Contemplating Temptation

Have you ever been tempted? This is where everyone says “of course”! You are breathing, right? There is no one who has ever lived that hasn’t been tempted to do or say something they know is wrong.

 

Recently I was reading the account of Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4. I believe there were several things that the Lord wanted me to see. I wanted to share them with you.

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and led into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. The devil tempted Him the whole time and I am sure in every way possible. I know we only look at the ones mentioned in the scripture. But, what else did the devil do to try and get Jesus to deny his Father? I am sure we all know how creative the devil, our enemy, can be. He is manipulative, finds our weak points, and is a liar.

When the days came to an end, the scripture says Jesus was hungry. Even for Him, it was exhausting.

Luke 4:3-4

If you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread. Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word of God.

Luke 4: 5-8

The devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (the devil could offer this because it was his domain) and says he can have charge over all if Jesus would worship him. Christ says to the devil “get behind me for it is written that you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.”

Luke 4:9-12

The devil takes him up to a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem. He tells him to throw himself down from there because it is written that He will give His angles charge over you to keep you safe. Jesus response is “It has been said, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Luke 4:13

When the devil had tried every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Hebrews 4:15

We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Christ is our example. After the forty days ended, the devil was still trying to think of ways to tempt Jesus. The enemy of our soul is relentless. Know that the devil is going to try his absolute best to get you to fall into sin.

Be confident, courageous, and bold in the Lord when confronting the enemy. Use the scripture, contact a brother or sister in Christ for spiritual support, and most of all, know that the Lord is with you! He has not abandoned you in your time of despair.

Psalms 52:22

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus is our example – we are charged to follow in His footsteps. He countered every temptation with the Truth of the Word of God.

Run from sin and lean into the power of God within us through the Holy Spirit. With every temptation, our Father provides a way of escape. Be encouraged today! If you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord of your life, He is with you!
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly

 

 


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Jesus as Savior and Lord

As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, this annual celebration is always a reminder to celebrate the beginning of my new life that started in January 1996, 25 years ago, that still feels just like yesterday. In 1996, God finished what he had started many years before, and I was born again.
John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is the spirit.”
 
At this time, Jesus became my Savior giving me the gift of eternal life, and I received a supernatural fresh start with new desires and a new purpose for life (my testimony for another time). To be completely truthful, it took me a little longer for Jesus to become not just my Savior, but also my Lord. Without Jesus being my Lord, I am quite sure I would have a much more difficult time celebrating the 2021 New Year. I’ll try to explain what I mean by this.
 

As my Savior, Jesus gave me eternal life. As my Lord, I gave Jesus my life! It’s really that’s simple. We don’t have to make it theologically difficult – which it certainly can be – but that’s not God’s intent.

 
So when I say 2021 would be more challenging were it not for trusting in the Truth of God’s Word, I am saying all of the challenges below could very quickly consume me with fear and unanswerable questions if I chose to let it. Things like…
 

The consequences of the coronavirus
Separation and loss of liberty (absolutely we have to protect the most vulnerable)
The uncertainty of the fairness of the 2020 election
Evil that seems to have permeated government at all levels
Medical challenges with family and friends

 

The Truth of God’s Word wins and helps me stay grounded, which is where God wants all of us to be of use to Him as He continues to implement His perfect plan.

When Jesus is Lord of our life, and our life is His, it provides an entirely new and proper focus. Here are a few of my go-to scripture verses that help me stay grounded:
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Philippians 1:21 For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
 
I encourage you to make Jesus Lord of your life, trusting Him with your life. He has given His life to become your Savior, offer you eternal life, and transform your heart. It’s never too late to receive this gift and submit your life to Him. If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to us.
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly

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The Cost of Christmas

What do you think about when someone says Merry Christmas? Does it take your mind to warm and fuzzy places? Does it make you anxious? Fill you with joy? Make you sad? Excited? The Christmas season seems like a time that is highly influenced by our history, our gains and losses, and our present circumstances. 

Christmas brings us back to the power of the gospel

The season gives us a chance to enjoy traditions, gift-giving, and precious time with family. We might even take in a special Christmas service to remember the story. But it’s about more than that – so much more.
 
For believers, Christmas brings us back to the power of the gospel. It encourages us to look at the Christ child in light of the cross. It wasn’t glittery, it was less than ideal. Full of wonder, but unexpected. Beautiful, but messy. 
 

Christmas reminds us that sin has a cost.

