Slow Fade Part 3: Got too comfortable…

The enemy knows our weakness and if we fall asleep, if we become complacent He will overtake us!

Judges 16:18-20

When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”  He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.

The enemy knows our weaknesses He knows what will make us fall.  He tries different things until He can find that one thing that will cause us to stumble and fall out of God’s grace.  Look at Samson, though he made mistakes throughout His life God still was with him.  He was able to rule Israel for 20 years (Judges 15:20).  But Samson became relaxed he allowed his current wife to persuade him into telling her  the secret to his strength.  He became sure in his own self and allowed this surety to cause him, his freedom.  He became so relaxed he didn’t even know that God had left him. 

We fall into this trap sometimes.  Things get going well, we’re happy, everything is flowing right for us so we forget to pray, read our Word.  We relax get complacent although the enemy is always lurking to trip us up.  Although God tells us to press towards the mark, throw off all that hinders us (Hebrews 12:1) and stay vigilant we get comfortable in the good times.  Now it took a while for Delilah to break Samson down and get the secret of his strength, but she was able to do it! (Judges 16:6-20).  The devil only needs one time of frustration, one time of weakness to ensnare us and our complacency will hasten that one good time.

God warns us against complacency and false security (Isaiah 32:9-10) but there is a solution!!!

Proverbs 1:32-33

…and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm”

If we listen to God the dangers of complacency won’t come upon us.  If we listen for God in His Word and through prayer we can’t even try to be complacent!  His word is a double edged sword that constantly calls us to action if we listen!  His word tells us to…

  • Renew our minds (Romans 12:2)
  • Take captive thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Take up the spiritual weapons of warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  • Throw off that which hinders us and the sin that easily entangles us (Hebrews12:1)
  • Take Pauls example and press towards the goal to win the prize (Philippians 3:13-14)
  • Be strong and courageous, go for I am with you (Joshua 1:3-9; just read all of Joshua lol!)
  •  Trust me and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6),
  • Stand firm! Let nothing move your (1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Corinthians 16:13)

 And this is only a few of the things God moves us to do!!!

Let us not let complacency stop us and hinder us from the great things God has in store for us!

How has complacency stopped you???  Give me some other great calls to action from our God! I would love to read them!!

Are you a bush?



This is what the LORD says:  “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8

Wow!!! Cursed is the man who trusts in the flesh…he will be like a bush in the wastelands!  The first thing I thought of when I read verse 5 was Psalms 1:3 when he describes a blessed man as a tree planted by streams of water and then I go and read the rest and He likens people again to trees. There is so much symbolism in these few verses I don’t even know where to start!!

Throughout the Bible God describes man as a tree and how that tree will be if it is planted in Him.  I guess we can learn something from trees and bushes about our own lives (spiritually and physically).  Let’s think on this bush He describes in verse 5.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.”

So a bush in wastelands, probably is pretty small and shrunken.  When I think wasteland I think desert, dry, dry desert. This bush in the desert probably is small, really dry and even stunted in its growth.  It possibly barely gets any water, and when there is rain, the water has a hard time soaking through the dry earth to get to this bush’s roots.  Its roots are probably weak and brittle.  You could probably pull this bush right up out of the ground with little to no effort.  This starved and scorched bush is a Christian’s life who looks at everything except for God for sustenance.  This bush is also the man who does not know Christ. 

SIDENOTE: Notice God is specific about using a bush…if this was a desert and he used a cactus…a cactus would flourish in this type of environment…but it still has its problems…thick skin that can’t be penetrated, spikes and stickers that tell people back off… but that’s a rabbit trail I won’t go down J

When we pursue the flesh and/or man we will never be satisfied.  We become starved for love attention etc.  We’re easily uprooted…easily provoked to anger, easily swayed to do this or  that.  We continue to look for water but we look in the wrong place…We miss prosperity because we’re too starved to notice it. When we focus on the things God made instead of focusing on the One who made it all we will always fall short.

So are you a bush?

