The rattler!

rattlesnake.jpg

I may have mentioned previously, but I have Native American heritage. There are a lot of tales and legends that are intended to teach about life, how to live and do right; warnings of what to avoid to keep oneself out of danger, whether it be physical or moral danger. One such tale, that I have heard in a variety of ways depending on the tribe from which the version originated, is about the danger of things creeping into our lives that seem harmless but one finds out later that it is far more dangerous thing that it appeared to be originally. It’s about rattlesnakes. The version I’m going to tell is the Navajo version, mostly because I like it.

It was a cold night in the desert and the old Navajo man had a nice fire built in his hogan (their name for their traditional houses) and he heard a noise and looked and saw a sidewinder (a type of rattlesnake found in the southwestern states) and it was trying to get in under the door. He couldn’t quite fit and asked the man to please let him in so he could get warm because the desert is so cold tonight and he couldn’t get to his burrow and he knew he would die if he didn’t keep warm. The old man said, “No, you are a sidewinder and you will bite me and I will die!” The snake told him, ” no, I promise! I will just lie here by the fire and get warm and will stay there and leave in the morning. I won’t rattle my tail and wake you or anything. I just want to be warm.” The old man thought and said “I don’t know if I can trust you. You are a snake and snakes are known to be liars.” The snake repeated what he had said earlier and the man still said no. But the snake persisted. He told the man he would even bring him a rabbit or other wild game the next day in payment. The old man finally agreed and opened the door and let the snake in.

The next morning the snake was waiting by the door to be let out and went on his way. The old man figured he’d never see that snake again. But that night the snake was back and he had brought a rabbit as promised. The old man let him in to get warm and cooked the rabbit. This went on for several days. Then, one morning the snake was waiting by the door to get out and as the old man walked up to open the door the snake struck and bit his leg. The old man could feel the burning from the venom and knew he would die from it. He cried out, “SNAKE! YOU BIT ME, YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN’T!” To which the sidewinder replied, “yes, but you knew I was a snake and we are liars and cannot be trusted to keep our word. You should have known better than to trust me. You and your people have seen what snakes do and that we break promises all the time as long as we get what we need we keep our word. But the nights have gotten warmer and I no longer need your fire so I had no reason not to bite.” He hissed as he crawled away. Not ever looking back or showing any concern for the old man as he laid dying.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.                             2 Corinthians 11:3

 

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

 

We are warned many times in the Bible not to believe satan, not to accept his lies to us, not to let him into our lives. Yet, we often are deceived by his lies. His promises to do good things for us and reward us and that we will come to no harm despite our knowing better, satan convinces us that he will only do good things for us, but eventually there is a cost to what he does for us. Just like how the snake bore gifts and gave the old Navajo rabbits that he could eat, satan gives us things to trap us and make us think he is doing good for us and then, suddenly the cost of accepting those “gifts” costs us dearly. Spiritually, if we allow satan into our lives in a small way we gradually come to not feel nervous or concerned about him being there and we become accustomed to it so we let our guard down and he will eventually do something to harm us and separate us from Christ and instead lead us to spiritual and eternal death.

Even Christ was tempted by satan. But, He denied the temptations that were placed before Him by the devil.

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matthew 4:1-11

 

Jesus teaches us that we can, and should resist satan when he tries to tempt or deceive us. That we should resist the devil and that by doing so remain strong and steadfast in the Lord. There are times satan slips in, he appears to do no harm, he seems genuine and sincere so we trust what he says is true, but he lies. He promises no harm, while always thinking of how he can further compromise us; we are fooled into believing that the things we accept are okay because we need them or want them and that results in our being progressively less concerned about the devil in our midst. We think that since he has not harmed us yet, he won’t and then, suddenly we find ourselves, with the poison from being in a compromised situation with the devil, working its way into our spiritual lives and we find that we have sustained a fatal strike. Now, the difference in our spiritual life is that we have only to confess our sins to Christ, sincerely ask forgiveness and He will do so. We just have to do our best not to be deceived by satan again. I wish it weren’t so, but I have at times been deceived by satan. I have allowed him into my life in little ways and he has, despite making me think I was safe and wouldn’t be harmed, ended up having horrible impacts on my spiritual walk. At times, I thought it would be safe to tolerate a little sin, a small snake so to speak, and still been bitten by the effects of even small sins in my life. (yes, technically a sin is a sin, with no such thing as a little sin but we are able to convince ourselves that some things are not as big of a sin as others.) I convinced myself the small victories I received, the gifts, from satan were worth the risk and still I suffered the harm. Satan seeks only to steal, kill and destroy and when he gains even a small foothold in a seemingly harmless way he will be plotting our destruction.

