Wednesday, March 31, 2021

6D-Foolish Talk: Bible Survival


The Big Idea: The tendency toward foolish, argumentative or brash talk is not useful nor pleasing to God. 

What's swearing and what's not?

My father, a sailor in the Navy, came to a personal relationship with Jesus during his service. It changed his life completely. Swearing and vulgar talk was out. We had a children's book with the word "Golly!" My father blackened in "Golly" and wrote above it, "Boy-oh-Boy." He explained that "Golly" really is a light way to swear for "God", treating God's name casually in anger or frustration. Not taking the Lord's name in vain was one of the ten commandments. I learned it is never acceptable to swear using God's name or some derivative of it.

In Junior High, the gils in my youth group were mentored one summer on the practical Christian life by a 17 year old.  She was beautiful and popular at school. She sang in the school musicals, had a boyfriend and really loved God. It was always fun yet thought provoking. She was approachable and no topic was off limits.

When the senior high mentor reminded us that no question was off limits. I felt smug as I said, "I know we should not take the Lord's name in vain because of one of the ten commandments. But what's wrong with saying a word like "s**t" which has nothing to do with God or anything spiritual?"

"I would say it is not very ladylike to say that, and does not reflect the people of God we should be," she mused.

How quickly she answered with such wisdom!

Lots to say about our speech

The volume of which the Bible advises us on our speech and how we treat people is impressive. My husband recently pointed out at a Bible study that "humble and gentle" is the only description Jesus ever made about Himself. Jesus shows us how to treat people.

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NIV


We do not reflect God's character with foolish talk and discussions. It can damage our Christian walk. The volume of verses shows this is a serious subject. The topic is temptation: temptation to argue and waste time foolishly. Satan cajoles and dupes us into thinking what we say isn't a big deal. But it is a big deal.

The devil… was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Proverbs 4: 24-25

Gentle speech and kind words

There are quite a few places where the Bible talks about speaking gently and using kind words. It is mentioned in the Old Testament, especially in Proverbs. Jesus encourages kindness and models it. In the epistles of the New Testament a gentle, humble, and kind manner is a mark of a true Christian.

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NIV

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17 NIV

Avoid foolish arguments and foolish discussion

One does not hear a lot of sermons about the problem with foolish discussion and an argumentative spirit. We don't talk much in the church about divisive conversations. Satan loves to divide us, have us hurt each other's feelings and get away from the main thing. The main thing is Jesus. The main thing is showing love for one another in Jesus' name.

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. I Timothy 6:20 NIV

When was the last time you read an article or devotional about how damaging it is to our spiritual walk to spend time in conversation about worthless subjects that are not edifying to God? Yes, we build relationships with people and want to get to know them better. But do they influence us or are having an impact on them? And what about the time we spend talking about nothing (does this sound like Seinfeld?).

Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 2 Timothy 2:16 NIV

Finally, there is the position of our thought life. You are indeed what you think. If you think constantly of trivial, foolish things that have nothing to do with our Heavenly Father and the Kingdom of God, your heart is being wooed by foolish trivial things. We don't need to think 24/7 about God. Sometimes we do meal planning, problem solving, or just relaxing. How much of our time and thought life is frivolously spent in nothingness? I am not being preachy. I am talking to myself too. I am an intensely focused person. I have spent hours lost in time in Suduko puzzles or a photography project. There is a difference between relaxing for a little while and getting so absorbed hours for days on end get wasted.

There are many more verses than these about foolish talk.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts…   Matthew 11: 18-19 NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. Ephesians 5:4 NIV


Don't get caught up with empty philosophies, nonsense

There can be a lot of time spent in argument about "spiritual" things and ideas. Sometimes people like to hear themselves talk and want to have attention on themselves.  They also seem to get a certain energy and excitement from debates and even conflict. The New Living Translation, which I often use for this blog, calls it in I Timothy 4:6 "an unhealthy desire to quibble."

