Our CONSCIENCE: The Good, the Bad, and the Uncomfortable

LIFE is full of decision-making, whether we are young in life or old.  

I can look back today at my childhood and often wondered in making decisions,

“Should I do this or do that?”  

My mother would say, “Always listen to your CONSCIENCE Mel.”

At the time, I had no idea what a “conscience” was, so mom would explain “It’s that little voice you hear inside of you coming from your heart.”  Now that was confusing at my young age.

Dictionary.com DEFINES Conscience as “The inner sense of what is right or wrong in our conduct or motives, impelling one toward right actions.”

If my mother were alive today and heard this definition of Conscience, she would chime in…”that’s what I said!”

And now, in the twilight of my years, I still have trouble keeping my CONSCIENCE under control.

Managing your conscience is somewhat like keeping Chayote Squash under control in the garden

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My wife tells the story of her distaste for the squash growing up in Southern, California.  She says that her dad loved it so much, that he grew it in their backyard against a wooden fence.  The vines grew uncontrolled and the squash was so prolific, they had Chayote every night for dinner during the Summer months.  Now I like squash, but every night for dinner?

Managing your CONSCIENCE is somewhat like keeping Chayote Squash under control by continually struggling to keep the vines under management.  

Our CONSCIENCES are also a struggle to manage.

THE GOOD CONSCIENCE:

Our CONSCIENCE can uphold us when we struggle spiritually.  

The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to fight the good fight; to keep a clear conscience when facing struggles.

1 Timothy 1:19 (AMP):

“Holding fast to faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) and having a good (clear) CONSCIENCE. By rejecting and thrusting from them [their conscience], some individuals have made shipwreck of their faith.”

Our CONSCIENCE can also protect us from TEMPTATION.

In Genesis 39:7-12. Joseph was sexually tempted by his bosses wife.  Joseph followed his CONSCIENCE and resisted the temptation.  Because of his decision, he developed a stronger testimony for God.

THE BAD & THE UNCOMFORTABLE CONSCIENCE:

Our CONSCIENCE can also display a bad side which can fuel PARANOIA

Proverbs 28:1 (The Message bible):

“The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them;”

Let me give you a few more bible examples of “bad consciences”:

1 Timothy 4:1-2 says,  [1] “But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach,[2] Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose CONSCIENCES are seared (cauterized)  (AMP).

That folks, is an example of a hardened conscience!

Another example I found in Scripture, was a CONSCIENCE of self-destruction in a disciple, a follower of Jesus (Matthew 27:3-5 NIV): 

[3] When JUDAS, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.  [4] “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”  “What is that to us?” they replied.  “That’s your responsibility.”  [5] So Judas threw the money into the temple and left.  Then he went away and hanged himself.

So by EXAMPLE, our CONSCIENCES are not altogether GOOD or BAD.

Billy Graham said “Most of us follow our CONSCIENCE as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go.”  So the issue is managing our consciences properly.  And how do we do that?

God has given each one of us the resources needed in managing our CONSCIENCES…which brings me to the BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG-STUDY, where God’s RESOURCES are revealed to help us manage our conscience.

God’s RESOURCES found in 1 John 3:18-23:

 

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Whatever you do, let your ACTIONS be motivated out of LOVE (3:18)

A good illustration of this Resource can be found in 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul discusses eating food that has been offered [sacrificed] to idols.  The question had been raised:  ‘Is it proper–the right thing to do–to eat meat that was left after the blood was used in sacrificing to an idol?’  Paul’s instruction was that it was okay. There was nothing morally wrong with it.  However, if this practice causes someone else to stumble, then avoid such practices.

LET LOVE BE THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE!

Using this RESOURCE as our guide, we should then apply this principle concerning our actions–

  • Speaking rudely to another person.
  • Social drinking.
  • Cursing.
  • Being critical of another person.

Our words, actions and thoughts should communicate LOVE to the other person.

Paul says in Acts 24:16,  “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”

Another RESOURCE noticed in John’s letter was to submit to the TRUTH.

SUBMIT TO THE TRUTH
SUBMIT TO THE TRUTH

Sometimes a GUILTY CONSCIENCE is inappropriate.  That said, there are times when I personally feel guilty because…I AM GUILTY!

The best guide in determining TRUE GUILT isn’t other people.  They may not give you very sound advice.

The BEST GUIDE is God’s Word!  It is always consistent, unlike opinions from others.  It is unchanging.

BUT there is a challenge here in becoming submitted to the TRUTH, God’s Word and accepting what it teaches.

I once read somewhere,  “The TRUTH will set you free but it will make you uncomfortable in the process.”

Here’s but one example to apply:  Maybe you are having trouble forgiving someone.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive your [own] shortcomings and let them drop”  (Mark 11:25 AMP).

As we submit to God’s Word in the Bible, we will make right decisions in following a consistent pattern that is pleasing to God.

The 3rd RESOURCE John lays before us is to Accept the GRACE of God (3:20):

[20] “Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation makes us feel guilty and condemn us.  [For we are in God’s hands.]  For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].”  (Amplified Bible)

The Bible instructs us to throw your sin into the deepest ocean and leave it there. In addition, God has put up a no fishing sign:

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If you have confessed your sin and asked God’s forgiveness, then REJOICE in the GRACE OF GOD!

GRACE isn’t a pacifier for those who want to continue living in their SIN.  However, if you truly REPENT–change your direction–God’s GRACE will heal your wounds.

Finally, in verse 23, we find the RESOURCE of Putting Your Trust in Jesus.

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“Now, what does JESUS have to do with managing our conscience?”

Good question.

JESUS forgives us when JESUS FORGIVES us when we SIN, thus giving us a CLEAN HEART (clear conscience).

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins…”  (1 John 1:9).

BUT there’s more!

