THE QUESTIONS about WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Although 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary ASSOCIATION was probably churchly. 

The CONTEXT of these verses was the leaning tendency of the church at Corinth to listen to and accept the teachings of FALSE TEACHERS and those masquerading in the gatherings of the saints as APOSTLES of Christ.  These false teachers and apostles continually competed for the affections and allegiance of the Corinthian believers, criticizing and lying about Paul in the process.

Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 4:5, where he said,

“So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in.  When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of–inner motives and purposes and prayers.  Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God”  [The MESSAGE Bible].

In 2 Corinthians 6:3-13, Paul defends his ministry.

Showing that he had sacrificed his personal comforts in order to minister to the Corinthian church, Paul points to something obviously missing from the ministry of the false teachers and false apostles.  The false teachers and apostles were merely after a following, ‘fill them church pews on Sunday mornings’, and undue respect and position.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Paul urges the saints in Corinth to make a judgment, be discriminating concerning the teachers they heard, for some of these people were not real followers of Jesus.

However, Paul also wanted to drive home the point that they shouldn’t try to live with one foot in the world, and one foot in the teachings of Christ.

What they truly believed would affect how they behaved. 

They couldn’t live for Christ while spiritually straddling the fence.

That Brings Us to THE QUESTIONS –

QUESTION #1.  “How can there be Any PARTNERSHIP with the World?”

2 Corinthians 6:14b. c. (NKJV)

“For what FELLOWSHIP has righteousness with lawlessness? And what COMMUNION has light with darkness?”

It might be worth taking some NOTES here:

  1. The word “fellowship” means, “in partnership, participation.  What is there in common, or how can the one partake with the other?”
  2. The word “unrighteousness” [“wickedness”] refers to “lawlessness”. 
  3. The word “communion” is interesting, in that it “…involves close relationship (Arndt), as in marriage or as in the spiritual relationship with God (c.f. 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 John 1:3, 6).

Paul is simply saying here that the child of God cannot be close to God while at the same time living in the ways of the world.

The “Stockholm Syndrome” –

John Suk, author, and church minister writes, “Soldiers of the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst on February 4, 1974.  In return for her release, Patty’s kidnappers demanded that her father, Randolph Hearst, give millions of dollars to the poor.  On April 15, 1974, the FBI identified Patty in a videotape of a bank holdup in San Francisco.  On September 18 of that year, Patty was captured.  She served nearly three years in prison for her crime.  It was said that “Patty Hearst suffered from the Stockholm syndrome.  This condition affects some hostages who are so traumatized by their captivity that they IDENTIFY to their captors.”  The syndrome gets its name from a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, where one hostage fell in love with her captor.  People who then fall prey to the Stockholm syndrome, in essence, sleep with the enemy.”

Many Christians suffer from a “spiritual” kind of Stockholm syndrome.  We find ourselves sleeping with our enemy–the World.

WORLDLINESS is more than a fixation on card playing, dancing, drinking at the local pub after church on Sundays.  True Worldliness is being caught in a sticky web of comments to self.

QUESTION #2.  “How can there be Any PEACE with the World?”

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

The word “Belial” in verse 15 is a synonym for Satan.

Paul stresses the lack of harmony between the children of God and the children of the world with the use of the words, “in common”.  The Greek translation suggests a deep sharing of things–“in common…”  (c.f. its used in Lk. 10:42; Acts 8:21; Col. 1:12)  [Footnote [i].]

QUESTION #3.  “Can there be any PARTICIPATION with the World?

2 Corinthians 6:16 (AMP)

“What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

The word “AGREEMENT” carries the idea of “…a sympathetic union of mind and a will in a plan mutually agreed to”  [Dictionary.com].

The same idea can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Amos 3:3 (NIV)

[3]  Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

THE QUENCHING OF WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS –

Matthew 5:29-3o (NIV)

[29] “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

[30]  “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than your whole body to go into hell.”

Terminate SIN, don’t toy with it! (2 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 5:11).

Just a NOTE here concerning the TEMPTATION to ignore SIN.  Charles Spurgeon once said:

“What settings are you in when you fall?  Avoid them.  What props do you have that support your sin?  Eliminate them.  What people are you usually with?  Avoid them.”

