Full

Oh, to be full!

That anticipated satisfying of an empty stomach. Contentment after insatiable hunger. Is it but a glimpse of all we will be encompassed by in heaven? There is a constant, fleshly battle to fill and satisfy each and every need and longing. What or who do we seek to find such contentment? And does it last or are we frequently revisiting our source to refill?

I am completely satisfied by His filling. I am comforted by His Holy Spirit residing within my vessel. Yet, He causes me to hunger. He sees my need to be better, more sanctified, more holy, and He allows me to bend, stretch, and sometimes break. His Hands make me better, placing all the pieces I have scattered back together where they belong. He even adds new pieces that I didn’t have before. When He does this I glimpse fleeting fullness and hunger for more. Over and over again, I long to be full of Him. I often long to be full of Him the way my 5-year-old is full of Him. Unabashed, pure, tangible, unapologetic love for Jesus. The kind of love that overrides acceptable social norms. The kind of love that comes out at just the right moment, like in the silence right before a prayer at a big family gathering for Thanksgiving dinner…..

As heads bow, eyes close and breath is stilled awaiting the spoken prayer, a 5-year-olds’ voice rings out, pure as golden honey from a hive, “Nana, come here.” Everyone seated around the table focuses their attention, watching with anticipation. What will be said to Nana? She makes her way around the crowded table.

Now you must know Nana to understand the question she is about to receive. Nana is sweet, kind, ever-patient, playful and adventurous. Alongside any one of her many grandsons (because she has not a single granddaughter), she is often known as the dread pirate Nana wearing an eye patch and weaving a sword (a paper towel roll), taking over a ship on the high seas (the fluffy white comforter of her bed), full of treasures (throw pillows). Or some days you may glimpse sheriff Nana topped in her suede cowboy hat and handkerchief covering her face only to see her squinted eyes as she rides her trusty steed (broom), and wrangles bank robbers with lassoes (blankets), in the dusty Wild West (her family room). She is forever beloved in the hearts of her grandsons. However, there is but one fault in one particular grandsons’ eyes: “Nana must be in heaven with me one day,” he prays each night before bed. She does not claim Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Let us refocus our attention on the moment of silence before the prayer at Thanksgiving dinner. With anticipation, elbow to elbow, the crowded table looks on as Nana makes her way over to him. And her grandson says, “come here” motioning as if he will whisper something in her ear. Then he says in “5 year-old-kid-whisper” (which is really normal voice in case you are unfamiliar), “Nana, do you know Jesus?”

A split-second of sheer terror flashed across Nana’s face as the on-lookers’ silence turned to uncomfortable shifting in chairs and unsettled clearing of throats. “Well yes, honey,” she reassured him. Her grandson’s mind eased as he asked to say the prayer, “Thank You Jesus for Nana. Help her to come to heaven with us.” Shortly thereafter as tradition calls for, each one around the table mentions what they are thankful for. That particular grandson simply says, “Nana.”

In his heart, my son found a fullness believing his Nana loved Jesus and would be in heaven with him. At the same moment, Nana felt an emptiness, maybe a longing to be full, as revealed gently by The Shepherd, using one of His precious lambs to do the work.

COST

What did I cost? Jesus. I cost the death of Jesus, God’s only Son on a rugged, wooden cross. I wonder how the conversation went.. (all my own speculation), God: The ones We love are not worthy. I cannot look on them. Jesus: They need me. The good Shepherd. They need my blood to cover them so You, Father, will see Me when You look at them. God: The time has come. I love You My Son. Go and bring them to Yourself. Pour out Your blood to bridge the way. I AM with You My Son. Be like them so they have a Savior they can touch. A Savior that understands them and loves them in their sin drawing them back to Me.

