HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE

Bible Text:  Philippians 3:20, 21

Setting out on a Summer Vacation has always been a special occasion in my life. Although I don’t travel on long road trips as much as I used to, I still love planning vacations.

When our children were young, some parts of the journey on a family vacation were much enjoyed…while other parts, not so much (He’s touching me…No, I’m not…She’s touching me!).

I remember going on family vacations with my brother, mom, and dad and on the way we would stop for a fresh peach ice cream cone on a hot Summer day in Bakersville, California, but that wasn;t our destination…our destination was Yosemite National Park and the RESERVATIONS were long in place at Camp Curry.

And if you remember Family Vacations as I do and find after arriving at your destination there are NO RESERVATIONS available and you wind up spending the night in a car with a family of five…behind a park ranger’s cabin…hearing strange noises in the dark….you might want to punch a night prowling racoon on the nose!

Arriving At The End Of The Journey

Our loving Father, who wants us to make it to the end of life’s journey posted many road signs designed to get us and keep focused on the road.

It’s why the Apostle Peter writes… “Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy. Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in the world] to abstain from sensual urges (the evil desires, passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.  Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers,  [yet]  they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God on the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you Wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]”  (1 Peter 2:10-12AMP).

The Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter are in complete 100% agreement. 

OUR HOME ISN’T HERE!  OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, NOT HERE ON EARTH.

We are on a JOURNEY, not to see and taste ice cream or punch a raccoon in the nose, but “We eagerly wait to see our Savior, from heaven.”

We long to glorify God here, because, through that, others might also glorify Him on the day He visits us.

As we look towards the end of the JOURNEY it’s important we realize that HEAVEN IS MORE ABOUT A PERSON THAN A PLACE.

Got whatever the reason we’ve been bombarded, saturated with pictures of heaven showing white fluffy clouds, Angels with halos, and a lot of singing and strumming.

George Bernard Shaw wrote these somewhat cynical words about HEAVEN:

If heaven is nothing more than a place where we sit on white clouds and play a harp day after day, frankly, it’s not a place to really get excited about…

It’s better than HELL–to be more comfortable than being ‘burnt toast’s-but it’s not a great motivation to keep on the narrow road until the end, especially when Satan offers all kinds of side-excursions on the journey.

Behavior and Hearts Will Never Ever Be Changed Spiritually by Viewing Heaven As A Place.

Don’t get me wrong!  I believe HEAVEN to be real, tangible, rock solid!!

Here’s the problem viewing HEAVEN in a place.

1 Corinthians 2:9, 10  (Good News Translation – GNT)

However, as scripture says, “What no one ever saw and heard what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him–but it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit.”

I had to re-read the above verses several times before I really understood.  Don’t try to present or understand HEAVEN as the end, your earthly, non-glorified eye, ears and mind are not capable.  But you have a RELATIONSHIP with God through His Spirit.  His spirit made Him “Abba” Daddy to you, and this relationship reveals the PROMISE of HEAVEN, not as a place, but as His people.

I want to share Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21 with you:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’  will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  

When you think of HEAVEN as a place…trying to be good enough to get there, to keep the Law–the 10 Commandments–do church stuff, and Jesus says “you have to know my Father’s WILL (and the only way we know it is through the Holy Spirit), don’t just do STUFF…have a relationship with Me…know Me…and then HEAVEN isn’t a place you go, it’s a family reunion.

It’s Paul’s understanding that his CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN…

VERSE 20:  “But our citizenship is in heaven…and we eagerly WAIT…

And it’s Peter who is excited to give glory to God on the day He visits us.

THE WORK OF GOD can only be carried on by the POWER of God.

The CHURCH isn’t an organization (or it shouldn’t be), but it’s a spiritual organism–a living, breathing thing fighting spiritual battles…and only spiritual POWER can make it function as God ordained.

THE KEY…

It’s not money, organization, cleverness or education, the KEY is God, His Spirit and His POWER moving us forward on the journey.

Romans 8:14 reads “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

“Sons of God”…This is exactly the RELATIONSHIP Paul is talking about.  

God has made us spend eternity in relationship with Him…and we severed that relationship.

