Wisdom Wednesday

DSCN3431  I recently joined a Precept Bible study on the book of Proverbs with a small group of sweet neighbor ladies.  Honestly, it has been awhile since I’ve really dug into the Word like this.  I mean combing back over it again and again, digging up a new treasure each time.  It is eye opening, and yes, it truly does whet your appetite for more!

So because the book of Proverbs is often called the book of wisdom ( the word wisdom is mentioned 104 times in the book!), I thought a little “Wisdom Wednesday” may be in order!

I have been burdened for a long time, that many Christians simply do not read their Bibles, let alone study it.  I know, I know.  To say that life is busy is a gross understatement.  I get it.  Our Savior knows.  He knows all of the demands on our time.  But here’s the thing;  He doesn’t demand anything of us.  He doesn’t force his way into our days just because He knows what is best for us.  He wants us to choose to sit at His feet.  He wants us to choose to seek His face.

He waits to be invited into the dailyness of our lives.

He longs to speak to us through His Word, to teach us, to guide us, and to show us His heart.  And yes, to impart godly wisdom to us that will shield and protect us.  Wisdom that will allow us to walk forward confidently no matter what trial we face.

Friends, how can we follow God’s instructions and obey His commands when frankly, we don’t know what they are?  We can’t….unless we are reading and studying His living Word.

So we know He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.  But there are some things He doesn’t want us to do too.  Things that He knows will bring us harm.  Things that are not best for us.  But there are also things He hates, and we’d be wise to avoid them.

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Many of us didn’t, or don’t allow our children to use that word because we shouldn’t hate anything or anyone.  Well look at Proverbs 6:16-19:

16 There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.

So this passage lists seven things that the Lord hates.  The word “hates” progress to abomination for the seventh one listed.  The word abomination is the strongest expression of God’s hatred for wickedness in the Bible.  I’d say we ought to take that seriously.  We need to take anything He hates seriously.

The one who spreads strife, causes discord, stirs up trouble among fellow believers….is an abomination to God.  That is what garners His greatest disapproval.

 Look over that little list carefully.  Do you recognize the villain in any of those verses?  Is it you?  Is it someone you know?  There is a solution.  God hears the prayer of the repentant heart and offers forgiveness.  If you are His child, He hears your prayer on behalf of someone else.  Pray for the one…or several others that may fit in that list.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 (NASB)

There are also things God delights in…

“the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.
”  Psalm 147:11 (NIV)

Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
”  1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB)

“But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 9:24

 Friend, I hope you are reading and delighting in God’s Word.  If not, it’s not to late to start.  It is His love letter to you, and your guidebook for all of life.  You will never regret time spent with Him.  That I can guarantee!
As always, if you’ve been encouraged or know someone that would be, please share!
Much Love,
Debbie

Ticks & Sin

We had a great time in Wisconsin last month with our son, daughter-in-20160515_165942law, and granddaughter.  It had been almost nine months since we had seen them, so of course the time went by much too quickly.  We seem to miss them even more after seeing them again.

The countryside in Wisconsin is beautiful, and thankfully my health endured (mostly), so I could enjoy my time there.

Along with cherishing time with our family, I also got to enjoy an added blessing.  I had the opportunity to meet face to face with a Facebook and blog friend, Josie Siler!  We were able to chat over coffee for an hour that also went by far to quickly!  She is the third online friend I’ve had the opportunity to meet face to face.  With all the “crazies” out there, I love how God can draw people together and knit their hearts together in His love!

However…to the point of this post…the TICKS!  I have never…ever experienced ticks like that in my life!  Those nasty little critters were 20160521_152853relentless!  The kids have recently moved into a newly built house, and their yard is not yet completed.  There is also a large farm across the road.  So I guess all that contributes to the ticks.  Even with the small fortune we spend on flea and tick treatment for our miniature schnauzer Riley, he turned out to be a tick magnet!  I was honestly freaking out a bit over it, because they were relentless!  So I thought that there has to be a lesson here somewhere.  I found it in God’s Word.  SIN.

I could give you a gazillion scriptures about sin, salvation, and eternal security, but that’s not for this post.  I want to speak to those of us who know Jesus Christ.  Are we…are you living each day in the true joy of the Lord?  If not, we need to ask ourselves the question: “Why not?”  What is hindering us, or standing in the way of that joy of delighting in Him?

I firmly believe that too many Christians today are missing out on that joy, and are not making a difference for Jesus in our world because we are tolerating far too many little “ticks”.  Those things in our lives that are sin and are grieving the Holy Spirit.  They are what’s hindering us from truly enjoying our relationships with Jesus.

Think about Matthew 5:29a, 30a:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out….”

“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you;…”

Okay, so that’s extreme! 

Jesus was simply using hyperbole to make a strong point.  Jesus was advising removing every temptation to sin…no matter the cost ( similar verses are in Mark 9:43 and Proverbs 23:2).  He wants us to be His first love.  He delights in us and wants that wonderful relationship with us, fellowship with us, and He wants to use us to make a difference in this world for Him!  But that won’t happen when those nasty little “ticks” are not removed.

