Thursday, July 05, 2012

Daily Devotional Thursday 5th July

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12 NIV
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Today's reading: Job 28-29, Acts 13:1-25 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway 

Job 28

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
    1 There is a mine for silver 
   and a place where gold is refined. 
2 Iron is taken from the earth, 
   and copper is smelted from ore. 
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness; 
   they search out the farthest recesses 
   for ore in the blackest darkness. 
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft, 
   in places untouched by human feet; 
   far from other people they dangle and sway. 
5 The earth, from which food comes, 
   is transformed below as by fire; 
6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks, 
   and its dust contains nuggets of gold. 
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, 
   no falcon’s eye has seen it. 
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, 
   and no lion prowls there. 
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands 
   and lay bare the roots of the mountains. 
10 They tunnel through the rock; 
   their eyes see all its treasures. 
11 They search the sources of the rivers 
   and bring hidden things to light.
   12 But where can wisdom be found? 
   Where does understanding dwell? 
13 No mortal comprehends its worth; 
   it cannot be found in the land of the living. 
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”; 
   the sea says, “It is not with me.” 
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold, 
   nor can its price be weighed out in silver. 
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, 
   with precious onyx or lapis lazuli. 
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, 
   nor can it be had for jewels of gold. 
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; 
   the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. 
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; 
   it cannot be bought with pure gold.
   20 Where then does wisdom come from? 
   Where does understanding dwell? 
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, 
   concealed even from the birds in the sky. 
22 Destruction and Death say, 
   “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.” 
23 God understands the way to it 
   and he alone knows where it dwells, 
24 for he views the ends of the earth 
   and sees everything under the heavens. 
25 When he established the force of the wind 
   and measured out the waters, 
26 when he made a decree for the rain 
   and a path for the thunderstorm, 
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; 
   he confirmed it and tested it. 
28 And he said to the human race, 
   “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, 
   and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job 29

Job’s Final Defense
    1 Job continued his discourse:
   2 “How I long for the months gone by, 
   for the days when God watched over me, 
3 when his lamp shone on my head 
   and by his light I walked through darkness! 
4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, 
   when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 
5 when the Almighty was still with me 
   and my children were around me, 
6 when my path was drenched with cream 
   and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
   7 “When I went to the gate of the city 
   and took my seat in the public square, 
8 the young men saw me and stepped aside 
   and the old men rose to their feet; 
9 the chief men refrained from speaking 
   and covered their mouths with their hands; 
10 the voices of the nobles were hushed, 
   and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 
11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me, 
   and those who saw me commended me, 
12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help, 
   and the fatherless who had none to assist them. 
13 The one who was dying blessed me; 
   I made the widow’s heart sing. 
14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; 
   justice was my robe and my turban. 
15 I was eyes to the blind 
   and feet to the lame. 
16 I was a father to the needy; 
   I took up the case of the stranger. 
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked 
   and snatched the victims from their teeth.
   18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, 
   my days as numerous as the grains of sand. 
19 My roots will reach to the water, 
   and the dew will lie all night on my branches. 
20 My glory will not fade; 
   the bow will be ever new in my hand.’
   21 “People listened to me expectantly, 
   waiting in silence for my counsel. 
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more; 
   my words fell gently on their ears. 
23 They waited for me as for showers 
   and drank in my words as the spring rain. 
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; 
   the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; 
   I dwelt as a king among his troops; 
   I was like one who comforts mourners.

Acts 13

1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
On Cyprus
    4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
   6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
   Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
In Pisidian Antioch
    13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
   16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.
   “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
   23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

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Achbor [Ăch'bôr]—a mouse.
  1. Father of Baal-hanan and king of Edom (Gen. 36:38391 Chron. 1:49).
  2. Son of Michaiah and one of Josiah’s messengers (2 Kings 22:1214). Called Abdon in 2 Chronicles 34:20.
  3. A Jew, whose son Elnathan was sent by Jehoiakim to bring back Urijah the prophet from Egypt (Jer. 26:2236:12).

