“The Downward Spiral of Sin” April 2

 

The Downward Spiral - God offers full disclosure. He allows us to make our own choices, but we should not think we can disobey God and somehow be in control of where it ends. Today's reading in Deuteronomy gives us a stark picture of total depravity and where the downward spiral of sin can lead.God offers full disclosure. He allows us to make our own choices, but we should not think we can disobey God and somehow be in control of where it ends. Today’s reading in Deuteronomy gives us a stark picture of total depravity and where the downward spiral of sin can lead, including cannibalism and things that could be taken from today’s headlines.

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 27 & 28
Psalm 39.12-13
Proverbs 13.7-8
Luke 6.27-49

 

The Downward Spiral of Sin

 

Deuteronomy 27 & 28:

Memorials and the Ten Commandments

 

Chapter 27.2-3, “… you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the LORD God of your fathers promised you.”

Moses Ten Commandments Stones Isolated on White Background.Some people think it’s foolish to make such a big deal about things like having the “Ten Commandments” posted in schools and other public places. But, apparently, God thinks it’s a pretty good idea to have reminders of the truth! We see God telling His people to set up memorials and reminders over and over in the Scriptures.

The Scriptures themselves are reminders, too, and we should be faithful to read and meditate on them so we can remember His love, remember His promises, and remember His faithfulness.

 

The Downward Spiral of Sin

 

Now to chapter 28. It’s hard to read some of this:

45 “So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever.

49 “The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.

“…your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you … You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters … he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat …The tender and delicate woman … will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, her placenta … she will eat them secretly …” (Deut. 28.51-57). Continue reading

“It’s not fair!” January 30

 

It's not fair!It’s not fair! Have you ever looked around at the lives of others and thought just that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 9 & 10
Psalm 17.8-15
Proverbs 5.21-23
Matthew 20.1-16

 

It’s not fair!

 

Matthew 20.1-16:

Unfair Labor Practices?

 

In “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard,” a businessman hires workers at various times throughout the day. At the end of the day, he pays the same wage to those who were hired just before quitting time as to those who worked all day. Some of them said, in effect, “It’s not fair!”

Have you ever felt like those laborers who were hired early in the morning? Perhaps, on the job or, possibly, in your spiritual life?

Maybe you were raised in church. Or maybe you were the “good” son or daughter, the one who didn’t rebel against your parents or your Christian upbringing. Or maybe you’ve been a believer for a long time, faithfully serving Him and there are things you’ve prayed about that haven’t happened.

Maybe you got a diagnosis you didn’t want or your spouse walked out on you? Then you see some new believer all excited because God has done something great for her!

Or maybe you’ve had a hard time accepting the fact that your “n’er-do-well” brother-in-law got saved after years of drug use and wild living and now everyone acts like he’s the golden boy! It hardly seems fair.

We can be so like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15.11-32). He was mad because his father forgave his wild younger brother and even threw a party when he came home (more about that when we get there).

But, if we’re honest, we might look back and admit that though we may not have “run off” into riotous living like the prodigal, there have been many times when our hearts were far from God, times we harbored bitterness and unforgiveness, times when we were selfish, manipulative, unkind and unloving. Instead of being upset over God’s grace in the lives of others, we need to get down on our knees and thank Him for His grace in ours.

And no matter what … even when it doesn’t seem fair to us, we can trust in the goodness of our sovereign God. A great book to help you understand His goodness and sovereignty in the midst of difficulty is the book It’s Not Fair! by Wayne Mack.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Exodus 9 & 10:

On Dogs & Sows

 

God is about to deliver His people from Israel, but so far Pharaoh has refused to let his cheap labor force leave Egypt.

Over and over he agrees to allow them to go, only to harden his heart when the “crisis” of each plague is over and the “pain” is not so intense (see Jan. 29 post, “Sleeping with Frogs”). Don’t we often do the same?  Continue reading

“Sleeping with Frogs” January 29

 

Sleeping with Frogs - Frogs ... they're everywhere! ... in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God's messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he'd like them removed, he says, "Tomorrow." "Just let me spend one more night with those frogs." How about you? Are there any frogs you're keeping around for another sleepover?Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” “Just let me spend one more night with those frogs.” How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

 

Sleeping with Frogs

 

Exodus 7 & 8:

Hard Hearts

 

It’s time. God is about to deliver His people. But first, He prepares Moses and Aaron for the task ahead:

¹ So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them” (Ex. 7.1-5).

