Monday, December 24, 2018

Life has a purpose

Life does have a purpose, and I am attaching a link to a great article for your review.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 12, 2018


As we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving, this year. I found a couple of good thoughts that I will share.

By Robert Fulghum, titled;

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned. Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.


One morning after a terrible snowstorm, Susan was outside shoveling her driveway. She stopped to wave hello to her neighbor, and he asked her why her husband wasn’t out there helping her with the chore.

She explained that one of them had to stay inside to take care of the children, so they drew straws to see who would go out and shovel. "Sorry about your bad luck," he said. Susan replied, "Don’t be sorry. I won!"
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Monday, October 8, 2018


Get a friend to help you.  That is, sometimes it’s best to have a friend who can challenge what you’re feeling.  You’ve got to have a pretty close friend to do that. 


Have you given anybody in your life the permission to challenge your feelings?  Or does everybody have to be a yes-man or a yes-woman to you?  You feel a certain way and there’s no room for “Are you sure?” Are you sure that’s a correct understanding?  A true friend is somebody you give permission to say, Are you sure about that?  You give them the ability to challenge your emotion and say, “Henry, I don’t think you’re thinking correctly right now.  I don’t think what you’re feeling is actually true…”


Job had a friend like that.  His name was Eliphaz.  In Job 15:12 Eliphaz asked Job “Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash?”  That’s a poetic way of saying, how come you’ve run off the deep end?  Why do you get so angry? 


Do you have anybody who can ask you that question and you wouldn’t get mad at them?  You know they’re doing it out of love.  You need partners in your life.  You need not only a small group – that’s a good place to find them – but you need a spiritual partner.  Not a lot, just one person who you’ve given the right to challenge what you’re feeling and say, “I don’t think you’re thinking correctly.  That’s not right.  Why do you go off the deep end on this?  Why are you getting so angry about it?” Give somebody that permission.


Ask three questions.


Let me give you three questions to ask about your own emotions when you’re trying to figure out how to deal with how you feel.  Let’s say you’re angry or you’re upset or you’re irritated or you’re frustrated or you’re depressed or whatever, you ask these three questions:


1.  What’s the real reason that I’m feeling this?  Maybe it’s fear.  Maybe it’s worry.  Maybe it’s hooked into something your dad said to you years and years and years ago and when your husband said it to you all of a sudden, he gets all the wrath that you pent up against your dad.  Or vice versa.


What’s the real reason I’m feeling this?


The second question to ask yourself….


2.  Is it true?  Is what I’m feeling right now true?  There’s a point where Elijah in the Bible gets so down, discouraged, depressed.  He comes crying to God and he’s complaining and he says, “God, I’m the only one in the entire nation of Israel left serving you.”  And God challenges him, are you kidding me?  I’ve got all these people who are still serving me! Why are you acting like this?  You’re acting like you’re the only one trying to do the right thing in the whole world!  No. That’s not true. 


So what’s the real reason I feel this way?  In that case he was tired.  And is it true?  In that case it wasn’t true.


The third question – and this one is real important…


3.  Is what I’m feeling helping me or hurting me?  Sometimes this is the simplest thing to changing an emotion by simply saying is what I’m feeling right now going to help me get what I want to get or is it actually going to hinder me getting what I want?  In other words, will I get what I want by continuing to feel this way?  A lot of feelings we have feel natural but they’re actually self-defeating.


For instance: Let’s say you go in and you sit down in a restaurant and the service is slow.  And I mean it’s slow.  You’re waiting and you’re waiting and you’re waiting and waiting to be served.  Then a couple comes in like fifteen minutes after you and sits down and they get their meal before you do.  And you look at your wife, are you seeing this?  Are you watching this?  You’re starting to get a little irritated and all of a sudden you feel an emotion welling up inside of you. 


You go, what’s the real reason I’m feeling those?  I’m hungry!


Is it true?  Yeah, it’s true.  I’m frustrated because the service is slow here.  That is particularly true.


But then, is it helping or is it hurting?  Question: Do you get better service by getting angry at the waitress?  No.  Absolutely not. 


So, it feels good to get angry like, I came to this place!!! Blah, blah, blah, blah!  You may feel better but you just got worse service.  It’s usually the exact opposite of what you want. 


