Is God too kind to be Just? Proverbs 29:1

Brett Kays, Minister of a Christian Church in Southeast Michigan, told about a radio report of a problem in an Oregon middle school where a number of girls who had started using lipstick would go into the girl’s bathroom to apply it. After they put it on, they would then press their lips up against the mirrors leaving dozens of lip prints.

Finally the principle decided it was time to take action. She called the girls to the bathroom and met them there along with the custodian. She explained that the lip prints were causing the major problems for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every day. To demonstrate just how difficult it was, she asked the custodian to clean one of the mirrors. He took out a long-handled brush, dipped it into the toilet, and scrubbed the mirrors clean. Apparently, the problem of “mirror kissing” subsided soon after.

Certainly there are more destructive activities than this going on in our schools today. Many times we don’t realize the ramifications that our actions cause. Many times we don’t really want to know, and many times we don’t particularly care. “Girls just wanna have fun!”, right? Sometimes our desires to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, requires a bit of anesthesia. We tell ourselves that those things we want to do in life have no consequences. There’s no retribution, no cost for our choices. Live and let live we say.

People can be stubborn creatures. We want what we want, and if there are obstacles in the way that might deter our actions, we set out to find a way to circumvent those obstacles.

A.W. Tozer says, “God spares us because he is good, but He could not be good if He were not “just”. God’s justice stands against the sinner in utter severity.

The hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a “deadly opiate” for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded.”

An “opiate” is a sedative. The dictionary describes it as “anything that causes dullness or inaction or that soothes the feelings.” An opiate masks reality, induces sleep where there was none before. It dulls the nerves so as not to feel the pain when the reality of trauma is introduced. The reality is that when we do certain things to our bodies, nerve endings alert us, in the form of pain, that something is wrong. We don’t like pain. Our brain tells us, ‘If you don’t like the pain, don’t do that again!’ Pain is the consequence of traumatic actions to the body. But if we feel strongly enough about doing those things, about averting the consequence while still being able to do the pain inducing act, we take an “opiate”, a pain killer, that numbs us to the pain.

What do we do about the actions in life that we know are not the right thing to do – things that have consequences, things that gnaw at our conscience and keep reminding us over, and over, and over, that we should not be doing that… like a nagging toothache?

We often council ourselves on things that we know we shouldn’t or mustn’t do so as to rationalize, telling ourselves that it’s really okay to do. We know that God is loving, God is compassionate, God is goodness, God is merciful. I believe in Jesus, His son. A God like that is too kind to punish me for sinful acts that I might do from time to time, right?

Proverbs 29:1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.

Sin is attractive. It’s seductive. It tells you how much fun you’re missing out on, and there’s no cost. It will offer all the rationalization that you need to make it okay to do. Sin will even provide you with scripture – out of context of course, but it’s still scripture. And that makes it okay. Sin will offer you the anesthetic you need to let you do what you know you must not do, without the pain of a searing conscience. And when it’s something, a selfish desire, that we want to be able to do so badly, we push that conscience voice to the recesses of our mind and we stubbornly forge ahead.

That’s why we call it a “deadly opiate”. Sin always comes with a consequence. You can dull your senses into believing it’s all okay. ‘God loves me too much to punish me.’ And God is loving, compassionate, and good, but God is also just.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