“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! Is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see here.

God said He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt (Ex. 3.7), cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us?

Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent.

Even in these passages in Exodus, Pharaoh continues to harden his own heart. Ten times it says Pharaoh hardened his heart and ten times God hardened his heart. God’s hardening was judicial hardening in response to Pharaoh’s personal, sinful hardening.

We see a similar picture in Romans 1 beginning in verse 18. We sometimes call this passage the downward spiral of sin. We see men and women refusing to respect God as God though they know the truth and choosing to continue in their sin. In verses 24, 26, and 28 we see the response of God. It says He, “gave them up …,” “gave them up …,” and “gave them over …” John MacArthur says in his Study Bible, “When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them by removing His restraint and allowing sin to run its inevitable course.”

This results in hearts that are more and more hardened by their own sin. As we look around our world today, we see this in abundance. It’s interesting that the example God uses in Romans 1 is that of homosexuality. Consider that as you listen to the news.

 

One More Night with the Frogs

 

One of the plagues God brought on the Egyptians was frogs (Ex. 8.1-15). Can you imagine? Frogs are everywhere—in in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! When Pharaoh had once again promised to let the people go, Moses said, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you …” In other words, “When do you want me to get rid of the frogs?” And Pharaoh says, “TOMORROW!” Tomorrow? “Yes, let me spend one more night with the frogs!”

It seems ridiculous, yet, there can be things we refuse to give up in spite of the consequences. Areas where we are saying, in effect, “Let me have one more night with these frogs!”

Then notice verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.”

How many times have you and I repeated the same pattern? We have a crisis Continue reading

“Shame, Sin, Apostasy & Cannibalism” June 9

 

Shame, Sin, Apostasy & Cannibalism - Oh, the depths of sin to which human beings can sink without a relationship with the One True God! And His faithfulness to keep those who belong to Him!Oh, the depths of sin to which human beings can sink without a relationship with the One True God! And His faithfulness to keep those who belong to Him! But what about apostasy, those who serve God for a season and then walk away?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 5 & 6
Psalm 72.1-7
Proverbs 18.10-11
John 18.1-18

 

Shame, Sin, Apostasy & Cannibalism

 

2 Kings 5 & 6:

Serving God No Matter Where You Are

Chapter 5.2-3 really amazes me and has a great message for us.

“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.'”

Here’s a young girl who had been ripped away from her family and life as she knew it, forced to work as a slave, and yet, look at her heart attitude—one of loyalty and concern for the people under whose authority God had placed her.

Why would God allow that to happen to her in the first place? For the same reason He allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and carried off to a foreign land—to fulfill His plans and purposes AND to bless those He uses. We need to remember that our good and His glory are always connected.

As a result of this little servant girl, Naaman would come to know the One True God.

 

 

The Joys and Sorrows of Discipling Others

discipleship Bible studyAnother passage that spoke to me was 5.25-26. After Naaman had gone to the Prophet and been healed, he offered Elisha gifts of silver and clothing, but Elisha had refused them. After he left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi followed him, told him that the Prophet had changed his mind, and had greedily taken the gifts.

“Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you?’ …”

It is such a blessing to see those you have led to the Lord or discipled grow and walk in the truth, but by the same token, it is painful to see them walk away from the truth.

How Elisha’s heart must have been broken to see Gehazi, who had seen so many of God’s miracles, turn his back on God for monetary gain!

 

Without Shame

Chapter 6 recounts a very disturbing story. Samaria is under siege, food is so scarce that the people are starving. Verses 26-29:

“Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, ‘Help, my lord, O king!’ And he said, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?’ Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you?’ And she answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, “Give your son, that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son.'”

