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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.

 

Sweeter Than a Candy Heart

14 Feb

I saw some strange Valentine’s Day messages on little candy hearts . . . who would want these messages?

  • Let’s go to therapy
  • You’ll doCandyValentineHearts
  • Desper8
  • Midlife Crisis
  • Yes Dear
  • Only U (for now)
  • U looked better on Facebook
  • Aging Poorly
  • Strike Three
  • Mommy Issues
  • Maxed Out Credit Card
  • Kissed a Frog
  • Infin8 Agony
  • UR Dog Is Cuter

These are NOT the messages we want or need.

We want to know we are cherished and cared for . . . we are deeply loved. We want to know we matter to someone ~ that we belong. We want to know we are understood. We want to know we make a difference and we have purpose. We want someone who isn’t afraid to tell us the truth.

And though we may read these kinds of positive messages on little candy hearts or in Valentine’s Day cards, we want to hear it from someone with skin on, don’t we?  Certainly it’s wonderful to hear it from an earthly friend or loved one . . . but notice with me what the Bible says of Jesus in relation to the Child of God:

JesusCandyHeartJesus loves us so much, He died for us (John 15:13; Romans 5:8).

We belong to Him (Galatians 5:24a).

He understands us and sympathizes with us (Hebrews 4:15).

In Him, we have purpose (Ephesians 1:11; Matthew 28:19; John 15:16).

Jesus IS the Truth, and we can always count on His wisdom (John 14:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

He is all of this and more to us.

On this day, Valentine’s Day, when so many exchange chocolates and little candy hearts, let’s take a moment to remember what is sweet and precious:

“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”  –  John 15:13   SWEET!

– Dawn

Thriving in These Scary Days

27 Aug

I (Dawn) have received several emails lately talking about fears of a recession. My favorite ones had funny one-liners about the bad economy like these:

  • I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
  • CEOs are now playing miniature golf.
  • Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.
  • Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.
  • Fed Ex is expected to join its competitor UPS to become Fed Up.
  • McDonald’s is now selling the “1/4 Ouncer.”
  • If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you need to call them ans if they meant yo or them!

S.O.S.With the stock market going up and down in recent weeks, the temptation is to get really, re-e-e-ally scared for the future. Many Americans are in “SOS” mode, sending out a distress call.

I read one article that described “How to Survive a Breakdown of the Social Order” that sounded like we were all going back to the dark ages!  The article said to stay calm, but to consider storing two weeks to three months of items and build a “small community” of support (not a bad idea, actually) ~ but the point is, many people are considering ways to “survive” if society breaks down. I used to laugh at this kind of thing until I saw the rioting in London!

Add to that news that 24,000 of the Pentagon’s files were hacked, and reports that a woman tried to  smuggle a “dummy bombs onto a plane (reportedly to see how good our security really is)….

Add to that the startling statistics about the home, and especially that “women are falling away from religion” …

I start saying, “Yikes! What’s going on, Lord?”

It’s easy to get into “survival” mode instead of considering how we can thrive in these tough days.

I wanted to share some practical ideas for “thriving” ~

  • Finances: Get smart and think positively about budgeting. A smart spending plan is one way to ease stress. Whether you go with Ron Blue or Dave Ramsey or another godly financial planner, get some help and make some wise financial choices. Work on getting rid of debt, saving, giving, etc. [Also, our friend Ellie Kay has some great books: The Little Book of Big Savings, 1/2 Price Living, A Mom’s Guide to Family Finances, and others, all available at her bookstore.]
  • Food: Eat smart. Eat well. Cut grocery bills by eliminating junk and fast food, and eating and storing high quality food. Use coupons. Maybe share bulk foods with others to split the cost. Maybe plant a garden.
  • Health: As new stresses come, we need to be as healthy as possible to deal with them. This means sleep, exercise, wise food choices, nutrient supplements, etc. Dr. Carrie Carter’s book, Thrive! A woman’s Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle, has some great ideas.
  • Creativity: Some things, you can do without. Other things, you can get creative, and make homemade substitutions for expensive items. Make gifts, if possible. Give necessities in pretty packaging.
  • Downsize with Purpose: Downsizing doesn’t have to be a “downer.” Think positively ~ how can simplifying your life give you more time and energy? How can the stuff you “release” be a blessing to others, and maybe meet essential needs?

I’m sure there are many other things you can do to cope with these scary days.

My friend Judy Scharfenberg wrote a book called Secure Families in a Shaky World.  In the introduction, she wrote about the joy we can have as God helps us cope with the changes in life. “You see, the Lord is the Author of joy,” she said. “He made a way so we would not despair. He knows that even in the midst of turmoil and sorrow, we can experience great joy.

“If Jesus lives in our hearts, then He helps us cope. He helps us see life differently, and He helps us take our eyes off ourselves and focus on the important things. He gives us a plan that’s worth following. Sometimes the things that burden us are weights God has placed in our lives so we won’t miss Him.”  (1)

You see, beyond the practical things to do that are listed above, it is crucial that Continue reading

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