Tempted In All Ways (4 of 4)

th9SVIJA12

Power over the Kingdoms of the Earth

The third temptation shows the deceiver trying to take God’s glory for Himself, which is what caused him to be cast from heaven. Our Savior again goes to God’s Word to defeat the temptations on satan: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve (Deuteronomy 6:13) This is one of the most important truths for us to live by. We should look to God before all things. That includes wealth, power, fame, people, position, etc. One of the other temptation we can see is how this could have also pertained to Jesus. The deceiver was offering Jesus a shortcut around the suffering He was going to endure at the cross. The deceiver was offering the opportunity to bypass the will of God to gain His kingship by and easier way. He was offering the power without the process, the position without rejection, the easy route without the required work. We may not have the chance to sit on a thrown but this says much more. Many times, we are tempted to take a lesser reward under our own strength than the gift God desires through our obedience to His process. Jesus could have taken an earthly thrown but resisted the temptation to avoid the pain and rejection to receive the Heavenly thrown at the right hand of the Father. If we walk a path that God has not designated for us we take the risk of settling for a life that cannot compare to what God designed us for. We will live a life of emptiness, discomfort, loneliness, and fear that might have come easier and faster under our power; but is a shadow of the life we were made to flourish in. Don’t fall into the temptation to bypass God’s light and end up in a darkness fueled by the void where God desires to place Himself in your life. Jesus resisted all of these temptations and made the meaning of Hebrews 4:15-16 come to life in our spirit. He has been tempted in every way and can now sympathize with us, allowing us to draw near to the thrown if grace. How amazing is the Savior we have the opportunity to place in Lordship over our lives? Let Jesus have your heart and guide your steps. He knows your temptations and wants to walk with you in them as you bypass the snares of the deceiver. Walk in communion with the Lord and know what He resisted so that He could hold your hand and guide you to the light design for your path.

Serving God His Way

thOL3AMGJU

              God equips each of us in a unique way to serve Him and to glorify Him. In His infinite wisdom He molds us through our troubles in order to strengthen us for our journey. When troubles come into our lives, our first instinct is to run to our friends and family for counsel or consoling. That can be useful some of the time but we must use discernment with their advice. The important thing is that we give God’s Word precedence over all other counsel. This all became clear when I was reminded of the story of David fighting Goliath.

                David came to the army camp to bring lunch to his brothers. They were not accommodating to him when he came to them. He then hears the army’s trouble with a giant Philistine named Goliath. David approaches King Saul while all of the other soldiers are afraid to fight. The king reluctantly says ok to this undersized minor fighting the giant. Saul then proceeds to give David his armor and weapon to fight. The problem was David could not use Saul’s weapon or armor (advice) to approach the battle God had for him. He had to use the skills of a shepherd to fight the way God had equipped him. He approached the Philistine with the power of the God of Israel made whole in David’s faith and weakness. David trusted God and ignored the advice of his brothers to return home and his king to use a sword. In his obedience to God he glorified the Lord and solidified his own place as the future king.

                Listen to the wisdom of those around you and accept their love. But in those moments of weakness give the highest position to God and let His power be made complete in your weakness. Discern the counsel of the people around you and lean always on God’s word always faithful to His word made flesh in Christ.

New Relationsip/ New Name: Jacob/ Israel

thOL3AMGJU

                There are times when you read the Bible and the lessons of one passage reveal a larger truth in another. How true is it when God’s word is described as alive? Each time we read a passage the Holy Spirit speaks new truth to our heart.

                Genesis 32 describes the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Genesis 35:10-12 describes the moment when God changed Jacob’s name (undermines, heel) to Israel (wrestles with God) and made a covenant with him for his offspring to inherit the land promised to his father and grandfather and for kings to come from his lineage. This story shows a moment every believer should strive toward. It’s the moment when knowing about God turns into a relationship where we know God personally. This truth from Genesis wasn’t made very clear until the Lord turned me to the book of Isaiah. I had been meaning to look into a passage from another thought but His timing was amazing as usual. We see repeatedly in the bible where Jacob and Israel are mentioned together but in slightly different ways. This made me think about the time spent in Genesis and made me think about what that might be trying to tell us.

                 Let’s begin with the best one and use a few others for support. (Isaiah 29:23) They will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, And fear the God of Israel. Why would God be the Holy One to Jacob and God to Israel? It’s easy to run past this and think they are the same but I see a beautiful difference. God was the Holy One to Jacob because God was ‘handed down’ by Jacob’s father and grandfather. Jacob believed in God and would bounce between commands in his attempts at self-sufficiency. I wasn’t until Jacob wrestled with God that he demanded God’s blessing and lived a life leaning on his relationship with his Lord (symbolized in his hip injury where his leaning was on a crutch after that). It’s the difference between reverence and relationship, that is, what is handed down vs what is accepted. (Isaiah 44:23) For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, And glorified Himself in Israel. God is glorified in relationship with His chosen. When believers act in accordance with the will of God He leads them as they glorify Him and show His strength in their accepted weakness. (Isaiah 44:1) Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, And Israel whom I have chosen. Serving God under His law is a shadow of living as one of God’s chosen in relationship. This desired relationship is shown in other places where both names occur together.

