Pleasant Grove Community Church

Temptation surrounds you. If you are breathing, you are being tempted. Tempted to not trust God, not follow God's ways, to not bother to even learn about God's ways. Tempted to be selfish and greedy, to not tell the truth or to deny the truth. Tempted towards anger and retribution. Tempted to judge and criticize. Have I hit to close to home yet?

Being a follower of Christ does not make us immune to attention, it may actually increase it. Peter warns, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

However, we do have resources to resist and overcome temptation and make it less and less tempting. We have the love of the Father, the salvation of the Son and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within us. We need to nourish and strengthen our relationship with God and draw upon God's resources.

Douglas Rumford, in the book SoulShaping , points out the importance of relationship with God in dealing with temptation. He says,

"The enemy's strategy in temptation is not to get us to break a law
but to break a heart-God's heart."

When we see life in terms of legalistic rule-keeping, we don't have a strong motivation to live a life for God. But when we see life and temptation in terms of a relationship filled with love, we tap into a powerful motivation for resisting temptation.

That is why we do all we can to nourish and strengthen a love relationship with God. That is why we offer Spiritual Formation Saturdays, why we go to Bible studies, why we go to church. We are learning about God, and God's love for us, and God's directions for us, and God's resources and power for us so we can "have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

PRACTICE "Saint Patrick's Breastplate"
Today we are going to practice a prayer for spiritual protection attributed to St. Patrick, the missionary who brought Christianity to Ireland in the early 400's.

To begin with, pray the prayer as is, but then experiment and use your own words following the same pattern.

The pattern is:
  1. Acknowledgment and focusing on God as a Trinity. This sets your focus on God and not the temptation.
  2. Affirming your faith in incarnation and saving work of Jesus. This reminds you of the amazing love of Jesus and the relationship you now have.
  3. Affirming the attributes of God. This reminds you of the power of God that is on your side.
  4. A listing of evils and ways the devil tempts. This is invoking God to protect you from temptation. Notice it only comes after you have fortified yourself in the first three parts of the prayer.
  5. A request and affirmation for the surrounding and filling presence of Christ, in every place you are in, every activity your involved in, every moment of your life, and every part of your being.
  6. A pronouncement of allegiance to God that again puts temptation in it's proper perspective compared to God's relationship with you.

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

1) I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.

2) I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation,
his baptism in the Jordan river,
his death on cross for my salvation,
his bursting from the spiced tomb,
his riding up the heavenly way,
his coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.

3) I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay,
God’s ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
God’s hand to guide, God’s shield to ward,
the word of God to give me speech,
God’s heavenly host to be my guard.

4) Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave, the poison'd shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till they returning.

5) Christ be with me, Christ within me, 
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

6) I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature has creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
salvation is of Christ the Lord!

There are many similar translations of this prayer. This one is taken from:
Douglas J. Rumford, SoulShaping, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 340-341
Study the Book of John with Joe Caples

Joe Caples, Director of Forge Ministries Sacramento, Adjunct Professor at Epic Bible College and a regular attendee at our church is writing a short, "Missional Commentary" on the Book of John. Each Saturday we will offer another installment.

Read John chapter 5. Then, read Joe's commentary, and reflect on his comments and questions (it's only two pages). Click Here to open up Joe's commentary on John 5.

Have a piece of bread or a cracker, along with a small glass of juice, wine or even water ready when you watch our Worship Service this Sunday. Join the body of Christ in taking communion together.

for St. Vincent DePaul Food Bank

The first Sunday of every month we collect food for the food bank. Since we are not meeting on Sundays,  we collect it all week . Please donate nonperishable food items. The need is greater than ever. You can drop off the food at the west entrance of the church, under the portico. There will be a large, grey tote next to the bench.
Pleasant Grove Community Church
1730 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville, CA 95747
(916) 771-4447