Deuteronomy 29:18 Stay With God

Mushrooms

Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. Deuteronomy 29:18

In this world there are many different gods to worship and follow. There are many different religions that people all around the world are willing to follow. Some are following direct gods, while others are just beliefs of this world and not following anything but self.

Over the years there have been many people who have turned away from God and turned to one or more of these gods that others follow. Their hearts have strayed away from God. This is not something that just happened one day, it was a process over some time.

Moses had given the people a charge to make sure no one turned their hearts away from God to a false god of the nations. They were not to allow any root to begin to grow that would allow this poison in their lives.

Roots begin to grow in the heart of a person who is not staying in God’s word or is meeting together with other believers on a regular basis. There is no one to help keep the person accountable. They begin to see other beliefs and begin to believe them, rather than God’s word. As that root grows in their hearts, they begin to turn away from God.

Every believer is to keep an eye on his fellow believer, helping keep each other focused on God. This will keep roots of discontent and false belief to rise up in the heart. Daily love and fellowship with believers and God, will keep one from turning away from God to false gods.

You may be a believer who is becoming discontent and are starting to believe in other false gods. Turn your eyes back onto God. Remember what had brought you to God in the first place and stay with God.

As you follow God, help your fellow believers to stay with God. Do not allow any roots of discontent or false belief to rise up. Worship God together and keep Him at the forefront of your lives.

Do not allow yourself or anyone else to walk away from God. Keep the roots of poison out of your lives as you walk with God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will keep you from being poisoned by false beliefs; that you will strive to keep others focused on God; and that God will open your eyes to roots leading you or others astray from Him.

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2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Don’t Be Outwitted

 

Gnarled Tree Roots

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

In the Corinthian church there had been someone who had done something wrong. He was punished to some point, but was then forgiven. Paul points out that he wanted to forgive so that Satan would not outwit them, knowing how he would scheme.

Forgiveness is something that most people want, but are not willing to give. They want to have revenge or punishment brought upon the person who has done something wrong to them.

Unforgiveness is something the Satan uses to trap people. It harms people in a variety of ways, though many do not believe that it is really harming any one. When a person does not forgive, God does not forgive, is the first and greatest harm done to the person who was wronged.

Along with not being forgiven, it creates bitterness and hatred. There is no real love shown. There has been people, who are believers, who have refused to forgive someone for something that was done wrong when they were a young child. As an adult, thirty-forty years later, they are still angry about the situation and refusing to forgive the person. This plays right into the schemes of Satan.

Satan does not want a person to forgive anyone else. Forgiveness brings about healing, restoration, love, life and a good relationship. Refusing to forgive brings about hatred, anger, separation, and death, things that Satan is desiring. He will strive to get people to refuse to forgive, so that it can cause God to stop forgiveness and death will be the result.

You may have some struggles or pains from the past with another person. Ask God for the strength to be able and willing to forgive that person from the heart. Do not allow Satan to have a foothold in your life and destroy you and the other person.

Forgiveness will bring about a beautiful restoration in your relationship with that person and with God. Both are things that Satan does not want you to have.

In order to forgive someone, just think about how much and how many times God has forgiven you for what you have done wrong to Him. It will be worth it.

I pray today that you will know what God has forgiven you of; that God will fill you with His love for others; that God will strengthen you to forgive others; and that God will open your eyes to what Satan is doing. 

Danger Of Past Hurt

People get hurt by other people on a regular basis. This is more true with the more friends and family that you have. If you only have a few friends or very little to no family, the chance of getting hurt drops dramatically, but you also have a lot less chance of being loved and loving someone.

In today’s society, many people are blaming their actions on someone else. They look back to a time when they were a child and got hurt by a parent, a sibling, a relative or some other friend. Usually this hurt was something that occurred over and over again, over a longer period of time.

Being hurt by someone is something that will happen. If it has not happened recently, just wait it is coming. The difference is how much that hurt really hurts.

When an enemy does something against a person, most people just accept it, because they half expected it to happen. Very few people expect to be treated nicely by someone who is an enemy. In fact, with most of the world, if they are being treated nicely, chances are they are friends and not enemies.

Treating the enemy nicely is something that God talks about and even commands.

Luke 6:27-36 New International Version (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

However, what I want to look at is past hurts and the dangers of those hurts. As I stated above, the cases where someone gets hurt the worst is with a loved one, usually a family member. The one you love is the one that can and usually will hurt you the most. When they do something that hurts, it goes deep into the heart and soul of a person, because they lost trust and love that should have been there.

Many people grow up mad at their parents because of something that they had done wrong to them when they were a young child. Some of those things are very wrong, in both the eyes of the law and the eyes of God. Some of those things were done on purpose, with the purpose to hurt or take advantage of.

Other things were done by mistake and not knowing the best way to do things. Every person has things that they need to learn. In the process of learning those things, often there are many mistakes made. Many parents discipline in a way that was too harsh, causing pain and anger for many years to come. This is part of the learning process. Some parents learn over time how to do things better, while some never seem to learn to do it the best way.

The danger of being hurt comes in how that hurt is held on to. Thousands of family members are fighting with each other their entire lives, because they refuse to forgive each other. I have seen parents go to their death-bed refusing to forgive a child of some wrong done to them many years before. I have also seen children watch their parent die and refusing to forgive that parent of a wrong done when they were young.

