Brought Down or Rising Up?

img052 (4)

Proverbs 24:16 –  [F]or though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. (NIV 1984)

Seven musings to inspire us to rise again and not be brought down.

Billy Graham – “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”
My Musing – The fact that we all make mistakes is not an excuse to repeat them or wallow in them.
Rick Warren – “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
My Musing – We are only prisoners if we choose to be, because Christ has set us free.
Colin Powell – “There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
My Musing – Like Paul, we need to press on.
Abraham Lincoln – “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
My Musing – What could be more dangerous than being content with our failures, with our life of sin?
Barack Obama – “The real test is not whether you avoid failure, because you won’t.  It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it.”
My Musing – We may not be able to avoid failure, but we can avoid situations that lead to failure.  If you don’t want to eat the apple, quit hanging around the tree.
C. S. Lewis – “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” — C. S. Lewis
My Musing – A steady upward progress is often difficult to measure except in retrospect,
Winston Churchill – “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
My Musing – Unfortunately we often keep going back to the same old tree.
My Advice – As Christians, our eraser (confession and repentance) that will always outlast the pencil (our sins).  But that does not give us license to sin.  And what a mess all those eraser crumbs can leave.  To obey is better than sacrifice (asking for forgiveness).

Flight and Fight

Screenshot (365)

1 Timothy 6:11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – Here’s a novel thought.  How about accepting responsibility, playing by the rules, listening to your critics (they just might be right) and telling the truth.  There will be no need to redefine success or try again.

My Advice – Know when to fight and know when to flight.

Screenshot (255)

 

Hollow and Deceptive

Colossians 2:8, 20See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ…you died to the basic principles of this world, why as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Eve found out that even just a taste caused her, and all generations thereafter, to be slaves of sin. We’ve been set free by the blood of Christ, yet we continue to taste the world’s “pleasures.” Paul asks why, because we no longer have to submit to Satan’s deception.

My Advice – Sift carefully through the things that people try to get you to buy in to. They might sound good on the surface, but if they are inconsistent with the Word do not handle, taste or touch.

Able to Bear, A Way Out

1 Corinthians 10:13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – A key word in this verse that can easily be missed is also. First off God has given us the ability to simply resist temptation. And while we do not need it, He also has given us a backup plan. With every temptation He will provide a way of escape.

My Advice – Do not think that your temptations are special. They are common. Others have escaped them and you can too. God doubly blesses with the ability to resist as well as a means of escape.

Strong to the End

1 Corinthians 1:8He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We rely on our own strength too much to combat temptation. We are not strong enough in our own strength, but more than strong enough if we rely on God’s strength.

My Advice – Do not think that you are too weak to resist temptation, too weak to be obedient. God will keep you strong if you ask Him too.

Lessons Learned, Pitfalls Avoided

Screenshot (345)

2 Samuel 11:1-4,14-15In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 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, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite? Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.  In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”  (NIV 1984)

2 Samuel 12:7-9Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own.”  (NIV 1984)

2 Samuel 12:13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – David was not where he was supposed to be.  He was supposed to go off to war with his army, but he stayed at home.  In his idleness (boredom), he ended up being where he should not have been and seeing what he should not have seen, which led him to do what he should not have done.  One sin (adultery) led to another (murder).  Yet,  [God] testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22, NIV 1978)

How can this be?  Surely not because of his sins (they were horrible),  but because of how he responded when confronted.  No excuses, no shifting the blame and no denials.  Confession and repentance. Like David (maybe not as bad as David), we all make mistakes (sin).  Of course it is always better for us not to sin in the first place.  Often we can avoid sin by being where we should be and not where we should not be (if Eve did not want to eat the “apple,” why was she hanging around the tree?).  But when we do sin we need to respond like David.  There may be consequences (there were for David and Bathsheba – their child conceived in sin died), but our sins will be “taken away.”  For, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9, NIV 1984)

My Advice – We all heard the sage advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Prevention can mean avoiding idleness.  Making sure we are where God wants us to be.  When we know the “fruit” is forbidden (and we do), not hanging around it.  Nonetheless, whenever the inevitable sin occurs (and it does not “just” occur), recognize that we “are the man (or woman)” and respond appropriately.

Beware of Opportune Times

Luke 4:13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We can gain victory over temptation and the devil will leave us alone. But not for ever. He will look for us to let down our guard or come at us from a different angle. But just like before, we can beat back attack after attack.

My Advice – Don’t get too cocky when you resist temptation that you let down your guard. And don’t focus so exclusively on one temptation that you leave yourself vulnerable to another. Be vigilant. Expect Satan to attack when you gloat and when you are unguarded. The expected attack is the best attack to defend against.