Temptation

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14 NKJV) Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the devil, see Matthew 4 & Luke 4. Jesus had no desires to draw him away into temptation so the Holy Spirit led him to be tempted. Fasting looses the bonds of wickedness, Jesus had none so when he fasted the devil showed up. Where Israel as a nation failed in the wilderness, Jesus their Messiah would not.

When Satan began to speak to Jesus he didn’t introduce himself. Just know when satan speaks to you he won’t introduce himself. Satan questioned Jesus’ identity and spoke to his greatest area of vulnerability. Satan tried to get Jesus to turn stones to bread. The enemy is always trying to get us to prove ourself by preforming for him. The enemy questioned Jesus’ sonship and spoke directly to the felt need of hunger that Jesus was experiencing. The enemy will try to question our identity and speak to our greatest place of vulnerability which is often a felt need. Very often Satan speaks to a felt need in our life, don’t listen to him he is a liar. Remember satan steals from us by lying to us. As believers we must follow Jesus’ example of submitting to God and resisting the devil. When we resist the enemy he will flee from us the same way he did from Jesus. The more we are rooted and grounded in the love of God and the truth of his word the less we will listen to the enemy. The more truth we possess the less temptation is actually tempting. The enemy tried to misuse scripture to make Jesus commit suicide from the church steeple. Suicide is completely satanic. Satan’s agenda is for him to get us to self destruct because he did. Your life has immense value, don’t even consider suicide or self destructive lifestyles. Don’t allow the enemy to misuse the Bible on you. Don’t worship Satan by trying to get what you are after the fast way. Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. In fact satan offered him the keys of the of the kingdom if he would just worship him. Jesus refused. We must refuse. Jesus came for those keys, but he had to die to purchase them. The enemy tries to get us to compromise so that we can get what we want the cheap and fast way. Please remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Jesus taught us to pray, “lead me not into temptation.” That petition to God is about us not desiring things that are destructive for us. My prayer for you is that you would not desire things that are destructive for you.

Adversity

We all experience adversity in this life. Often it is how we respond to it that determines the environment we live in and the direction of our life. Adversity tests how much pressure we can actually take. “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10 NKJV) The level of our strength is determined by how we handle adversity. Do we handle adversity or does it manhandle us? As followers of Jesus our faith should govern our feelings. Jesus said to his disciples that, “we are going to the other side.” When adverse wind and waves came against the boat the disciples were afraid. Although his disciples were afraid Jesus was not afraid. Let’s make it personal. Just because we experience adversity doesn’t mean we have to be anxious. We must not allow adversity to give us anxiety. Scripture tell us “to be anxious for nothing.” When scripture tells us to do something we are then able to obey scripture through the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper. He did not come to help us to do our will. The Holy Spirit is here to help us to do God’s will. The Holy Spirit is in believers to help us to obey God’s word. When we obey God’s word we experience God’s power and provision. When others are anxious we can be peaceful. Peace is not the absence of adversity, peace is what we can release to bring change to the adversity that we may be facing. The gospel teaches us that peace was more powerful than the storm. God’s peace is more powerful than the enemy’s storm. Jesus could speak to the storm that he could sleep in. We can’t speak to a storm that we can’t sleep in it. If we can sleep in it we can speak to it. Jesus rebuked the disciples for having fear of something they had authority over. The issue was they didn’t know they had authority over the storm. When we lose our peace and give in to anxiety or fear we surrender our ability to bring kingdom influence to the adversity that we may be facing. Hold on to your peace, because you will need it especially in times of adversity.

Fit for the kingdom 

“And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:61-62 NKJV

In a world where Christians slap “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” on t-shirts everywhere, being fit for the Kingdom has nothing to do with our body and everything to do with our mentality. While I do think health is critical and very important that is not what this short blog is about. If you put anyone before the king and anything before his kingdom, you are not fit to work in and for the kingdom. Here a man wanted so say goodbye to his family. This is a perfectly good request. In our world today we could send a text, make a call, send an audio text or even leave a video message. In Jesus’ day that was not possible. Here we see a person who is more concerned with how his family feels than he is with following Jesus. We can’t put other people’s feelings before our faith. Here is the stone cold straight up reality: If we don’t put God first, biblically speaking we are idolaters. If we want God to add to us we must seek the kingdom first. We are fit for the kingdom when we put God first. When we put God first, the only direction we can move is forward. If we are following Jesus there is no time to look back, we must keep running the race looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. If you have enjoyed this blog you can see a short video on being fit for the kingdom by clicking here. If you would like to follow the brand of the shirt that Adam is wearing you can do that on Instagram @dftliving 

Entertained or Engaged ?

Often I have people ask me “are you watching this Netflix series? Or that Netflix series?” My answer is usually “no I don’t have time for a series but I do like a good war or action movie once in a while.” To be clear I did enjoy the HBO series Band of Brothers. So I guess if something strikes my interests enough I would make time to waste on a good series every once in a while. This reoccurring question has caused me to think deeply about these two questions. “Am I entertained or engaged? And are we as a culture entertained or engaged?” The answer is simple. A tree is known by it’s fruit. Entertainment produces entitlement. In that culture everything is driven by numbers, ratings, reviews and ultimately pleasing people. While engagement produces growth, progress, diligence, and faithfulness and then ultimately purpose. We can be people who are engaged in things that matter and hence we use entertainment for what it is supposed to be used for. Think of entertainment like dessert. Dessert is great once in a while. However we should not live on dessert. More often than not diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and an early death will be the results. So it is with people who live off and for entertainment. We were created to be engaged in things that really matter, because we really matter. Which means we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by entertainment. We must not allow entertainment to keep us from meaningful engagement. The proper engagements lead to long-term commitments that lead to lasting change. We must find out what really matters and give everything to and for that. We should find out what is worth dying for and live only for that. For me it’s Jesus. What is it for you? 