The chief of police in Long Beach was saying, teaching, We teach our cops in a crisis you lower your voice, not raise it. Naturally in a crisis you want to raise your voice.  But that’s just going to escalate the problem.  Escalate it.


So, you ask yourself is this emotion actually getting me where I want to go?


Let’s say you want to change your husband or your kids or your wife or somebody who works with you.  Does nagging work?  Has it ever worked?  Anywhere?  Does nagging work on you?  When somebody comes and tells you all the things you’re doing wrong, doesn’t that just make you want to change?  No!  All it does is make you defensive. 


So you need to ask yourself, I know I’m, frustrated right now with this person in my life but is expressing my frustration at them going to actually make a change and I get what I want out of this?  No, it’s not. 


That’s called managing your emotions. 



How does that happen?  How do you let the Holy Spirit change an emotion that’s hurting you and hurting other people in your life?  Let me give you two final suggestions.  Two starter suggestions:


1.  Every day ask God to fill you with his Spirit. 


Every single day.  Don’t get out of bed.  Don’t touch the ground without saying, “Holy Spirit, fill me today.  I need your Spirit in my life.  Because it’s not by might or by power, not willpower but by your Spirit I’m going to be able to manage my moods and my emotions today.” 


Galatians 5:22-23 says this “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, [We could stop right there.  I’ll just take those three!  My life would be a whole lot better if my life were filled with joy, love and peace.  Wouldn’t yours?  But there’s nine of them here!  Nine fruit of the Spirit.  Love, joy and peace…] patience [anybody need that one?] kindness [You are kind when the Holy Spirit fills your life.  When you’re unkind there’s no way the Holy Spirit is filling your life.  The Holy Spirit does not motivate unkindness.], goodness, faithfulness, gentleness [you’re gentle when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit.  You’re gentle with kids, you’re gentle with your spouse, you’re gentle with your customers], and [notice the last one] self-control [circle that one].”      Self-control comes from God control. 


Self-control comes from God control.  The more I let God control my mind and emotions the more self-control I have.  I don’t become a religious nut.  I become more self-controlled.  A lot of people think, “If I let the Holy Spirit fill my life they’re going to turn me into some nut, a religious fanatic.”  No.  If you let the Holy Spirit fill your life you get more self-control than you’re ever had in your life. 


That’s a good thing.


It says when the Holy Spirit controls your life he fills you with this.  When you’re filled with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self control then that’s a whole lot better than being filled with anger, worry, fear, guilt, shame, worry and all these other things. 


So what about it?  When you’re put under pressure at work, at home or anywhere else do you know what comes out of you?  Whatever is inside of you.  And if you’re filled with worry, fear, doubt, loneliness, envy, jealousy, bitterness, gossip when the world puts on pressure you know what’s going to come out?  Worry, fear, doubt, anger, ego, and all those things.


But when you’re filled with the Spirit and the world puts pressure on you what’s going to come out?  Love, joy, peace, patience….


If I take a bottle of shampoo and I squeeze that bottle what comes out?  Shampoo.  If I take a tube of toothpaste and I squeeze it what comes out?  Toothpaste.  Peanut butter doesn’t come out; toothpaste comes out.  Why?  Because whatever is in it comes out when it’s under pressure.


That’s true of your life.  Whatever is in you comes out when you’re under pressure.  When I’m full of myself almost anything can tick me off.  When I’m full of God, nothing can tick me off.  I’m filled with love and joy and peace.  It doesn’t matter what happens; I can handle it.  This is nothing.  I can just handle anything. 


So whatever is inside of you is going to come out.  So the first key to managing emotions is to be filled with the Spirit so you’re full of love and joy.  If you’ve got a cup of coffee and you shake it, whatever is going to come out is what’s in it.  Be filled with the Spirit.  And that’s what’s going to come out in your emotions.



You knew I was going to get to this one!  Every day I ask God to help me manage my mouth.  I get up in the morning and I say, Lord, put a guard on my mouth.  Zip it up.  The Bible says “In a multitude of words there is sin.”  Proverbs 13:3 says this, “Self control means controlling the tongue.” 


There’s a whole chapter in the book of James on the power of your words and your tongue.  It says… A giant horse.  You can have a rider on the horse that weighs one fourth of the horse and yet he’s controlling the horse.  Why?  Because there’s a bit in the horse’s mouth.  And wherever the mouth goes the horse is going.


