Tag Archives: temptation

2 Chronicles 6:12-42; 1 John 5; Habakkuk 1; Luke 20

I love Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple to God once it was completed.  Full of passion, his body  language denoted humility before an almighty God.  I find myself falling on my knees and raising my hands in prayer more often these days – probably an act of surrender acknowledging to God that more and more I need Him in my life.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven. – 2 Chronicles 6:13

Over the years, my “prayer batting average” is pretty low. I have prayed for the salvation of people who have not gotten saved. I have prayed for the restoration of sinning Christians, who have not repented and been restored. I have prayed for the reconciliation of many Christian marriages that have broken up.  I have prayed for physical healing for those in need and they have not been healed.  You would think that I might just give up.  I did once, when I was fourteen, and God showed up so tangibly that I will never lose my confidence that He is working everything out in His own time.

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

I am still learning today the same lessons I did then as I face different situations in my life.  I still cry, still tell Him what bothers me and I have given God exactly what He needs to do to solve the problem – oops – He still is ignoring my solutions.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? – Habakkuk 1:1

I know there is a temptation for me to abuse prayer, to fake it and to tell everyone how pious I am in my prayer walk.  Pretty sure I have not fallen to the level of the scribes in Jesus’ time.

They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. – Luke 20:47

Father, as I kneel before You with my outstretched arms, I do it knowing that as I come before You, it is to acknowledge that You reign in my life.  I yield my life before You and as Solomon consecrated the temple, I consecrate myself to You again this day.  As Jesus taught us to pray – I acknowledge You as my Father  –  I worship You today.  Be glorified in my life.  If that comes through answered prayer – that would be a blessing and encouragement to me – if it comes from Your hand another way, I am so thankful that You are still listening to me.  For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever – Amen. 

evanlaar

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 John, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Habakkuk, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized

2 Samuel 10-12; Luke 19:29-48

I had the worst hair cut ever. My teeth were a mess. My complexion was moody. And I had no idea how to put on makeup. This was middle school–a time in my life that I mostly remember as awkward. It was foundational ground where I learned about relationships too, and little did I know then that those relational experiences were a preview of things I would face as an adult.

My daughter is entering the middle school years. I watch her work it out–this mystery of determining who is a friend. I offer input when I can and hope she’ll listen. The one benefit I have now that I didn’t have in my time is the Bible. The Bible has a lot to say about relationships and friendships.

But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.

12 So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor …” 2 Samuel 11:27b-12:1 NLT.

Sometimes people will lead us into sin. Sometimes we get there all on our own. David knew what he did was wrong, and it appears the only person he was deceiving was himself. Only Nathan spoke up. I would bet lots of people talked about David and Bathsheba, but only one spoke to David.

There could have been a different ending to this story: Nathan could have kept silent; or David could have gotten mad and stayed in denial. I know of times when I tried to speak to someone where it totally blew up in my face. It makes me cautious. But I also think of the times I didn’t speak up and watched someone I love go down a path that left many casualties. I always wonder what could have been if I had braved the truth. Likewise, I have my own regrets of things I’ve done. In hindsight, I see the value of choosing good friends–because in big ways and in small ways, who we spend time with will shape who we are and what we do.

Lord, I pray for discernment. I pray for wisdom. I pray for a tender heart and open ears–that I would be receptive to a friend’s truth and repent of sinful ways. I pray to be a good friend and I pray to have godly friends. I pray for my girls, that they would always seek you. There is truly no greater joy than to know a child is walking in the truth.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

2 Sam. 23; Gal. 3; Ezek.30; Ps.78:38-72

Temptation… Sin… Is there a difference?

What is the real question here… to work on not being tempted? Or is it not to sin… after all, doesn’t temptation lead to sin? Well… it can, and often does, but it doesn’t have to. Experiencing temptation, in and of itself, is not sin… nor is it an indicator that we are not living the kind of life Jesus would want from us… after all, Jesus was tempted, but Jesus remained without sin. So… when does temptation become sin?

Recently, on an incredibly gorgeous day on campus, I asked some students the question, when did Eve’s temptation in the garden turn into sin? Was it when she first dialoged with the serpent? Was it when she first saw the fruit seeing it as something very desirable? How about when she held the fruit… is that when temptation turned into sin? Or, was Eve really innocent up until the moment when the fruit first touched her lips? Going further, if eat had taken a bite of the fruit, changed her mind and spit it out, could the sin be reversed to become an un-sin??