In Christ, Rick

Co-mmission, O-mission; It’s all Sin – James 4:17; Mt. 25:44-45

So, what’s worse; to go through life doing bad things that hurt other people, or to go through life not doing good things that would help to enrich and edify the lives of others? You ponder that question ad nausea, and there’s just no way to make a pig look pretty simply by putting lipstick on it. There’s no way to make a wrong decision, right. And in this situation both are wrong. Simply not doing one wrong act cannot exonerate the omission of the duty one has to do a right thing, a good and moral thing.
Over a year ago, I shared in a sermon the story of Kitty Genovese. She was 28 year old girl who lived in Queens, New York and worked at bar not far from her home. One night in 1964, on her way home from work at 3 a.m., she was randomly attacked, raped, and stabbed to death in front of her apartment. 38 witnesses, neighbors, watched for over an hour and a half and not one person called 911 nor offered to help. One witness said, when asked why they didn’t call for help, said, “I didn’t want to get involved.”
When is it ever a wrong time to do a right thing? Is procrastination sin? James 4:17 says, “17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Christians so often, focus on what they shouldn’t do and neglect what they should be doing. ‘I don’t want to sin. And that involves doing something, right?’ Well, is not obeying God’s commands a sin? Maybe once we’ve accepted the grace of Jesus and we’re saved, we should all go up on a mountain top and wait for Jesus to come again…and not sin! Sin comes in two categories:
Sins of co-mission, whereby we do sinful acts. Willful transgressions against God; overt, rebellious acts. Doing things that scripture expressly tells us as believers, not to do. Ephesians 5:3-6; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do not kill. Do not lie. Do not cheat on your spouse. Don’t worship idols. Grace never gives us a free ticket to continue to sin. 1 John 3:6 says, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” These are sins we co-mmit.
Sins of o-mission, on the other hand, are deeds left undone; behaviors that God’s Word instructs us to do, or, to imitate, to display in our lives. These things that we “don’t do” are disobedience to our heavenly Father and they are sin. Things we don’t do that we are supposed to do. Ephesians 2:10 says that every believer is “…created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As born again believers in Jesus Christ, we have been blessed to be a blessing to others, not just take our prize and head for home, hording it to ourselves. We are to love what God loves, and despise what God despises. Our actions, attitudes, mannerisms should reflect those of our Father… “…that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1. If we truly love God, we want to be more like Him in every way. We want to resemble Him, emulate Him, and certainly obey Him.
The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 came upon a man, a despised Jew, who had been beaten severely, robbed and left for dead. If being a Christian was only limited to “not doing sinful acts”, he could’ve continued on his way, “not getting involved”, and with clear conscience; because, after all, he didn’t commit a sin.
What about us today? Do we hide behind the façade of “not getting involved”?
Matthew 25:44-45 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Sin…separates us from God. Whether it’s a sin committed or a reflection of Christ omitted, it’s disobedience to toward our Lord and Savior – and that’s sin.
In Christ, Rick

Less is not more! Acts 2:42; Mt. 4:23; 2 Peter 1:5

Have you ever noticed how, more and more, people want more for less? They want something for nothing. That seems to be the primary target of investment; minimal outlay for maximum production! I guess we call that efficiency, and that’s a good thing. But somehow that seems to counteract the concept of “investment”. When someone goes to a gambling casino, the goal is to come out with more than you entered with, right? Put in a dollar, receive many dollars. If there were such a game where we could put in nothing, but simply be declared “winner” by virtue of showing up and thusly be handed over some large amount of money, I suppose the lineup to play would be endless! But would anyone actually call that “investment”?

People want something, financial, educational, material, without the sufficient effort to obtain it. It’s always a nice thing when prices go down or a good deal avails itself. The problem is when the commodity gets trimmed while the same price is required. The less is more philosophy works in both directions. At the restaurant, we’re told, ‘Look, our prices haven’t increased like our competitors!’. But, portions have decreased for the same price as before!

Genesis 3:19 tells man that he must work for his food. But should we expect more and more food for the same amount of work? Anything that’s desirable is worthy of investment. Today’s culture thinks nothing of a man and woman cohabitating without the commitment of marriage. They move in together, have children together, share finances… who needs to be married? Commitment goes both ways – it’s an investment of lives, a forsaking of any other relationship options. More is more.

Unfortunately, the less is more mentality seems to have found its way into the church as well. More and more Christians want the deep Spiritual relationship with Jesus, with a minimal investment. When I was growing up, “going to church” was far more than an hour of worship on Sunday morning. The Lord’s Day began with Sunday School at 9:00, followed by morning worship from 10:30 – 12:00. Sunday evening we had evening worship – i.e. sermon, hymns, invitation just like morning worship. Then, Wednesday evening was youth group and prayer meeting. For whatever reason, Sunday School has become optional to the point of being done away with altogether in many churches. It’s simply too much of an investment. We want the same relationship with Jesus, but less “church”, less study, less commitment.

