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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)

TITLE: Counterfeit
By Jeffrey Snell


"Father, keep his heart clear and clean. Hold him up when he's weak. Keep his eyes and mind on you."

Ken stopped smoothly at the red light and closed his eyes. After fifteen years with Freeley's Construction, his thirty-five-year-old frame was sturdy, but the long days still wore him out, and this one was a ten-hour doozy. Eight homes in development simultaneously, and he, the job foreman, was having trouble in the chilly days keeping his crew focused.

"Thank God it's Friday," he murmured. He had little hope for a good finish to the day, short of grabbing a bite and dropping into bed. A quick honk behind him announced the shift to green, and he opened his eyes, rolling right around the corner. Turning left into the grocery store as dusk crept over the parking lot, he recited the ten item list his wife had spoken minutes earlier. When he'd hung up the phone, the list immediately began to evaporate so he'd written it down. He tightened his grasp on it now with a wry grin.

"My heart aches, Jesus...please fill him with your Holy Spirit! Lead him on your path. Keep his way pure, Lord."

Halfway finished in the store, Ken pushed his cart around to the next aisle, in search of evaporated milk. The cans were at the far end, and there was a young woman scanning the shelf on the other side.

She's beautiful.

Ken stopped six feet from his destination, and studied stacks of flour, though not on his list. Sparks of lust bounced off his heart, scorching his flesh. His grip on the cart tightened as exhaustion clamored. Not again.

You work so hard, why not? She's hot. You'd never do anything…it's just looking.
Can they really expect you not to?

Gritting his teeth, eyes closed, he felt another victory slipping away. Was that his voice, or someone else's? The young woman, casually dressed in flattering clothes, still searched, unaware of his presence.

God wouldn't give you these desires if He didn't want you to enjoy them...
why else would He make her so beautiful?

Sweating now, breathing hard, Ken almost felt as if he were standing behind himself, watching as the flesh began to turn its head, eyes still closed, lured by the evil one's song.

"Oh Lord, please, deliver him! Bring Your word to his mind; remind him to pray; remind him of me, of the kids."

A feeling of resignation swept over Ken. He just wasn't strong enough to fight. How could God expect him to resist when He just plops the temptation right in front of him!

On the verge of giving in, something new joined his thoughts. Another voice not his own.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. I am faithful, Son.
I will provide a way out so you can stand up under it.

The words flooded his heart with electricity. It was like someone was using defibrillation paddles on his flesh, shocking it out of its lustful stupor. This wasn't just about him! He turned away, and opened his eyes to the cake mix boxes above the flour. An idea spread a grin across his face--he could surprise the boys with their favorite spice cake tonight. Images of them helping to mix and frost it burst into his mind, and he laughed out loud, smiling widely. What a mess! Love for his wife then washed over Ken so forcefully his breath caught. Her heart, her body, her love for him...her beauty!

You can still check her out, man! Hurry, just a quick…

"Shut up!" He would listen no longer. Praying, Ken held to love for his family, and, in awe, knew God had been true to His word, sensing strength suffusing his soul. The pull to look had been so powerful, yet the way out so simple. Gratefully, he whispered a prayer for his wife and children and pulled two cake boxes off the shelf with extra frosting. The Lord had made this a good day after all.

At home, God's assurance and peace swept over Ken's wife. Kneeling in their bedroom, she wept.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

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This article has been read 880 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lisa elg11/15/05
thank you. i connected with the struggle of the main character and i love that you showed who really gives us the victory over temptation.
terri tiffany11/15/05
Very good! I also loved how you cut to the wife on her knees in prayer and the struggle he went through was very realistic. Nice writing.
Debbie Sickler11/15/05
I really enjoyed your entry. I liked how you showed the wife's prayers and the husband's inner struggle going on simultaneously. (You showed them distinctly for your reader by the format you used too.)

I loved your writing style and you were good at showing rather than telling. You said a honk signaled the shift to green. That was great. A lot of writers would have just said the light turned green. It's things like that which kept this interesting. Well done.

I hope someone struggling with this issue will read this entry and know their is hope for victory through God and know they don't have to give in to temptaion. Thank you for writing this great entry.
Brandi Roberts11/17/05
Wow! Very powerfully written! I loved the infixes of his wife's prayers. It worked perfectly!
Anita Neuman11/17/05
Great character development, and as Debbie already pointed out, great "showing" instead of "telling".
Garnet Miller 11/17/05
Great! You captured the feelings perfectly. We all have those times when temptation grips us so hard, we cannot breath and our focus becomes fuzzy. But, God is true to His word. We feel powerless to stop the surging tide, but "when we are weak, then we are strong!" (2 Cor. 12:10) :)
Cassie Memmer11/17/05
Great story! You did a superb job of working all the parts together. Held my interest. God is faithful!
Pat Guy 11/17/05
Beyond a good job! You portrayed it well - Life and God - the struggle - the war - the victory! Good work!
Laurie Glass 11/19/05
Good illustration of this powerful principle in God's Word. So well written. Bravo.
dub W11/19/05
What can I say that has not already been said. Nice job.
Val Clark11/20/05
My favorite verse. Every Christian should have it in their arsenal! Praise God for a praying partner. Yeggy
Dan Louise Mann11/21/05
Congratulations on your "highly commended" win this week. The formatting really helped this story. Nice composition. Kudos to you!
Helen Harris11/21/05
Congratulations Jeffrey on your Win. Thanks for sharing and God Bless. Helen