Friday, August 11, 2006

The Way of Cain - Week II: Victory over Gluttony


Faithful Father, may You lead and guide us through the study of Your Life-Giving Word this week.  Give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation and make us to push aside all the worries of this world that choke Your Word in us.  I ask for You to bring a mighty harvest...a glorious increase from the Seed we are sowing through this study.  May You do this for the GLORY OF YOUR NAME and the GOOD OF YOUR SERVANT!  It is in, by and through our LORD Jesus' Name I ask, Amen.

“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.~ ADONAI {to Cain, Genesis 4:7}

Hopefully, at this point you have realized that this study is not about Cain.  It is not even about the Sodomites...or Ezekiel.  This drash is completely about YOU and your new life IN The Messiah.  This drash is about daily choosing and walking along the Kingdom-Productive Way of Christ!  Because...


All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Your version of the above passage may say 'given by inspiration of God'.  The original Greek word is theopsneustos: theo - 'God' and pneo - 'to breathe hard' which properly translates 'God-breathed'.  Scripture, in essence, is the very breath of God!  All of the accounts in Scripture of Cain as well as the Sodomites were WRITTEN beforehand - breathed-out by God! - in order to teach us and train us in right(eous) living!  Breathe in Ladies!  


Additionally, understand that the first mention of the (Holy) Spirit of God is found in the original Hebrew Old Testament (Covenant) in Genesis 1:2 , the Creation account.  The Hebrew Name for the Holy Spirit of God is Ruach HaKodesh.  Ruach means breath!  Kodesh means 'set apart'.  So you see that the Holy Spirit within Believers is the very Set-Apart-Breath-of-God!  And Ladies, we cannot live without breath, can we?  Just the same in the Christian life, our very spirits and lives are completely lifeless without this Reviving, Sustaining Breath of The Most High God!


You see, I saw Cain in me all too often and the LORD told me to journal what He was revealing about His Ways and my countenance!  The two do not stand in opposition to one another.  In fact, if I was to REALLY live and thrive, then I needed His Breath which is His very Word!  Thus...The Way of Cain Bible Study was born that it might instruct me (and any other curious soul!) in the Way of Christ and cause us to TRULY LIVE!


So, how are your lovely feet faring after all that treading through the Scriptures?  If you made a well-worn path throughout the past week standing in front of the Mirror of God’s Word, then you rightly discerned that this week's drash on Gluttony, and the ensuing week's studies Idleness and Mercilessness all stem from PRIDE - what the unprepared heart deals you.  Frightful, isn’t it?  


Years ago, the LORD began to reveal great Truths to me through His Word that was entirely and gloriously transforming to my inner man.  As I walked with Him through the Scriptures, He would show me that my entire life - my depressed spirit, attitude of defeat and anxious mindset - continued to exist in the hopeless state it was not because of childhood experiences that left me feeling unloved or unnoticed...and not even because of my less than praiseworthy past as a teenager and young adult...but it stayed as it was because I had stubbornly taken on the VICTIM mentality and refused to SOW GOOD SEED into my life.  


Actively sowing good seed required TRUST on my part.  And well, I had massive trust issues!  Those with a Victim mentality often blame others for their own failures and conditions.  Just imagine Adam and Eve pointing fingers to each other in the Garden after first hiding in shame...and then pointing to the (serpent) Adversary...and then pointing their bony, naked fingers at their Creator God to place the blame for their sin!  In the same vein, has it ever occurred to you that the Blessed Proverbs 31 Woman (who is to be formed in us) was pro-active and not reactive?  She was a diligent sower of good seed, baby!  She did not waste time in frivolous and fruitless activities.


He showed me that ‘others’ were not my problem as I had so arrogantly assumed time and again.  I was!  Do you hear Him saying to you as He did that day with a compassionate heart to Cain, "Why is your soul downcast (Insert Name Here)?  Don’t you know that if you CHOOSE WELL  you can hold your head high.  But if you do not, sin is crouching at your door...it’s desire is for you...but you MUST MASTER IT”.


Rabats!  That is a strong word indeed.  Let's unpack the Hebrew meaning:  Strongs #7257 - root word meaning to crouch (on all four legs, like a recumbent animal); to lie in wait; to brood and lurk.


Proverbs 13:21

Evil pursues sinners, but prosperity will reward the righteous.


In order to avoid further disappointment, it is easier for a person with a victim mentality to sit in the soiled stench of past failures than to exert the necessary effort to trustingly and actively move forward in faith.  Even the Israelites were not expected to camp out in the middle of the parted sea!  Their deliverance lay on the other side.  They had to walk upon the dry seabed trusting the LORD that the tide would not overtake them, along with all its glaring sea creatures that peered through the waters as the Israelites walked by!  


