16 Nov

Everything in the World…(Pt. 2)

Lust of the Eyes

In my last post we talked about the first “lust” mentioned in this short but powerful verse-the lust of the eyes.

Today I am going to tackle the second lust, or as the ESV says-DESIRES. So what exactly is a desire of the eyes? One word that comes to mind immediately for me is envy. Wanting what belongs to another, or what another has attained or been given. It’s that inner voice screaming I WANT!!

Scripture has much to say about it. The somewhat archaic word “covet” found in the Ten Commandments is also used a few other times in both the Old and New Testament. We would do well to study these in context of the entire passage to get some idea of what coveting is. (Ex. 20:17, Dt. 5:21,Dt. 7:25,Jos. 7:21,Mic 2:2,Ro. 7:7,Ro. 7:8,Ro. 13:9,Jas. 4:2 ).  There are a few examples about the result of coveting also. Who doesn’t know the story of David’s coveting of Bathsheba? ( 2 Sam. 11:1-17). Pay special attention to how this all started …2 Sam. 11:2  says One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful.  As a result of this “lust of the eyes”, David committed adultery, and  arranged for the death of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah after learning she was pregnant.  Another great example but less known is the story of Achan (Joshua 7:1-26). The Lord had been with Joshua as he did the Lord’s warfare to gain a Jewish homeland. When it came to Jericho, many of the tribes were frightened. So God gave Joshua and the people a very specific set of instructions…. And if you read Joshua 6 you’ll see a command that sometimes gets skipped over (Josh. 6:18 ): But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.  As I hope you read, Achan disobeyed because he SAW all the pretty riches.

In just those two examples, I’m sure you get the idea. I saw, I wanted, I sinned!  I think, living in the USA, even our most impoverished citizens have lives that others from many other countries do not have. I have to wonder if so many of our social woes are a result of this lust of the eyes thing. Stealing, rape, robbery of any kind and are all a result of “I WANT what you have”.  Jealousy, envy and even outright hatred are all the result of this lust of the eyes.

While I am pretty sure Jesus was speaking figuratively when he said “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. “ (Mt. 18:9), I really think that He was telling us to be careful to keep our eyes on Him. It refers to temptations that assault us from without (as opposed to the lust of the flesh which is from within). John has in mind those sinful cravings which are activated by what people see, and lead to covetousness and even greed. It is the strong desire for what is seen, for the outward form of things; it is the lust after the superficial. Superficial lusting after might also include spending too much time on social media to see what others think about YOUR post, watching programs that appeal to only your way of thinking, and surrounding yourself with only those people you view as “your kind”.  Think about it—isn’t that sort of a “lust of the eyes”?

I was curious so I did a word search in the NIV of “eye”. This paired body part is mentioned over 500 times. Two that I found especially relevant are both written by the wisest man on earth, Solomon.

Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are human eyes.
Proverbs 27:20
&
All things are wearisome,more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,nor the ear its fill of hearing.
Eccl. 1:8
Next UP…

We’ll finish up this verse with “pride” (shiver)! I’ll be taking a look at John’s view and what the Bible says about it. I get a sneaking suspicion that we’ll be hearing a lot more from the writings of Solomon too.

I’m trying to figure out a few things that might be posted just for the Abiding Ways Facebook page.  I’m definitely open to suggestion!

I’ll be back on Friday so be sure to check in. Next week is Thanksgiving week and right after that is the beginning of Advent. I’ll be posting a few of my favorite personal resources( freebies to be found on the Facebook page)  as well sharing from others and my own devotional time.  A little history, a little singing, and it’s all exciting!

Hope you'll share with others!
14 Nov

EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD… (Pt. 1)

I’m going to do something different this week and get back to the primary goal of my blog, and in the future, all of Abiding Ways Ministries. It’s so easy to become distracted, to lose sight of our/MY calling and the purpose(s) of doing God’s will and work.

The focal passage this week is 1 John 2:16-17. More broadly, I hope you’ll take the time to pray, read and study 1 John 2:1-17.  John was writing to believers “so that you will not sin”. Knowing that we’re all sinners, John also assures us that we, as Jesus followers, have an advocate (think lawyer) in our Lord. And not just available to us but “the whole world”!

He goes on to describe a comparison between those that know God (obedient to His commandments) and those that don’t (disobedient and liar and “not living in the truth”).

He then re-emphasizes the very basic commandment -one we’ve had from the very beginning—LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!! (1 John 2:7-11 ). He then writes to each level of believer, whether a baby, new, or mature Christian.

In 1 John 2:15-16 he then admonishes all to “not love this world or the things it offers you”. If those things are more important than your relationship with God, you might want to re-evaluate things as he then states that IF you do “the love of the Father is NOT in you.”

Now to get to the meat of my train of thought this week. Three distinct internal behaviors are mentioned: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. I’m going to take a look with you at all three starting with “lust of the flesh”.