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The Coming of Elijah

Matthew 17:9-13 "I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands" ( v. 12).
Puritan commentator Matthew Henry remarks that "there is a proneness in good men to expect the crown without the cross." This is a comment on Matthew 17:1-8 and Peter's desire to build "tents," or "tabernacles" (kjv), for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (v. 4 ). Peter is rebuked for his wish indirectly - the Father silences the apostle when He proclaims His Son's identity (vv. 5-6). Once more, Peter has missed the whole picture about the Savior. He thinks it is time to celebrate the fullness of the messianic age according toZechariah 14:16-19, a vision of the Feast of Booths (or, the Feast of Tabernacles; see Lev. 23:33-44) on the Day of the Lord. But as Jesus has said, the full revelation of His glory can come only after the cross (Matt. 16:21-23).
Christ repeats this principle in today's passage, forbidding His disciples to tell of Jesus' glory until after His resurrection vindicates His faithful life and suffering death (17:9 ). Again, He does not want the populace to impose their misguided assumptions upon Him and rise up against Rome. Even the disciples do not yet understand the Messiah's call to suffer, and so His glory must be concealed lest the empire attempt to silence Jesus before His ministry is finished.
Our Lord's disciples are confused after Jesus mentions His death, especially since they have just seen Elijah (v. 10). Based on Malachi 4:5-6 , first-century Jews looked for Elijah's return to restore righteousness in Israel and bring reconciliation between God's people prior to the messianic age. The disciples cannot see how Christ's death can follow this renewal, for how can the Messiah be killed if He comes during the age of justice inaugurated in Elijah? Jesus explains that they rightly expect Elijah to restore all things (Matt. 17:11 ). However, the disciples must also understand that Elijah's restoration will not include all the physical sons of Abraham and therefore not create an environment of universal holiness. An "utter destruction" inMalachi 4:6 falls on the impenitent, implying that some will fail to repent and live accordingly when Elijah comes. As Malachi predicted, the new Elijah was rejected, even executed by the authorities (Matt. 14:1-12 ). This will set the stage for the Messiah to be likewise killed (17:12-13).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

John Calvin writes on today's passage that Elijah's restoration "does not mean that John the Baptist restored them perfectly, but that he conveyed and handed them over to Christ, who would complete the work which he had begun." In His ministry, atonement, and resurrection, Jesus finished the task necessary to bring repentance to Israel and the nations. Today He uses us to proclaim this work to the world. When was the last time you preached the Gospel to someone in need?
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 

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The Song of the Cross

Even the best people sometimes suffer
Psalm 22:18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
Superficially, the Old Testament can sometimes read like the plot of an old movie. The good guys are the Israelites, and they fight with the bad guys from nations around them. The Israelites have moments when they get off track, worshiping idols and acting like their "bad guy" neighbors. But when they turn back to God, they invariably win, and win big. The ending, in story after story, is happy. God is on their side.
Yet, in Psalm 22 and a few other places, the "good guy" story doesn't fit at all. This poem, credited to David, the great king and man after God's "own heart" ( 1 Samuel 13:14), tells of tremendous suffering with no relief from God. It sounds like a mob scene, a lynching. The "good guy's" enemies have him. They surround him, jeering, like a pack of dogs. He is helpless and exhausted. All he can do is cry to God.
The psalmist wavers back and forth, first crying out in misery, then taking stock of God's wonderful character, then describing his misery again. The whole poem is a prayer to God. Although this cry has gone up day and night (see Psalm 22:2), God remains silent.
Whose Humiliations?
Then, in Psalm 22:22, the poem takes a dramatic turn, switching from grief to jubilation. Somehow, God has saved the sufferer, who, in great excitement, tells others about it. He sees more than his own good fortune: He foresees this deliverance spilling over into the whole world. He predicts the story of God's help told to future generations forever. God will be worshiped by the entire world.
A person might read Psalm 22 as an extravagantly poetic description of David's troubles. But Jesus and the writers of the New Testament saw something more in it. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he had this psalm on his lips (see Matthew 27:46). Afterward when his disciples wanted to explain Jesus' life and sufferings, they turned to this psalm and others like it.
In them the disciples saw a pattern and a foreshadowing. The pattern is redemptive suffering. If good guys do not always win, if God seems actually to desert them-if David himself, the great leader and true man of God, knew these pains-then surely no one is exempt. And this suffering has a point. After it (and because of it) come victory and power, and the salvation of the world. This pattern helped Jesus' followers appreciate why Jesus, along with his followers, had to suffer.
A Fulfillment of Prophecy
Psalm 22 also helped the New Testament writers to see Jesus' life as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Jews had expected a Warrior-Messiah, a son of David who, like David, would lead his people to victory through battle. In Psalm 22 they saw that David had left another legacy: victory through suffering. The Messiah would lead his followers in suffering. Only Isaiah had put it more clearly, in his famous "servant" passages (see Isaiah 42:1-949:1-750:4-952:13-53:12). Psalm 22 stretches beyond the time of David; Jesus fits it perfectly.
Life Questions
Have you ever seen good come out of suffering for your friends or family?
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At Issue - Body Image

