In the first 15 verses of Luke, chapter four, we find the story of Satan tempting Jesus. The subject in the entire passage is temptation.
Every Christian knows the struggle of temptation. Every day, we are confronted with the choice to do right or wrong. I am grateful that Jesus exposes the tactics of the enemy and reveals to us how we can overcome when we are tempted.
We have at our disposal the same spiritual resources that Jesus used when He faced and defeated Satan.
1. Be Filled with the Spirit of God.
Jesus was not relying on His flesh to defeat the temptation.
2. Be Filled with the Word of God
Jesus quoted the word. He knew the word and knew how to use the word.
3. Be Filled with the Vision of God.
Jesus didn’t give in to temptation because of the vision to save mankind. His mission and purpose would have been lost and so would we!
Satan hits us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We have the word, the spirit and God’s vision to keep us from giving in.
“Greater is He that lives in you than he that is in the world.”
Matthew 7:13-14 says: “13 “Enter through the narrow gate.For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
There are only two roads that we can travel. Jesus made that very clear.
Today, you are going to be confronted with a choice. You are going to have to choose what road you are going to travel on. You are in the driver’s seat. You get to choose what road you are going to take.
Now, you do not get to choose the roadblocks, the detours or the potholes. But you do have the free will to choose your road.
Do you need a course correction?
Do you need to realign your priorities?
The choices are the same for you and me. You only have one life so live it full on for God’s glory.
Choose Him, choose life abundantly, choose wisely…Choose the right road.
Every person’s life is filled with mistakes, errors and failures.
Failure isn’t the problem. We all fail. How we interpret failure is the problem.
How you view failure will be one of the most important life altering practices you ever put in place.
Failures do not reflect your overall character, competence, intelligence or identity. You are going to fail…you are going to make some major blunders. I certainly have had my share of misjudgments, bad decisions and emotionally driven rationalizations.
Failure is a part of life, it’s a part of the learning process so make the most of your next failure! Learn from it! The key is learning from our mistakes.
There is a major difference in “I failed” and “I’m a failure.” If you are not careful, you will wallow in past failures and never recover. You can allow what happened to you a year ago, five years ago, even 20 years ago to affect the way you live right now.
You must move on! Failure is not fatal and it is not final!
I love what Henry Nowen said “This is the great conversation in our life to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interventions of our lives, but the way in which God moves our hearts and prepares us.”
Do you believe that God is moving and preparing your heart?
Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient.”
No need that you have is greater than God’s supply of grace. Every moment of every second, there is ample provision for your every need. It all comes down to trust.
Do you trust a good, Holy, wonderful God who knows best?
Today, lean into him, trust him, throw yourself at him, and fall into his arms. Trust in him and believe that he is who he says he is!
I am not saying that your pain does not hurt, I am not saying that the pain is not real. I AM saying in the midst of your deepest hurt and frustration, to be still and know that he is God!
He loves you and has a plan for you. That plan is bigger and better than anything you could ever hope for or imagine.
Be still and trust him.
Not a week goes by that I don’t talk to someone who is running from God or whose relationship with Jesus is at a far distance. They know better and they want better but they find themselves in a spiritual funk.
Perhaps they have been hurt by something or someone and they allow that situation (or that person) to discourage them or distract them to the point that they actually get disillusioned with God.
When a person gets in that state of mind, he/she starts to run from God and lives his/her life for himself/herself.
Have you ever deliberately disobeyed God when you knew for sure that He was telling you to do something?
It is amazing how easy it is to get off track. We know that God is trustworthy and faithful. We know that He is a good God and that He loves us but we do not obey Him, listen to Him or follow Him.
Did you know that you can know your Bible, yet live exactly the opposite of its teachings?
Where are you at in your life today? Close to Jesus, clean and enjoying His presence or cold, callous and walking at a guilty distance?
Let me encourage you today – no matter what has happened in your life or how far you have drifted, you can come back! Run into His arms, they are wide open to receive you!
If you are running away, stop! If you are drifting, take note – run to Jesus…Run back!
There are 3 types of people in your life…
1. People who helped you in tough times.
2. People who left you in your tough times.
3. People who put you in tough times.
We all can think of that person or people who were there when we needed them the most.
