Archive | Guidance RSS feed for this section

Tempted? Here Are 15 ‘Inoculations’

2 May

I am a courageous woman … except when it’s time to get a shot at my doctor’s office. I’m like a little kid!

So, as I read about some of the things people do to help make “getting shots” less scary for children, I wondered if these ideas might work for me!Inoculations_HelpfulChoices

  • Practice giving shots to a doll.
  • Ask the doctor to use a numbing cream on the injection site first.
  • Distract! Take a sweet treat to focus on while getting your shot, or put a song on your iPod, or play “I Spy” during the process. Anything to keep from looking at the shot!
  • Remember “owies” survived in the past.
  • Ask for a kid-friendly nurse.
  • Help your child feel more in control. Put her in charge of something (like what Band-aid to apply).

Hmmm…. I could practice jabbing my hubby, take a sedative before going to the doctor … and a cookie … and some music. I could remember past visits, and how I survived the high blood pressure episodes before the shots. I could look for a really smiley nurse. And I could even bring my own Superwoman Band-aid, right? LOL!

I’m basically a needle wimp. Before I married my husband, I went to his aunt’s office for my blood test. When she approached me  with the needle for the test, I passed out! “Oh, she’s a real winner,” his auntie said.

I’m not the only one in the family with “shot jitters.” I took my dog to the vet in April for his annual inoculations. Roscoe has a love-hate relationship with his vet. He loves Moses, our friendly vet; he hates the nasty needles. Poor dear … he just about “trembled himself” off the examination table! I comforted him with hugs and a bit of bacon when we got home. (Hmmm… bacon … I could take that with me to the doctor’s office too!)

Now, I know inoculations—for people as well as animals—are necessary to produce immunity against diseases. They are good for us. Helpful.

So I was thinking today …

I wish I had a one-time inoculation against temptation. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Temptations are so daily. Yes, I have been freed from the penalty of sin, and someday I’ll enjoy freedom from the presence of sin. But in the meantime, during the sanctification process, I have to deal with the temptation to sin. But I do believe there are some proactive, intentional things I can do to reject sin and become more like Christ.

Might we consider them something like “INOCULATIONS” to help in the daily battle against temptation?

So here are my 15 inoculation suggestions:

1. Recognize Your Tendency to SinJames 1:14 explains how we are led astray by our natural desires. So don’t be surprised. Instead, get prepared!

2. Identify the Roots – We spend lots of time examining the “shoots” of sin, but seldom the “roots.” The enemy delights in using the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life  (1 John 2:15-16) to entice us to sin daily. These are the basic roots of all sins. So, what temptation do you really need to resist? Get to the core cause.

3. Figure out the Triggers – A trigger on a gun enables its firing. The power behind a trigger is the thoughts and emotions that arise—usually from a past experience. Triggers that pull us toward a sinful response can be almost anything:  fatigue, an intense desire, something visual that draws us, a sound or smell … almost anything! Because we are made in God’s image, we can respond to triggers in godly ways; but knowing our triggers can help us prepare to deal with them. Don’t try to figure them out alone; listen for God’s voice (Proverbs 3:5-6; James 1:5).

4. Expose any Lies You Believe – Many, if not all “triggers” have a false belief connected to them. For example, if you were once betrayed by a friend, Satan—the Father of Lies who desires to devour you (John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8)—would like you to believe you will always be betrayed by friends, and you might react in sinful ways to perfectly normal statements or circumstances. We give “power” to the trigger through the lies we believe.

5. Embrace the Truth from God’s Word – Attack the lies by bringing the light of God’s truth into your situation (Psalm 119:130; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Counsel your heart according to His Word. Discover the commands, values, morals and ethics in God’s Word, and determine to live according to His truth. The Word and Spirit can help us discern lies in our hearts and then “take captive” every thought to make it obedient to Christ (Hebrews 4:12-13; John 16:13; 2 Corinthians 10:5).

6. Think through the Consequences – “Sin” has wages that are deadly (Romans 6:23). “Sowing to the flesh” reaps “corruption”—a crop of worthless weeds (Galatians 6:7-8), and sin separates us from fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:2), because He cannot tolerate our sin (Habakkuk 1:13a). Our sin will eventually be exposed (Hebrews 4:13). Sadly, when we tolerate sin, we can become blind to spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14) and develop an insatiable desire (lust) for more sin! (Ephesians 4:18-19).

7. Ask God for Help – Don’t think you can stand against temptation by yourself. Eventually, if not right away, it will catch up with you. Pray for discernment, strength, courage, etc., and especially, sanctification (Matt. 6:13; 26:41; Luke 22:40). Learn to depend on God in prayer.

8. Resist Temptation* with Scripture – Don’t just know the truth that counters lies; use the Word of God to help you choose a new response to your triggers. You can even conquer hurtful memories from the past that entice you toward sinful responses as you renew your mind with scripture (Romans 12:1-2). Jesus used the scriptures skillfully as He battled temptation, and so can you (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:12, 2 Cor. 10:4-5).

