Tag Archives: temptation

To Do Lists and Purpose – Luke 4

9 Dec

Are you one of those people who starts each day with a to do list?  Most of the time I do, and if something gets done that’s not on the list, I write it down just so I can mark it off.

But, there are times when I don’t want a to do list. I like the idea of doing what I feel like doing.

No matter which scenario fits you best, most of us have something in common: We want a passion or purpose in our lives that is overarching – more than just the things to get done in a day.

In Luke 4 (continuing the plan to read all of Luke through December), I see Jesus focused on his purpose.

But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  Luke 4:43 NIV

How did he know? Yes, he’s Jesus so we can say that’s how he knew. Fair enough. But, we also see a model of how we can know.

  • He was led by and followed the Holy Spirit (in this case, into the desert)
  • He fasted and prayed
  • He fought the devil with word of God (which happens to be the sword of the Spirit, see Ephesians 6:17)
  • He contitnued to get alone in a solitary place to pray
  • He was not swayed by what men wanted him to do

Jesus was on a mission. As we read the continued story of his life, the season of his mission changed. For a time, he preached. Later, a time came when he sacrificed himself on a cross. Then the precious day came when he arose. For now, he sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven, interceeding for us, until God sends him to earth as judge.

So what’s this mean for us?

We should expect our purpose to have seasons of doing different things. In order to know what they are, we need to follow Christ’s example from Luke 4.

God, help me to focus on you. To get still and listen, to be led by your Spirit. Interrupt my plans for life and my very days with your assignments. Give me courage to then follow, relying on your strength.

What’s your biggest challenge in being focused on God’s desires for you?   Does each day’s to do list relate to your purpose?

Same Thing, Just Different

15 Nov

There’s a saying in my family, created by my Daddy. Okay, so he invented many sayings in our home, but the one I’m thinking of today is, “Same thing, just different.” It’s one of my personal favorites. Both my husband and I have used it in our own household on many occasions over the years, particularly when the kids were splitting hairs on an issue. Now, they, too, pipe in with the phrase sometimes. I’m thinking of making some t-shirts to sell.  

Earlier this week on the blog for girls, we began a study on the names/descriptions of Jesus found in the gospel of John. The first name is Word. (See John 1:1-2, John 1:14 and Rev 19:13). In these verses, the original Greek is “logos” which can be described as the entirety of God’s declaration. I think of it as all encompassing.

But, the Greeks had lots of words which we often translate into the same English word.  One example is the “word” Jesus quoted  (originally from Deuteronomy) during his temptation by the devil in the desert.

“…Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4 NIV).

The original Greek for “word” Jesus spoke in the desert is not logos but “rhema.” Vines defines it as an utterance, a speech, a discourse. I think of it as a specific utterance rather than the entirety of God’s word.

Obviously, God’s word is his word, whether it be a smaller passage or the scriptures as a whole.  

So why are the original words different in the Greek?

Have you ever been in a desperate place, with a terrific need for a specific word of encouragement or hope from God? Something that would keep you going?

You had faith. You knew Christ as your Saviour, yet you needed something specific to get through a storm?

That’s rhema. We live on the very word of God. We need it daily, in digestible pieces. It sustains us, grows us. We don’t need only the knowledge of the gospel and the salvation Christ offers for the end of our lives, we need the Word to live — day by day. 

So, my favorite Daddy phrase applies. “Same thing, just different” — and all good!

Stirring Up Pollen

12 Apr

Last time we talked about our human tendency to compare ourselves to others.

Here’s comparisons I’ve noticed since my last post, some by me and some I’ve observed from others.

  •  Her hair is so much better than mine!

  • Arm muscles, she actually has them!

  • Calories burned on the machines at the gym (yes, people crane their necks to see what the machine says when you walk away) 

  • Time spent playing favorite video games, “How long did he play?”

There’s more, but I think you get the point. The list looks pretty ridiculous doesn’t it?

But what about biblical examples? 

  • In Luke 10: 38 – 42 Martha compares herself to her sis, Mary. Mary’s being a lazy bum, right Lord?

  •  In Luke 9:46 – 48 The disciples argue over which of them is the greatest disciple (count your gold stars please, who’s the best?)

