Friday, February 17, 2012

February 18, 2012

There Is Personal Evil Against Us, "...but deliver us from the evil one."

This is one time I like The Message paraphrase because it words verse 13 like this: "Keep us safe from ourselves and the devil." And you can be sure that the devil wants us to respond to trials in sinful ways. He's hoping we'll be weak. He's hoping we'll slip up when we go through the difficulties of life.

God promises to help us deal with this form of temptation.

As Psalm 37:23-24 says, "The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."
(TLB) So effective prayer includes saying, "God I know the devil wants me to stumble. He wants me to slip up. So, help me. Help me to stand up to his temptations in ways that further Your kingdom."
 I Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
John 10:10 – “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I am come that you may have life and have it abundantly”

You know, the exciting truth is, we can pray this prayer with confidence, because God can always turn the tables on Satan. Our Abba has the wisdom and power to take the trials and tribulations that come to us in life, the tough times that Satan loves to use as his tools--our completely sovereign God takes these ordeals and Satan's foolish plans and uses them for His purposes. If you doubt this, then look at the Bible. It's full of examples!
JOSEPH – Went through a trial when his brothers gave into a temptation to sell him to slave traders. Then he went through another trial because he WOULDN’T give into temptation by Potipher's wife. In the end he had a temptation to get even with his brothers – but he couldn't because he saw how God had worked!

MOSES – The enemy tried to eliminate him by having all the Hebrew male infants killed but his mother put him in a basket in the Niles and he ended up being raised in Pharoah's palace! Gave into to a temptation to kill Egyptian and had to flee Egypt. But years later, God called him from a burning bush and sent him back to the Pharoah to deliver God's people from slavery.

PETER – Failed his trials and gave into temptation denying Christ three times but after Christ restored him he was the keynote speaker for the event that launched the Church!

Lucado refers to this part of the prayer and writes, "Like a confused basketball player, every time Satan scores a basket, the other team gets the points. Over and over again the Bible makes it clear Who really runs the earth. Satan may strut and prance but it's God Who calls the shots."
JESUS – Just when Satan thought he had destroyed Jesus – HE ROSE AGAIN!
Lucado writes, "Finally the devil thought he had scored on the right end of the court. And not only had he scored, he'd slam-dunked the MVP and left him lying on the floor. But all of a sudden there was a light in the tomb and a rumbling of the rock; then Friday's tragedy emerged as Sunday's Savior and Satan knew he'd once again been a tool in the hand of the gardener. All the time he thought he was defeating Heaven, he was helping Heaven. God wanted to prove His power over sin and death and that's exactly what He did. Once again Satan's lay-up became a foul-up. Only this time he didn't give heaven some points, he gave heaven the championship game."

I John 4:4 – “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!

Have you prayed today, "deliver me from the evil one?"

February 17, 2012

"And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." Amen. Matthew 6:13

There is a notion that permeates much of the thinking in our culture and pervades our education systems. It is the belief that human beings are essentially good and it is up to the government to create the proper environment, the proper education, the proper diet, the proper health and social justice to bring out that inherent goodness.

You may recognize this idea as secular humanism. It is the religion of our post-Christian, anti-Christian modern social order. As nice as it sounds and as wistful as it may be secular humanism has no basis in reality and doesn't square with the record of human behavior or human history.

In fact, human history records that our race has its origin in a perfect environment, a paradise called Eden! And in the midst of that perfect world which was created to bring them joy and fulfullment in the presence of their Holy Creator and God, they committed a deliberate act of disobedience and lost their holiness before God and passed their sinful nature to every succeeding generation up to our present day. So, an idlyllic world that met all the conditions Secular Humanists say will lead to goodness, became the place of origin for the evil human nature each of us have inherited.

Jesus taught that we are sinners by nature and that sinful nature alienates us from a God Who is holy. Left untreated, the human nature will lead us to a lifetime of spiritual separation from God, loneliness, futulity and sinfulness.

One of the purposes for which God gave His sons to die for the sins of billions yet to come is to provide us with the power to overcome the destructive tendencies of a sinful mind and heart.

Jesus is acknowledging the falled human nature when He taught His disciples how to pray the Lord's Prayer. From this statement we can understand - There Is Powerful Evil Within Us, "And do not lead us into temptation....."
It is a heart problem – I have a sinful heart
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

One reason Jesus teaches us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done"  is because this prayer confronts the essence of your sinful nature. You are prone to temptation and sin because by nature you want to rule YOUR kingdom and you want YOUR will to be done. There is only room for one King in your life and that must be God!

It is a head problem – I have a sinful mind

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.   For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."  Colossians 3:1-3

"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."  Romans 12:2

The corrupt human mind does not think what pleases God but schemes ways to get what it wants. Until you allow God to transform your mind and put it under the control of His Spirit it will continue to lead you into temptations.

It is a habit problem – I have sinful habits

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."  Galatians 5:19-21

When your heart is sinful and your mind is corrupt, your habits and behavior will reflect that selfish, sinful nature.

C. S. Lewis once said, "A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only good people only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is."

You knew it was harder to do the right thing that to do the wrong thing. You already struggle with pleasing God and living a godly life. You are well aware how powerful temptation can be. Know you know why - it is your sinful heart, your sinful head, and your sinful habits. That is your nature!

So, how can you ever hope to resist temptation? How can you be lead away from temptation and sin? Only by a SUPERNATURAL change in your heart, your mind and your behavior. If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always had - bad decisions, bad judgement, troubled relationships, spiritual bondage and guilt, and empty living.

Time for a change?

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."  Romans 12:1

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." Galatians 5:16-17