Friday, October 30, 2015

Why Are We Tempted?

Why Are We Tempted?

James 1:13, 14 
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed..

Why is it so difficult to say no to temptation and “yes” to God? Why is temptation so attractive and powerful? Couldn’t God eliminate the devil? Just think, if Satan were gone, we could resist temptation much more easily. Isaiah 55:8,9 says; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Why do we experience temptation? What is the purpose behind it all? Could it be God’s method of testing our loyalty and our love? We cannot say we love someone until we have had to make some hard choices on their behalf. God uses our sins to show us His grace and power. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Experiencing God’s sufficient grace is certainly something we don’t deserve, for His power is perfected in our weakness and gives us strength to overcome sin’s control.

So, what sin is it that keeps holding you captive? Is it an obvious one: drunkenness, adultery, gluttony, homosexuality, an addiction of any kind? Maybe it is a very private sin, the one in your mind: pride, fear, bitterness, envy, anxiety, jealousy, or hatred. Whatever it is, God can deliver you from that sin. God will provide for you the way of escape–––that you may be able to endure the temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials no matter how difficult.

Lord, Your grace is enough to strengthen me through any trial.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sacrificial Love

Sacrificial Love

John 15:13 KJV
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Short summary of the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens:

The year is now 1789. The peasants in Paris storm the Bastille and the French Revolution begins. The revolutionaries murder aristocrats in the streets, and Gabelle, a man charged with the maintenance of the Evrémonde estate, is imprisoned. Three years later, he writes to Darnay, asking to be rescued. Despite the threat of great danger,  Darnay departs immediately for France.

Sydney Carton, a look-a-like to Darnay, also has traveled to Paris because of the selfless love that he has for Lucie Manette. He resolves to sacrifice himself to save Lucie’s husband's life.  He drugs Darnay and exchanges places with him, having Barsad carry Darnay out of the prison to safety. Carton dies in Darnay's place at the hand of Madam Guillotine. Sydney Carton’s final quote: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.” Though this is only a novel, the truth of “agape” love is shown by the sacrificial giving of one’s life for another, without thought of return. 

The true meaning of love, as defined in Biblical terms, has been corrupted, stained in our English language. Most often, people that have said that they are in love, are really infatuated with what they think love may be.  Is love that touchy-feely sensation a person has when he or she is with a familiar person? According to the Bible, love isn’t what we feel, but what we do. The Lord loved us enough to die for us and pay our sin debt while we were sinning against Him. This shows that true biblical love is not about emotion. God chose to love us and His love was not based on our meriting it in any way.

Lord, thank You for a love so great that You sacrificed Yourself for sinful man.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit

Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Though self-control is last on the list of fruit, it is certainly not the least of them mentioned. Temperance, self-control is the ability to live with restraints. The world today tells us to: do your own thing and be free of all control. But, we, as Christians, are instructed to demonstrate self-control that we may be like Christ. It is possible for the old nature to imitate some of the fruit of the Spirit, but the flesh, our old nature, can never produce the fruit of the Spirit. When the Spirit produces fruit in our lives, God gets the glory, but when the flesh does the work, we become proud of ourselves when complements come our way.

We must remember that fruit is produced so it can be shared, not admired, or put on a shelf as a display. People all around us are starving for love, and are hungry for all the other wonderful characteristics of the Spirit that we can share with them. They know we have something they lack, therefore, we do not bear fruit for our own pleasure, but for the benefit of others. This is truly a labor of love, that Christ may be praised and glorified.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit working in your life as a Christian. Scripture tells you to examine yourself, whether you are in the faith (1 Corinthians 13:5).  Putting yourself to the test to see if you are a true believer, is crucial! Do you recognize that the Lord of Heaven, Jesus Christ, dwells in you? If the Spirit of God does not have residence in your life, there is no fruit of self-control or any other godly characteristic. Trust Christ today, believe that Christ did for you what you could never do for yourself.

Lord, may You be glorified through the godly characteristic of self-control.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sweet Song of Praise

Sweet Song of Praise
Psalm 8:1,9 KJV
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

What comes to mind when we hear His name?
Is it the Sweetest Name We Know
   Is there strength and power, and joy of heaven,
  That comforts our troubled soul? 

  How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,
 To a heart so filled with pain; 
   It soothes the aching broken heart 
And heals the wounds of shame.

  O, Lover of our burdened soul, 
 Our never ending Friend,
       Though weak and weary, bruised from sin, 
Your forgiveness has no end.

       May we lift our voices to heaven’s throne, 
Of the matchless worth of Christ, 
    Our Prophet, Priest, and Glorious King, 
Our Sustainer and Giver of life.

  O LORD, our Lord, 
      What eternal excellence is given to Thy name,
       The sweetest song of highest praise,
            Will be to His precious name.

                                                      by Dianna Moffitt Carroll

David, in his songs of praise to God, expresses such loving words of devotion and proclaims His name as excellent and above all other names. He extols the Savior’s name and the matchless worth of who He is. Why should we praise the name of Jesus and give all honor to His name? Because He is worthy to be praised and His greatness is unsearchable in heaven above and on the earth beneath. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 KJV). 

There is a well of strength hidden in the praises we sing and give to our Lord. Though our hearts are heavy at times and we don’t know what to do, we can meditate upon, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” He is our JEHOVAH-ROPHE, the God who heals; our JEHOVAH-EL ROI, the God who sees; our JEHOVAH-SHALOM, the Lord of peace and our Mighty God in need. He is there to defend, comfort and guide us; throughout our anxious days. Don’t let the songs of praise be mere words written with ink, but let the sweetest name ever sung–– bring healing to the soul. For then we’ll discover the marvelous privilege of getting to know, the One whose name is exalted above every name and at the name of JESUS, every knee shall bow (Philippians 2:10).

Lord, may I praise Your name with a heart of thanksgiving.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Conscience

The Conscience

Acts 24:16 KJV
 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Have you ever found yourself feeling guilty for no apparent reason you knew of and immediately went to the Word of God for instruction and comfort? “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me...” (Psalm 139:23,24). Examining guilt feelings in the light of Scripture, along with prayer, is definitely the cure for a guilty conscience. A person who conceals his sin will not prosper, but the one who confesses and forsakes sin, will have compassion (Proverbs 28:13). After spending time searching your heart through prayer and reading God’s Word, did you realized that Satan, known as, “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10), tried to discourage you with his lies (John 8:44)? Christians need to understand that guilt appears when sin is prevalent in the life of a believer, but also, when one is not trusting God with a clear and well-advised conscience. The conscience must be persuaded by the Word of God, not by feelings.

In the Christian life, one’s conscience can be driven by an inadequate understanding of scriptural truths and these can produce guilt, shame, and misunderstood feelings. The deceitfulness of sin is dangerous to the believer because it hardens the heart and keeps you from the truth of the Gospel(Hebrews 3:13). The human heart grows more susceptible to temptation, pride, and every other kind of evil, when sin has deceived and defiled the conscience. God has written His law on man’s heart so, when man violates his conscience, it results in guilt, regret, and doubt, a signal to your soul’s well-being. A person with a good conscience is doing the will of God from the heart. This produces true joy, everlasting assurance, and ultimate peace in the heart of the believer.

Lord, I pray I will live before You and before men, with a good conscience.