Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Our pastor spoke briefly in his sermon last week on grieving the Holy Spirit. This idea caused me to think and do some more studying on this topic. Here’s what I looked at.

Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

The Holy Spirit has been given to live within a believer until the end. He is there through the good times and the bad. He sees everything that we go through, all our actions and reactions, and everything we do. Grieving the Holy Spirit is not a sign that a believer has lost his salvation because we are sealed until the day of redemption. However, grieving the Holy Spirit will interfere with your daily relationship with God.

Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”

Ephesians 1:13 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit”

These two passages further clarify that the believer has been given the Holy Spirit. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, it is because you have never truly believed and placed your faith in Christ. The moment you give your heart to Christ, you are given the Holy Spirit as a seal that you belong to God.

The dictionary defines “to grieve” as “to cause to be sorrowful; to distress”

Let’s take the verse from Ephesians above and put some context around it.

Ephesians 4:29-31 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

In this context, it seems that the Holy Spirit can be grieved when we our actions are like those of the carnal man. All of these things like bad words, bitterness, anger, slander, etc. can grieve the Holy Spirit. These are not things that Christians should be doing. When you become saved, you are a new creation. Your old habits are to be gone, and new ones begun. You should be living a life that is worthy of the salvation that Christ has provided. Your new life has been purchased for you by the very blood of Jesus. Continuing to act in these kinds of ways would bring great sorrow to the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

The next verse in the passage contrasts to the previous verses. Remembering all that Jesus has done for you and the fact that He has forgiven every sin you’ve ever committed and will ever commit, forgive each other. How can you not forgive others when you know how much Jesus has forgiven you? And how can you remain angry with others, how can you hold a grudge, how can you slander others, when you know what you were before you were saved. Holding onto bitterness and malice in your heart is to deny that grace you’ve received.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 19 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.”

The dictionary defines quench as “to put out; to extinguish; to suppress; to squelch.

So how can we quench the Holy Spirit?

By not giving him free reign in our lives. By holding back areas of our life from his control. By accepting his gift of salvation but not wanting to make him Lord of our life. By keeping our faith separate from our everyday life. By not being thankful for the blessings given to us every day.

So quenching and grieving are different. Here’s my analysis.

Grieving is something we do that we shouldn’t. (like lying, disobedience, being angry, holding a grudge, etc.)

Quenching is something we don’t do that we should. (like surrendering, rejoicing, praying, and/or being thankful)

What if I think I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit or quenched his work in my life?

God is patient, merciful, and forgiving. He loves His children. He desires a deep communion with you. He has promised you an abundant life.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Go to God and be completely honest with Him. Confess your sin and you can be restored in your relationship with Him. Then attempt to live your life in a way that would be pleasing to God. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct you.

Galatians 5:16 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Galatians 5:22 “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”

Romans 8:26 – 27 “ In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

God is with us at all times through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This fact alone should bring great comfort to the Christian. The Holy Spirit within us guides us and teaches us the things of God and reveals the truth to us in the Bible.

Listen for His voice. When you hear it, obey, follow, and serve.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Problems in the body …

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” . . . If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.”   ~ Gandhi

It is not unusual for Christians today to verbally assault one another.  This can be in person but can also be online.  As a result, the world sees people who profess to follow Jesus, fighting, lying, and hurting one another.

You’ll think I’m making this up … In the choir loft on Sunday morning, a lady behind me was talking when she shouldn’t be talking.  One of the gentlemen behind her tapped her to be quiet and she said loudly “If he does that again, I’m going to punch his lights out.”  Yes – I heard it with my own ears.  She actually said that out loud in church on Sunday morning.

That was not the time or place for me to say something to her but I am going to look for an opportunity.

It is OK for Christians to disagree and even debate.  When these are done in Christian love, they can actually be healthy as they can challenge us in our faith.

But when disagreements turn into personal attacks, when people start judging the motives of others, when people start taking comments out of context, then we’ve moved into walking in the flesh.  (as opposed to walking in the spirit)

The end result is that the name of Jesus is what really takes the hit.  Our reputation as a Christian is tarnished and any impact we could have on the world around us is hindered.