The same is true with you.  The Bible says that your tongue is like the rudder on a big ship.  A little tiny rudder can direct a big ship in any direction.  The tongue is the rudder of your life.  What you say is where you’re going to go.  And you’re not going to experience what God wants you to have until you say what God wants you to say.  So you say, Lord help me to manage my mouth.  


Here’s the last key.  Write this down.  Make God’s Word my word. 


In other words begin to put the words of the Bible into your mind.  Memorize some verses.  Write them down on little cards and memorize them.  Underline verses in your Bible.  Read the Bible every day.  Listen to the Bible.  Subscribe to Drive Time Devotions.  Get the Word of God in you.  Every day.  Feed yourself on the Word of God.  Then when his Word becomes your Word you’re going to see miracles take place in your life. 


Psalm 119:11 says this “I have hidden your word in my heart [What’s your heart?  That’s where your emotions are.] that I might not sin against you.”  And Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord.” 


Notice the connection between your heart and your mouth.  What’s inside your heart is going to come out of your mouth.  Jesus said, “It’s not what goes in you that makes you unclean; it’s what comes out of you that makes you unclean……” My heart is revealed in my words.  So some of you what you need to say is God I need a heart transplant.  I’ve got a bitter heart.  I’ve got a worried heart.  I’ve got an angry heart.  I’ve got a lonely heart.  I’ve got a prideful heart.  I’ve got an arrogant heart.  God, I’ve had a jealous heart.  I’ve got an envious heart.  I’ve had an impatient heart.  God, I need a heart transplant.”


When you say that to God and you say, fill me with your Spirit, he’ll put a new heart inside of you. And when you get a new heart you get new words and your words direct your life. 

You might pray, Lord, I know that my feelings are often unreliable.  I don’t want to build my life on feelings; I want to build my life on your truth.  I don’t want to be manipulated by other people.  Or by Satan.  I don’t want to be manipulated even by my own old nature.  But I want to be self-controlled and alert.  More than that, Lord, I want to please you.  I want to do the things that please you.  I want you to be the Lord of my emotions.  I want to succeed in life by being controlled by your will not by my feelings.  So, help me to practice what I’ve just learned this week.  When I start to get upset, when I feel overwhelmed by very strong emotions help me to name it, help me to figure out what am I really feeling and what’s the trigger and what triggered me and why am I feeling this way.  You’ve said in your Word that wisdom gives a man patience.  Help me to understand my emotions.  Where they came from.  Then Lord, help me to challenge my emotions.  To not automatically accept them as the gospel truth.  But to ask is it true and is it helpful and is holding on to this emotion going to get me the result I need?  Help me to realize the real reason that I feel what I’m feeling.  And to challenge my emotions and not to just automatically accept them.  Then help me to change or channel what needs to be changed and channel what could be used for good.  Dear God, beginning right now I’m asking you to fill me with your Holy Spirit.  I want my life to be filled with love and not hate.  With peace not, chaos.  With joy not sorrow.  With patience not, impatience.  Lord, I want to be kind.  Fill me with goodness.  Fill me with faith.  Fill me with gentleness.  Fill me with self-control.  Help me to develop the habit of

Monday, October 1, 2018

What Kind of Goal Does God Bless?

Not every goal that you can set is a good goal.  Not every goal is a goal that God’s going to bless.  So, you want to set goals in these seven areas over the next seven weeks, you want to set these in your life, but you want to set the kind of goal that God is going to bless, God’s going to give you the power to do. 

So how do I know the kind of goal that God will bless?  Let me give you three questions.  When you get ready to set a goal you want to ask these three questions:

      1.  WILL it HONOR GOD?

That’s the first question you ask.  Will this goal honor God?  What kind of goal would honor God?  What kind of goal brings glory to God?  Any goal that causes you to trust him more, to depend on him more, to love him more, to love other people more, to serve God, to serve others, to be more unselfish.  Those are going to be good goals. 

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:20 “God paid a great price for you. [Look at the cross] So use your body to honor God.” 