Acts 2:42 says believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Why is it so difficult for people to be devoted to anything more than the least they can do? Seeking the kingdom of God, first, above all else, requires an investment of ourselves. Sunday School, for our children and for adults as well, is a tremendous opportunity for every believer to be taught, to be engrained in the truths of scripture. Preaching is equally important and essential to our spiritual growth. But “teaching” is another aspect.

Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Teaching and preaching are separate things, both important, both necessary. Our schedules are indeed hectic. We work long hours leaving us little time to spend with our families, and they are important. Mark 8:36 But what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or, the soul of his family? Sunday School is a tremendous opportunity to instill God’s teaching into the minds of our children, and as they witness Mom and Dad also going to Sunday School, there is great opportunity to lead by example, showing them that seeking the kingdom of God knows no age.

Sunday School is a great way to get involved in the life of the church.

Sunday School is a great way to influence the lives of people; young and old alike.

Sunday School is so important because of the text book we use.

Sunday School follows the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you aren’t presently in the practice of attending Sunday School, give it a try. Bring your children and come yourself at 9:45 on Sunday morning. 2 Peter 1:5 tells us to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge…”  The goodness in our lives means nothing without the knowledge of God’s word. Let Jesus teach you how to live.

Less is not more!                                                                                             In Christ, Rick

Beauty’s Great – Righteousness is Better Genesis 3:6; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

 

 

It’s interesting how different people’s priorities line up, our likes and dislikes, things we adore and pursue compared to things we are indifferent about. Celebrity athletes are idolized for their physical skills while their lack of moral character is completely ignored. Actors, singers, politicians and the like are admired for their external beauty; their ability to perform, their sex-appeal, and their inner beauty is ignored.

 

The society in which we live rarely considers, and hardly even talks about…righteousness. Perhaps it’s because righteousness requires something of us. It requires people to align themselves to a standard that may render them un-popular. After all, those attributes that bring us attention, or “love” as the world defines it, are external things that can be seen, or heard, or tasted and thus admired. Political correctness says that those things that make you or me righteous are subjective, and what’s righteous for you, might not be for me. So without a common denominator, something that defines righteousness as a constant thing, not a moving target that changes according to an individual’s opinions or whims, it (said righteousness) really isn’t worthy of admiration. We need a standard to which righteousness must be aligned…for everyone, regardless of their agreement.

 

God’s Word is that standard. And the world can hardly help itself but to agree in many areas of “moral code”. Rarely will someone argue that taking another’s life, or stealing from someone, or dishonesty, or lying would be viewed as righteous characteristics. The problem today seems to be how people take moral issues and manipulate, rationalize, and redefine them to suit their own desires. So, a statement like, “I did not have sexual relations with that person!” gets reduced to someone’s personal definition of “sexual relations”. Hairs get split to the extent that virtually anything can be made to appear “righteous”. So the important, admirable things become, not those things which are right or wrong, rather those things that appeal to the senses, while we are indifferent to righteousness.

‘I desire to have that candy bar. The fact that Mom and Dad forbid me from having a candy bar is of no concern to me.’ Our love of beauty (to us) without a corresponding love of righteousness goes back to the beginning of time.

 

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

 

They knew that this was forbidden by God. But it appealed to the senses. It appealed to their pride, what they wanted. Righteousness went out the window, irrelevant, compared to the immediate desire. The same concept carries over to our human craving for immediate gratification rather than waiting for the right thing. ‘Bird in the hand’ mentality. We pray and pray for something, but then settle for the best thing available now rather than waiting for the right thing later.

 

Seeking God’s direction and guidance is of little use if we aren’t committed to wait on the Lord for that direction. We need to possess an undying love for righteousness. Physical beauty is fleeting. Those things that appeal to the senses are short lived and temporal. A Godly, righteous heart is eternal and more importantly, it’s what pleases God. Those temporal desires, when they are given priority over righteousness, take control of us and become our God. That then, is idolatry and God won’t tolerate it. It cost Adam and Eve their perfect home in the garden and their perfect relationship with the creator of all things righteous. It will cost us, today, our relationship with our Heavenly Father as well.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 14 …For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?

