Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Staying On Holy Ground & UPDATES on Jimmy Neff & Max & Makeya Brown

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
Hebrews 12:1
(KJV)

I have a confession to make.
There are some sins that have the strength to very easily beset me.
There are some paths of temptation on which I dare not take the first step.
Because if I take one step, I will more than likely be drawn in...
just like a vacuum.
The power of the hold of certain things that entice me is very strong.
Way stronger than me.
So, I have learned, through painful experience, that it is in my best interest
for me to just leave certain things alone....period.
To run...at the first sight or sound of their luring pull.

One of those painful learning experiences happened when my career in banking was in full swing.
One of the assignments given to me, along with some other employees,
 was the tedious task of  investigating an inside embezzlement plot that had been successfully carried out by one of our peers/co-workers.
She had managed, over the course of several years to swindle the bank,
along with many unsuspecting customers, out of somewhere around the tune of a million dollars.
Through clever manipulation and creating fictitious accounts,
she had figured out a way to filter funds, in a non-suspicious way,
that would somehow always end up in her pocket.
She duped the bank for years, until finally, it all caught up to her,
she was investigated, arrested, and ended up serving several years behind bars.

In the course of my investigative duties, I had to drive to the main office of the bank,
which was around 50 miles or so one way.
This gave me lots of time alone in the car, which can soon become monotonous & lonely.
So, I usually did what anyone else would do...
I flipped on the radio the minute I got in the car.
There was one particular station I preferred over all others,
because the preaching and uplifting music continually nurtured and nourished my soul.
Every now and then, I would feel temptation luring me to turn the radio knob
from that spirit-filled programming to a station that played songs
I used to listen to that were not so spiritually-nurturing.
I kept up a firm resolve for quite some time, choosing to ignore the temptation
and opting to keep saturating my mind with things that drew me closer to God.
I knew full-well that if I gave in, I would have a less spiritual day,
based solely upon how that "other" music had spiritually drained me in the past.

I'll never forget the day my resolve crumbled, and I finally gave in.
I. Turned. The. Knob.
Soon, I found myself drawn in...way back to my teenage years...
just by listening to those songs.
Melodies have a way of doing that, don't they?
Even the first few notes of a song can propel a person backwards,
having the most profound effect on the emotions, mood, and temperament.

I knew when I turned the knob that day where I was headed.
I had been there before.
I knew I was leaving holy ground...
and venturing away from a place I could readily hear that still, small voice of my Creator.
I made the conscious choice to do it anyway.
And, let me tell you, it took me to a depleted spiritual place I don't ever want to revisit.

That first time of giving in was not so easy.
I valiantly fought the urge for quite a while.
But, once I gave in that first time,
the next time, it didn't seem quite so difficult.
And the next time, it was even easier.
Day after day, as I made those mundane treks from Palm City to North Palm Beach,
I allowed temptation to draw me in, and I opened the door to my mind,
permitting those spiritually-draining lyrics to permeate my thoughts.

Lyrics like,
"Mama's gonna worry,
I've been a bad, bad boy,
No use saying sorry,
It's something that I enjoy."
(Flyin' High Again, sung and co-written by Ozzy Osbourne & 3 of his band members.  The lyrics were admittedly written about drug use.)

and

"It's two a.m., the fear has gone,
I'm sittin' here waitin', the gun still warm,
Maybe my connection is tired of takin' chances;
Yeah, there's a storm on the loose, sirens in my head,
I'm wrapped in silence, all circuits are dead,
I cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy.....
Soon you will come to know,
When the bullet hits the bone."
(Twilight Zone, sung by Golden Earring, & written by the group's guitarist, George Kooymans)

and

"I keep looking at the sky 'cause it's gettin' me high,
Forget the hearse, 'cause I'll never die,
I got nine lives, cat's eyes,
Using every one of them and runnin' wild,
'Cause I'm back,
Yes, I'm back, Well, I'm back,
Yes, I'm back,
Well, I'm back back,
Well, I'm back in black,
Yes, I'm back in black."
(Back In Black, sung by AC/DC, & written by group member, Brian Johnson to express his feelings about deceased former band member, 
Bon Scott, who died from acute alcohol poisoning five months before Brian joined the group.)

and 
"If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues,
Cocaine.
When your day is done and you wanna run,
Cocaine.
She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie;
Cocaine."
(Cocaine, written by J J Cale & made famous by Eric Clapton, who admitted that when he recorded this song,
he had kicked a serious heroin addiction, but was filling his body with cocaine and alcohol.)

