Sin Interferes with Progress

Doesn’t sin have a consequence that wears heavily on us?!  We lose opportunities to grow, be blessed, and help others.  Instead we place huge obstacles in front of us that cause us and others only to struggle, as well as hurt God again and again.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog and this is what God has put on my heart this morning.  I am here because I continue to “lose track” of time.  Here, God has created a world for His children – for us to care for, replenish and fill, and share His truth to those who’ve not yet heard – and I don’t take hold of the authority He’s given me in Christ Jesus over my life.  I allow myself to hold onto temporary emotions that harbor only resentment, bitterness, and in some cases a deep rage that comes out on unsuspecting and innocent bystanders.

I have forgotten that I am stronger than temptation… I’ve been saying for so long that I “can”  and yet I don’t.  I have heard this said from smokers, drunkards, and the like – I “can” stop, I just “choose” not to.  I have found I use this EXACT phrase that has annoyed me to no end in the past.  Ugh.

Here I am to share with you because the struggles shared by others helps me and so I hope this helps you.  How have I allowed myself to neglect the very things that are important.  I haven’t done my devotions or my journaling in a long time.  When I have gotten into the Word, I’ve not allowed it to take it’s deeper place in me but instead have used it temporarily.  I’ve changed slightly over these past months but not as much as I know I would have – and have in the past – had I been in the Word as I should be.

I haven’t taken the time to train my children in areas that I know is important for them as children of God.  I haven’t taken time to play and be silly with them, nor pray and carry their burdens with them.  Even more important than all of that, I haven’t taken time to teach through my actions and through talking of the love of God nearly as often as I should be.

Thankfully God is SO great… and I know I can stop what I’ve been doing and start doing what I’m supposed to be doing – all the time – by faith, with Him.

I go back to remembering that feelings are temporary and truth is eternal… and God’s Word says “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3) As we do this we can be confident in the fact that, “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

So I commit to doing as the Lord asks, knowing that He’s promised success.  And I go forth ready for the in’s and out’s of life, standing on this truth – that the work He’s doing in me is good and He’ll carry it on, transforming me to His likeness until the day of Christ!  Praise God!

I pray that you be blessed on this glorious day!  Enjoy Him, get in His Word, and Pray.

Hissy Fits

We’ve all had at least one in our lifetime… you know the kind – the self-focused, self-centered, self-reliant reactions when things go other than what we’d prefer.

These hissy fits are also seen in the Bible. The Bible is a story of the light in the world… God working through people just like you and I… imperfect, selfish, immature people who are leaning on Him to change them day in and day out.

Cain had a hissy fit. When he fell short of the mark with his sacrifice, he had a hissy fit and killed his brother. He even talked back at God saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain was selfish and his pride was damaged when God showed favor for the obedience of his brother.

Potiphar’s wife had a hissy fit when Joseph wouldn’t sleep with her. She must have been humiliated when he refused because she shouted for help and accused him of attempting to rape her.

Jonah had a hissy fit when God instructed him to share God’s love with Ninevah. He saw them as evil and assumed to know better than God.

The story is the same for the prodigal son, the rich young man, Martha, and so on.

We’ve all poorly reacted at one point or another. The consequence is greater than having to admit our mistake (though that can be quite difficult). When we have hissy fits toward God, and His will for our lives, we reap grief and only grief.

Cain, in his jealousy, pride, shame, and rage, killed his brother.  His hissy fit was over his brother being a goody too-shoo, a show off, a suck up, or whatever other term people get labeled for doing the right thing.  The consequence?  He was to be a restless wanderer all of the remaining days of his life.

Potiphar’s wife had her hissy fit due to Joseph’s refusal to sin against God.  This type of hissy fit was triggered by humiliation, offense, and rejection.  Such a consequence to follow was most likely shame and guilt.

Then there is Jonah, a man who loved God and hated all that was against Him.  Including Ninevah.  He had his very own hissy fit when God saved the nation when it repented, even after its evil acts of idol worship.  This type of  hissy fit was driven by confusion, self-righteousness, and arrogance.  What was to follow?  Disappointment and more confusion.

When we assume to know more than God, we’ll be disappointed with the results every time. We’ll be confused, consumed with guilt, frustrated, filled with shame, and/or feeling lost and wandering aimlessly through life. We don’t know everything.  Even when we know what we know, we still don’t know the half of it!  God’s design – His awesome creation is so much more elaborate than we can understand.  It is in our hissy fits that we express an arrogance – a sense of entitlement – as if we’ve somehow earned this land, this life, this love from God.

