Monday, November 5, 2012

Not Left To Ourselves

(1 Corinthians 10:13) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

The context of 1Cor.10:1-10 is the example of OT Israel’s temptation and fall into idolatry. Therefore, Paul warns the Corinthian believer’s because of their own temptation and the failure of some in participating in pagan feats- eating of food offered to idols. They were really pushing the limits on the use of their Christian Liberty in regard to heathen feasts.   V.11 is Paul’s challenge, v.12 is the warning- take heed (present imperative) continually take heed & v.13 is the encouragement!  Understand that temptations will come, but we don’t have to fail!!  Victory is always available!
There hath no temptation taken you-  Temptation- this word can mean both testing or temptation. Testing from the outside- trials of any kind meant to strengthen us. If from God, the trials can be to prove/strengthen us!!  But there are also solicitations to sin- (1 Peter 5:8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  
In this context for the Corinthians it is the temptation to compromise!  There were allurements to idolatry and the threat of persecution for those abandoning idolatrous practices. Remember that idolatry was involved in all aspects of life, including at your job/trade. Once a person was saved in that time, they gave up a lot of things. Sometimes jobs, families, social status, economic advancement & so on!  (1 Peter 4:3-4) For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:  
Albert Barnes states that the temptations could be “Anything that would have a tendency to induce them to forsake their allegiance to their Lord & lead them to idolatry & sin.” 
Taken you- to get a hold of, to seize, overtake.  Trials sometimes catch us by surprise and can overwhelm us.  At other times sin will get a hold of us, especially if we are not consistently walking with God!  The threat is always there! (1 Corinthians 10:12) “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  Just ask David when he saw Bathsheba bathing, or Peter when he denied his Lord, & so forth! 
But such as is common to man:- In talking about our trials and sins, there is nothing new in your experience that someone else hasn’t gone through. They are typical human experiences! 
But God is faithful, who will not suffer you…- God will not allow you to experience any test /temptation that you are not able to meet- to be victorious over!!  John MacArthur notes that “No Temptation is inherently stronger than our spiritual resources.”  God is on our side and He does not want us to fail! His goal for us is that we would be like His Son!!  For protection from failing in trials and temptations to sin, Jesus taught His disciples to pray- (Matthew 6:13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  The prayer is to save us from or deliver us out of trials, temptation, doing wrong. This is a prayer for protection and help.  We can pray this because our God is faithful- He is trustworthy and true to His word!!
Notice the last part of the verse- 2 Parts: 1) “but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,…” God has given us a way of escape.  Escape”, imagery of an army trapped in the mountains and then finding a little mountain pass to escape by. As Ellicott puts it “God makes an open road” and we have a choice to follow it or not!  Go provides a way out in each particular instance.  The problem is that usually we enjoy our sin to much and we are not looking for a way out!  2) “that ye may be able to bear it.” The verse does not say that He will always take away the trial, but He will see us through it- help us to endure it because they are a part of our growth!!   (James 1:12) “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  Please understand that our temptations and trials can be met & endured by depending on God who is faithful!
Folks, we don’t have to sin- we can be victorious!! The means are there!!  But also remember that when the testing’s/trial’s also come, they are necessary to our spiritual maturity and God will help us to endure them so that we can mature through them! 
If we can grasp hold of this awesome verse, our faith will flourish!!  We won’t despair, we won’t be full of anxiety, but we will find peace in the storm and endure any trial or temptation with a right understanding. God is with us & wants to help us!!  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear Readers,

I want to thank you so much for reading my blog. It is nothing special or deep like some other blogs, But I hope the articles have been edifying and maybe challenging to you!

This has been a diificult summer for me as I have struggled with some health problems. But I do plan on writing more articles soon for those who are interested! God Bless and keep looking to our wonderful Lord- The Lord Jesus Christ!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Urgency of Prayer

(1 Peter 4:7) "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

How important is prayer to you? In our verse Peter emphasizes the great importance of prayer based on the fact that we are living in the "last days." Now Peter does not use the terms "last days" here , but that is what is meant by "the end of all things is at hand." More often than not, when the Bible talks about the last days it is talking about the period of time between the ascension of Christ and His return. At other times the "last days" can refer to the tribulation period.

D. Edmond Heibert explains Peter's time reference as "The consemation of the present course of history..." There is nothing left on the prophetic calandar prohibiting Christ's return to rapture the Saints unto Himself. The time "is at hand." "Is at hand" is one Greek word meaning the time is drawing near, approaching, can happen at any moment. If we truly believe we are living in these days, and we better, than we must realize the urgency and imporatnce of prayer!! We are told in the Bible that life in these "last days" would get more and more difficult. Contray to some teaching, this world is not getting better, but Satan's attacks will grow stronger as he realizes his time is growing short. We will need to draw closer to our wonderful Savior to gain the strength we need to live effectively for Him!!

After this initial statement Peter gives us two imperitives/commands. First, "be ye therefore sober." The Word "sober" means to be of a sound mind or a clear mind, to be reasonable, to be in a right mind. This would be a mind that can think clearly because it is biblically informed. This is a mind free from the contamination of worldly thinking and unbelief. We need to have a solid foundation under us that is Bible centered so that what ever trials, temptations, and difficulties, come our way, we are prepared to handle them.

The second command is "watch unto prayer." The word "watch" means sobriety, to be alert, or to be self-controlled. Since these times will grow more and more difficult, we need to be alert and focused in our prayer life. We must cultivate a strong, vibrant, daily prayer walk. A strong prayer life is a dependent life in Christ. We cannot make it in life unless we are walking closely with our Lord depending on His strength!! (Philippians 4:13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Remember Peter in the Garden with Christ right before the Cross? (Matthew 26:40-41) "And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Peter struggled with prayer that night and he did fall to temptation and denied his Lord. Yet, this same Peter grew and now challenges us to the urgency of prayer.

