The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Quote

The road we walk is self-selected, but we are not doomed to walk the wrong path, God gave us a choice.

~ Lisa Blair

This is a long post, please bare with me.

Lisa Blair, designed using Word Swag

As Christians, we listen to God speak to us and then reinterpret what He said to continue down the path of self-interpretation. In short, we change how we should do what He said to soften the outcome. God’s primary command is to obey Him, yet we often choose to ignore His commands for our lives, thus the quote, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Our intentions are good but fall short of following His precept to be obedient. Obedience a requires 100% response. You cannot be 50%, or 75%, or 99.9% obedient. You are either obedient or you are not obedient, no matter the intention. God speaks to us, we either respond obediently or we disobey.

Take the case of Saul in Samuel 15.

Saul Disobeys the Lord

One day, Samuel told Saul:

The Lord told me to choose you to be king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord: 2 “When the Israelites were on their way out of Egypt, the nation of Amalek attacked them. I am the Lord All-Powerful, and now I am going to make Amalek pay!

3 “Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”

The Kenites left, 7 and Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah[b] to Shur, which is just east of Egypt. 8 Every Amalekite was killed except King Agag. 9 Saul and his army let Agag live, and they also spared the best sheep and cattle. They didn’t want to destroy anything of value, so they only killed the animals that were worthless or weak.[c]

The Lord Rejects Saul

10 The Lord told Samuel, 11 “Saul has stopped obeying me, and I’m sorry that I made him king.”

Samuel was angry, and he cried out in prayer to the Lord all night. 12 Early the next morning he went to talk with Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to Carmel, where he had a monument built so everyone would remember his victory. Then he left for Gilgal.”

13 Samuel finally caught up with Saul,[d] and Saul told him, “I hope the Lord will bless you! I have done what the Lord told me.”

14 Then why,” Samuel asked, “do I hear sheep and cattle?”

15 “The army took them from the Amalekites,” Saul explained. “They kept the best sheep and cattle, so they could sacrifice them to the Lord your God. But we destroyed everything else.”

16 “Stop!” Samuel said. “Let me tell you what the Lord told me last night.”

All right,” Saul answered.

17 Samuel continued, “You may not think you’re very important, but the Lord chose you to be king, and you are in charge of the tribes of Israel. 18 When the Lord sent you on this mission, he told you to wipe out those worthless Amalekites. 19 Why didn’t you listen to the Lord? Why did you keep the animals and make him angry?”

20 “But I did listen to the Lord!” Saul answered. “He sent me on a mission, and I went. I captured King Agag and destroyed his nation. 21 All the animals were going to be destroyed[e] anyway. That’s why the army brought the best sheep and cattle to Gilgal as sacrifices to the Lord your God.”

22 “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23 Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you, so God has decided that you can no longer be king.”

24 “I have sinned,” Saul admitted. “I disobeyed both you and the Lord. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead. 25 Please forgive me and come back with me so I can worship the Lord.”

Idlehearts.com

26 “No!” Samuel replied, “You disobeyed the Lord, and I won’t go back with you. Now the Lord has said that you can’t be king of Israel any longer.”

27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the edge of Samuel’s robe. It tore! 28 Samuel said, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he will give it to someone who is better than you. 29 Besides, the eternal[f] God of Israel isn’t a human being. He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind.”

30 Saul said, “I did sin, but please honor me in front of the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Come back with me, so I can worship the Lord your God.”

31 Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the Lord. 32 Then Samuel shouted, “Bring me King Agag of Amalek!”

Agag came in chains,[g] and he was saying to himself, “Surely they won’t kill me now.”[h]

33 But Samuel said, “Agag, you have snatched children from their mothers’ arms and killed them. Now your mother will be without children.” Then Samuel chopped Agag to pieces at the place of worship in Gilgal.

34 Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his home in Gibeah. 35 Even though Samuel felt sad about Saul, Samuel never saw him again. (1 Samuel 15, CEV.Biblegateway.com)

The Lord spoke to Samuel and instructed him to speak to Saul. Samuel told Saul to “Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”

When Saul reported back to Samuel, Samuel asked if he completed the mission as commanded. Saul said ‘yes’, but as my pastor said, Samuel could hear the sheep in the background. Samuel asked again and learned that Saul killed all of the Amalekites except King Agag and the best cattle and sheep. This was an act of defiance, disobedience. Best intentions?

