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Intoxicated in Her

Be intoxicated always in her love.
Proverbs 5:19b.ESV

A couple of weeks ago and even now this piece of scripture hits me and hits me hard. As a husband, there are so many things that I struggle with and one of those things is letting God’s word run my marriage.
I constantly pray Ephesians 5 over my marriage. Asking our Father to help me in specific areas. Areas like loving my wife as Christ loves the church or in helping me in laying my life down for her in areas where it will create the most impact and lifts her up the most. However, this piece of scripture says something different. Solomon is instructing his sons here to be intoxicated in how their wives love them.
Wow, I fall short there! And not just some of the time. My wife; as I am sure your wives as well; desire true and lasting intimacy. They want us to desire them but not to just desire them they want us to be intoxicated by them and the love they have to offer us. I know my wife does.
But there is another reason Solomon is telling his sons to be intoxicated with their wives and that is to avoid the temptation of lust. If we are busy being caught up in all our wives have to offer and the love she shows us, our hearts, our eyes, and our thoughts will not be prone to wonder. And we will not notice the adulteress or how her lips drip with honey.
I know God is using this piece of scripture in my life and marriage, and I am glad that He brings it front and center, especially now. It has been a while since I felt this way about her, and I have let other things captivate that area of my life, an area that only God and my wife should occupy. In the past I have fallen prey to the Grass is Greener philosophy but with the help of God, I realize that the grass is greener where you water it. And since reading this piece of scripture my desire is to honor, God and love my wife in this way.

Question 1: Have you allowed something to rob you from being able to be intoxicated with the love of your wife? Maybe there has been resentment or an outside influence such as pornography or another woman. Confess this to her and recommit yourself to your marriage.

Question 2: What would it take to get you to fall in line with this piece of scripture and other pieces of scripture on marriage?

Challenge: Solomon challenges his sons to be,” intoxicated with the wives of their youth and to drink from their own fountains.” And as a brother, I accept this challenge and pass it on to you.

Prayer: O Abba, Father, you have blessed each of us with a princess from your kingdom and we are so grateful for this. In fact, Your word says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD, so please help us to Love our wives as you have loved us. Help us to cherish her and to be intoxicated with her. But most if all Help us to glorify You in our marriages. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen

Lines in the Sand

I love the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, especially the ones with Yosemite Sam. There is this one episode where Bugs and Sam are about to get in a fight and Bugs Bunny drew a line in the sand. He bets hot headed Yosemite Sam to cross it, and guess what? He did! And not just once. He crossed every line that Bugs Bunny drew with his foot until he stepped right off of a cliff.
I bring this up because a line has been drawn for us. One between life with God on one side and life without Him on the other. This line is called sin.
I love how Moses says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deut 30:19).
Joshua said the same thing this way, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Joshua 24:14‭-‬15)‬‬
Along the same lines, Paul said, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
These men of God are all talking about this distinguishable line. We can see this line. It is present in every choice we make. We know exactly where sin starts, and we, like Yosemite Sam, cross it.
An example of crossing the line is lying to save our own skin. Yet before we lie to others, we often lie to ourselves first. We look at porn and tell ourselves that this is not hurting anyone but ourselves, when in fact it is hurting all of the important relationships in our lives. Starting with our relationship with God, then moving on to our wives and even our children.
Now each of us knows exactly where this line is. Instead of fleeing from sexual immorality, as Paul said, we inch closer to the line, step on it, or we cross it completely.
There are times when you’ll pick up your phone or game system controller and your tempted by the voice on the internet calling out and trying to entice you. Remember, “Her lips do drip with honey.” In those times, we need to choose to be as far from that line as humanly possible, or like Sam, we will step off the cliff and fall. The seductresses’ ways eventually lead down the Sheol!
Challenge:
So here is my challenge: The next time you are called from the other side of internet, walk away.
Questions:
Have you ever felt frustrated by crossing the lines of sin?
Are you to the point where you want help in staying away from the things on the other side of that line?
I bet your church has some gentlemen that can come along side of you to help, so remember what my brother James says,” Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:16).