All of us are struggling with personal battles. And, in a society that continues to push over the top temptations everywhere we look, recognizing the difference between temptation and sin is a critical matter. So how do we address this issue? Once our temptation is expressed in an outward manner, is it too late? I believe that once my heart is focused on the object of desire, I am engaged in sin. For, the desire of our hearts will be carried out over time, for when desire is conceived, sin is birth, and, left unchecked… mature sin can bring about death (James 1:15). Some have tried to justify the duration of time temptation is present as it relates to sin. It seems to me that regardless of how long the “gestation period” is for sin, once we allow desire to conceive, sin is birthed!

The writer in 2 Samuel 23 refers to David as “the man who was raised on high”… this humble individual was indeed raised on high by God… he was referred to as the “anointed one”. David constantly proved himself to be a man of courage. And courage inspires courage… and David was a man of courage. But David was not without sin either… God’s “anointed one”… with his mind already set on the things of the flesh at the time he encountered Bathsheba, David was unprepared to resist the temptation that he faced… so much so that he crossed the line into adultery and later murder. But Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount makes it clear that the line is initially crossed in our hearts before it manifests into sinful behavior (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, if our goal is to commit to a sin-less life, we must look at what are hearts are set on. Seeking God in all things in faith will help prepare our hearts with the proper attitude rather than just proper behavior since attitude is a matter of the heart and behaviors originate in the mind (Galatians 3:26-29, Psalm 78:72).

Heavenly Father… help me to focus on You… let me act as I would if you were sitting next to me on the couch… in the car while I’m driving… in all places. Lord you know my weaknesses… you were tempted and did not fall… help me to know that strength as I strive to be more like you in my heart and mind. You have wisdom that I yearn to know… please be with me and share your heart with me so I can know you better. Amen.

Greg (gstefanelli)

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, Galatians, James, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Samuel 29, 30; 1 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 8; Psalms 46, 47

Mentions of idols. Lifestyles the Lord disapproves. Paul writes,

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago.

All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-7 NLT.

All of these people traveled together, worshiped together, ate together, but some of them continued to do things that displeased the Lord.

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 1 Corinthians 10:13-15 NLT.

If the Bible can tell me what not to do, I trust it will give me something to do in place.

I found it in a small sentence in 1 Samuel. I included a preceding sentence to define the circumstance. This was no willpower battle over the Hershey bar in the freezer. David was in great danger. His life was at stake. And the stones that they’d use to kill him were hard and real.

David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 NLT.

David inquires of the Lord what he should do.

Lord, I sing to you and worship you. I pursue you and follow you. But sometimes I don’t think consult you over the temptations in my life or the difficulties of a circumstance. Sometimes I think: I’ve got this! Thanks for the reminder that I’m not meant to carry the full weight of the burden. My strength is in you.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Numbers 4, Psalm 38, Song of Solomon 2, Hebrews 2

Read - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%204;%20Ps.%2038;%20Song%202;%20Heb.%202&version=NKJV 

Numbers 4               Then the Lord spoke, “Take a census of the sons of Kohath, Gershon, Merari, Levites, … all who enter the service to do the work … but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.”

             You know me, Lord. I am never hidden from Your sight. You number my days. You have prepared me to do service for You. I am to commit my way to You so You will do the blessing through me.

            Working for You can be “deadly” if I ever take the glory because it is only due to You. No compliment, no esteem, no honor, no whatever can I accept without internally submitting that to You, Lord Jesus Christ. It is only under Your Authority and by abiding in You, that any eternal good can ever be accomplished.

            Lord Jesus, keep my mind and heart fresh to hear Your thoughts as my first priority whenever anyone appreciates me. I want to hear You praised and glorified within my own heart, my Savior and Lord! That is my reward!

Psalm 38                   O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! There is no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger, Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; I go mourning all the day long.

            The price of sin is Enormous! The pain it causes far outweighs and outlasts any moment of illicit pleasure.  When I harden my heart, becoming stubborn in believing that “I deserve my unlawful pleasure rights” – I cause greater harm to myself and to those whom I say with my lips that I love; You Lord, my relatives, friends, and those who need Jesus yet may be led astray by witnessing an unfaithful Christ follower. 

