Archives for March 2019

Adam’s Devotional – March 28- April 3, 2019

From Adam…

Did you hear the one about Jesus and the devil walking in the dessert? The devil says to Jesus  “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘on their hands they will bear you up . . .’” Do you know what the devil is quoting?  You guessed it. The Bible. The devil knows the Bible and isn’t afraid to use it to tempt us. The Bible is the authoritative and unique word of God to us, but that doesn’t stop the devil from using it against Jesus. So what do we do?  If the the devil knows the Bible better than we do, how do we read it or interact with it in a way that we won’t take it and use it toward our own selfish agenda (which is what the devil tempts Jesus to do)? Short answer, we can’t.  We will always bring our own personal opinions and agendas to our reading of the Bible.  This is why God calls us to not simply read it alone.  We are called to read it with God. If we read the scriptures without the Holy Spirit, we read it by ourselves. But there’s more.  Jesus responds to the devil by quoting the Bible.  In this little interaction Jesus teaches us to use the Bible to interpret the Bible.  Jesus invested a lot of time and energy learning the great love story found in scripture.  For that reason, he was ready to respond to the devil’s Bible quotes with quotes of his own. How well do you know scripture? How much of the Bible have you read?  Lastly, the Bible is not a book for individuals, it is a book of and for the community of faith.  Who are you reading scripture with?  Are you a part of a Bible study?  Who could you ask to read the Bible with you?  God’s up to something.

Adam’s Devotional – March 21-27, 2019

From Adam…

If you could solve the problem of hunger in the world by turning stones into bread, would you do it?  Ever wonder what Jesus would do? The devil tempted him to turn stones into bread.  Why didn’t he do it? Instead of making bread, Jesus responded, we do “not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” If all Jesus wanted to do was feed us, then he would have taken the devil up on that offer.  That is why it’s ironic that we are fed by Jesus every time we receive communion.  This bread is my body broken for you.  But God does not feed us the body and the blood of Christ simply to satisfy our hunger. God did not put on on flesh and walk among us in Jesus Christ merely to put food in our mouths. God came in order to be with and for us, so that we could be with and for God and with and for each other. Do you ever wish God would just take care of our immediate needs instead of seeking relationship with us? How often do we want less than God gives?  When God says to us, “I give you all of Myself in Jesus Christ”, do we ever respond with, “That’s nice God, but I’d settle for a good GPA or a promotion?”  The thing is, God wants to offer us true and lasting satisfaction, not temporary “in the moment” satisfaction.  The only way that happens is through a dynamic and intimate relationship with God. Maybe that’s why many people fast during Lent– to remind themselves that God has more for us than just food. Maybe Lent invites us to feel uncomfortable and to wonder about what we truly hunger and thirst for instead of silencing our craving for life with something that doesn’t actually satisfy or sustain. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – March 14-20, 2019

From Adam…

Do you think Jesus ever struggled with his identity? The devil was banking on it when he tempted him in the dessert. The devil starts each and every temptation with the same phrase, “If you are the son of God…?” The first move the devil makes to tempt Jesus is to sow seeds of doubt.  Not doubt about God and not doubt about faith, but doubt about who Jesus was . . . about his identity. The devil is a one trick pony. The devil is simply tempting Jesus to disconnect his identity from the wild love of God. The devil says, “Get your identity from what you can do. Get your identity from your power.  Get your identity from your influence.  Get your identity from something you can control.” Each temptation is an invitation to have Jesus’ identity firmly secured in performance, influence, or power.  These three things are far tamer and easier to understand than the over the top love of God. The devil’s first and only step with each temptation is to make Jesus insecure about who he already is. The devil’s temptations thrive off of insecurity. Am I really loved?  Do I really matter?  Do I really belong? Any time you hear yourself spending a lot of time on those questions, the devil may be up to something. Jesus was secure in the knowledge that he was loved by God. After all, that’s the last thing God said to him before he went out into the dessert.  “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” Judging from Jesus’ response to the devil’s temptations, Jesus didn’t forget the reality of God’s love. Where are you on the security insecurity spectrum?  When, where, and how do you look to secure your identity in something other than God’s over the top love for you? Have you forgotten you are God’s beloved?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam DeVries – March 7-13, 2019

From Adam…

Here’s the funny thing about the three temptations that the devil throws at Jesus in the desert: everything the devil tempts Jesus with, Jesus actually does or gets later in his ministry.  The first temptation: turn rocks into bread.  Jesus feed thousands on a number of occasions in his ministry. He makes bread where there was very little bread before. He also turns his body into bread and has been feeding the world with it ever since.  The second temptation: throw yourself down from the top of the temple so you can be sure that God will send angels to protect you.  Right after the devil finishes tempting Jesus in the dessert, that’s right, the VERY SECOND THE DEVIL LEAVES, angels attend Jesus and care for him.  And the third and final temptation: power and authority over all the kingdoms of the world. Well, guess what? God gives all power and authority on earth AND heaven to Jesus.  So if Jesus gets all of the things the devil tempts him with, what was the temptation? The temptation was taking a shortcut. The temptation was taking what he would eventually receive.  Jesus models patience and waiting.  How good are we at patience? When is the last time we wanted something and had to have it immediately?  Are you more likely to take what you want when you want it, or receive what you need when it comes? Our culture and our devices train us to get what we want when we want it.  Maybe God is inviting us into a more difficult and more fulfilling life marked by patient and hope-filled waiting. God’s up to something . . . wait for it.

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