How would you describe your body? Would you use the words "living sacrifice"? Do you view your body as God's? Or do you compare your appearance to others' and worry about what others think of your body, primarily because you want to be noticed or to feel a sense of approval? The purpose of your body, in fact the purpose of your life, is to glorify God by loving him and loving others. It's not about you. It's really not about you. It's about laying down your life-heart, mind, soul and body-all for the sake of God's kingdom.
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DISCOVER YOUR HEROIC SPIRITUAL ANCESTORS

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised… Hebrews 11:39
Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”
It was early 1980’s in a village in Czechoslovakia, and I had just given the pastor of a rural church a Bible in his own tongue. It was leather bound, with a gold zipper, and was the first complete Bible he had held. I remember him sniffing it, marveling at the leather smell, playing with the zip and being almost afraid to touch the thin precious pages. Then he began to talk to the members of the church. Pointing at me he said, “This gentleman is your heroic spiritual ancestor. Every time the Bible comes into a culture, it is a threat, and is opposed. So it takes men and women to risk all to bring it to us. This man has taken such a risk.”
I was embarrassed, but he went on to say to me, “The Bible also came into your culture. It was also a threat. Tell me, who are your heroic spiritual ancestors?” I am ashamed to say I did not have a clear idea of who these men were in my country of the United Kingdom.
So I returned to my country with his challenge ringing in my ears, “Find out the story of how your Bible came to you, and you will discover your heroic spiritual ancestors.”
What a dramatic story I uncovered. Full of spies, deaths and power politics. I learned so much about John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English in the world of the 1300’s, when most clergy could not even recite the Ten Commandments. He formed a cadre of guerilla preachers to comb the country, with hand copied versions of the Bible, a book banned by Parliament. Wycliffe died of a stroke from the strain.
In the 1500’s, William Tyndale benefited from the invention of the printing press. He had to leave England to accomplish the task, never to return. At age twenty-nine in 1524, he settled in Cologne, and by 1526 was ready to smuggle 6000 copies of the Bible in English into Britain. The whole British naval fleet was put on alert, and boats were stopped and searched. First tens and then hundreds of the Bibles got through. The bishop of London tried another tack. He sought to buy the entire print run through an intermediary. His intention was to burn them all. Tyndale got wind of it, and approved the sale, saying, “Oh he will burn them. Well, I am the gladder, for I shall get the money from these books, and the whole world shall cry out upon the burning of God’s Word.” And so it was. He burned them, and Tyndale used the money to improve the translation and print more…at the church’s expense.
Tyndale was captured by assassins and then strangled and burned in August 1536 for “heresy.” His last words were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” This prayer was swiftly answered, and the English reformation was quickly fueled by a spate of translations. What a story it was. And what heroism from my spiritual ancestors!
RESPONSE: Today I will thank God for my spiritual ancestors who brought God’s Word to my land.
PRAYER: Ask God if you may somehow, someday, be used to bring His Word to needy people.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

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Day 34

Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be verbalized. It is certain that the spirit of self-justification can only be overcome by the spirit of grace; and it is just as certain that the individual judgmental thought can be limited and suppressed by never allowing it to be spoken except as a confession of sin.... Thus it must be a decisive rule of all Christian community life that each individual is prohibited from talking about another Christian in secret. It is clear and will be shown in what follows that this prohibition does not include the word of admonition that is spoken personally to one another. However, talking about others in secret is not allowed even under the pretense of help and goodwill. For it is precisely in this guise that the spirit of hatred between believers always creeps in, seeking to cause trouble.

