The Holy Spirit Helps Us!

Last week we chatted about the spotted water hemlock—the
deadliest plant in North America. One bite of this plant can kill
someone within two hours.

Of course, there are lots of things that seem good at first glance but
end up being toxic. Toadstools sure look like mushrooms.
But once eaten, you know what you consumed is NOT edible!

Everyone would agree that swans are beautiful.
But they, too, can also be deadly.
Many birds will eventually give up if an attacker is too strong to fight
But swans will NOT give in!

They’ll attack by flying full speed at a predator and will begin biting it.
They’re also known to drown the predator by fiercely holding it
underwater until it dies.

Again, there are plenty of things that appear good or beautiful at first
glance but have fatal consequences once we experience them.

The question of the hour is:
How can we know what’s toxic and what isn’t?

Oftentimes we can’t.

This is where dependence on the Holy Spirit comes into play.

One of the job descriptions of the Holy Spirit is to help us know the

Check this out:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will
not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell
you about the future” (John 16:13) New Living Translation).

It’s essential that we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit!
How do learn to do that?

By totally surrendering to Him.

So I guess the real question of the hour is:
Have you totally surrendered?
Have you yielded to the authority of Jesus Christ?
Are you living in radical obedience to Him?

He has given us His very Spirit to empower us,
guide us, and to bring us into truth as we depend more and more on Him.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my
name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I
have said to you” (John 14:26 NIV).


But It’s So Pretty!

The spotted water hemlock is labeled the most toxic plant in North
America. People who eat it can die within just two hours. And it’s not
an easy death.

Here’s how Steve Brill (a NY-based foraging expert and tour guide of
plants of the Northeast) describes what happens when someone eats
spotted water hemlock:

“Every single muscle starts firing and contracting, so you have
convulsions, you chew your tongue into ribbons, you vomit but then
you can’t open your mouth because the jaw muscles are contracting
10 or 20 times as hard as they normally do, and you die a horrible

Pretty gruesome, huh!
It also twists the arms and ankles and turns the head back. They say
it even turns the eyes back.

Again, this is the deadliest plant in North America.
One bite can kill you.
It’s ironic that something so pretty can be deadly.

Be on Guard!
Satan often works the same way, doesn’t he?
He masks the true ugliness of sin and causes it to appear
pretty and even necessary.

As the master of lies, Scripture tells us:
“Satan can change himself to an angel of light”
(2 Corinthians 11:14 The Living Bible).

That’s why Peter encourages us to keep our guard up.
He says, “Be careful.”

Guess what—those are ACTION WORDS.
We can’t “be careful” if our guard is down.

“Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy.
He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim
to tear apart” (1 Peter 5:8 TLB).

Though temptation often appears as pretty—
Satan’s attacks can be spiritually toxic.
What should we do when he attacks?

Peter gives us the answer in the next verse:

“Stand firm when he attacks.
Trust the Lord;
And remember that other Christians all around the world are going
through these sufferings too”
(1 Peter 5:9 TLB).

Good to know we’re not alone.
We have each other.
And we also have the Holy Spirit who will empower us.

This next year . . . let’s commit together to keep our guard up.
To watch out.
To be careful.
And not to be taken in by something that simply looks good.
Let’s pray for discernment.



Burgers and Scripture

Like me, you may have memorized key Bible verses during your
childhood. Perhaps it was in a Sunday school class or a summer time
Vacation Bible School. I still have some of those Scriptures etched in
my heart.

But I admit, during my adult years, I’ve slacked off in memorizing
Scripture. I’ve memorized other things: E-mails, phone numbers,
addresses, names and useless trivia. But when it comes to the most
important Words ever, I haven’t memorized as much as I should.

Do you remember the McDonald’s Big Mac song and commercial that
aired in 1974? Because of the frequency of the commercial, I quickly
memorized it and still have it memorized:

“Two all beef patties,
special sauce,
onions on a sesame seed bun.”

And I can’t even read those words without the jingle exploding in my

Here’s the deal:
I don’t want to know my burgers better than I know my Scripture.
Hamburgers can’t give me guidance, wisdom or promises.
But God’s Word can . . . and does!

Here’s the challenge:
How about joining me in 2018 to memorize more Scripture?
If you’re in for the challenge, respond to this message and let me
know. I’d love to band together and have us support one another in
this important endeavor.

You in?