Scripture reading for April 9th: Judges 7-8, Luke 22
Key Scriptures: Luke 22:40-45 “And when He come to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if Your are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, . . “
Jesus went to His designated place of prayer and asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him to avoid temptation. He withdrew by Himself and was praying with great agony and intensity, asking His Father to remove the cup of coming suffering, if it were possible. But Jesus submitted completely to the Father’s will. An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed again, more passionately than ever, even to the point that drops of His blood mingled with sweat coming from His brow. When He returned, He found sleeping disciples!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone can deliver me from evil and temptation. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the strength You give. Help me to be watchful and in prayer for me and my family as the terrible times of trouble come in these last days. Keep me from the snares of this world.
Judges 8:27 “And Gideon made an ephod of it (gold spoil), and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”
Scripture reading for March 16th: Joshua 5-7, Luke 11
Key Scriptures: Luke 11:1-4 “. . .one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And He (Jesus) said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
Jesus was asked about effective prayer by His disciples. Jesus did not give them some formula or magical incantation, but a simple pattern. God was to be approached as our “Father” whose Name was holy. As children, they were to ask that Father’s kingdom would come. They then were to ask for daily needs and for forgiveness of sins. The condition was forgiveness as we had forgiven others. The conclusion was to ask for deliverance from temptation.
Joshua 7:20-21 “And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them.””
Prayer: Father God, thank You that you meet all our needs and answer prayers of Your children. Keep me from temptation to grab all that shines and glitters and help me to be content with my daily bread. Amen.
Scripture reading for March 30th: 2nd Samuel 11-14
King David was a wonderful man who loved God and fought many battles relying on Him. However, at about 50 years of age, he decided to stay home from the battle and rest. With time on his hands, his eyes found an enticing view of his neighbor’s wife. This led to an adulterous encounter that brought an unwanted pregnancy. To cover up the pregnancy, David had the woman’s husband, Uriah, brought home and encouraged him to go sleep with his wife. The plan failed and David sent orders to have Uriah eliminated on the battlefield. (2nd Samuel 11:1-17) This man who walked closely with the Lord was now displeasing to God and caught in a web of sin. What a tangled web we weave when we are not focused on the Lord and His work!
How did this mighty man end up in this terrible predicament? The secular world might say today that David went through a “mid-life” crisis and lost his focus. We who are believers know differently. Decisions have consequences and we are responsible for our attitudes and our actions. David made several key decisions that took him into this trap. The first was to sit out instead of fight the Lord’s battles. When we become passive and allow others to do what we should be doing, we open ourselves up for temptation. We are designed by God for a purpose and placed in position to do God’s bidding.
Second, David must not have been reading God’s word as a king was supposed to do. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20) God’s word given through Moses specifically told of the time when Israel would have a king. One of the temptations would be to take many wives. This was to be avoided. The king was to make a copy of God’s word on a scroll and read it all the days of his life so that he would revere God and do all that God had commanded.
The last observation was that David went after temptation instead of fleeing from it! God always makes a way of escape and our first line of defense is our feet. David did not resist and was overcome! Decisions have consequences and David suffered rebellion and sexual sin in his own house and much sorrow as the result of these decisions! Would that we would stay humble and learn!
Scripture reading for March 30: 2nd Samuel 11-14
In my years in the church, I have witnessed a number of moral failures. Many of these have been in ministry and were men and women of God who had powerful ministries and were great people of influence in the church and community. Those in ministry have caring hearts and are often the target of Satan. Satan knows that if he can get a man or woman of God to compromise, he has a good opportunity to trip up many in the church as well. These moral failures were often a result of pride, success, and lack of accountability.
In today’s reading, King David decides to stay home from the battlefield and take a break. He’s about 50 years old at this time, has had great success, and is looked upon as God’s anointed leader. While resting at home, he sees his neighbor’s wife bathing and sends for her. They have a sexual encounter and she conceives a child. (2nd Samuel 11:4-5) When David is notified, he sends for her husband, Uriah. David hopes to have Uriah spend time with his wife but the plan fails as Uriah has made a vow of abstinence while his army is fighting. King David sends Uriah back with orders for Joab, his army commander, to have Uriah killed in battle.
Sin always takes one farther than they want to go! David’s failure to restrain his passions brought an unwanted pregnancy. David essentially had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. (2nd Samuel 11:25-27) David then married Bathsheba. This turn of events displeased the Lord! Sin never makes God happy and its pleasure is passing for those involved!
What lessons are here for us today? First, sexual sins are always deadly! David’s son, Solomon, also born to him through Bathsheba, wrote about sexual sin and adultery in several places in Proverbs. (Proverbs 5-7) God’s Word warns us that we must not commit adultery! When we do, we violate a sacred union. God has joined the man and woman together as one in flesh and spirit. They are a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church! (Ephesians 5: 31-32) When we separate what God has joined together, we open the door to violence between the parties involved. (Malachi 2:15-16) David was moved on by Satan to have Bathsheba’s husband murdered. Bathsheba’s grief is mentioned as well. Not only that, but the child that was conceived died as a consequence. More death and grief result from a short time of stolen pleasure! Oh that we would learn from God’s Word and avoid all the death and grief!
Check your own heart today in this area of sexual lust and sexual sins. Have you been looking at things you should not be looking at? Have you entertained temptation rather than resisting it? Are you emotionally involved with someone who is not your mate? Flee temptation today and turn to the Lord for forgiveness and help! David’s own advice can be found in Psalm 32: 1-6!
Scripture reading for January 13th: Genesis 37-40
The story of Joseph is a fascinating one! He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers. He was also his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled. His dreams that showed his father and brothers as somehow bowing down to him caused him to nearly lose his life! Jealousy arouses forces that cause trouble! At least one of his brothers showed a small amount of compassion and his life was spared. So much for the big dreams! Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.
Joseph was evidently quite handsome and muscular. In his new role as servant to a wealth Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife. One day when Potiphar was gone, as Joseph was doing his duties in the house, he was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife. “Come to bed with me!” Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom. “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances. What amazing self-control!
Adultery is a sin! It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse. God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death. Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and homes. Children are the victims and the devil loves to devour children in the midst of adultery, lying and violence.
Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation. Our first line of defense is our feet! If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we find we can resist! When we linger and begin to make allowances and reason we will always be defeated! Running away may seem cowardly but it is sure better than the mess caused by sexual sin! “Use de feet to avoid defeat!”
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside. She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39:11-12 “
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4