There are TWO equally damaging LIES that Satan wants us to believe: 

  1. Just once won’t hurt.
  2. Now that you have ruined your life, you’re beyond God’s use and you might as well enjoy the ride (sinning)!

Learn to say no, asking the Holy Spirit to help you.

THE QUEST TO CONQUER WORLDLY ASSOCIATIONS –

LIVING IN THE SPIRIT IS A MUST!!!

1 Corinthians 6:19 

“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you.  Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God?  You are not on your own”  (AMP).

2 Corinthians 6:16b

“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people”  (NIV).

Ephesians 5:18b  “…be filled with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:16

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”  (NIV).

“LIVING IN THE SPIRIT” doesn’t mean that a prayer thrown out to God after discovering we’ve sinned is being in the Spirit.  It’s a moment by moment experience in our living with complete surrender to God’s Spirit.

My QUEST:  May not a single moment go by in my life that is spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill with His Spirit and His Love!

We Must Shine as Lights in the World.

A Christian brother and fellow blogger, Joe Rodriguez, both of us are equally yoked with the burden of shinning the Light of God’s Word.  Joe uses a constant theme in his writings of different Lighthouses found around the world.  I particularly enjoyed reading “A Light Among The Light”, Posted on May 1, 2018 [http://lighthousedevotions.blog/]

JESUS’ sermon on the mount message to the people in Matthew 5:14:  “You are the LIGHT of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

THE EMPHASIS OF THE LIGHT –

The apostle Paul emphasizes the same LIGHT in his letter to the church at Ephesus.

Ephesians 5:8

“For once you were in darkness, but now you are LIGHT in the Lord; walk as children of LIGHT [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]”  (AMP).

So, does our WALK backup our TALK?

Here’s where CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT comes in to play.

What is CHARACTER?  

Our Character is best described as “the sum of moral qualities associated with a person and suggests ethical strength and excellence.  It is about doing what is right, regardless of what is convenient or popular.” [Charizma Magazine].

The character of a person is comprised of the core principles and values of who we really are, both inwardly and outwardly, in your behavior and relationships.  That’s not just in Christian assemblies, but wherever you spend your time during the day (e.g. work, social gatherings, grocery stores…).

CHARACTER QUALITIES:

  • Faithfulness,
  • Honesty,
  • Integrity,
  • Trustworthiness,
  • Loyalty,
  • Honor,
  • Dependability,

Even good old-fashioned manners are basic to good character.

But because so few Christians exhibit these traits, there has become a huge credibility gap in society and church today.

Many of our unbelieving associations in observing our everyday CHARACTER consider us a bunch of hypocrites.  We want to win the lost for the LORD…”A LIGHT ON THE HILL” but they won’t listen to us, because they only see the glaring inconsistency between our MESSAGE and our lifestyle.

QUESTION #4 – “Does your Christian TALK square with your Christian WALK?”

Is your HONESTY, your CHARACTER above question?

WE MUST BE LOVERS OF ONE ANOTHER!

John 13:35 (AMP)

“By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples if you love one another” [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

1 Peter 1:22b. (NIV)

“…love one another deeply, from the heart.”

1 John 4:7 (NIV)

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Paul taught that the corrupt ways of the WORLD are totally incompatible with the LIFE that’s in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle has asked the church some searching questions to point out the absurdity of Christians trying to straddle the spiritual fence in their daily lives. 

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote:  [i] – John Gill’s Commentary of the Bible

Dictionary:  Dictionary.com – used for this blog.

IMAGES:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); other translations used are noted.

 

 

 

PRAYER PITFALLS

SCRIPTURE READING:  Matthew 6

Our Scripture in Matthew 6:5-8 is speaking to those who PRAY; people who take prayer seriously.

PRAYER is one of the greatest acts of the Christian believer.  It’s talking to God, whether by thought or tongue and the way a BELIEVER fellowships with God; and the one thing God desires is FELLOWSHIP with His people.

So it is essential that we PRAY and PRAY often and sharing all day long.

However, that we pray is not the concern of Jesus in this passage.  His concern is HOW WE PRAY.

It’s possible to PRAY and never be heard by God.

