Monthly Archives: October 2020
I got a note from a dear friend today . . . a note of simple encouragement . . . written from her heart encouraging me in the dailyness of my life’s journey . . . a note from the Lord, himself, sent by the hands of His servant.
It was a reminder to take time in prayer to put on the full armor of God.
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out. Ephesians 6:10-20*
We do not know what our simple act of obedience does to encourage others. The ripple effect of that encouragement flows out from us to combat the evil swirling around us and others in this world. Remember . . . time spent in prayer and encouragement of those placed in our paths is time spent with Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we humbly ask for you to hear our prayer in this day given in love and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our ultimate encourager. Place upon our heads the helmet of SALVATION, upon our chest the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, Buckle the belt of TRUTH around our waists and shod our feet with the Gospel of PEACE. Hand to us the sword that is your WORD and help us to lift up the shield of FAITH to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy and may we be in constant PRAYER and supplication for all the saints, now and forever more. AMEN.
*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day-but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness. 2 Peter 3:11-13
As children of God, it matters how we approach our day. It matters whether we are exhibiting righteous behavior or giving into our own desires. It matters how we act towards others. Are we kind or disinterested or worse yet, just plain mean? Most of all, it matters how we interact with God. Are we prayerful, joyful, expectant?
Are we approaching TODAY, with an attitude of gratefulness towards God for His provision for us? Are we anticipating the opportunity to serve him in this day? Are we delighting in the promise of eternal living He has for us in this day?
As part of our quest to be people of Godly character, we will face obstacles. Obstacles are temptations. Temptations are not sin. They are circumstances that allow us to choose God and His way or not. If we choose God and His Way, we overcome the temptation. When we forge ahead on our own, we end up embroiled in sin.
Sin can be worldly in nature like greed, gossip, lying, cheating, etc. It can also be spiritual like choosing the world’s voice over listening to God’s Voice.
Once we become yoked with Jesus through rebirth, we are assailed with the spiritual temptations He faced. These temptations did not come to us prior to our rebirth because the Spirit was not part of our nature then. But once we choose to follow Jesus and are reborn, our new nature filled with Him will be tempted by the temptations He faced.
Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”
Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”
“Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”
That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity. Luke 4:1-13 MSG*
It is hard to imagine going 40 days without eating. But we can imagine that we would be weak, delirious, and probably in an extremely bad mood. In other words, we would not be at our human best – probably close to rock bottom.
Apparently towards the end of this 40-day period when Jesus was at his weakest, He was tempted with the greatest of temptations. The first of these final three was to use His power to comfort Himself and restore Himself to strength by turning a stone into bread. Then He was tempted to take control of the earth by a shortcut (not the cross) and provide Himself with every pleasure. Finally, the Devil basically said to him “I dare you to jump off this steeple because you know God will save you.” Jesus refused to “be right” and instead answered that He would not test the Lord God.
Jesus resisted the temptations by quoting Scripture from Deuteronomy. In His weakness, He relied on the Spirit to guide Him to the Word of God. He also resisted by refusing to focus on His own needs. Instead He looked to The Holy Spirit for help.
Just an obvious final note, Jesus resisted these temptations by recognizing the fact that He was being tempted. Sometimes, we Christians are oblivious. We are so focused on avoiding the obvious worldly sins that we fall right into the trap of the spiritual temptations that arise in our ordinary daily lives. We respond to these spiritual temptations by choosing comfort, shortcuts and testing God with our righteous attitudes.
Remember . . . Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Matthew 26:41 MSG*