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.

Thankful

One day I asked my son, “Justice, what are you thankful for?” When I asked him that he started to name who he is thankful for. He didn’t name things, he named people. He reminded me what really matters. People matter. You matter, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you stopped by my blog for a quick read. I hope it encourages you. This blog is not about me, it’s for you. I am thankful for the relationships God has allowed me to have. The scriptures teach us that we enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving. The scriptures teach us to live with an attitude of gratitude. We are taught that it’s God’s will that we are always thankful. When we are thankful we live with the correct perspective, we live from God’s presence toward our circumstances.

Jesus was teaching the multitudes for several days. They were hungry and so the disciples wanted to send them away. Jesus commanded the disciples to feed the multitudes. What he commanded them to do was impossible in the natural. They found a boys lunch. The lunch was brought to Jesus, he lifted it to heaven, thanked God for it, blessed it and gave it to his disciples to pass out to the multitudes. There were 5,000 men in attendance not counting women and children. Thankfulness is what opened the door to the impossible and through the obedience of faith the miraculous was manifested. When we are thankful we are inviting God to invade our circumstances with his power and provision. I am thankful that God will finish the work that he began in us. You can be thankful to Jesus and confident in his work in you. What he has began he will complete so don’t quit.

Getting Unstuck 

God is not in control 

Self-awareness 

It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value. 

We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential. 

Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch. 

Intensify 

The Pressure Relief Valve of Prayer

Unforgiveness | Bitterness | Deception

When we have unforgiveness in our life it changes the way we see reality. It even distorts how we see ourselves. When we have unforgiveness it feels like the whole world owes us something. When we have unforgiveness we are defined by what someone did to us or didn’t do for us. When we forgive we defined by what Jesus did for us. Unforgiveness even affects things that have nothing to do with the reason why we may have unforgiveness in the first place. Unforgiveness in one area of our life leads to bondage and deception in other areas of our life. Unforgiveness quickly turns into bitterness. Bitterness is poison to our soul, and it’s poison to those who hear and listen to us. Have you ever heard or said something that was right but felt totally wrong? That may be because it’s coming from a bitter root. If we want to move forward we must forgive. The only one unforgiveness holds hostage is us. Our future depends on us forgiving and letting the past go. If we let the past go it will let us go. Whether we are forgiving ourself or someone else, forgiveness is a key that opens up the doors to our destiny.

Relationships 

There is a reason why a high percentage of American’s are lonely. The National Science Foundation reported in its General Social Survey that unprecedented numbers of American’s are lonely. One study based on 1500 face to face interviews found that more than a quarter of the respondents had no one with whom they could talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If family members are not counted, the number doubles to more than half of Americans who have no one outside their immediate family with whom they can share confidences. Why is this so? The answer to that question is no doubt a multi-layered one, one which would by itself occupy many articles and research data. But I want to make a simple observation from my own experience. Relationships are difficult, and generally speaking those relationships which can handle the weight of the deeper discussions of life are the most difficult of all.

Yet it is this very business of relationships to which the follower of Jesus is persuasively called upon to give their most serious attention. Peter speaks to this in 1 Peter 1:22: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Pay attention to the weightiness of Peter’s words “sincere love for each other, deeply from the heart.” When I read those words I find them staggering because it describes a quality of relationship that seems so rare, and if the Social Survey mentioned in the first paragraph is true it is rare for most of the adult population of the U.S. And I suspect it is also rare among Christian people.It is the challenge of trust, vulnerability and the necessary persistence over time which close friendship requires that makes it a work which many of us simply will not carve out sufficient time to make a reality. Os Guinness notes “Life fired at us point blank becomes the survival of the fastest. As a Kenyan saying goes, “Westerners have watches, Africans have time.” This is one of the great temptations of our era the temptation to yield to the notion that there simply isn’t enough time to build these kinds of relationships. And it is not only the appearance that sufficient time isn’t available to take our relationships deeper  but there are numerous issues which close quarter relationships inevitably bring us face to face with conflict, and the need to communicate about these inevitable frictions that emerge when we seek close friendship with one another. It’s much easier to simply keep your distance. Let things remain superficial and lighthearted.

Yet scripture makes clear that there is something critical to our spiritual growth which is tied to our relationships, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) In the economy of God, the challenges which occur in our relationships are essential to brining about growth in our character and the quality of our love growth which comes only in this way. It is therefore no exaggeration to say from the vantage point of Scripture that the quality of life in which we must grow is precisely in the area of relationships. According to John’s recollections it was among the last things Jesus said before he was arrested and then executed: John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This is one of the reasons why Christianity doesn’t have much appeal to lonely Americans, hungry for friendship. For when Westerners think about depth, Christianity is too often not the place where searching people turn for that substance. Yet, one of the most common images of the church in the New Testament is family, as though God intended for those who might have suffered with poor family life an opportunity to recapitulate the family experience with brothers and sisters who sincerely and from the depths of their hearts love one another. Could this have been what Jesus had in mind when he made love a cornerstone of what was to characterize his movement? A movement of friendships rooted in the Divine friendship?

By : Scott Pursley

Scott Pursley is a Psychologist and the Lead Pastor of Christ Fellowship in Cranford, NJ. Click here to visit the website of Christ Fellowship.