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    Talker's Chatter

    Sat, Feb 18th - 7:01PM

    Forty Days of Purpose - day twenty-six

    Every temptation is an opportunity to do good.

    On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptaion becomes a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing.  Temptation simply provides a choice.  While temptation is Satan's primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you.  Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ.  When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

    It helps to know that Satan is totally predictable.  He has used the same strategy and old tricks since Creation.  All temptation follows the same pattern.  That's why Paul said, "We are very familiar with his evil schemes".  From the Bible we learn that temptaion follows a four-step process, which Satan used both on Adam and Eve and on Jesus.  In step one, Satan identifies a desire inside of you.  It may be a sinful desire like revenge or to control others, or it may be a legitimate, normal desire, like the desire to be loved and valued or to feel pleasure.  Temptation starts when Satan suggests (with a thought) that you give in to an evil desire, or that you fulfill a legitimate desire in a wrong way.  Satan whispers, "You deserve it! You should have it now! It will be exciting ... comforting ... or make you feel better!"  Temptation always starts in your mind, not in circumstances.  Jesus said: "From within a person's heart, come evil thoughts; sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these vile things come from within" and James tells us there is "a whole army of evil desires within you".  Step two is doubt.  Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about sin.  The bible warns, "Watch out! Don't let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God".  Step three is deception.  Satan is incapable of telling the truth and is called "the Father of lies".  Satan offers his lie to replace what God has already said.  Step four is disobedience.  You finally act on the thought you've been toying with in your mind.  What started out as an idea gets birthed into behavior.  You give in to whatever got your attention.  You believe Satan's lies and fall into the trap that James warned us about.  "We are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires.  Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Do not be deceived, my dear friends!"

    In one sense you can consider tempation a compliment.  Satan does not have to tempt those who are already doing his evil will, they are already his.  Temptation is the sign that Satan hates you, it's not a sign of your own weakness or worldliness.  It is also a normal part of living in a fallen world.  Don't be surprised or shocked or discouraged by it.  Be realistic about the inevitability of temptation; you will never be able to avoid it completely.  Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.  It is not a sin to be tempted.  Jesus was tempted but He never sinned.  Temptation only becomes sin when you act on it.  I think it was Martin Luther that said "You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair".  You can't keep the Devil from suggesting thoughts, but you can choose not to dwell or act on them.  The closer you get to God, the more Satan will try to tempt you.  The moment you became God's child, Satan, like a mobster hit man, put out a "contract" on you.  You are his enemy and he's plotting your downfall.  Stay alert ~ the Devil is poised to pounce and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.  Proverbs tells us, "Plan carefully what you do ... Avoid evil and walk straight ahead.  Don't go one step off the right way".  God's people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go.  Heaven has a 24-hour emergency hot line.  God wants us to ask for assistance in overcoming temptation.  He says, "Call on Me in times of trouble.  I will rescue you, and you will honor Me."  The bible guarantees that our cry for help will be heard because Jesus is sympathetic to our struggle.  He faced the same temptations we do. The bible says, "Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is Grace.  There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it."  God's love is everlasting and His patience endures forever.  If you have to cry out for God's help two-hundred times a day to defeat temptation, he will still be eager to give mercy and grace, so come boldly.  Ask Him for the power to do the right thing, and then expect Him to provide it.

    Temptation keeps us dependent on God.  Just as the roots grow stronger when the wind blows against a tree, so every time you stand up to temptation, you become more like Jesus.  When you stumble (and we all will) it is not fatal.  Instead of giving in or giving up, look up to God, expect Him to help you, and remember the reward that is waiting for you.  When we are tempted and still continue strong, we should be happy.  After we have proven our faith, God will reward us with life forever. 

    "God blesses the people who patiently endure testing.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those that love Him."  James 1:12

    Comment (0)

    Thu, Feb 16th - 4:07PM

    We Serve An Awesome God

    While I'm still on the 40-day journey I haven't had time to share lately.  I've started a correspondence bible study program and still volunteer at church.  I've seen 3 doctors in the past week and have another go-around next week.  I will be back very soon to share the latest chapter of my journal - I'm learning a lot.

    Keep looking up! For we know neither the day, nor the hour.

    God Bless~


    Comment (3)

    Fri, Feb 10th - 5:35PM

    Forty Days of Purpose - day twenty-five

    It is the fire of suffering that brings forth the gold of godliness.  God has a purpose behind every problem.

