Be Specific​

Recently my husband and I adopted a cute little black kitten. We named her Gabby. She was only 6 weeks old when we adopted her.

Soon after bringing her home I made her an appointment with our favorite veterinary clinic to have her examined and vaccinated. They wouldn’t see her until she was 8 weeks old. I went ahead and made her an appointment and waited.

The date came to take Gabby to her first Vet visit. I had a certain idea about how the visit would go. But when Gabby and I got into the examination room, to see the Vet, my expectations all went out the window. Nothing went the way I thought it would. It really threw me off.

Apparently, when you make an appointment with a veterinary clinic, you have to request a specific Vet if you have a preference. I just assumed that the Vet of our other two pets, Miela and Autumn, would be the Vet of Gabby as well. Umm…no.

Word to the wise; never assume anything.

I think we can be that way in our prayer life as well. We assume that, because God knows what we need, we don’t have to bother praying about our needs at all. Or we may pray about them but we pray general prayers instead of specific ones. Then we are left wondering why things aren’t going the way we thought they would or the way we expected them to go.

God says in His word that we have not because we ask not, James 4:2.

Yes, God knows what we need, but like any good Father, He wants to be asked because that is part of being in a relationship. We don’t ask strangers for things we need. We ask those we trust for things we need.

God wants us to ask Him for what we need because it shows Him that we believe He can take care of us and wants to take care of us. It shows God that we know He loves us and is trustworthy.

Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if He asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

Not only should we ask our heavenly Father to meet our needs, but we should also be specific about those needs when we ask.

I’m reminded of an incident in the Bible where Abraham was growing old and he wanted his son Isaac to have a wife before he died. Abraham sent his servant to a specific town to find Isaac a wife.

The servant left in search of Isaac’s wife. As he drew closer to his destination, he prayed to God. He specifically prayed for success in finding a wife for Isaac. He even went as far as to pray that, upon his request, the perfect wife for Isaac would draw water from the town well for him to drink and then she would offer to give water to his camels to drink. This was how he was to know which girl was to be Isaac’s wife.

The Lord answered the servant’s specific prayer. The girl, Rebekah, did exactly what he had prayed for; she not only gave him a drink but offered to give his camels a drink as well. When God answered his prayer, the servant bowed down and worshipped God and thanked Him for His kindness and faithfulness [Genesis 24].

Are there things that you are in need of? Do you ask God to meet those needs? Are you being specific when you ask?

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

We should always pray specific prayers remembering that God knows our hearts.

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Also, we should always pray specific prayers according to God’s will. The easiest way to know we are praying God’s will is to pray scripture. This is where technology comes in handy. We can google about anything these days; even scripture. I do it all the time!

1 John:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him.

So, don’t be like I was in assuming I was going to have what I needed without specifically asking for what I needed. Pray, asking God to meet your needs. Be specific when you pray. Find a scripture pertaining to your specific situation so you can pray according to God’s will. And always pray with pure motives.

He’s our good Father. He is faithful and kind. He wants to take care of us and meet all of our needs. He’s just waiting for us to ask Him.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror Mirror

How much time do you spend looking into a mirror? The amount of time we spend in front of the mirror will determine what we see.

If we are in a hurry, we may quickly glance at ourselves in the mirror, just before heading out the door, not seeing flaws and need for improvement. But, when we have more time, we may spend a little longer looking into the mirror, noticing every flaw and therefore make those much-needed improvements.

The mirror never lies! It always tells the truth!

The Word of God is like a mirror.

James 1:23-25 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like, But whoever looks intently into the perfect law (God’s Word) that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do.

Sometimes we glance into the mirror of God’s Word by reading a quick scripture or two or a short devotional, on our way out the door or before our day becomes hectic, never recognizing that God is speaking directly to us about us or our circumstances. We basically check it off of our “things to do” list.

But then there are times when we look intently into the mirror of God’s Word by making time to study it and meditate on it, hearing God speak directly to us about us, therefore, noticing our sins and need for improvement.

For the past 8 months, I have studied the lives of Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon with my Bible study group. While intently looking into the mirror of God’s Word, these 8 months, I have found flaws in myself and sins in my heart; such as pride, greed, timidity, and selfishness. Just to name a few.

