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Archive for the ‘temptation’ Category

It’s so easy to get tangled up in multiple messes of everyday life to the point of distraction from God stuff.

It happens to us all.

Health woes.

Money woes.

Job woes.

Family conflict woes.

Car woes.

Personal morality — or immorality — woes.

Real estate or house repair woes.

The list goes on and on.

So often there are more woes than hours to resolve them, it seems.

So how are we to remain faithful with respect to the teaching of 2 Timothy 2:4?

Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.”

Do the things of God first, that’s how.

Keep up with your daily prayer and Bible reading time.

Welcome any opportunity the Lord gives you for encouraging others and praying with them, particularly your family members.

Talk with others about the blessings that God has sent into your life and how He does the same for all who embrace Him.

Attend worship gatherings and home Bible study group meetings.

Tithe without fail.

Obey your Commanding Officer on high without making excuses as to why you’re not available for serving in the Lord’s Army.

Yes, we all have to manage our housing needs, our food needs, our transportation needs, job needs, family needs, etc..

In fact, if we don’t provide for our families, we’re worse than unbelievers, Paul wrote.

But providing a godly spiritual example is the greatest need they have from us. So let’s please the Commander of the Lord’s Army, Jesus Christ.

Let’s do what we need to do for the Lord and then we can do some of what we want to do for ourselves.

That way, we won’t get tangled up in cords that can drag us down rather than lift us up.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I spent more than a few winters in Indiana and that required dealing at times with icy, slippery roads.

Invariably, driving on such roads meant passing a car or two that had slidden into a ditch or onto a sidewalk.

I didn’t experience such a misfortune because I always kept my eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel and, most importantly, my mind on “no mistakes” driving.

I presumed that I would end up in a ditch if I didn’t keep absolutely focused on staying between the lines.

It’s much the same with our spiritual journey through life.

Because of our fallen nature, our road through life is slippery with unwanted ditches waiting to trap and humiliate us all along the way.

That’s why we’re to keep our eyes on the road, our hands on the steering wheel of decision-making and, most importantly, our mind on “no mistakes” driving.

That’s why we’re called by Jesus to follow the “straight and narrow” path.

That’s a great idea, but we fail at times.

All of us.

We end up in a ditch of sin.

We’re not alone in this.

The first humans did the same thing.

Genesis 3 is a picture of you and me, in some respects.

The road of obedience was clearly marked for Adam and Eve.

But they thought the line between submission and rebellion didn’t apply to them.

They believed the liar’s lie and presumed that God was, in fact, the liar.

In the tragic verse that captures the essence of all sin — Genesis 3:6 — Eve demonstrated the pattern that you and I have repeated all too many times with forbidden fruit of one form or another.

She saw. She wanted. She took. And she shared.

It was only then that she and Adam saw they were in a ditch.

A very large ditch.

By God’s grace, He pulled them out of the ditch that led to hell.

By innocent blood, their sins were covered.

Life is a journey, my friend.

Let’s do our best to stay out of the ditch in 2014.

Let’s keep our eyes on the road, our hands on the steering wheel of decision-making and, most importantly, our mind on “no mistakes” driving.

Unless we determine to drive carefully on our spiritual journey, we’ll end up in the ditch, too, just like Adam and Eve.

Never forget that Satan is a liar and that every temptation heads straight into the ditch.

As always, I love you
Martin

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One of the lessons that teens typically have to learn the hard way is that parents are usually a lot smarter than the teens might want to admit.

Within a few years of leaving home, most teens realize that Mom and Dad were right more often than the teen had thought.

And that usually means that there is a regret or two or three for not having followed parental advice.

It seems that the people of Israel during Joshua’s day were acting like teens for awhile.

God had told them to do whatever it takes to rid the Promised Land of corrupted-lifestyle people who didn’t worship Jehovah.

And the Book of Joshua describes how the Israelites did take control of the regions where the pagan people weren’t hard-core warriors with stubborn streaks.

But the first chapter of the Book of Judges describes a number of places for which the Israelites didn’t take God’s command seriously.

The Chosen People chose to disbelieve God’s warning that failure to “cleanse the land” would lead to national corruption and calamity.

It’s really sad.

In the minds of the Israelites, there wasn’t really a problem. After all, the pagans allowed to remain WERE serving as slaves and the Hebrews were the dominant forces — at least for a generation or so until Hebrew boys started carrying on with and even marrying pretty party girls from idol-worshiping tribes.

