Finalizing Your Battle Plan

knights, pawns and other wooden chess pieces on the chessboard

Here is the last step in preparing to fight temptation in your life. I trust that these steps have been a help to you in your daily walk.

Don’t Go There – Take the Way of Escape

I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. Psalm 119:30

a. Stop thinking about it. The battle starts in the mind.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:12-15

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

Do not look at temptation with a wandering eye if you do not wish to be taken by it, not allow your mind to dwell on that which you do not want lodged in your heart. William Gurnall

b. Purpose where you can and cannot go. Strategize ahead of time. If you don’t plan in advance where you can and cannot go, you have set yourself up for failure. Recently a good friend of mine had to miss a family birthday party because he knew going there would be a big step toward relapse. He chose to stay home and for him. That was a good move. c. Take the way of escape that the Father ALWAYS provides for you.

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

Can you ever think of a time when you faced temptation where God did not provide a way of escape?

d. Don’t boast about temptations. “I don’t struggle in this area …” “I can’t believe he blew it in that area … how could they be so stupid?”

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

e. Find someone who will hold you accountable. Ask the tough questions, hold your feet to the fire, not be afraid to get in your face.

d. Play the tape to the final conclusion. What the consequences if I do this? How will this all unfold/unravel? What about my wife? My kids? My ministry?

O what desperate madness it is to accept the wrath of God for joy that lasts but an hour! William Gurnall

Conclusion:

Today you are not alone against temptation because the One who is your Savior is also your fortress, your hiding place, your defense.

Today you will fight temptation, but not alone because a Warrior Spirit lives inside you and fights on your behalf. Dr. Paul David Tripp

I am a fellow struggler. I am in this journey with you. But with God’s help and a strategy, we can be more than a conqueror.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 21; Proverbs 21

Daily Quote: The Bible characters never fell on their weak points but on their strong ones; unguarded strength is double weakness. —Oswald Chambers

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. ~II Corinthians 5:6

Past Performances

Moment of rest

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. ~Psalm 23:3

Not many of us learn from our mistakes, if we’re honest the truth is we usually are creatures of habit. A habit is defined – as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Our reputation is based on our past performance as well as how we may react or conduct ourselves given the current circumstances. What we need is our souls restored. There are times when we can surely say “my soul is satisfied”. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

The transformational healing message of the Gospel is that we no longer have to react according to our past performances. Our next move or reaction will be determined by whether we are walking in the Spirit or the flesh. I am someone who can be overwhelmed by anxieties usually brought on by fear, so when I find myself in a situation where I’m about to react, there’s an uncomfortable knot in my stomach that is ready to explode. It’s then I have a choice, a pure antidote for putting the deeds of the flesh to death is scripture. I can recite certain verses such as

“The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul”

To be able to allow God to “Restore my soul” is a sure fire way to step out of your typical “Past Performance” and walk according to the Spirit. I love when I am out of character especially when the character displayed resembles Jesus. I have often walked away from a situation thinking to myself, “that wasn’t me.” No, I would have not handled that well apart from the help from God.

I was in church recently and one of the songs during our worship time we sang “God with us, God for us, nothing can come against, no one can stand between us”. I was reminded of the passage in Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

There is a truth that we need to be reminded of and that is we belong to God. When I commit myself to God’s word it allows the Holy Spirit to restore my soul. I then respond to things according to the Spirit.

What are your anxieties today? What are you fearing? I believe God is waiting for you to come to Him so He can do what only He can do.

Our poor past performances no longer define us, we can walk in a newness of life when we commit ourselves to Jesus. Amen

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events. You can contact him at rrussomano@americaskeswick.org.

 

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 17; Proverbs 17

Daily Quote: The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. ~F.B. Meyer

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.– Philippians 3:10-11

Mind Over Matter

male eyes looking up

“I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:25

So, here’s the scene, me, the Teacher and the Principle. The question is posed to me, “don’t you see what you did wrong?” Of course I shrugged it off. This is the question the Holy Spirit asks me today. There seems to be a disconnect at times between what I know to be right and what I do.

The beautiful thing is thanks be to God my mind is now subject to the Spirit of God and I’m able to overpower the flesh. This idea is only possible when I choose to listen and I have been in God’s word in order for my mind to be convinced that I am an overcomer.

Paul sets up Romans 8 perfectly by spelling out the system in which God works. He is able to write Romans 7 from a firsthand account because that is his testimony. Don’t you see the set up? “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”. When I understand that by responding to the Spirits prompting I agreeing that what I do is sin and He is not there to condemn but to restore. Going back to the scene in the Principles office I was defending myself because I didn’t see the good only the condemnation.

The word “mind” here is referring to “reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil” (Blue Letter Bible).

Paul will tell us in chapter 12, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Each time I miss the mark and respond to the rebuke of the Holy Spirit I prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

So, the next time you mess up you have the opportunity to agree with God, isn’t that cool? I hope it helps you to know that God can be glorified even in our “mess ups”, just don’t make a habit of it, Amen!

Written by Rob Russomano: Rob is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events.


The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 131; Proverbs 12

Daily Quote: I would have no desire other than to accomplish thy will. Teach me to pray; pray thyself in me. ~Francois Fenelon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. ~2 Corinthians 4:16

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Idolatry of the Preacher 

Open bible on table with bookmarks in pages

The life wrought in Christ is one of tremendous worth and elevation. We who have yielded to the Lordship of the Son of Man are commanded to conduct ourselves in such a way that the harmful things at enmity with God, no longer infiltrate our lives. A terrible plight on the Body of Christ is that of the idolatry found amongst its members. It manifests itself in many different ways, all equally grieving to the Spirit of God. When a shepherd of a flock is esteemed higher than God by the people of God, this is idolatry. The theocracy established by the Scriptures becomes perverted and the divine order of operation is undone. This will always result in great detriment to church and greatly affect the power of its people.

With the eyes of its people fixed on the pastor rather the LORD, the church will never be satisfied in its pursuit of spirituality. They will in effect be drinking for broken cisterns rather than from fountains of living water. This will permeate each area of their lives sapping them of the fruit of the Spirit and by consequence, preparing them for the works of the flesh. The longer we live there the more our salt will loses its saltines and therefore, be good for nothing but being trampled under the feet of men. How poor and unfulfilling is the man who looks to his sinful brother to be his god.

Yes, it is surely true that we are to honor our pastors with a special reverence but God forbid we worship a person rather than our Creator. Remember that they are but men, pray for them to continually point the people God has given them to our Saviour. Stay rooted in the Scripture, be a Berean, always check what is taught for yourself. Ask questions, join a small group, pray, pray and pray. You would do well to take heed and lastly, ask of God to reveal Himself to you in a deeper way. Trust that when you see Him for who He is, mere men will no longer impress you the way they once did and “the things of earth will grow strangely dim.”


Written by Troy Fink:
Troy is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and is an Urban Missionary at New Hope Philly in Philadelphia.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 94; Proverbs 2

Daily Quote:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, 

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

-Helen H. Lemmel

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ~Romans 8:31-32

 

The Heart of a Teacher

Desktop in classroom ready to learn from textbooks

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)

I believe my perspectives on teaching are probably the most fresh that it has ever been, however, that’s not much because I never been much of a teacher. I believe teaching is vital, but to be transparent, I admit that teaching has never been on the top of my gifting. But God has been stretching me in this area situational.

Ezra was the high priest during a confusing time for the Israelites and who ministered to God’s people in distressful era. He was a very learned man, professionally trained, developed, and able to properly teach Old Testament Law. Yes, we know Ezra was under the old covenant and the Law and we also know the law was fulfilled in Christ. But one concept we can learn about the diligence of Ezra is that he set his heart to study the Word.

The question: are we setting are hearts to study and to communicate God’s truth? Or maybe you’re thinking I’m never going to be in a teaching setting. The writers of Hebrews challenges, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food. (Hebrews 5:12)

Jesus Christ taught in fields, by trees, on boats, by the sea, in the temple, by a well, on the mount of Olive, on mountaintops, in valleys, and just about everywhere He went. Jesus also taught in people’s homes, (Martha and Mary’s). Teaching is way we can be intently studying the Word and to communicate God’s Word, but it is also good accountable to measure our growth in the Lord.

Juan Mendez_FF 2016Written by Juan Mendez: Juan is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and full time staff member at America’s Keswick.

 

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 58; Proverbs 28

Daily Quote: If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life. ~Rick Warren

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

~Isaiah 55:8-9