 

In Christ,

Rick

Is the Bible inconsistent and fallible in view of the discrepancies between  2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21?

Great point! I seem to remember discussing that same point in the past. Not sure with whom, might have been in OT class at GLCC. If you look at 1 Chronicles 21:1 and following, the same story is told from the perspective of another writer. And here it says,  Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” vs 2 Sam. 24:1 that says, “Again, the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He incited David against them, saying…” This passage in 2 Sam 24 comes on the heels of great military successes. David has been the recipient of God’s blessing in every military conquest. God is angry with “Israel”, for what specifically, it doesn’t say. But the NIV note says ‘some have concluded that it was occasioned by the widespread support among the people for the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba against David…’ None the less, David had some pride issues brewing within him. And who could be surprised? With all David’s successes, the Lord’s anointing as the chosen King, God’s constant blessing…  it does appear that God, being all knowing, and while not causing David to sin (James 1:13-14), He did provide the means for David to “choose” to sin (i.e. God provided the opportunity for David to do, what inwardly he wanted to do anyway.) The mere act of taking a census, that God had instructed him to take, would have simply been obedience. But David’s instructions to Joab in verse 2 to go ahead and take the census, “so that I may know how many there are.” shows us that it was something David wanted to do in the first place. He didn’t say, ‘Joab. I know it sounds prideful, but God has commanded us to take a census of Israel and Judah, for whatever reason. Maybe we’ve got too many guys. The army has gotten too large to where it’s no longer clear to our enemies where our strength is coming from. We know it’s God who blesses us with victory, regardless of the size of the army, and we will continue to give Him the glory. But to those we go up against, it’s no wonder to them that we’re so successful; with an army of 800,000+, who wouldn’t be?!  So I need you to go out and count ’em up.’  David knew what he was doing was a wrong thing to do, moreover, his attitude about doing it was wrong. Even Joab tried to talk some sense into David, but David would hear none of it…till after he had done it. Then, “David was conscience stricken…and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.” (24:10)  It puts me in mind of the Jews that would not, could not, see the truth about Jesus and cried out for his crucifixion. But after His death, burial, and resurrection, at Pentecost, Peter preached the truth to them and they were likewise, “conscience stricken”. Acts 2:37 “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?'”

And on the night Jesus was betrayed, following Jesus arrest, Peter, like David, being one so close to the Lord, was momentarily controlled by sinful selfishness, adamantly denied that he even knew Jesus at all. Afterwards, hearing the cock crow, he was “conscience stricken”; “And he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Lk. 22:62)

So yes, at first reading of this passage in 2 Samuel 24, it would appear that David was set up for a fall – and he was. But he chose to do, to carry out, what was already in his heart. But God, in his great wisdom, knew David inside and out, and while He knew of David’s inner pride, He also knew it needed to be dealt with. And…God knew how David would deal with sin once he had carried it out and was convicted of it. He knew David was a repentant person and his repentance, his acceptance of his punishment, would serve to heal Israel as well. Just like God provided David an opportunity to sin, He also provided David an opportunity to do right, to show compassion worthy of God’s approval and blessing (v 14-17).

And that’s my take on 2 Samuel 24:1-17. (Source: Rick’s Commentary on the Old Testament)

This same question was a point of discussion, and thereby a class assignment for us to research, in my Old Testament III class at GLCC. This was my answer at that time which I believe goes along consistently with what I’ve just written (above).

There are many different theories of explanation for the differences. The first difference appearing in the first verse of each account where Samuel states it was the “anger of the Lord” that incited David against Israel. In Chronicles the culprit is said to be Satan. One theory of explanation for this is that of progressive revelation; whereas not all things are revealed by God at once. Over time, God reveals things more completely. Just as the concept of life after death was more clearly revealed in later years than it was at the time of Daniel and prior. Also the understanding of Satan, or the adversary, was not as clearly revealed at the time of the Samuel writing.

