Thursday, February 13, 2014


To start off, I feel that this post needs a preface to put the reader in the right frame of mind. This post is nothing but a list of things we all know we need to do more of. That being said, I wouldn't want anyone to misunderstand me on this. This is not meant to be a list that we attempt to adhere to simply for the sake of being "super-spiritual". When we discipline ourselves to take on a new practice, it should be because of an inward passion for God, chasing after Him, gaining a greater knowledge of Him. Though we will always fight the flesh's tendency to put off spiritual things, we shouldn't overrun our headlights jumping into them. We can incur burnout. Better to start off slow in the right direction than to jump in beyond our own spiritual metabolism. I recognize that this philosophy could be carried to dangerous extremes and we need to guard against that, but somehow, I know that our inspiration should be tied up in knowing God in a fuller sense not just doing good things to be better people. Let this be true in our lives,

To have found You, and still be looking for You,
It's "the soul's paradox of love."
You fill my cup, I lift it up for more.
I won't stop now that I'm free.
I'll be chasing You
Like You chase me.
- Peter Furler

The first on the list, of course, is reading the Bible. The more scripture we can get into our heads, inevitably, the more we will think and use in our lives. This should be a part of every believer's life even if it is just a little each day. Make sure, to the best of your ability, that you are soaking up the ideas presented. Absorb it. If you are just going through the motions, cracking it open and planning your day while your eyes skim the pages, you're wasting your time (this is written to myself as much as anyone else).

Not at all trying to raise one version over others, but I was an avid KJV user for 7+ years, didn't think I was missing a thing, and last year had the thought to switch to a modern version and I was amazed at how passages that were once a mystery to me opened up before me. Honestly, I don't know why I was using the KJV in the first place, maybe so that I could jokingly hold it over people who used modern versions,  but I like the ESV much more now.

Meditating on Scripture is an extension of reading Scripture. We can summarize meditation in these three words, memorize, visualize and personalize.
Psalm 1:1-3
 Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

It isn't enough to have read truths years ago. We are extremely forgetful people. We need to remind ourselves constantly of the many truths God has in His Word. I don't know how many times I will have my mind set on what I know is God's will and then over time, my mind will be turned aside. All because I forgot what the truth was.

Another way that we can help our minds to retain truth is by reaffirming it in prayer. I recently read a couple of books by Mark Bubeck, The Adversary, and Overcoming the Adversary. He emphasizes what he calls "doctrinal praying". Here is an example he gives, it is cut out of a much larger prayer,

I am thankful, heavenly Father, that the weapons of
our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God
to the pulling down of strongholds, to the casting
down of imaginations and every high thing that
exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and to
bring every thought into obedience to the Lord Jesus
Christ. Therefore in my own life today I tear down the
strongholds of Satan, and I smash the plans of Satan
that have been formed against me. I tear down the
strongholds of Satan against my mind, and I surrender
my mind to You, blessed Holy Spirit. I affirm, heavenly
Father, that You have not given us the spirit of fear, but
of power and of love and of a sound mind. I break and
smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my
emotions today, and I give my emotions to You. I smash
the strongholds of Satan formed against my will today,
and I give my will to You, and choose to make the right
decisions of faith. I smash the strongholds of Satan
formed against my body today, and I give my body to
You, recognizing that I am Your temple; and I rejoice in
Your mercy and Your goodness.

Music with powerful lyrics can be a easy way to get truth flowing through your mind. Even simple songs that affirm God's truth can be helpful. I feel that this verse summarizes this thought nicely,

Colossians 3:16
 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

This one indicates the thought as well,

1 Corinthians 14:26

...When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Other ways to absorb truth can be reading books that reaffirm biblical truth and listening to sermons from sound teachers. is a great resource.

I am sure that there are other great ways to get truth in our heads, creating a lifestyle of truth-building activities. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dealing With Temptation

I wanted to share something that the Lord has been showing me over the past several months. Much of what I am writing is based on a very good book I read not too long ago, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground by Jim Logan.
Now, what I am writing about will be how to handle temptation. I have struggled with lust for a long time and this has really helped to give me the tools I needed for continued victory. We will start by reading the temptation of Jesus that is found in Matthew 4. I am mostly concerned with Jesus' responses, not necessarily the deep thoughts that can be found in the things Satan used to tempt Him.

 "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him."

I am very grateful that the temptation of Jesus is recorded in Scripture. If we look into what is written, we will find many tools to help us in our own struggles with temptation.

Jesus had just finished his forty day fast in the wilderness. Think about the spiritual high points in your life. Those mountain top experiences that you wish were your reality everyday. They are always followed by time in the valley. This is when Satan likes to make his move. You feel empowered from the experience and Satan seeks to stop you dead in your tracks and discourage you away from the lofty goals you had set your mind on.

Also, it says"he was hungry."
Satan will seek out the weaknesses in your life and exploit them. James 1:14 says "each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire (lusts)". With this in mind we should be on guard for the tempter in times of weakness. Charles Stanley has a helpful acrostic, HALT. Watch out when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. I have found this very helpful.

I recognize that what I am about to say is no great revelation but, it is not a sin to be tempted. I know you already knew that, but the reality of this truth has helped me a lot, as simple as it is. In the past I would be tempted and I instantly would feel guilty for even having such a sinful thought and Satan would begin to harass me with accusations when in truth, he was the one who put that thought there! I can see that Satan has blinded my eyes to the simplest of truths.

 We see that Jesus used the authority of the Word of God to resist Satan's temptation. This is the primary point that I am trying to expound upon in this post. John 8:44b "[Satan] is a liar and the father of lies" and so when we are tempted, it is often based upon a lie that Satan is trying to convince us of (actually, I can't think of a time that isn't related to a lie we are believing). A lie that what he offers will complete us. And so, when we are tempted with Satan's lies, we should respond with a counteracting truth based on, if not directly quoted from, God's Word. Pretty simple idea, but the implications of this concept are amazing!

Satan again tempts Him, twisting Scripture to his own means in hopes to deceive Jesus. Jesus again replies with God's Word. We should note James 4:7 "7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Now, one thing that I have always wrestled with was the many times I have resisted Satan and he does not flee from me! I usually get discouraged and cave to the temptation thinking resistance doesn't work. But here we see Jesus, the Son of God, being tempted a second time after already resisting Satan. This was an "Aha!" moment for me. The Bible tells us that if we resist Satan then he will flee. This passage is not a promise that if we resist Satan once then he will leave. It must be saying, as was the case with Jesus, that if we continually resist Satan then he will flee from us. Yet another simple thought that has been revolutionary for me! All we have to do is embrace this promise in Scripture and we can find strength to continue the fight. After Satan's third attempt, it is just as James tells us, "the devil left him". This will be true in our own battles with temptation if we continue to resist no matter how hopeless it seems.

To summarize,

-Watch out after spiritual high points and when weakness is felt.
  Remember to HALT when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

-Counteract with truth.
 It would seem that Jesus said these rebuttals OUT LOUD. We should not shy away from verbally resisting  Satan. An example of what you could say is "Satan, I resist you! I have authority through my union with Christ. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world"
Obviously, words and precepts are powerless unless we embrace the truth God has given us - if you are just saying the words and you aren't believing them, they won't help you.
 Remember to resist repeatedly. Satan would have us believe that our attempts at resisting are meaningless, but it is a lie. Don't give up. Trust God's word when it says,

1 Corinthians 10:13
"13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

I hope that others will find these ideas helpful. I am hoping to write another post soon about ways we can get more truth into our minds because I can see that it is the vehicle that gives us power over Satan and his lies.