Category Archives: Deceived

Temptation

TODAY’S VERSE
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
James 1:13-15 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Temptation. Who has not felt its sting? Who has not been knocked in the gut and brought to their knees by this cancer of our soul? What keeps us in such bondage is the mistaken belief that temptations are “out there”. We see them as external enemies sneaking around waiting to ambush us. Now it is true that we have an enemy of our very soul, the devil, and he does seek to devour us. However, James shares that the root of our temptations come from within us. James says that “temptations come from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions.” We can blame the magazine publisher or the movie producer but it is our own lust, our own unmet needs or misguided thinking that has caused us to dwell on pornography. It is our own misbeliefs and internal dialog that keeps us coming back to drugs so we can self medicate. That is why Paul makes it clear that God is the one that must help us. He writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.” What God’s grace does not prevent, because of our own humanness, God’s grace forgives. The Apostle John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Today, let Jesus untie the ropes that bind you. Like Peter, get up from the cell you are in. You are free! You have been liberated. Hear the words of Jesus, “Arise and sin no more.” “My son, my daughter, go, your sins have been forgiven you!”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear liberator of my soul, I bring you my shackles. Take them. I bring you the key to my heart, unlock it. Heal me from the inside. Defeat my misguided thoughts, cast down the enemy of my soul. I look to you, who knows me better than I know myself. By your power, in your grace, because of your mercy, free me, forgive me. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
AMEN

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I Am Slipping

TODAY’S VERSE
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalms 94:18-19 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Have you ever slipped? I have. It is a helpless feeling. Your legs fly up and your body comes down without warning. Once I slipped off a tree limb and landed many feet below on the ground. There were scratches down the side of my body from the many branches that I hit on my descent. Slipping out of control can be a terrifying experience. But there can be more fearful slips. Ever have the fear of abandonment or rejection that leads to anxiety so bad that you felt your heart would beat out of your chest? You feel like you’re going down a long winding chute picking up speed leading directly to annihilation. It is a fear of non-being, leaving you in terror, trying anything to bring relief. The Psalmist knew what it felt like. He cried, “I am slipping!” The good news is God can help you down from those mental and emotional cliffs that you are hanging on to by a thread. As difficult as it may seem, as terrifying you may think the outcome could be, God is with you to help and comfort. He will help you find a way. The Psalmist was in a dilemma. It was sheer horror that made him cry out to God, “My foot is slipping!” But when he did, God’s unfailing, better said, His never-failing love, supported him. When his anxiety was so high, when doubts filled his mind so much that he could not stand it, God consoled him, bringing real joy deep to his soul. God will do the same for you. Bring Him your fear, your anxiety, your terror. Bring Him to the spot where you are slipping. Reach up your hand and He will grab you. He will hold you with His strong arm. He will put your feet in a safe place.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I am slipping. Please come to my aid. Catch me, hold me, help me find better footing. I need Your consolation. I need Your never-failing love. I need Your help. Guide me, comfort me, rescue me, in the name of Jesus I pray.
AMEN

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Don’t Be An Imposter

TODAY’S VERSE
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:328-42 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
It is so easy to be busy with “God’s work” that we forget who we are working for. Question. What do you think God is more interested in, us or the work we do for Him? You must be careful. It is not wrong to be busy when you need to be. There are seasons of hard work. But why are you doing it? To earn God’s love? To keep up appearances? Because of what others might think if you don’t work at the church all the time? Brennan Manning calls this being an imposter. He writes about it in his book, “Abba’s Child”. “Imposters are preoccupied with acceptance and approval. Because of their suffocating need to please others, they cannot say no with the same confidence with which they say yes. And so they overextend themselves in people, projects, and causes, motivated not by personal commitment but by the fear of not living up to other’s expectations. – Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us. The impostor’s life becomes a perpetual roller-coaster ride of elation and depression.” Mary chose to worship Christ. And though Martha’s hard work and devotion are commendable, this time she was filled with worries and cares. Jesus had to remind Martha that what Mary had chosen, that is to focus on the love that Christ has for us, is really the only thing Martha had to really do. If she did that, everything else would fall in place. Today, might we understand that we don’t have to earn the Lord’s love. Instead, we need to live as if we already have it. We do!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me serve You with a sincere heart. Forgive me for the many times I have been an imposter, just acting a part so I could win approval. Help me understand Your love for me in such a way that I would be a Martha with Mary’s insight.
AMEN