In verse 22, Samuel said, 22” “Tell me,” Samuel said. “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23 Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you…”

Rlfwc.com

When we begin to manipulate what God told us to do, the outcome is not the outcome God planned for us. Think back to when you were a child. Your parents told you to clean your room and then you can go out to play when you are done. Sound familiar, what did you do? Your friends are waiting for you, so you smoothed out your bed spread and pushed clothes and toys under your bed or in the closet. You called your mother, who entered your room and looked around, but since it only took a few minutes, knew something was amiss. She opened the closet, looked down and saw something sticking out from under the bed and turned around to address you. The result was not as planned, you were grounded and could not go out and play. The story is not about being grounded; it is about partial obedience. The moral of the story is that partial obedience does not result in the outcome you expected.

Faithfellowshioministries.net

This is the case when God instructs us in what to do. We try to get around the full request. Sometimes, it is because we are afraid. Sometimes it is because it may cause slight discomfort, and sometimes it just does not seem to be the answer we wanted, again like Saul who tried to justify his decision to only follow part of the instructions he had been given. All too often our intention to obey is lost in self gratification. You cannot receive the intended outcome if you fail to follow the full instructions.

Verse 24 reads, ““I have sinned,” Saul admitted. “I disobeyed both you and the Lord. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead.” We often listen to our inner voice. The inner voice is our carnal voice governed by Satan. It is the same voice Eve heard in the Garden of Eden. The intention of this Post to remind us that we must discern the voices, who are we listening to, the voice of God or the voice of the evil one, the great impersonator.

I will go out on a limb and say, when we alter God’s instructions to fit our needs, we reap the results that look nothing like the intended outcome, instead we reap the consequences of being disobedient. We, like the child, find ourselves in a predicament we created by our defiance to do what we were told.

When we disobey the Lord, we are walking down the road paved by our good intentions, but it is not the road to heaven, it is the road to hell.

But this is not the end. The Book of Samuel is part of the Old Testament and Christ had not yet visited earth or had been crucified. The New Testament informs us that Christ died for our sins, and we have been freed from eternal, no escape, sin. We are not destined to walk down the paved road that leads to hell. God gave us the freedom to choose. We can follow Him if we choose or deny Him and live our lives relying on our own decisions, good intentions. I choose to live in a relationship with the Lord. Do I sin, certainly, I do, we all do, that is, until Christ returns to redeem us.

Life lessons provide wisdom to follow our Lord and live by His Word. As we mature, we more readily repent of the sin we committed and over time, no longer adhere to our old habits. We can choose to travel down the road paved by good intentions, or we can obey the Lord and change lanes from the road that leads to hell, that is – self affirming, manipulated intentions, or to coin another phrase, we can ‘begin to walk down the straight and narrow’ the best we can.

God tells us, ‘not to look to the left or right’. Why you ask, enticement resides on the side roads to the left or right. Do not veer. Walk straight ahead with blinders if needed, God is leading you down the paved road to heaven. Proverbs 4:27 NKJV warns us, “turn not to the right or left; Remove your foot from evil.” The NLT version reads, “Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” And, the EST version warns, “Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

The key terms are: turn not, sidetracked, or swerve. They all lead to good intentions and are unfruitful. They lead us down the path of disobedience, coined the path to hell.

Heavenlytreasuresministries.org

The thing we all must remember is that good intentions or bad intentions, both driven by self gratification are not a form of obedience. Both lead to hell. There is no justification for our actions as seen in the story of Saul. His hell was the loss of being king and possibly the eventual aftermath. Repentance is the catalyst, obedience is the key in moving forward.

Resources: biblegateway.com; biblestudytools.com; biblehub.com. Images: Google Images, sites noted below the image.

Seek God. He is your hope.

