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I was reading Matthew this week and God showed me a few things about temptation I never noticed before.
Here’s the text I was reading…
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3 NIV
What happens when you’re tired or hungry? Isn’t that when we’re tempted to be rash? Tempted to eat things we shouldn’t? Say things we shouldn’t? Give in?
Now imagine 40 days and nights only drinking water. Zero food.
And the tempter comes and says…”We both know who you really are. We both know you have Holy Spirit’s enabling power. You can turn those rocks into fresh baked bread just by speaking to them. Hot bread with some yummy melted butter.”
Would you take a minute to consider it? Would you picture fresh bread? Melty butter? Mmm.
If you just pictured this bread or took a minute to consider the option, you just missed your way out (I Corinthians 10:13) and your opportunity to resist (James 4:7).
Jesus didn’t even hesitate. He didn’t ponder. He didn’t give a millimeter to the enemy, let alone a whole inch.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Right after, Jesus resists by speaking the word, the tempter comes right back.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Matthew 4:5-6 NIV
Again Jesus doesn’t even mull it over or debate the accuracy of the statement the devil made. He doesn’t puff up His chest, and try to prove who He is. He calls out the twisting of the scripture just by speaking the truth of the word.
“Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7 NIV
A 3rd time the tempter comes back at Jesus-
“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” Matthew 4:8-9 NIV
Technically Satan had authority over all the kingdoms of the world at that time. It was his to give, because Adam and Eve abdicated their authority, handing it over to Satan.
Now don’t forget…Jesus is tired. He has not eaten in over a month. Not even kale or cauliflower rice. Nada. Nothing. Zip.
Jesus knows that He’s here to get back the authority the previous Adam gave up. He knows He’s here to sacrifice Himself for us. He was being offered the authority He came to reclaim (what He came here for) all He had to do was bow His knee.
I shudder to think what would have happened if Jesus would have mulled that over…or worse caved and bowed His knee. 😲 But He didn’t.
Jesus did not even entertain the thought for a second…
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.” Matthew 4:10-11 NIV
How many times do we find ourselves mulling over the temptation? Allowing ourselves to be swayed.
Remember Jesus was fully man on earth who was empowered by Holy Spirit, the same as us. If He can resist temptation, so can we. If we follow His lead.
1. Don’t mull it over or consider the temptation. Resist the temptation immediately. Walk away.
2. Speak the Word. Don’t allow the enemy twist scripture, and use it against you. Call out the lie and speak the truth from the word.
3. Yes, you can resist!
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NIV
Encouragement to ponder while you wander….
1. Jesus understands. He isn’t judging you…He wants to help you resist! “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
2. Remember you’re not the only one and you’re not alone. “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NIV
3. You can overcome! You are loved! “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NIV
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Grace- Christ’s power that enables us to do what we cannot in our own strength.
Sufficient=To be in posession of unfailing strength.
Power=Strength, miraculous power.
Perfect=to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to finish, to fulfill.
Weakness=in want of strength.
When Jesus left earth, He sent us Holy Spirit to empower us to do even more than He did. Right?
So let’s look at this verse as a declaration!
I am empowered with the unfailing strength and miraculous power of Jesus. His strength and miraculous power partners with me in the areas I am in want so that I am able to thrive and do what I couldn’t do on my own. I refuse to be embarrassed by my weak areas, because in those weaknesses Christ’s power is fulfilling its purpose.
Point to ponder while you wander…
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT
I spent a lot of my life trying to behave perfectly to earn the approval and acceptance of God. Then for a few years, trying not to be smited because I had full scale run amok.
Truth is God loved me the whole time. He saw me. The real me. He knew the truth. He knew the lies I had been believing about myself and about Him. His heart broke for me.
I am clearly not fully living life to the fullest yet…but in reading Your God Is Too Safe today, I was reminded me how far I’ve come, and just how grateful I am for my relationship with Him. ❤ I continue daily to be in awe…
“Holiness is not a bid to be noticed or loved or accepted by God. Holiness, rather, is acting out and acting upon the truth that God has noticed, loved, and accepted us long before we did anything to warrant that. It’s a discovery that we’re alive when we thought we were, and ought to be, dead. Holiness is simply living into and out that aliveness.” -Mark Buchanan (Your God Is Too Safe)
This whole book is hitting me where I live because I like my safe world with Jesus. I love it being me & Him.
But Jesus didn’t heal me so I could sit here be safe and hidden forever. For a season or two yes, but not forever. He healed me so I could live my life fully! Abundantly! He is the God of bigger than I can ask or even think.
