Ancient myths tell of Diogenes who took a lamp in search of an honest man. Some cynics said that when he got to New York somebody stole his lamp. It is easy to look around and decide the situation is hopeless. However, there are still some honest people out there who reverence God and respect their fellow man. One is Joe Walsh of Brentwood. Some time back, Joe a delivery truck driver with only $.89 in his pocket found a bank deposit bag loaded with cash lying in and in the parking lot. He quickly told some nearby workers he explained, “that protected me from being tempted. I had no business keeping that money.” Friends later told him he was a fool for turning it in. But was he? Suppose the bag contained 1000 or two. Is that the price of your integrity or can you be bought for less? This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
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Vs. 1-2 specify exactly Who it is that gives a believer security;
Vs. 3-8 describe what kind of security can be expected;
Vs. 9-16 designate what is expected of the believer.
There is no definite author or history to explain this Psalm, but there is also no reason to question its place in this Book. It may well have been written by Moses, as was the previous Psalm. Let us emphasize, rather, the terms for God: (1) “Most High” (Hebrew El Elyon), because there is none equal to Him (Isaiah 45:20-23; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), therefore “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48; 17:24-25). The virgin Mary was told her son “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). (2) “Almighty” (Hebrew, El Shaddai), because He is the source of all blessings, therefore He could deliver on His promise to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-6). To the church of Christ in Corinth, God promised, “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty”(2 Corinthians 6:18), who “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). (3) “LORD” (Hebrew Jehovah), the name God revealed to Moses that neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob knew (Exodus 6:2-8). This name is associated with the covenant God made with Israelites only, that brought us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13-29)! (4) “God” (Hebrew Elohim), means “Strength, Power,” and “In the beginning” would be the only “power” present who could create and organize “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6-9). There is only one God of Heaven and Earth.
Verses 1-2: The four figures of speech denote security for someone who keeps close to God: “secret place;” “shadow;” “refuge” and “fortress;” “trust.”
Verses 3-8: Rather than speculate as to specific distresses, these figures of speech, some applied to Satan, should help God’s obedient people visualize His protection by staying close: (verse 3) “snare of the fowler” (2 Timothy 2:26); “perilous pestilence” (2 Timothy 3:1); (verse 4) wing cover and feathers (Matthew 23:37); “shield and buckler” (Ephesians 6:16). Things God’s people should fear not: (verse 5) “terror” by night (John 12:35); arrow by day (Ephesians 6:16); (verse 6) “pestilence” in darkness (John 3:19-20); “destruction” at noon (Matthew 27:45-46); (verse 7) thousands dying on each side; (verse 8) “the reward of the wicked” will not mistakenly come upon the righteous.
Verses 9-16: As a consequence of living closely with “the LORD” (verse 9), the obedient can expect: protection from “evil” or “plague” (verse 10); angelic help (verses 11-12); (verse 13) to walk over the “lion,” “cobra,” “young lion,” “serpent” (representations of the Devil, 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 12:34; Ezekiel 19:1-9; Revelation 12:9). This is to be done for one who has: (verse 14) “set his love upon Me,” “known My name,” (verse 15) desire to “call upon Me.” “Long life,” and “salvation” will go to the faithful (verse 16).
The Devil tempted Jesus Christ to sin by misquoting Psalm 91:11-12 (Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12). The Devil omitted the phrase “to keep you in all your ways,” leaving the impression that God had promised to save any obedient person from being injured altogether. God’s protection promise was not that, but that “angels” were “charged” with encouraging after temptation, as in the case of Jesus, Himself (Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13). The Devil’s “guardian angel” doctrine was designed to give a false sense of security, thus minimizing the strengthening of one’s faith by perseverance. “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
Here’s a good article that I got from the church in Wise, VA this morning. I thought it was worth sharing:
Have you ever heard anyone say, as an explanation for some sinful action, “I have become so confused I don’t know what is right anymore”? As a rule, the person who says such a thing is one who has had clear convictions but has acted, or is about to act, contrary to them.
This must be what the Holy Spirit was saying about Eve in 1 Tim. 2:14. “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
To say that she was deceived is not to say that she was ignorant. She quoted perfectly what God had said: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’” (Gen. 3:2,3). She was deceived when she thought there could be any valid reason for disobeying God.
We cannot know how long Adam and Eve avoided the forbidden tree. With so many other trees from which to eat, there was no need to eat of it. There is no evidence of confusion regarding the right and wrong of eating or the wisdom of abstaining. They were happy ignoring it.
But along came Satan to draw Eve’s attention to the tree she had been avoiding. He drew here attention to the beauty of the fruit and somehow convinced her, perhaps by eating of it himself, that it was good for food. If he did eat of it, the fact that he did not die surely gave support to his contention that she would not die. One can see the confusion mounting. The arguments she considered conclusive against eating were rapidly being snatched by arguments for doing so. Which arguments were valid? Both seemed to be.