You are the driver 

This is your life are you who you want be? – Switchfoot

Your life is a gift given to you by God. You didn’t ask to be born, but you are here. You are a unique person with a unique purpose. You have a unique DNA code and unique finger prints. There is only one you. You are the driver of your own life. Are you going in the right direction? In other words who you become is not up to God, it’s up to you. In the first parable where Jesus taught about the kingdom of God he mentioned seed and soil. If you look closely at that parable you will see that there is nothing wrong with the seed, the issue is the soil. We are the soil, our feelings, thoughts, desires and will is the soil. We determine how fruitful we will be. We must remember that problem is not with the seed, it’s with the soil. The thoughts we entertain, what we listen to and watch. Who we permit to influence us. The choices we make help to determine who we are becoming. The relationships we have help form us for better or worse. There are a lot of things in this life that we didn’t choose, but we always choose how we respond. We are not in control of what happens to us but we are in control of our response. Remember we choose to be a victim or an overcomer based on how we respond to what happens to us. 

3 keys to being an effective communicator

First let me define what an effective communicator is. An effective communicator is someone who speaks and people listen. An effective communicator maintains the attention of his or her audience and an effective communicator would be able to leave about 75% of his or her audience knowing the main points of what it was that was being communicated. If the communication leaves room for misunderstanding it was not an effective communication.

If we want to become an effective communicator there are 3 things we must do consistently. 

1. We must be slow to speak. Meaning we must think before we speak.

2. We must mean what we say.

3. We must do what we say.

(Since none of us are perfect, when we mess up we should be quick to admit it. It is better to admit it than be accused of it.)

The more we live our message the more influential our message will become. If we don’t know what we are saying, mean what we are saying or do what we are saying we have no right to influence anyone. Our integrity is what gives us the right to influence others. We must remember that our words only have as much authority as we have integrity. We must think before we speak, mean what we say and do what we say consistently if we want to become effective communicators. 

The difference between Leaders and Managers

Leaders and Managers are very similar in some aspects but also very different in other aspects. An effective leader and manager must be both strategic and intentional.

Leaders move things forward.

Managers keep things together.

Leaders are about momentum.

Managers are about morale. 

Leaders are pioneers.

Managers are developers.

Leaders see the big picture.

Managers see the little details that are a part of the big picture.

Leaders are about significance.

Managers are about security.

Leaders are about substance.

Managers are about structure.

Leaders and Managers are both essential for the progress and development of any entity that wants to grow and thrive.

Challenge Yourself

Comfort does not produce change or growth but challenges do. If you are not being challenged you are not growing. We need friends that pick us up when we fall, correct us when we are wrong, challenge us when we are complacent and encourage us when we are weary in well doing. While it is very true that we need others, we also need to learn how to build challenges into our every day life to assure us that we are growing. Setting goals that are just beyond where we are will build a steady flow of challenges into our life if we choose to be accountable. Kris Vallotton says it this way, “accountability means you must give an account for your ability.” Challenges + accountability = Growth. Consistent growth positions you to reach your full potential.

When you intentionally build challenges into your life it helps you better handle the challenges that just seem to find you accidentally. I will share a few of the ways I am challenging myself in hopes of inspiring you. Here are a few challenges that I have worked into my life that are helping me to grow. When I run on the treadmill my last minute is usually my fastest minute. When I go to CrossFit I am working consistently to improve my rope climbing skills. Also often but not always after my CrossFit exercise I do some extra time on the bike just to get some extra cardio in just to push myself a little bit harder. Wednesday is my day off during the day, and Wednesday night is my family night. I am challenging myself to keep my rest, health and family at the top of my priority list because my longevity and legacy depends on it. My only challenge to you is for you to give someone who is trustworthy permission to challenge you and hold you accountable so that you reach your full potential.

First Impressions 

I really don’t believe in first impressions anymore. Unless I sense that someone is dangerous to my children, my wife or myself, I don’t allow my first impression of someone to define how I view them. In all honesty the first impression helps to lay a foundation for how I begin to think about a person but I have learned not to make a strong definitive idea about someone based on my first impression or on my first interaction with someone. You could be catching someone on the worst day of his or her life. They could have just lost a parent, spouse or even a child. They could have just been evicted from where they live; maybe they just got fired from their job. I think it is wise to be patient with our perceptions of other people. We should extend grace to others, and instead of immediately labeling people we should learn to love them. Something even dumber than first impressions is – second hand opinions.

Formulating a second hand opinion of someone is even more stupid than allowing a first impression to define how we see someone. It is unfair and unwise to allow someone to define how we view someone else. We can’t allow someone else’s bad experiences to keep us from good relationships. My encouragement to you is to be slow to formulate opinions of people, and don’t formulate second hand opinions of people because you would not want someone to do that to you.

3 Benefits of Patience

  1. Someone with patience is ruled from the inside out.
  2. Someone with patience is slow to speak.
  3. Someone with patience is slow to get angry.

When someone is patient they have self control. Which means they live according to their values, vision and purpose, not their circumstances. If you can control your emotions, you can control your mouth. If you can’t control your emotions you will not be able to control your mouth. If you don’t control your mouth you will damage your relationships and lose your credibility with people. Someone who is patient does not get angry fast. If you are someone who gets angry fast people will deem you unstable and untrustworthy. If people don’t trust you you cannot serve or influence them because they are skeptical of you. If we love people we will be patient with them. Patience is an expression of both love and wisdom. Love makes people feel secure, wisdom helps people become significant. Be loving and wise to yourself and with others. Embrace the slow process of growing in patience. You will feel better, have better relationships and make better decisions that will benefit you and those you love.