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. I Corinthians 2:14 NIV

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. Colossians 2:8 NIV

Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. I Timothy 6:4 NIV

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. Jude 17-19 NIV

It is good to discuss the hard questions of the faith. It is good to dig into the Word of God with serious intent to understand. In the Old Testament Jeremiah said false prophets were speaking in God's name to push their own ideas. He said the question is "What is the Lord saying?"  The focus is on God, not ideas. This comes by prayer and a humble learning spirit to focus on God and to seek out His Word.

You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Jeremiah 23:35-36 NIV


God's weapons against arguments and false reasoning

We will have a lot of people both outside the church, and even in the church context, who will argue with us about truth. We need to be united as believers with love. But more than that, we need to know God, and know Jesus. We do this especially through the Word of God.

Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. Isaiah 8:20 NIV

We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. Colossians 2: 2-4 NIV


A final word of encouragement

Can we survive the onslaught of arguments from those who are trying to trip us up in our faith? Can we steer away from foolish chatter and empty thoughts? How can we keep focused when Satan tries to distract us from truly following God? We survive by Scripture.

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:2,5-6 NIV


Up Next: Powerful Scripture

Previous Post: Toxic Thoughts



1. Do you see foolish discussions as a bad temptation in the Christian life? Why or why not?

2. What area of foolish talk is a challenge for you? Is it wasting time with nonsense? Enjoying an argument? Getting sucked in to exploring odd ideas about God?

3. Do you see a verse above that would be a great constant reminder for you? Memorize it or make it into a bookmark or screen saver.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

6C-Toxic Thoughts: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: Our mind can be our worst enemy with toxic thoughts that barrage and invade. How the Bible can help us transform our thought life with the Holy Spirit's help. 

Think at your own risk!

As a single woman I lived with risk. I felt no accountability to anyone except God so I'd be crazy for Him and see where He takes me. As a young nurse I moved to a job in a dangerous Manhattan neighborhood; then I went to West Africa with its wild roads, rare electricity and well water. Life was interesting and fulfilling as I served God. But whenever I came to Minnesota to visit my parents, my mom would worry where I went and how late I stayed out. I'd say, "Mom, you are supposed to trust God and not worry."

"I'm NOT worried, I'm concerned," she's say.

And we would go around and around. Thinking back on it, I was probably more argumentative with my mother than I should have been.

Today we are examining our usual thought life. The past two weeks we've examined how God's Word helps overcome temptation. Who knew He cared so much about what we'd call the little sins. The biggies would be murder and adultery, right? Hear me out on this!

Satan realizes he's not going to trip most of us up to become ax murderers. So he focuses his energies to make us mouth off, waste time in worthless conversation, and fester with worry that practically immobilizes us and our dearest relationships.

C.S. Lewis, in his book, the Screwtape Letters, quotes a senior demon giving advice to an underling in training.

It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Toxic Mind

I listened to a Christian counselor once on the dangers of toxic thoughts. It was intriguing to me because I started to recognized the toxic thoughts I struggled with and played in my head over and over, often about worry. Kind of ironic when you recall the conversations I had with my mother, right?

Just for fun I Googled the subject, “toxic thoughts.” Many articles emerged on thoughts that trap us and hinder us from a full life. None of the articles I viewed were from a Christian perspective but rather from a New Age viewpoint or help for the business world, etc. The damaging phrases and thoughts with an awareness of how bad they are for us is clearly an important topic for emotional health. Here are just a couple examples of damaging thoughts.

  • Everybody's life is better than mine.
  • Dwelling on the past.
  • Dwelling on what you don't have.
  • Fixation on what others think of you.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Thinking you can change others.

You might be surprised how much the Bible talks about changing the way we think. You are what you think. Each one of these areas of toxic thought are addressed in the Bible. When you realize that God loves you and accepts you with all your imperfections and can transform you into a child of God controlled by the fruit of the Spirit, these thoughts start to pale.

