When Satan is in your Face

11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
? 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

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These words from the 1st chapter of the gospel of Mark popped me right between the eyes this morning. Do you see the seemingly gross incongruity between verse 11 and verses 12-13?

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“I love you Son. I am proud of you. I believe in you. I’m backing you. I approve of you Son.”

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“So I’m going to lead you into the wilderness for the next forty days without any food, without any friends – to tangle one-on-one with the devil. Have fun Son – love you!”

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When we go through difficult times why do we so quickly assume that God doesn’t love us? Or that he is ticked off at us? Or that he has somehow forgotten about us?

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God’s purpose for each of us is to make us like Jesus and make us fit for his service. Our personal comfort and “happiness” is not our Father’s chief concern. That means that he can be delighted with us and yet allow us to endure periods of severe testing. It was no coincidence that the Father explicitly articulated his love for Jesus just prior to forty days of satanic pounding. It was Christ’s knowledge and assurance of his Father’s love that helped him endure.

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My family and I have gone through some rather hellish times in the past. I wish I could tell you that I never doubted God’s love or wisdom but I did. My personal circumstances didn’t seem to jive with a loving God watching out for me. Some days I was barely hanging on – to my faith or my sanity.

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Are you going through a brutal time right now? Hang in there. Pray. Lean heavy on Christian friends. Dive into the Psalms. Go for a walk. Listen to some good music. Cry, kick, scream – but do not succumb to the lie that your Father does not love you.

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When the time of testing was complete – God used his Son to save the world. He wants to use you in unimaginable ways as well.

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Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
?I Peter 4:12-13

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God loves you. Hang in there.

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Peace,
?Dave

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