Without this miracle – the Word becoming flesh – we would be utterly lost, without a way to be reconciled with God. We had dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t climb out of. The cost was too high. But God made a way – He sent a Redeemer.
 
Because of God’s great love for us, He gave his only son to pay the steep price of sin once and for all. Jesus, who laid aside His glory for the glory of the Father, became our Emmanuel. God with us – now and forever! Check out how this translation reads:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17 (The Message)
 
This is the good news the angels were talking about when they appeared to the scared-out-of-their-mind shepherds in the field. 
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2: 10-12 (NIV)

 

Christmas led to sacrifice

The kingdom of God came in the form of a baby. God became man. The Word became flesh. I don’t think the disciples saw it coming that the Messiah – the one they’d been praying for – did not come to build the Kingdom on earth by revolution. Rather, the real revolution was one of the soul – our sin covered by Jesus blood once and for all. Only the Lamb of God could take away the sin of the world. We now have the opportunity to be clean and free from our past, reconciled to God, and alive in Him forever.
 
Does it mean life is perfect now? Nope. But because of the babe who became a man – this Jesus – we can now live a transformed life in and through His grace alone. We don’t have to earn it. But we can be transformed by it if we choose.
 

So when we celebrate Christmas, let’s remember this gift. The gift that brought healing of the soul. The gift that came at such a high price. Like his coming, our lives may be messy, but because of Jesus, they are beautiful.

 
There’s only one God that stepped down from His throne out of love, to save a world torn apart by sin. There’s only one King that did that for me – His name is Jesus. Do you know him? Check out this song by Marc Martel called How Many Kings below. It talks about just that.
 
If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know more. Please contact us. We’ve love to share more about how He has transformed our lives with you.
 
Author:

Michelle Marx

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For His Name’s Sake

Lately I’ve been reading the Psalms for my devotions. One of the scriptures I recently read was Psalm 25:11: For Your Name’s Sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. The phrase For Your Name’s Sake caught my attention for a moment. but I was so intent on finding food for my current need, I moved right past it not realizing I passed up a meal.
 
A few nights later I landed on Psalm 23. Although it’s a familiar Psalm, the only one I’ve memorized, reading it again was comforting. To my surprise at the end of verse 3, there was that phrase again in Psalm 23:3b … He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s Sake. I’m embarrassed to say after all the times I’ve read this Psalm and memorizing it, I never bothered to dig into what it actually meant.
 
Let’s discover the importance of it together. First, let’s start with a few other scriptures with the same or similar wording:
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for Your Name’s Sake you lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3
Thus says the Lord God; It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the Sake of My Holy Name … Ezekiel 36:22a
And you will be hated by all for My Name’s Sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 10:22
Nevertheless He saved them for His Name’s Sake, that He might make His mighty power known. l John 2:12
 
I soon realized these words meant for the sake of revealing God’s character and His glory.
 

The Bible is not about me – it’s for me.

In the verses above, we see God addressing a situation or action that occurs for us and for the sake of exhibiting His character and His glory. The Bible is about our Father, His love for humanity, and His desire for a personal relationship with each of us. God is significant to everything, the foundation of our existence, and is our Beginning and our End.
Questions began to pop into my mind. Am I living out God’s character in my life? Do I leave question marks in people’s minds when I interact with them? Do they wonder what kind of God I serve when I act in a way that doesn’t look like the God I say I serve?
 

Our God is righteous.

Psalm 23:3 says He leads us in paths of righteousness (uprightness) so we are upright like Him. God offers us free grace, freedom from sin, a new character (His), and all of the guidance we need to be like Him. As we walk with Him, He calls us to display a character so like His that when others interact with us they can look through us and see Him.
 

What if my lifestyle isn’t upright?

Then who God is won’t be revealed through me. The world will see a distorted view of God and what He’s like. God is trusting us to realize the importance of His name. How we do life reflects on His name and character, and the witness we’re called to be is often tarnished by how we live our lives. Knowing we have the responsibility to live our lives for His names sake is quite a challenge – it calls us to live upright lives.

We can show a frightened and stressed world there is a God who offers them peace and comfort.

 
We have a Father who offers freedom from sin, longs to teach His ways, desires a personal relationship with us, and brings the peace we all long for. Let us embrace His character as a part of ourselves so the world sees Him through us. When we realize the Bible is for us and given to us for His sake, we can be sure He will not allow us to fail in serving Him if we live lives that reflect His character.
 