Lust of the flesh

So often I think this is most associated with just sexual sin.(adultery, homosexuality, etc) but what about those other things we do instead of doing what we should be? Over-indulgence in food and alcohol, substance abuse, Facebook, other social media and the internet in general? “Flesh” refers to “the outlook orientated towards self, that which pursues its own ends in self-sufficient independence of God” (Dictionary of New Testament Theology). It means all the things we do for the sake of materialism, egocentricity, exploitation of others, and selfishness.  It means all the things we do for the sake of materialism, egocentricity, exploitation of others, and selfishness. It is also the root cause of racism, sexism, love of injustice, despising the poor, neglecting the weak and helpless, and every unrighteous practice.

In the Garden of Eden, this is how Eve was decieved even after God told her and Adam that everything else was available to them except this one tree. (Gen. 3:1-6). Satan twisted words to accomplish his purpose, got Eve’s attention when she looked, saw it was good for eating and even better, would “make her as wise as God” (note how fleshly lust, envy (lust of the eyes) and being like God (pride) all are in that one passage? (Gen. 3:6)

So, what “lusts of the flesh” are you battling? I have a few and am so thankful that my advocate, JESUS is there to strengthen, empower and prayerfully, overcome. After all, isn’t our passionate purpose to be more like Him? I know mine is!

What’s Up?

We’ll talk more about lust of the eyes on Wednesday and pride of life on Friday. The beginning of our holiday season is here so there are quite a few family events to attend-and I love it! I’m brushing up on my HTML to get the Abiding Ways teaching module(s) operational. Also, an email newsletter so you can subscribe and get a taste before eating the whole meal . I’m still diligently working on minimalizing our STUFF. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to say “It is finished” right now. Prayers are coveted for patience with myself. Also, prayers as I remember my son Eric who passed away two years ago this week. That pain never really goes away.

I hope you’ll comment below and let me know what you think of this style of post. Also, if you care to share a prayer need, or a “lust of the flesh” battle you are confronting, I’d love to pray for you!
I hope you’ll consider joining the Abiding Ways Ministries Facebook group too. As the Lord leads, that will be where you get insider information about what’s happening.

Thanks for reading and have a great and blessed day!

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11 Nov

Crisis of Faith

meet-true-action-where-rubber-meets-the-road

Crisis of faith is a term commonly applied, especially in Western culture, to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one’s preconceived beliefs or life decisions.

Hebrews 11:1–3
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

In my last post I stated my preference in the electoral process of my country with a few reasons why. I ended the post by reminding my readers (and myself) that God has this, no matter the outcome. Now that it’s done and my side didn’t win, I freely confess my anxiety. I can’t count how many times I’ve reminded myself of my own words and the words of Paul found in Phil. 4:6 as well as a review of Romans 13:1-7 …. and so I seek peace and acceptance of what God has done.

In the aftermath I was angry with God…and am so thankful that He is bigger and can take it! I tend to believe that a majority of states were angry too as they’ve chosen “change”.  As we go forward here in the USA, I pray for our country, for our chosen leaders and that despite my personal pre-conceived ideas of what being a Jesus-follower is-His will shall be done!

One last thing… while I personally don’t believe our founders wanted a “Christian nation”, I hope those of us who call ourselves by His Name will act according to His teachings. Whether you liked the blue candidate or not… choose to go HIGH when things go low!

Here are some things to do to set your heart and mind on the right track…

  • Read the book of Jeremiah which tells of a time when Judah faced imminent threats from the Babylonians. In addition to the dire political and military situations, Judah experienced a crisis of faith. Judah’s faith crisis included the worship of other gods and society-wide oppression. The people of Judah oppressed the poor, immigrants, orphans, and widows—all the while believing that “religion” (temple worship) somehow set them free from their obligation to care for others.
  • Psalm 73 especially Ps. 73:28 WHEN A CRISIS OF FAITH EDGES YOU NEAR THE BRINK OF DESPAIR AND UNBELIEF, ENTER AGAIN INTO GOD’S SANCTUARY TO WORSHIP AND THERE EMBRACE ANEW BOTH HIM AND TRUE ETERNAL LIFE PERSPECTIVES.
  • Proverbs 3:5
  • Exodus 7:3 Exodus 7:13 Exodus 7:14 Exodus 7:22 Exodus 8:19 Exodus 9:12 Exodus 9:35 Exodus 10:20 Exodus 10:27 Exodus 11:10 Exodus 14:4 -Remember how God hardened Pharoah’s heart? It turned out just as He planned!
  • For all you “planners” out there Ps. 33:11, Ps. 94:11 , Prov. 16:9, Prov. 19:21

I love most what Jesus said about “the world” …John 16:33 and 1 John 5:4-5 . We’re not here to win the world over to our way of thinking about how it should be. We’re here to share the love that God first gave to us (John 3:16)

With the holidays coming up, I may post less. I’ll be working on goals and hopes for the coming year, family gatherings of course, and prayerfully seeking God about His plans for Abiding Ways and where to go from here. STAY TUNED! Consider joining the Abiding Ways Facebook page for progress and news!

 

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