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.

Kicking the skunk

1200px-Striped_Skunk

I often wonder how many others have to deal with various issues I have encountered. I seriously doubt that I am that different and there must be others who experience similar life circumstances, deal with similar people that can be difficult to tolerate at times, people that seem to live to antagonize others. We always have to deal with multiple people throughout our days some are great with which to interact and others, to put it kindly, with whom the interactions are very difficult. They seem to just look for any and all opportunities to try and antagonize others or many others. Seeming to me that they are so unhappy with themselves that they can only find joy by trying to spread the discontent they feel. Sometimes masking their antagonism with pretense of compliments or concern. Backhanded complements that are actually criticisms. Other times pretending to be concerned so they tell you something but are actually trying to cause you more problems, worries or stress, “warning you” about something that may be going to happen because of something they heard or saw, but waiting hours, days or weeks before telling you. More like they were trying to find out if there was a problem they thought might happen so they could enjoy someone else’s misery. It seems they will do anything they can do to try to cause you and others problems, but pretend that they mean well when they said or did whatever it was that was intended as a negative, despite acting concerned.

Well, I have some that seem to enjoy doing things like those I mentioned. I have learned to ignore them and pray for them. But, sometimes, they are not happy if you ignore them and will look for the chance to try to try, to use a phrase I know, “kick the skunk.” Just looking for a chance to create as much stink as possible. But, those who try to kick the skunk and run, usually have more “stink” from their actions than those they hoped would get “sprayed.”

Amazing to me that there are people who only find any joy in their life by trying to create drama in others’ lives or to try challenge your salvation or make you question it, trying to cause enough problems to try to make you stumble. Just waiting to have the chance to point and say “I told you he was lying and isn’t really saved.”  Well, unfortunately for them, I have a joy they cannot steal. I have God and He will protect me from these feeble attempts to cause me problems. He is my Rock and my Salvation. My fortress in times of attack.  Christ uses these things to help make my faith stronger.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20

 

1 And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

2 Samuel 22:1-4

 

Sadly, there are a lot of people out there who are only content to spread discontent, allowing themselves to be used by the enemy to try to cause others to stumble. I praise God that He provides me the faith, strength, love and mercy to not only stand up to such attacks, but to grow stronger in Christ with each of the attacks.

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name and worship You. I thank You for the challenges and trials that You use to strengthen my faith and my relationship with Christ. I pray for those who seek to cause problems for others, that they learn of You and seek You rather than allow Satan to try to use them to try to destroy others or cause them problems. I ask in Jesus Name that You continue to work in me and use me to draw others to You. Please work in the lives of loved ones to bring them to You so they will know Your true will and way in their lives so they may follow You and live the life You plan for each one of us.

Amen

 

I appreciate you taking your time to read my post today. I hope that something was a blessing to someone, so they learn better how to deal with difficult people or circumstances. I hope all have a blessed day and find a way to bless at least one other person.