♕ Today's Promise: Psalm 32:7 “Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance.”
When we ended last week, we began with the statement:
That for evil to be completely destroyed, it must first be allowed to increase.
And by entertaining wrong thoughts, untruthful principles that are accepted and promoted by not only society but also the church, who lives ignorantly to His principles but instead follows the same reaction to evil that every other person in the world does, is why we cannot draw others to the Lord by our lifestyle.
So this, like most sin, begins in the mind. Only with an adequate amount of knowledge and understanding will we be able to withstand the enemy's attempts to get us to think thoughts that normally we would quickly reject.
When are we most vulnerable to entertaining thoughts that we would normally reject?
Often, the enemy gets us to entertain wrong thoughts in times of self-pity or when someone offers us sympathy for what we are going through—when something or someone has offended or hurt us. These feelings are deeply rooted in PRIDE, we simply believe we don’t deserve it and that God owes us an easy life. Really? As if God owes us ANYTHING more! If Jesus never did another thing for you or me we would have MORE than we DESERVE with our salvation—amen? Therefore, before it begins to take hold of you be very leery of self-pity or harboring a defensive stance, because that attitude can draw you in and under faster than anything else.
Another trap to promoting wrong thinking is our close relationships with sinners. This could actually be a believer who believes living in sin is okay, or it could be someone who we are hoping to lead to salvation. We need to be extremely careful that we do not get too close or too comfortable, because all too soon we will not discern words of knowledge and "white will look black" and the "wrong will seem right."
Solomon understood this truth when he wrote in Proverbs 14:7 "Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge." However, he himself violated this wisdom by taking foreign wives that turned his heart away from God, which led to his writing Ecclesiastes. "‘Vanity of vanities,' says the Preacher, Vanity of vanities! All is vanity" simply meaning "What a waste."
Instead, and especially during your restoration journey you must be set apart! This might mean that you need to eat your lunch alone at work, which means you must be willing to be misunderstood or considered weird. But trust me, it's worth it! I would rather sit in my car with praise music going than to sit in the lunchroom and listen to filth, gossip or the evil of the world. Back when I’d get my nails done in a salon, I’d ask them to turn off the television that was always spewing all sorts of gunk into my mind. Even though the first time I did so, everyone in the salon was in shock, they did as I asked, and the entire environment changed. Later, when I simply stepped into the room, they would turn it off, everyone would smile and I knew that deep down everyone wants to feel clean inside. It also helped me to speak with everyone in a more genuine way.
However, if you still watch television, why not take the drastic step and cleanse yourself and your home (of course this is not applicable to the women whose husbands are in the home), and remove it? This was just one of the many benefits of my being separated while going through my own restoration journey. And when my husband returned two years later, he allowed the television to be "off limits" to the children! Hallelujah!
So if you are separated, don't allow a television in your home no matter what your children say. If you are the spiritual head of your home, you should exercise your spiritual authority—women, Jesus is your Husband, He'll back you up! Men, this is your rightful place, as the head, so be resilient.
And, if your older children threaten to leave, remain peaceful (never argue) and listen, but do not give in to their threats through fear. Instead, get on your face before God; tell Him you will trust Him with this (and every) battle.
How does ANYONE combat the temptations of wickedness? The answer is found in First Peter 3:11. "And let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it."
The first step to resist temptation is to simply turn away from the evil, meaning, you don’t stand there and stare at it. And it’s important to note what to do, secondly (and very importantly) you must then do something good.
This passage is especially important in its entirety because it is so applicable to so many of us who are tempted to say something we shouldn't. It goes on to say that we are to "seek peace and pursue it." So in the area that so many of us are trying to conquer, "our tongues," it gives us one of the cures and that is to stop talking and maybe even to turn away from the person to whom we may say something we shouldn't.
Simply turn around and turn your eyes heavenward to cry out in your spirit for God to help you. Then immediately "do good" by turning your misdirected words (that you shouldn't have said or even thought about saying) and trust God to say something good (giving a blessing). It could be to say, "I’m sorry, I was wrong to say that. Please forgive me. The truth is that..." And then edify that person with kind words (this is the blessing that we will be talking more about next week).
Once you "press forward" with "seeking peace" continue to pursue it. Allow the unkind words that the person may continue to say to you and agree, by simply nodding your head and say calmly, "You're right." This is seeking peace. And, you’ll find you no longer are on opposite sides, you are now on the same side. That person is angry, upset or hurt, so
by agreeing to their feelings, and being understanding, you can defuse any heated discussion.
