Temptations Defeated

devil angelI definitely know what it is like to be tempted. I also know too well how it feels to fall into the grips of temptation. I believe that the more I come to know the Lord, the more the enemy steps up his game against me. It’s not about me, it’s about the Spirit of God in me – the enemy wants the Spirit of God in me to be rendered weak and helpless. Following the Lord is made up of daily decisions and choices. Temptations come in to distract me and discourage me from following the Lord. These daily decisions and choices are often made quickly without much time to think. In other situations, the enemy is working on for years to erode my convictions about sin.

Jesus spent the first few days after His baptism in the wilderness alone. I can imagine that as a human, He would be hungry, anxious to get His ministry started and eager to turn the hearts of the people toward His Father. The enemy attacks at each of these areas of weakness, but Jesus quotes scripture to combat the temptations. He puts the enemy at bay and then heads home to Nazareth to begin His ministry. Check this out…

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:14-19 NLT)

I’m not sure that I will ever be released from temptation until I breathe my last breath. I believe that the enemy wants to steal my joy, kill my convictions and destroy my walk with God. The enemy will not rest until I’m gone into eternity – his destination is damnation to hell and he has no part of heaven with God.

Today as I face temptation, I’m going to use the strategy of Jesus. I’m going to quote scripture so that the enemy will be defeated by the Word of God. I will find strength and power with the Word. I will remain focused on walk with the Lord and with the Holy Spirit’s help, the enemy will not take me down.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called

Phone vector  iconsI sometimes have a hard time explaining to someone how God called me. I can’t say that He spoke to me in an audible voice like I would do to call one of my kids. He didn’t have someone else call me. He does use others to speak into my life for sure, but I felt like He called me to be right where I am. I believe the call of God is the direction He wants to give me. He wants to lead me in my daily decisions. He wants to lead me in my life changing decisions. I believe the call of God comes directly from my relationship with Him. He’s probably called me a lot more often than I realize, because I wasn’t listening due to the “noise” in my life. Check this out…

17 Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. 

22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:17, 22-24 CSB)

I believe that the Lord calls me daily through His Word.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through His people.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through places I go.

I believe the Lord calls me daily as I listen to Him speak.

God’s calling on my life, no matter what He calls me too, is Holy because He is Holy. I believe sometimes just resting can be a Holy Moment. I believe that the Lord calls me throughout the day to listen sharper and more intentional to Him speaking into my heart. I believe God calls us all the time, but we’re often to busy listening to ourselves that we miss His call.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reputation

 

reputation conceptual meterI’ve learned over the years that my reputation is based on many factors, but honesty and integrity stand near the top if they are not the top. I believe that others look at my behavior and make a judgement. If I made a decision they didn’t like, they might try to use that to tarnish my reputation. I care much about my reputation, but if I stay there too long, I’m worried too much about what someone else thinks of me versus what the Lord thinks of me. If the Lord knows me like no one else, He is the judge of my very heart. I believe my reputation is determined by where my heart is.

King David speaks of the Lord’s reputation and it’s clear that He knows the Lord and is trying to follow Him. David’s reputation as a man after God’s heart is based on his walk with God. His writings reveal his walk. Check this out…

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:9-13 NIV)

I make bunches of decisions and choices each day and I don’t always have a ton of time to prepare. I must make decisions based on the information that I have in front of me at the point the decision needs to be made. The cycle of reputation begins in my heart, then moves to my behavior and the perception of that behavior. The Lord has inside information to my reputation because He knows every thought and every motive. I’m not concealing anything from Him. I’m confessing everything to Him. Confession is agreement. I care more about my reputation before the Lord than what others think of me. I can’t control what others think or do regarding me. I can only have influence and control over my behavior or response to them. My behavior and response to others comes directly from my heart and the work that the Lord is doing there.

I want others to know of the Lord’s reputation and not be super concerned or worried about my own. He is Creator God. He loves like no other. His mercy and grace is beyond description. I really want to live for Him and honor Him. I want to be known as a follower of the Lord – a man after God’s heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Integrity

 

integrity conceptual compassThis word means to live by moral & ethical principles – sound moral character, honesty. There is a lot packed into that sentence. This word has a lot of life packed into it. It is not one single incident, it’s a combination of my life choices and little, seemingly insignificant choices as well. I believe my character should reflect integrity always, not just when others are paying attention.

