1 Corinthians 15:33
ESV - 33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals.
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In Numbers 22-24, we see the events of Balak the King of the Moabites who wanted to curse the people of God for he feared them. So Balak hired Balaam, a false prophet or “soothsayer” (Joshua 13:22), to curse the people of God as they passed by Moab. However, Balaam was unable to pronounce a curse due to the Lord’s stern instructions to only bless the Israelites. The interesting part is that Balaam’s evil intentions are revealed and that he really wanted the riches that Balak, the king, was offering. Due to Balaam’s greed, Numbers 31:16 tells us he figured out a way for the people of God to be cursed, by having the “people commit harlotry with the women of Moab.” (Numbers 25:1) The relationships of the Israelites with the Moabite women allowed an open door for idolatry to be committed on the part of the children of God. We as God’s children are just as susceptible to external temptations (peer pressure) as the Israelites were back in the days of Numbers. We must be on guard at all times to ensure that we are “in the world” yet not “of the world”. Our work here is to do the works of God as He directs us, yet with wisdom. Being a former alcoholic, I would be total fool to think I could go into a bar to witness to people about Jesus. The temptation to fall back into my old ways would be too great and Christ would not be magnified in my life. The worst result would be me leaving my relationship with Christ to go back into the old world of drinking. A classic result of Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Likewise, I have to be cautious about the “parties” I attend and have to guide my sons in the same manner. During baseball season, my sons and I are exposed to the “ways” of the world. In the baseball dugout, my sons see and hear the uncontrolled bad tempers and outbursts fitting someone with turrets in which there is a great deal of cursing. Team parties are always flowing with beer and wine which instills conversations and potential extra martial relationships through “harmless flirting” that do not glorify God. Likewise, in the work place, we are tempted to “do whatever it takes” to get the job done or close the sale. As the keepers of a great treasure (Gospel), we need to implement some forms of security in our lives to protect the great gift of salvation we have. As a great adversary, satan can’t take away our salvation and send us to hell. However, the devil can hinder us from a productive Christian lifestyle and bringing glory to God in our lives. Matthew 13 displays Jesus teaching on the parable of the soils. There are four types of soil, but the two that give me great concern are the rocky soil and thorn filled area. Through tribulation, trials or persecution because of the Word, the person will stumble. Through the deceitfulness of riches, our effectiveness can be greatly reduced and unfruitful, a major hindrance for those of us in America. I believe that is was D.L. Moody who said “sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin!” The primary focus for every believer is to first be “in the Word”, getting to know Jesus more. John 1:1 tells us that if you want to know who Jesus is, then study the entire Bible; Jesus is the very Bible you read. Open up the Bible every day, sign up for automatic Bible message emails to come to you each morning. Download and save Bible teachings to your computer or MP3 player so you can listen to them throughout the day. Don’t race through the Bible just to say “you read the Bible in a year”, go slow and dwell on a few verses or an entire passage. Ask questions such as “Who is speaking”, “Who is the recipient of the message”, “What is being said, taught or explained”, “How does this apply to me and my life today”, “Are there any other passages in the Bible that come to mind as I read this” and other such questions that cause you to think about the passage you read.
When just being with friends that are not necessarily false prophets, but aren't trying to walk in His light, it is better to remember and answer this question: Is it easier to push someone off a table or pull them up on a table? They will usually push you off before you know it, unless you are very strong. Sarah
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