Temptation and Trials

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. – (Luke 4:1)

 

Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Holy Spirit into a long and difficult space of temptation. He had done no wrong, but was led into this trial in the desert so that He would know and understand what we go through in our broken humanity. The very same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus and gave Him strength to overcome the temptations presented before Him in the desert, dwells within us, granting us the strength to stand against that which we know we are not meant to do. Just as Jesus was led into a time of trial by the Spirit, we too, may be led into seasons of testing to further strengthen our reliance on Christ. The better we know and obey God and His word, the more effective our fight against temptation will be. May we stand firm in His promises, and listen well to the word of the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

Tempting and trials,Temptations and Trials

most surely shall come;

let the Spirit lead,

righteous Holy One.

Though we may be led,

to seasons of test;

relying on Christ,

will serve us the best.

For just as Jesus,

overcame all sin;

when we look to Christ,

our battles, we’ll win.

Stand firm in His word,

His promises keep;

obey in all things,

His strength we shall reap.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to withstand trials and temptations of every kind. Thank You Jesus, for dying for our sins and sending Your Spirit, so that we too, can withstand every temptation and trial that comes our way in Your strength. Thank You that Your Spirit leads us and guides us if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for attempting to overcome temptations and trials in our own strength, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as we utilize the gifts and strengths You have granted to face every trial and temptation that comes our way. Show us every sinful way in us, so that we may confess and allow Your correction for that which does not bring glory unto You. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading when trials or temptations are placed before us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Clean before Christ is a condition of the heart and mind, not an appearance of our physical form. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were more concerned with their traditions and rituals that cleansed the outside and limited what and how they could consume nourishment, that they ended up completely neglecting their true need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus himself said the following: “Are you so dull?” he asked, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” – (Mark 7:18-19)

 

We too, ought to be aware as well. What we consume with our heart and mind, determine our cleanliness before Christ. Do we honor Him with the choices we are making? If we falter, do we stop and ask for forgiveness and help so that we can avoid similar temptation in the future? The Lord looks at our hearts. He sees and knows where our priorities lie. May we seek Him first in all things, so that we may keep clean hearts and clear minds before Him.

 

Create in me, Lord,Intentional Retreat

a heart that is clean;

one that always seeks,

truth in the unseen.

For out of the heart,

is where life may flow;

to You we belong,

let Your love light show.

May our hearts and minds,

stay right before You;

so we act in love,

to Thee ever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that external things and the foods that we consume cannot make us unclean before You. Thank You that our cleansing happens from the inside out. Thank You that You cleanse our hearts and minds if we are only willing to allow You access to all. Forgive us for focusing on external things, rather than on keeping our hearts and minds pure before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place our hearts and minds in Your care, allowing You to cleanse and restore the places that are infected with things that should have never been allowed a voice. Help us to go forth and love well, all whom we encounter, just as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a cleansing relationship with You, Lord God. Be glorified as we are obedient to all that You are asking. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Resolve in His Strength

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

To Each What is Due

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. – (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

Without Jesus, the first line would leave us with no hope. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23) However, in Him, all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:24) That does not mean we are given a free ticket to sin, but rather we are forgiven for our past sins, and equipped to stand strong against temptation, so that we won’t do what we ought not do.

 

Though we may suffer the consequence of the choices made by generations that have gone before us, just as our elders and offspring may also suffer from the choices we make; neither will be held responsible for the sins of another. We are each only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions. Each of us will receive what is due on our final day – be it eternity with Christ, or condemned to eternal separation. May we seek first, His Kingdom, and share the hope found in Christ alone, with all who know Him not.

 

It has been made known,IMG_0186

that the consequence;

for all who choose sin,

will result in death.

We bear not the guilt,

of those gone before;

nor will our offspring,

our sins need pay for.

All who choose live right,

in Christ they abide;

counted as righteous,

will not be denied.

Yet they who deny,

the Lord’s righteousness;

shall be cast away,

for their wickedness.