How is it RESTORED?

He calls us back…

He pays for our misgivings, our SINS through the BLOOD of His own Son.

We REPENT and ESTABLISH the relationship through the DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION.

The Holy Spirit enters this earthly tent…

Lives within…which is God’s down payment for an external RELATIONSHIP.

Our text in Philippians 3 tells us something so important about the relationship at the end of the journey.

The Greatest Miracle…

The most amazing aspect of ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP is guaranteed by Holy Spirit.

JESUS CHRIST THE ALL POWERFUL WILL TRANSFORM US TO BE LIKE HIM!

VERSE 21:   Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.  [AMP]

WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITY DOES JESUS HAVE?

“ALL AUTHORITY,” ACCORDING TO MATTHEW  28:18-20 –

Empty tomb with three crosses on a hill side.

WHY?  Because He made Himself a servant, was made in human likeness, came to earth in the appearance of man…and then humbled Himself completely in obedience to His Father, even dying on a Cross.

As JESUS prayed before His crucifixion in John 17, look closely at His request:

This PLAN, this RELATIONSHIP, existed before the world begun as did God’s PLAN for SALVATION through Jesus!

Jesus knew this SALVATION would be presented through the DISCIPLES.  Here’s what Jesus wanted more than anything else while He approached the Cross.

But He wasn’t just thinking about the 12…

John 17:11-19

HE WAS THINKING ABOUT THOSE WHO WOULD BE SAVED THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE.

LISTEN TO THE HEART OF JESUS!!

 

Powerful Stuff, don’t you think?  The RELATIONSHIP that Jesus has with the Father and the Father has with Him, flows powerfully into the lives of His followers through the Holy Spirit… 

Not just for the TWELVE, but even those who would be SAVED by their message,

Those who have been ADOPTED into the Family of God.

You see it’s the Spirit that’s transforming us into the IMAGE of Jesus.  Holy isn’t His first name, it’s the work He performs in us as believers.  He’s molding (as we surrender) our hearts, minds, attitudes into being shaped like Jesus’ heart, mind, attitude…

CROSS SHAPED!

So while this is occurring, our inward TRANSFORMATION through the Holy Spirit taking place in a body that’s wasting away, a TENT, inwardly we are hopefully becoming Holy – H.O.L.Y.

But our earthly bodies are becoming Holey – H.O.L.E.Y. …

  • Holy=filled with Jesus
  • Holey=filled with holes.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

I can probably bet that Paul wasn’t focusing on clouds, harps, and golden streets.  He was looking straight at the face of a Savior Who reversed His blasphemous, violent, persecuting hide!  The One Who pulled him out of the angry dust on the Damascus Road one day and redirected his path towards home.

And in that place, we call HEAVEN, in the presence of Jesus…spiritual perfection is attained, and our satisfaction becomes GLORIFICATION.

And then folks, that perfect Spirit will then be housed in a perfect body…

“Transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

Spending A Day Or A 1,000 Years On My Face…

Telling Jesus how much I love Him, how grateful I am for His grace, my salvation, and I’ll get up to my feet, and look for my Dad and ask “Want a fresh peach ice cream cone?”  And he’ll say, “You know, you look great without all your scars.”  And then we’ll both fall at the feet of Jesus again for a day or 1,000 years, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

REUNION

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV);  Amplified Bible (AMP) and others as noted in the text.

PHOTOS:  All Photos used for this post were found on Google Image Search, Advanced Search settings.

DICTIONARY:  VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY.

 

The PRINCE OF PERSIA Is Alive and Well!

The Text is DANIEL 10:13-11:1 –

The first 12 verses of Daniel Ten in Review–

DANIEL had been in mourning and prayer for three weeks.

[1] IN THE third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belshazzar – his Babylonian name). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.  [2] At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. [3] I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until three weeks were over”  (Daniel 10:1-3 NIV Bible).

