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!

Advertisements

5 Temper-Tantrum Busters

Have you ever seen those children in Walmart that you just wish would… SHUT UP!!? Just the other day I saw a red-faced, screaming little kid sitting in a shopping cart. It seemed to get everyone’s attention. Surprise, surprise. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Here’s the thing though. I wonder if our attitudes, can be like to God at times. (Things that make you go, “hmmm”.) But it need not be.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. 1:26 [kjv]

I’m seeing in a fresh new way the absolute dignity of mankind that God has bestowed upon us, humanoids. Not only are we created in His image, but also after His likeness. Some say, “No one knows what God looks like, because God is Spirit” (John 4).” But right here it says, “Let us make man… after our likeness.” We basically look like God! Does that sound blasphemous? I don’t think so. But herein lies the deeper meaning. If people would just realize the privilege of being alive, and knowing that God has clothed us with majesty, we wouldn’t get so depressed and down on ourselves so quickly.

“God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Genesis 4:6-7 [msg]

Can’t you just see the grace and mercy of God being extended – even in the midst of our immature, crybaby, temper-tantrum outbursts, that tend to leak-out every once in a while?

Real quick, here’s 5 TEMPER-TANTRUM BUSTERS:

1. Ask yourself, “Why the Tantrum?” (Don’t just accept it.)

2. Determine why you’re depressed. “Why the Sulking?” (You have to break the cycle.)

3. Do Well. (Don’t just “think” about doing better in the future – Do something now.)

4. Beware of Sin. (It’s crouching, it’s lion-like, it’s ready to devour. Better to keep your eyes open.)

5. Master Sin. (Don’t just be an “apprentice”. Be a “Master Disciple”; and for sure Master your sins, lest they master you!)

You can change! And may you, personally, experience greater victory today in your walk with the Lord Jesus!

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.”

Slapped by a Monk

Sometimes, all it takes is a song, a statement, a “slap”, (if you will), to jolt you out of your rut-of-a-reality, and to awaken what you’ve been wanting to become. Recently I came across such a moment, when I read the words of an old sage…

“If all were well with you, and if you were purified from all sin, everything would tend to your good and be to your profit, but because you are as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from all earthly affection, there is much that often displeases and disturbs you.”
[Thomas a Kempis, on The Interior Life]

Let me just say, along with the psalmist, “…Selah” (pause, and calmly think about it). So, I too am just letting this sink-in a bit.

40 Lessons I Learned from Pastor Wendell Smith

Pastor Wendell, his teachings, and his life, made a indelible mark upon my own heart and life, which can never be erased. Being trained under him for 3 years at The City Church is one of the highlights of my life. His sensitivity to the things of God, were like no other. “The Spirit & the Word”, “Grace-Grace”, “Faith!”, “Whatever it Takes”… were his mottos, and became the battle cry for all of us to live by. I will never forget you, Pastor, nor the things you taught me. I love you. I will see you soon.

As I was taking the plane back from the Homegoing Service, here’s some of the lessons I learned from one of the greatest Pastors to ever grace this planet::

40 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM PASTOR WENDELL SMITH

1. Live a life worthy to be emulated.

2. Make time to love your wife & kids.

3. Pastor your family, before your church.

4. A good name is more important than you think.

5. Even after a long wed nite, people remember being loved & valued, (even if you don’t think they do).

6. Never stop dreaming, writing, or strategizing.

7. Even in hardship, have a good attitude.

8. Never loose your graciousness.

9. Be transparent with people.

10. Be yourself, but be your’ anointed-self.

11. Don’t be a people-pleaser. Be strong in the grace that’s in Christ Jesus.

12. Smile while you preach.”

13. There’s only two speeds at which to operate: Wait; and Go-Fast.

14. Pray, receive a word from God, get counsel, take weeks & months if you have to, before you make important decisions that guide your church/ministry. (This way you’ll be right 99% of the time).

