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Lord, Enable Me to Resist the Temptation to Sin

This chapter brought back a question I always used to ask…. King David… the man after God’s own heart…. why would he cheat on his wife and murder his adultress’ husband?   I mean really?   Then I am reminded, that even people who seem to have it all, really don’t.  They have sin, too.

I don’t think I would ever commit adultery.   I love and adore my husband so much.  He is so patient with me, and he loves me even when I am unlovable…. which now is a really good time to love me unconditionally when I am starting through perimenopause… lol.   But that doesn’t ever stop thoughts, does it?  I mean, I don’t ever think my way into lusting over another man…. but sometimes Satan will take a vision of someone that is attractive in some way and play it around in your brain.   Some one with good looks…. someone with an extremely caring heart…. someone with an awesome talent…. someone who just understands you better…. well, the attraction is there somehow.    Any time Satan tries to creep into my mind about something that I see that he (Satan) perceives that is lacking in my marriage, I sing him away.    Sing praise songs to God about just about anything…. I don’t memorize scripture very well, but I do remember song lyrics….then I go find them in the bible.  They are usually there.  Put a scripture to music, and I am there.

I saw this picture on Facebook this past Sunday from a cartoon called “Maxine”.  I think most of you are familiar with her cranky, sarcastic cartoons.  Sometimes I laugh at them and repost them on my facebook page, but this one, I said, “No, I actually don’t agree with you this time, Maxine.”  Here it is….

This is so not true!  This (romance novels) is what got me in trouble in the first place!  Expecting men to be like the ones in romance novels.   I spent too many years before meeting my DH looking for those men!   Sleeping with the wrong men who I thought would be like them…. and even when I met my hubby, he was nothing like any of those men, but God gave me the green light to marry him.   “This is who I have chosen for you, my child.”

She gives six things to remember about temptation….

1. WHO: It can happen to anyone.   I watched as an ELDER of a former church got involved in an affair with a woman on the Praise team (he was the Praise leader)  This man I always looked up to as a highly spiritual man, but it still happened to him….just like King David.  Guard your hearts, ladies!

2. WHAT:  Sex isn’t the only tempter, even though it is a big one in this world….money, power, desire…. Satan knows what you desire the most, and believe me, he will use it to tempt you into sin.    God can give you the strength to resist it.  Ask him to help you!

3.  WHEN: Anytime, and especially when you least expect it.   Don’t think you can handle it alone.   It is always serious no matter when it happens.

4.  WHERE:  Anywhere…. on the metro bus on the way to work, at work, at church, at home… anywhere.  If there is a certain man that tempts you, don’t be around him.  Separate yourself from the temptation at all costs.

5. WHY: Satan knows what God has planned for you, and he wants to distract you from it knowing there are pleasures that you would rather seek than doing God’s will.   You never realize that it’s not only you that gets hurt by your sin, but others, too, as well.    Temptation comes your way, then FLEE!

6. HOW: Doesn’t matter how…. Wherever your weakness is, the how will find you.   I like the way she says it’s a set up by the enemy intended to bring you down”    Don’t let him bring you down.  Put on the full armor of God, put up that shield, and tell it to be gone!

When you feel the urge….the temptation… that is when you start praying.   It really works.   If you are like me, and don’t memorize verses well, most of you know the Lord’s Prayer … “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….”  (Matthew 6:13)   Pray “Lord, guide me away from this temptation and keep me safe from Satan and his lies.  Show me the truth.”

The leader of my Ladies Bible study who has become a very good friend to me, said once when evaluating if something is from God, put it to the Philippians 4:8 test… “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”    Thinking about that man who is tempting you … is that thought true? (no), is that thought noble (no), is that thought right? (definitely not),  is that thought pure? (nope), is that thought lovely (it might seem lovely, but in the grand scheme of things…no), is it admirable? (ummmm…no), is it excellent?  is it praiseworthy?   If the answer to ANY one of these questions is no, then it’s not of God.   Actually, she told me if you ask the first question and the answer is no, there is no need to go on….. it nullifies that thought right there as not biblical or being from God.   God would never tell you to cheat on your husband with another man.   God wants us to think of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy…. if your answers are all yes (truthfully yes, not tempted to say yes because that is the way you feel), you can tell that it is from God.

Feelings….that’s a whole nother post!

In what ways do you use to overcome temptation?  Do you wish to share?

Lord, Comfort Me in Times of Trouble

This chapter was a good reminder to me about the job of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we become a Christian, God sends us a helper than indwells us, which is the Holy Spirit.   He is Christ in us.

