, [inquiring of You and longing for You];
Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience].
11 Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:9-11

May we use this time to get to know our heavenly Father through His Word. Let’s be intentional about it.

  • Pick a book and read it.
  • Mark any words, phrases, or passages that stand out to you.
  • Write down any thoughts you have about something you read.
  • Summarize the passage in your own words and with your own application.
  • Read a commentary. Make your own personal commentary!
  • Read with coffee or other drink, while eating breakfast, or while working out.
  • Read on your electronic device or out of a regular Bible-or both.
  • Look up verses in different translations.
  • Do any of the above–do all of the above!

The point is to hear His voice so that we can obey. Just remember that He doesn’t need us to do anything FOR Him; He wants us to do things WITH Him. It’s a relationship. Let’s start treating it like one.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would use this lesson to “spur them on to good works” by spending time with You in prayer and in the Word. It’s where I’m heading right now…Amen.

Proverbs 7 3-7-20

Haven’t read yesterday’s Proverbs, yet? Be sure to scroll down below this one and read it first!!!

18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
    let’s enjoy ourselves with love!

If we wait until we FEEL like reading the Bible and setting time aside to pray, then we will NEVER get around to it. Satan will ALWAYS have something else for us to do that we will feel like doing. The “love” mentioned in this chapter is not bad in and of itself, but the fact that the guy is not her husband makes it wrong. They are arrogant in believing that just because her husband is gone that they can get away with adultery. In their arrogance, they are rebel against what they know to be right, and commit sin–against themselves, each other, and especially God. Actually, all sin is against God because He is the One who established what is right and wrong, but our sin affects others in the process(no person is an island). Ultimately, their sin will lead to their destruction: possibly her marriage and his life, and definitely their souls being cast into hell if they don’t repent and come to the LORD.

If we have trusted Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, and if He has, indeed, washed us in His precious blood, cleansed us from our sin, and come to live in our hearts, then we should be the most grateful people on the planet!

If His Spirit is working inside of us to make us to be like Jesus (see Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, and 1 John 4:17), then He is creating in us first the desire and then the power (Philippians 2:13) to get His Word out and study it–not just read it, but study it, memorize it, ponder it, and parse it (to analyze something, as a speech or behavior, to discover its implications or uncover a deeper meaning). Finding out more about Jesus and His nature (so that we can act just like Him), God and His Plan for our future, and the Holy Spirit and how He works in our lives (prompting us, warning us, leading us, and protecting us) will become ALL-IMPORTANT to us.

IF we DON’T have any desire to know Him more and deeper, then we have:

  1. A deep sin problem that has pushed out any ability to sense His Spirit or hear His voice;
  2. A selfish nature that needs to die so that Christ can live through us;
  3. A dead spirit that needs the life of Christ (basically a lost person).

In 1 Samuel 21-23, David was on the run from King Saul, yet he had time to seek the counsel of the LORD. In fact, he had just gotten away from King Achish by acting insane! He gives the LORD the credit for saving him:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34: 4, 8, 10

At this point in his life, David had no home; he was separated from his wife; he was a wanted man. What is the “good thing” that he had? Relationship! He was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). If you would like to read David’s idea of a quiet time, read Psalm 119.

Let us seek the LORD while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6). Let us draw near to Him BEFORE something bad or disastrous happens. Peace before the storm means security and confidence during the storm.

Abba, may I take to heart my own words. Keep drawing me closer to You and into Your Word. Prepare me, LORD, for that next task, that next person to which to talk, that next class to teach, that next worship time to lead. Right now, it’s helping cook breakfast for the men in our church! Come eat with us, O LORD, and us with You. Amen.

Proverbs 7 2-7-20

Make sure that the voice you are following is the LORD’s. The Spirit speaks to us in certain ways. Find them out!

25 Do not let your heart turn to her [temptation] ways or stray into her paths.

What does the voice of the Holy Spirit sound like? In order to answer this question, we must know the temperament of God. God is:

  1. Holy- He is pure in His thinking, utterly righteous, and cannot be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone. “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” James 1:13
  2. God came to earth as Jesus, therefore, we can address Jesus knowing that we are addressing God. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us]. Isaiah 7:14
  3. Jesus is gentle and humble in heart. He will NOT force His will upon anyone. He will certainly guide circumstances, but each of us has the right to choose to listen and follow Him. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
  4. His Spirit lives in us and guides us. Will we listen? He uses:
    1. prayer (our conscience and the “still, small voice” [1 Kings 19:12] and the voice right over our shoulder [Isaiah 30:21]),
    2. the Bible [2 Timothy 3:16-17],
    3. other people, particularly believers [Hebrews 10:24-25],
    4. and circumstances [Acts 16:6].