So how do we change it?  What do we as Christians need to do when there is a problem in the body of Christ?

1. Go to the person privately and ask them what they meant by what they said, did, or wrote. 

Matthew 18:15 “"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

Remember to treat them how you would want to be treated should someone be coming to you. 

2. When you go to another believer privately, ask them questions.  Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t make accusations.  Accusations based on second or third hand information can often be inaccurate.

3. Never judge someone’s motives or intentions.  You and I can’t see into someone else’s heart.  We really don’t know when things are done intentionally or just coincidentally or accidentally.  Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

1 Corinthians 13:5 – 6 “Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

4. Never gossip about or slander another Christian. 

Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you”

Someone once said, “The Christian army is the only one that shoots its own wounded.”

Many Christians don’t even understand what gossip and slander is.

Gossip is second or third hand information that someone tells you without your prior consent and without the consent of the person being gossiped about. Gossip can be true, partially true, or completely false. It can be motivated by good intentions, but it’s always negative personal information about another that puts them in a bad light.

Slander is accusatory speech that is injurious to a person’s name and reputation. It’s essentially character assassination. Gossip and slander color people’s perceptions of an individual unfairly and unjustly without their knowledge or consent. One major component in both of these sins is that the person being torn down is out of the loop.

“Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God’s favor. If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God’s children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back — a little spot somewhere — and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it. “With what judgment you judge, you shall be judged.”

If you want God to be good to you, you are going to have to be good to His children. You say, “But that’s not grace.” Well, grace gets you into the kingdom of God. That is unmerited favor. But after you are seated at the Father’s table, He expects to teach you table manners. And He won’t let you eat unless you obey the etiquette of the table. And what is that? The etiquette of the table is that you don’t tell stories about the brother who is sitting at the table with you — no matter what his denomination, or nationality, or background.” (from Five Vows for Spiritual Power by A. W. Tozer).

In the pursuit of peace and the building up of others, our words play an important role.  Our words should be carefully chosen, and designed to build up, not to destroy.

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

5. Seek peace.

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

I know that we aren’t all going to agree on everything.  In fact, that is sometimes a very good thing as it makes us examine what we believe and why we believe it.  None of us is perfect.  We should each be open to correction.  However, how you approach someone is vitally important. 

6. Protect your witness.  Remember that the world is watching how we behave.  You can be a wiz at sharing your faith but if your lifestyle doesn’t match it, no one will listen.  How you treat one another is extremely important to your relationship with God and your impact on the world around you.

Philippians 2:2 “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”


Additional References:

Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.”

Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”

James 4:11 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”

Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

James 3:6 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. “

Galatians 5:13 “But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you don’t consume one another”

Psalm 15
“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Our pastor has challenged us to fast and pray for seven days.  We are to take that time to pray for an unsaved loved one.

I was meditating on this idea and was really thinking through what I believed about fasting.  Here are some of my thoughts on the discipline of fasting.

  • Fasting is discussed in both the Old and New Testaments.  Moses fasted at least two different times for 40 days.  Jesus fasted for 40 days.  Jesus also reminded his disciples to fast.  His words were “When you fast …”  not if you fast.  (Matthew 6:16)
  • Fasting and prayer can renew your passion for the Lord.
  • Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God.  (Psalm 35:13, Ezra 8:21)
  • Fasting coupled with prayer allows the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition.  Therefore resulting in repentance and a changed life. 
  • The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart.
  • Fasting will make your prayer life richer.
  • Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of 2 Chronicles 7:14. 

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I would recommend that if you are going to fast to make sure that you don’t have any medical conditions that would make fasting unsafe for you.  If you have any questions, discuss this with your doctor.

I would also recommend starting slowly.  First try a meal a day for a week, then perhaps a whole day a week, then gradually move up to a week.  I would not recommend starting with a whole week.

There are a couple of different kinds of fasts.  What kind of fast you choose is between you, your doctor, and God.

