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Posts Tagged ‘temptation’

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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The body has an amazing ability to retain strength and wellness when we don’t corrupt it with unhealthy food, vices or thoughts.

But there is this human tendency to do things like eating too much salt and grease and sugar or like falling into the pits of lust or bitterness or greed or vain independance from God’s ways.

The result is never good.

I recognize this weakness of human pride and strive to limit my waywardness. I’m not perfect, but every year the random divergence from the center line of God’s path seems to become less and less.

That’s a good thing.

I was reminded in today’s One-Year Bible reading as to why sticking to the center line of Christ’s example is such a good idea.

In a nutshell, Joshua 6-7 describe how the Israelites had just experienced the great, miraculous victory over the city of Jericho and all were excited — except God.

Why? Because an Israelite family had secretly defied God’s command that all the silver and gold from Jericho belong to God and should be placed in the national treasury.

Why Achan and his family thought they could get away with defying God’s command and keeping silver for themselves is beyond me. After all, Achan was trying to fool the Jehovah who sent the plagues, parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River and who knocked down the walls of Jerocho.

Remember, though, sin is never logical in a spiritual sense.

Right after defeating Jericho, the Israelites decided to attack a city called Ai. Surprisingly to them, they suffered an embarrassing defeat because they clearly weren’t getting any battle wisdom or strength from God.

God knew the reason and He wanted the people of Israel to learn it in a regimented, retained way.

He commanded a lengthy process of elimination that — in a way not described in scripture — ultimately revealed the culprit family and retrieved that which belonged to the Lord.

Until God was honored as He commanded, the power for victory would not flow from God. Here is God’s message to Joshua to be told to the grieving, confused and fear-filled people:

‘“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.” (Joshua 7:13)

I encourage you to read Joshua 7-8 to learn from this sequence in Israel’s history. For it just might reduce the likelihood of your experiencing the heartache of spiritual failure, whether your own or that of another.

Listen, anything in our lives that God has told us to give up — whether it be tithing back to Him a portion of the wealth He pours into our lives or it be a sinful habit that is to be laid aside — let’s do it.

The consequences of defiantly refusing to do what God wants — and then thinking we can hide it from Him — should be avoided at all costs.

God created us to thrive in His love as we trust in His Truth.

Let’s thrive together, OK?

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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