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A journey through Lent - 2016

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Day Twenty Nine - The Fast.

Jesus with a stone temptation Image

In this passage we have the familiar story of the temptation of Jesus.

Each temptation increases in significance. First in his physical needs, his hunger, then offering different ways that Jesus could avoid the coming of the cross and the pain and suffering that would entail. First by using political power to establish the kingdom and second by turning away from God completely.

Jesus rejects these temptations for he knows that the only way to establish the kingdom is to follow the path that would lead to the events of Holy Week and the cross followed by the victory.

There is symbolism in both the desert and the time spent there. As it reminds us of Moses when he received the ten commandments.

Like Moses Jesus was to lead his people to the promised land.

Unlike Moses, Jesus leads us to the eternal heavenly kingdom, prepared for the whole of humankind and which will never pass.

It is interesting to note that the temptations follow Jesus' baptism. Immediately after he had been anointed by the Holy Spirit for his ministry.

This timing is also a lesson to us, we are often assailed by temptation when we have decided to follow a path of action which builds the kingdom.

Is it the right thing to do, can we get anyone to join us, we are too busy, we have other things we should be doing and so on. Sometimes others stand in our way.

Like Jesus we have to rely on the power of God to assure us that we are following the right path and he is with us.

Today we will pray for the times we have known the things we should be doing but have not done them. For the times when others have had a vision from God and we have stood in their way, for personal reasons and not because God has spoken against it.

Bible Passage: - Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'

Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."'

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down. For it is written:

'"He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."'

Jesus answered him, 'It is also written: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."'

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'

Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Contemplation Saying.

"Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

Contemplative Prayer.

Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,

Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,

Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.

Listen for God's voice in the quiet of your prayers.

Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.

Hymn: Singing the Faith - "He walked where I walk"

Let us pray together.

Twitter Prayer

Loving God, I need you in my life, for you are my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

Facebook Prayer

Lord teach me to draw my strength from you and not try to rely on my own.

Teach me to put my trust completely in you.

Help me to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I need you in my life for you are my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

Full Prayer

Ash Cross

Loving God, we thank you that you are patient and forgiving.

That despite the times we so often fall short you are willing to give us a second chance, over and over again.

We place before you the times we have seen things we should do for you and have been too busy or unprepared to sacrifice our time or our money.

We pray for the times when others have been inspired by you and we have dampened their enthusiasm and stood in their way. Preventing them from fulfilling your will.

We pray that we may hold fast to you, when temptation comes. Help us to resist it and live the lives you call us to. Amen.

Prayer separator image

Gracious God, we thank you for the reassurance that you also were tempted, as we are.

We thank you for the example you have shown us of resisting that temptation.

When we struggle to keep on the narrow path help us place our feet in the footsteps you have already trod. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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Lord teach me to draw my strength from you and not try to rely on my own.

Teach me to put my trust completely in you and to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me to walk in full knowledge of your truth.

Let me really hear you say "without me you can do nothing,".

I need you in my life for you are my strength and my redeemer. Amen.