Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Does God Lead Us Into Temptation?

Does God lead us into temptation?

I can see why this might be a question for pondering, since in the Lord's prayer, we are taught to pray, "Lead us  not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil." Many translations say "deliver us from the evil one." Implicit in that prayer is that the evil one is the tempter--not God.

"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" (James 1:13-14). 

God does not tempt us. However all Christians can expect trials.

I asked the Lord about discerning the difference between trials and temptations, because these words are often used interchangeably in Christian dogma. What He impressed on my spirit is a simple way to discern the difference between a temptation and a "test" or "trial" of our faith.

Temptation always involves evil, or doing evil, and appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes, the pride of life. I Jn 2:16

"For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the  world,"  and  Jesus says the devil is the prince of this world (Jn 16: 11).
Temptation to sin leads downward. James 1: 15 says: "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

A FAITH TRIAL always involves victory, moving closer to God, overcoming. Faith trials lead upward.
James 1: 13-14:
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ... because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Always look at scripture for examples of tests or temptations.

Heb. 11: 17-19 says By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
Abraham was specifically led (directed, spoken to) by God to offer up Isaac. A faith trial usually involves specific instructions from God. The devil didn't lead Abraham to offer Isaac. By that great act of faith in God's Word,  Abraham (often referred to as "Father Abraham" in New Test.) acted out a type of the Father offering up His only Son (Gen. 22:2). Isaac was the child of the promise, a supernaturally-birthed baby since the mother was past child bearing years, and therefore a type of Christ. (Note: God recognized Isaac, not Ishmael, as Abraham's only son).

Other Bible people who passed faith tests: Moses, Gideon, Jesus Who was led into the wilderness to do battle with Satan, Paul. Each of them had a specific task to perform and was specifically directed by God, not Satan, although Satan wanted to tempt them not to fulfill their FAITH assignments.
King David lost his battle with temptation when Bath Sheba bathed on the rooftop. But God didn't lead David to watch her. The resulting pregnancy tempted David to murder her husband, Uriah. The consequences also including the death of the child. Sin leads to death.

When the Lord leads His people, it is usually not by external circumstances (like accidents, illnesses, tragedies, etc.--that theology comes from the wrongly taught belief that God controls everything that happens to us. If that were so, how would we know when to resist the devil?)
God  desires to lead us by the internal spirit voice, which every born again man has within his own spirit.  We learn to hear His voice as we train our spirits to follow our Good Shepherd, Who says, "My sheep hear my voice."
I must admit, at times I'm better at this than at other times, especially if I let the cares of this world choke out the word.

Psalm 32: 8-9
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 
Bible Hub
32:8-11 God teaches by his word, and guides with the secret intimations of his will. ....Proverbs 8:10,11 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge

I love the passage in I Kings. 19: God was not in the whirlwind, He was not in the earthquake, He was not in the fire, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."
That still small voice rises up from your innermost being and You are led by God's counsel, always to do His will.
The tempter will always entice you to do the opposite.

Friday, October 16, 2015

What Should She Do? She Loves Him.

What Should She Do? She Loves Him.

What does a girl do when she's deeply in love with the guy, wrapped in his passionate embrace, and she doesn't dare risk losing him?
"If you love me you will," he says between kisses and promises of undying devotion.
The flesh answers yes.
She gives away her purity and expects him to keep those promises. She believes him because he actually meant them when he said them. He thought he did. But he wakes up now with a stain on his soul. He has violated the moral law of God. He may not realize it at once. Maybe never if his conscience has been seared over as with a hot iron by our culture's glaring lack of all moral responsibility. However, those people who allow him to do something wrong soon become people he just does not want to be around. He may not even realize it, but it's true.
We love people most who expect and require the best of us. Who lift us up to a higher standard and make us feel good about ourselves.
Soon he begins to take the girl for granted. And then to actually disrespect and dislike her, no matter how desperately she tries to please him. His passionate "love" turns to hate.
It's over. She realizes she has made a serious mistake.
She feels betrayed and sullied. There is a wound in her soul. Seeking to heal that wound, she moves on to the next guy. And the next.
So many young girls are looking for genuine love in all the wrong places. The wrong arms. They are created with this need for love and do not realize it is found only in the arms of their Creator. He has planned the best possible husband for them. It's not too late. She can turn to the Lord and truly find that her way is not leading to the good life she envisioned for herself. It is only in Jesus Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The girl who has a sincere love for Jesus is protected by obedience when confronted with a guy's words, "If you love me you will." She answers, "If you love me, you would not ask me to do something that is clearly wrong in God's word."
He knows deep inside that she is right. He ends up respecting her for her convictions. He goes home and wakes the next morning with his own self respect intact. She has kept him from a transgression, a stain on his soul, whether he realizes it or not.
If he has any character at all, he realizes this is the kind of girl he wants to marry and cherish as his lifelong companion. The kind of girl who knows how to train up children in the way they should go.
The correct answer to anyone who pressures you to do something wrong or risk losing his or her companionship is: "If you really are my friend--pal, sister, brother, boyfriend, etc.--you would not ask me to do something that is wrong and against the Word of God."
You may lose that person, but the Lord has someone in your future who will bring you joy and not sorrow. Who will lift you up, not bring you down. And it's never too late to turn to Him. His tender mercy is new every morning. He will turn your mourning into dancing light and your sorrow to joy unspeakable and full of glory. He came to seek the lost and broken hearted and to heal all the wounds in their souls. He restores, ne-news, regenerates. A complete makeover from inside out. Who wouldn't want one of those!