Jesus Christ spent forty days in the desert. As we know from the story, he was tempted greatly there by Satan. How did Jesus respond? He spoke the Word of God. Each time Satan tried to lure Jesus into sin, Jesus responded by verbally quoting the Scriptures. Satan eventually gave up.
This is the model that Jesus has illustrated for us.
When we are tempted we can respond by quoting the Word of God. However, in order to do that successfully, we have to know the Word. Bible verses should be memorized that we can quote on a dime. Spending time reading the Bible every day is vital to our success.
How can we show our love and appreciation for God?
For starters, we must spend time with Him daily by immersing ourselves in His Word. Reading the Bible daily has many benefits; one of which is to understand God’s instructions for our lives. If we don’t read it regularly, how can we understand what God expects of us?
We should pray often, and the main focus should be on benefits for others. If we spend most of our time praying for what we “want,” how is that loving our God?
Serve others. We must put our love into action. If we were to see someone in desperate need, and all we said to them was that we hope they receive help and that will be thinking of them, that is not acceptable. Words are cheap. “Faith without works is dead.” ~ James 2:17
Share our testimony. Who needs to hear our story? Look for opportunities to share your faith with those who need it… today.
According to theologian Charles W. Stanley, to become spiritually mature we must first acknowledge any detrimental thoughts, and then we must surrender this sin to the Lord. We must embrace God’s word. This is the path that leads to spiritual maturity.
Here are some steps we can take to gain spiritual maturity.
Read the Bible daily. How can we know what God wants for us in our life if we don’t read His Word daily? The book is our instructions for life. The Holy Bible is for following God and for avoiding pitfalls.
Put His Word into action. It’s one thing to gain knowledge. It’s another to actually put that knowledge into action. “Faith with action is lost.” ~ James 2:17
Commune with other believers. When we are around other believers, irons ends up sharpening iron.
Watch what we consume. That includes content on television, smart phones, etc. Garbage in, garbage out. If you wouldn’t watch the content with your grandmother, then think twice (or three times) about consuming it.
The Lord’s Prayer Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ model for prayer, comes from the Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 9-13. Charles Stanley broke down the pattern for prayer that Jesus set as an example for all of us. First, we call on the Lord’s name (an invocation) and acknowledge that He is all powerful. Let His will be done.
Secondly, we bring our petitions to the Lord. Give us this day everything we need (our daily bread). We ask for forgiveness. We ask for help in forgiving others, and we ask for protection against temptation. One day at a time.
The final section, according to Stanley, is a doxology. We acknowledge His power over all the earth and our personal lives. He is Lord and Master and no one else.
Author Marshall Goldsmith wrote an excellent book a few years ago named Triggers – Creating the Behavior That Lasts. The first part of the book was kind of a slow read, and honestly, I wasn’t sure I was getting much out of it. But that changed with the second half of the best-selling book.
Goldsmith dived into the power of ‘active’ questions. Instead of asking yourself passive questions about your day or your accomplishments, or lack thereof, he recommended the need for active questions as well as doing this with an accountability partner.
The author arrived at a list of 22 action questions that his accountability partner would ask him at the end of day. These included:
Did I do my best to set clear goals?
Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement?
Did I do my best to be happy?
Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
Did I do my best to learn something new?
Did I do my best to be grateful for what I have?
Did I do my best to avoid proving I’m right when it’s not worth it?
Did I do my best to say or do something nice for [insert name]?
Did I do my best to exercise?
So, start today. Come up with 10 items and evaluate your performance based on “Did I do my best?” It may be a sobering test but life changing.
“The Lord reached down from above and took me; he pulled me from the deep water.” ~ 2 Samuels 22:17
Sometimes we bring about our own troubles. Recently I made the ‘mistake’ of posting my opinion on social media. It was an opinion some people didn’t agree with, and some of them disagreed with me harshly. I took the brunt of their criticism.
This was painful as it came from some people in the same industry from which I work. Some of the criticism came from people that I didn’t expect. If I had kept my mouth shut from the beginning, none of this would have happened, however I felt I was speaking out against something that is wrong. Something that needs to be corrected. It didn’t matter to them. They didn’t see the issue the same way I saw it.
Jesus was attacked many times. He was called a fraud. A deceiver. A liar. A coward. He was called every name in the book. He was tempted by others to save himself, or to lash back at his accusers. He did neither. Jesus kept this eyes focused on the Father. He persevered and he accomplished his mission, and the world was changed forever.
HAVE YOU READ?
Diagnosis – Rare Disease by Denise Crompton. This amazing book tells the stories of 13 incredible families. Don’t miss it.