It’s possible to PRAY AMISS– with wrong motives and the wrong way.

Let me rephrase that in a different way.  An omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God cannot fail to know what’s going on this planet.  But when we pray with wrong motives, God chooses to ignore that prayer.

It’s possible to PRAY and to be speaking only to ourselves, to have our prayer go no higher than our own ears.  Therefore, Christ sets out to teach us the right and wrong motives for PRAYING.

  • The WRONG MOTIVE; praying to be seen by men (v. 5).

PRAYER CAN BECOME HYPOCRITICAL

A person can pray for the wrong reasons, with the wrong motives.

PRAYER is a wonderful experience, very rewarding emotionally and mentally and in having our needs met as God answers our prayer.  We can begin to LOVE PRAYING and still be praying amiss.

Praying Amiss is simply praying outside the will of God; it’s the offering of prayer but one that is done in ignorance and it’s akin to asking God to go against Himself.  For this reason alone is why at times I pray Bible verses–God’s Word for I know with confidence that I’m praying in God’s will.

And it’s easy to PRAY AMISS!

The Scripture declared that we don’t know how to PRAY as we should, hence the GIFT of the new nature and the Helper in the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:12).

So what is “Hypocrisy”?

In essence, it refers to the act of claiming to BELIEVE something but acting in a different manner.  The word is derived from the Greek term for “actor”–literally, “one who wears a mask”–in other words, someone who pretends to be what he isn’t.

The Bible calls hypocrisy a SIN.

There are TWO forms HYPOCRiSY can take:  that of professing belief in something and then acting in a manner contrary to that belief AND…that of looking down on others when we ourselves are flawed.  OUCH!  Both forms are prayer blockers!!

PRAYER can also become empty repetition.

A person can take any phrase or form of prayer and make it a meaningful experience, or make it a formal and meaningless occasion.

Every Sunday morning before our pastor gives the message, he calls the ushers forward and asks for one to PRAY for the tithes and offerings.  And that’s a good thing!  However, when it becomes just a ‘formal and meaningless occasion’ the words go unnoticed to man and to God.

Just think how often the LORD’S PRAYER is repeated from rote memory with the mind focused elsewhere.

PRAYER can become too long.

A believer can begin to feel he is heard because of “many words”.

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words”  (Matthew 6:7 – New International Version).

“Many words” OR “babbling” – 

“Babbling” in the Greek language, the word is “kenophonia”, literally, “making an empty sound” (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16).

BABBLE sounds like Babel, the Biblical tower where everyone was talking in their own language.  Everyone was babbling without paying attention to their neighbors, like the kid who won’t stop talking about his trip to the water park three years ago.

PRAYER can become self-glorifying.

A person can begin to feel he/she must inform and convince God somehow of their great need.

PRAYER can become self-deceptive.

Christ says “when you pray”… He is referring to personal prayer.

I believe that Christ assumes that the BELIEVER does pray, and the idea conveyed is that the BELIEVER prays often.

What do I mean by PRAYING OFTEN?

The Apostle Paul tells us this about praying:  “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thess. 5:17-16).

I don’t believe that Paul is commanding us to bow our heads, eyes-closed posture all day long.  He’s talking about an ATTITUDE of God-consciousness and God-surrender we should carry with us all the time.  That’s more than “often.”

Jesus says in His teaching that some love to PRAY, and they are the very ones who stumble in the PITFALL of praying amiss with the wrong motives.

Christ pictures TWO MEN PRAYING.

  • One man prays for other people to hear.
  • The other man prays to the Father.

The first man is a HYPOCRITE and the second man is a true son of the Father.

CLOSET PRAYERS –

Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

I have to tell you, I like The King James Version when it refers to the place Jesus says to go and pray, in your closet.  Just because it’s smaller, more private that “your room”, or “your [most] private room”.

PRAYER is God’s appointed medium through which He acts for mankind.

Sharing and talking together are the ways all people communicate, fellowship, and commune together.  This is true for most people and in my opinion, women more than men because they are just more sociable.  Don’t ask me why that is, it’s just so.

PRAYER requires our presence, sharing and talking; and God looks forward to His sons and daughters’ fellowship. their communion.

