Oblivious

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Have you ever watched someone walking through a crosswalk while texting? The person is totally oblivious to what is going on around him. A speeding car could be coming in his direction and because he is not paying attention, he could be hit and killed. When I see people doing that, I want to shake them and tell them to “Wake Up!” A whole world is going on around them and they are distracted to the point of oblivion. Because of this, they put themselves in danger because of their inattention. 

Not only is this true in the material world, it is true in the spiritual world. If a person is totally unaware of the supernatural forces that may be affecting and directing him, he can end up in a very dangerous place. There are spiritual beings that are bent on the destruction of man and they are more than happy to take advantage of someone who is unaware of their existence. The materialist is in a war he cannot win because he doesn’t even know he is in one. He is at the mercy of the spiritual forces around him. 

Even if you are a spiritual person and believe in the supernatural, it is easy to become distracted and not realize the forces that are vying for our attention. Turn on the average television show or movie. Most of them have gratuitous sex, swearing and violence intentionally programed in so that our minds will be filled with negative images. Many of the thoughts and temptations we deal with are in our minds because a worker of darkness has placed them there. 

If we don’t want to become a victim of the warfare that is going on around us, we must not be oblivious to what is happening in the supernatural arena. We must arm ourselves daily with the spiritual armor the Lord has provided for us: truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, prayer, the gospel of peace and the word of God. Only then can we hope to not be a casualty of the spiritual war we are in. 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6: 10-13

Polluted Wells

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Have you ever been out hiking around in the country and come across an abandoned home? Many times there is a well beside it that hasn’t been used for decades. Would we drink out of that well? Of course, not. The well could be polluted. We don’t know what the water is like and we certainly don’t know if things have fallen into the well that would make the water polluted.

Have you ever been at a large gathering of people? You walk around talking  to various people. Some of them are pleasant to be around and others, not so much. We may start talking to a person and what comes out of their mouth is bitter or caustic. At that point, we can hardly wait to get away from them.

Have you ever thought that people are like wells? Inside each person is a well or a soul. When we talk to people, we experience what is inside of them. Each person shares part of who they are when they communicate with us.  If a person’s soul is healthy and whole, it comes out through with their words. If the person is full of bitterness, envy and jealousy, that also comes across.

What about our own wells? What is inside of us? Do we need to take a look at our wells and perhaps get some of the pollution out? I’m guessing we all have some things inside of our wells that need to be cleaned out. We just have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there are things inside of us that need to be changed.

Can we change ourselves? Can we make ourselves better people by the sheer force of our own will? I doubt it. I know that I would like to be a better person than I am but I am unable to make myself so. I must submit to the Lord, let Him know my problems and ask Him for help. Only then, can I let Him clean my well out make me into the person I desire to be.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Temptation

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Temptation – it is as old as the Garden of Eden. We are confronted by it daily; sometimes in small ways, sometimes in life altering ways. It doesn’t come to us wrapped in an ugly bow, looking like something we don’t want to touch. It usually comes to us looking beautiful, attractive and inviting. We are usually lured by the look of it or the sound of it. I don’t know how many times people have tried to talk me into things and made them sound tremendously appealing.

“Just once,” is a phrase that comes up when facing temptation. Others or ourselves will say, “Just try it once, it can’t hurt anything.” But is that really true? The doctors’ offices are full of young people who wanted to try having sex “just once” because everyone else was doing it. Some of them end up becoming pregnant by a person they would never want to marry or father their child and they must face a life altering decision then and there. Others have gotten an STD which may or may not be with them the rest of their lives…all because they wanted to have sex “just once” with someone they met at a bar or a party.

I remember listening to a formerly successful real estate broker. She was invited to a party where they were doing cocaine. It wasn’t the first time she had been at a party where there was cocaine, but people began telling her how great she would feel if she used it. “She could work longer hours and it would give her more energy,” they said. So, she tried it “just once.” She was not immediately hooked on it but she changed her social schedule around and only began attending parties where cocaine was available. She continued to use it and eventually she was hooked on it. After she spent all of her cash, sold everything she owned and ultimately sold herself to get the drug, did she hit rock bottom and seek help. Now she talks about the danger of trying that addicting drug “just once.”

Marriage counselors’ offices are flooded with people who wanted to watch pornography “just once.” Whether men or women, after they saw the first film, they became hooked. They couldn’t get the images out of their minds and it drew them back more and more until it became more of a draw to them then their own mates. And many times, their marriages became shipwrecked on the shores of this alluring temptation.

Most of us know people who have been in these situations. We might even have been in these situations. All because of giving into a life altering temptation “just once.” Ravi Zacharias said it best, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”  

Temptation – it’s all around us. What can we do when we are faced with it? The Scripture gives us wise advice: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13

In other words: First, don’t think you are immune to it. We all can fall into temptation. Second, temptations are common, not unique, to each and every one of us. Third, God has promised that He will provide a way of escape from each and every temptation we have to deal with. We just have to ask Him for help when we are faced with temptation and it is available. We must look for the way of escape that He provides and then take it. We must run as if our lives depend on it, for they may well.

Temptation – let’s not be deceived into thinking it will be okay if we try it “just once.” That’s a lie straight from the pit of Hell.