Buy His Eye Salve

April 2, 2015

Friends,
The Scriptures counsel us to stop thinking of ourselves as better than we are, and to repent. (Rom. 12:3 // Rev. 3:17-19) Too often we think we are in need of nothing spiritually –that we understand so much and that we are walking in purity, power, and knowledge –even though we most certainly are not. Oh, the abundance of pride! Oh, the refusal to humble ourselves, to listen to godly advice, to take an honest and hard look at ourselves, to fear God, and to heed His Word and His Spirit’s voice of conviction.

But pride blinds. It causes us to deny what we are actually doing, what we really have become. We have become deniers. Going on in lazy, lukewarm, and shameful behavior, we compare ourselves to others rather than to the Holy Almighty God who has commanded us to be as perfect and as holy as He is. (Mt. 5:48 // 1 Peter 1:15,16)

“I can never attain that!” many insist, their voice tinged with either hopelessness or rebellion, or both.

But God’s Word insists that the command holds. Moreover, we have been shown there how to achieve that victory and how to continue to walk in it.

Yet so much blindness prevails! Why? Isn’t it because of the high number of false teachers who are leading the flock astray? (Acts 20:29,30) –Leading many straight into the pit? (Mt. 15:14) Isn’t it due to the aversion so many have against the command to be holy and perfect? Isn’t it due to pride and the sense of being entitled to break any rule one feels like breaking at any given time? Yes, we have an Adversary “who prowls around looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8) and an Enemy who specializes in blinding men’s minds to the True Light of Salvation (2 Cor. 3,4 & 11:14), but it is our choices that really incur upon us the delusion! (Eph. 4:18 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12 // Ja. 1:13-15) And once we start down that road, how evil and bitter it becomes! (Jer. 2:19) Yet the punishment we reap for our lack of repentance is just what we deserved! (21:14 // Luke 13:3 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12)

God’s Word repeatedly commands us to watch out, be on guard, walk wisely, be alert, be careful… Do we think we are immune to being tripped up? Do we believe ourselves to be good, even when we lack clean clothes and adequate sight? (Rev. 3:17) God counsels us to buy from Him that which can cleanse us and lift the veil! (v. 18) But do we? Do we study His Word and pray for His Spirit who can open the eyes of our understanding so that we can see both who we are and to where we need to lift ourselves? (v. 17,18 // Eph. 1:17-19)

Let us stop thinking of ourselves as better than we are. (Rom. 12:3) If we are rebuked or corrected, let us not respond so defensively, so blindly, so immediately. (Pr. 9:7-9) Instead, let us take time, even days, to soberly consider the matter, all the while earnestly seeking God for His word concerning it. Let us rub in the eye salve He offers (Rev. 3:18) –that Cure which eliminates the diseases spreading across the eyes of our understanding. The diseases that come through pride. The diseases that result from our denials. The diseases which are pulling us toward the Pit. –That Pit where all go, and exist eternally, who remain lazy, careless, and blind.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
A few days ago my husband and I watched a movie about Steve Jobs and Apple. I thought it was a well-done movie, but it also reminded me of some sad facts about all of humanity. One is the fact that power, fame, and money do most often erode, not improve, a person’s decent character.

When has power, fame, or money ever caused the recipient to be more compassionate and caring toward others? When has power, fame, or money ever caused the recipient to become more Christ-like? When has power, fame, or money ever caused the recipient to turn his back on striving for more of the same so that he takes time to seek and “honor the God who holds in His hand everyone’s life and all their ways”? (See Dan. 5:23) The answer for all three questions is: Rarely.

Self-centered. Ruthless. Selfish. Cruel. Arrogant. Thoughtless. Deceitful. Need I go on? A host of negative adjectives can be used to describe most of those who clamor to gain more and more power, fame, or money. Betraying those who helped them, cared about them, befriended them, prayed for them, and/or loved them, the person consumed by greed not only finds happiness and contentment elusive, but realizes too late that he withered his own soul in the process. As a result, his earthly end is hollow and his eternity is the darkness. (Mt. 16:24-27 w/ 25:30 and John 5:29)

Those who invent incredible and useful things are to be commended and Steve Jobs certainly gave society something great. I, like most, truly enjoy and appreciate my laptop and the knowledge and abilities accessible to me through it. But did Jobs give God glory for giving him his genius? I saw no evidence of that, nor did I see it when I did a bit of internet research on him. There had been a rumor that Jobs had experienced a conversion to Christ in his last months of illness, but I read nothing that proved that at all.

Hence another sad fact I thought about: Genius, not submitted to God, is foolishness to God. (1 Cor. 3:19)

The movie definitely made me worship the Lord, because it is He who has equipped mankind with the potential and the means with which to invent things otherwise inconceivable. But the movie also made me sad as it reminded me of the masses of people who have dedicated their lives, not to Jesus and His Gospel, but instead to achieving, even ruthlessly, power, fame, or money –things that will be burned up in the end. As Jesus has warned us, such people will lose for eternity. (Mark 8:35)

For the rest of the evening after watching the movie, Mark 8:36 kept coming to mind: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Steve Jobs certainly gained prestige across the globe. He certainly succeeded in making his product better and better, achieving for it and himself great acclaim. But, if he forfeited his soul in the process, what good was it for him? God’s Word give us the answer: None. (Luke 12:15-21 & 16:19-31)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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