Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Right off the bat we can see that our temptation does not come from God. There are pieces and parts of us that God has not dealt with yet or that God has tried to deal with and we keep failing the test. So these parts of us that we have not surrendered to God are what ends up being enticed during a temptation. If when tempted we don't turn in the opposite direction and run, we may be dragged away and enticed. At this point it will be even harder to resist the temptation, be it in our minds or in real time in front of us. Once that desire has conceived, then it births sin. And birthed sin not dealt with leads to death.
- Temptation is not sin
- When you feel tempted, stop and turn from the temptation
- Cry out to God for wisdom and help if turning doesn't turn the temptation off
- Even if you go with the temptation for a minute think about the consequences of letting that temptation entice you
- Think death, if not physical death, at the very least impaired spiritual health if that temptation is conceived and births sin
- Not taking care of your spiritual health makes the church sick and makes nonchristians point at us and accuse us of being like the world
- When we sin we taint the name of Jesus to the world we are trying to reach.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This whole concept reminds me of a great C.S. Lewis quote I read 15 years ago. Will we or will we not do the right things when we are tempted or tested?
Every obedience to His prompting is as C.S. Lewis said,
"the capture of a strategic point from which a few months later you may be able
to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in
lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from
which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible."
Basically, Lewis is saying that by obeying we are setting ourselves up for future success.
How can we pass the tests and trials of life? Enter the reminder:
Verse 5 tells us if we lack wisdom we should ask God for some. Why is it that we over think or fret when all we have to do is ask God for wisdom? He will give us a generous amount of wisdom and not think we are weak or dumb having to ask for it.
There is a small catch. When we ask, we are to ask not doubting because as verse 7 says, "the person who doubts should expect nothing from the Lord." In fact, according to James, doubters are double minded and double minded people are unstable in all ways. (verse 8)
There will be more about wisdom from James in Chapter 3. For today I will just summarize these first eight verses from James 1:
- Count your trials as nothing but joy.
- You need these trials to become mature in Christ.
- By obeying you get more endurance which prepares you for the next trial.
- If you don't know how to respond to the trial or test, ask God to give you wisdom.
- But once you ask, don't doubt because that just sets you up for instability.
Note the words in red italics. Strong stuff!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
As he walked away and started the story hour, I thought I may have sounded hard or mean. I tried to put myself back to being a parent of an 18 month old. What would I have done? I would have reprimanded while touching my daughter. The touching would be the comfort part.
The truth of the matter is the kids should not have been running in the first place. As a parent, we need to be speaking these truths to our kids. It's not an either or response. It can be both. I can comfort while speaking the truth in love.
When I screw up, God, my heavenly Father disciplines me. (See Hebrews 12) Most of us have felt the chastening of God. Yet we also know that it is because He loves us that he chastens us. And He loves us while chastening us.
I want to encourage parents to speak the truth in love to their kids. And I want to encourage the church to speak the truth to each other. Not with a ball bat in hand, but with love in our hearts. Most people do not speak the truth because they don't want to appear judgemental, they want to be liked, or other reasons. But if we are to be imitators of God, we need to step up and begin to do it anyway.
God, my prayer for the church is that we will speak the truth in love and receive the truth in love. If I am not willing to listen and consider the truth someone is trying to speak to me, if I get angry and defensive, how does that encourage the church to do what it needs to do? Let it begin with me, the speaking and the receiving of the truth in love.
The place anger has in our lives is to clue us in to something going on inside of us. Figuring that out and fixing that through the help of God will work the righteousness of God into our lives. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for that life lesson!