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Monthly Archives: March 2017

 The Comparison of the Bullies of the Bible and the Bullies of Addiction Part One:Absalom 

A couple weeks ago I wrote about devoting things to destruction that cause me to struggle and sometimes falling in those struggles. In that blog I talked about why God told Israel to completely wipe out the inhabitants of the land that they were coming over to possess. It was because of their hearts or more accurately because their weakness to live whole heartedly for the LORD. I struggle with this at times how about you?

So that being said God has brought me to the parts of the Bible dealing with Absalom.  

The Setup

Absalom had a sister; Tamar; and the Word says that she was beautiful.(I would like to point out that King David had a bunch of wives and through them he had a bunch of children.) Now Absalom had a brother Ammon that was obsessed with Tamar, in fact the Word says that her beauty made Ammon ill and that his love(lust) for her tormented him( sound familiar, I have felt this way in my struggles). Needless to say Ammon ended up having his way with her. 

This infuriated Absalom to the point that for two years he plotted on how he would kill Ammon, and when the proper time came he did. 

 Ammon sleeping with his sister was not a sin deserving death because the Word does not say that Tamar was betrothed to anyone(Deut 22;23-24). If anything according to Leviticus 20:17; Ammon should have been cut off from his people. So this makes Absalom a murderer and after killing Ammon he fleed to Geshur so that he wouldn’t face his punishment which was death. (Numbers 35:17-21) I am not saying that Ammon is innocent and in fact he is a Bully , just not the Bully I am writing about.

Galatians 6:8(NIV) says,”Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” And Romans 6:23 states,” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I bring these two piece of scripture up because both of these gentlemen’s lives were defined by thier sins. And Ammon died by the hands of his brother and Absalom died by the very hands of the man that would bring him home from Geshur and reunited him with his father. Thier sins lead to their respective deaths.

The Fall 

 The thing about addictive things is that from time to time we yearn for them and that is exactly what the Word says David did after he got past grieving for Ammon.2 Samuel 13;39 says it this way,”And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.” 

David yearned for something(someone) that would eventually cause a huge amount of strife in not only his life but also in the lives of those whom were closest to him. Wow if that doesn’t sound like the effects of Addiction; I don’t know what does. Addicts long for something that brings chaos and sometimes death into not only thier lives but also into the lives of those closest to them. So here Absalom is the substance of the addiction for David, where as for drug Addicts it might be Meth or Heroine, or for the alcoholic; Bourbon or the sex addict; prostitutes. 

The substances are Bullies to those addicted to them and as Bullies they push the Addicts around in different ways. Do this, do that, I promise I will make you feel better now, it not wrong or how can it be wrong when it feels so good. How about you go my way and I will help you forget the hurt. 

In the beginning a beer isn’t addictive, Marijuana does not make you steal from your love ones to buy harder stuff and nudity in a movie doesn’t make you loose control. But over time if you listen to the inner whisperings of these Bullies you get hooked and a beer becomes a hidden flash of vodka in your desk at work and becoming so inebriated that you loose you job, an occasional toke on a drag becomes doing the white lines and movies showing breasts become having a full blown trist.  

This was Absalom in David’s life. He went from living in his house not banished, not dead (which is the punishment he deserved) to ripping the kingdom away from David, to seeking David’s (his own Father’s)life, to the defilement of David’s concubines on the roof of the palace for all of Jerusalem to see. Absalom would have almost completely ruined David’s life( but for the grace of God), just like other addictive avenues can ruin our lives unless we seek God. 

There is an answer to addiction; Jesus! 

Jesus himself said,”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Jesus’s yoke is easy where as the yoke of Addiction is hard and brings death.

I love this: the second part of Galatians 6:8 states,” but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

I love how Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He says,”Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(italics added)

See Jesus is the only one that can set us free from the Bullies of Addiction.

Prayer:

Oh Father, I need your help to put this down. I know that all things are possible through you and I need your help. Please help me!                 In Jesus’s name, Amen 

Tempers Fly.