Can you imagine such a thing even under starvation conditions? The first thing that struck me was the woman’s lack of shame! She didn’t mind telling the king what they had done! But as I thought about this passage, I couldn’t help but ponder the fact that while we are shocked to think that such a thing could happen, how often we read or hear about women who allow their boyfriends to abuse or even kill their babies or children. And we hear of others who even do so themselves.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there is a message in this for us, too. When we read these stories we’re so tempted to get self-righteous and think:  Continue reading

“The Cost of Losing God’s Restraining Grace” May 20

 

barcodeOne of the consequences of willful sin can be the removal of God’s restraining grace where He steps back and allows us to do what our sinful heart wants. As someone once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 11 & 12
Psalm 65.9-13
Proverbs 16.22-24
John 6.22-51

 

2 Samuel 11 & 12:

David, Bathsheba & the loss of restraining grace

This is a sad page in David’s life story, one that would define and change the rest of his life and his reign. Even though God forgave him when he repented, the consequences of it were great!

Neither is there any sin in our lives that is too big or for which God won’t forgive us. But knowing that God will forgive us, doesn’t mean that’s our “ace in the hole” or that we can sin without impunity, like children with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The person who thinks he or she can do whatever and ask for forgiveness later is in rebellion against God and God is looking at the heart. God will not even hear our prayers when we are in that kind of willful sin:

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66.18).

Romans 6.1-2, 15-16, 21, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? … What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? … Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”

And Galatians 6.7-8 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

So what were the consequences of David’s and Bathsheba’s sin? Continue reading

The Jesus Code: The Course of Sin + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 7 of The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer, by O.S. Hawkins. For those of you just tuning in, The Jesus Code has 52 questions, one to contemplate each week. The author believes every Christian should be able to answer these important questions.

This week’s question: “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12.9).

That was the conscience shattering question the Prophet Nathan asked David after he has sinned with Bathsheba and tried to hide it. Since David first looked over the roof of his house and saw her bathing, he had committed adultery, had her husband killed, and married her to hide her pregnancy.

The author says:

Ironically, at this moment in his life, David had reached the pinnacle of success. He was the undisputed king of Israel. He had driven out enemies who had plagued his people for years. He was not only a political success but a spiritual success as well. God referred to David as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13: 22). It is difficult to believe that such a great man could descend from such heavenly heights to such devilish depths almost overnight.

When we think we can control sin, it can get its hook in us and take us on a downward spiral that we never expected.

Hawkins goes on:

It makes no difference whether it is David, or Adam and Eve, or you or me. The course of sin is the same. It begins when we see . . . then we covet . . . next we take . . . and finally we try to hide, hoping against hope we will not be found out.

David learned that the pleasures of sin are only for a season (Hebrews 11: 25). Bathsheba conceived as a result of her encounter with David, but their little boy died as an infant . What had begun in pleasure ended in pain and loss in several forms. But this was just the beginning of the heartache David would know from his own offspring. His son Amnon raped Tamar , his own sister and David’s daughter. Learning of the incest, Absalom— another of David’s sons— killed Amnon. And , as though that were not enough, Absalom later led a revolt against his own father and, during the battle, was killed by some of David’s men.

But when confronted, David repented. He is a great example to us that even the most grievous sins can be forgiven when there is genuine confession and repentance.

Next week’s question is, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3.5).

The question for week one was, “Has God Indeed Said …?”
Week two: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Week three: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Week four: “Who am I?”
Week five: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” (Numbers 21.5).
Week six: “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6.13).
Week seven: “Is there still anyone … That I may show him kindness?” (2 Samuel 9.1).

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.

Be sure to sign up for the “Christian Living” emails so you won’t miss upcoming posts on the book and notifications of each week’s LINKUP.

Blessings,
Donna

 

Featured Post:

A few days ago I said we need to be willing to stand up for truth in the “everyday” things if we want to be able to stand in the “big” things. I’m reluctant to call this subject a “little” thing, because the moral decline of our nation isn’t little. But sadly, it has become an “everyday” thing.

As most of you know the book, and now the movie, 50 Shades of Grey, have become all the rage. So called enlightened people claim it can enhance your sex life and justify seeing and reading it a dozen different ways. But true enlightenment comes only from God and His Word:

22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! (Matt. 6)

I read an excellent post on the subject this week and I want to share it with you. I hope you will take the time to read Rebekah’s post and consider sharing it with others.

ready to be offered meme 1[1]

Sex, Bondage, Fantasy . . . and Embracing What is Real

Divine Counterpart

Be sure to check out the first in my series on Genesis, “Divine Counterpart,” on Ren’s website “A Look at the Book.”