The mirror of God’s word never lies! It always tells the truth! And the truth is usually hard to face and very painful.

The good news about the truth of God’s word is it sets us free.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The word of God changes us from the inside out. The more we study it, meditate on it, and practice it, the more we are transformed into the image of Christ to live victorious lives.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Do you look intently into the word of God and practice it daily or do you merely glance at it every now and then, if you have time? Sure, what you find, by intently looking into God’s word, may be hard and painful to face, but it is necessary in order to be set free.

Being a doer of God’s word is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16-17 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so you are not to do whatever you want.

Let’s make time to study God’s word. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be hearers and doers of God’s word. Let’s allow the word of God to set us free. Let’s allow God to transform us from the inside out; making those much-needed improvements resulting in resembling Christ and living a life of victory.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, give us a greater desire to spend more time with You and to study Your word. Help us to face the truth we see in Your word so that we will be set free from sin and it’s destruction. Help us to hear and do Your word through the power of Your Spirit. Transform us from the inside out so that we will resemble Christ more and more each day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dishonest Gain

I recently had a dream that has come to be very enlightening to me in two ways. It both revealed hidden sin in my heart and warned me about a choice I was going to have to make later on.

In my dream, I was confronted with a decision to either tell the truth or mislead someone important into believing I had done something that I had not done in order to gain notoriety and recognition. I’m sad to say that I decided to mislead the person to gain notoriety and recognition.

When I awoke, I immediately remembered the dream. Then the words “dishonest gain” came to mind. I knew that the Lord was revealing a hidden sin in my heart.

There have been times when I have had the opportunity to give God the glory for something He had done for me, in me, or through me, but instead, I excluded Him and took the glory for myself. That is an example of dishonest gain.

Of course, once my sin was revealed to me, I confessed the sin to God, repented, then went about my day.

I had the dream on a Sunday night. By Tuesday morning I had another opportunity for dishonest gain.

I could choose to compromise the truth, just a little bit, to receive a much bigger refund than I was already receiving due to a discovered error in my favor. Right away I remembered my dream and knew the dream was not only a revelation of sin but also a warning that temptation to sin was coming.

I not only told the person “no” refusing to bend the truth, but I also told the person why I was choosing not to compromise the truth. I even told the person about my dream.

I was very careful to give God the glory for my honesty and not take His glory for myself. I think it’s fair to say that I have learned my lesson about dishonest gain, for now anyway. I tend to be hard headed.

Dishonest gain is basically taking something that doesn’t belong to you or something you didn’t earn. It’s personal gain by dishonest means. It’s rooted in pride and greed.

It is prideful and greedy to think that I deserve God’s glory, or money, or anything else that I didn’t earn or wasn’t given to me. If I have to lie to gain money or possessions or omit God to gain notoriety and recognition, then that’s greedy and prideful. That’s dishonest gain.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek God; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Yikes! That second one really hurts!

How about you? Are there times when you exclude God, therefore, taking the glory for something that rightfully belongs to Him? Have you taken the credit for something that was done by someone else, in order to get a promotion or a pat on the back?

Do you take office supplies from work thinking you deserve them or that it’s not a big deal? Do you bend the truth, just a little bit, on your taxes or in a business deal in order to get a bigger check? After all, no one will find out.

God hears all, sees all, and knows all. He knows what’s in our hearts and in our minds.

1 John 3:20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

If you are guilty of dishonest gain, you can do what I did, when God revealed the sin of pride and greed in my heart; you can confess your sin to God and repent asking God to forgive you. Repent means to turn away from. You can turn away from that sin.

Ask God to help you see the importance of honesty. Ask Him to help you understand the destruction of pride and greed. Ask Him to forgive you today and to help you, through the power of His Spirit, to turn away from the sin of dishonest gain.

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collateral Damage

While sitting in a grocery store parking lot, talking to a friend on the phone, an interesting scenario unfolded before my very eyes. I watched in shock with wide eyes and open mouth, marveling at the nerve of some people.

After loading her groceries into her car, lady number 1 parked her shopping cart in front of her car but very close to the person’s car who was parked in front of me, lady number 2. She then got into her car, backed out and drove away.

The lady to my left, lady number 3, who was waiting for lady number 1 to get out of her way, pulled forward running the shopping cart into and dragging it along lady number 2’s car. Wow!

