Happy New Year — WELCOME TO 2019! This month marks a brand-new year with the fresh opportunity for each of us to set new goals or to “polish” and adjust some of our previously set goals. Whatever plans, dreams, or visions that are before us, those that God places in our hearts are goals He wants us to achieve!
Today I have a special message on my heart that I believe will really encourage you! But before I get into it, I want to remind you that we are here for you and would love to pray with you for the things that are on your heart or that you are facing right now. Just this week, I’ve been reviewing praise reports from people who have received answers to prayers. It is so encouraging to hear how God is answering our prayers for our friends and partners! We pray for you every day, but if we can specially pray for you, PLEASE let us know, and we’ll release our faith with yours for an answer!
So often in life, problems in our lives can seem overwhelming. But have you ever noticed that the more you focus on a problem, the bigger and more intense it seems to become? In fact, if you don’t get a grip on your emotions in these kinds of situations, your mind will blow that problem far out of proportion. Even if you’re facing a real crisis, you have the power to get your mind under control with help from the Holy Spirit. However, if you let your emotions have their way, they will play the worst-case scenario over and over in your mind until that “worst case” finally manifests as a reality in your life.
DECISIONS YOU MAKE NOW
CAN AFFECT YOUR OUTCOMES
That’s why it is so important to decide beforehand how you’re going to respond to negative situations. Instead of blowing them out of proportion, you can make the decision now — before anything bad or negative even happens — that you and the Holy Spirit are bigger and stronger than any problem that will ever come your way. The two of you together, armed with the all-powerful name of Jesus, can tackle and overcome anything that comes against you! Plus, if you’re blessed to have one or two friends who can encourage you in the Word or in agreement with you in prayer, you have a lot to praise God about!
This principle of gaining control of your thoughts and emotions is precisely the same when dealing with temptation. All temptations begin as thoughts in the mind. They might appeal to your flesh, but each one of them first takes form in the mind and emotions. In the beginning, those thoughts are manageable — conquerable and even rejectable. If you’ll just change your focus, get out of the situation, and minimize those thoughts in your mind by refusing to think on them, you can leave that temptation in the dust.
Or if you feel that you’re losing the battle alone, you can open your heart to a faithful friend or let our ministry know how to pray for you — but ask for help! With the power of the Holy Spirit and dear friends at your side, every temptation really can be minimized and I like how the apostle Paul taught about this in First Corinthians 10:13. He said, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…” The word “temptation” is very fierce in the Greek language. It’s the word peirasmos, and it depicts that moment when we feel seized, and squeezed, by external or internal forces designed to take us down. But these feelings are momentary and relatively powerless according to Paul. It’s all a masquerade of flesh merely trying to act powerful. Paul described these seemingly overwhelming feelings and temptations as being “common to man.”
The phrase “common to man” is a translation of the Greek word anthropinos, which describes things that are normally experienced by human beings and are therefore not exceptional. Rather than blow these temptations out of proportion, Paul downplayed them as being commonplace. Furthermore, he continued by saying that God “will with the temptation also make a way to escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). If these temptations were truly overpowering, they would be inescapable. However, Paul clearly stated that we can escape them.
HOW TO ‘STEP OUT OF’ A TEMPTATION
The word “escape” is the Greek word ekbasis, which is a compound of the words ek and basis. The word ek simply means out, and the word basis means to step. When these two words are compounded, the new word ekbasis means to step out. In other words, you can walk away from or step out of a temptation just as easily as you walked into one.
It’s all a matter of what you believe.
The devil will always try to convince you that you are a tiny, powerless being with no authority to withstand his lies. If you take his bait, you’ll have a very difficult time walking away from the temptations that assail your mind. Instead, you can choose to think like Paul and say, “These silly temptations are nothing special that human beings haven’t faced many times. There is nothing powerful or special about them, and I will walk away from these feelings and emotions.” As you do, you’ll find your authority in Christ has increased in strength, and the mental drama you used to experience from negative thoughts will become negligible!
I want to urge you to decide beforehand how you’re going to respond to negative thoughts and situations. You have to make the decision to believe that you and the Holy Spirit are bigger and stronger than any temptation or problem that will ever come your way.
With Jesus on your side, you can look at those temptations and declare, “You do not have authority over me! You are nothing more than a simple human temptation that has affected millions of people throughout history before me, and there are legions of people who have resisted and defeated you! Today I am being added to that number of those who have said NO to you! I refuse to let this temptation become a drama. I am picking up my feet and walking away from your voice. In the name of Jesus, you have no more authority over me!”
Oh, the Word of God is so powerful, and I pray that it has ministered to you today! This month the Holy Spirit has impressed me to really emphasize the fact that you can overcome any temptation and any type of evil that tries to assail you. But to maintain a victorious position, you have to make a decision to be an overcomer. You can do it, because an overcomer is exactly who Jesus has made you to be!
Thank you so much for taking time to let me minister to you through this letter. Thank you, too, for your friendship and partnership with us. Together we are making a difference in the lives of believers and new Christians all around the world.
Whether it’s a negative circumstance or a temptation — a temptation to fear or lie or do something else that’s wrong — you have been equipped to stand against it effectively by standing guard over your mind. By the power of God’s Word
and His Spirit, He has made a way for you to withstand any onslaught that assails you. How can Denise and I and our team pray for you this month? Whatever you’re facing, we want to face it with you in prayer. Praying for you is one of our highest joys in the ministry!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families