Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What 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.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

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God at Arm’s Distance

July 18, 2013

God at Arm’s Distance

Revelations 3:15-20
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Did you ever have a relationship with a person where you really liked them, but you wanted to keep a little space with them, you really wanted the relationship on the terms of your comfort level? Many of us have those kinds of relationships in our marriage where we love our husband or wife, but we want our own space to live our own life and do our own thing. We want a relationship, but we want it at arm’s length, a place we can either pull away or be close, but not feel too confined. Isn’t that very much like the relationship many of us have or have had with the Lord? We believe in Christ, we love God, but we are afraid to get to close to Him. We’re afraid He might let us down, or we’re afraid He might require too much of us, or we’re afraid we’ll have to give up the things we love and want to do. Fear is the counterpart of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Herein is contained a promise of God that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For a lot of us there is truth we would rather stay ignorant of or things we would rather not hear, because it requires of us accountability and we rather like things the way they are. I know these things because I see so many of them in me. I don’t always like it when somebody speaks the truth to me in areas where I am comfortable and don’t really want to change, yet I know that if I refuse to hear the truth and harden my heart, I am shutting out the Holy Spirit. I am holding out my arm and saying to God, “don’t come any closer Lord, you are infringing upon my territory, my self will.” Then I am reminded that I am not my own, He bought me with a price and my life belongs to Him completely and without reservation.
So many of us, especially here in America, have been so blessed and we have enjoyed so many things and privileges that we have become fat and satisfied. We are the Laodicean Church it speaks about hear in Revelation 3. “We are rich, increased with goods and have need of nothing.” In the natural that is true, but in the spirit it has left us “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” We can’t serve two masters and when we choose to be rich in the things of the world we suffer spiritually.
Most of you who read this faithfully are those who are willing to hear the truth even when it is convicting and most who don’t may not want to read it because the Lord does deal with us in hard areas that we maybe rather not have to deal with. The truth is we will have to deal with these issues either now while there is still time for us to align ourselves with the will of God or when it is too late and we experience the displeasure of the Lord. If there is one theme the Lord seems to be reiterating again and again through these writings it is that He is calling out a people for His Name, a people He wants to have relationship with and bring out of the common into the Most Holy Place. He is calling us higher into Him. The Lord is a consuming fire and as He draws us into His bosom and into His heart that fire is going to become hotter and hotter to our flesh till it consumes it more and more. Will we welcome his embrace which means we will buy the gold of His nature tried in the fire and we will put on the white raiment and clothing of His righteousness? Will we anoint our eyes with the salve of His Truth so that we might see by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh? Will we receive the rebuke, the correction and chastening of the Lord that brings us to repentance because we have quit holding God at a distance, surrendered our whole heart and said, “Yes Lord, I want all of you no matter what the cost.” Some of us need to make that commitment today in our lives. Perhaps we had in the past, but have found ourselves again compromised with the world. It was to the Church that Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus is calling out for us to come back into right relationship with Him, to sup with Him, to “eat of His flesh and drink of His blood” so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We can never give up anything in this life that the Lord requires of us but what it will result in so much more in Christ. Instead of holding God at a distance open your arms and embrace Him with a full commitment of your love and devotion. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelations 3:21-22).”

Blessings,
kent

Return to Your First Love

Revelations 2:4
Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Most of us have been in love and hopefully still are if we are married. Remember the thrill you felt to be with the one you loved. They were your desire, your focus and they filled your thoughts continually. All you could think about was them and how you wanted to be them when you were apart. Remember how your world revolved around that special person. There was no one else in the world like them. When you were away from them for an extended period your heart yearned for them or when you thought you might lose their love your heart grieved and broke. That was your first love.
Remember when you first came to Christ and the joy of salvation filled your heart. The Holy Spirit had given you a revelation of Christ’s great love for you and you fell so in love with Him. Many of the same emotions that you experienced with the human relationship of love, you experienced with Christ. He was the delight of your heart and you wanted Him to fill and be a part of everything you did. No greater joy and blessing was there than to be in His presence. He was so real to you and you vowed in your heart you would never leave Him or turn away from Him.
Many of you know that when you have been in a long-term relationship, such as marriage, with the person you love those feelings and emotions often subside over time. You still love them, but you take each other for granted a lot. All of those first feelings, emotions and passions of love have faded into a daily routine that often has lost it’s luster. After all, we have all of the demands of life upon us and so many other things competing for our time, attention or affection. We come to find we have left our first love.
As we have done this with our human relationships, we have most likely been guilty of doing it with Christ. Is He the passion, the love, the joy and the longing of your heart that He once was or have we slipped into complacency and lethargy concerning our love relationship with Him? Yes we still love Him, we are Christians and He is our Savior, but is He still our lover? Does our hearts still long and thirst after Him every day? Does He continually fill our thoughts and are we in constant communication with Him? Is He the praise on our lips and the song in our heart? We all so often fail in the area of neglecting our relationships. We can have many good attributes, but we don’t want to lose that “first love”. It is the passionate and fervent love that is always in pursuit of the object of its love and affection. Ask the Father to renew in you that passionate, fervent “first love” for Christ. Seek it out and lay hold of it again. It is vital to us individually and corporately if we are to be His bride, His Church and possess all that He has for us in Himself as our husband.

Blessings,
kent

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