It is so much easier to make excuses for ourselves and complain than it is to ACTIVELY SOW the Good Seed that will produce the harvest.  And much akin to the Jews of Jesus day, I, too wanted an immediate deliverance without ever having to lift a finger to sow a heavenly crop for my own healing.  He invites us to participate in our healing!  I distinctly reminder whining (I have thrown many fits before the Throne, I do confess!) and asking Him why He wouldn't just heal me from my chaotic, afflicting existance when He absolutely could!  And He gently and yet powerfully spoke to my heart the following:  ‘Carmen, you would not appreciate My immediate healing and deliverance.’  He was inviting me to take part in my own deliverance as He had supplied me with the Seed!  And we all do appreciate honest hard work, don’t we?   


Does this remind you of the account of Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 12 from last week’s study?  ADONAI’s partial deliverance is a blessing indeed and has everything to do with His eternal law of sowing and reaping!  


Consider the man who lie at the pool of Beit-Zata with a three-decade old infirmity:


1 After this, there was a Judean festival; and Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim. 2 In Yerushalayim, by the Sheep Gate, is a pool called in Aramaic, Beit-Zata, 3 in which lay a crowd of invalids -- blind, lame, crippled. 4 Some manuscripts have verses 3b­4: . . . , waiting for the water to move; v4 for at certain times an angel of ADONAI went down into the pool and disturbed the water, and whoever stepped into the water first after it was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 Yeshua, seeing this man and knowing that he had been there a long time, said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" 7 The sick man answered, "I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I'm trying to get there, someone goes in ahead of me (Lame EXCUSE {no pun intended} he gave Yeshua)." 8 Yeshua said to him, "Get up, pick up your mat and walk!" 9 Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was Shabbat, 10 so the Judeans said to the man who had been healed, "It's Shabbat! It's against Torah for you to carry your mat!" 11 But he answered them, "The man who healed me -- he's the one who told me, `Pick up your mat and walk.'" 12 They asked him, "Who is the man who told you to pick it up and walk?" 13 But the man who had been healed didn't know who it was, because Yeshua had slipped away into the crowd. 14 Afterwards Yeshua found him in the Temple court and said to him, "See, you are well! Now stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you! (i.e. “KEEP ACTIVELY SOWING GOOD SEED, faint not! And a bountiful harvest I WILL return to you!)" ~ John 5:1-14

The LORD is asking you and me if we want to be healed from our self-inflicted wounds and downcasts spirits.  Why wouldn’t He?  He has ordained LIFE for those who trust Him in the active sowing of His Good Seed!


For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
~ Psalm 84:11 (AMP)


How then do we MASTER the sin in our lives that cause our heads to be hung low in defeat and despair?  Simply by ACTIVELY SOWING Good Seed.  This is THE KEY to holding our heads high, Friends!


But you, ADONAI, are a shield for me; you are my glory, you lift my head high.  ~ Psalm 3:3

The Hebrew word for wisdom is ‘chokmah’.  It is translated ‘skill for living’ which is the SEED He has provided for our sowing (2 Corinthians 9-12).  THIS is what HE has become for us...’skill for living’.  Are you listening to His counsel?


Yes, indeed, as the VICTIM I had reaped what I had sown.  But...I had heard the Counsel of the Most High Who told me that as a VICTOR in Him and a daughter of the King, I was EXPECTED to hold my head high!  And with that, He gave me able arms and an ample supply of the Good Seed to diligently and delightfully sow!  And sow I did...and sow I do!


And that brings us to Week 2.  If there were ever a sin that caused us to hang our heads low...it is GLUTTONY (self-indulgences).  


Shall we?


THE FATHER’S BATTLE PLAN 

Week 1 - Victory Over Gluttony: OPERATION SELF-CONTROL  



He who has skill in a matter will succeed; he who trusts in ADONAI will be happy. 
~ Proverbs 16:20

GLUTTONY is excessiveness in any area.  The Greek word used in Galatians is a (not) selgeia (restraining).  It is lasciviousness and licentiousness.  It is lust - which simply means ‘I must have it now’.  Addictions happen because of aselgeia (lack of self-restraint).  


Gluttony is rooted in discontentment.  CONTENTMENT - what every heart is truly after - is a peaceful satisfaction in the LORD.  Paul says contentment is something he learned.  Contentment means having a spirit (your inner man) at rest in The LORD’s Spirit.  The Spirit of contentment (Spirit of Christ) is diametrically opposed to the spirit of Cain and his bondage of wandering restlessly, as the very rest he sought pervaded him.  