Daniel 10:3 “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” 

From what I know about this kind of fast, you eat mostly vegetables and fruits.

Then there are liquid fasts.  You can have fruit juice, vegetable juice, or even broth.  This will keep your energy levels up.  Be sure to drink lots of water, too.

There are absolute fasts where all you have is water.  Be careful if you start this kind of a fast.

Focus on why you are fasting.  Perhaps to seek something specific from God.  And always to worship and praise the Lord.

Next you need to think about how you are going to prepare yourself for your fast. This is to be a special spiritual time.  Search your heart and see if there are any unconfessed sins in your life.  The Bible says that God requires his people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers.

Psalm 66:16-20

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.  I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!“

In your prayer time, think through not just sins that you’ve committed but also sins of omission – things you should have done but you didn’t.  Have you always put the Lord first in your life?  Have you been self-centered?  Have you been worldly minded?  Have you been spiritually indifferent?  Have you neglected to share Christ with those around you? Have you neglected your time in God’s Word?  Have you been impatient with your spouse or your children?  Have you always looked out for the interests of others?  (Ouch!)

While fasting is a spiritual discipline, there are also some physical preparations that you can make.  If you plan on fasting for several days, you might find it helpful to start eating smaller meals before you completely abstain.  This will help shrink your stomach and make fasting easier.  If you are addicted to caffeine or sugar, it is best to ease yourself off of these items a little at a time.

How can I accomplish a fast with my work schedule?  The kind of work you do can affect the kind of fast you complete and the length of your fast.  If your job requires strenuous physical labor then you need to consider that when determining your fast. You may need to only fast one day a week or one meal a day,  Or perhaps you need to plan your fasts for the weekend.  Think about the calendar before you start.  Fasting over major holidays is sometimes difficult because of family gatherings.

Be aware that throughout your fast you may feel somewhat weaker than normal.  You may feel tired or irritable.  Cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a good idea to maintain your health.

Fasting is not just denying yourself food.  It is allowing your spiritual needs to take priority over your physical needs.  It allows for extended prayer time.and Bible study.  It is intended to give you a more intimate time with God.  Do not neglect the purpose of the fast or you will find yourself discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of uplifted and blessed.  In fact, the more time you spend in worship, prayer, meditation, and studying the Word of God, the more meaningful your fast will be.

Do I tell others that I am fasting or should it be a secret?

Matthew 6:16 – 18  “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

These verses say that you are not to draw attention to yourself. A fast isn’t about you and it isn’t about being deprived. It is fine to tell some of your Christian friends that you are fasting if you are asking them to pray for you during your fast.  You are vulnerable to the temptations of the enemy during a fast.  Prayer support from others would be beneficial. 

What if someone asks me why I am not eating?  If it is a non-believer, simply reply that you have other plans for lunch today.  (Your other plans should be prayer.)  If a Christian asks, it is OK to simply say that you are fasting today. 

Fasting requires commitment, dedication, and discipline.  Arranging a special time each day with God is crucial.  You want this time to be an intimate time with your heavenly Father.  You must devote yourself to seeking God during this time.  Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes.  Meditate on Him when you are awake at night.  Sing praises whenever you need encouragement.  Practice the  presence of God in your life.  Pray without ceasing.

Know that as you enter into this time that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer time and your Bible reading.  When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately start to pray and ask for God’s strength.

The devil makes you a target because he knows that fasting is a time when you enter into deep communion with the Father.  He knows that God has something special for you as you wait upon Him and seek His face.  Satan doesn’t want you to grow in your faith.  He will do anything to disrupt this time.  Remember that your only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit.  Be ready to wield it.

During this time of fasting and prayer, pray for your own needs but be sure to bring others before the Lord. Pray for your church, family, friends, your nation, and the unsaved.  However, don’t get so caught up in your requests that you forget about simply worshipping God.  The real purpose of fasting should be to put our focus on God. 

What can I expect from my fasting?  You can expect a renewed spirit.  You should feel closer to God.  You should have a heightened sense of spiritual things.  God will honor your commitment.  Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an “experience” and not to attain certain things for yourself.  When your motives are right, God will honor your heart’s desires and bless your time with Him in a special way.