Some Bible scholars think Daniel was in mourning because so few Jews had returned with Ezra from the exiles in Jerusalem.

persian-empire-2
THE PERSIAN EMPIRE DURING THE TIME OF DANIEL

 

Others believe the FAST was because Ezra had faced severe opposition in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

DANIEL didn’t go back with Ezra’s group of exiles.  When the Jews went into captivity by the Babylonians, Daniel was but nineteen years of age.  In Chapter 10, he is now about 84 years old and perhaps thought he could better serve the returning exiles from his high position in the current government.

PRAYING AND FASTING:

After praying and fasting for twenty-one days, Daniel is standing near the Tigris river with some other guys and see an angelic messenger.  The others didn’t see the angel, but they did become very afraid and ran away (vv. 4-8).

The words describe here in Daniel reminded me of the apostle Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus when meeting not an angel, but Christ Jesus. Paul visualized the event, but the ‘other guys’ heard but couldn’t see a thing (Acts 9:3-7).

Once alone, the angel told DANIEL,  Daniel 10:12 (The Message Bible):

“Relax Daniel,” he continued “don’t be afraid.  From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your PRAYER was heard, and I set out to come to you.”

When we PRAY, many times we want the answer NOW!  

Daniel prayed and fasted every day during this time…without an immediate answer… and noticed when God’s messenger arrives, the comfort that is given by the angel:  “relax”; “don’t be afraid”; your prayer was first heard… when you decided to humble yourself.”  

WOW!  I don’t know about you, but what insights into the forthcoming answers in my prayer life.

“HUMBLE” myself first to “RECEIVE understanding” to my requests.  My PRAYERS will be heard and angel are sent!

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA – Daniel 10:13 (The Message Bible):

In the spirit realm
In the spirit realm

“But I [the angel] was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-prince, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

The angel-messenger that has come to Daniel gives the reason for his delay over the last 3 weeks.  In Daniel’s persistent, steadfast and fervent prayers, his God-sent answers were being held up by… “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

Who is this prince?  

Certainly no human could withstand an angel, because we know from Scripture that angels are incredibly powerful.

In 2 Chronicles 32:21, in the days of king Hezekiah we read…

“And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria…”

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA is not a man on earth, but in fact, someone in the spiritual realm.

Looking at the suggestions given in Scripture, we can see these princes in the spirit world.  In fact, there is an entire hierarchy and authority among angels and demons.

According to Ephesians 3:10, there are “…the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.”

In Chapter 6 of Ephesians, Paul seems to list a number of these positions (Eph. 6:12 AMP):

“…despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”

Again, to the Colossians, Paul wrote that JESUS created all things…

“in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities…”  (Col. 1:16).

THE DEVIL has been given a title in the spiritual realm–

Three times JESUS called him,  “…the ruler of the world…”  (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

And the apostle Paul refers to him as “…the prince of power of the air…”  (Ephesians 2:2).

Now although “RULER” and ‘PRINCE” are different English words, the same Greek word (AR-khone) is used in all the referenced verses.

So by using deductive reasoning from the Scriptural evidence found–if Satan is the prince of the entire world, the power of the air, it stands to reason that the PRINCE OF PERSIA is a demonic entity which had authority over this part of the world–the nation of PERSIA.

In my detective research, I found something very intriguing that might correspond to the world events occurring today in the world:

“FARSI” ( “Persian”) is the official language of Iran.  Persians come from the eastern regions of the Middle East (NOTE: Above Map) – [*See Footnote [i] ].

MICHAEL–

This story of conflict we’re reading about between Daniel’s angel and the prince of Persia is evenly matched–until reinforcement shows up on the scene.  That reinforcement is MICHAEL, one of the chief princes (this is the first time that Michael is mentioned in Scripture).

Elsewhere in the Bible we learn that he disputed with the devil himself over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9) and that he and his angels wage war against the devil and his angels in the Tribulation period (Revelation 12:7).

Chief Princes–

According to the book of Jude, Michael is an ARCHANGEL: The compound word “archangel” are two Greek words, “AR-kho” and “ANGelos,” when combined, mean “chief angel,” or “ruler of angels.” [*See Footnote [ii] ].  

The word archangel is not found in the Old Testament, only the New Testament.

Although the two times that the archangel is mentioned in Scripture (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 1:9), they are both in singular form (“the archangel”) but that doesn’t mean we should think of Michael as being the only one in charge or the “head honcho.” Remember, this angel in Daniel 10, calls him “one of the chief princes.”

So, whether he is the 5-Star General, or one of several generals, he is definitely a heavy hitter and the most powerful angel that we are told about in Scripture.

The Prince of Greece– (Daniel 10:20-21)

Then the angel says to the prophet Daniel,

[20] Do you know why I have come to you?  And now I will return to fight with the [hostile] prince of Persia; and when I have gone, behold, the [hostile] prince of Greece will come.

[21] But I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth or the Book of Truth.  There is no one who holds with me and strengthens himself against these [hostile spirit forces] except Michael, your prince  [national guardian angel].

The angel had to return to fight against the prince of Persia.

I had to meditate on these verses in particular, finding it interesting that the angel also knew the Greek Empire was going to be raised up after the Medo-Persian Empire.

I don’t know if he saw in the spiritual realm that a demonic force was being prepared, or if God had already given him the inside story of the upcoming events.  In either case, this angel was aware of what was coming.

True Spiritual Warfare Going On In The Land–

There is absolutely a spiritual battle going on and we’re involved.  But we are not called to wage it in the spiritual realm.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: it is not a physical confrontation with demons but a spiritual battle fought on your own plain of existence.  Let me rephrase that.

If you want to destroy fortresses in the spiritual realms, then you DESTROY SPECULATIONS that people have against the knowledge.

How to fight effectively–

Ephesians 6:13
Ephesians 6:13

You have to be defensively armed (Ephesians 6:10-17):  

With a life marked by TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS; being PREPARED WITH THE GOSPEL; WALKING IN FAITH, and being SAVED.

And finally, the OFFENSIVE WEAPON that you have to fight with is not a prayer of binding Satan.  It’s the WORD of God.

Michael, Your Prince! (Daniel 10:21 – NASB)

“However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth.  Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”

We’ve already read that MICHAEL is one of the chief princes.  NOW we see Michael is “your prince.”  In other words, Michael is the angelic authority over the people in the nation of ISRAEL.

Encouragement and Protection For Who?  (Daniel 11:1 NASB)

“AND IN the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.”

In my Bible study of Daniel 10, I believe that this first verse in chapter eleven, should have been the last verse of chapter ten.

We are told that the angel who came to DANIEL had been put in a lower position of being an encouragement and protection to King Darius the Mede, the KING that DANIEL had served under as his chief commissioner.

Today’s Current Events and Daniel Ten–

We know that spirits are timeless beings and have territorial assignments.  The PRINCE OF PERSIA knows there is one way to wipe out the Jewish people and one nuclear bomb would certainly accomplish this.

Before Christ, you’ve got to understand the prince of Persia is trying to destroy the lineage–the SEED of David through wich the promised Messiah was to come.

But JESUS, the Savior of the World did conquer death; defeated the devil.  So why is the prince of Persia inciting the Arab World and their leaders to build W.M.D. (weapons of mass destruction)?

THE DAY WILL COME…when the Jewish people will repent and turn to JESUS, the Messiah.  The time doesn’t come until the “times of the Gentiles” is fulfilled.  Could the “times” have already come?  Some Messianic Jews believe the “times of the Gentiles” ended in 1967 when the Israeli army took the Temple Mount.

Since that time, there has been an increasing number of Jews who have found Yeshua–JESUS.  In 1967, there were an estimated 2000 believers in Jesus among the Jewish people.

An article I found on the internet in Charisma magazine mentions a 1990 survey, suggesting that more than one million Jewish people in the United States express “some sort of faith” in JESUS.

So what is the Prince of Persia after today?

Is the JEWISH REMNANT so frightening to his plans against Israel?

Is the future conversion of the JEWISH PEOPLE jeopardise the kingdom he fights for?

Is the EVANGELISM of the 144,000 Messianic Jews mentioned in the Book of Revelation so devastating to his kingdom, that he must make every effort to stop them as he attempted to stop the birth of JESUS?

What does all this have to do with where I’m living in the world?

PROPHECY UNFOLDING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES!