  • In the very next section, 9:49 – 50 Disciples are whining cause someone else, not a disciple (gasp!), is trying to do something good in Jesus’s name

  • In 1 Cor.3: 3 – 8 Paul scolds the church members in Corinthians for fighting over who’s the best leader, who do they follow, Paul or Silas (um…have you forgot you’re supposed to be following God?)

Any time we compare ourselves, we are focused on ourselves and other people. One of my favorite verses is in 1 Peter Chapter 1. This chapter encourages us to love one another as fellow followers of Christ. The final verses put it into perspective.

1 Peter 1:24 – 25

All men are like grass,

and all their glory is like the

flowers of the field;

the grass withers and the

flowers fall,

but the word of the Lord stands forever.

So next time you start to compare, stop and think, do I really want to stir up this bothersome pollen?

Man’s glory (mine and the next person’s) is passing like a flower. And if I stir it up, it won’t leave me feeling good.

Focus on the Word of the Lord – which is Christ  – (John 1:14)

And congratulations to Robin! My sweet friend and commentor is going to receive Lisa Harper’s book “A perfect Mess – Why You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God.”

Run From Dollar Tree

16 Aug

No, I don’t have anything against Dollar Tree. Actually, I haven’t been there in quite some time. Maybe I’ll plan a visit soon.

Joined by my young son this morning during my Bible reading time, I shared one of the verses from today with him.

1 Corinthians 10:14  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.  (NIV)

“What’s an idol?” I asked.

“It’s something you praise instead of God,” he said.

“That’s right. And not just praise, but think about, want more or like better,”  I said.  “And what does flee mean?”

“Umm…” 

“It means to run away from something,” I said.

“Oh yeah, I learned that on a video game.”  His answer raised my hopes that those games aren’t totally useless.

“So, what is Paul saying when he tells his friends to flee from idolatry?” 

“To run away from Dollar Tree!” he answered.

He knew he’d made a play on words. He is quite smart, but he didn’t realize how fitting the answer was.  He likes to go to Dollar Tree, at least he used to.  Any time he got a bit of money, that’s what he wanted to do. These days, he asks to go to Game Trade or a similar store.

Then I turned the question on myself. I knew the answer. I need to flee from local real estate listings. A few years ago, I needed to flee from television. Our desires and interests change. We need to stay aware of what they are and if they are out of bounds.

What do you need to flee? What thing do you think about, wish for, believe would fulfill you? Something probably pops into your mind pretty quickly. Ask God to show you if it’s crossing the line into idolatry.

If it is, don’t try to conquer it alone. Ask God to help you overcome it. Focus your thoughts intentionally toward a good truth of God’s loving presence in your life, and consider asking a friend to help you stay accountable.

Bible Reading Update:

Old Testament: Will be completed through Nehemiah tomorrow; Psalms is complete; In chapter 21 of Proverbs

New Testament: Completed through Chapter 10 of 1 Corinithians.

This week, read Esther Chapters 1 – 10; 1 Corinthians Chapters 11 – 13, and Proverbs 21:14 – 24

Hungry?

6 Jan

“…Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4 NIV).

Jesus quoted this scripture (originally from Deuteronomy) during his temptation by the devil in the dessert. It’s a familiar verse to me and I’m sure to many.

For some reason (probably because of my own conscious need to chew on less actual food following the season of sweets), I kept saying this verse over and over in my mind the other morning after it was part of my reading. That’s when a brand new thought occurred to me.

I’d always thought of “the word of God” as the scripture – and absolutely believe this is correct application (see 2 Tim. 3:16). However, the spoken word of God is itself power. He spoke all creation into existence, the heavens and the earth. Gathering the water, creating vegetation, inventing and giving life to every creature, every person. All of this was done at the command of God’s voice. God’s declaration, God’s words.

So, the scripture is God’s word. We are to live by it. Likewise, God has control and ability to speak over any situation. Regardless of the circumstance, if God speaks life – there is life! Christ knew this power intimately even while in an earthly body, and Christ overcame the temptation to doubt it or circumvent it during his forty days in the desert.  

Now this verse encourages me the same way 2 Cor. 5:7 does, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Today’s Passages: Genesis 16: 1 – 18:19; Matthew 6:1 – 24; Psalms 7:1 – 17; Proverbs 2: 1- 5

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