Imagine for a moment walking up to a dessert table with two choices. One is a perfectly shaped wedge of apple pie. Its golden brown crust is warmly inviting, the apple filling firm but oozing goodness. The second choice also seems to be a slice from that same pie but it is squished and broken with filling spilling out to cover the dessert plate. Which would you choose? Most of us would take the more attractive of the two slices of apple pie. Why is that? They both have the same ingredients and the taste. The only difference is their looks. Yet, we choose the one we perceive as more pleasing to the eyes. This choice is an example of our second receptor of temptation, what John called the lust of the eyes. Our eyesight is our most powerful sense. With these wonderfully designed organ
It all began in a garden. A lush paradise where every need was met and there was only one “don’t do this” rule. The rest, as they say, is history. Adam and Eve broke the “don’t do this” rule, played the blame game with God, and changed the course of humanity. That discord between going our own way or going God’s way has plagued us ever since. But that is not the end of story. Last week we looked at An Overcoming Life and discovered that overcoming is different than we may have imagined. John wrote, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Let’s face one basic fact, our days are filled with opportunities to sin. The world around us is constantly placing enticements in our path. The devil is quick to whisper in our ear that we deserve it. Our body and soul scream to be satisfied. The list of possibilities is long but can be boiled down to one reality, all temptation seeks to satisfy self rather than God. In other words, all temptation holds out the promise being like God and ends with us worshiping a god of our own making instead of the one true God. We may feel that God is like the mom who gave their toddler a chocolate chip cookie before supper and then punished them for not finishing their peas and carrots. Or that God enjoys playing the gotcha game with us, dangling things in front of our noses only to punish us wh
Perhaps I have testing on the mind. For the past few weeks, my job has focused on getting ready and supporting the new computer-based standardized test students are taking this spring. So this morning while researching the phrase “God is…” I ran across this verse in Deuteronomy - “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3, NASB95) The first thing that popped into my head was “Wait! What? I’m out of school doesn’t that mean no more tests?” The second thing that ran through my noggin was, “isn’t there a verse that says something about God not tempting us?” James does say, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I
In a recent interview the Anglican Vicar of Baghdad recounted an incident between ISIS militants and four Christian teenagers, all under 15. Multiple times the militants demanded that they say the words of conversion to Islam which they refused to do by saying “No, we love Yasua (Jesus).” Ultimately, they were beheaded because of their refusal.* Yes, its a sad story. Yes, its a story of courage. Yes, these things should not be happening. Yes, folks that loudly lament any inkling religion being forced upon them because of a prayer, or a song, or a t-shirt don’t have the slightest notion of what real force is. Yes, Jesus predicted that His followers would suffer persecution. I agree with all of that. But there is a real world application for us who comfortably live half a world away from