Faith Blog

WHERE DO YOU TRAIN YOUR EYE?!

I planted a couple cacti in my landscape a few years ago.  I suppose I did not realize how quickly a cactus grows or how perfect the climate seems to be here in Texas for these plants!  Now I have one cactus that 'looks me in the eye' and another that has spread out to be the size of my car! 

Thorns from these cacti are painful, often hidden in my hand and difficult to remove.  Paul states that he received a thorn from the Lord because of the revelations he had received and in order to keep him humble. Too much ink has been spilt trying to discern the exact 'thorn' Paul was given. We know it was 'a messenger of Satan,' it was 'in the flesh,' it 'tormented' Paul, and Paul prayed to be rid of it.  I believe we too often focus on the 'thorn' in order to avoid focusing on Paul's application. 

Paul says he is 'well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.'  Christ wants to demonstrate Himself strong in us and through us as we face these trials and difficulties. Quit focusing on the thorn and begin training your eye on His grace that gives purpose to the thorn!

Posted by Curt Krohn with

PROVERBS 23:1-3

The text warns of a ruler putting delicious looking food before us that appeals to our appetites but is offered with ulterior motives.  His real goal appears to be to gain control over us by enticing us to put ourselves in the ruler’s debt. Solomon offers a defense of carefully considering what and how much you partake and, if the food really appeals to you, don’t even desire a bite. This reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia character Edmund. Edmund didn’t understand that the price of eating the Queen’s Turkish delight would be losing his family and his own life until she spelled it out for him.

 

The New Testament often refers to Satan and his minions as rulers of this world - rulers whose goal is to “steal and kill and destroy”. Their “delicacies” are “deceptive”. They seem to bring pleasure and good times but are designed to override the diner’s self-control and trap him in destructive behaviors. Alcohol, gambling, pornography, opioids, even comfort foods – we all recognize their addictive abilities in others whose lives have been ravaged. However, that is not how that ruler offers his delicacies to us. He introduces small portions that are presented as a way to bring us pleasure and satisfaction.

 

We all have our appetites. Our likes and desires. But God’s word of warning is to consider carefully what we consume. Do not even desire the offerings of the rulers of this world but “flee temptations and pursue righteousness” 2 Tim. 2:2. Be conscious of what our world is tempting us with and avoid it.  If you don’t take the first bite, then you can’t take the second one. Seek to dine with the true Ruler and satisfy yourself with Him instead of the world.

 

 

 

Posted by Rick Hays with

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