4 Ways to Break Temptation-Chain

Picture Credit: http://austriantimes.at

A young 27 year old Chinese man, was chained to a cow shed in Hunan, southern China, and tormented for over 7 years – since 2005, nearly lost his hands because his chains actually grew in to his flesh. He had tried to remove his chains, but they were on too tight. He tried to escape, but was unable to free himself from his chains.

It makes me think of just how many of us have tried to overcome some habit, problem, or sin, but to no avail. After a while you just learn to live with your chains — they just become a part of you.

In  the Bible it says,   “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?”   Galatians 5:7
“Who” can also be interpreted: “What”. Sometimes we get hindered by a “who”, and sometimes by a “what.” So what can we do?  I want to share 4 ways to break these types of habits.
1.  KNOW THAT… “A LITTLE LEAVEN LEAVENS THE WHOLE LUMP.”  Galatians 5:9

Or you could say it this way, “All it takes is a little sin – then it begins to take over your entire life!”   If you give your flesh an inch, he’s going to take a mile.  It’s like, if you give the devil your password to one of your social networks, he’s not just going to look through all your photos and click “like”.  He’s going to upload some detestable pictures, sick videos, and he’s going to post all kinds of crazy updates. And do you know who’s going to get blamed for it? YOU!!

2.  DON’T LET MR. TEMPTATION INTO YOUR HOUSE.

When he comes knocking on your door, wanting to sell you some juicing morsels, you simply can’t invite him into your house! You have to learn to be firm, and say, “No thank you. I’m fine. I don’t want any, goodbye.”  But some of us not only allow Mr. Temptation to knock on our door, but we say in effect, “Sure, come on in, and would you like a cup of coffee too?”  We deceive ourselves, and welcome the chains to become a part of our lives, by thinking, “Well… I’m not really going to buy anything. I’ll just take a little look and see what he’s got. I’m strong, and after all I need to be informed about these things, so that others won’t fall into these types of problems.”  Look out — the chains are beginning to squeeze tighter.

3.  DON’T LET THE DEVIL TALK YOU INTO SINNING.

“Come on Jesus, why don’t you turn these stones into bread?”  The devil’s words are smoother than butter, and inadvertently we let whisper his ‘sweet nothings’ into our ready ear.  “You’ve been such a good boy. You’ve been working so hard lately. You deserve a break.   Why don’t you go ahead and take a little bite of some of my scrumptious delicacies? After all… I think we all know that Jesus understands.

And like our Chinese friend, who’s chains were so tight they grew into his flesh — we to are sucked-in to our new tormenting habit, and just can’t seem to escape. Most Christians I know hear the voice of the devil speaking to them more than God’s. That ought not to be. You need to tell yourself right now, “I’m closing my ears to that nonsense from now on!”

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 

And that last way you can break Temptation-Chain is…
4.  KNOW IN ADVANCE THAT IT’S GONNA COST YOU.

Call me “Old Fashioned” if you want to, but the Word of God can save you a whole lot of heartache.  Proverbs 1:7  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Just think of it. If you “bit into” the proverbial “apple” — it’s gonna COST You. Someone might say: “Ah come on, cost me what?”

….It’s going to cost you your Robe of Righteousness. In exchange? ☞ “a Spirit of Heaviness”
….It’s going to cost you your Your Clean heart. In exchange? ☞ “a Heart of Pain & Depression”
….It’s going to cost you Your Character & Integrity. In exchange? ☞  Perhaps a destroyed Marriage & Family.

HERE’S THE BOTTOM-LINE
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” Galatians 5:16.  May you embrace your walk with Christ once again, and with His power — BREAK that TEMPTATION-CHAIN off from you, once and for all, today!

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Don’t Go Without!

What does a rabbit’s foot and guardian angels have to do with this article? Keep reading and find out…

“And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law. ” (2 Chronicles 15:2–3, NKJV)

There’s so much in just these two verses.

“The Lord is with you while you are with Him.” We often pray the prayer, “Lord, just be with us….” It’s a nice prayer to pray, but God tells us how to have the Lord with you: Be with Him. Instead of asking the Lord to tag along with you, like some sort of guardian angel, or lucky rabbit’s foot, we need to be much with Him.

This next part leapt off the pages to me: “For a long time Maui has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law.”

1. WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP Think of that, “without the true God”. It’s like living your whole life thinking and doing one thing, but the true reality is simply a figment of your imagination. In the context, Israel was getting involved in idol worship. They thought Ashram (v. 16) represented a powerful god, but it was merely statue. It would be like if my son talked to my guitar saying, “Daddy, I ask you to help me now.” I would have to grab him and say, “Hey, over here! I’m not that piece of wood!” I think of so many here in the Hawaii – living without God. Everyday, driving to work, not knowing the sweet presence of the Lord. ‘O how it must change!

