Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

James 1:14

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire."

There are two words in this loaded little sentence that I think are really important. The first is "lured", and it carries with it the idea of someone being dragged away. Now that seems to be contradictory to the point of the sentence itself. How can one be dragged away by his own desire? It is like the old statement from Pogo, "We has met the enemy and they is us!" The caveman, in an effort to conquer the woman takes his club and knocks himself over the head and drags himself into the cave and has his way with himself, pardon whatever thoughts THAT might bring to mind. The con-artist cons himself out of millions of dollars. But if we consider the new man we are in Christ it begins to makes sense. Our old nature, as Paul says, is warring with our new nature. The ungodly in us wants to drag our us away body and mind to the discipline of the world's character; Christ in you, the hope of glory will stand for the character of God already forming in you against all that.

The other word is translated "enticed" and has, I think, been diluted a bit by our english language. In the original it means more "entrapped" or deluded. Jama and I have been watching HGTV recently (don't you DARE laugh), and they've been advertising this lighted paper cutter that you can ONLY get by calling a certain telephone number. I really believe this paper cutter will deliver something my scissors can't, that my conventional paper cutter will never do. I want those elegant, clean lines. I want to use the optional "stamp" cut and the paper scoring blade so I can fold my paper straight and true. And the best part of all is it is only $19.95! I'm being enticed to buy the thing. The claims made aren't REALLY falsehoods. They are in that category of thing that SORT of delivers on what it promises. Is there a better way to cut paper? Sure. Do I really need this thing? Nope. But I can certainly be enticed into buying it because I will come to believe that the old-fashioned way of cutting paper simply doesn't work. And oh, have I told you about my George Forman sandwich maker? You REALLY need that one.

Again, the key to understanding and perhaps escaping these enticements and entrapments is that they come from the old nature within us. It doesn't take Satan or even his own devils to "make us do" these things. We do it to ourselves. Only as I cling to Christ and walk more and more closely with him will I be freed to know and to do what brings real life, real fulfillment.

Jon

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