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Fooled Me Once - A Devotion

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I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” is a quote by Randall Terry. It the basic idea that if you fool me once than you are to blame for my folly but if I fall for the same thing again than it is my own fault for not learning from my previous mistake. In “Oops-I-Did-It-Again” generation in which we live wisdom has become devalued. The church has discarded wisdom and misapplied the Grace of God as an excuse to never grow in wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We do not have to fall for every trick in the devil’s book of lies and deception but so often we do simply because we don’t know any better. You have the Power and Authority of God inside of you. You have the ability to acquire wisdom and know the Thoughts of God by His Spirit. You have overwhelming victory thanks to Jesus Christ but cannot seem to overcome the temptations that you face. The temptations that you and I face every day in life are no different than those of other people including Jesus Christ. God is faithful. He will not allow a temptation to be more than you can stand. Such things allows us to examine our heart and mind to determine if our relationship with God is solid, connection to Christ secure and partnership with His Spirit intact. We must learn to endure temptation. We must learn to stand strong on God’s Word. The enemy fooled mankind once, not it is up to us to make sure that he does not do it twice.

Luke 4:1-13(NLT)
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “Because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’” When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

Temptation is the strongest when you are at your weakest. Perhaps this is why we are told that “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) The Lord invites us to surrender our life as living sacrifice not to harm us but empower us. Jesus was without question filled with the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit that led Him into the wilderness. Being a Christian does not eliminate temptation from our life but empowers us to overcome every single one. The first thing the enemy did was come to Jesus. See we don’t have to go looking for trouble because it has a way of finding us. When we think everything is going well, things seem to be looking up, and we let down our guard we come face-to-face with the enemy of our soul. The very first thing that he questions is God’s Character and Power – “If you are the Son of God.” When our son was diagnosed with Stage 3/4 cancer, I heard that voice. First on the inside and then from another person who asked me, “How can you love and serve a God who would give your son cancer?” Whoa! God didn’t give our son cancer. Jesus Christ is who will ultimately heal our kid of this horrible, dreadful disease. In our moment of greatest weakness, the enemy capitalizes on any doubt that we may have by simply offering up a question. The enemy then challenged Jesus who had been called to fast to contradict God’s Word and Way by creating bread out of stones. He did not question the Power inside of Jesus but rather encouraged the Lord to walk His Own Way. Jesus did not. The devil then offered Jesus the world. Jesus knew that He came to overcome sin and take back this world. He didn’t need anything the enemy had to offer. We do not have to compromise. If the world gave it to you, the world can take it away. But if God gives it to you, it comes with the Power and Authority to maintain it in your life. Do not be tempted to compromise for anything less than the perfect plan of God for your life. It is not worth it. The enemy finally challenged the Lord to “suicide” faith. You know the kind of faith that when you don’t like God’s Way or His Timing when you sort of throw yourself off the cliff to make Him save you. Oh, the Lord will save you but you may cause a greater delay in your life by trying to accomplish God’s Will your way. It will never work out as God has planned it until we do it His Way and in His Timing. Three things you must know to overcome temptation: 1) You must know what you want. 2) You must know who you worship. 3) You must tell the enemy to go away. If you want the Will of God and to know the full person of Jesus Christ, we must learn to effectively separate ourselves from the lie of the enemy and not fall for his tricks any more.

Matthew 26:40-41 (NLT)
Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

My right arm has developed some kind of pain that makes it difficult to sleep and to use it in certain positions for long periods of time. In the natural, it is probably something that has arisen during my workout at the gym. However, in the Spirit, I feel like maybe it is an outward manifestation that I am tired of fighting and as a right-handed person I am just worn out. We have been fighting this battle against cancer for almost three years. I am sick and tired of it truthfully. The weakness in my arm may be representative of the exhaustion of my mind, soul and body in waging this war for our son’s life. The Lord begged the disciples to keep watch and pray. He knew what was coming. He knew they would be tempted to abandon their relationship with Him. He knew that their Spirit was willing (it was the same spirit inside of Him) but He also knew that their flesh was weak (because for now He also resided in human flesh). When faced with trials and temptation, the only strength we can rely on is Jesus Christ.

Luke 8:13 (NLT)
The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.