He tells me repeatedly two things…
“You think too small.”
Those two things are super scary…because I am very aware of just how BIG my God really is. I know what He is capable of doing with His kids…
Turning a shepherd into a king. (David)
Turning a barren old woman into the mother of a nation. (Sarah)
Turning a stutterer into spokesman who literally walked his people out of slavery. (Moses)
Turning an introverted girl into an outspoken Queen who risked her life to protect her people. (Esther)
Turning some guy from the sticks in a defeated country into a mighty warrior. (Gideon)
Turning an unknown wife living in a tent in the desert into a war heroine. (Ja’el)
“For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. ” 1 Corinthians 4:7 MSG
I believe that there’s potential in everyone to do amazing things. I can see the gold in people…even myself. I believe that the people above were born with everything they needed to fulfill the destiny they were born for!
Just like us, life kicked these folks down, and the world disappointed them. They were told no. The enemy lied to them. Maybe they believed it…maybe they didn’t.
But there came a point when these regular people stepped out of the safety of their little lives..and believed God. They chose to parner with Him.
As a result…a king, a mother, a deliverer, a queen, a warrior, and a heroine stepped out of the shadows and changed their world.
Knowing all this…I cannot help but wonder what will He do with me? And you?
You may not be a king…but maybe you’re a community leader, a state representative, or a mayor in the making.
You may not give birth to a nation…but maybe you’re one who empowers kids as a teacher, a mentor, or a foster parent.
You may be called to fight modern day slavery or sex trafficking.
Maybe you’re be introverted and shy…but you still have a voice!
Maybe you are designed to be a military leader or a police officer.
Maybe you are designed to raise a family and invest in those little people who will one day lead.
Whatever it is you’re designed for, walk in it! Live fully! That’s what freedom is. It’s why Jesus was resurrected!
Point to ponder while you wander… Freedom isn’t running amok and doing whatever you want whenever the mood strikes. It’s being able to be the whole you. Healed. Healthy. Real. It’s stepping out of the shadows and becoming who you were designed to be.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT
God is love. And love is patient, kind and believes the best. (See 1 Corinthians 13)
And yet the majority of people I know, myself included, doubt that God is for us, and wonder if He has forgotten us and His promises to us.
Doubt creeps in on hard days and suddenly we are believing the lie that we are on our own and need to fight for ourselves. We doubt God’s love. We doubt God’s promises. We doubt God’s goodness.
So if today is one of those days of doubting, remember…
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“What a wonderful God we have- He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“With the Lord a day is like a 1000 years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9
Point to ponder while you wander…
In the days of doubting remember you can invite Jesus to help you in your doubt. Jesus said “Everything is possible for one who believes.” in Mark 9:23, and immediately a doubting father asked for help to believe.
“‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” Mark 9:23-24
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV
Point to ponder while you wander…Jesus willingly agreed to leave paradise, where He had everything, to be spit on, rejected, and publicly humiliated by those He came to save. All the while living a completely sinless life. His love for you is the real deal.
I could go on about how touch people love massages, getting their hair washed/brushed, sitting next to you, manicures, hugs, hand holding…and the like. BUT that is not what is on my heart today.
Today there’s a woman on my heart, for whom one touch changed EVERYTHING.
This woman had a bleeding disorder.
And in the culture in which she lived…this disorder prevented her from leaving her home. EVER.
This disorder also prevented anyone from touching her because she was considered unclean.
Zero touch at all…for 12 years!
12 years equals 3 presidential terms!
12 years equals elementary, jr high, and high school!
To me a quality time and touch person. That would be torture or the very least 12 years of love starvation!
During this 12 long years, she spent everything she had on doctors. They took her money, and left her in worse health than when she started.
So she suffered…in complete isolation for 12 years, and was now without any options.
Just so we are clear here…this poor woman was “unclean” so no one could visit unless they were family who lived with her. But no family is mentioned.
No phone or internet to chat with folks online. No tv. She may have had some books…but considering her poverty…probably not. So she’s most likely bored on top of sick, poor, and lonely.
Then one day….through her window… she began to hear stories of a man from Galilee. A man that was going around laying hands on the sick, and they were being healed.
Lame people were walking.
Blind people were receiving sight, and the deaf were hearing.
And hope crept in…
“…maybe…” She thought.
“I mean…I can’t ask Him to touch me..because I am unclean. But if I can just touch the hem of His garment…”
Faith rose in her.
