“Satan, Swords & Fighting Temptation” January 4

 

Satan, Swords & Fighting - What was going on during Jesus' temptation in the wilderness that we use everyday in our lives? How does memorizing Scripture help protect us from the attacks of Satan and how does he use Scripture against us? - #bible #swordoftheSpirit #temptationWhat was going on during Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness that we can use every day in our lives? How does memorizing Scripture help protect us from the attacks of Satan and how does he use Scripture against us?

Also, did you know that every major civilization has a “flood story” as part of its oral or written history? What does the biblical account of the flood teach us about God, His character and His sovereign control of world events? 

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 7 & 8
Psalm 3.1-4
Proverbs 1.20-22
Matthew 4.1-25

 

Satan, Swords & Fighting Temptation

 

Matthew 4.1-25:

The Sword of the Spirit

 

150 Year Old Bible With SwordAs we read the story of Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness, we see the importance of having a storehouse of God’s Word in our hearts. Paul referred to it as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6.17, the only offensive weapon listed among the pieces of the armor of God. The Word properly understood and applied helps protect us from attacks and temptation.

Psalm 119.11 says, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

Three times Satan tempted Jesus and three times Jesus responded with the Word. When he tempted Him to turn stones into bread, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8.3:

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (vss. 3-4).

When he tempted Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6.16:

“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (vss. 5-7).

And when he tempted Him to bow down and worship him in exchange for all the kingdoms of the world, Jesus paraphrased Deuteronomy 6.13-14:

“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (vss. 8-10).

But notice that the devil knows Scripture, too. In verses 5-6 see how he took it and twisted its meaning to fit his purpose.

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

That’s why it’s important to study and understand God’s Word and to read it in context, both the immediate context of the story, chapter, and book in which it is contained, and in the context of all of Scripture. Doing so helps us recognize false teaching and poor Bible interpretation.

Memorizing Scripture enables us to respond to problems and temptations like Jesus did.

Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness says this about memorizing Scripture, “The Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures; we learn the Scriptures; the Holy Spirit brings to our mind what we learn; we apply what He brings to mind.”

But if we don’t learn God’s Word, we short-circuit the whole process. We are faced with tests, trials, decisions, and temptations all the time. Instead of being able to respond based on the truths the Holy Spirit brings to mind, we’ll respond based on our feelings or what seems right to us and end up leading weak, anemic Christian lives!

 

Memorizing Scripture

 

There are many ways to memorize Scripture, but one of the simplest is to write out a verse or passage on a 3×5 card (or use a smartphone application), carry it with you and read it over and over throughout the day. It’s a great way to redeem those little moments of time spent waiting in line at the drive-through or waiting for an appointment, etc. In the beginning, you may want to write the passage out several times to help you learn it more quickly.

If you’re just starting out in this process of reading and memorizing God’s Word, don’t get overwhelmed with it, just be faithful. When you do, it’s amazing how God will help you. If you are one of those people who say, “I can’t memorize things,” remember God wouldn’t ask you to do anything He won’t enable you to do. Again, just be faithful.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Genesis 7 & 8:

Noah & the Flood

 

Do you ever “talk” to your TV or computer screen? I know I do. That was the case one evening as my husband and I were watching a program about fossil discoveries.

The narrator commented that at some point in the history of man, humanity was reduced to just a handful of people. He called it an unexplainable “bottleneck.” My husband and I were practically shouting, “Hello … it’s called ‘the flood!”’

Did you know that every major civilization has a “flood story” as part of its oral or written history? Even though mankind was dispersed after the tower of Babel, and many truths were perverted or lost, the magnitude of such a worldwide event caused it to be embedded in the stories handed down. And yet, many scientists do everything they can to explain away the evidence.

These two chapters cover the biblical account of the flood and God’s deliverance of Noah and his family. And what incredible truths these two chapters contain!

John MacArthur lists four key points in his Daily Bible:

1. “God retains ultimate control of world events.” (This should be a great encouragement to those of us who belong to Him.)

2. “God can and will judge sin.” (Even though God is patient and merciful, He is also holy and just.)

