Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fleeting Pleasures

Growing up in our home was a bit different than some folks.  Dad & Mom spoke both English & Italian and of course it wasn’t long before us kids understood Italian.  However, since Mom was a native from Italy, she spoke English with an accent.   It was a natural way of life; nothing out of the ordinary to our family. It wasn’t until a few years ago that our daughters noticed a trait they claim I have acquired thru the years.  Apparently, after a visit back home; especially after being around Mom, they claim I have an Italian accent.  I suppose that’s possible because it’s easy to fall back on old habits & distinguishing traits from those you’re around the most.  And it’s always easy to slip back into what you used to do; even if it’s been awhile since you’ve participated. 
One of Mom’s favorite sayings as we grew up was, “You tell me who you hang around and I’ll tell you who you are.”  Boy was she right.  But she wasn’t talking about speaking with an accent.  Her intent was for us to understand that whoever we hung around; eventually we would become just like them.  

Before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I used to go out partying until all hours of the night; hanging with people I considered my friends.  At the beginning, I was having a blast; convinced life was good.  Everything and just about anything was fun!  Didn’t have a care in the world; seriously didn’t even care if I lived or died.  I was living for the moment.  After some cousins led me to the Lord, in my naïve 19 year old mind, I honestly thought I could still hang around my old partying friends.  However, it wasn’t long before I took my eyes off of Jesus and fell flat on my face; right back into a carefree life of sin.   A short time after, I was evicted from my apartment, (close to all my favorite hangouts), forced to find a place I could afford; about 10 miles away. But the partying didn’t stop.   
Then, one night as I sat at a table with my friends, an older female “acquaintance” sat down with us and said words that would shake my world.  In her drunken stupor, she smiled at us young girls and said, “I used to be just like you when I was young.” As I looked at this woman who was known to frequent the local bars by taxi; completely drenched in her own urine, I can remember thinking, “Oh my goodness; I don’t want to be like you!”  Soon after, I stopped hanging with my friends; just didn’t fit in anymore.   

But that wasn’t the end of what God had planned for my life.  Oh contraire, my friends!  I ended up losing my job as well. However, what seemed at the time to be detrimental ended up being a turning point in my life.  God immediately showered me with His mercy & grace as He allowed me to be completely alone; nothing left… but His presence.  I was finally in a place in my life where I had nowhere else to turn; but to look back up at Him.  I remember the day I rededicated my life to Him; as if it were yesterday.  As I lay on my bed, in my quiet, lonely apartment, I looked up and said, “God, I don’t know what you want with me; but here I am.”  Wish I could say I changed all my sinful habits overnight. However, truth is; Jesus accepted me just as I came to Him; as a filthy, wretched sinner. Day by day, the Holy Spirit would convict me on sin that was still prevalent in my life. 

On December 25, 1981, I remember looking up and promising the Lord that I would never smoke or drink ever again.  I FINALLY understood that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I was bought with a high price; the blood of Jesus; and I needed to honor God with my body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV  

He helped me understand that I am His daughter and no matter what sin I committed, He still loved me. He also helped me understand that sin is what kept me separated from Him. Bottom line; I needed to choose between the pleasures of a life of sin that would lead to death versus a relationship with Him that would lead to eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 ESV

SIN - at its best is fun; but only for a season.  Hebrews 11:23-26 ESV describes it as “fleeting (short-lived) pleasures”.  Truth is, when I was living a carefree life of sin, I didn’t stop to consider the cost or end result of it.  

With sin; there is always a cost. Unfortunately, sometimes the price we end up paying is higher than what we could have ever imagined. 

So, in the words of my beautiful Mom, (Ma as we call her) – “You tell me who you hang around and I’ll tell you who you are.”   But honestly folks, you don’t need me to tell you who you are or what sin may be prevalent in your life.  Search your own heart and allow God to show you. Are you happy with the choices you made in life or do the pleasures of this world not seem so fun anymore? 
Remember - Sin at its best is nothing more than fleeting pleasures and eventually the fun will go away. 

Question is - What price are you willing to pay?
Maybe it’s time for a “Fresh Start with God”. It’s not too late!  Choose right now to flee from the pleasures of a life of sin that will lead to death and accept a relationship with God that will lead to eternal life.
He’s patiently waiting for you. 
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
It’s that simple folks!
Be blessed my family & friends and walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!

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