There are several things whirling in my mind this morning–temptation, worship, the Holy Spirit, accusations–lets see if I can connect them all!
The sermon yesterday was about temptations, from 1 Corinthians 10:1-33, a great chapter! And actually, it easily connects with my last two posts–“Give over” and “Ditch the self-help”–because of the quote Brian finished up with, from Eric Hoffer: “The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.”
That sounds really weird, being free NOT to do something! But it means that God gives us the power to say “no” to temptation, he is available at that moment that I talked about yesterday, to help me “give over” to his control. Only when we realize that we cannot do it in our own power (“ditch the self-help”), are we able to rely on his power.
What will help us realize that power, is of course the Holy Spirit, and we stir up that Spirit/power (as scripture admonishes us to do) through worship. Remember the praise team leading the battle, in that Old Testament story. Worship is so easy to miss, to forget, to put off–and the reason is because it’s so powerful (so the “powers of this world” don’t want us to remember it). If only we could change up the Sunday worship service (which means the whole service) each week, to keep people awake and truly worshiping! (YV’s verse for today: “Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above And the badlands desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests.” (Isa. 32:15)
Last night I started reading Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” again, which paints the picture so clearly, with the angels fighting the demons; and as I recall the story, it’s when the Christians worship & praise, that the angels gain power and begin to win the battle. Then this morning Psalm 35 comes up in my reading…
“When those thugs [the demons] try to knife me in the back, make them look foolish. Frustrate all those who are plotting my downfall. Make them like cinders in a high wind, with God’s angel working the bellows. Make their road lightless and mud-slick, with God’s angel on their tails.” (Psalm 35:4-6)
And here’s the worship: “Every bone in my body laughing, singing, ‘God, there’s no one like you. You put the down-and-out on their feet and protect the unprotected from bullies!'” (Psalm 35:10) In fact, before I even got out of bed I’d already listened, as part of my worship, to that particular song that has the words “There’s none like You!”
Now for the “accusations” (from the first paragraph here)… You see, one tends to go over the temptations that are particular to one, after such sermons & lessons. For me:
- anger (or perhaps, impatience)
- worry (though things always look much better in the daytime)
- pride–which translates into fear when an opportunity comes up to talk to someone about God’s ways. Sure it’s easy here, but when I’m actually faced with it in person, I’m so afraid I’ll goof it up and actually make a bad impression!
Now, the thing is, when you’ve made your confessions, you need to move on and forget about it–like God does! “Accusations” are one of Satan’s favourite tools–remember what he did to Job.
“Hostile accusers appear out of nowhere, they stand up and badger me.” (Psalm 35:11)
That’s it! I’m going to worship, and stir up the Spirit/power, and give over to One and resist the Other and “he will flee” from me! :)
(You know, I realize I’d decided I was going to resist posting this kind of stuff that turns some people off… but on the other hand, most people who read me probably prefer me NOT to resist it–sorry about that!)
“I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.” (Psalm 35:28)