Let us seek the Lord,

for all of our days;

and abide in Him,

both now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though the punishment for sin is death, You created a way for us to be forgiven and granted new life. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we may have new life in You. Thank You that You do not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents and ancestors before them, and likewise, that You do not hold our children accountable for our sin. Thank You that You see us each individually, and judge us according to how we have chosen to live – either in You, or without You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that does not bring glory to You, and help us to raise up our children in such a way, that they desire to seek You with their whole being. Teach us to trust You more, and help us to live and love in such a way, that You are proclaimed, even when words are not spoken. May many come to know You as their Savior and King. Let hearts be healed and lives be made new. Be glorified as we depend on You to walk in righteousness. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

 

 

We Who Overcome

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, NIV)

 

I will let everyone who wins the victory sit with Me on My throne. It was the same with Me. I won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. – (Revelation 3:21, ERV)

 

To overcome does not mean to be without struggle, but rather it is to press in and persist in spite of the struggle until the battle is finally won. Often, overcoming is a long and arduous battle. Our struggles require an ongoing repeated reliance on our Redeemer. He is our strength to stand strong against temptation and opposition, and He is our Rock whom we can run to, when we require retreat. Victory, is determined in our obedience, not in our strength to stand on our own. We are able to be overcomers and join our Savior on His Heavenly throne, as we choose to allow Him to lead us into our battles, and rely on Him to be our Commander and King.  Each step, each breath, that we choose to allow Him to lead, we find His strength to meet our need.   May our hearts hold fast to Him alone, who leads us to salvation’s throne.

 

Battles will come,IMG_0073

of that we’re assured;

yet strength is found,

through Christ we’re secured.

Victory waits,

for all those who trust;

in the Lord God,

Who’s more than enough.

And on that day,

when we’ve overcome;

our battles fought,

and we see the Son –

“Come close, My child,

you’ve trusted alone;

come sit by Me,

on salvation’s throne.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are overcomers in You. Thank You that in Your strength, we are able to do that which You call us to, and hold fast to the promise of being with You forever in Heaven. Thank You that our hope is not just for the future, but it is for right now as well, as You grant us Your Spirit to dwell in us so that we can be more than conquerors in Your Name. Forgive us for our fear and failures, and help us to recognize how it is You who pick us back up, dust us off, and place us on our feet again. Teach us to persevere, even when the battle before us seems impossible; for nothing is impossible for You. May we live and love as You call us to, and may many lives be led into a relationship where they too, become overcomers in You. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome all that opposes us in Your strength. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Watch and Pray

In His final hours with the disciples, prior to being taken into custody, Jesus was still teaching life lessons to the disciples. Their time in the garden was no exception. Jesus demonstrated the need to spend time seeking the Father in prayer, particularly when trying times lie before us. Additionally, when we are weary and worn, it is all the more critical that we keep watch and pray. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Matthew 26:41) Jesus knew what was yet to come, and He was calling on His disciples to prepare their hearts for the battle ahead.

 

Though the disciples all seemed to be defeated during Christ’s trial, crucifixion and burial, everything changed when He rose again. Jesus’ resurrection restored hope where it had been lost, and the power of His grace reinstated each of the followers to their former place. Even more, when Jesus ascended into heaven and then sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of mankind, the game changed. What we were unable to previously do, we are now equipped to do, by the power of His Spirit living in us. As we watch and pray, the still small voice within us, can help us navigate all that we are meant to do to resist that which we ought not do, and the strength to step forward in faith to do all that He is calling us into.Watch and Pray

 

Power is found,

as we watch and pray;

look to the Lord,

in both work and play.

He’ll grant wisdom,

where we are in need;

trust in His plans,

for His shall succeed.

When we’re weary,

seek Him all the more;

in stormy seas,

He’ll take us to shore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are weak to temptation in our own strength, by Your Spirit, we can overcome whatever comes our way. Thank You that You do not just tell us to watch and pray, but You are ready – listening and available to us in all things and at all times. Forgive us for trying to resist temptations in our own strength, and help us to rely completely on You. May we model a life of faithful dependence on You, and may many come to know the power and peace that comes from a personal relationship with You. Let us love as You love us. May we reflect You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

– Psalm 69:16

To Turn from Temptation

Temptation is a funny thing – the longer we learn to stand strong against it, the more subtle it becomes. All of us are and will continue to be tempted. It is a matter of how we choose to face that which lies before us, that will determine whether or not we will overcome that which is luring us away from God’s very best for us.

 

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.” – (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

Despite society’s state of seeming moral decay, there are no temptations that are new to mankind. Everyone has to face some sort of dilemma and make a choice. Many who have gone before us, have faced and overcome the same sort of obstacles. God will grant us all that we need to resist every temptation under the sun. Wisdom is also granted by God, to recognize people, places and situations that tempt us to succumb to sin. We must steer clear of such spaces. Choose what is right. If we seek God, and His help, asking Him to guide us to friends whom will help us resist temptation, rather than fall into it, He will be faithful to answer. Lastly, run from settings where sin is inevitable. Why subject oneself to testing that is unnecessary and foolish?

 

Temptations come,To Turn from Temptation

to all mankind;

God is faithful,

to help toe the line.

We must seek Him,

for His help, ask;

to overcome,

never a small task.

Flee from wicked,

resist what’s known;

seek God and friends,

don’t just face alone.

Seek His wisdom,

ask for His grace;

stand firm in Christ,

there’s no safer space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our faithful and present help, always. Thank You that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that You will always provide a way out for us. Forgive us for not heeding Your warnings, and for ignoring Your still small voice, when we have given in to temptations. Teach us to be tender to Your voice, and not only quick to hear, but immediate to obey. May we overcome temptations that are placed before us, and walk victorious in You. Let our love lead those who are looking, straight into Your loving arms. May many come to know You, personally, as their salvation and safety. Be glorified in our every word and deed, as we flee from temptation and stand strong in all that You are asking. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

The song Overcomer, by Mandisa, came to mind as I was finishing up.  Please click the title to enjoy!  🙂

 

 

Becoming Brothers to the Beloved

image from Asawa's Haven

image from Asawa’s Haven

Because Jesus tasted death,

Christ, the perfect sacrifice;

we are made clean and called kin,

He paid the ultimate price.

Now Jesus is not ashamed,

we are welcome family;

by His stripes we’re included,

among those from sin set free.

All temptation presented,

we in Him, can overcome;

He too has known these trials,

yet not once did He succumb.

As His sisters and brothers,

all part of God’s family;

He’s high priest on our behalf,

so we may now be called free.

As we place all trust in Him,

we’re set free from sin’s stronghold;

for freedom found in Jesus,

forever ours to behold.

He’ll lavish grace and mercy,

to all who call on His Name;

embrace all that is given,

and to all the world proclaim.

(Responding to Hebrews 2:11-18)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Son so that we may not only come to know You, but that we can be called clean and set free.  Thank You that His sacrifice was enough for all, and that by His death, we are granted new life.  Thank You that as we place our trust in You, we become sisters and brothers to Christ, and are counted as Your dearly loved children.  Forgive us for not fully embracing the birthright that has become ours, and help us to be more than conquerors in You.  May many come to know You as kin – let hearts be open to let Your love in.  Grant us strength to overcome temptation and wisdom to use Your words to show many the way unto You.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Far Better than a Bunny

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  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 stand up under it.” – (I Corinthians 10:13)

Our way is provided,

image by Central Valley Arts

image by Central Valley Arts

because He bore the cross.

He took each temptation,

loves us through every loss.

Equipped by His Spirit,

His power, we’re given;

to face each temptation,

and make right decisions.

He is faithful to us,

to provide a way out.

No temptation too great,

nor path He won’t reroute.

So stand strong in the Lord,

place your whole trust in He,

who will teach us to know,

when to fight or to flee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no temptation that we face is new.  Jesus has already endured every temptation know to us, and He alone, was without sin.  Thank You that His sacrifice that we celebrate on Friday, and even more, His resurrection that we remember this Sunday, are the very events that let to our option for empowerment to withstand the temptations that test us.  Forgive us for failing to fully depend on You.  Deepen our dependence on You as we walk through this holy Easter week.  May our reverence for the remarkable redemption that we have been granted, and our love for others, lead many to Your amazing arms of grace.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present