© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

Two weeks ago we began our examination of Jesus’ response to his disciples’ request that he teach them to pray the way John taught his disciples to pray. We made it as far as “Our Father.” That examination continues below.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

I have written previously of the time my eldest son was in his mid-to-late teens and I told him, “Never forget that you are Sheridan Gray.” It was not that I was afraid he would forget his name, but rather that he needed to know his name carries a meaning. As we move through life, attributes and reputational elements become…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

Last week we examined an incident wherein the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Before we look at what Jesus said in response to the request, let us note a number of things he did not say.

Jesus did not mandate that prayer be done with the closed eyes and folded hands so common to Western culture. Neither did he mandate that we pray in any specific posture, whether that be on the knees, standing, sitting, or sprawled out face down on the floor. Neither did Jesus suggest that we speak with an other-than-normal cadence or vocal tone…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

In two different gospels, Jesus used similar verbiage to teach his disciples to pray.1 The two incidents are different enough that they appear to be distinct events, and if so, they are similar enough that it captures our attention to know that Jesus would go through this same lesson twice.

The lesson, recorded by both Matthew and Luke, has come to be commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer, but it might be more properly characterized as the believer’s prayer or the disciple’s prayer, since it is the Lord who taught it, but we who pray it and the disciples who…


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Last week we began our look at fasting, noting that Jesus never questioned that we would do so. We also looked at the motivation behind our fasting. This week we look at the new covenant purpose of fasting, and fasting as a “new wineskin.”

Fasting for a Purpose

Under the old covenant, fasting was typically a self-renouncing action intended to quell the wrath of God and move him to a gracious disposition wherein he would liberate his people from trouble or oppression. The sons of Israel often fasted as a show of repentance before God because of their foolish behavior.1 Sometimes the children of…


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Over the past three weeks, we examined a time in the life of Jesus wherein he fasted for 40 days, and as a part of that experience was tested directly by the devil himself. Similarly, Moses fasted for 40 days as he spent time with God on Mount Sinai, receiving and writing the words of the covenant from God.1

The Prayer and Fasting Link

It seems that prayer and fasting are intimately linked, somewhat as are peanut butter and jelly. It is possible to eat peanut butter by itself, just as it is possible to eat jelly by itself; but they complement one another so…


© 2021 Adina Voicu. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay. Used by permission.

For the past two weeks we have been looking at temptation, and focusing primarily on the temptation of Jesus. This week we wrap up that investigation by looking at lessons we can learn from how Jesus handled temptation.

Lesson 1 — Satan Has Limitations

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
– Matthew 4:11, ESV

The Bible speaks of principalities, powers, and demons, plural, but only one devil, Satan, singular. There is but one devil, and he is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. There are limits to what he knows, to what he can do, and to where he…


© 2021 Adina Voicu. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay. Used by permission.

Last week we began looking at temptation from about 50,000 feet, culminating in an overview of the temptation of Jesus as he inaugurated his public ministry. Today, we will dive more deeply into that time in Jesus’ life.

Hunger

The first temptation of Jesus presented in the gospels involves hunger. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, and by that time his body had to be consuming its own protein to survive.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written…


© 2021 Adina Voicu. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay. Used by permission.

The Hook

I read once that temptation is a hook baited with a lie. I find that an apt way of phrasing it. Once we swallow that lie/bait and the hook is set, the chances are very good that we are going to get reeled in, because it is difficult and painful to pull out the hook, and the fishing line is often too strong to break.

It was Oscar Wilde’s character, Lord Darlington, who said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”

Current-generation society has no shortage of books, blog posts, and advice columns on how to conquer temptation, whether that temptation…


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The West’s Love Affair with Fairness

The concept of fairness permeates Western society. Westerners like conditions to be impartial and equitable. There is something innate to humanity (in western culture at least) where fairness is concerned, that drives our moral and ethical compass.

Young children are quick to cry out “Unfair!” when playing with one another, and it is possible that the cry has merit. It may be that one of the participants gained an unfair advantage by violating the established rules of the competition. …


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Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
– John 20:28, NIV-1978

Thomas is widely known as “doubting Thomas” based on his initial reluctance to believe the reports regarding Jesus’ resurrection. I have long believed that this disparagement of Thomas is unwarranted.

Scripture is replete with calls and warnings to “test the prophets,” or to “not believe every spirit.” The Bereans were considered nobler than the Thessalonians specifically because they did not accept things at face value, but rather searched the scriptures to see what was true.1

I find it worthy of note that neither Jesus nor the other…

Damon J. Gray

Author & Speaker, Christ-Follower, IT Geek https://www.damonjgray.org

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