Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tempted, Now What?

Photo Credit: Flickr, Eduardo Amorin

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

I am sure all us have battled, and still battling sin in our lives. In my journey with the Lord, I have experienced times in which sin kept knocking on my door saying, “Just go do it…it will be pleasing…” I resist, yet it keeps knocking. I am sure many of you, if not all have experienced the same thing. Often times when we come to Christ and get saved, there is a sin (or sins) in our life which does not want to go away. Maybe we are tempted to party and get drunk or stoned. Maybe it is a sexual sin. Maybe it is something else, like anger or worry. We believe we are starting to have victory, only to find ourselves doing the very thing we do not want to do. Fortunately, God has given us a way of escape, but the question is, do we want to take it? And if we do, then what is the way of escape? In simple terms, the answer is that Jesus is the way of escape. Below I am going to share with you three things from Romans chapter 6 which will help one overcome their temptation. Before I share with you these with you, I first want to make a quick statement. Be persistent, do not give up in your battle!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)

3 Things You Need To Know:

  1. Know The Truth.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:5-6 NKJV)

The first essential is to know the truth. As believers, our old man was crucified with Christ. We no longer need to be slaves to sin. How would you know this fact if you have never taken the time to learn what God says in His Word? Many of us, we are only fed on Sunday morning. Commit to spending time daily in the Word learning all you can about what God has to say. It is also wise to commit to memorizing Bible verses that way you have truth hid in your heart to draw upon in the time of need. Remember Jesus used Scripture to defeat the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness. (See Matthew 4:1-11) Just as a side note, here are a couple free tools you may use to help memorize scripture.

  1. Reckon Yourselves To Be Dead To Sin.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:10-11 NKJV)

Other translations say to count or consider yourselves dead to sin. In order to consider yourself dead to sin, you must believe God’s Word to be true. It is then when one may behave as though he is a child of God, instead of a child of the devil. As believers, Jesus set us free from the penalty of sin and we are able to walk in His strength. We will never stop sinning in this life, but we are no longer salves to it. Instead, we become salves of righteousness.

 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:18 NKJV)

  1. Quit Presenting Yourself To Sin, But To God.
And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13 NKJV)

We must all remember that “we have been bought at a price in, therefore we are to glorify God.” (See 1 Corinthians 6:20) Make it our hearts desire to live life to bring glory to God, not ourselves.  Rejoice in all things of God and be a man or woman after His own heart. As we do this, we will love the things God loves, and hate the things God hates.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,

And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 

(Psalm 37:4 NKJV)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We Are Filled With Something

Photo Credit: Pixabay

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18 NKJV)

While comparing the above verse with other translations, I found a couple interesting observations. First, the Holman Christian Standard Bible translates the phrase, "in which is dissipation" this way: "which leads to reckless actions." The New Living Translation reads, "Because it will ruin your life." Sunday in church, our pastor spoke concerning this verse, "You will be filled with something." As I meditate on this passage, I realize one may draw application even further than getting drunk, but anything which we pursue more than God. I think of people who spend their life pursuing wealth or career. They have no time for family or God. Their children grow up not knowing who they are. Their spouse may feel like their partner is married to their career, not him/her. For other people, it might be the pursuit of pleasure, which could include the party life among other things. Often times us believers may get caught up in the things of this world, and God gets choked out. The devil will use the things of this world to entice us, thus leading us away from the will of God. Scripture teaches us that the devil cannot snatch us out of God's hand, but he sure may wreak havoc in our lives or make us unproductive. This person also will not be growing in their faith as they ought.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:7,22 NKJV)

Take this to the extreme, this person may fall away. I am sure we all know of someone who was faithful in the church for a long time, and then they are gone. Some may even reject God, saying they "no longer believe like they once did." I am not talking about someone who started attending elsewhere, but they have left the Lord. They got caught up in the cares of this world, and drifted away. There has been a debate in Christendom for hundreds of years as to "once saved, always saved" and those who believe one can "lose their salvation." Others say, "you cannot lose your salvation, but you may choose to walk away from it." Some may call them backslidden Christians. Some will say this person "was never saved, thus there is no salvation to lose." Others will argue to the contrary. I am not going to get all caught up in this debate here. Unfortunately, people who love the Lord and are way smarter than I have argued their views for centuries. This being said, I am sure we all can agree that this is not a good place to be. How is it that this person can have assurance of their salvation? Of course we also have many in the church who have saved souls, but wasted lives. They are unfruitful in what they do for the Lord. Be it unfruitful or unsaved, this is not a wise path to take.

