Tag Archives: Psalm

The Temptation of Christ, part 2

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Last time we looked at some background about this passage and the first temptation. To read it click here. As a refresher, let’s reread the passage from Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

The second temptation

While the first temptation was about Jesus’ physical being, the second is focused on his authority as the Son of God. Satan takes him to a high place and instantly shows him in some kind of a vision all of the the kingdoms of the world. Then he says something that may come as a shock to us. Satan says, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” This is a brazen thing to say to the Son of God! Hold on a minute… You mean to tell me that Satan has authority over something that Jesus doesn’t? In a way, yes. Jesus eventually is given authority over the earth but right now it belongs to Satan. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is called the “god of this age.” And if you notice Jesus doesn’t refute Satan’s claims. I think he knows that God, the Father had given this world to Satan to rule… for a while. In short, Satan is tempting Jesus’s with his authority, or apparent lack thereof.

Again, Jesus comes back at him with Scripture; with what will later become known as the Great Commandment, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,” (Deuteronomy 6:13-14). He rests firm in the knowledge that yes, he doesn’t rule the earth… yet but his time is coming and that worshiping the one true God is more important than temporal glory. Jesus also knows that eventually he will be given all authority in heaven AND on earth (Matthew 28:28). When he comes back to rule them, it will be a perfect Kingdom, not the broken kingdoms that Satan has control over and it will be a Kingdom that has no end (Daniel 7:27).

The third temptation

Satan isn’t dumb. In fact he’s very smart. This time when he tempts he does it by quoting Scripture to Jesus as a reason for sinning. Since Jesus keeps throwing Scripture in Satan’s face to rebut his temptations, Satan is going to throw it right back at him. This time he tells Jesus to jump off the temple so that God can perform a miracle and send angels to save him before he hits the ground. He uses a passage from Psalm 91:11-12 to back up his claims. He quotes it correctly, but he quotes it out of context. The Psalm is about God protecting his people, not about Jesus. In other words Psalm 91:11-12 was not prophesy about Jesus that needed to be fulfilled. It was a general statement about the Israelites.

There is something else about this third temptation that I would like to point out. Satan has no qualms about taking Jesus to the holiest place on earth at the time. Satan took Jesus to the house of God so what makes us think that Satan isn’t able to enter our church doors? Scary to think about it, but it happens. Dissension, judgmentalism and complacency are just a few examples of how Satan has entered our churches. Think I’m wrong? Look around and I’m sure you will find the pharisees of your church who think that rule keeping makes them better than everyone else. Look further and you will see the petty arguments that divide congregations, sometimes to the point of collapse. And then there are those who are fine with the status quo. They are satisfied with their own salvation but don’t really care about a dying world bound for hell. These are all symptoms of sin. Sin is the result of temptation. Temptation is from Satan. See how it works? We are allowing Satan in our lives and therefore into our church bodies. He is trying to tear apart Christ’s mission at HQ and he’s succeeding more than we would like to admit. It is time we started using the power that we have to combat him. And how do we do this? By putting on the full armor of Christ! No, it’s not literal body armor, it’s more like soul armor:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

We have the strength and mighty power of God! We just don’t know it or use it! If we do the things found in this passage we will access a power that we have never known before. So what is this formula for battling Satan?

  • belt of truth
  • breastplate of righteousness
  • feet clad with readiness
  • shield of faith
  • helmet of salvation
  • sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Notice that all of these things are defensive items, except for the word of God. It is our method of offense! We have no idea how important the word of God is until we start to use it and see it in action! This is the reason that I have started these studies. I don’t know about you but I am tired of being impotent in the battle against Satan when I have the tools for victory right at hand. How about you? Are you sick of losing battles to Satan? These studies are meant to equip the average person with knowledge about God and his word so that you can not only know about God but use this knowledge to empower yourself in the name of Christ!

There is so much more I could say about this passage but I don’t want to bore you to tears. If you want to read a fascinating article on the Matthew version of this passage, visit Bible.org. I hope you are enjoying these as much as I enjoy writing them.

The end.

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Revelation Song- Devo 4

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Filled with wonder, 
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

When was the last time you experienced something so awe-inspiring that it took your breath away? Did it have anything to do with Jesus? Did it have anything to do with the glory of God or with his perfect love for us? If not, what are you giving the honor to that you should be giving to God?

I am reading a book called “Desiring God- Meditations of a Christian Hedonist,” by John Piper. I don’t agree with everything he says but he does get this right: Most Christians are missing out on experiencing true joy that is found in Christ because we fail to worship Christ for who he is instead of just what he does for us or because we feel like enjoying God somehow lessens our worship of him. (That’s my 15 second summary of the 4 chapters I have read so far). So what do we find joy in? Our families, our material possessions, our friends? These are dangerously close to becoming idols if we allow ourselves to find more joy in them than we do God. These are good things, mind you and we should find a kind of  joy in these things because they are given to us by God but we need to have ultimate joy in Christ and if we are not, then we are missing a huge part of what it means to be in Christ! I admit that though I have at times experienced this kind of unadulterated joy in Christ that I sometimes lose my way and allow myself to find joy in other things alone. This is sin! It is idolatry! It is finding more joy in created things than in the Creator. I am, at times, an idolator. How about you?

There is no doubt that many of the things we believe involves an element of mystery. For example, how is Christ fully God and fully human at the same time? How is God 3 distinct persons yet inseparable? I won’t even pretend to have answers to these questions. It is true that we have to rely upon faith for some of our beliefs. But what marvelous mysteries they are! Even though we don’t understand them, we can delight in them. We can find joy and even comfort in that God is bigger and more complex than what our limited brains can handle. Only God can fully understand God. We can try to look at the evidences of our interactions with him and of his nature in the Bible. We can think about God until we are all thunk out but we will never fully understand God this side of heaven. That’s ok. There are lots of things we don’t fully understand but accept as fact like gravity, quantum physics, pregnancy, black holes, the human brain, etc. Why is it that people have such a hard time accepting things about God that we don’t fully understand?

I encourage you to start reading some of the Psalms this week (I got that from Piper, too). He encourages reading the Psalms as a way of getting our brain trained to praise God and to enjoy him in a fuller sense. I would love to hear some of your thoughts after you read a couple. Please feel free to comment below on what Psalm you read and your thoughts on it.

The End.

Whom Shall I Fear (The God of Angel Armies) Devo.

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I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Have you ever been afraid? Or maybe even nervous about something? I have. I am a stay at home mom and sometimes I get nervous about if we have enough money without me working. I get scared because my step-mom has an aggressive cancer and I’m afraid she will die. But then I hear this song and it stops me in my tracks. “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.” Do I really know this? Do I really believe this? Is it just a song or is it Truth? Let’s look at what the Bible says about it. The God who is all-powerful has my back and commands his angels to guard me! It’s a promise found in Psalm 91:11-12, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Think the angels aren’t good enough? God, himself promises to be with us forever, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,” (Deut. 31:8). Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged! And yet I get my panties in a bunch over some of the littlest things when in all things God is right there watching out for me. I allow Satan to confuse me. I start to think that everything depends on what I can do or what the doctors can do to fix a problem. We need to stop living the lie of Satan and step out of our fear in confidence knowing that the God of angel armies is always by our side! What would the Church of God look like if we grasped these truths and started living them instead of just singing about them? What would our own lives look like if we lived with the power of God instead of fear? I don’t know about you, but my life would look drastically different. So join me today in making a stand, take back the power of God that we have forfeited for fear! Let the God of angel armies fight for you!