Quick Thoughts…

Psalm 45:10-11
“Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord.”


Verse 10:
This verse is saying forget your family history, forget your past. Don’t dwell in what happened or what you did in the past. Don’t dwell in the history of your family but listen to what God says about you now. We must forget past hurts and things that hinder us from truly living the life God has called us to.

Verse 11:
This verse says God is enthralled with our beauty. He made us, beautifully and wonderfully, so of course He loves us just how we are. We need not worry about how we once were but now in our new knowledge of God, walk in holiness. Honoring Him in all we do.

God’s promises are immense but we cannot even begin to see them come to past if we dwell in our past. God doesn’t see us in our sin, He sees us washed clean by the blood of His son Jesus Christ. Let us not dwell in what we once did but move forward into the hope God has placed before us. Let us honor God NOW with our lives forgetting our past and pressing forward towards the mark set before us!

Self-control

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down  is a man who lacks self-control

Wow!!! Without self-control you are vulnerable to any attack.  When a city’s walls are destroyed anybody can come in and plunder, hurt and destroy the people  within the gates and the buildings.  Maruders can come in and steal cattle (wealth), and destroy homes (physical harm to body). Just  like that is a man without self- control.  He is open  to get taken for everything he has.  Without self control his wealth coud be taken (think gambler).  Without self-control you could be physically and emotionally harmed or cause yourself physical and emotional harm, i.e. an addict, an alcoholic, a workaholic etc.  There are so many things and ways to destroy your life through lack of self-control. I can think of at least one area in my life where I need to demonstrate more self-control and I can definitely see how it affects my life for the negative. I think we all struggle with something in our life but God tells us we have to fight no longer.  With His Holy Spirit we can conquer all things that try to take hold us.  We can take captive thoughts (2 Cor 10:5), we can demolish strongholds (2 Cor 10:4)– our weapons are mighty against those things that fight against us!

Next time you think you can’t do it; you can’t win this battle of self-control…  Remember you have armor to put on (Ephsians 6) , be strong and courageous (Joshua 10:25), and  you have a God that wants to help you conquer all things that TRY to control you!

Sidenote: I’ve had this blog in my drafts for months but my pastor’s message on self-control yesterday reminded me of this post.  You may be seeing more on this topic!! 

How can we gain more self-control in our lives??? Why is it even important??  Would love to hear from you!

Love that Completes

1 Corinthians 13:10

“But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled” (The Message Paraphrase)

 “But when Perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” (New International Version)

 I’ve read 1 Corinthians 13 a million times have heard it read at  weddings a million and one but I never saw the significance of this chapter, in particular this verse, until yesterday!  My Pastor is preaching about Powering Up our lives and in the next few weeks he’s going to be going through the Spiritual fruits.  This week’s was LOVE and it was absolutely amazing.  The main point to this message was that we need to first understand and have UPward love (love towards God) before we can truly understand and know how to give OUTward love (love towards people) and true INward love (self-love; a true understanding of how God loves us manifested in the way we treat ourselves). 

 But that’s not what I was totally mesmerized by!!  He gave us two homework assignments: 1. Read 1 Corinthians 13 (The Love Chapter LOL) in the Message Paraphrase and 2. Increase your love this week.  Find ways to let the love God has for you flow through you and onto someone else. 

Well I read that chapter and one verse just popped out to me!! Verse 10 said it all!!

 “But when the COMPLETE arrives, our INcompletes will be CANCELLED”

 MY GOD!!! When He, Jesus, who is totally complete, totally perfect in all His ways, arrives in our life, He removes everything that was imperfect or incomplete!  When we allow Him to come in and take over He fills us and completes us.  Perfect LOVE (God, Jesus) drives out all FEAR (1 John 4:18) When His love, the kind He describes in Corinthians, envelopes us, all fear is gone and we have total confidence to move and be.  God is 1 Corinthians 13 LOVE and we should strive to embody those verses!

