Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” It doesn’t get more practical than that! When you see sin coming—duck! When you sense temptation, go the other way. Pay attention! You know your weaknesses. You also know the situations where your weaknesses are most vulnerable. Stay out of those situations. Late hours. Movies. Internet. Social media. Whatever gives Satan a foothold in your life, stay away from it. Watch out!
And pray! Prayer invites God to walk the shadowy pathways with us. To watch ahead for falling trees and tumbling boulders; to bring up the rear, guarding our backside from the poison darts of the devil.
Watch and pray! Good advice. Let’s take it! It could be the difference between a peaceful day on the lake and a stick of dynamite blowing up in our faces!
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.—Romans 8:1-2
Our heavenly Father desires that we walk closely with Him. To help us, the Holy Spirit guides us on the right path and redirects us when we are headed in the wrong direction. In other words, He convicts us when we are in danger of straying.
Conviction is God’s loving hand steering us back to the path that leads to life. To better understand the concept, picture a parent whose toddler begins to chase a ball into a busy street. The youngster has only one desire at that moment: to retrieve the toy. The parent, however, would be negligent if he or she did not stop the child.
We, like the toddler in this example, view our life from a limited perspective. If our heavenly Father stops us from achieving a desire, it seems frustrating. But we must remember that the Almighty is acting out of His love for us.
Conviction begins even before salvation. The Holy Spirit reveals our wrongs to help us recognize that we need forgiveness. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and choose to follow Him, we are born again. Only then are we free from the penalty of sin. At the same time, we are still human and will make some poor choices. So, even after we are His children, God continues to redirect us.
Conviction is different from condemnation. Remember that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). So though believers at times will sin, they are justified by Christ’s sacrifice and free from condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
(Reprint | Charles Stanley | In Touch)
Almost. It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary. It runs with nearly, next time, and just about! It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities. It’s an honorable mention, being on the bench, and burnt cookies!
One of the most famous “almosts” is in the Bible. His name was Pilate. He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy. He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace. He almost released the Son of God. He had the power. He had the choice. The option to free God’s Son was his. And he did…almost!
Jesus never has room for almost. With Him nearly becomes certainly. Sometimes becomes always. And next time becomes this time! Almost may count in horseshoes, but with the Master, it’s just as if it never happened.
Hello faithful readers. I injured my back a few days ago and I am more or less disabled. I am on the road to recovery but it is a very slow process. I would appreciate any prayers you might have for me during your worship or prayer time. Thank you. Blessings to all.
I will post again when and if I have enough energy. Thanks.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.—Gal 5:24
As you start your weekend, ask yourself, “Do I belong to Jesus?” If your answer is yes then it’s important to set aside those worldly desires and fleshly passions.
I know personally that the flesh and it’s desires are a big stumbling block for all of us desiring to follow Jesus. There is hope for us in the Holy Spirit. Let Him lead you through your weekend and then on Monday you can look back and say to our Lord, “Thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit and helping me walk in your way.”
Satan loses again and your faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, continues to grow. Blessings to you this weekend.
Are you satisfied with your prayer life? I don’t know too many people who would answer yes to that question, because most of us know that we fall short in this discipline. Even the most mature believers recognize their need for improvement, and one of the best methods for doing that is examining scriptural prayers and using them as a model.
Several of Paul’s prayers are recorded in his epistles, and they supply wonderful insights about different ways to pray. In today’s passage, we see two foundations for prayer.
A Humble Attitude. Paul’s physical posture of bending his knees served as a reminder of his submissive position before the heavenly Father. He knew there was nothing in himself that would cause the Lord to hear and respond. He had access to the throne of God only through his relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul did not make himself the center of the conversation but focused on the Lord and the church for whom he was interceding.
A Focus on God. The foundation of Paul’s prayer life was the Trinity. The apostle understood that God the Father adopts all believers worldwide into His family for eternity; that there are glorious riches found in God the Son; and that God the Holy Spirit has limitless power. The requests Paul made for the Ephesians were based on almighty God’s matchless abilities, resources, and power.
Although we can confidently approach the Lord’s throne of grace, we must always remember that we are but humble servants, and He is our exalted God.
(Reprint | Charles Stanley | In Touch)
Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.
Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.
We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire. Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.
Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.