Sources
Bugs Bunny Rides Again is a 1948 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies short, released in 1948, directed by Friz Freleng, and written by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese. The short is both part of the Western and a parody of the genre’s conventions. Voice characterizations are performed by Mel Blanc

I am Scared

It is funny but the Freddy Krueger franchise and the original Poltergeist movie scare me. My wife would agree with the fact that I do not like scary movies, and there have been times when we will be laying in bed trying to go to sleep and my wife would start singing;

1,2 Freddy is coming for you,

3,4 better lock the door,

5,6 get the crucifix

Needless to say, it takes me a while to fall asleep after hearing her singing that song. ( Let me say that she doesn’t do this out of a malicious heart, but rather out of jest and I love her for it.)

Fear is a funny thing. People are fearful of losing their jobs, houses, their spouses, their children and even their lives, but people these days do not really fear God.

Jesus says in the Gospel according to Luke,” But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who after he has killed, has the authority to cast into hell. Yes, I will tell you to fear him!”(12:5)

I bring this topic up because it has been laid on my heart. A couple of days ago, as I was driving my daughter to college, Dennis Rainey was doing a brief commercial on the radio station I listen to, he was challenging the listeners to have a healthy fear of the LORD.

Now I love the LORD a lot, but if I am honest I have not loved him with my whole heart, and in some ways, I have definitely been more afraid of losing something or someone close to me than of having a healthy fear of our LORD.

And furthermore, I am a sinner. I am; at times; wilfully disobedient.

Do you know what that means? God sees everything. What does God see? EVERYTHING. So when you or I openly choose to sin we are saying that we are not fearful of God.

I love how in his book,”God Wrote a Book”, James Macdonald says this about fear: “Fear is the attitude of heart that seeks a right relationship to the fear source. When you have a fear of the LORD, you have something in your heart that makes you want to be in a right relationship with God.”

So here is the thing; in order to make sure that I am actively seeking to be in a right relationship with the Creator of everything, I have to throw away what I want to believe about God( which by the way could be construed as idolatry) and replace it with the truth.( from God’s Word) You know things like;

  • God is only loving, with, His love and kindness are meant to lead us to repentance. (Romans 2;4) In fact, Jesus’ says to the church in Pergamum (and to us through reading it)in Revelations 2:16, that unless we repent, he(Jesus) is going to come and war with us with the sword of his mouth. Now that is scary!
  • God accepts us, sins and all, with, He disciplines the ones he loves. (Hebrews12:6) And why does someone discipline you? He does because we are his children and he wants us to choose the right paths in our lives. Narrow path.

There are numerous other examples throughout scripture in dealing with who God is and how our relationship with him should actually be lived.

He says other scary things like:

“I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” Matt 7:23

He tells us that he is going to spit us out. (Rev. 3:16)

He says,” Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say.” Luke 6:47

See as long as we choose to live a life filled with sin or a life defined by sin, we are opening ourselves up to hear Christ say the things above to us. I am not saying, however, that we can ever on this side of heaven be completely without sin but rather we can allow the Spirit to draw that sin out of us. And to help us choose Jesus instead of whatever we are choosing instead of him.

We seem to choose things in our lives to fear that really have no power over us. We fear losing things that we hold closest to us that have no bearing on our eternal future instead of putting our fear in not being in a prosperous relationship with GOD.

Prayer

Oh, Abba, Father help me to be in a right relationship with you. Help me to cling to the truths that bring eternal life and to shed the things in my life that bring separation between us. Help me to love you more, and put a healthy fear in my heart for you.

In the matchless name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Bibliography

Freddy Kruger, Wes Craven, 1984

Poltergeist, Steven Spielberg, 1982

God Wrote a Book, James Macdonald, 2002, Crossway books.

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Bullies of the Bible part 5: Satan

Last year I started a post series entitled Bullies of the Bible. We left off with the Sinful Nature. And in my mind when it comes to who makes the top of the list of bullies from life and from the Bible it is almost a tie between the Sinful Nature and Satan. However if this was a horse race Satan would cross the finish line first, by a nose.