Biblical Wisdom

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Questions to Ponder

  • Talking with people about someone else you are having trouble with when they are not there is called "triangulation." In what ways does triangulation harm a community of faith?
  • How can a community of faith enforce the rule "that each individual is prohibited from talking about another Christian in secret"?
  • Would this be a good rule to generalize and apply to the workplace, school, families, among friends? Why, or why not?

Psalm Fragment

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
   keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not turn my heart to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
   in company with those who work iniquity.... Psalm 141:3-4

Journal Reflections

  • Have you ever experienced being triangulated․being talked about negatively when you where not there? If so, write about the experience. How did it feel?
  • Have you ever engaged in triangulation? If so, write about the experience. How did it feel?

Prayer for Today

Spirit of love, may the words I speak be the kind that build people up.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
Missed the first couple devotionals in this series, or want to re-read an earlier devotional? You can find a complete online archive of Bonhoeffer devotionals at BibleGateway.com. The first devotional can be found here.
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One of the most widely admired theologians of the 20th century, Bonhoeffer was a profound yet clear thinker. Klug selects significant passages from his works, pairs them with appropriate Scripture, sets up a journal-writing exercise, and concludes with prayer.

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The Coming of Elijah

John Calvin writes on today's passage that Elijah's restoration "does not mean that John the Baptist restored them perfectly, but that he conveyed and handed them over to Christ, who would complete the work which he had begun." In His ministry, atonement, and resurrection, Jesus finished the task necessary to bring repentance to Israel and the nations. Today He uses us to proclaim this work to the world. When was the last time you preached the Gospel to someone in need?
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 

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The bridgeless gulf

‘Beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.’Luke 16:26
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:5–12
Heaven is rest, perfect rest—but there is no rest in hell; it is labour in the fire, but no ease, no peace, no sleep, no calm, no quiet; everlasting storm; eternal hurricane; unceasing tempest. In the worst disease, there are some respites: spasms of agony, but then pauses of repose. There is no pause in hell’s torments. The dreadful music of the eternal miserere has not so much as a single stop in it. It is on, on, on, with crash of battle, and dust and blood, and fire and vapour of smoke. Heaven, too, is a place of joy ; there happy fingers sweep celestial chords; there joyous spirits sing hosannahs day without night; but there is no joy in hell; for music there is the groan; for joy there is the pang; for sweet fellowship there is the binding up in bundles; for everything that is blissful there is everything that is dolorous. No, I could not exaggerate, that were impossible; I cannot come up to the doleful facts, therefore there I leave them. Nothing of the joy of heaven can ever come to hell. Heaven is the place of sweet communionwith God—
‘There they behold his face,
And never, never sin;
There from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in.’
There is no communion with God in hell. There are prayers, but they are unheard; there are tears, but they are unaccepted; there are cries for pity, but they are all an abomination unto the Lord. God wills not the death of any; he had rather that he should turn unto him and live, but if that grace be refused, then eternal vengeance is his portion.
For meditation: ‘There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin’—but the only route is from earth to heaven; there never has been and there never will be a route from hell to heaven (Luke 13:24–28).
Sermon no. 518
5 July (1863)