Okay, so you get the picture.
Lyrics such as these are not exactly conducive to holy living.
Let's face it.
Maybe someone much stronger than me could allow words like these to infiltrate
their minds without being spiritually affected.
Perhaps someone else may not plunge themselves into perilous spiritual territory,
simply by allowing their minds to wander to the places these lyrics describe.
Some of you will probably wonder why I am so weak.
Why this simple turn of the knob sent me reeling into one of the worst bouts of depression
and spiritual warfare I have ever battled through.

I'll tell you why.
Music is....has the potential to be...one of my besetting sins.
Depending on the lyrics, it can lift my spirits and elevate me so close to the heart of God, that I feel Heaven filling my soul,
or it can drain the spiritual life out of me,
dropping me into a dungeon of despair and hopeless discouragement, in the process.
I am deeply moved and affected by music...either for good or bad.
I don't personally think we should ever underestimate its power and influence.

This continual spiritual drain went on for I don't know how long.
I felt God condemning me, but it was like I was caught up in a whirlpool of temptation,
and I was powerless to pull myself away from it.
I hated the way I felt after filling my mind with it,
but I kept doing it anyway.
Music can become an addiction to me...really quick.

After several weeks...maybe months...I found myself extremely depressed,
and foolishly wondering why.

Keep in mind, I was still praying, reading my Bible, and doing all of the things
a "good" Christian should do.
But, as soon as I would fill up my spiritual well,
I would turn around and drain it dry by filling my mind with words
that blatantly defied what I believed.
There is tremendous power in spoken words.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue."  Proverbs 18:21
There was a literal war of spiritual death vs. spiritual life, good vs. evil...
going on continually inside of me.

I couldn't shake the depression.
It was present with me...all.the.time.

I prayed so hard for God to help me,
and one night, as I was praying,
He spoke the truth I needed to hear....
"You opened the door."

I didn't need to ask.
I knew exactly what He meant.
His words penetrated and pierced through the cloud that continually hung over me.

He immediately took me back to the day I turned the knob....
that opened the door...
to my heart...to my mind....to my soul...
the way I had let that first yield to temptation turn into full-blown "besetting" sin.

The word "beset" in today's verse literally means....
to surround,
compass about,
encircle,
besiege,
bind,
enclose,
thwart in every direction,
entangle

A besetting sin is a binding sin.
One that becomes a master.
One that thwarts spiritual progress.
One that hinders a Christian runner from running full speed...or running at all.
One that becomes an obsession and holds a powerful hold over.

I remembered the scene,
riding along in that nice, new, air-conditioned, comfortable company car.
I couldn't argue with Him.
I knew He was as right as He could be.

I knew that this besetting sin was impeding my spiritual progress...
that it had stopped the day I gave in to the lure.
And in the process a gulf had begun to be stretched between me and God.
Because God will not compete for His rightful place in our hearts.
He allows us to follow our own free will and make our own choices.
If we choose the forces of evil over Him,
He, being the gentleMan that He is, will allow it...
and He will step aside, giving it first place.

This gulf between us was causing me to feel a deep, aching void
and a sense of overwhelming sadness and depression.
The longer I kept giving in to something contrary to His holiness,
the farther from Him I drifted, the more the span widened, and the worse I felt.

As He spoke to me that night in prayer,
I decided that I wanted Him...more than I wanted to keep clinging to my besetting sin.
I comprehended the strength of its grasp upon me.
My eyes came open to the fact that listening to it and allowing it to hold that amount of power
over me was vying for God's spot in my heart,
and boxing me in to a level of bondage that was controlling my mind and thought process.
And being separated from the One I love most was making me incredibly sad.

So, I made the choice to let it go.
I came clean with God and repented from the heart.
I made a determination right then and there that, by God's grace, I would stop.
That I would be careful what I allowed to enter my mind.
That I would "lay aside the sin that did so easily beset me."
That I would no longer be its slave or allow it to pull me down....
under its control and sway.
That I would make the conscious choice to stay on holy ground.

We all have them,
whether we want to admit it or not.
Each one of us have things that "easily beset us" and draw us away
to a place that is distant from God.
As followers of Jesus Christ, there are just certain influences we would do well to stay away from.
You know what your "besetting" sins are...
as well as I am familiar with mine.
Our besetting sins may be worlds apart,.
What tempts and draws me in to a place of bondage,
may not even effect you that way at all.
What boxes you in and becomes your master may not be in the least bit persuasive to me.