9. Check Your Armor – Study the parts of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18, and learn how to use it. Put on each piece—the offensive and defensive weapons! Why? “That you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (v. 11). There are spiritual forces of evil that are determined to bring you down. You need the armor so you can “stand firm” (v. 13). It’s always too soon to stop fighting the battle.

10. Plan for Victories, Not Defeats –  “Make no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14). In other words, don’t enable temptation. Don’t plan for defeat. Get rid of those things that lead you into sin, or put safeguards in place to help you conquer in holiness. How? The first part of Romans 13:14 says, “…put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Freedom and victory are entirely possible in Christ (Galatians 5:1; Romans 6:4; 8:31, 37; Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 2:10).

11. Look for the Way Out – We’re told to avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), but sometimes we’re thrown into situations that tempt us to compromise our purity. God’s advice then is to look for a “way of escape”—perhaps by running away, changing the conversation or using truth to diffuse lies (I Corinthians 6:1810:13-14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22).

12. Replace “Sin Opportunities” – David was tempted to sin (and he fell) with Bathsheba when he stopped ruling in righteousness and allowed himself to be give in to the opportunity for lustful sin (2 Samuel 11:1-4). We fight against temptation by replacing “sinful opportunities” with more worthy distractions or pursuits. Consider some positive activities. Have ready some “quick distractions” (scripture memory cards, a photo of your spouse, a hymn book, etc.) that would help “counter” your triggers. Note: you may need to embrace change in your current surroundings.

13. Seek Help to Win – Remembering we will all give account to God (Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13), an “accountability partner” can help us stay on track and encourage us to do right when we are tempted (Galatians 6:1-5; James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Proverbs 27:17). Seek the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit—He guides, counsels and helps us in our weakness (1 Corinthians 2:13; John 14:26; 16:13; Romans 8:26); but  when patterns of addiction are present, a godly, biblical counselor can also help.

14. Repent When You Fail – It’s not a matter of “forgiving yourself” for failings; it’s a matter of repenting of sin and receiving the forgiveness of God (1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:14). Any shame you feel is not from Him—it’s a lie from Satan. The biblical pattern is: recognize, repent, receive (forgiveness) and then recommit to walk in obedience to the Word of God.

15. Thank God for Every Victory – Our ultimate victory is bound up in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14), and our daily victories are possible in Him (Philippians 4:13; Romans 6:14; 8:37).

Did you notice that all of these “inoculations” are a CHOICE?

See all those action words? You do not have to be a victim. You can choose, in every situation, a powerful way to deal with temptations as they come.

Are any of these “inoculations” missing in your life? What can you do to better prepare for your times of temptation?

– Dawn

* NOTE: In some circumstances, we are not dealing with a temptation. God does not lead us into temptation (James 1:13), but He may be testing us to refine us (Psalm 26:2; Job 23:10; Jeremiah 9:7a). John Piper offered a short post on the difference between temptation and testing. Regardless of whether we’re facing a temptation or test, these “inoculations” are useful in helping us make choices between obedience and disobedience.

 

Hang on for the Ride!

22 Apr

In her post on the Christian e-zine, The Christ Pulse, author Karen O’Connor wrote about a group of women who toured London tearooms. Her description of the “White Knuckle Ride” on a British double-decker bus that make me laugh.

Karen wrote that the women downstairs were attentive and happy, but when she walked to the top deck to talk to the women , the passengers “were sitting like soldiers on alert,” clutching the seats in front of them.

“Is anything wrong?” she asked.”We’re having a great time downstairs, but you don’t appear to be enjoying yourselves.”

As Karen looked around, “One of the ladies looked up at me with a touch of fear in her eyes,” she said.

And then one of them spoke up in a small voice, “That’s because you have a driver!”

I couldn’t help but see a parallel.

It always helps to know that someone is “driving” our lives. Knowing someone is in charge alleviates our fears and concerns.

As I think about my journey in life, four things have helped me relax and hang on for the ride.

(1) God’s Sovereignty – He’s always in charge (Psalm 103:19). In His sovereignty, God rules over all (Psalm 115:3; ). He is totally in control and nothing is impossible for Him (Job 42:2; Luke 1:37). We may make plans from our perspective, but God sees the bigger picture, so we can trust His promises and purposes (Proverbs 16:1-4).

(2) God’s Loving Presence – He never leaves me, even when I can’t “see” Him at work (Psalm 139:7). I am never alone. His presence is a place of protection (Psalm 31:20). Knowing He is near, I have joy and I can rest (Psalm 16:11; Exodus 33:14).

(3) God’s FaithfulnessHe has always led me well … never led me wrong. He is good and merciful to His children (Psalm 145:9) ~ while there is no doubt that He works for His purposes, He also is concerned for my well-being (Jeremiah 29:11).