Besides forgiving you and I for our sins, He will also give you a fresh start!

A lady by the name of Louise Fletcher Tarkington wrote a poem entitled “The Lord of Beginning Again” [See Footnote [i] ].  This poem reflects the desires of many.

I wish that there were some wonderful place

Called the Land of Beginning Again.

Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,

And all of our poor selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at 

the door And never put on again.

In Jesus this is possible.

We can gain victory over our CONSCIENCE.

We must follow the internal leadings of LOVE, submit to God’s TRUTH, accept the GRACE of God and put our TRUST in Jesus.

Is God speaking to you about your CONSCIENCE right now?  He wants to give you VICTORY.  Will you accept it today?


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  http://fromtroublesofthisworld.wordpress.com/…/the-land-of-beginning-by-lau…

Photos:  Google Image Search

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted in the text.

 

 

 

The “High Places” Can and Will Prevent REVIVAL

BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG  – 2 KINGS 18:1-8 

I love Bible detective investigation, especially when uncovering hidden truths that were there all the time.  They were never HIDDEN, just ignored.

This week’s BLOG is no exception when it came to looking for the significance of ‘HIGH PLACES”.

HIGH PLACES is mentioned 117 times in the Old Testament of the Bible.  They were centers for Canaanite idol worship that God had commanded the Jews to tear down.  But instead, these places became IDOLS that subtly seduced God’s people year after year–they couldn’t stay away!

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The HEBREW word is bamah – a mountaintop, open-air altars on elevated knolls near towns.  (*Footnote [1] )

In 2 Kings 12:1-3, we read and notice Joash’s promising reign fell short of its promise; for he failed to get rid of the high places.

In this week’s Bible Text,  2 Kings 18:1-8, we are treated to the example of Hezekiah, a king who the Bible says,  “did right in the sight of the LORD”

What then went wrong (king JOASH), and What went right (king HEZEKIAH)?

#1.  What was it about Joash’s reign that kept the LORD from sending REVIVAL to the land?

#2.  What was it about Hezekiah’s reign that found favor in God’s eyes and led to REVIVAL?

The answers to the questions seem straightforward to me, but then again, I’ve been spending time in study lately in The Book of Kings!

Uncovering Evidence –

I see some very specific things in this eight verse summary of king Hezekiah’s reign, giving a clear indication what it was about Hezekiah that PLEASED GOD.

THE FIRST is found in verse 4 and it is his completed…

  • TURNAROUND

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JOASH failed to tear down the HIGH PLACES–

He wasn’t willing to make the effort to confront those STRONGHOLDS of sin and idolatry, and the consequence was the momentum toward REVIVAL; which was overcome by the EVIL of those strongholds, both in the nation and in Joash himself.

HEZEKIAH on the other hand, doesn’t fool around in his TURNAROUND.  He takes REFORM all the way to the hills!

He confronts the pagan priests and idolaters–he says, there is no more room for this kind of activity in my kingdom, because my kingdom is really God’s kingdom.

The PROCESS of Experiencing REVIVAL –

If we want to experience REVIVAL in our lives, in our home, in our church, in our community, we are going to have to make the same bold stand.

We can’t afford to have HOLDOUTS.

We can’t allow the HIGH PLACE of SIN to escape the LORD’S AUTHORITY.

We can’t say, “Lord, you can have all my life except…

  • MY FINANCES,
  • MY RELATIONSHIPS,
  • MY ENTERTAINMENT,
  • MY FUTURE PLANS.”

Today we don’t construct idolatrous clay figurines such as Baal, or attend worship services for Asherah.  But our TEMPTATIONS are just so seductive and perhaps even more subtle than in Hezekiah’s time.

Believers today might avoid the obvious “high places” such as THEFT, CHILD ABUSE or EXPLOSIVE ANGER.  But we tend to be casual about what the Bible teacher Jerry Bridges calls “respectable sins.”

We rarely speak of envy, worry, spiritual pride, sexual window-shopping, gossip or strife as SIN.  But these habits are nothing but sinful deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

Historically, REVIVAL has come to the church when people have allowed the Holy Spirit to take the hammer of REPENTANCE to strongholds we harbor and once those barriers are busted, the river of REVIVAL becomes like a flood.

The second thing I noticed about Hezekiah that pleased God and led to REVIVAL was his complete…

  • TRUST  

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[5] Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him.  (AMP)

The Bible says, Hezekiah TRUSTED in the Lord, the God of Israel.

There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after him.

Hezekiah’s forefather, DAVID declared…

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It must be easy for a king to TRUST in the resources of his kingdom, to try to devise a way to solve their problems of weapons, and wisdom, and wealth the way Joash did.

But Hezekiah TRUSTED in the LORD!

Without FAITH, the Book of Hebrews says, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD (Hebrews 11:6).

But as we see here, with FAITH and TRUST in the Lord, God is genuinely PLEASED!!

CHURCH, if we are ever going to PLEASE the Lord, He will require from us the same that He required of the kings of Judah–REPENTANCE and FAITH–TURNAROUND and TRUST.

That TRUST must mean trusting in Him for SALVATION–believing that the SACRIFICE of Christ upon the CROSS is sufficient payment for your sins to make you righteous before God–this is the FOUNDATION of a God-blessed life!

With the central issue of SALVATION is dealt with, the LORD wants us to TRUST Him with even more–with ALL of our life.  He wants us to RELY upon Him for deliverance from the enemy, for daily bread, for our families, and for our future.

When we can openly give ourselves to God by TRUSTING HIM with ALL of our lives, and when we do that, (here it comes!)…we open ourselves up to His BLESSING, not that He’s been withholding it, but simply said, because we’ve been unable to receive it!

So then with TRUST as with TURNAROUND, we open the floodgate of REVIVAL!!