Stormie talks about two of the jobs the Holy Spirit has… a comforter and a helper.   Tough times are going to come.   Being a Christian isn’t easy, especially newbie Christians.   There are times when we need to take a deep breath and holler “HELP!” to the Holy Spirit.  He is there.   During times of pain or heart ache, call on the Holy Spirit for comfort.   When things get so overwhelming you don’t know what to do, call on the Holy Spirit for help.   He is right there ready and willing to fulfill your needs.

She lists four reasons we have difficult times

(1) Sometimes they happen so that God’s glory and power can be revealed.  Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen.  We may never understand it on this side of heaven, but God’s glory will be revealed in it.

(2) God uses difficult times to purify us.  God helps us in troubled times to reveal to us that we need to live for HIM and not for our own selfishness.    He wants us to let go of all the things we lust after and to cling to him.

(3) Sometimes our misery is caused by God disciplining us.  Yes, as children of God, we need to be pruned sometimes, so that we can bear good fruit, and yes, it means discipline.    One of my favorite songs is “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns, and in the song, the lyrics say “I was sure by now, that you would have reached down, and wiped my tears away….stepped in and saved the day, but once again, I say AMEN and it’s still raining….”  Sometimes we wish we could pray away our problems, but sometimes God isn’t through with us yet, and we have to say “I will praise you in this storm… and I will lift my head….that you are who you are ….no matter where I am….and every tear I cry…you hold in your hand….you’ve never left my side….and though my heart is torn…….I will praise you in this storm.”

(4) Sometimes we are caught in the middle of the enemy’s work.  Yes, Satan takes great delight in messing with your life…making you doubt God and his provision for you.  He will destroy your life if you let him.   God will defeat the enemy.  Call on him…praise him in difficult times… and he will bring SO much good out of it.  Walk with the Lord in times of trouble or despair.  He will lead you through whatever you are going through.  AMEN!

No matter how dark the situation may be, God is the light of our life.   Ask God to reveal his presence to you in dark times.   Give thanks to God is all times, in all situations, and not just in good times, but in bad times as well.    Reach out to God, and he will take your hand and lead you out of the pathways of despair.

Another song I like…. You Are God Alone … “You are God alone…before time began….you were on your throne…. you are God alone…and right now….in the good times and bad…. you are on your throne….you are God alone.  God doesn’t disappear and hide when bad times hit you.  He is right there in the middle of the battle with you.  Call on him to help you through.

Lord, Set Me Free from Negative Emotions

This chapter comes at a time of revelation for me.   Seriously, I harbor anxiety during the week.   The ONLY times I do not feel anxious…. Wednesday night (Worship team practice), Thursday night (my Ladies bible study) and Sunday (church).  Make sense?   Days of the week that I find myself totally enveloped in God.

Let’s talk our way through her seven good ways to get free of negative emotions….

1.  Refuse to be anxious.   I hate being anxious because it means I am not trusting God.  I KNOW that God can do all things, but why do I still get so anxious sometimes.   I need to post John 16:33 everywhere I look.  “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”   I am less anxious and at peace when I spend more time with him.   I need to remember not to be anxious about anything.

2.  Refuse to be ruled by anger.  I have one employee at work that I have the hardest time getting not getting angry at.   Her voice grates my soul when she chooses to be argumentative with me.   I am so quick to anger with her.   For the most part, I am one of the least likely persons to get angry and hold on to it.    This is one area that I am in need of major work… this situation with my employee.

3.  Refuse to be dissatisfied.  I feel that I do very well in this area.  I have so many friends with so much more than we do, but I am really at peace with our situation in life.

4.  Refuse to be envious.  This kind of goes along with #3.  I refuse to make myself miserable over what someone else has.  If I was supposed to have something, God would provide it.   The Joneses either have what they have because (a) God provided or (b)  they are going to get themselves in trouble for being in over their head trying to keep up with someone else.

5. Refused to be depressed.  I had to stop here.  This is mine.  It’s me at my worst.  It’s sometimes very visible to others, but mostly it’s invisible to all but God, Satan and me.   Satan loves to use it, too.   It may be my current “thorn” in my flesh.   When I catch myself, I begin reciting the first verse that comes to my head like a mantra… “I can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens me.” DEPART FROM ME, SATAN!

6.  Refuse to be bitter.   I try my very hardest not to be bitter.    I try not to hold onto anger.  I try not to let bad situations or bad people consume me.  I’ve seen what it does to others, some that are very close to me.  I can’t do that.   God doesn’t want me to live with this.  I just let it all go.   It’s something I have had to learn, but I feel pretty confident I’ve beaten this one.

7.  Refuse to be hopeless.  I’ve felt hopelessness in the past.  I never want to feel it again.  I’ve banned it from my life.  I felt hopeless up until the moment when Christ became my Savior.  I refuse to feel that way ever again.  Dear ones, don’t be consumed by hopelessness.  My hope is in God.  He loves me.  He watches out for me.  He does what is best for me.   My hope is in Jesus Christ.

