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!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This playmate may bring pleasure, but the cost is high!

A married couple having another argument; which had become common. One of them turns to the other and states, "the reason we have so many arguments is because you are so stubborn!" The spouse responded, " I am not stubborn. I'm always willing to compromise--except when I know I'm right!"

When your mind is set in a chosen direction, it will pervert your thinking! Samson had set his mind to play with sin, and it blinded him, intellectually, spiritually and finally physically.

As we look at the last and very tragic record of Samson’s life, we will need to break the chapter into several sections due to the tremendous lessons we see here. 

Judges 16:4-12 After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you.” Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” 
But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire. So his strength was not discovered.  Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have deceived me and told me lies; now please tell me how you may be bound.” He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes which have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” For the men were lying in wait in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.

First, we need to see that Samson never learned how to select someone to share his life with. 
The women he picked were based on their outside appearance. We have no comment on how Delilah looked, but Samson had a pretty clear record of selecting women based on what he “saw.” Add to that, we are shown the content of Delilah’s heart based on her action. She had a price that she could be bought for. It is truly sad that many individuals will sell themselves for something so temporal as money and miss out on the reality that bring quality to life. Even if a person could live 100 years enjoying everything they desired, with no limit, (which by the way is only physical comfort and pleasure, no guarantee of inner joy, which history testifies that so many of the rich never found)  it pales in light of what they give up. 100 years of temporal enjoyment versus 100,000,000 years of fellowship with God…and that is just the beginning with no end! Maybe intellectually we are the superior on the earth, but definitely not spiritually! Even Jesus warned of man’s short fall on this:

Mark 8:35–37  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

The other issue in this passage is a constant issue that I find most of us deal with, it does not make sense, yet we act just like Samson, and I am sad to say, get caught just like him!

Samson seemingly never learned to not play around with sin! The first time Delilah asked him how to take away his strength, he should have rebuked her and moved on! Why we do not do that is beyond me! We see it is sin, but instead of being like Joseph and fleeing, we hang around it and try to play with it. Scripture warns so much about this, beginning at the beginning!

Genesis 4:7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

God warned Cain! Still, he did not listen and it cost him his soul. How many times has this been repeated by individuals? The husband that does not rebuke a flirtatious woman finds himself in adultery and now it’s too late! The executive that plays around with the idea of dipping into company funds for personal wants, only to find himself going to jail for embezzlement. A young person fooling around with drugs discovering that they cannot quit if they want to, addiction has taken hold!

How about you and me? I have not hidden the fact to those that know me that I had a huge battle with pornography. Without exception, every time I fell it was due to a complacent attitude toward that sin and allowing myself to get close to it. The men’s seminar I developed on this discusses how proactive we must be to not play with it or go near it. That may mean no computer after the sun goes down or when we are alone! Scripture gives us the diagnoses of our sin and the approach we are to have.

James 1:14–15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

Notice how proactive Romans & 2 Corinthians are! This does not “just happen!” If we play with these sins, like Samson, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.

There is no pill to take for this; it is a lifestyle decision that creates a tone for our life, that when we see any weakness near our lives, we head the other direction. The prescription for how to create that tone is not difficult, but so many refuse to do it. If you have consistent time in the Word, in prayer, if you are in a small group that keeps you accountable (discipleship) and if you continue to ask the Holy Spirit to fill (control) you, you will become very sensitive to when sin is near and you will have a mindset that leads you away from it. You will know not to move toward it and never seek to see how close you can get without falling.

With this mindset, you will not desire to play with sin, instead you will call out to the only One that can give you the strength to resist: “Lead me not into temptation!”  He will honor your request and you will experience less habitual sin in your life!

Meditation: Do you know your weaknesses? Can you list sins you are struggling with? What do you do when sin calls to you? How much does what you see effect your decisions? Do you have a plan of how to “make no provision for sin?”

Monday, April 13, 2015

If I say you are Stupid (bobo), you would call me rude...BUT what if God's Word does?

Probing Proverbs 12:1-3 To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.

The wisdom from Proverbs is so enlightening, partly because it is so simple. That is one of the authenticators of Truth, it is not complicated, it is simple! That does not mean easy, much of Truth is difficult because we are sinners, however, it is not some hidden secret, like a treasure map! Most Truth does not have to be decoded; God has made it simple and understandable.  

This Proverb is not confusing at all, but we need to consider its wisdom, because our flesh will try to make it difficult to follow.

First Truth: If you desire to learn, you must bury that ego, humble that heart and be willing to be disciplined. No one likes to be disciplined, I know I dont, but this is a clear sign of the eagerness of the heart. When you are so proud that you are always right, you shut your heart and mind down from learning spiritual truth. When you think you already know, then there is no room to learn. A soft heart before God allows Him the easiest access to you and He will patiently and lovingly bring you to the Truth. Sometimes, when we are in the flesh, our Father may have to be more harsh to get our attention, but if we have a life style of humility, the spanking will only sting for a moment, the life lesson we learn will last forever!

Second, the Scriptures mixed no words when confronting those that hate being corrected! Stupid is a harsh word, in the Hebrew it is just as bad:

בָּעַר (ʿar)  A brutish person. Occurs five times in Psalms and Proverbs. Such a person is one who stubbornly refuses to accept God’s grace[1]

It is rendered senseless in Ps 73:22:

Ps 73:22  Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.

When we think about it, this really makes sense! How do most beasts actinstinctively! Well, that describes us because we are sinners by nature and when we refuse to yield to Gods teaching we react instinctively, controlled by our flesh, we will not listen to the Lord. If you are trying to help someone (correct) so they will not hurt themselves, yet they refuse to receive your help, a good word to describe that is stupid.

Third, God affirms those that live right and condemns those who desire evil.

Fourth, those that live away from God are unstable, they have no solid foundation. When we live close to God our foundation is solid!

Matthew 7:24–27  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Living in the Philippines I have experienced many Typhoons. Their destructive power is shocking. One year Dee and I gave seminars in northern Luzon. To get there we drove through an area called Tarlac. That weekend a large Typhoon came in. It was headed north, directly toward us, but in the middle of the night-diverted south. We had a great weekend, with great weather. On the following Monday we headed back toward Manila. We were in shock as we arrived at Tarlac, it appeared as though a bomb had gone off. Huge trees were picked up roots and all and thrown on houses! Our hearts sank as we traveled through and witnessed the destruction. We prayed for the many that lost so much. When I spoke to a person that had a greater understanding about trees and storms, he explained that even though the trees had roots, they were not deep roots and the ground was saturated before the Typhoon hit. Only the trees with deep roots survived that storm.

When we live close to God, even tremendous trials cannot shake us from our foundation, because it is in Him! No matter how awesome or secure someone may look, if they are living far from God, the storms of life will pick them up, shallow roots and all, and destroy what they thought they had!

Meditation: Is your life built on the rock foundation of a never changing God, or on the sand of shifting emotions and circumstance? Have you checked your foundation? If not, Why? How do you respond to the storms of life? How do those around you see how you respond? Are you brave enough to ask them? 

[1] Oswalt, J. N. (1999). 264 בָּעַר. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 121). Chicago: Moody Press.