Is Satan Spamming You?
by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship The Lord your God, and serve Him only.'” – Matthew 4:10
“This stock is about to take off!” … “You won’t believe this Miracle Pill!” … “Hello, I am a Nigerian Prince” … These are only a few of the emails that have ended up in my spam folder. We’ve all received them, those obnoxious messages that try to trick you into sending money or personal information to some unknown source. All spam email follows the same design. First, they open up by preying on a person’s fear, insecurity, or general discontent. After that, they propose a simple solution, an easy win for the reader, which convinces the reader to put their trust in something very untrustworthy.
Thankfully, most computers now come with software to filter out the phony emails. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for everyday life. I’ve found Satan often uses the same tactics as these spam mails whenever he wants to attack a human being. First, he takes advantage of your worry, your self-image, or something else in your life. Then he offers you something that might fix the problem, but in truth, only makes things worse. These temptations will always be present in life, but Jesus offers us a powerful reassurance in Matthew 6 that equips us to defend ourselves.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Matthew 6:25-29
Many people have taken this verse to mean that as long as we trust in God, nothing bad will happen. Not so. We live in a fallen world, and bad things are always going to happen. What this verse does promise is that no matter what we face in life, God will always be there. Sometimes in the healing we desperately prayed for, other times in the shoulder we cry on.
Whatever roads our lives take, Christ is there to provide for us. Don’t allow Satan to fool you with the offer of an easy fix, don’t let fear and despair dictate your actions. God is there, and he will help you.
‘Comfort, Comfort Now My People’
Scripture Reading — Isaiah 40:1-5
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her . . . that her sin has been paid for. . . . — Isaiah 40:1-2
“Comfort, Comfort Now My People” is an old song with a powerful message. It is based on Isaiah 40:1-5, which gives hope to God’s people. It provides hope that our comfort will come.
In this song we sing about a prophet who was called to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. John the Baptist was that prophet (see Mark 1:1-11; John 1:19-34); he came to “prepare the way for the Lord.” John called people to repentance, preparing their hearts for the coming Savior. His work renews our hope that God fulfills his promise to comfort his people.
At the birth of Jesus, God fulfills his promise of bringing comfort. Jesus comes for the purpose of saving us from our sins. The Bible tells us that our sin has been paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. Because Jesus has paid for our sins, we have comfort in knowing that we can find true peace and rest in him. Whenever we face struggles and challenges, we can remember that our comfort is in Christ.
The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” And it answers, “That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
There is no greater comfort to be found than in Christ alone.
Lord Jesus, whenever we are discouraged, frustrated, or grieving, help us to find comfort in you, in you alone. Amen.
Streams in the Desert – December 2
- 20212 Dec
Perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10).
Steel is iron plus fire. Soil is rock, plus heat, or glacier crushing. Linen is flax plus the bath that cleans, the comb that separates, and the flail that pounds, and the shuttle that weaves. Human character must have a plus attached to it. The world does not forget great characters. But great characters are not made of luxuries, they are made by suffering.
I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had warned her boy to be very careful in his relations to him, and not to touch the sensitive part of his life but go right on playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to her son as they were playing; and after a few minutes he said to his companion: “Do you know what you have got on your back?” The little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment. The boy said: “It is the box in which your wings are; and some day God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be an angel.”
Some day, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian, that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and moulding them into perfection, polished stones for His great building yonder.
Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer to the roots of character. The great object of this life is character. This is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity… To gain the most of it and the best of it is the object of probation.
“By the thorn road and no other is the mount of vision won.”
Isaiah 52:13-15 13See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14Just as there were many who were appalled at him– his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness– 15so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Isaiah wrote four prophetic songs about the suffering servant. They so beautifully describe the life of Jesus that it is a wonder some cannot see it and that the Jews of that day did not recognize Him. The wisest thing Jesus could have done for those He loved was to lay down His life. In the passage today we see the cross raised, lifted into place, and the Son of God highly exalted. Though His body was beaten and torn beyond human recognition, He became the sacrifice whose blood would be our atonement.
Kings bow before the wonder of His sacrificial death. They cannot speak in the presence of One whose love is so great that He would die to give them life. Pilate did not know the prophecies were being fulfilled before his eyes. Kings have not heard the Gospel and yet somehow will know that God has made a Way. God has revealed His Arm, Christ Jesus, and ever since the world has looked in awe at the wonder of His life and death in our place.
Who would ever have guessed that God loved us to that extent? We sit in silence pondering the amazing love of God and our lack of gratitude for it. How could He love us so? The suffering Servant bore our sins that we might forever be right with God. Let the wonder of it grow within your heart.
Consider: See that you never grow calloused toward that great display of His love for you.