Unbeknownst to lady number 2, while she was blissfully getting her grocery shopping done, she had also managed to become the collateral damage of two people that were determined to get their way despite the harm that might cause someone else, an innocent target.

Then I thought to myself, how often, in my rush to have my way or say, do I create collateral damage? Am I leaving scars on other’s hearts, emotions, minds or spirits with my thoughtless words, attitudes or actions? Am I so focused on me and my schedule that I’m neglecting the hurting and needy around me? In my right to freedom, am I recklessly causing division? Are you?

I’m reminded of an incident in the Bible where King David observed Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop one night. He thought she was very beautiful and decided that he had to have her. He found out that she was married to Uriah, one of his soldiers, but he was so focused on what he wanted, that that important little detail didn’t phase him.

He had Bathsheba brought to him, they spent the night together, and soon after, she finds out she is pregnant. Oh oh! Her husband is away at war, fighting for David by the way, so David has to come up with a plan to cover up his adulterous sin.

He has Uriah brought home from the war, in hopes that he would go to his house and sleep with his wife and therefore be assumed the father of Bathsheba’s child. Well, Uriah did not go to his house and therefore did not sleep with his wife.

David then goes to plan B which is to have Uriah killed in battle. His plan was successful and now King David was free to marry Bathsheba and none were the wiser of his little scheme.

Except David forgot one little detail, God sees all and knows all. He hadn’t gotten away with anything. As punishment for his sin of adultery and murder, his and Bathsheba’s baby died and there would be discord and calamity in David’s household for the rest of his life [2 Samuel 11-12].

In David’s rush to get his way, who were his collateral damage or innocent targets? Uriah, the other men that died in battle with Uriah, Bathsheba (now a widow), David and Bathsheba’s baby, and David’s other children. All because David wanted what he wanted and didn’t think about the damage it might cause to others.

Of course, no one died in the parking lot that day, due to the shopping cart incident, but the fact still remains that an innocent target suffered damages due to other’s selfishness.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” And in Matthew 22:39 He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Let’s avoid creating collateral damage today. Let’s be more focused on those around us and less focused on ourselves, schedules, and to-do lists. Let’s choose our words more carefully and therefore causing less division and pain.

Let’s go out into the world and treat others the way we would like to be treated. Let’s love others as we love ourselves.

Wow! What a wonderful world it would be!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Thing

In a recent conversation, a person commented to me on how she has difficulty participating in prayer in her bible study group because it is done differently this year compared to last year. Therefore, she isn’t participating.

So, because this person likes the old method of praying for the other ladies in her group, and doesn’t like the new way, she is unwilling to participate in prayer for them at all. She is missing out on the benefits of being prayed for and the blessing of praying for others.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

In this instance, the expression, “Cut off your nose to spite your face,” comes to mind.

How often do we do that very same thing?

Maybe we get a new worship team with new worship music at our church and we struggle to adjust because we miss the old worship music or old worship team. So we don’t participate in the worship or we show up late for church skipping it altogether because we don’t like the changes. Therefore, missing out on the benefits of praise and worship.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Or maybe we get a new pastor with new messages and new programs at our church but we can’t receive what God has to say or is doing through him or her because we are stuck in the past with the old pastor and his old messages and programs. So, maybe we stop going to church at all or we cause division with a negative attitude and negative words.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Sometimes we can get so stuck in tradition, a routine, or a preferred way of doing things that we miss what God is doing in the here and now.

God says in His Word that He is doing a new thing and that He is making all things new. God is all about new and change.

God never changes. But He is always providing us with the opportunity for change and newness. And He is always offering us an opportunity to be part of the new thing that He is doing.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new! Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

God is wanting us to perceive that He is doing something new. That means we need to be aware of the changes that He is making and the different way He may be working to make those changes in us, in the people around us, or in our circumstances.

If we are not perceptive of God’s new way of doing something, we will miss the blessing of the new thing He is doing.

When Jesus was on the earth, the religious leaders struggled with receiving His message because they were stuck in their religious rituals and traditions. They did not want to give up the old way.

They had been waiting for the Messiah their whole lives and when He was standing right in front of them they didn’t recognize Him because He was different.

