Through the Gospels

Matthew chapter 4, we find Satan's temptation of Jesus.  Every single time Satan presents Jesus with something, Jesus responds with scripture.  One concept really stood out to me while I was reading.  Satan shows Jesus the kingdoms of the world and says he will give them to Jesus, if he will fall down and worship him.  Jesus' response to Satan is a rebuttal not only of Satan's request, but also of his promise to grant him the kingdoms.  "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve."

First, Jesus placed himself in submission to his father.  Every word, thought, and action was in service to His God.  Likewise, the whole earth has been given this command to worship and serve the One True God.  How could Satan be so arrogant to believe HE could grant the allegiance of the world to Jesus.  It was their duty already!  So many times Satan offers us shiny things that may look good, but they are not his to offer.  He trips us up with wording and visuals, but when out focus is on God, and only striving to please and serve him, its going to be impossible for Satan to catch us with those deceptive details.

Through the Gospels

Reading your Bible can be hard.  Not because it isn't a potentially great read, but it seems when you sit down to actually commit, everything in the world attempts to stop you.  I have been challenging my Jr. High guys to dig in and eat in the Word every day.  Though I preach at them to do it, I struggle with staying committed myself.  You probably do too.  So, I now have an accountability partner to help keep me on track in my devotional life.  I am going to attempt to share, not a whole blog, but just a simple thought from somewhere in my reading.  Forgive the grammatical errors, and at times, discontinued thoughts, but if you are reading, I hope you enjoy.  Maybe you will find something you never saw before.  Feel free to comment below and share with me!

As I was reading in Matthew chapter 1, the genealogies really started to bog me down.  At first, I thought, "Why are these even in the BIBLE?!"  Then a couple of names really stuck out to me.  Not the great mighty warrior, David.  Not kings, not patriarchs, but two women.  Rahab, a known prostitute of the city of Jericho.  One who had lived a life of sin, but in one move surrendered her life to the will of God.  One would think that the sparing of her life would be reward enough, but God saw otherwise.

One other lady, by the name of Ruth.  A foreigner.  She made the choice to follow her mother in law because she saw something in her, or her God, that she could not turn her back on.  She had every right to return to her father's house, and potentially find another husband of her native land, but she chose otherwise.  Her faith and obedience, and humble spirit merited the same reward as the harlot of Jericho.

THESE TWO, the most common, unsuspecting women, found themselves in the line of Jesus Christ!

THAT's why God placed this family line at the beginning of the New Testament.  To show me, that no matter where someone begins, what they look like,  or what everyone else thinks of them, God can do something extraordinary in their lives.  God uses plain old everyday people!

Stuff of Life...

“The times most favorable to fits of depression, so far as I have experienced, may be summed up in a brief catalog. First among them I must mention the hour of a great success. When at last a long-cherished desire is fulfilled, when God has been glorified greatly by our means and a great triumph achieved, then we are apt to faint.
It might be imagined that amid special favors our soul would soar to heights of ecstasy and rejoice with joy unspeakable, but it is generally the reverse. The Lord seldom exposes His warriors to the perils of exultation over victory. He knows that few of them can endure such a test and therefore dashes their cup with bitterness.

Uninterrupted success and unfading joy in it would be more than our weak heads could bear. Our wine must needs be mixed with water, lest it turn our brains.
My witness is that those who are honored by their Lord in public have usually to endure a secret chastening or to carry a peculiar cross lest by any means they exalt themselves and fall into the snare of the Devil.”

The words you just read are from one of history’s greatest preachers, Charles Spurgeon.  This man of God, who authored some of the greatest books in Christianity, preached messages that far outlived him, and was closer to God than I can even dream of being, died of gout and depression. 

My mind goes to 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about his “thorn in the flesh.”  We can speculate as to what it was, but we don’t really know.  We do know that he begged and pleaded with God to take it from him, and God did not.  Paul had to continually conquer his thorn, seeking victory over it day by day.

I too have a thorn in the flesh, a specific temptation that creeps into my everyday life.  It creeps into conversation and slithers through my thoughts.  The ways in which it manifests itself can be so sly that at times, I don’t even realize it is there. At moments, I have felt like nothing could ever take this thorn away.  At others, I have pretended like it wasn’t there.  There have been times I have allowed it to conquer me, and others where Satan has told me it will never go away.

Today I came to the realization that it may never go away, and I’m ok with that.  I can blame it on people who may have taught it to me.  I can become depressed because of the times it has found me out, or I can make a choice - A choice to seek God for victory.  It’s not going to get me down anymore.  Sure, I may still fall.  Yes, I’ll make mistakes.  The difference, is this time, I’ll rise up knowing that I can have victory.  I don’t have to be a statistic.  If God’s greatest men dealt with stuff, who am I to think I won’t.  And, if God’s greatest men can find victory, I serve the same god who can give me strength. 

Your sin doesn’t just affect you.  It affects everyone around you.  The people it will hurt most are the people you love most.  You can ask God for victory today, and take steps toward improving, or you can let it come to a head, and then deal with all the repercussions.   Let me tell you from experience…KILL IT NOW. 

Whatever problem you’re dealing with.  No matter how big or small.  We serve an awesome, mighty God with enough power to conquer them all.  When I discover myself in sin’s despair, with no way to get out, His grace and mercy never fail.  His love I never doubt.  I’m just a human.  I’m going to fall.  I will be strongest in the areas where I’m weak when I allow God’s power to fill those cracks and holes.