Matthew tells us that Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights (Matt.4:1-2). I don’t know how a human being could accomplish such a feat of self-discipline, but Jesus did it. Perhaps his time alone in the wilderness was needed just before his teaching ministry began, thus he needed time to concentrate and pray. And into the midst of his solitude came the devil himself.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how hungry a man would be after fasting that long. A piece of bread must have seemed as valuable as gold. The devil challenged him to miraculously turn some wilderness rocks into bread, something Jesus could easily do. He wanted Jesus to prove Himself, that he was really the Son of God. Jesus refused. Continue reading
The days are warm, the sun feels good, and we can forget about that awful snow shovel. It’s time for vacations, barbeques, and warm summer nights. It’s also time for the devil to create all sorts of temptations and traps. The roaring lion is definitely on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8). Here’s a few of them:
- Irresponsibility.We all need a break from normal responsibilities, but does that include our service to Christ? Of course not.The church still depends on your service. Heb.10:23-25.
- Skimpy clothes.For some people any excuse will do to wear as little as possible: shorts that are just too short, tops that don’t leave much to the imagination, etc.You might easily cause someone to stumble, so let’s be careful what we wear.1 Tim.2:9.
- Ignoring brethren while away.We all need fellowship, even on vacation. How interesting it is to visit another congregation, and how refreshing it is to them when brothers and sisters turn up.
- That drink looks refreshing. How many neighbours want to hand you a cold one? And all they seem to have at the company picnic is alcohol!We know better. Bring a soft drink or an Ice Cappuccino, and just tell them you don’t drink. Proverbs 20:1
- Events that tempt. Special summer events abound. While most are harmless, there are parties connected with all of them where indecent, lewd behaviour can easily be seen. Another trap? “Be on the alert.” 1 Pet.5:8
In contrast, the season affords us many opportunities for good. Why not invite neighbours over for a barbeque and show them what a godly family looks like – by your speech, care and joy? Opportunities for good abound in the summer, as well as the devil’s traps. Choose the former and beware of the latter.
– Tim Johnson
Jesus was pretty hard on the rich. He sent the wealthy young ruler away feeling low (Mt.19:22). You’ll remember what He said about camels and the eye of a needle (v24). And in Luke 6:24 he warned, “Woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.”
Since the New Testament later reveals that there were wealthy Christians we understand that it is not a sin to be rich. But the pursuit of wealth brings many troubles. In Jesus’ day the rich were generally ruthless, uncaring people; this is what Jesus spoke against. Continue reading