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Archive for November, 2010

Recently I have learned some very interesting facts concerning Temptation. I was having difficulty in a particular area of my life and had temporary success, but soon fell back into the habit once again. Strange that when I picked up my devotional, it was about temptation and how one should deal with it.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

–  Mark 14:38

This verse in particular struck me pretty hard. I’ve known this verse for quite a while, and at one time learned of its significance with Jesus’ last few hours before His crucifixion. But what made me think was the fact that as long as we watch out for temptation, we can avoid it. I know my weaknesses, the places I am most prone to give in, and if I’m careful, I can successfully avoid a number of temptations. It’s only a matter of watching.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

– Ephesians 6:11-13

Our battle with temptation, of course, is against spiritual forces and not ones of flesh and bone. Only preparation of our mind and spirit can we withstand the enemy’s attacks. If we develop our character and strengthen our relationship with God through meditation on His Word, we will be prepared to stand against the enemy when we are attacked. Also, when evil thoughts enter your mind, it is impossible to push them away. You can only remove a thought by concentrating on another. That’s why people often say that in the face of temptation, counter the attack with scripture. As you focus on the Word, you lose hold on the evil thoughts, therefore leading you to victory over them.

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

So often I feel accomplished once I withstand temptation for several days, only to be humbled when I fall once I lose watch. But also, God will not let anyone be tempted beyond what they can bear. Temptations are sometimes used as trials, and success is definitely possible — the battle has already been won, remember? And there is always a way out of temptation, a choice. You can choose to give in, or you can run away into the arms of your Savior, where He will protect you from any attacks.

Last but not least, Mark 14:38 tells us to pray.  A common option is to pray for someone else while you are being tempted. Target someone who isn’t a believer yet or is having difficulty somewhere in their life. Pray for whatever it is they need. In other words, while Satan is busy attacking you, you attack back by targeting someone currently under his control. Undermine him from behind, so that whenever he attacks, he gets attacked himself. In time, attacks from him will decrease because he knows that God will be working on someone else as he attacks you. I’ve also applied this command by praying for myself when I am not tempted. I tell God to help me stay strong and to say no in the face of temptation. I ask that no matter what, no matter what tactics I use to give in to temptation, may He make it impossible for me to fall. I also pray for my weaknesses, that I may grow stronger in those areas and have less footholds for the enemy to use.

Watch and pray, otherwise you will fall.

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During Thanksgiving, it is tradition to go around the table and say something we’re thankful for. Common responses include family, friends, a job, a school, a degree, passing exams, and a time to relax with the people you love.

All great responses, but did you notice that they all have something in common? Something positive perhaps?

It’s great to be thankful for the good things, but what about the bad? Whenever we go through hard times or trials, do we thank God for them? Do we recognize the fact that He is still in control and that everything works together for the common good?

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Who we are today is a result of events in our lives. I’m sure you’ll agree that even though trials seemed tough at the time, they make us stronger now that we’ve gone through them and succeeded. And the same goes with all  trials, even those you are experiencing right now. Remember that there is no great loss without some small gain.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

– James 1:2-4, 12

Trials are made to strengthen us and test our faith. Will we respond with the joy and thankfulness the way the Lord wants us to? God is in control, and as long as we properly respond to our trials, we will reap the maximum benefits He wants us to receive.

And that alone will truly be something to be thankful for. =)

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Let’s face it: taking Christ to school isn’t very easy sometimes. Even though I attend a Christian private school, the atmosphere isn’t all that different from public schools. There is still the persecution (at a very water-downed level) and the inappropriate speech. I’ve asked myself more than once a week: How do I take Christ to school with me? How can I maintain a close relationship with Him in the midst of all my homework, basketball, schoolwork, etc.?

Thankfully, I am still able to keep up with my Bible reading every day. It helps somewhat, but soon I lose memory of my time with God and began engaging in actions that displease Him. It saddens me sometimes when I remember that what I’m doing isn’t right, when, of course, I desire to be what God wants me to be.

To counteract all this forgetfulness, I’ve developed my own method of “keeping Jesus in my backpack”. Here are some tips:

  • Get some inspirational school materials. This includes but is not limited to folders, binders, key chains, pencils, notebooks, journals, water bottles, backpacks, book covers… you can buy these at almost any retail store like Target or Wal-Mart… or you can get them at Christian stores.
  • Keep a small notebook nearby. Jot down one thing about God or your faith every period. Or if you did your Bible study in the morning, think about something you learned from it. If applicable, try to live out the verse/command/truth throughout the day.
  • Talk with God. Mutter a small thanks or cry out to Him for help. Remember, you have 24/7 access to your personal bodygaurd and counselor. Make use of the excellent service!

