Friends,
Yesterday my post was about maintaining relationships God’s way and how we should be humble, kind, and patient in the face of disagreements with those whose fellowship we have valued while within God’s will. However, this maintenance is not to be confused with the (likely) necessity to end relationships that have proved hazardous. Relationships that produce continued negativity, accusations, lies, condescension, mistreatment, or abuse should, in fact, be ended if possible (1 Cor. 7:20,21 & 15:33 // 2 Cor. 6:14-18), unless the Lord has told us to remain (which He does sometimes command –1 Peter 2:18,19). Provoking one another to anger and devouring each other is never godliness.

There is a difference between disagreement and mistreatment. There is a difference between disagreement and disrespect. There is a difference between disagreement and abuse. Disagreement between those in relationship is allowed, and is actually normal between two people who have two different brains. God Himself allows us, in using the gift of freedom He has given us, to reason, wrestle, and even disagree with Him as we petition Him or while we are asking Him to clarify His words or rationale to us. (Gen. 32:24-32 // Ex. 32:9-14 // Isa. 1:18 // Ezek. 4:15 // Mt. 15:21-28 & 18:23-27 // Luke 18:1-8) We can, and must, do this in great reverence, for disagreement does not equate with disrespect, nor should it ever.

Looking past the faults of others, or instead calling them to account, is sensitive stuff, and in whichever action we take, we must be led by the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord has given us His Word and His Spirit, and He has tutored us in Wisdom. Therefore, through all three (which are really One and the Same), and by having learned through the experiences God has caused or allowed us to walk in, we make our choices.

What if a wife continues to flirt with other men? What if a husband frequently strikes his wife or children in anger? What if a boyfriend engages in pornography? What if a girlfriend makes violent threats? What if a teenager keeps breaking curfew? What if a parent demeans a child’s abilities? What if a family member resorts to meltdowns when upset? What if a boss often yells and says harsh or even untrue statements toward or about employees? What if a family member breaks dishes, screams or swears when angry, gets drunk most weekends, won’t answer phone calls in a timely manner, keeps other relationships a secret, or refuses to comply with reasonable household rules? Should a person maintain relationships with those who resort to such behaviors? How about with those whose behaviors are less abusive but which still cross the line of respect?

Love is not the gauge with which to determine whether or not to maintain a relationship, for although true love is tough as well as tender, people often think that softness and tolerance is the definition of true love; thus loving thoughts can actually confuse us. Therefore it is God’s Wisdom, God’s counsel, which we must be ultimately led by. For though love is great –greater than even faith and hope (1 Cor. 13:13)– Wisdom, we are told, is supreme. (Pr. 4:7)

So how do we make correct choices regarding relationships? We use God’s Word (the whole counsel of it, not just bits of it), we use God’s Spirit (His counsel as well as His power), and we use God’s Wisdom –the Wisdom which God has already tutored us and grown us in, as we have, time and again, utilized His Spirit in putting into practice His Word.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Do Not Lie

July 18, 2014

Friends,
It never ceases to amaze me how people, especially how people who claim to love and follow Jesus, can have such a careless attitude about their practice of lying. Lying is a sin. To skew the truth, to deceive, or to omit information necessary for someone, is to lie. To tell a “little white lie” is to deprive or steal knowledge and truth from another. It is wrong.

Not only do we hate it when our fellowman lies, but the LORD, as well, hates a lying tongue. (Pr. 6:16,17) A lying tongue is detestable to Him. (same verses) “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD.” (12:22) Being this is the case, God will condemn to Hell all those who refuse to repent of (renounce and quit) their lying. As Rev. 21:8 warns, “All liars –their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

It is wise to train ourselves, or rather command ourselves, to never lie. For one thing, lies grow. They grow bigger, more numerous, and they create all sorts of other sins, such as hypocrisy, cruelty, laziness, and general self-centeredness. A person who lies is almost always acting out of concern for himself, not others. He is intent on getting what he wants and in the easiest way possible.

