Welcome to OneLife Ministries. This site is designed to lead you prayerfully into a heart experience of Divine Presence, Who is Love. While it focuses on Christian teaching, I pray persons of varied faiths will find inspiration here. Indeed, "God" can be whatever image helps us trust in the Sacred, by whatever means Grace touches us each. Please share this ministry with others, and I hope you return soon. There is a new offering daily. And to be placed on the daily OneLife email list, to request notifications of new writings or submit prayer requests, write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox, MDiv, MFT, PhD
Pastor-Teacher, Author, Workshop Leader, Spiritual Counselor, Chaplain
Brian encourages support of the 4-Star Christian organization Compassion, which supports children worldwide; for more see www.compassion.com .
Grace me to act lovingly and strong, and in so doing not to lose the self you destined me to be, but to give that self and, thereby, find the Love I seek returning in ways I could never have seen. This Love is coming. Thank you! Amen.
*Brian K. Wilcox
LISTENING TO SCRIPTURE
You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.
*I Corinthians 10.13 (CEV)
RECEIVING SACRED TEACHING
In Smithsonian magazine, Michael Lipske wrote an article on carnivorous plants. The Venus Fly Trap is the most famous plant to feed on insects, while there are others. The Pitcher Plant uses a sneaky way to attract prey - a method that reminds us of the way we may often experience temptation.
Often the Picture Plant is brightly colored, mimicking flowers. At times, a trail of nectar-secreting glands begins at ground level and goes up the outside of the leaf, alluring ants from the ground upward into the trap.
The hungry ant or other potential meal is lured to the mouth of the trumpet, so crowded with nectar glands it may be wet. But below this mother lode of sugar, the interior of the picture tube is waxy and slick. This is the start of the plant's slippery slope, where victims lose their footing and slide into the increasing narrow tube. Down inside, the inner wall of the leaf is lined with glands that secrete digestive enzymes, which trickle down and collect in the bottom of the trap. The insect slips lower, to where the surrounding wall is lined with downward-pointing hairs that discourage exit. In some species, the bottom fluid contains an ingredient to stun the struggling captive. There may even be a wetting agent that helps soak and drown the victim.
Temptation is often so alluring, for the object is sugarcoated, to appear delicious to our senses. Once in the trap, we may find it hard to escape. We may feel stunned by the sudden realization of what we have gotten into. If we do not find a way out, our soul can be bound, tied down, and its powers digested into energies we never dreamed could drown the person we once saw ourselves to be.
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However, temptation can come in positive and negative form. Positively, temptation, like the example above, is a seduction to what is harmful. This is usually what we mean by temptation.
The second form of temptation is just as common, and can be just as debilitating to our soul. In this omission, we resist the good God offers us: that is, we are tempted not into something harmful, but away from something helpful, a blessing. The harm comes in the suffering of our saying "No" to something God said we should have received with a "Yes."
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I got into a romantic relationship with a person. We had a party. We agreed we would exit soon, and leave guests to enjoy themselves.
Such did not happen. After a long time, the other person was running here and there, having a great time, ignoring me. I just sat over in a place by myself, unseen, exhausted, wondering how she could ignore our agreement or seem not to care about what we agreed upon. I wondered how long it would take her to find me. I just sat, and sat, and sat. And for the first time I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" I was to find out, later.
It took well over a year to admit what I had gotten into. Like the Picture Plant, I had gotten allured by style, personality, and beauty. My life, soon, was torn apart, and the Picture Plant on her way to rebuild her former life.
That is how temptation is. We get hooked, progressively pulled in, by an illusion. An apparent heaven that leaves us with a hell to redeem.
Thank God! we can redeem such. We can learn from these lessons. We can listen anew to God, and follow to the Good that God has for us.
I am doing that now. I am not blaming anyone else. I am taking responsibility in God's Love for letting myself be allured into something not good for me - indeed, positively harmful.
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Another side of temptation is what we lose, when we choose the wrong thing. I think sometimes, "Where would I be today, if I had not let myself go the wrong way?"
Well, again, God takes us where we are. God redeems - picks up and brings together the pieces, and offers us a new beginning.
* * *
I am now in a new beginning. And I am so excited about what God has for me. I can feel it, and life keeps getting better and better. And Spirit has let me release that past mistake, and to release bitterness, and take full responsibility for what happened in my taking a wrong direction.
Finally, that is another important matter. When you yield to temptation, do not blame someone else. You made the choices; do not harbor anger and hate. Now, accept the responsibility.
Forgive others involved, and do not remain judgmental toward them. And sometimes the "harmful" is not that anyone is evil, only that something was never meant to be, and you or I tried to make it meant to be.
After you get out of a mess. Let others involved, who aided you falling into temptation, be free of your criticism. Grab the offer of Grace for a new beginning, and run with it, for Life has shown you Grace, and saved you from what could have ruined your life. But, by Grace, it did not.
Oh! what joy to feel that being saved from a hellishness that could have ruined your life; what joy to be, finally, free of the clutches that could have drowned you - made you a captive victim for life in its watery, cold depths of despair.
Now, welcome freedom, go for Love, and do not continue standing over the grave of the past, crying about what could or should have been, or what you or someone else did wrong.
Life is waiting, grab it, be thankful for it, and welcome Good again, the Good that God's Open Hand is offering you, now. Take it, and do not stay lingering in woundedness. Do the healing work, but do not get enamoured with the healing, for the healing is not the end, but the invitation to dare to Live and Love again.
1) Have you found yourself allured into a relationship or situation that proved harmful to you, making you a victim, to later find God graced you with a way out? What did you learn by the experience?
2) Have you ever resisted a Good that God was trying to give you, but you refused to accept it, later to find it would have been good for you? Why did you resist the Good? Explain your experience.
3) What Good might you be resisting now, that God is trying to give you? What keeps you from accepting the Good? Explain.
4) Are you being allured into something that might not be best for you? Explain how you will deal with the temptation, if it is a temptation to something not best for you.
5) Is there someone you need to forgive who hurt you - but, remember, that does not mean needing to contact them in any way - ?
NOTE: Persons who prove abusive do not warrant your contact, in any way. Stay clear of toxic persons who have proven abusive toward you. Your contact will be received, likely, as an invitation for additional abuse toward you. Some persons, sadly, are just so broken and prideful, in this life they will never be safe for you to be around - and, recall, some of the most abusive persons hide behind a bright smile and happy face, and religion. As a jail chaplain, I can witness, religion and very harmful behavior patterns or often associated in an odd, unholy wedlock.
Blessings! In Christ!
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox
June 17, 2009
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*OneLife Ministries is a ministry of Brian K. Wilcox, of SW Florida. Brian lives a vowed life and with his two dogs, Bandit Ty and St. Francis. Brian is an ecumenical spiritual leader, open to how Christ manifests in the diversity of Christian denominations and varied religious-spiritual traditions. He is Senior Chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Punta Gorda, FL.
*Brian welcomes responses to his writings or submission of prayer requests at email@example.com . Also, Brian is on Facebook: search Brian Kenneth Wilcox.
*Contact the above email to book Brian for Spiritual Direction, retreats, or workshops. You can order his book An Ache for Union at major book dealers.