Anyway, these are just a few things to get you started. I’ve found the inspirational materials I use to be of great help in refreshing my connection with the Lord throughout the day. Quiet time with Him in the morning really puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. You can usually tell if I did my Bible study or not based on my reactions to events throughout the day. x)

Keep the faith!

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Reading the Bible is an awesome thing to do, but sometimes it can get boring and habitual. That’s where some Bible handbooks and illustrated guides come in. These books can spice up your reading, providing you with interesting Bible trivia, facts, and pictures. Actually see Bible-era artifacts and locations.

One of the best resources I have for Bible study include Halley’s Bible Handbook with the New International Version – Deluxe Edition. Now, this is only one edition of this handbook, so keep in mind that you can pick the one that appeals to you the most. My copy has full color illustrations and pictures. It covers every book of the Bible and provides the setting of that book and interesting pictures of and artifacts from that era. Even when I’m not studying my Bible I find myself immersed within the pages, eagerly devouring every word. Yes, it’s that interesting ;D. It’s also a valuable resource in understanding Bible customs, religions, rituals, etc. Learn the cultures and their values. All that information packed into a nice thick book that is bound to last for years. It is also great as a gift; mine was given to me for my baptism.

Please click on the picture to buy it from Amazon.com

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So… I hope you’ve been keeping up with this series. I scheduled in in a way that if you were faithfully journaling each technique, you will hopefully have now developed a consistent journaling schedule. If not, feel free to go back and redo the series from where you need to start.* ^_^

I always feel a glowing sense of satisfaction whenever I complete yet another journal. As quickly as possible, I prepare my next one and begin writing in it as soon as I can. I absolutely love writing and journaling, and since I’ve been doing this for a little over two years now, I am constantly thinking about what to do after I finish a journal. I’ve come to move directly into my next one, giving a brief  intro of my present life situation, my thoughts, what goals I have, and what I wish to accomplish in the time I complete my new journal. This is sort of like a New Year’s resolutions list and synopsis of what I have just been through in life. I find this extremely helpful in identifying how much I’ve grown since, say, two years ago. I also understand why I wrote a certain entry the way I did. This introduction and end-of-journal life synopsis is extremely useful, and I encourage you to use this once you finish your journal.

Once you finish a journal, keep it in a safe place. You will appreciate these notebooks in the future when you’re older. Life will seem to have passed in a blink of an eye, and you wcan use your writing to revisit the past and relive events in your mind. You can also use your journals as refrences for whatever you neded, especially in spritual growth and ministry.

I hope you enjoyed this series, and I look forward to writing up the next one. But for now, may God bless you as you walk with Him and record His work in your life! ^_^

*If you missed this series, you may work your way through it by clicking here. As the posts are in reverse order, work from the last post up. =)

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The day I was born,

I didn’t understand.

What I was getting into,

Inside this strange land.

I grew up to the age,

Where I noticed other people,

Ignoring only the One

Who was garbed in royal purple.

I walked away

Both Far and wide

Neglecting my God

With sin by my side

But one day I broke down,

Just couldn’t go on.

I could not finish

My perfect life song

A hand touched me

And I whirled around

There one stood beckoning

That I not make a sound.

He led me up the sky,

To the bright clouds above.

The gates made of polished gold

All beholding His love.

I stepped on the shining road

And looked down the path.

I saw the courthouse where

I would experience God’s wrath.

But instead of anger or sadness,

I felt His love and grace

Pulsing though my soul

At an overwhelming pace.

He said, “My child, I love you so

I sent my Son to die for you

For you thou thyself

And all others too.

My injured heart ached,

From the time when you left,

And traveled on wrong,

Your sins were quite heft.

Come back, come back,

To your true home right here—

Where happiness with Me

Exists always without fear.”

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One of the hardest parts of journaling is keeping up with your writing. I myself sometimes stop writing for a few days, other times I just can’t stop writing. Here are some tips to ensure habitual writing:

  • You don’t need to write every day; one or twice a week is enough.
  • Keep yourself accountable by writing down important events or discoveries.
  • Experiment with your journal. Write in a different way, from a different angle, in a new handwriting, about different topics… you could even talk about your favorite color socks if they seem that interesting to you xP
  • Switch around entries, for example a prayer one day, a poem another, and yet another a Bible study summary.
  • Don’t burden yourself with a lot of writing. A quick sentence is sufficient if that’s all you can write for the time being.

Journaling is meant to be relaxing, and in some cases, educational. Your journal is yours, and therefore do as you wish to and with it. Try out new things, go wacky or serious. It’s all up to you. =)

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