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July 4, 2012
Making Right Choices
Mary Southerland
Today's Truth
Don't turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths (Proverbs 4:27, NLT).
Friend to Friend
I have learned a lot from the people God has put in my life over the years, but some of my greatest teachers have been and are our children and grandchildren.
Our son-in-law was sharing a recent experience he had at dinner with our three-year-old grandson, Justus. Evidently, our daughter had asked Justus to do something during the day. Justus flashed his most charming smile and promptly did the opposite of what his mother asked him to do, proud of his toddler version of defiance. His mother was not as pleased. She corrected him and shared the experience with her husband.
That night, over dinner, Sam said, "Justus, did Momma ask you to do something today?" Justus immediately remembered the incident and lowered his head. "Yes, daddy, she did." Sam gently continued, "Son, we have to do what Momma says, okay? We have to make good choices." Justus thought for a moment. You could almost see the mental wheels turning as he contemplated the words of his dad. With a sigh and fierce conviction Justus responded, "But Daddy, I don't wike making right choices!" And there you have it. The perfect description of the battle between our old nature and the new nature we receive when we surrender our lives to God. It is the beginning of an internal civil war between obedience and disobedience to God. And if you are like Justus … and his Mimi … there are times when you don't like making the right choice either.
At the close of the sermon, a church member came forward to speak with the pastor. He was very upset because of the sin in his life and his blatant disobedience to God. With tears streaming down his face, the repentant man took the pastor's hand to confess that his life was full of sin, but what came out was, "My sin is full of life." I can relate.
I don't know about you, but my sin is definitely "full of life." I am always amused but also saddened by people who think that just because I am in full time ministry, I am holier than they are, better than they are or don't have to battle sin like they do. Just ask my husband and children. They will blow that theory right out of the water. The fact is, as long as I live in this fallen world and sport this frail humanity, I will wrestle with sin and making right choices. 
However, I have refined several tactics for dealing with my sinful nature. Rationalization is one of my personal favorites. And there is always the handy comparison ploy – measuring my sin against the sin of another. At times, I subscribe to the popular "bury it and hope it will go away" tactic. The reality is that nothing satisfies the payment sin demands except the blood of Jesus Christ, and my response to His sacrifice in true, unadulterated repentance -- on my face before my Holy God. 
When we turn our lives over to God, He sets our feet on the right path. But to stay on that path requires a continual choice to run from sin. With our flawed choices, we take side trips, create detours and wind up on the wrong road headed in the wrong direction. Solomon warns us to stay away from evil paths. "Don't turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths" (Proverbs 4:27 , NLT). "Keep away" literally means "to turn aside or drag from." In other words, when we see sin or even the opportunity to sin, we should turn around and run in the opposite direction. We should "drag ourselves" away from sin. What do we do instead? We flirt with sin. We want to be delivered from temptation but would really like to keep in touch. We pray for God to "lead us not into temptation" and then deliberately place ourselves in its path. In our arrogance, we think we can handle sin and the temptation to sin on our own. That very attitude is an open invitation for the enemy, daring him to take his best shot.  
My husband, Dan, was the pastor of Flamingo Road Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for many years. A man of great wisdom, Dan was adamant about the fact that neither he nor his staff should ever put themselves in a situation that flirted with sin or made it easier to sin. Solid wooden office doors were replaced with glass doors. No pastor was allowed to meet with a woman for any reason unless one of the other staff members was present. A staff counselor was hired to handle anyone needing more than one counseling session. The staff often went to lunch following their regular Tuesday morning staff meeting and even though the restaurant was literally across the street from the church, no man was allowed to ride alone with a woman. Sound ridiculous?  Seem absurd? Not at all! Dan simply refused to provide ammunition for the enemy. The bottom line is that it's foolish and dangerous to flirt with sin.
There is no holding pattern for believers nor can we live in a neutral state. We are either going forward or backward. We are either being renewed or consumed. Girlfriend, do not relinquish any more life territory to the enemy. Run from sin … and commit to making right choices.
Let's Pray
Father, forgive me for the sin in my life. Right now, I choose to turn away from that sin. I turn to You, Lord. I know that I am lost and totally helpless without You. Thank You for the unconditional love and unending forgiveness that I find in You. Give me the strength and wisdom to make right choices that please and honor You. 
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (NIV).
Consider the following promises found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. What do they mean to you and how do they apply to your life?
  • No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
  • God is faithful.
  • He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
  • He will provide a way out.
More from the Girlfriends
While it is true that we all face many temptations every single day, it is just as true that God will strengthen us to withstand each one. Need help? Mary's E-Book Bible Study, Winning the War with Temptation, offers five steps you can take to help you resist temptation and live a life of victory.
If you need help learning how to understand and apply the truths of God, enroll in Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106


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