Despite her weakness, she got up. She got dressed. She left her house. She pressed into the crowd until she could get no closer to Him.
Determined…she dropped to her knees…and crawled through the crowd.
I should also mention that touching a man that is not your husband, father, or son could lead to you getting stoned. And I don’t mean high, buzzed, or whatever kids call it these days…I mean rocks thrown at you until you die.
And still…she pushed on through the crowd until she touched the hem of His garment.
Suddenly…after 12 years…she was healed. No more bleeding. Amazing right?!
Well yes, but she was still considered unclean for 7 more days. And she touched a man who was clearly not a relative.
So she needed to sneak out of there SUPER FAST! But to her dismay she hears, “Who touched Me?”
Well…she’s in Roman occupied Israel so she probably said something in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Latin…but come on! If this were you, and after what you have suffered in the past 12 years and you were almost out of there…you’d at least think…
“Damn. So close.”
But back to the brave woman…
She musters her courage and approaches Him…trembling. Then falls on her knees…
“It was me.”
Now I picture a whole crowd of townsfolk, who know who she is, falling over themselves to get away from her. I hear women gossiping, and men yelling their disappoval.
But not my Jesus. He is moved with compassion as she tells Him her story.
He responds by calling her “Daughter.”
It is the only place in the entirety of Scripture Jesus calls anyone daughter.
Personally I picture Jesus taking her by the hands, helping her to stand. Lifting her chin to look in her eyes, before saying…
“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48 NKJV
Point to ponder while you wander… Touch is a powerful thing. Like words, touch, can lift spirits, encourage, comfort, and even heal. We can all use more of this kind of touch in our lives.
But remember…Love respects people’s personal space and doesn’t touch people without their consent.
When in doubt…give a high five. 🖐❤
There’s a line in “Pieces” by Amanda Cook that gets me every time. Every time I hear…
“It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed. Your love is proud to be seen with me.”
My mind is filled with an image of me at my worst. Then Jesus in white extends His hand to me to help me up. I’m muddy, scraped up, and bloody…but Jesus holds His arm to me, and escorts me through the crowd. He puffs His chest out like I’m the most gorgeous gal in town, and escorts me like a gentleman. Proud.
Not pride in a bad way. But in a way that says, “I know this woman. I love this woman. And I don’t give a damn what you think of her, because to me she’s worth everything. Even my life.”
Then my heart melts into a gooey blob…and I get teary. Leaving me all a fluttery and reminded that I am loved.
So thank you Amanda Cook for this amazing reminder of His love for me.
The link to lyric video is above…or you can read the powerful words here…
Point to ponder while you wander…You are loved. Right now. Right where you are. Period.
Last week I told you a long and rambling story of how love languages came to the forefront of my ever cluttered mind. In that vein, I’m doing a blog series on the 5 love languages as described by Dr. Gary Chapman.
I remember reading his book and thinking that it wasn’t a 100% accurate theory, but I was inspired by thought behind it and the good doctor’s intent. It encouraged me to pay even closer attention to those I love and try to love them in a way that made them feel loved. Many times we love people how we want to be loved. We do things for other people that we want done for ourselves. Thinking they want and need what we want and need. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.
I always appreciate it when people offer to help me or are willing to do things for me. I have been on my own for a long time, and am used to doing things for myself consistently. Therefore, I’m not always great at accepting help. I have to put serious effort into allowing others to help me. It is important because this may be their way of showing me they care, and if I continually reject their offers of assistance, they may feel rejected or unloved.
I believe love is a verb. An action. Not an emotion. I believe love is a choice. A decision to be kind and patient, even when we are angry. To deliberately, and purposefully put your selfishness on a shelf and focus on someone else’s need.
There are many kinds of love. A parent’s love for a child. A sibling’s love for another sibling. A friend’s love for a friend. A general concern for other humans in the world. Passionate love of those in a coupledom. The English word for love just isn’t sufficient to describe all the ways we can feel and show love.
Keeping the many kinds of love in your mind, think about acts of service as a language in each of those kinds of love. How we can choose to love each of those in our spheres by choosing to serve them?
Dr. Chapman defines those who give and receive love as an act of service as: “For these people, actions speak louder than words.”
So if a person in your sphere is speaks in the “acts of service” language, how can you show them love?
For general human kind…holding a door, paying for coffee or a meal for the person in line behind you, allowing a mother with a stroller to enter the elevator before you, cleaning the snow off the car for your roommate or neighbor, offering to babysit for a sibling or a neighbor so they can run errands or have a break…and the like. Showing up on time when you say you will, as actions speak louder than words.
