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Seven Things to Do When Temptation Comes

23 Sep

My pup Roscoe is a sneak and a thief. No matter the temptation, it proves to be too strong. We’re working on some discipline to HELP him make wiser choices, but in the meantime, he’s a real scamp.

I’ve had to take the toilet paper off the roller recently and place the paper up on the bathroom cabinet… or simply shut the door. The fluffy roll of TP is just too tempting. He grabs the end of the roll and races through the house and out the doggy door into the back yard.

One day, he grabbed a fresh roll and I found it all over the cement sidewalk on our side yard ~ including the cardboard roll. He had a totally self-satisfied look on his face.

But it’s not just toilet paper.

If I don’t place a washcloth on the towel bar when I’m done at the sink or in the tub, Roscoe snatches the washcloth and runs for the bed. He rolls over and over, “enjoying” his soggy prize until our bed is soaked!

BAD dog! Such a sneaky little thief.

He’s not getting away with anything, of course.  His master, “Mama,” always knows. He can’t hide the evidence for long.

I’m a little like Roscoe sometimes. I know good and well that my Master sees and knows what I do. Everything is open to His eyes.

The Bible says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). It’s not just what He sees, but what He knows about us. He knows our heart (Acts 1:24). He knows our secrets (Psalm 44:21).

Because God is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-8; Proverbs 15:3), He knows when we fall into temptation and sin (Jeremiah 16:17). He can see even in the darkness (Psalm 139:11-12).

No, we’re not getting away with anything!

Yet, though God sees us, He is compassionate. He can search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24), and He will call us to repent ~ to turn back to righteous living and godly choices (Acts 3:19) . He knows that we will eventually reap harm or destruction if we continue in sin (Galatians 6:7).

And when temptation comes, we can do those things that lead to victory.

1. “See” Your Temptations for What They Are!

Identify whether they are physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual (or a combination of these). Is it something that will contribute to poor health, financial ruin, or guilt? What is your motive? Is it a matter of compromise? Indulgence? Are you toying around with a relationship or a habit that could easily bring you down? Is it lust of the eyes, desires of lust, or something born in pride? (1 John 2:16) Is it something you keep rationalizing or excusing … but you sense or know it is wrong?

2. Stand on What God Says

Is there a clear scripture that reveals God’s will about your temptation? Have you studied the scriptures to determine what God has to say? Is the Spirit of God tugging at your heart whenever you give in? It might not be something that is overtly wrong or sinful, but perhaps God is saying it is wrong for you at this time (or all the time). Find and stand on the truth of the Word of God.

3. Sort Out Your Triggers

Is there a certain place or event that triggers your temptation? Are you bored? (Boredom has sometimes been called the devil’s workshop.) Are you indecisive about what God has called you to do… unmotivated and perhaps lazy? Are you not dealing with stress, frustration or depression ~ and so, in a weakened state? Dig down into your heart… what are your specific triggers?

4. Strategize ~ Make No Provision for Sinful Desires

Accept the fact that you’re going to face temptation, and work to manage your life so you can deal with them. You can overcome temptations before they grab your heart. Instead of enabling temptation, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) and allow Christ to transform your mind (Romans 12:1-2). Avoid circumstances or people that lead you into temptation, if at all possible. Choose your friends carefully (1 Corinthians 15:33). Don’t buy things you know you shouldn’t have. You might have to take some drastic actions (getting rid of a TV, computer, or other items, perhaps), but do what is necessary to live a clean life. Be sure to “… make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires …” (Romans 13:14).

5. Surrender to God Rather than Your Temptation

Read Romans 6. Practice yielding the members of your body to the Lord as a servant of righteous living. Seek and set your mind on the things of God, and learn how to live “in Christ” (Colossians 3:1-17).

6. Substitute Sinful Desires with Godly Ones

Replace wrong thinking (Romans 12:1-2), but also, substitute some new activities (or even healthy distractions) with old unhealthy or sinful habits. Take up a new hobby, get some exercise, join a class … and do it with your whole heart with the desire to please and honor God (Colossians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

7. Seek Help (Counsel, an Accountability Partner)

If you struggle, get some practical “skin on” help (Proverbs 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). Seek out a minister, counselor, Christian teacher or support group that deals with your area of temptation. Be honest with a godly, mature-in-the-faith person about your struggle; and set up some accountability guidelines. Meet or talk on a regular basis.

So remember my sneaky Roscoe ~ always giving in to temptation ~ and recognize that you’re not getting away with anything. There’s going to be a pay day of some kind for unhealthy or sinful behavior, even if it is simply lost opportunities or the burden of a guilty conscience.

– Dawn

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No Sweat

12 Aug

Jodi Whisenhunt wrote a post titled “You Know It’s Too Hot When…” for The Christian Post (8-1-12). Her “You know…” thoughts made me LOL on a very hot day in August.