Do you know that hearing the first few notes of a classic rock song has the power to lure me in...
to this day?
Did I permanently slay the monster of temptation in this area?
Absolutely not.
Not even close.
I'll tell you the truth.
If I gave in, right now, if I clicked over to youtube and pulled up any one of those songs,
if I turned our radio dial to any one of those stations,
I could be drawn back in...in an instant.
I know this.
So, I have a choice to make...every, single time the tempter comes around.
I can either give in, and allow myself to experience the consequences,
or I can stand firm, and avoid them.
It all comes down to whether I want to remain close to God...or not.
It all boils down to what matters most to me.

I have learned the hard way to try to avoid this besetting sin.
Not long ago, we were on vacation, and we walked in to a restaurant for dinner.
We were seated in a nice, secluded corner, and opened our menus to check out our choices.
There was a speaker right over my head, and I heard the DJ's voice say,
"Classic Rock".
It is all I needed to hear.
I looked at Kevin, he looked at me.
He loves music, too, though he has a lot more strength than I do.
He can take it or leave it and isn't so susceptible to its influence.
He knows my battles so well.
"Can we go?" I asked.
"We sure can", his eyes were kind and held a depth of understanding that needed no further words.
That is one of the sweetest parts of being with the same person for so many years.
They just know...they just understand...you just have that history together...
and it is beyond precious.
We kindly and politely left without ordering anything.
It is just that important to me to keep this closeness with God.
I don't want to trade it for anything...no matter what or how compelling it is.

Besetting sin territory is not holy ground.
In order for me to stay "in tune" with God, I have to tune out the noise that competes with Him.
Lyrics are words, and words are very powerful.
They can literally speak life, or they can speak death.
They can invoke God's voice, or they can convey the messages of satan.
If you listen to the glorification of drugs and the glamorization of evil long enough,
they won't sound or seem so damaging or disturbing to you.
If the message of getting high is pounded into your mind long enough,
you will start wondering what could be so wrong with it.
Especially, when it is presented to you when you are discouraged
and you are listening to words that assure you they are the answer to your problems.


Remember Moses?
God had a message to give to him.
He pulled Moses aside from outside noise and interference to a quiet place
where He had his full, undivided attention.
Granted, he was not nearly as inundated with noise like you and I are in today's world,
but there were other noises and voices that he had to contend with and avoid
in order to hear God's voice and remain close to Him.
When Moses was completely listening, God told him to take off his shoes,
 because he was standing on holy ground.
It was there that God gave him profound and clear instructions concerning his future
and what he was meant to do.

Do we really want to miss anything God is needing to say to us?
How can He speak clearly and directly when we are filling our minds with
everything BUT His voice?
How can we expect to maintain a close relationship with Him when we are continually
feeding on the very things He hates and that are in total opposition to His character?

The things we allow our eyes to see and take in,
the words and sounds we listen to and absorb,
the atmospheres we permit ourselves to inhabit...
all of these are having an effect on our spiritual life,
whether we realize it or acknowledge it.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

Our fight is not a physical one.
It is spiritual.
And so many of the things of this world are controlled by spirits
that are direct enemies of the Spirit of God.
These are what we fight against.

I am not saying we can always remove ourselves from the areas
of the temptation of our besetting sins.
What I am saying is that we should do so whenever it is at all possible.
Why invite added spiritual battles?
If you know something is going to bring you down and directly impede the sweet communion you have with God, why not distance yourself as far away from it as is humanly possible
to avoid distancing yourself from Him?
Why indulge in it, knowing full well it will leave you drained, emptied, and void of the intimacy with God you cherish and crave?

I have had to learn the hard way.
Unfortunately, satan knows our weaknesses.
He is a formidable opponent who remembers where he has tripped us in the past,
therefore, he knows where to attack us,
what traps to set,
and which weapons to use against us.

The Apostle Paul knew this.
In 2 Corinthians 2:11, he said,
"Lest satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices."

If you would like to read more about his struggles, read the 7th chapter of Romans.

Just as satan knows us and our weak points,
so we are not ignorant of his devices.
We have seen his track record, and we know where he has been successful in defeating us in the past.
So, when he presents those temptations again, we would be wise to turn from them,
and RUN in the opposite direction.