When the Lord compelled me to begin to share time early each morning with him, I bristled at the thought. I am not a morning person. I love my sleep. But I gave Him thirty minutes a day to change my mind and convince me of who He was and what he wanted to do in my life. I thought the Lord wanted me to share this time with others so that they might want to know Him more. I had no idea that it was to keep me accountable. When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I kept seeking God early in the morning. This time stretched from thirty minutes to sometimes more than two hours. I still do not like mornings. I still love to sleep. But I know that if I had not had the Word of God in me for years before this journey, I would have died along the way. Not in my body, but in my spirit. I can never put in to words and fully explain what it is like to see your child fight cancer. I pray that not a single one of you reading this today will ever know how heartbreaking it is to walk a loved one through this journey. But I know this God has used every moment that I spent in the Word before to equip me, along the way to strengthen me and in the end we will overcome because His Word and His Spirit are alive and well inside of us.

God gave me the responsibility of Pure Devotion not to rob me of precious sleep. He knew I would need a heavy arsenal when this war began. I have it. Do you? People hear God’s Word and receive it gladly but do nothing to reinforce it in their life. You must not only hear the Word but do something with it. You must grow deep roots to the Truth found there so when offered the opportunity you will not abandon it. You will know when to use it and how to as well. To overcome temptation you must believe. If you don’t know the Truth, you will fall for every lie. God has given you His Word with purpose. “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You were not created, equipped and called to produce fruit in proper seasons but to prosper in every season. This comes from roots that are strongly connected to Christ, wrapped around His Word and cultivated by His Spirit. “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Colossians 2:8-10 (NLT)
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

You must know what you believe and who you believe in. Otherwise, you will be easily dissuaded that God is who He says that He is and has the power do anything in your life. Like Abraham, we must live by faith. We must believe the Word of God for our life and live in such a way to achieve it. (Romans 4:20-22) Abraham never gave up on God’s Word for his life – neither can you. Belief that is not backed by knowledge will be easily forfeited. You must also recognize that the Love of God is for you and that NOTHING can separate you from it. Only then will you expect it to come in every situation and be willing to remain there and endure until it does. (Romans 8:37-39) This is how we become more than conquerors. By becoming so convinced that God loves us and is working on our behalf that even when all hell breaks loose in our life and we find ourselves face-to-face with the enemy, we will not be moved or shaken by the experience but remain true to our faith in God until His Glory comes.

I Corinthians 15:56-58 (NLT)
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

The only way to overcome temptation in our life and stop being fooled by the enemy is to become strong and immovable in Jesus Christ. We do this by knowing the Word of God, doing what it says and following Jesus Christ no matter the cost. We will not do this until we are fully convinced that sin leads to death and that Jesus Christ gives us victory over sin and death. Temptation is meant to entice or lure us to do something regarded as unwise, wrong or immoral. It is the enemy’s tactic of removing us from the Will of God, from following His Way and having His Victory. But believers must work diligently and enthusiastically for the Lord and become convinced that nothing can separate us from His Love and that the Word of God is true and relevant for our life. The word convince means to come into agreement, understand and realize the truth and validity of something. More interesting than that is the word’s origin which means to overcome an argument and to conquer. You have the power and authority of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords living inside of you. If you could change your mind and capture every rebellious thought (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) living in allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ, you will be more than a conqueror too!

Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Is your faith relevant today? Is your hope valid? If it were all that you had to hang on to, would it be enough? To be more than a conqueror requires having a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ, He is how we overcome the world. His Way. His Strength. His Mission. We cannot do it ourselves no matter how much we try. We must learn to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37-38) We must be convinced that His Power is real and His Word relevant in our life. God will transform the mind that is yielded to Him. (Romans 12:2) The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and works it through our life making the most of every opportunity for God to be glorified. (Romans 8:5-6) What Glory would God get in our failure and foolishness? We will be at war with our mind until Jesus returns or we are called home. (Romans 7:22-25) We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and our Testimony. (Revelation 12:11) We can fix our mind by affixing our mind to the Word of God until we have the Mind of Christ. This will guard our hearts and minds until He comes. We will overcome!

2 Thessalonians 2:14-17 (NLT)
He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

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