When a person begins to see that he is getting away with his ability to lie, temptations of all sorts likely flood into his mind, and his heart. For all sorts of sins, he realizes, can be partaken of, as most have as their foundation a lie. Like shop-lifting, like adultery, like tax-evasion, like fraud…

But, a lying tongue doesn’t last very long. (Pr. 12:19) For being that the All-Mighty God abhors those who are deceitful (Ps. 5:6), He will destroy them. (same verse) Yes, “whoever tells lies will perish.” (Pr. 19:9)

Therefore, let us be wise and heed God’s Word, including the command, “Do not lie to one another.” (Col. 3:9)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My husband gave me this link about a month ago. I’m sure many have already visited it, as its message is profound, its advice wise. But for those who have not or for those who need to hear it again…

It’s true: So many opportunities missed, so many relationships lost, so much beauty ignored, so much dialogue and laughter never participated in. All because of an instrument we hold in our hand which promises power, knowledge, and popularity. But which, in the end, will prove useless to us, and likely even aid our condemnation, come Judgement Day.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I flew in last night and my hubby picked me up at the airport. It was good to be home, though I sure had a wonderful time in Idaho, in Yellowstone, and in all the places in between.

There were a few things I noticed on my trip –particularly on my flight back– and I’ll mention two of them. One, is that many young adults do not seem to know how to be naturally friendly or how to even converse. It’s a mumble or a grump or a sullen hollow look, eyes that avoid contact, and no smile whatsoever. I wonder… could the texting thing have something to do with this? I believe so. So much of that short, quick, faceless, toneless, expressionless (oh yea, except for the yellow smiley faces) dialogue. Does it hinder the ability to do real face-to-face dialogue? Does it hinder knowing how to begin a real relationship or have true fellowship or conversation? I certainly believe so.

Another thing I took note of was the many girls and women who were wearing short shorts as they exposed their fat legs. It’s one thing to wear shorts if one remains modest and if one has thin legs. But to expose your chub and your cellulite? C’mon. Is that supposed to be beautiful or sexy or what? Because I think according to almost anyone it looks downright disgusting. Are many of those of my gender really getting that dense?

If someone looks chubby on a hot beach, okay. Shorts can’t be helped, I guess. But why expose one’s fat legs in air-conditioned airports and airplanes? It’s completely unnecessary. Must girls and women degrade themselves like that?

Let me talk even more frank: If girls (or women) are going to wear outfits that show way too much, and do so whether they are heavy or thin, they should re-consider what they are trying to accomplish. Are they trying to impress their friends? Are the friends really impressed with how they look in the clothes? Or is it that these girls (and women) are trying to attract a guy? But are men attracted to dimpled legs, fat bulging under tight shirts, and exposed cleavages that make one look like a prostitute? Okay, let me rephrase that. Are GOOD men –men who would be good and faithful husbands– attracted to women who wear revealing clothing? No. Of course not. No honorable man, no God-fearing man, is going to want a relationship with a woman who poses as a sleaze.

Okay, now I ask, is it any wonder that men are leaving their wives and girlfriends –and leaving them broken-hearted– as they go on to the next pursuit? Why wouldn’t the men do so? They are the type of men who choose out of lust, not love. But hadn’t the women, with their clothing, advertised their acceptance of lust?

Why, oh why, are so many females acting so clueless? Wearing revealing clothing is not only dishonoring to one’s own body, but it is a recipe for future heartache.

May all women respect themselves, refuse to degrade themselves with ill-fitting clothes and those which advertise impurity, and not care one hoot about impressing those who love foolishness, perversion, or any other sin.

And Christian women and girls –may our clothing always be approved by our Boss, who is Christ, the Eternal and perfectly holy God.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Does anyone desire to read a masterpiece message? In my opinion, here it is:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-unfolding-revelation-of-salvation/

That post, clearly, has been written by someone who knows the Word very well, has a firm understanding of it, and is being taught by the Spirit of God. The rest of us would be wise to read it thoughtfully so as to take advantage of the wealth of information and insight within it. I strongly recommend all of Israeliteindeed’s messages.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
The rebellious man (who I call Ephraim), because he refused to repent in the time of God’s mercy to him, writhes in pain (Mi. 1:12) under the disaster the Lord has been bringing upon him. (same verse) Why has the Lord done this? It is because he wickedly –over and over again– transgressed against the Lord. (v. 2-5) He gathered his money through illicit means (v. 7), conducting himself in arrogance and deceit as he spent his life defrauding, tyrannizing, and seizing what rightfully belonged to others. (2:2) Plotting iniquity and evil even as he lay in his bed (2:1 // Ps. 36:4), Ephraim committed himself to a sinful course while knowingly and progressively accepting that which is wrong. (Ps. 36:4)

