Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a]by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
A Feast in the Desert
By: Our Daily Bread
Author and pastor Eugene Peterson has offered some profound cautionary words for those seeking to know God. In Subversive Spirituality, he warns seminary students that although theological education is designed to train hearts to pursue God, far too easily “human words about the divine Word . . . threaten to upstage the Logos [Christ] itself.” When that happens, students can become addicted to head knowledge about God instead of actually drawing closer to God. Seminary—a time designed to draw persons pursuing ministry closer to Him—can instead feel like a spiritual desert.
Peterson’s warning reminds us that there’s a real difference between knowing aboutGod and knowing God. Many of the scribes and Pharisees knew a great deal about God, yet lacked the humility to receive Jesus when He came (Matthew 3:7-10). And James warned believers that faith that’s merely belief in God but doesn’t lead to loving obedience and care for others is a false faith, no better than the “faith” of demons! (James 2:19-25).
Psalm 63 is an illustration of how different true faith is. In it, David describes knowing God so intimately He is a part of every aspect of our lives. In good times and bad, David had learned how to draw near to God. On sleepless nights, he’d trained himself to “lie awake thinking of [God], meditating on [Him] through the night” (Psalm 63:6).
Because of firsthand knowledge gained from years of drawing near to God, David knew that His presence and love is more satisfying than “the richest feast” (Psalm 63:5), “better than life itself” (Psalm 63:3)—a love that satisfies even in a “parched and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
|October 1, 2018
Thirteen Words That Changed My Life
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
That night did not differ from most other nights. I’d cooked dinner and cleaned up before my husband got home from work. Our kids, bathed and in their jammies, had gone to sleepy town already when Scott walked through the door. We exchanged our usual “How was your day?” banter before he headed upstairs to his man cave.
The words I’d rehearsed all day were playing like a symphony in my head. It was time to have a talk with my man.
Things had been silent between us for far too long. Something had to change. His overtime kept him away from our family. Our children and I needed him home more, and I decided it was time to let him know he needed to make some changes. I was poised and prepared for every comeback he could hurl at me — every comeback except one.
My heart pounded as I entered the room. I sheepishly sat down on the floor beside Scott and waited for just the right time to let him know how I was feeling. I asked questions like I was interested in what he was doing. Then, when the forced conversation lulled, I lunged into my lengthy, well-prepared diatribe, ending with what I thought was a showstopper: “You don’t act like you ever want to come home.”
Scott paused for a moment before he spewed a comeback that all my rehearsing didn’t prepare me to hear. Much to my surprise, Scott had the real showstopper: “You don’t make our house a place I want to come home to.”
Hanging in the air were 13 words that changed the course of my life forever.
For days, my emotions fought with Scott’s words. What he’d said messed with me in the worst — and best — way. Eventually the wrestling match ended; the words won. I hadn’t decided yet to agree with my husband, but the thought of his words being remotely true jolted me to my core. After mulling over his words for several days, I had to admit there was truth in it. My heart wasn’t happy, and therefore, my life wasn’t happy, and neither was my home.
I had succumbed to the power of every unmet expectation, unfulfilled dream, unanswered prayer, and unwanted situation. The “I thought God would,” “Why didn’t He?” “I longed for God to,” and “If only” scripts ran on auto-play, feeding my soul. The scripts played louder, and without realizing it, I began operating on autopilot, running life’s race, hurtling from one task to the next, all the while leaving behind an unpleasant atmosphere for those around me.
Facing this realization was very difficult. Desperate to change the trajectory of my life, I turned to God’s Word for new truths, new scripts, and a new way to run life’s race. His Word did not disappoint.
This new way of life started with my yes to God, which cultivated an unbreakable trust-relationship with Him. Then a no to self that revealed the person I was created to be before sin and shame entered my life, as well as truth to help me transform into His image. And it’s a maybe that welcomed freedom to spend my life serving God’s kingdom without being overwhelmed and over committed.
My old scripts have been replaced with new truths. These truths will help everyone who believes them experience life anew with the God of immeasurably more, which we find in Ephesians 3:20. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” — the life every believer was born to live.
Soak in these new scripts, friends. Say to your unmet expectations, “God will super abundantly exceed my expectations.” To your unfulfilled dreams, say, “God will super abundantly surpass my dreams.” Then to your unanswered prayers, “God’s answer will be super abundantly greater than I expect.” And to your unwanted situations, say, “God’s resolution will be super abundantly better than mine.” Let them be the beginning of your “yes, no, and maybe” adventure with the God of immeasurably more.
Oh, and about those 13 words? My husband says that, today, our home is a place he loves to come to.
Lord, I’m tired of going through the motions of the Christian life. I want a burning desire to know and experience You, the God of immeasurably more. Use today’s message to change the direction of my life so I might live the life You intended me to live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.’ Isaiah 40:11
Suggested Further Reading: John 10:11–29
‘And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.’ So you see Christ is the chief Shepherd at the second advent; then shall the world be astonished to find that though alone in atonement, and alone in justification, he is not alone in service or in glory. Then every minister who has fed his sheep, every teacher who has fed his lambs—all of you, holy men and women, who have in any way whatever contributed under him towards the guidance, and the government, and the feeding, and the protection of his dear, blood-bought flock—you shall appear. He has no crown, you perceive, as the good Shepherd; we do not read of a crown for him as the great Shepherd, but when he comes ‘with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him’, then shall you also appear with him in glory, having the crown of life that fades not away. I do not know whether this peculiar circumstance interests you, but it did me when I observed it: Good in his dying, great in his rising, chief in his coming. It seems to me to gather such force—good to me as a sinner, great to me as a saint, chief to me as one with him in his glorious reign. I pass, as it were, through three stages—as a sinner I look to the good Shepherd laying down his life for the sheep; I reach higher ground, and as a saint I look to the great Shepherd to make me perfect in every good work to do his will; I mount higher still, I die, I rise again, I walk in resurrection life, and now I look to the chief Shepherd, and hope to receive at his hands the crown of life which he shall give to me, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing—the good, great, chief Shepherd.
For meditation: Spurgeon gives descriptions of Old Testament types of Christ as a shepherd—Abel, the shepherd slain (Genesis 4:2,4,8); Jacob, the toiling shepherd (Genesis 31:38–41); Joseph, reigning in the world for the good of his own people (Genesis 37:2; 49:22–24); Moses, the shepherd of a separated people (Exodus 3:1; 10:9,24–26); David, the shepherd as king in the midst of his church (Psalm 78:70–71). Are you one of Christ’s flock?