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, 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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Entering God’s Rest – Our First Work

With the times we live in, it seems like everyone is on edge. I’m fairly certain you feel it. Life is fragile and uncertain, but God invites us on different path – to enter His rest.

Jesus knew His limits and adjusted His daily rhythms on a regular basis – and He was God! He lived by the Father’s guidance and found rest – even when (to the disciples anyway) it seemed as if everything was falling apart. If even Jesus was mindful of limits, why do we feel like we can keep relentlessly pushing without slowing down to tend to our souls?
 
We need God to bring us back to His still waters and restore our souls on a regular basis. This needs to be our first work before our earthly work begins. Check out these 5 practices to help you enter His rest.
 

Give yourself space to be quiet.

Most of us are not good at sitting in the quiet, allowing our soul to be vulnerable before ourselves and God. It can be a raw and frankly, uncomfortable place to be. Because we are so wired to solve problems and fix things, we often avoid what’s really going on inside us rather than quieting and allowing ourselves to hear.

In her article Solitude: A Place for Your Soul to Come Out, Ruth Haley Barton points out the importance of creating time and space for being with what’s real… “to celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, attend to my loneliness. This kind of ‘being with what is’ is not the same thing as problem-solving or fixing because not everything can be fixed or solved. Rather, it is to allow God to be with me in the midst of what’s real and to wait for Him to do what is needed.”
 

Enjoy resting in the abiding – rather than the doing.

You can relax in God’s presence. Allow yourself to soak in the security and calm assurance you have in Jesus. He says He loves you, He will never leave you, and says not to be afraid. When the Israelite people were faced with the Red Sea in front of them and no way out, Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14:13, 14) We can relax in the presence of Abba Father, knowing He in control of all things.

Notice the beauty around you – even in the smallest of things.

God speaks to us on a daily basis. Do we hear Him, see Him? All of creation shouts to the glory and beauty of God. Even the smallest of things can point us to His goodness. God is the Author of everything beautiful in the world – from tender affection to the wonder of delicate spring flowers on a mighty mountain. The cool thing about slowing down to notice is it cultivates gratefulness and wonder in our hearts, drawing us back to Him.

Embrace your limits.

Are you stressed and anxious? Tense and triggered? Our body often signals us in ways we often ignore. Lay these before the Lord and mentally/emotionally detach from the stress. Philippians 4: 6-7 says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Perhaps instead of stretching our limits in every way, we need to embrace them as God-given. Limits keep us grounded, keep us humble, and grows us in wisdom.

Drink in the scriptures.

In Psalm 23, David mentions God’s “rod and staff” and how he finds comfort in them. The good Shepherd guides and directs us through His Word. Find assurance, life-changing truth, and peace through taking in and meditating on His words. We often think in terms of “doing ministry” for Him, but He desires to work in you first. Be still before Him so he can meet you in the stillness – He has ministry to do in your spirit. The Lord is our shepherd – we have all we need in Him (Psalm 23).

Cling to Jesus friends. By entering into His rest first, a solid foundation is built. With His guidance, we find health, wisdom and maturity for all earthly work to follow.
 
Author:
Michelle Marx
Read more from this author on the Michelle Renee Speaks Blog.

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Are you prepared for eternity?

I love God’s word!

I have a medley of scripture verses developed over the years that the Lord has given me that I recite nearly every day on my “drive to work”. Yup, haven’t been as faithful with this in my work from home status over the last few months, but I am still prompted often to recite it in order to keep it fresh in my mind. I have also recently been blessed with scripture that has encouraged me in this crazy part of world history over the last several months. God’s word helps me keep a right focus, control my fear, and maintain an attitude of worship.
 
My recent blessing comes in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and in my Bible is titled “The Coming of the Lord”. I won’t list it here in its entirety but ask you to read it. I have excerpted verses 16 and 17.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first (those who have died having chosen Jesus). After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.

Can you get excited about this truth?

If we can’t get excited about this, we don’t understand the gospel or the second coming of Christ. If we don’t understand what God has prepared for us for all of eternity, we don’t understand the gospel or the second coming of Christ. If we think we would rather enjoy the things of this world and have bought into the worldly notion that heaven will be boring as we simply float around in the clouds singing worship songs, we don’t understand the gospel or the second coming of Christ.

“Therefore encourage each other with these words” – 1 Thessalonians 4:18

The Bible tells us Heaven and earth will be one and God is coming to live with us (Revelation 21) – how incredible is this? Those whose name is written in the book of life having chosen Jesus Christ will help God rule the universe. How crazy cool! Isaiah prophesied this 700 years before Christ, Jesus talked about it during his life on earth, and John saw this 100 years after Christ as he was given this vision in Revelation 21. I pray you have been encouraged as you think deeply about this truth.

