What is your temptation …

Depositphotos_15595965_m-2015Love of Money?

Love of Junk Food?

Lifestyle choice and dilemma concept as a two human faces one made of fresh green vegetables and fruit and the other head shaped with greasy fast food as hamburgers and fried foods as a symbol of nutrition facts and healthy living issues.

Shot of a passionate young people in love.    Love of illicit passion?


Armor Up words in 3d letters on a gold shield to illustrate protecting yourself from danger

These are just a few examples of the myriad of temptations out there to trip us up. When you are drawn like a magnet to something that you know is not good for you—yet you lose all reason where this something or someone is concerned—that is temptation. Because Satan is allowed to “prowl around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB), we must have a defense for evil enticements that come our way. We all have weak spots, vulnerabilities—and Satan has a laser pointed directly at these spots. What is your weakness? Is it emotional, physical, material, or intellectual? How do you say no when temptation comes?

First, understand that it is not a sin to be tempted, for even Jesus was tempted by Satan. The human part of Him was tempted, but the Spirit of God in Him kept Him from doing evil. He was literally God incarnate, God in human form. Yet, because He was tempted, we can have confidence that He understands our weakness when we fall to temptation.

Standing against temptation without spiritual armor is akin to going into battle without bodily protection or a weapon. There are several pieces of armor necessary to prevent your falling prey to the Enemy. As all good soldiers, you must train yourself to be fit for battle (Ephesians 6:10–17 NASB):

  • Helmet of Salvation: Are you saved? Have you been born again by trusting Jesus as your personal Savior? Are you certain if you died while reading this that you would be in the presence of the Lord for eternity?
  • Sword of the Spirit: Do you read the Word of God consistently? Do you trust it to be your guide through life? Do you hunger to know God better through scripture?
  • Belt of Truth: Are you confident of the Truth, and do you practice truth in everything? Does God’s Truth change the way you think and react?
  • Breastplate of Righteousness: Are you confident of your righteousness through Christ? Are you willing to stand firm against the schemes of the devil using righteousness as your banner of courage and strength?
  • Feet Shod with Gospel of Peace: Have you prepared yourself with the message of the Gospel which brings peace to all mankind? Are you ready to share your faith? Can you speak of what God has done lately in your life?
  • Shield of Faith: Your faith will be like a shield to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. A strong exercised faith brings great confidence.

We must be ready, dressed in God’s armor, and share our love of Jesus who died to save the world from temptation, sin and an eternity in hell. We must be ready to defend our faith at all costs, and let the whole world see what a great and mighty God we serve!

Happy Mother’s Day, Oh Great Encouragers!

Mother's Day pic       To Moms Everywhere …

This is your day! We celebrate the height, the depth, and the breadth of your love. We celebrate the rare beauty that radiates from you as you love others. We extol your ability to be thankful in all things and understand more than most Who is the Giver of all good things. We marvel at your wisdom and nestle into the comfort of your loving arms.

As we celebrate all of you, grant me the privilege of celebrating my own precious mother, using the excerpt from First Fruits on Encouragement …

Do you have someone in your life who is a champion of encouragement to you? I hope so. In my life, there are two women who stand tall in matters of encouragement. The first, I am happy to say, is my mother. She introduced me to The Savior, and continually encouraged me to walk in His Ways. She led by example and was eager to underscore her words with The Word of God. My failure and disobedience never kept her captive, but only gave her inspiration to encourage me all the more. No matter what I might say or do that would discourage another mother, my mom found the silver lining in all my efforts. It is as if she refused to focus on my weaknesses, but rather my strengths. (Like the day I painted her best friends’ brand new washing machine red – though mortified in the most obvious sense, she was probably thinking on another level how creative I was!) What a great role model she has been!

Mom & Me – 91 & going strong!

The second woman is a dear friend who has been with the Lord for a number of years. Her name is Tommie Sue. We met when she moved here from Houston with her husband, Dan, who joined our ministerial staff. A few of us helped her unpack and set up her kitchen in a home just a block from our church. What struck me about Tommie Sue was her generous spirit and her smile. We became fast friends and the next fall she taught the first Prestonwood Injoy Women’s Bible study in my home.

She introduced me to Psalm 37:4 (NASB): “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” She set such a good example of doing just that, as I watched her set her sights on the Lord in everything. She encouraged me all the time; sometimes with words, but most often with her actions. Her coffers were full with a husband she adored and three daughters who exemplified the love and encouragement she gave so freely.

I thought of Tommie Sue today as I began refinishing a mantel I purchased recently. As I applied the stripping agent and began scraping away all the layers of paint and varnish, the years seemed to fade away, as I remembered the day God gave Tommie Sue one of the desires of her heart—this mantel. She was so excited with her big smile and those bright eyes shining, as she exclaimed, “Suzy, just look what Dan has given me!” Did I mention that back then, she was the only one who called me Suzy besides my mom? What a blessing to have this mantel as a reminder of a dear friend who impacted my life more than she ever knew.

I am convinced God places people in our lives to encourage us—to make us more determined, hopeful and confident. Thank God for the encourager in your life. And if you don’t think you have one, think again … “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NLT)