Instead of saying to oneself, “Woe is me,” we should be encouraged by the revelation from Scripture the way things really are as the Bile explains what is happening in the physical realm.

The Bible’s PROPHECIES are coming to pass–against all odds and as the spiritual powers battles going on unseen by us that resist their fulfillment.

 


CREDITS and FOOTNOTES:

Sermon Notes and Commentary by Ron Daniel.

Bible Translations used:  Amplified bible except where noted.

Photo Credits: Google Search; Photo Pin

Footnote [i] – wiseGeek @ http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-difference-between-a-persian-and-an-iran

 

 

Every WEB Begins with a Single Thread – (Part 2 of 2)

WEB of TEMPTATION
WEB of TEMPTATION

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)–

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”

WE HAVE TO EXPECT TEMPTATION WILL COME:

“but with temptation…”  (verse 13).

Most of us go out into the world each day ill-prepared for a “spiritual battle”.  Ephesians 6:13-18  informs us that not only are we to get ready, but to stay ready and “put on the full armor of God”.  Yeah, I know, many of you who are reading this series on TRIAL and TEMPTATION are saying,  “I know that verse all to well”, or maybe…”I know what the Bible says about being prepared and being strong against trials and temptations.”  That might be the case, but have you tucked the POWER of Ephesians 6:13-18 so far away, when trials and temptations arise…you forget where it is?   

Think of yourselves as a tube of “spiritual toothpaste”–PRESSURE brings out what’s really on the inside.

A WORD STUDY in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

TEMPTATION:  peirasmos from peiazo = To make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense.

It describes first the idea of putting to the test– then refers to the test or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature and the quality of some thing.

Peirasmos implies TROUBLE or something that breaks the pattern of peace, joy, and happiness in someone’s life.

TRIALS rightly faced are harmless, in fact beneficial:

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter TRIALS of any sort or fall into various TEMPTATIONS.  Be assure and understand that the TRIAL and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience”  (James 1:2-3 AMP).

OVERTAKEN:  lumbano = Taken hold of, grasped, seized and in so doing, bringing under one’s control.

In some secular uses, “lumbano” meant to be taken by violence, seized, carried off (as a prize or booty).  It was also used of passions, feelings, etc.–meaning to be seized by a thing– “caught in the webs ‘stabilimenta’ or elaborate web decorations”  [*See Part 1].

Paul uses the perfect tense in verse 13 “overtaken”–

The perfect tense emphasizes that they had not only been solicited by TEMPTATION but seized and overcome and that this temptation “has laid hold of you” (Berkley, Wuest, Amplified).  Using the perfect tense brings us down to the present moment; there has never been “peirasmos me anthropinos.”  In addition to this there is certainty that God will never prove FAITHLESS.

COMMON TO MAN–Such as is human!

Don’t let use of this sentence as an excuse to sin when you are tested–TEMPTED–rationalizing the act in your mind saying, “I’m ONLY human!”  That’s not the application Paul intends.  As one person has written,  “God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage.”

J. Vernon McGee writes that…A great many people feel that nobody has ever been tempted as they are tempted.  My friend, no matter what TEMPTATION you experience, there have been others who have had the same kind of temptation.  The encouraging thing is that God will make a way of escape for you.  God is FAITHFUL, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can endure.

We often want to excuse our particular tempting circumstance as “very unique” or a “special exception.”  But God reminds us our temptation is NOT unique…that many other men and women of God faced the same or similar temptation, found the strength in God to overcome the temptation.  Others before you found strength in the Lord to overcome your temptation and worse!

Becoming Victorious in Overcoming–

So you can be victorious in the STRENGTH of JESUS, not in your own strength:

“But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts)”  (Romans 13:14).

“But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).    For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do”  (Galatians 5:16-17 AMP).

We FIGHT TEMPTATION with Jesus’ power, like a young girl who explained what she did when Satan came to her with TEMPTATION at the door of her heart:

“I send Jesus to answer the door.  When Satan sees Jesus he says,

“OOPS sorry, I must have the wrong house.”

“BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL” – (verse 13).

Timothy Edwards notes that “God’s faithfulness is shown in not permitting temptation to be too intense or too long in duration.”

