Keep Your Distance by Greg Laurie

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” James 1:14

We live in a time when no one wants to accept responsibility for their actions. We’re a nation of victims. We all have diseases.

No one uses the phrase “I have sinned” anymore. Now we say, “I am sick.” We blame it on this. We blame it on that.

Yet the Bible says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15).

For a believer to pray against temptation and then rush into a place of vulnerability is like putting his hands into a fire and then praying they won’t be burned.

We bring the repercussions on ourselves.

People sometimes walk into temptation thinking, “This is no problem. I can handle it. I’m strong.”

That is what Samson used to think. Time after time the Philistines tried to kill him, but he always came out ahead. He would shake them off like rag dolls. No one could stop him.

The devil sized him up, and instead of trying to bring him down on the battlefield, he focused on bringing him down in the bedroom.

Samson discovered what happens when you play around with sin: sin plays around with you.

His life ultimately ended as a result.

We need to realize the devil is a powerful foe. The Bible tells us that he “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).

You may think he’s harmless, but he is powerful. He is not more powerful than God, of course. Nor is he even close to being God’s equal. Nevertheless, he is a powerful spirit being, and we want to keep as much distance from him as possible.

When you play around with sin, sin plays around with you.

Pastor Greg’s daily devotions.

Are You A Target?

Someone once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” This statement means no matter what happens we must keep going. Giving up should never be an option.

With that in mind….here’s something important to take note of:

Every human being is a target for the devil.

The devil is not giving up until he robs us of everything we possess. He is a bully….he enjoys strutting his power and capabilities clearly to intimidate us and corner us into fear.

When you know your opposing foe, you must fight with wisdom. You don’t fight harder – you fight smarter.

His strategies have been very consistent throughout times. This is a plus for us …. we are not going to give up. Giving up is not an option. Fight smarter!

Here are a few areas that the devil targets:

1. He targets our families. Healthy families make happy homes. Happy homes make our communities safe. The opposite is also true….When the family is divided and in disarray, homes are shattered and the communities become unsafe.

2. Untimely death. The devil creates an atmosphere of hopelessness. His job is to prevent us from living out our years. Dreams die and our failures line the pathway.

3. He targets our faith in God by bringing doubt in our minds. When we don’t expect God to turn up on our behalf…we don’t receive anything.

4. The devil targets our finances. No money – No love is a true statement. Money issues are one of the most common problems in marriages. It often times lead to divorce.

5. The devil targets our voice… he silence it. No pray…No power. Depression and anxiety takes over when our voice is silenced.

Mark 3:27 says, “Do you think it is possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able bodied man, and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first?”

If Jesus Christ is head of our home….no devil in Hell can bind Him up and walk away with our possessions.

Jesus is fully well able to build a virtual protective hedge around our families, and our finances.

Jesus has given us a voice to declare and make known His mighty acts..we are always ready to give an account of our faith.

Whom God bless with life – no devil in Hell can take it away.

Because Jesus lives – we can face all our tomorrows.

It takes faith to move on from here. Everything we may have lost can be recovered in Jesus Name.

It may take tears, pain, and disappointments….but God is fighting for us until we get to the other side.

The Bits and Pieces makes a great Masterpiece

I’m grateful for the countless obstacles I tripped over in my life…those obstacles have propelled me into finding my destiny.

The bits and pieces of insecurity, second guessing myself, failures, and serious doubts and fears have all worked in my favor.

I pray that I will never make it appear that I do have it all together today … because I do not.

I’ve failed at many things that have positively turned into my greatest teaching moments – thank you Jesus.

I am still working on becoming stronger when my weaknesses surface to the top – God is still working on me.

Those weird and ugly bits and pieces in my life … hmmm…they will one day become a masterpiece in my creator’s hands.

Knowing GOD and having a relationship (yes, the same kind of relationship a lover wants with you) is what makes me wake up each and everyday with great expectations.

I’m in that place where everything feels right. My heart is calm, and my thoughts are positive. My faith is stronger than ever, and I’m at peace with all that I’ve gone through to be who I am today. I am also at peace to where I’m heading. The view looks great because I’ve handed everything over to God.

God saw long before I could figure out what a mess I was in, how horrible my choices were, how moody I could get, how difficult I could be….and He still chose to work on me, and I have no regrets in giving up my fight with Him.

I wouldn’t always win, and many days I will lose…but once I have my friendship with God in right standing….my today will be always be better than my yesterday.

Sometimes in life our situations will keep repeating itself until we hand them over to GOD.

Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.

A day has 24 hours. A good life has three scores and ten (70 years) minimum and if by reason of strength they can go on….