Instead of being so foolish and lifting ourselves up, we need to let GOD do leading. We need to trust and follow… it doesn’t always have to make sense… and sometimes we’ll be shown what it all means.

Every one of our stories is going to look different. We all have different personalities, different struggles, and different influences around us in our daily lives. One story might be the demanding wife, throwing a hissy fit that her husband isn’t stepping up to the plate. Another might be the lonely man who is looking in all the wrong places for love. Or the teenager who just needs to get away and doesn’t wait for God’s perfect timing to save them.

These are all heartbreaking for God. God is not standing by and doing nothing. He’s moving! It is in our impatience and self-reliance that we tend to throw a hissy fit and attempt to take care of it ourselves… and because we’re driven by self and our temporary emotions the results are not going to be as satisfying as we might think in that moment. Only when we are driven by the love of God, by His Holy Spirit, and the desire to please Him are we going to feel the fulfillment we long for.

So chill out and quit those hissy fits. Pray and ask God to give you peace. It works. Really. You may need to pray more often than someone else, but I assure you… you can’t pray too much.

Get In Your Place!

Satan is charming, convincing, and very clever.  When speaking with Eve in the garden located in the east of Eden, he spoke through insinuation.  He seduced her with the draw of a vuluptuous fruit from the forbidden tree and convinced her by the wandering thoughts he produced when questioning God’s motives.

God does not do this.  God is open with His intentions and He reveals Himself to us.  Sometimes, our measly little brains don’t fully comprehend His vastness, but He does not pretend to be something He is not.  He doesn’t hide the truth!

Satan enjoys stealing, killing, and destroying what is precious to God.  He hides this in his attempts – but his argument sounds lovely… on the surface.  “Your eyes will be opened” he delights.  He conspires and plants doubt: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

“I can be like God?” One could consider… perhaps Eve did just that.  Did she forget that God said that she would surely die if she ate the fruit?  Didn’t she hear?  A little taste is all it took… a simple act of disobedience because of doubt and greed.

God says it plainly and doesn’t seduce and charm us to Him.  He is a God of love and wrath, mercy and judgment, forgiveness and contempt!  Voddie Baucham stated it well – we shouldn’t be asking why bad things happen if God is so good and powerful, what we should be asking is why, after what we’ve done today and yesterday, hasn’t He killed us in our sleep!  Are we greater than God?!

“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?  Can you set their dominion over the earth?  “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you?   Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?” (Job 38:33-35)

No!  It is God who is mighty – NOT MAN!  We are created in HIS image, not the other way around.  He is perfect in His love and perfect in His wrath!  He is not greedy or selfish!  His love is not like our love and His wrath unlike ours!  He is righteous and holy and it is by HIM we are made holy – not by anything we have done or been or thought or hoped for.  HE is holy and in our feeble attempt to be a blessing to Him, HE makes an unworthy man WORTHY and HOLY and RIGHTEOUS.  It is not for us or because of us… it is a testament to the God that He IS!

God is holy.  We must get off our our home-made pedestals and realize we are NOTHING without Him.  He is waiting for us… how much longer must He wait?  How much longer?

Lord, God!  Forgive our selfish and ignorant ways!  Look on our affliction and forgive our sinful ways!  May we take down our idols and worship YOU.  Humble our arrogance!  Break down our pride!  Reveal to us our weakness!  Send Your Spirit and enable us to fall at Your feet – it is our unintelligence that causes us to believe we are greater than the almighty… may we see the truth!  Oh I cry out for Your truth over us!  In the authority of Christ’s precious name I pray, Lord God!

Consider the Cost

When Jesus began his ministry, he didn’t flippantly choose who his disciples would be.  He looked hard and told them to do the same – to consider the cost and that they shouldn’t start if they weren’t willing to finish (Matthew 10:37).  The cost is high and includes our ego – by submitting to Christ and to the call on our lives rather than chasing after selfish ambitions.

Stumbling and fumbling along the way, eleven out of the twelve disciples counted the cost and eventually paid the price – Peter denied Jesus and hid during the beatings and horrific happenings against Jesus; Judas betrayed Christ and never found his way back.