The last thing I found about Hezekiah in my reading that PLEASED GOD and opened the way for REVIVAL was Hezekiah’s…

TENACITY –

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By definition, TENACITY is “the quality or fact of being very determined”  [Google Word Definitions].

HEZEKIAH CONTINUED–he stuck to it with a ‘bulldog’ mentality!

It wasn’t that he never faced difficulty, he did.  But unlike Joash, who when faced with a CRISIS…surrendered what was SACRED.

Hezekiah plunged forward with unwavering commitment to the task at hand.  

He continued to TRUST, he continued to do what was right even when confronted by the world’s only superpower of his day, even when he saw his Northern neighbor Israel being defeated and sent into exile.  Hezekiah continued to SERVE God in FAITH and in RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!

If we (the church) are genuine in our DESIRE to see God moving in our lives in a new and a fresh way, and if we long to see His BLESSING poured out across our nation, WE must exhibit the same kind of spiritual TENACITY!

So, why aren’t we seeing REVIVAL today as we should?

I’ve seen people over the years anxious for God to move in power; people who earnestly desire to have a new vision, a deeper understanding of the majesty and holiness of God, people who are anxious to see the lost come to faith, people who believe they have a God-given vision of REVIVAL in their community, people who have begun special prayer meetings to ask God to send REVIVAL, but who never seem to get there.  I know all this because, I’ve been there myself!  I don’t mean to say nothing happens–there is always spiritual fruit when people desire to be closer to Jesus.  And yet, the outcome never quite lives up to the expectation.

I don’t know why this happens for sure–perhaps part of it is, simply our inability to box God to define what REVIVAL is going to look like.  I suspect that part of it is the lack of one thing on our part:  TENACITY

After a few weeks of lacking attendance at the prayer meetings…after a few times2173776885_1108b59098 of inviting of friends and neighbors to church, we quit asking.

After a few days of resisting TEMPTATION…we give in.

We have not resisted to the point of blood (Hebrews 12:4).

 

Choosing How We Are to Live –

If we are going to see REVIVAL, we must choose to TURNAROUND, and tear down the “High Places,” giving God the sovereignty over every part of our life, leaving no place for temptation and sin to take root.

AND, we must choose to TRUST in Christ alone, both for SALVATION from sin–to be SET FREE from its penalty and for all matters of our lives.

AND it cannot be just a temporary decision but we must choose to follow hard after the Lord with TENACITY.

WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE TODAY?

Share your decision if you wish in the Comment Section of this Blog.  Your words just might encourage another.

 

 


Footnotes & Credits ~

Footnote [1] : Billy Graham Evangelical Association – Seduced by the High Places by Scott Morton, May 2, 2012.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search and Seduced by the High Places provided by B.G.E.A.

Bible Translations used:  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV)

Strange Women and Old Men

1 Kings 11:1-14

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KING SOLOMON –

No man began with more promise than Solomon did.  Yet a good beginning doesn’t mean a good finish.  Solomon drifted and finally defected.  Could the same thing happen to us?

Solomon Became The Wisest Man In The World!

1 Kings 4:31-34 (AMP bible):

[31] For he was wiser *than all other men–than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.  His fame was in all the nations round about.

[32]  He also originated 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005.

[33]  He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.

[34]  Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

[“Wiser than all other men,” until Christ came.  Jesus said, “Someone more and greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42) – Amplified Bible footnote.]

So What Went Wrong?”

Solomon had a misplaced LOVE (VERSES 1 & 2):

[1] BUT KING Solomon [defiantly] loved many foreign women–the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites.  [2] They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites,  You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.  Yet Solomon clung to these in love.

I remember when I was in school at an early age–when I would do something wrong, my teacher would shout out my name across the playground and I would pretend not to hear her call.  It was because I knew I’d done wrong and knew I was in trouble.

  • God tells Israel NOT to have anything to do with these women!!!  (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
  • God told the kings of Israel NOT to marry many wives!!!               (Deuteronomy 17:17)

Now before we misinterpret God’s word into something racial, let me make it clear.

When God commanded the Israelites NOT to marry foreigners–“strange women”–it is not because they are a different color, or from a different country, or because they look different.  It was simply because they WORSHIPPED IDOLS and pagan gods.

God knew that if His people were to marry those who did not WORSHIP the true God of heaven, that the influences of these “strange women” would influence and eventually poison the house, the husband, the children, and the bloodline.

Solomon LOVED these women (VERSE 1) –

Solomon was like that certain kid in school I mentioned earlier–he pretends NOT TO HEAR God give the command NOT to marry these women because deep down he knew it was wrong.

The LORD tells Israel not to marry these women because they’ll turn their hearts away from God and that’s exactly what happened to Solomon.

Romans 12:1 (NIV Bible):

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

It is impossible to present your bodies as a living sacrifice if your HEART is not right.  Don’t let the WORLD around you squeeze you into its own mould.

TEMPTATION seems to arise when things start to crop up in our lives; causes us to start missing our personal prayer time in the mornings, and daily Bible reading is skipped over.  How easy it is for Satan to get in and cause us to have a MISPLACED LOVE.

A HINGE VERSE – Things Change From This Point On.

VERSE 4 (AMP):

idol-moloch[4]  For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect (complete and whole) with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

NOTE: “Old Age won’t cure the heart of any evil propensity” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

Solomon had his HEART turned away from God, and as a result of his MISPLACED LOVE, his heart is turned not only away from God, but towards false gods.

The WORSHIP SYSTEMS that Solomon was involved in were sexually oriented and obviously this would appeal to Solomon.  If he wasn’t interested in this kind of thing, he probably would have stuck with just one wife.

Have we had our HEARTS turned away?

Worshipping false gods are just Old Testament stories, right?  Well, let me point out that thousands of churches across the land are EMPTY today because of the WORSHIP of false gods!

