Tag: temptation

Does a lion roar in the forest?

Roaring Lion

Roaring Lion

Have you ever heard the roar of a lion?

No, I’m not referring to Marlin Perkins’ old television show, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, which originally aired from 1963-1988.

Have you heard the roar of a lion, up close and personal?

I can’t recall hearing one, though the few times I’ve visited a zoo I’ve heard lions growl a little. But an actual roar? No, I don’t believe so.

Have you ever been caught in a trap? By trap, I mean some sort of snare for birds or small game, or perhaps a pit designed for larger prey?

Again, I can’t say that I have. For one reason, the traps weren’t designed for me.

These questions may seem a little silly and meaningless, but the sober truth is this: there IS a lion on the loose AND a trap set which IS designed for people like you and I.

Look at what Amos wrote.

“Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing. Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing?” (Amos 3:4-5 ESV)

The lion, like the trap, doesn’t advertise its location or its intention. It’s quietly waiting for the opportunity to pounce and kill. And once it springs into action, you can hear its roar and feel its teeth.

Unfortunately, I know quite well how it feels to be the lion’s victim.

The lion I’m referring to, of course, is none other than the devil; our adversary.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Notice Peter’s warning. “Be sober-minded; be watchful.” Why? “Because your adversary the devil prowls around…” But he’s prowling silently, quietly, patiently…until he springs into action! Then you hear the roar! But by then it could be too late to mount a formidable defense. By then, he already has the advantage.

Will YOU be its next victim?

God has given each of us the defensive and offensive equipment to defeat the lion every time. Every time. To live in such a way that we aren’t aware of the danger around us is nothing less than foolishness.

To go through life with an “I don’t hear a lion or see a trap, therefore I’m cool” attitude is kind of like jumping off the top of the tallest building in the world. You may enjoy the freedom as you sail through the air, but eventually that’s going to change. It will come to an abrupt end.

What’s the answer? Pay attention to your surroundings. And don’t lose your footing. 

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV)

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10 ESV)

“Jesus answered, “…If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (John 11:9-10 ESV)

You and I have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness; or, in other words, everything we need to live a godly, victorious life in Christ. Which includes overcoming each and every attack and avoiding traps.

So pay attention to your thoughts, desires, actions; comparing them to God’s Word. 

Some day you’ll be glad you did.

Are you struggling right now? Is your head halfway down the lion’s throat? Could you use some help getting out of the trap?

Please comment below, or use the contact form here. I’d be glad to help.

For further study, please read the article Beating Back The Bully, or subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and receive a FREE PDF copy of the book – Beating Back The Bully. To subscribe, press SUBSCRIBE

Beating Back the Bully

 

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(excerpt from new book)

Bullies don’t back down until they’re forced to. When you stand up to them, even when you aren’t sure of your own ability to fight, it sends a message to them that you’re not quite the pushover they thought you were.

Years ago, when I worked in a factory, a certain employee thought he could boss me around. He knew I was a Christian and must have figured I was an easy mark for him to bully. He’d holler at me, “DO THIS! DO THAT!” And for a while I did it, because I didn’t want to make anyone mad. Plus, he was a lot bigger than me!

Well, one day I finally had my fill.

So when he yelled at me (in front of an audience) to do something, I yelled back at him, “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

“What did you say?”

I repeated, “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

About two seconds later he was standing in front of me, towering over me.

“What’d you say?!”

I didn’t budge or back down. Looking up at him, square into his eyes, I remember thinking “I’m dead. He’s gonna kill me. One hit and I’m done.”

But, you see, I’d had my fill. I was tired of being bullied.

So I said it again. “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

Guess what happened? He looked at me, looked around at the other guys, turned, and walked away.

And I lived to work another day.

Now I don’t hold to the fantasy that the devil will get tired of bullying when we stand up to him. No, though he WILL leave for a while, keeping his eyes peeled for another opportunity. But the good news is, you and I were not created to be lunch for that mangy lion. We’ve been given all we need to face every trial and temptation, and live to work another day for Jesus.

I encourage you to continually remind yourself Who it is you belong to. What He has done for you, what He is doing in you, and the eternal truth that “Greater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world.”

You do NOT need to be the lion’s next meal. You do NOT need to accept the bully’s remarks or give in to his enticements.