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for my salvation, for the deliverance from sin and the ability to resist the devil when he tries to worm his way into my life. I pray in the name of Jesus that You strengthen me in that area even more. Make me able to recognize satan as he offers temptations and I realize that it is not of You and that I need to only lean on You for my strength and ability to resist the devil. Help me be strong in my walk with Christ so that I am the example for others that You want me to be in my life. I ask that You help my loved ones recognize temptations before they become trapped in sin and that they look to You for their deliverance from sin if they find themselves in such situations.

Amen

 

Thanks to all for your visit today. I hope that my rambling thoughts make sense and are helpful to someone. I hope all are blessed today and able to be a blessing to someone else too.

Sometimes I make my tongue hurt.

tongue

Did you ever have a time where you wanted to say something, and did so without giving thought to whether you should say it or not? Or, times you felt like saying something but bit your tongue as you wanted to wait and give it a little thought before saying it? Maybe give someone your honest opinion about something or tell them something true that they you think they should hear but may be hurtful or upsetting to them so you hold off and consider if you should say it and if you should you wish to consider options on how to tell them. Perhaps it is because of something they did to you or said about you or someone else. Maybe they did something wrong and you want to make sure they know. Possibly something they are doing wrong and sinning and you are wanting to help them by letting them know what they are doing is a sin. Or someone fixed you dinner but what they fixed is not seasoned properly and you want to help them by letting them know it has too much garlic or salt or was a little overcooked? The list of things one can find to criticize another is pretty lengthy. I know it sure wouldn’t take a lot of effort for someone to find ways to criticize me.

Sometimes, criticism is needful and beneficial but many times it is simply a way for someone to try to attack another. I have had people claim they were giving “constructive criticism” that was nothing more than a way for them to try to demean me and either make themselves feel better by making negative comments about me or simply to make me feel bad about myself or whatever it was that I had done. I have to admit that I have at times done that to others and said things that didn’t really need to be said out of anger or because I was upset. Regardless of the reason for my feelings, I thought I was justified to say something and at times I did. No thought about the real reason for saying it or what benefit it may have for others if I were to say what I was feeling. Maybe someone said hurtful things to me so I wanted to hurt them back during a conversation or argument so out the words come and words can be quite powerful but the words often impact the recipient and the speaker in undesirable ways.

 

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

 

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.  Psalms 19:14

 

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: [and] a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Proverbs 17:27

 

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1

 

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. James 1:26

 

Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6

 

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

 

Yeah, I know I started and ended the scriptures here with the same verse. Because, well the lesson for me is important. FIRST, I need to remember to NOT let corrupt communication proceed from my mouth. I need to consider if I am speaking the truth for the need of the one hearing it or if I am saying it to please myself because I am angry or have any motivation other than helping someone and glorifying Christ. I have in the past had no hesitation to speak my mind, often times not considering if it is right that I say whatever. Oh, it may not have been false or wrong, but it also may not have been beneficial for anyone that I give words to my thoughts. Christ has helped me with that. I am much better about pausing before I speak, biting my tongue until I have thought about things a little and often I find I really think it is better NOT to say something. Oh, I may REALLY WANT to say it, but that is the selfish human part of me and not Christ so I bite my tongue. He helps me hold my tongue and I do need help with that.  I have also come to better realize that those to whom I want to speak harshly or criticize about their actions don’t need to hear me. Those who have sinned, against me, others, themselves and most importantly against God, well, they already KNOW that they did so and me saying something to them is basically rubbing the sin in their faces and being judgmental. Neither of which benefits me or others so as such, the words are corrupt.

I also repeated the verse because not only do I need to make sure the words are not corrupt, but that they will benefit the one to whom I am speaking and me as well. That it will build them up, bring them closer to Christ and glorify the Lord. God has helped me be more careful to hold my words, pick the right words and I am thankful that He has done so.

 

Lord, Praise Your Holy Name. I thank You so much for helping me learn when I should speak and when I should hold my words, for helping me learn better how to consider the reason and impact of what words I would use. I ask that You continue to help me with this as I still have a long way to go to be where I should be with this and many other issues. In Jesus name I pray that You use my words, spoken and written, only to glorify You and to help others, to draw them to You. To show them Your glory, peace, comfort and the salvation You offer us all. That my words serve You and help others. And, to not say those things out of human desires of vengeance, anger or vanity. Give me the right words at the right time. I ask that You better help me seek You and that You use me for Your glory. Please draw loved ones to You and help us all see Your plan for us.

Amen

Thanks for your time today. I hope something blessed or helped another today and please, try to be a blessing to someone else as you go about your days.