For spouses…taking the trash out without being asked, cooking dinner or cleaning up after dinner, and sharing in other household tasks. Being willing to do the things they would normally do, but are too busy to do that day.
For parents towards teens…modeling serving behavior by teaching them how to give of themselves inside and outside of the family, driving to their games, meets, concerts, and other activities without compliant, and attending the events they participate in even if you have zero interest in said event. Many of the things you do for your teens are acts of service.
For kids towards your parents…offering to do household chores without being asked, and actually doing them, or doing any other similar type task without attitude. Being willing to obey rules, I would think, also falls under acts of service too.
For parents towards small kiddos… This is rather evident because you need to serve the small ones otherwise they would not live to be a year old. Diaper changes and feedings, and pretty much every single thing you need to do for them. But as they grow they will want to “help” you. Part of it may be quality time, wanting to be with you, but it also may be them wanting to do things for you to show you that they love you. Allow them to show you they love you with an act of service, and always remember to thank them.
Funny story…When I was small, maybe 5 years old, I wanted to help NaNa in her garden. So she put me in a section that needed to be weeded and told me what to do. So I “helped” her by pulling up every single plant in the vicinity. I was very thorough and pulled up the vegetable plants too. NaNa realized what I was doing, and said “Ah! No. Stop!” I was really upset because I wanted to help her. She smiled at me and said, “I have a new job for you Jill-o Maguillo.” And she put me in the potato plants and showed me how to kill potato bugs by cutting them in half with my fingernails. Then she went back and replanted all the veggie plants I had dug up.
This pic was taken around the time the story took place, spring 1980. This is NaNa, me, and my little sister, Bettie-Jo.
I remember this experience and how NaNa handled it vividly. After we were done and washing up, she thanked me for helping her and for all my hard work. Despite the time she lost weeding her 1 full acre garden, because she had to replant a section due to my thoroughness in plant pulling. So even though I made a mistake, I didn’t feel like I failed. I felt like I helped NaNa, and she appreciated my help.
I know a few people who have serious servant hearts, and are always looking for ways to help other people. Sometimes they get burned out or feel like people take advantage of their generosity. So please say thank you, and acknowledge their actions.
There obviously needs to be some boundaries in all relationships, so if this is your language, don’t allow people to run over you and take advantage. Healthy relationships have give and take.
Be on the look out to do something nice for those in your sphere. Not for a reward, but just to show them they matter to you. Pay attention to people who do things for you, and remember to say thank you and that you appreciate it. Try to reciprocate by helping them in an area that they may need assistance. If someone finds joy in serving you, dollars to donuts, they’d feel loved if you did something for them as well.
Point to ponder while you wander… Jesus said that He came to serve, not to be served. We should all be willing to serve others. He also said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’ friends.” John 15:13 NLT
Tonight I had a conversation with an intelligent and kind man who wanted to talk about theology, religion, and the rules. I think he was genuinely curious…and not bad mouthing God.
But I am simply the wrong person for that kind of intellectual based conversation. Not my strong suit. Because it is such a heart thing for me…that I cannot always explain so someone’s head can understand. I hope that in the coversation that I represented my Jesus well. But I’m not sure I did.
I just love Jesus. And Jesus loves me. He’s my guy. He saved my life when I didn’t believe I was worth anything…including life. I thought I was a mistake who wasn’t even eligible for the promises of God. But now…I know He knew I was worth dying for…so He gave His life. So I live for Him.
Do I screw up? Yep. Daily. But He still loves me. He still roots for me. He still thinks I’m worth it. And He feels the same way about you.
Religion sucks. Because it puts you in a box to be like everyone else.
Jesus doesn’t fit in a box. He walks on water and calms storms. He touches lepers and heals them. He teaches women and calls them to change the world. He loves first. He flips over tables when people cheat or rob in the name of God. He is not a passive wussy. But He is love. He gives peace that passes all understanding. He loves first. Yes, I said this twice because it is worth repeating.
He loves you no matter who you are or are not, and no matter what you have done.
He is the love of my life. My heart. And generally that is such a private and personal relationship that I don’t talk much about it.
But today I felt like I needed to. So I did. The end.
Point to ponder while you wander…Jesus is not a wussy. He’s a life giver who flips tables, loves the unlovely, and believes in those the world thinks are beeath them.
”As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5
When Jesus took His place at the right hand of God, you took His place as the light of the world.
Point to ponder while you wander…. Shine on light of the world!
This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.