Fishing lures and you


Spinnerbaits. Crankbaits. Jigs. Spoons.

Fishermen know what these are. They are types of fishing lures. Doubtful they will attract you, but they attract fish.

What lure attracts you? You might be thinking, “But I’m not interested in fishing.”

You don’t have to be a fisherman to have a lure attract you. Lures attract everyone. It’s what Satan uses to snatch us from God’s loving embrace. But I’m not a Christian? Even atheists and or believers of other faith traditions have a lure that tempts them. The lure makes you a person you don’t want to be. Or someone your spouse or family don’t want you to be.

Pride. Pornography. Materialism. Money.  These are common lures, but this list is far from inclusive. What about food, football, alcohol, drugs or sex?

Jesus taught us about temptation in His Lord’s Prayer.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV) Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

James teaches us that temptations stem from our desires. They “entice us and drag us away.” (1:14 NLT)

Satan tried to tempt Jesus. Luke 4:1-13 describes it. Jesus resisted by relying upon His Father’s Word. “No…temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message)

Your enemy will always dangle a lure in front of you. If you aren’t strong – or the enticement is too much – you will strike at the lure. Almost immediately, you will feel the pain every fish feels. However, you don’t have a hook in our mouths causing the pain. The pain you feel is the shame and regret of having succumbed to the lure.

But like the fish, you will need the fisherman to remove the hook. Jesus is waiting for you to call out to Him. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)

What lure, or lures, attract you?  

(Thank you, Rusty Coram, New Hope Church, Lorton, Virginia, for the message that inspired this blog.)

Forgiveness


Forgiveness…not a nicety for Christians but a tenet of our faith. It’s what Jesus expects of all His followers. What right do Christians have to claim to follow Christ if they don’t obey Jesus’ commandments? Am I truly a Christian if I don’t forgive?

Today’s message at New Hope Church was the fifth of seven on the Lord’s Prayer. Rusty Coram is really taking his time going through the prayer. Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12-15 NIV) was the lesson today:

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sines, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Forgiveness is a hard task to do. I think it’s generally human nature to want to dwell on the bad things that happen and feel sorry for oneself. I know I do. Someone has done me wrong; I have the right to feel wronged and hurt. I’m not going to forgive because I give up my human tendency to dwell on the negative. I’ll forgive once I’m done wallowing in the mire, flailing in the gunk.

But, that’s not what Jesus called me to do. I am to forgive people who hurt me. I don’t have to trust them anymore, but Christ calls me to forgive whoever hurt me. God will forgive me to the extent I forgive people. Whether it’s no forgiveness or half-hearted, that’s how God will forgive me. I receive forgiveness from God measure-for-measure according to how much I give it. And boy, just like any human, I need a lot of forgiveness from a holy God.

There’s another very dangerous aspect to me not forgiving. “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10 NIV) Forgiving is what Christ calls me to do. It’s what he considers right. By not forgiving fully, I’m not doing what is right. Therefore, I’m not a child of God. Is it any wonder I don’t feel close to God at times?

I want to be a child of God. Therefore, I will forgive.