Saturday, October 07, 2006

Devotionals

You should subscribe to InTouch Ministries' daily devotionals (I don't know how I did it before, just visit the devotionals page).

Here are samples:


October 07, 2006
Defending Against Temptation
James 4:7-8

Temptation never completely goes away. The intensity and form of what tempts us may change with time and spiritual maturity. But as long as we're in these earthly bodies, we will never be entirely free of it. That's why we must learn to build a defense against its pull.

The first step to defeating temptation is trusting that the Lord is in control. Believe that He will limit temptation to what you can handle through His strength. Before a tempting thought even enters our head, be determined to resist with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Second, we need to be proactive. We need to identify weaknesses--those areas of our life where we are easily persuaded to sin. Likewise, it is helpful to recognize the conditions under which we are more prone to give in. Satan prefers to attack when believers are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.).When facing temptation, we usually have little time to decide on our response. Once we are already feeling stress, the path between fantasizing and doing is particularly short.

The third step is training our mind to focus on the big picture rather than the immediate pleasure. The following four questions can help us make wise choices: Is this a violation of God's Word? What are the consequences? Am I prepared to pay that price? Is there a right way to meet this desire?

We can't be totally free from temptation, but we can defend against it. Begin now. Make yourself mentally and emotionally ready for the next time you're tempted. Preparation helps build a barrier of protection around your mind and heart.

October 06, 2006
The Result of Rejecting God
Romans 1:24-32

By its very nature, a vacuum can never be full. In the same way, when a man or woman denies God's rightful position as Lord over their life, that person's heart will remain hopelessly empty.

It's impossible to know true satisfaction if you refuse the divine call--to be filled with the Holy Spirit and have constant communion with the Father. Instead, a person will fall into idolatry. He or she will find some philosophy or object to devote time and attention.

Without the Lord, people will keep seeking new ways to satisfy the emptiness that only God can fill. Then, taking the short step from idolatry to immorality becomes all too easy. Indulging the sinful nature can take many forms. For example, some people are drawn to sexual perversion (Romans 1), while others who worship wealth may be lured by unethical business practices. Scripture clearly warns that idolatry and immorality will incur divine wrath.

God uses a subtle but potent kind of punishment on those who degrade themselves in the service of a false god. We're told in Romans 1:28, He "[gives] them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." There is no worse penalty than to have the Creator turn away and leave one of his children to be devoured by that which he or she worships. The heart becomes like an iron prison, locking God out forever.

There is only One who is worthy of your worship. If you have denied the Lord, you are already on the slippery slope to immorality--worshipping something that does not deserve honor. Let this be a loving warning for you: Turn back to God before it is too late.

October 05, 2006
The Privilege Corrupted
Romans 1:18-23

A person cannot deny the Lord and still live successfully. Mankind was created to acknowledge God and share a relationship with Him. When someone chooses to ignore the truth of His existence or His sovereignty, he or she begins a downward slide. It's a choice which ends with a hardened heart and eternal separation from a loving Father.

God gives everyone the capacity to understand Him and the free will to choose whether to pursue that knowledge. The truth of His existence is revealed in nature and written into every person's conscience. However, many people ignore reality because it interferes with their preferred lifestyle. Instead, they chase false philosophies, which are usually mixed with just enough truth to make them believable to the inexperienced.

Any "truth" crafted by man is foolishness. A mind that has rejected the fact of a sovereign Lord cannot see its error. It has slipped from intelligence--an inherent knowledge of God--to willful ignorance. In this state, even when all evidence points to the truth, a person can still convince him- or herself that the opposite is right.

All the denial and atheistic arguments in the world will not change what is real. Jehovah is God. Jesus Christ is His Son. God created you to love, obey, and honor Him. If you resist the truth, you choose a life of darkness and willful ignorance. The choice is yours to make.

God invites you to see if He is better than all that the world has to offer. Psalm 34:8 challenges us to "taste and see that the Lord is good." Will you taste and see?

October 04, 2006
Dealing Wisely With Temptation
1 Corinthians 10:12-13

As believers, we sometimes hear wrong information about temptation. For instance, many people believe that feeling tempted is sinful. But Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. (Matthew 4:1) If the Lord remained righteous after being encouraged to do wrong, then temptation itself cannot be a sin. We must guard against false ideas that could disrupt our ability to stand strong.

The truth about temptation is that it's an enticement to take our God-given desires beyond God-given limits. We all feel the pull of our natural, sinful selves to do and think things that are immoral. In this lifetime, we will never be so mature or spiritually minded that we can relax our vigilance. Satan will always try to capitalize on our weakness and selfish desires.

Temptation is based on fantasy--the capacity to enjoy something we want to possess or do, without actually taking any action. However, the lack of action is deceptive. We tell ourselves it's okay just to think as long as we don't act. But if we allow ourselves to dwell on a tempting thought, that idea connects to emotions and produces desire. Desire grows until a choice must be made about whether to act. Temptation starts small--with a "one won't hurt" attitude: One drink. One lie. One kiss. The problem is that once we give in, sin gets bigger and more demanding until one turns into a lifestyle.

Thankfully, our Source of help is greater than both Satan and our fleshly desires. The key to victory over temptation is to protect our relationship with God.


Is it wrong to listen to devotionals from other Christian denominations? (InTouch is Baptist). It's probably harmless, right? The InTouch devotionals are really beautiful. Try to listen to Charles Stanley's daily radio talks, too. His talks, too, are beautiful. A local (AM) radio station used to carry his talks nightly.

I'm not about to convert to another denomination, if that's what you're thinking. I just appreciate the way they practice their faith. My own responsibility as a catholic is to educate myself more about my own faith. When it comes to knowledge about my faith, I'm still in kindergarten.

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