Tag Archives: decisions

Are you listening?

headphones-152341_1280I am at a venerable point in life when my adult children, (all in their 30’s at this writing), have been saying thing like,

“Mom, I heard you coming out of my mouth!”, or…

“Is that how Dad would treat Mom?”, or…

“I’m ‘channeling’ you, Mom”, and one of my personal favorites after the birth of a granddaughter,

“Mom, I’m sorry for all the #*@!! I put you through.”

It’s a time when you realize that something, by God’s grace, got through, is still getting through.  Sometimes it sure seems like our kids just aren’t paying attention.

But they are.  In more ways than one.

I love the New Living Translation header for Proverbs chapter 7:

“Another Warning about Immoral Women”

Emphasis on “another”.  Just in case you missed the first one or two. 

Can’t you just see the kid rolling his eyes?  That whole oh-mom-do-we-have-to-talk-about-this-again attitude. 

To which the obvious answer is emphatically affirmative.  Because it’s critically important that the child is told why.  Because they have friends who haven’t been told.  Because there’s a society drooling in anticipation to ensnare him in something dangerous and deadly.

Like chapter five, this chapter isn’t just for the guys, either.  And actually, taken as a whole, it can be seen as something more than sexual promiscuity, something far deeper and far more insidious—

Seduction.

How interesting that Babylon is personified in Revelation as a prostitute.  Babylon, the representation of all that is anti-Christ, all that would seduce me away from Christ and set up her own kingdom within my heart.  If I read Proverbs chapter seven and insert the word “Babylon” in place of “woman”, it brings out a whole new context.  It forces me to look at myself, my decisions, my desires in an uncomfortable light. 

Seduction.  Undoubtedly, sex is one of the vehicles that the enemy perverts for this purpose.  It’s definitely a strong one, but it’s only one.  He has many options when it comes to seduction.

  • People’s applause and affirmation, (including family, loved ones, people whose opinions “count”),
  • Financial security, (an oxymoron, BTW),
  • Emotional comfort zone

You know, like sex, all these can be good things!  We need affirmation, I appreciate my husband’s detail to retirement preparation, and emotional security is important to every other kind of health, so that’s not the point.  Instead, when these things (and there are many others) draw us away from God’s intended purpose—intimacy with Himself—then Seduction is at work…overtime!

I appreciate the in-your-face strategies that given in this same chapter, including 1st-person observation revealing the woman’s tricks, calling attention to the son’s heart (something sorely neglected in our day), the use of flattery, the lie of anonymity, and the advice to not even start down that path.  It reminds me that I need some strategies as well…

“…so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.”

The words of the Parent ring just as true today, in all areas of life.  I aspire to be an attentive child.

 


2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Just Like You Said

girl-563719_1280Children have an innate ability to (at least believe they) remember something you SAID. 

Y’know, like, six months ago. 

“But YOU PRO-O-O-M-I-S-E-D!!”

Busted!

Personally, I think it’s pretty humorous.  Kids will keep you, if not broke, then at least honest, when the money goes for braces instead of a new(er) car, or into the college fund rather than a retirement fund.  Disney over Cancun, that sort of thing.

Best not to tell a kid something unless you mean it.  To them, our words are powerful, like a contract signed in blood, and once they know you’re sincere, they’ll be back for more.  More encouragement, more love…more money.  (Always more money.)

Interestingly, it can be similar to the spiritual realm—Heaven is listening to what we say.  Unfortunately, Hell is also tuned in.  Now, I have heard my husband say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He doesn’t force Himself on anyone.  He is forgiving and patient.  Consider the Prodigal Son who walked away and then said, “oops!” 

 Satan,…not so much.  

 “…if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
    and are caught by what you said—”

I realize the context of this passage from Proverbs is concerned with signing off on someone else’s debt, but perhaps the principle has further applications.  Author and counselor John Eldredge posits that we make spiritual agreements ALL THE TIME, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize:

 “How can I be so stupid?!”

 “I’ll never change.”

 “I’m nothing but a mess.”

 And with whom are we agreeing when we say these things?  Certainly not God!  His words over me are more along the lines of:

 “I am a new creation”.

 “I am loved.”

 “I have authority and purpose.”

The challenge comes when I realize that I have a choice: just who will I believe? (Jesus paid dearly so that I could have that choice, BTW.)  When I verbalize choices contrary to what God Himself says about me, I’m inviting spiritual influences in keeping with those decisions.  Because that’s what my words are—decisions.  Decisions to trust what I feel (or what the enemy is saying to me through a feeling) rather than the truth of God.

I can get trapped by that agreement. 

cross-3080144_1920The Good News, however, sets me free, since that’s what the Truth does.  Always.  Sure, I’m responsible for that freedom, but it’s paid for.  Like a good Father, He promised. 

And then signed it in blood.

Proverbs 6:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


It’s Not Natural

What Is Natural

Some things are not natural. Let’s start with a few things that are.

When humans are born, they have a tendency to be selfish and self-centered (have you been around babies?). As they age, the tendency remains, and with some, it becomes a regular habit. But of course, this is nothing but natural.

It is also natural for humans to do stupid stuff and get suckered by other humans – it happens all the time. The humans who do stupid and evil things love doing what they do so much they recruit others with less experience in life to do the stupid stuff for them, then laugh as they enjoy the evil of it all.

And it should go without saying, humans are lustful creatures. If they weren’t, 95% of all advertisers would go bankrupt.

Is it any wonder the prophet Jeremiah described the heart of man as “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9)?

What Is NOT Natural

The second chapter of Proverbs confirms all of the above, but it also shows that the antidote is something that is painful and runs completely contrary to humanity’s sense of self-preservation.

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart…” – Proverbs 2:10a

There is nothing – NOTHING – natural about heart surgery. There is absolutely nothing natural or pleasant about something piercing one’s chest cavity and entering that life-sustaining muscle, the beating of which we become very accustomed.

It is also unnatural for an evil, deceitful, and desperately wicked heart to yield to wisdom. Wisdom is unnatural; it must enter in.

But the surgery is elective, and the wise will choose – and live! But fools avoid it, choosing instead indiscretion, a lack of knowledge, and a perfumed deathbed in the house of the flatterer (Proverbs 2:11-18).

When Christ (the wisdom of God – 1 Cor. 1:24) enters your heart, life is supernatural (Romans 8:10)!