Posts Tagged ‘trials of our faith’

It is Written

Scripture: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, and, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Mt. 4:1-11)

Thought for Today: “When Tempters Come… It is Written!”

The tempter came to Jesus and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:3-4)

In this passage we have a wonderful opportunity to see how Jesus dealt with the tempter in the wilderness. It is interesting to note that it is the Holy Spirit who leads Jesus into this situation where we find Him hungry and vulnerable to the tempter’s approach. Jesus has denied His physical body of food for 40 days so that He could focus upon the Words of God. This focus has brought Him into a place of testing that cannot be duplicated in any other environment. He is challenged about His identity, His authority and His loyalty. In every situation His response is the same – “It is Written!” The Word of God was His most valuable weapon… and in the end the Devil left Him discouraged and defeated.

The Wilderness Experience:

There are seasons where we need to remind our body where our true resource is found. Jesus pointed out to His disciples that He had food that they did not know about (Jn 4:32). Whether our appetite is for food, entertainment, or even other people; the wilderness experience reminds us that we were created for more than just flesh desires. Getting to the core values that we stand upon is essential when in the midst of temptation, testing and trials of our faith. If we have a shallow understanding of our faith in God, then we will find ourselves struggling when the tempter comes… and he will come.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (Jn. 10:10)

Focus on God’s Word:

I want to emphasize something we often overlook in those wilderness experiences… the one-two punch of quoting Scripture and fasting. Jesus is focusing on the Words of God within a fasting lifestyle, and that’s His greatest source of strength as the tempter comes to attack Him. Its true, the tempter will try to bring distraction and disruption to your spiritual journey; but recognize the security of knowing your resource is in the Word of God and prayer and fasting. There is just no threat when you live in the stronghold of God’s love and embrace. That is exactly what we have in the Words of God, a Stronghold of Truth that feeds our needy soul (Ps 119:161-168).

Jesus is the Word Made Flesh:

Later Jesus proclaims “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty” (Jn 6:35). God offers us something greater than bread, He offers us life in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He is our spiritual resource. When we focus upon Jesus, looking into His eyes by faith, we are renewed in strength and revived in spirit (2 Cor 4:6). Likewise, when we focus on the Words of God in Scripture there is a revelation of the provision of God in Christ Jesus, released by the Holy Spirit (Col 1:27). Strength and joy are made available to defeat all enemies and bring revival to our weary souls.

Take note as you live, “the Kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

The Tempter Comes

Today is Day 3 in our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Thought for Today: “The Tempter Comes”

The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:3-4)

In this passage we have a wonderful opportunity to see how Jesus dealt with the tempter in the wilderness. It is interesting to note that it is the Holy Spirit who leads Jesus into this situation where we find Him hungry and vulnerable to the tempter’s approach. Jesus has denied His physical body of food for 40 days so that He could focus upon the Words of God. This focus has brought Him into a place of testing that cannot be duplicated in any other environment. He is challenged about His identity, His authority and His loyalty. In every situation His response is the Word of God… and in the end the Devil left Him.

The Wilderness Experience:

There are seasons where we need to remind our body where our true resource is found. Jesus pointed out to His disciples that He had food that they did not know about (Jn 4:32). Whether our appetite is for food, entertainment, or even other people, the wilderness experience reminds us that we were created for more than just flesh desires. Getting to the core values that we stand on is essential when in the midst of temptation, testing and trials of our faith. If we have a shallow understanding of our faith in God, then we will find ourselves struggling when the tempter comes… and he will come.

Focus on God’s Word:

I want to emphasize something we often overlook in this wilderness experience. Jesus is focusing on the Words of God with a fasting lifestyle before the tempter comes to Him. Its true, the tempter will try to bring distraction and disruption to your spiritual journey; but recognize the security of knowing your resource is in the Word of God. There is just no threat when you live in the store house of God’s love and embrace. That is exactly what we have in the Words of God, a Store House of Truth that feeds our needy soul (Ps 119:81).

Jesus is the Word Made Flesh:

Later Jesus proclaims “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty” (Jn 6:35). God offers us something greater than bread, He offers us life in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He is our spiritual resource. When we focus upon Jesus, looking into His eyes by faith, we are renewed in strength and revived in spirit (2 Cor 4:6). Likewise, when we focus on the Words of God in Scripture there is a revelation of the provision of God in Christ Jesus, released by the Holy Spirit (Col 1:27). Strength and joy are made available to bring revival to our weary souls.

Make note as we carry on our fasting lifestyle: the Kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).

How You See

I find myself often very confused by people who feel motivated to criticize others. Its not just because I tend to see things more positively, because I am probably more of a realist that an optimist. I think critical people seem to feel a sense of duty and credibility when they project their judgements upon others.

Our society has encouraged this behaviour in that our news reports and highly charged analysis groups spew enormous amounts of negativity across our media outlets. If we are unable to point out the imperfections in Gov. Sarah Palin or President Barak Obama we are considered ignorant or labeled an extreme… something or other. Our Western Culture has come to believe that if we cannot find something wrong with someone, we are abnormal. Are any of us really that good that we have to seek very far to find imperfections.

Paul told us that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

It would seem to me that we would become more surprised when a person got “it” right rather than flaunting a mistake or flaw in somebody.

My father used to say “it takes no intelligence what so ever to criticize… its easy to point out the obvious, but can you give me some solutions that show your creative smarts”.

My father was a realist as well I guess, because he believed it was a waste of time to find the flaws in others. He often would explain the difference between problems and opportunities… simply how we see them!

I think that is why I get so tired of critical people, because I was raised to see different. Being a critic is all about how you see! Contemplate this thought for a moment… spending our time seeing the mistakes of others actually causes us to miss our opportunity to witness thousands of moments of greatness that came from good intentions mingled with the grace of Heaven.

The Bible tells us to rejoice when we face various trials of our faith (Jam 1:2-3), because something great is produced in us – “patience”… which is really just a way of seeing. Patience is a way of seeing that waits for something expected to reveal itself. It seems to me that we become more credible when we are patient with others, than when we are critics.

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