Tag Archives: Temptation

Don’t drop your guard!

They make it look easy. They’re not only having fun doing it but some how magically pull you into the story. They even take people from the audience to be part of it.

I’m talking about the stunt men and women at Disney World who seem to effortlessly fill their roles several times a day. Can you imagine getting paid to have fun like that? What a blast!

Sure they are careful to tell everyone not to try these stunts at home. But this is Disney. The place where wishes come true. What could go wrong?

Apparently, a lot!

About five years ago, according to Eli, the stunt man who plays Indiana Jones made a misstep while going through the spears that shoot up out of the ground. One of the spear tips injured him so severely that it cost him his life.

Others have died from simple tumbling routines that they’d performed hundreds of times.

No matter how routine it might seem to be or how practiced you are, losing your focus for even a moment can be deadly.

The same is true for those who have given themselves to follow after and serve Jesus. We have been called up into a grand story that is bigger than we can imagine. A battle for the very souls of people.

But we have an adversary!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

Satan is the epitome of stealth and cunning; a relentless enemy who knows exactly when to attack us. He knows our weaknesses and attacks when we least expect it or are most vulnerable.

After Paul lists the various pieces of the armor of God in Ephesians 6 he ties it all together with the admonition to “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Prayer keeps us close to God and dependent on Him; sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with an enemy as crafty as Satan. And we need to be praying for each other.

I don’t know everyone who will read this blog but I am praying that everyone who reads it will take it to heart and draw close to God through prayer; as well as take time to pray for others.

No matter how routine or mundane your schedule may seem to be today…

Don’t drop your guard! 
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Determination, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Prayer, Satan, Sin, Temptation

Stealth Warfare and A Civil War Submarine

The Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine, was unveiled in full and unobstructed view for the first time two weeks ago (Jan 12, 2012), capping a decade of careful preservation.

About 20 engineers and scientists applauded as they caught the first glimpse of the intact 42-foot-long narrow iron cylinder, which was raised from the ocean floor near Charleston, SC more than a decade ago.

In the summer of 2000, an expedition led by adventurer Clive Cussler raised the Hunley and delivered it to the conservatory on Charleston’s old Navy base, where it sat in a 90,000-gallon tank of fresh water to leech salt out of its iron hull.

The narrow, top-secret “torpedo fish,” built in Mobile, Alabama by Horace Hunley from cast iron and wrought iron with a hand-cranked propeller, arrived in Charleston in 1863 while the city was under siege by Union troops and ships.

In the ensuing few months, it sank twice after sea trial accidents, killing 13 crew members including Horace Hunley, who was steering.

On the night of February 17, 1864, its captain and seven crew left Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, and hand-powered the sub to the Union warship Housatonic four miles offshore. From a metal spar on its bow, the Hunley planted a 135-pound torpedo in the hull of the ship, which burned and sank. It then disappeared with all eight Confederate sailors inside.*

Stealth weapons and tactics have always been a part of warfare but no one is better at it than the devil. As Steven Furtick puts it:

The devil is a liar. That’s all he is, and he’s good at what he does.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul reminds us to guard against the attacks of Satan. After listing various pieces of spiritual armor to put on Paul says:

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Why a shield of faith? Because the enemy’s favorite tactic is to tempt us into NOT trusting God; and he prefers stealth mode. He sneaks up when we least expect it to plant a seed of doubt. If undetected, it eventually grows until we turn from God and take matters into our own hands.

Whatever it is that you are facing today remember…

you can trust God!

***

* Adapted from a report by Reuters

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Filed under Choices, Doubt, Faith, Satan, Sin, Temptation, Trusting God

False promises

So we’re walking around a local store last night and decide to cruise the rows of clearance items. You never know when you’re going to stumble into a great deal.

And there it is… a George Foreman Grill! It was originally $80 but is on sale for $60. We decide to think about it as we do some other shopping.

Then we walk through the kitchen wares area and come across a George Foreman Grill for only $39. Curious about the difference I walk back to check the one in the clearance area.

Turns out there is a difference. The one for $60 is 100 square inches and the one for only $39 is a whopping 144 square inches! No, that’s not a typo. The cheaper one is not only newer but also bigger!

How many of us would have gone for the first grill and gotten taken in by the promise of saving $20? In the end it would have cost us more than was necessary!

Sin offers that same kind of promise. The notion that we’re getting a great deal when in reality we’re getting taken advantage of. Yet what we lose isn’t just a few dollars but a little piece of our soul. What sin offers amounts to nothing more than false promises!

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. ~ Hebrews 11:24-26

The lure sin uses is getting us to look at the immediate payoff of pleasure rather than the long-term benefit of righteousness and peace.

What have you been choosing lately?

***

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Filed under Choices, Faith, Sin, Temptation

Promise vs. Promise

It’s like being offered two jobs at the same time. Both opportunities come with the promise of challenge and purpose and certain benefits. You make your decision only after weighing those promises against each other.

The paths of walking in obedience to God or sinning likewise come with their own set of promises battling for our attention.

Battling unbelief and fighting for faith in future grace means that we fight fire with fire. We throw against the promises of sin the promises of God. We take hold of some great promise God made about our future and say to a particular sin, “Match that!” In this way we do what Paul says in Romans 8:13, “By the Spirit…put to death the deeds of the body.” John Owen wrote a book on that verse and summed it up with, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”

We kill sinful deeds before they happen by cutting the root of their life: the lies of sin.

…The gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection is not only the core but the foundation of all the promises of God.… So when I say that we wield the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, what I mean is that we hold fast to this Christ-centered gospel truth with all its promises, and bank on them in every situation. We sever the lifeline of sin by the power of a superior promise.
— Excerpted from Battling Unbelief by John Piper

In Something Wicked This Way Comes a well-dressed, slick carnival barker promises people the one thing they most desire but in return they unknowingly give up something of even greater value. An older woman is given back her youthful beauty but then loses her eyesight.

That’s what sin does. It makes a promise, delivers temporary pleasure and then robs us of life; the full and abundant life that Jesus came to bring us (John 10:10). And because sin leaves us more empty than before we rush back for more and get caught in a vicious, deadly cycle. Jesus offers a different promise…

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

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Filed under Choices, Rest, Sin, Temptation, Trusting God

Social networking dangerous?!

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Social networking is a fairly recent phenomenon; but it’s popularity and growth staggers the imagination. In February of this year (2010) Facebook alone boasted 400 million users worldwide. No small feat considering it is only about 7 years old.

As with anything new there is a learning curve involved and a sizable list of pros and cons. Only the foolish would ignore the dangers while enjoying the advantages. Recently I read of a pastor out East who is taking a rather strong stand on the issue.

The Rev. Cedric Miller of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in New Jersey is encouraging his congregation to delete their Facebook accounts because of the overwhelming temptation to connect with old flames.

SRNNews.com reports that Rev. Miller is also ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their social networking accounts or resign from their positions.

At Living Word Christian Fellowship Church, Rev. Miller has seen 20 couples among the 1,100 members who have experienced marital stress over the last six months due to Facebook relationships. “I’ve been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half,” he said. “What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great.”

Rev. Miller has a personal Facebook account that he uses to keep up with his family, but he says he will delete it before he speaks to the whole congregation this Sunday.

“The advice will go to the entire church,” he said. “They’ll hear what I’m asking of my church leadership. I won’t mandate it for the entire congregation, but I hope people will follow my advice,” says Rev. Miller.

I’m personally not ready to throw in the towel but I do think we need to wake up and recognize the potential dangers inherent in social networking; and take some precautions. For starters:

  • Husbands and wives should be connected so that they have open access to all the dialogue taking place. But recognize that “private messages” can be sent without anyone’s awareness.
  • If one spouse doesn’t use the chosen network then find a few agreed upon accountability partners who will be connected.
  • Another consideration would be for spouses to share the same account so that everything is out in the open.

Of course, the best defense is a good offense. The more we find our delight in intimacy with the Lord and work at healthy marriages the less we will be tempted to look elsewhere. What comes to mind is a little song many of us learned growing up.

Oh be careful little eyes what you see…

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Filed under Accountability, intimacy with the Lord, Loyalty, Marriage, Sin, Temptation

Approaching God’s throne of grace

“The LORD is far above all of the nations; he is more glorious than the heavens. No one can compare with the LORD our God. His throne is high above, and he looks down to see the heavens and the earth.” ~ Psalm 113:4-6 (CEV)

Thrones, though less common today, have been around since the beginning of time and serve as a symbol of power and authority. It’s a bit difficult for those of us who have always lived in a democracy to grasp the significance of a monarchy; a system where one person has absolute and final authority.

Those familiar with a monarchy and its’ throne understand a couple of things about it. First, you never approach the throne without being invited. The king is surrounded by guards ready to attack anyone coming towards the throne without the kings’ permission. Second, you have to approach the throne very cautiously; usually with your eyes cast downward and sort of in a sideways shuffle. To ignore either one of these guidelines could cost you your life!

But look at how the author of the Hebrew letter describes the throne of God…

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:4-16 (NIV)

What a difference! We don’t have to wait to be invited, we can approach God’s throne of grace anytime we feel the need. And we can approach it with confidence. We can know for certain that God – our King – is always in a favorable mood towards us. We can be sure that God is always ready to welcome us and supply whatever mercy and grace we need. It’s only a prayer away!

Will we approach God’s throne of grace today whenever we feel the need?

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Filed under Grace, intimacy with the Lord, Kingdom of God, Sin, Temptation

Jesus knew!

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” ~ Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)

Jesus knew… that Simon’s faith would be tested by Satan but He didn’t apologize for it. How easily I grumble and complain when my faith is being tested. But Jesus treats it as something normal; something to be expected.

Why would we be exempt from something that even Jesus Himself had to endure? After being baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist Jesus was led out into the wilderness where He fasted and prayed for 40 days; then Satan showed up to tempt Him. Because of this Jesus can help us when we are being tested.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:14-16

But we face specific temptations today that didn’t even exist when Jesus walked upon this earth. How can Jesus identify with us in our struggle against sin? Because every type of sin imaginable falls into one of three areas as described in 1 John chapter 2 and these are the same three areas of temptation that Satan threw at Jesus. (Compare 1 John 2:15-17 with Matthew 4:1-11)

“Lust of the flesh…” i.e. – what our flesh desires (1 Jn) ~ “…tell these stones to become bread.” (Mt)

“Lust of the eyes…” i.e. – what our eyes desire (1 Jn) ~ “The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’”

“Boastful pride of life…” i.e. – thinking that we are bigger than life and the center of all that matters (1 Jn) ~ “Throw yourself down… and see if God won’t protect you.”

Sure, the packaging of the sin might be different today but the root issues are still the same and aways will be. But we have a Helper. Someone who has stood against Satan and not wavered.

So how will we respond when tested? Will we grumble and complain or will we identify with Jesus and go to him for mercy and grace?

sdg

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Filed under Faith, intimacy with the Lord, Temptation