The Seductress

April 24, 2015

The Seductress

Proverbs 7
1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We, as human beings, are the sum of our strengths and our weaknesses. What truly makes our chain stronger is the power of the Spirit of Christ within us.
Proverbs 7 starts out by a father exhorting his son to keep the commandments, the Word of God within him. He emphasizes that by saying, don’t just listen to the Word, but make it part and substance of your being. Let that Word influence the works of your hands and write them on the tablets of your heart till they become who you are. Make God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding as your sister and near relative.
Why do I need to do that? “They will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.”
This passage is not just about sexual seduction; it is more about spiritual seduction. Most all of us are familiar with the passage in 1 Peter 5:8 which says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This is that same spirit that is at work to entice our souls away from Christ. It looks for our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, and those areas of foolishness that we have yet to fully submit and bring into the obedience of Christ. They may have been subdued, lurking in the darkness of our soul. We haven’t wanted others to be aware of them and many times we ourselves are in denial that they exist, but they are there, looking and craving for the opportunity of expression and release. We often wrestle and struggle with these areas in our lives, but there will be a time and place of weakness in our lives that we will give place to them. We may not even see the immediate consequences of our actions, but this seductive spirit feeds upon the dust, the humanity and the lust of our souls. Once we begin to give place to this spirit it is like a spark and flame, it is never satisfied, but rather desires and hungers for more. It will drive us into the deeper clutches of sin and darkness. As we give more and more place to this seduction and the passion of our soul it is as the story of this young man and the harlot. We have become the fool and foolishness leads us down the road to ruin and destruction.
Many of us know or have known someone who was walking with Christ and then, as an animal caught in a trap, they became caught up in sin and their life departed more and more away from the path of righteousness. This harlot and seductress had laid hold upon them, seduced them with the lie and began leading them down the pathway to hell, while all the time exciting the passions of the flesh and promising temporal, empty riches of this world’s goods and pleasures.
It is possible as we read this, that this foolish young man could be us. Many of us know that, except for the grace of God, it would be us. This is why God’s Word must be the standard and the anchor upon which we found our life, our morality and our principles for living. When we depart from God’s precepts we exit onto a road that departs from the High Way of Holiness. That exit leads us away from the pathway to Life.
We have this illustration to let us know that the only thing that stands between this foolish young man and us, is following God’s Word through a maintained and intimate relationship with Him. Any of us could follow in his footsteps at any time, if we fail to continually guard our heart and keep it in the way of God’s Word and righteousness. Worldly enticements are always before us and they will touch the areas of weakness in our lives. This is where Christ and His Word shore up and fortify the breeches in the wall of our city. We must stand with the armor of God, ready to defend the citadel of our heart from the intrusion of the enemy. That enemy will always entice us with peace and safety while a dagger is concealed beneath their coat.
Be wise in the Word; discern the craftiness and the deceitfulness of your enemy. Know that it is the spirit of death that is wooing you into its arms. This spirit may have a beautiful face and enticing breasts, but within her grasp is the bosom of spiritual death and destruction.
A brother emailed me a scripture yesterday that fits very well here, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)”

Blessings,
#kent

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The Long and Winding Path

January 29, 2015

The Long and Winding Path

Proverbs 4:14
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil [men].

