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Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)
- TITLE: Counterfeit
By Jeffrey Snell
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
"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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