This is the gripping and moving story of a baby diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder in which a person has a third copy of material from chromosome 18. “I Am Not a Syndrome – My Name is Simon” by Trisomy mom Sheryl Crosier details the struggle of her son Simon from the early stages of pregnancy to his life here on earth for 88 1/2 days… read on about Simon.
What are we collecting? What are we working for? What are our top priorities? A good gauge is figuring out what we spend the majority of our free time on. That can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for those of us who are well intended but often don’t execute.
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.” ~ Matthew 6:19-20
We know that we don’t get into heaven via good works. But as Christians, it is our duty to honor God and honor our faith and act accordingly. Every day we should strive to make a difference. If we are just living for ourselves, what kind of Christian are we?
But Jesus told him “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ~ Matthew 4:4
Are you reading the Holy Bible every day? If not, make a point to start on one book of the Holy Bible and read through it in one week’s time. A book like Romans is a good starting point as there are many vital lessons for life presented there by Paul.
Another idea is with Proverbs. That book of the Old Testament has 31 chapters. There are, of course, 31 days in most months. One chapter a day for one month.
Are the words from the “mouth of God” worth 5 to 10 minutes of your time each day? Start today.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of God.” ~ Galatians 1:10
We all want to please God. As Christians we would certainly like to be considered servants of God. The hands and feet of Christ. But are we living that way? Are we more concerned about what others think or what God thinks?
I know that I’ve spent the majority of my life worrying way too much about what other people think of me and my actions. When our faith is strong and our vision is focused on the Eternal, we can more easily dismiss move past that flaw and live our lives without hindrances.
Whom do we want to please? The Maker of the universe or man?
After Angie, her husband, and their 4 children were settled into their new home in the quiet little New England town in the summer of 1973, she started missing the job she had left at their former location many miles away. She had been so occupied with selling a home, buying a home, moving, settling the older children in new schools, finding new doctors and dentists, and learning her way around the new territory that she hadn’t thought much about looking for a job. But once they were into a routine, with the oldest children in school, and the youngest with playmates right next door, she realized that she missed interacting with the patients she had cared for when she as a nursing assistant on the evening shift at a hospital near their prior home.
She had many wonderful experiences there, working with very professional and caring nurses and aides. Some of the patients she met during that time made a lasting impression on her. As much as Angie enjoyed the time she spent with her children, she also liked being able to interact with other adults. She wasn’t one who liked to join clubs but working part-time in a field where she felt she belonged, while supplementing the family income, made her feel like she was making a contribution. The time had arrived for her to start reading the want-ads in the local paper. She knew that working the 3 PM to 11 PM shift at a hospital would not make sense, as she no longer had reliable the help that her parents had provided to take care of the children until her husband got home from work in the evening. But she thought that it might be possible to find a position in a nursing home where the hours she could comfortably work would be acceptable. Although the Main Street Nursing Home was looking for part-time help on the 3 PM to 11 PM shift, she decided to ask if management there might consider hiring her from 6 PM to 11 PM. She had worked in nursing homes previously, and she knew that was when the residents needed the most help. If she could work those hours, she wouldn’t have to leave home until after her husband had returned from work and the family had dinner together. When she called to ask for an interview, she decided not to mention the hours she would prefer. That would come later.
The Main Street Nursing Home was located in the center of the small town. Angie remembered seeing it when she and the children had visited the Town Library shortly after they arrived there. It was a lovely old New England home, white with black shutters and set way back from the road with an oval driveway in front, and large trees surrounding it. The wrap-around porch gave the large home a stately look. When Angie drove up for her interview, she noticed that there was an addition to the side of the home that was not easily seen from the street due to the many trees and hedges in front.
After she parked the car and opened the door, stepped out and saw a dime on the ground. She picked up the dime, smiled and held it thinking that she probably was meant to be there. She said, “In God We Trust,” to herself as she remembered her former patient, Bill. He was a young man who had returned from war with stomach trouble that he thought was a result of the poor diet he had eaten during the time he was deployed. However, when the problems persisted, he learned that his stomach trouble was really caused by cancer. By the time the cancer was discovered, there is very little that could be done for him, but he was willing to try the various chemotherapy drugs recommended by the doctors who were treating him, even though they all made him extremely sick. The way in which the young man accepted his fate, with tremendous faith in God, was something Angie had rarely witnessed in those she had cared for.