Do you realize the urgency and importance of Prayer for yourself? Prayer is a vital ingredient to our survival in these days before Christ's return!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Desiring Answered Prayer

We all desire that God would hear us and answer our prayers, but I wonder if we are in a position for God to answer us. Prayer is hard work! It is one area in every believer's life that could use improving. How important is prayer to you? Do you realize it is a part of our power source. We don't function well when we ignore prayer or spend very little time in it.

I want to share with you several things that will hinder the effectiveness of our prayer life:

1) Unwillingness to obey the Scriptures: (1 John 3:22) "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." The Greek present tense emphasizes continual keeping/obedience.

2) Cherishing Sin in Our Lives: (Psalms 66:18) "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" To regard means to see with pleasure. There may be sins we are enjoying with out even realizing it. We must search our hearts and ask God to bring harbored sin to our attention. (Job 11:13-15) "If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him; If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:"

3) A Lack of Faith that God will Work: (Mark 11:24) "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." If we doubt God’s power, love, or desire to answer our prayers, why should He answer our prayers? (Hebrews 11:6) "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

4) Unwillingness to Forgive Others: (Mark 11:25) "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

5) Praying Selfishly and Not Truly Seeking God’s Will: (1 John 5:14) "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:" (James 4:3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts/pleasures.

6) Bad Relationship with Your Spouse: (1 Peter 3:7) "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

7) Not Asking/Praying: (James 4:2) "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."

I am sure you can find other reasons for ineffective prayers, but this list is an important one that should be mediated on! Do you have God’s attention when you pray? Prayer is vitally important and we need to clear out the obstacles so that we stay connected to our wonderful power source.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are You A Disciple of Christ?

Discipleship is a very important ministry of the local church. Churches need committed men and women to serve faithfully to keep the church operating effectively for Christ. Jesus sought and found twelve men to follow Him so that He could train them for the gospel ministry (Mt. 4:18-25; Mk. 1:16-20; John 1:35-51). In Matthew 4:18-19 Jesus told Peter and Andrew that He would make them “fishers of men.” Jesus’ whole desire was to shape and mold these men for the gospel ministry. The disciples were committed and left their jobs to follow Christ (I am not saying that today everyone must leave their jobs to be disciples). To be a disciple takes a great commitment. In Luke 9:57-62 three different men sought to follow Jesus half heartedly, but all three had excuses why they could not totally commit themselves to Him and Jesus responded to them by saying: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62)

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus extends an invitation to all to come unto Him for salvation. Then in vv.29&30 He offers an opportunity for discipleship as people can learn of Him and serve in yoke with Him. It is truly Jesus’ desire that people will accept Him as their savior and follow Him in discipleship. According to Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23-26, discipleship is costly. Jesus expects His disciples to die to their self interests (v.23). If we are going to be a true disciple of Christ, then we must set aside all of our goals, ambitions, desires, and our will and allow Jesus to rule and guide our lives the way He wants too. A true disciple is to take up his cross and follow Jesus. A man on a cross no longer directs his own life, but he is under the will of another, namely the one who put him on the cross. A disciple must be utterly devoted to Christ (Lk.14:33).

Discipleship is extremely important because local churches need dedicated followers of Christ to function properly in God’s plan. Paul frequently was discipling others to be servants and leaders in the church. For example, Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus provide us examples of Paul’s working with them. Paul seen two young men with great potential to be church leaders and invested his time and energy in training them. According to 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul expected Timothy to also disciple other people. Timothy was to share with faithful men what Paul taught him so that they would in return teach others. Consequently, Paul is laying down the principle that discipleship is an ongoing process amongst believers preparing them to do God’s work.

Unfortunately, not all believers will be good disciples. I read somewhere that Dwight Pentecost commented that being a disciple is not all about how much you know or how much you do, but how much are you committed to Christ. Again in 2 Timothy 2:3-7 Paul uses the examples of a soldier (vv.3-4), an athlete (v.5), and the farmer (vv.5-7) to describe a good disciple. All three professions require discipline, dedication, and focus; three characteristics that produce good, obedient disciples for Christ. What kind of disciple are you? Are you discipling anybody?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Resting In Christ

Are you feeling tired and weary? Difficulties wieghing you down? Are you filled with any anxiety? Well, let me give you the good news that you don't have to be filled with anxiety. Hebrews 4:11 exclaims "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."

What rest is Paul talking about? Is it accepting Christ as your Savior? Is it the rest of heaven? There are plenty of oppinions, but I believe that the best understanding of the passage is that Paul is talking about a rest that you can enjoy even now as a believer. Notice that Paul includes himself in entering into this rest.

This rest is a perfect enjoyment of God and all of his blessings and provisions for us now. We can enjoy a rest relationship; A rest free from anxiety because we are walking by faith in the knowledge of God’s love and Sovereignty!

Listen to John Gill;

>>"but the Gospel rest is here meant, that rest which believers now enter into, and is at this present time for them, ( Hebrews 4:3Hebrews 4:10 ) and though true believers are entered into it, yet their rest, peace, and joy in Christ, is not full; they enter by degrees into it, and by believing enjoy more of it: and this is to be laboured for by prayer, hearing the word, and attendance on ordinances; and this requires strength, diligence, and industry; and supposes difficulties and discouragements, through the corruptions of the heart, and the temptations of Satan; and this is designed to quicken and awaken a godly jealousy in God's people, over themselves:"

Are you resting in Christ? You can!! Just take God at His word and cultivate your relationship to Him. There is no reason for any of us to be filled with anxiety! (Philippians 4:6-7) Be careful for nothing (do not worry); but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.