You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus your Lord.

Believe it. Declare it. Live it.

To God be the glory.

 

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A Spidery Web

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I cannot tolerate spiders. In fact, I may even be what people refer to as arachnophobic. I can smash them, but I get real edgy until they’re wiped out.

The picture at the heading is one I took a few hours ago. As we were leaving a funeral home, my built in spider alarm went off and I saw this spider in the middle of its web (no, I didn’t see any fly in the web, nor did I hear some one say, “Help me! Help me!”).

Mustering all my courage, I grabbed my phone and, getting as close as I dare (you know how they can jump), snapped the shot.

What a nice web! A beautiful, spidery web. Just perfect for catching food for its family.

Great for trapping a victim it can devour, as it becomes entangled in the sticky web.

Looking at the picture, I began thinking about a spiritual application. Here’s what I discovered:

“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 NLT)

Traps, or spider webs (such as pictured above), are always placed in strategic places. They are located in areas frequented by the prey they are desiring.

Spiders catch flies by constructing their webs in the fly’s neighborhood. Unless the fly is paying attention and watching what it’s doing, it will become spider food before it knows what happened.

Too many flies are careless with their lives. Even with their fascinating eyes, they can only see a couple of yards at the most. In other words, because they move faster than they can see, or think, they wind up in the nice, spidery web.

People do that. I know I have.

The devil places his traps in areas you and I frequent; right in the middle of our ordinary day to day lives. And when we either move too quickly for our brain to react, or we simply ignore the truth of God’s word, we become devil’s food.

Unless we can shake ourselves out of the sticky web in time.

Every temptation is common to man. Temptations are located only in the places man lives. But with each temptation, there is a way to escape. And that can be found by slowing down the movement to allow time to really find out what we may be getting ourselves into.

God’s word will help you and I discern right from wrong, and will keep us from, or deliver us from, the devil’s web. That is, if we’ll pay attention.

Just because there are spider webs placed in strategic places doesn’t mean the fly automatically is doomed. Not every fly is caught. Some live long enough to pester me!

And no one need be caught in a spidery web.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)

The Closet

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It seems like the world is all geared up for house cleaning. Do you know what I mean?

When I was a teenager, my little brother, who is nine years younger, had a messy closet. From time to time I had the chore of “helping” him clean it out.

You wouldn’t believe the things we’d find in the closet.

Toys, socks, books, more toys, and lots of miscellaneous articles of clothing.

By the time “we” were finished, the closet would be nice and neat, but the bedroom would be a wreck.

Kind of like today.

The closet is getting cleared out, but now the junk is everywhere.

Quite frankly, I think it would have been just fine for the closet to stay messy.

But that’s not how people are.

We like to think we know best about everything. We’re happy with our choices, especially if we can get everyone to agree with us.

So instead of peeking into our closet full of questionable and messy things, we take the closet door off its hinges so everyone can see what we’ve allowed to grow in the dark room.

Only now, and unlike my chore of years ago, rather than properly disposing of the junk and odd socks, people expect everyone else to applaud the mess they’ve made.

They parade their closet junk in front of everyone, just daring someone to tell them it’s wrong.

They want people to affirm their closet lifestyle as the norm.

But you know what? I’m not going to affirm the closet stuff as good, or normal, or the way God made them.

Why? Because it isn’t the norm.

It’s only the mess from the closet.

A Trapped Cat

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Lately I’ve been thinking about traps and snares. I’ve thought about trapping animals and I’ve also remembered the feelings I had a number of years ago, when, like a wild animal, I was trapped.

It would be insane for anyone who’s married to believe they are above and beyond ever falling into a snare or crawling into a trap. There are spiritual entities, spirits if you will, whose sole purpose is to cause you and I to let down our guard, run after forbidden fruit, and totally disregard the holy vows we made to our spouse, and thus climb willingly into the trap.

Traps and snares are never placed where they will readily be seen. They’re never marked with big bold red letters saying, “This is a trap. Stay out.” No, they’re camouflaged, blending in with the scenery. We can become so used to the landscape we fail to notice something out of place. For instance, talking with, or working with someone from the opposite sex can begin innocently enough that nothing seems out of order. But little by little, if not careful, the heart may become unguarded and actually addicted to those “innocent” conversations. A trap is being set, and there’s no time to linger. It’s time for action.