Are you using your body to honor God?  Or are you using your body for pleasure, for selfish reasons?  Use your body to honor God.  Circle that. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 “When you eat or drink or do anything, always do it to honor God.”  Everything can be done to honor God.  You can take out the garbage to honor God.  You can wash dishes to honor God.  You can clean out your car to honor God.  Or your closet.  You can study for a test to honor God.  How?  By doing it with the right motive – out of gratitude.  And for the right motivation – I want my life to bring honor to God so I’m going to be the best I can be for God’s sake.

Will this goal honor God?  The Bible says this “We make it our goal to please him.”  2 Corinthians 5:9.


That’s the second question you ask when you set a goal for your finances, your health, your relationships.  Is this goal motivated by loved? 

God is not going to bless a goal motivated by greed – I want to make a lot of money.  God is not going to bless a goal motivated by competition – I want to be better than that company.  God is not going to bless a goal motivated by envy.  God is not going to bless a goal motivated by greed or grief or guilt or grudges.  He’s not going to honor a goal that’s built on worry or fear or anxiety.  God is not going to bless a goal that’s motivated by materialism or by ego or by pride.

But when you set a goal out of love – God, I want to do this because I love you and I want to love other people – God’s going to honor that because it’s all about love.  Life is all about learning how to love.

 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Everything you do must be done with love.”  Everything.  1 Corinthians 14:1 “Love must be your highest goal.”  That should be the number one goal in your life – I want to learn to really love.  I want to learn to love unlovely people.  I want to learn to love the loveless and the unloved.  I want to learn to love people who are hard to love.  That’s being like God.

Why is it important for you to have goals that are based on love?  Because if you set loveless goals, you’re going to treat people as projects.  You’re going to run all over them to get to your goal.  You’re going to run over your marriage, you’re going to run over your friends, you’re going to run over other people climbing up the ladder of success.  God says, No.  You’ve got it all wrong.  It’s not about accomplishments.  It’s about relationships.  It’s about learning how to love.


Will this goal require depending on God?  Remember I said earlier, Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it’s impossible to please God.”  If you don’t have a goal that requires faith then it’s not a pleasing-to-God goal.  Romans 14:23 “Everything that doesn’t come from faith is sin.”  If you have a goal that’s so small it doesn’t require any faith to do it, it’s a sin.  Whatever is not of faith the Bible says, it is sin.

Look at this verse, Proverbs 16:9 “We plan the way we want to live but only God makes us able to live it.”  I love that in The Message paraphrase.  That’s what we’re going to do during Fifty Days of Transformation.  You get to plan the way you want to live.  This series is to help you make the rest of your life the best of your life.  We get to plan the way we want to live.  But, it says, only God gives us the power, gives us the energy, gives us the ability to actually do it.  To make the transformation.  Why?  Because God provides the three things you must have to reach your goal. 

Three things you must have to reach your goal, three things you must have to change your life.

This is not something based on willpower.  It’s based on God power.  It’s not based on trying; it’s based on trusting, I need God’s Spirit to empower me.

Zechariah 4:6 says “You will not succeed by your own strength or your own power but by my Spirit says the Lord.”  I need God’s Spirit to empower me to make changes I can’t make on my own.


I need God’s Spirit to empower me; I need God’s Word to guide me.  This book, the Bible, is the owner’s manual for life.  The more you get this book into your mind, your heart, your life.  The more you read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, the more successful, the more fulfilled, the stronger you’re going to be in life. 

When Joshua was given the great dream of taking over the Promised Land and it was a goal that was going to take him the rest of his life, God had these words to say to Joshua.  Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book [That’s the Bible] of the Law on your lips.  [In other words, talk about it all the time.] Recite it by day and by night, [That means memorize it so you can quote it] that you may carefully follow all that is written in it; [That’s the premise; here’s the promise] THEN you will successfully attain your goal.” 

If you ever intend to be in business for yourself you ought to memorize that verse. In fact, it’s a good verse for everybody to memorize.  Keep this book of the law in your heart.  Read it, memorize it, live it, practice it, study it. That you’re careful to follow it, obey it.]  Then you will be successful.  You will attain your goal. 

That is one of the greatest promises of success in the Bible.  That promise didn’t come from Tony Robbins or some self-help guru.  That promise comes from God.  You will successfully attain your goal.  How?  If you become a man of the Word or you become a woman of the Word, all you need to know about life is in this book right here.  I need God’s Spirit to empower me and I need God’s Word to guide me. 

