Path to the Kingdom

Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah.  He would be called King of kings and Lord of lords.  The government would be on His shoulders.  In a word, He would be powerful.

In his own twisted way, Satan offered to “help” Jesus ascend to power.  He showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world.  If Jesus would simply worship Satan, then Satan would give Jesus power over the kingdoms.  Think about that for a moment.  Satan must have believed that the Lord’s mind was addled after fasting in the wilderness.  Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River by John.  The Spirit descended.  God said, “This is my Son.”  Jesus knew His place in the world.  And after all of that, Satan offered a deal so that if Jesus would pay homage to Satan, then Satan would give Jesus a place to pay homage.  Jesus knew that the most powerful servant of Satan was still nothing more than a servant of Satan.  It hardly took Jesus a moment to turn down the offer and send Satan away saying, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”

Even though Jesus was God’s own Son, He knew that worship belongs to God alone.  In His human form, even Christ owed worship to God, just like us.  The Lord relied on the scriptures to reply to Satan.  Throughout His ministry He would rely on prayer to go to God.  This need to look to God and rely on prayer was well expressed by Joseph M. Scriven, who penned the words to What a Friend We Have in Jesus.  This beautiful hymn, originally titled Pray Without Ceasing, instructs and inspires us to rely on God and His Word throughout our lives.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Jesus faced trials and temptations beyond anything we will ever know.  Whatever we face on our pilgrim journey, Jesus understands it.  We can talk to Him about it.  We can take it to the Lord in prayer.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Challenge of Power, day 43 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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Path of Humility

Fame and glory come in many different forms.  There are movie stars and athletes.  There are politicians and captains of industry.  In the music arena there are perennial stars and “one hit wonders.”  The church has televangelists and leaders of mega-churches.  All of them have the public’s attention.  Entire industries exist simply to follow and report about rich and famous people.  But earthly fame is fleeting.  Eternal glory belongs to God alone.

Satan tempted Jesus to become famous.  He took Christ to the pinnacle of the temple and told Him to jump.  Many people would be watching.  Angels would save Him just like the scriptures said, and everyone would know that Jesus was the Messiah.  But Jesus knew that this was neither the time nor the way chosen by God.  He answered Satan’s challenge with scripture, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

The hymn To God Be the Glory was written by Fanny Crosby, the most prolific hymn writer of all time.  As loved as this hymn is today, though, it was never mentioned by Crosby in her writings.  It went practically unnoticed until 1954, when Billy Graham began using it during a London crusade.  The hymn did not need to burst on the scene with fanfare when it was first introduced.  Instead, it was written and prepared to be used in God’s time.  Enjoy the words.

To God be the glory, great things he hath done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the lifegate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thru Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he hath done!

We don’t need to be famous while we are on our pilgrim journey.  We are promised eternity with God in glory.  Today we are simply called to follow a path of humble obedience.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Challenge of Fame, day 42 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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