Thursday, December 10, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “As the Deer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 4:8-11 (NASB).
As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1
As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You…
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
If You Will Worship Me
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Three times the devil tempted Jesus to sin, and all three times Jesus resisted Satan, and answered him back with the Word of God (of truth).
The third temptation, it would appear, was intended for Jesus to make a compromise with Satan in order to bypass the crucifixion, and to take a shortcut (quick route) to kingship rule if he would only bow down and worship Satan. The thought of such a thing is preposterous, as is the notion that Satan would actually have the audacity to think that Jesus might fall for such a temptation as this. But, Satan always wanted to usurp God. He was permitted to tempt the flesh of the Son of God, who was God incarnate, and so he seized the opportunity to take a shot at seeing if he could actually get the Son of God (God) to bow to him. Yet, Jesus immediately responded with a rebuke. He told Satan to get away from him, for scripture says that we are to worship the Lord our God, and serve him only. Amen!
Satan tries the same tactics on us, too. He tries to convince us to make compromises of faith with the promise from him that we can bypass the cross of Christ in our lives and still go to heaven when we die. He is very persuasive and convincing in his arguments and manipulations of truth, and many, many people who profess to believe in Jesus Christ have bought into his lies.
First he convinced them that a mere confession of faith or words said in a prayer would suffice for them to have the assurance of heaven when they die, and that it didn’t matter how they lived their lives from that moment on, because their salvation could never be taken away from them. He also convinced them that salvation was really just about escaping hell and having the promise of heaven when they die, but that God requires nothing of us in between, i.e. no repentance, no forsaking of sin and no obedience to Christ and to his Word. Then, he convinced them that God can no longer see our sin, and so he smiles on us, is delighted in us, and is pleased with us even when we willfully sin against him. And, on top of that, he convinced them that God would never discipline them.
So, there are many people living today who call themselves Christians who have bought into a lie and a false hope of salvation, believing that if they confess faith in Jesus Christ it will get them a get-out-of-jail free card, with regard to hell, and it will guarantee them heaven when they die, but that they can still conduct their lives according to the flesh and that God is ok with that, because he doesn’t require them to turn from sin or to obey him.
Yet, Satan wasn’t satisfied with that. He went on to convince people that those who teach the gospel of salvation according to Jesus Christ, and according to his NT apostles, are legalists who are teaching works-based salvation, and/or that they are radical, extremists, bigoted, hateful, judgmental, intolerant and generally not nice people because they hold to the tenets of the Christian faith and they preach repentance and obedience to Christ for salvation, as Jesus and his apostles also taught it. Satan, via his messengers, is making a big case for this right now in trying to convince the world that the gospel of salvation is hateful, but that Jesus is merciful, and that mercy means accepting all religions as viable and that love means being accepting of all walks of life, no matter how sinful.
Yet, Jesus Christ said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) him. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). He said that his sheep know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him, and they cannot be snatched out of God’s/Jesus’ hands (Jn. 10:27-30). He also said that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life (Jn. 6:35-66). In other words, we must participate with him in his death by dying with him to our old lives of living according to sin and self, and by submitting ourselves to the cross of Christ and to the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in our lives, so that we are being transformed in heart and mind, and so we now daily walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness (See Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).
The Fear Factor
Satan’s biggest weapon against us, I believe, is the fear factor, which is produced via lies. Fear is the opposite of faith. I am not speaking here of the human emotion of fear, which I believe God gives us to warn us of danger, and to let us know that something is wrong, and to motivate us to some type of action. But, what I am speaking of is paralyzing fear or the response of fear which causes us to doubt God and his promises to us, to cause us to question what we believe, to get us to put our trust in humans over trusting in God, and to get us to turn to false gods (idols) to save us, rather than trusting in God/Jesus for our protection. The children of Israel of old fell into this trap many times during OT times. They listened to and entertained the lies, and rejected (refused) the truth, and went their own stubborn way. And, Satan was trying to pull Jesus Christ into this trap, too, by trying to convince him to put his trust in him, and then the kingdoms of the world would be his, as though he had greater power than God Almighty to grant Jesus what was rightfully his.
Satan is presently working through his servants and messengers in trying to convince the world that terrorists have now become a global threat to all people of the world, and that the nations of the world must unite together to combat these terrorists in order to protect the people of the nations of this world. He is also working to convince the world that these terrorists are religious radicals and extremists, and so religious extremism is also our enemy which we, as the people of the world, must fight against. And, he is also working to convince us of particular locations where these religious extremist terrorists are hiding out, and of the need to engage in united (multinational) military strikes against these terrorists in order to stop terrorism and to make the world a safer place to live.
For now, he appears to be centering in on one particular religious group, and is thus instilling fear in people’s hearts against people of this particular religion. But, then he turns right around and scolds people for responding in fear and for being cautious about inviting people of that religion into our nations. Part of his tactics is to put confusion into people’s minds, too, and to keep them upset, worried, fearful and uncertain about who to trust or what to believe. He also uses his servants and messengers to instill guilt in the minds of people if they do not embrace this particular religion as viable, and in order to persuade them to unite with people of this religion and all religions in order to bring peace and harmony to this troubled world of ours.
Yet, I believe one of his major goals in all of this is to get the people of this world to believe his lies and to support his servants in their efforts to take out religious extremists who they purport to be terrorists, so that they have the support of (particularly American) Christians in killing innocents of other nations, in destroying land, in confiscating personal property, in taking down sovereign nations, and in persecuting all who oppose them. As well, they are inciting Christians to take up arms to fight their perceived enemy with the weapons of this world, and to reject people who they believe to be terrorists so that they want to run from them, block them from entering into our nations, or kill them rather than reach out to them with Christ’s love and his gospel. At the same time, again, Satan is scolding them for responding with such fear, yet while begging for support while they, Satan’s servants, fight against people in foreign nations under the guise of going after terrorists.
Yet, one day America and other people of other nations will wake up and realize that those whom we thought were our enemies were not really our enemies, but our enemies were those who we trusted, believed, and supported in their fight against those whom they had convinced us were the real enemies. And, we will find ourselves at the other end of these attacks against “religious extremists,” as they are busily making a case for this against Christians. Part of their tactics is to get us believing in a false enemy so they can catch Christians demonstrating hatred and violence against people because of their religion, and then they can make laws against that, which will include laws against what the gospel teaches because it judges people’s hearts, teaches that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father and to heaven, and that we must turn from our wickedness, be transformed of the Spirit of God, and we must walk in obedience to Christ in the Spirit.
So, don’t believe everything you see, hear or read, just because it comes from your government leaders, political party, the news media, the internet, your preacher, etc., for Satan has many servants who are lying to the people left and right, and who are setting traps for people to fall into, and who are trying to convince you that good is evil and that evil is good, and they are twisting Jesus’ words and distorting who he was/is, and are getting many people to follow them into sin because they didn’t bother to question or to pray or to seek God’s face to see whether what they were being told is true or not, or whether or not what they are being told to do is agreeable with God and his word or not. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that says we have to kill and destroy in order to have peace, or that we have to compromise our convictions in order to show mercy. Stand on the Word of Truth and never compromise your faith. God is faithful. He will take care of us. Trust Him.
I Do Not Seal My Lips / An Original Work / January 13, 2014
Based off Psalms 37, 40
Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.
Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.
Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.
I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.
Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.
I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.