  • Sunday is the only day that kids can play football, so we have to take them while church is in session.  Sorry!
  • I can’t read IN my Bible right now, because I would miss too much TV.
  • I go to watch my soccer/football/baseball team play Sunday afternoon.  I could never miss that opportunity for church.

The minute we place more priority on something other than Jesus Christ, then we are in effect, worshipping false gods.

We need to pray and ask God to remove our idols in life.  I don’t want SPORT to be my god or, I don’t want TV to be my idol.  The only GOD I want is YOU!!  I want the TRUE GOD in my life, the only God!!

The Cause of Misplaced Love (women, false gods/money, jobs).

hqdefaultVERSE 5

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abominable idol of the Ammonites.

What causes us to turn our HEARTS away from God?

Satan will use every means possible to get us as far away from GOD as possible.

That job you’ve been praying for all of sudden requires you to work 12 hours a day and if you don’t do it, then they will find someone who will.

Or, SIN will creep into our lives, and in turn our hearts start to drift away.  I’ve been here before many times and know the results!  Satan makes SIN so attractive and we say to ourselves,  “It will be different for me, that it won’t hurt.”

We have the tendency to justify to ourselves, that it is OK.  How spiritually naive we are to let anything, or anyone, turn our HEARTS away from GOD.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NIV):

[14] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? [15] What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  [16] What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said:  “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

I read a story in the Scientific American that most people are familiar with:

Chimpanzees, can seem like cute, hairy iterations of people.  The chimp, Travis, appeared in television commercials, he seemed comfortable at a computer, and in bathing himself, sipped wine from a stemmed glass, all according to the New York Times.  In February 2009, Travis the adorable, almost human, and his owner gained international notoriety after he suddenly attacked and mauled the owner’s best friend.  The owner later told reporters after Travis’ demise,  “I’m like hollow now.  He slept with me every night.  Until you’ve eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don’t know a chimp.”

SIN too often comes dressed in adorable disguises, and as we play with it, eat with it…, live with it daily, how easy it is to say,  “It will be different for me!”

SIN won’t be different, it may come in a different disguise, but it will have the same effect.

If we play with SIN, it will not let us stop where we want to stop!  It will take us down further than we wanted to go.

When we CHOOSE not to do what God wants, we have to face the CONSEQUENCES.  Not following God always has its consequences.

The Consequence of Misplaced Love (God raised up an advisory and tore the kingdom in two/things don’t work out!).

VERSES 11 & 14

The consequence of sin will always cost more than the pleasure the sin provides.

Solomon’s motivation had changed; gone from building God’s Temple and serving God, to building ALTARS to false gods that his wives worshipped and he would be serving them as well.

And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon (verse 14):

[14]  The Lord stirred up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of royal descent in Edom.

ISRAEL goes from GLORY to EXILE –

ISRAEL went from the glories of having fellowship with God and walking with God– to having their country split into two and several hundred years later, their Temple destroyed and the people carried off to another country in captivity.

We can miss out on what God wants to do in our lives today.

He wants to have FELLOWSHIP with us, that was the reason He created mankind and SIN keeps messing it up!

You see, we get involved in things that appear to be nice, but at the same time, they are destroying our spiritual lives.

Remember, the enemy is always in the background.

Looking back in Chapter 10, VERSE 14, we see the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year as, six hundred threescore and six talents of Gold (King James Version).  I found it interesting in other translations, that this number just happens to be “666” *[See Revelation 13:1, 7, 17-18].

Now this wasn’t all of Solomon’s income, but this is what has been written down in Scripture.  The ENEMY is always in the background!

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Don’t Negotiate With Satan!

A hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear in a clearing.  About to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft tone,  “Isn’t it better to talk that to shoot?  What do you want?  Let’s negotiate the matter.”  Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied “I want a fur coat.”  “Good,” said the bear, “that is a negotiable question.  I only want a full stomach, so let us negotiate a compromise.”  They sat down together and after a time, the bear walked away alone.  THE NEGOTIATIONS HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL!  The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat!

Satan says,  “Let’s negotiate.”

But there are things that should never be negotiable.  We cannot compromise church with the world.  JESUS and His church deserves our very best and absolute loyalty in ALL things.

SOLOMON WAS THE WISEST MAN ON EARTH!!

Yet, he turned away from God.  Solomon’s problem wasn’t ignorance but rebellion!  

He knew better but did not do better!

We need to keep our eyes open in the world around us.  We need to watch for the enemy, because he is always in the background, waiting to trip us up, waiting to turn our hearts.

It is said that the devil will find things for idle hands to do, so let’s not give him the opportunity.

Matthew 5:8 (AMP):

Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the PURE IN HEART, for they shall see God.

 


CREDITS:

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV).

Photos:  Google Image Search (1 Kings 10, 11).

Commentary:  God’s lessons from history by Philip Smith – About the Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings – http://www.easyenglish.info

(The M.I.C.) Manipulator In Charge

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Early in the morning of June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside of the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C..  This was no ordinary robbery. The prowlers were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they had been caught while attempting to wiretap phones and steal secret documents.  While historians are not sure whether Nixon knew about Watergate espionage operation before it happened, rest assure, he took steps to cover it up after words, raising “hush money” for the burglars, trying to stop the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from investigating the crime, destroying evidence and firing uncooperative staff members.  In August 1974, after his role in the Watergate conspiracy had finally come to light, the president resigned.

Throughout history, many attempts have been made to cover up incompetence, immorality and even crimes.  In the Bible, cover ups appear very early.  Adam and Eve sought to cover their nakedness and hide from God, not realizing their efforts betrayed their SIN and GUILT.

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In my study in 2 Samuel 11 this past week, one of the great cover-up attempts of all time takes place, and like so many,

IT TOO…falls disastrously!

