Cotton – candy promises

cottoncandymedThen the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand.  Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.”

2 Kings 18: 28 – 32

Ah, the promises of the world around us. The fleeting, disappearing promises of the world. Just like cotton candy, these promises disappear at the first hint of rain. We wrap our lives around the artificial sweetness of the world, layer upon layer of lies and empty promises. And then wonder where it went when the waters of life come.

And it is no different now than it was when Hezekiah was  leading the people of Judah to follow the one true God. The world (Satan) will put things in front of us that fit with our idea of comfort and stability. He will reach watch us and wait until he sees a weakness, a gap, where we have not altogether turned our lives over to God and he will pounce with a fierceness that we won’t even know what hit us until it’s too late.

Let’s look at Satan’s “promises” in the opening verses and see how many of them appeal to us.

  • “I can keep you safe from all your enemies.”  Satan plays on fear and anxiety, distrust and self – sufficiency. He will instill these emotions into our lives by pointing out the weaknesses in our leaders: in the churches, communities, families, government, and especially our homes. He will cause us to look at the failures, and we all have them, rather than the good that has been done through leaning on God. Just like in the Garden of Eden, Satan strives to bring doubt to our minds about God’s sovereignty and power. “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me.”  But Satan can be brought down in this one thing. By pointing out the weaknesses in people, no matter what their rank in our lives, he is encouraging us to look to God and to trust in Him and the Word that He has GIVEN to these leaders. We should always rightly align God’s preached word with His written Word – the Bible.
  • “I will provide for your every want.” “Then each of you will eat of his won vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern.” Satan encourages “self.” Pride, annoyance with sharing, and fear of losing hold of life’s possessions are some of the tactics he uses to become greedy in holding on to what we own and not letting go. He promises that whatever you want in this life can be yours if you just kick the other person out of the way and grab it. Our families are splitting apart because fathers, and mothers, are working twelve to fourteen hours a day to “provide” for their families. Children are being raised in nurseries, preschools, and day cares from the time they are six months old and younger! And most of these are either public owned institutions where the Word of God is forbidden or private owned schools where the Word is limited to a denominational view. Where are the hugs and kisses of an involved Mommy when a child needs them? Love is not the issue; how we interpret that love is. Many mother’s must work outside of the home, but we must choose what is the better good for our children and spouse. And, please, don’t get me wrong, I know it is a tough world out there and money is not easy to come by. But there has to be a priority set. We must not let Satan determine what we “need.” God has designed the family to fill our every need. And it is not just the mother’s who are falling into the trap of living for their work, fathers are, too, if not more so. Gotta climb that ladder, gotta spend more time entertaining the client, gotta spend more hours at work. In my book, Submission is NOT a Four – letter Word, I wrote “God designed men to be the strong disciplinarians in the family and the reward is seeing their children grow up strong in the Lord and in their roles as men and women. Once grown, these adult children become accountable to God and His discipline….both men and women have the characteristics of God, but discipline of the children, the man is the strong one. The woman administers the rules of the house and disciplines to keep order, but it would take away from the woman another characteristic of God if she was the primary rule – setter and disciplinarian: that characteristic is nurturing the children.”  Where are our children going to see God’s plan for the family if we refuse to let go of our wants and put them first.
  • “I will make you rich.” Ah, we’ve all had the dream of living the “good life.” Plenty of “grain and wine; bread and vineyards; olive trees and honey; that we may live and not die. Back to the Garden of Eden and Satan’s first attack on the family. “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it (the Tree of Knowledge), your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  We are encouraged to “live for the world.” Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, let me live life on my terms, make my own decisions on what is good and what is evil. And the world promises that if we do this, we will have wealth and prosperity. God says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  In the world, we desire wealth, fame, fortune. In God, we desire an honest life, a true family, and righteousness. God will replace the worldly, destructive desires we have in following Satan, with healing, rich desires for living a Christ – like life.

We are called to be strong in the Lord and His way; not our way. We are called to live life following His Word as our fulfillment, not the cotton candy sweetness that Satan uses to appeal to our earthly comforts. We are to give up the artificial sweetener of the world and feast on the honey of God.

 

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Hear it like it is! And kneel.

People at the CrossAnd now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.  For they are a rebellious people, lying children, 
children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lordwho say to the seers, “Do not see,”
 and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things,
 prophesy illusions,  leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.””             Isaiah 30: 8-11, 15

We are comfortable in America. Oh, I know that we often get our hackles in an uproar at some of the injustice we see: racism, hatred, unfair practices, and the like. But if we truly look at what upsets us we find one central theme: Self.

In Isaiah, God advises the prophet to write down plainly that we are to follow ALL of His statutes, not just the ones that make us comfortable. We are going to get our toes stepped on; only because God loves us enough to not leave us in our sinful ways. He has prepared every word for us to live by and He means each word. Isaiah wrote, at God’s directive, that these words will “stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.” He is talking to us in the forever.

We go to church expecting to be blessed, but we seldom go to church expecting to be admonished. When the preacher starts preaching about the evils of alcohol, homosexuality, unclean living, gossip, and dedication to God, we sit in our self – righteous pews and think, “Well, I wonder who he is pointing a finger at in this one!” By the way, I praise God for the preachers and teachers who tell it like God wants it told rather than bowing down to our own desires. There are so few. We want our seers (preachers, pastors, teachers, friends) to stop seeing visions and stop reminding us of what is right. We want to hear nice things; we want to hear that it’s OK to stray from the straight and narrow, “God will understand, because He is a forgiving God” we say to everyone. We have the “right” to live in sin, because we have eternal life through the salvation sacrifice that we accepted through Jesus Christ.

My Bible says in Romans 6: 1 – 5, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” 

Salvation is not a free – ticket to sin. Isaiah also reminds us that God sees what we do and His reply is, “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly…you will be smashed like a piece of pottery.” 

We want our country to turn back to God and yet we are not willing to do what it takes to get America back on track. We pray for a leader who kneels and asks for God’s guidance each day, but then we quit praying and start doubting his every decision. We let fear take over instead of knowing that God has the bigger picture in place. Pray – Believe – Trust. We can’t let our own selfish ambitions, and this includes each of our heart – rendering concerns, to guide our relationship with God. We must constantly pray for our President, our Vice – President, our Congress, our Senate, our state and local leaders to make decisions based on communication with God. And we must trust God to hear and care.

The Word of God is given to us to pray through while we read. Read the Words each day and let the Holy Spirit guide those prayers. Speak the words aloud so that Satan knows you mean them. God knows the heart; Satan can only hear what we say. Can you imagine the power behind praying Isaiah 26: 1- 8 aloud for America, “In that day, everyone in America will sing this song: Our country is strong! America is surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. We will open our gates to all who are righteous; we will allow the faithful in Jesus Christ to enter. And God, I know that You will keep us in perfect peace, because we trust in You and our thoughts are ever fixed on You! We will trust in You, always, Lord God. You are the eternal Rock for America. We trust You to bring down the strongholds of Satan and humble the proud, bring down the arrogant cities and build up the poor and the oppressed. Today, Lord, we commit to righteousness for your Name’s sake. We know that You are a God who does what is right, and you will smooth out the path before us. Lord, we trust you and we will show that trust by obeying your laws. Our heart’s desire is to glorify  your Name. Amen”

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel (and America), says, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”

We must hear. We must trust. We must kneel.