I don't know about you, but I have found in my spiritual walk that when I have given in to these temptations and allowed myself to stray, I find that it is so incredibly hard to regain the spiritual ground I have lost in the process.
It is just not worth it to lose that ground anymore.

The great news is this....
"For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive;
and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."
Psalm 86:5

No matter how many times we fail.
Regardless how often we stray.
God's loving heart is full of mercy,
and He is always standing near...arms wide open...and ready to forgive.

Praise His name!

So, what is your besetting sin?
What is the thing(s) that has/have the tendency(ies) to draw you in and take control of and beset you?
What temptation(s) have you yielded to only to find yourself distanced from God?

No one can answer these questions other than you...and Him.

The thing to ask yourself is this...
what do I want more?
The temporary, quickly-fleeting gratification I am going to feel from yielding to this temptation
or the sweetness of knowing He is pleased with me,
and the precious fellowship of walking close to Him?
Which do I treasure most?

Jesus said,
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:34

A word of warning...just because you say no and walk away from temptation today,
does not mean, in any way, that satan will give up or that you are permanently off the hook.
Trust me.
Unfortunately, he will be back.
He will offer it again...because he knows it appeals to your flesh,
and he has entrapped you in that area in the past.

Be ready for him.
"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

If your experience is anything like mine, this armor will need to be put on...daily.
Putting it on today will not suffice for tomorrow.
You will have to purposely and intentionally don this armor every, single day,
in order to be equipped and prepared for the spiritual warfare you are guaranteed to face.
Believe me, satan is not going to let up.
If you are down or spiritually depleted or unprepared for his attack,
he will pounce even harder.
He has no pity for you...or me.
He has had a lot of experience, and he makes the most of it.

Here's the best part, though.

"Ye are of God little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
I John 4:4

and

"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

and 

"He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 2:9

and
"...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Hebrews 13:5,6
because 
"...we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; 
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15

Jesus was tempted.
In ALL POINTS.
The same as we are...
through His eyes, His ears, His flesh.
He was tempted, and He did NOT sin.
He never gave in.
Not one, little bit.
He held a firm resolve.
He is our Example.
He is our Helper.
His grace is sufficient, if we will ask Him for it.
We are overcomers...more than conquerors, 
but only through the enlistment of His resources.

I wish I could tell you that it will get easier as we go along,
and as we approach the last days, but this couldn't be farther from the truth.
I promise to always speak truth here...
without fluff, not sugar coated, and not watered down....
however difficult it may be to swallow,
for two reasons.
First, God will one day hold me accountable, and I don't want to fall short.
(Ezekiel 33:6)
I do not write Homespun Devotions carelessly.
Ever.  Not one post.
I'm not here to entertain, to draw attention to personal ambitions, or to blend in with the masses.
I realize that behind every set of eyes reading these words, there is an undying soul,
who will one day face God, and I do not take that reality lightly.
God help me.
Second, I care about you, and it is my goal to encourage you 
and to help you on your journey to Heaven.
I want to spend eternity with you there.
We do not want to miss it, my friend.
It will be worth whatever it takes to get there.
Dear Lord, help us all.

Jesus said,
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32

The truth of the matter is, it is not going to get easier.
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13

The seduction of evil will become ever more powerful, 
as we approach Jesus' coming and satan realizes his time is shortening by the minute.
His ultimate goal is to claim every soul he possibly can, 
and he will pull out all stops to make it happen.

When faced with his evil, conniving, tempting lures, the thing to do is pray.
And be prepared...ahead of time.
It is not a matter of "if" temptation comes,
it is a matter of "when" it shows up.
None of us are exempt.
Regardless how saved, dedicated, sanctified, or set apart we think we are,
we are vulnerable.
Because no matter how sanctified we are, we are not yet glorified.
We have not yet attained the celestial body He will one day give us...
free from pain and sickness and vulnerability.

Until then, let us endeavor and do what it takes to stay on holy ground.
Let us be selective as to what we allow to enter our minds,
to infiltrate our spiritual realm,
and to permit our affections to go out to.

While you're praying, how about saying one for me?
That I will be faithful to God.
That I will fulfill His will and do what He asks, no matter how difficult it may be.
And that His purpose, not my agenda or any form of self-promotion,
will be accomplished here at Homespun Devotions.

This is His space, not mine.

He can do with it what He will.