Proverbs 24:8 (NIV):

“He who plots evil will be known as a schemer.”

DAVID’S ATTEMPT TO MANIPULATE OTHERS IN ORDER TO HIDE HIS SIN –

This SIN was due to David’s lust and arrogance.  PERIOD!

David had no desire for Bathsheba to become his wife, or even to carry on an adulterous affair with her.  His intent was but for a ‘one night stand’, and she went home.  That was that, or so it seemed.  I hope you have your bibles alongside you as we go through the events unveiled in Chapter 11.

When David heard from Bathsheba that this ‘fling’ resulted in pregnancy…the Scripture narrative reveals David’s desperate attempt to cover up his sin with Bathsheba.

As we all know, it didn’t work out and it actually made matters so much worse.  As Sir Walter Scott once said, “O, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.”

DAVID’S PROBLEM –

pancakes-stackemhighDavid didn’t know how to stop what he started and decides to stack one SIN upon another.

There are many lessons to be learned from this tragic episode of David’s life, which if heeded, will keep us all from duplicating them in our own lives.

So, the KING, DAVID, tries to “legitimize” the unfortunate circumstances; He instructs his Four Star General Joab, to bring Bathsheba’s military husband home from the Ammonite Campaign, making it possible for him to enjoy the intimacies of marriage.

2 Samuel 11:7:

“When Uriah had come to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the people fared, and how the war progressed.”

David orchestrated this homecoming, so to speak, to appear as though it served one purpose–while it actually served David’s purpose of concealing his own sin.

Webster’s definition for “A MANIPULATOR IN CHARGE” (Manipulation):  One who “manages or influences skillfully, especially in an unfair manner; to manipulate people’s feelings.”

So David PRETENDED that he was interested in the General, the Military, and the progress of the war.

BUT the real reason for getting Uriah back was to make it possible for him to enjoy the intimacies of marriage.  Thus it would be possible to attach the paternity question of the child to him.

MANIPULATORS PROFESS (to Honor) – verses 8-13.

After reading these verses, we see David scheming by suggesting Uriah get cleaned up from his return from the front lines of war.  Soldiers didn’t wear combat boots in the day, but sandals.

[8] David said to Uriah,  “Go down to your house and wash your feet…”

Yeah, Uriah.  Go home and enjoy your R&R and here, take this sack of groceries home, maybe a few candles too and have a romantic evening with your wife.

But Uriah wanted no part of the comforts offered by the king.  His argument was, how could he be allowed the comforts of home and a conjugal visit while his friends in combat were deprived of them?

[11] Uriah said to David,  “The ark and Israel and Judah live in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As you live and as my soul lives, I will not do this thing.”

Since this scheme wasn’t working, David decided he was going to need to convince (“manipulate”) Uriah another way.

How many times have we tried to manipulate others, in coming around to our way of thinking by presenting another plan?

David’s thinking was, I’m going to ‘buddy’ up to Uriah.

What do ‘buddies’ do?  Well, in this case, they get drunk together.  But this wasn’t friendship.  It was David resorting to another scheme to induce Uriah to go home to his wife (v. 12-13).

Uriah is presented as a faithful and pious soldier who had more respect for the law of God when he was drunk than his king did when he was sober.

So David’s deceptive plot of pretense of coming home and professing to be his buddy didn’t work.

COVER-UPS Began Early in Our History.

Adam and Eve tried to COVER-UP with leaves, but their efforts only betrayed their guilt.  This cover-up by David’s manipulation is like so many others, failing completely!

How David, the “Apple of God’s Eye” (Psalm 17:8), has fallen from the man he once was.  And if you’re thinking to yourself, how could this happen to a man who had God’s call, who was anointed by the King of kings…we are ALL vulnerable to SIN!  What we do with our actions…do we cover them up, or do we CONFESS OUR SIN?  (1 John 1:9-10).

MANIPULATORS PANIC (when it doesn’t go their way).

david-gives-the-letter-to-uriah-grenico-17th-cen-11x11

Verses 14-17:

[14] In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.  [15] And he wrote in the letter,  “Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and withdraw from him, that he may be struck down and die.”  [16] So when Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah opposite where he knew the enemy’s most valiant men were.  [17] And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David fell, Uriah the Hittite died also.

When your plans do go as expected, do you ever PANIC?  

DAVID is getting desperate at this point of the story.  When Uriah refuses to sleep with his wife, David panics.  Once David began his efforts to cover up his SIN, each step taken from that point lead in deeper and deeper into sin!

FIRST, he LUSTED, then he committed ADULTERY, then DECEIT, and finally MURDER.

Our day has had its share of highly placed people who made matters worse as they looked to cover up their wrongdoing.

THE PLOT THICKENS

To show how calloused David had become and how noble Uriah was, David sent a letter that plotted the Hittites death by Uriah himself (verses 14 & 15).:

[14] In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.

[15] And he wrote in the letter,  “Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and withdraw from him, that he may be struck down and die.”

I find it amazing how we can get so caught up in our own deceptions, that we want to recruit others into our tangled web.  The DECEIT and DECEPTION woven in our plans must bring more people to join in the conspiracy.  We want to spread our guilt and shame around so that the weight of our SIN is more distributed.

David’s plan was to put Uriah in the front of an intense battle, then withdraw so he would be killed.  While General Joab had no qualms about accomplishing David’s goal, he amended his plan as having too great of risk both to himself and David.  The king’s plan would have been too obvious to everyone and would have made many of those who fought that day under Joab’s command to doubt his commitment to them.

So Joab led an attack against a part of the city where he knew the resistance was the greatest.  In the heat of the battle, Joab lost several men [wasn’t in the “plan’], including Uriah (vv. 16-17).

images (1)

MANIPULATORS PLANS (place others in danger) – (vv. 18-25)

Mission Accomplished.  Uriah is dead!

