DO NOT BE SURPRISED!

No temptation comes but that which is “Common” to man! It’s not strange or unusual for the Christian to be tempted, it’s common. Peter said it like this, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you.”

The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the prince of this world. If Satan is the “god of this world” and we live in his camp, wouldn’t that mean he has a right to shoot at us? Sometimes his shots are not so obvious. Sometimes they are a bit more subtle. They come in the form of accusation and condemnation. He fires at us with thoughts and feelings of not measuring up or never succeeding, not being good enough, etc. This is where we need to know the Person who is the Truth, Jesus.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” He also said, “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Did you notice what Jesus did not say? He did not say His sheep will not hear the voice of strangers, He said they will not follow. This is a big point to see right here.

As Christians we are freed from sin and the power of the evil one. This is our inheritance in Christ but this doesn’t mean the “evil one” simply leaves us alone. No! He has been evicted but he isn’t all that happy about it.

God condemned sin in the flesh! He did not condemn the flesh. This is yet another important distinction to be made. Sin was and is the problem not the flesh. Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” He didn’t say the flesh, in itself, is sinful. Especially since Mr. Sin himself has been evicted! He has been condemned or arrested but he still shouts at us from behind the bars. The good news is we don’t have to take what he’s pushing! When he yells out his lies we answer with truth and the truth is Jesus.

In Him we have died to sin.
In Him we have died to the law.
In Him we have been raised to walk in newness of life.
In Him we are new creatures.
In Him we have been reconciled to God.
In Him we are forgiven.
In Him we are complete.
In Him we are righteous.
In Him we are seated in heavenly places.
In Him we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
In Him we are holy and blameless.
In Him we partake of His divine nature.

When the devil shouts lies, we listen to the still small voice from within us that tells us the truth.

Although he may accuse us night and day, we don’t have to take it anymore! “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

Louie

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THE SPIRIT IS WILLING BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK

Why don’t they get it?

What’s it going to take?

Are they ever going to learn?

Tracey skydiving

All of these questions may go through your mind as you see the men and women in the jail over and over again. In the last several years since Tracey and I have been going to the jail we have seen a bunch of them come and go only to return.

While there are numerous charges and reasons why each of them are in jail it really isn’t any different than why so many are still locked up in sin. Each of us has lived a life filled with trying and failing but maybe we just didn’t get caught. I know I lived trying to run my own life for many, many years before I became sick and tired enough to really hand it over the Christ.

Even though I wouldn’t want anyone to have to be in jail there is a good side to it. Because I get to go there and tell them Jesus Christ is the solution. If they weren’t in jail I may not have an opportunity to share my testimony and the Word of God with them. I know God does speak through others but tonight it was my privilege.

Sometimes when it’s time to go to the jail I am fired up ready to go. I’ve got scripture, testimony, examples and illustrations lined up and other times I don’t. Tonight was the latter. I didn’t really have any one thing or verse I felt led to share, but I know God knows what he’s doing so I went simply, trusting him.

Walking into the vending room the guys were already there and seated. It seemed to be unusually quiet for some reason but that’s good. I passed the sign up sheet around and started with a word of prayer. I prayed “God I have nothing, but I know you’ve got this. I thank you for each of these guys and the opportunity to share your word with them tonight. I just ask that you would speak to them in the way only you can, in Jesus’ name amen.”

After sharing a little bit of my testimony I read Hebrews 4:12 to them about how the word of God divides the soul and spirit. I never seem to get tired of sharing with others about how we are a spirit with a soul that lives in a body. I think this is so vital to understand. If we don’t get to a place where we can distinguish between our souls and spirits we will forever be led around by our thoughts and emotions. We must learn to walk after the spirit and not the flesh.

I know when I lived in the soul/body realm I constantly looked for something to make me feel the way I wanted to. There are a number of things that give us that charge to the flesh we’re looking for. It can be sex, drugs, money, gambling, risk taking, like skydiving or driving fast, it can be just about anything. Why do you think people love scary movies or roller-coasters? We’re all looking for that one thing that gets our heart pumping and the adrenaline racing, something to make us feel alive!

We read a little in Galatians 5 about the flesh and spirit and in 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul shares his revelation about weakness. The Apostle Paul had what he called a thorn in his flesh and he couldn’t shake it. He prayed three times for God to remove it, but God told him “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s grace enabled Paul to walk in the Spirit despite his troubles in his flesh.

I finished talking with the guys tonight telling them most of our problems stem from thinking we are strong enough and smart enough. We think we’re able to handle our lives and run them how we want to. God is saying to us “Let me carry your burden. Let me run things. I am the only one who can.” Once we see that our own weakness in the flesh is the key to having God’s power in the Spirit we will agree with Paul when he said, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.

Written by Louie