This week has been a tough week! I got into a spat with someone at work and put someone else down for coming up short with something they said they would do. As if I have never come up short or broken a promise!  Yet in the mix of all this week had to offer; I sat up straight and looked on as though I am better than these other two people. What audacity!

God however is still working on me and has shown me a couple of bible verses and some ways for me to apply them.

In the book of James, Jesus’s brother says,”For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”(James 3:7‭-‬10 ESV)

I love the book of James, he does a great job of simplifying things.  And God uses it so well in my life . In the past God has also pointed me to this nugget of truth in dealing with other choices I have made; “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”(James 4:17 ESV)

So the way I dealt with these two people was sin for me. I complained about both of them behind their backs and put them down. I was putting people down who were made in the image of my heavenly Father. 

God then showed me two instances in King David’s life. The first one is what not to do and as you will see God moved a person to redirect David’s anger. Where as the second instance we see how a more mature David deals with the person in a Godly manner. 

First we find King David about to kill Nabal for his rudeness to David and those whom were with him. This  bit of Bible history is worth reading and can be found at 1st Samuel 25. So in 1st Samuel 25 God uses a lady named Abigail to advert David’s anger and to save her husband. It says,”When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my Lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my Lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my Lord, whom you sent.”(1 Samuel 25:23‭-‬25 ESV)

My great wife has played Abigail a lot in my life and I praise God for her. See Abigail met King David;  and when she met him she did so in a  humble and meek way. She took the blame and also brought the food with her that David had asked Nabal her husband for. In the End David’s fierce anger was subdued and Nabal did not die by his hand. 

The second occurrence was between a man named Shimei  when David was fleeing from Absalom. It is found in the 16th chapter of 2 Samuel. Shimei came out cursing and throwing stones at King David and those whom were with him. And when  Abishai the head of David’s army wanted to behead Shimei for his actions King David replied,” If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so? And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.(2 Samuel 16:5-11. ESV )

Was this the case did God really telling Shimei to act the way he was acting or has David just learned how to holster his temper and tongue? 

I have never had something so bad as my son rise up to over throw my  position as father and spiritual leader of my household, but I have had people in the work place curse me and treat me as Shimei and Nabal were treating David and those whom were with him. And I have acted more like David against Nabal at those times(especially  this week) rather than reacting like David in dealing with Shimei. God has shown me this week and continues to shows me that his holiness is a pursuit that He will leads me through. After all He says,”Be holy for I am holy.” (Leviticus 20:7)

Prayer;

Oh Abba, Father, please continue to lead me, please continue to draw me closers to you; all the while transforming me more into your image. In Jesus name, Amen 

Part 2 of Devoted to Destruction 

In the book of Romans, Paul says that “without the law;  he would not have known what it meant to covet.” (7:7)

Over the years the best definition for covet by far(in my mind) comes from a book by James Macdonald called Lord Change My Attitude Before It Is To Late. James says,”that when you covet something you are saying that God is not enough (p.86,2001). 

A couple of weeks ago we had a ice storm that came through and  cancelled church. So that day when I was spending time in the Word, God brought me to the part of the book of Joshua dealing with Achin( ch7). 

At this point in the book of Joshua: Israel has started to enter the promise land, God had torn down the mighty walls of Jericho and gave the command that everything inside the walls was to be devoted to destruction. Israel was to keep nothing for themselves and only the silver,the gold, the bronze vessels and the iron was to be placed into the treasury of the LORD(vs. 18,19). 

More over God was bringing Israel into possess  a land flowing with milk and honey( Deut 26:9) Into a land in which they did not labor, to dwell in cities they had not built and to eat food from fields, vineyards and orchards they had not sown( Joshua 24;13).

Israel was on the brink of being completely blessed by God; this man Achin was on the brink of being given all these blessings. Blessings he did not earn. 

So what did Achin do? He took some of the things that were to be devoted to destruction as well as some of the things that were to be devoted to the LORD. 

I love Achin’s excuse;  he said,” Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a gold bar weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them(7:20,21).”

What was Achin’s downfall? It was that all God was bringing him and his family into was not enough. He was going to live in a house he did not build and he was going to reap crops he did not plant. He was on the verge of something so great yet he wanted more, he wanted things he was never meant to have.