Joab knew that he had to let the king know that his objective had been accomplished– without revealing to anyone else that the TWO OF THEM murdered Uriah in such a way as just another casualty of war.

Another Cover-up, perhaps?

Joab didn’t exactly follow the instructions of the Commander-In-Chief’s letter.  The collateral damage to the troops wasn’t suppose to happen.

The king’s desires had come to fruition…to a point.  But now, how can one possibly report this fiasco in a way that doesn’t make Joab look like a fool (at best), or a murderer (at worst)?

So the messenger was told that after David raised his objections, he was to reveal to him that “your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also”  (vv.18-21). 

The news of Uriah’s death calmed the king and in the message that was sent back to Joab, David covered the treachery with insincerity in tone:

Oh well, “the sword devours one as well as another” (v. 27).

MANIPULATORS PUNISHED (in God’s timing) – (vv. 26-27):

[26] When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for Uriah.  [27] And when the mourning was past, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.  But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.

David, though he had broken at least three of the Ten Commandments God had given Israel for the purpose of relating to God and to fellow-man–he had COVETED another man’s wife, committed ADULTERY, and MURDERED.  And yet, who can judge the judge; who can question the actions of the king?

The answer comes in the final verse of the chapter in words that suggest that no one stands above the law of God.  What seemed to David a final ending to what would have been a very sticky situation was but the beginning of problems because (verse 27) set in motion events that would trouble David till his death [David was trying to legitimize his SIN, making Uriah a casualty of war, making Bathsheba a widow. He now can marry this woman and raise the child as his own, which of course it is].

Sin has a sneaky way of compounding itself!

Before you know it, you’re more deeply involved in it than you ever thought you’d be.

Temptations and Manipulation Are Cousins!

You cannot control the course of your destiny once you allow yourself to begin to flirt with SIN.  It will capture you.  It will ensnare you.  And ultimately, it will destroy you.

David once killed GIANTS.  Now the GIANT is killing him.

Uriah is a reminder to us today: God doesn’t always deliver the RIGHTEOUS from the hand of the wicked immediately, or even in this lifetime.

DANIEL’S THREE FRIENDS –

Daniel’s three friends told the king that THEIR GOD was able to deliver them.  They didn’t presume that He would or that He must.  And God did deliver them!  [See Daniel 3:17, 18; 19-28]

God Is Able
God Is Able

I think Christians look upon this DELIVERANCE as the rule, rather than the exception.  But when Uriah faithfully serves his king (DAVID), he loses his life.

God is not obliged to ‘bail us out of trouble’ or keep us from trials and tribulations just because we TRUST in Him.

In the Old Testament, as in the New, God sometimes delivers His people from the hands of wicked people, but often He doesn’t.

Their “deliverance” comes with the Messiah, the LORD JESUS CHRIST.  

Uriah, like ALL of the Old Testament saints, died without receiving his full reward, and that is because God wanted him to wait.  Uriah, like many saints, was not delivered from the hands of the WICKED–THE MANIPULATORS.  [READ Hebrews 11:13-16; 37-40] 

 


CREDITS:

Watergate Scandal Facts & Summary @ HISTORY.com

Photos:  Google Search Images.

Bible Translation:  Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

Becoming SATISFIED In Christ Alone!

SCRIPTURE READING:

1 John 2:15-17 [Amplified Bible]:

[15] Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.

[16] For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].

[17] And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the list) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.

Pfsssssssst

Bible scholars have concluded that the content, style, and vocabulary  seem to warrant the conclusion that the three letters of John, the apostle, including the Gospel of John, were addressed to the same readers–Christian believers, and John’s message is timeless!

The Timeless Message–

The “timeless message” given, is one of contrast.  A COMPARISON of love for the world versus the love of our Father, that is, GOD.  As surely as we cannot SERVE both GOD and MAMMON– (*See footnote [i] )– neither can we LOVE both the world and GOD.

Every Person Is Tempted (James 1:14):

We ALL BATTLE with trials and temptations on a daily basis; with the things and people who influence us for wrong reasons and the wrong purpose.

The World–

Sometimes like a “magnet”,  the world tries to pull us in the wrong direction.

GOD calls His children [Christians] to live “in” this world but not be “of” this world.

A difficult balance…

ME:  “Should go tonight and show up; help out at my church’s Soup Kitchen and serve.  BUT…I’ll miss out on the Football Game on television during the LOVE FEAST down the road.”

WE:  Go to church, spend time with GOD and friends, yet there’s a FORCE trying to pull us away from the fellowship of believers.

It’s sort of like when I was back in school and didn’t want to get out of bed.  “Mom, I feel kind of ‘sick”.  My mom would ask me suspiciously, “What do you mean…’kind of sick’?”  She knew that I wanted to stay home and do what I wanted to do–watch TV, anything but go to school.  She would then inform me, “If you’re sick Mel, then you have to stay in bed ALL day!”  That stopped my plans in their tracks: “Mom, I think I’m feeling a bit better and will go to school after all.”

The Seemingly “Grey Areas”…

So many times we find ourselves tolerating certain things, but it feels good…we think it probably won’t hurt anybody…nobody will find out.

And then all of a sudden, we wake up one day and ask ourselves, “How in the world did I get here?”  Or, “What did I just do?”

IDENTIFYING 3 TYPES OF TEMPTATIONS:

1 John 2:15-17  (N.L.T.):

[15] Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

[16] For the world offers on a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

[17] And this world is fading away…

What else does the Bible have to say about the world we’re living in today?

“Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world”  (1 John 4:4 AMP).

“We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one”  (1 John 5:19 AMP).

(Jesus talking) – “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own.  But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you”  (John 15:18-19 AMP).

“…Do you not know that being the worlds friend is being God’s enemy?  So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God”  (James 4:4).

