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Monday, September 10, 2018

Search for God: Tempted

Each week the PSF reads along with the Ukirk lectionary.  Last week (Sept. 5) we read the story of Jesus' temptation and the whole armor of God from Ephesians (Matthew 4:1–11 Jesus Tempted in the Desert, Ephesians 6:10–20 The Armor of God).  In Matthew's telling, Jesus is first tempted to relieve his hunger, then to save himself, then to command all the kingdoms of the world.  Read Luke's version and notice an ordering difference and wonder for a bit about each author's choice.  Supposedly the third temptation is the greatest.  Why would each author choose a different final temptation?  What would be the most challenging for you to refuse?  Food when you are starving?  Healing/life when you are close to death?  All the power in the world? 

Ephesians reminds us that we need to be strengthened with truth, faith, righteousness, and most importantly prayer for ourselves and prayers for others. 
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.  (NRSV)

In the tradition of the PC(USA) Matthew 4 shows up most often around Lent.  However, we face temptation to follow other more compelling calls and paths all the time -- especially as we start a new school year or place.  Here is a prayer to sustain us inspired by Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-15, Luke 4:1-13.

Holy God, by the grace of Jesus Christ
you know the tests and trials we face.
Walk with us through this wilderness.
Come to us with ministers of healing
and visit us with messengers of hope,
so that we may return to you in faith,
believing the good news of the gospel;
through Jesus Christ our Savior.

— posted on the Presbyterian Church USA website. http://www.pcusa.org/

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