However, we as human beings do not change our thought patterns quickly. We start to think a certain way from messages we have often heard in our growing up environment. Ads and media images present the ideal life and values of the world. Social media is a rotten measure for our worth, catching us in the comparison game. These tangled webs entrap us day by day, a little at a time and wear us down if we try merely on our own efforts.

Here are a number of verses that pinpoint the importance of our thought life.

Ask God to search your thoughts (Psalms 149:23). He has created you. His divine search light can show you where problem areas are in your thoughts.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. Matthew 15:19

Ask God to transform your thought life. (Romans 12:2. Ephesians 4:23, Philippians 4:8) The Holy Spirit is a valuable resource. People who do not know Jesus do not have the Holy Spirit who is within us and available to remind us and coach us how to think. He convicts us of negative thoughts not pleasing to God. He also reminds us how much we are loved and valued if we just listen.

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

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. Philippians 4:8

Read and Bible and spend time in prayer with God to transform your mind. It's biblical. It is what He would want us to do. Memorize helpful verses. Write them on sticky notes and put them in critical places where you will see them and be reminded.


For the past two weeks we have looked at many different verses about temptation, sin and how to avoid it. The key to it all is the Bible. The Bible has so many verses which align with each other how we can live a life pleasing to God, in sync with our fellow man. We have read many references about prayer, to let God transform us, the power of God's Spirit, and so on. One of the best passages about the fact that our battle is against spiritual powers, and our weapons are spiritual are found in Ephesians chapter 6.

Resist the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12)

Put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:13)

  • Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13

The armor of God is designed to protect us to resist that which is negative and damaging, and helps us know how to be proactive against attack.

What is the armor of God

  • The Belt of Truth
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness
  • The Shoes of Peace
  • The Shield of Faith
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit

Put it on today.


Satan works hard to tempt us and lead us astray. Our thoughts and words seem like little things, but they are what control us. No wonder Satan and his demons try so hard to control us in these ways. Have none of this! Turn them over to God one by one as they assault you.

Cleansing our mind is of critical importance to our emotional health and our position as a child of God. The Bible is available to us as a guide. The Holy Spirit is within us to help us every day. Prayer is a tool that can be used any time of day or night. None of these cost anything, but they are invaluable to us. Use them!

This is part three in a series about learning to survive temptation by using Scripture. Next week we will look at another very practical area of temptation. Foolish talk. The Bible will show us how to combat these everyday temptations that seep into our life.

Up Next: Foolish Talk

Previous Post: Danger Ahead



1. What toxic thoughts take over my mind and repete themselves over and over?

2. What Bible verse might help me to control those? 

3. Pray to the Lord and ask Him to guide everything that goes through your mind. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

6B-Danger ahead! Bible Survival


The Big Idea: Be on guard against danger zones such as money, sex, power and anger. 

Dangerous Temptation Everyone Faces!

While our family was stationed in Germany, I took a road signs test as part of getting a German license. Memorizing all the traffic signs, sometimes with German writing, was challenging. But it was important for us to know how to navigate the roads, especially when on a winding dark side street or flying down the autobahn. 

God knows that we as human beings face many danger zones in life. His Word, the Bible warns us of danger signs of which we should be aware. He gives us the advice how to avoid the pitfalls and survive the onslaught of temptations that come our way. Don't be surprised at difficulty to live the Christian life. Listen to what the Apostle Paul told the early church:

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. I Corinthians 10:13

God will show us a way out. An excellent way is from reading and memorizing His Word. It has timeless truths that transcend culture to show us all we need to live well as a follower of Jesus.



Money, sex and power are three biggies. They can lure us and trap us. Sometimes the three go together. We will start with these three obvious ones first.

Financial difficulties

Money is useful. We need it to live. We can use it to bless others. However obsession with money and possessions (the LOVE of money) is the problem. Despondency over never having enough is a pitfall. Plead to our Heavenly Father for our daily needs and turn the focus to Him.