I have been here. I  have said that God is not enough in my life through my actions and thoughts, and this has brought hard times into my life. It has put a separation between the God I love and myself. It has stifled my relationship with Him and sometimes with my wife and children. 

Over the past couple of years God has been working on this in my life, because He offers eternal life through Jesus Christ; an un-merritted blessing. Still there are times when I seek after things that are wood, hay, and stubble. I guess I should put it this way; there are times where I feel this big whole in my life and instead of filling it with God, I fill it with other stuff, non eternal stuff, stuff that will just burn up. Stuff that rusts, that moths eat and thieves break in to steal. And that is coveting. 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for showing me these things and I pray that you will continue to smooth these dumps out in my life. You are the Potter and I am the clay, LORD mold me the way you see fit to be used for purposes that will further your kingdom. And I pray this all in the wonderful name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

James Macdonald quote from LORD, Change My Attitude Before It Is To Late, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois,2001

    Devote to Destruction part one

    I have a very addictive personality, except when it comes to eating right or exercise. But that will be another blog for another time. The bible is clear that we are to run from temptations. Some examples of this are;

    1. Flee from idolatry(1 corinthians 10:14)
    2.  We are told to flee from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:11) or
    3.  How about fleeing from sexual immortality(1 corinthians 6:18)

    Jesus even  himself said, “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.” (Mark 9:43-4)

    In other words, do what you can to eliminate the things that cause you to stumble, or flee from the things causing you to stumble. Devote them to Destruction!!

    When you read the historical books of the old testament, especially the parts where Israel is entering the promise land, you cannot ignore God’s command to them to utterly destroy the inhabitants that already live in the land. See, like us the Israelites are weak in their hearts and proven to follow other gods and worship at foreign altars (I mean they were not out of Egypt long before they had Arron fashion them idols to worship.) ( Deuter 9:16)

    As for us, when we choose to only celebrate the attributes of God that best suits us, that is idolatry. An example of this, is only recognizing God’s love without recognizing His truth. Guess what? Without His truth there is no love. God is not just loving, he is also just, sovereign (in complete control all of the time), and holy. Hey, let us not forget holy! I think Roman’s 2:4 point this out perfectly, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant lead you to repentance.”

    Back to where I was going:

    Israel was told to put these nations to the sword and to destroy all of their cities and possessions in order that Israel would serve the LORD wholeheartedly.

    Deuteronomy 7 says, “And when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, you must devote them completely to destruction.  You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them….for they would turn away your son’s from following me, to serve other gods.“(2-4)

    Israel did not obey this command and so there were times when God’s hand was against them. Almost the whole book of Judges and great portions of 1st and 2nd Kings are based on this fact. There is also, I am willing to bet, some of this in your lives and there has been some in mine.

    Two posts ago, I stated that this past year was a year of backsliding in my relationship with God. In my house, because of my addictive behavior to fleshly things, we have filtering software on our computers, and on my phone, and my beautiful wife has set my Netflix account so pg-13 is as high as I can go for my viewing pleasures.

    I guess you could say that I was fleeing from sexual immortality, but until a month ago, I still had my Xbox and there were no filtering programs for it (not to mention I would play video games literally for hours, I would get lost in them). I had always wondered why it was so hard to wholeheartedly follow after the LORD, why I was not able to go to the next level of faithfulness in our relationship. The problem was staring me right in the eyes. I had not completely devoted the possessions of my pre-resurrected life to destruction. I left something alive that could pull my heart from the LORD. Well, the Xbox is gone!

    Maybe you are longing to go deeper in your relationship with our heavenly Father but something is holding you back. Let me ask, have you devoted to destruction the things that could creep up and create a bigger separation between you and God?

    Jesus did say,”If your eye cause you to sin, tear it out!”(Mark 9:47)

    Prayer:

    Oh Abba, Father, I have not devoted to destruction the things that I should have and now I am asking for your strength, your power and your fortitude to cut these things down. LORD I wish to draw closer to you help me to make that possible. In Jesus name, amen.