#temptation – Temptation in the Time of Isolation

Isolate

Temptation in the Time of Isolation

Human beings do better in community. We are social beings and no one is an Island to themselves. We need others. All cliches but all true.  This is a fact. We are social beings created in the image of a God who is revealed to us as a social being, three persons in One essence (The Trinity – Matthew 28:19-20).

There is great spiritual danger when we withdraw from others. That is because an individual often pulls away so that they can do what they want to do without others interfering.  Proverbs 18:1 tells us that “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Because of the dangers involved in going it alone Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 reminds that “Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

On account of Covid 19 we are all physically isolating on some level or another from each another. Because of this isolation, it is my opinion that we are more vulnerable to temptation. We are alone. We have idle time on our hands. We are out of sync schedule wise. We may be discouraged or feel somewhat deserted at times. That is why I believe we are so vulnerable.

Let me suggest five simple things we can do to deal with temptation in the time of isolation. In examining the life of Jesus, who is our example as well as Lord and Savior, we note a time that He was isolated. We also see how He handled the temptations that came His way in that isolation. Let’s look at Luke 4:1-13, aptly titled Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, to learn from His example. Please read it now then check out my thoughts below.

wilderness

As we read the story we find the first principle in Luke 4:1 which says  “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness”

  1. In our isolation we need to be controlled and led by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus needed to be controlled by the Holy Spirit how much more you and I. Galatians 5:16 exhorts us “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. This is the time we need to walk as close to God as we possibly can. Walking in the Spirit means being dependent on and controlled by the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

 

Next, we read in Luke 4:2 that “For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.”

  1. In our isolation we need to recognize that we are indeed vulnerable and that this could go on for a while. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:12 tells us “Let him who thinks he stand, take heeds, lest he fall”. You and I most humbly admit to the Lord that we can’t stand alone. We need His help. We are vulnerable. We could fail or fall or both.

In Luke 4:3-12 we read of Jesus being tempted in three areas: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.

  1. In our isolation we need to be aware of the areas in which we will be tempted. 1 John 2:15-16 reflects this saying “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” We will be tempted or are being tempted in one or all three of these areas as we are isolated. Count on it.

Also in Luke 4:3-12 we see Jesus using the Word of God to combat temptation. Three times He says “it is written” as He does battle with Satan and temptation.

  1. In our isolation we need to be familiar with and use the Scriptures to deal with temptation. In our battle we are told in Ephesians 6:17- “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Word is our best weapon in this hand to hand combat we do with temptation.

Finally in Luke 4:13 we read that “when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” In other words, this was not the last of Jesus being tempted by the devil.

  1. In our isolation we need to know that beating temptation once doesn’t mean we are done with temptation. It will visit it again. It will find another “opportune time”. Jesus told his disciples to “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

 

In overcoming the temptations He faced in Luke 4 our Lord is giving us a model for overcoming the temptations we will face in and out of isolation. He isolated himself purposefully. We would be wise not to isolate ourselves unless we absolutely have too. He had to be tempted from the outside. Most of our temptations come from within. James tells us “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15).

In closing let’s have a little review by way of a few simple questions.

  1. Am I right now being controlled by the Holy Spirit? If there is any doubt, I need to take a few moments and confess my sins to the Lord and yield myself to Him to control me and fill me with His Holy Spirit. I need the Spiritual power that comes from Him.

 

  1. Am I right now aware of how spiritually dangerous being isolated can be? If my attitude is or has been “I got this” I need to humbly come before the Lord and let Him deal with my arrogance and pride. Pride really does come before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)

 

  1. Am I right now aware of the areas that temptation could hit me? Am I aware of my achilles heel, the area I am must vulnerable in. If not, maybe I need to walk thru what the desires of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the pride of life look like in my life and assess my weaknesses. There is a good chance I am being tempted in one of these areas right now.

 

  1. Am I a person who has the Word of God at the ready to face temptation? If not, may be I need to make a file card list of Bible verses that I have at my disposal to deal with the temptations that I face.