Jesus had a new message and a new way of doing things. The religious leaders didn’t like it or Him so they killed Him.

Let’s not kill the opportunities God is placing in front of us just because they are different. Let’s remember that God is doing a new thing and making all things new, including us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face. Let’s take advantage of all that God has for us.  Let’s take advantage of all that God wants to do in us and through us. Let’s be part of the new thing God is doing!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a Prisoner?

Recently I took a trip to visit my cousins. Before leaving to return home, on a Sunday morning, I attended church with them.

During the sermon, the pastor told a story about a time he had visited a prison to play a softball game with the prisoners, have lunch with them and minister to them.

He mentioned that during the worship and ministry time with the prisoners, he marveled at their freedom. They didn’t restrict their worship or their joy for fear of what others might think. They were completely free! It’s what I like to call “reckless abandonment.”

Having visited a loved one in prison, hearing the pastor’s description of his prison experience brought me to tears. I was flooded with distracting memories of someone I love with all my heart, in an orange jumpsuit, shackles, and chains.

Thankfully, the pastor made the statement that redirected my focus, “Those men were locked up for life with no hope for parole and they were freer and more joyful than people that are outside of visible prison walls.”

The prisoners were physically captive but spiritually free. As a result of their spiritual freedom, they had unexplainable hope, peace, and joy.

There are people walking around today with sadness, anxiety, and anger on their faces, on their tongues, and in their hearts. They have no hope, no peace, and no joy.

But if you ask them if they are free they would say, “Of course I am free!” “I can do what I want when I want and where I want!” They would think that your question was silly. But is it?

Jesus said in John 8:34 that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Slaves are not free!

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

So we have two choices, we can choose to be obedient to sin or obedient to God. One leads to death and the other leads to righteousness, holiness and eternal life [Romans 6:22].

I don’t know about you but if I only have two choices in whom to obey, sin or God, obedience to God sounds like a much better deal. Not to mention that hope, peace and joy are included in the package.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m reminded of an incident in God’s Word where Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and wrongfully imprisoned. Their feet were fastened in stocks. Then around midnight, they began praying and singing hymns to God [Acts 16:23-25].

How could men who had just been severely flogged/beaten, thrown into prison, with their feet in stocks, pray and sing hymns at midnight? They had to be in horrible pain. How were they able to move beyond their pain, suffering, and disappointment to praise and worship?

They were free on the inside! They had a hope, a peace and a joy that was not a result of their circumstance but instead a result of their faith in God.

A true sign of someone who is set free from a life of slavery to sin is hope, peace, and joy.

How do we get this freedom from sin?

Jesus said in John 8:31-32 That if we hold to His teaching and are true followers of Him then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus is the truth that we need to know in order to be set free from slavery to sin. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the only way to hope, peace, and joy.

Don’t go through life shackled and chained by sin having no hope, peace or joy. Choose to know the truth! Choose to know Jesus! Choose to be free!

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

This is a Test! This is Only a Test!

Tax season! Ugh! Need I say more? Well, I’ll say just a little more.

Recently, I had taken all of our required tax documents to the local tax professionals to have our income taxes calculated and prepared. I went in hopeful and optimistic but I left confused and, I must admit, more than a little upset.

Outwardly I maintained self-control but inwardly I wanted to cry. As a matter of fact, I did cry a little when I got back into my automobile. When I contacted my husband to let him know the results, he was very disappointed as well.

You see, my husband and I had finally managed to build our savings back up after buying a house with 15 acres a year ago. We were hoping to be able to start some needed home repairs and improvement projects soon.

Well, with the results of the income tax calculations we found that we owed all of the money we had saved. Imagine our shock and disappointment.

I spent the rest of the day feeling a little sick to my stomach and letdown. My husband was angry and depressed.

I had a decision to make. Was I going to allow the loss of our savings to determine my joy?  Was I going to be bitter and angry at the government? Was I going to put my trust in money or in God? After much prayer and with a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, I chose to put my trust in God.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The tax incident happened on a Thursday. Friday morning I made the decision that I was not going to allow the loss of money to determine my behavior or my joy.

Money is not my God! God is my God! He is able to provide me with more money if I need it. He is my source and my provider. He meets all my needs!

