Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 March 2019 Matthew 4:1.

Matthew 4:1.    

Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

 

And then it was Friday, the beginning of the March break, so I can imagine that all the airports are full and running over with the amount of people just dying to get away from the lengthy spell of cold weather that’s recently held us in its iron grip! 

Yeh, wish I was one of those crowding the airport terminals too, but my day will come, so I’m not worried, and I know too that whatever the Lord allows to come against me, He will give me the grace and strength to face it victoriously! Glory to our great and wonderful and generous and merciful, forgiving and magnanimous God my people! 

Now we have lots to cover today, so let’s get on with it; let’s hear what the workingman has to say for himself today! And as always, he’s very vocal: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui; March break Friday and the children and them don’t have no school for a whole week. Steups! That means they underfoot all blooming week. Got to see if I can’t send them by their uncle up in the North Country for at least a few days. 

It would be good if I could take some time off and go somewhere with them, but the slave driver only give we holidays in the summer when he place shut down to retool…plus I don’t have enough money to carry all of us overseas to the warm climates right now anyway! So we’ll just have to make the best of a bad situation right here in cold Toronto…Hn, hn, hn! 

And ah talking as if that ever stop we before! We still going to eat and drink and party hearty this weekend. So bring it on! Let the fun and games begin, as we get into another free from work weekend! Thank God for Fridays and weekend yes! Don’t know what I would have done without them to break up the monotony and harsh reality of work nuh!’ 

Yeh friends, plenty of us believers also fall into the same category as the workingman, can’t get time off and don’t have enough money to take the family on a holiday to a warm place, but we too will manage, because we have the Holy Spirit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ indwelling us, and He gives us the wherewithal to withstand anything that comes against us! Glory to God!

So let’s chant our weekend song, our Friday Chant, with the same, if not more enthusiasm than the workingman did in his song, since we have plenty more to be thankful for. 

All together now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

That was good friends! We could feel that deep down in our souls and our God was happy to hear us rejoice and be thankful in our relationship with Him. (smile) Now let’s turn to our Bit, those stirring words that foreshadowed some of the awful stuff that our Saviour Christ Jesus suffered on our behalf. ‘Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ 

Ah mih people, I don’t think that any of us would have made it successfully through forty days and nights of fasting then serious temptation by the evil one himself. But Jesus did. Give Him the glory! And today we’ll look at the third major temptation. 

The Good Book says: ‘Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence (away with you), Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold angels came and ministered unto him.’ (Matt.4:8-11) 

Oh friends, the devil is very persistent, and we have to be very strong in our reproach and rebuke too. In this last temptation Jesus rebuked Satan with a combination of words from Deut.6:13, 10:20 and Josh.24:14.

We also need to know the proper scripture to rebuke the enemy when he comes a calling, which means we have to read and study and meditate on God’s Word. I can’t overstate the importance of knowing the Word to help us in ALL aspects of our lives! 

Now here is some pertinent info on the last temptation from the scholars. ‘4:8. The third temptation takes place on an exceeding high mountain. The mountain is clearly real in the text, though its exact location is unidentified. Despite the grandeur of the temptation, nothing in the passage itself indicates that these temptations were only in the mind of Christ.

Clearly, they are depicted as real experiences that actually occurred in the human life of the Messiah. That Satan, the usurper, would attempt to give the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, the Messiah, the rightful King, is the height of absurdity!’ 

Yeh friends, that’s how boldface Satan is, offering us stuff that already belongs to us! How boldface can some people get eh! And then this other offering from the scholars. ‘4:9-11. For Christ to fall down and worship Satan would have been to acknowledge the Devil’s lordship over Him. 

In His direct rebuke Get thee hence, Satan, Jesus clearly asserts His lordship over the old serpent whose head He will soon crush. Matthew’s statement that Satan leaveth him shows that his order of temptations is the chronological one. (cf. Luke 4:1-13).’ (Luke has the mountain temptation second and the temple pinnacle last). 

Well that brings us to the end of today’s Bit, but please, please remember my people, that though Jesus rebuked Satan and crushed him, the ole devil is still out there roaring a toothless roar; (smile) he’s all bark and no bite, and has no power to overcome us, unless we fall for his deception and allow him into our lives!

So this Lenten season, let’s get serious in our decision to get closer to God nuh, study His awesome Word and put it into practice in our lives! That’s wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…God gave us His Word… as a guidebook for our earthly lives…let’s be wise and use it nuh…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 March 2019 Matthew 4:1.

Matthew 4:1.   

Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
 
Yes mih people, it’s a brand new day, and it ‘s cold out there, but the sun’s shining and the ole fella didn’t want to get up this morning, but like the obedient soldier that he is, he forced himself to get up so he could get these precious words of godly wisdom out to you at a reasonable hour. 

Wow! That’s why they say b.s. baffles brains! (smile) But I guess I was just tired from my outing in the big city yesterday, which went quite well, as it ought to, since the Lord carried me there on His broad, strong shoulders and brought me back safe and sound. That’s what He promised, and that’s what He delivered! Yuh know He’s One to always keep His promises. 

And today, on this second day of Lent, we’ll continue to look at the temptations that Satan threw at Jesus in His hungry state in the wilderness during His forty days and nights of fasting. ‘Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ 

We saw yesterday where in the first major temptation Satan tried to get Jesus to make bread from stone to curb His hunger, but He came back with Old Testament scripture stating that man doesn’t live by bread alone but by God’s Word. (Matt.4:4; Deut.8:3) 

 Satan’s next attempt to get Jesus to sin was as the Good Book says: ‘Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ (Matt.4:5-6) 

What a crook and con artist is the devil eh! There he uses scripture incorrectly to tempt Jesus, and does the same thing to us nowadays, in his very deceitful manner. Friends, what we need to realize is that the devil knows scripture much better than us and thus can use it in deceitful ways to trap us. But we have to do like Jesus and stop him in his tracks with powerful statements like Jesus did: ‘Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt (test) the Lord thy God.’ (Matt.4:7) 

There Jesus retorted with scripture from Deut.6:16, where Moses reminded the Israelites: ‘Ye shall not tempt (test) the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.’  When they were ready to rebel and stone him and Aaron and go back to Egypt and the Lord was ready to destroy them but withheld His wrath on Moses’ plea. 

And the scholars offer an interesting explanation of those verses above. ‘4:5-7. The second temptation took place in the holy city (Jerusalem) on the pinnacle of the temple, which towered above the Kidron Valley. Evidently, Jesus was transported there by Satan’s power, and this time the devil quoted Scripture (out of context) in order to get Him to sin and ultimately shake His faith in the Word. 

Satan used Psalm 91:11-12 urging Jesus to cast thyself down. Again Jesus replied with Scripture (Deut.6:16) that he was not to tempt…God by such a presumptuous action. The very passage of scripture quoted by Satan actually goes on to promise God’s ultimate victory over him!’ 

And because I’m so sweet and LOVING and like to spoon-feed you all, (smile) I’ll quote the scriptures that the ole crook Satan used in his second temptation on Christ. ‘Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation (dwelling place); 

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear (lift) thee up in their hands, lest thou dash (strike) thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder (cobra): the young lion and the dragon (serpent) shalt thou trample underfoot.’ (Ps.91:9-13) 

Yes friends, that same serpent that the Lord promised us we should tread upon is the devil, Satan himself! So as I said earlier on, we have to be very careful when he comes to tempt us, because he knows his scripture and can use it in very deceitful ways to cause us to fall into all kinds of evil and temptation. 

The only way to cancel that out is for us to know our scripture too, so like Christ, when the con-man brings his deceitful scripture to us, we can blast him back like Jesus did! That means we have to keep on seriously and steadfastly studying and meditating on the word, so we can recall it at a moment’s notice, because oftimes we don’t have much time to make our decisions, and the sooner we can call up scriptures to help us, the better off we will be. 

Now let’s move on to this most wonderful part of Today’s Bit, where we declare (right ho) our Thursday Blessings. As one, in strong voice and sincere, heartfelt sense of purpose: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, just having any one of those blessings is sufficient, but our Lord and God is so generous and magnanimous that He lavished oh so much more on us! Wow!  What a wonderful God we serve and worship! But wait a minute here, don’t get too carried away, those blessings aren’t only for us to hoard and keep, but more importantly for us to share, and generously too like Him, with others less fortunate than us. So let’s go out and do just that now nuh and show our true Christian nature to the fullest! Much LOVE!

…to give.. is so much better than…to receive…it brings more joy to the heart and soul…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 March 2019 Matthew 4:1.