King David displayed great integrity that came out of his walk with God. He wasn’t perfect, but he was pursuing God Who is perfect. In his pursuit of God integrity makes its appearance.  David was often a mess in crying out to God, but he was an honest mess. He was full of fear, then faith would take over. His pursuit of God allowed faith to win that fight. Check this out…

11 I know that you are pleased with me,
    for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me
    and set me in your presence forever.

13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen. (Psalm 41:11-13 NIV)

I believe my character is built one decision at a time. Some of those decisions are big and I have time to think through them. Other decisions must be made quickly. Event still, there are other decisions that seem insignificant at the time that later turn out to be huge. I want to be consistently honest in every area of my life. I want to live out of my relationship with God as He calls me to be like Him. He is the Supreme Example of Integrity.

Even when King David sinned profoundly – he repented profoundly and honestly – owning his sin and the gravity of it. His failure was not fatal because of his repentant heart. The man of integrity has given humility a significant place in his heart. I want the fabric of life to be woven together with integrity and humility.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Close Look

 

search with magnifying glassI’ve noticed that as I get older my physical sight or vision gets worse, but my insight improves greatly.  I don’t know everything about everything, but I do know some things that work and some things that don’t. I have experiences now that I didn’t have years ago. My journey with the Lord looks significantly different now than it did when I was younger – I think it’s even different than it was just 10 years ago. If I were to do an audit of my spiritual journey, it would bring me back to a closer look at my heart. I’m not sure the Lord cares about what I wear or how many hairs are on my head (even though He knows that) – He cares about the current condition of my heart. This is where all the decisions and choices I make originate from.

When my kids were small, I remember being clearly aware of when they did something that was ignorant or dumb versus doing something that was thought out and straight up disrespect for the rules and code of our family. I made the punishment swift and sure for the disrespect and the other were great teaching moments to mold them. I had to be discerning to know the difference between the two types of behavior.

King David was constantly pouring out his heart before the Lord. He seemed to get the fact that God cares more about the heart than any external behavior. The Lord knows the difference between my stupidity and my premeditated sin or rebellion. Check this out…

8     Let the Lord judge the peoples.

Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,

    according to my integrity, O Most High.

9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked

    and make the righteous secure –

you, the righteous God

    who probes minds and hearts.

17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;

    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7:8-9,17 NIV)

The Lord knows my heart. The Lord shapes my heart. The Lord builds His righteousness into my heart. I don’t want anything to enter my heart except what brings honor and glory to Him. I must be careful not to make my life and behavior about me. My life and behavior reflects Him inside of me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cut Your Losses

 

Basic RGBThere have been times when I bought something that I thought would really be helpful and work well for me only to find out that I had made a mistake. I really hate to loose money. I like to be wise and prudent prior to spending it, but there are times when a mistake is made. This not really a super example, but I once purchased a table top gas grill off of a TV infomercial. I purchased it to take camping because it was compact yet folded out and it even had a light! I now laugh at all infomercials. This was the biggest rip off. The marketing crews made this grill look amazing. When it arrived, it was small and very cheaply made. I think I may have used it once or twice – it was a piece of junk. I threw it away and chalked that up to a lesson learned.

King Amaziah was gathering his troops up to prepare for war against Seir and Edom. He decided to rent/hire a 100,000 troops from Israel to help fight. He paid the king of Israel 3 ¾ tons of silver for these troops. This was a huge mistake. Check this out…

7 But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8 Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.”

9 Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”

The man of God replied, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” (2 Chronicles 25:7-9 NIV)

I think I would have asked the same question that the king asked. I think his first mistake was not asking the Lord before doing the deal. Every day in my business, I see people cut their losses. I remember when banks in our area were struggling and the bank stock value plummeted. There were still people who believed it would come back and were still buying. Some of the people who should have sold their stock at a reduced rate wishes they would have cut their losses and got at least something out of it. Instead many rode it all the way to zero.

I’ve determined that my pride will fight me when I’m ready to cut my losses. It is often humiliating to loose. It is humiliating to make a bad decision and have to admit it. I think there are times it is completely necessary. It takes a lot of courage to admit a mistake and own it.

I’m learning to pray about everything and worry about nothing. I certainly don’t listen all the time to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but my hearing is improving! I believe that talking to the Lord prior to a decision will give me insight that I didn’t have. He will lead me when I listen to Him. I haven’t had to “cut my losses” nearly as much since I’ve been seeking His council.

Pressing On!

Dwayne