Because I moved my focus from money to God, I went from being angry about losing all of our savings to being thankful that we had the money to pay our taxes.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

As soon as I made the decision to trust God, to keep my eyes focused on Him, and to be thankful instead of resentful, my joy returned.

Psalm 107:22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.

That Saturday, my husband and I went to the tax professional to ask a lot of questions and to sign papers. While there, mistakes were discovered and we ended up owing about a tenth of what was originally projected.

Wow! Talk about rejoicing! My husband and I were so relieved.

I was reminded of an incident in the bible where God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac to Him as a sacrifice. Abraham must have been confused by God’s request but He willingly agreed to do what God had asked him to do. As Abraham was just about to kill Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, God intervened and said, “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” [Genesis 22:1-19]

It was a test! God was testing Abraham’s heart. God wanted to know that He was Abraham’s number one. Abraham passed the test!

That’s when I realized that the whole tax mishap was a test. God was testing my heart. God wanted to know if my trust was in Him or in money? He wanted to know if I would willingly offer my savings on the altar of sacrifice? He wanted to know if I would still trust Him if He took away what He had given me? God wanted to know if He was my number one.

What is God asking you to be willing to sacrifice to show your love and devotion to Him? Time, money, food, entertainment, friends? It may not be something negative. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son; the son that God had promised him and had given him. Are you willing to sacrifice your ministry, gifts, and talents; things that God has given you?

God wants to be your number one. Is He your number one?

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

Nowhere to Run to! Nowhere to Hide!

Temptation is all around us! It’s in our homes, in our workplaces, in our classrooms. It’s in our cars, at parties, at the grocery store and even in our churches. It’s everywhere!

Sometimes I feel like Martha Reeves and the Vandellas when they sang the words, “Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.”

Or is there?

Thankfully the temptation to sin is not a sin. The sin is when we give in to the temptation.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Woe! Temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what should we do when we are tempted to sin? Should we ignore it and hope it goes away? Should we play with fire and see how close we can get to sin without getting burned? Should we use will power?

I’m just like everyone else. I’m human. I am tempted to sin every day just like you. Over time I’ve learned that I have to rely on God for help to resist temptation or I will eventually fail.

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Notice Jesus said to watch and pray. That means we have to stay on our guard because temptation is coming and it’s dangerous.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Once we see that we are being tempted, we should pray. Will power alone won’t be enough to fight the temptation. Even if we manage to resist the temptation the first time, it will come back, again and again, to wear us down.

When we pray we are humbling ourselves and asking God for help. Basically, we are saying to God, “I can’t fight this temptation on my own. I need Your help or I will fail!”

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

To submit to God is to yield to His authority; surrender to His will [Merriam-Webster App]. When we surrender to God’s will we are saying “no” to our own will. When we say “no” to our own will we are saying “yes” to God’s will. God’s will is that we desire to please Him and not ourselves.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Submitting to God helps us to resist the devil. The devil is the one behind the temptation. He’s the one that’s always trying to entice us to sin because he knows that sin separates us from a holy God.

And ultimately separation from God without repentance leads to spiritual death. Thus the scripture earlier, the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].

Resist means to exert force in opposition [Merriam-Webster App]. Exerting force in opposition to something requires violence. Meaning we have to see temptation as our enemy; a threat and a danger. This is not a time for passivity.

We have to see that the possibility of giving in to temptation is a threat to our reputation. It is a threat to our relationships and to our family. To our future. It can also be a threat to our health. And as Christians, it is a threat to our spiritual growth and our influence for the kingdom of God.

We have to view temptation as a thief that is trying to steal everything from us! We have to see it as our enemy!

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

God is our only hope to not fall into temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.

Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. Each time the devil tempted Him He fought back with God’s word; the scriptures [Luke 4:1-13].

The Bible refers to the word of God as a sword [Ephesians 6:17]. It is a weapon! A weapon to use against our enemy; temptation.

What are some things you are tempted by? Lust, gluttony, greed? Laziness, anger, envy, pride? Hate, adultery, stealing? Lying, cheating, gossiping? Drugs, sexual perversion? The list goes on and on.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking temptation is harmless and something that can be entertained or played with. See it for what it is…your enemy; a real threat and very dangerous.