If it is not in words that you are doing evil, but in what you are looking at or listening to, replace reading something wrong or vile with reading the Bible. If you have been snooping (reading your spouse's email for instance or something someone else sent you that you know you shouldn't read), stop and pick up your Bible.
If you are watching television, then turn it off and bookmark an inspirational message on your phone, like our Be Encouraged series or something else you know will move you forward. Those of you who are "hooked" on watching the tube need to invest in times of clarity, something that will be productive toward your spiritual goals. Rightful messages, and rightful thinking will bring you peace and renew your mind (besides whetting your appetite for good viewing rather than feeding your flesh!).
You could also get online to read some praise reports, and some restored marriages; or even better, go looking for people who have posted prayer on other sites and give them some hope! HopeAtLast.com
What you need to settling in your mind is to what degree do you want to be blessed? Then clean up your life and change your life to that degree; then watch the blessings pour on your life!
Sin in the Camp of Ai
This week our family has been going through the book of Joshua and I can't help but think of the principle of "sin in the camp" that caused Joshua to be defeated the first time he went up to take Ai.
The army won such an awesome battle when they took Jericho, but when they tried to take Ai, which was just a small and insignificant battle in comparison, they were defeated and had to run all due to hidden sin in their camp.
Some of you are losing one battle after another and are becoming weary, ready to give up day after day. And today I believe the Lord is telling you why, "Hey, there is sin in the camp!" It may be just one sin that He keeps convicting you of but you still haven't dealt with it. It could be what you are allowing in your home with your children.
However, for those whose husbands are in the home, you do not have the authority to rid your house of the sin, but— you can certainly fast and pray that the Lord will convict your husband or at least that he would get fed up enough with the consequence and that he would act on it by dealing with it. But for those of you who are the spiritual heads of your home—again—clean up your camp! Sin will wear you out and wear you down! That is the enemy's plan. (Daniel 7:25)
We are, in ourselves, completely powerless over the sin that consumes us, but in Him and through Him, we can conquer what plagues us by crying out to Him for help! Overcoming this foe in our lives will happen through repentance, confession and crying out to God with a loud voice (I like doing this in the car when He can hear me but no one else can).
Isn't this the way we all began our restoration journey? By crying out to Him?
Psalm 1:4 “The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away”.
We got to this valley due to how we failed to turn our eyes and heart to the only One who can bring true, deep down joy. Therefore God lovingly removed everything in our lives that mattered to us—our spouse and our marriage—to get our attention. Everything that we worked for and all that we worshipped (since we didn't worship the Lord) was taken away: the wickedness was blown like chaff. God, in His lovingkindness to us, stripped us of our spouse, maybe our home, maybe our children, possibly our friends, and often our reputation. What is left is just us and Him! How wonderful.
God wanted to show us, and He is still showing us, that all we really need on this earth to be truly happy is HIM!
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3). We will find heaven on earth when we really see how spiritually poor and naked we were when we relied on our worldly possessions (what everyone thinks will make them happy) to bring us true happiness.
Nevertheless, if we still surrounded ourselves with sin that has no choice but to separate us from God, we will begin feeling the same way we used to. And now, because He loves us as His very own children (that He loves enough to discipline us), He will again remove everything that continues to distract us so that we can concentrate on what really matters.
Have you resolved yourself to this fact or are you still trying to get back what He took away (pursing your spouse, especially in your heart rather than longing for more of Him)? Or, are you still pouting about what He has taken away and lamenting over losing things and people?
It is so easy to see why the Lord refers to us as "little children" because that is the way we act when we react negatively. We continue to keep our hearts on things or people that we need to let go of and/or pout about it with a sorry attitude. It is not until we surrender everything to Him that we can get what He wants to give us.
It’s time to let go of sin. Let go of everyone and everything except Him.
And to do so, sometimes it means to let go of praying for others. Even sometimes our prayers are very often too focused on others.
This week, put your total focus on Him; give Him those people or things to take care of "casting all your cares on Him" (don't worry, He won't drop them). It’s often when we reach the end of our rope and "give up" when God begins to move.
Give Him your spouse, your marriage and all those individuals who need salvation. Then, this week simply THANK HIM! Spend time thanking and praising Him. List the things He had done and praise Him "one by one." Take the time to praise Him (often, listening to certain songs will bring you into a spirit of praise and worship and thanksgiving). Let's again get deeper into His love, surrounding ourselves with more and more of Him! Now it's time to...