Another theory for the difference is that it could have been a textual, or copying error. In other areas of difference, number comparisons appear significantly different. For instance, the census figures for the number of fighting men was considerably different and the amount paid by David for the site of the threshing floor was 50 shekels of silver, in 2 Samuel, versus 600 shekels of gold in Chronicles. One idea is that numeric precision was not as important in ancient times, suffice it to say that there were ‘a lot’ of fighting men available. In the case of the monetary difference, at different times in history silver was worth more than gold and it could likely be that 50 shekels of silver and 600 shekels of gold were equivalent at that time.

 

In Christ,

Rick

Dying to Live

Dying to Live – John 12:24-25

Spring has sprung! Or so we all hope! It is April, and temperatures are warming up. The snow is gone (hopefully for good). Robins are back; trees are actually starting to bud out, and flowers are beginning to pop up! Looking around our rural community, farmers are beginning to do a little field fitting (i.e. getting the fields ready for planting). It won’t be long till spring planting will be under way; home gardening too!

I enjoy gardening. I like to work the dirt and plan for the vegetables I’d like to plant. But then I really enjoy watching as the plants sprout and poke their heads up through the soil, and as the summer progresses, watching them progress into maturity, and then seeing the fruit form on their vines or stalks. When my kids were little it was fun for them, and me, to go out and work in the garden. Explaining to them how the process of planting, and growing and harvesting works would really, and still does, spark amazement to think that each one of those seeds, planted in the ground, if properly watered and weeded and cared for, would grow up to be a mature plant yielding produce many times the amount of what was first planted.

There would be plenty to harvest for us to eat or to use for seed to plant next year’s garden. Think about it: just one ear of corn provides enough kernels of corn to plant several rows of sweet corn plants, yielding several bushels of (ears) of fresh sweet corn. Potatoes are another fascinating garden plant. You dig a hole and drop in a couple old potatoes from last year and by fall the kids and I would go out and dig up the roots of that plant and find dozens of fresh, new potatoes! It’s a demonstration of sacrifice. Out of the one seed comes forth life! But it’s not until the old seed, or kernel, or potato, dies and decays, giving food and nutrients for the new plant, that new life emerges.

We see the same thing in nature with certain species of fish. Their life cycle culminates by returning to the streams and rivers of their birth where they lay their eggs and then they die. It’s like they have just one purpose; to give of themselves in order for new life to carry on. It’s like they’re “dying to live”. Without such a sacrifice, there would be no continuance of life. The one life given, makes way for the lives of those to come.

In an effort to explain His own forthcoming sacrifice, and the necessity of the death of one to provide life eternal for many, Jesus told His disciples in John 12:24-25, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life well lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

How do we choose to invest the physical life that we’ve been given? If we hold on to it, as if it something of eternal worth, as if this life is all there is, then that will be truly all there is for us. But if we invest the life that we’re given here on earth in serving Jesus Christ and living for Him, the reward will be a new life, an eternal life.  Do we choose to hold on tightly to the temporary life we live here and now, or do offer all that we have, surrendered to Jesus so that He will give to us an eternal life that does not end? Jesus chose to give of His life for all of us, to make that promise of eternal life possible.

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”      C.T. Studd

In Christ,

Rick

Spring Cleaning – Proverbs 20:9; 2 Corinthians 13:5

 

According to the calendar, Spring arrived a few weeks ago. And for the most part we’ve had some pretty “spring-like” weather. But this past week has brought us back to the reality that a Michigan winter never gives up easily. March is one of those months that can go either way; Spring-like or Winter holding on to the end. As the temperatures increase and snow turns to rain showers another reality becomes evident; snow and ice melting away leaves behind the residue of filth accumulated since last fall. Everything looks dirty, muddy, piles of gravel from a winter’s worth of snowplowing. It seems that there is mud everywhere! It’s impossible to keep a car clean!

It’s not only outdoors where we find the accumulation of dirt and residue left behind by a long winter. This is where we come by the age old phrase, “Spring Cleaning”.  Open those windows and doors, clean out those places that have been closed up and covered up for months – gone unattended for a season. It happens. Something is sparkling clean and we admire it, being the way it’s supposed to be. But it won’t stay that way if it only sits there being admired. It must be maintained, dusted, polished, cared for, repaired. It doesn’t take anything long to regress if it’s not cared for.