I have learned over the years that God’s truth coming alive in our hearts and minds doesn’t just happen, it takes discipline to study, meditate, and marinate (as Pastor Jon reminds us) as God allows and desires us to grow in relationship with Himself.

 

Are you able to make time for getting to know God and ensure you are prepared to meet Jesus in the clouds? I pray everyone reading this will be prepared. If you’d like to talk more about this, please contact us – we’d be filled with joy to introduce you to Jesus and help you grow in Him!

 

Author:

Randy O. | Elder, Faith Assembly

 

 


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The Righteousness of God

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” -2 Corinthians 5:21 
 
Jess and I had communion this last Sunday. It’s a fascinating sacrament. We do it to remember this: the blood of Jesus washes our sin away, and at the same time, God places the righteousness of Christ on us. It becomes the lens God uses every time he sees us. Theologians call it, “Imputed Righteousness.” This righteousness was a concept that I did not understand until my sophomore year in Bible College. But I didn’t learn it in a classroom. 
 
A floor mate of mine loved Jesus. Let’s call him Gus. Gus loved Jesus so much that he became known for it in a dorm full of Bible majors. Like many colleges, I remember we’d have late-night heart-to-heart conversations. Everyone would listen as a guy shared his life story. Then there would be a respectful silence before we responded to build that person up, to encourage them.
 
When Gus was in the discussion, he’d start his response with a slightly longer version of the same thing he said every morning while greeting people. 
 

For example, let’s say I just finished sharing my life story. After the short silence, Gus would get up, put his hand on me, and look me in the eye, “First off, Phil, do you know that you are the righteousness of God? That when God looks at you, he does it with all the limitless love he has for his perfect son Jesus, and it brings him unimaginable joy to even look at you?”

 
When Gus first said something like that to me, I told him I understood. But I’ll be honest; I didn’t, not yet.

It would take a few more mornings of, “Good morning, Phil!”  

“Good morning Gu-”

“Did you know that today, God sees you as righteous?!”

At 26 minutes into the Sunday morning service on April 26, Pastor Jon articulated imputed righteousness. Every time we take communion, that beautiful doctrine is there. I honestly can’t tell you how I grew up all those years in the church and missed it. 
 
However, I can tell you this. Jesus shed his blood so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. The more you remember that, the more it will change your life. 

And if you remind others, it could change their lives too.

If you’re reading this and desire to know more about Jesus, contact us. It will absolutely change your life. We are here to have that conversation when you’re ready.
 
Author:
Phil Arellano

 


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We Know How the Story Ends

As I listen to the news and the increase in Coronavirus cases, a fast declining stock market, and additional layoffs, I also watch the birds in my backyard. I am struck again that they don’t seem to worry about what they will eat or what they will do next- they just do it. The birds simply follow the instincts God designed into them and they get fed (Matthew 6:26). 
 

Our human instinct

God also designed humanity with certain instincts including to run, hide, and fight during certain crisis situations and I know I have done this well, and sorry to say even against God. Until we get our new bodies as promised in the Bible, our instincts are corrupted by sin. As a consequence of our fallen human state (even though saved perhaps) during this time of great uncertainty, we worry because there is trouble! We worry about how to avoid illness, being able to provide for our families, and yes – even if we will have enough toilet paper to ride out this craziness. 

Are we surprised by this current round of trouble? It certainly could perhaps become the worst many of us have seen in our lifetime, but should we be surprised?

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

 

Do we believe what Jesus is telling us?

One of the two criminals crucified next to Jesus discussed in Luke 23 asked that Jesus “remember him when He comes into His kingdom” and since that criminal placed his faith in Jesus and believed him, Jesus response was, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”.  

Revelation 21:4 tells us how the story ends and the ultimate paradise where, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

Jesus knew we would face troubling times

Jesus knew we’d have trouble – that’s why he warned us about this and reminds us that He has overcome! The Apostle Paul further reminded us in his letter to the Philippians that “our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (3:20)

Back to Matthew 6:26, Jesus tells us to “look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

 

We know how the story ends

Do you believe Jesus?   Give Him a chance and you will find Him faithful in times of crisis. It is His nature! He stands ready to draw you unto Himself and transform your heart and mind – even in the midst of troubling times.
 
Author:
Elder, Faith Assembly

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