The third thing I need is


You will not be able to reach your goals on your own.  I haven’t been able to reach my goals on my own.  It takes a team to fulfill a dream.  You need other people in your life.  This is why we suggest that everybody in our church family be in a small group.  You’re never going to feel like a part of our church until you’re in a small group. 

A crowd can’t support you.  But a small group can.  Three, four, five, six other people.  They can know when you’re sick.  They can know when you’re having a tough time, when you’ve had a bad day.  A crowd can’t support you but a community – a small group can.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says this            “By yourself you’re unprotected.  [That means like in a football game.  You’re unprotected.  You’re out there running down the field by yourself.  You don’t have anybody to block and tackle for you.  There’s nobody out there to protect you.  If you’re not in a small group you don’t have any block and tacklers.  You don’t have anybody that’s going to speak up for you, stand up for you.  By yourself you’re unprotected…] But with a friend you can face the worst.  [Boy!  Did I learn that this last year!] And a group of three is even better because a rope braided with three strands is not easily snapped!”  

What do you call three people meeting together?  A small group.  That’s what it is.  Jesus said “Where two or three are gathered in my name I’ll be in the midst of them.” 
From Rick Warren's Transformed Campaign

How Temptation Works

From Rick Warren's Transformed Campaign.
So let me explain to you how temptation works.  Because it always uses the same pattern.  James 1:14-15 tells us the pattern.  “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.  These evil desires lead to evil actions.  Then the evil actions lead to death.”  

Notice temptation is a process.  It’s not an isolated event.  A lot of people talk about like “It just caught me off guard.  It was just a one night stand.”  No it wasn’t.  There were a lot of things you gave into before you got to lowering that barrier.  Temptation is a process and the Bible describes exactly how it works. 

There’s four phases. 

Phase number one is temptation starts with desire.   

      Step number one is desire. 

If you don’t have any desire for something it’s not a temptation. 
Remember when they used to have smoking on airplanes?  It was terrible.  I heard about this guy who used to carry a card with him.  When a guy would light up next to him on the plane he’d hand the card to him said “I notice you smoke.  I chew.  If you won’t blow smoke on me, I won’t spit on you.” 
He says the lure of our desire begins inside of you.  Temptation doesn’t start out there.  It doesn’t start on tv.  It doesn’t start on the street corner.  It starts inside your mind.  It often begins with a natural desire.  Not even an evil desire.  It can begin with a natural desire.
You have a natural desire for sleep.  You have a natural desire for water.  You have a natural desire for food.  You have a natural desire for sex.  You have a natural desire to succeed in life.  These are all God given drives.  The drive to achieve, the drive for sex, the drive to breed, those are normal drives.  There’s nothing wrong with them.
Temptation turns a routine desire into a runway desire.  That’s what makes it bad.  It becomes more important than anything else.  It’s all you can think about.  Any desire out of control is destructive.  Fire in a fireplace can warm.  Fire on a cooking stove can cook great food.  But fire uncontrolled can burn your house down.  All of God’s gifts misused and abused will burn your house down.  Any of them will.  Sex, sleep, eating.  Any of those things.  They are good desires, good drives but misused and abused they mess you up.
Often temptation is an attempt to fulfill a legitimate desire in your life.  Like, “I just want to be loved (There’s nothing wrong with that) in the wrong way.” 
The point is it’s like steel in a magnet.  If there was no desire in me there would be no temptation.  That make sense?  So temptation doesn’t start out there.  It starts in here, in my mind – the desire.
      Step two in temptation it always happens this way.  Doubt.
What you do in doubt is you begin to doubt two things.  You doubt that God loves you and you doubt that God knows best.  Because when you start to get tempted – Did God really say…  don’t have sex outside of marriage?  Did God really say…. forgive the person instead of get even with them?  Did God really say… It’s more blessed to give than to receive?  And you start doubting God’s Word. 
We see this with the very first temptation.   Adam and Eve.  They’re in a perfect environment.  It’s paradise, they have no clothes and no kids.  Hello!  How do you mess up that?  Really!  Satan comes and says, “See that tree over there?  Did God really say you can’t eat of that tree?”  What’s he doing?  He’s getting you to doubt God’s word.  Then he says, “God knows if you eat of that tree you’ll be as smart as he is.”  What’s he doing?  He’s getting you to doubt that God loves you.  That God’s rules are for your benefit. 