For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. – O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

             Lord Jesus, I have sinned against You only – and gravely. My fear of man, distrust of Your Word, and attitude of self-will all speak loudly against You, Holy One. I choose to turn away, this moment, from “my rights” and submit to Your Rights, LORD. Take this situation which is before me, give me Your Word Perspective, fill me with Your Holy Spirit wisdom and power. See – I shall turn away from my familiar pattern and do Your counsel for You, Lord Jesus Christ!   

Song of Solomon 2             The man about the woman, “Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.”                           

            Imagery – Imagine – Christ with His Bride, the Church, the Body of Christ! Thorns are those who are still Jesus’ enemy. I am a lily among those who are thorns. I am Your Love! What an honor to be loved and cherished by You, my Savior! My heart melts!

            The woman about the man, “I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste. … He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love….  My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away.’”

            By Your Lovingkindness You draw me into Your Presence! Your unconditional Love overshadows all the ills in my life and overwhelms me. You always call me to stay in Your Presence. ~ ~ I rest in You, Lord Jesus. You refresh me like no other. I ponder Your Word privately, intimately, vulnerably. Your Holy Spirit gives me comfort, wisdom and holy perspective. Your Sweet Fruit I desire above all – the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and Your work.

            I shall be faithful to You, Lord Jesus, my Betrothed. You are always beneficially honest with me for Your glory! Your everlasting love binds my heart, mind and all to You, my Beloved King!

My beloved is mine, and I am His. v.16

Hebrews 2                How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit …?

             No adultery! No neglecting the Great Salvation which the Lord Jesus paid for me! No betraying or rejecting the One Love that can save me and fill me with healing and wholeness!

           But how am I unfaithful to my first Love? Who or what do I run to when I am upset, bothered and wanting to escape even minor “moody pain”? how many times have a failed? and harmed others in my wake? Do I first run to Jesus, the Word of God, and stay there? For Good counsel, comfort and wisdom to change my perspective and situation? Do my reactions have Jesus being the Fragrance people smell, instead of my own odorous ways?

     Through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. …For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

I am free and empowered, indeed, to live for You! Thank You Lord Jesus!

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You. I will put My trust in Him.” v.13

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Gen. 4, Matt. 4, Ezra. 4, Acts 4

“6. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Gen 4:6-7

“1. When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, 2. they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” Ezra 4:1-2 (NIV)

“29. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” Acts 4:29 (NIV)

What is it about temptation that is so enticing? Are unmet human needs really at the core of all temptation? Perhaps it isn’t just unmet human needs that must be considered; rather the condition of our support foundation prior to facing trails might help us understand how to survive temptation during challenging times. Perhaps taking on a proactive approach to preparing for when, not if, temptation occurs is the key to surviving Satan’s attack… to unlearn, then relearn what to do when we are in the presence of temptation is key.

Matthew 4 opens with a powerful discourse between Christ and Satan. In the passage, an interesting observation was made concerning Christ’s temptation… it is immediately after Christ is declared Savior of the world that He is tempted with great privileges and promises of Devine favor. What was clear was the closer and stronger the relationship with God the Father, Satan will do whatever he can to interrupt that connection, usually by exploiting our weaknesses… not even Christ was spared such an attack! Left to rely on our own strength, we are tempting Satin to tempt us, thereby provoking God to leave us to ourselves to handle the battle on our own… a battle we will likely lose as Satan is relentless on his attack of God’s children. Satan’s aim in all his temptations was for Christ to sin against His Father. He tempted Him to despair of his Father’s goodness, and to distrust His Father’s care concerning Him. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition. Therefore, we must be on guard boldly and courageously by strengthening ourselves spiritually in any way possible lest we fall quickly into sin.

While driving on a highway this summer prior to leaving for Rwanda to serve on a mission trip, I needed to pull over as I began to experience a feeling of panic come over me; a feeling I had never felt before. I became overwhelmed with fears on many levels… who would care for my daughters if something happened to me in Rwanda? Who would care for my Mom after losing my Dad earlier this year? How could I leave knowing I didn’t have enough personal time left from work since I had used most of my personal time caring for my Dad in his final days? At that moment, Satan knew exactly where to attack me, and he did so with a vengeance! A voice inside spoke to reach out to one of the men in my men’s group that I had chosen to surround myself with years before. We prayed hard together; for direction, strength, and peace, and slowly, the panic subsided and I was able to drive again. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of my work in Rwanda did it become clear as to why the intensity of Satan’s attack on that highway weeks earlier. I was serving God in Rwanda… I was being obedient to my Lord and Savior to build His Kingdom here on Earth, and Satan did all he could do to stop that process from happening.