Quote

When life feels intolerable, unbearable, and overwhelming, this is the time to get on your knees and pray to the Lord. Psalms 121 expresses that He is our hope to those who seek him. One of the commentaries I read said, …when life turns rugged, where do you turn for help? What is your source for the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life? (Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From? ZondervanAcademic .com)

Psalm 121 informs us that we must focus on God and not the circumstances. We must rest on His Word and His promises. If we keep our eyes on Him, we acquire the confidence to stand strong in the face of the circumstance with inner peace and certainty that regardless of the outcome God is with us and has a plan to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future. A future we could never imagine. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Adornedaccents.com

When we focus on God we do not focus on the circumstances, we do not look to man for resolve. Only God’s power, mercy and grace can bring us through. No matter what, we are under God’s providence and protection. Yes – difficulties are part of life, and there are times when our expectations for our lives are altered by unavoidable circumstances. We may fail, the blessing is that we do not have to face our trials on our own. When we call on The Lord, He stands beside us, whispering directions to our soul. The Holy Spirit leads us beside still waters as our way of escape is strategized.

2 Corinthians 13:7 expresses that the Lord will protect us from the evil of sin and trouble. His protection provides safety and in due time resolve. Lift up your eyes, your help comes from the Lord.

Is this easier said than done? Yes. The evil one will elevate his attack. He will cause you to doubt and loose hope. However, like Jesus, you must rebuke him and hold fast to God’s Word. From where does your help come? Your help comes from the Lord. It is through Him that your confidence grows. It is through Him that you are led to a way out of no foreseeable way.

Looking to the Lord is an exercise of our faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that we live by faith, and not by sight (NIV); for we walk by faith, not by sight (NKJV); we live by believing and not by seeing (NLT). With faith we can look to the hills knowing God is our help.

He Has Risen, Now What?

Quote

We have been redeemed. We are no longer bound by sin. We in the practical sense however, live in a sinful world and still have a sinful nature until Christ returns. How do we repent and change?

~ Lisa Blair

It is comfortable to believe that we have been freed of all sin, but have we? Christ’s death freed us from the imprisonment of sin, we have been reclaimed, however, we live on a sinful earth with a sinful nature. Sin is all around us and in us. His death on the cross freed is from the imprisonment of sin and enabled us to repent and be forgiven, but woah, too many continue in their sin after repenting, thinking they got a pass. This is not a Monopoly game. This is our life in Christ. No passes, only forgiveness. This is the key, forgiveness brings responsibility, once forgiven it is our responsibility to stop the sinful practice. This may take time, however it must be done, otherwise we are still wallowing in the sin we were forgiven for committing.

Abimbola’swalk.com

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬. bible.com‬‬‬‬

When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior the act established our faith in Christ. Through faith we can ask for and accept forgiveness. Our relationship rests on faith and builds on the foundation of faith.

When we are forgiven for our sin, it is an act of faith. Our faith is wed to our relationship with Christ. When we walk in faith, we are following God’s law. The law is His instruction about how we should live. It is not just the 10 Commandments, but all of the instructions written in the Bible. “ The Lord blessed Abraham because he obeyed Him, because he had faith that God’s commands were good and trustworthy…obedience follows genuine faith.” (Life Principles Bible, notation, Edition 2, page 1885).

Through faith we become the bearer of His Word. The Holy Spirit is nestled in us and it directs us, warns us, and guides us. It is the still small voice that says, do not go this way or that, stop-breathe-reconsider, danger, danger. He also nudges us to help others that we do not know or sometimes places a thought about a person you do not know on your heart and it drives you to pray for them – that is the Holy Spirit working through you. When we ask for His forgiveness, we are saying we will set this practice aside and replace it with your Word, we will no longer repeat the practice. Forgiveness ushers in our need to obey. We obey because of who God is in our life, the act is not the work that God seeks, it is His obedience because we truly believe He is our Savior and Lord.. In Galatians 5, the scripture shares,

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians‬ ‭5:16-17, 19-22, 24-25‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ https://bible.com

So, what now? Now is the time to obey the Lord, claim faith as our operating practice, repent, receive and believe we are forgiven of our sins. The trick is to ignore Satan’s doubts regarding our failures. They have been forgiven if we believe Christ is our Savior. Christ is the victor!

Wiirocku.tumblr.com

Surrendering Looks Like…

Quote

Surrendering is not an act of attrition, it is a deliberate act of contrition.

~ Lisa Blair

‘Looks like’ is a common idiom of our time. What does surrendering look like, you ask?


Surrendering is not a one-time event. It requires constant attention. “Until Jesus returns and takes His rightful place as the final authority and ruler overall, we have to make the decision over and over to surrender our minds, wills, and actions to Him (Romans 8:20–22; 12:1–2). Our first stage of surrender is the surrender of our lives to God when we are saved. www.compellingtruth.org/surrender-to-God.html

My thought for the day. There are many quotes of what people in the Bible have said when they surrendered their will to God’s will for their lives. The two that stand out to me today are:

  1. The angel came to Mary to inform her that God was pleased with her and chose her to give birth to His son. Mary, a young girl of marrying age, was betrothed to Joseph. Wouldn’t you imagine her first thinking, I cannot become pregnant until I marry, what will people think of me in particular and Joseph if I carry a child before the ceremony ends. However, Mary responded to the angel saying, “I am the Lord’s servant,” “May your word to me be fulfilled.” ~ Luke 1:38 NIV
  2. Jesus, the, was in deep prayer about the circumstances that would result in his death, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; this is the human condition, to ask God to remove the situation so we do not feel the pain. However, the second part of the prayer is one of submission – Jesus then prayed, “yet not my will, but yours be done.” ~ Luke 22:42 NIV

So, what does surrendering look like? Surrendering looks like the person who moves out of the way to submit to another’s wishes. In this case surrendering is looking to God for direction and following His path for our lives rather than forging ahead blindly satisfying our own urges and direction for our lives. If Mary had not accepted God’s will over her own, Jesus may not have been born to her and the story of Abraham may not have been written as we know it. Our decisions not only affect us but many others in our immediate and future sphere of influence. Our decisions affect our descendants. *

If Jesus, the man, chose to run from his purpose, again, the story would have differed, and the Son of God, Immanuel-the God with us, would have led to a different story. Thinking back, how many times has God instructed, or better said, invited you to do something His way, to follow Him, not turn to the left or the right, and you did just what you were instructed not to do, waiver to the left or right and not stay on the path He designed for us, how did that turn out for you? Ask yourself, what happened when you listened and surrendered to God? I am certain the latter set you on a path you couldn’t imagine you could ever attain.

Surrendering looks like victory. It feels like love. Surrendering lifts the burdens of life off of your shoulders and places it on Christs’ shoulders. In Jeremiah 38:17-18, the scripture reads, Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” (Je 38.17-18)

Jeremiah presents him with a choice – Surrender Babylon, or Don’t surrender to Babylon. The writing is on the wall. (https://thescripturesays.org/2014/08/22/jeremiah-38-41-if-you-will-surrender-to-babylon-then-your-life-shall-be-spared/)

Surrendering looks like victory. The writing is on the wall. God does not promise it will look like success, sometimes the direction is pain staking, but looking deeper we reflect that it was part of the path we must take to become more like Christ, when he said, but your will be done. Surrendering looks like, choosing the path of righteousness over the path of selfishness. Surrendering to God looks like and feels like love, a connection greater than anything this life could afford you.

Surrendering is the establishment of your lineage to God the Father, Christ the Son-our Savior, and the Holy Spirit. Surrendering is the act of no longer resisting God’s love and is the state of acceptance and no longer defiance. It looks like victory when we spread our arms over our head and jump up and down in joy, no longer relying on our own focus for our lives but rather God’s plan for our lives that is often unseen and unexpected. Surrendering is the act of faith. Surrendering looks like and feels like – Victory over our carnal state of being. It is the act of intentionally becoming part of God’s family.

* The Book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ. It is a look at the descendants of Jesus. In the Jewish faith and many others, the lineage is important, it defines who you belong to, it expresses your values and character. 

Just between us.org

Resources: Bible.com; the scripturesays.org; compellingtruth.org

Images: google images