“Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more that bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 92: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
For the third test, the Devil took him on the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down o your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
Jesus’ refusal was curt. “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation for Deuteronomy. “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.” Matthew 4:1-11 (Message)
Prayer: Lord God, our strength, the struggles between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.” Psalms 27: 1 (TEV)
Have you ever been afraid of someone or something that you had no control over? Fear probably has more control over our lives that any other emotion. We fear not having enough money to pay our bills, not living up to others expectations of us, fear of failure in job and relationships, fear of major illnesses or even death.
In Psalms 27, it suggests that we defiantly look at fear in the face and say “no” to its control of our lives. God, not fear, is in control of our lives. God protects and shelters us no matter what and will never, never forsake us.
Sure we can worry and fear, but would it not be easier to pray and remember that God is always enfolding us in His loving arms and guiding us. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; when shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life.”
Prayer: Precious Lord, you are our light and salvation, give us guidance and understanding. Let us trust in You daily and blot out all our fears. Amen
“I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others sitting at the table began to say to themselves. “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:47-50 (TEV)
“Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
Does your faith carry you in moments of awe?
Does your faith comfort you in all troubled times that have occurred or will occur?
Does your faith delight you in all the joyful moments of life?
Does your faith enrich you in all happy occasions in life?
Does your faith commit you to all spiritual gifts given you?
Does your faith boost you up out of darkness and grief?
Lord, because of your grace and love.
Our faith can stand in peace;
walk in peace,
dance in peace,
laugh in peace,
worship in peace,
cry in peace.
If only, we LET GOD.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being there when our faith walk is weak and when, with your encouragement, our faith walk is strong. May we always live according to your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so I put my hope in him. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him.” Lamentations 3:22-25 (GNB)
We lament, groan, complain and feel lost sometimes. It’s so easy to feel forgotten by God. So many worldly happenings and distractions are before us, so we lament. We face everyday life problems; sicknesses, loneliness, homelessness, joblessness and so we lament. Without God, the world’s and our everyday problems seem so big and we feel so small.
Psalm 77 is a call to help others find God in the midst of difficult times and loneliness. The Psalmist felt abandoned by God yet he was able to recount all God’s deeds. “I will recall great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past, I will think about all that you have done; I will meditate on all your mighty acts.” (Psalm 77: 11-12)
As members of the body of Christ, we, too, are called to witness God’s mighty acts to others not lament. We can remind others of God’s present to them, and how God has been a help and a comfort in the past. We have the responsibility to love one another as God loves us.
Prayer: Abba Father, forgive us when we so easily forget to thank you for all you do for us. Help us to know that you are gracious and always there 24/7 for each and every one of us. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
SCHOOL OF LIFE
“Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1 Corinthians 10: 12&13 (TEV)
In the school of life, temptations are tests or examinations which tell us whether we are failing or making the grade. God does not tempt us, our life experiences do. Our thoughts, emotions, environment, heredity all influence our life experiences. We need to guard against temptations if we are to win.
Ask yourself: Am I conquering temptation? Or am I being conquered by it? Am I facing the temptations with open eyes and stopping it at first enticement? Or am I playing with temptation till it gets me?
“Happy is the person who remains faithful under trials, because when he succeeds in passing such a test, he will receive as his reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
Prayer: Lord, temptations and trials are all around us and without your love and grace we would error. Thank you for steering us on the right track toward you. Amen
OPEN MY LIPS
“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.” Psalm 51:15 (RSV)
I enjoy singing the Hymns and liturgy at church. But as I ‘m growing older, I’m finding that my voice isn’t as ready to sing in the morning as it used to be. During services, if I’m lucky I can get a raspy, squawking sound out.
Sunday my voice isn’t the only thing not ready for church. Sometimes my heart and mind are elsewhere; planning the Sunday meal, thinking of whom to talk to after church, having a disagreement with hubby, feeling blah, wishing I was back in bed, etc. When I get to church and sit down in the pew, I think, “Can I really praise God as he deserves today?” “Help me to speak, Lord, and I will praise you.”
The Lord gives us voice to declare His praises in all that we say and do. Through His scripture our words and voices focus on God, who sent His only Son, Jesus to cover our tongue-tied faltering tongues. We should at all times give praise to you, O God. We should call upon your Son, Jesus to prepare our minds, hearts and voices so that we through the Holy Spirit can work to Your glory.
Prayer: “All praise to you my God this night,
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me. King of kings
Beneath thine own almighty wings.” Amen
THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (RSV)
Every Sunday, my father would step up to the pulpit in the church where I grew up, adjust the light above the Bible and his notes, bow his head and begin his sermon with these lines from Psalm 19. As I grew up and attended other churches, I noticed that other pastors would also start their sermons with these same lines.
The words of Psalm 19 provide a useful reminder to me and to others in the congregation that the words the pastor spoke are accountable to God. Praying these words not only for the pastor, but to us, is a reminder that not everything we say or think serves God’s will. Sometimes even our good intentions are dependent of God’s purpose. Yes, we do have the freedom in turning over our lives to God. We can seek God’s pardon and ask God’s grace by reminding ourselves that the greatest joy is living a life pleasing to God.
Prayer: Ever faithful Lord, hear us as we pray: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight.” Amen