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.

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I ate what?????

 

feast

 

The other day at work the conversation turned to unusual foods and I was asked what the most unusual food I had ever eaten. Over the course of my military career and life in general I found myself in many countries, more often than not working closely with the locals in those countries. Most of the time we would eat what we were served and eventually they would serve some sort of specialty food they consider delicacies. I have been “fortunate” enough to eat many different things and I told them I wasn’t sure what would be the worst as I have had sea horse soup, thousand year old eggs, cat, dog, guinea pig, snakes, iguana, turtle, among other things as well as so many different fruits and vegetables that I couldn’t remember them all. There were more questions about all those different foods and were any gross was among them. Well, to be honest, some of those foods were not things I would go out of my way to eat, but none were really vile tasting or disgusting. But, as we talked, I remembered one instance when we were eating guinea pig we were being served in Ecuador. One of the others had eaten a couple of them as, well, he loved to eat, and was enjoying his meal and then asked what it was exactly. Now, he didn’t speak Spanish so I was translating. I asked the locals and they said it was conejillo which is similar to the word for rabbit, conejo. As I spoke with the locals I tried to clarify and found out that it was definitely not young rabbit and when I couldn’t fully understand what they meant by conejillo, they went into the kitchen and brought back a live guinea pig and said, “Eso es comiendo.”  “this is what you are eating.” As soon as the other guy realized what he had been eating, he suddenly became nauseated and headed to the bathroom. Apparently he had a pet guinea pig when he was young and it didn’t sit well knowing that is what he had eaten.

I hadn’t thought about that for years but as we were discussing it I thought about the times that things that seemed good suddenly were not as wonderful when one found out the truth about it. Sometimes that can apply to food but it can apply to other things as well: jobs, cars, houses, people, almost anything really. But, many times something seems great at first, you almost can’t believe how good it is and then, you find out what it really is, despite all the seasoning and presentation, what it truly is you realize is no where near what you thought. What seemed fantastic is far from that. Rather than being something marvelous, it is something that you find, not only is it not what you thought, but the opposite. All because deep down inside, what it is made from is something that is not only not good, but the complete opposite.

How does one reconcile the facts with the perception? Does one adapt the thought that it was always like it seems now, and for some reason what was thought to be delicious was really not palatable at all? Is knowledge about something what makes it better or worse? Applying that to one’s spiritual life, I know there are things that in the past I thought were marvelous and now, not only do I not find those things appealing, I find myself puzzled that I could ever think such things were anything worth the effort, when looking back on what I “enjoyed” I realize that now, God has changed my thoughts about a lot of things. Some is because I think differently about things because of how He has worked in my life and changed my tastes? Yes, I do believe He has done that and more. Is it that, combined with the fact He has shown me some truths that I was not willing or able to face in the past? Probably yes. Perhaps He is helping me be better able to discern what is true from what I thought to be true but is not; showing me the difference between my perception of truth and what IS TRUE!

4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:4-5

So, things may be okay to eat, but not necessarily taste good or even seem appetizing, regarding actual food, so the concept of what is good is within the person. But, sometimes, because of how food is prepared and presented, it can look more appetizing, or very much the opposite. Yet, the foods that look less appetizing can actually taste better.

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.              1 Samuel 16:7

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matthew 23:28

But, with things that seem good based on outward appearances, without knowledge of the truth of that thing, person, etc we may mistakenly take part, then realize either it is far from good and nothing near what it looked to be initially. With that thought, it is obvious He wants us to be better informed, educated, wise about things.

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.       1 Timothy 2:4

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.     Colossians 2:8

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

Yes, He will give us knowledge and wisdom; He will show us the truth. We must seek the truth, ask for wisdom and knowledge of things before we partake, only then will we avoid that which is not good. Delaying getting involved in a situation that until after we earnestly seek God, and seek the knowledge and understanding He provides will ensure that we do not find ourselves sickened by what we find to be the truth. Just as had my friend inquired and learned the truth about what he was eating would have helped him avoid being sickened by finding out after he had consumed it.

 

Lord, I praise You and worship Your Holy Name. I thank You for using my life experiences to teach me better ways to think and live. That You show me that what once seemed to be wonderful is not always so. I pray in the name of Jesus that You show us all the truths about various situations and give us the wisdom and desire to seek You before we partake. That You help us realize that not all that looks good is good and that what can seem good at first is often something that will cause us some sort of suffering in the long run. I pray that You draw me and loved ones closer to You, teach us all Your love for one another and that You show us, should we be in a situation that we suddenly find sickens us because it is not of You, how we can remove ourselves from that and help us avoid those things in the future.

Amen

 

Well, thank you all again for your time. I hope my rambling makes sense and is of some sort of blessing to someone. Please try to be a blessing to another as you go about your days.