Note: My thoughts on this subject have been influenced by my years of service on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ.  Bill Bright was an example to us all on fasting and prayer.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I’m a little late getting this posted.  I was going to post it on Friday and then “life” got in the way…. 

I’ve been studying Matthew Chapter 4 this week in preparation to teach junior church on Sunday. 

The beginning of chapter 4 talks about Christ being tempted in the wilderness.  It is important to remember that this happened immediately after his baptism.

Why is that important …. Before Jesus was baptized, He did not do a miracle, He did not preach a sermon, nor did He visit a village to tell the people who He was or why He had come. He waited for the Father's perfect timing.

The other important idea is that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ at His baptism. 

Matthew 4 :1

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

What or who else was in the wilderness with Jesus?

Mark 1:13 “he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”

The wilderness of Judea was a rocky, barren, scrubby environment more or less hostile to human life. There were places where one could get water, but by and large it was an empty uninhabited region.

The Spirit’s role in this is not to directly tempt Jesus, for God cannot tempt any man (James 1:13), but rather, to lead Jesus to the situation where Satan would provide the temptations.

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone”

Why could Jesus not do this on His own?

Because it is in a sin for man to seek temptations.

Jesus taught us to pray that we not be lead into temptation, but be delivered from evil (Luke 11:4).

He told the disciples, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40).

The man who willingly seeks after temptations is a man who is not doing the Lord’s will.

So why was it necessary for Jesus to be tempted by Satan?

While Jesus was God, He was also man.

Jesus hungered as a man, thirsted as a man, suffered as a man, and ultimately died as a man. He was also tempted as a man, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15 “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.”

Jesus knew what it meant to be tempted with sin and the things of this world. He resisted temptation his entire life.

Let’s talk for a minute about who the devil is.

Before the creation of the world, Satan was called Lucifer, which means "light." Lucifer, the son of the morn­ing, was the most beautiful and important of all the angels in heaven. He was an archangel, the commander-in-chief of all the heavenly host. Luci­fer did not keep his heavenly position, however.

What did Lucifer do to cause his fall from his exalted place in heaven?

Isaiah 14:12-14

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[a]
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

Did you notice how many times Lucifer said I?

What was Lucifer’s main problem?

He believed he was better than he really was, and that is what pride really is.

Satan boasted to the other angels that he was just as good as God, and a third of the heavenly host believed his lie and be­came his followers (Revelation 12:4), and Lucifer then led them in a rebellion against God.

As a result, God cast him and all the angels who rebelled with him out of heaven. Lucifer then became known as Satan—the devil; all the angels who rebelled with him became known as demons or evil spirits.

Where does Satan first appear in the Bible?

He got Adam and Eve, to sin in the Garden of Eden, thus bringing sin upon all mankind.

What are some other names for Satan?

the tempter, the deceiver, the evil one, the accuser of the brethren, the author of confu­sion, and the father of lies.

What is Satan’s goal?

He wants to control the world and receive the worship of mankind.

How does he get people to follow him?

by telling them lies and keeping them from hearing and believing the truth of the Scriptures.

He tries to draw Christians away from God by tempting them to do wrong.

He hates God. He hates the Bible, and he hates Christians who live for God. This is because he hates all that is good and right. He hates Jesus; while Jesus was here on earth, Satan tried in several ways to keep Jesus from going to the Cross for our salvation.

John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

What animal does Peter compare Satan to?

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

When we so resist, he will flee from us, because he is truly a coward

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Jesus Fasting

Matthew 4:2

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

Fasting means abstinence from eating food for a period of time.

Let’s review - For forty days and forty nights, Jesus was in that barren wasteland, surrounded by wild, dangerous beasts and bombarded by evil whisperings from the devil and his demons. During those forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, Jesus fasted, or ate no food, and at the end of the forty days he was extremely hungry and weak.

Why would Jesus fast?