It seems as though few people take PRAYER seriously.  Prayer in many cases has become a “rabbit’s foot”–‘wishin’ and ‘hopin’ type of communication.  Therefore, if we want the BLESSINGS of God to shower upon our lives and ministries; if we want the work of God going forth in POWER and bearing fruit–we must PRAY and we must INTERCEDE in PRAYER.

Matthew 6:9 (NIV)

“This, then, is how you should pray:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

Luke 18:1 (NIV)

Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up.

PRAYER, even loving to pray, isn’t a sign that a person knows God.  The fact that a person really knows God means that he does pray.

All YAMS are sweet potatoes, but not ALL sweet potatoes are YAMS.

No matter what a person may think in their mind, if they really know God, really believe in God, they will talk to God.

There is nothing that could keep one from PRAYING,

Remember Daniel, even though he knew that if he prayed he would be thrown to the lions, he prayed.

A child of God knows God’s personality, knows Him as His Father who loves and cares for him ever so deeply.  Therefore, just as any child who truly loves his father, the BELIEVER talks, converses and shares with his/her Father not because they have to, but because they want to!  That’s what you do when you LOVE someone.

This says something to a person who prays primarily in public and prays little if any in private.  One must search the GENUINENESS OF THEIR HEART AND PROFESSION.

Jesus says that a man (or woman) who PRAYS TO BE SEEN AND HEARD by others loves to PRAY, but is a hypocrite.  Their LOVE is really for the public recognition.  Afterall, that’s what people expect from them.

The PLACES where he loves to PRAY….out in public, in the synagogue (church), in the streets (restaurants, and other public areas).

Some love to PRAY PUBLICALLY.

Their LOVE representing the group around them and vocalizing their praises and needs to God.  Some have become very charismatic and at ease with public prayer, yet they lack that essential LOVE for private prayer.  Christ calls them “hypocrites”. 

Some PRAY only in public.  They pray for their family (at meals and family prayers, usually with children); in church (when called upon); and in public (when eating in restaurants).  How destitute is the PRAYER LIFE of so many!

PRAYER is to be offered to God both in church and in public.

But PUBLIC PRAYER is to be public, not private.

Too often a person has their personal devotions when called upon to pray publically.  They have neglected their private prayers and their inner needs haven’t been met.  So when he begins to PRAY publically, he/she slips into praying for their own private prayer instead of representing the group.

Man’s ESTEEM is temporary.

The person who prays on the street corner or in the synagogue receives his reward of public recognition.  This man’s ESTEEM, this public recognition, fails at several points.

Everything passes even so quickly.  A man soon forgets and moves on to other things.

Man’s ESTEEM becomes commonplace.

Even the excellent, oratorical skilled that elicit man’s praise becomes routine and commonplace when performed day by day, Sunday after Sunday.  Soon no one acknowledges the public display.  Such abilities are merely expected and accepted, and man’s praise and recognition disappear.

Man’s ESTEEM is powerless.

It cannot answer PRAYER; it can only recognize man’s ability to put words together, to see man’s expression, fervency, and emotion.

Man’s ESTEEM can do absolutely nothing about the spiritual needs of the heart.

Let me Post Matthew 6:6 again.

 

The right motive for PRAYER is praying to be heard by God and God alone.

Our personal PRAYER LIFE is not for general consumption.  It is between me and God.

The willingness to take time to PRAY:  “When you pray”

There has to be the WILL to pray.  Every BELIEVER must take (make) time each and every day to get alone and pray.

A “CLOSET” or “PRIVATE ROOM” is a necessity!

This set-aside, private place is where a personal relationship id developed with God: a Father-son/daughter relationship is absolutely essential.

What then, when we do pray, is our motive?  Do we pray in public to be seen, heard by others?  Or do we pray in private to be in communion with our heavenly Father?

Again Jesus is talking about MOTIVE and ATTITUDE regarding PRAYER.

Are our prayers intended to be communion with God, a heart-to-HEART conversation?  It should be!

In that “closet”, at that time in your heart, you and the Father commune Father-to-child.

Know this!

That His ear is attentive and His eye sees, and in your quiet time His presence is precious!!

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SOURCES FOR THIS BLOG-POST

PHOTOS:  Google Image search.