                (1 Chronicles 16:17) And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant. Think for a moment about the difference in a statute and a covenant. The covenant sounds more serious, and it is, but why? A statute is a rule or law handed down from a governing party to a submissive one. God gave laws to His people to both guide and protect them, as well as to keep their focus on His provision for them. When God decreed His will, they were expected to follow. A covenant is different, in that both sides agree on the decision made. In order to find mutual agreement, we have to be in relationship. All of the Old Testament covenants were made with men in close relationship with God. The new covenant with God involves relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s word made flesh. There has never been a variation in that premise.

                God desires that all believers live in relationship. It is only in relationship with God through Jesus that we can truly glorify Him and fully receive His love. We all wrestle with God as we attempt self-sufficiency. God calls each of us to accept His covenant and walk in His provision and love. He may not dislocate our hip but our suffering should drive us to our knees, seeking God’s blessing, and accepting God and His Lordship.

Marks of a True Christian (12 of 12)

thGIGEDHS9

Never be wise in your own sight

Being wise in our own sight grows arrogance in our hearts. True wisdom accepts reproof and direction. (Proverbs 9:9) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning Being wise in your own sight will not only slow your ability to grow closer to the infinitely wise God, it’s outward manifestation will draw people away from us preventing us from being able to speak God’s truth into their lives. People who profess a quality about themselves prevent the true admiration and connection found in humility. This goes for the admiration and connection of people in need to us as well as our admiration and connection to God.  The haughty nature of self-professed wisdom breaks the flow of God’s spirit through a believer as a vessel. We reflect the light of God. If we allow ourselves to get tarnished in arrogance, the light doesn’t brighten the world the way it is intended to through His faithful.  

Marks of a True Christian (11 of 12)

One_Nation_Under_God

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly/ so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all

The absence of harmony and the presence of arrogance create an uneven terrain with which we identify with the people around us. Not only are we prevented from growing people but we are prevented from personal growth as well. The ‘lowly’ have a point of view that has great value. The lowly of spirit draw us closer to God in their desperation and need. The lowly of wealth rely on the provision of God in a much deeper manner than the more successful. The lowly in years exude a child-like faith that we are all called to and can learn from. The ability for all of God’s children to find harmony can grow in the power of their diversity. The mingling of views and the intertwining of spiritual gifts draw us closer to the infinite God in understanding and praise for the depth we can never truly comprehend. Live peaceably as much as that depends on you. Don’t let your anger or pride the determining factor in the harmony of your life. Leave that to the Lord and watch the amazing people He brings into your life so that together we can mature in spirit and see Him better.

Marks of a True Christian (10 of 12)

thH0FCPT36

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep

When we are invited into someone’s life we must understand what that means. We are trusted to receive their inner most feelings. We are also chosen by God to be there for the opportunity to share His word to someone as their emotion blocks out logic and truth. We need to be in that moment with them in sympathetic submission to their struggle or praise. Sympathy creates patience, closeness, and connection. Allow the spirit to overflow from you. Reflect God’s light into a dark moment or allow your light to combine with their praise and focus them toward the only One worthy of their delight. The Lord puts people in our lives to mold us and for us to mold them as well. Don’t walk past the opportunities God as groomed you for, through your personal struggles. Let the testimony God has blessed you with fill the heart of those you have the amazing opportunity to walk with. Focus on the love of God and your ability to show it regardless of circumstance. The love in the rejoicings of life and we love harder when the darkness begins to creep in. Let God’s strength support you and His word guide you. The God’s light on the roller coaster of life as He stabilizes His chosen for His purpose.

Marks of a True Christian (9 of 12)

thZA48YUY7

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them/ Repay no one evil for evil/ never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God/ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

It’s in the depraved state of selfishness that people have to make situations even or get vengeance. Some people are evil and some good people have moments where their human nature takes over and evil is the byproduct. Some believers will even act poorly causing frustration to others around them. Nobody is immune. It’s in moments of persecution and in the sight of evil that we can truly show God’s glory to the world. Repaying evil only pays into a cycle of darkness that will have no end unless God’s light is allowed in. Not allowing us to see and act on the good of our God will eventually make it difficult to find good. We cannot allow ourselves to be lost in anger and evil where God’s power is masked in our humanity. We must leave vengeance in the hands of God who will bring about change when the hearts involved are ready to receive the needed council. God’s timing is perfect just like His wisdom and vengeance. We need to give to God what belongs to Him and assume our duties as image bearers and reflections of His light. We are called to love. In love we bless, we love, we repay with good, we overcome!