2. WITHOUT REVELATION “without a teaching priest”. I like how Ezekiel puts it… “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezekiel 44:23, NKJV) ‘O to receive and walk-in revelation knowledge!

3. WITHOUT RULES “without the law”. Now, I would be the first one to tell you, that Christianity isn’t a bunch of rules and regulations, but I’ve found that we can be so “free” that no longer have standards of righteousness. I see believers posting pictures on the internet of them drinking alcohol, smoking, and swearing . How can we really know the way if we’ve lost our compass, our sense of direction, and personal holiness? How can we show others the way if we, ourselves don’t know where we’re going ourselves? We’re going “without”.

…Without the presence of God
…Without the Bible
…Without daily devotions
…Without convictions and standards
…Without a prayer-life
… Without power
…Without direction

The Lord never meant for any one of us to go without. He fills the hunger soul with good things. Are you hungry enough to go to Him today? Don’t be one of those who goes without. Allow the Lord to do a work in your life today.

Prayer:
“Lord, I don’t want to “go without”. I need a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to draw near to You today, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Another One Bites The Dust

Actually… according to scientists, the Dust Mites may, in fact, be the ones who are biting back!

I’m taking our youth here in Maui, HI through a series we’re calling, “Waking-Up Sleepy Christianity”.

Dust mites love dead skin and some of the best places they feast on are pillows, bed covers, and blankets. This is not meant to freak you out, (but it may have). It’s more to share the spiritual analogy between “dust” and “sleepy Christianity”.

Isaiah 52 says, “Awake, awake! Shake yourself from the dust, arise!”

“DUST”= SLEEPY CHRISTIANITY
Why? Because you don’t know it’s there until you get up close. Sometimes we distance ourselves from people and the church so that they won’t know what’s really going on in our life. Because if you get up-close to me you’ll see that there’s a lot of… Dust. And, dust only comes from one thing – Neglect.

– Dusty Bible
– Dusty Prayer Closet
– Dusty, nasty Attitudes

THE RESPONSIBILITY I HAVE TO WAKE-UP

The Scripture says I have to “shake” myself. The preacher can nudge you, but you’re the only one who can “shake” you. Your friends can try to shake you, They’ll say things like: “You really shouldn’t be doing that. What are you doing?!”, but you’ll just shake it off. You’ve got to shake yourself! It your responsibility. No one can do it, but you.

THIS IS MY WAKE-UP CALL

It’s not that you’re a “bad” person, or a “sinner”, it’s just that me and you, we have neglected our “beautiful garments” (Isaiah 52:1). We have to “put them on”. These are the…

– Beautiful Garments of Salvation
– Beautiful Garments of Forgiveness
– Beautiful Garments of Praise

It’s time to toss that old pillow of sleepy Christianity, and begin a fresh new day with the One who gave His all for you. Don’t be another one who bites the dust, (or is bitten by the “Dust”). What do you say?

Spiritual Sleepiness 101

I’m currently taking our Youth at King’s Cathedral through a series I’ve entitled, “Waking-Up Sleepy Christianity”.

Here’s some “Sleeping Statistics” for You…

  • If you’re between the age of 13-25, about half of you fell-asleep unintentionally this month.
  • If you’re between the age of 18-25, 5% of you fell-asleep while driving this month.
  • Did you know that you will sleep-away about a 1/3 of your life?

Other words for “Sleep”= Siesta, Shut-eye, Catnap, Nod-off, Power nap; Slumber, Take a snooze, or Crash.

Anyone here ever fall-asleep in Class, School? How about in Church? True story: My Pastor in Chicago told me a little story of when he was in High School. After school he got on the bus & happened to fall asleep. That wasn’t too bad except… his head eventually made it’s way over to the chest of the lady sitting next to him. He didn’t realize what was going on. As he slowly came to his senses, his face was right in the breast of a big black lady! He was so shocked & embarrassed he didn’t know what to do. But the lady said to him, (as she put her hand on the back of his head), “There, there, it’s ok, you just rest right here with Mama.”

But What is “Sleep”? Wikipedia:

  • Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles
  • But if I were to defineSpiritual Sleepiness I would say: it is spiritual state of being characterized by reduced (or completely absent) spiritual alertness. With it, there’s little or no spiritual activity. All spiritual progress comes to a screeching halt.

The Apostle Paul says, “It’s HIGH TIME to awake out of sleep!” [Rom. 13:11] “High Time” is the equivalent of it being 12-noon, when the sun is shinning it’s brightest!

Can you imagine someone being totally asleep outside, laying out under the blistering sun of summer? A little drool is starting to form. Face is totally sun-burnt. You’d think, “Whoa? What an idiot?!!” And yet this is the sad state of many Christians today. God says, “It’s time to wake-up!”

Where are you at today in your relationship with God today?
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Hiding: Our Built-in Defense Mechanism

Birds are by far the best at hiding their sickness. It’s actually a built-in defense mechanism within them, because sick birds are easy prey. When I was on the mission field in the Kingdom of Tonga, one of our congregants who worked for a wild bird sanctuary, knew I had a love for parrots, and asked me if I would take a look at one of her birds who was sick. Now, this little guy was in bad shape, and was obvious that this bird had been hiding his sickness for quite a while. Isolated in a dingy shed that was cold and drafty, it was only now that his sickness was beginning to manifest and could be hidden no longer.

Jesus said something to the man with a withered hand, “Step forward.” (Mark 3:3)

Now, this is a little like when you get pointed out by by security just before you go through the metal detector at the airport. “You there – step on over here.” “Ah, man.” Because, think of it, if you had a withered hand you wouldn’t be using it to wave at people, or give your friends a high-five. No, you’d be hiding that ugly thing. Nevertheless Jesus called him out by saying, “Step forward”.

I took that little parrot and brought him out of the cold, and into the house. Then I had a warming lamp placed right by his cage. This is exactly what Jesus was wanting to do with this man; and it’s what He’s wanting to do with each of us that is struggling with secret sin.

Jesus was trying to get him to…

1. Stop being isolated.
2. Stop hiding the problem.
3. Start receiving help in His arms, (and in His House, the Church).
4. Start warming-up to the idea that healing could be a reality.

Hiding your problem only prolongs the agony that you’re experiencing. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and maybe even down-right embarrassing to ‘step forward’ and expose your problem to someone who can help. You might be hiding it well now, but deep down you know you’re sick. If something isn’t done soon, you know you could go down.

Yes, you are naturally acting on your built-in mechanism to hide, but won’t you show your pain to Jesus today? He’s not going to say, “Oohhh? Gross!?!!” No. He’s going to show you mercy, unconditional love, and begin to heal you, and bring about total restoration in your life.

May you step forward today.

God is Moving in the Youth!

GodismovingOn Wed. Nite at United Youth we had a powerful move of God. My message was called, “The Right Kind of Heartburn”, as I preached on, “The Fire of God”. And I shared how John the Baptist said,

“I baptize you with water, but He… will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” [Luke 3:16].

After the Word I opened the Altar to those who wanted that Fire, and… [as the old-timers would say…] “The Fire fell!” Every person I prayed for ⎯ I could literally feel God’s Love for. Tears were streaming down my eyes, and you could see the effects of the Holy Spirit on them as well. There was no manipulation. The Holy Spirit was moving. Many were crying, bowing-down, collapsing under the power of God, and 11 received the gift of the Holy Spirit and spoke in Tongues for the very first time. There was no striving. It was as if God stepped into the room.

Even parents of the youth came in and wanted to receive prayer. One 19 yr old in particular just sat in his chair. I walked up to him and said, “I want to pray for you.” As I did I could smell the Marijuana all over him. I just hugged him ⎯ like a father of a wayward son, and just broke-down crying. After about 5 seconds this young man’s tears were all over me. His Mother then came in. He did something that I’ve never seen before. He grabbed his Mom’s hand and bowed his head in reverend submission to her. It was beautiful as they were re-united. That Mom came up to me today at Church and said, “Thank you, Pastor Robb. My son hasn’t smoked weed ever since that nite”. Tears were streaming down her face.

I’m telling you – seeing young people change so suddenly because of the reality of the Holy Spirit’s Love and Fire will do something to you!

“They’re Coming!!”

therecoming

We used to play a game as little kids, and we’d shout out, “The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!!” And then we’d all run around frantically like we were coming under attack.

“…And they came to Him from every direction.” [Mark 1:45]

No matter who you are, or where you came from, you too can come to Jesus! You might think you’re not good enough, but others just like you are coming to Jesus! They’re coming! They’re coming!! Will you be one of them? If you think He won’t accept you – you’re wrong. If you think He won’t forgive you – you’re mistaken. If you think that Jesus won’t help you – you’re dead-wrong! Your mindset might make YOU not come to Jesus, but others all over the world are pushing aside their inhibitions, excuses, old, ugly sins and they’re doing whatever they can to get to Jesus. How about you? Are you “up”, “down”, “sideways”, or “upside-down”? No matter where you’re at – Jesus will receive you unto Himself. For even Jesus Himself makes you this incredible, “money-back-guarantee”…. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” [John 6:37]. Do it today. Let Jesus say of you: “Look! Look! He’s coming to Me! She’s coming to Me!! I can’t wait to pour My Love out!!” Don’t put it off one more moment. You’ll never be the same again!