Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Avoiding Pitfalls

Scripture:  Psalm 40 v 1 - 4: "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 
 2  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 
 3  And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
 4  Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."
Proverbs 28 v 10: "Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession."

When we are still in the world, the system controlled by Satan, all seems rosy and bright until we discover that, in reality, we have fallen into a pit full of evil things.  We wake up with a bump and wonder how we are going to extricate ourselves from the variety of messes we are in.

Being strong-willed and determined we plan our moves using logic, reason and a positive attitude.  Sometimes this works for a while and we relax into the new norm of life, cutting edge technology and self-belief.

If it fails from the get go and our disappointments escalate we may escape into alcohol, drugs, overwork, sex, porn or even have suicidal thoughts.  Both sets of plans - the positive and the negative - are still worldly and under the control of an evil maniac we are completely ignorant about.  If he is a myth we cannot even think he is responsible.

However, the only real way to get out of the pit is to ask Jesus, who royally defeated our enemy and gave us full authority over him, and He will stretch forth His hand to pull us out.  He will send His people to give us help and if we accept that help we are suddenly standing on the Rock that cannot be moved.

In Psalm 40 David says, the Lord inclined Himself and heard my cry.  The Lord bent over to listen and pulled him out of the pit.  After setting him on a Rock, He established his future.  Once we are out of danger and the mud has been washed off, Jesus will establish us in His purpose.

In order to avoid pitfalls we must stay submitted to His plan going forward.  We must not deviate from it or we may find ourselves sliding back into the pit.  This is called backsliding and when we do, the guilt and shame make it hard to face Jesus again.  So we stupidly keep on sliding down to where we were before.  

From there we again plan our own path to avoid getting close to Jesus again for fear of  failure and ridicule.  We barricade our souls with philosophy and fine wine, eastern religions and martial arts, music and mayhem, to drown out the voice of the One who loves us.  It's a downward spiral back into the kingdom of darkness and being owned by the faceless, nameless, being until the love of Jesus penetrates through that misery and lifts us up again.  Not everyone responds.

The blessing of avoiding this pitfall is to trust the Lord completely for everything and not to agree with the proud and arrogant who speak lies in hypocrisy.  The conmen of this world get their script from Satan, whom Jesus calls the Father of Lies.

In Proverbs 28 God has a judgment for those who use evil methods to entice believers into turning away from righteousness to do bad things.  The Communists arose as a force 100 years ago in Russia after the last Tsar and his family were murdered.  The Communists were called the Bolsheviks and they wasted no time in persecuting and imprisoning Christians for believing in God.

Christians spoiled their philosophy that there is no God because to Communists the state is God and has total control over our lives.  Russian Communism collapsed in the early 90's but not in China, Cuba, North Korea, and these soon befriended Islamic countries who had the same agenda of destroying Christianity and Israel.

These are the last bastions of Faith in God left on Earth.  They are under constant evil and deadly threat.  They are hated for no visible reason by everyone who is bound by the traditions, religions, ideologies and ways of the world.

True Christians do not submit to the laws that change sin into acceptance of practices that God calls abominations.  He always did and always will.  Neither He nor we hate abortionists or homosexuals, but He and we know who controls all that.  God has made a way out for all who are bound and we have the right and responsibility to share it.

Satan has fought long and hard to make sin legal and He will cause all and sundry to try to compromise the righteous, like gay couples deliberately targeting Christian-run B and B's for their weekend getaways and when they are refused admittance they take that business to court and it gets closed down.  It makes great news items on world-wide TV stations.

They will all fall into the pit they have dug for Christians, but the righteous shall have good things.  Jesus rewards us for being faithful and refusing to compromise with evil.  It's impossible to list all the ways in which people try to entice Christians into a pitfall, but we must be on the alert to avoid falling for these temptations.

Our mobile phones and laptops are vulnerable to invasion of photos, videos, audios that contain traps for the unwary.  The more we walk in the light, the more of a target we become because we threaten  Satan and his minions through our ministries, prayer groups and witness.  The more we need protection, the more Jesus protects us.  We are not only on the Rock, we are IN the Rock.

We sing Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee!  He hides us inside Himself and the enemy first has to kill Jesus before he can touch us.  He tried that and wished he hadn't!  
1 Corinthians 2 v 7 - 8: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
 8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

The princes of this world are Satan and his demons!  Jesus called Satan the Prince of this world in John 14 v 30: "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me."  This was not long before Jesus was arrested.

So let us use the wisdom God has given us, plus real authority over the evil one and his demons, and avoid the pitfalls they have planned for us.  Let us pray for those in the world who are trying to climb out of the pit, to take the hand of Jesus and be saved.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have made a way of escape for the whole world and You have sent us to tell them.  Whether or not they listen to us, we must try our best to deliver Your message with the urgency You give it.  It's a life or death emergency and wishing we had done more is no excuse.  Help us to do the right thing every time.  In Jesus' name. Amen.