In the Meantime, O God

O God, You have allowed me to glimpse redemption.
In the meantime, to You I give my full attention.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7-10‬ ‭NKJV‬

O God, how my heart yearns for more.
In the meantime, mind, body and soul, to You I implore.
“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, His name is Jesus, and only He could make the way.
In the meantime, recalcitrant heart be still, and always stay.
“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24-26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, how long must I wait outside of heaven?
In the meantime, shadows abound as I peer toward the heavens.
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:25-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, You know the minutes of my life.
In the meantime, You course through my veins, tempering my worldly blithe.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:35-36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, please look on me as I wave the white flag.
In the meantime, Firm Foundation You are, alone, I am only quag.
“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:47-49‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, establish Your purposes through me.
In the meantime, expand my heart, abundantly.
“I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:32-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, You breathe into me every breath that I take.
In the meantime, each breath is a gift, I will not forsake.
“You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; May the LORD rejoice in His works.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭104:29-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel‬ ‭37:5-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, steadfastly attach me to Your side.
In the meantime, in Your safety, I will hide.
“You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God! Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, and I shall observe Your statutes continually.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:114-117‬ ‭NKJV
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings,”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭17:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, help me in the days this world is too much to embrace.
In the meantime, I look to You, when in fear I turn my face.
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, They see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:23-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, absorb me into You.
In the meantime, forever, make me true.
“Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, that I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭106:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

O God, in the meantime. In the meantime, O God.
“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Young and Older

I had eyes
But I couldn’t see
I had a mouth
But I didn’t speak
I had ears
But I didn’t hear
I had a heart
But it didn’t beat for You
I had hands
But they served You not
I had feet
But I walked away
I had a soul
But I starved it

I had innocence
I had love
I was Your child
But lost at sea
Tossing about
You picked me up
Set me on solid ground
Now I am older

I have eyes
I choose to see
I have a mouth
I choose to speak
I have ears
I choose to hear
I have a heart
Every beat is Yours
I have hands
To serve You
I have feet
To run to You
I have a soul
It feeds on You
I have healing
I have love

Your lost child I was
Wayward no more
You have settled my score
Never ceasing, calling me to Yourself
I surrender, I obey
Draw me to You
Make me what You may
Grateful I am
Loved by You
Help me to be always true
As I am loved by You

“For I know that the LORD is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases He does,
In heaven and in earth,
In the seas and in all deep places.
He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.

Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
Your face, O LORD, throughout all generations.
For the LORD will judge His people,
And He will have compassion on His servants.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.”

Psalms 135:5-7, 13-18 NKJV

Miscarriage

Reaching my arms up, hands open wide.

Thy will be done, the pain surges inside.

The depths of my sorrow, black as the blackest night.

My baby never to breath, now all is dark that once was light.

The pain, it seeps through my skin.

From the once beating heart, still lying deep within.

I open my mouth, I want to scream.

Nothing comes out, am I unclean?

Emptied out I am, emptied out I am.

The life-filled womb, now my baby’s tomb.

God how can this be? The same place You gave life, also holds death.

Beauty and bitterness, delight and despair.

I am raw with sadness, my soul pours without a care.

A new love eternal, I did not know before.

Lord, You introduced us, what once wasn’t there, now is forevermore.

I’m still alive, although it is painful to breath.

My aching chest still rises and falls, my heart breaks as I grieve.

The pain of life separating from me, God You know it well.

You sent Your Son willingly. Defeating death, He broke the bonds of hell.

While I think of my baby, Your Son thinks of me.

Lord, You never sleep, You always are with me.

You always are with me, You always are with me.