"For to be carnally minded is death, 
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." 
(Romans 8:6 NKJV)

Our salvation is based upon Jesus and what He did, not on us and what we do. No amount of good works, religious rituals, or anything else can cause one to be saved. Nor will any of these things cause us to keep our salvation. Jesus went to the cross and died a brutal death so that you and I might spend eternity with Him. All you or I may do is turn from our evil ways seeking to follow Him and get down on our knees and cry out to God, "Have mercy on me, a sinner." He will then save us, not because of what we do, but because He is good. Jesus came to save sinners. Then God will give us a new heart, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. I heard one pastor say, "We are a new species." We should be so thankful and appreciative of what Jesus did for us, we should want nothing more that to get to know Him and love Him more each and every day. Jesus said, He who loves me, Him and the Father will make their home with them. We know that we are His forever because we continue abiding in Him.
What I do not understand is, why anyone would would even want to leave, those who are truly His.

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:21,23-24 NKJV)

Let me say it again, "God makes His home with those who love Him." How cool is that? Let that one sink in.

The question we must ask of ourselves, are we going to be filled with the Spirit, that is to be lead by Him or something else?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Honor Thy Parents

Photo Credit

I am not sure about the rest of the world, but last Sunday here in the USA we celebrated Mothers Day. I hope and pray all you Mom's had a wonderful and blessed Mothers Day. Also, here in the USA, next in June we celebrate Fathers Day. I am thankful to God everyday that God has allowed my mother to live as long as He has. She is a woman in her 90's. I am also thankful to God that she loves the Lord and raised me to know God. Unfortunately, I went the way of the world for many years. But the Godly upbringing she gave me had a great influence on my life. I might not have ever came to the Lord if it were not for her. As for my Father, he passed away 20 years ago. While he did not follow the Lord for most of his life, he did get saved before he passed away. This too, I am thankful for.

I was so blessed this year that my wife and I were able to go spend some precious time with my mom. It was a time to be cherished. She lives about a half days journey away from where we live. We try to get up to see her every couple or three months, as it is such a blessing to her, and us.

When we look at the 10 commandments, it is interesting to note that the first four relate to our relationship with God. Then, the next six concern our relationship with other people. I have always found it interesting that God choose to list "Honor your Father and Mother" above "Thou shall not kill." If I were to write it, I would think "thou shall not kill" would come first. After all, is not murder the worst thing a person might do to another human being? But, I believe God had a good reason. First of all, how is it that we can honor God, if we do not honor our parents? Also, how is it that we may honor our neighbor if we will not honor our parents?

The first commandment with promise:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 NKJV)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
(Psalm 19:1 NKJV)

Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.
(Isaiah 48:13 NKJV)

I am just in awe as I look at the below photos. This is just a small glimpse of the majesty of our God.

According to NASA's "Imagine The Universe" website,
about one million earths would fit into the sun.

This irruption on the sun would engulf the earth many times over.
The earth is the little blue dot in the lower right hand corner of the above picture.

In the photo above, the earth is not even visible and the sun is tiny compared to the star "Arcturus."


And Arcturus is nothing compared to Antares.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:17 ESV)

Our God measures the universe with the span of His hand and in Christ all things are held together. Scripture tells us that God knows even when a sparrow falls to the ground, and that we are more valuable to God than this bird. Our heavenly Father even knows the number of hairs on each of heads. And our God desires a personal relationship with us which is real. It is mind blowing to think about this. Take a look at creation and see the wonders of His work, it reveals the glory and majesty of our God. The creation which we see is cursed due to sin, can you just imagine what it will be like in the new heavens and earth, which is not corrupted by sin?  In light of all this, we should get excited every Sunday when we get to go to church and lift up our praises to Him. Each and every morning we should rejoice that we get to spend some time in His presence singing Him praises, listening to His voice through reading His Word, and our precious time in prayer with our God. Any time you do not feel like praying or spending time with the Lord, just remember who He is and how awesome He is, and how can we not want to lift up our praises to Him and come into His presence?

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV)