The Bait

riverbankWhen I was growing up we didn’t do a lot of fishing.  Once in a while my dad would take us down to the river bank. I love the thought of catching fish but I hated the thoughts of killing a worm or even touching them. My dad would bait my hook.. I wasn’t a natural fisher-kid. I think I was only about eight or nine, and everywhere I threw my line  I got snagged. I lost the sinkers, hook and the bait. One time I almost lost the whole pole

My dad was getting frustrated with me. He told me if I lost another sinker or if I got’ my line caught in weeds again, it was over. Seems my fishing days were on the line, literally. This made me sad. I was just beginning. Even at a young age I was not a quitter.

It was getting dark and my dad said I had to reel  my line in. I was petrified. I thought for sure my line was snagged.. My fishing line was going back and forth in the current. Strange I thought. I did not mention this to my dad as I felt like a failure already.  Now, the time of facing the music had come because we were going home.

caught oneMy dad came over to watch me reel in my line. To my great surprise there was a fish on the end of my line! To me that was a miracle! What I thought was a snag on a branch was actually this fish swimming around trying to figure out how to get unhooked. My dad came to my rescue as I never caught a fish before; I also never even took one off the hook. I felt bad for this fish. He was blinking his big eyes at me while hanging by the huge embedded hook tn his jaw. My dad said the fish was not big enough to keep so he got the hook out and released the Sucker (fish) back in the river. I hope it lived a long and happy life. Somehow the type of fish, a Sucker, is how we are to get sucked in by Satan’s hand-crafted and sharp hooks.

Sometimes I do the same stupid “mistakes” over and over again They are not really mistakes. A mistake sounds so much nicer than — sin. Regardless of what the sin is, it seems to pull me down the river and I can’t stop because of the hook in my jaw.

We all have weaknesses and I know full well what mine are. As foolish as it is sometimes I go fishing for them. Satan uses many things to bait us back into sin . He knows our weaknesses and how to lure us with his baited hook Once we take the bait we have “pleasure for a short time.” The really bad news is the bait he uses covers the hidden sharp hook. That hook will embed deeply into our jaw. We could easily die with the hook of Satan embedded in our jaw.

This is wisdom from the Old Testament even though it is not addressing hooks in the jaw….it could be applied to any sin in our past that tempts us.

Genesis 19:17 (NASB)

17 When they had brought them outside,  one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.”

Thankfully, our fish story doesn’t end there. Our Father will come to rescue us, when we repent and ask for help; He will gently get the hook of Satan out of our mouth. We have a loving Father in Heaven and Jesus our Savior died to save us from the sins that easily beset us. GOD LOVES US ALWAYS!

Galatians 1:3-5…3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil page, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

These days I don’t fish. I still don’t like worms. However, I still get tempted by things in the world. Regretfully at times I take the bait. Then I am hooked again, needing to be rescued. God is graceful and compassionate. I get so tired of falling for the same old line yet the pull of the current seems too strong to resist. I know it is not too strong though as the LORD will make us a way of escape It is a choice to take the bait of Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

May we never forget God loves us and gave His ALL for us The question that is in my heart of hearts is will I give Him my all, always. May we ignore the bait meant to take us down and hold on to JESUS who wants only the best for us. Our Prevailing Hope to overcome temptation is asking the LORD for strength. We can prevail over and walk away from whatever the most enticing bait. With God all things are possible. It is our choice to prevail over the besetting sin or take the bait and pay the consequences.


Brenda McKee





Ecclesiastes Chapter Five {Part One}


Copy right to the author-Posted with his permission Gene Whittum

Copy right to the author-Posted with his permission
Gene Whittum

Thus far, Solomon has been looking horizontally. He has visited the courtroom, the market place, the highway (here and there), and the palace, where he contemplated and carried out his dreams under the sun. He has thus far found it all very unsatisfactory. There is no record of him having encountered any kind of a prophet, either good or bad. There was no one in his life who could challenge him on his actions or musings. It is often true that world leaders destroy themselves before they destroy their nations. With Solomon, the destruction of the nation took place after his death.

He believed in God, the Elohim of the Old Testament, the Strong or Mighty One. He met Him in Chapter three, verse twenty-four. What does one do when he meets a Deity such as this? If one believes in God at all, what are the implications? Do we attempt to take liberties with Him as Job apparently did? If God speaks, are we obligated to listen; do we set aside our selfish interests and ambitions? Do we attempt to talk to Him and try to impress him with our charming discourses and useless chatter?

An interesting study is to see how men (and women) reacted when confronted by the God of the Bible. When God (Elohim) confronted Moses and told him to go back to Egypt and confront Pharaoh, Moses asked God “ . . . (if) they ask me ‘what is his name? Then what shall I tell them?” Elohim responded, tell them “I AM has sent me to you.” It meant to Moses that “I will be all that is necessary for any occasion” that you face” (Exodus 3:13, 14).

Note how Adam and Eve responded, Jacob, King David, Elijah and Elisha, Daniel, Ezekiel, the apostle Paul, John the beloved, Peter’s encounter with the Christ, the thief on the cross, doubting Thomas, Joshua and a host of others who met the God of the bible.

And now Solomon looks at mankind as a worshiper of God. How formidable is this God who crops up from time to time as the author looks at life and appears to ignore Him by looking at life “under the sun”? The opening verses drive the truth home with great force as with Job. He is told to stand in awe of Elohim: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with one’s mouth, do not be hasty in one’s heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and we are on earth, so let our words be few.” (5:1-2 NIV)few words

The indictment is powerful as we meet God in this chapter as high above us (above the sun), as sovereign, as creator and judge. In view of the previous chapters that talk about injustice, isolation, unsatisfying pleasure and uncertainty, it would seem that we stand in need of a more stable relationship to offset the vagaries [unpredictability] of life. Do we find answers in the “house of God?”

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a Danish philosopher and the father of religious existentialism. He was a pietas Lutheran who needed “a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.” The Hegelian system at the University of Copenhagen could not provide what he needed and he reacted strongly against it.

Kierkegaard had a great contempt for the established Danish Lutheran church and delivered a series of bitter attacks against it. He saw the incompatibility between the ecclesiastical conformism and the inward and personal character of Christian faith. For a time, he lived a melancholy life of pleasure, returning to his studies. He noted that “pastors are royal officials; royal officials have nothing to do with Christianity.” To him, the state church was dead and useless.

So Solomon says: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” “Listen” has to do with heeding and obeying with an anxious readiness and demeanor of preparedness—to hear. (I might add here that at our churches, there are three types of people in the congregation:

1. Those that who hear nothing
2. those who hear what they want to hear
3. those who hear what is said

Jesus warned us to “Consider carefully what we hear” (Mark 4:24) and in the passage about the cost of being a disciple he said: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 14:34). Jesus had much to say about hearing.

be_slow2speakJames adds to these admonitions when he says: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry . . .” (James 1:19) It is the opposite of the “offering the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong (lit. ‘evil’) Eccl. 5:1

God took pains to guard the earthly threshold of the temple in early times, even by the threat of death: “lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle” (Lev 15:31). Solomon’s target is the well-meaning person attending a church service that likes a lively song service and comes with a happy spirit but listens with half an ear. He never gets around to what he has earlier committed to do for the kingdom of God. He has forgotten his baptismal covenant with the Lord and ends up playing church. More than that, he has forgotten where and who he is and becomes casual with God.

This is all linked with the unreality of dreams and words (verse 3), where he again is referred to as a fool. The word means ‘silly’ or ‘stupid’. The preacher is pressing for the reality in the realm of worship. Many of the prophets, and also Christ, spoke their censures against the cruel and the hypocrites but Solomon seems to be aiming at the careless attendees of the temple and todays apathetic crowd who frolic and trifle with the serious things of Christ. How pathetic that we take pious activity and make it meaningless and treat lightly what is holy.

Consider Matthew 7:21 where Christ warns that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” No amount of emphasis on grace can justify taking liberties with God. The very idea of grace demands our gratitude, and gratitude cannot be fake and casual.

So, the fact that God has “no pleasure in fools” is powerful. Worship is to be more than verbal doodling. We are to be serious in our worship and know Who we are worshiping. How often do we commit a hoax? The idea of hearing, in Hebrew, often has the double force of paying attention and obeying. (See I Sam 15:22, 23 for further comment on worship)

There is much more that could be said about holiness, but remember that we are to “guard our steps when we go to the house of God.” Fools are not a certain type but people behaving in ungodly ways. Our excuses to the Lord will come off as spiritual defaults and fakes.