Monday, 10 February 2014

Choose paths that lead to life - Revisiting old 'strongholds'

Last night I had this dream where I was going down to an old town we used to live in and as we were nearly there, there were two roads in which we could get to the place we were going.  One was skirting around the town, the other was going into town but was shorter in distance.  We chose to go into town but when in town got distracted by a chinese saleman selling stuff at a little stall on the side of the street.  He was selling perfume and I love perfume so I stopped quickly to have a look if he had my perfume that I like, which he did hidden away in a cupboard and of course it was cheap so I was tempted to buy it.  Because he was from China his cigarettes were cheap as well and my friends smoked and thought this was great.  For me years ago I used to smoke but no longer did but because my friends smoked and it encouraged me to want to buy the cigarettes as well and I nearly did.

The Lord was showing me several things in this dream.
Firstly often in life there are two roads in which we can go to get to the same place.  One road may be longer but have less distractions and the other shorter but be full of temptations that a) it takes us longer to get there and b) we can easily get enticed into things we don't want to do, and c) be sensitive as to not encourage people who may be weak in something that might not be good for them because you love them.  Something I noticed too in this dream was I was going back to a town I used to live in.  So I believe The Lord is saying that there are times in our lives we are going to revisit, those places or 'strongholds' that used to have a hold on us and will we still be tempted to go down old familiar paths that are no longer who we are now and not to be enticed away into old desires, but hold fast to the changes that have happened and walk a path that leads to life and life in all its fullness.

There are many areas that we can be tempted by, in this dream spending money when I didn't need to,
For me its a bit like going to the supermarket and how you have a list of your groceries but then as you go around there are all these things on special and you are tempted by the sale price and so you end up buying more than you need.  (of course no one else does this do they :) )
The other thing was old habits that no longer had a hold and those old habits can be things like smoking, drinking, bad language, whatever it may be that be easily started again because of the people around you that walk in those things that you may be weak in.

Jeames 1:12  Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which The Lord has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-frown, brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  Oh His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures."

The Lords want to encourage us today to avoid old habits, temptations that we can easily be led astray into whatever that might be and be alert and self-controlled.
1 Cor 9:24 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty.  Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Now the other day we had a group of people in our home and I shared more than I needed to about how good and cheap the wine was in Portugal while we were there but because some may have been weak in the area of alcohol, now looking back, it may have encouraged people to drink by me saying it was alright. But too I want to clarify that I did not dream more than a glass perhaps two in a night, so there was no drinking to excess.  But this is not an area that I lack self-control in and so it is not an issue for me, but because I love my brother I could have been more sensitive to those in the room for whom this might be an issue.  So The Lord shows me this and reminds me to be careful and so my apologies to anyone who may have struggled with this.

So there are two things going on, be careful, alert and on guard that you do not get dragged away and enticed and take a hold of the thing that is being offered that you may be weak in, whether it be cigarettes, alochol, lust, pornography, whatever it may be.
But also please be sensitive to those around you who do not have the same freedom in Christ as you do and it may be like a temptation to them which could lead them down a path that is not good for them.

Lord I pray that you would help us and show us in areas that would lead to life and not death.  You say "every day you set before us life or death and you say choose life", help us Lord to choose life and those things that lead to life.  And thank you Lord for your forgiveness when we have not walked down paths that lead to life.   Help us Lord too to be sensitive to the needs around us that our actions and our words would not lead people into temptation.  Forgive us when they have Lord and I thank you for that forgiveness and help us to have eyes to see so that we would not continue to walk in such a way.
Thank you Jesus.