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.

FACT: The Easter Holiday has Parts

The Easter holiday is not reserved to one day for Christians.  This season marks the gift of our salvation and is celebrated and reflected upon for 47 days starting with Ash Wednesday.  I have divulged a little blurb about each significant day here but will go more in depth throughout the season as I dig deeper into the history and meaning of each day.

Ash Wednesday:  February 13

The first day of lent. 

Good Friday:  March 29

The day that signifies Jesus’ death on the cross and the beginning of the three day waiting period for his rising.  It is called “Good” Friday because it is the day Jesus gave us the hope of salvation by sacrificing himself for our sins.

Easter Sunday:  March 31

The day that signifies Jesus’ rising from the dead.  This is the day responsible for our hope in our salvation.

A Little Bit of Easter History | Guest Post

40 Days of Easter | Day 2

My father-in-law, George Calhoun, is a pastor at Milton SDB church in Milton, WI.  He’s my go-to for all sorts of Bible and faith questions simply because he is so knowledgable.  I love his faith and his Biblical knowledge and wisdom.  I thought perhaps I should share a little with you 🙂 Papa Calhoun wrote this response below to my blog post yesterday How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies? I thought it was awesome so I asked him if I could post what he wrote for a guest blog post today.

A Little Bit of Easter History

by Pastor George Calhoun

Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals. 

In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all. Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well.

How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies?

40 Days of Easter | Day 1

Today is the first day of lent.  This Lenten season I am committed to blogging daily about Easter.  This idea came around Christmas when I was doing 12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas.

I love Christmas.  I love the love, joy and hope that comes from the greatest gift born to us that day, Christ.  I love the spirit of kindness and gift-giving that I see all around me because of that.

Christmas marks the birth of Christ.  Easter marks the death and resurrection of Christ.  Our salvation.

To me, Easter seems like it should be more important than our culture cares to make it.  Instead of Easter bringing the highest level of joy and hope anyone could possibly experience while dwelling in the truth of our salvation we are actually merely celebrating an ode to the coming of spring by saturating this holiday with bunnies and eggs.

I want to bring Easter alive and, if not for anyone else, wrap my heart around the gift I was given 2013 years ago.

So, today is day one of prepping my heart for the Easter celebration of our risen savior.  I thought the best place to start would be to educate myself and my readers on the origins of the bunnies and the eggs so we can move past that 🙂

How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies?

Today, on Easter Sunday, many families wake up to Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets brought by the Easter bunny.  Kids run around the house hunting for eggs and munching on candy.

Hares and rabbits historically are a symbol of fertility because they reproduce like crazy.  You know, the whole “making love like rabbits” idea still persists 😉  Because of their symbol of fertility they naturally became the symbol of new life in the spring celebrations.

The Easter egg hunt began because children believed hares laid eggs in the grass.  This idea comes from historic Rome because they believed “All life comes from an egg.”

The origin of dying or coloring eggs is unclear but in ancient Persia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt they colored eggs as a part of their spring festivals.  And in medieval Europe colored eggs were given as gifts.

See ya tomorrow for more!

Kaia Calhoun