Our job is to avail ourselves to Him. If we are listening and ready to move at His command, then we will be able to discern His instructions and follow His voice. He will empower us to do whatever He asks of us and we will be full of Him–His love, joy and peace–as we minister in His name, be His hands and feet to others, and be His ambassadors to the world.

To this calling we must pledge ourselves anew every morning. Are you READY?

Abba, I pledge myself to You today to follow Your lead in humility, but boldness; kindness, but straightforwardness; gentleness, but with passion. May I disciple as I go through today. May I minister where You lead me to whomever I am with. I find great joy in Your presence and Your participation in my life. LET’S DO THIS! Amen.

 “I pledge allegiance to the Lamb
With all my strength, with all I am
I will seek to honor His commands
I pledge allegiance to the Lamb”

I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb-Ray Boltz

Proverbs 7 1-7-20

DESIRE is dangerous because it is so powerful–and volatile. We must train to overcome it through Jesus.

21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her…

All sin begins with DESIRE. In James’ letter, he tells us, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. James 1:14. Where did this evil desire come from? Why do we even have it? Let’s go back to the beginning…

27 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1:27 The ability to discern and to choose is part of being like God.

7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being [soul]. Genesis 2:7 We are different than all creation in that our bodies have a soul.

22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man… Woman, too, has a soul and is man’s counterpart.

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, Genesis 3:6-7

There are some key points in this passage that apply to us today:

  1. When Eve “saw” that the fruit was good for food, it was a justification. Nowhere did God say that it was for consumption. In fact, He said not to eat it. Eve made an assumption that since it was a tree and was in the garden that it was like all the other trees from which she could eat. We make the same justification.
  2. The fruit appealed to her, which in itself is not a bad thing, but it became all she could focus on–she obsessed! Of all the trees in the garden from which to eat, she centered on the ONE that she could not have. Granted, it was pointed out to her by Satan, which he does to us, too.
  3. It was “desirable” in that she believed it would do something for her. The problem is that it was in direct violation of what God had told her. The truth was that it would give her knowledge, NOT wisdom. Satan twisted the truth. Being like God in power and position is not wise; seeing from God’s perspective under His authority and guidance is godly wisdom.
  4. Adam was with her, but did nothing. The phrase, “silence gives consent,” was certainly in play here. He then took the fruit she offered him and ate it. Their eyes were, indeed, opened–to their nakedness! And DESIRE was born.

The curses that were placed on them were natural consequences of not following God’s purpose and plan. Sex became a weapon that both man and woman use against each other. The garden itself, which they were to tend, was taken away. On the outside of the garden, the ground did not respond to Adam. Why? Because the deed had been passed to someone else:

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only [Deut. 6:13].’” Luke 4:5-8

Satan got his wish! Now we understand that the Gospel was MORE than just about mankind, but about all of nature, too. Jesus came to redeem mankind AND nature. It’s a progressive redemption:

  1. He saved our souls. Our bodies still die. Creation still waits.
  2. He will come again and when He does, we will either come with Him and be rejoined to our earthly bodies or we will meet Him in the air.
  3. When He comes, all creation will be saved: transformed and restored to its former glory.

Concerning DESIRE in our own lives, we fight desire with a higher desire. Jesus, through His Holy Spirit within us, gives us first the desire to do His will, then He gives us the power to do His will.

13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the desire and power], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Philippians 2:13 AMP

We must recognize the devil’s lures, traps, hidden snares, and deceitful lies and turn from them to the One who loves us and desires us to live righteous and holy lives WITH HIM! Let’s not let desire get the best of us. Let’s use our desire to live for HIM. It all starts with us spending time with Him in prayer and Bible study. Let’s get to it!

Abba, may You reveal to us the devil’s schemes that he uses to push our DESIRE buttons. As we become aware of our weaknesses and tendencies, help us to put into place guardrails that keep us away from the edge. May we walk in the center of the road, O LORD. May we feel the tension when we start in a direction that is not from You, and may we feel Your good pleasure, satisfaction and delight when we “course correct.” Help us to overcome our desire with desire for You. I’m looking forward to walking with You today. Let’s get started! Amen.