I love this last paragraph before her prayer…. “Negative emotions reveal doubt.  If we thoroughly trust God, what do we have to be anxious about?  Why would we be angry, dissatisfied, envious, depressed, bitter or hopeless?  Yet we are all susceptible to experiencing these kinds of emotions at some time in our life.  So don’t feel bad about having them, but don’t live with them either.  Refuse to allow the ugliness of negative emotions to mar the beauty of life God has for you.”  AMEN, sister!  AMEN!

Lord, Deliver Me From Every Evil Work

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)

Deliverer (definition  Webster’s):  one who delivers; one who releases or rescues; a preserver.

Two weeks ago, I had traded shifts with my assistant so she could take care of some business.  On my way to work, I cried all the way.   I was dreading work.  I never dread work, I love my work!  Satan had been throwing stuff at me left and right… one thing after another.   I am a Type A person all the way.  My spiritual gift is administration.  I pride myself with making schedules, plans, and keeping all surprises at bay.    I hate surprises.  Guess what I had been hit with ALL that past week.  You guessed it.  Surprise after surprise, that messed with my plans and schedules, and I was letting myself get in deep in frustration and stress.   Satan never laughed so hard at watching me.   So on the way to work, I was crying…. not looking forward to what the day would bring.   So I turned off my radio and cried out to the Lord.   I told him I couldn’t handle it anymore.   I was taking on his yoke and following him.  I asked him to PLEASE show me what I need to do.   Please help me make wise decisions and to wipe the stress off my face that others were seeing.   I asked him to please help me.  I needed his help.

He revealed something to me.   He had been there all along… I just didn’t see Him.

I work in a child care facility.  All that week, I had been showered so much with hugs from the kids.   Several classes worth of kids.  One little 11 month old would see me come to the door of her classroom, and she would stop what she was doing and CRAWL over to me and want me to pick her up and she would shower me with kisses.   God was there.   All week.  He was showing me his love through the kids.   I realized at that point, that I was at my most relaxed, most calm, most stress free when I went into see the kids.    I cried some more and apologized to God for not seeing Him there with the kids.

When I got to work, first thing I did was go to all the classes.   I had kids coming up to me and hugging me, then it started…. “I love you”.   I cannot tell you how many times I heard “I love you.” from those precious children.   I almost cried again.  I thanked God for those children.   I thanked God period.   As my day went on, I found that my work was much easier and it was flowing better.   I was so thankful.

Dear friends, God is there even when we don’t see Him to rescue us… from stress, depression, angst, addictions… you name it.  All we have to do is look.   Prayer works, friends.  It really works.   God wants you to want him as much as an infant needs his mother.   He wants to provide for you.  He wants to help you.  He doesn’t want to see the evil one consume you,  He wants to rescue you when we try to do things without Him.

I love her section on how to find deliverance:

1.  Pray for it yourself (I did just that)

2. Have other strong believers pray with you for it (I did this, too)

3. Read the truth in God’s word (yep)

4. Spend more time in the Lord’s presence (I sure need to do that!)

I agree with her and have found out myself that praise and worship is effective and really works!  When I am down, I turn to Youtube.  LOL.  Yes, I said Youtube.   I search for one of my favorite artists.   Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns (!!)…. I click on one song and start singing with it.   As it comes to a close, I look in the sidebar for suggestions and see another song I love, click it, and off I go again.   I end up feeling SO good and on such a high with the Lord when I’m through.    Satan flees.   He does not like me praising God when I should be feeling sorry for myself.    “The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

Thank you, Lord, for delivering me from the evil one.  I don’t even understand how unbelievers make it without you.   You are the most awesome one, and I praise you and thank you for delivering me.  Thank you for sending your Son to be my Saviour.  I love you so much!

Lord, Give Me Wisdom to Make Right Decisions

I know it all… Just ask me.

Haha!  Just kidding!  But sometimes I do make decisions without consulting God to see if it is the best decision for the situation.

Take work, for example.   I make out the work schedules weekly.   I have 16 employees that I need to schedule.  I have a limited number of Full time staff and the rest are all part time.  I need to keep them under a certain number of hours a week in order to make the big bosses happy, while maintaining that the FT employees don’t go over 40 hours a week.

Well, guess what…. there are people who request time off.   There are people who get sick…. there are new customers that want to enroll and start their children, like yesterday.   So this week, I had a situation that I was pondering the week before as I was making out the schedules.  I have to keep each room in ratio…. certain ages of children have limits to how many can be in a room.  If I have more than that, then I need another staff member in the room.   That befell us with this dilemma…. how in the world to do I do it?   I fooled around with the schedule.  My mind was in a bog.  I could not figure out how to do it.  Finally, I asked God.   Let me see how to make this work, Lord.  And he did!   It took me 4 days to finally give it up to God, and he showed me the answer that I needed.  Now praying it worked, since I am writing this article in advance!!

“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13)   I love her descriptions of wisdom…. “clear understanding and insight… knowing how to apply the truth in all situations; discerning right from wrong; having good judgment; sense when you are getting too close to the edge”

I looked at her list of 10 Good ways to walk in wisdom, and realized that I fall short on a few of those.   Mainly, being in the Word of God and praying for wisdom.  I am trying to remedy that.  I signed up for some devotionals from Biblegateway.com , so daily my email box is being inundated with a verse of the day, encouragement for today, bible readings, and other helpful things.   If that is where I need to start, that is where I start.  Hopefully, I can make myself a habit out of all these daily emails.

Lord, Protect Me and All I Care About

This chapter was a pretty quick read for me.   So quick, I felt I had to read it several times to be sure I hadn’t missed anything!

We all like the feeling of protection.   I know that I would personally protect my family from anything that would threaten them.  My kids mean the world to me, and I would do anything so that they would always feel protected from harm.

I think God is the same way with us.  He wants to protect us from things that happen in life, and I believe he does more than we ever can realize.  Spiritual warfare is all around us, we just can’t see the battle going on for our protection.   What is our cover?  Prayer.   We should constantly be praying for God’s protection over us, our families, our friends.   I find myself praying for everyone but me lately, and I feel that personally for me, Satan has found a chink in my armor.   While I am praying for coverage for my friend and her son, Satan is attacking me.   Many of my coworkers lately have asked me this question… “Are you okay?” and I answer, “Define okay.”  If okay is being “present”, then yeah, I’m here, but I feel wounded.   So I ask them to all pray for me.

When I was a fairly newbie Christian, I read Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness”… I thought the story they told was all bunk.   But anymore, I truly believe that is what is going on in our lives and we don’t know it or don’t see it.  The devil comes in many forms… depression, confusion, doubt, envy… he tells us we are no good….that no one loves us…that we’re worthless…. that we can’t do things…. have you heard him?   I know I have.

That is where God comes in, my friends.   Ask God to give you verses to protect yourself and deflect Satan’s attack.  Ask God to send an angel to protect you.   Ask God to help us obey Him and stay in His will.   Help us to stay under his wing until it is time for us to fly.  God’s protection surrounds those who love Him and obey Him.

I’ve realized that all the things that are going on, this attack on my life, are all things out of my control.  I can’t handle them on my own, so my prayer this week is for God to help me, step by step, day by day, to see His plan unfold before me.  I have seen God’s hand in my life lately.  Little things that let me know that He is here with me.   I am safe in His arms.   I feel His comfort and His strength.   Yes, He is here with my always.

How about you?   What have you experienced when you needed God’s protection?   Were your eyes on God?

Lord, Keep Me in the Center of Your Will

God’s will.  Sometimes it seems so clear…other times, so elusive.   I had a friend in her mid 20’s that was diagnosed with breast cancer.   How we all prayed for healing for her.  That God would take that cancer away from her for good….but that wasn’t God’s will.   God’s will was to heal her in heaven.    Did God’s will seem fair at the time? No.  She left behind a husband and two children, a family who loved her dearly, lots of friends who she inspired and loved her very much.   There is a situation happening right now in another friend’s life that I totally don’t understand why.   But from my earlier friend’s ordeal with cancer, I did learn a lot about God’s will.   When I pray, I always include that God would show me his will or that God’s will be done.   It might now be the way I want to see it happen, but God’s way is the best way.   That is one thing I have learned quite well over the years.

I like her “4 Good Things that are true about God’s will”…. Just because we’re Christians, doesn’t mean there won’t ever be trouble.   As a matter of fact, as Christians, we’re designated for trouble, and Satan works overtime to place us in situations that will cause us to doubt God.  But if you are truly doing what God wants you to do, you’ll be able to deal with the trouble much better.   Following God’s will is not easy.  Jesus is a prime candidate for this rule.   Being crucified was not easy, but it was what God wanted him to do.   If Jesus can do it, he surely can help us do it as well.  Following God will make you very uncomfortable.  Sometimes it makes me reevaluate if I am really in God’s will when I am comfortable.  I have seen several friends go through some really trying things, which I can tell are really stretching their faith, but they remain faithful even though things are getting/did get very hard for them.   To be in the will of God, will we really do what he says?  It’s not something that happens immediately.   It’s a conscious decision that we have to make and follow through.

Looks like I need to spend some time in prayer to be sure that I am in God’s will and that he will guide me all along the way.  God’s will isn’t easy, it doesn’t always make sense, but He is faithful and just, and he will keep his promises to you.    Are you walking in God’s will?  How do you know?