3. “God can and does exercise grace even in judgment.” (We can come into the ark of salvation. While God disciplines those He loves, we will not suffer the judgment of eternal separation from God if we have accepted God’s offer of salvation by grace and the forgiveness of our sins.)

4. “An even more universal and final judgment will be carried out on the world based on God’s timetable.” (The Book of Revelation makes that truth apparent.)

If you struggle to align the Bible’s record of history with much that is taught as fact today, study the world’s geography, the fossil record, and other scientific data in light of a worldwide flood. When you do, things begin to make perfect sense. Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are two places to start. Although, I want to emphasize that the Bible is true because God says it is and not just because science proves it out.

 

Psalm 3.1-4:

But You, O Lord …

 

praise worship gratitute

I love how the psalms express the feelings and emotions we all feel at times, but I also love how they take us from a focus on the circumstances to the “but God.” In this case, David was on the run from his own son and former friends who had turned against him. How discouraged he must have felt when he focused on the pain and disappointment. But then he turned his focus to God and remembered His faithfulness.

Verse 3, “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

What are some of the “But-God” truths that you need to consider in your situation? Is there a passage of Scripture or a promise to which you need to shift your focus? How has He been faithful in the past? How might He be working in the present?

Remember who He is and ask for His help to grow in faith and trust as you wait on Him.

 

Proverbs 1.20-22:

Wisdom Cries Out 

 

I love the picture in this passage of wisdom portrayed as a woman calling out. She calls out to us in all the affairs of life: in the open squares, concourses, and gates of the city.

It reminds me that God is not interested in withholding His wisdom from us. He wants us to have it! But we must take it, learn it, and incorporate its truths into our lives. The only way to do that is to become intimately acquainted with His Word.

 

 

Closing Thoughts:

As you meditate on Jesus’ response to temptation in Matthew 4, ask yourself:

In what area am I fighting a spiritual battle?
What passage of Scripture addresses that issue?
Commit it to memory.
Set a goal to learn one verse or passage each week.

 

Praying the Bible:

Based on Matthew 4.3-11:

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Lord, help me to respond to tests, trials, and temptation the way Jesus did. Help me to memorize Your Word so I can use the sword of the Spirit in the battles I face. Give me discernment so I recognize when passages are being used out of context. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Still trying to decide on a Bible reading plan for 2018? If so, check out “Why Read through the Bible?”

As we continue through Genesis, one of my favorite books of the Bible, we’ll meet real people with real stories like yours and mine. In the coming weeks, we will read about Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph, just to name a few. We’ll witness more sibling rivalry, favoritism, idolatry, deception, manipulation, and revenge. But through it all, we’ll see God’s sovereignty and grace and find hope for the messes we make of our lives.

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Rom. 15.4).

In the New Testament, we’ll talk about radical surgery and look at Jesus’ outline for prayer.

Be sure to sign up here so you won’t miss any of these upcoming daily posts. If you sign up now you will have a chance to win one of the best books on prayer that I’ve read in a long time: Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney (sign up by January 31). You can read more about it below.

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Blessings,
Donna

And as we read through God’s Word together, be sure to share what God is showing you in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

 

Take the challenge. Read the Bible in 2018. #bible #devotionals

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Today’s Featured Resources:

 

Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

“This little book is explosive and powerful.”
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

When you pray, does it ever feel like you’re just saying the same old things about the same old things?

Offering us the encouragement and the practical advice we’re all looking for, Donald S. Whitney, best-selling author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, outlines an easy-to-grasp method that has the power to transform our prayer life: praying the words of Scripture. Simple, yet profound, Praying the Bible will prove invaluable as you seek to commune with your heavenly Father in prayer each and every day.

 

The MacArthur Daily Bible

The MacArthur Daily Bible takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year, with daily comments that guide and inform you as you read through the Bible in a year. John MacArthur’s insight maximizes the benefit of each day’s reading. If a commitment to daily Bible reading never worked for you before, this is the answer. With John at your side, there’ll be no such thing as a tough portion of Scripture.

The Pursuit of Holiness

“Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According to Navigator author Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is. In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do—and what we should take responsibility for ourselves. As you deepen your relationship with God, learn more about His character, and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in holiness, your spiritual growth will mature.

 

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