(4) God’s Wisdom – He’s more than willing to give me direction through the scriptures (Psalm 119:105) and the Spirit (Psalm 143:10; John 16:13). He will guide and teach me the right way to go, because my “enemies” (including temptations that arise from within me) mean to do me harm (Psalm 25:5; 27:11). I simply need to acknowledge (know and recognize) His voice and listen to His wise instruction (Proverbs 3:6).

I am not a roller coaster fan, mostly because I get dizzy every time, but I do occasionally allow myself to be strapped in ~ and as you well know, once you’re strapped in and the coaster is moving, there’s no turning back. The ride may get uncomfortable, but you’re not going anywhere except up and down (and maybe upside down) on the tracks.

The best way to ride a roller coaster is simply to surrender to the adventure. You may scream… your emotions may go wild… you may even feel a little queasy… but you will eventually arrive at the ride’s destination.

When I became a Christ-follower, I was “strapped in” for the ride. No turning back. It hasn’t always been easy. The ups and downs of life and the corkscrew turns that made my head spin ~ it’s all been part of the ride. But I know that God had purpose in each one, and that He was there with me the whole time. He’s been right beside me, cheering me on.

God has given me insight into how to make the ride a blessing rather than something to be endured. And just as I lift my hands high on the coaster, I find myself lifting my hands is sheer joy at times, praising my God for one incredible “ride.”

How about you? Does your life feel like a roller coaster these days? Remember that God is in control. He loves you and stays close by your side. And He is faithful and wise ~ He can be trusted! 

Do you believe these things? Get ready … in this great adventure with God, you haven’t seen anything yet!

God Knows Where You Are

29 Jan

While cleaning the attic, Joan and Harry found an old stub for some shoes they left at the repair shop TEN YEARS BEFORE! They thought it would be fun to go to the shop and see if the shoes were still there. So they did.

They handed the stub to the repair man who took it and looked in the back of the store. Joan and Harry grinned at each other, thinking the shoes were probably once repaired, but then lost over the 10 years.

Then the repairman returned. “They’ll be ready on Wednesday,”he said. (1) LOL!

Banana Sippper by Kobi Lev

And I can’t resist this one…

Question: What do you call shoes made from banana skin?

Answer:  Slippers! (2) 

One of my Facebook friends and fellow-bloggers, Lisa Burkholder Keck, wrote about God’s watchful concern for us in her delightful post about some special shoes. I want to share her story with you.

Lisa begins with a scripture that makes us think: For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.  (Proverbs 5:21, NLT)

“Bye, Will. Have a good day at school,” I called out as my eighth grader got out of the car. I pulled away from the curb and merged into the line of cars waiting to leave the parking lot where the drop-off area was. As I waited at the stop sign, I saw Madi crossing the street. I’ve watched her grow up. Our families used to go to church together.

I said a little prayer of blessing as she passed. Then I noticed her shoes. They were cute!

“She has the cutest shoes,” I thought. 

Driving down the street, I remembered the bells. More accurately, I remembered Mom and her friend Janell talking about the bells on their children’s shoes.

I represent one-fourth of those eight tiny feet that jingled as they walked. Like Mom, Janell is also blind, and the bells were their way of knowing where their children were. I don’t remember wearing bells on my shoes, so it must have been a toddler thing.

I wonder whether Mom missed the sound of the bells when it was time to take them off. I guess she would be as nostalgic about her children’s younger years as any other mother.

As I grew, Mom had a new way of keeping track of me. She’d call out my name. When I’d ask what she wanted, she’d say, “Nothing. I just wanted to know where you were.”

That reminds me of the time God called out to Adam in the garden and said, “Where are you?” (see Genesis 3:8-9) God knew very well where Adam was, so why ask? I think He asked so that Adam would realize where he was. Repentance cannot happen if we don’t recognize our sin.

God gave us the Holy Spirit, and—like my mother—He calls out my name. When I ask what He wants, He replies, “I just wanted you to know where you were.”

Bells on rebellious feet are silenced as I fall to my knees and repent. When I stand up, I head in a new direction.

What about you?

God knows where you are, but do you know where you are? Are you walking step in step with Him today? Or, like Lisa, do you need to head in a new direction?

Lisa KeckLisa Burkholder Heck is a wife and mother of one college-aged daughter and a son who is a freshman in high school. She loves seeing how God changes lives, but especially how He lets His light shine out of the dark chapters of life to minister to others.

Lisa has two blogs, Ears in the Cornfield, and When My Father Wakes Up,  which promotes her soon-to-be-self-published memoir, Then Monday Came: The Party’s Over but the Celebration Has Just Begun.

 (1) Adapted from www.jokesclean.com, “Cleaning the Attic”

(2) http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/jokes/jokes_galore.htm

%d bloggers like this: