Archive for May 12th, 2007

Holy Words, Long Preserved!

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Luke 4:1-4 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tom Chittenden):

The same Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus “in bodily form like a dove” at his baptism, prompting the affirming words from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I Love, with You I am well pleased,” now leads Jesus into the desert where He is confronted, teased and tempted by Satan.

Did you catch that? The Spirit LEADS Jesus not “beside still waters“ but rather out of His baptism waters directly into the desert for a long and difficult forty day confrontation with The Tempter. Interesting, that after such a high point at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, that Satan chooses this moment to see if he could be as successful with Jesus in the desert as he had been with Adam and Eve in the garden.

Notice too that Satan chooses to test Jesus in His areas of strength. Jesus surely had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world and angels. Satan’s plan seemed to be directed at coercing Jesus to use His power without regard to His mission. With gentle authority Jesus dismisses each test by answering with words of truth and life from scripture.

It is essential for us to recognize that temptation does not simply come to exploit our personal character or spiritual weaknesses. Obviously Satan is shrewd enough to know that one of his greatest playgrounds can be found in our ego — feeding it, nourishing and building it up so we are tempted to remain in a self-reliant state of mind. Believing self to be “all-sufficient,” not focusing on the reality that our strengths are God’s gifts to us to be used in service, becomes a mighty distraction and a prelude to potential disaster. (Proverbs 16:18).

For some deeper thoughts about this, I suggest you listen to Pastor Jeff’s message from May 6, 2007 called “Crazy.” He focuses on gaining a better handle on impulse control. When Satan would use an opportune moment to test our faith, our focus, our commitment to the power found in Scripture — we too can withstand and overcome evil with the Sword, the Word of God!

Thought for the day:

Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,

They resound with God’s own heart.
Oh let the ancient words impart

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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