Friday, October 31, 2014

NTDS (4): The Final Word Against Temptation

Matt 4:10 For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" NIV

Jesus had fasted for forty days while in the desert. He was hungry and in His human body, He must have lacked energy. Satan, called the tempter, tempted Jesus in three different ways. In all three cases, Jesus answered with scriptures taken from the book of Deuteronomy. Satan’s last attempt was to coerce Jesus into worshipping him. Jesus’ answer was a combination of Deut 6:13 and 10:20. It was His final word to the tempter as He ordered him to “be gone!”
O that we would learn the power of God’s word in resisting the tempter. This final word to Satan is at once majestic, instructive, and encouraging.

Majestic: in it’s description of God. The phrase for “Lord your God” here in the Greek uses Kurion (denoting supremacy in authority) and Theon (supreme divinity). But even more majestic is the language of Deuteronomy that was quoted. Yahweh (The I am, self existent, eternal) and  Elohiym (the plural name of a single God). The God that we are being told to worship and serve is eternal and supreme. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is all omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He is able to do far more abundantly, beyond all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20). He is worthy to be worshipped and served!

Instructive: Jesus really simplifies our duty in this life. Our lives as Christians are to be about worshipping and serving God and no one else. What we say and what we do should be guided by this commandment!

Encouraging: Notice it says the Lord, “your” God. It is personal relationship that a believer has with this Almighty God. He is a God who cares about us individually. In Matthew 6 Jesus tells us that He provides food and clothing for us. 1st Peter tells us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us. He died on the cross to prove His love for us! If you have trusted in Christ for salvation and are allowing Him to be Lord, He is YOUR GOD!

The Bible teaches that we are to flee temptation, using the way of escape provided by God (1 Cor 10:13), but it says that we are to resist the tempter (Jas 4:7) and that he will flee from us!

If you have not yet made this amazing God your God yet, I pray that today will be the day of your salvation. If you want to know how, on the right side of Coach’s Corner blog, there are instructions to help you do just that.

God bless you,


Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Testament Devotional Series (3): Holy Spirit and Fire

Matt 3:11-12  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  NIV

Much has been said over the years about the meaning of this verse. In order to understand it’s meaning and application to the believer in Christ, we must take ourselves back in time and place. John the Baptist, who spoke these words, was baptizing Jewish worshippers of God, who were repenting (turning) from sin, in preparation for the “kingdom of heaven.”

He was also prophesying that the coming King, would baptize (which means immerse fully) these same children of Israel in a different way. This King’s baptism would first involve an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Those that knew their scriptures would most likely be thinking of Joel 2:28  "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions." NASU
In times past, the Holy Spirit had “come upon” individuals but not been poured out in the manner predicted. The beginning of this pouring out was literally fulfilled, as verified by the apostle Peter, and recorded by Luke in Acts, chapter 2.

These same people would likely have understood the “fire” in light of Mal 3:2  "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap."  NASU
This would be the refiner’s fire of testing to see whether or not one was wheat or chaff, as it says in verse 12 of Matthew 3. Wheat would represent those who have truly put their trust in the King, Jesus. Chaff represents those who do not put their trust in Him. If you read verse 12, you see the consequences of that decision.

For the believer in Christ, water baptism is a picture of dying (to ourselves and the bondage to sin) and being raised in newness of life. Rom 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” NIV
It should also be understood as a reminder that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on us as well. We need this outpouring because we will go through the refiner’s fire and we want to pass the test! 1 Peter 4:12-14  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”  NASU

So, if you are a believer, you can approach fiery trials with rejoicing as the Holy Spirit pours out His strength, comfort and compassion upon you, “so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (Phil 2:15-16) NASU
If you have not yet placed your faith in the King who has come and will come again in judgment, I pray that you will not delay. Turn from your sin and receive the forgiveness that only comes by the grace of Jesus Christ.

God bless you,


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Testament Devotional Series (2): By No Means The Least

Matt 2:6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; NIV

Matthew quotes from Mic 5:2 and the phrase he uses is quite interesting. At the time of Jesus’ birth, it was a humble village to say the least. In previous times, it was most noted for being the hometown of King David, the burial place of Jacob’s wife, Rachel and the setting for much of the Book of Ruth.

Why would Matthew say this about Bethlehem, when at the time of his writing it was most likely in severe decline? The answer is in the second half of the verse. Matt 2:6 “for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"  NIV

You see there was nothing about the geography or topography of Bethlehem to make it special, yet it was special because God had chosen to bless it with His appearance. Even in Old Testament times, God used it in a special way choosing it as the hometown of David, who as the shepherd King was a “type” of Christ. 

Then, came the kinsmen redeemer Boaz, who was also a “type “of Christ. Finally, the appearance of God in the flesh, Jesus, the eternal shepherd King and kinsmen redeemer for all who put their trust in Him.

We can apply this same concept to ourselves. In a real sense, before the appearance of Christ in our lives, there is nothing in our geography or topography that makes us special either. We might even be in severe decline as was Bethlehem.

But, when Christ appears and comes into our lives, everything changes. When we accept Christ, God the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives. He takes lives that would otherwise be unnoticed by the world and gives them meaning. Just as Jesus did all things to “please the Father” (Jn 8:29) and to glorify Him, our lives will also be pleasing to the Father, when led by the power of His Spirit.

Bethlehem became a different place when Christ appeared, not in a physical way but in a spiritual way. It was still a humble village, the perfect place for the humble servant King. But people were drawn to this place to come and worship Him. Would that we, as the humble abode of, the risen King, have our light so shine as to draw many others to Him as well.

God Bless You,


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Testament Devotional Series (1): Three Actions of A Righteous Man

Matthew 1:19 “And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man”…   NASU

Though Romans 3:10 (quoting Ps 14) says there is no one righteous, Matthew describes Joseph as a righteous man. The word righteous here seems to be in the Old Testament sense of the word, which meant someone who does the right thing. It does not mean that Joseph was justified or saved by his right acts. Still, there are three acts that Joseph took that show his character and his desire to be a Godly man and I believe we can certainly learn from them.

First, even though Joseph thought that Mary had betrayed their betrothal vow, he showed mercy. Rather than put Mary on trial in public, which could have led to her being stoned to death, he chose another legal option. He was going to send her away secretly (v19). God loves mercy and says that we should too.
Mic 6:8 says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” NIV

Second, Joseph took time to consider (v20) before he acted. This gave time for the Lord to speak to him. How often do we neglect to take time to consider our actions and give the Lord time to speak to us? Before we take action we need to hear from the Lord. The psalmist says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Ps 40:1 NIV) We need this same patience. God hears our call and He answers. Ps 3:4 “To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.” NIV

Third, Joseph is obedient to the Lord’s instructions (v 24). The right thing to do when we hear from the Lord is to follow His instructions. Too often, we want to have a debate with Him instead of just doing what He says. Even Moses did that when God gave him instructions (check out Ex 3). Why do we do that? We should know that whatever the Lord has us do, it will be for His glory and our good. Joseph didn’t argue, even though I am sure he knew that obedience to this command would bring certain scorn from others in his community. He obeyed anyway. He did the righteous thing. 2 John 6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” NIV

Lord help us to be merciful, to take time to consider the consequence of our actions and to obey your instructions.

God bless you,