Boxes

Putting emotions and life into boxes is my attempt at controlling what feels out of control. This expresses a huge lack of trust in my Maker. In contrast, feeling everything is like a trust fall with the Lord. I am overwhelmed, vulnerable, anxious, scared, questioning everything and miserable until I fall into His mightily loving arms. Then He tells me, “This is just the beginning. I want to do so much more for you in the life I have given you here. Stay in My arms. Trust Me. I love you and I want you close to Me.” God is amazing! After I decide to stay in His arms (after measuring the risks of losing total control), the journey begins. It is difficult because God begins touching the wounded parts of my life. As He does this I have to revisit each of these places one by one. But it is necessary so that instead of being there alone, I can choose to be there with my Healer, inviting Him into my brokenness and pain. As we walk together, arm in arm, life’s ever-ticking time unfolds into day after day, season after season. He repeatedly reassures me. New circumstances happen, both good and bad, and I get better and better at being there with God instead of alone. As the journey continues, I am exposing honestly sins I’ve committed (and sins committed against me), surrendering and repenting. All the while, He is accepting me, loving me in my weaknesses and healing the wounds. Tenderly, He gives me joy, showing me my value, as He renames and reclaims each dreaded place in my life. The slow bleed begins to stop. Broken becomes beloved; stubborn becomes surrender; pride becomes prayer; fear becomes faith; kidnapped becomes rescued; raped becomes redeemed; alone becomes with God. He is thoughtfully, intentionally, lovingly caring for me, healing me and transforming me into the child He designed me to be; and revealing more and more of Himself along the way. He is training me to turn “strength to get through” into “surrender to overcome” done only through Him. As He allows me to overcome, He rightly gets all the glory and I cannot help but want to share all the wondrous things He has done for me. I do not have to just get through anymore, I can overcome, finding unspeakable joy and hope; His arms all tangled up with mine. This is my ever-growing, deeply mutual relationship with my Redeemer. My eyes are reflecting Him, reflecting me. In other words, my eyes are on My Savior and my Savior’s eyes are on me.

…After all of this, how could I ever go back to boxes?

Breaking Through… Again

John 1:12 NKJV says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:”.

Matthew 18:12-13 NKJV says, “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”

Many of my frustrations today are brought on by my hearts delay, for years, to follow Christ wholly. When Jesus introduced Himself to me at 5 years old, I loved Him and longed to know Him more. My child-like faith drew me near to Him, established my name in His Book of Life and allowed me to experience the unspeakable joy He freely gives. As I grew, the sound of His voice became faint. And one day, I decided to take control of life myself. The rebellion from my youth spilled over into young adulthood. A long road to recovery after being kidnapped and raped at 21 years old piled on guilt from unhealthy choices as I tried to pick up the shambles of my life. After a failed suicide attempt, I sought the quickest way to find comfort. Through desperate attempts to dull the pain, I numbed myself with alcohol and drugs, delaying my recovery. Addiction and excuses and justifying my bad choices all delayed my being useful for God. Slowly I began to hear His voice again. He reminded me repeatedly of His love for me. He told me He never left me. He was with me through it all. Slowly He has brought me out of darkness and into His light. Slowly He has transformed my heart and life blessing me abundantly through His love. I have surrendered to His plans for my life, rather than fighting through it on my own. I rely on His love for my daily existence.

Now that my love for Him has grown, the joy of Christ compels me to be useful for Him. How easy it is to become self-focused and define my own idea of usefulness to Him. Instead, it is crucial that I wait and pray for a teachable heart. Life-long training is required. A posture of prayerful hesitation giving God full control is necessary. He is my compass and will connect my foot to the placement He has designed for my life. I want His plan to unfold for I know my own leads to chaos and destruction. How can I slow the beat of my heart and align with Jesus? This waiting season is pressing me hard on every side, squeezing the wine from the press. Lord, please help the taste to be sweet and satisfying to Your lips and not bitter.

Father God, in the many unknowns of my days, help me to wait well. Open my eyes and my heart to what You are teaching me right now. Help my stride to align with Yours. Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit teach me. Mold me into what You want me to be for Your glory. Remove my selfish desires. Remove my self-doubts because they lead to self-focus. Realign me daily to You. Help me to trust You. Continue to search my heart and restore places I have lost or left for dead. Flood Your light in the places I have abandoned in times of overwhelming sorrow and disgust. Continue Your healing as I wait. As I long for eternal healing comfort me. My God. Amen.

