Monday, March 18, 2013

Prone to Wander

           As a pastor individuals will often come to me seeking how to get right with the Lord.  For whatever reason, they have drifted away from their relationship with God.  They feel distant from God; that their life is not going the way they believe it should; and that they keep giving in to the temptations which come their way.  Personally, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can walk away from the Lord reverting into my self-centered ways.  Even as a minister of the Gospel, I must be diligent to walk with Him moment by moment..
            Temptations come to all of us who are following the Lord and seeking to do His will in our lives.  These can serve to strengthen our walk with the Lord or they can serve to encourage our wandering from the ways of God in our lives.  Temptations usually appeal to our desires and addictions which are outside of the will of God for our lives.  The Apostle James says it this way: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’   For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13, NIV).
            To battle the temptations in our lives, first use Scripture to face the issue you are dealing with.  Find verses which deal with your issue - read them, study them, memorize them, and then speak them to the temptation.  When Jesus faced temptations in his life, we are told by both Matthew and Luke, that he quoted Scriptures to the tempter and the temptations (See Matthew 4 or Luke 4). You will be amazed at the power this will unleash in your life.
            Secondly, when encountering temptation look for the ‘way of escape’ provided by the Lord. “No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  God will always provide a way out.  The question usually becomes:  “Do you want to take the way out?!!”
            Thirdly, have someone hold you accountable for staying on the path and saying ‘no’ to the temptations you are facing.  Find a prayer partner or accountability partner who with your permission, will ask you about the temptation and hold you lovingly accountable.
            In life anything of worth comes with a struggle.  The spiritual life is not immune to this principle.  Temptations and struggle should not to be feared.  Rather, rejoice in them for they lead to achievement in the spiritual life and give you strength from wandering from the ways of God.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It is NEVER too Late!

Tonight at a dinner during the meeting of Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, I had the privilege of meeting an 80-year old Jewish woman.  She had come to faith in Jesus as her Messiah just three years before at age 77. Immediately she went into the hospital for surgery and something went wrong.  The doctors told her family she only had hours to live.  But Jesus met her in her hospital room and completely healed her.  This woman is fired-up!  She loves the Lord, participates in regular Bible Study, and attends every Sabbath service at her Messianic Congregation.  How refreshing and inspiring!!