The remainder of the Book of Judges is a sad tale of spiritual compromise and recurring, humiliating tragedy for the Israelites.

If only the Israelites would have listened to their Jehovah Dad.

Listen, God says that you and I need to cleanse the enemy from the land of our individual lives.

Let’s pledge to rid ourselves of any allegiance to a stumbling block habit or vice or tainted philosophy that weakens our loyalty to scripture.

Let’s not think that we can hang out at the Carnal Corral and not step into a pile of spiritual compromise.

We can’t dance with the Devil and not have our toes stepped on or be sure that we won’t be danced off the edge of a cliff.

Whatever stubborn sin there is in your life, please heed the lessons of Judges — destroy its grip with God’s help before it decimates your spiritual vibrancy and possibly even leads to the destruction of your soul.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If a Christian man can’t go to the beach without gazing at women’s bodies, then he shouldn’t go to the beach.

The same principle applies to Christian women, as well, regarding those young men with sculpted muscles and toned legs.

What did Paul write to Timothy? “Flee youthful lusts…”

I rarely go to the beach. Not for the above reason, though. I simply would much rather be IN the water swimming or scuba diving or ON the water boating rather than being by the water on the beach.

Many people struggle with the lust thing, though.

It is a real challenge because there are so many attractive people and there are so many unfulfilled people — not a good mix when it comes to being in the same place.

Hmmm…. this fertile soil for sinful thoughts — and perhaps subsequent actions — could exist anywhere, couldn’t it?

And skin doesn’t have to be showing for the mind to cross the line of morality.

For people who live in cold climates, waterfront gazing opportunities occur less frequently than in Florida where sand and surf and sun are in abundance.

Yet, do not men and women in colder climates also struggle with lustful thoughts in the workplace or college campuses or shopping malls or even grocery store aisles?

Places where people are completely dressed?

Yes.

The presence of clothing — sometimes multiple layers of it — is no barrier to the pondering and pandering of the mind.

Consider this passage written nearly 4,000 years ago in a land where women were covered almost completely from head to toe with multiple layers of fabric:

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a virgin. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” (Job 31:1-4)

We know that Job was the most righteous man on earth in his day, said by scholars to be around the time of Abraham.

He was married and had been the father of adult daughters. He knew that he had no business gazing lustfully at other women and he promised to honor God with his eyes.

And yet, because Job determined that he had to declare a promise to God in order to draw the line on looking, this must have been a real struggle for him at some point.

It’s a promise that every Christian adult should make.

Look, we’ve all failed at some point with respect to this verse. Hopefully we’re not failing now.

Disaster awaits us in this life and the next if we don’t bring our eyes under subjection to the holiness of God.

Why? Because the eyes are the window to the soul and we don’t need to be letting Satan pour poisoned “eye candy” into our souls.

God is watching you and me and counting our steps. Let’s make sure that our heritage is holy, not dishonorable.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Perhaps you know a financially struggling believer who is being tempted to cheat his/her employer of expenses money or the IRS of taxes or perhaps even God of the tithes and other offerings that He expects.

Perhaps you know an emotionally struggling believer whose marriage is in poor shape and who is eyeing that “green grass” on the other side of the fence. Perhaps that believer has already started grazing in the poisoned pasture.

Or perhaps you know a grudge-controlled believer whose once-pleasant disposition has become soured by unforgiveness because someone “dared” offend him or her, perhaps even unknowingly.

We are to pray for such folk so that their hearts will not only soften but will become more attentive to the voice of the Lord.

Yes, they’re facing temptations that can be hard to resist, particularly if bad “me-ology” replaces good theology.

But if they’ll look, there’s always a faithful escape path from temptations they face.

God promises so.

It’s not easy to stand firm and faithful in the above circumstances.

But it’s a whole lot easier in eternity — and ultimately in this life — for those who do.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about those moments when believers find themselves at a fork in the road:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. 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 that you can endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13)

I don’t know what temptations you’re facing now. But I do know that Satan hates God and hates you and does anything he can to lure you away from faithful living.

Remember that Satan is a liar, murderer, thief and extremely smart.

He also has nothing more to lose.

But you and I do have much to lose.

As in everything.

Please…. test every thought and feeling against the Word of God. Here’s a useful test passage to have on hand — Philippians 4:8-9.

Eternity is too valuable of a treasure to throw it away for departure from the path of faith, no matter how satisfied Satan says we’ll be.

As always, I love you
Martin

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