The WORLD will always fool you and never fully satisfy you!

The New Living Translation calls it a “CRAVING” in verse 16.

3 -Types of Temptations:

stock-photo-road-sign-metaphor-with-craving-ahead-470902091.  CRAVING FOR PLEASURES…or, “The Lust of the Flesh.”

I’m sure you know what it is to “crave” for something: chocolate, creamed-filled donuts, sour pickles (pregnancy?), liquor, a ‘smoke’, etc.

In any dictionary that you look up the definition, “crav-ing” – A powerful desire for something! Synonyms: longing, yearning, desire, want, wish, hankering, hunger, thirst, appetite, greed, lust, ache, need, urge.

“ENOUGH…I get it!”  But let’s take the definition a little further to make a point:

Merriam-Webster:  “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.”

I think you’ve probably got the idea of what John is referring to in the above Scripture.

In Creflo Dollar’s Book, Winning in Troubled Times (Chapter 19), he mentions “Lust is the driving impulse behind addictive behaviors; trying to break habits formed through will-power fall prey to the same temptations over and over again.”

LUST HAS ONE PURPOSE, AND ONE PURPOSE ONLY…

 LUST OF THE FLESH has one purpose–to move us out of the will of God of our lives.  It will destroy marriages and relationships.

DESIRE in and of itself is NOT BAD…

GOD gave us natural, healthy DESIRES…desire for food and water, desire to be unconditionally loved and accepted.  But when the “craving” enters the picture….it leads to death.

“Seed Time and Harvest…”

“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).    Then the evil desire, when it is conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings for death”  (James 1:14-15).

A CRAVING for everything we see (NLT) or Lust of the Eyes (Amplified)–

“Temptation to Have” – I see it and I want it.  I have to have it now!  Ever been in this state of mind?

Materialism – “Live for the acquisition of things”:

He with the most toys wins…what?  Debt?  Stress?

Examples:  Having the latest I-Phone (5-s; the 6 will be out in Sept. 2014)….Latest Model – Car…Houses – upgrades, newer model, keep up with the Jones…Latest Styles – clothes or shoes – “Impulse Buying”  (Ex: I can go to Van Wingerden Garden Center in Birch Bay, Washington…it’s like the angels are singing…).

PRIDE in our achievements and possessions (NLT) or Pride of Life (Amplified)–

“Temptation to Be” – I want to be worshipped.  I want to be envied.  I want to be “noticed”.

Climbing the “company ladder” – just for the “title” of President, CEO.

The MOTIVATION is wrong–want to get to the top–for the wrong reason.

STATUS can become an “IDOL”, and damage our relationship with GOD.

TEMPTATION BEGAN AT THE BEGINNING OF TIME:

** Adam and Eve **

FRUIT that was pleasing to the eye.

** Jesus **

“And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loves of] bread”  (Matt. 4:3 AMP).

JESUS faced temptation (Lust of Flesh).

“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them.    And he said to Him,  These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me”  (Matt. 4:8-9).

Satan showed JESUS the kingdoms (Lust of the Eyes).

Pride of Life – kneel down and worship me …

“And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever”  (1 John 2:17 AMP).

So how can we CONQUER this?  How can we please God?

That’s what we really want to do as BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST!  To be Satisfied in Christ Alone!

Living “In Christ Alone”:

Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote a favorite hymn of mine a few years back. [www.gettymusic.com/hymns-inchristalone.aspx/.} 

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song; this Cornerstone,

this SOLID GROUND,

from through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

here in the love of Christ I stand.

Conquering Our Cravings, Our Temptations, Our Lusts in Life–

HOW CAN WE PLEASE GOD?

Hopefully, as believers in JESUS, pleasing Him should be our only desire.  Participating in God’s work in our lives is a beginning; to agree with God is our true identity found only in Him…not to place ourselves on the railroad tracks of “temptation.”  We’ll get hit by the train comng through every time!

In Creflo Dollar’s book, Winning In Troubled Times, he entitles the chapter “Declaring War On Lust”:  “The sin you fail to deal with will eventually end up dealing with you.”

When our CRAVINGS, “lustful desires“, are continually acted upon with no repentance or attempts to curb the behavior…a person can easily get into what is called “LASCIVIOUSNESS”: “having no self-control of the works of the flesh.”

Our OBEDIENCE To What We Sense Around Us…

What GOD is calling us to do in the world, should come out of a TRUST that God is our only source of life!  As we struggle, and we all do struggle; we are in the world and not of the world…especially in the “grey areas” that arise (society morality, movies, doctrine, relationships).

We can place our HOPE in God; to finish His work in us; to lovingly continue to show us the emptiness of all other “sources” available in life.  To learn to be SUFFICIENT in Christ alone.

Those thoughts reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis you may have read or heard before:

“When he said, ‘Be perfect.’  He meant it!  He meant that we must go in for the full treatment.  It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder–in fact, it is impossible.  It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining in an egg.  We are like eggs at present.  And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg.  We must be hatched or go bad…”  [Mere Christianity, bk4, Chs. 8, 9.]

I hope that I have given you an understanding of what GOD is able to give you in this world.  The HOPE and RENEWED TRUST in being Sufficient In Christ Alone– and not be satisfied in what the world is offering.

“Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love of the Father is not in him”  (1 John 2:15).

 

 

FOOTNOTE:

[i]  MAMMON – New Testament – Riches or material wealth:  Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9, 11, 13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every WEB Begins with a Single Thread – (Part 1 of 2)

TEXT:  1 Corinthians 10:13:

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear].  But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature],  and He [can be trusted] not to let you be TEMPTED and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [ALWAYS] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing-place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.  (AMPLIFIED BIBLE)

The WEB of TEMPTATION
TEMPTATION’S WEB

“Why Spiders Decorate Their Webs”

Stabillmentum (singular):  The word means, “a single zigzag line or combinations of lines or even a spiral whorl in the web’s center.”