Word Study:  FAITHFUL – (pistos from pertho – to persuade or induce one by words to believe, have confidence), is something or someone who’s worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc.

And Paul’s Point…?

God always acts consistently with His character, thus has made a provision adequately to meet the need of those who rely upon His strength and seek to be conformed to His will:

“Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

Let us fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]”  (Hebrews 4:14-16 AMP).

Illustration of God’s Faithfulness:

There was once a young boy whose Dad left him on a downtown corning one morning, telling his son to wait there until he returned in about a half hour.  But the father’s car broke down and he couldn’t get to a phone.  Five hours past before the father managed to get back, worried that his son would be in a state of panic.  But when the father got there the boy was standing in front of the dime store (‘old story’), looking in the window rocking back and forth on his heels.  When the father saw him, he ran up to him, throwing his arms around him, then hugging and kissing him.  The father apologized and said,  “Weren’t you worried?  Did you think I was never coming back?”  The boy looked up and replied,  No Dad, I knew you were coming.  You said you would.”

God Will Not Allow You to be TEMPTED “Beyond What You Are Able” —

In short, NO TRIAL/TEMPTATION is naturally stronger than our spiritual resources.

People sin because they willingly sin.  Notice that God doesn’t promise to deliver us from the trial/temptation but He does promise to LIMIT its intensity so that it does not overwhelm our ability to handle it!

He also promise to provide the way of escape that we might be enabled to bear up under the trial/temptation (Gen. 19:20,21; Psalm 124:7; Jeremiah 29:11; Lk. 16:26; Acts 27:44; Jas. 5:11). 

–Standing On the Promises–

Standing on the promises I cannot fail,

Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call.

Resting in my Savior as my all in all,

Standing on the promises of God.

The words of that old favorite hymn still have an effect on our lives when it comes to being tempted/tested.  Oswald Chambers encourages us writing that…

“PATIENCE has the meaning of testing–a thing drawn out and tested, drawn out to the last strand without breaking, and ending in sheer joy.  The strain on a violin string stretched to the uttermost gives it its strength; and the stronger the strain, the finer is the sound of our life for God, and He never strains more than we are able to bear”  (The Hope of God – The Ministry of the Unnoticed).

4 -TRUTHS to Remember the Next Time You Are ENSNARED:

1.  Others have already gone down the same path.

2.  God can be trusted in your trial and temptation.

3.  God will not allow too great a temptation or test to come into your life, although, it may feel that way.

4.  With every TEMPTATION or TEST, there is the way of escape.

THE WAY OF ESCAPE–

“The Way…” does not lead us to a place where we escape ALL temptation (that’s heaven alone), the way of escaping THE WEB leads us to te place where we are able to bear it.

We are reminded that to be tempted is not sin,  BUT TO ENTERTAIN TEMPTATION OR SURRENDER TO TEMPTATION IS SIN.  When we bear temptation, Satan often condemns us for being tempted (Rev. 12:10; Job 1:9-11; 2:5; Zec. 3:1-2).  But it is that condemnation from Satan the Christian does not need to accept (Eph. 6:13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).  REMEMBER, God provides the armor, but we must completely put it on.

Ephesians 6:13
Ephesians 6:13

I’ve given you a lot to think about in this two-part series on TEMPTATION, TESTING and TRIALS we face daily.  As a Word Detective, let me leave you with this WORD STUDY:

1.  Temptation – Greek Word, PEIRASMOSS – Trials of a varied character.

2.  Escape – Greek Word, ekbasis – Way or escape, the way out of a defile, a mountain pass (a WEB).

3.  Bear (endure) – Greek Word, HUPOPHERO  – To bear up under.

4.  Faithful – Greek Word, PISTOS – To be trusted; reliable.

So if you were to commit this verse to memory, you will be able to resist the grasp; the single stand of the Spider’s WEB and ESCAPE the snare of Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13:  “No temptation has overtaken you but such as common to man; and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it”  (NASB).

REMEMBER, it only takes one thread to ensnare you…then the hold of the WEB.  Avoid the “thread” avoid the SIN!