Had Adam been nearby, or had God spoken again, she might have been reminded once more of the strong reasons for rejecting the fruit. But as it was, the voice of God grew weaker in her memory as the desirability of the fruit was magnified by Satan’s glib lies. All that was needed to tip the balance was the final suggestion of an apparent virtue in eating — the thought that she would become like God. Never mind the legalistic prohibition; surely one could not be blamed for wanting to be like God.
“She took of the fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6). Tragic words! Tragic consequences! Consequences reaching down through countless generations even to us!
The great mistake of Eve was in allowing herself even to begin thinking about disobedience. This was the mistake of Achan when he first saw the Babylonian garment (Jos. 7:21), of David when he first saw his beautiful neighbor bathing (2 Sam. 11:2) and of Judas when he first thought of betraying Jesus. It is the same mistake each of us makes — men and women alike — whenever we sin.
The Bible says much: “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” (Jas. 1:14,15).
There is ample defense available. If we are wise enough to meditate on God’s laws in such circumstances, (Psa. 119:11), and to ask Him for deliverance (Matt. 6:13), He will, with the temptation, “also make the way of escape” (1 Cor. 10:13).
But all too often, in the name of open-mindedness and objectivity, we feel we are obligated to look at the other side, to consider the “arguments in favor of” sin. We may even be so foolish as to parrot the existential line: “I must get away to myself and sort things out.” If this means getting away for Bible study, meditation and prayer, fine! But this is seldom what it means. As a rule, what it means is: “I want to be left alone to rationalize my way through the sin that entices me without having to reason with those who would logically or scripturally expose my folly.”
Such conflict between conscience and passion, between logic and emotion, between authority and anarchy, between flesh and spirit will indeed produce confusion — confusion bordering on insanity. But it is a confusion for which we are responsible. It is the peculiar malady of “those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” and who “did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10,12). It is never surprising when such a person, “being deceived,” falls into transgression.
In Jesus’ day “there was a division among the people because of Him” (Jn. 7:43). They were confused by the contradiction between His claims and the accusations of their rulers. Jesus stated clearly who would not be confused: “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak of My own authority” (Jn. 7:17).
Wanting to do God’s will will save us from the confusion, deception and transgression into which our mother Eve fell.
Sewell Hall – Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 11, March 15, 2009
[This illustration comes from All Pro Dad, via their "Play of the Day" e-mail. I highly recommend this (as well as Family First's "Family Minute") to all the dads out there. To subscribe, go here (for Family First, click here). Oh, and they have a version for the moms, too - click here to sign up for iMom's "Espresso Minute." --Chad]
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductress, mermaid-like creatures who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. The Greek hero Odysseus had to sail by this dangerous vortex and, in order not to plunge into ruin, come up with a plan. According to author Kim Luret,
“Odysseus instructed his crew to first plug their ears with beeswax and once that was done, to tie him securely to the mast. His orders were strict–the sailors were not to remove the wax from their ears, nor respond to him in any way until the ship had safely passed the island of the Sirens.
As they got within earshot of the Sirens, Odysseus became as a man possessed. He had never heard anything so alluring or beautiful. He was utterly captivated and began fighting against the ropes, shouting impassioned orders for the crew to turn the ship towards the island. Unable to hear his commands, the sailors ignored him. They hunched over their oars and rowed with a fury.
This infuriated Odysseus. He threatened execution to all who disobeyed his orders to free him at once and turn the ship around. But the sailors neither heard him nor cared. They had made an agreement in advance to report to and obey the real Odysseus, not this inflamed creature who’d gone temporarily mad. Their orders came from truth and reason, not from a lie and insanity. And by sticking to their pre-planned agreement, captain and crew got out alive.
Once they’d made a safe distance from that dangerous place, the sailors removed the beeswax from their ears and untied their captain. No longer within earshot of the Sirens, Odysseus was himself again. And he thanked his crew for staying true to the orders from his real self.”
For many men, the situation Odysseus found himself in is akin to the fight against lust. If we don’t take radical steps to protect ourselves, we’ll shipwreck our lives. Here are 10 practical ways to help in your battle against sexual lust.
Sometimes the source of the news from “the grapevine” is sour grapes!
Let’s be careful in understanding the difference between passing along information and passing along gossip after it reaches our ears.
Gossip can be such a tempting thing, but if we know it’s gossip, then we should let it die on the vine. Let’s strive today to pass along the Good News instead of the sour stuff.
“He who goes about talking of others makes secrets public, but the true-hearted man keeps things covered.” (Proverbs 11:13 BEV)
“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” [C.S. Lewis].
UPDATE: This was intended for Forthright Mag and has now been posted there. I plead jetlag.
The struggle between spirit and flesh is great, Father of lights, between self-will and your purpose, for it caused drops of sweat as blood on the brow of my Savior.
The battle seems most fierce at the end, as it was for him.
The moment of truth, in the dark, alone.
Alone but for the dew from heaven upon the ground, but for your ear to welcome a plea for delivery and a choice to follow your will.
Raise me up, Lord, from the soil of pain and turmoil, that I may go steadily to suffer for your name.