You know it’s too hot when…

1 ) You fry your morning eggs on the front walk.
2 ) Your neighbor brings over cookies she baked in her car.
3 ) Your swimming pool turns into a hot tub.
4 ) Your hot tub is bubbling and it’s not turned on.
5 ) Your aerosol sunscreen shoots flames.
6 ) Your dog sheds her coat bald when she steps outside.
7 ) You drop two pounds in perspiration just by walking out the door.
8 ) You get a second degree burn when you touch the handle of your car door.
9 ) The hummingbirds are fanning the squirrels.
10 ) The ice cream truck melts.

OK… maybe it’s not quite that hot. But I’m sweating, and I’m not a sweaty person.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No sweat”? No sweat can mean no trouble, no difficulty, or even “Don’t worry; it’s a done deal.” As I languished in the heat, the thought suddenly occurred to me that there is at least one thing in life where I can honestly say, “No sweat.”

Death? No sweat.

This may seem like a strange topic for an LOL with God post, but hang with me.

The Proverbs 31 woman could “laugh at days to come” because she was “clothed with strength and dignity” (31:25). Although the process of dying may be painful and difficult, there is a kind of joy ~ a sense in which we can laugh at death, knowing we will overcome it in Christ! We can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity, even in our last days.

Many people are afraid of death ~ “sweating out” the end of their lives. If this describes you (you are afraid of death or dying), let me encourage you today with the Word of God. The Word makes a world of difference. I have a friend who lived in fear of death for many years, but as she began to read and embrace the truth of scripture concerning her end of days, she found peace and hope.

I can honestly say, when it comes to my eternal destination, “No sweat ~ It’s a done deal.” Not because of any good I’ve done, but because of the rich, undeserved love of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 3:16-18) . Because He gave me eternal life in His Son and made me His child (John 17:3; 1 John 3:2; 5:13).

The grave is not the end! The believer knows that death is as simple as “falling asleep” on earth and awakening with God where we will live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17).

Jesus came to free us from the fear of dying ~ the “sting” and power of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14-15) ~ but also from death itself (eternal death).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25-26). We will be united with Jesus in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).

Though there may be a season of suffering before death, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have true hope for our future (1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We can face death with confidence and courage. We already have “citizenship” in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be welcome there. I can rest in God’s love both now and forever. One of the joys of heaven is that death will be “swallowed up” forever as God wipes away all sorrow and tears (Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

One of the struggles I’ve always had concerning death is my fears for those I might leave behind. But God even has an answer for that. He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) and we can hand over our fears, worries, and anxieties for our loved ones to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He loves them even more than we do, and will not forsake them.

Do I want to die? Yes and no. I understand Paul’s pull toward heaven, even while deeply involved in ministry and love for the people in this life (Philippians 1:21-25). I want to go home to heaven, but I am so attached to friends and family here. The truth is, whether on earth or in heaven, I belong to the Lord and live for His purposes (Romans 14:8); and it’s my job to figure out the works God has prepared for me to do before He calls me home (Ephesians 2:10).

But death itself? No sweat … I am secure and satisfied in the One who loves me, redeemed me, and has eternal plans for my life.

Can you say “No sweat!” as you look toward the end of your days? Can you laugh at your future, knowing you are safe with God? Or do you still have some concerns? Do you know someone who faced death with incredible peace and hope? I’d love to hear your story.

Avoiding the ‘Gotchas’

11 Mar

In 1957, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), produced a program on its prestigious Panorama Programme that informed people that a certain kind of pasta came from bushes.

In true reverential, BBC documentary tone, Richard Dimbleby explained how Spaghetti was harvested from bushes, dried, and then processed into strands of spaghetti.

The audience not only listened to the spoof ~ some even phoned in asking where they could buy a Spaghetti bush. (1)

I consider myself a fairly wise woman ~ at least, I strive to fear and obey the Lord and His Word (Proverbs 9:10); but on the other hand, I can be sooooo gullible.

Just ask my sons, who are always trying to pull one over on their mama. I’m more alert now and I question some things they tell me, because I’ve learned from experience that they may be feeding me some lines, just to be able to say, “Gotcha.”

The longer I travel through this life, the more I recognize when the enemy of my soul is trying to pull the same thing. Where once I could describe my life journey as “Gullible’s Travels,” now I see myself as a Wise Warrior Woman ~ more alert to the devil’s sneaky tactics as I walk hand-in-hand with God, wielding the Sword of the Spirit ~ the Word of God.

I just caught myself an hour ago, starting to believe the enemy:  “You aren’t as pretty as that other woman speaker. (Look at her white, straight teeth and her trim ankles ~ yes, the enemy says stupid things like that!) Don’t you see that that’s going to get in the way of your message when you speak? Maybe you should decline the offer to speak at that luncheon.”

I had to remind Satan of the truth (and I needed to hear myself proclaim it!) … that God is the source of my strength and any influence I hope to have; and I am going to be obedient to His call, regardless of my imperfect appearance.

One of the most powerful exercises we can do as women is to contrast truth and lies. Maybe, like me, you’ve heard something that you think might not be accurate. Ask, “What’s the truth here?” Try to find a scripture passage that shows the difference between truth and lies ~ there are lots of them in the book of Proverbs!

When you hear something in the culture that doesn’t ring true (maybe on TV, in a movie, or in a book), Continue reading

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