God bless you for your patience in reading this very long account of what
He has placed upon my heart. :)
*******************************************
UPDATES
*******************************************
Several months ago, I requested prayer for my childhood friend, Jimmy Neff,
who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, brain cancer, & adrenal cancer.

I just got the news tonight that, in spite of all of the radiation,
chemo-therapy, and medical treatment,
his lung and adrenal cancer have both grown by 25%.
Needless to say, this was devastating news.
We got to visit with him earlier this month while we were in OH,
and it was such a blessing to see him and have the opportunity to pray together.


He is such a dear person, and I would so grateful if you would please continue to pray
for a Divine-intervention miracle on his behalf.
Also, please pray for his mother, Dorothy (my sister-in-law),
and my brother, David, (Jimmy's step-father), as this is really hitting them hard.
We all know that God is bigger than cancer, and our prayer is that he be healed,
but if God has other plans, please pray for peace for Jimmy and the entire family.

******************************************************
Now for TWO miracle reports on little 2 year old Max and 
6 year old Makeya Brown,
in the words of their Mommy, Shyla,

"MAX IS OUT OF ICU!!!! 
After 7 and a half weeks, I am so happy to be able to say that.  
He is now one step closer to being up there with Keya which, hopefully, will happen by next week. Or at least that is my goal for him. 
Max and Keya both have had a really good day. 
Cont to pray for my babies."

AND

"They started to wean Max off the CPAP today. 
They also said that once they get it to 30% he should be clear to go to the 9th floor with Keya. 
It is at 35% now. 
They extended Keya's stay again today until the 23rd. 
They think she can be taught more because she is now using the muscles in her stomach.
 All the doctor can say is, "Oh, wow! Oh, wow, she should not be able to do that!"
 Plz cont to pray for my babies.



PRAISE GOD for this wonderful news!!
How great is our God!!


Click here, if video doesn't load.

Praise His holy name forevermore!!
This is a major milestone for little Max AND for Steven & Shyla. 
Instead of being on the 2nd & 9th floor, Max & Makeya are only one floor apart now, 
since Max has been moved to the 8th floor.
This will make life so much easier for all of them.

God is working, so please keep praying!!!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
OR
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.



Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.



(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
click ORIGINAL POST,
and 1ST UPDATE,
and 2ND UPDATE,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 4TH UPDATE,
and 5TH UPDATE,
and 6TH UPDATE,
and 7TH UPDATE,
and 8TH UPDATE,
and 9TH UPDATE.
and 15TH UPDATE.)

24 comments:

  1. When I was a young adult, my boss and his wife took me to church with them for a while, and he told me he couldn't listen to certain music anymore, and I never understood it. Years later, I had at least one son, maybe 2, and I began to realize that a lot of movies really affected me. And it wasn't in a way that seemed "sinful". But what it would do is make me worry..."What if this happens to my kids?" "What if someone does that to us?" And then I would worry. And since we're told not to worry...then worry is sin. So I quit watching those movies. (Not that I have time now, anyways, ha, ha. I haven't watched a movie in years!) But sin can creep in anywhere at all--people just don't GET it. It's everywhere.

    Also, it really struck me as...just...neat, the way Kevin just knows and respects you so well that he asked if you wanted to leave that restaurant. That's really cool. Don't ever take that for granted. He sounds like a nice guy. :)

    I would love to know some of your thoughts on the end of times. I get a little confused about it sometimes. Have you ever done a post on it?

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    1. I loved your words..."sin can creep in anywhere at all..." Oh, how true! And some things can just BECOME sin to us, individually, like you said about the movies causing you to feel fear, etc. Maybe the actual thing is not a sin, but the enemy causes us to sin because of it. Aww...thank you SO much for your kind words about Kevin. Oh, my...he IS so nice...you are so right. To God be ALL the glory. I have never done a post on the end of time, but it sure is on my mind and heart a lot. If God ever leads me to, I will obey, by His grace. I know what you mean, there are so many opinions and perspectives on it, and it can become very confusing. I think we just have to get alone with God, shut out all the noise, and seek His face. His precious Spirit is always faithful to lead and guide us into all truth, if we keep an honest, open heart. So thankful to hear from you tonight. I meant to stop by your place earlier today, and I got busy and didn't get to...will be by to visit you soon. :) Much love to you.

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  2. Aww so glad to hear such great news about Max! The Brown family remains in my thoughts and prayers.

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    Replies
    1. Me, too, Carol!! I was SO happy and thankful when I heard this!! God is SO good...please keep praying. :)

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  3. I'm praying for Jimmy and the entire Brown family.

    You really nailed it by pointing out that satan knows our weaknesses and that's always where he attacks. Words, as most of us who love to use them know, are so powerful. More powerful than we can fathom, well, maybe not you! Taking of the armor of God when we're in the presence of our enemy is welcoming the wounding of our soul. I've lived through a bit of that these last couple of weeks. This is a needed reminder to stay on guard by the strength of He who lives within us.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and your visit today, Floyd. I loved what you said about taking of the armor of God when we're in the presence of our enemy...if we wait until then, it is almost like it is too late. God help us to be prepared AHEAD of time, so we are ready for his tactics. I so appreciate you coming by. God bless you.

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  4. I appreciate the words of admonishment Cheryl. It's important for each of us to know that which can cause us to be set back. Good to see the good updates on the Browns.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Wanda! You are a consistent source of encouragement to me! Love you, dear sister!

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  5. Cheryl, this is a *meaty* post - much for me to ponder and digest. You have spoken truly inspired words here. Two things came to my mind as I was reading. One, I used to call these "besetting" sins (what a great word, by the way) - I used to call them zombie sins - for they REFUSED to die. I know some of my weaknesses, but I'm going to pray that the Lord will point out anything that is having this *taking away* effect in my life. I also want to stay on holy ground. I've wandered in the past, and I do not like the nettles and thorns!

    The second thing that came to my mind was the whole scene when the devil tempted Jesus. I've known this story forever, but it's only been recently that three very important things leaped out to me about the whole scenario. One, Jesus was led into the wilderness right after God put His "seal of approval" on His Son. I am reminded how often our enemy attacks us after a spiritual victory. Second, Jesus was tempted when He was hungry and tired. Our enemy does the same to us. He often waits until we're sick, tired, anxious, bored - just when our defenses are weakest - and then he sneaks into our world with his insidious lies. And finally, I don't know why I foolishly thought that this was the only time that Jesus was tempted! Satan left Him... until the next opportunity arose. He does the same with us.

    Yes, we need armor! We need prayer! We need to stay close to the Lord, yielded and receptive to His Spirit, and always willing to obey Him.

    Great words - as I said, much to ponder, to convict and challenge, and to remind me that in order to fight well, we must stay close to The Conqueror!

    GOD BLESS!

    (Great news about the Browns! And I will add Jimmy to my prayer list!)

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    1. Oh, Sharon! You will NEVER know how much this meant to me tonight! I LOVED the thoughts you shared about the scene of Jesus being tempted...you are SO right. I can so relate to the 2nd thing you mentioned right now...satan attacks when we are at our weakest point. Oh, how true! Thank you ever so much for sharing what God has put upon your heart. Oh, I needed this so much, and I pray God blesses you abundantly. Much love to you, sweet friend.

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  6. Your message on Holy Ground was excellent. I appreciate your willingness to share your personal battles and I was so encouraged and identified with you, especially concerning music. I continue to seek His face and trust Him to guide and keep me. (And you)

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    1. Praise the dear Lord, Trish! Your words were so encouraging to me. I am so grateful for your prayers, and it was so nice to "meet" you! God bless you and keep your heart trusting in Him always.

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  7. This is such a timely message for me, Cheryl as I have recently heard God tell me a similar thing. Be Sober. He said. And He was talking about my addiction to sugar and other foods. I've been blogging about it. Maybe you've seen. So I do know just how dangerous that one choice can be. The turn of the dial. The sweetness on the lips. But thinking of sobriety being the Holy Ground that it really and truly is encourages me to fight for it. I sure don't want to leave that place. Thank you for the bravery of your story and, as always, for linking at Unforced Rhythms.

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    1. Thank you so much for your dear words, Beth. Yes, I have been getting your emails, and I can surely relate to all you are going through. I don't want to leave that precious place, either. God help us to be faithful!

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  8. Such lovely melodies and words hidden with such wicked messages to our youth and others. In my day(1940's) the popular songs were either romantic, or silly. Good tapes and CDs are available for long car rides too. Even Christian audio books.
    Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a True Story."

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    1. Yes, thank God, He provides us with lots of wholesome alternatives. God bless you, Hazel.