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. I Timothy 6:9-10

O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.  Proverbs 30:7-9


  • Pray for God to help you break from an obsession with money or things.
  • Pray to God for your daily, practical needs.
  • Ask God to satisfy you.
  • Ask yourself if you put money, things, pleasure in a higher valued position than God. Confess that you want Him as Lord of your life, not being controlled by other things.
  • If you are blessed with money ask Him to guide you how to use it for His honor.



God is the creator of sex. You may think, oh yeah, it is for the populating of the species. Okay that might be part of it. But the reality is, sex is created by God to make two people one. It is designed for that incredible connection in its purest form, between a husband and wife. I cannot even begin here to list the warps and deviations of this through the centuries.

There are several problems with sex. It can be used for power. It causes jealousy and can even lead to murder. It can be abusive. It can warp minds to the point of obsession like a drug (porn). It can deeply hurt people instead of unite who it was meant for.

Even a one night stand has a lingering effect on people, sometimes with very serious consequences. This is because God created it to be so intimate it is the mingling of two souls that are united before God. It is not to be taken lightly. Satan has long used this to trap, crush and destroy. No wonder he gleefully uses obsession and abuse related to sex.

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18

"Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!" Matthew 26:41

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. I Thessalonians 4:3


  • "Run from sexual sin!" (1 Cor. 6:18) If you are tempted, find a way to separate yourself from the influence.
  • "Keep watch" (Mt 26:41) means to be on the alert for danger signs. Be ready. Know this happens way too easily so be aware.
  • "Pray." (Mt. 26:41) Yes, it is as simple as that. I remember at a date's house excusing myself to the bathroom. I knelt at the bathtub and prayed for the Lord to help me find a way out of that situation. He gave me the courage to do so.
  • Confess sin to God (I John 1:9) and start clean. Stay close to Him.



Power is coupled with pride. The Bible speaks a lot about the humble and the proud. The Old Testament in particular speaks a lot about justice. You may not feel like you are in a position prone to power. Most of us don’t. But most of attempt to wield control over others. We do it with our spouse. We do it with our children. We do it on boring committees. Sometimes it is labeled passive aggressive behavior. 

Humility is so important for everyone of us no matter what age or position we are in. Here are just a couple verses about God's desire for a humble heart.

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Psalm 138:6

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. Isaiah 2:11

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7



  • Ask God to give you a humble heart. You are not born with this nature.
  • Ask God to rid you of pride.
  • Ask God for help in everything. Lean on Him as your Lord.
  • Seek to look out for the interests of others. Ask God how you can serve others (even family members)



Anger and Revenge go hand in hand. Some like to say their anger is OK because it is righteous anger for the name of Christ. The problem with anger is, God can handle it. We can't. It has the ability to fester and take hold of our mortal bodies and minds and corrupt what Christians should convey to the world;  kindness and longsuffering. These verses from both the Old and New Testament talk about not letting sin control you. It is control ultimately we should give to God. Satan warps it into something that never goes away except by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Psalms 4:4

And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4: 26-27

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them  back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:9


  • When feeling anger, give time before you respond (Ps 4:4).  
  • If you struggle with anger, confess that to God. Admit it to Him and to yourself (I John 1:9).
  • Stop yourself when you feel anger coming on. Stop angry thoughts. Practice this. Memorize a verse like Ephesians 4:26 and remind yourself of it.
  • If you struggle with revenge, study what the Bible has to say on that subject. Pray to turn it over to Him. Acknowledge He has better timing and methods than you do (Rom 12:9).


The no brainers

The Bible points out areas in which we human beings struggle. We are aware of some that seem obvious. The book of Galatians tells us that these are very clear. No brainers. Even people who are not Christians know that these are ultimately harmful. These hurt other people and lead to a variety of consequences.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Galatians 5: 19-21

Instead the same passage in Galatians tells us the way to counter these sinful ways.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5: 22-25


  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop these qualities by His guidance.
  • Consider your sinful bent to be put to the cross with Jesus. What does that look like in real life? Think about Him being nailed to the cross for your sin. Ask Him for help only He can give, to restore and renew your decision making process, your thought life, the situations in which you find yourself, and so on. Consider it taken care of by Him.

