Terror from the Tempter {7.13.16}

I don’t know about where you live but when I turn on the news each morning, there seems to always be sad and tragic news in abundance. I really don’t remember the last time I watched the news and there was no killing reported. It’s so sad. It rouses many emotions in us but I wonder how often it prompts us to do the things we can do – pray and love.

Matthew 5:44: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

The terror we are seeing is from the tempter, Satan. He wants to steal, kill and destroy. He appears to be doing quite a fine job of it, with help from us. God never tempts us to evil but He does allow us free will to choose good over evil.

James 1:13-15: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

1 Timothy 5:15: “Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Remember, when we are tempted to sin/evil, God will ALWAYS provide a way of escape for us. We need to look for that escape route and take it.

Loving our enemies is hard to do, hard to even think about doing in our own strength. That’s why we need GOD. It’s only possible through His love and His Strength working in and through us.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-24: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Sometimes we let these awful things we hear go in one ear and then out again if it doesn’t happen to our family or friends. But, we know that it affects us all. This is a war we are in the middle of and the battle is fierce. It’s a war against good and evil. It’s a war against our nation, our families, and even our sanity. The great news is that God has provided us all we need to fight this battle. Check it out below.

Ephesians 6:10-18: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints”

So, I guess the purpose of this post is to remind myself and others who may read it to keep on praying, keep on trusting God and keep on fighting the fight, on our knees and with love. Loving God first and foremost and then with His help, loving others – all others. After all, Christ died and rose again for EVERYONE.

If you have not yet joined the family of God, you can do that right now. Admit your sins, accept the gift of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ as your savior and then love, trust and follow God. It’s that simple. God will help guide and direct you and give you understanding through His Holy Spirit.

Mighty things can happen when we all join together in love and prayer. Are we with God? Or, are we with Satan? Those are our only two choices. If we don’t actively choose God, we choose Satan by default. His team may win battles but they lose the war and end up in terror and torment for eternity. Choosing Satan is a choice leading to death. With God, we will spend eternity in heaven. Easy choice – choose God and live!

Detours {6.7.16}

I don’t know about where you live, but in my daily travels, I find road construction or detours on almost every route I take. I’m usually a patient driver and don’t get frustrated easily but I find myself trying to find a way around the detours or construction so that I don’t have to wait. Can you relate?

Road detours aren’t thdetoure only detours we take in life, are they? We can be going down a path toward our goals and something derails us. Before we know it, we have left that path and forged another. I know that in my own life, I have consistently exercised for a long time (same time each day) and then got sidetracked or derailed. For some strange reason it is always very hard for me to get back on the path I had started – the one toward my goal. Same with healthy eating. I will do well for a while and then have one of my “trigger foods” and spiral back into old habits. How about our spiritual walks? We are consistently in God’s Word, prayer, fellowshipping with other believers and then – BAM! Something happens and pretty soon we let worry, new commitments, other desires take over the time we used to spend with God. Before we know it, God is not in first place and sometimes not even in second or third. We just call on Him when WE THINK we need Him.

We are tempted – sure. But, not by God. James 1:13-14 “When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Good News – we don’t have to wait for Monday to begin again, we can do it NOW, right this minute. We can ask God for His help and then – accept it. With God, it’s just that easy. On our own we have more trouble. As human beings, we have a tendency to talk ourselves in or out of anything we want. Problem is – it only delays the inevitable consequence. Here is God’s promise to believers regarding temptation:  1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”

Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we put God first, everything else will fall into place. That’s the key. So simple. So true. There is no way to stay on the right path without God’s direction. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” That’s a promise from God and He always keeps His Word!

Even when we are inconvenienced and find ourselves on a detour, we don’t have to be detoured from the plan God has for us and the narrow path leading to righteous
ness. We can use the time spent waiting in traffic to pray: for road detour crossconstruction crews, those behind the wheel who frustrate us, any other need we see as we travel. And of course, we can spend the time praising God for the blessings He has given us. Funny how it works but as we count our blessings in praise and thanksgiving to God, pretty soon our delays and annoyances won’t seem so big and bad after all. We may even start looking at detours as opportunities for growth. We can refocus and go forward in peace and joy. Acts 2:28 “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”  I wish you all joy and peace along whatever path God leads you.


Outside our Control vs. Out of Control {2.25.16}

This week we have seen things in the news that are totally outside our control. Tornadoes and blizzards are certainly things of which we have no control. Only God can control the wind and rain, sky and stars, ocean waves, etc. We can try to be prepared for possible trouble but it is outside our control. We are totally dependent on our Creator. His power is evident in nature.

There are other things outside our control. We can’t control what other people think, say or do. We can’t control whether or not disease or disaster come our way. What we can control is how we deal with situations that are outside our control. Our attitudes and heart are within our control. We can show hope or despair. We can bring a smile or a frown. We can love and forgive or hate and grow bitter. What do we want people to see as they watch us live your lives? Light or Darkness? I believe that many times our greatest witness is when we go through trouble and don’t lose our hope or joy because it is in Christ and through His power. People notice that.

There are also things in our lives which are totally out of control. When I look around me I see that families are falling apart by any number of sins. Sometimes it’s drugs, sometimes greed, sometimes infidelity, sometimes selfishness. You name it – sin is out there in full force. It seems to me that everyone I know either has these issues within their own families or the family of someone they know. When we turn on the TV we see many examples of people whose lives are out of control. We sensationalize it. We have many TV talk shows to exploit it. They wouldn’t be on if we didn’t watch. What is it about those types of shows and news stories? Do they make us feel better about ourselves? It’s an illusion if we do. We are often our own worst enemies. It’s sometimes hard to really look in the mirror of our hearts and souls because what we see isn’t pretty. But, it’s necessary to be real with ourselves, isn’t it? After all who are we deceiving? God already knows and probably others do as well.

Satan is a deceiver and he can be very subtle. Sometimes we don’t even realize our behavior is a sin because we justify it. We also tend to judge other people by our own lives instead of judging our lives against Christ, our example. Murder is a sin. Theft is a sin. Gossip and gluttony are also sins. Hmmm. We don’t like to look at sin that way, do we? It is hard to understand another person’s sins if we don’t struggle with the same things. I don’t understand how a parent can choose drugs over their children. But, I don’t walk in those shoes. What I do know is that if we give sin a chance, it will rule our lives. I think the old saying is, “Don’t give Satan an inch or he will take a mile.” The good news is that we don’t have to give in to sin.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

prayer in hands of godWe must be in prayer asking God to help us each day to choose well. We must also pray for others to do the same.

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” 1 Samuel 12:23

So whatever it might be in your life that seems outside your control or out of control, give it to God and watch Him work in your life, as you surrender it to Him. If we do our part, He will certainly do His. Keep on praying…