Isaiah 42:16 NIV says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will lead them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit

Luke 4:31-37 NIV says, “Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.”

John MacArthur’s teaching on this passage in the Grace to You app, reminds us that salvation delivers us from the world of darkness into the light of God. That Satan has nothing in a child of God and that there is no such thing as a demon possessed Christian. Christians have been delivered from Satan’s world. MacArthur reminds us that we as Christians do not tremble in front of demons but that they tremble in front of us; not because of who we are, but because of Christ in us. As sinners living in this world, Christians can however be influenced by Satan and his demons. MacArthur distinguishes between “being influenced” and “being possessed” by demons which seems very rare.

As an imperfect Christian living on this earth I am a sinner. Seeing as all sinners are influenced by Satan in one way or another, this is what I will concern myself with. 1 John 3:8 NIV says, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

1 John 3:5-6 is our hope. It says (NIV), “But you know that he (JESUS) appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

As my relationship with Jesus grows, I am more and more devastated with the offenses I commit against Him. My growing relationship with Christ, the wonders of who Jesus is, and the unfolding understanding of what He has done for me, compels me to attempt living as sinless as possible. 2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” I am compelled by the love Christ has shown me.

My little understanding and attempted good intentions do not aid in my overcoming of sin and death. I could never pay the price of my sins or overcome death. Jesus is the only One who has taken my sins, past, present and future, away and given me life. When Jesus died on the cross at Golgotha, long before I was born, He knew my complete life story. He knew my internal sins and every external sin I am affected by, and He died paying the price for my sin-stained life. He thought of me and He loved me the day His blood ran down. Jesus’ blood covers over me washing my sins away and making me acceptable in God’s sight. When I die, I will meet God in the day of His judgement of my life and He will look upon me and say, “Welcome child. Your debt has been paid by the blood of My Son”. This is how I live knowing my sinful human nature. This is my hope and endurance to keep going even when I realize I have been influenced by Satan’s destructive world. God’s mercy and patience allows me to learn and grow as I sin and am encountered by sin. As Christians, we must never give up. We must not get discouraged and live our daily lives in the condemnation of Satan’s influence on sinners in this world. We are not condemned by Satan. As God’s people, we live. We are of a different kingdom. An eternal kingdom. Life eternal with God, heirs with Christ. Romans 8:16-17 NKJV says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

Because Christ is in us, we can live free from sin’s grip on our lives. However, because of our sinful human nature and the sins of those around us, we are still susceptible to sin. So. What can we do? God gives us instruction in His word. Philippians 4:6-7 and 13 NJKV says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–“.

Redemption and healing begin on this side of Heaven!

Psalm 111:9 says, “He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.”

My most gracious Heavenly Father has cared for me through my sin, the sin of the world that affects me, and physical and emotional scars rendered by myself or others. He reveals more and more of who He is as He lovingly directs my path and cares for me.

I’ve been sick lately. Sick in my colon. Beginning at age 35 I had pre-cancerous polyps removed. I began to wonder if cancer was among God’s final providence for my life on earth. Imagining my husband and son without me here to care for them was devastating. God reminded me that I am not my own. My husband and son are not my own. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” These scriptures helped me surrender this turbulent time of fear of the unknown. I was able to release the death grip and place my life back into His trusted hands.

As the years go by, He walks with me on this winding path. I do not know what is around the next bend, but I prepare as much as I can with the knowledge that He has given me. I practice self-control to keep my eating habits clean. One by one, precancerous polyps continue to be removed. The internal scars are multiplying. The invasive colonoscopy procedure is difficult for me because of my past rape experience. In the wilderness of my heart, I press into Jesus. Only He is with me in this place. Only He can heal me completely. Only He can translate my unspeakable feelings. Only He can cover me in His blood and make me acceptable to God. Only He can bring me unspeakable joy. Only He collects each one of my tears because they are precious to Him. Only He can sit at the right hand of God and pray on my behalf. Only He can give me power over the effects of sin. Only He can claim me as His own. Only He has power over flesh. Only He gives life. Only He allows death. Only He knows the number of my days on this mortal earth. Only He can relieve my troubles. Only He can bring me home. Only He. Only He. Only He.