Bitterness sets into the heart of a person that has been done wrong to, and he refuses to forgive and move on. Children refuse to talk to parents. Parents refuse to talk to children. Siblings refuse to talk to other siblings. All these things because of a past hurt and the bitterness that has set in.

With bitterness, there is no real joy in life. People look to things or other people to try to bring that joy. Always looking for the next thrill or person to love. All the while refusing to look to God.

Ephesians 4:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

God wants a person to get rid of all bitterness. Many, however, will say that they are not bitter. They say that they just cannot forgive the person and will not deal with them anymore. That is a sign of bitterness and not love.

We are told to forgive:

Ephesians 4:32 New International Version (NIV)

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

God had forgiven you of all the wrongs you have done to Him. Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for your sins, so that you could be forgiven. Think about how many times you have hurt God with a sin, both small and large. Yet, God loved you enough to forgive, rather than holding a grudge against you and being bitter.

Hebrews 12:15-17 New International Version (NIV)

15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Do not allow the root of bitterness to grow and manifest itself in your life. Just like a little cancer cell in the body grows to the point of killing a person, so a little bitterness can grow and kill you. It can kill you and others around you. It sets a pattern in your life and the lives you touch, to where others catch that bitter root.

God does not want to see you ate up by bitterness and anger, because of a past hurt. He wants you to work at forgiving and showing His love to the person who has hurt you in the past.

If you have been hurt in the past by someone, give it to God. Ask Him to show you His love for you and His great love for the other person who hurt you.

Ask God to show you how much He has forgiven you, so that you can work at forgiving the other person. Ask God for strength to forgive and move on, getting rid of all bitterness.

The hurt and pain may always be there, but love can override those things. Relationships can be rebuilt in God. As long as you and the other person are alive it is still possible to mend that relationship. There is always a chance to forgive. God will make a way for it to happen if you allow Him to do so.

Ruth 1:20-21 Seeing Only Misfortune

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21

Naomi was married and had two sons, both of whom were married, while she lived in Moab. Her husband and both sons died, leaving her alone and on her own. She chooses to move back to Bethlehem and tells the daughters-in-law to stay there. Ruth goes with her.

When Naomi gets to Bethlehem, she changes her name to Mara, which means bitter. She does this because all she sees is sorrow and pain in the loss of her husband and sons. She feels that God is afflicting her and only giving her misfortune.

At this point in her life, Naomi sees only what is happening and not what will occur in the future. She does not see the hand of God in her situation. She does not see that because of this move, her daughter-in-law Ruth will become the grandmother of King David and ultimately Jesus.

As you go through life there are times when things will seem to go completely against you. You will feel empty and defeated under a load of misfortune. You may even start to feel bitter towards God because of the problems He is allowing in your life, thinking that God is out to get you and destroy you.

These things could not be further from the truth. God is for you and not against you. He wants you to succeed. However, He has bigger plans for you than you can see. In order to get you to where you need to be, there are times you must take a rough path of what looks like misfortune.

Going through “misfortune” may be what it takes to move you into position for a greater work or for greater growth.

Rely on God and trust that He knows what He is doing. He is in control. Misfortune in your life may be God’s work to make you better or use you more.

Do not allow yourself to be bitter against God for any “misfortune”, just trust God in it.

I pray today that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; that you will not be bitter against God; that God will use you to do great things; that God will make you into the person He needs you to be; and that you will know the joy of serving God.

Back To The Beginning

My oldest daughter wrote this poem. I think many people may be blessed by it as I was.

Back to the Beginning

There was a time that I remember when
giving thanks was easy
having patience was common
and honoring others was normal

Those were the days in the beginning of me and You.

As weeks, months, and years passed by
my heart instead turned to cynicism, passivity, and laziness.

Far gone were the meetings between me and my Lover
in the places that were made just for us.
Far gone was the passion of conversation with the Creator
in the secret places.
Far gone were the thoughts that were directed towards pleasing Him
in the caverns of my mind.

Rather those things were replaced by time only to please man.
Having eyes for the things that would bring immediate satisfaction to me.
Working just enough that I blessed no one but myself.

The slippery slope led me to a place of no hope.
Promising redemption, cleansing, and freedom,
Satan chained me quietly and methodically.
Chains of guilt, secrecy, and indifference
weighed heavily down on me.

Being bound by so much it prevented me from my calling.
While so many around me were headed straight for hell,
I sat in my American prosperity struggling to say “It is well.”
Focused so much on myself I was made completely inactive, inoperative, immobile.

Grace stopped the train that was delivering me to the station of destruction.
God life alerted my broken, bleeding, brittle heart.
Shining light through the shadowy, gloomy, murky corners of my hidden self.

He rescued me.
He reclaimed me.
He redeemed me.

My life is not my own.
I give until I am nothing and He is everything.
I serve that I receive no praise and He receives the glory.
I praise not myself, but His marvelous name.

Detachment from humanity and the needs of others are no longer in my vocabulary.
Fixated on my luxury and comfort level disappear in the realization of an inheritance in heaven.
Consumed by selfishness and greed are gone with the giving of hand of Jesus working through me.

In your pews, chairs, and benches at church
Reevaluate why you call yourself a Christian.
Reexamine the attitudes and motivations of your heart.
Retrace the reasons why He died for you.

Jesus wants us to have abundant life.
When bitterness and negligence threaten to deplete your joy
chances are it’s time to remember where He has brought you from
and how He has the perfect plan for you.

Thank you, Jesus, for taking me back to the beginning of me and You.

Brittany Arn, 2014