In the beginning before the Sinful Nature was yet born, Satan was already alive and wreaking havoc. It was Satan who deceived Adam and Eve in the garden; and from this deception Sin was born. Satan was the one who brought turmoil and despair into Job’s life. And if we think long and hard about it he is the one who is calling the Sinful Nature out in us. He draws out the Sinful Nature in our hearts much like we would use salve to draw out a deep splinter where we have one.

Satan has taken on many forms: from a serpent with Eve to an angel of the light in Job, or from a dragon in Revelations 12:7 to a lion in 1 Peter 5:8. So, whether he is Kaa from Disney’s the Jungle Book or Godzilla destroying Tokyo or even Scar from Disney’s The Lion King, he is definitely a bully.

Satan works differently from most other bullies. He isn’t interested in your lunch money or some other material thing you have, he is interested in you. He is seeking an army, a mighty army, with one purpose and that is to overthrow GOD (as if he could).

Satan wants your heart, no, your soul! He is a lion prowling around looking for souls to devour. And much like Scar, he is a liar.

Jesus says this about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

As I said above, Satan helped usher in the Sinful Nature. He knows yours and he calls it by name. If you think about this, you know it to be true. And, why does he do this? Because if you are worthless to GOD (which is not true), then you are powerful to him. Which, by the way, is a lie. Also, Satan doesn’t share his imaginary power, he just deceives you to steal yours.

I love using examples, so here are a few:

Marriage:

God joined us to our wives or vice versa in our union with a portion of his Spirit.(Malàchi 2:15) And Paul tells us not to grieve this Spirit. (Eph 4:30)

Yet, we allow Satan to call the sin in us out when it comes to faithfulness in our marriages. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “That if we look at someone with lust in our hearts for that person we have committed adultry.”

Yet, here is Satan playing the adulterous woman, in my case anyway, that Solomon warned us about in Proverbs 5:3 saying, “For the lips of the forbidden woman drip with honey and her speech is smoother than oil.” He goes on to say that, “Her feet go down to death.” (v.5)

Why not Satan? I mean, as we have seen, he can be a dragon. Why not the forbidden woman? His lips drip with honey, his speech is smoother than oil. Remember, he is the father of all lies. And his feet go down to death, in the sense that the wages of sin are death! After all, he ends up in Hell and so do his followers.

Time, Money, Other important things

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What is your treasure? What thing or things do you treasure the most? What does Satan tell you that you can’t live without? Is it Sunday sports instead of Sunday worship, is it prestige and power instead of being humble and serving? Is it loving thyself instead of loving others?

Can you see the difference? I point to these opposing things because either you are a disciple of Christ or you are bullied into being a disciple of Satan. And Satan’s bullying isn’t painful at the time, instead it may feel like intense pleasure. He uses our fleshly desires against us, he wants you to store up treasure here. He is always pulling us away from Christ.

In fact, we know this is true because Jesus says to those opposing him, “You are of your father the devil and your will is to do what your father desires.” (John 8:44)

GOD’s kingdom is one of serving others, Jesus said, “to be great in the kingdom of heaven you must be a slave to all,” Satan says to be great in his kingdom, you must be greater than all. Arrogance is one of Satan’s traits. (Ezekiel 28:17)

The Word of God is clear, however, on how to resist Satan, In James it says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”(4:7) However, this is hard so we have to ask God for wisdom to be able to see when Satan is attacking. And James has that covered as well. He says,”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who give generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”(1:5) Make sure to ask in faith though.(v6)

Prayer,

Oh, heavenly Father, I am sick of Satan pulling some of the strings in my life. And I would like to give you full control. I need your help and guidance in my life to be more aware of Satan’s scheming and to be able in those moments to submit to your lordship in my life. Please LORD help me to resist him.

In Jesus name, Amen!

Bibliography,

The Jungle Book, Walt Disney, Oct 1967

The Lion King, Walt Disney, June 1994

Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1954

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Reconciliation

This week I found out that a brother passed away. He has been sick for a while, however he died from something else. His death however has got me thinking about so many different things.

First, I am beating myself up because with him I have been a lazy sibling. At one point we were coming together weekly and praying together daily but lately he has just been passing through my thoughts and occasional prayers.