15. Believe in every promise in the Bible, even if you don’t see it’s fulfillment right away.

16. Really get into your Bible & mark it up, (the scriptures you don’t read & highlight can’t help you.)

17. Have scriptures on certain topics printed out (like: Prosperity, etc.) so that you can quote them in times of need & encourage your family with them too.

18. Make people feel special.

19. Relationships are too important, (never take them for granted.)

20. Give honor to whom honor is due.

21. Be a Giver.

22. “Do the ridiculous, and God will do the miraculous.”

23. Be secure enough to laugh or cry in the pulpit.

24. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, even in a restaurant, (you never know when God is going to move.)

25. Be a man of prayer, (your children really are watching.)

26. Practice “60-Second Pastoring” on Sunday mornings & Wed. nites, (don’t be in such a hurry that you walk past people without seeing how they’re doing. It just takes a minute).

27. Pastor your staff/leaders well; and they’ll pastor your people well.

28. “Attitude is the most important thing.”

29. Prayer is what makes things work.

30. Possess an excellent spirit.

31. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

32. Have a vision, have a verse, have a strategy.

33. Don’t be so busy, that you forget to come out of your tent and look up at the stars.

34. Be a Worshipper first, then be a Pastor.

35. Learn, (and never lose) the art & practice of Intercession.

36. Pastor Wendell loved golf & birds. Have hobbies. They’re a great release of pressure in life, and the ministry.

37. Take lots of pictures & video of your people, so you can mark the progress of your ministry, and celebrate your victories.

38. Never forget the people who helped you get where you’re at today.

39. At special events, you can eat later. Walk around, pastor & love on your people while they’re there.

40. When you take along one of your young staff members as your armor-bearer, make him feel special by acknowledging him before your preach, by saying, “This is __________ one of my anointed associates.” (Pastor Wendell always knew how to make me feel special, even when I was just a “maintenance guy”.)

 

If you enjoyed this post, come check out my new blog:   www.todayicanchange.com

Thanks,

 

Robb

 

5 Keys to Being Backed by Heaven

“Yo! I got your back!” Have you ever had anyone say that to you? Feels good, doesn’t it? But how would you feel if the very God in Heaven were to back you in everything you did? Take a look at this scripture…

“As for you, if you (1) live in my presence as your father David lived, (2) pure in heart and action, (3) living the life I’ve set out for you, (4) attentively obedient to my guidance and (5) judgments, then I’LL BACK YOUR KINGLY RULE over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.”

[2 Chron. 7:17-18 The MSG Bible]

Notice the 5 keys!!

1. Live in the Presence of God.

2. Live with a Pure heart & pure Actions.

3. Live the life God gave you, (don’t wish you were someone else).

4. Live in Obedience to the Voice of the Holy Spirit.

5. Live off of the very Words of God!

May the Lord strengthen your spiritual foundation, and encourage you to know that He will strongly support those, whose hearts are completely His!

“Buyer’s Remorse?”

This Devotional takes about half-hour to do. It works individually or in a small group setting. What are we waiting for? Let’s get it started in here!!

Open-up your Bible to: Luke 10:38-42

“But Martha was distracted…” — Luke 10:40a

One of the most incredible privileges that we’ve all received from God is the ability to choose. Have you ever walked into a department store looking for just the perfect outfit? [Us, guys might just pick out a shirt, but definitely not an “outfit”.] But have you ever experienced something that’s called, “Buyers Remorse”? Buyers Remorse is when you spend so much time deciding what to buy, but once you brought it home you realized that it’s not really what you wanted, and you feel miserable. Believe it or not – it’s the same way in the spiritual realm. Many times we find ourselves going through this same exact experience when we choose the wrong thing. Ever been there? I know I have.

:: Pastor Robb’s Thought-Provoking Questions ::

1. Have you ever experienced “Buyers Remorse”? If so, what did you buy?

2. Pastor Ray Berryhill said, “Busy is not better, choosing better is better.” Why is being busy sometimes not such a good thing?

3. What are some of the patterns of busyness that sometimes we find ourselves in?

4.Practically speaking – What are some of the things you do to refuel, relax, and get re-energized?