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  9. I have found, time and time again, that most everything made by "man" like music and movies, even some intended to be morally good, have so many flaws. Even several so called Christian songs and music are bad. We need to be saturated in God's word and in prayer to have, through the Holy Spirit, enough discernment to tell the difference. Even the good old tv shows don't mention the name Jesus Christ. 1 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. This is a verse to think about! Of course there are movies and music out there that Christians would obviously not want to see or hear, but we need to be wise about the NOT SO OBVIOUS ones as well. This has given me an idea for a new post.
    God bless.
    Love ya!

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    1. You are SO right, Chris! I loved the verse you shared...it goes right along with this thought so well. So thankful this gave you inspiration to write a post!! I am praying for Connie...so sad, but I know God is able. So grateful for you and your friendship. Love you, too, girl! God bless you.

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  10. what is communion and who can take part in it?

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    1. I certainly do not claim to have all of the answers, but I will do my best to answer your questions with careful consideration & prayer. QUESTION #1: Communion is an ordinance that was instituted during Jesus' last earthly supper eaten with His 12 disciples. He used two physical objects to portray spiritual meaning, as He often did throughout His ministry. He took a loaf of bread, & as He broke that bread to feed His disciples, He used that loaf of bread as a symbol of His body that would be broken as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. When we eat the bread, during Communion, we are acknowledging that just as we are "breaking bread" & partaking of the literal bread, we are also a partaker of the inward, spiritual benefit of the sacrifice He made for us when His literal body was broken. The second physical object Jesus used during the Last Supper was a cup of grape juice (He called it "the fruit of the vine" in Luke 22:18). Jesus used the grape juice as a symbol of His physical blood, which was shed on Calvary for the cleansing of our sins. When we drink of the cup during communion, we are outwardly acknowledging that an inward cleansing has taken place in our hearts, & that we have spiritually partaken of His sacrifice & accepted it as atonement for our sins. Both the eating of the unleavened bread/wafer & the drinking of the cup during Communion are outward acknowledgements of what has taken place inwardly, within our hearts. It is a visible statement that we have accepted the sacrifice He made for us & that we believe that what He did is sufficient to cover the redemption of our lost soul. Concerning the bread, Jesus said, "Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me." And concerning the cup, He said "This cup is the New Testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me." I Corinthians 11:24,25 As often as we observe & partake of the ordinance of Communion, we are remembering our dear, precious Lord, & we are honoring His great sacrifice for us. QUESTION #2: Who can take part in it? I have pretty much answered this question, as I have gone along, when I explained that the outward eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup is a visible acknowledgement of what has taken place inside the heart. In order to take part in Communion, one must believe in Jesus' sacrifice, & they must have accepted that sacrifice as the atonement for their own personal sins. As long as His blood has been applied to the spiritual heart & all sins have been washed away & cleansed, one may drink of the physical cup. As long as one has believed that the physical breaking of Jesus' body was to break sin's dominion over them, & they have allowed Him to free them from sin, they may eat the physical bread, as an outward, visible testimony to what has taken place on the inside. To partake of Communion outwardly, without partaking of the spiritual application inwardly, is to "eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily", & I Corinthians 11:27 says that to do this makes one, "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." Verse 28 goes on to say, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." Only you & God know where you stand with Him and whether or not you have an inward spiritual experience with Him that would justify your participation in Communion. So, the Bible tells us to examine ourselves. I believe God wants us to approach the participation in Communion carefully and cautiously, making certain that we have met the spiritual requirements before partaking of the physical bread and cup.

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  11. Thank you for linking up with Susannah and I!!!

    Your testimony is one that we all share!

    I especially related to the portion of this post dedicated to music. Music especially plays such a strong role in our lives.

    Let's look to the witnesses and be witnesses for one another!

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    1. I love the way you worded that, "Let's look to the witnesses and be witnesses for one another". That is just wonderful. That great cloud of witnesses consists of those who have gone on before us and conquered, in Jesus' name and through His amazing grace. If they made it and were victorious, we can, too, by God's grace! So happy to have met you today. God bless you.

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  12. My dear friend Cheryl,

    What a rich and full post this is! I think you make a great point...what goes in, will come out. And although a song in and of itself won't "destroy" us, the constant infilling into this empty vessel meant for the Holy Spirit will taint our souls. Small temptations always begetting bigger sins.

    So glad to find you here and read you once again at UNITE! Have a wonderful week ahead and keep writing for the glory of God, sister!

    Jen

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    1. Dear Jen! It was SO nice to have you visit here and leave such sweet encouragement behind. You are a consistent blessing to me, dear friend. God's peace be with you always! Much love to you.

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