“The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him” (Mark 1:12-13 ESV).
When traveling to distant and sometimes unfamiliar places I miss home, with all of my family, friends, and normal routines. Though I am usually busy and in the presence of many people, I can still feel lonely and isolated because of who I am not with and what I am not doing. Loneliness is a condition most of us experience at times, and it is one that is not generally pleasant. Continue reading “Solitude”
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (Matthew 16:23, ESV)
Peter is the only disciple who was called “Satan” by Jesus. It was the strongest rebuke ever uttered by the Lord to any of the twelve – Judas included.
Moments after Peter was commended for his confession of Jesus as the Christ of God, he was being rebuked for insisting that Jesus need not die in Jerusalem. It was an echo of the temptations Jesus endured from Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-4).
Like Peter, Satan knew Jesus was the Son of God. Like Satan, Peter encouraged Jesus to avoid the cross. Peter had become “Satan’s catspaw” (Robertson).
Continue reading “Satan’s Catspaw”
I have often thought about Christians who left the faith. I’m certain they didn’t plan to leave. Circumstances, or the unexpected, simply overwhelmed them. But you, my dear reader, can probably name a score of people who left. Paul saw the danger and urged us to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
When I see a Christian fall away I am anguished. How I wish I could have prevented it! How I wish I had known the right thing to say. Often, however, by the time they contemplate leaving, it is too late. Perhaps, I have often thought, I could tell them some things before the crisis sweeps in, so they will know what to expect: So, with that in mind, here are some things that I have always wanted to say: Continue reading “Don’t quit”
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).
Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.
Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.
Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”
It is written” (Luke 4:12).
“The Bible means exactly what it says!” I’ve heard this a number of times, and in one sense, I agree. In another sense, that statement could inadvertently be more dangerous than it seems.
The Bible is not just a literal composition. Yes, it is a rule of thumb to understand any passage literally unless there is good reason or evidence to understand it otherwise. However, it should also be understood by all students of the Bible that there is plenty of reason to not take some passages literally. We will illustrate this in a moment. Continue reading “The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?”
A few school teachers seem to delight in failing students. They make up trick questions, use questionable methods, and prefer murky objectives and subjective grading. But God wants to give every child of his a passing grade, if we will but respond positively to his testing.
The Lord works for our success. He wants us to grow and be like him. He has our best interest at heart. God is good and desires to bless. “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests hearts” Proverbs 17.3. His testing has a good purpose. He hopes to bring out the best in us. Continue reading “The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people”
“It is written…” (Luke 4:4,8,12)
It is no longer right to call wrong things wrong. That is, unless you believe all things should be right. That would make all wrong things and all right things right (head spinning yet?) Continue reading “Even right things can be wrong”
A moment frozen in time. An expression of exuberance and excitement captured within pixels. From slick magazines to rectangles rendered in millions of colors upon a computer screen, snapshots exist in many forms and we know all about them.
However, there is much more to the snapshot than meets the eye. By its very nature, it must distort, not reflect, reality. Look deeper.
Continue reading “The deceitful snapshot”
In the Garden of Eden, Satan approaches Eve and incites her to violate God’s will by eating of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan makes three propositions and convinces her to sin. Subsequently, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden (Genesis 3).
Wisely, Satan presented truth to Eve interspersed with enough error to lead her astray. The right excised or added word can lead to wholly different results. God said, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Satan countered they would “not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Continue reading “Following Satan’s model in the Garden of Eden”