Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘power’

Echoes of temptations

Imagine spending 40 days with no food out in the desert!  Would anyone voluntarily do this?  Well, Jesus did it as He prepared for the next 3 years of his life in the public. 

And in His weakened state, he was further assaulted by the devil who brought three propositions that seem quite attractive on the surface—that is, IF the end justifies the means.  After all, who wouldn’t want fame, power, wealth and the legitimate provision of their physical needs?  The price?  Twist the Scripture a little, shortcut the suffering of the cross, worship Satan…Whoa!  Worship Satan?  Yes, that was the deal. 

All of these temptations focused on selfish desires.  But Jesus warded each of them off by refocusing on God his Father. 

So Satan left him “for a while.”  So when did he come back?  I’m not sure exactly, but I see interesting echoes of the three temptations in other events of Jesus’ life. 

Temptation:  Turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger.
Jesus’ response:  “It is not by bread alone that a man will live, but by every word from the mouth of God.”
Echo:  As crowds streamed out of a town to listen to Jesus, his disciples urged him to eat something.  His reply:  “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”

Temptation:   Receive power to rule the world in exchange for worshiping Satan.
Jesus’ response:  “The Lord your God is the (only) one you will worship.”
Echo:  After he multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands, they wanted to make him king.  Jesus resisted, knowing that only in the Father’s predetermined time would his worldwide reign be fulfilled.

Temptation:   Do a daredevil stunt, assuming that angels would catch him.
Jesus’ response:  “Do not test the Lord your God!”
Echo:  When religious leaders demanded a miracle to prove Jesus’ power and identity as God, he refused.  While hanging on the cross and taunted to “Come down from that cross and save yourself!” he again refused, committed to accomplishing the salvation he came to provide for mankind by taking the just punishment for their sins.

Jesus was not out to do his own thing and promote Himself.  He came as God’s servant and mankind’s savior—humble and obedient to God alone.

Shall we do less?

Portraits of Integrity—or otherwise

Looking for a good definition of integrity in an effort to define it for my granddaughter sent me to the dictionaries.  Here’s what I came up with as a summary: 

Having strong moral principles (such as honesty) and refusing to change, doing the same as what you say.

A few recent news items strikingly illustrate the presence or lack of integrity in some public figures:

1. “If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”  David & Jason Benham, whose show was cancelled when it was discovered that they are pro-life and support marriage between one man and one woman.

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2.  Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana:  Inevitably during these interviews they say something like this – “you are a smart guy, we know you went to Brown and were a Rhodes Scholar, so tell me, how is it that you call yourself pro-life, and you say that you oppose gay marriage, and you say that you oppose gun control? You just say that stuff to get elected in the Deep South right?”

So of course, l liked to have a little fun with it, so I would lean over the desk, and in hushed tones, pretending to confide in him or her, I would say – well…just between us, do me a favor, go tell your editors the bad news, tell them that I absolutely believe everything I say. As you can imagine, those interviews ended rather abruptly.

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3.  Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, in a conversation with blogger Bryan Kemper:

He talked about how important the human trafficking issue is to him and how he has vowed to fight it….Then I asked him a single question: how do you vote on pro-life issues? He smiled and said he voted on the opposite side as me.

I first asked him how he could justify saying that he wants to protect young children from being trafficked but then vote to allow killing them in their mother’s womb…He tried to say he was just being wise because he knows how liberal politics are in Illinois and he needed to keep his seat…So I asked him if keeping that seat was more important to him than doing what is right? I asked if he would be willing to lose it if he could end child trafficking and he said no.

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My pastor said this morning as part of his sermon on powerlessness:  “People addicted to power have already lost their integrity.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today

I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I’d rather be true to His holy name

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/george-beverly-shea/i-d-rather-have-jesus-lyrics/#2qCQ8AXlFiT8iR0m.99

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today

I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I’d rather be true to His holy name

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/george-beverly-shea/i-d-rather-have-jesus-lyrics/#2qCQ8AXlFiT8iR0m.99

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands

   Than to be a king of a vast domain
   Or be held in sin’s dread sway
   I’d rather have Jesus
   Than anything this world affords today

I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I’d rather be true to His holy name

By George Beverly Shea, Rhea Miller

Hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u62uYEssk7o

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