Every time you give into temptation you are believing a lie.  You think you know better.  You think God doesn’t know best.  You think that you know what will make you happy more than he does. 
So there’s always the desire and then there’s the doubt.  “Did God really say?  Does God really love me?  Isn’t God being a little prudish about this?  Is it really true…” and on and on and on.
      Then step three is deception. 
The third thing that Satan does is he replaces God’s truths with his lie.  And he says, “You won’t die if you eat this!”  God had already said, “If you eat this fruit you’re going to die.”  God said you can eat anything in the whole park, Yellowstone Park called Eden.  You can eat of anything in the park except this one tree.  What does man do?  He goes immediately for the one tree.  It’s the minimum amount of temptation possible.  But it allows a choice.
Satan changes it all.  He says, “God says you can’t eat a bunch of stuff.  And the reason is he doesn’t want you to get as smart as he is.”  He is giving you a lie.  He is deceiving you. 
Any of you fishermen?  Some of you are.  The secret of good fishing is real simple.  You’ve got to use the right bait.  Salmon eat a certain kind of bait.  Trout eat another kind of bait.  Fish will even change what they’re eating, feeding on, at different times of the day. 
How many fish are you going to catch with a bare hook?  None.  Zero.  So obviously you’ve got to put some bait on there.  You’ve got to have a lure.
Question: What kind of bait does Satan use on you?  Do you even know?  Do you know the one he always uses on you?  And he keeps coming back to it because it gets you every time.  It hooks you every single time.   It may be something from a long time ago that a parent said to you.  But when that comes out you are so hooked you immediately get depressed or you immediately get angry, or you immediately get worried.  Satan goes, Got her hooked!  I put the right bait on that hook.  Satan knows your weaknesses and he hides the hook. 
I call this phase deception because often we know there’s a hook there but we still keep nibbling.  We know there’s a hook!  But we still keep nibbling!  It’s like people who flirt in the office.  How stupid is that?  You know there’s a hook there.  You know there’s only one way it could go – bad!  But you still keep nibbling.  You say, I’m an adult.  I won’t get hurt.  I’ll be careful.  You’re being deceived.  And there’s a lure. 
Anybody who has gone fishing knows that lures can be pretty flashy.  The flashier the lure the fish goes, What was that?  I’m going to swim over there.  It’s flashy.  It’s shiny.  That looks like Las Vegas!  You know what Las Vegas is?  One giant lure in the desert.  It’s shiny and it’s bright and they’ve got all you can get buffets. 
But you’re going to get hurt.  The poor suckers in Las Vegas… it should be called lost wages.  The next time you get tempted to go to Las Vegas just give me your money.  Give it to me.  You save the time, you save the effort, and we’ll use it for good. 
Temptation always looks better than it is.
      Step four is disobedience and defeat.
Disobedience and defeat.  Now we move from desire – it’s something I want; to doubt – doubt God’s Word and God’s love; to deception – I’m believing the lie that Satan’s telling me – it’s going to be okay, you can get away with it, just this once, it’s not that bad. 
Then you go to disobedience and defeat and now it’s sin.  What began in the mind gets translated into action and it goes like this: My attention becomes an attitude and my attitude becomes an action.  We could really spend a lot of time on this but this is how it works in the battle for your mind.
I’ve had guys say to me, What’s the danger of a harmless fantasy?  Are you kidding me?  It’s not harmless. 
Write this down:  What I flirt with I’ll fall for.  Whatever I flirt with…  it may be a cupcake – I’ll fall for.  Whatever I flirt with I’ll fall for.  I need to refocus my attention.  The Bible says that “After desire has conceived it gives birth to sin and the end result is death.”  What’s death?  The exact opposite of living. 
You’re free to choose anything you want in life.  You’re free to make your choices.  But you are not free from the consequences of those choices.  The moment you make that choice you are no longer free.  Because there are consequences that come to every choice.  Often unintended consequences.  What you sow you will reap and you cannot choose the behavior and not choose the consequence.
What am I saying?  The best time to win the battle with temptation is before it begins.  Psalm 119:112 “I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever no matter what.”  Until you come to that point you’re just going to keep stumbling and stumbling and stumbling.  I have made up my mind.  That’s a choice.  I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever no matter what.