Author:
Church development at Faith Assembly

 

 

 

 


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Jesus, the Bread of Life

My wife (Cindy) and I will sometimes go to a bread store about an hour from where we live. There is just something wonderful about going into this store and smelling the fresh breads that are being baked. They also give free samples of the breads so you can see if there is any particular kind of bread you may or may not like. We love the Swiss/Dill, Cheddar/Garlic, Cinnamon, and Dakota breads. The other day I was having a piece of the Dakota bread toasted with some peanut butter on it and it was delicious!
 

While I was enjoying the bread, the Lord laid upon my heart thoughts about the Bread of Life.

 
There are many verses in the Bible about this, and here just a few:

Matthew 4

Satan tempted Jesus by telling him to change the stones into bread to nourish his body. His response was that Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 26:26

Jesus took bread, blessed it, gave it to the disciples and said “take, eat, this is my body.

John 6:33

Jesus says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” In verse 35 Jesus says , “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” Jesus is talking about our spiritual lives here.

John 6:51

Jesus talks about being the bread that was sent down from heaven “that whosoever eats of this bread will live forever.” Salvation!

I Corinthians 10:17

“For we being many are one bread, and one body : for we partakers of that one bread” – speaking of Jesus.
 
Here’s the bottom line. Yes, we all need nourishment for these temples God has entrusted to us to use while we walk this earth. The most important part however, is our spiritual health – partaking of the Bread of Life everyday so we can walk the earth spiritually equipped to do His will in our lives.
 
So the next time you look at any kind of bread, take time to think about the Bread of Life – Jesus – and let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the things God is wanting you to hear from Him. He alone is our sustainer, our salvation, and our hope!
 
If you need to talk to someone during these trying times, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to speak with you.
 
Author:
Ken Drew, Elder at Faith Assembly

 

 


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The Servant Leadership Example of Jesus

For each Faith Elder meeting over the last several months we have devoted time for teaching from a book on “servant leadership”.  A book that features Jesus himself modeling various aspects of leadership while he walked on this earth. The deacon board and church staff are also doing the same and as with the elders, each deacon and staff member take their “teaching turn” on different weeks.
 
It has been a super good lesson and reminded me of two important truths. The first is that study has to be intentional by spending time in God’s word to really know him, and the second is the importance of prayer and discussion with like minded brothers and sisters in the Lord. Both are required for growth in relationship with the Lord and with each other – especially in times of turmoil and distraction.    

The “servant leadership” teaching focused on one’s heart, head, hands and behaviors. It was helpful to see how Jesus focused on these areas of teaching and application with His disciples in the gospels. The focus scriptures in each meeting were those with which we were all familiar, but this teaching helped to draw out the deeper purpose of what Jesus was doing. These were applications not just for servant leadership in and around the church (body of believers) but in all areas including jobs, neighborhoods and families. Jesus is our perfect example!

The Heart

The heart was the first topic of teaching since it is the center of one’s being as is stated many times in scripture. Heart change is what moves a person from what is inherently a self-serving lifestyle to a serving lifestyle out of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us.  It is what drives one’s motivation and intent to lead by serving. It very simply is giving instead of getting.
   

The Head

After the critically important element of the heart, the head comes into play to shape our belief system and perspectives. It is the renewing of our minds by being transformed from the inside out and no longer conforming (or desiring to conform) to the things of this world (Romans 12:2).
 

The Hands

Once the heart and head are engaged correctly, the work of the hands follow since the actions are now aligned with and becomes one’s behaviors.  With the heart, head, and hands working together, it can now be about the “being” of relationship and serving out of thankfulness and not just about the “doing” of the work. 
 

The Habits

The habits in which one seeks to engage was the last area of servant leadership development that is super important to ensure positive and helpful disciplines are maintained. The battle of getting and doing for self (the wrong reason) instead of giving for the Lord can often lead us the wrong direction.  Godly habits that involve solitude, prayer, and scripture meditation – all of which Jesus practiced often throughout his life on this earth – are the example He left us to follow to keep us moving in the right direction.
 
Reading this material may make servant leadership seem fairly simple, but as with many things the application can be challenging. Remember, it took a while for the disciples to get it even though Jesus was the best teacher ever and modeled it perfectly. That said, we can be sure Jesus will be patient with us too as we seek to live the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” as we seek to become all God created us to be. 
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly 

 

 

 

 

 


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