Keep to the Path

September 4, 2015

Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Keep to the Path

There are many and diverse paths that we can take in life, but there is only one that we should be focused and sure to stay on. It is the path of the justified in Christ, the path of righteousness, the path that is leading each day into light that is shining more and more unto the perfect day. It is when we stray from this path that we begin to err from life. There are many exhortations from the Lord and many prayers from the saints to stay true to this path. Psalms 27:11 says, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. “ Psalms 119: 35 speaks, “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” Psalms 119:105 continues saying, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” These scriptures acknowledge the importance of learning and keeping to the path of the Lord. We see that it is the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. It shows us the way and so we continually rehearse it and put it before us so that we might keep to the path.
The book of Proverbs, in teaching us its wisdom, instructs us in like manner. Proverbs 1:10-18 warns against following the pathway of sinners. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse”- 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!” It exhorts us to avoid the temptation of hanging around bad company where we can get caught up in the snares of the enemy and stray from the path of life. Proverbs 2:6-8 tells again how to find and maintain our walk in the path of righteousness, “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” Proverbs 4:10-15 give us this advice, “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Finally we are left with this godly counsel in Proverbs 4:20-27, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
It is imperative for us as the children of God to maintain diligence in holding to the path of the just. That requires that we maintain a vital relationship with the Lord in fellowship, prayer and in His Word. It means that we are always examining our ways to make sure we are not deviating from the path that Jesus walked before us.
There may be times when we find ourselves off of that path and out of the way then what do we do? In Isaiah 30:15-18 the Lord says this, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” The Lord is waiting for you, repent and keep to the path.

Blessings,
#kent

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Beware the Seductress of Your Soul

Proverbs 7:1-5
1MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them. 2Keep my commandments and live, and keep my law and teaching as the apple (the pupil) of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to skillful and godly Wisdom, You are my sister, and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend– 5That they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adventuress who flatters with and makes smooth her words.

Proverbs 7 is an exhortation and an illustration of what can happen to any one of us, at anytime as we travel through life. God has called us to be fishers of men to bring the gospel and the good news of the kingdom to our world and sphere of influence. We are the lights and the instruments of God’s choosing and using to draw men to Him. Even as men are persuaded to righteousness and faith in Christ by the drawing of the Holy Spirit unto life, there is an antithesis that works unto death. Satan is a fisherman also, continually casting the lure and bait that appeals to our base appetites. It is rare that one is so foolish to walk into an obvious trap, so what we get caught up in usually starts out very unthreatening and alluring. We’ve no doubt all been there at one time or another and to one degree or another. Some of us, by the grace of God, have been delivered in areas of our life where the enemy was able to bring great devastation and damage because he was able to get his hook into us and we couldn’t seem to get loose. Some of us may well still be experiencing the prison of this entrapment are still battling issues in our lives from wrong choices that we made or others that were close to us have made. How many of us have felt the effects in our lives from alcohol, drug, sexual addictions, fraud, lying, cheating, stealing and just plain selfishness? Sin has touched all of us directly and indirectly.
Listen to how the seductress and loose woman of Proverbs 7 seduces and ensnares her prey. The young man is vulnerable because he is simple, empty-headed and empty-hearted.
“And behold, there met him a woman, dressed as a harlot and sly and cunning of heart. 11She is turbulent and willful; her feet stay not in her house; 12Now in the streets, now in the marketplaces, she sets her ambush at every corner. 13So she caught him and kissed him and with impudent face she said to him, 14Sacrifices of peace offerings were due from me; this day I paid my vows. 15So I came forth to meet you [that you might share with me the feast from my offering]; diligently I sought your face, and I have found you. 16I have spread my couch with rugs and cushions of tapestry, with striped sheets of fine linen of Egypt. 17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19For the man is not at home; he is gone on a long journey; 20He has taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed [at the full moon]. 21With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.” This woman is a chameleon and will take on the guise of whatever is necessary to capture your heart. She is a savage beast in beautiful array. Her one intent is to draw you into temptation that she may destroy your faith and devour you. Her ways are death and lead to hell. She has entered the backdoor of your soul in order to drive her dagger into your spirit. In verses 22-27 we see his end, “Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle 23Till a dart [of passion] pierces and inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net [he hastens], not knowing that it will cost him his life. 24Listen to me now therefore, O you sons, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25Let not your heart incline toward her ways, do not stray into her paths. 26For she has cast down many wounded; indeed, all her slain are a mighty host 27Her house is the way to Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead), going down to the chambers of death.”
Our exhortation is to avoid her and not to even flirt with her, for her ways are death. The way we avoid her is by not being simple minded, but Christ minded. We set our mind on things above. We fill our hearts with word of God and His wisdom and discernment. We do not allow ourselves to become ignorant or naïve concerning the ways of the world and the enticements that it holds. We keep our hearts humble and trembling before the Lord, for we know that ‘pride preceedth a fall’. In all humility we seek to warn others lest they also become the prey of satan and their faith is shipwrecked. Hold fast to the Word of Life. It is the anchor and preserver of your soul.

Blessings,
#kent

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart
Proverbs 3:5-8
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

This is the scripture I run too when I am faced with decisions and I don’t know the right answers. All I know is there is safety in God’s will. I also know that His ways are often not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He sees the beginning and the end of all things. His understanding is infinite and perfect, while mine is so shallow and lacking. The wonderful thing is that even if we don’t have a great mind, if we have enough sense to trust in the Lord and lean not on our understanding, if we make it our practice to put the Lord at the forefront of all that we do, we are so much further ahead than those that are wise in their own eyes. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” That mind of Christ is the Spirit and the Word in us. It rules us and guides us into all righteousness and right decision making. It keeps our eyes and heart from being self-centered and keeps us God-centered.
Often I don’t have an obvious answer to the problem or decision at hand, but I keep listening with my spiritual ears. I weigh the counsel of those around me, which should also be godly. I search the motives of my heart and I ask for God’s divine providence to intervene to close those doors that He would not have me go through and open the ones that He would have me go through. After all, He did promise to direct my paths. I believe that if we follow this scriptural principle we may not do everything perfectly, but God will perfect our ways.
People have often told me, when I make up my mind about something, I am very stubborn about changing my mind or doing it a different way. Of course that is just their perspective. I do know that if I can get that way with people then I can get that way with God. Stubbornness to walk in God’s ways is a good thing, but stubbornness to go my own way is not a pretty attribute. I believe the Bible describes it much like rebellion and the sin of witchcraft, but it is my own manipulation, compromises and devices to get my way. That’s just sin, and there is no getting around it.
The latter part of this promise is that not only will the Lord direct my path, but if I don’t get proud and I turn away from evil, it will be health to me. I take that in both physical and spiritual context. If I can really trust the Lord with all of my heart and I don’t have to try and figure everything out with my wisdom then that is going to bring me into the rest of God. How many know that you tend to be a lot healthier when you are rested? Here is a way for us to take stress out of our lives. In Matthew Jesus says, “seek first the Kingdom of God and all these thing will be added unto you.” His whole message is quit stressing and worrying about stuff. Take care of what is important, your relationship with God, family, others, and the rest will take care of itself. That’s health to your navel and marrow to you bones. Be blessed, rest and let God direct your paths.

Blessings,
kent

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