If a tick is not removed promptly, it will burrow into its victim and go 20160512_095238unnoticed.  That is when it causes the most harm.  They carry many diseases.  Diseases that some people will live the rest of their lives with.  Diseases that cause great harm and cannot always be reversed.  The damage is done.  That is not unlike sin in our lives that is unconfessed, tolerated, and/or kept hidden…or so we think.  It causes damage to our relationship with Jesus.  We miss out on His joy and fellowship.  It can also cause irreparable damage to other relationships, our integrity, and mostly our testimony for Christ, and our own spirit.

So we must ask ourselves; “Is my relationship with Jesus what it could be…what I’d like it to be?”  If not, you may need to do a thorough “sin check”.  Are there things that you are struggling to let go of?  Things that you know are not pleasing to God?  Is there something you are tolerating in your life that you really know needs to be done away with?  What is it, that deep down you know is keeping you from a full on, sold out relationship with Jesus?  Only you know that answer.

Just like we tried to be diligent with looking for and removing those nasty ticks, they were sneaky…not unlike sin my friend.  Thinking we had removed them all before we left for home, three days later as Riley was having his dental surgery, the technician found three……YES!  THREE more ticks that had made their way to his face.  They were hiding in his beard!  (And yes, I was freaking out…inspecting, cleaning, vacuuming, washing everything and spraying!)

But friends, please don’t forget, that is how satan likes to operate.  He is a liar, deceitful, and attacks when and where we least expect him to.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

Please don’t allow any “ticks”, any sin to burrow its way into your life, preventing you from fully knowing and living out the true joy of the Lord.

  • Could it be something as simple as those sister sins of grumbling and complaining? ( Phil. 2:14-15).
  • Maybe it’s an anger problem that causes words that shouldn’t be said to spew out of your mouth. (See James 1:26, Eph. 4:26-31,  Ps. 4:4).
  • Have you been dishonest or untruthful? ( Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 20:17, Colossians 3:9-10).
  • Is it the sin of prayerlessness? ( See 1 Samuel 12:23).
  • Are you viewing things that you know are not pleasing to the Lord?  But hey, it’s only entertainment, right?  Not necessarily. (Consider Psalm 101:3).

Whatever your “tick” may be, pluck it out before it causes more damage.  Damage you do not want to cause.

1 John 1:9 reminds us that when we confess our sin to God, He is faithful, just, and will forgive us.  Then in His grace and strength, we repent, or turn away from it and sin no more.

We can look to His Word for our prescription for tick (sin) repellent.  We find it in James 4:7-8, where we are told to submit to God…abandoning our selfish pride.  This has to be first, humility before God.  Then we can resist the devil and he will flee.

Friends, when we resist the devil using the name of Jesus, with the Word of God, we are firmly standing our ground.  He is not going to stick around trying to defend himself against Jesus and His Word, so he’ll tuck tail and flee.  There is power in the Living Word of God.  When we speak the Word aloud, when we pray aloud, the devil is not going to stick around.

We also need to put on our spiritual armor (see Ephesians 6:10-18), immersing ourselves in His Word.  Then we are able resist any temptations the evil one throws in our path.

When we have that spiritual suit of armor on, those “ticks” stand no chance of attaching themselves and burrowing in to cause harm and damage.

Riley has recovered from surgery, and is happily tick free.  You may need to perform a little surgery of your own…if you know the joy and closeness has been missing in your relationship with the Lord.  He is waiting for you.  Take your prescription as listed above…and soon you too will be happily “tick free”!

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read.  I pray it has spoken to your heart.  If so, please share so that others may be encouraged as well.

Gratefully yours,

Debbie

 

Just Breathe…He’s Holding You

The sun is shining here in North Carolina today.  The temperatures and humidity are rising, but as I sit in the comfortable air conditioning looking out my window at the blue sky and the recently planted flowers, I feel content and blessed.  I feel rested, upbeat, and want to tackle getting my ducks in a row, re-grouping after my absence and work on finishing a few blog posts.

However…. I realize that not everyone shares my mood today.  I know that there are some of you out there who feel like you are barely surviving.  Let’s face it.  Many days are just plain hard.  No way around it.  Sickness, hardships, sleepless nights….no matter how hard you try, you are getting further and further behind.  You feel you are drowning in all the chaos around you.  The last thing you need are well meaning platitudes that just aren’t cutting it right now.

Let me take the pressure off you today.  No big sermon here.  No Bible study or reading chapters, trying to do what you are “supposed” to do.  I want you to just…B. R. E. A. T. H. E.

Breathe and simply remember today how very much your Heavenly Father loves you.  Let Him carry you.  He is El Roi…the God who sees (Genesis 16:7-16).  He is a compassionate God who sees, and feels what you are going through.

He sees you in this very moment.  He does.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me.  My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”  Psalm 3:3

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He knows you are tired and weary dear one.  Let Him cup your precious face in His hands and lift your head to look into His face.  That’s all.  Let Him hold you today.  Be renewed in His love for you.

Right where you are…just breathe in His love for you.  Let Him pour His grace upon you and strengthen you…for today.

You are loved with an everlasting love.

When you feel you can’t hang on, please remember…

He is holding on to you.

I am praying for you today.

Love,

Debbie