 

NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup


 

I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays
Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings A Proverbs 31 Wife Darling Downs Diaries
Tuesdays Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Teaching What is Good Time Warp Wife Solo Deo Gloria Sisterhood More of Him Testimony Tuesday
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays Judith Whole Hearted Home A Little R & R So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee The Art of Homemaking
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Worshipful Living Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness

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July 30 “The dangerous spiral of sin”

imagesCAC72NT4 A lack of willingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society as a whole on a downward spiral of sin. But sadly, it’s not a lack of truth, rather a suppressing of the truth, not that most people don’t know the truth, but because they just don’t want to hear it.

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 12 & 13
Psalm 89.30-37
Proverbs 22.3-4
Romans 1.1-32

Well, here we are finishing up the book of Nehemiah. Do you realize we have finished well over half of the Old Testament, 16 books in total and a good portion of Psalms and Proverbs? We’ve finished the four gospels and the book of Acts, the historical books of the New Testament.

Now we are starting the Epistles of Paul in the New Testament, beginning with the book of Romans and tomorrow we’ll start the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It’s exciting to see the progress we’re making.

Romans, Bible If you have gotten behind, jump back in here with Romans. It’s an incredible book with so much to teach us, as does all the Bible. 2 Timothy 3.16-17 says:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Well, on to the word … Continue reading

May 20 “The cost of sin … farther, longer & greater”

One of the consequences of willful sin can be the removal of God’s restraining grace where He steps back and allows us to do what fills our hearts. As someone once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

cost of sin

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 11 & 12
Psalm 65.9-13
Proverbs 16.22-24
John 6.22-51

2 Samuel 11 & 12:

David & Bathsheba

This is a sad page in David’s life story, one that would define and change the rest of his life and his reign. Even though God forgave him when he repented, the consequences of it were great!

Neither is there any sin in our lives that is too big or for which God won’t forgive us. But knowing that God will forgive us, doesn’t mean that’s our “ace in the hole” or that we can sin without impunity, like children with our fingers crossed behind our backs. The person who thinks he or she can do whatever and ask for forgiveness later is in rebellion against God because He’s looking at the heart. God will not even hear our prayers when we are in that kind of willful sin, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66.18).

Romans 6.1-2, 15-16, 21, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? … What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? … Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.” Continue reading

April 2 “Total depravity, sexual immorality & cannibalism”

God offers full disclosure. He allows us to make our own choices, but we should not think we can disobey God and somehow be in control of where it ends. Today’s reading in Deuteronomy gives us a stark picture of total depravity.

total depravity

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 27 & 28
Psalm 39.12-13
Proverbs 13.7-8
Luke 6.27-49

Deuteronomy 27 & 28:

Memorials and the Ten Commandments

Chapter 27.2-3, “… you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the LORD God of your fathers promised you.”

Some people think it’s foolish to make such a big deal about things like having the “Ten Commandments” posted in the schools and other public places. But, apparently, God thinks it a pretty good idea to have reminders of the truth! We see God telling His people to set up memorials and reminders over and over in the Scriptures.

moses holding the ten commandments

The Scriptures themselves are reminders, too, and we should be faithful to read and meditate on them so we can remember His love, remember His promises, and remember His faithfulness.

The flesh of your sons and daughters

Chapter 28—it’s hard to read some of this, “…your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you … You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters … he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat …The tender and delicate woman … will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, her placenta … she will eat them secretly …” Continue reading

January 30 “It’s not fair!”

Fair Not Unfair

It’s not fair! Have you ever looked around at the lives of others and thought just that?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 9 & 10
Psalm 17.8-15
Proverbs 5.21-23
Matthew 20.1-16

Exodus 9 & 10:

On dogs & sows

Over and over in these chapters we see Pharaoh hardening his heart when the “crisis” of each plague is over and the “pain” is not so intense (see Jan. 29 post). Don’t we often do the same? Proverbs 26.11 says, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” When he quoted this proverb in the New Testament, Peter added, “… a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2.22). Not a pretty picture.

In 10.7 Pharaoh’s advisers ask him, “… Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?” How pride blinds! Again, we can be guilty of the same thing when we refuse to see the destruction that our stubborn willful sin causes.

As this part of the story unfolds we see God’s final judicial hardening in response to Pharaoh’s continued sin. In Romans 1.28-32 at the bottom of the “downward spiral” it says: Continue reading