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ALTAR CALL: Yield not to temptation

Cheryl Harewood

ALTAR CALL: Yield not to temptation

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Behind the prison walls of Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, something wonderful took place two Sundays ago.
Inmate Peter F. preached a sermon on The Importance Of Temptation, during a combined service conducted by Ministry of Healing Waters and Healing For The Soul Ministries.
First stressing his awareness that the topic of his message “may sound a bit strange”, he called on his listeners to join with him and “examine the topic more closely”.
“First of all you must notice that I said ‘the importance of temptation’ and not sin. Temptation begins when the inclination of an evil act or thought enters the mind, sin only comes into play when we either entertain or act out those thoughts.”
He went on to say that the first mention of temptation was in Genesis 3 when the serpent began his conversation with Eve in the Garden of Eden.
He explained that Eve later put the temptation “into action when she tasted the forbidden fruit and caused a domino effect – the end result being the world as we know it today”.
“Succumbing to Satan’s temptations is committing a sin and it’s when we commit this sin that Satan executes phase two of his plan. He makes the sin seem so insignificant that we won’t worry about it and are easily willing to do it again, or make us think that the sin is so bad we cannot be forgiven,” Peter F. said.
“We must remember that Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins and laid the foundation for us to call on Him whenever temptation assaults us so we can rebuke the temptation or seek forgiveness for our sins.
“Sad to say, some of us don’t even try to forgive ourselves and that is another part of Satan’s plan. He keeps us burdened with self-pity and guilt so that forgiveness and Christ are the last things on our minds.”
He said that Christ came so “we can be forgiven” and we should never allow Satan or anyone to use our past mistakes against us.
He further urged his listeners, comprising mainly of fellow inmates, to purge themselves of sinful burdens and prepare themselves to be used by God.
“I know it won’t be easy to ignore Satan’s temptations because he knows our weaknesses and vulnerable moments. There is a saying that goes: ‘If you want to be distracted, look around. If you want to be discouraged look back. If you want to be distressed look within, and if you want to be delivered, look above’.”
Peter F. disclosed that temptation usually comes during times of spiritual growth and reminded his listeners that “Satan places stumbling blocks, pitfalls and all types of distractions around us so we won’t focus on God”.
“In short, when you find temptation coming your way, it is because Satan is trying to win you over and destroy your relationship with God.
“The more intense his attacks [are an indication that] there is something important God has for you and Satan is trying to stop you from [achieving or] doing it.”
This inmate further noted that in Genesis Chapter 4 verse 8 Satan used jealousy to tempt Cain into killing his brother, and he used lust and adultery in 2 Samuel Chapter 11 to cause David to covet and commit murder when he killed Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband.
He further stressed that: “Satan even had the audacity to tempt Jesus, and that Jesus’ temptation helped Him to understand what we as mortal beings go through. He added that it also strengthens Jesus’ case when He mitigates to His Father on our behalf.
Peter F. urged his fellow inmates to trust God, watch and pray and to “count it all joy when ye fall into temptation, knowing this; that the trying of your faith worketh patience”.
He added: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him.”
During the service inmates also ministered in song and poetry.