Monday, January 30, 2012


"God...will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

In the wilderness temptation Satan offered Jesus 3 things.  He also offers them to you:
  • Satisfaction: Jesus was hungry and Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread.  But this was satisfaction without God, because God's plan was to feed His Son supernaturally through angels.  Jesus refused to settle for less - and so should you!
  • Success: But it was success without God.  Taking Jesus to the top of the temple, Satan said "Jump off, God will protect You and everyone will believe in You."  Success without the cross.  Take the easy way out!  And has not Satan made you that same offer: 'You do not have to take up your cross.  You do not have to practice self-denial." Satan lied then, and he is lying to you now.
  • Significance: Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world and their glory if He did just bow down to him.  What an offer.  Significance without God!  But Jesus rebuked him with a reminder from Scripture that God alone is worthy of being glorified.
Satan will take every legitimate desire you have and try to get you to fulfill it in an illegitimate way.  But God "will provide the way of escape".  You say "I do not see the way of escape."  That is because you are focused on the temptation instead of the way out.  God's promise of escape does not mean you will not have to persevere and be faithful to Him.  And, as in the case of Christ, it involves knowing and being able to use the Scriptures.  But it does not mean that when God's purpose of victory over temptation has been served, you will   come out victorious.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


"When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand."  Proverbs 16:7

You cannot please everybody all the time.  And it is a big mistake to try.  Your constant need for approval can end up costing you God's best.  When you are doing anything worthwhile, expect opposition from those who are not privy to God's plan for your life.  That goes with the turf.  Notice, Jesus "made himself of no reputation" Philippians 2:7.  He was not always well thought of by others, but He knew He had God's approval - and that is what mattered to Him!

In Proverbs 21:1 Solomon says that just like changing direction of a moving river, God can change hearts and give you favor with those who did otherwise reject you.  He also said, "When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand."  Does that mean you will not encounter opposition or people who disagree with you?  No, but when you do, just concentrate on pleasing God and let Him deal with the fallout.

Remember, God takes up where you leave off.  When you have exhausted all your efforts He can step in and open doors with the right people at just the right time.  The truth is, He can get you a better job than you could get on your own, and give you blessings that humanly speaking, you do not deserve or qualify for.  Just like the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to fulfill His life's mission (See Luke 4:18 - 19), God will call, equip and enable you to fulfill His plan for your life.  So stop trying so hard to make things happen on your terms, and begin praying for God's favor!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


"The  kindness of God repentance."  Romans 2:4

Ever notice that most organizations insist that you earn your way?  For example, airlines compensate frequent fliers with free miles, sports franchises reward players who score goals and win games.  Some corporations even grade their employees on a scale where they can earn a private office or their own parking space.  But God is not like that; you cannot earn salvation.  Paul says, "The kindness of God repentance."  Notice, he did not say the scare tactics of a preacher or the legalistic requirements of some church that you keep their standards before God will accept you.  No, genuine repentance is our response to the unconditional love of a perfect God.  A God who delights in reaching down and restoring the cracked pots and damaged vessels society wants to throw on the garbage heap.  When you encounter a Savior like that, you want to please Him.  It is impossible to experience the unfailing love of a God who stands by you when others fail you, and keep on abusing His love.

The very idea that God's love comes with no strings attached goes against every human instinct.  "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."  John 3:16.  Love is the force that draws us to Him.  To know Him is to love Him.  and to walk with Him is to experience "joy unspeakable".  To the hopeless and hurting our God says, "Come.  Your past does not disqualify you; your problems are not too big for Me - I have handled bigger.  Maybe you are not welcome anywhere else, but today you are "accepted in the beloved" Ephesians 1:6.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


In 1888 a noted chess master named Paul Morphy attended a dinner party in Richmond, Virginia. During the dinner his attention was drawn to a painting on the wall. The scene portrayed a young man locked in an intense chess match with the devil. The devil's next move would surely claim victory - entitling him to the young man's soul. The devil wore a triumphant expression. After dinner the chess champion walked over to the painting, studying the board and the pieces portrayed on it. Suddenly he turned to his host and said, "I can take the young man's game and win!" "That is not possible!" his host replied. "Not even you can retrieve that game." The chess master answered, "Yes, I think I can. Suppose we place the men and give it a try." To the surprise of everyone Morphy bested the smug opponent in the painting. Victory was snatched from the devil and the young man was saved.

 Sometimes we feel like that young man. We see Satan poised claim victory. We fee something near despair as we watch our nation make wrong turn after wrong turn. Yet in the darkest moment God whispers, "I have good news for you. He has not won yet.  "If my people who are called by my name are sorry for what they have done, if they pray and obey me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven, I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land." God gets the final move.  And we can urge Him to take it - when we pray!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


"Who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."  Hebrews 5:14

The writer to the Hebrews says, "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."  With maturity comes the increased capacity to see things from God's angle.  What an advantage!  Seasoned believers can filter everything that comes their way through the grid of God's Word, discerning His will, obeying what He tells them to do.  As a result they walk in God's blessing.  They pick on signals that immature believers do not have the capacity to receive, grasp or interpret, even though they may be able to communicate certain doctrinal facts.

Here is an illustration from everyday life.  Suppose you want your daughter to respond with love and trust, but you also want to teach her not to come running when a stranger offers her candy to get in their car.  Your challenge is, your daughter's reasoning powers are not mature enough to distinguish between someone who loves her and someone who may want to harm her.  She may be able to repeat the information you teach her, but without maturity she is unable to apply it correctly in a real life situation.  So you keep reinforcing the lesson because your child cannot always discern a good situation from a bad one.  Are you getting the idea?  The writer to the Hebrews states, "Who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good from evil."  To mature, you must spend time daily in God's Word.  But you must do more; you must practice its principles in all your affairs.  Only then can you know and enjoy what is good for you.        

Monday, January 2, 2012


"Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work.” 2 Timothy 2:5

Are you so eager to stay in everybody’s good graces that you are complying with their every demand, even though it is draining you?  Good people burn out every day because they lack discernment when it comes to setting boundaries.  And once that happens it is hard to fix, because none of us [not even those “ordained by God!”] can break His natural laws without consequences.  A well-known Bible teacher writes: “Once when I was complaining about my heavy schedule I heard God’s Spirit say, ‘You are the one who makes the schedule; if you do not like it, do something about it.”’

Paul told Timothy: “Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work…as an athlete…follows the rules or is disqualified.”  Not every problem is spiritual, some are physical.  Furthermore, you cannot blame the devil for things that are your fault.  We resent people who pressure us, yet we keep doing what they want: and pressured by not taking responsibility for your own life!  The fact is, many well-intentioned folks are walking around burned out and depressed because they cannot say no.  They forget that Jesus is our example; that even He made time for rest and renewal.  The answer lies in: [a] putting your life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; [b] learning to put first things first; [c] not expecting everybody to understand when you set boundaries.  Remember, Solomon said, “A friend loveth at all times” [Pro 17:17], not just when you comply with their wishes.  So if saying no costs you the friendship, it was not a healthy friendship to start with!