Bible Translations:  NIV and Amplified Bibles, except where noted.

The Bread From Heaven Ministries:  “Prayer blockers – Praying amiss”

gotQuestions?org. :  “What does the Bible say about hypocrisy?”

Hypocrite@ Dictionay.com

 

 

Strange Women and Old Men

1 Kings 11:1-14

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KING SOLOMON –

No man began with more promise than Solomon did.  Yet a good beginning doesn’t mean a good finish.  Solomon drifted and finally defected.  Could the same thing happen to us?

Solomon Became The Wisest Man In The World!

1 Kings 4:31-34 (AMP bible):

[31] For he was wiser *than all other men–than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.  His fame was in all the nations round about.

[32]  He also originated 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005.

[33]  He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.

[34]  Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

[“Wiser than all other men,” until Christ came.  Jesus said, “Someone more and greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42) – Amplified Bible footnote.]

So What Went Wrong?”

Solomon had a misplaced LOVE (VERSES 1 & 2):

[1] BUT KING Solomon [defiantly] loved many foreign women–the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites.  [2] They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites,  You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.  Yet Solomon clung to these in love.

I remember when I was in school at an early age–when I would do something wrong, my teacher would shout out my name across the playground and I would pretend not to hear her call.  It was because I knew I’d done wrong and knew I was in trouble.

  • God tells Israel NOT to have anything to do with these women!!!  (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
  • God told the kings of Israel NOT to marry many wives!!!               (Deuteronomy 17:17)

Now before we misinterpret God’s word into something racial, let me make it clear.

When God commanded the Israelites NOT to marry foreigners–“strange women”–it is not because they are a different color, or from a different country, or because they look different.  It was simply because they WORSHIPPED IDOLS and pagan gods.

God knew that if His people were to marry those who did not WORSHIP the true God of heaven, that the influences of these “strange women” would influence and eventually poison the house, the husband, the children, and the bloodline.

Solomon LOVED these women (VERSE 1) –

Solomon was like that certain kid in school I mentioned earlier–he pretends NOT TO HEAR God give the command NOT to marry these women because deep down he knew it was wrong.

The LORD tells Israel not to marry these women because they’ll turn their hearts away from God and that’s exactly what happened to Solomon.

Romans 12:1 (NIV Bible):

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

It is impossible to present your bodies as a living sacrifice if your HEART is not right.  Don’t let the WORLD around you squeeze you into its own mould.

TEMPTATION seems to arise when things start to crop up in our lives; causes us to start missing our personal prayer time in the mornings, and daily Bible reading is skipped over.  How easy it is for Satan to get in and cause us to have a MISPLACED LOVE.

A HINGE VERSE – Things Change From This Point On.

VERSE 4 (AMP):

idol-moloch[4]  For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect (complete and whole) with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

NOTE: “Old Age won’t cure the heart of any evil propensity” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

Solomon had his HEART turned away from God, and as a result of his MISPLACED LOVE, his heart is turned not only away from God, but towards false gods.

The WORSHIP SYSTEMS that Solomon was involved in were sexually oriented and obviously this would appeal to Solomon.  If he wasn’t interested in this kind of thing, he probably would have stuck with just one wife.

Have we had our HEARTS turned away?

Worshipping false gods are just Old Testament stories, right?  Well, let me point out that thousands of churches across the land are EMPTY today because of the WORSHIP of false gods!

  • Sunday is the only day that kids can play football, so we have to take them while church is in session.  Sorry!
  • I can’t read IN my Bible right now, because I would miss too much TV.
  • I go to watch my soccer/football/baseball team play Sunday afternoon.  I could never miss that opportunity for church.

The minute we place more priority on something other than Jesus Christ, then we are in effect, worshipping false gods.

We need to pray and ask God to remove our idols in life.  I don’t want SPORT to be my god or, I don’t want TV to be my idol.  The only GOD I want is YOU!!  I want the TRUE GOD in my life, the only God!!

The Cause of Misplaced Love (women, false gods/money, jobs).

hqdefaultVERSE 5

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abominable idol of the Ammonites.

What causes us to turn our HEARTS away from God?

Satan will use every means possible to get us as far away from GOD as possible.

That job you’ve been praying for all of sudden requires you to work 12 hours a day and if you don’t do it, then they will find someone who will.

Or, SIN will creep into our lives, and in turn our hearts start to drift away.  I’ve been here before many times and know the results!  Satan makes SIN so attractive and we say to ourselves,  “It will be different for me, that it won’t hurt.”

We have the tendency to justify to ourselves, that it is OK.  How spiritually naive we are to let anything, or anyone, turn our HEARTS away from GOD.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NIV):

[14] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? [15] What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  [16] What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said:  “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

I read a story in the Scientific American that most people are familiar with:

Chimpanzees, can seem like cute, hairy iterations of people.  The chimp, Travis, appeared in television commercials, he seemed comfortable at a computer, and in bathing himself, sipped wine from a stemmed glass, all according to the New York Times.  In February 2009, Travis the adorable, almost human, and his owner gained international notoriety after he suddenly attacked and mauled the owner’s best friend.  The owner later told reporters after Travis’ demise,  “I’m like hollow now.  He slept with me every night.  Until you’ve eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don’t know a chimp.”

SIN too often comes dressed in adorable disguises, and as we play with it, eat with it…, live with it daily, how easy it is to say,  “It will be different for me!”

SIN won’t be different, it may come in a different disguise, but it will have the same effect.

If we play with SIN, it will not let us stop where we want to stop!  It will take us down further than we wanted to go.

When we CHOOSE not to do what God wants, we have to face the CONSEQUENCES.  Not following God always has its consequences.

The Consequence of Misplaced Love (God raised up an advisory and tore the kingdom in two/things don’t work out!).

VERSES 11 & 14

The consequence of sin will always cost more than the pleasure the sin provides.

Solomon’s motivation had changed; gone from building God’s Temple and serving God, to building ALTARS to false gods that his wives worshipped and he would be serving them as well.

And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon (verse 14):

[14]  The Lord stirred up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of royal descent in Edom.

ISRAEL goes from GLORY to EXILE –

ISRAEL went from the glories of having fellowship with God and walking with God– to having their country split into two and several hundred years later, their Temple destroyed and the people carried off to another country in captivity.

We can miss out on what God wants to do in our lives today.

He wants to have FELLOWSHIP with us, that was the reason He created mankind and SIN keeps messing it up!

You see, we get involved in things that appear to be nice, but at the same time, they are destroying our spiritual lives.

Remember, the enemy is always in the background.

Looking back in Chapter 10, VERSE 14, we see the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year as, six hundred threescore and six talents of Gold (King James Version).  I found it interesting in other translations, that this number just happens to be “666” *[See Revelation 13:1, 7, 17-18].

Now this wasn’t all of Solomon’s income, but this is what has been written down in Scripture.  The ENEMY is always in the background!

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Don’t Negotiate With Satan!

A hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear in a clearing.  About to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft tone,  “Isn’t it better to talk that to shoot?  What do you want?  Let’s negotiate the matter.”  Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied “I want a fur coat.”  “Good,” said the bear, “that is a negotiable question.  I only want a full stomach, so let us negotiate a compromise.”  They sat down together and after a time, the bear walked away alone.  THE NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL!  The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat!

Satan says,  “Let’s negotiate.”

But there are things that should never be negotiable.  We cannot compromise church with the world.  JESUS and His church deserves our very best and absolute loyalty in ALL things.

SOLOMON WAS THE WISEST MAN ON EARTH!!

Yet, he turned away from God.  Solomon’s problem wasn’t ignorance but rebellion!  

He knew better but did not do better!

We need to keep our eyes open in the world around us.  We need to watch for the enemy, because he is always in the background, waiting to trip us up, waiting to turn our hearts.

It is said that the devil will find things for idle hands to do, so let’s not give him the opportunity.

Matthew 5:8 (AMP):

Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the PURE IN HEART, for they shall see God.

 


CREDITS:

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV).

Photos:  Google Image Search (1 Kings 10, 11).

Commentary:  God’s lessons from history by Philip Smith – About the Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings – http://www.easyenglish.info

Our Destiny Won’t and Can’t Be Overlooked!

Queen Esther
Queen Esther

THE BOOK OF ESTHER:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from else-where, but you and your father’s house will perish.

AND WHO KNOWS but that YOU have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?”  (Esther 4:14).

Do I really have SPECIFIC PURPOSE in Life?

In 1963, I was single and working a grave yard shift at a local grocery store chain in Southern California.  I was a part-time student at a local Community College along with some morning classes during the week.  So, on specific days, I would get off work at 7:30 AM; drive to school and attend a 9 AM class, then come home and sleep until 4:30 PM and do it again starting!   at midnight!  I’m exhausted from just recounting the story.  And to make thing worse– at the ripe old age of 21 at the time, my social life was all but non-existent.

One day, pulling my car up in front of the house and sitting there for sometime, I got out of the car and proceeded to kicked the rear tire, with a  loud proclamation to the neighborhood,  What am I doing all of this for?  There must be a better purpose in life other than work, school, money, girls etc.  Well, maybe not girls!  And by the way, in case you might be wondering, I wasn’t a Christian at this time in my life, nor have any relationship with the Lord.  Oh I knew there was a GOD and I knew what Christmas and Easter were all about…but NO RELATIONSHIP. Not until I was married, had three children and reached the ripe old age of 30 did a new relationship begin!  That’s another whole story.

GOD HAS A PLAN:

Jeremiah 1:5  (KJV):

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Psalm 139:13  (NIV):

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

—  Moses was born to lead the children of Israel of Bondage.

—  Elijah was born to be a prophet.

—  Noah was born to build the ark.

—  John the Baptist was born as forerunner of Christ Jesus to baptize in the wilderness. 

—  Paul was born to preach and write most of the New Testament.

Until we discover our PURPOSE, our EXISTENCE, we have no meaning…because PURPOSE becomes the source of FULFILLMENT.  And, success is NOT PURPOSE…because SUCCESS, without PURPOSE, is LIFE without meaning and no, that statement isn’t out of Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life [sorry, I’ve never read it!].

DURING THE TIME GOD MADE ESTHER QUEEN…

Haman wanted to kill ALL the Jews and Esther being a Jew, was told by her Uncle Mordecai,  she had the POWER to protect her people.  She was given this position as queen by God for such a time as this…

Although there isn’t an explicit reference to God in the Hebrew text, God’s providence is clearly over His covenant people throughout the reading of THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

Seeking a Purpose–

 Many people today turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, career, seeking a PURPOSE.  Putting a 250-channel remote control in our hands…we’re still restless because the things of life don’t really satisfy.  Maybe for an instance, but afterword, we want more!

We have been born to have a RELATIONSHIP with God and when this happens, God’s purpose becomes our purpose…

JESUS CAME WITH PURPOSE AND DESTINY:

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. ~ Luke 9:51 (KJV).

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but (always) Yours, be done. ~ Luke 22:42 (AMP).

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 (NASB).

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning. ~ 2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT).

HOW GREAT is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV).

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be had not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. ~ 1 John 3:2 (NIV).

OUR DESTINY?  WE HAVE BEEN BORN–ANOINTED–SET-APART TO INFLUENCE OTHERS!

The Christian walk in life is a FAITH WALK.  God doesn’t always reveal His perfect will and allow us to see our DESTINY He has set in place for our lives.  But that is no excuse to bury your head in the sand and wait for God to call you home.

He asks us to TRUST Him and take a leap of faith, allowing Him to guide our every step along the way until we come to the end.  Often, it is not until we have reached a milestone or accomplish a major goal that we can look back and see that God has been leading us all along.

With that all said, you might be questioning God right where you are at this moment in time: Why am I here?  Can’t I accomplish great things for your Kingdom at some other place?

Esther Felt the Pain!

Esther couldn’t understand why…why God would allow her to be forced to marry a pagan King; then taken from her family, to live in a palace, where she felt more like a prisoner than a Queen.

According to the Persian Law, Esther could not even go to her husband the King, without his prior approval.  If Esther were to attempt to walk in the presence of the King, without permission, she would be instantly killed if he didn’t want to see her.

Esther’s Destiny Could Not Be Overlooked!

AND THE RESULTS?

Esther’s people shared in the Queen’s Destiny–God’s Plan:

“The Jews had light [a dawn of new hope] and gladness and joy and honor.    And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday.  And many from among the peoples of the land [submitted themselves to Jewish rite and] became Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them”  (Esther 8:16-17 AMP).

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD OR YOUNG TO DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO:

Moses was 40 years old when he began tending sheep in Median and did the same mundane chores for 40 years.  When Moses was 80 years old God called him for His purpose.

When is became a born-again Christian in 1972, I was told by a wise old pastor:  Mel, God has a special calling just for you in life.  My thought process at the time?  Okay pastor, what “calling” is that?  It took over 20 years to discover it and another 20 to follow through with it.  What was it? TEACHING!

Ways to Determine Your Purpose in Life–

When I was investigating Esther’s Destiny; her calling…I uncovered some informative ways to determine God’s calling in your life by John Piper:  10 Ways to Determine God’s Calling in Your Life ~ April 25, 2005.

Although the ten questions were directed to people who desired committing their lives to the Mission Field, I thought Mr. Piper wouldn’t mind if I shared with you a few ways of not overlooking your destiny–your God blessed purpose here on earth.

Our calling can be deep-seated and lasting in our spirit (our hearts).  After all, it is the work of God [not your work] that brings your heart to a point of conviction.  All things considered–including Scripture–this pathway is the path to obedience.

[Esther’s pathway was chosen by God but it was her chosen obedience  that couldn’t be overlooked].

 Conviction is not infallible–

Although conviction isn’t perfect, but when it is of God, it certainly brings peace to your soul.

How does God waken such a calling in our lives?

John Piper suggest 10 Ways in grasping God’s plan for your life and only one of them is infallible–The Bible.  [I’ll present only 2-ways for reference.]  All others are relative and are not absolute but still important for determination.

Also, various combinations he lists are fuel God uses to drive the engine for His calling in your life.

#1. Above all, know your Bible and saturate your mind with it:

God’s Word, His will for your life shapes our minds:  Psalm 1:1-3.

It makes us burn for Christ:  Luke 24:32.

#2.  Know your gifts and know yourself:

Every Christian has spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11 AMP):

“As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of god’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].”

“Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”

Knowing your special gifts shapes your convictions about your calling and knowing yourself (as Paul illustrates in Romans 7:15-24), deepens your sense of fitness in various ministries.  Remember, this can be over-ridden by other facts that come into play.

This is but two means given by John Piper, to get you thinking.  If you want the other 8, you will have to go to John Piper’s book.

ARE YOU LISTENING FOR GOD’S CALL IN YOUR LIFE…DISCERNING YOUR DESTINY?

A blogging friend and published author, Jeannie Pallett, said recently in a message,  “I won’t be blogging this week.  I think my life [‘my destiny’]    is about to change…a sensing God wants me to open our home for my unsaved niece to live here for awhile” [the words in brackets are mine].

God’s Main Call First–

Careful Listening
Careful Listening

First, is to a restored relationship then a close fellowship.  Have you ever tried to have a verbal conversation with someone and they did all the talking?  You couldn’t even get a word in edge-ways ; an answer, if it really was a question.  How do you feel?  How does God feel when you do all the talking–asking all the time, but never listening for His answers.  That is not relationship or fellowship.  That’s spiritual deafness!

Eternal life that comes with being a Christian is not just accepting JESUS as your Lord & Savior, then waiting around to go to heaven and live for ever.  It’s about relationship with God–getting to know Him, serving Him and obeying Him because you love Him:

John 17:3–  Now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 15:15–  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:14–  You are my friends if you do what I command.” 

“God’s call is for you to be His loyal friend, for whatever purpose He has for your life” ~ Oswald chambers “My Utmost For His Highest”.

The apostle Paul tells the church located in Corinth:

“God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”  (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP).

GOD’S SPECIFIC CALLING FOR YOUR LIFE:

What is God’s call in your life?

That’s the question many Christians wonder about and seek an answer to.  Is it full time ministry, or to be a missionary, or to be a lay person, or…?  You need to prayerfully seek God and ask Him to help you discern His special plan and calling designed especially for your life.  Ask Him to give you the faith and courage to follow–obey–whenever He leads you.  You will be the happiest and full of joy when you are in the middle of God’s will and plan.