Wilderness Times – 1-6-22

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2 NKJV
Jesus came to seek and save the lost – He came to help us – He came to restore us to a relationship with God… But first, he had to be a baby and a child and a teen and a young adult… and He didn’t get baptized and wander into the dessert (to start His ministry) until he was 30 years old – which was a very old man for his time. Then once The Father revealed Him – Announced “This is MY SON” – once this happened, His ministry can begin. Right?
Once pharaoh let Moses and the Israelites go – were they instantly in the promise land? No they had their backs up against the red sea! Then they had to wander in the wilderness – then wander some more because they did not pass the wilderness test the first time. Same in the pattern and Jesus fasts 40 days symbolic of well, 40 days and wander the wilderness until he passed the test.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not [a]tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly 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 will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, [b]“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [c]is at hand.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Jesus Heals a Great Multitude

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then [d]His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from [e]Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

Footnotes

a Matthew 4:7 test
b
Matthew 4:10 M Get behind Me
c
Matthew 4:17 has drawn near
d
Matthew 4:24 Lit. the report of Him
e
Matthew 4:25 Lit. Ten Cities

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19– “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL

Jesus, also known as the Word, used the Word, also known as the sword, to defeat the devil. I know I get so excited about this concept that I jump up and down! Let this become real to you and excite you because herein is the “secret” – not so secret, it is literally written out here.

So you and I came to a knowledge of God while we were still slaves to sin… we know God, but need deliverance. Then we have break through (and sometimes many) and we are free… but trapped by a red sea! Then we get the beginning of the promise – God announces us! And then we find ourselves in a wilderness and wonder why – and like Job’s friends our ‘friends’ say ‘you must have sinned’, ‘you must be in the wrong’, and or ‘God removed his blessings and help because you must be hiding sin’.  We’re pressing in and need the breakthrough… but we are wandering in the wilderness. Time to fast and memorize the word… because we are coming up on the test and we better know the word – having a personal relationship with the word as well as able to quote him!

Went the test came to Jesus, satan quoted scriptures. He quoted them correctly but out of context. Of course Jesus passed that test and knew the difference. But do we? Are we able to find the subtle hint of a twist that moves it from right to wrong? This is why we must learn the bible. Learn it better than me (I am hardly the most knowledgeable)! Learn it as well as Jesus knows it! Learn it as well as satan knows it – cause he knows it well enough to twist it.

When Jesus fought off satan, he was not yelling and screaming – His power is not in the very human concept of Loud is strong. No, in the spirit, weak is strong.
Jesus did not struggle in conversations drawn out because He needed his name, needed to know if there were more and needed to know what the enemy knew…. The enemy lies – NONE of that matters.
Jesus did not bind and rebuke and cast out all willy-nilly.
Jesus didn’t puff himself up tell satan to get under his feet with declaring He is more powerful and putting on a pride performance.

Jesus simply answered with the correct verse in context.  

I see lots of preachers casting out demons, successfully and it takes hours and hours of prayer for the release. I am afraid I do not have that level of attention span and if that is what it takes it won’t happen. But I have seen the late Preacher Derek Prince calming quote a verse and tell demons to leave and they did. He said it started off with the drama and a show – but once he realized that the show was the demon trying to spread fear, he forbade it, shut it down. All it actually takes is the right verse to pierce and cut it free and then calmly tell it to leave.  Some are so easy, they do not even need a verse. 

I once prayed for a man to be released – I could see the fight above his head oppressing him. During the prayer I saw it move under his feet. I ended the prayer and in my spirit I saw him pick it back up. There was not show and ‘feeling’ of release, so he picked it back up and submitted to it. I was like, dude, it was under your feet, stomp on it and walk away. People are such strange creatures, like the evil they have become bent toward, they want the drama and show.  This is not meant for entertainment.  

After Jesus passed the test he was ministered to by angels and went and got into position and
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 4:17

Yes! I am over here singing praises and dancing and thanking God as this chapter has another one of my favorite biblical concepts in it – REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!! I heard a pastor say, the other day that Repentance is the beginning, then comes redemption, restoration, and renewal.  And I must respectfully disagree. Because that makes repentance a one-time thing. BUT Jesus said to repent and ask forgiveness daily!! And redemption is a one-time thing that happened by grace through the experience and process of the cross and resurrection – which I can access when I humble dwell in a repentant state. Restoration and renewal are the very existence of salvation if you are repentant and not continuing in sin.  

Verses 18-22 the calling of the 4 fishermen – would make a great study on the timeliness of obedience. Jesus says come and they immediately come and if we were to dig out Old Testament verses to cross reference we would pull out the calling of Noah, of Moses, Samuel, of David, of Elijah and Elisha, and so on and so forth through all the major and minor prophets. And I pattern would appear… a pattern of obedience. Few to no questions asked, obedience.

We end today, seeing Jesus ministry began with healing and casting out demons. Began. Sometimes we are still in the wilderness and wonder where the signs and wonders are… well, if you aren’t Moses, they aren’t coming. Jesus had no signs and wonders while he wandered. 

God’s ways are not our ways.  Being in the wilderness is still in God’s will and plan.  So it the trials and test like Jesus and Job. Relax and enjoy the process. Ask God hat lessons He wants us to learn in wilderness times.
Yes these are wilderness times – times of covid and fear, times of desperation and inflation, time when people are tried and tested… But it was in the wilderness that Moses wrote Psalm 91. It was in the wilderness that Jesus fasted and quoted scriptures to win. It was in the wilderness that Joshua and Caleb were raised up to be valiant men of God.

Ask for his help. Look up the scriptures for yourself – Ask Him to reveal it. You seek God for you.  Don’t trust me and others… learn the word it is your sword and your life. Learn the word He is your best friend and vehicle of Grace.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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