and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chocolate, Regrets and Abundant Life

       One of my sisters was talking to me the other day and was saddened by the fact she ate two chocolate bars in a row.  Not wanting her to feel too bad I told her about a day not long ago that after 10ish  until 2ish in the am I consumed two chocolate bars, two chocolate puddings, a bag of sour candies, four black licorice, three sour candy canes, one Ah Caramel, one bowl of ice cream, and other goodies I don’t remember.  Usually I don’t even eat after 8pm, but I fell way off the healthy bandwagon that night.

       My body craved the junk food almost like I was a heroine addict.  I HAD to have my chocolate fix!  Normally I would just say ‘No’ but that night I was weak in spirit.  Wow.  Guess I’m only human after all.  We all are.  But we can’t run our lives that way for it only leads to our destruction- and I’m not just talking physically!  We can also be affected mentally, emotionally and spiritually when we allow ourselves to live ‘in the flesh’ according to our body’s desires.

that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will* of God. 1Pt. 4:2 ASV (*determination, choice, purpose, decree)
because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1Jh. 2:16,17 

       Ever wonder why we spiral down sometimes and it’s so hard to rise out of the pit?  It’s because we allow our flesh to rule our lives.  Now usually it’s not as bad as my junk night, but it’s the many little things we give in to every day.  Too tired to exercise, no time to read the Word or communicate with God, watch TV but can’t help a friend, eat that second piece of pie, another coffee, buy 30th pair of shoes or newest toy again, another hour on the internet, etc.  No one thing is a problem, but we allow our bodily/ fleshly desires (cravings, longings, desire for forbidden- or unhealthy) to overwhelmingly rule our lives

For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. Rm. 8:13
I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another… Gl. 5:16,17

       Can we continually deny ourselves without God’s help?  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me(Php. 4:13). In my experience, the more I am walking in the Spirit, the less I give in to the flesh, and it becomes easier to deny myself.  “But I buffet my body, and lead it captive…” Paul says (1Cr. 9:27).  Why is it easier- here are my thoughts:

Potato chip reason- We might just start with one but we can’t stop there which often leads into a downward spiral and we won’t want that.
Good time reason- We’re having such a good time in God that we forget about some of the cravings and desires.
In love reason- We are so in love with God we don’t want to do anything that will muck up our relationship or come between us.

       If we always live just to feed our own pleasures- desires- cravings instead of doing God’s will, we shall die, never experiencing the abundant life (Jh. 10:10) that Christ has and wants for us.  But if we walk in the Spirit we will not complete or perform the lusts of our flesh.  Here’s something that took me years to learn:  denying these desires doesn’t diminish my life or my joy in life like I thought it would, but it actually removes the bondages I live in giving me the freedom and joy that come from being in the Spirit and being in unity with the Father, Son and Spirit.  That is abundant life!!!

Lord of glory, thank You for showing us the way to freedom is to let go of our own yoke, and take up Yours which is easy and light. (Mt. 11:30)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Most Disrespectful

       I’ve seen kids swear at their parents, heard about kindergarteners telling off parents, seen angry drivers yell at other drivers they cut off, seen people lie to sales clerks to get their money back, or heard of people never paying what they owe while they still spend money getting drunk.  It seems today there is little respect for others.  We, in North America, don’t always treat each other they way we want to be treated.  One of the things I think is most disrespectful is when a person turns their back on another- like they are of little worth, what they say is not important, or out of anger, disgust, or maybe indifference.

        It seems the Lord was speaking to Ezekiel one day and showed him the abominations the Jews were participating in, with increasing evil.  The last sight God showed him was in the Temple of Solomon and the evil there.  Now, while it is possible it was literally happening, there was likely a metaphorical meaning. 

And He brought me into the inner court of Jehovah's house, and behold, at the opening of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of Jehovah and their faces toward the east; and they bowed themselves eastward to the sun. Ez. 8:16

       First off, these men are in the inner court which was a place only the priests could go- so they must be priests of Jehovah.  Secondly, there were 24 divisions of priests in those days, each group serving at one time.  So the 25 could represent the heads of each of those groups with the High Priest included.  The priests were descendents of Aaron, in an eternal covenant made by God (Dt. 18:5).  They were people in spiritual leadership and were called to serve God (Ex. 28:1) and lead others to serve God.  Priests were to be dedication to Jehovah and holy (Lv. 21).

       These men were not dedicated or holy.  They turned their backs on Jehovah: was He not as important, worthy, did they do it for another reason?  How disrespectful they were doing it in His own Temple court!  Not only that, but they were worshipping the sun (coming up in the east) like the other nations had been doing for a long time, likely since Nimrod and the Tower of Babel.  So instead of being holy, they were being wicked, committing idolatry and breaking the Law*.  Talk about showing contempt for Jehovah. 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… 1Pt. 2:9
to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests to God and His Father… Rv. 1:5,6

       We are also priests to Jehovah, called to be holy (1Pt. 1:15,16), and dedicated to Him.  We are to be spiritual leaders serving only God (Lk. 4:8), and leading others to serve Him as well (Mr. 16:15).  We should not treat Him with disrespect, turn our backs on Him for any reason, or bow down to anything or anyone.  This would include anything or anyone in our lives which is more important or we give more of our time/ money/ effort to.  We are not to follow the ways of the world (Rm. 12:2; 1Jh. 2:15).

