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!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Turkish Delight!

Probing Proverbs: 9:13-18 The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it. She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city. She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.

The most effective lie that has been propagated by our enemy is that we are just animals with instincts and drives. Nothing is further from the truth. We are intricately created beings, very complex, and with one or two natures alive in us. What do I mean one or two natures? Yes, all humans have a fallen nature that desires to control and dominate them. If a person has not entered into a relationship with their Creator, that is the only nature they have, sadly they are under the control of a very evil taskmaster, and even though society and peer pressure can exert some force to contain that nature, as history has shown us, that nature will win. However, if a person has embraced salvation through Christ they have been given a new nature, one that is empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. When that happens a war begins to rage within that individual as the “old” nature fights to remain in control. 

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

The writer of this proverb desires us to see clearly the active battle going on. He uses a sexual example, because this sin is a prime example of where humans do not think; they just respond to a drive that their flesh tries to control. All of Proverbs 7 used this analogy also. Although this allegory is about a sinful woman and unthinking men, let’s just apply it to all sin and all humans.

Sin is “brash” – consider the synonyms of this word: impetuous, rash, foolhardy, and impatient. Sin wants what sin wants…and it wants it immediately!  Those that follow sin are following ignorance, for the costs of such actions are not being weighed. Notice also sin is not passive, but deliberate, calling out to those who are going about their business, yet targeting anyone that might accept the invitation. What’s the bait? To have something that is not really yours, to taste the forbidden fruit…to the flesh, the ingredient called “forbidden” makes it always taste better! 
That “one” thing that only sin can deliver…much like the “Turkish Delight” from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. There is a very ironic truth about how sin works. It appeals to whatever is sensual, whether it be materialism, sex, fame, pride, etc…while at the same time we lose our “sense” as we run after it! If we would just walk even 30 minutes past the sin in our mind and consider that after the first taste dissipates, what kind of after taste is left? The consequences of sin is always very bitter! Here it is described as death and the grave.

Do you see a battle inside you? If not, what does that say? Are you aware of both natures in you? When you struggle with sin, what does that look like? Have you identified the most vulnerable areas in your life? Do you realize that the enemy has?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me! Sounds good…but History proves this is untrue!

Scripture Read: Judges 9:30-38 But when Zebul, the leader of the city, heard what Gaal was saying, he was furious. He sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumah, telling him, “Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to live in Shechem, and now they are inciting the city to rebel against you. Come by night with an army and hide out in the fields. In the morning, as soon as it is daylight, attack the city. When Gaal and those who are with him come out against you, you can do with them as you wish.” So Abimelech and all his men went by night and split into four groups, stationing themselves around Shechem. Gaal was standing at the city gates when Abimelech and his army came out of hiding.  When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!” Zebul replied, “It’s just the shadows on the hills that look like men.”  But again Gaal said, “No, people are coming down from the hills. And another group is coming down the road past the Diviners’ Oak.”  Then Zebul turned on him and asked, “Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn’t it you that said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?’ The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!”

At the breakfast table one morning a pastor, in a pensive mood, asked his wife, "Honey, how many really great preachers do you suppose there are in this world?" She sighed, and responded, "I don't know!  But I have strong feeling that there is one less than you think!"

Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble when we think “we are all that!” Scriptures warn constantly on the danger of pride. Gaal was talking real big, and when we do that we better be prepared to back those words up with action. If we are wise we will measure our words before we let them come out of our mouth. History is full of examples of mouths run-a-muck and the price that was paid. This is just one of many stories from history.

There are some very important lessons we can learn from this passage. First before you speak you need to remember two truths. 1. You never know who is listening, Gaal did not measure his words and Zebul, who was not a friend of Gaal, heard them! Those words opened the door that led to Gaal’s destruction. 

2. Whenever you speak, God is always listening! You never ever speak in a vacuum – whether anyone else hears you or not, God does and He will expect you to answer for what you said.

Matthew 12:36 “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Ecclesiastes 5:3–6 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?

If you remember these truths, you will measure your words BEFORE they leave your lips. How much be simpler life can be when we allow God’s Spirit to remind us that God hears all the words we speak. Also, those around us may be listening and we need to ask ourselves if what we are about to speak is for public consumption. 

The second lesson is, the bigger your words, BIGGER actions will be required! This can be positive or negative. Negative, if we are like Gaal, allowing our pride to guide our words. We allow our flesh to influence our words, and before we know it the actions we must produce to back up our words are far more costly then we thought they would be! Yet, if we allow our words to be impacted by faith, very positive outcomes can take place. For example, when we tell someone God can forgive their sins and guarantee them the ability to live forever with God, those are huge words, but they are backed up by God’s power! This is when words can mean so much, when we testify to a small thinking world about our BIG God!

Learn from Gaal! Do not let the wrong words come out from you. Measure what you say through prayer and yielding to the Spirit of God!

Meditation Questions: How meditatively do you speak? Do you seek to be proactive in your communication, or are you reactive? What does that show? Have you ever realized you spoke to soon? What did you do about that? Do you take the time to rethink a conservation when it’s clear it caused a problem? Would this be a healthy way to evaluate your words?