 1 John 4:18 “…The one who fears is not made PERFECT in love.”

If there is fear in your heart about love, about the ability to or the ability of BEING loved in this way you do not have an understanding of what God is and has given us. Did you hear me?? If we are fearful of love in anyway, we don’t truly understand God, understand all that He has given us!!! That hit me like a ton of bricks.  I We have to constantly remember  that the Perfect has already come in the form of Jesus Christ.  With Him we are complete and have the capacity to love in the way it is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  We must get a hold of these verses and believe that: 

  1. Love like this exists because God exists and He is love (1 John 3:10)
  2. We can exude this kind of love in our lives because God exists and resides w/in us
  3. We can find this love in the world because God’s people inhabit this earth

 We are no longer incomplete.  Understanding that is the key to truly understanding how to really live a life full of LOVE (real love; the God is LOVE kinda love).

TASK for the week:

This week I’m going to be finding ways to love someone as described in 1 Corinthians 13. I would love for you to join me in this quest!! Can’t wait to hear about your love adventures!!!

BTW read that chapter in the Message paraphrase  if you can.  It will change your life!!! Verses 12-13 were crucial ones too!! lol

Slow Fade Part-2: The First Mistake

Judges 14:1-2 Samson went down to Timnah and saw a young PHILISTINE woman.  When he returned he said to his father…”get her for me as my wife.” Wait…Hold up!! Isn’t he supposed to be destroying the Philistines not intermarrying with them? I’m confused.

 Some how Samson forgot what he was supposed to be doing.  He set his desires and fleshly wants ahead of God and his call in life! Sometimes we as Christians do that too.  We forget that God says He has a plan for us that comes when we seek Him (Jer 29:11-13). We forget that when we are obedient to His word we reap the benefits of that word. We allow what we think, our own understanding and thoughts (Prov 3:5; 14:12) to stop us cold.  We “inter-marry” outside of our inheritance forgetting that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, set apart and get all mixed up in what may very well lead us to death.

But thank God for GRACE and our God’s supreme sovereignty.  God was still able to use this to get the job done!! Judge 14:4 “His parents didn’t know that this was from the Lord who was seeeking an occassion to confront the Philistines…” See God can still get the glory somehow but the outcome may not totally benefit us.  See at the end of this section of his life Samson did get a chance to  confront the Philistines but he lost his wife in the process (Judges 14:12-20).  His wife turned out to be deceitful and disloyal and in the end she was given to a friend who attended the wedding! When we go outside of God’s will in sin or disobedience we forfeit blessings that He promised us.  We forfeit power, we forfeit peace.  The plan may still go on but there may be many bumps and bruises that could have been avoided if we stayed focused on the destiny fulfiller…God.

I can definitely think of some times where I made a left turn instead of that right and ended up down a dead-end road!. But thanks be to God His grace was and still is sufficient!  He says that He would never leave you or forsake you and if you return to Him He would return to you (Isaiah 3:7 ). It’s never too late to turn around and find the path God intended for you. God loves us that much! Thank God for that!!

Encourgement…

Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

 

I love it!! Man has a general idea of where he wants to go in life but God is the one who orders and orchestrates each step. We make the plans but don’t really know the outcome but God has set us up to meet the people we are to meet, go the places we are to go, grow up in the families we’re supposed to grow up in, and live through the things we are to live through, all to make sure we have every opportunity to first be called and then to do what we were called to do. He knows our every thought, want, and desire, and orchestrates our lives to succeed. He wants so bad for us to trust Him (prov3:5), and He longs to be gracious to us and show us compassion (Is 30:18) so that He can do the exceedingly above all we could ask or imagine in our lives (Eph 3:20). He loves us that much….wow!!!!

 

Let Him be the God of justice He longs to be in your life! He says He has higher heights for you…Let Him get you there!!!

Slow Fade, Part 1– The Call

It truly is a “Slow Fade”, just as that song by Casting Crowns goes. The story of Samson was literally a slow fade into sin and finally death. You can track every decision made that led him deeper and deeper into sin and finally death but the great thing in all this is, that God was still able to use him to destroy the Philistines (read his story Judges 13-16).