Jesus fasted so as to focus himself for the challenge of temptation that He was about to face. Being tempted directly by Satan was no ordeal into which one ought to enter unprepared.

Is there any significance to the number 40? Does it appear anywhere else in the Bible?

The earth was cleansed in 40 days and 40 nights of rain during the flood.

Joseph’s embalming process was 40 days (Genesis 50:3).

The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

It seems to be a number that indicates cleansing and purification.

Jesus Tempted by Satan to Make Bread

Matthew 4:3

“The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Satan says “If.” Satan did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God This really could be translated Since …

Since Jesus was the Son of God, then why not change these stones to bread. He had the power to do it, so do it. That was the essence to Satan’s temptation here.

Jesus looked around Him. The stones scattered on the ground did remind Him of loaves of bread. He needed food—in fact, His body craved food in­tensely.

Could Jesus have turned the stones into bread?

Yes – He had the power to turn the stones into bread since He was the Creator of the universe; He could do something about His hunger; He could satisfy His need Himself. This was His temptation.

There is nothing wrong with eating; we have to have food to live, so Satan whispered to Jesus, "Why not go ahead and change the stones into loaves of bread?"

The devil was tempting Jesus to fulfill His hunger need in His own way, by His own plan, rather than waiting for God's perfect timing.

Satan wanted Jesus to jump ahead of God's plan and follow the devil's timing and suggestion rather than God's perfect leading.

Satan was tempting Jesus to use His power for purely selfish purposes.

Did Jesus use his power at any other time to produce food?

Yes - Jesus used His power to multiply the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:39-44). But he did it for selfless purposes in that case.

Here, the sin would have been two fold; first it would have been an abuse of God’s power, and second, it would have been obeying the voice of Satan.

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be Jesus?  You are fully human and yet you have God’s power.  You could walk on water any time you wanted.  If a kid makes fun of you, you could turn his lunch into snails.  You could fly into school on the wings of angels.  Yet Jesus never used his power for himself.  He only used it to benefit others.  He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk and the blind to see, and he raised the dead.

Here is also a great lesson for us. Satan would have us believe that the things with which he tempts us are for our own good. Sadly, there are many who fall for it hook, line, and sinker. However, we must look beyond the immediate benefits of such temptation and see the thing for what it really is.

Matthew 4:4

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus’ response to Satan was to quote scripture.

He cites Deuteronomy 8:3 where God instructs the children of Israel regarding the manna with which He fed them. They were to know and realize that it wasn’t be bread alone that they survived, but by the very words of God themselves.

In that regard, the word “every” is used both here and in Deuteronomy. It is not by just SOME of God’s words that it is sufficient for us to live, but all of them.

Jesus was telling Satan that there are other things in life much more important than bread—bread gives strength to our body, which will eventually die, anyway, but the Word of God gives strength to the soul, which will live forever.

The Psalmist writes, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).

Jesus Tempted by Satan to Jump from a Great Height

Matthew 4: 5 – 7

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.

6 “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.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Satan does, however, wise up in one regard. This time he quotes scripture to Jesus. It is an important lesson to us. Satan knows what God’s word says and is prepared to use it against us if we are not educated and knowledgeable in it.

Satan even uses the scriptures in, at least, their immediate context.. Go ahead and do it because God will send His angels to keep You from crashing to the ground below and being killed or even hurt.

Remember. Jesus had come to earth to show Himself as the Messiah to Israel. Down below in the Temple court there was a great throng of Jews.

Satan was as much as saying. "Here is Your chance to prove to the people that You are really the Son of God. the promised Messiah. Go ahead and jump!

This was little more than what we would today call a “dare.” “I dare you to do it.

Let them see You floating down among them in midair, unhurt—held up by invisible angel's hands. How amazed they would be! Then they would know that You are really what You claim to be."

This sounded very reasonable, but Jesus immedi­ately saw through Satan's craftiness in trying to get Him to do something foolish. Of course He believed His Father's promise, but He was not going to claim it for Himself just to put on a show for the Jews gathered below in the Temple court.

