Archive for category temptation
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The LORD said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” [NRSA]
This is a helpful passage to hear at a time of fear, want, and uncertainty. The Hebrews have been lead by Moses out of slavery in Egypt, through the miracle of the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, the find themselves thirsty in a dessert.
One of the key definitions of a dessert is that water is not readily available. The fruit of the land is extremely limited and especially when a multitude of people are traveling together.
Even as spectacular and life changing it must have been to cross the sea, evade the enemy army and find themselves on dry land while their oppressors drown. The daily need for food and drink challenge the best experience of faith. We were just remembering how Jesus had been fasting in the wilderness, a dessert place, having spent forty days and thirty-nine nights in the most defining spiritual experience of his life. At the very moment of dealing with the basic needs of life and death, we are confronted with the temptation to fear and doubt.
We look around today and find ourselves being tested by the effects of a virus.
Healthy humans ‘harbor an average of five viruses’ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282751
It is well established that our bodies possess gut bacteria that is beneficial for health. Now, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, have found that our bodies are also home to an average of five viruses responsible for numerous illnesses, although it is unclear whether they have positive or negative implications for health. Strains of HPV were found in around 75% of participants’ skin samples and 50% of nose samples, while new strains of the virus were found in both skin and nose samples. “Most everyone is familiar with the idea that a normal bacterial flora exists in the body,” says study co-author Dr. Gregory Storch, a virologist and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the university. “Lots of people have asked whether there is a viral counterpart, and we haven’t had a clear answer. But now we know there is a normal viral flora, and it’s rich and complex.” The findings, which form a part of the Human Microbiome Project funded by the National Institutes of Health, were recently published in the journal BMC Biology. The research team, led by Kristine M. Wylie, PhD, an instructor of pediatrics at the university, collected 706 samples of bodily fluids from 102 healthy adults aged 18-40. The samples were taken from participants’ [skin and all openings.] All participants were closely screened to ensure they had no viral infections, and they were eliminated from the study if they had had been diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV) in the past 2 years, or had a form of active genital herpes in the last 2 months. For each sample, the researchers used high-throughput DNA sequencing that enabled them to detect a wide range of viruses. Expect in-depth, science-backed toplines of our best stories every day. Seven families of viruses identified, including HPV and herpesvirus Among 92% of participants, at least one virus was detected, with some participants harboring around 10-15 viruses. On average, each participant harbored five viruses. The researchers say they were surprised to find so many. “We only sampled up to five body sites in each person and would expect to see many more viruses if we had sampled the entire body,” says Wylie. From the samples, the team detected seven families of viruses. These included viruses responsible for non-sexually transmitted herpes – herpesvirus 6 and 7. These viruses were detected among 98% of participants who were sampled from the mouth. Strains of HPV were found in around 75% of skin samples and 50% of nose samples, while new strains of the virus were found in both skin and nose samples. Around 38% of female participants had HPV strains in vagina samples, with many of these harboring strains associated with increased risk of cervical cancer, such as HPV 16 and HPV 18. The researchers also identified adenoviruses – responsible for pneumonia and the common cold – in the majority of samples. It is possible, the researchers note, that the viruses identified were lurking infections from years before. But Wylie says that dormant viruses usually reside in cells rather than bodily fluids, which is where the viruses were found in this study. Commenting on their findings, the team says: “This study is the first to use high-throughput DNA sequencing to describe the diversity of eukaryotic DNA viruses in a large cohort of individuals who were sampled at multiple body sites. This analysis demonstrates that there is a ‘normal viral flora’ in generally healthy, asymptomatic individuals.” They admit that it is unclear as to whether the viruses are beneficial or detrimental to health, but they hypothesize that the viruses may boost the immune system’s response to harmful pathogens in some cases, while increasing the risk of infection in others. “It’s very important to know what viruses are present in a person without causing a problem and what viruses could be responsible for serious illnesses that need medical attention,” says Dr. Storch. “While more research remains, we now have a much clearer picture of the communities of viruses that naturally exist in healthy people.”
That means that at any giving time we have from one to over a dozen virus at work in our bodies; some working to build up our immune systems and others might threaten our life.
How do we know when we are at risk? What are the risks? What does God plan to do with us as a global people in the threat of virus, thirst, or any other struggle that faces our mortal experience?
Look at the context of our present global circumstance:
SARS, AVIAN, SWINE, MERS, EBOLA, ZIKA, EBOLA, CORONA – These are not connected to politics, but when we politicize or look to blame the sin of infection, we will never find a cure, love our neighbor, much less love our enemies. Every epidemic has a tragic effect on those who are not able to survive and those who suffer through the effects of each occurrence. When obsess our time on the fear of virus and illness we are admitting that we have no faith, we have no hope, and we have no trust in God to provide.
Tragically, this virus has become infamous within the brewing global kettle of blame and rage that makes illness and suffering the main story rather than where our strength, hope, and help comes.
Pslam 121:2 [NRSA] I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
It’s a word that Moses and those afraid and thirsty in the dessert had forgotten since the parting of the sea.
My Help Comes from the Lord
It’s a word of encouragement the world needs to hear and trust. God is working through researchers and healers to deal with symptoms, causes and cures.
God is working through the church to remind the world that God will provide a way through this struggle and all our struggles.
Our Challenge to one another and all those we can influence:
1. Only check the news once a day, and only long enough to find out if the overall plan of prevention has changed.
2. Spend the hours you might devote to news watching and social media reading to prayer, study and Christian fellowship.
3. When you hear or see someone obsessing on the news, call them out to spend their lives with greater care:
a. Live, Love and Share the Good News Christ is offering us everyday. GOD WILL PROVIDE
b. God provides through medicine, through governments, and despite governments.
c. Trust the Voice of God more than voice of those who are selling fear and promising death.
4. There is no diminishing those who have died, those who are suffering from this virus, but know there are
a. MORE PEOPLE are suffering from bad politics and ungodly politician agendas
b. MORE PEOPLE are suffering from heart disease, cancer, poverty, trafficking and self-imposed evils.
c. MORE PEOPLE are suffering from meth, alcohol, and all sorts of substances,
d. MORE PEOPLE are suffering from sin and separation from God and neighbor.
5. THE HOPE AND ANSWER IS THE SAME: God will Provide
LET THE WORLD HEAR YOU SAY THESE WORDS: God will Provide.
In our Text from the Exodus: God says to Moses, “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” God has a plan, God has a way, God has a process, God is at work behind the scenes, AND God is at work in the People of God, those willing to listen, trust and carry out God’s instructions and message.
Footnote: Moses asks the faith question after the water flows: “Is the Lord among us or not?” This is our word!
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. [NRSA]
You can check it off your to-do list! We ALL understand temptation. We know what it means to want something that is not good for us, or not ours, something that is selfish. We all cross back and forth over the fence of what is right and wrong.
What does it mean to us for JESUS to be Tempted?
The SHORT answer is: “Knowing that Jesus has experienced what we experience means 1) we can identify with him; 2) we see how he deals with temptation, and 3) because he is faithful in over-coming temptation that he is our means hope in our struggles.
How was Jesus Tempted?
In Matthews remembering, he tells us several things about temptation:
1) It begins with small, daily, personal needs and ideas.
2) It has a social and community influence that our personal dealings with sin affect the community.
3) Also, that temptation is something we can expect to deal with all of our lives, everywhere we go.
Summary: Temptation is progressively more powerful, it effects self & others, its a problem with everyone, everywhere.
Temptation vs. Sin
Temptation is how we deal with the thoughts, plans, and attitudes that occur before our behaviors
As Methodist we have foundational [Articles of Religion] that have not changed since the beginning of the church. [I ask for your forgiveness for neglecting to teach them more often.]
Article VII — Of Original or Birth Sin “Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.” [Sin is the corrupted nature of every person, we are broken off from the original relationship with God, righteousness, and are most likely to sin and to sin ongoing.]
Article IX — Of the Justification of Man “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.” [Our only chance to be righteous, in full relationship with God, is through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior: This is what it means to be made just or righteous, by God work through Christ and our trust in that work on our behalf.]
Article XII — Of Sin After Justification “Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.” [ Sin is possible after we have given our trust and faith in Christ, as we test and are tempted to not trust in varying degrees; we need to recognize that affirming our faith is our continual response for all our days. ]
In summary of these three Articles:
• We are born in a broken and sinful world
• We are just as familiar and willing to sin as Adam and Eve were
• We are just a good at sinning even now that we have Christ as our hope and strength not to sin
• Jesus Continues to be our path to living in ways that are Godly, Righteous, in Right-Relationship with God.
• And that dealing with Sin and Temptation are a daily work of confession, rededication and renewing our trust in Christ.
So, we have this foundation along with all the assumptions that we know all about temptation, know how to tempt and how to successfully give into our temptations. SO WHAT?
Let’s look at temptation in a spatial example: If God is a point A, and standing her next to A I am as close to God as I can be, with my eyes, my heart, my mind, my attention, my focus, my everything devoted to God there are other things that I choose to distract, make room, compromise, or accept along with God.
Single lens / bi-focal / tri-focal glasses: I have multiple options, near by but different ones hold different objects in focus.
What are the core areas of responsibility for each of us?
a. We have our faith in God above all else – we must deal with the sin in our own eye before we look elsewhere.
b. We have our family, our household, our realm of influence or responsibility. – learn to look to God with family
c. We have the larger community in which we live and benefit. – learn to look to God with community.
d. We have the world — learn to look to God with the world.
No matter where our attention or responsibilities are directed our hearts, words, work, need to lead with our trust in God, our faith in Christ, our following in the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus turns to scripture with every presentation of temptation as a context for prioritizing what is RIGHTEOUS, Good, Godly, in-right with God.
Jesus reminds himself:
• if I had every daily necessity met, I still would not have the heart of God.
• If I all the support, attention and help of everyone in the whole community, I would not have God.
• If I had the power, wealth, possession of the whole world, I would not have God.
Jesus beings in the Word,
• God is more than happiness of my body
• God is more than the acceptance or approval of other
• God is more than the powers and wealth of the whole world.
I Choose God. I choose God. I choose God.
The response to Temptation is to Choose God instead.
The power of scripture is the voice of God to guide our path, to remind us of grace, to open us to the holy Spirit, to connect us with the message of salvation, to retell the way of salvation, to remind us to love, serve, forgive and worship.
• “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14-15.
• “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
• “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16-17.
• “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4.
• “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11.
• “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11.
• “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9.
• “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9.
• “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” Job 31:1.
• “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
• “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8.
• “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11.
• “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.
• See the sin that you are tempted to as worthless, ugly, and unbearably sinful:
• “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” Colossians 3:6.
• “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10.
• “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
• “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Matthew 4:10.
• “… For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-18.
• “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
• “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Romans 6:11-12.
• “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
• “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
• “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
• “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.
• “Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:7.
• “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
• “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12.
• “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9.
• “… choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” Hebrews 11:25.
These are but a few.
We pray in the “Lord’s Prayer” for God to “lead us not into temptation” but it more appropriate to ask God to meet us in the face of temptation.
The lesson on Temptation is clear:
• Count a pop quiz, test or defense every day
• Be ready to respond in God’s Word
• Trust God to Provide the Way.