Matthew 4:1.   ​Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
 

Well friends, the ole fella is up much earlier than he would have liked, but that’s because I have to go into the city to check on this ole heart of mine, to keep the appointment I missed during the big snow storm last week. And since I don’t want leave you all bereft of spiritual succour for too long, (smile) I had to get up earlier to write the Bit and get out on time. Last week it was an afternoon appointment, so I had time to palaver, but this week it’s in the morning. That’s how much the ole fella cares about you! Glory to God! 

So what shall we talk about this Wednesday morning, this Ash Wednesday morning, when all the frivolities and sinfulness of Carnival finish eh? I don’t have a clue! (smile) Hope those of you who participated in the festivities, wherever in the world, had a good time and didn’t go too much overboard and thus give the enemy some ungodly purchase in your souls, because it’s very easy to do that when you let your hair down, as so many of us do, at Carnival time. 

But now it’s the season of Lent in the Christian calendar; forty days and forty nights, a reflection of Jesus forty days and nights in the wilderness before He began His ministry and was tempted by Satan, but stood strong in His resolve to do the Father’s work. It’s a time where we hopefully get more spiritual, contemplate the things of God more, get into Bible Studies and spend more serious time with God. 

It’s when fasting and praying and self-examination become a larger part of our lives. The popular action is to give up things we enjoy for Lent. I don’t know if it really makes a difference to most of us, who just do it because it’s the norm, but if it helps to bring us closer to God, then so be it. Now let’s look at what happened to Jesus in the wilderness and how He handled it all. 

The Good Book says: ‘Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ 

And the scholars have a long, involved explanation which I’ll share. ‘4:1. Following His public baptism, Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness referring to the elevation of the Judean wilderness. The historical setting of the temptation, which was directed against Jesus’ human nature, indicates that this was a literal experience, which He really conquered, not merely a mental victory over His own thoughts. 

That Jesus was tempted of the devil is clearly presented as a fact. The attack against Christ’s humanity was a genuine temptation that would have overcome any ordinary man. However, Jesus was no mere man. As the virgin-born God-man, His divine nature could not sin (cf. 1 Sam.15:29), and this held His human nature in check. Some have objected that the impeccability of Christ (that He was not able to sin) denies the reality of Satan’s temptation. 

Such an objection is meaningless when one remembers that Satan’s rebellion against God has already been defeated in Christ’s atonement, but his rebellion is nevertheless real, even though the outcome of God’s victory is certain. The same is true of the temptation of Christ. One may attack a battleship with a canoe. The outcome of the attack will be certain defeat for the canoe, but the attack is nonetheless real.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, Jesus was indeed tempted of the devil, but did not succumb to that temptation, as the Good Book tells us. ‘And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungered (hungry). And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ (Matt.4:2-4) 

Yes my people, that temptation was real, and Jesus was there quoting Moses’ words of Deut.8:3, where he reminded the Israelites how the Lord humbled them in the wilderness and made them eat manna so that they could know that He was God, and that bread was not the most important thing in their lives, but His Word. As the scholars put it: ‘The source of bread, is more important than the bread itself.’ Oh so true my fellow believers! 

Before we close today though, I want to share some more of the scholars’ insight into Jesus fasting. ‘4:2-3. Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, a remarkable feat of human endurance, indicating the physical strength of the former carpenter. While the three major tests followed this period, other tests evidently had occurred throughout the 40 days (Luke 4:2). 

His real physical hunger serves as the setting for the first temptation by the tempter (Satan). The conditional clause, If thou be the Son of God, indicates Matthew’s purpose for including this record of Jesus’ victory: it proves that He is, in fact, the Son of God.’ 

Yes friends, He was indeed the Son of God, and Satan knew this to be a fact, that’s why He tried to break down His hungry human nature with the temptation of bread, knowing that a great victory would be his if Jesus succumbed. But instead Jesus stood strong and steadfast and rebuked the enemy and won the victory! All praise and honour to our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Now friends, it’s our turn to stand strong and steadfast against the evil enemy! We don’t naturally have all the parts and power that Jesus had, but He’s faithfully promised that through His Holy Spirit, He will empower us to rebuke the tempter when He comes a calling in our earthly lives. And He’ll do just that if we sincerely turn to Him for help! 

Now let’s go home declaring (steups – wrong again) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus! Wailing as one now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! 

I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Ah mih people, it will indeed be so very wonderful in those future times, that our finite minds can’t even begin to comprehend it! Think on it, and let Jesus warm the cockles of our hearts this Ash Wednesday morning! Much LOVE!

…Lent…a time of personal introspection…and a closer look at the kingdom of God…