Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Shepastor: "Something about the Wilderness..."

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.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
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.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
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.’[e]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4: 1-11, NIV

There is something about the wilderness…after Moses fled Egypt, he remained in the wilderness of Midian, tending sheep and marrying the daughter of Jethro, tradition suggests for forty years, unaware that the Lord was preparing him for a critical, historical, prolific role. Due to complaining spirits and unbelieving, hard hearts, the children of Israel were made to wander in the wilderness for forty years…a generation dying and another one rising before entering the promise land. After experiencing great victory defeating the prophets of Baal, Elijah fled to the wilderness of Horeb, after having his life threatened by Jezebel. He traveled forty days and nights by foot, depressed and desiring to die…unaware that God was preparing him to anoint the next kings and to prepare his successor Elisha.

There is something about the wilderness…God appears to use it as a tool of testing, processing and preparation. Jesus himself spent forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. Fully immersing himself in the “human experience,” Jesus subjected himself to the condition of human frailty…to be hungry, lonely, hearing suggestions that he abandon his purpose and his Father’s plan… “tempted in all points, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Are you in the wilderness? You are in good company! Although we have the record, the heroes listed above had no clear path or way out. They simply had their convictions to trust, listen to and follow God. Jesus taught us how to press our way through the wilderness by relying totally upon God’s Word. At every turn, at every temptation, at every suggestion that was contrary to his purpose, Jesus responded with the Word.

Your wilderness is a time to pass tests, process and prepare. Each victory will help you some other to win...Although you may not be clear about where you are and why you are there, God knows exactly where you are and what He is preparing you to do. Like Moses, the wilderness can make you tired, frustrated and angry…but you don’t have to miss entering the promise land. Like Elijah, the wilderness can make you lonely, weary and depressed. But you don’t have to go and hide in a cave, waiting to die. Like Jesus, YOU WILL be tempted to forsake your purpose and God’s plan, but LIKE JESUS, you can overcome by the power of God’s Word.

We all face wilderness experiences. Through grace, faith, fasting, prayer and looking to Jesus, may you stand on God’s Word, press your way and remember, God will send angels to minister to you in time…

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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