But the proud, the arrogant, believe they are strong enough, and wise enough, to flirt around with someone outside their marriage covenant. After all, shouldn’t two adults be able to enjoy each other’s company without someone trying to make a federal case out of it?

One time, years ago, there was a stray cat that kept hanging around our house. It was a real nuisance, and I decided I’d had enough. So, I bought a trap, put bait in it (dog food which the cat seemed to love to eat) and waited.

A couple of days later, my efforts were rewarded. The cat was trapped. I didn’t kill it, because I’m a nice guy. I did, however, take it to a park a couple of miles away where I released it.

The cat got off easy. Much easier than most people who have been caught in the trap of adultery.

Adultery is too common, don’t you think? And it does not enhance one’s life. It only steals, kills, and destroys anything and everything good.

It’s a cage that imprisons its catch until the master of the cage decides what to do with its prize.

It’s baited with things that draw us in. Things like friendships, lust, problems in the marriage, and sharing intimate knowledge with someone other than our spouse.

The cat couldn’t resist the bait. It loved dog food. It didn’t have the wherewithal to reason within itself, or to call on the Lord for help. It couldn’t dial a friend or anyone else; it was simply left up to its animal nature.

But you and I don’t have to take the bait. We don’t need to crawl into the trap. We can call for help at the first sign of a compromise or a threat to our marriage.

“Lord, help me!” That’s a great place to begin.

Call a friend, talk with your spouse, change jobs if necessary…whatever it takes to keep your head out of the trap, do it! Do it!

I personally know what it feels like to be caught in a trap. I am very fortunate, and grateful, that I was finally released from the snare; but it wasn’t without some consequences and personal damage. Yes, my God delivered me, my wife forgave me, and I’m walking free of the enemy’s shackles. But at least two things were affected, things I can never change. My testimony and my walk. My testimony is a great picture of God’s saving power, but it isn’t without the blemish of my infidelity. My walk is a holy walk with God, though I now walk with a limp. A limp, as someone whose legs were almost removed by the powerful jaws of the snare.

Folks, it matters not if you are a committed Christian or not. You are not beyond the reach of temptation. But if you will be wise and humble, you’ll recognize areas in your life that may be a good place for the enemy to set a trap.

What do you hunger for? What kind of bait would you go after?

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15 ESV)

May you remember this verse, and be quick to implement God’s action plan, his way to escape, should your head get just a little too close to the trap.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)

Action plan? A two part plan.

Ask for help.

Run for your life.

Lustful Lies

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Is sexual lust REALLY a problem?

It doesn’t take a high level of intelligence to understand why and how the enemy enjoys using this weapon. He’s taken out a good many men and women with it, and in spite of the fact his tactics rarely change with this weapon, it’s still just as highly effective in our day as it was 6000 years ago.

People who are seduced and controlled by sexual lust have bought a lie; actually, several lies…

In the Lion’s Den

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Did you hear the story about Daniel in the Lion’s Den? You have? Well, this one may be a bit different.

You see, there was this other guy named Daniel. Like any red blooded young man, this Daniel began to think about, and talk about, and look at, GIRLS! Throughout his junior and senior high school years, nothing quite piqued his interest like GIRLS!

Of course he’d heard the story of the birds and the bees; quite fascinating, to say the least. Wonder and curiosity kept building inside his mind until, one day, there it was. Something that erased the wonder and satisfied his curiosity. A picture of a young woman, wearing nothing more than a smile.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: curiosity killed the cat. But really, that isn’t true. While the cat stayed curious, it was okay. When it decided to put an end to its curiosity, that’s when it was done in.

Young Daniel couldn’t believe his eyes! And he LOVED the feelings he was having inside his mind. What he didn’t realize was, that he was soon to be hooked on those particular feelings. Nothing would matter to him as much as those feelings.

Something else would eventually happen to young Daniel. The feelings he once experienced just by looking at pictures of nude women, weren’t so easy to produce. Now, for the same feelings, it required much more explicit, and graphic material. The addiction was demanding more and more “food”, while giving less and less in return.

What was once a wonder and a curiosity, now had become a taskmaster; and Daniel was its slave. His relationships, his finances, his “free” time, all had to obey the monster called sexual addiction.

Such a far cry from God’s perspective of sex.

God never intended for sex to rule, or ruin, any individual! He never desired to see His creativity cheapened and degraded to where it’s used to market everything from toothpaste to automobiles. God’s intent was, and is, for sex to be a beautiful and fulfilling part of intimacy.

Daniel didn’t know it, but sex is NOT intimacy. Sex is sex. Intimacy CAN include sex, but only when other intimate pieces are in place. Things like truth, tenderness, and timing all contribute to true intimacy. When a husband and wife are so committed to the other’s well being and happiness, then the act of sex can add to the intimate RELATIONSHIP.

But poor, young Daniel. He’s trapped inside the Lion’s Den.

There is a way out, however.


“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)

There is always a door leading to the Lion’s Den. Think about it.

No matter if your name is Daniel, George, James, or Sinbad the Sailor; if you stay away from the door, you can’t go in! If you are already in, there’s a door that leads back to the outside!

Deliverance begins with a desire to be free, and then calls for genuine repentance.

Turning around and facing the opposite direction is repentance. Trusting Jesus for the strength to do the right thing is called smart! Developing a godly relationship, based on truth, with a friend (of the same sex) is called safety. And giving a friend the freedom to speak honestly with you, even when it hurts, is called wisdom!

Yes, God CAN deliver every single Daniel out of any and every Lion’s Den.

But too many Daniels are being devoured.

How are YOU doing?

By the way, I realize Danielle’s can be slaves to the same monster who controls Daniels. And the way out is the same for them.

Be free in Jesus’ power!

Tents

20131028-010354.jpg“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2 NLT)

Paul compared our bodies to a tent. I find that very interesting.

A tent is used as temporary housing. While some folks use their tent quite often, it is still just a temporary shelter.

So is our body. Temporary shelter for our eternal being; our spirit and soul. With the help of our earthly tent, we can live on this temporary planet (a new one has been ordered!). But only for a while.

Tents come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. Regardless, though, the purpose of each tent is the same as the next.

A tent may be real handsome, or very pretty. And yes, there may be a tent one might even refer to as “sexy”.

But it’s still a tent!

Some occupants use their tent to manipulate or exploit others. They feel powerful as they flaunt their tent in ways that tempt and seduce others. Rarely, though, do those people open the flaps of their tent; they’re kept closed so others can’t see the real person inside. (But God sees and knows)

There are some who allow their tents to dictate what they will do, say, go, eat; their tent rules them, instead of the other way around. The tent was never designed to be the master, but the servant.

Think about how much attention we give to our tent! We spend billions of dollars a year feeding, grooming, clothing, exercising, and pampering our tent. Some people don’t even realize there’s anything or anyone living in the tent!

And consider how many magazines and websites there are solely devoted to pictures and videos of “adult” tents; and how many men and women have become addicted to viewing pictures of tents.

Tents don’t last forever.

Tents were never created to be worshiped. It’s true that we should take care of our tent, so it can last as long as possible. But we best not forget about the tent’s occupant…

…because some day the tent’s color will fade, it will lose its shape and its appeal. It will become old and wore out, eventually coming apart at the seams.

And all too quickly that beautiful, sexy tent will not be able to give shelter to its occupant any longer. The tent will be buried, but the occupant will move on.

For eternity.

So how are you using your tent?

Musicians and Music

20130629-224623.jpgIt’s been said that musicians are a strange breed of cat. I’ve been inclined to agree. But I’m not sure anymore. I believe everyone has a bit of peculiarity about them. God would call it uniqueness.

However, there is something powerful about music. Maybe it’s the melody, words, rhythm, and harmony all working together that makes it so powerful. Ask any person 50 years or older about a certain bell, a certain tune, they’d hear during the summer and chances are they’d begin telling you about the ice cream truck, or bicycle. And, oh, the power of that little tune was enough to get every kid running to their parents, all yelling the same thing, “Can we, Puh-Leeze?!?”

Musicians and music. In my opinion, you can’t separate the two. They are connected by the heart of the musician. A musician can create a piece of music, write it down so others can play it, all the while never realizing the spirit that embodies the song.

