Tuesday, 5 November 2019
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Your guard easily drops when you are hungry or tired!
Notice that Satan did not start his temptation of Jesus on Jesus’ first day in the wilderness. No, he waited until Jesus had been fasting for forty days and was hungry. “He was hungry. And the tempter came….”
If you’re fasting for the purpose of prayer and time with God, that’s one thing. But if you’re simply hungry or tired, you are in the danger zone spiritually. It is in those times that our guard drops and Satan seizes his opportunity to tempt us.
If we are going to stand strong, there are some practical precautions we can take. Something as simple as caring for our body’s needs can keep us alert and can help us avoid having the devil sneak up on us.
One of the most spiritual things you can do in some circumstances is to take a nap or eat something!
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.”
Anger leaves us wide open to temptation and to Satan’s attacks on our spiritual life!
It’s true, isn’t it? When anger comes in one door, our spiritual life goes out the other. Satan is not a simpleton. The Bible describes him as a schemer who has specific methods of attack. The great thing is that “we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11). We know that he knows that we are vulnerable when we are angry.
So if we want to stay out of the sin-zone, we need to learn to control our anger. The best way to do this is to deal with frustration before it ever turns to anger. In your frustrating circumstances, God wants you to have faith and remember that he is in control and he’ll use even these circumstances to mature you spiritually if you’ll trust in him through them.
When you are dealing with a frustrating person, try to have a ministry mindset and remember that something is bothering them inside which is making them that way. Are they stressed, hurt, grieving, depressed? Think about how to help them turn to Christ to find healing inside. A ministry mindset will melt your anger toward that person, so you don’t explode with fiery words that will wound not just their heart, but yours and God’s.
Thursday, 7 November 2019
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
Build friendships that will help you live a godly life!
We were made for relationships. We need one another. It is a terrible mistake to try and face temptation and grow spiritually without the support, encouragement and accountability of spiritually-minded people around us. As AW Tozer put it, “God knows nothing of solitary Christianity”. Or as our passage says, “It is not good that the man should be alone”.
We need to be building meaningful relationships in two directions. On the one hand, we need to be spending time with people who do not have God in their lives so we can be walking with them towards Christ. But our spiritual lives will always be in danger of falling into temptation if we’re not also building spiritual relationships with people who love the Lord.
If you want to stand firm in your spiritual life, beware of lonely moments. Loneliness leaves you open to temptation. Rather, work hard at your spiritual relationships. Talk to your Christian friends about taking your relationship to the next level.
Pray together and hold one another accountable for your responses to temptation and for your responses to God’s purposes in your life. Discuss what God is teaching you. Listen and learn. You won’t be sorry!
Friday, 8 November 2019
“Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Tiredness makes you spiritually vulnerable!
Rest is an important part of God’s plan for your life. He knows that you get tired. He made you in such a way that you need to stop and have times of rest and worship. God’s remedy for stress was to give us one day in seven as a special day of rest.
So important was this day of rest that God included it as one of the Ten Commandments. Our passage today comes from these ten great commands.
The devil will seize any opportunity to tempt us, and one of his best times is when we are tired. God loves you deeply and wants you to take time each week to rest and focus on him. Making these regular rest periods a priority will recharge and refresh you. You’ll find it’s good for you both physically and spiritually.
Saturday, 9 November 2019
1 John 5:14-15
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Get your prayers in line with God’s purposes and watch him work in response!
In actual fact, this kind of praying means that our prayers are actually the response to what God is showing us of his will in the things we are praying about. These verses tell us that “if we ask anything according to his will”, the answer is guaranteed. If that is the case, then what is the most important thing about prayer? Discerning the will of God!
This means that when we are bringing issues to God, we should not start our prayers immediately with what we want God to do, but rather should spend time on our knees with our Bibles open in front of us talking with God about the issues concerning us and asking him to show us what he is doing in our own hearts and in the lives of the people involved.
When you begin to discern what God is up to, then you can pray with absolute confidence about things.
Sunday, 10 November 2019
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’”
Learn to make your prayers specific!
Jesus didn’t give us this prayer to memorise and recite, but rather as a model, a pattern to follow. In this pattern he taught us to pray very specifically about our daily needs. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Think about the issues of your life, of your day today. What is on your heart for God to get involved in? When you only pray generally about God’s activity in your life, it is hard to notice what he has done. Pray very specifically about these things on your heart. And then at the end of the day look back at what you prayed about and recognise God’s involvement. Give him the honour and praise for what he has done.
Monday, 11 November 2019
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
The world’s way of thinking is upside down!
The world says, “Blessed are the confident and capable”; Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. The world says, “Blessed are the happy”; Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn”. The world says, “Blessed are those who push to the top”; Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek”. The world says, “Blessed are those who pursue physical pleasure any way they can get it”; Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. The world says, “Blessed are those who get back at those who have wronged them”; Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful”. The world says, “Blessed is the person who gets away with deception”; Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart”. The world says, “Blessed is the person who gets his own way”; Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers”.
What about your thinking? Is it more like the world or like Jesus?
Monday, 4 November 2019
1 Peter 5:8-9
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Be on the alert!
When you are watching a military movie and the command comes over the loudspeakers to the soldiers, “Alert! Alert!”, everyone springs into action. They know that the enemy is near and they need to be watching for any attack, ready to respond.
Likewise, the Lord wants you to be alert — to recognise that you have a spiritual enemy who would love to weaken your faith and destroy your spiritual vitality. He may do it through attracting you with worldly things, or distracting you with hobbies or activities, or shaming you with ridicule, or any other of his tactics.
Don’t let your spiritual guard down. If things are going well, then deepen your relationship with God, look for ways to speak about him to people around you, make your life count. If things are going badly, your enemy will be trying to take advantage of that and make you discontent or resentful toward God.
“Resist him”, and keep trusting God. Praise God’s goodness in the middle of your battle. You will come through that experience a seasoned spiritual soldier with a much more mature faith.