It seems that when someone moves out of the flock that we belong to we treat their importance a little bit different. Examples of this range from a growing distance in our relationships; out of sight out of mind or not seeking them out. To a complete almost apathy to the relationship, which shows up as not praying for or thinking about or even a complete death of the relationship.

Seasons come and go and sometimes friendships only last a season. Think about it how many times has God moved someone into your life to help you through some tragedy and then years later that person is no longer a part of your day to day life. Maybe this has only happened in my life? Sorry for my rant.

Secondly, this death has me thinking about reconciliation. Does that sound weird?

Reconciliation in essence means to exchange. No that doesn’t sound right, does it? See when God reconciled us to himself through Jesus’s death on the cross, He (God) exchanged our broken, sinful lives that lead to eternal separation from him, with His Son’s righteousness and a life with him eternally. So now we have this reconciliation with God and because of this we can cry out Abba, Father.

But there is another kind of reconciliation, and that is between us and those in our lives. In the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says,” So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.”(5:23-24)

I bring this up because my friend who died has two sons and his relationship with the one of these sons was broken, and although my friend had sought to fix or exchange this relationship for a good one, the son refused.

James says, when talking about relying on the future,”What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”(4:14)

I bring this piece of scripture up because my friend found out he was dying and died five days later. His son refused to be reconciled maybe hoping on tomorrow but it never came. His chance was squandered.

We are told to seek first the kingdom of God and that kingdom is one of reconciliation. And 2 Corinthians 5:18 says that,”we have been given a ministry of reconciliation.”

There is a clock for each of our lives and we do not know at what time it will stop. Only God knows, so let me put this out there. Open the gift of reconciliation that God is offering you and then seek to be ambassadors or imitators of God and give that gift to whomever is in your life that needs it.

PRAYER:

Oh Abba, Father, thank you so much for exchanging my decaying life for a life that is whole and with you for all of eternity. LORD please help me to examine my life and to seek the things of your kingdom, especially when it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation. And I pray this in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

(Enter into His eternal rest Paul Duff)

If you like what you have read please comment, and may God bless your day!

The Lazy Sibling, Neighbor or Friend

This has been an extremely hard blog to write, everytime I have tried to spend time with it Satan has attacked. He keeps whispering things like; when it comes to being a brother you are a great brother! Or what could you possibly work on I mean you faithfully pray for your brothers, you lay things down that you are doing to help them and if they needed money and you had it you would give it. However, when I soberly examine myself to see if I am being a good brother to all my brothers and sisters usually pieces of scripture come up like:

  • “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.“(Hebrew 10:24-25)
  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) or
  • “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15‭-‬16)

Let me say that I struggle in these three areas. There are times in my walk that I am completely focused on myself and my own problems. There are times where it seems impossible to encourage a brother or sister and times when my body is feeling so broken that I can not help carry their burdens. There are also times when I definitely say that I will pray for my brothers or sisters while having the ability to help them in other ways as well.

Over the past couple of posts we have discovered that we are disobedient followers, lazy husbands and dads, but we are not done there. Today we discover that we are also lazy siblings.

Lazy siblings goes farther then just these three pieces of scripture that I have used. There are so many more pieces of scripture.

How many of us feel that our walk is something we can do by ourselves. I know at times I do, I know there are also times where I think that your mess makes my walk complicated. Let’s face it, no one actually likes drama! However Jesus didn’t feel this way! Jesus was all about caring for you and your problems.

In fact He said; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”(Matt 11:30). Or ” In this world you will face tribulations, but take heart I have overcome this world.” (John 16:33) And I love when He says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

(LORD make me more like Jesus!)

For a couple of months now there has been this piece of scripture which has been working on me. At first I read it and I was like, “this is the kind of pastor I want” but lately it has been convicting me of my roll with my neighbors, siblings and friends.