Let us unpack another verse that is often misused and misunderstood.  

Philippians 4:13

"I can do all things through Him Who gives me power." (or 'strength')

This entire passage is about DIVINE CONTENTMENT.  For Paul says, "I have learned to be CONTENT regardless of circumstances....(for) I can do all things (YES, I can even be made CONTENT in a world where no one is) through Christ Who gives me the power and strength (to be CONTENT!). (Read Philippians 4:10-13)


Think about this:  Every bad decision we make is merely an earthly attempt to fill a heavenly need.  The first sign that HE is wanting us to turn to Him (repent - turn back) for comfort and filling is that spiritual deficit.  The problem arises when we go the way of Cain by choosing earthly means instead of persevering along the Narrow Way to wholeness and contentment in the Mashiach (Messiah).  


Any behavior that does not fit into the Spirit’s ‘list’ ends up in a division of mind and spirit and is ultimately self-destructive.  It is good to memorize the works of the flesh alongside the Fruit of the Spirit so that we are able to discern between our old Adamic nature and His Regenerating Spirit within (Read Galatians 5:19-23).  Holy discontentment is the barometer God uses to show us we have a spiritual deficit that He desires and intends to fill.  However, we can only be filled by walking in agreement with Him along the Narrow Way.  Amos 3:3 says, ‘How can two walk together unless they are agreed?’


Indeed, a lack of discipline in any area is the dissatisfying fruit of self-indulgence.

So rid yourselves of vulgarity and obvious evil, and receive meekly the Word implanted in you that can save your lives. 
~ James 1:21

WEEK 2 SCRIPTURE READING

PLEASE READ Matthew 25:1-13.

 As I sit typing this, I am preparing to welcome friends into my home. Preparation or diligence takes discipline and is a major part of our Christian walk. It is the answer for stress and the answer for combating the Adversary.  The LORD's Word reveals great freedom that comes in simply stewarding each day well for the glory of His Name and the good of His servant!  The LORD is so interested in even the tiniest details of our lives that He admonishes us through His servant Peter to 'Welcome one another into our homes without grumbling' (1 Peter 4:9)!  Why would He need to say that?  Well, doesn't company translate more cleaning and more cleaning generally mean more stress for the hostess?   (Hello Martha, Martha!)  "Grumble...complain...grumble....complain....sigh!"  For the unprepared, yes!  A verse we can trust:

A person may plan his path, but ADONAI directs his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

Simple preparation is the crux of living each day well because our LORD Most High is the God of Excellence in Love!  I confess to you that discipline was not a word in my vocabulary!  I even despised the Proverbs 31 woman because, well, she was just too with it!  I couldn't compare to her, so why bother?  Truthfully, she made me mad...or was it jealous?  Then, with much encouragement and compassion, the LORD revealed through His Word that I was not to compare myself to her, rather as I trusted Him by actively sowing Good Seed, He would form her qualities within me.  And He also graciously revealed to me that being disciplined would prepare me for His next work.  I could be trusted, because I chose to discipline myself.

His master said to him, `Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master's happiness!' ~ Matthew 25:21

WRITING EXERCISE:  In your own words, describe what ‘the spirit of Cain’ is.  What does the spirit of Cain look like?  After you have prepared your list of adjectives, compare it against (no peeking!) Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-9What did you discover?


Once again, His grace reveals that PREPARING OUR HEARTS TO SEEK THE LORD is the combative measure in avoiding the sin of self-destructive gluttony that sits crouching outside our doors.


Locate and share the Proverbs related to being self-controlled and disciplined.  



PASSAGE QUESTIONS

  1. How did the virgins fail to prepare for the coming Bridegroom?  
  2. Five virgins were described as  sensible (depending on version) and the other, foolish.  Which one typically describes your preparation methods?   
  3. Describe the state of mind each group possessed.  Now describe the PRODUCT of each group’s labor.  Notice the latter part of verse 10: ‘Those who were ready (had diligently prepared) went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.’ 