Because Ephraim has continued to refuse repentance and humility and righteousness, God has “kept the record of his sins so that his guilt is stored up.” (See Ho. 13:12) God calls this selfish, greedy man a fool (Luke 12:20), “a child who has refused to learn wisdom” (see Ps. 36:3 // Hos. 13:13), and a man too arrogant to detect or hate his extensive vileness. (Ps. 36:2) Such a man heaps upon his own self shame and disgrace (Pr. 13:5), exposing his folly (v. 16) as he ties himself up with the cords of his own evil deeds (5:22) and bringing the stench of his heart with him wherever he goes. Such a man, though he has made himself loathsome to God and man, continues to strut in the pool of his own drunken vomit (Pr. 23:35 // Isa. 19:11-17 // Jer. 51:37-40) like the ostrich who is not only thoughtless, but has no sense. (Job 39:13-18 // Lam. 4:3)

Pretty picture? Hardly. Yet the wicked man continues his reckless ways, laughing, denying, and blaming everyone else but himself.

There is no hope for this man… for Ephraim. No natural hope. No human help. Nothing. Change for him is impossible. He has hardened himself into the cement of his own deceiving nature. He has fallen and fallen and fallen into the abyss of complete depravity.

But there is hope. Supernatural hope. Supernatural help. It is God’s Word. It is God’s Spirit. It is He who is All-powerful. It is Christ Jesus who came to set the captives free. God’s compassion and God’s mercy can always triumph, for all that is impossible becomes possible through Him, through calling out to Him in faith.

Therefore return –you whose “sins have been your downfall! Take humble and repentant words with you and return to the LORD!” (See Hos. 14:1,2) Accept the crushing that has come to you to tenderize your cold heart. Accept the disgrace and grief that He has punished you with so as to help you repent. Accept God’s justice to you that has been mixed with love, compassion, and His Spirit’s tears and prayers. Then, if you do these things, you will no longer destine yourself to the Eternal Darkness, but instead, His light will rise upon you… you will have hope… you will be made clean… you will be comforted and healed by the Redeemer, Comforter, and Healer Himself… and you will find rest from the turmoil of your soul. If you truly repent and turn, if you truly seek Him and walk close with Him, you will come to possess the One who is Himself Eternal and Abundant Life (John 10:10 // 1 John 5:20) –Him who is Joy Unspeakable. (Compare John 15:11 and Col. 1:27 and 1 Peter 1:8,9)

It remains your choice, Ephraim. –Your choice to heed correction so that you embrace Wisdom and thus Freedom, or, your choice to ignore correction, mock it, fume over it, and be damned.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
If we fear the wrath which God has warned everyone about concerning those who commit lawlessness against His holy laws, then we will turn our hearts to His instruction, search for wisdom and insight, and accept what God’s Word says. (Pr. 2:1-6) Moreover, we will store up that Word within our spirits and apply ourselves to it. (same verses) “Then we will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” (See v. 5) And God will bless us. (Ps. 128:1-4)

How so? How will we be blessed by God? We will be granted a long, peaceful life, a pleasant life, a life of honor and prosperity. (Pr. 3:1-18) By having heeded the Word of God, the wisdom gained will exalt and honor the recipient with a crown of splendor. (4:1-13) God Himself will raise a Banner against those who shoot arrows our way (Ps. 60:4) and that Banner will be Himself. (Ex. 17:14-16) He Himself will be our High Tower, our Fortress, and our Shield, for it is His all-powerful Name which we walk in. (Pr. 18:10)

But what about those who resist the fear of the Lord, who mock at instruction, who hate knowledge, and who take delight in evil? (Pr. 1:22,29,30 & 2:13-15) They will be ensnared by their own deeds (5:22), led astray and killed by their own great folly. (v. 23) Because they refused to seek God, His wisdom, and His ways, but instead ran after immorality, corruption, treachery, and other ill-gotten gain, they will reap upon themselves calamity, distress, blows, disgrace, and enduring shame. (1:11-19 & 6:12-15,32,33) Because they ignored God’s offers of help, because they continued to spew out curses and swords and taunts and lies, God will laugh when the fruit of their schemes overtake them with devastation and pain. (1:24-32 // Ps. 59:6-13)

