Tag Archives: Jesus

:) Jesus Faced Temptation

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

Scripture tells us that after his baptism, Jesus was led out into the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan.  This is the story we are looking at today. I chose the version of this story from Luke 4:1-14, NIV (New International Version).

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]

9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. –

  • — Luke 4:1-13 NIV (New International Version)
    • Access: from Bible Gateway.com

We all find ourselves in a spiritual wilderness at times when we are forced to answer the hard questions.  Do we trust God to provide for us? Do we worship the gods of this world, money and power or do we worship God?  Do we sometimes test God because we do not trust his provision?

I must confess that I do not always pass these tests when presented to me in my life. I worry about lack, not having enough to survive.  I sometimes find myself starting to get sucked into the worldly quest for money and power.

That is why it is so important for us to read the Gospels.  To once again hear the words of Jesus because we all know that as in this story, and in our lives today, temptation doesn’t go away because we resist it once. It will wait “until an opportune time” and try again.

So as we look at the life and words of Jesus who came to be the great example not the great exception we are each called to turn within and ask ourselves those hard questions.  Who or what do I trust? Who or what do I serve? God? Or the wealth, power or political, social and religious leaders of this world?

 

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Question to Ponder

In what ways are you tempted by wealth and power?

:) The Life and Teachings of Jesus

Here we are again at the beginning of the month of  December when we celebrate “Christmas.”  Are you one of the people who dread this time of year and just wish it would be over?  Do you feel like you are going through the motions of the season because you don’t want to let your family down or that you wouldn’t be a “good Christian” if you didn’t?  Are you tired of the great festival of greed and excess the holidays have become?   Have you noticed that instead of bringing us together, the divisions that separate us seem to grow even deeper during this season?  So what do we do?

Well I have a suggestion.  Let’s realize that the busyness and excess surrounding the holiday called “Christmas” are not part of the Christmas story or the message of Jesus.  Let’s take the myths and fables out of our celebrations.  And finally, let’s stop worshiping the baby in the manger and start following the life and teachings of Jesus, the way shower and master teacher.

This month we are going to be looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to the lives of his followers in the world today.  My personal preference of translation of the Bible for my personal study is the King James version because I love the language, but I have chosen to use the New International Version (NIV) for this series because it is easier to read.

Each day’s post will end with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the lesson, by considering a question or questions.  I encourage you to think about these, live with them for a while.  Journal about them or post your thoughts to the comments. Please get active in this discussion, we really want everyone to gain a real understanding of what it is we are celebrating during this holiday season.

Yes, this may be challenging, but it will be life-changing if you allow it.  Please join us in this great adventure into the life of Jesus.

———-

Dig a Little Deeper:

During the month of December Christians celebrate light and Jesus. 

Why? 

How do our celebrations reflect the light and life of Jesus?

 

You are the Light of the World

The words of Jesus from what is known as The Sermon on the Mount — Matthew  5:14-16 (NIV)  From Bible Gateway

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

How do we Stop the Violence?

Image Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

This is a question on most of our hearts right now, isn’t it?  So how do we stop the violence?

To stop the violence we have to stop being violent.  Please don’t  leave yet, hang in here with me and let me explain.

When we look at the violence in the world, both close to home and far away we see a huge overwhelming problem with what appears to be no solution.  As long as we look at gun violence in this way there will be no solution.  Violence begins and ends in the heart of each and every individual and peace really does begin with each of us as well.

So where do we begin?

  • We begin by putting down our guns.  How many people carry guns for “protection”?  I know the arguments for this, no one has to tell me.  But who will protect our friends, family and neighbors if out of fear we fire a weapon and kill an innocent person?  Or it falls into the hands of a curious child or angry teenager?
  • We must learn to start acting out of love instead of reacting out of fear.
  • We stop glorifying violence and war.
  • For Christians it’s time to get out the Bible and look at what it really says about violence.  Do you really want to see God through the eyes of fear as portrayed in the Old Testament or through the eyes of love as shown to us by the Master Teacher Jesus.   Perhaps it’s time to stop being “soldiers of the cross” and start living the life of love he came to show us.
  • Spiritual warfare isn’t really fought with guns, bombs, swords, etc.  It is fought in the hearts and minds of each of us as we struggle with who will control us — love or fear.
  • Start watching for the many ways violence creeps into our daily lives through media, contemporary culture and even our words.
  • Before you can change the world you have to change yourself.  Find that place of peace within yourself.  Start acting from that sill, calm center.  Watch as it changes the way you deal with the world.  Watch the ripples of change that begin from the change within you.
  • This is a time when we must be in prayer, but we must remember our thoughts and our lives are prayers every minute of every day.  This is how we “pray without ceasing”. Instead of praying to God to stop the violence and being overwhelmed that is does not stop, perhaps it is time to look at ourselves and what we are bringing into the world..

Oh I am not being naive here.  I know changing people is never easy, but we don’t have to change everyone.  The only one i have to change is me.  The only one you have to change is you.  It has to start somewhere.

May our prayer in these turbulent times be let peace begin with me.  Practice peace.  Live peace.  Be peace.  — And so it is.

 

We are the Light of the World

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14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  — Matthew 5:14-16 The Bible, New International Version 

The term “light of the world” is often associated with Jesus, especially during the Advent/Christmas season.  But in the above scripture passage from what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that WE are the light of the world.  In these turbulent times it can be difficult and even frightening to let our light shine.  But shine we must.  We must live the truth, even though those who are still blind to it may ridicule or even threaten us.

I am the light of the world.  YOU are the light of the world.  WE are the light of the world.  Now go forth and shine!

And That Ain’t Your Sweet Little Baptist Jesus

The above was a favorite saying of John S. Reist Jr. Ph.D, , my theology professor from my seminary days.

When Jesus was asked to read the scripture in the synagogue he ended the reading from Isaiah with the words, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:21 RSV  So what was fulfilled?

‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

–  Luke 18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2  RSV

Throughout his life and earthly ministry Jesus tried to teach us how to live, to be our example.  But somehow we totally missed the point.  Some churches even downplay these messages by saying that Jesus was God so it is impossible for us to live as he lived.  No, we must simply say we have “accepted Jesus as our Savior” all our sins will be forgiven then we go back to living the way we want.  We totally ignore the message and worship the messenger.

Jesus was rejected as the Messiah because he was not the political, military leader that was expected to save the Jews and vanquish the tyranny of Rome.  Aren’t we still looking for such a leader?  Doesn’t the recent election in the U.S. show this?  We were created to live in communion with God, but humanity wanted more.  Demanded more.  Over the centuries we have demanded, laws, judges, kings, even presidents.  Earthly leaders to tell us what to do and how to live.  We have forgotten that the law of God is written on our hearts.  We also have the life and teachings of Jesus, the Master Teacher to help show us how to live in this earthly realm.

So this December instead of celebrating the birth of a baby, let’s live the life the teacher taught us to live.  Shine your light for all to see.  Don’t get caught up in the drama created every year by people who want to tell everyone else what and how to celebrate.  This year when someone gives you a holiday greeting you don’t like, instead of getting angry, how about responding with Peace be with You?  We all need peace in our lives and in the world don’t we?