Help with Temptation

What do Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, and Lawrence Taylor have in common?  They’re famous athletes who recently gave in to temptation.  Lest this email turn into a celebrity bashing party, let me issue a reminder: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, New Living Translation).  Maybe you haven’t succumbed to lust, but we all have areas where God is still working on us.  That’s why the writer compels us: “… let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up” (Hebrews 12:1, New Living Translation).

So, how do you beat temptation?  Again, Jesus has the answer.  In the verses included with this email, Jesus was facing the great tempter – Satan (see Luke 4:1-13).  Throughout this experience, Satan hit Jesus with the big three: lust of the flesh (turn stones to bread), lust of the eye (look at these kingdoms), and the pride of life (jump off this pinnacle).  Despite Satan’s unrelenting assault, Jesus didn’t give in.  Why?  He was full of the Word and used it to resist Satan.

The Word will help you through temptation.  All you have to do is trust and speak what it says.  The psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, New Living Translation).  Use your sword (see Ephesians 6:17) to combat the enemy!

Help with Tough Decisions …

Have you ever had to make a tough decision.  I’ve been following the Eve Carson trials, and I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to sentence her murderers.  Just imagine how much more difficult it would be if the judge or jurors were Christians.  On one hand, choices have consequences, but on the other hand, we all need forgiveness and restoration.  While the decision was not in my hands, I know determining the fate of Eve Carson’s murderers had to be difficult.

In the verses included with this email, Jesus faced a tough decision (see John 8:1-11).  A woman had been caught in adultery, and the religious leaders asked Jesus what they should do.  I like how Jesus responded.  First, He didn’t rush into a decision, for haste makes waste.  Second, He remembered His purpose – to seek and save the lost.  He didn’t let the people push Him beyond His authority.  With God’s help, Jesus made a decision that aligned with His purpose.

Since Jesus made it through a difficult decision, He can help us with ours.  All we have to do is seek His counsel.  Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.   Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take ” (Proverbs 3:5-6, New Living Translation).  With God’s help, you can make it through the toughest decisions.

Even If You Don’t Have Experience …

If you had a chance to be the president of your country, company, organization, or university, would you seize it?  Although the salary may be enticing, most of us would decline after reading the job description.  Why?  Because we lack experience in the areas of responsibility.  There’s something about opportunities, in which we have no experience, that stifles our best ambitions.  One of the reasons Moses didn’t want to go to Pharaoh was because he lacked public speaking skills.

If you’ve ever been intimidated because you lacked experience, then Mary can relate.  When Gabriel told her she would have a son named Jesus, she said, “But how can this happen?  I am a virgin” (Luke 1:34, New Living Translation).  But Gabriel offered some insight that encouraged me when I read it.  He said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you …” (Luke 1:35, New Living Translation).  In other words, God can give us “skills” that we didn’t learn in a classroom.

Maybe you’re considering a great opportunity, but your lack of experience has helped you talk yourself out of it.  Let this email be your incentive to pursue it.  With God, anything is possible!  Trust Him to prepare you for the opportunities He provides.

What We Can’t Believe …

Have you ever said, “I can’t believe that?”  I’ve been watching the NBA Playoffs, and that’s exactly what I said when I saw Ron Artest’s (forward for the LA Lakers) hair.  He died it blond and purple, kind of like Dennis Rodman used to wear his hair.  I couldn’t believe he had the courage to wear such an extreme hairstyle.

Zacharias also uttered that phrase, but not without consequences.  An angel said that he, an old man with a barren, old wife, would have a son named John.  Zacharias replied, “I can’t believe that.”  His problem was that he looked at himself and not at God: “I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years” (Luke 1:18, New Living Translation).  Consequently, he was unable to speak until God fulfilled His promise.  Nine months later, John was born.

This email is a reminder that God is omnipotent.  Yes, He can do anything, including what we can’t believe.  Don’t let anything, including your limitations, convince you otherwise.  For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37, New Living Translation).