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Throw It Off

TODAY’S VERSE
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Paul uses the analogy of running a race to describe the Christian life. He paints a picture of a poor runner who has come to the starting blocks with a large heavy weight tied to him and chains wrapped around his legs. There is no way this runner is going to finish the race, let alone win. Instead, Paul suggests that the runner first throw off everything that hinders them. That could be events, habits, environments, attitudes, anything that “triggers” the desire to do things that Christ would not want us to do, or prevent us from doing what we should. We need to throw off anything that leads us toward Spiritual apathy or complacency. In their book “True Faced” the authors point out that in reality there are two kinds of sins. These are sins that we commit resulting in guilt and sins that are committed against us resulting in hurt. Both of these “sins” can trip us up. If we allow guilt to grow, it will spread like cancer in our Spirit. If we allow hurt to go unchecked, it can fester into sadness, anger, fear, malice, bitterness and many other negative attitudes. We need to deal with the sin in our life — both those that we commit and those committed against us. Then we can run the race. Today let us consider our own life. Are we running the race that God has called us to? If not, what is weighing us down? What is entangling us? Pray today that God would help you throw it off.

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Father, You know that I need to run in this race of life. I confess that I have let burdens weigh me down. I have let sins, both that I have committed and those committed against me, trip me up. Help me, Lord, throw off these things. Help me run today, free from all these issues that hinder me. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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It’s What Is Inside That Counts

TODAY’S VERSE
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self.
I Peter 3:4 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Has there ever been a more materialistic society on the face of the earth than the United States? Fashion and body image permeates our media. You cannot find a magazine, newspaper or television show that does not have advertisements that force judgment on a person’s image. Our image could come from personal appearance or the appearance of the person’s belongings. This includes the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear or the gadgets you carry with you. Why have we let these things define us in the eyes of others? Why are we not more concerned about who we are on the inside than what others judge about our outside? It is time to stop this insanity! We need to stand up and say enough is enough! Peter did. He wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self.” Although this part of the passage was written to women, I believe when Peter refers to the inner self he is talking to the men today just as much as the women. The principle applies to both. So today, let’s begin an image revolution. Let’s focus on our inner self and make that our priority. Let’s stop giving in to the world’s standard putting an over-emphasis on all the outward trappings with their false standards. Instead, let us focus on the inner self. Here we will find joy and peace that we never experienced by outward appearance alone.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for putting worldly standards ahead of Your Godly ones. Help me to work on my heart and all that I am inside instead of worrying about my outward image. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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Believe The Truth

TODAY’S VERSE
Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.
Psalms 40:11 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Oh, the lies that we believe. Those insidious thoughts that drive us crazy. Our internal dialog so often leads us into unnecessary grief and pain. William Backus in his book, “Learning to Tell Myself The Truth” writes, “You can know the truth somewhere in your brain’s storage cells, but not know the truth in your internal monologue. All too often we make ourselves miserable and keep ourselves miserable by listening to a nonstop stream of inner nonsense – even when we know very well that the nonsense runs counter to divine truth.” In today’s passage, the Psalmist is crying out to the Lord for His mercy. He is asking God to protect him with His love and truth. It is knowing the truth that keeps us from all the madness. Martin Luther wrote, “We pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation’ so that God would guard and keep us lest the world, our flesh, and the devil lead us into misbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice.” Today might we let truth guide us. Might we challenge our negative thinking and any lies that would temp us from believing in the love and mercy that God has for us. May His love and truth protect us.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, do not withhold Your mercy from me. Please help me to trust in Your love and believe the truth you have given me in Your word.
AMEN

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The Real Me

TODAY’S VERSE
But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord.
Deuteronomy 11:16 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Self-deception is at the root of many of our problems. Not only do we lie to all those around us, but more often we lie to ourselves. How often do we ask what is really bothering us? We pretend to love when we are bitter and wounded. We act brave when we are afraid. Dr. David Benner, in his book, “The Gift of Being Yourself” writes,
“At some point in childhood, we all make the powerful discovery that we can manipulate the truth about ourselves. Initially, it often takes the form of a simple lie – frequently a denial of having done something. But of more importance to the development of the false self is the discovery that our ability to hide isn’t limited to what we say or don’t say. We learn to pretend. We discover the art of packaging our self. – Our masks have become our reality, and we have become our lies. In short, we have lost authenticity and adopted an identity based on illusion.” You see God loves the real you! He knows your fears, your rage, your brokenness and He is waiting for you to give it to Him. There is nothing about the real you that He cannot redeem! It is only when you let your heart be deceived and create a false self that you turn away from the Lord. Today, come to God as you are. Let Him touch the real you. Tell Him what you feel, what you think, what you have hidden from everyone else. When you do, you will find Him accepting, loving and able to set you free from all your fears of self-exposure. Come to Him, the truth will set you free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I have hidden my true self from You and everyone else. Fear, shame, anger, guilt, disgust – so many emotions keep me from living the truth. I have tried so hard to be what everyone else has wanted and somewhere I have lost my way. Please, in Your love, gently peel back my veneer and bring me into Your light. Help me take off my masks and see myself as You see me. Help me embrace all of me as You lovingly embrace me even now. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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