40 Days in the Desert | Challenge 3

Day 3 | Keep the Word of the Lord on Your Heart

A couple of days ago I gave you the challenge to “read the Bible today.” Today I want to take you another step further.

Challenge 3 | Find a Chair

A couple of weeks ago I heard one of those life changing sermons at church. And a few days ago I started digging in Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Bill’s sermon at church got me to commit to reading my Bible daily. The reading I’ve been doing in Luke 4 has made me realize anew why keeping the Word on my heart is so important.

I attend Willow Creek Community Church and Bill Hybels was in the middle of a series called “Moving Forward” when he challenged the entire congregation, through testimony and truth, to “find a chair” and commit to reading the Bible daily. I started right away and what I particularly loved about this message is that is wasn’t a vague challenge to get into the Bible. No, Bill said to find a chair and commit to reading the Bible for 10 – 15 minutes daily. He even suggested to start in Luke if we needed help deciding where to start. I love a good challenge, if you can’t tell, so I excitedly committed and have been working my way through the New Testament letters.

Bill outlined the task specifically but he also pointed out that it is important to make reading the Bible a part of your day that you look forward to. By choosing a favorite chair and maybe sitting with a cup of coffee or a cozy blanket reading your Bible becomes an experience, not just a bothersome requirement or task.

In Luke 4 Jesus’ weapon against the temptations Satan throws at him is the Word. In response to Satan’s persistent prodding Jesus simply states the scripture that reveals the lies (Luke 4: 4, 8, 12).

Now I turn around and challenge you to pick your chair and set out to reading your Bible for 10 – 15 minutes daily. I promise you will find that keeping the Bible on your heart and at the forefront of your mind will move your faith forward and bring your heart closer to God.

Perhaps you could be so kind as to come back here and share with me what you have made your experience look like ūüôā Or send me a picture of your chair!

40 Days in the Desert | Challenge 2

Day 2 | “Led by the Spirit” Part 2

Yesterday my learnings led me off course from a challenge I wanted to present.

Challenge 2 | Follow a Prompting

It sounds simple enough, but when facing the trials the Spirit might lead you in to it can be nearly impossible to agree to follow faithfully.  But the hard truth is that it ought to be our greatest pleasure to be able to serve the living God and be His vessel.  Because, the plain fact is, He can do His will with or without our help.  He simply gives us the opportunity and joy of calling us to help on occasion.

At times this will be a very hard prompting to follow or too easily ignored but if we are faithful He rewards abundantly by directly blessing us or indirectly blessing someone else. ¬†I’ve learned over the years that He does indeed work everything towards bringing about His kingdom and for the good of those who love him. ¬†We are not in a place and age that¬†condemns¬†us to death for practicing a Christian faith and yet I find myself too many times too feeble to act on the simple tasks He sets before me. ¬†So, this challenge is as much for me as you.

Perhaps when you’re finished following your prompting you would like to share? ¬†I would love to hear how God is using you!

40 Days in the Desert | Challenge 1

Back on track with 47 days of Easter (I did the math and that’s how long Lent is). ¬†From here on out I will post one blog entry every weekday + Saturdays about Easter-like topics. ¬†I have covered the basic background HERE, HERE and HERE from the bunnies to Jesus and now I will dive head on into 20 days of 40 days in the desert with Jesus (Luke 4 : 1-13) and offer up different daily challenges as we go.

Back story:  after being baptized by John, Jesus ventures into the desert for 40 days without food and is tempted by Satan.

Day 1 | “Led by the Spirit”

This is the first major point in Jesus’ journey through the desert. ¬†Luke 4:1 says, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…” This is such a beautiful picture because it states that Jesus was specifically supposed to wander the desert for 40 days. ¬†Why is this beautiful? ¬†And why was he led into the desert to starve? Perhaps because God knew this time in the desert would give the Bible, and therefore give us, an essential story that would teach us how to over come temptation.

I also love this moment because I’ve realized that, at this point in time, Jesus was the only living person with the Holy Spirit guiding him. ¬†It was only after his resurrection that the Holy Spirit was given to Christians.

But back to the main point… sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us into¬†undesirable¬†places for His greater purpose. ¬†This moment in the Bible is a clear indication of that. ¬†It is a season in which Jesus is tried and tested by the Evil One himself and Jesus wins over even in His time of great weakness.

But how did he do this? ¬†By wearing the armor of God, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).¬† ¬†Ephesians 6: 10-18 clearly lays the armor of God out for us and when Jesus spends these 40 days in the desert he shows us what it looks like to use it against the devil and the guard your heart.

  1. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”(Ephesians 6:14)
  2. “With the breastplate of righteousness in place”¬†(Ephesians 6:14)
  3. “With your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”¬†(Ephesians 6:15)
  4. “Take up the shield of faith”¬†(Ephesians 6:16)
  5. “Take the helmet of salvation¬†and the sword of the Spirit,¬†which is the word of God”¬†(Ephesians 6:17)

In order to subdue Satan and guard himself against the temptations he rails at him Jesus simply states scripture back to Satan in answer to his lies.  This is the key to guarding our heart, keeping the word of God on our hearts and knowing it well enough to defend ourselves against the lies we face daily.  It is the truth, righteousness, readiness, and faith that comes from the saving and guiding word of God that keep us grounded and faithful.  And in order to keep the word of the Lord on our hearts and coursing through our bodies protectively is to saturate our mind, body, and soul with the words.

Challenge 1 |  Read the Bible today

I would say “read the Bible every day” because that is really what is best but I’ll take you there in baby steps. ¬†Today, if you don’t know where to start, read Luke 4 or Ephesians 6.