Stop the Gossip by Bob and Debby Gass

“The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food.” Proverbs 18:8 NCV

When we gossip it’s like we’re throwing dirt on others, hoping to bring them down to our level.

It’s why Solomon warned:

“The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food. People like to gobble them up.”

Our ears crave gossip like a stomach craves food.

Solomon goes on to give this warning:

“Gossips can’t keep secrets, so avoid people who talk too much” (Proverbs 20:19 NCV).

We should be avoiding those who gossip, and avoiding gossiping ourselves.

Gossip has the power to destroy relationships with others, it breaks down trust and removes loyalty.

People seem to enjoy bringing other people down, often to make themselves feel better.

When we feel insecure about ourselves we can be tempted to talk about others to make ourselves seem better than them.

Gossip can also create bonds between us, and while these bonds are unhealthy, they settle our need to be liked, accepted and found interesting.

When we’ve got gossip to share, we usually end up with people desperate to hear it.

But this isn’t how we should be living. We should be building other people up and not bringing them down.

The Bible says:

“So encourage each other and give each other strength” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NCV).

And when we’re feeling insecure, we should be turning to God’s Word to remind ourselves that we’re loved and accepted, rather than trying other ways, like gossiping, to win people’s approval.

Gossiping and bringing others down often comes easily to us.

The Bible says: ‘No human being can tame the tongue’ (James 4:8 NIV). So we need to ask for God’s help to tame our tongues and remove gossiping from our lives.

What Now?

Make sure you only speak words that build other people up today. When you get to the end of the day, reflect on how much of a challenge you found it.

Word For You is adapted by UCB from The Word For Today written by Bob and Debby Gass.

When The Conversation Changes

There was a man named Job in the Bible. Job was a happy and wealthy man with ten children. All of that changed when Satan had a conversation with GOD.

Job 1:6-12

Here’s how this all happened:

  • Angels came to present themselves before the Lord
  • Satan also came along with them

The Lord asks Satan where he came from…

  • Satan’s response – from roaming through the earth and going back and forth

Something to think about:

Isn’t it kinda of unnerving to know that Satan comes along when we go before God?

Conversation gets more interesting:

God asks Satan – “Have you considered my SERVANT JOB?”

Satan’s responded –

Have you put a HEDGE around him and his household and everything he has? Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face?

The Lord responded – “Very well, then, EVERYTHING he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Doing some reflections here:

It is noted here that Job was a servant of God.

1. What is our relationship status with God?

Satan knew that God had placed a hedge around Job, and he taught that if Job loses EVERYTHING he would curse God to His face.

2. Is our love for God more valuable than His gifts to us?

God then warns Satan not to put one finger on Job.

3. Is God still in total control over everything that He allows to come our way?

It would be nice to think that God places a hedge around everyone …but…the Bible said that the hedge of protection was around Job the SERVANT/FRIEND of GOD.

God forms a hedge of protection ONLY around those that fear and honors Him.

Aha Thoughts:

1. What is Satan after in our lives?
2. How does God see you and I? As servants/friends?
3. What if God removes the hedge of protection from around us?
4. How would we respond if all that we have is lost?
5. Would we curse God to His face?

Great News: There is a chapter 42 in the book of Job. After Job prayed for his friends:

  • The Lord restored Job’s losses
  • The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before
  • The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning

Final thought – When Satan has a conversation with GOD about us….will God find us writing our Chapter 42?

Don’t let the Darkness Stop You

A Tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock, and enclosed except for entrance and exit at each side.

Note: Tunnels are not designed for continuous occupancy. They are dark, lonely, scary, and very intimidating….so you must keep on moving forward through the tunnel.

Our journey in life is pretty much like walking or driving through a tunnel. Whether we are bold or cowardly … It’s important to keep a clear view of our destination. We can’t continuously take up occupation in a tunnel.

It doesn’t mean that everything will be smooth and perfect all the time…but once we know that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is in control ….then there’s a light at the exit.

Our journey sometimes takes us into some scary underground passageway….but … there will always be an exit.

Our difficult seasons were not designed for continuous occupancyso don’t sit and complain. Refuse to hand over power to your current season.

The same God that directed you out of the darkness countless times before …has the power to order your steps so you can walk away like a boss.

Without the JOURNEY …there will be no destination. And – Life will be meaningless. It’s like going no where and getting there fast.

The thing about coming out of the tunnel experience safely is …. to keep trying to do what’s right even when it doesn’t look like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay on course… and … focus on the positive side of life.

We were built by God to overcome everything that was meant to destroy us.