His story makes me think, though. Is that really how God wanted his life to go? God gives us free will to make decisions for ourselves. We ultimately still end up doing some aspect of what we were called to do (once we are called, i.e. salvation and infilling) but how it goes down is up to us. It humbles me that God in His great sovereignty allows us to muck things up but still uses us in the capacity we were to be used! Samson was called to be a Nazarite set apart from birth to destroy the Philistines. God didn’t say how he would do it but just that he would be the one to do it!!

over the next few blogs i’m going to look deeper into Samson’s life and see where we could stop ourselves from going down the wrong road.

The Call
Judges 13:4-5
“because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used because the boy is to be…set apart to God…and he will bring deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Once we have been set apart God gives us a “call” His plan for us is set in motion. God knew the moment you would be saved and the thing He called you to even before you were a thought in your mother’s mind (Jer1:5) and under the right leadership and through personal devotion we will be able to walk in the purpose/call God has given us. I can only imagine Samson’s up-bringing. His parents probably uconstantly told him the story of his birth and the purpose God laid out for him. I mean they had to explain why he was the only one not getting his hair cut. He was the weired boy on the block with the long hair. His parents had to tell him!!!

Just like Samson, we need to have those people. Those parents who are telling us what God’s promises are for us! We need someone who is constantly affirming our walk and telling us that we are truly set apart for greatness. For Samson it was his biological parents, but for us it may not be them. It may be a leader in your church, your pastor, your mentor, but we all must have them. Without them we are liable to fall and forget what we were called for. We may cut our “hair”, our tie to God, and lose that relationship.

Tell me: Who is leading you? Who is that leader that constantly reminds you, you were made for more?

Traditions Part 2

Verse 7

They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

When we just give lip service our worship and praise mean nothing. Power comes from worship. Power comes from praise. Power comes from prayer but if we are just doing it because its “tradition” it will amount to nothing. Our hearts must be a part of our worship or we are wasting our breath. God knows when its not real and He does not accept it. He ignores it. And we are wasting our time faking it. If your breakthrough can come through your worship, praise, and prayer, why fake it? Why not go for broke and actually test God in what He says? Only when we come with our hearts, then will we see God move on our behalf. Sometimes we can get bogged down in tradition and forget the real reason we even go to church, or worship or pray. We put God in a box and when He doesn’t perform we just say He doesn’t really do anything any more. The miracles of the Bible aren’t for me or this time. When in truth God is just looking for us to actually put faith and belief behind those prayers and that worship.

Question for ya: Are you giving God lip service? How can we not put God in a box and begin to actually see all that He says He can do in the Bible???

Traditions

Traditions ~ Part 1

Our Church is steeped with them..We do a lot of things just because our grandparents did it…because that’s how we were taught but are they all Biblical and do they all bring us in closer relationship with God, our ultimate goal?

Mark 7:6-8

“He replied ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men”

Verse 6

He replied “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

God desires our hearts.  He wants people that will worship Him with everything, actually live out what they say with their mouths.  He doesn’t want just lip service from us.  He wants us to worship in spirit and in truth.  If we just say it, but don’t live it we are not in the truth. He desires more, calls for more, requires more.  Ask yourself these questions and really think about it.  Does God have my heart? Am I giving Him everything or am I giving way to tradition?  Am I living what I preach? Am I giving God lip service?  These are serious questions every believer must ask themselves.  We come to a point in our walk were we don’t see any results.  We work but don’t see any fruit from our labor.  Is it because we are just working because it’s the right thing to do?  Is it because we’re working because tradition tells us we must?  Our goal is not to work and toil just to get the work done.  It is truly to give God glory and when we realize that we will see the fruit we desire.  We will see the breakthrough we desire in every area of our lives.  Our focus must be God in all things.  When we focus on God everything else will and does fall into place.

Lord don’t let my work be mere lip service to You!!!! That is definitely my cry. Tell me, are you giving God lip service???

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