LUKE 10:19 ON 10/19

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 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  – Luke 10:19

I respect anyone who takes these portions of Scripture literally and handle snakes…  but in my mind, this is taken figuratively of the devil, and his principalities and powers, and all his emissaries, who, for their craft and cunning, and for their poisonous and hurtful nature and influence, may be compared to serpents and scorpions.

Serpents are poisonous and scorpions hide so well, they sort of curl up when they’re waiting for someone, and look like an egg.  The enemy of our soul is poisonous but we don’t realize he’s struck until it’s too late.  He doesn’t come along in a red cape and a tail either.  He is the best looking temptation you can imagine.  What’s more innocent looking than an egg?  I know, right?

That’s why we must claim the blood of Christ to overcome the power of the enemy…  the sneaky snake – the cleaver scorpion that will surely cause harm to us and our souls.gods-not-waiting

As Christians we sometimes think we’ve got it all figured out – and that’s when we get in trouble.  About the time we think we’ve risen above the ability to be tempted – BOOM!  We have to walk humbly with our God, remembering that our help comes from HIM and we can do nothing apart from HIM.

Christ is the Vine – we’re only branches – and we need to stay attached to the VINE or we will wither and die – we will be weak in temptation if we forget that it is our LORD Who will protect us and fight our battles.

Stay strong – but make sure you’re not strong within yourself – but strong in Jesus’ Name.  Everything good comes from Him and is unattainable without Him.  The fruits of God’s Holy Spirit are not from our own determination and willpower.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Self-Control…  those qualities go completely against human nature.  Those are qualities that flow through us by His Spirit.  Having these fruits gives us added strength to trample snakes and scorpions in Jesus’ Name.

When we learn to forgive quickly when we get hurt, correct with God’s Word, offering a gentle nudge instead of a pop on the head, and recognize a temptation to sin, then hand it to God as soon as possible…  God will be by our side.  He will help us overcome because He is faithful and He loves us.  🙂

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1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 ON 10/13

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No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Have you ever been tempted?  Well, yeah…  me too!  Have you ever been in the midst of temptation and prayed for God, who we know is faithful, to provide the way of escape from that temptation?  That is the prayer that keeps us from crossing the line from temptation to sin.

PRAYER IS A SHIELD FOR THE SOUL

It’s so important to keep this portion of Scripture tucked safely in your heart and keep it committed to memory.  We are going to be tempted…  no matter who we are or how close we think we are to God.  Maybe the temptation is to think you are beyond being tempted…  see what I’m saying?  It is a slippery slope when you start thinking you are above being tempted.  The enemy of your soul is on the prowl.  You may not be as easy to tempt…  but that sneaky snake devil is really good at what he does…  which brings me back to God’s way of escape.imagese5vkycvf

If you ask God to show you how to get away from temptation, He is faithful and will do it.  Keep in mind that we do have free will and have freedom to cross the line into sin.  If we decide to cross the line, it’s important to remember that sinning against God comes with a whole slew of consequences – and some of those consequences last for the rest of your life.  Sin really will take you further than you ever wanted to go – not in a good way.images-199

If you sin and if you find yourself dealing with the circumstances of your sin – don’t even think of blaming God for your situation.  He would have shown you the EXIT…  the way of escape… but you didn’t ask!  Sin is fun and exciting for a season – but nothing built on sin will ever thrive in the long run.  It will never be the best that God wanted you to have.  You settled for less than God’s best…  and you ended up unhappy and miserable.  You’re stuck – but you can’t blame God for it – you can only blame yourself.

leaning-on-the-rockOkay – that was the bad news – but there is good news.  If we do pray that God will show us His way of escape from temptation – before we cross the line and sin – He will!  We can walk out the door and pray that God will give us what He wants for us – which is undoubtedly much better because it’s His best – not what we think we need at the moment.imagesaag4a5m9As long as we’re in these human bodies, there will be temptations from the enemy of our souls…  and there will be trials now and again from God.  Just remember that the temptations are there to bring out the worst in us – to show how low we can go.  When God sends a trial it is meant to strengthen us and bring out the best in us – to show how high we can rise – or more to the point, how God can work in us, causing us to rise higher.  🙂

 

 

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS MONTH

TL MARCH IS SPIRITUAL WELLNESS MONTH

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

Is it well with your soul?  March is Spiritual Wellness Month, and today’s post is a reminder that the God of the universe is still in control.  It’s easy to watch political programs, debates, and end up feeling – shall I say, less than optimistic – about how “things” are in America?  Christians, we have to turn our backs to the rhetoric (from the left and the right), and lift our heads toward heaven, lift our hands and pray… a prayer of acknowledgement to our GOD in heaven!

Dear Heavenly Father,

When things go wrong around us, it’s so easy to point the finger at our government and be harsh and critical.  There are proper times to reprove, but please teach us how to love and act based on Your Word rather than reacting with bad attitudes and anger.  Teach us how to walk a higher road as Christians in America and truly love as You love and forgive us.  Help us not to say or do anything that would drive a wedge in our relationship with You.  It’s so difficult to keep our political opinions in check.  We need Your grace in this area so much.  Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

TRUST FOR STRAIGHT PATHSMy minister friend, Harold McKay, used to say, READ YOUR BIBLE AND PRAY.  Harold has been in Heaven for several years, but those words resonate with me still.  So many folks try to make it more complicated than it is.  Imagine if you were told you need to lose 50 pounds and you took everything out of your house and replaced it with a full gym.  Of course, that’s exactly what Kirstie Alley did…  but I digress.  To most of us in the real world, that seems extreme.  Most of us would get a gym membership and workout there, or we would get one or two pieces of equipment and cut down on food consumption.  That seems more reasonable and easier to do.

It’s not difficult to achieve spiritual wellness.  As Lucinda’s beautiful poem says, “Lay all things out before Him.”  It’s really that simple.  Learn as much as you can from God’s Word, the Bible.  Apply the principles and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to help you along.  He will do it.  He will definitely do it.  🙂

 

ECCLESIASTES 3:11 ON 3/11

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Have you ever had to pray the most difficult prayer?  It’s the one that begins with, “Lord, change me!”

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  – Ecclesiastes 3:11

Often times we get wrapped up in dreams for the future that may or may not come to pass.  I wonder how healthy it is for us to put so much stock in what might not come to pass.  Maybe it’s better to do our best to enjoy today since  the Bible makes it quite clear that we are not promised tomorrow.  God makes everything beautiful in its time – not in our time.

Everything really does happen for a reason.  Just because we don’t understand the reason doesn’t mean that God doesn’t understand and have a plan.  We get hung up on the questions when things aren’t going our way – questions that usually begin with “why” – Why was I born this way?  Why did my mom treat me like that?  Why did I have to be left alone?  Why couldn’t I be a mother?  Why did You have to take my babies?  It’s exhausting.

We have to come to a point where we give up the WHY questions and lift our hands to the sky and declare that God is God.  He is the wise, omnipotent, omnipresent God of the universe who knows everything.  He alone knows how different my life would have been if I had been a mom.  I don’t pretend to know anything.  I have to call a cease-fire on the war with God because it’s a war I can’t win.  To be honest I’m too old and too tired to keep fighting it.  I surrender all – and I mean ALL to God.  The ultimate surrender is when the why questions stop.

It’s clear that beauty, whether it is beauty in thought or beautiful happenings, come from God above.  That brings the first part of the verse closer together.  And once we trust God to be Lord of our life, He definitely puts the desire in us to know Him better.

How do we know God better?  It’s not complicated.  Read God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and talk with God.  Pray to Him and make sure you listen for His answers.  Don’t be angry if you don’t understand His answers.  Just raise your hands and tell God that He is God – and you are not.

Remember that while we are focused on the external, God is focused on the internal.  While we see today, He is working on eternity.  We focus on the gift bag and He focuses on the gift inside.  He makes all things beautiful in His time – including the losses, the brokenness, the battles, the fragmented dreams, lost romance, heartache and chronic illness.

Without Him, life is purposeless and profitless, miserable and meaningless. With Him, it will ultimately make sense.  🙂