The temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4 talks about the temptation of Jesus when He was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert and there He didn’t eat or drink anything for 40 days. When the forty days were over he was hungry and devil came to tempt Him.

Holy Spirit is given by the God the father as our eternal helper and the leading of the Spirit always takes us to the next spiritual level for the Glory of God. The Spirit took Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. There may have been occasions in your life where you might wonder how in your life you have come to a place where nothing seems to be moving, no progress in life and it seems life has come to the dead end despite all your efforts to live a Godly life. Don’t be discouraged. Be patient and you will know at the end that it was the Holy Spirit who has brought you to the desert for your spiritual growth. And at the end you will be declared more than victorious in Christ.

Jesus was tempted by the devil in three different ways and he still uses the same strategy to tempt those who want to live a Godly life in Jesus.

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into bread.”

Devil comes to tempt us by looking at our immediate need. If you are not financially well off, single, unemployed, etc. he will whisper in your ear, “Why are you not blessed in a particular area in your life even though God has made clear promises to make your prosperous in His word?” Thief comes to steal kill and destroy and his intent is to use your immediate need to sow a seed of doubt in your relationship with your heavenly father that has been restored by the blood of the lamb. Don’t give into the negative thoughts. Use the sword of the Spirit and destroy the word of the enemy by saying, “Even though my God blesses me or not, He is still my God and Saviour.” And the devil will run away.

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, “He will command his angels to lift you up…”

When devil sees that He couldn’t weaken your relationship with heavenly father, He tried to weaken our stance on the word of God by creating doubts about God’s promises. You cannot possibly stand on the word of God if you only read the Bible but never takes time to understand or meditate on the promises of God. Those who study the Word of the Lord  day and night are filled with Godly wisdom, “I have more wisdom than my teachers for I meditate on your word.”

In order to defeat devil, you don’t need human wisdom but the wisdom of God that comes down by spending time in His presence and meditating on His word. Jesus says “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you” This is the life that you need to defeat the devil and his forces that come to take your faith away from the promises of God.

Be filled up with the word of God so that what comes out when tempted is the sword of the word of God to kill the evil forces.

“All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.”

Often time, a believer is tempted to think that why do ungodly make more progress in their lives? Why those who are away from the Lord seem successful more than those who cry before the Lord day and night? Sometimes, we think their lives are better than us. Beware! This is the tool of the enemy to take away your inheritance that is kept for those who believe and keep their courage until the end. When things seem rough and no solution is imminent, worship your God and He will fill you with Godly strength, the way Paul and Silas were filled with power and the doors of the prison were opened. Don’t be discouraged for that will prove to the enemy that he has become successful in his attempts to make you  worship him. Worship your God and only Him, for He is the living God. The  tempter will run away and the angels will come to help you.

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Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy

Joy and tears go together as we want to live a Godly life, as Paul says in 2Timothy 3:12, “Everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Godly life in Christ Jesus comes with a cost that involves disciplined life and sacrificial obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifices but sacrificial obedience is what the Lord has called us for.  Sacrificial obedience may range from getting up early in the morning to spend time with the Lord, to using spiritual weapons to bind every imagination and thought that rise against the knowledge of God. Obedience is not easy but with persistent efforts it brings renewed strength that enables us to lead Godly life.

An undisciplined life begins with just one episode of careless disobedience that stretches itself into intentional resistance to the work of the Lord. How important it is to keep a watch on where we are going as Paul says in Eph. 5:21, “Watch your step.”

A soldier doesn’t get mixed up with the civilian affairs but keep himself focused on his mission likewise those who want to live a Godly life with Jesus need to keep their minds and eyes focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. One slip here and there might invite the raging waves of storms of disobedience into our lives.

An obedient life doesn’t bring an assurance of a life free from persecution or troubles. In fact the verse above says just the opposite that “those who want to live a Godly life will be persecuted.”

Why should one be motivated to live an obedient life if all it brings is persecution? What benefits are there for us? tremendous!

