Thursday, April 21, 2011

Enticing relationships

I was reading Deut 11-13 this morning and I couldn't help but think about so many teenagers and young adults I know who believe they want a "Godly" relationship - dating or marriage - but because they begin with the wrong expectations and qualifications of someone they wish to date or marry, they end up unfulfilled due to unhealthy concessions. 

Check this out -
Deut. 11:18-23 "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. "You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.

I am not advocating for simply just learning the information, or going through the motions. Just changing behavior is meaningless... it's a heart condition that changes everything.

Later in Deut 13 Moses continues to plead with his people as he stands with them on at the edge of the Promised Land.  He knows due to his disobedience that he will not be permitted to lead them into Canaan, but Moses refuses to allow his people he loves so dearly to reject God and be consumed by self-dependence.

He continues in Deut 13:6-8 --  If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 

In the Old Testament people who dragged others in the wrong direction were stoned to death. 
Even though we do not stone people to death today, the adamacy of God is the same.  Do not be enticed by or lured into an idolatrous unhealthy relationships.   

If you are not married and in the middle of this kind of relationship tension, I beg you not to compromise.
If you are already married to someone who is not recieved life in Jesus and pursuing God's best with you, continue to pray and be the Godly example as shown in passages like Daniel 6, Prov. 31 and Ephesians 5.

It's true that no one is perfect but if your hearts are built on two separate foundations, (or both built on an unstable one) what's built on those foundations will not stand together.

Strive for God's best for your life and relationship.  Chase it down... in relentless pursuit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What entices you most?

This morning I had to go to the bank to make a deposit. Before I went inside, I was sitting in my van making a few phone calls about arranging some details for worksites for The Hartford Project, a local summer missions outreach to the city of Hartford. As I was jotting down some notes from the phone conversation I had just had, a brown van speeds up toward me and jerks to a halt parking awkwardly near me. (The van was like one of those used for small company deliveries – however, it had no markings or company logo, and had no windows on the sides or rear.)

Before he stopped so abruptly, I thought the guy was going to plow into my driver side door, but he did parked awkwardly facing me with his driver side front corner bumper just feet from my van door where I was seated, behind the wheel of my van.

As you might be, I was a bit taken off-guard especially when the other guy slammed his van into “park”, proceeding to roll down his window and motions for me to hurriedly do the same. I hesitantly pressed the button to lower my window, and the driver starts with this story-

Driver: “Hey man, do you live around here or are you familiar with this area?”

Me: “Yeah, a little bit. Why?”

Driver: “Do you know anyone who wants a stereo surround sound digital audio system for a home theater for really cheap!!??” My buddy and I got two for the price of one and we’re trying to sell this other new system we have in the back of the van… We just sold the first one over at [names a local restaurant]. We have to be at another appointment in about… [Glances quickly at his watch] in 38 minutes so we gotta get outta here quick. We just saw you sitting here, and thought since you’d have the room in your van to haul it, we thought we’d ask you if you wanted it. If you want to look at it go ahead - it’s in the back [motions to the rear of his van] and brand new in the box already to set up. Do you want it?! Brand new it’s worth 4300 bucks, but we got it free and if you want to buy it right now we’ll give you a deal.

Me: [extremely skeptical and cautious… yet attempting not to out-right accuse him of burglary] … “I donno, I don’t know if I want it… I don’t think I know anyone else who’d want it right now either. How much are you talking?”

Driver: Awww… A few hundred bucks. How’s that sound?

Me: No thanks. See ya later.

Driver: Speeds off.

During the “pitch” he gave me, the driver pulled out an envelope of twenty dollar bills. Then he actually began to joke about how much the restaurant owner paid for the first system and spreads out the stack of twenties that he claimed he got from the sale of the first system. Supposedly the cash he pulled out amounted to $1800.00 in Twenties. He assured me I wouldn't have to pay even that much.  The driver continued to brag about the sale he’d just made but assured me that all I needed to pay for the second brand new system was 300.00!
Maybe if I hadn’t been scammed before… or maybe if I felt like I could somehow justify spending 300.00, or if I had the room for a “movie-theater-quality surround sound audio system” I might have bought it. But as soon as those two guys sped away looking for their next sale (or victim) I was relieved I would never see them again.

Have you ever been faced with a “deal you couldn’t refuse?” … Or a deal you THOUGHT you couldn’t refuse?

WHY was the deal you saw, heard about or read about so good you couldn’t pass it up? Whether it was a SilverBullet Food Processor or a “steal” on Ebay - What did it pique inside of you that you just couldn’t walk away? Why did it entice you?

What is it that entices you most?  What steals your attention?

I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but I am enticed by stupid things too...

This passage in Deut. Chapter 8 reminded me of what should I should be enraptured by… What I should be most compelled by?… What should consume all my attention?

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. -- Deut. 8:2-11

Lord, please help us... help ME.. be careful NOT to forget You - ever.  To put our life’s attention on You and to observe your commands - because of the incredible work that You have done in the transformational work of Jesus Christ! Please, God help us show others how incredible a life with Jesus really is... that even though that this world will never be perfect... what's most enticing... is REAL Life with Jesus.  -I ask this In Your Name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Deut 4:29-35

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.  For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?  You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

/// I am claiming this powerful message today! My ongoing natural inclination is self-dependence in the battles I face - (while attempting to disregard my selfishness.) My prayer today is for a greater surrender of my life regardless of the terrain of the battlefield or the magnitude of the opponent.- Run hard after the Victor!