When Bill was first admitted, it was expected that he would die within weeks. However, to the surprise of everyone, he survived for many more months. In all of that time, his demeanor never changed. He was most grateful for anything that anyone did for him, always using the words please and thank you. Angie was not the only one who thought Bill was a very special young man. All of the others working on that floor were quick to respond when his call light went on. The nurses who were responsible for giving him his pain medication tried to get to his room before he had to ask for it because they were all aware that he didn’t like to ask. If the usual nurses were not available and a different nurse was on the floor, the others were quick to let her know when his pain medication was due.
When an older man across the hall from Bill noticed that the nurses seemed to spend extra time in his room, he complained to Angie one day about the younger guy getting so much attention. He wondered what the heck was so special about him. At first, Angie didn’t know how to respond. It really wasn’t right to talk to one patient about another, but it appeared to her that the older man was jealous of the attention that Bill was getting, and she wanted to let him know that he need not be. She reasoned that if they had both been patients in a semi-private room, they would know just about everything about each other’s condition, so she took a deep breath and walked to the door and closed it before turning toward the man to tell him about Bill’s situation.
“I really shouldn’t be talking about other patients,” she started, “but since you asked, I guess I should tell you. When he first came in, he had a lot of company. He was a basketball player in a local high school before he joined the Army and went to Vietnam, so a lot of people know him. I don’t know if people got tired of visiting or if they just didn’t like seeing him getting so sick, but most of them have stopped visiting. Seems like only his parents and sister visit now. I guess that is one of the reasons that we feel like we should spend more time with him. He is only 23 years old, and he’s going to die soon. He has tried everything the doctors have offered, but we just don’t know yet how to cure stomach cancer. I’m not sure that any of us feel sorry for him as much as we are kind of in awe of him, because he really never complains.”
“Oh! My God! I had no idea!” the older man exclaimed, and thoughtfully followed with, “I’m glad you told me. I think I needed to know that.” For the remainder of the time that he was a patient, he asked what kind of a day Bill was having. Angie thought that breaking protocol was perhaps not a bad idea at times. But she didn’t tell the other patient about the condition of Bill’s body after he lost so much weight that there was little flesh on his bones. She didn’t think she could adequately portray how much his body had been ravaged or how much pain he endured, anyway. The nurses worked constantly to keep bedsores under control by changing his positions frequently and putting fresh dressings on his wounds, and they all admitted to each other that his condition broke their hearts.
Instead of going to the break room when she had time for a break, Angie chose to visit with Bill, with the hope that some of his acceptance of the Lord’s will would rub off on her. Sometimes she simply sat with him while he watched something on television or dozed off for a few minutes. He thanked her for doing so. One evening when he requested a cola drink, Angie discovered that there wasn’t any in the refrigerator on their floor, so she went to the break room and bought one for him from the machine. When she brought it to him, he noticed that it was in the type of cup that comes out of a vending machine, rather than the usual hospital cups. He asked her if she had bought it, and she acknowledged that she had done so because there wasn’t any available in their refrigerator. He told her that wasn’t right, and he should pay for it. She said that was nonsense. They went back and forth for a few minutes when he declared that she had to at least take a dime out of his drawer, because his mother always told his sister that a girl should always have a dime on her, in case she needed to make a phone call. Angie thought that was the sweetest reason to accept a dime. She thanked him and put it in her pocket, thinking that it was the kind of gift she would always treasure.
Bill died shortly after that. She felt that she was most privileged to have been one of the last people to be with him before he drew his last breath. It was a profound loss to everyone who cared for him. For many days there were no new patients in his room, which seemed to make his absence even more profound. Angie believed that he was with the Lord, but she felt that she would be comforted if she would receive some kind of sign of confirmation, so she prayed that one would be given to her. A short time later, she was on her way into the hospital with another nurse one day when she spotted a dime on the steps. She stopped abruptly declaring, “That’s mine.” As she bent to pick it up her thoughts were of Bill, and she smiled. She looked at the words, “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the dime, and she smiled again. It seemed like a sign… a reminder that although there were many things she didn’t understand, she knew that God was in charge, and she needed to trust. The other nurse remarked that she never saw anyone so happy to find a dime. Angie felt that was her own personal connection, so she didn’t have any desire to explain her reaction.
As time went by, she noticed that she often found a dime here, and a dime there. Perhaps she had found money in the past, but she couldn’t remember ever finding dimes so easily. After a while, she didn’t find them as frequently, but it seemed that every time she was feeling troubled by something, or had a difficult decision to make, a dime would land in her path. She would think that a girl should always have a dime on her, and that she needed to keep trusting in God. Of all the patients she had cared for when she worked there and at other hospitals, Bill was by far the most spiritual one she had ever encountered.
With the newfound dime in her pocket, she approached the nursing home believing that she would get the job if God wanted her to.