The persecution that follows obedience doesn’t necessarily come from outside. Our carnal mind perpetually fights against the authority of God and tries to elevate itself by not submitting to most high God. Mind that is filled with conflicting thoughts lives in constant persecution by deliberately ignoring God-given talents and spiritual fervour. Persecution begins when one knows what to do but chooses to go just the opposite.  Paul depicts it beautifully in Romans 7 when he says that “I delight in God’s law but I see another law at work in the embers of my body.” An obedient child of God deals with persecution every day. But those who have been trained by the word of God reap the harvest in the form of  righteousness, a renewed mind and a strengthened reliance on the word of God.

Persecution does make us weak but at the end we come out much stronger with a powerful faith that doesn’t just rest on the written word but on the life changing power that lies beneath the word.

God’s promises are easy to believe when things go right but hard when nothing seems moving despite heartfelt prayers. How difficult it is to trust when no sign of fulfillment of prayers appears for a long time. Those who focus on the word during hard times know that the word acts as the bread of life, sustaining the believer’s soul by fulfilling the spiritual need at the moment of desperation. The word becomes alive in the life of the believer by burning the conflicting desires of mind thus making peace in the members of the body so that the believer may offer perfect praise to the living God.

No persecution is dark enough to hide the rays of the glory of the living God that shines at the end. Day and night follow an order and so does persecution and deliverance.  Although night seems to be longer for some of us, lasting not just for days or months but for years. Be encouraged my friend, the deliverance is as sure as the coming of the dawn, those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy (psalm126:5).

Suffering for God’s Glory

Suffering is the result of  disconnection from our own true self and from the one in whose image we have been created, God – our father. God loves fellowship and so do we being HIS children. We need to be connected to our fullness that is found in Christ who is our head and King. Once we are away from Christ’ fellowship we suffer and long for his presence since we are not meant to be alone.

Jesus said to his disciples This world will make you suffer but take heart, I have defeated the world”.  As long as we are in this world, sufferings are inevitable but God, according to his promise that all things work together for those who love the Lord”, uses sufferings to turn us into the image of his beloved son Jesus Christ.

If we remain connected to Christ during the period of suffering, we will not be affected by the negative power that follows suffering. Christ and HIS powerful presence will cover us as an armour and HIS grace will become our standing ground.  The one who said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is indeed our suffering partner.  Jesus appeared to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into blazing furnace to protect them, and since our Jesus never changes and remain the same always, He is standing at the door of your furnace of affliction, ready to jump into the fire for you at your invitation. Being with Christ in fire of affliction is better than being on your own elsewhere.

Leaning on Christ when it’s hard to do so, produces fruits of perseverance and deep trust on his power. Our knowledge about our King  gets stronger with every passing day and this knowledge is the same as the glory of God’s likeness that shines through the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Once suffering has finished its course, the result will come in the form of an immeasurable peace and an incomprehensible and  unheard revelation about Christ’ glory. That is – In Christ alone lies our strength.

The future glory is ready to be revealed in us by our Lord. Let’s open our eyes and be filled with more of Christ and less of ourselves.

Prodigal son’s testimony: The Joy is mine

Joy was never lost but was hidden for a while.  I was happy to be on my own and didn’t even care about what I had left  behind. I kept walking on my own way and was happy to see the world with my own eyes. I saw helpless people standing on my way pleading for help, but I was too busy in my own world. To stop and help seemed a waste of time to me. Why should I hear their cry? They have their own destiny and after all, I am not responsible for everyone in this world.

I went on my own, fulfilling the desire of my heart. I never listened to anyone on my way, I was full of pride and somehow enjoyed it. Soon, I was successful and one success opened a door for another one. I became too busy with myself.

But I was not happy, despite the fact that I had achieved and gained much, I was empty inside. Why? I questioned myself. WHY?

Soon, I realized that I had no joy and peace. I was completely broken inside and had no courage to share my cry with others. I never listened to anyone, why should they listen to me now? I needed help but didn’t know who to ask.

I thought of going back to my home. Upon looking back, I realized that I was far from my own. I tried to find the footprints that would lead me home, but the time had erased them completely.

What should I do? In my anguish, I cried loud…I cried that someone will come to rescue me , and fill me with peace and joy..”O creator, where are you? Why am I dying in pain and anguish despite all worldly blessings? Am I destined to live this way. Soon my life will be over then what will happen to everything that I have achieved with hard work? Help me..Lord”.

After I had spoken to my creator, I felt a bit different. I had never felt that way in many years. I was wondering about what had happened to me that suddenly I heard someone knocking at my door. No one had visited me for years so I just ignored it. Then, I heard the knock again and again…Who is knocking at my door?  I reached out to open the door and saw someone standing there. He called me by my name and told me that he had come in answer to my cry.

I was surprised and asked the stranger, “How do you know me and know what I have been going through?.”  The stranger smiled and said, “I know you and also what you have been going through since I died for you. I fill you with my own peace and joy. This joy is mine. I give you what is mine and take what is yours. Walk in my joy.”

Suddenly, I felt that someone has taken away years of heaviness off my shoulders. I became a different person in a moment. I have received the joy of Jesus and this joy has become mine. No-one can take it away from me. THE JOY IS MINE.

I am making everything new

The one who sits on the throne says in Rev. 21:5, “I am making everything new.” But before the Lord said these words, there was a loud voice that came out of the throne of God saying, “Now the dwelling of God will be with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He 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.”

This follows that the old order of things has to pass away in order for the Lord to make everything new in our lives.

It is obvious from the above verses that the old order of things is resisting the new things that the Lord eagerly desires to bring to us. The new creation that the Lord is making for us can never be fully appreciated as long as we remain under the old order of mind and attitude. It is exactly what the Lord said in Matthew 9:17 “New wine is poured into new wineskin and both are preserved.”

Old order of things doesn’t go away by itself. We have to work hard with the power of the Holy Spirit that leads us into the absolute truth about the new things that God is making for us. We rejoice to see them coming on our way through our faith and this joy becomes our strength that enables us to work harder with the Holy Spirit in our pursuit to receive new things.

If we persist, we will see a change in the way we respond and react to the situations and circumstances. The one who used to cry out to the Lord in hard times “Why Lord, Why it is happening to me?” will be saying “Thank you Father, Let thy will be done.” The one who was praying “Lord take me out of this situation for its too hard for me.” will rejoice and say “Father I know that I am at this place according to your perfect will and plan. For you in your wisdom have decided already how long one is going to be at a certain place.”

These are the signs that the new order has started appearing into our lives, and is making a way for the new things to follow.

Now we are ready to receive the new things but there is something else God wants to do. God is creating for us new heaven and new earth.

New things don’t just need new attitude of our minds but they also need new ground that is created by the word of God. The Lord wants us to receive much more than what we could imagine, desire or work for. The Lord wants us to believe and see…not see and believe. We will receive according to the abundance of God if we give to the Lord our standing ground and heaven …

What are the things that support us and make us stand firm…is it money or education or skills or status or job title and great experience.

The Lord wants to replace our old earth and heaven with new ones. For, we will never be able to embrace the new things that the Lord will bring to us as long as we hold onto the old earth and look up to the old heaven.

Do you want the Lord to make everything new in your life? The Lord is more than willing to fulfill this desire but he will begin the process by taking away your present earth and heaven. The process will be painful as you will have to abandon your dependence upon the things that were supporting you all your life. But the end result will be far greater than the present suffering. The new earth and the new heaven have an added promise that they are created by the authority of the word of God and have their foundation on the chief cornerstone – “JESUS CHRIST – the  WORD that became flesh.”

“Father…Here we come, standing on the ground of your word and looking upto you.  For indeed in you we live and move and have our being.”