“They will groan as their lives near the end, ‘How I disdained advice, instruction, and correction. So now I have come to the brink of utter ruin in front of everyone.'” (See Pr. 5:11-14) For the Lord will heap scorn upon all mockers. (3:34) He will scoff at those foolish, rebellious, wicked chaff, and He will rebuke them, terrify them, and blow them away in His wrath. (Ps. 1:4 & 2:1-5) “Therefore, you kings and rulers, be wise. Be warned, fear the Lord, and serve Him with grateful submission. Give sincere reverence to Christ, lest His anger destroy you and dash you to pieces.” (See 2:9-12)

To fear the Lord –that is wisdom, deliverance, and blessing. (Job 28:28 // Ps. 2:12 & 128:1,2) For the Lord’s love and righteousness is with those who fear Him, with those who keep His Covenant and obey His precepts. (Ps. 103:17,18)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Travel Wisdom

May 8, 2014

Friends,
To have knowledge of the Holy One (God / the Most High / the Creator / Jesus / the Holy Spirit) is to possess understanding. (Pr. 9:10) To have this Possession is to have the fear of the Lord, for fearing the One who is the Highest Sovereign, the One who has existed from eternity past, who always has been and will always be –the Great and Awesome “I AM” who brought everything into existence by the Word of His command– is to have wisdom. (same verse) Wisdom, therefore, is supreme in importance. (4:7) Nothing compares. (8:11) It teaches a person to fear the Lord, to shun evil, and how to do both correctly. (1:1-7 // Job 28:28)

How does a person come to possess wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and the fear of the Lord? It happens by listening to and heeding the Word of God. (Pr. 1:5,6 // Rom. 10:17 // 2 Tim. 3:15) No one can do this well, no one can do this in increasing power and truth, if he relies for very long on a human mediator. No matter how Spirit-filled one’s initial mediator is, each person must grow up into consistent faith and maturity, graduate from human schoolmasters, and learn from the Spirit directly. (Gal. 3:23-4:7 // Heb. 6:1 // 1 John 2:27) If a person refuses to leave his elementary attitude, he will be crippling his faith-walk. (Heb. 5:12-14) A crutch is not for the strong, but for the beginners –the weak, the undisciplined, the infants. Coaches and mentors can continue to encourage their former students, but the students cannot remain under their constant instruction or under their counsel forever. There must be a march toward graduation and a time when the trainee steps out on his own, so that, having been adequately equipped, he is actually able and skilled to train others, including himself. (v. 12 // Rom. 2:21 // 1 Tim. 4:7)

When a person graduates from their tutors’ guidance, are they to quit learning? Of course not. They are to continue to learn and train, but to do so directly from the One to whom their tutors were pointing –Christ. (Gal. 3:24) But where has He been revealed? He is in the Word. His Spirit is in the words, for God’s Spirit (God’s Breath) is the One from whom the words originated. (2 Tim. 3:16 // 2 Peter 1:20,21) A person who has been trained in God’s Word by a Spirit-filled teacher should have learned, as he studied, to recognize the Spirit’s voice for himself so that he can now sit directly at Christ’s own feet –the only true and perfect Teacher (Mt. 23:10)– and become like Him. (Luke 6:40 & 10:39-42)

When a person is conforming to Christ, which is God’s will for everyone (Rom. 8:29), he is abiding in Christ and is thus traveling the avenue of wisdom. He is walking the way of knowledge, understanding, and the fear of the Lord. He is on the path of Truth and the road of Life –that Way to eternity with God.