Satan is well versed in Scripture and he often twists words to serve his purpose. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with “It is written;” To set an example for us to follow, He appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. It is clear that we must commit to unlearning our self-reliant ways, and relearn the ways of Christ any time we are tempted to sin. By doing the work of intentionally engaging in the Word on a regular basis with our minds and hearts, and surrounding ourselves with Godly men and women, only then can we expect any chance to survive the wrath of Satan when temptation occurs. This approach will help us to act more quickly and firmly at resisting temptation and therefore build a closer relationship with Christ and for Christ.

Greg (gstefanelli)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, Genesis, Matthew

Jeremiah 47, Jeremiah 48, Hebrews 2

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2 

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, – “Because he exalted himself against the Lord. – His lies have made nothing right. – I will bring The year of their punishment,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 48

Please Read –  www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2047,48;%20Heb%202&version=NKJV

Hebrews 2                Of Jesus Christ: “have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  – Thank You Lord Jesus!!

            King of kings, You think, consider and care for me! Your Word says, “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?”  

              You did and continue to do this through Your Son Jesus Who “for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for” me. And is “a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2

             Lord God, I am so needy. In this sin-stained world, I am grateful to come to You for help and protection against all forms of temptation, deception and evil. Even from things that seem good but that are not glorifying to You, my Lord. Your Word, the Bible, gives me Your wisdom, perspective, comfort, empowerment and love. You grow me, correct and change me, mold me to be different than I was before, and hopefully not as ‘good’ as You will have me by next year. Your peace within me surpasses all understanding. Eternal hope and joy by Your Holy Spirit sustain me and enable my soul to flourish despite my circumstances. I desire to know Your Mind and Heart Lord and Master! I long to serve You better from my inside on out.

~I am Moved to Worship You with deep Gratitude and Awe!~ 

Jeremiah 47             Thus says the LORD: “Behold, waters rise, an overflowing flood, men shall cry, … The fathers will not look back for their children, Lacking courage, … For the LORD shall plunder; the LORD has given it a charge Against –  He has appointed it.”

Jeremiah 48             Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, You also shall be taken. Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully,”

            The world, the flesh and the devil are alive and active – tugging, pulling, manipulating and trying to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:24). Culture and “religion” take its toll by lying to me, feeding my pride by saying “You are the most important. Take pleasure, please yourself! Your good works make you good. Your riches make you safe. Do what you think is right because God loves you.” Judges 21:25  

            Judgment has come on the plain country: The horn of Moab is cut off, And his arm is broken,” says the Lord.  “Make him drunk, Because he exalted himself against the Lord. Moab shall wallow in his vomit, And he shall also be in derision. We have heard the pride of Moab (He is exceedingly proud), of the haughtiness of his heart.” Says the Lord, “His lies have made nothing right.”  Romans1:18-2:11

            Cutting off the strength of the country, breaking the abilities of the nation, causing inebriation for false “vision” and wrong perceptions, and losing a good reputation are the righteous judgments for arrogance against the Lord God Almighty. Lies of the nation make “nothing right”.

            Is my nation taking the same path?Moab shall be destroyed as a people, Because he exalted himself against the Lord. Fear and the pit and the snare shall be upon you, O inhabitant of Moab,” says the Lord. “For upon Moab, upon it I will bring The year of their punishment,” says the Lord. “Woe to you, O Moab! For your sons have been taken captive, And your daughters captive. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.”

            In my own life – Am I living for pleasure instead of sacrificial faith in God’s Word? Am I lying to myself? Lying to others? What am I like when no person is looking? What is the root of my deception? Pride and self-centeredness? If so, this God’s result: ”Joy and gladness are taken From the plentiful field And from the land of Moab; For I have broken Moab like a vessel in which is no pleasure,” says the Lord. “How Moab has turned her back with shame!”

             The Lord causes these painful tragedies and tells His reason: His declared righteous judgment against a people rebelling against Him, the Holy God. What is the cure? Repentance! 2 Chronicles 7:14  

              Lord God, thank You for explaining to me in Hebrews 2 what Your prepared path is for my success in You. Your Word warns me: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. … every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”  Hebrews 2  

The Lord Jesus Christ IS the Remedy! I resolve to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 8:31-36; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)   

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized