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Friday, October 11, 2019

Proverbs 1:10-19

Proverbs 1:10-19 (BSB)  10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not yield to them.
11 If they say, “Come along, let us lie in wait for blood,
let us ambush the innocent without cause,
12 let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
and whole like those descending into the Pit.
13 We will find all manner of precious goods;
we will fill our houses with plunder.
14 Throw in your lot with us;
let us all share one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk the road with them
or set foot upon their path.
16 For their feet run to evil,
and they are swift to shed blood.
17 How futile it is to spread the net
where any bird can see it.
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush their own lives.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy,
whose unjust gain takes the lives of its possessors.

Proverbs 1:10-19 (NLT)  10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”
15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.
18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.

Ephesians 5:10-13,15-18 (NLT)  10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them...
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit

1 Peter 4:3-5 (BSB)   3 For you have spent enough time in the past carrying out the same desires as the Gentiles: living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.
4 Because of this, they consider it strange of you not to plunge with them into the same flood of reckless indiscretion, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

I've thought of this many times. If you made a list of all the actions that could destroy your life, some people will tick them off one at a time. They destroy their lives with their own two hands. No one does it to them, they do it to themselves. It's like they are collectors, but they are collecting miseries.

"Oh, I haven't done that one yet, let's do it so I can check it off my bucket list." And off they go to bring more ruin to their lives.

They have handicapped themselves by their own stupid decisions.

For instance, someone in a car accident that leaves scars all over their face will wish they had their old face back. They think everyone sees them as a monster because they have scars on their face. What they wouldn't do to have their face back! But a perfectly healthy, intelligent human being will go into a tattoo shop and PAY for facial tattoos that make them look like monsters and people look at in horror. Wow! Or the piercings they pay for to make them look freakish and like horror movie clowns. Now they can't get a decent job and it's hard to get anyone to look past their tattoos or piercings in order to get to know them. And they did it to themselves! They handicapped themselves and, for tattoos, it's for life.

Despite all the warnings of cancer, people still smoke and vape. Despite all the warnings of STDs , AIDS, and unplanned pregnancies, people still have sex with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Despite all the warnings and probable prison, people still rob, assault, rape, kill. Despite all the warnings of prison and the horrors of being listed as a sex offender, people still have sex with children. They meet online, make "dates" with children to have sex and are surprised when the police grab them at the meeting spot. Shaking my head. How dumb do you have to be to do these things and invite this misery?!?

Logically, it makes no sense that people do every day. But that is the human condition. Our evil human nature is totally open to sin. We want it, we desire it and then we are miserable with the consequences of our choices. And, if we refuse to accept Jesus Christ, the forgiver or sins, we will spend eternity in hell. Jesus came to set us free from this cycle of sin, misery and death!

I cannot say Christians no longer have any problems. That obviously isn't true. We still struggle with sin, but we are forgiven and saved from the ultimate consequence of sin, eternal damnation! We also have lemons in life. In a sinful world, bad things happen to people and it isn't their fault. But God promises He is with His children no matter what and He will see us through. But don't add to your problems by making choices that invite trouble. You have been warned, you know the dangers, so don't even go there. If someone tries to tempt you to do something that could lead to misery, say, "No!" and run from them. Don't entertain the thought. Don't rehearse the fantasy. Don't listen to them as they try to persuade you. Get up and walk away (run if necessary). Don't get caught up in their drama. Don't listen as they call you names, don't pay attention to all the ways they will try to manipulate you into their plans and schemes and drama. Satan is using them like a puppet on a string to try and tempt you to fall into their sin and you don't have to do it.

Now let's say, these "friends" are threatening you to make you do something you don't want to do. It's time to say, "No!", run away and pray. God can take care of you, your family, your friends, your job, etc. This is really hard for us to trust. We tend to want to control everything and that includes our desire to protect someone or something that means a lot to us. It's our weakness, our kryptonite. But if we do the right thing and we pray and trust God, He can do the right thing by you and your loved ones. He can supernaturally protect them. Or He can usher them safely into Heaven. Or He can remove the danger. Or He can arrange circumstances so that there no longer is a danger. If you are His child and your loved ones are His children, and you do the right thing... worst case scenario, you all meet in Heaven. I mean, really, let's say a mobster has threatened your wife and child (we see this in movies all the time) unless you do something illegal. You and your family are Christians. You say no. The worst case scenario, the mobster kills your wife and child. It would be horrendous, devastating and you would feel terrible grief, but the end result is your wife and child are now safely with Christ in Heaven forever. You will meet them there. You are not responsible for their deaths by your choice. You chose wisely and rightly. God knows that. Do you really think He can't turn a horrible experience into a great blessing? As a human being, we can't see how it could turn into a blessing, especially right then when it first happens. We are too raw. But, as we trust Him, He can begin to turn things and we can begin to see light. In God's eyes, He has the wisdom to know what to do and when, so that it becomes a blessing. I remember my sister saying, when her son broke his ankle, "Who knows why God allowed this. Maybe it's too keep him from being drafted and having to fight (or die) in a war." What if your child had lived to adulthood, is it possible (you won't know until Heaven) your child could have rebelled against God and not accepted Christ and thus spent eternity separated from you in hell? But, since your child was killed before the age of accountability, they are most certainly waiting for you in heaven. Who knows what God is saving them from by taking them early? It takes faith to trust God during the hardest times in our lives. And even that is a gift from God. So, my point is to do what God says is the right thing to do and trust Him with the consequences and let Him shoulder the responsibility.

I was watching a miniseries last night, The Mill. It was about the textile mill in Cheshire, England and how children, young people were workers. Everything was provided by the mill - their clothing, a place to safely sleep, food, a job. If they lost their job, they would be on the streets as beggars or prostitutes. One of the supervisors was forcing himself on young girls and threatening their jobs if they told anyone. He was raping them. One girl was willing to reveal his evil, the others were not. They were too afraid and did not back her up. So she was singled out by the Supervisor. She did the right thing but it cost her. The other girl refused to back her up, she even lied that nothing was happening in order to protect herself and her sister (or friend) who was pregnant by the Supervisor. She said she did it to protect their jobs because the baby. Then her sister (or friend) tried to pick a fight so that she would lose the baby. This is a small example of a sticky and bad situation. Yes, they had every reason to fear the loss of their job because it meant the loss of what food they got (which was wretched), what shelter they had (which was pitiful and pathetic) and the loss of their job (which was exhausting and dangerous) and the alternative could be even worse. But the girls made some bad choices. First time he tried to force himself on them, they should have gone to the owners with the truth even if they were afraid it would be used against them. Second, they should have backed up their friend with the truth when she told what happened. She became a target because they wouldn't back her up. Third, when they were asked, they lied in order to keep their jobs. Fourth, the pregnant girl tried to get her baby killed, a form of murder and murder of an innocent baby. You see they made the initial bad decision but it compounded and they kept making bad decisions. They didn't know the future. Only God knows that. Yes, there was a 50/50 chance they would end up as beggars, prostitutes, or dying of exposure and starvation. But, as a child of God who did the right thing, they should have been able to trust God to take care of them. Because there is also the 50/50 chance they would have found a better home, a better job, better food, marriage and happy family. Only God can work those things out. You just obey and trust and let Him work it out.

I'm speaking simplistically in examples. I have no idea what you may really be facing. But you can choose to do the right thing and you can choose to trust God in all things. Boy, do I know how hard it is to say this versus doing it. Don't think I haven't struggled to trust and obey. We all do. You would not be alone! But remember, if you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit resides in you to help you. He is our secret weapon. He helps us to do right but He will not help us to do wrong.

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