I know, it sounds pretty weird. Let me say it a different way. Whatever is in a person’s heart, or spirit, in abundance, is what will come out; regardless of what they’re doing or what their gift is. For instance: do you know people who complain all the time? Guess what’s in their heart. Actually, you don’t need to guess. They give it away! Know anyone who is kind and encouraging? Out of the abundance of the heart…

There are examples of this phenomenon in the scriptures. David, before he was king, was a singing, worshipping, shepherd boy. He loved God, worshipped God, and stood up for God’s Name regardless of the circumstance. His heart was full of love for God. So, when King Saul had emotional and spiritual problems, and probably felt like he was losing his mind, someone suggested to him that he get David to come and play music for him. David came and brought the Presence of God with him, soothing Saul’s soul.

Another time, King Jehoshaphat was preparing to join forces with King Ahab, but hesitated until he could hear from Elisha, the prophet. Elisha said, “Bring me a minstrel (or musician).” As the musician began to play, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha. The musician helped usher in the Presence of God,and mighty things were accomplished.

Lucifer himself used to be the chief musician in Heaven (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). Music and a holy anointing flowed out of him; until the day iniquity was found in him. Until the day he was consumed with himself; his importance, his gifts, his power. But even though a holy anointing ceased to flow out of him, still, music and an unholy anointing flows from his heart. Out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks, sings, worships (himself), plans, etc. Same way with God and mankind, who were created in His image.

Everything flows from the heart!

Ministering, serving others, flows from the heart. Giving to the widows and orphans flows from the heart. The power to resist temptation flows from the heart.

Everything flows from the heart!

There’s coming a day when the children of God will learn this truth. They will come to know that, regardless of the situation they may be in, they can bring Godly influence and His Heavenly Presence into their midst. It’s not a matter of praying long prayers, fasting 200 days, or even saying so many “amens”, “oh me’s”, or “hail Mary’s”. It’s allowing the heart to do what it longs to do most – love and worship God! It was created to yield to God, to allow God access to all He’s placed inside each of us. The creation yielding to its Creator – now that’s beautiful music!

Whatever is good, lovely, pure, kind, fruit of the spirit (the human spirit); let those things be in you in abundance and they will flow from you. “Out of your inner most being will flow rivers of Living Water.” Because the River is in you, it can flow out of you.

Everything flows out of the heart!

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ’Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38 ESV)

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 ESV)

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

Musicians – do you want to make a positive difference in your world? It’s not about building a platform, putting a band together, recording and distributing your songs, or making a name for yourself. Do you remember the name of the minstrel who played for Elisha? No? That’s because his name wasn’t recorded. Only One Name is important. And amazing things happen because of that Name.

The main thing is being the person God can anoint and flow through to touch others. After all, something is going to flow out of your heart. Let it be something God can partner with.

Everything flows from the heart!

Riches To Rags

20130627-073426.jpgHe was the richest, most powerful man in the world. His wife was gorgeous; beautiful beyond description. Everyone knew she was made for him. For years people have commented about the first time he ever laid eyes on her. They say it was love at first sight.

Yes, they were quite the couple.

He lacked nothing, nothing at all. If and when he ever needed anything, all he needed to do was speak, and his request was granted.

His influence was legendary, commanding respect. Known as a “world changer”, his pioneering spirit brought changes to such things as real estate, farming, animal husbandry, mining, fishing, parenting, religion, meteorology, and, of course, marriage.

He had it all. All but one thing.

That one thing was his undoing, his downfall.

He couldn’t stay away from it! He’d think about it constantly, looking for an excuse to walk by it, smell its fragrance, behold its shape, and etch its image forever in his mind.

He knew, deep down, things weren’t quite right. But he couldn’t stop. The voice, the calling, the attraction was becoming an obsession! Though he knew he could lose everything he had, it didn’t matter.

Finally, he reached the point of no return, and gave in to his passion.

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6 ESV)

No matter who we are, or how “powerful” and influential we think we may be, there will always be something “off limits”. Something we must not touch. Something we must not dwell on.

A thing, a person, a habit, a lust. Something we must stay clear of, or else our world will come crashing down

None of us are so high and mighty we can’t find our way from riches to rags.

It only takes one bite!

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