He knew it would not be pleasing to God the Father to put Himself unnecessarily and foolishly into danger to see if God the Father would send help.

He did not want the people to follow Him because they thought He was a magician or a "stunt man."

Jesus refused the temptation to want to be somebody apart from the purpose of God. But Jesus did not argue with the devil; He simply met him again with the Word of God.

He said. " It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test”

It is never right to do anything just in order to see whether God will keep His Word or not. It is not necessary to do that since God can always be depended upon to do so as He has said.

God’s word must be understood as a whole, not by taking one part of it and using it separate from what the other parts teach. We simply cannot afford to handle God’s word in a way that is inconsistent with other parts of that word and message. We must handle God’s word correctly

2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Jesus Tempted by Satan to Rule the World

Matthew4: 8 – 11

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Satan told Jesus that all these kingdoms belonged to him, Satan, because he is the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air.

What Satan was saying was partially true, for when Adam disobeyed God and sinned, Adam forfeited the world system into the hands of Satan.

But Jesus also knew that the day was yet to come when the kingdoms of this world would become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.

In that day Satan will have to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord of all the kingdoms of the earth; and all created beings will have to bow before Jesus, whether they want to or not, and confess Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Do you see what Satan was doing? He was telling a half truth. What a tricky temptation this was!

He was offering Jesus the kingdoms of the world the easy way—without sacrifice, suffering, and a cruel death on the Cross. The tempter was trying to make Jesus take a shortcut to have all the world's king­doms without going to the Cross. "It won't cost You anything," Satan slyly suggested, "and You can have your kingdom right now! Just kneel down and worship me!" But this was not God the Father's will nor His plan

But Satan asks too much of Jesus for these things; he asks Jesus to worship him. We should note that here we have doubt in the word “if” in this verse. Satan was completely unsure as to whether Jesus would worship him or not

Jesus flatly refused to worship Satan. It was an appalling concept. Jesus answers Satan with the words “Get thee hence,” “Be gone,” “Go away,” or “Get out of here.” It is a strong rejection and one which was closely followed, once again, by scriptural rebuke.

This is the third time that Jesus has quoted from scripture to refute Satan. It is a powerful example to us that if we know the scriptures then we can route Satan’s temptations.

Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

In Ephesians chapter 6 Paul writes about the armor of God.

What is the only offensive weapon that he writes about?

The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17)

Jesus resisted the devil's enticing offer and would not yield to it. He very firmly declared. "The Scriptures say. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. and Him only shall thou serve.'

Matthew 4:11 – The devil left Jesus, at least, for now. Satan may leave us alone for a time, but he will always return and seek us out again. As long as we are on this earth, we have temptation.

God has promised, however, that he will not completely abandon us to Satan’s devices.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

There are four things in this verse that give us assurances that we can overcome temptation when Satan brings it upon us.

1) We can know that all temptations are common to men. Somewhere someone else has been able to overcome that temptation.

2) We can know that God is faithful. Thereby, we can rely upon Him for all things and need not be tempted by anything.

3) God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist. Knowing this, we can understand that whatever temptation comes our way, it is something that we know we can refuse or else God wouldn’t have allowed it.

4) With each temptation there is a way to escape out of it so that we don’t sin. We need to look for that escape route. With all of this help in time of temptation, we certainly have the ability to effectively resist sin in our

The Bible says that after the temptations were finished, angels came and ministered to Jesus.

What do you think they probably gave Him?


And don't you imagine it was the best food His human body had ever tasted? Jesus had been faithful: He had waited for God's timing; He had passed the test; and God the Father provided for His bodily needs in a wonderful way. God promises to bless us if we will resist temptation and not give in to it.


I took the basic outline for the lesson from some Abeka materials and then added my own ideas, questions, verses, etc.  I would cite the Abeka book but I no longer have it in my possession.  Sorry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nothing and no one …

Here’s what I’ve been meditating on this week …


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

For God so loved the world (including me) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

God demonstrates his own love for me in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.  (Romans 5:8)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

If I confess my sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive me my sins and purify me from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

For it is by grace I have been saved, through faith—and this is not from myself, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that I can’t boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

He has forgiven me and removed my sin as far away as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

Because I am a son, God sent the Spirit of his Son into my heart, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

There is therefore now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

If I am faithless, he will remain faithful.  (2 Timothy 2:13)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me. (Romans 8:37)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.

