Monday, February 21, 2011

Unexpected Trials

I'm just sitting here thinking about how we can make it through this life when hard times come. When people die unexpectedly and sometimes "too early". Everyday you hear of abuse and wrong that has happened to others. These things are hard to understand. We want to question and ask "Why God?, Why?".

God's plan is so much bigger than we can see or understand. Sometimes it doesn't make sense at all or it seems like He made a big mistake. But His ways are higher than our ways, He sees the whole span of our lives as we remember the past and live in the present. He knows what the future holds and is there to hold us no matter what happens...if we let Him! He never promised we would not go through hard times of varies kinds, but He did promise that He will never leave us or forsake us! He is a comforter, helper, healer, deliverer. He is an anchor and a rock to cling to when the storms of this life are raging. So many are tempted to turn away from God or be angry with Him during these times. But I am determined that I will run TO HIM during any and every trial or crisis. Not only in those times, but I want to stay close to Him so that when trials come I don't feel like He is too far away to reach. It's easier to bring your burdens to a friend than to a stranger.

My prayer for today: Lord, help me to trust You and praise You in the good and in the bad. I don't want to live one day of my life estranged from You, I don't have to and I choose not to! :)

Be encouraged, God is in control and never taken by surprise! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dealing with temptation

Hello! I sat down today to write in my journal and a note I had written several months ago fell out. After reading it I thought it would be good to share because we all struggle with some thing that trips us up from time to time. Even the most committed Christian has some area of weakness, even if it is something as simple as being prideful about not having an area that trips them up! :) Here goes:

How to deal with temptation.

1. Keep a fresh relationship with the Lord everyday through prayer and Bible study.

James 4:8 - Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].

2. Learn to recognize impure thoughts or thoughts that could lead to sin and change your thinking. (*impure as in anything that doesn't please God, could be lust, gossip/hearsay, bitterness, anger, revenge, jealousy, spite, painting someone in a negative light, disrespect toward authority/parents)

Ephesians 4:22-24 - Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

3. Learn to recognize temptations and refuse to give in.

Matthew 26:41 - All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

4. Share your temptations with someone before they result in sin.

James 5:16 - Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

5. Recognize giving in to temptation as sin. Call sin what it is, SIN. Not a "little white lie", not an "indiscretion", a "mistake", a "bad habit", "doing things my way"...if it is sin, then it is sin.

6. Think of the consequences of giving into temptation before you act. To name a few:

  • sinning against God
  • sinning against yourself
  • sinning against your spouse
  • sinning against your family
  • violating trust
  • opening the door to more sin
  • giving the devil a foothold
  • compromising your standards
  • losing respect of your family
  • hurting yourself
  • hurting others

7. Look for a way of escape from temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

8. Confess your sins quickly instead of lying, covering them up, sugar coating them, playing them down. (*being honest before God and with others helps you have a fresh relationship with God, sin just puts a wall between you and God. We can deceive others and even ourselves, but God always knows the truth)

9. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you about what areas still need work!

So why share this? Because I'm so good and so full of good advice, NOT AT ALL! The real reason is because reading this today reminded me that I need to take my own advice. It made me look at myself and my own struggle with sin and made me realize I need to do better. Because I recognize the Holy Spirit putting His spotlight on areas in me that need to be cleaned out right now. Because I feel that icky feeling and weight of sin that so easy trips me up and because it's time for me to pray and read my bible and I realized I need to get some things off my chest before I can get anything out of either prayer or bible study anyway!! :) The other reason is I figured it might encourage someone else to be honest with himself/herself and God, it might help someone to strive against sin and result in a closer walk with God...that would be awesome! :)

Well, I hope y'all have a terrific day! :) More later!