 

Proverbs 7 12-7-19

Our way of thinking has gotten us into more trouble than we know! It’s time to let Him guide our thoughts and ways.

25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.

All sin comes from faulty thinking. Check out Eve’s story in Genesis 3 or Cain’s story in Genesis 4. We need to make sure that we are thinking correctly about God and about righteous living, which means that we need to think correctly about sin. There’s only one Source from which we can get an absolutely right perspective, and that is from God. It’s not hard; it just depends on how much it means to you to get it, because once we get it, we are obligated to live by it!

Paul makes it plenty plain in Romans 8:

But you, you do not identify with your old nature but with the Spirit — provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to him [BEST Trinity verse]. 10 However, if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin [our status]; but, on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteous [our status]. 11 And if the Spirit of the One who raised Yeshua [Jesus] from the dead is living in you, then the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you. 12 So then, brothers, we don’t owe a thing to our old nature that would require us to live according to our old nature13 For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live

It makes sense, then, to find out as much as we can about the Spirit-life. Spiritual matters should interest us more and more as worldly matters should fade into the background. What matters are we talking about? That’s for you and the Holy Spirit to determine. It’s one of the things that we get to do with Him. It’s during times like those that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are His children (that’s from Romans 8:16).

Try reading or listening to people’s testimonies about how they came to Christ. It’s very uplifting. One of the things I like to do is go to IMETMESSIAH.COM on YouTube. It’s about Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua Messiah (Jesus). Truly inspiring. Another good book is Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Andrew, a 16th Century monk. Ask the LORD and He will lead you to just the right resource at just the right time in your life. He’s good at that.

Let us not grow weary of doing good. Galatians 6:9. Instead, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23.

“Change the way you think, and you’ll change the way you feel.” Beth Moore

Abba, I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ would “catch the bug” of learning about other people’s conversions and what You have taught them. May they gain all kinds of insights and tips for righteous living. May we identify with them in their sufferings and learn to love You with all our hearts. Lead us, LORD, in our daily walk. We are following and listening and obeying. Amen.

Proverbs 7 11-7-19

Whatever has a stronghold in our lives, a besetting sin, there IS a way to beat it–today. It’s part of our walk, our story.

5 They [God’s commands and his teachings] will keep you from the adulterous woman [any besetting sin*], from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

*A besetting sin is one to which on account of our constitution, or circumstance or both, we are peculiarly exposed, and into which we most easily and most frequently fall. In the life of every individual, there is a “besetting” sin that can tower like a mountain between the individual and God. The verb of which besetting is the participle form means “to surround with hostile intent; to set upon, attack, assault on all sides.” For example,
The fox was beset by hounds.
St. Anthony was beset by demons.
Believers are beset with sin.

In the expression besetting sin, however, the word “besetting” seems to mean “chief” or “principal.” Judging from usage, a besetting sin is one to which a particular individual is particularly susceptible. Besetting Sin-Definition

This chapter holds the key to overcoming strongholds in our lives. The strongholds keep us from fellowshipping fully with our Savior and from living the victorious Christian life that God desires for us to enjoy.

7:1 My son [child], keep my word and store up my commands within you.

This verse is a call to learn all we can about God, Jesus, the Spirit, and ourselves. His Word is where we start. It’s why we must read it everyday, preferably early in the morning so that it can help us form our attitudes for the day. It starts us off in the right frame of mind.

7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense.

Learning from our own mistakes is being smart; learning from others’ mistakes is being wise. Pay attention to those who seem to enjoy life in all the wrong ways. We will notice that eventually the consequences of “free” living will catch up with them. “Payday Some Day.” Whether it’s a ruined liver from alcohol, no license due to DUI’s, several wrecked marriages, used up and worn out bodies from drugs, or whatever, the consequences WILL come–along with guilt and regret. Even then, our LORD has compassion on them and wants them to come to Him. Some may, but most won’t because of the pattern of self-government that rules their lives.

13 She took hold of him and kissed him…18 “Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love!” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

She got his full attention with a kiss. What gets our full attention? How can we deflect that “kiss?” I’m sure they had a good time, but at what expense? 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. 6:32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 2:19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 

Returning to our besetting sin keeps us from walking with Jesus with a free heart. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full [abundantly].” John 10:10b

All of a sudden, this next passage that usually sounds so “milk toast” takes on a whole new meaning:

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus wants us to know that He understands the hold that sin has on our lives. He KNOWS that we fight with it everyday, that all of our senses are tainted with it and we carry it around in our bodies like a dead weight. Oh, what it must feel like to experience our new, glorified bodies in heaven where that weight of sin is gone!

So, how do we rid ourselves of besetting sin? Well, we don’t, really, not in this world. It always lurks in the shadows. We must be vigilant against it. How?

  1. Go to Jesus. He will give you rest. If you go to Him BEFORE you sin, then He can give you strength to overcome. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
  2. Go to Jesus. If you go to Him AFTER you sin, He will provide comfort and grace along with insight for next time. Some of our closest fellowship with Him is waiting for us when we go to the Savior at our lowest point.
  3. Go to Jesus everyday. Begin the day with Him and walk with Him through the day. Many times, we can head off sin as He steers us around it. Trust Him; follow Him.

God is never exasperated with us. He is never irritated, nor is He disappointed. We are sheep. We “sheep” (whatever that means). He knows and still wants us to come to Him. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and rejoices/dances over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17). Let’s hold on to this truth!

Abba, thank You for loving us as we are. I look forward to the day when we will be as You have prepared for us to be: Holy, blameless, pure, and free from our sinful nature! I can hardly wait!!! In the meantime, help me to keep my eyes fixed on You, LORD, and to trust in Your guidance and strength. Amen.

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.

But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.
Morning Prayer

Proverbs 7 10-7-19

We have been told what to do to ensure faithfulness. The question is, will we do it?

(3) Bind them [God’s commands] on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

I have a small stack of Scripture cards that I go through each week. These verses are ones by which I try to live; some are doctrinal verses that remind me of who God is and who I am in relation to Him, and some are verses that deal with specific areas of my life. For instance, one by which I try to live is from James, Jesus’ brother:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you [from your present situation as well as eternally]. James 1:19-21

Another (I read this one this morning) that deals with doctrine is from Jude, another of Jesus’ brothers:

24 To him who is able to keep you [from falling or even stumbling] and to present you before his glorious presence [to God the Father and Himself] without fault [blameless] and with great joy 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25

How about you? Do you have favorite verses? Verses by which you live? Have you committed them to memory? Have you considered writing them down on cards and read them on a regular basis to remind yourself of His promises and His commands? There IS a DISCIPLINE to the victorious Christian life. Think proactively.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with personalizing verses. For instance:

Kelly, as a prisoner for the Lord, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle–I know you have a hard time with this one; be patient by having no unrealistic expectations, bearing with others in Christ’s love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace–stay connected. Ephesians 4:1-3

When we are in crisis or in temptation, Christ goes to the card file of our mind and pulls out verses that will give us confidence, direction, strength and courage in our time of need. Doesn’t it make sense to give Him MUCH with which to work rather than just a little (John 3:16 can only go so far…)?

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would create card files of Your Word–Your commands, Your words of encouragement, Your warnings, Your promises, and Your reminders of Your love for us. May we be proactive EVERYDAY concerning our walk with You. Lead us, our Eternal King. Amen.

Proverbs 7 9-7-19

Every once in a while, we need a remembrance stone, a place or event that reminds us of whose we are and our calling.

(24) Now then, my sons [and daughters], listen to me; pay attention to what I say. (25) Do not let your heart turn to her [temptation] ways our stray into her paths.

Robin and I are at FALLS CREEK. We are here for a Singing Churchwomen retreat for which we play percussion during the year. This place holds a special place in my heart:

  1. In 1975, my friend, Howard Harper, and I re-committed our lives to Christ.
  2. In 1980, I responded to God’s call to serve Him in vocational ministry.
  3. I also met the love of my life here as we worked on staff together that summer and the next.
  4. We had numerous retreats here as I was growing up, and then for eight years I brought my own youth groups here.

Needless to say, Falls Creek is special to me. It’s like a remembrance stone:

1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day. – Joshua 4:1-9

Where is your place of remembrance? Where is it that you can visit to “recapture the moment?” Maybe it’s time to visit there again and renew the covenant between you and God. I can assure you that it will be a time of refreshing.

Dear LORD Jesus, thank You for my place of remembrance, for Falls Creek. Renew my heart even as I renew my vow to You, my LORD and my God. Amen.