I am running the race with perseverance and fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.  (Hebrews 12: 1-2)


Nothing and no one shall separate me from the love of Christ.



Romans 8:31 – 39  “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

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.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thanks Mom and Dad

If you have been following my blog, you know that my husband and I quit our jobs in Georgia in the spring and moved to Pennsylvania.  We purchased land in PA about 6 years ago and felt God leading us to move home.  We waited until our daughter graduated from high school to make the move.

God blessed us as we sought his direction. We were both able to obtain jobs.  We were able to sell our houses (we had 2) in Georgia over the summer.  We lost tens of thousands of dollars in our real estate sales but we trust God to provide for us moving forward.

We began the process in August to obtain the necessary permits for our new house. This process was very frustrating and time consuming.  We finally obtained our building permit about the first of December.  house

We were able to get the foundation dug and then we were hit with three consecutive snow storms and the holidays.  This week work resumed on the property and we now have our footers poured.

During all of these events, we remained confident that we had done the right thing leaving Atlanta. 

We’ve been living with my parents since Memorial Day.  We all thought this was going to be a short term living arrangement and that is not what it has turned into.  They have been very gracious and hospitable.  It has been great observing them and how they have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable.  They live out their Christian faith every day..

I moved away 25 years ago.  Moving back and now living with them day in and day out, I get to see them in all kinds of situations.  As a women in my 50s I notice and appreciate things about them that I didn’t when I was younger.  They are truly amazing.  They exhibit incredible love, patience, and kindness.  They both work as volunteers at several organizations in the area.  They give and give until they have nothing left.

I still firmly believe that we were supposed to move home.  I still firmly believe that we are going to get into our own house…hopefully soon.  I don’t know what God has in store for us in the future but I am trying to live one day at a time.  I am trying to keep my focus on Jesus and trust that everything is working out according to His plan.  I know that I will be forever changed by the events of 2012.  Thanks Mom and Dad.


James 2:14-18
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

2 Corinthians 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.

1 Timothy 6:11-12
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How not to read your Bible in 2013

Have you ever made a New Years resolution to read the Bible more.  Most Christians probably have and have probably failed.

You mean well.  You are motivated.  It is January and that means a fresh start.  But how are you going to make this year any different than years past.

What’s going to keep you going? 

Here are some things to consider:.

Don’t set the goal too high.

If you set your goal for 6 chapters a day, odds are you will fail.  And when you fail, it won’t be that you only read three chapters.  More likely it will be that you didn’t read any. Setting a high goal often discourages you from doing anything.  You can’t complete the goal today, so why do any …

It would be better to read one chapter a day, every day, than to read six chapters when you have time.  Because that when you have time, never seems to happen.

Also, in small chunks, it is easier to meditate on what God is teaching you.  When I read large portions at a time, I can’t remember what I read.  Also, I tend to read with my eyes and not my brain after about the 2nd chapter.  It just doesn’t sink in.  (Perhaps I am just easily distracted.)  I have good intentions but a short attention span.  Read, absorb, think, apply. 

Don’t be a “loner”

Find someone who you can be accountable to and set goals. The Christian life was never meant to be lived in isolation.  Fellowship and encouragement is important.

Make a plan together.  You could use a devotional book.  You could use a Bible reading plan.  There are some available for free at

Don’t trust your memory.

This becomes truer the older I get.  Take notes of what God is teaching you.  You can do that in a notebook or on a computer or iPad.  Whatever works for you. 

Keep a record of your prayer requests for the year. It is amazing to look back and see how God’s answers! 

Don’t just do it whenever you find the time.

Every day things come up that I wasn’t planning on and they always seem really important.

