desires (3)

I Want to Win the Lottery!

I want to win the Lottery! No I don’t, yes I do, no I don’t, yes…no!, maybe? In my town there are lottery ads on every billboard, sometimes the pot gets up to $350 million dollars! What in the world would someone do with 350 million dollars? We haven’t a clue. But our desire is to win the lottery. It would solve all my problems. I could buy a new car and never worry about it breaking down and not having the money to fix it. I could go to the grocery store and not have to pinch pennies or hand over any coupons. I could go on dream vacation after dream vacation. We would figure out a way to spend it. But do I really want to win the lottery? We’ve all heard story after story of how people who have actually won the lottery have ruined their lives. It has destroyed marriages instead of strengthening them, it has caused family relationships to get worse not better, all that money makes people do things they would never have done. Most of the money is just wasted. Studies have shown that many people who win the lottery end up broke and lonely. But that would never happen to me…right. Winning the lottery probably would destroy my life.But because I still have this desire to win the lottery, I am forced to examine my desires. Each day I have different desires. Here are some that I have had lately:• I want a new car• I want a house on a lake• I want a super vacation to Acadia National Park (our family is going but I really don’t have quite enough money and I’m worried I will come back with a big VISA bill)• I want to accomplish something great and have everybody know about it• I want to go on a trip to the Holy Land• I want a perfectly manicured lawnThe list could go on and I am sure that you have some things you have been thinking about lately as well. But, what I was created to desire does not match up with these earthly desires. I struggle each day to desire the things that God wants me to desire rather than my own personal lusts. I believe we can find out what God wants us to desire from studying the Scriptures. I decided to test this idea this morning. I said, “I’m going to read Ephesians 1 and find out if it says anything about what God desires for me to desire. Here are a few things I found:• God wants me to desire to be faithful to Christ• To desire experiencing peace with God through Jesus• To desire spiritual blessings from heaven (not from earth)• To desire holiness• To desire the riches of his grace (not the riches of the lottery)• To desire an eternal inheritance (not an earthly one)• To desire to love the saints• To desire to give thanks• To desire prayer• To desire a spirit of wisdom• To desire Christ’s power exhibited through my life for his glory (not my own)I can’t wait to continue to pour over the Scriptures and find out more desires that God has for me. The earthly desires of what I want need to be replaced with the heavenly desires that God wants me to have. I was created this way. My desires need to be God-centered not self-centered. I truly believe my life will be rich and full and satisfying if I desire what God has in store for me rather than what the lottery can buy at the store for me.All for Jesus,Fletch
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Evidence of Grace

God is constantly gracious. He never stops thinking about you, he is constantly with us all the time, everywhere. I love the Zephaniah 3:17 passage;
"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

I want to encourage you to examine your life for "evidence of grace". Because God's grace is always flooding our hearts then we should be able to see evidence of it in our lives. While God's grace through Jesus is infinite let me highlight three areas you can look for in your own life.

New Desires: As we grow in our relationship with Christ, he gives us new desires that well up inside of us. These desires were not a part of us before we became a Christian, but now they are undeniable. Do you have the desire to know God more intimately through reading His Word? The fact that you value God's Word and love to read, study and hear it is evidence of grace. Do you desire to commune with God deeper through prayer? You have seen God give you peace in excruciating circumstances, answer your prayers, and move you to take risks because you prayed. Prayer is evidence of God's grace. You also have a new desire to worship. Worship happens all day, every day and hopefully as you walk through your day you have a new desire to praise God for who he is and what he's doing. Maybe your music library has changed over the last few years to have more worship music to keep your mind focused on Christ. Maybe it's a lot easier to get up on Sunday mornings and head to church, looking forward to worshiping Him with your heart, soul, strength and mind. Again, a desire to worship is evidence of grace.

New Perspective: As you have experienced the deep forgiveness of God through the work of Jesus on the cross you want to pass it on to others. I really feel that God has changed my perspective on life and specifically relationships. We all have wonderful relationships and difficult ones. God has given us so much grace that we are filled to the brim and overflowing. The overflow should pour into those around, friends, co-workers, even the waiter serving us lunch. God's grace gives us a new perspective on how we treat others, how we react to others, and how we love others unconditionally. A new perspective is evidence of grace.

Old Temptations: As we constantly grown in grace then we will also constantly be hounded by Satan. We all know that "he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour". Grace gives us a tremendous weapon to fight temptation, however we constantly have to be on our guard to fight and defend ourselves. God also roams around,
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
Fight temptation by believing that the promises of God are far better than the promises of the world.

Bathe in God's grace today, let it wash over your heart, your mind and your soul, and then shower someone else with it as well.

All for Jesus,
Brian Fletcher

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God's Word - Anti-Venom

I am always being dragged away and enticed by the world and Satan, that dog who won’t go away but hounds me constantly. I feel like I am constantly fighting with hardly any relief. The best relief that I have found always comes from the Scriptures. God’s Word is the best anti-venom for counter-acting the poison of sin. The writer of Hebrews says this about temptation: “For because He [Jesus] himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.

I don’t always think of “suffering” through temptation. I usually think of temptation as annoying and bothersome, like being outside when the mosquitoes are really bad. But this verse says that Jesus “suffered” through temptation. He had to endure it and it was not pleasant. But we don’t like pain, we crave pleasure, we avoid pain at all costs. So we give in to temptation because it is more pleasurable (at least in the short run) than suffering and enduring through and not giving into temptation. But we must see the reality of life in a fallen world, where the battle rages for our souls.

The reality that temptation will always be present (until Jesus comes back) and so we will always be in a constant state of suffering, of enduring and fighting off temptation. Suffering in this life is inescapable, but thanks be to God who has given us a Savior who not only can empathize with our suffering but gives us the grace and strength to endure it and fight it off. I John 2:15-17 shows us the Truth:

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world-- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Ask the Lord to give you strength and grace to suffer and not give into sin just because it seems more pleasurable – for ultimately sin kills and destroys us – only holiness and purity bring life and this is what Jesus has clothed us with. Pray that God will satisfy you with Jesus and His overwhelming love rather than the passing things of this world. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” John Piper

All for Jesus,


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