Psalm 56:3-4, 8 NKJV says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”, “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”

My Father in Heaven reminded me once again, that my existence is by His grace alone and that He is the only One who has saved me from eternal death.

Titus 2:11-14 NIV says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

I am an eternal resident elsewhere. I can try to gain temporary comfort in this life, but it is just that, temporary. My efforts on this earth have an eternal weight if I first remember who I am in Christ and then wait on God to lead me. I must acknowledge that I belong to Him at every turn along the way. I must slow down and deny my own desires before I can hear His voice and know His plan for me. It is important that I refrain from my natural inclinations on a regular basis. I need to be hanging on more and more tightly to God’s plan and less and less onto my own. When I find myself in uncomfortable, trying times it is especially important for me to lean into His plan. God bestows peace through the storms.

Mark 4:39 NKJV says, “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

Isaiah 25:8 NKJV says, “He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.”

Jeremiah 33:6 NKJV says, “Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.”

Hebrews 11:13-16 NKJV says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He had prepared a city for them.”

Luke 4:1-13 Satan Tempts Jesus

Satan. His character is flawed. He wants to be God. He is so full of himself that he believes he deserves to be worshipped like God. He is a murderer. He is a liar. A cheat. Deceitful and self-serving. He lures with beautiful worldly enticements and creates his own conditions drawing us into sin. Satan is a master manipulator. He spends time getting to know what we value and what we are willing to trade to get what we want. He knows what our weaknesses are and uses them against us. Satan enjoys kicking us when we are down. He reminds us of our human condition and holds us hostage to ourselves. We eventually beat ourselves up. He reminds us of our failures. He convinces us that we are doomed just like him. He wants us to lose our eternal perspective. To be hopeless. To be separated from God. We begin to think selfishly. We may begin to measure ourselves based on the adulation of others. We lie, cheat, live for now. We become self-serving and lose sight of who we were made to be. Children of God.

This is exactly what Satan tries to stir up in the minds of those that love Jesus. Satan wants us to believe we are like him. He laughs as people fall prey to his trifle deceits. His goal is to destroy relationships with God. Misery loves company. Satan knows how the story ends. As indicated in the text, he knows the scriptures very well. He wants to bring as many of us with him as he can. Jesus knows firsthand how we feel when Satan tries to disrupt our lives with temptation. In Luke 4, Jesus conquers Satan as he tries desperately to come between Him and God to ruin their relationship and save himself from eternal punishment. In verse 8 Jesus says, “Get behind Me, Satan!” I notice two things here. First, Jesus’ pronoun for himself is a capitalized “Me”. This is because He is the great I AM. Exodus 3:14 NKJV says, “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He is consistent forever. He is eternally God. The Beginning and The End. He alone has everlasting, almighty power. Only He can give and only He can take away. In Luke, we must not forget that the person of Jesus is a member of the Trinity, the Son of God. Even though He can be tempted as a man, He has no capacity to sin. The audacity of Satan in these scriptures makes me uneasy. His disregard for who Jesus is, is frightening. Secondly, I notice the exclamation mark. Jesus is not asking Satan, “Hey will you please leave me alone?” He is commanding him “Get behind Me, Satan!”. This is an example to me of the confidence we should have as children of God. We are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and can have authority over temptation too. We are not like Satan. The very day we chose Christ (because He first chose us), we were given the Truth (Jesus) that sets us free. As His children, we now must take our stand and ready ourselves to combat temptation. We must remember who we are and who God made us to be. God teaches us how to prepare.

Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

1 Thessalonians 1:5 NKJV says, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.”

Acts 1:8 NKJV says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Romans 8 NKJV says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.