PERSONAL EXAMINATION

  1. How did you describe ‘the spirit of Cain’?  What did you find as you compared it to Galatians 5:19-21 - the works of the flesh?
  2. When your spirit is troubled, what (or whom) do you lean on for comfort and fulfillment?
  3. What areas in your life do you lack self-restraint?  In what ways can you apply self-restraint by the power of His Spirit in your role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker or complete stranger?
  4. Are you agreeing with God presently?  Why or why not?
  5. Have you confessed any lack of self-restraint to the Father?  Now repent and ask God for ‘right desires’ and the strength to choose well that you may hold your head high as HE desires and has in fact, ordained for you!
  6. In what ways can ‘being prepared’ crucify your desires to fulfill your old nature (Galatians 5:24)?
  7. What does discipline look like to you?  Do you remember the phrase from week 1?: ‘Discipline yourselves OR be disciplined’.  What preparations have you made for skillful and successful living?
  8. Proverbs 25:28 says: “Like a city breached, without walls, is a person who lacks self-control.”  Has a personal lack of self-restraint rendered you and your family helpless, unprotected and an easy target for the Adversary?
  9. Perhaps you have found yourself much like me at one point - with the victim mentality as opposed to the Victor mentality of Christ.  What good seeds of self-restraint is He telling you to presently and actively sow?
  10. Do you notice the direct correlation between gluttony and outbursts of anger?  Notice that all SIN is the self-destructive seed sown to the flesh and contrary to the Spirit Who gives Life-Abundant.  Won't you thank the LORD today for saving you into the Ark of His Kingdom by Christ and ask for 'deliverance from yourself'?
  11. Would those closest to you commend or condemn your life as a Believer in Christ?


If a ruler gets angry at you, stay at your post, because calmness soothes great offenses. 
~ Ecclesiastes 10:4

Therefore, my dear brothers, let every person be quick to listen, but slow to speak, slow to get angry; for a person's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness! 
~ James 1:19, 20

ADDITIONAL TRUTHS FOR EXCELLENCE IN LOVE

  1. If contentment pervades you, it is because the spirit of Cain cannot walk in agreement with the Spirit of Christ (Amos 3:3).
  2. It is worth noting that only those who hold their heads high are able to see what HE sees.  For if your head is always low, the only way you are able to see is down.  
  3. If I am always looking down as a result of my poor choices, then I do not possess an eternal perspective.  Look up by your good choices!
  4. The Hebrew word shalom means much more than our English word peace.  To the Hebrew, shalom means tranquility, safety, well-being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity.
  5. Proverbs 13:25 says, ‘The righteous person eats his fill, but the belly of the wicked is empty.’  In other words, those who choose anything less than ‘the right way’ will always suffer want and be discontent in life.
  6. Proverbs 18:1 says, ‘He who separates himself (from the fellowship of others) indulges his desires and shows contempt for sound advice of any kind.’  This is confirmation that God intended His Body to function as a body with all its parts in harmony and union (You can read about Yachad here).  When we forsake God’s ordination of accountability to a sister, we are sure to reap a life of defeat.  Meditate on Philippians 1:18b-19!
  7. Have you SEEN the lovely house that Wisdom built?  
    Wisdom has built herself a house; she has carved her seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her food, spiced her wine, and she has set her table. 3 She has sent out her young girls [with invitations]; she calls from the heights of the city, 4 "Whoever is unsure of himself, turn in here!" To someone weak-willed she says, 5 "Come and eat my food! Drink the wine I have mixed! 6 Don't stay unsure of yourself, but live! Walk in the way of understanding!"  ~ Proverbs 9:1-6
  8. ACTIVELY SOWING Good Seed is work, indeed.  But the LORD Who brings the Harvest brings of the SAME KIND, brings it in DUE TIME, and brings MUCH MORE THAN what was sown!  
  9. Gluttony also extends to out of control tongues and tempers: Proverbs 12:16, 16:32, 17:27; 19:11
  10. Every shameful act is rooted in lust.  Shame is only shame because it is kept hidden.  Thus, if we CONFESS and REPENT of those (once hidden) actions, we bring it out in the open (James 5:16) and consequently discard of the Adversary’s vice of hidden shame and self-loathing.  This is why the Body of the Mashiach is the hospital for sin-sick souls.  We have the Remedy.  His Name is Christ.  And His nurses are those of us with compassionately hearing and non-condemning ears. The exhortation of Proverbs 28:13 reveals:
    He who conceals his sins will not succeed; he who confesses and abandons them will gain mercy.’