They called you, texted you or sent you a letter in the mail. God used their words to encourage you and inspire you to push on in the midst of a really tough season.
Thank God for those people who helped you in tough times!
We are also way too familiar with the people who walked away. The people who assured you that they would be there for you. They told you they would have your back. These were people who you thought were friends but when the going got tough, they bailed.
You thought they would show up and apologize but that never happened.
There are those people who left you in your tough times.
Unfortunately there have been people who put in you tough times.
They hurt you, they made decisions that affected you and your family.
These people had an agenda and it wasn’t in your favor. You probably still feel the residual effects of the pain, hurt and disloyalty.
I’m sure you’re thinking of those three kinds of people right now.
Be Grateful for and express your love and appreciation for the first group.
Forgive and take the high road with the other two groups.
There will always be these three kinds of people in your life.
All of us know the barriers, hindrances and obstacles that have kept us from living up to our God given potential.
We have dreams, visions and goals for better marriages, better jobs, better financial conditions and better lives. There seem to be so many things that are in the way, keeping us from experiencing all that God has for us.
Some of those barriers are the result of our own making. We have sabotaged our own lives, yet we keep tripping over ourselves.
Other people or circumstances may have caused physical, mental, emotional or spiritual road blocks in our lives.
Aren’t you tired of making excuses and being a “victim”?
Aren’t you tired of facing the same obstacles but not doing anything about them?
Today, you have the opportunity to make a decision. Today, you get to say, “YES, I will overcome the obstacles, I will knock walls down, I will no longer make excuses and I will go after my God-given potential.”
James 4:14 says, “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
Have you ever watched steam rise from a boiling pot? It is there and then it is instantly gone.
That is the comparison that James is giving with our physical lives and vapor/mist. Yet, somehow, we feel that we are guaranteed a nice long life…84 years or so and we miss the emphasis of the comparison.
If you knew that your life was going to end tomorrow, wouldn’t you do things differently today?
Of course you would! You would spend the day with your family, savoring every second. You would make sure that your affairs are in order.
And I believe that you would get your spiritual house in order. You would accept Christ if you have never done so, you would ask for God’s forgiveness for sin in your life, and you would make sure that heaven is your final destination.
The problem is, you or I do not know if this is our last day or not. We live as if we have plenty of time but what if…
I would challenge you to live every single day of your life as if it is your last. Make a difference! For God and for your family.
Live to leave a legacy. Your life is a vapor. You are not guaranteed another day or even another hour. Make every second count!
God is more interested in you obeying Him than you understanding Him.
In Luke, chapter five, we have an amazing story of Jesus trying to get Peter to understand this single truth. God is more interested in you obeying Him than you understanding Him.
Peter who was a professional fisherman was a guy who knew all the “secret spots.” He knew exactly where to catch fish. He had been fishing all night long and caught absolutely nothing.
Jesus jumps in the boat with Peter and tells him to go back out and drop some nets to catch fish.
Can you imagine what Peter was thinking at that point? “This doesn’t make sense, we’ve tried this before and it didn’t work. I am a fisherman, you are a carpenter.”
Sometimes, God asks us to do things that really don’t make any sense. They are not logical, not practical and not reasonable. God is interested in you and I obeying Him, not trying to figure Him out.
Obedience is based on trust. Trust is built on relationship.
How well do you know God?
How trustworthy is He?
Stop trying to figure “it” and Him out and just obey! The God who loves you would never lead you or tell you to do something that is wrong. Obey Him, trust Him and stop trying to figure out what He is up to.
Trust and obey, for there’s really no other way! Simply obey.
More than likely, you drive a vehicle that has cruise control.
Cruise control is a great feature to have if your foot becomes tired, if you’ve been driving for a long distance or if you are traveling on the open freeway and you are ready to set a certain speed.
To use cruise control, you set the speed – you determine how fast you really want to go. The system takes over to maintain your selected speed.
Cruise control is certainly handy when driving but not for living. Many people attempt to live life on cruise control…steady, easy and maintaining.
Cruise control is passive. Your mind is not engaged and you just ease through life effortlessly, ignoring problems that arise.
We must be fully engaged. We must constantly fight the temptation to allow things to remain the same way.
It is much easier to cruise than to live life to the fullest with our foot on the accelerator. Life is too short and opportunities are too few to live your life on cruise control.