This Way is sought by those who have a fear of the Lord. It is traveled by those who have gained wisdom through the knowledge of the Holy One –that knowledge having come to them through the Spirit of God because they have made the daily choice to meditate on the Word of God for themselves.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
How did the world come into existence? How were the mountains, the valleys, the seas, the creatures, and everything else formed? If we believe God’s Word then the answer is simple: God spoke and it came into being. (Ps. 33:9) It was by the command of His Word that everything came to be. (v. 6 // Heb. 11:3)

And who is the Word? He is Jesus –God who came to earth in a human body. (John 1:1,14 // Col. 2:9) Through Him God made the universe. (Heb. 1:2) When God said, “Let there be…” (Gen. ch. 1), it was Jesus, the Ever-existent One, who created all that is. (Col. 1:15-17) He, the Image, the Counselor, and the Christ-Spirit of the Everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6 & 11:1-5 // John 4:24-26 & 8:58 // Rom. 8:9) –the one and only God and Savior (Isa. 45:21,22 // 1 Tim. 4:10)– made all things by the breath of His mouth. (Job 33:4 // Ps. 33:6)

Gen. 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The next verse informs us that God’s Spirit was involved, and Psalm 104, in speaking of all the many creations the LORD (YHWH) has made in His wisdom (v. 24), goes on to state that when the LORD sends His Spirit, living things are created and sustained. (v. 30)

Therefore: The LORD who is God (Isa. 45:18) and who owns the world and knows every creature in it (Ps. 50:10-12),who fashioned the earth and all the starry host (Isa. 40:26 & 45:18), who stretched out the heavens (Ps. 104:2) and set the earth firmly on its foundations (v. 5) –did all this by His unfathomable wisdom, understanding, and power. (Jer. 10:12) And He –Jesus– reminds us that “the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Mark 12:29) For there is indeed only one Savior and Lord (Isa. 45:21,22 // Acts 4:12) –one God and Father and Sovereign of all. (Eph. 4:5,6) This Ruler and Judge (Rev. 19:11-16) who is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (v. 16) “is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.” (v. 13)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Being trapped is awful but the feelings that go with such a predicament are probably just as wretched –fear, anger, confusion, hopelessness… The entrapment may be a sinful habit that remains intact, a financial debt that refuses to recede, a job that never offers a promotion, an abusive relationship that won’t go away, a health issue that lingers for years, a spiritual or emotional hole that seems only to deepen, or some other sort of merry-go-round, tread mill, or downward spiral that creates only more and more inner gloom and chaos.

But, is there not a Savior? And is He not God, the awesome, all-mighty God who is fully capable of delivering those who cry out to Him for help? Absolutely! Then we must cry out. And when we do, we must then listen to His instructions. We must turn from all known sin and negativism and turn to the Living Words of Him who does good to those who run to Him.

If we cannot even open the Book of Wisdom and Instructions which the Lord has provided and preserved throughout the centuries for mankind, then why should we expect the King to do miracles on our behalf? If we are too lazy and rebellious to do that one step –to read His Word and ask for revelation, wisdom, and guidance– then why should God be obligated to instruct us? If we cannot renounce the sins we know displease Him, ask Him to shield us from temptation, and make the choice to toss away the avenues of those temptations… if we cannot fill our minds with His Word, fill our hearts and lips with gratitude and praise to Him, fill our hands with service unto others, and fill our days with deliberate acts of kindness, then God does not commit Himself to being our Refuge and Helper. (Ps. 50:16,17) And without Him, we will most certainly continue the downward slide. We will eventually end up hollow, even devastated and in irrevocable despair.

However, for those who do cry out to God, who do humble themselves, renounce their sins, seek God and His way in His Word… for those who do listen, and for those who do wait for God to speak and instruct… for those who do not jump ahead of His guidance but listen intently and obey just what He says, following the specifics, there is great reward. There is comfort, there is peace, there is spiritual growth, and there is deliverance. By turning to God and walking obediently on His righteous road –even if the promised deliverance takes much longer than we expect, the deliverance does come. It may even look different or be different than we had initially envisioned, but we will see that God’s solution turns out to be way better than ours.

Pr. 11:6 says, “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.” If we see that we are trapped in something, we need to understand that we very likely came to that place through our own sinful desires. Therefore, the first step in our deliverance is to repent. We must cry out to God for forgiveness first, and then for deliverance, asking Him for help, instruction, and guidance, for patience and peace as we wait, for wisdom and the ability to hear His voice, and for strength and the determination to obey. We must ask to be filled daily with His Spirit, and so that He grants this, we must fill ourselves with His Word and be obedient to it. Then we will walk in righteousness –that righteousness that leads to the deliverance from all that was trying to keep us trapped.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel