How to Prepare for Temptations

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

James 1:12-15, ESV

Trials and temptations are all around us every day. We feel them when we wake up and are bombarded by them until we go to bed. For most Christians, they are a daily battle that they don’t plan on winning. But what if there were a way to prepare for your temptations and meet them head-on?

3 Ways to Prepare for Your Temptations.

Prepare through Prayer and Fasting.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

Matthew 4:1-2, ESV

Prayer and fasting is a lost art among most Jesus followers today. Fasting is more than the denial of physical things like food but a focus of your mind on spiritual matters. Jesus spent 40 days focusing his heart and soul on God and the things of God.

We can do the same thing in a practical sense by starting our day with prayer and meditation, focusing on our relationship with God. There might even be times when intense trials are coming that fasting is appropriate to build your spiritual strength.

Stand on the Word of God

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:13–15, ESV)

In each of the temptations, Christ used scripture to combat the lie of the trail. He didn’t try to trick or outsmart the temptation. Instead, he was ready to answer with the truth of God’s Word. They only way to be equipped with the Word of God is to learn the Word of God. You can’t cheat off of someone else’s understanding of the scripture. Either you know it in your heart, or you don’t. The only way to combat temptation is with the truth. Once you identify the lie, you can apply the truth.

Draw Close to God through the Trial

“And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘ You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Matthew 4:9-11

When temptations come, people tend to run because they are not prepared to face them. The whole reason for the trail is to draw you away from God in fear or pride. Jesus drew closer to God with each trial until the devil had to flee the presence of God. The more secure you are in your relationship with God, the more He will be a safe place for you to run. There God will protect you from evil and refresh your soul.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

James 4:7-8, ESV

Preparation through prayer and fasting, scripture, and the presence of God will cause you to be victorious over your trials and temptations. Don’t fear them; be ready for them.

This blog was derived from the message entitled, “Passing the Test.” You can watch the sermon in its entirety by visiting

If this blog has blessed you in some way, please leave a comment for Pastor Bill below.

3 Keys to Kingdom Influence

Have you ever stopped to consider all the things that influence your life? We define influence as an effect, impact, control, sway, hold, power, authority, domination, supremacy, and leadership. We are all influenced by something and usually many things. That’s the reason we are so complicated. 

Influence is one of the most significant forces on the planet. The influences over your life will shape who you are and what you become. Therefore, a person must take heed to the influences that they allow in their life. The reason why God and the existence of God is such a hot topic today is because of the impact God and religion have on a person’s life. If you believe in God as the Creator and master of all things, then this Creator God will influence your life. Some want to dismiss God and desire to be affected by something or someone else. 

Many Christians desire to bring a positive influence of the Kingdom of God into a world that has rejected said Kingdom. In my message “Living Under the Influence,” I pose this question:

“Are you a source of kingdom influence or a slave to worldly influence?” Kingdom influence is bringing positive change to others through the power of the gospel.

I want to share with you 3 Keys to Kingdom Influence. 

Your walk talks louder than your talk.  

When you speak about the Kingdom of God, the words you say must match the things you do. You are the living proof that the Kingdom exists and changes lives. Your life must have evolved first. If the gospel has had no power to change your life, why would anyone think it can change theirs. Practice what you preach. Honestly, this is why most Christians do not influence because they have no living proof.

Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.  

Kingdom influence is not something you conjure up. It is the Holy Spirit using you to affect others supernaturally. Yes, you do have that ability because of the Holy Spirit that indwells you. Kingdom influence is different than the worldly power of leadership. God is using many different avenues to bring about his kingdom purpose, all at that the same time. You are just one of the agents He is using to produce Kingdom change. There is no way to know the full effect of your efforts. Just follow the leading of the Spirit. 

Love people with the unconditional love of Christ. 

The Kingdom influence that Jesus brought into the world was full of grace, mercy, and long-suffering. Christ showed his love for us by his ultimate sacrifice to save us. We must be willing to do the same if we want to join Him in this Kingdom work. You express love when you better some else, getting nothing in return. Many people give with self-gratifying motives. They get a reward for their acts of service. It is uncommon for a person to give without getting. Your sacrifice of love will influence them for the Kingdom. 

Questions to consider:

  1. Am I a living example to the Kingdom I am trying to represent?
  2. Am I watching and listening for the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He influences the world with the gospel?
  3. Do I love people with the unconditional love of Christ by sacrificing for others?

If you have been blessed in some way or have a question for Pastor Bill, feel free to leave a comment Below.

Is it Worth it?

 Over my 30 years of ministry, I have learned an elementary truth. People spend their resources on whatever they want to. We are all limited in our time, talent, and treasure.   Therefore, it is essential that we make wise decisions on how we spend it.

There are three things to consider when deciding how to spend your resources of time, talent, and treasure. 

  1. What will it cost?
  2. What is the return of the investment? 
  3. Are you willing to endure the cost of producing the return?

What will it cost?

Everything we do in life has a cost attached to it. Cost is not only a “yes” to something, but it’s also a “no” to something else. Wisdom knows when to say “yes”, and when to say “no”. If you are not wise, things will end up costing you more than you ever imagined and steal the resources you needed for something else.

In order the make these “yes” and “no” calls, it’s crucial to establish priorities for life. Everyone lives with a set of priorities, whether clearly defined or not. 

When someone goes through the discipleship path at Reliant, the mentor guides them through the process of setting kingdom priorities to maximize the return on their investment of time, talent, and treasure. Prioritizing allows them to say “yes” to kingdom things and “no” to other things. 

Cost is essential in the decision-making process, but it should not be the focus of your final decision.  

What is the return on investment?

Every cost will yield a return. Resources are not the goal, but a tool to be used to bring about some return for your investment. This return might be in the form of love, security, sustenance, joy, knowledge, or pleasure, etc. We do this every time we buy goods and services. If we don’t feel the product is worth the investment, we continue shopping until we “find a good deal.” 

It’s essential to apply this same principle to the resources of time and talent (i.e., effort) that we have with our treasure. Time is much more valuable than money, yet we don’t take the time to spend it wisely. 

For example, if a father chooses to spend all his time at work to gather more resources for his kids while missing out on the life of his kids, has he spent his time wisely? Now obviously, there is a balance to be drawn, but that is the point I’m trying to make. 

Are you willing to endure the cost of producing the return? 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV)

Some might wonder why Jesus, God incarnate, would ever endure the pain and suffering of the cross. From this verse, it is clear He did it “for the joy that was set before him.” The joy of Christ is the salvation of humanity. He was willing to endure the cost of producing the return.

“Your willingness to endure the cost will determine your joy of investment.”

Most things in life, both spiritual and physical, come with a high cost of endurance. Can you push through the pain to achieve the gain? Endurance is what separates people of success, and people of failure. Some have the endurance to push through, and some give up before they reach their return on investment.  

Failure is investing with no return.  Resources are simply waisted.

If it is worth it, then push through! There is joy on the other side. If it’s not worth it, say “no” so you can say “yes” to something better. 

This topic is an excerpt from Pastor Bill’s sermon entitled “Is it Worth It?”, given at Reliant Church on November 17, 2019. Click here to watch the sermon in its entirety.

Your comments are welcomed below.

3 Steps to Recover the Past

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:11-14, ESV

As a new believer comes out of the world, Jesus does something amazing of cutting away all the sin of your flesh and setting you free.  

When we understand our spiritual connection to circumcision, we find the impressive work of Christ in taking all of our sins in the flesh and nailing it to the cross. Thus, setting us free from sin to live in the Spirit.

Both in the Old and New Testament, we have examples of circumcision about the heart more than the flesh. 

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” (Deuteronomy 10:16, ESV)

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51, ESV)

Anytime a man was circumcised, there was a three day period of recovery before he could function again. It is a time of healing and restoration that must take place for the person to whole again. So it is in spiritual circumcision. There is a process that God takes you through so that your heart can be whole again, and you ready to face the battles of life. 

A wounded soldier is a liability on the battlefield of life. 

If you don’t heal from the wounds of the past, you will not be ready to fight in the strength of the Lord. You must allow the gospel to heal the wounds of your heart from the things of this world.

Here are 3 steps that will help you to heal your heart from the past. 

1) Receive the forgiveness of God.

When God forgives, you must forgive yourself. Don’t keep yourself in condemnation with Jesus has set you free from it. When a person is unwilling to forgive themselves, the guilt causes fear and shame in the life of the believer. If Jesus is going to go through the work of circumcising you through the cross, why would you hang on to that nasty flesh? 

2) Renew your mind with the ways of God.

If you think the same way, you will do the same things. Let the Word of God change your perspective on yourself and the world you live it. The Bible will fill your life with purpose and meaning as has never had been before. 

3) Renounce the flesh and live in the circumcision.  

Once you are thinking godly, your actions will follow. Too many people try and change their actions before they reconcile their past. This is the reason many believers can’t find victory over their past, even though Jesus has set them free. 

Strength in the Spirit only comes after the healing of the heart. If you have a broken heart, take time to heal before jumping back into the battle of life. You will be more equipped to handle it, and you will be an asset to those around you. 

If you were encouraged through this post or need clarification on any of the topics, please leave a comment below.

For more encouraging messages vision

Remember for Courage

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Deuteronomy 6:10–12(ESV)

As a young boy growing up in church, I remember singing an old hymn “count your blessing name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” There are so many times in the scriptures God calls us to remember his mighty works lest we forget the power of our God. 

When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and the Jordan river, a marker was placed to remind them of God’s mighty salvation and serve as a memorial for the next generation. This remembrance of God’s power to deliver would play an essential role in the battles they still had to face in the Promise Land. 

It is so easy to forget God in the good times. It’s easy to forget that without God’s blessing we would never have gotten this far; without His power and strength, we would still be wandering around in the wilderness with no ability crossover into the Promise Land. 

Three ways to remember God’s mighty hand

Keep a journal of God’s blessings and provision in your life. 

Take a moment and recount the amazing things God has done in your life that have brought you this far. Write down some blessings and praises, so you don’t forget. 

Make a habit of praising the Lord each morning as you start your day.  

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!”

Psalm 150:1-2 (ESV)

Live in expectation of God’s mighty deeds. 

As you remember all the mighty things God has done, it will give you courage for the things God is about to do. Let God’s past be the predictor for your future. God has brought you this far because he has great things in store for you.  

I have written this blog as a continuation of the message “Crossing Your Jordan”  Click here to watch the sermon in its entirety

If this blog has blessed you in some way, please leave me a comment below, so that I can be encouraged with you. 

Navigating Uncharted Territory: Part 2

“Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.”

Joshua 3:5-9 ESV

If you’re the adventurous type uncharted territory can be very exciting. I love going to new placed and trying new things. If you’re not adventurous uncharted territory can be the scariest thing in the world. There are no answers in uncharted territory. You must trust in something; your instincts, your intuition, or the Lord.

As Joshua prepared Israel for her journey into the Promised Land, he gave them four commands that we can use today.

First: Put the Lord in the front. (Covered in Part 1)

Second: Prepare yourself through Consecration.

Consecration is a big word for “all in!” You must set your heart and mind on the journey trusting the Lord knows what he’s doing and where he is going. The Lord is doing wonders around you. If you’re not consecrated to the mission, you will miss the blessing because of your fear.

To Consecrate yourself to God, find out what’s keeping you from Him and remove it. It sounds simple, but it’s not. You must search the deepest parts of your soul to find the hidden things that keep you from God.

Third: Follow the Instructions.

You can conquer anything as long as you have a clear word from the Lord. You don’t need to know what lies ahead. Be assured of what the Lord said. When God sets your course stay on course. Don’t turn to the left or the right (Joshua 1:7).

When you are in uncharted territory, the instruction might save your life. You don’t know the dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead. Draw close to the Lord and let Him guide your path.

“Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” God has given us clear instructions in His Word and through His Holy Spirit. Too many people have gotten hurt because they wouldn’t follow directions.

God is about to do wonders in your midst. Things you could never imagine or accomplish on your own. Follow clean and close to Him, and He will guide you every step of the way.

If you would like to know more on this subject, watch the full message entitled “Uncharted Territory” by clicking here.

If this blog has encouraged you in some way, please subscribe and leave your comments below.

Navigating Uncharted Territory: Part 1

“At the end of three days, the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”

Joshua 3:2-4 (ESV)

As God prepared the children of Israel to enter the promised land, He knew they had “not passed this way before.” They had been wandering around in the desert with their parents for the past 40 years. It was time to leave the old ways behind and begin something new.

At times, you might feel God moving you from something old to something new. A change of scenery or a change of life. But how you navigate this uncharted territory could be the difference in success and failure.

In Joshua chapter three, Joshua gives Israel 4 steps to prepare for this new adventure of uncharted territory. We can apply these same four steps as we venture into uncharted territory.

Step 1: Put God in Front.

Too many believers try and anticipate the next move that God wants to make instead of watching to see where God is going. You are commanded to follow and not guess where God is going. God has given everyone two guides to follow: the Word of God, and the Spirit of God.

The Word of God is the instructional road map of life.

It will guide you through the twists and turns.

It will steer you away from the pitfalls of life.

It can only help you if you read it. (Try reading the book of James.)

The Spirit of God is your guide through the maze of life. When a person puts his or her faith and trust in Jesus, God gifts them with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of God become your internal compass to guide you through life.

The Spirit guides you into all truth. You have a defense against the lies of the world.

The Spirit brings peace that passes all understanding, revealing to you that you are on the right path.

The Spirit leads you with power and might to produce God’s will in your life.

You must choose to follow the guides God has placed in your life. There is no reason to navigate blindly through life. The more you understand the road map of the Bible, the more you will recognize the guidance of the Spirit in your life. Set aside time each day to put God out in front by reading the road map and listening to the Spirit.

To be continued…

If you would like to know on this subject, watch the full message entitled “Uncharted Territory” by clicking here.

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3 Things that Define You?

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:7-10, ESV

Have you ever stop to think how God defines you? We define ourselves in all kinds of ways, some good some not so good. But God always defines us from his point of view. He defines us by his mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love all brought about by his Son Jesus Christ. He no longer views of as sinner but as saints; joint heirs with Jesus and apart of the household of God.

Here are 3 Things that Define You.

Don’t be defined by your past but God’s present.

As a child of God you are no longer defined by your past. You have become a part of God’s family, and thus a part of past, present, and future. You’re not writing your own story but have been written in to God’s story. God’s redemption story.

In God’s redemption story all the sins of the past are washed away through the power of the cross. Your current situation is a part of God’s never ending story ending in everlasting hope. God has wrapped up your entire life from beginning to eternity in his redemption story.

Don’t be defined by fear but by faith.

Knowing that your living in God’s story allows you to put your faith in something bigger than you. It’s no longer a matter of you coming through, but God seeing you through. You can trust in God because he has told you the end of the story.

Don’t be defined as a coward but by courage.

God’s desire for you is not to cower to this world, but to be strong and courageous. You display courage when your faith turns to action. Pushing through because you’re confident in the Lord’s plan and power.
Courageous people save other people. Stand firm in your faith knowing that God has written you into His story.

If you enjoyed this blog, please subscribe. If you would like to hear more on this topic, watch Pastor Bill’s message entitled, “What Defines You?” Click Here. Please comment below if you were encouraged in some way today.

What Life Are You Holding On To?

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25

Have you ever thought about what Jesus meant by losing your life to save it? Your understanding of this truth will either keep you in your past or propel you into your future.

The story of Rahab the harlot and the King of Jerico is a good illustration of this truth. The entire city of Jerico was on red alert because of the advancement of Israel on their city. Word had come to Jerico that the God of Israel was coming to take the city. But there was a major difference in the way Rahab looked at the future and the view from the kings palace.

The king loved the city and was willing to die for his way of life. The God of Israel coming into his life was a threat to his way of life. What the king didn’t understand was no matter how hard he tried to save his life he was going to lose it.

Rahab viewed the coming of the Lord as an opportunity for a new and better life. The coming of the Lord brought her hope and security that the king of Jerico could never provide. Rahab had to lose her current life to save it.

What life are you holding on to? The life the world offers is a condemned life. No matter how much security and safety you think it brings, it will soon all be gone. You can only experience a new life in Christ when you are willing to lose the old one. You can’t life two lives at the same time.

The Lord is coming. That will either threaten your current life or bring you hope for the new one. What life are you holding on to?

If you enjoyed this blog, please subscribe. If you would like to hear more on this topic, watch Pastor Bill’s message entitled, “What Defines You?” Click Here. Please comment below if you were encouraged in some way today.

Holding Grudges

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14–15, ESV

Have you ever talked with someone who holds grudges?  They seam to have the goods on everyone.  The longer you talk to them, the more you realize they have a grudge on everyone about everything.

As Jesus is laying out the rule of His kingdom in Matthew 5-7, He uses some strong language for those that will not forgive i.e. hold grudges. When I think about the insurmountable pile of sin of which Jesus forgave me, I must forgive others.

People that hold grudges are broken people. At best, broken people hold grudges as a means of protection against future hurts from others. At worst, broken people hold grudges as a means of power over others that might try and hurt them. It’s a defense mechanism that isolates an individual from having deep relationships with others. 

But what if you didn’t have to live broken?  

What if you could be whole in the midst of all the tragedy in your life?

What if you could take the bad things and turn them into blessings for others? 

Forgiveness Restores Relationships

“If you’re not willing to forgive sinners, you’re destined to be alone.”

Everyone has coping mechanisms to deal with the hardships of life. God has placed us in relationships to learn to cope together. When a person holds grudges, you tear down the very coping mechanisms that were meant to get you through life. When relationships are replaced with grudges for coping, you find yourself alone with no help. Better to restore the relationship so you may benefit from it’s healing powers.

Forgiveness Removes Consequences

“Forgiveness is not a power to control but a gift to pass on.”

As Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, forgiveness is a major theme of the prayer. Your attitude toward forgiveness determines God’s attitude toward your forgiveness. All God is asking us to do is to pass on the forgiveness that we have received. 

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:12-13, ESV

Forgiveness Refocuses the Heart

“Forgiveness changes your perspective and allows you to see through God’s eyes.”

There is only one character in all the Bible that is called the accuser of the brethren and that is Satan. I don’t know about you but that’s not the company I want to keep. Isn’t it better to be know as the forgiver rather than the accuser. When you forgive, you put on Christ to those who need forgiveness. You see clearly how you can be a part of the solution instead of enhancing the problems.

Forgive, Restore, Redeem, and Bless, for this is the work of the Lord that forgave you.

If you would like to learn more on this subject listen to Pastor Bill’s message entitled “The Power to Forgive” by clicking here. And for more messages like this one visit