  11. Scripture says that ‘pleasure lovers will suffer want’ ~ Proverbs 21:17.  The reason being because our idols ALWAYS BETRAY us.  Proverbs 23:20-21 additionally warns: 
    Don't be one of those who guzzle wine or of those who eat meat to excess, for both drunkard and glutton will become poor -drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

  12. Proverbs 27:7 offers tremendous Truth: 
    A person who is (already) full loathes a honeycomb; but to the hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.”
      The Spirit of the LORD completely satiates and fulfills our souls (Remember the CONTENTMENT of Philippians 4:13?).  And this simple verse beautifully portrays for us that if we do not feast upon the things of the LORD...we are sure to feast upon the things of worldAnd we do crave what we snack on!
  13. In conclusion, you must know that the only difference between the so-called ‘spiritual giants’ and the defeated Christian is the LENGTH of time it takes for them to crawl back up onto the Altar of our Great God and King!  When guilt and shame come knocking at your door, we do not have to open it!  Rather, listen wholeheartedly to your Creator and not our shame-casting Adversary for Scripture declares: 
    By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.  1 John 3:19-20

  14. Glorious CHOKMAH our Messiah is, indeed!!

I can do all things through Him Who gives me power. ~ Philippians 4:13

MEMORY VERSE:  


Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 

~ Hebrews 13:5

11 comments:

Carol said...

Wow! I'm going to need to come back and reread some of this. This is a lot of good stuff. It's like being at the Ryan's all-you-can-eat dessert buffet and not knowing where to start. Oh, wait. I guess that is gluttony, too. Well, you know what I mean. This was great. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this. Your knowledge of the Bible is incredible.

Carmen said...

Carol, you're crazy...but, I'm sure you already know that! ;o)

Thanks for the compliment...and thanks for taking the time to read thru the material.

I am very hopeful and convinced somebody out there needs this particular Feast.

Bountiful Blessings!

Amydeanne said...

Great post. and I agree with Carol, your knowledge is excellent! I've been trying to deal with this issue lately, so this lesson is perfect timing for me! So much to indulge on!!! (but in a good way!)

Jane said...

Just want you to know that I'm here and am so blessed and challenged by this study. Thank you for sharing it.

lori said...

Oh yes...everyone is right...so much here...a real FEAST...
I'm working it...I am!!

I'll be back!

I'm heading out to grab one of those Hebrew Bibles...your knowledge amazes and inspires me!

peace,
lori

Jennifer said...

Another great week. So deep and full of meat!

Susan said...

Hi Carmen,

This was a FEAST indeed. Thanks for all the time and hard work you put into sowing these many seeds of truth into our lives.

I want to take me time and re-read this.

I think the story about the man at the pool was the perfect illustration of the "victim mentality".

Excuses, excuses, you would think he would of shouted "YES,I WANT TO BE MADE WHOLE", but no, just excuses WHY he could not get into that pool.

I know I've been so guilty of this in my own life, so many reasons I can't do this or that. While I profess I want change.

Sorry for rambling.

Thanks once again for being such a blessing to us all♥

Carmen said...

Ladies,
I appreciate all your honest and kind words! I love hearing from you and I am praying each day that we grow FAT with the love, grace, wisdom and revelation of the LORD!

Blessings!

Roanne LeRaine said...

"He showed me that ‘others’ were not my problem as I had so arrogantly assumed time and again. I was!...
Does this remind you of the account of Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 12 from last week’s study? ADONAI’s partial deliverance is a blessing indeed and has everything to do with His eternal law of sowing and reaping!..."

This gets me thinking about how much I feel like if everyone else just did their part, then I could do mine. If everyone else wasn’t so selfish, if everyone else would think of other people and how their actions affect more than just themselves….FOLLOW ME FOR MORE to http://mydevotedlife.blogspot.com/2008/08/responding-to-way-of-cain-week-ii.html

JMBMOMMY said...

This is EXACTLY what God has been speaking to me through the study I am doing throught Setting Captives Free. I have learned so much -- I have been "feasting" on world things - mine is literally food -- instead of drinking from the Living Water that satisfies. I am praying that my head knowledge (He is Enough Today!!!) will become heart knowledge--and I will have a FAT SOUL! :)

jcdisciple said...

Once again this was a timely and well written lesson for me. I have shed nearly 25 pounds this past year through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have come to understand the power food had over me was only ONE indication of the way of Cain in my life and as the Lord enabled me to let that idol go, He began and contines, to reveal more and more that needs to be done away with. It is, however, a battle that I only win by sowing the good seed and clinging to it when temptation comes.

Thanks for teaching us so well.

But as for me, Heaven forbid that I should boast about anything except the execution-stake of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Through Him, as far as I am concerned, the world has been put to death on the stake; and through Him, as far as the world is concerned, I have been put to death on the stake.  For neither being circumcised nor being uncircumcised matters; what matters is being a NEW CREATION. And as many as order their lives by this rule, shalom upon them and mercy, and upon the Isra'el of God! 

~ Galatians 6:14-16

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