FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK, THERE WILL BE THIS INTRO FOR ANYONE JOINING IN FOR THE FIRST TIME….IF YOU HAVE BEEN HERE FOR THE SERIES, SCROLL ON DOWN, FRIENDS, FOR DAY 2
Welcome to the 2023 VBSFAWTG&G.
If you are new to the Journey, every summer I revisit my love for Vacation Bible School along with my aversion to the obligatory craft portion, and provide this week of Vacation Bible School For Adults Without the Glue and Glitter.
This year’s series flows from a page in my beloved Valley of Vision prayer book, page 209 and is part of a prayer for The Family.
The portion that generated this year’s VBSFAWTG&G is:
Help me to hate and forsake every false way,
to be attentive to my condition and character,
to bridle my tongue,
to keep my heart with all diligence,
to watch and pray against temptation ,
to mortify sin,
to be concerned for the salvation of others.The Valley of Vision, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975 collected by Arthur Bennett, page 209
I had made a note in the margins many years ago with a list of my “temptations”; the things that draw me away from a deeper and purer faith. The things that occupy me and ruin my condition and character, cause my tongue and heart to sin, interfere with my prayers and eclipse my concern for the salvation of others.
As it turns out, there are five and that is exactly the number of days we have for VBS. So we will be tackling one each day, hopefully outlining what it looks like in real time, some Scriptures to speak into the temptation and some steps to practice fighting it.
I would guess I am not alone in these five temptations. The succumbing to them can manifest in a variety of sinful and selfish and damage-to-self and to others ways, but the root issues are common to all people I believe.
The five temptations are:
Hello and welcome to Day 2 of VBSFAWTG&G 2023.
I actually heard from two live human beings that yesterday’s post impacted them. That is double what I could have hoped for because if just one person benefits, my time is well spent.
Today I want to talk about the temptation of “Unbelief”.
Like discouragement, succumbing to this one also affects my condition and character, causes my mouth and my heart to sin by expressing and spreading the venom, undermines my faith and weakens my prayers and yet again…destroys my concern for the salvation of others.
So let’s take a look at how unbelief sneaks into my daily walk.
If you ask me point blank if there has ever been a day or time when I would have outright denied the Sovereignty, Deity, Holiness, and/or existence of the Godhead, three in one; I would categorically avow that I never have done that.
But on a deeper reflection at how I think about things that happen to work out in our circumstances sometimes, and how I question why I have had this or haven’t had that; if I were to observe my fears and anxieties about things that seem so big and overwhelming; if I noted my emotional quaking when projections and statistics about the future flash across the screen for the evening news…well I cannot deny I would be looking square in the face of me succumbing to the temptation of unbelief.
Once again…the temptation is not the sin.
So on further consideration…
When I am jealous of what others have or questioning why I have had the trials I have had, I develop an attitude of unbelief that God has attended to all the details of my life and the lives of those I love in ways that are always for our good and His glory.
My words and my attitudes take a negative turn and I do not speak words of hope or gratitude or act like the promises of God that I have hidden in my heart are the solid truth I claim to stand on.
When I get worked up about how things are going or how they might turn out and borrow worry and fear by letting my imagination run off into scenes of despair and hopelessness, I begin to speak outcomes that are contrary to what God has assured me to be sure and solid in His Word.
Again I find it necessary to fight this temptation by turning to Scripture and I take heart at the compassion of Christ in regard to those He walked with while He was on planet earth.
To the disciples in the boat who quaked with fear as the storm engulfed them, He calmed the storm and then corrected them by asking why their faith was so small.
To Peter, as he walked across the water several steps but then looked down into the swirling surf, He reached out and pulled him to safety before asking why he had let the turbulence of the waves steal focus and shake his faith.
To Martha, as she asked Him in choking sobs why He had not come in time to save her beloved brother from this death, Jesus reminded her that HE is the Resurrection and the Life and then asked her…did she believe?
She did, by the way.
To the father who wanted desperately to believe Jesus could heal his son, Jesus asked if he believed He could and the father answered in all honesty that while he did believe, there was a shadow of doubt still lingering. He cried out for Jesus to help his unbelief and Jesus did for surely the child was delivered.
In these passages I take heart.
Like the rest of humanity, there are times where my circumstances place me in a position of temptation to not believe in what is true about His character, His faithfulness, His goodness, His kindness, and/or His promises for me personally and for us corporately.
And through His written word, I am reminded Jesus is even more aware of my pockets of doubt that linger. I don’t doubt who He is, and I don’t doubt He has the power to do anything, but at times I doubt He wants to or He will.
What a gift it is to be transparent before Him and simply acknowledge that I am struggling with the temptation to not believe something that I know I should know is true.
What a gift to pray and ask Him to help me with my unbelief.
What a gift to raise my hand and trust that He will take it and pull me out, time and time and time again.
So how about you?
Do you stand in complete faith, or are there times when you have felt your eyes stray to the chaos as the dark waters inch up your thighs?
Do you know that you know, and yet still wonder why you feel like you may have been short changed?
Do you believe with all your heart that God heard that prayer over coffee and devotions that morning and yet by 3:00 are ready to accept that some things and some people will never ever change for the better?
There is something huge in just echoing the words of that poor dad I mentioned up above.
One of the simplest and most honest prayers to pray in the moments when unbelief has you asking, “Did God really say _________?” is “LORD, I do believe…to the extent I am able at this point in my humanity, Now please, Lord Jesus, help me in my unbelief.”
That is a prayer we should get used to saying even when we are feeling super confident in our lack of unbelief. Because we are all human and we all need His help to grow in faith.
All right kids, that was a tough lesson for a Tuesday.
So here is a savory snack that is a favorite here at our house. These are so good fresh or warmed up later.
Ham and Cheese Sliders
4 TBSP butter, melted
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP honey
1 pack Hawaiian Rolls
1/2 pound each thinly sliced deli honey ham and sliced Swiss cheese (like the sandwich slice packs)
Spray an 11×7 baking dish.
Stir seasonings, honey and mustard into melted butter
Cut rolls horizontally in a slap and set bottoms in the pan.
Layer 1/2 the ham, the cheese and then the rest of ham on rolls
Put slap of lids on and brush with butter mixture.
You can refrigerate up to four hours or bake immediately
350 degrees, covered with foil
Bake 12 minutes and then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 min.
Warning – these are addictive