Proverbs 20:9 “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?”

That goes for the Spiritual condition of our hearts as well. It is imperative that we continually maintain our hearts through prayer, meditation on the Word of God, and repentance when we stumble – always maintaining our close relationship with the Lord and depending on Him fully.

When sin has been evicted from us, if we do not replace it with the good things of God, sin will find its way back again. Mt. 12:43-45 43“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

A dirty object doesn’t cleanse itself. Our hearts are precious to us. It’s the seat, the origination of all that is good or evil. It’s that place where sinful thoughts are nurtured or done away with. Our hearts are constantly presented with propositions to do good or evil. Dust and dirt is looking for a place to settle and if we don’t keep it wiped down and polished, it’ll accumulate and our hearts will grow filthy dirty.

Let’s not wait for Spring to do our cleaning. Your heart is your soul’s navigation system. It must be constantly monitored and maintained. Let us constantly look to Jesus as our maintenance man, leaning on him for His protection and seeking His will and guidance every single day.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?

In Christ,

Rick

You are what you eat – Proverbs 23:7

You are what you eat – Proverbs 23:7                                                                                                                                                       

The other day I was in the local diner and the conversation between another customer, myself, and the owner was on the importance of whole foods; being cautious about chemicals, additives, etc. in the foods we eat. Actually we started out talking about health issues and how interesting it is to compare the type and frequency of various illnesses, say 50-70 years ago with today. The statement was made by one the elderly folks sitting there, “You are what you eat!” – indicating the fact that so many foreign additives and chemicals, processed foods, are interjected into our food today that didn’t used to be present. If you aren’t careful to read the labels you can be taking in all kinds of unhealthy “tag alongs” that build up over time in our bodies causing sickness, obesity, heart disease, clogged arteries, unclear thinking capacity…

I remember a common saying, in the early years of the computer age; ‘garbage in – garbage out’. Indicating that the outcome directly correlates with the input. If you plant weed seeds in the garden, don’t expect to produce a useful crop of vegetables. If a person spends all their time laying on the couch watching television and eating junk-food, never exercising, it is no surprise when they are overweight and lack physical stamina. Our minds tend to operate in similar fashion. They are reflective of what they dwell upon. If we spend all our waking hours playing violent video games or watching movies with foul language, violence, and vulgar moral activity we become a product of desensitization. We’re no longer bothered by things that used to appall us.

It can and often does, get blamed on society, those we hang out with; outside influences. As if we have no control over such. But what a person fills their mind with, what we dwell upon, is a choice, a direct reflection of something we find pleasing or important – a desire. And that desire lights in our thoughts and we can either allow it to stay, or shoe it away. But it’s like that temptation is coated with quick drying glue; the longer we allow it to light, the more stuck it gets and more difficult to get rid of. It’s like eating a plate full of cookies and, in mid form you discover the cookie you’re devouring has raisons in it! You can either spit them out (logical) or go ahead and ingest them (not recommended).

James 1:14-15 …but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

So, in a way, the things that we do, the things that we say, our attitudes are directly related to the things that we nurture. Garbage in – garbage out. What you think has everything to do with you and your choices, your desires. So the inside stuff that you think you’re concealing, isn’t that well-hidden.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…

People can see your attitude long before they hear your words. Your thoughts affect your attitude. And your attitude affects your words and actions. In Genesis 4 we’re introduced to Cain and Abel. Abel put forth an offering of meat that was more pleasing and acceptable to God than Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables. God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s and he began to nurture anger and jealousy toward Abel. God saw what was happening with Cain’s attitude and he said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? …sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

The second part of the Proverbs 23:7 verse says, He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.

What’s going on outside isn’t painting a clear picture of what’s really going on inside. The true inner thoughts and desires lurk within and will eventually come forth. God says, ‘don’t let it happen’. “…it desires to have you, but you must master it.

Rather than relying on shear will power to keep away sin and bad thoughts, be proactive. Instead, fill your thoughts with good, wholesome, godly thoughts to where there is no room for evil and impure thinking. Devour good, healthy food. You are what you eat!

 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

In Christ,

Rick