    Jesus warned us that we would have problems in the world.  No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem free.  Life is a series of problems.  Every time you solve one, another is waiting to take its place.  Not all of them are big, but they're all significant in God's growth plan for you.  "Don't be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you".  God uses problems to draw you closer to Himself.  My most profound and intimate experiences of worship have been in my darkest days ~ when my heart was broken, when I felt abandoned, when I was out of options, when my pain was great ~ and I turned to God alone.  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit". It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers.  When we're in pain, we don't have the energy for superficial prayer.  Only in suffering do we know Jesus.  We learn things about God in suffering that we can't learn any other way.  Problems force us to look to God and depend on Him instead of ourselves.  You'll never know that God is all you need; until God is all you've got. 

    Because every day of your life was written on God's calendar before you were born, everything that happens to you has spiritual significance.  Everything!  Romans 8:28-29 explains why: "We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son"  God is pullling the strings.  WE make mistakes, but God never does.  God can bring good out of the worst evil.  He did at Calvary.

    Much of what happens in this world is evil and bad, but God specializes in bringing good out of it.  In the official family tree of Jesus Christ, four women are listed: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba.  Tamar seduced her father-in-law to become pregnant.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Ruth was not even Jewish and broke the law by marrying a Jewish man.  Bathsheba committed adultery with David which resulted in the murder of her husband.  These were not exactly sterling reputations, but God brought good out of bad, and Jesus came through their lineage.  God's purpose is greater than our problems, our pain and even our sin.  What is that purpose? It is that we "become like His Son".  Everything God allows to happen in your life is permitted for that purpose.

    We are like jewels, shaped with the hammer and chisel of adversity.  If a jeweler's hammer isn't strong enough to chip off our rough edges, God will use a sledgehammer.  If we're really stubborn, He uses a jackhammer.  He will use whatever it takes.  Every problem is a character building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber.  Your circumstances are temporary, but your character is forever. God intends to make us like Jesus.  We will go through the same experiences Jesus did and that includes loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection, and many other problems.  Jesus learned obedience through suffering and was made perfect through suffering.  Why would God exempt us from what He allowed His own Son to experience?  We go through exactly what Christ goes through.  If we go through the hard times with Him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with Him.

    Problems don't automatically produce what God intends.  Many people become bitter rather than better and never grow up.  God knows what is best for you and has your best interest at heart.  It is for our own good that we go through hard times.  It is vital that we focus on God's plan rather than our pain or problem.  That is how Jesus endured the pain of the cross and we are urged to follow His example: Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor.  He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterwards.  The secret of endurance is to remember that your pain is temporary but your reward will be eternal.

    "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" 2 Cor 4:17



    Comment (2)

    Mon, Feb 6th - 4:05PM

    Understanding Romans 8:28-29

    I'm at day twenty-five.  This chapter is causing me to pray, study and meditate.  It looks like the second half of the 40-day journey is going to be intense.

    I can hardly wait to share with you.

    God Bless-


    Comment (1)

    Fri, Feb 3rd - 12:55PM

    Forty Days of Purpose - day twenty-four

    "If you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:31-32

    God's word is unlike any other word.  It is alive.  When God speaks, things change.  All of creation exists because God said it.  He spoke it all into existence.  Without God's word, we wouldn't even be alive  "Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us".

    The bible is far more than a doctrinal guidebook.  God's word generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the Devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses your mind, brings things into being and guarantees our future forever!  We cannot live without the Word of God.  It is as essential to our life as food.  Job said: "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread".  God's word is the spiritual nourishment you must have to fulfill your purpose.  The Bible is called our milk, bread, solid food and sweet dessert.  This four course meal is the Spirit's menu for spiritual strength and growth.  If the bible is on the shelf, it is worthless.  Don't be plagued with spiritual anorexia. To be a healthy disciple of Jesus, feeding on God's word must be our first priority.  Jesus called it "abiding".  He said: "If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine". 

    Daily Bible reading will keep you in range of God's voice.  "Truly happy people are those who carefully study God's perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it.  They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God's teaching says.  Those who do this will be made happy".  No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on scripture.  But we must also apply its principles.  Receiving, reading, researching, remembering and reflecting on the Word are all useless if we fail to put them into practice.  We must become 'doers of the Word'.  This is the hardest step of all because Satan fights it so intensely.  Jesus said "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his home on the rock"  God's blessing comes from obeying the truth, not just knowing it.

    The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.

    Comment (3)

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    About Me

    Name: Terri Medina
    ChristiansUnite ID: talkercat
    Member Since: 2005-11-17
    Location: , California, United States
    Denomination: Nondenominational
    About Me: JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! . . . there's just something about that name!

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