Schedule a time each day to spend with the Lord.  There’s no “magical” time.  Some people do better in the mornings while others do better at night.  Years ago, I found that my lunch break at work was the perfect time.  It was quiet.  I spent it alone in my classroom.  The main point is to guard that time.  You have an appointment.  One with the King of Kings.  Don’t let anyone else bump Him out of your schedule.

Control your schedule or it will control you.  (I speak from experience.)

Don’t just read the New Testament.

The entire Bible is the inspired Word of God.  Yes …. even the book of Numbers.

Don’t neglect the Old Testament.  The Old Testament foretells the coming of Christ.  The plan of salvation is written about starting in Genesis. 

It takes both the Old and New Testament working together to give us the whole picture of who God is and who we are.  The Old Testament gives us the background needed to understand the New Testament.  The New Testament is the fulfillment of God’s plans, purposes, and promises which he gave in the Old Testament. 

Don’t just drudge your way through, read expectantly

2 Timothy 3:16 – 17  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Expect to grow stronger; be encouraged and more fruitful as a result of daily time in God’s word.  Expect God to speak to you through His Word.  Expect HIs Word to change your life.

Don’t make it legalistic.

God’s love for you is not dependent on your quiet time.  He doesn’t love me any more on the days I spend time with Him than He does on the days I don’t.  I am saved by grace through faith in Christ.  My position as a child of God is dependent on My trusting Him as my Savior.  I can’t do anything to earn any more love or righteousness.

As a child of God, you should desire to hear His Word and spend time with Him.  Sheep like spending time with the Shepherd.  If you don’t like spending time with God, then perhaps you need to examine your relationship with Him.

So as 2013 gets going, commit yourself anew to becoming a student of the Word.  Open, read, meditate, learn, obey, walk closer with God.  Be transformed this new year and start it with the renewing of your mind.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My life is still too loud!

I remember writing about this topic over 2 years ago and yet it still plagues me. 

Multitasking is my norm.  Having an an uninterrupted conversation with anyone is difficult. Phone calls, text messages, and to-do lists are constantly taking first place in my life. It is rare to be able to look someone in the eye without interruption or distraction.  Recently I found myself, talking on my phone, emailing on my laptop, and trying to hold a conversation with my daughter all at the same time.  She deserves better than that.  She deserves my attention.  She needs her Mom to really listen.  In my quest to accomplish a lot, I lost focus on what was important.

This same kind of problem can affect my spiritual life.  I sometimes find it hard to simply be with God. I have a hard time focusing only on Him. I struggle putting everything else out of my mind.  I try not to multitask but to give Him my undivided attention.

It is true that Jesus didn’t have to deal with emails or texts.  However, he had multitudes of people constantly pursuing him.  He knew how to make his relationship with the Father a priority.  He looked for and found ways to escape.  He took time to focus and be quiet.  (Mark 1:35).  He was willing to do whatever it took to remove himself from the demands of the people and find a spot to pray.  Our lack of intimacy is often due to our refusal to unplug from technology.  We must make a conscious effort to shut off communication from others in order to focus on our relationship with God. 

In the crazy world that we live in, it takes tremendous effort to find a quiet place.  It also takes time.  It takes a commitment to purposefully block out time in your schedule and dedicate it to your relationship with God.  You need time to get quiet before the Lord.  It means turning off the music, TV, radio, iPod, iPad, and cell phone.  It may mean going to a different location so that you can focus. 

It will look different for different people.  Being still before the Lord is the goal.  It is a spiritual discipline to be still, to listen, and to cut out the distractions of the world.  As we practice this stillness, we can experience deep intimacy with the Father.

The Spirit of God indwells you the moment you accept Christ as your Savior.  Some days I wake up and feel tired or stressed or impatient.  I could let those feelings define my day.  However, the reality is that I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit.  And because of this reality, stress, tiredness, and impatience do not have to rule my day.

God said to Israel, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

When is the last time you sought after God with all your heart?

God still desires to be sought and found by His people.  Pray and ask God to help you set everything else aside so that you can seek him with your whole heart.