Mountain range in Israel

“God permits testing because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks — it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain — it makes them permanent. You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand.” ~~ Streams in the Desert

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.  Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’  Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.  From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~~ Matthew 4, selected.
 

While watching the “Bible” series on the History Channel this week, there was segment that showed the point where Jesus was in the wilderness, and he was being tempted by the devil. The visual of him being hungry, in a barren place, and fasting for 40 days, caused me to consider more intently the reality, in his human form, of how he dealt with this unbearable time. Why did Jesus have to go through this time of testing and what can we learn from His example?”

Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted. Very few men have such conflicts with the devil as Martin Luther had. Why? Because Martin Luther was going to shake the very kingdom of hell.” ~~ Streams in the Desert

We go through times of testing in our lives sometimes because of foolish choices, giving in to sin, or sometimes simply because God has a purpose of refinement He wants to see accomplished in those for whom He has another, bigger task. “God permits testing because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks — it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain — it makes them permanent. You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand.” ~~ Streams in the Desert

Times of intense testing have taught me much about myself, about others, and mostly about God my Father. I have had the sweetest times I’ve ever known while enduring difficult and trying circumstances — and the treasure of knowing my heavenly Father in a way I never would have had I not experienced them, is worth far more to me than if everything would have gone according to my plan. I would have missed His glory. I wouldn’t have chosen them, they weren’t pleasant, I felt isolated at times, experienced hurt feelings, wounded pride, and rerouted dreams. But I trusted all along, step by step, that the God I served with my whole heart, is faithful to His name and to His promise in my life.  I was strengthened in my resolve, secured to stand in faith, and sharpened to serve more effectively in His name.  The example Jesus set of not just knowing the Scriptures, but how to apply them in real life, demonstrated his power and authority over the evil one — and guess what? We have that same power!!!

After being taken up to the mountain by the devil, and enduring such intense testing, Jesus began his earthly ministry of oh — just changing the world! When we endure testing on a wilderness mountain, and are proven in our faith, we too, can do great things for God. Greater than we ever imagined — and it will be worth it!

“God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves, and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon.” ~~ Archbishop Leighton.

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