Our Perfect Redeemer

In Matthew 4, after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus is hungry and the devil comes and tempts Him to turn a stone into bread. Jesus rebukes him, in verse 4, saying “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Jesus was actually quoting scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3, reminding the devil that we are to obey God, and trust in Him—that God is actually our answer when it comes to satisfying the needs of the flesh.

The truth is, bread contains carbohydrates that our body needs for energy. And after a 40 day fast, bread would be a welcomed delight for almost anyone. But Jesus was reminding us that life goes far beyond the physical. He is referring to the needs we all have as a whole—body, soul, and spirit.

When God created Adam, we’re told that He actually breathed life into his nostrils. It was the breath of God that brought life. And since our life comes from the Lord, it takes more than just food, to sustain it. Like Jesus said, we need the Word of God because His words are spirit and life.

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a purpose. As I looked closer at this section of scripture, I realized there were more correlations to Deuteronomy 8 than just the verse that Jesus had quoted.

In Deuteronomy 8, it talks about the Israelites who were led into the desert for 40 years. And there was a purpose for them as well. It was to humble them, it was to test their hearts to see if they would obey, and it was preparing them to enter the Promised Land. And now Jesus, thousands of years later, was led into the desert for 40 days to open the door for all of us to enter the Promised Land. There in the desert, Jesus was tested. And He endured and overcame the enemy, fulfilling what the Israelites could not—which prepared Him to become our perfect redeemer. Jesus redeems our lives fully…body, soul, and spirit.

Being People Who Walk in Obedience

This week my devotions led me to Acts 5, where the disciples were brought before the Sanhedrin and questioned by the high priest. The high priest scolded the disciples because they had been warned not to speak of Jesus, but failed to comply. And in Acts 5:29, Peter responds by saying: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”

In the midst of persecution and even the fear of death, Peter speaks boldly before the high priest. He didn’t let anyone or anything keep him from being obedient to the Lord. This is God’s desire for our lives: that we would be people who walk in obedience.

What does obedience look like for us today? Often times we read this statement from Peter and think, “Yeah, nothing’s going to stop me from speaking my mind.” But is that actually what Jesus is asking of us?

There are times in life when God calls us to take a stand and speak up like Peter. But there are also times when God asks us to be quiet. The key is to be obedient to what God is asking of us in each moment. Are we supposed to speak up or are we supposed to be silent? Are we supposed to take action or are we supposed to be still? The Scriptures are full of times when God called people to action; when He called them to wait; when He called them to speak; and when He had them be silent.

In Acts, the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was their guide to hearing and knowing the voice of the Lord. It was through the power of the Spirit that they were able to truly walk in obedience and live the life that God was calling them to live.

I encourage all of us today to allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in obedience. May we seek the Lord and allow Him to help us know how to respond. Every situation is different and our obedience to the Lord ushers in the powerful work of the Holy Spirit to do far more that we could ever hope or imagine in our own strength!

My First Post (Again)

So 10 years ago, I thought I would jump into the world of blogging. I was just a simple minded youth pastor at the time, but everyone else was doing it and I thought, “Why not?” I started off being fairly consistent, but as I transitioned to the role of a Senior Pastor my blogs became few and far between. And I mean far between. My last official post on record was February of 2015.

Needless to say my blogging days didn’t pan out the way I hoped they would. One of the reasons is that I didn’t have anything motivating me or keeping me on track. But during the past year I, like so many, have had to learn to pastor differently in the world of Covid. I started sending out a weekly email to my congregation. I begin each email with a short devotion. Just some simple thoughts from a simple minded pastor.

So I’ve decided to revive my blog, posting that simple devotional that I send out to my congregation each week. I will post that devotion here on my new blog site every Friday. I know for some the question might be: What could an uneducated pastor have to say that is of any significance? Honestly, that thought used to paralyze me, but I had to come to the realization that the answer was “nothing” before realizing it was “everything”.

Maybe I should explain. I know that I’m nothing in myself, but I’m everything in Christ. My favorite book in the Bible is the book of Acts and one of the things that has always stood out to me in that section of Scripture is the change seen in Peter. Here is a guy that earlier in the Gospels was denying that he even knew Jesus and then in Acts 2 he is proclaiming the name of Jesus boldly and we see amazing miracles happen in and through him.

Anyone familiar with this section of Scripture knows that it is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in his life. It is evidence of what Christ himself said would happen, that the disciples would do greater things than He did. Peter was faithful to the Lord and did greater things than Christ himself. Was it because Peter was special? Was it because he went to Seminary and got a Masters in miracles and matters of the Holy Spirit? No. Peter was described as an unschooled, ordinary man. How could an unschooled, ordinary man do greater things than Jesus himself? By operating in he power of the Holy Spirit, instead of his own power. It was Christ that enabled him to speak boldly and see 3,000 added to the Kingdom in one day.

In the same way, it is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27) that gives me anything of significance to say. It is my prayer that I will be faithful to remain in His Word and to speak from His everything as opposed to my nothing.