 

  1. Finally, am I a person who has let down their guard having had some success against temptation? Surely, we all need to be remembering that one battle does not win the whole war. Temptation will always be an issue for us.

 

Jesus gives us an amazing example in Luke 4 of how to deal with temptation. He demonstrates the truths for dealing with temptation while alone for 40 days in the wilderness. Each of us need to latch onto how Jesus dealt with temptation in this story. As we do, we will have success in our own temptation in isolation.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#urgentprayerneeded – Please pray with me.

#urgentprayerneeded – Please pray with me.

President Trump on Saturday warned the nation of a deadly week ahead in the fight against the coronavirus as the number of Americans infected passed 300,000. “This will probably be the toughest week — between this week and next week,” Trump said Saturday at the beginning of his coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately. But a lot less death than if this wasn’t done,” Trump said of the nationwide precautions underway. “But there will be death.”

Please pray with me and stand in the gap between the angel of death and the many people who could die like David did (1 Chronicles 21:26–27 – And David built there an altar to the LORD and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.)

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”

Please pray with me in asking the Lord for the apex to be on Good Friday and the decline to begin on Easter Sunday.

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”

Please pray with me for the mercy of God so that far less will perish than expected.

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”

Please pray with me that our political leaders will seek the Lord and admit our need for Him in this hour like the King of Nineveh did. (Jonah 3:6–9 – The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”)

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”

Please pray with me for the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, EMS workers that God will sustain them in this most difficult of weeks.

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”me

Please pray with  for those with this disease, some on ventilators, some in the hospital, some at home, for the healing hand of God on them and the salvation of souls

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”me

Please pray with me for all the needed resources including ventilators as well as for a definitive cure.

In the spirit of Palm Sunday we cry Hosanna – “Save Us Now”

In Jesus Name, Amen

 

Pastor Dave Watson

A Prayer in these difficult times from Chris Rendinaro

   Father, please relieve the families in our congregations and bear them up; let them take refuge in You and hide themselves in Christ Who is their life. Abba Father, we cry out to You for aid and deliverance. You alone can help us; please have mercy on us and lift this virus from our heads. 

   Hear our laments before You as we place them at the throne of grace. We come to You with Christ for our High Priest for help in time of need. You alone, O Christ, are able to save us to the uttermost. Give us the power to run the race set before us with endurance, looking to You Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Not all of us have yet suffered onto the point of death. We look on the great cloud of witnesses around us on earth and in heaven, and we shake off the sins that so easily beset us, and we strain ahead toward You, O Christ. Let us know that by Your perfect blood shed, we are cleansed from a defiled conscience and dead works to serve You, our living God. Give us Your Spirit by Whom we may overcome the flesh and be filled with the life of Christ. Please deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

     Relieve our financial woes, let us protect our homes, protect our elderly, vulnerable, and immune-compromised. Give a peculiar portion of Your Spirit to all the medical workers on the front, like You did for the tabernacle builders and for the judges of old. Strengthen essential workers who are also still out in public in the workforce facing exposure to the virus. Their jobs are indispensable, but their lives and families are at risk thereby. Give them the peace that surpasses understanding. Cover them under Your wings. Touch us, Lord, that we might have faith to persevere.

     Give Your church a special filling to be able to weep with those who weep as we will enter into great grief. If hospitals are being mobilized around the country for sick bodies, may your Church mend hearts and souls. YOU are the Great Physician. You have come not for the righteous but FOR THE SICK. Heal us, Lord Jesus, like You did in the gospels. It may be Your will that many be healed in heaven only and not here and now. But we ask for mercy’s sake that it be now. Do what is pleasing in Your sight. We can only wait on You. Help us to watch and pray, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

    May Your same power, O God, with which you raised Christ from the dead, be now in Your church, to minister Your gospel in this season the way that You intend for us to do. This work of ours in the current climate is one which You have prepared for us from before the foundation of the world that we should walk in — so that the boasting may be all in You. For we are Your workmanship in Christ Jesus, fearfully and wonderfully made. We ask to be Your vessels fit for use in Your house. Please do this to the praise of the glory of Your grace, amen.

Forty Days of Focus – Wednesday April 1st – Sunday, May 10th

Forty Days of Focus – Wednesday April 1st – Sunday, May 10th

Hebrews 12:1–2  – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Looking unto Jesus

We are in a marathon not a sprint when it comes to dealing with this virus and its effects on those we love, on our neighbors and on our city. Right now it may feel like we can’t get through this or we can’t get through this without losing our minds and maybe even our faith. I am confident that with the Lord’s help we certainly can. The author of Hebrews, writing in the first century, knew how hard things were going to get for the followers of Christ under the Roman Persecution. He gives them some very pointed and sound advice near the end of His epistle in Hebrews 12:1-2.

He tells them first that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. He is talking about those individuals found in Hebrews 11. These people, by faith, did some amazing things and made it through some very tough times. Look at the ones highlighted in Hebrews 11:35-37

“Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—  By faith others have made it through some very hard times and so can we.”

He also tells us to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely”. We can’t run if we are carrying extra weight. Our bad habits serve only to slow us. Our pettiness only weighs us down. We will not make it to the end of the race if we are being tripped up by the sins that we want to hold on to. They will cause to slip up and cause us to stumble. They race is hard enough. Let’s drop the baggage of bad habits and pettiness and cut the cord to the sins that will trip us up so that we can run unencumbered.

He goes to tell us that we must “run the race that is set before us”. This is a good reminder that everybody’s race is going to be different. There are similarities in our journey, but no two journeys are the same.  You shouldn’t try and run my race and I shouldn’t try and run yours. I have a race to run so I am to do everything I can to run it.

The writer also tells us to run this race of ours with perseverance. The race is hard. The race is long. We will need to persevere. The Greek word for perseverance here is “upomene” which means “to remain under”. The pressure is very great and we must remain under the pressure in spite of our desire to flee it or to check out.

So far we should take these specific truths from this text. First, we are surrounded by a group of witnesses who give testimony to the fact that the race can be run. Secondly, we must lay aside our weights and sins so that we are not hindered in running this race. Thirdly, we are to run our race and run it with perseverance.

Finally, we are being told that we are in for some tough days ahead, very tough days. Remember. this is a marathon beloved not a sprint. How are we going to get through this spiritually intact? How are we going to be strong in the storm? The author of Hebrews concluded this charge with some powerful advice as his readers were facing a marathon of trials called the Roman Persecution. That advice applies to us today. He told them to be “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Our Faith” – We are told in the middle of our marathon to fix our attention on Jesus. That means we are to keep our focus on Him. With everything else going on Jesus needs to be the center of the attention of our hearts and minds. He ran the race start to finish with success. He is our example, our strength and our goal. A simple but profound command. “Fix Your Eyes On Jesus.”

How are we going focus on Jesus in this crisis? I suggest for the next 40 days each of us resolve to do the following:

 

  1. We are going to “let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly” – Attached is a reading schedule for the next 40 days. Jump in anywhere you join us on the journey.

40 Days of Focus Bible Reading

2. We are going to attempt to pray every day using the Lord’s Prayer as an outline. Attached is a basic outline to use.

Slide2

3. We are going to focus on Jesus through the teaching of Michael Youssef – Check him out below at Right Now Media – https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/244919 – Watch and enjoy the series. Here’s a link to set up your own free account

https://accounts.rightnowmedia.org/Account/Invite/calvarychapelsi?returnUrl=https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Account/Media/InviteReturn

4. We are going to seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our neighborhoods to our neighbors – Everyday please pray for your neighbors and regularly check up on them. You are the shepherd of your neighborhood. You are Jesus to them.

5. We are going to seek to be a witness for our Lord by sharing with others about Him via text messaging, Facebook, Instagram and emails. We will be sending you a link to do that with the people you know in the next day or so.

I am confident that Hebrews 12:1-2 and the strong advice it gives applies directly to us and our situation. I am equally confident that by focusing on Jesus for the next 40 days we can not only survive but also thrive in these difficult times. So my brothers and sisters, let us run the race set before us fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Watson