Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Keeping Our Eyes On The Cross

James 1:14

…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

Sunday in the sermon we mentioned collectables. I mentioned my wife’s snow babies – she has a whole china cabinet full of them. I mentioned my Oriole bobble heads and gnomes – and the member that has a collection that puts mine to shame. A quick search on E-Bay reveals a large number of collectables such as military metals – decorative spoons – china plates – a variety of toys and dolls and more. Collectables can be anything that someone treasures and finds valuable. I’ve seen collections of license plates (trying to get one from every state for instance or all of the Maryland tags going way back. My father collected stickers for his campers – one for each state and park we passed through or camped at during our childhood (and after).

I also mentioned in the sermon that we put a value on our collectables. We determine if the price being asked for an item is worth it to us. I mentioned that paying $495 (plus club rental and a caddy to play Pebble Beach was a bit much for me so I didn’t collect that golf course on my list of courses played. I did buy some golf balls with the course name on it and stepped onto the first tee box!

Things we collect or desire are things that might tempt us. If we are see something we want – we will me tempted to get it – by any means possible at times. Today’s passage is James – the brother of Jesus – writing about temptations and how they lead us to sin and even death. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. In my Bible this section is titled Trails and Temptations. James 1:2–18 – 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

The upcoming sermon series is titled Stay Focused On The Cross. In order to avoid temptation – we need to keep our eyes on the Cross – on Jesus and His saving grace. We’ve been promised that we will not be tempted beyond our ability to resist – 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

We need to make sure that our collectables – our desires – do not overwhelm us or take our eyes off of Jesus and the Cross. We need to put Jesus first and keep Him there – even as we enjoy the life He has given us and have some of our desires met.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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August 29, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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