This is part two in a series about learning to survive temptation by using Scripture. Next week we will look at some very practical areas of temptation. A toxic thought life, and foolish talk. The Bible will show us how to combat these everyday temptations that seep into our life.

Up Next: Toxic Thoughts

Previous Post: Temptation Happens



1. Is there one area in particular in today's list where you struggle? Can you become more aware of it when it comes, in order to learn to coach yourself by Scripture?

2. Do you see a Bible verse in this blog that would be good to memorize? Maybe you know of another one I didn't mention that is helpful to you. Put this before you this week on a notecard, a post-it note or something.

3. Pray asking God to reveal problem areas to you. Ask Him how He and His Word might help.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

6A-Temptation happens: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: Temptation is not a sin. Getting sucked in to it is. Turn to Jesus who sympathises with our weaknesses and helps us. 

It's Tempting!

"I would never be tempted to steal," a friend told me. "I don't understand how that can tempt people. It's not an issue for me."

We all have our weak spots. Sometimes it is hard to see our own weakness and areas of temptation. For those of which we are aware, we are often too embarrassed to admit. My area of temptation might look silly to you. Or you might be shocked. We are wired so differently from each other. And cultural understandings of weakness and perception of sins differ.

When I worked as a missionary in West Africa, I lost my cool during a difficult baby delivery. Later when I apologized, my African friend who was there said, "I'm not sure I can even believe you are a Christian anymore."

Ouch. It took a long time to earn back her trust.

No matter how long you have walked with God, there are things that will tempt you. And there are times you will fall into it and need to find a way out. Of course we go to the Lord Jesus as ask Him to forgive us of the sin (I John 1:9).  But there are often consequences that effect others, our relationship with God and even our perception of ourselves.

While Satan does not know us intimately like God our Creator does, the devil can see how we live our life and our life responses. He seems to know exactly how to push our buttons. He sees our weaknesses, our fatigue or our insecurities and pounces on us like a lion after his prey.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.


Did you know temptation is not a sin? Jesus was tempted by the devil after he fasted 40 days in the wilderness, but did not sin. Temptation is not the sin. Giving in to it is. Giving in to sin often starts small. Then as it becomes more familiar to us and as it seems to have done harmless damage, it grows and becomes harder and harder to resist.

Sometimes giving in to temptation is a really big deal; for instance, a spiritual leader who gives in to adultery. Sin is sin, of course. All sin sets us apart from a right relationship with God. But certainly some sins have bigger consequences than others and deeply hurt other people along the way. Some raise such serious concern in people's minds, they write off our faith completely. The cost is high. Very high.

We all have temptations. Fighting it off gets tiresome.

We can survive temptation by using scripture. Know it. Use it.

Jesus had forty days alone in the wilderness followed by what is called the Temptation of Christ. He used Scripture to counter every temptation Satan threw at Him. In fact Satan himself twisted Scripture to attack Jesus. Jesus didn't stand for it even one minute. You can examine the story yourself in Luke 4:1-13.

If Jesus used Scripture (the Word of God) to resist the Tempter, we can too. In fact, we must! It is our best weapon.

Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time, as He walked the earth. And because of that human life experience, in a body just like ours, He is able to understand our temptations and help us overcome them.

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. I Corinthians 10:13

 For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

This is the first of three blog posts on using Scripture to combat temptation. Next week check out the post about common danger zones and how to avoid them! 

Up Next: Danger Ahead

Previous Post: Rock Bottom



1. How aware are you of your areas of temptation? Where have you found yourself caught short and struggling? 

2. Look at the two Bible verses above, 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Hebrews 4:15-16. Does it comfort you to know that God understands the pressure of human temptations?  Might that make you more inclined to ask Him to help you overcome it? 

