Overcoming Temptations

If you feel overwhelmed by temptation, regardless of what it may be, there’s Good News!  All temptations can be overcome.  Jesus did it to teach us how, and then He sent the Holy Spirit to help us with our own struggles.

Temptations come from the devil.  He has three areas that he can attack: our flesh, our eyes and our pride of life.  He is diligent in his work.  Luke 4:6 tells us that he has control over all the earth.  For us, this means that temptations are everywhere, all the time.  In the same chapter of Luke, Jesus defeats him 3 times in all three areas. 

If you have the desire to overcome the temptations in your life, Pastor Ann will be offering a message of hope to all of us this Sunday, June 9th at 10:55 a.m.  We would love to have you with us for this important lesson or watch our livestream on facebook.

In case you haven’t been with us before………. Or have forgotten……..

Breakfast is available beginning at 9:00 a.m. for a $2.00 donation per plate. (This is real food, not donuts)  Come eat and learn with us!

Holy Confidence

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” —Jeremiah 29:11

Nearly every morning, Annie (my Golden Retriever) and I go for a walk. I’m fairly certain that our walks are different than some: ours is an adventure in discovery. We stop at every telephone pole and every pillar. Every blowing leaf has to be examined and trash is a gold mine just waiting to be pounced upon (she is still a pup after all). While I walk in straight lines, she is a constant back and forth zig-zag. But, she is growing up.

The things along our walk that used to spook her no longer do. The smell that captivated us yesterday barely gets a sniff today. The dumpster that she would not walk by last week is not even a hesitation this week. The neighbors loud dog barking through the fence is still a concern but no longer stops us cold.

As the Scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

While the “prospering” part of this verse is comforting, we sometimes gloss over the “not to harm you” part. Just as Annie grows more comfortable with our neighborhood and approaches her trepidations with growing confidence, we may also have to directly face our fears in order to overcome them.

God will require us to face and conquer the small fears and unknowns in life so that we don’t cut-and-run at every little fear.

When we learn to trust God and get past our fears, we often realize there really was nothing to be afraid of after all.

When God asks us to face a fear, remember that He says he is not going to harm us and that He will walk with us. Additionally, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” We can have confidence in His promises. “Holy confidence” is one of the things in life that makes all things better.

When we live with the confidence that God is going to take care of us, we face life’s tough issues differently!

While learning how to go from “fear” to “confidence” is rarely a straight or easy path, it is a very important one to walk. We have to let God teach us to face our fears in life. Together with Him, we can stand and overcome.

Prayer for the week:

Dear Father, thank you for helping me learn to stand and face my fears rather than run from them. Your learning process is rough at times, but thank you for teaching, guiding, and working with me at a deep and personal level. Please help me to remember Your promises and to move from fearful to fear-conquering. Amen.

Mark Eigsti is senior pastor at Freedom Church of the Nazarene in Lebanon, Missouri, USA.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.

Overcoming Perceptions

Our perception of ourselves determines how we see everything in the world around us.  If we see ourselves as weak, frail, scatterbrained; we will see danger all around us.  If we perceive ourselves as bold, strong, intelligent; we will see the world as a place where we are dominant.  But neither of these views reflect reality.  Perceptions are flawed, even in the most honest of us.  None of us is able to see clearly on our own.

Reality is the Lord God Almighty.  He is.  We live in the world that He created for us.  Through His mercy, we have received the right to salvation and eternal life.  To get there, we have to be willing to change some things.

Like our perceptions.  To overcome our skewed views of the world, we need to learn to trust Him.  This isn’t an instant happening.  It takes time, it takes devotion, it takes determination and it takes love.  Without love for the Lord in our hearts, we won’t be able to overcome the perceptions that lifetime of learning from the world.  We take the negative things of this world and write them on our hearts.

Like our focus.  What we should be writing on our hearts are the Words of the Lord.  Only then will our vision clear.  When we focus on His Will and trust the Holy Spirit, we will overcome whatever temporary situation we are faced with. 

Pastor Ann has a unique message to share with us about our perceptions and overcoming.  If you’d like to learn more, join us Sunday morning at 10:55 in the sanctuary or on facebook live.

Hope Springs Eternal

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” —Romans 5:5, NKJV

Alexander Pope is credited with the proverb, “Hope springs eternal in the human heart.” Though this adage is often applied to earthly and statistically hopeless pursuits, like winning a sweepstakes or finding lost treasure, I believe the philosopher had a more heavenly and eternal view in mind when noting this God-given capacity of the human spirit. This principle seems to refer to the indomitable spirit of hope and intense purpose that is seen when people encounter dreadful life circumstances.

In my mind, the biblical record of Jeremiah purchasing land (Jeremiah 32) amidst the turmoil and terror of the Babylonian siege is closer to the intended spirit of Pope’s proverb. In that account, Jeremiah was locked up in the king’s prison for faithfully declaring the word from God that His judgment was preparing to fall on Judah. That judgment would take the form of the marauding Babylonian army.

In short order, that fearful army had laid siege to Jerusalem and the situation was deemed hopeless. The people were liquidating their property and possessions in desperation, accepting any price they could get. It was a national “fire sale.” However, when everyone else was selling property for any price, Jeremiah was a buyer, paying the standard peacetime price for land from his prison cell. Not only did he purchase property, he had the deed recorded by the elders.

This was a testament to his hopeful faith in God’s promise that the Children of Israel would return to the Promised Land. What a powerful message!

No doubt to the temporal-minded Jeremiah appeared to be gullible and shortsighted in the extreme. But in reality, he was the wisest and most farsighted of them all. His focus was not on earthly circumstances but on the heavenly promise. Jeremiah was able to stand above circumstance because of his faith in God.

Like Jeremiah, our wisest course of action is to believe God; and not just a mental-assent type of belief, but a hopeful, life-transforming faith. A belief that models the principle so beautifully expressed in the hymn “The Solid Rock”: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name! On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!

“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jer. 32:17, KJV).

Prayer for the week: Dear Father, pour out Your grace upon me today that I may stand in the hopeful promise of Your redemption. By Your grace, may I shine the hope of Christ to family and friends and all whom I meet. Be glorified in your church and in my life, particularly! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Dan Gilmore is district superintendent of the Northern Michigan District.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.