Daily Articles

A Biblical Look at Temptation

I. What Temptation Is

    A. Something that tempts or entices
      1. James 1: 14 - When we are drawn away from by own lusts

    B. A spiritual test

      1. James 1 :2 - Count it joy when you have temptations
      2. James 1:3 - Trying of faith works patience

II. What Temptation Is Not

    A. Not sin
    B. Not from God

III. Who is the Tempter

    A. He is ...
      1. Matthew 4: 1 - The Devil
      2. I Peter 5:8 -Adversary, the devil
      3. II Corinthians 11: 14 - Satan transformed into an angel of light
      4. Revelation 12:10 - Accuser of the brethren

    B. What he does ...

      1. Revelation 12: 1 0 - Accuses
      2. Genesis 3:1 - Is subtle

Perseverance is Key

Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
--James 1:4

We go through periods when we seem to be standing still or slipping backwards. Perseverance is what brings complete recovery. Committing myself to the task before me, one minute at a time, one day at a time. There are rewards along the way... goals that have been accomplished, the sense of well-being, clarity of heart and mind.

Pushing too fast before you are ready or being critical of yourself for not getting through it faster can prolong the process.

Does God Get Tired?

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4

I'm more than usually tired this afternoon. I am beyond tired.

When I came home a few minutes ago - earlier than I'd planned - from my errands, I thought how mortally exhausted I am, and the verse I'm using for the text came to mind. And I realized that though I might get tired - whether sleepy or physically worn out, or both - God doesn't. He upholds the entire creation by His will, and yet it is as easy to Him as breathing is to me, and indeed I suspect that it gives Him positive pleasure to do so. I'm tempted to say that it's restful for God to do all that He does, but that would perhaps cause some people to infer that God requires rest, and of course He doesn't. When the Bible says that He rested on the seventh day, it doesn't mean that He'd gotten tired creating the universe and needed a break. It means, rather, that for six days (and I can't make anything out of the Bible's statements except 24 hour days...unless in that early period the morning and evening added up to more or fewer hours than 24) He had been active in creation, and on the seventh day He ceased to be active in that work because it was finished.

Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Book Review)

Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel is a book for every Christian. Usually when we hear the word "addiction," our thoughts immediately leap to illegal drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. As the author correctly points out in this book, every Christian faces the temptation of addiction. The difference is some addictions are more acceptable than others. I can be addicted to books for example. Others can be addicted to food, credit cards, a beautiful yard, a hobby, work, or a multitude of other items in God's created order.

Welch rightly calls addictions sin. Addictions reveal a love of self and thus are idolatry. In the practice of them we put ourselves above God. Addictions are sin. This diagnosis will not be acceptable to many in our culture. But it is what we need to hear.

The author shows the pathway by which one can become addicted. More importantly he shows the only true way that slaves to addictions can be freed. Thus this volume is filled with hope for those who are tempted to or are already feasting on a "banquet in the grave."

Redeemed Rebels: A Biblical Approach to Addiction

Sometimes we can catch a glimpse of God's majesty in His providence in such a way that we are left bewildered and in awe all at once. These are sweet moments. That is certainly the case concerning my redemption out of the headlong plunge into depravity and my slavery to drug and alcohol addiction. After my addiction, my wife Candi and I used to ask God and ourselves these questions:

    Why, God?
    Why did you allow me to go that way?
    Why didn't you do something to stop me?
    Why did I lose so much of myself, destroy so much, and come close to losing my life so many times?

Am I Loved? Will I Be Loved? Can I Really Love?

Without question, my greatest struggle and crisis of faith is, "AM I LOVED?" This question releases its evil first cousin; "WILL I BE LOVED?" Is being loved and loving contingent upon if I do some proverbial duty, service, behavior, performance enough and well enough? Close on their heels is "can I really love" without impure motive or impunity?

The only correct answer to these questions is simply God is Love.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it - we're called children of God! That's who we really are.(1 John 3:1a, Msg)

Look deeply into the glory of love! Having begun in Father's unmerited, unconditional, unending love; it elicits the following response!

My beloved friends let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 8 The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love - so you can't know him if you don't love. 9 This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. 10 This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God. 11 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. 12 No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us - perfect love! (1 John 4:7-12, Msg)

Lies and Secrets

Dishonesty becomes a way of life for most people with addictions...of any kind.

And when they swear off the use of drug or the repeating of the act, whatever that may be, the tendency to shape the truth doesn't just disappear. In fact, I would be willing to bet that most addicts/alcoholics resort to lying throughout the stages of addiction. Traditionally, the steps are labeled misuse, abuse, dependence, and full-blown addiction. These stages are the cornerstones of our secrets.

    * Misuse
    This, the initial stage, is where people begin to experience negative happenings in their relationships at home and at work. A pattern of deception of is born.

    * Abuse
    When people continue using a substance in spite of negative consequences, it is considered abuse. They are not only deceiving others, now they are deceiving themselves as well.

Untangling Fear and Anger When Abused

I've had experience with the "or else" fear mentality of anger. Coming from abuse, it was difficult to feel anger and love coexisting simultaneously. Years later, as an adult, it's still been a challenge to untangle the two.

And, in my eating disorder recovery, I've frequently encountered individuals who have also been plagued with the struggle of anger versus love. Most of the time, in talking with young girls and women, if there's ever been a disagreement, they often view it as me "hating" them, all of a sudden. Not true.

Even if/when I'm angry about something, it's not hatred. But, because of the importance subscribed to approval, unless there is an overjoyed, enthusiastic "yes response," rejection, hatred and all manner of negative conclusions are viewed to be the only result.

We have gotten the anger thing quite twisted. Scripture tells us anger will come. How we respond to it is the greater.

Be ye angry, and sin not Ephesians 4:26

Easier said than practiced, I know. But I think a key to it is recognizing anger does not equal hatred/loss of love. We can be angry and love fiercely at the same time.
Someone once said the opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference. Good point.

The Danger of Complacency and Sin

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin... The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie. ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Matthew 23:26 NASB
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

God is always ready to forgive -
but we must never become complacent about sin and think it doesn’t matter. Rather, we must do whatever we can to avoid temptation and deal with sin when it happens.

God does not want us to take a neutral attitude toward sin.
Though He loves the sinner, He does not love sin. It is sin that separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), yet He does not desire that any perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Freedom from Bondage

We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version

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