3. Form a simple prayer using these verses, asking for mercy and grace, or for Him to help you find a way out of temptation. Consider using this when you find yourself in the midst of temptation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

5-Rock Bottom: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: At some point in life we hit rock bottom. Use the Psalms to pray through and survive.

Desperate prayers for desperate times.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? You feel desperate with nowhere to turn. Some may say they never experienced this. But surely most adults have at least had a season where they have had it. Exhausted. Fed up. Lost hope. No answer to a serious dilemma.

May I introduce you to someone who hit this point repeatedly? King David from the Bible. His life was often in danger pursued like a dangerous criminal. His political opponents were very vocal against him. He had family troubles (he had a total of four wives). His sons did not always live up to how the son of a King of Israel should act. David disappointed God with Bathsheba and had to live with the consequences. Evidently he had some physical ailments as he aged. I could go on.

If you need words of comfort and understanding in the Bible…

If it might be helpful to observe someone talk very frankly with God…

If you could use an example of words to pray in desperation…

Go to the Psalms.

The Psalms are in the middle of the Bible. It is the largest book of the Bible. It is easy to find. In it lies  very frank expressions of anger, loneliness, hunger, longing, sickness, revenge, abandonment, failure…

The Psalms teach us:

  • We can talk to God and He will listen and not be shocked or turn away.
  • How to guard and protect our heart and our emotions.
  • How to pray. We learn to be authentic yet turn to Him, not just vent.
  • Who God is. Faithful, creator, powerful, eternal…
  • People have been calling on God since the early ages of civilization. Even a Psalm of Moses in here.

Many are written by David under almost any circumstance of life that you can imagine. He vents. He cries. He laments. He grieves. He is very open and honest in his cries to God. Shock of all shocks, God listens and is never surprised. God never cuts him off. But David also reminds himself by the end of every prayer that God is God, and he will intentionally turn his trust toward Him. He says he will fix his eyes on God. He will put his trust in Him because God is all powerful and all loving.

It is useful to read it with a thought for thought Bible version such as the Message, or the New Living Translation. This is a time to soak up God's Word for your aches and pains. Try reading a passage that touches you like a prayer and pray it.  Or go line by line, stopping to think where you are touched and talk to God.

There are periods of my life that were tumultuous or difficult. Often this has revolved around illness or overwhelming circumstances in my living situation. I tell people "I lived in the Psalms at that time." What that phrase means is that I read them over and over, and soaked up as much of them as I could.

I have enjoyed marking up my Bible to remember different portions that have meant a lot to me. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, "What is your favorite Psalm." It was interesting to see Psalms that others appreciate. My favorite is Psalm 34. But I also love Psalm 1, 19, 23, 37, 51, 103, 139… and I could go on! These are a few that come to my mind right away! If you read five a day, you can finish the book in a month.

Find your favorite Psalm!


God helps us in trouble   Ps 27, Ps 46:1, Ps 86:7, Ps 32:7, Ps 34:17

God protects us   Ps 4:1, Ps, 16:1, Ps 91, Ps 27:5,

God helps us, asking for help  Ps 79:9, Ps 86:6-7, Ps 121, Ps 143:1

Grief  Ps 4:8, Ps 23, Ps 31:9, Ps 34:18

God hears our prayers  Ps 22:24, Ps 116, Ps 143:1

God is mindful of our needs  Ps 86:1,Ps 79:8, Ps 16:1, Ps 70:5

God will restore us  Ps 40, Ps 30:5, Ps 70:20-21

God heals and helps us cope with illness  Ps 31:9, 14-15, Ps 6:2-4, Ps 34:9-10, Ps 73:26, Ps 107:19-20, Ps 118:5-7, Ps 147:3, Ps 41, Ps 35, 38

Here is a Bible Study found on the Christianity Today magazine site on emotions and the Psalms.

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1. Do you have a favorite Psalm? Why?

2. Do you like the book of Psalms? Why or why not?

3. Can you remember a time when you could have used the encouragement of the Psalms?

4. Is there a desperate period you are walking through right now? Is it time to turn to the Psalms for your focus?