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” How blessed so many of us are that our loving Lord has shown us the strait gate of salvation and life. As we travel this road of life together in the light and truth of God’s Word how prone we are to still want to wander off the paths of truth and righteousness. Seldom do we want to take the shortcut to follow the straight and narrow. We so often want to take the windy path that wants to kind of weave in and out of the God’s way and His path. We always think we are missing something more exciting or more enjoyable if we stay directly on the path and so we run over here and over there. We are like little children, undisciplined to color within the lines of our drawing. Our life pictures are often distorted and not as pretty as they ought to be, because we choose to color outside the lines of God’s will and purpose for our lives. We love the Lord, we know His ways are right and just, but it is so hard for us to let the cross have its way concerning our old nature and desires.
There are those times when we perhaps cross God’s path long enough to truly experience His presence and experience the reality of Psalms 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.” What our foolish hearts blind us to see is that our God is the author of joy and pleasure. The world can only hold up a weak counterfeit to all that we can have in Christ. We don’t always see that right away and being the impetuous and impatient people that we are, we want our candy now. How easily we are often lured away. Proverbs 5 is a story of warning to the wandering and unstable son. “1My son, listen to my wisdom. Turn your ear to my understanding. 2So you may know what is good thinking, and your lips may keep much learning. 3For the lips of a strange woman are as sweet as honey. Her talk is as smooth as oil. 4But in the end she is as bitter tasting as wormwood, and as sharp as a sword that cuts both ways. 5Her feet go down to death. Her steps take hold of hell. 6She does not think about the path of life. Her ways go this way and that, and she does not know it. 7Now then, my sons, listen to me. Do not turn away from the words of my mouth. 8Keep far away from her. Do not go near the door of her house . 9If you do, you would give your strength to others, and your years to those without lovingness. 10Strangers would be filled with your strength, and the fruits of your work would go to a strange house. 11You would cry inside yourself when your end comes, when your flesh and body are wasted away. 12You would say, ‘How I have hated teaching! My heart hated strong words! 13I have not listened to the voice of my teachers. I have not turned my ear to those who would teach me. 14Now I have a bad name in the meeting place of the people.'”
Whether we wander the path of fleshly impurity or spiritual idolatry, we are unfaithful to the lover and redeemer of our souls. Who of us wants to find that at the end of our lives, or even before, our careless actions and wanton ways have brought destruction and heartache to ourselves and those around us? It is because we chose the long and windy path that allowed us to wander out of the path of life into the fields of sin and destruction. This path will have an impact on our lives in a negative way. While God, in His great love and mercy, will seek to correct us and bring us back, our foolishness is often not without its consequences and repercussions.
What is God’s path for us today? Who are we associating with that is leading us out of the will and purpose of God back into error and sin? Proverbs 1:15-16 instructs us, “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” God does not want us to be yoked with unbelievers but to be their signpost to the way of life. Proverbs 4:18 instructs us,” But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Our paths must be made straight, for our eye must not be fixed on the temporal, but upon the eternal purposes of God and our part in them. With the vision that we are walking into the perfect day we will set our hearts to follow directly and passionately after Him and not the windy paths that lead in and out of His will. We must grow up into Him in all things concerning this life and that which is to come.

Blessings,
#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

One Way Street Called Straight

Acts 9:11
And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Saul, whom we know as Paul the apostle, at the time of his conversion, had been on his way to Damascus with a commission to persecute and imprison the Christians there. On his way he had a visitation from the Lord who appeared to him in a bright light, so much so that he was struck blind and then the Lord spoke to him audibly in Acts 9:3-9, “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” It was here that the Lord spoke to Ananias and told him to find Paul on Straight street and tell him that he is a chosen vessel and what things he must suffer for my Name’s sake.
It would seem that it is not a coincidence that the Word makes specific mention of the name of the street that Paul was on. It is the same street that the Lord wants to bring us to when we come to Him. It means a straightforward, upright, true and is a sincere path that He brings us too. It is like the word of John the Baptist, “Make straight the way of the Lord”. Straight Street is a condition of our heart where we become blind to the things of the world and our spiritual eyes are opened to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It is a place where we turn aside from the crooked paths of our walk when sin and self were upon the throne of our hearts.
We put braces on our teeth to straighten them out and set them in right order. The Cross will work that in our life. The Holy Spirit is continually here to conform us to this straight way if we are humble and sensitive enough to listen. Usually our problem, unlike Saul, is that we haven’t become blind to this world. Our eyes and attention is always wandering off from this place to that. As a result we suffer a worse state than that of being physically blind. We become spiritually blind. What we do see is colored by the tint of our own prejudices, viewpoints and opinions. It is God’s Word inspired and revealed by the Holy Spirit that leads us upon this Straight Street that leads us to the throne of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
What street are you on today and where is it taking you?

Blessings,
kent

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