Because that is the way my Savior went.
Today our “Thought For Today” reached a milestone of 15 years … Wow, Thanks for the memories.
If you had a favorite share it with us. My favorite comes from my favorite granny: “There is plenty of cheese in a mousetrap, but you never see a happy mouse there.”
(Prov 2:6-7) For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.
“Thoughts For Today To Brighten Your Day”
From: Glenn, Mercedes & Lauren Hitchcock
What can be said about Peter that has not been said? I don’t know, but as I was reading I reflected on his determination to not deny the Lord. Before his denial, the Lord took him, James, and John out nearby to where He desired to pray. The three disciples were fatigued. They genuinely wanted to stay with Jesus as He prayed, knowing this was a time of great anxiety for the Lord. They had been with Him through the years, and in this stressful time they most surely wanted to be there and support him (not that they knew what to do or say). The Lord returns from His area and time of prayer and finds them all sleeping. He speaks to one, but He speaks to all, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). It was not long after this that Peter denied the Lord.
Satan is not a one-talent tempter. Nor does he make one-time attempts. He never sleeps. He studies his prey with intense dedication. He knows our weaknesses and our weak moments. His wiliness merits our best attention.
All that can be said of Satan, for ill, can be said, and much more, of the Lord, for good. The Lord is not a sleepy guardian. His eye is always on his people. He knows our weaknesses and our weak moments. He knows us thoroughly, for he made us. He gives us every advantage, every resource, every escape from the evil one. His sovereignty merits our humble submission and willing obedience.
- That Satan oftens takes advantage of our circumstances and wants to tempt us. The poor, the hungry, and the naked he often tempts to repine and complain, and to be dishonest in order to supply their necessities.
- Satan’s temptations are often the strongest immediately after we have been remarkably favored. Jesus had just been called the Son of God, and Satan took this opportunity to try him. He often attempts to fill us with pride and vain self-conceit when we have been favored with any peace of mind, or any new view of God, and endeavors to urge us to do something which may bring us low and lead us to sin.
- His temptations are plausible. They often seem to be only urging us to do what is good and proper. They seem even to urge us to promote the glory of God, and to honor him. We are not to think, therefore, that because a thing may seem to be good in itself, that therefore it is to be done. Some of the most powerful temptations of Satan occur when he seems to be urging us to do what shall be for the glory of God.
- We are to meet the temptations of Satan, as the Savior did, with the plain and positive declarations of Scripture. We are to inquire whether the thing is commanded, and whether, therefore, it is right to do it, and not trust to our own feelings, or even our wishes, in the matter.
From Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
A 79-year-old woman was arrested in Chicago after she tried to hold up a bank at gunpoint. She wore a black sunglasses and white visor that read “princess” and threatened the teller with a toy gun. The Chicago Sun-Times says she might be the oldest woman ever charged with bank robbery in the city. The apostle Paul once told Timothy, “Flee youthful lusts.” While we may outgrow some temptations, apparently there is a whole new inventory of allurements tailor-made for our stage in life. If the devil doesn’t get us with one, he will try another. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
Here’s a point to ponder. I always thought that the temptation to turn stones into bread came to Jesus as a result of his being hungry from his 40 days of fasting. So far so good. But, since fasting seems to be a means of spiritual strengthening, might we also look at Jesus’ fasting as preparation that he might meet his temptations in a stronger position than if he had not fasted? What do you think?
Every week brings new challenges to the Christian in trying to be set apart from the world and remaining holy as God would have us be. This week has been no different for me. This week I had to stand up to my employer, who spent well over an hour trying to convince me to lie on something for the benefit of the company. The actions he was asking me to take are illegal and in violation of written corporate policy. And needless to say, lying is sin. He used the same tactics used by Satan himself. “It is not illegal”, he said. Being charitable, perhaps he is just ignorant of the law. He negated the consequences of the action by inserting that little word, “not”. And why, if I did it, I’d be just like everyone else, because everyone else does it. It would help me advance and be to my own personal benefit. And finally, in not doing so, I’m causing problems for the company. The account of the garden of Eden came to mind immediately, as did the temptation of our Savior Himself. I so wanted to say, “get behind me Satan”. But I took a different tactic: put it in writing. That ended the conversation.
My prayer this week is that my fellow Christians, when faced with such temptations, have ready recollection of the teachings of the Bible to give them the strength and the courage to not be of the world while they are living in the world.
And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”Genesis 39:7-9, ESV
G. E. Watkins has a new sermon outline on “The Origin of Sin,” dealing with its pre-eden origin, its origin on earth (Eve) and within the individual. For a taste, in the temptation with Eve, he mentions Satan’s three tactics. Here’s one:
Satan implies unfair treatment. It seems as if Satan said to Eve, “Surely God has not given you such an unfair restriction.” Today, Satan is having his way with us when he can convince us that in living the Christian life we are burdened, mistreated and deprived.
Well worth some quiet meditation on how sin thrives among and within us.