Category Archives: Deceived

A Way Of Escape

TODAY’S VERSE
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
How subtle sin can be. We begin to wander from the things of God, and soon our life starts to take a different course. Most people that end in some sort of addiction or negative situation never intended to get there. They didn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I will go down a road that will ruin my life.” No, it was small little navigations that got them to the foreign shore. Likewise, in the life of a Christian, we don’t wake up one day and say, “I will be far from God.” It starts with missed opportunities of fellowship, lack of discipline in prayer, Bible study and mediation, weekdays between church services without Christian influence. Little by little, we become more and more like the world around us and trade our Christian experience for a mask we wear on Sunday. What can we do? Thank God for the reality of what Paul shares in today’s passage. Paul reminds us that the temptations that you and I face every day are the same as everyone else’s, but God is faithful and will show us a way out. On every descent away from God, there is a window of sanity. There is an opportunity to repent, to turn around, to come back to God. The prodigal son found it. Peter found it. God enables us to “come to our self,” to come to our senses, and He does provide a way out. Today, if you find yourself far from where God wants you, ask yourself, “Who moved?” God didn’t. He loves you; turn around, there is a way of escape.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, it is so easy to wander from You. Forgive me. Help me to escape today from all that entraps me. Help me break away from all that has taken my heart from You. I come to You now, dear Lord. I want to follow You.
AMEN

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Two Sins

TODAY’S VERSE
My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
Separation from God usually comes in two phases. First, we start to stray. Little by little, we start to forsake fellowship, fail to meditate in His word and spend less and less time in prayer. Good things take us from the more important. Urgent begins to replace the best. How subtle the path is. We end up farther and farther away from the spiritual milieu that once fed our soul. Second, we not only stray we actually find a new home. Jeremiah says not only do we forsake the spring of living water; we actually go out and dig our own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold any water. They look great on the outside but are empty on the inside. Where are you today? Are you straying farther and farther from God? Have you actually moved away and found other interests that take top priority in your life? Stop! Go no farther. Turn back. Come to your Heavenly Father today and ask Him to cleanse your heart and put a new thirst in your soul leading you back to His spring of living water.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, forgive me for straying from You. I have forsaken Your living waters and have attempted to quench my own thirst. I admit that I am still thirsty. I know that only You can satisfy, and I ask Lord that You would fill my cup today with Your life-giving presence.
AMEN

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Help Me Know The Truth

TODAY’S VERSE
Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
Psalms 119:29

TODAY’S THOUGHT
As humans, we are separated from other creatures in the fact that we are cognitive. We have thoughts. Therein lays our problem. Just because we have a thought, doesn’t mean it is true. Our thoughts can be influenced, manipulated or misled. We can be sincere in our thoughts but be sincerely wrong. David prays that God would keep him from lying to himself. We need the same prayer. Jesus said that Satan is a deceiver and a liar. It is his purpose to trip us up through a web of deceit. I am sorry to say, but I often don’t need any help from Satan. I do fine with deceiving my own self. So many negative and pessimistic thoughts. Negative things I believe about myself, about others, about life and even God! Instead, I need to ask God for discernment and wisdom in knowing and living the truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” As we seek the truth of every situation we are in, God will lead us. How about you? Are you living in the truth or have you set yourself up with a web of deceit? Confess it to God. Repent and choose to live in the truth. When you do, He will set you free.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, you know how easy it is for me to be deceived. You know how easily I deceive myself. Please help me today. Help me discern the truth and then live it out in my life.
AMEN

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True Thoughts

TODAY’S VERSE
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
What we think can dictate the way we feel. Then our feelings affect our thinking and so the spiral goes. So much of what we think at a rudiment level is false. Often what we worry about, the self-talks we have, how we view ourselves, our core beliefs about life, are based on lies, half-truths or erroneous assumptions. They enter our minds in stealth mode and before we know it, we are feeling down. These lies go unchallenged and cause all sorts of havoc in our lives. Not only do we think of them, but we also make agreements with them. Soon the stories we share over and over again about ourself and life are based on these false beliefs. Paul says that there is a better way. He says we should bring these rogue thoughts to God. We must expose them to the light of the Holy Spirit and the word of God which is able to guard our hearts and minds. William Backus in his book, “Learning To Tell Myself The Truth” shares “Feelings follow your thoughts. Untruthful, negative thoughts lead to unpleasant feelings of anxiety, depression or frustration, while truthful, positive thoughts create corresponding pleasant and upbeat feelings.—Your feelings can serve as an alarm to remind you to question your thoughts and beliefs. Are they negative or positive? Are they true or false? Once you’ve begun to identify the underlying thoughts and beliefs, you are on your way to healing, wholeness, and happiness.” Today begin to follow Paul’s advice. When negative feelings come, “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, You know my inner person. You hear my self talk better than I do. By the power of the Holy Spirit please alert me to my negative thinking and help me fix my thoughts on what is true. Help me think with my faith in Your love and power, not negative lies. In Jesus’ name.
AMEN

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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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