Let’s be on the watch for temptation because it is coming. Let’s humbly submit to God by praying and asking Him to help us to resist temptation. Let’s use God’s word to fight temptation like Jesus did.

So, to the questions, is there someplace to run to or someplace to hide in times of temptation?

Absolutely!

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Paid in Full!

Recently I had designed and ordered 50 advertisement postcards from a company that specializes in business marketing merchandise. I had looked over my designed postcard several times to make sure it was perfect before choosing to purchase it.

It wasn’t until they arrived in my mailbox, about a  week later, that I noticed the misspelled word. When I sent a picture of one of the postcards to my cousin, to show her my mistake, she found another misspelled word. She also made a few suggestions on how to make the entire postcard more effective. I am so thankful for her expert eye and opinion.

I called the business marketing company the next day to make the corrections and place a reorder. To my wonderful surprise, they made all of the corrections at no extra cost to me. They didn’t even charge me for the changes I wanted to make that weren’t mistakes.

I didn’t have to pay for my mistakes! Talk about amazing customer service!

It reminded me of how I don’t have to pay for my sins. Jesus paid for them all. He paid for mine and yours. He paid for all sins for all time.

Jesus never sinned. He never did anything wrong His entire life. We’ve sinned and inherited sin and He paid for all of those sins. Wow!

1 John 3:4-5 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.

Sins are like debts. God says the sin debt can only be paid with sinless blood. Even if we shed our own blood for our own sins the debt would still not be paid.

Only the sinless blood of Jesus was enough to pay for our sins. Blood tainted with sin cannot pay for sin. Jesus was and is our only hope!

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Are you still trying to pay your sin debt? Are you trying to pay for your sins by doing good deeds? By punishing yourself? By being a good person?

Although it is good to do good deeds and to be a good person, those things will never pay for your sins. If they could then Jesus would have come to earth and died for nothing.

No! We can’t pay for our sins. Only the sinless blood of Jesus pays for our sins.

Don’t get to the end of your life and stand before Jesus only to find out that you lived your whole life believing a lie; that you could be good enough to get into heaven. Jesus said the only way to forgiveness of sins and eternal life is through Him.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Stop trying to pay for your sins. They have already been paid for in full. Receive your gift of eternal life today!

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Are People Like Pancakes?

On a recent Saturday morning, as I stood at the stove making my husband pancakes, a conversation about the appearance of my pancakes arose. I was commenting on how sloppy my pancakes looked. I was making a mess of them. My husband said, “That’s ok! It’s not about how they look, it’s about how they taste and they taste amazing!”

My immediate thought was, “If only we viewed people in the same way we view pancakes. If only we would give people a chance before judging them by their appearance.”

None of us are perfect. We all have things that have happened to us in our life that have left us and our lives looking like a mess. Life has left all of us with scars and brokenness. Some of us are just better at hiding it or masking it than others.

When Jesus was on the earth, He was drawn to the scarred and the broken. He was criticized for hanging out with sinners; those that may be considered by some to be lowlife today.

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

I don’t know about you but I am so grateful that Jesus came to call us to repentance. Because I was the sick sinner in need of repentance. I was the broken mess. I am the one with many life scars. I have been the one on the other side of judgment and criticism.

What if God would have looked down at us and said, “They are not worthy of my Son. My Son is too good for them. I don’t want my Son around those sinners. They don’t act right, they don’t look right and they don’t smell right. They are too trashy!”

Where would we be? What hope would we have?

Thankfully God doesn’t see us as worthless or trashy. In fact, He sees us in a completely opposite way.

To God we are amazing! We are created in His image.

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

Psalm 139:13-14 For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

God thinks we are so valuable that He gave His one and only sinless Son to die for our sins so that we can be in a relationship with Him and live with Him for eternity (John 3:16).

What if we were to see and think about others the way God sees and thinks about us? What if we were to look past the mess, scars, and brokenness to see the value in people? What if we were to look at everyone and see a creation made in the image of the Creator?

How would our world be different? How would we be different? How would we make a difference in someone else’s life?

Let’s go out into the world today and treat people as valuable as God says they are. Let’s stop judging them by their appearance and instead see them as God sees them. Let’s look at people the way my husband looks at pancakes; no matter how they look on the outside, they are still amazing!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.