devos from the hill


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Tested and Tempted . . . What’s the Difference?

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
From Fred Carpenter
Tested and Tempted Part 1 of 2

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1 NASB

After Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Spirit (of God) into the wilderness to be tempted.This temptation is described in Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–2. Notice that the Matthew 4:1 passage says the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but it does not say that the Spirit tempted Jesus. That is an important distinction because the Bible also says in James 1:13 that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” Satan (who is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5) is the one who does the tempting.

Based upon the James 1:13 passage, notice that it was futile for Satan to tempt Jesus, for “God cannot be tempted.” In the end, the temptation of Jesus served only to further the purposes of God. It was all part of His plan. This will become even more evident as we consider the word “tempt.”

“Tempt” (or tempted) comes from the Greek word “peirazo,” which is actually a legal term meaning “to make proof of.” In light of this root definition, we could say that Satan was tempting Jesus in order to prove that He was no different than any other man that had ever lived; that He was just like Adam and that He would fold under pressure. Ultimately, the same way that a prosecuting attorney seeks to disqualify the testimony of a defendant, Satan wanted to disqualify Jesus as the Deliverer who would free mankind from Satan, sin, and death. Continue reading


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Beware of the Need to Know

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29 NASB

Are you an information junkie? Where does checking the news (financial, sports, political, etc.) fit into your daily routine? Do you have a need to know things you don’t really need to know? Do you have a need to know why God has brought (or allowed) something into your life before you can embrace it? Do have a need to know why before you follow the instructions of someone in authority over you, be it God or man? Do you tend to over plan and over prepare before moving forward?

The Bible has a great deal of positive things to say about being sober minded, diligent and wise as we walk in this world. But there is a difference between counting the cost (which is encouraged in the Bible – Luke 14:28) and trusting in what we can count rather than trusting in God.

In 1 Chron. 21:1, we read that “Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” Satan exploited David’s “need to know”. But “God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel.” – 1Chron. 21:7. A census is not evil in and of itself, but in this situation, it was the how and why of the census that resulted in God’s anger toward David.

First, the instructions for numbering the people were given in Exodus 30:12. David did not follow those instructions. Second, David’s census was a violation of ownership. A person only has the right to inventory what he owns. You can’t go into your neighbor’s house and count his possessions without his permission. By taking this census, David was saying, these are my people. He is not acknowledging God’s ownership of the people. He counted them as if they were his. And finally, David’s census reveals that he was not trusting in God. Counting men was a king’s way to determine the size of his army. But it revealed that David was depending on human strength rather than on God. David’s census was rooted in unbelief, and the consequences were disastrous. God sent a plague which killed 70,000 men.

Satan also spoke to Eve’s “need to know”. In Genesis 3:2-5 we read that “The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden (the tree of the knowledge), God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! ’For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

Of course, we are all personally familiar with the result of that event. Eve acted on her innate “need to know” and sin entered the world, infecting mankind and bringing death to this very day.

Do you have a need to know things that you really don’t need to know . . . things that really belong to God? Spare yourself (and others) the grief. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:3

Some Key Take-aways by the staff:
1. It is one thing (& perfectly ok) to ask God, “why?” It is another thing to have to know before you can trust Him!
2. Parents can play a key role in how easy or difficult it is to superintend our need to know. As we are lead through early life by our parents, having to trust them without all the knowledge that they have, as they guide us, it builds our character for trusting and following God the Father.
3. Perhaps the ultimate purpose of knowledge is to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we can rely solely on God.


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Getting Rid of a Stiff Neck

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

 

One of the MHP staff recently woke up with a stiff neck. The symptoms? Constant pain, limited vision, inability to rest, diminished capacity to enjoy life. This made him think about the parallels to being spiritually stiff-necked like the spiritual leaders Stephen was addressing in Acts 7:51-53 (NASB).

“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

What is the outcome of remaining spiritually stiff-necked?

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. Prov 29:1 (NASB)

Is a stiff-neck curable?

Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NASB)

stiff-necked


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The Glory That’s Unsurpassed

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Oswald Chambers

. . . the Lord Jesus . . . has sent me that you may receive your sight . . . —Acts 9:17

This world presents us with so many things, good or not, that can alter our focus and our course. This short devo by Oswald Chambers helped us wrestle with the question, “Am I focused on and fascinated by the right thing(s)?”

Read on for more insight: http://utmost.org/the-glory-that%E2%80%99s-unsurpassed/