The Lord’s Prayer (vs 13)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (vs 13)

We just prayed that we would have our sins forgiven and now we are asking that we be guarded from falling again into sin. This is not saying that God tempts us but rather that God protects us from allowing Satan to be let loose upon us.  David once prayed, “Keep me safe, also, from willful sins; don’t let them rule over me.”  (Psalms 19:13 GNB)

Later in Matthew, Jesus said, “the spirit is will but the flesh is weak” and that we should continue to pray that we do not fall into temptation. (26:41) I want to note that it is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted. Everyone is tempted. The devil wants us to sin and stray so that our witness will be weakened and so that we will not be effective for God’s kingdom. The issue is when we give in to that temptation. You’ve heard the expression, “Just say no”? So when Satan sends temptation our way, just say no!

Deliver us from evil is often translated as deliver us from the evil one. Both are possible interpretations of the Greek text and the meaning is almost the same. Yes, deliver us from evil. However, delivering us from the evil one (Satan) will be delivering us from evil in general. The devil is real and he is constantly trying to get us to fall. As believers, we have the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to resist these temptations. James 4:7 says that we are to “resist the devil” then he will flee from us. Why? Because it is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to resist and the devil cannot stand up to God’s Spirit.

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Truth

Truth

What is truth? The popular belief today is that what may be true for you isn’t necessarily true for me. It’s called relative truth, and people love it. It relieves them of responsibility for their bad behavior.  They don’t have the need to learn right from wrong because it’s not their “truth”.

What they don’t realize is that this way of thinking is placing them in bondage; literally making them slaves. Of course, they don’t realize this any more than the Jews that Jesus was speaking to realized it. When He told them that the truth would set them free they got all indignant and huffy saying, “We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody’s slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?” (John 8:33 GNB)

People today can’t accept that they are slaves, or in bondage, to sin. They refuse to believe that continually living in sin shows that they are children of Satan. Yes, this is a strong statement, but Jesus made it, not me. He told them, “You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies.” (John 8:44 GNB) Yes, it is a strong statement, but it is a true statement. It is a statement that the world will not, and is unable to, accept because the truth is not in them.

So, what is the truth? Or, more specifically, what is the Truth? The Truth is: Jesus was born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit. The Truth is: He lived a sinless life. The Truth is: He died for OUR sins, never having committing sin Himself. The Truth is: He rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.

The TRUTH is: Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. This is not relative. This is not flexible. While you may not accept this as your truth, it is, in fact, the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6 GNB) I didn’t make this up because I want more people to go to church. Jesus said this because He wants more people to go to Heaven!

If you can accept this message then you are blessed. Repent, proclaim Jesus as Lord and be baptized. Follow His teaching and commandments. As He said, His yoke (burden or harness) is easy and His load is light because He helps us carry it.  

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Reaping what you sow

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8 Good News Bible)

Have you ever planted roses and found grapes growing on the rose bushes? Of course not. Apples don’t grow on pear trees. By the same token spiritual health doesn’t grow when carnal seeds are planted. By thinking this we are trying to make a fool of God, and this cannot happen. We might think we are getting away with it, but the true nature of the plant will always become known.

We have seen this in public figures and it’s especially troubling when it’s a well-known preacher who falls. But it will happen to us as well if we persist in sinning. I know that we all are imperfect and slip from time to time, but that’s certainly not what I’m talking about. When you slip, not matter how hard the fall, repent and ask God to forgive you and He will. The Bible says that He no longer remembers the sins of those who truly repent (turn away from) their sins.

What Paul was talking about in his letter was deliberate, continual sin. Doing what you know is wrong and continuing to do it even when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to turn away from this behavior. You can’t continue to live like this if you are a believer. God will not be mocked and that what this is doing.

The Southern Gospel group The Chuckwagon Gang sang a song many years ago that had a line that said, “God will set your fields on fire, if to sin is your desire.” Have you ever wondered why nothing is going right? Are you trying and still not succeeding? Maybe it’s the devil blocking you but maybe it’s unrepented sin in your life? Ask God to show you where you have to change then ask Him to help you make the needed changes. He will. He wants you to live a life that brings glory to Him and will help you, even if that help is “to set your field on fire.”

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Works

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 ESV)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)

If someone were to take these two verses, by two separate writers, apart from their context, they could make a great basis for a works based religion. And that has been done many times over the centuries. It seems, at first glance, that both Paul and James are teaching that we must have a certain kind of works in order to get into the Kingdom. But, as a friend of mine likes to say, “what does the rest of the Bible say?”

There are many places where Paul expounds on salvation by grace alone. He is very persistent in letting his readers know that it is not what we can do but what Jesus already did.

Throughout the Old Testament the prophets proclaimed God’s demand for perfect sacrifices. The lambs, bulls and doves had to be spotless. The Israelites were to give their best to the Master. So, with this in mind, how could any flawed human be a fitting sacrifice? We can’t. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot do enough good deeds, or works, to attain salvation. Ever.

So what’s up with the devotion verses for today? It’s not a matter of attaining salvation. It is a matter of living out your salvation. If you are saved, that is “born again,” (John 3:3) then you will have the Holy Spirit living in you. Before you were saved you lived for yourself. Your mind was not set on the things above. Then Jesus cleansed you. He made you a new person. This new person is now filled with the Holy Spirit and longs to please his new Master. (If this is not the case with you then I strongly advise you to get with a Bible believing preacher and get yourself right with God.)

This does not mean that we are perfect. We are still human and still stumble, slip and even fall from time to time. The difference is that when we do sin the Holy Spirit prompts us into repentance. We know that we have done wrong. Not that we have done something that will hurt us, but we have done something that Jesus does not approve of. So the verses for today are not a works salvation. But if you are saved, than you will have the works. Your behavior will reflect the Holy Spirit inside you.

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Temptation

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV)

Picture yourself fishing. You have a line with a lure on the end and that lure is meant to attract fish. When the fish bite the lure they are hooked. And then cooked. The same happens to us when we “take the bait” of temptation and give in to sin. We get hooked. Then cooked. It’s not a pretty picture, but it is a fairly accurate one. Sin, whatever form it may take, is presented with the intention of spoiling your effectiveness as God’s witness.

It could be that it is an attempt to ruin your prayer life. This is a very important first step that the deceiver will take. If we give in to sin we are often embarrassed to go before the Throne of God and ask for forgiveness and help to overcome the sin. Guess what; God already knows what you did. And He is waiting for you to seek Him and His forgiveness. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that you have gone too far. Seek Him now and ask that the Holy Spirit help you to break this sinful habit.

It could also be that this is an attempt to make you look hypocritical because you talk about being a Christian and yet you do these things. This would mean that your sin was public, and they often are. Sin can and will hinder a witness.

The best way to avoid these issues is to not take the bait in the first place. Always pray, as Jesus taught us, that God would lead us away from temptation. Be aware of your situations so that you don’t fall into traps before you are even aware of them.   And pray. Then pray some more.

 

 

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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