       Are we like those priests turning our backs on God to other things: spiritualism, intellectualism, humanism, agnosticism, capitalism, mixing Christianity with ‘other gods’, looking to them for the answers we want and corruptly worshipping them?  No matter where or how we stand today, we can turn around.  We can face Jehovah our God once again.  There is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus (1Jh. 1:7).  We can rededicate ourselves to Him and choose to live holy.  We can stop being disrespectful.  We can show Him how important He is to us.  Today.  Everyday.  With all that we are.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind
Lk. 10:27

*…lest you lift up your eyes to the heavens, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, lest you should be driven to worship them and serve them… Dt. 4:19

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Lord Never Abandoned Man

       You know that picture you see of man in a sinful state beside a chasm or deep void with God on the other side.  Somehow that picture always stayed with me when I read Genesis chapter three and the ‘fall’ of man.  I imagined Adam and Eve outside of the garden on the other side of that void unable to be in God’s presence because of his sin, but that wasn’t so- God immediately made a way. 

       The Lord came back, knowing what they’d done, to walk in the garden and talk with them while in their sinful state and too ashamed to be seen by Him.  Adam and Eve decided to throw the blame on others and lie to the One who created them and whom they were obviously used to walking with.  Then after He kicked them out of the garden (consequences remained), He still met with mankind outside the garden and they talked. 

And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence (Strong’s 6440) of Jehovah God… Gen. 3:8  (The Lord still came and talked with them, and clothed them.)
And Jehovah said to Cain… Gen 4:6,9  (Cain spoke back to the Lord. v. 9,13)
And Cain went out from the presence (6440) of Jehovah Gen. 4:16
And Jacob called the name of the place Face of God; for I have seen God face (6440) to face (6440)… Gen. 32:30 
And Jehovah would speak to Moses face (6440) to face (6440), as a man speaks to his friend.… Ex. 33:11 

       God’s presence/ face was still available to Adam, his children, and later generations as seen in Jacob and Moses.  6440 in the TWOT* is the word panim or face.  The face is characterized by some personal quality, and is extraordinarily revealing of man’s, or in these cases, God’s emotions, moods, and dispositions.  There are some impressions you can get by a person speaking over the telephone, but to fully read their emotions, mood and disposition, you need to see them in person.

But your iniquities have come between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you… Is. 59:2
Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. Jh. 14:6

       So man has the potential to be forgiven by God and to be in His presence.  Adam and Eve were clothed by God with the first dead animal skin- blood sacrifice covering sin.  Cain and Abel brought sacrifices.  Obviously early on they understood the repercussions of sin and the forgiveness of God.  We can still be in God’s presence today all because forgiveness is available by the blood of Jesus Christ.  (The cross in the chasm…  God put it there.)

       I also like to think we can still see the Lord face to face, but so far He hasn’t blessed me that way.  Still, I strive for it knowing that if it never happens while I am here in this flesh, it will surely happen when I awake in Heaven and I will be fully satisfied to finally see Him.  (Ps. 17:15)

*Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fear of Dad

       Albert (my hubby) grew up on a farm with only one field between him and the one room grade school he attended.  The benefits were hot lunches and short walk to school, but the negatives were no snow days and being the only grade 8 student.  Anyway, before he started school (grade one in those days) he ran through the field with his little tool box one day to bring home a prize. 

This before a holy God...
       In those days, most county kids rode their bikes to school; a few bikes which had colourful tassels that captivated him, coming out of the handle bars.  So Albert took his little saw and cut those tassels off, then dodged through the field to get home without getting caught.  He hid those tassels under his bed but unfortunately didn’t realize the evidence he left behind- his little saw.

       The teacher dealt with it, Mom dealt with it, I’m sure his brother gave him grief, but none of those were as bad as waiting for Dad to get home from work.  Sure enough, Dad didn’t speak much, but the spanking he received put a little more fear in him for breaking rules.  And he didn’t get to keep the tassels…

Who is the man who fears the LORD? God will teach (direct, show, instruct) him the path he should choose.  His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. Ps. 25:12 ISV, 13 MKJV
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear*, for also, "Our God is a consuming fire." Hb. 12:28,29 (*caution, dread)

       Fear isn’t always a bad thing.  To fear not only means to be afraid but to reverence.  In Albert’s case, it was both respect and afraid to do wrong with his Dad.  Somehow I think today we try to revere God, but fail to be afraid to do wrong.  “Oh, God will forgive me…”  God is a holy God (1Sm. 2:2) and one day judgment will fall, either here on earth in the form of natural consequences to our choices (ex. fornication-pregnancy) by God- on the Judgment Seat (2Cr. 5:10) or the Great White Throne (Rv. 20:11-15)

all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. …each one of us will give account concerning himself to God. Rm. 14:10,12
every idle word, whatever men may speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. Mt. 12:36
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad. 2Cr. 5:10
each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is.If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 1Cr. 3:13,15
In Rv. 20:11-15, those who are unsaved (not true Christians) are judged.

Or this...

       June Cleaver and many other tv parents used the line often, “wait til your Father gets home” as a threat to curb bad behaviour.  In our case, it’s “wait til you stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  What if we lived our lives thinking ‘would Jesus approve of me doing this’ before we did something?  I’m sure He wouldn’t approve of where my thoughts go sometimes.  And idle words…  How much will I have to account for?  How much of what I did will be burned up as worthless?

At the very least I should treat God with great respect but also consider that sin is judged and do what I can to become or remain pure.

And everyone who has this hope on him purifies himself,
even as that One is pure.
1Jh. 3:3

Monday, May 19, 2014

Righteousness Through Christ

For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah, and He watches all his paths.
Pr. 5:21
For man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart.
1Sm. 16:7
The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Pr. 15:3

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus,
who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;
1Cr. 1:30

(God gives)to every man according to all his ways, whose heart You know. For You, You only, know the hearts of all the sons of Adam. 1Kn. 8:39
I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. Jr. 10:17