In Isaiah, God is explaining to us how Israel’s leaders or shepherds were shirking there responsibilities for others and were only concerned with themselves. He says,”All you beasts of the field, come to devour— all you beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.” (Isaiah 56:9-12)

At times this is where I am; loving to slumber, putting off knowledge and turning to my own way. But we are called to more than this, we are called to Love Our Neighbor As Ourselves. (Matt 22:39)

If you can except it we are all called to be Shepherds, and we have as our example the one and only Good Shepherd himself Jesus Christ.

Prayer,

Oh Abba, Father, Your Word says that brothers are born for a time of adversity, and you have placed brothers in my life that do just that. LORD help me to be that way in my brothers lives. LORD please just keep transforming me day by day to be more like you. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Lazy Dad

Sometimes I look intently at myself in the mirror while brushing my teeth just studying my face but as soon as I turn and leave from that place I forget what I look like. Let’s say that I had some of those sleep crusties in the corner of my eye but neglected to remove them. Now just because I do not see them doesn’t mean that they are no longer there. It just means that they are out of sight and I have put them out of my mind.

I do this with certain other things in my life, meaning that if they are not right in front of me I may not give them the attention they really deserve. James brings this to our attention when he says,”For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets he looks like.” (1:23-24)

The first time I read this piece of scripture it meant nothing to me, but as time has gone by it means more and more to me. And I am convicted by it more and more. I know what scripture says about being a follower, a husband, a dad and a brother, however sometimes I do not follow through by putting what God is telling me to do to work in my life and in the lives of those around me. Thus far we have looked at my laziness as a follower and a husband. This week my laziness is in the area of being a dad.

There is a piece scripture that just haunts we when it comes to being a dad. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 states,”And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

I love my children, however when they were young and formable I was a milk drinker and lived still very much for the world. By the time that my love for the LORD really kicked in my children were in their teens or almost there. What I am trying to point out here is that younger children truly fall in love with the majesty of his Majesty. They live more on blind faith then teens do.

As a dad I did not diligently teach the things of God to my children, I did not talk about them when we sat around or when we were on the way. I did not share him with them while laying down or rising up. And the next thing that happened was they became teens and although I believe they could see my love for Jesus, I had lost so much time.

How am I going to teach them the importance of loving Jesus, with all their hearts, all their souls and all of their might, Especially now when it just seem like I am harping on them every time I bring him up.

I would like to point out that God has truly blessed me with two great children, they are not prodigal children and although they are both now adults they still go to church with their mother and I. We are so amazingly blessed.

The problem that I am pointing to is, I missed an opportunity to not be mediocre at teaching them to love the LORD. I fear I left to much space for the world to show them what forgiveness or love or patience looks like.

I know that I dream of this legacy that I am leaving, not a legacy of worldly riches but one of heavenly riches. One where I have discipled my children in such a way that they will compare everything they encounter with how God thinks of those things. One where they will be more in love with our FATHER then I am. One they will pass on to their own children and their children on to theirs’ and so on.

Sometimes however that dream is a nightmare because my walk is not always as strong as it should be. Because I have allowed distractions in, that would make it seem that maybe I am not in love with my FATHER as much as I should have been or should be.

There have been too many times where I should be teaching patience but my actions show that I am impatient, or times where I should be loving like Christ did but rather my love may look like indifference.

The concept of reaping what we sow is printed throughout the pages of the Bible. Paul says that “if we sow sparingly so shall we reap ( 2 Cor. 9:6)”, he also says, “that if we sow into the flesh from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if into the Spirit we will reap from the Spirit eternal life ( Galatians 6:7).”

Look I know that in these passages that I used, Paul is talking about giving and sowing into sin but why can’t they apply here and in every other part of our lives! I believe that they do and not just as parents but as followers, spouses, and friends.

I so look forward to being a granddad some day. And maybe you are reading this and saying to yourself, ” I have been that kind of dad,” well let me tell you that it is not to late. You can be a better dad. Even if being that better dad is doing it with your grandchildren because the love you sow into their lives you are sowing into the lives of your children. It is not to late for me and for you. God can do this!

Prayer

Oh Abba, Father. I have not been the greatest of dads. I have not mimicked you in this area of my life, but I wish to. So please help me, guide me and give we the wisdom I need to do this. In Jesus’s name, Amen.