Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely , whatever is of good report, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, ponder on these things. - Philippians 4:8

Saturday, January 4, 2014


     Randy Smith always looked forward to the first Sunday of the new year especially the ones that came after a long deserved vacation. As he looked over the congregation, he couldn't but notice someone was missing. That someone was Harold Peterson. Seeing him missing gave Randy an uneasy feeling, a feeling that Harold was already showing signs that he hadn't changed.

     After the service he tried to catch up with the Bill or Martha but the left too quickly to be caught. Randy did, however, catch up with Barney. “Barney.” He called out, “I've just got to know, do you know how Harold is doing?” “Yes and no.” Barney answered. “Huh?” Randy said with puzzle look on his face. “Yes, I know how Harold is doing and no, I don’t know how he is doing.” Barney started to explain. But he made no sense to Randy who said so.

     “The last time I talked to Harold,” Barney continued to explain, “He was making some big plans on how he would stay out of trouble.” “That sounds promising.” Randy injected, “But how can you not know how he is doing?” “Nobody has seen him for over a week.” Barbey went on to say. “What?!” Randy exclaimed, “He's disappeared again?” “Sort of.” Barney shrugged.

     “What do you mean sort of?” Randy asked, “Either he’s disappeared or he hasn’t.” “Well,” Barney said, “It's like this. Harold was planning on leaving town for a while. And as I know he was telling everybody he was leaving. The whole town wants to throw he a get out of town party.” Where was he planning on going?” Randy asked. “To the monastery.” Barney answered.

     “The What?!” Randy shouted out in shock getting the attention of everybody left in the sanctuary. “The monastery.” Barney whispered. “But why” Randy asked. “Why is he going there?” “He was thinking that if he locked himself in a room at the monastery he would never get in trouble again.” Barney said. “That's interesting.” Randy said, “But I'm not sure it will work.”

     “How could it go wrong?” Barney asked, “I thought it was a good idea.” “trouble starts from within.” Randy started to explain. “You mean if he locks himself in a room trouble will start?” Barney asked. “No.” Randy said shaking his head. “Then it will work!” Barney exclaimed. “Has it ever worked before?” Randy asked. “Well,” Barney said bowing his head, “No, not really.”

     “All the trouble that Harold gets into starts in his own mind doesn’t it?” Randy asked pointing Barney toward to the real reason. “Well,” Barney replied, “I guess I’d have to agree with you there.” And unless I'm mistaken,” Randy continued, “He is going to take his mind with him.” After thinking about it Barney finally said “At least he won’t be bothering us, and besides, maybe he will learn something from all those bald guys.” “Bald Guys!” Randy shouted out and Barney ran off.

     Jesus had just been Baptized but He wasn't ready to start the job God sent Him to do. He needed to go through a time of preparation, that preparation came in a strange way.

     And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.' " And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, " 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.' " And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, " 'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' and " 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.' " And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' " And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Luke 4:1-13 (ESV)

     Jesus was led for 40 days, ate nothing and was tempted. Being alone did not stop temptation from coming. Three temptations are named
  • Turn rocks to Bread – Would He trust God to provide?
  • Worship Devil – Did He want it all the easy way?
  • Jump down – They would know Him for certain.
     Devil lost – retreated and waited.

     First things first – Jesus battled temptation with scripture. What does scripture say about temptation? It says...
  • Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. James 1:13 (ESV)
  • But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. James 1:14 (ESV)
  • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
  • For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 (ESV)
  • For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
  • Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41 (ESV)
     Locking ones self away won't keep temptation from coming because we can't hide ourselves from Satan nor can we hide ourselves from ourselves. We can stay away from things though that may encourage us to be tempted or give in. What will you do?

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the things that tempt you?
  • What are the ways that you handle temptation?

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