Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The right family can keep you from sexual sin!

☛ Probing Proverbs 7:4-5 Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. 

Wisdom and the family! This is how we need to view these two characteristics in our daily life. Many people have knowledge and think that is sufficient, however knowledge is only the data. Data is essential; yet, it is not the complete picture. The Pharisees and scribes had all the data on the Messiah, yet when He was walking among them they did not recognize Him and they were the ones that turned Him over to the Romans to be crucified. All that data was a waste because without the tools of wisdom and insight we do not know how to use the data we possess. This is exactly why wisdom and insight can protect us from falling into sexual sin. 
Consider; we already possess the data the scriptures give us concerning sexual activity outside of marriage. We know that it will break our fellowship with God, bring judgment, leave scars and destroy lives. So when we add the data of an opportunity for an affair with an immoral woman or the data of flattery from a promiscuous woman, wisdom and insight processes all that data together. Look at the basic definitions of these two words Wisdom: the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience. Insight: the ability to see clearly and intuitively into the nature of a complex person, situation, or subject. In this case evaluate how it works. A man receives data from an immoral woman in the form of flattery, which tickles his ego. 
If he has wisdom and insight they put all that in the context of reality, i.e. sin against God, this woman, himself and perhaps two different families; a few moments of pleasure for, loss of integrity, purity; testimony; perhaps disease, blackmail, pregnancy and even abortion. These two characteristics are tools to bring reality to sensual and fleshy emotions.  If you keep them close, you will keep the immoral person far from you!     

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Does God push the envelope?

Scripture Read: Judges 7:1-2 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

Application: Why would the Lord do this? Gideon has already stepped out in faith and obedience, and the number of men he has right now is still very small compared to the Army of Midian. Why would the Lord “push the envelope” like this? This is a great section from Your Word Lord to help us contemplate two key issues that we all struggle with: Faith and Pride.

First, let’s consider the issue of Faith. Is God pushing the envelope or is it more accurate to admit that we prefer the “comfort zone”? The “comfort zone” is that area in our life where we feel safe and sound, we are familiar with what’s happening and we feel we can handle it. The sad part is that many times we forget that the “comfort zone” is also the “no growth zone”! But our Lord never forgets, and He knows the only life worth living is one that is “alive”. That means growth! Only dead things do not grow. Our Lord has determined that all that will engage Him in relationship will be given on going opportunity to grow. God met Gideon where he was at, his faith was in an embryonic stage and God nurtured him through that. However, it will not stop there with Gideon or with us. The Lord intends all of us to arrive to a mature faith before we go home to Him. Remember, no matter how far the Lord stretches our faith we are always safe:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Second, we need to look at the warning our Lord gives Gideon. Again, we may not like this reality, but it is a reality nonetheless. Whenever we think we have “arrived” that is just about the time we fall. The Lord knows that if Israel believes they defeated the Midianites through their own strength they will only move from one bondage to another. From serving the kingdom of Midian, to serving the kingdom of Pride...both will destroy! God is working to set up a deliverance that will show His great love and His great power so the next generation will know that their God is responsible for their well being, not themselves. We all struggle with this, the idea of being a “self made man” and taking pride in what we have accomplished. God warned Israel of this before they entered the Land, but they did not listen:  

Deuteronomy 8:11–17 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16 “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 17 “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’

To boast in what the Lord has enabled you to do is very different than this kind of pride. When we are boastful in the Lord we do feel satisfaction with what we have done, but we never forget that our Creator was the enabler and we do not raise ourselves over others. When we are prideful not only are we satisfied with what we have accomplished, but we begin to think that we are “all that” and that we need no one. We are self sufficient, and that always leads individuals to think that they are more valuable that others.

Meditation Questions: How did you feel about your last spiritual victory? What does that say about you? When you look at what you have accomplished in life, how do you feel about that and why? Where is the line between feeling good about what you did and robbing glory from God? Is God so insecure that He needs the glory? Why do you answer the way you do? When was the last time you specifically thanked God for specific things in your life, that you had a part in making happen? What does your answer show you?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Advice that will lead you to keeping your fly...zipped!

Probing Proverbs 7: 1- 2 Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.  

As we continue to follow wisdom's advice concerning sexual sin in Proverbs, wisdom begins to lay the foundation to “how not to fall into sexual sin”. Wisdom gives a tremendous challenge for us to consider. First of all look at the relationship that is being spoken of, not one of the mere teacher to student, but instead advice from a parent to child. We need to look at the wisdom of the Scriptures in that light, not mere words written in stone or cold commands that have no life in them. The Scriptures are shared in such a way that clearly the result is to be a deep and abiding relationship with the One that this wisdom comes from, i.e. the Lord our God. 
Secondly, the word “treasure” used to describe how we should view the admonitions given to us by wisdom is an important one. We never treasure anything that is not important to us. In fact, this very word brings forth images of a journey of intensity and concentrated focus to find that precious thing that we call treasure. None of us have a problem imagining the exploits and excitement of looking for and discovering treasure buried by pirates or left by a King. Wisdom is making the point that like a treasure of gold will change our material life; the treasure that wisdom brings will change the quality of our inner life. Thirdly, wisdom explains to us how to keep what we learn ever before us, notice the words that are used: “guard”, (Keep in control) “tie”, (Baton down the hatches) “deep within your heart” (Meditation). There is a deliberate, focused discipline in these words to convey the reality that unless we engraft these truths into our conscious thought processes, we will miss the end goal. Many can tell you what the Scripture states, but only the ones that can tell you what it means have lives that are changed. 
Lastly, an interesting thought is how wisdom compares how we are to keep its advice guarded in our heart to how we are to guard our eyes. In this age of overt sexual bombardment in almost everything we see, there's nothing more important, especially for us men, than to guard our eyes. We must be vigilant to keep our mind in control of our body, especially our eyes. We cannot afford to live in an unconscious state, just allowing whatever we see to come in and out of us. We must confront those things that we see that will lead us into wrong thinking and mentally rebuke them, for then we will train our eyes to see the world, yet to “consciously choose” what part of that world will affect and control us! The more fervent we are in engrafting God's truth into our heart, the freer we will be in our everyday life.