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Thursday, April 30

Sin Makes Ya STEW-PIT

Just as someone would trade one item for another, the sinner trades God and everything He has for us that is good, for a life that is, actually, no life at all.

A nyone who knows me can probably tell you that one of my favorite television networks is Animal Planet and that my favorite show on that channel was the Crocodile Hunter. Who of us who has seen the show has not been impressed and thoroughly entertained by the skillful antics of the show’s late host, Steve Irwin?
His unparalleled knowledge of animals was fascinating; but it was his lifelong experience with reptiles, namely snakes, that I would like to bring to your attention. If you have watched the show, you would have seen Steve, on many occasions, handling the most dangerous and highly venomous snakes in the world.
And if there is one thing that he has made abundantly clear to his viewers it is the crippling and even deadly effects that snake venom can and does have on the human body. Extreme caution must be exercised when anyone is ever around one of these slithery critters! As a matter of fact, the best thing you can do if ever confronted by a venomous snake is to turn and run away immediately!!
The majority of all snake venom falls in the category of poisons that the toxicology community refers to as hematoxins and neurotoxins. A hematoxin is a two-part word with “hema” meaning “blood” and “toxin” meaning a “toxic poison.” A hematoxin is a poison that causes the blood to coagulate or thicken on contact. The word “neurotoxin” is also made up of two words. “Neuro” meaning “the nervous system” and the word “toxin” meaning a “toxic poison.” Simply put, when a person is envenomed by one of these fanged creatures, both their circulatory and nervous systems become brutally traumatized. Shortly thereafter, muscle tissue begins to dissolve, and vital organs of the body begin to fail resulting in numbness, blurred vision, impaired judgment, a decreased sense of hearing, excruciating pain, eventual unconsciousness and, if not treated in time, permanent paralysis or certain death.
Like sin, death actually begins at the point of envenomization. If there could ever be a clear parallel drawn between natural and spiritual things, it’s here. For example, in the spiritual sense, sin, like the snake’s venom in our story inflicts upon the souls of its victims trauma that also results in numbness, blurred vision, impaired judgment, drowsiness, a dulled sense of hearing, excruciating pain, eventual unconsciousness, permanent paralysis and ultimate death if not dealt with in time. James, knowing full well the toxic effects of sin teaches, "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." (James 1:12-15)
The most widely publicized example of someone yielding to the temptation of a certain serpent's allure would be Eve in the third chapter of Genesis. "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."(Genesis 3:1-12)
This chapter then tells us of the amazing and heartbreaking shift that took place in Adam and Eve’s circumstances as a result of their yielding to temptation and therefore allowing sin’s entrance into their lives. As a result of what I call "sin’venomation”, they experienced the most terrifying and horrible death known to all of mankind, separation from God. One moment they were in a close, intimate, love relationship with Him, enjoying all of His abundant riches, and the next they found themselves in utter poverty. Talk about a riches to rags story. Not only did their disobedience affect them, but it has also affected every generation that has followed. Don't be deceived by thinking the act of sin only affects the life of the one who has committed it. Satan enjoys immensely the thought of being able to kill two or more birds with one stone, so to speak!
Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes warns of the terrible consequences of yielding to temptation when he said, "He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him." (Ecclesiastes 10:8) A Pastor friend of mine when addressing the dangers of entertaining temptation says, If you mess around the ole creek bank long enough you'll eventually slip and fall in. The Webster's Dictionary definition of the word hedge is to surround for defense; to fortify. The Hebrew definition of the word hedge is, (Gadar) to wall in, enclose, fence up. If you recall, there is another mention of a hedge in the book of Job where Satan observed God's hedge of protection around Job, his family and his belongings. "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews (avoids) evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?" (Job 1:8-10)
It is important to note that God's hedge of protection in this account was a direct result and benefit of Job's pure love for God, his obedience to God, his fear of God and his commitment to avoiding all manner of temptation and sin in his life. The hedge of protection that God places around our lives is simply one of the benefits of an obedient and intimate love relationship with Him. However, the problems begin when we break our focus on God and begin to entertain tempting spirits. This is what Solomon meant in the Ecclesiastes 10:8 scripture, whoever breaks an hedge. The fact is, a broken hedge results in sin's deadly entrance into our lives. As we also read in the Ecclesiastes (10:8) scripture, once we let our hedge of protection, or guard, then a serpent will bite us, hence envenomation or the entrance of sin occurs. Once we have allowed sin into our system, whether we like it or not, it IS going to run its painful course, damaging anything and everything that it comes in contact with. Never forget, no matter how carefree or void of consequence satan may present or package sin, its results are NEVER without damaging, and eventual deadly, circumstances.