But why do spiders decorate their webs?  Well, I am certainly not an ARACHNOLOGIST (an expert on spiders), but in my detective investigation, I found that there are multi-purposes for the Spider’s Web and they begin with a single strand:

1.  STABILITY.

2.  VISIBILITY.

3.  CAMOUFLAGE.

4.  PREY ATTRACTION.

5.  MATING.

Are you beginning to see where I’m going in the Spider Web analogy of temptation?  The WEB of Temptation that lies in front of each one of us: It is often camouflaged; sometimes attractive because of the light being reflected off the “stabillmentum”; even the opposite sex being a distraction of what can’t be seen at the moment of the attraction.  Hey, it happened to King David, to Sampson and others in the Bible.  The “spider” is always waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A TRIAL AND TEMPTATION: 

A TRIAL is different and can be sent from God in order to deepen your walk with Him or to bring about God’s plan for your life.

A TEMPTATION is never directed by God, for rather its purpose is destructive.  It is not a sin itself, for JESUS was tempted in the wilderness.

TEMPTATION can make us stronger if…successfully overcoming it.

Facts About TEMPTATION:

FIRST of all, it’s going to happen!

Luke 17:1-2:

“AND [Jesus} said to His disciples…”

Hold it right there for a moment.  Jesus is addressing ALL of His disciples, His followers…He is talking to BELIEVERS in the 21st Century.

“Temptations  (snares, traps set to entice sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come!”

[Verse 2] “It would be more profitable for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were hurled into a sea than that he should cause to sin or be a snare to one of these little ones [lowly in rank or influence]”  (Amplified Bible).

THE WARNING:

The warning comes to those who become a stumbling block to someone else.  Rather than being a stumbling block, we need to seek to build up–restore the one who has stumbled.

“BRETHREN, IF any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin in any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit]  should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also”  (Galatians 6:1 AMP).

TEMPTATION Comes from Within–

I was watching a news segment on the NBC’s TODAY Show last week regarding the idea of legalizing DRUGS and PROSTITUTION in America.  America seems to have the mindset, as many other countries in the world, that if you can’t defeat something…LEGALIZE IT!

Temptation comes from within, from the devil, from the worldview that the devil promotes sinful people to accept.

It is never directed by God  (James 1:13)–

“Let no one say when he is TEMPTED,  I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.”

God is never effected by sin and doesn’t make any decisions effected by sin because of His character…WHO HE IS!  He is totally pure and Holy!

TEMPTATION is an individual matter–

“But every person is tempted when…” [ Here is where that “spider web” comes into play].  “he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions)”  (James 1:14).

Billy Graham has said, “None of us should deliberately place ourselves in a position to be tempted.”  Satan will always attack where we are the most vulnerable.

He goes on to say, “But each one of us is TEMPTED when by his own evil desire, is dragged away and enticed…”  Was Mr. Graham seeing the same Spider Web as I?  Perhaps.

Temptation will always follow the same pattern– 

A thought enters the web and we pamper it….it germinates and grows into an evil act…and that’s where the devil has a pattern of attack.

TRUTHS of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

1.  Our TEMPTATIONS are not unique.

“For no temptation, has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man…”  (v. 13).

2.  There is a way to stand up to and over temptation–

“Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun  (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry  (of loving or venerating anything more than God)”  (verse 14).

3.  GOD KNOWS my limits.  He is not unaware of my situation!

John MacArthur tells a story of a friend of his that I think illustrates this point:

A friend of mine told me one time, that he had taken a new job, with a very important company–he was very excited about it.  He had only been on the job for a little while.  Everyone had left the office one night and on his desk someone had left a HUGE sum of money.  He immediately took the money, put it in his briefcase, and thought I am going to have to return this.  He wrapped it up the next morning and brought it back and when he came to work he immediately walked into the bosses’ office and put the money down on the desk and said,  “Somehow, someone left this money on my desk and I don’t know who it was or who will be missing it, but I wanted to turn it in as fast as I could, so no one would be distressed by its absence.”  The boss looked him in the face and said, “I put the money there–it was a TEST–you passed.”

How would you have reacted to the TEMPTATION?  If your answer is,  “That depends…”, then keep reading this blog-post.

We OVERCOME TEMPTATION by:

Looking for a way to avoid the temptation–

In one sense every TRIAL (or TEST) is also a temptation that affords the opportunity to FAIL!

Alexander Maclaren distinguished being TEMPTED  and being TRIED or TESTED like this:

“TEMPTATION says,  ‘Do this pleasant thing, do not be hindered by the fact that it is wrong.’  TRIAL or PROVING says,  ‘Do this right and noble thing, do not be hindered by the fact that it is painful’.

AVOIDING THE “WEB” OF TEMPTATION:

An Old Testament example is found in Genesis 39:12.  Joseph flees from Potiphar’s wife when she wanted to commit adultery.

1.  FLEE FROM THE SITUATION IF POSSIBLE.

Submit Your Thoughts to God  (James 4:7; Philippians 4:8):

We should take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5:

“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought captive into the obedience of Christ  (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”

MOST OF OUR THOUGHTS could be characterized more as captivating us rather than being captivated.  I need to watch what my mind is dwelling on.  We aren’t so much as seized and we seize the thought.

2.  SUBMIT YOUR WILL TO GOD’S.

Most sin is grounded in selfishness.

We must commit ourselves daily to God according to Romans 12:1-2 and by daily confessions Colossians 3:2:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you;  Taking your every day, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life–and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you”  (Romans 12:1-2 The Message Bible).

“And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth”  (Colossians 3:2 AMP).

BREAK  *SEE Part Two for the continuation of the The Differences Between a Trial and Temptation.