Father, I pray that I’d be serious in following You, but I am useless.  I pray I would be aware of the Philip in my own life – that I would not betray you.  Lay your hand upon me and be with me, because without you, sinning I will continue to do – but with you all things are possible.  In Jesus name I pray!  Amen!

Leading By Example

The kings of the earth, and all inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem— because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed in her midst the blood of the just.  They wandered blind in the streets; they have defiled themselves with blood, so that no one would touch their garments.  They cried out to them, “ Go away, unclean!  Go away, go away, do not touch us!”  When they fled and wandered, those among the nations said, “ They shall no longer dwell here.” The face of the LORD scattered them; He no longer regards them. The people do not respect the priests nor show favor to the elders. Lamentations 4:12-16

This should be a strong warning to all of us who lead, whether it’s our families or a nation.  When God’s people are judged due to the sins of their leaders, God’s people will even lose respect for legitimate leadership.  The influence, as faithful leaders, could be lost.

Additionally it fuels the fire for those who choose to ridicule and scorn the church.  Our influence goes beyond those under our leadership but in fact effects each life around us.  For some, how we live, will be the only Bible they read.  Because of this, we have a responsibility to serve God’s people by honoring Him with our lives.

Do Not Tolerate “Jezebel”

A devotion on the deceptions of the enemy through distortion of the truth in reference to grace and law.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. Revelation 2:20-21

Jezebel: [The wife of Ahab king of Israel] A bold, vicious woman; a termagant. Also synonymous with a false teacher or false prophet.

Bold: In a bad sense, too forward; taking undue liberties; over assuming or confident; lacking proper modesty or restraint; rude; impudent.

Vi”cious: 1. Defective; imperfect; as a system of government vicious and unsound.2. Addicted to vice; corrupt in principles or conduct; depraved; wicked; habitually transgressing the moral law; as a vicious race of men; vicious parents; vicious children.3. Corrupt; contrary to moral principles or to rectitude; as vicious examples; vicious conduct.4. Corrupt, in a physical sense; foul; impure; insalubrious; as vicious air.5. Corrupt; not genuine or pure; as vicious language; vicious idioms.6. Unruly; refractory; not well tamed or broken; as a vicious horse.

Termagant: Tumultuous; turbulent; boisterous; furious; quarrelsome; scolding

Jezebel is used in this passage as an epithet (i.e. a dog as “Man’s best friend”) for a prominent woman in the congregation who has undermined loyalty to God by promoting tolerance toward pagan practices. She is a spiritual mother to all who pursue antinomian doctrines (a person who maintains they are freed from the moral law by virtue of grace as set forth in the gospel). We should not tolerate a false teacher; anyone who compromises the Word of God and the faith of His children.

We are justified by God’s grace. God’s grace is vital as it makes us heirs to the hope; the confident expectation of eternal life (Romans 3:24; Galatians 5:4; Titus 3:7). We are not to set aside the grace of God – otherwise Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this justification through Jesus we are made pure; sinless (1 John 3:4). We are dead to sin. Sin is no longer our master because we are no longer under the law but under grace. This does not eliminate the law over our lives; we become slaves to righteousness rather than to sin (Romans 6:14-18). The law then becomes our delight! We are freed from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life. We now live according to the Spirit and by the sinful nature no more ((Romans 8:1-4).

The law is not done away with in Christ’s death. It is made alive in us. Without grace, our labor is in vain; without the law of the Spirit of life, we are slaves to the law of sin and death. One cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).

Do not tolerate that woman Jezebel; she is poison to God’s children! Do not be deceived by the lies of men in the end times. They creep in and capture foolish women burdened in the midst of their failures; their sins. They entice through the lusts of the flesh. Be on your guard; do not allow them in your hearts, minds, homes, or look on with your eyes or else you will be one of their victims!

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7

Impulsive Actions

One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little. They act impulsively without thinking. I always try to think before I talk.Margaret Chase Smith

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” Proverbs 18:13 ESV

“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” Proverbs 18:17 ESV

The Word tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). The context of the passage refers to self-control over our tongues. It goes even farther to say that our commitment to the Lord is useless if we don’t have this rein over our speech! God calls us to lean on His Holy Spirit and experience its fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and to rid ourselves of the reckless nature that rears its ugly head when we let our guard down and become complacent (Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:2-5).