Just as a snakebite victim must suffer through the excruciating effects of a venomous bite we too must suffer through the devastating effects of sin once we have allowed it to enter our lives. There is only one way to counteract the deadly effects of hematoxic or neurotoxic snake venom once it has entered the body - the immediate administration of an antivenom. The only way we can overcome the deadly effects of sin in our lives is to immediately administer, what I like to call, the "anti-sin'om" of confession and true repentance. Jesus says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9) However, the longer one waits to counteract the effects of sin the more devastating the final outcome will be. In order to avoid the painful effects of sin in our lives we must follow Job's example of complete avoidance of all temptation. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) My earlier advice applies even more here. “When confronted by temptation, turn immediately and run for your life!”
As I began researching the effects of hematoxins and neurotoxins on the human body I could not help but notice how closely they paralleled the definition of a word that I was researching for an earlier study on ignorance. The word that I am referring to is Stupid! The Webster's Dictionary defines Stupid as, very dull; insensible; senseless; wanting in understanding; heavy; sluggish; without the exercise of reason or judgment; numbness, etc. Hence the title of this message! Sin makes ya stewpit When we yield to temptation and invite sin into our lives, like Adam and Eve, we simply exchange access to God himself, His wisdom, knowledge, peace, provision, understanding, discernment and so much more for a fleeting moment of carnal pleasure. If you ask me... that's stupid! Like a fire that rages through a beautiful forest destroying everything in its path, sin leaves the heart, mind and soul charred and lifeless. The Webster's Dictionary defines Sin, The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. I however like to define sin for what it really is, anything that separates us from our wonderful Heavenly Father.
The solution to the sin problem in our lives is really very simple. If we don't want to suffer the traumatic effects of a snakes deadly bite don't touch 'em! Likewise, if we don't want to suffer the pains of separation from God or the deadly effects of sin, i.e. stupidity, then don't touch it either! When tempting spirits come knocking on the door of your hedge, and they will, simply don't answer it. James instructs us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." (James 4:7-8) Pursue God with all of your heart, stay in His word and meditate on it day and night! "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."(Psalms 119:11)
If ever there has been a time to inspect the hedge around our lives for breakage it is now! Fortify yourself with continual meditation on both God and his word. Stay in continual communication with Him! "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Don't look on anything unclean. Keep company with people that love the Lord with all of their hearts. "He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." (Proverbs 13:20) If there is a particular person or group of people that is weakening your relationship with God, walk away now!
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) And when satan comes around trying to make you regret putting your old ways and friends behind you, and he will, just remember what Jesus promised you, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting." (Luke 18:29-30) Think about it for a moment: everything you've got in exchange for everything God's got! I've managed several multi-million-dollar grossing companies over the past twenty years and can tell you for a fact that no better deal has ever been brokered!
Our Lord's triumphal return is much closer than we think! If we want to be included in His divine plan for these last days we cannot be burdened down by the weight of sin. We must be free to receive and carry out our orders from the General of the soon coming host of heaven. We must totally commit ourselves to staying pure in His sight at any cost. Repent of any sin that you may have allowed into your life, the ones you know of as well as the ones of which you are not even aware of. This is key to our being effective at reaching those who don’t know Jesus. The time to reach those around us with the life giving and life saving message of Jesus Christ is now! "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise." (Proverbs 11:30)
I encourage you to step out boldly and present the Gospel to your friends, class mates, coworkers, and fellow church members. Bind in the name of Jesus Christ the intimidating spirits that WILL try to hinder you, and go for it! The reality is that you just might be the last opportunity they have to accept Jesus! Don’t let them down!
“And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
Thank you so much for allowing Brenda and I this opportunity to share our heart with you.  We  pray that this blog message will, in many ways, help you as you “press toward” the high calling of God in Christ Jesus for your life. And, to help you further in your pursuit to fulfill God’s purpose for you in your life, read this message in its entirety, and eleven more messages, in our book Letters From The Front available at TowardTheMark.com. If you have any questions or would like to place a special request for multiple book copies, please send us an e-mail or order by mail at the address shown below.
Your friends & servants in Christ,

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