Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bitter or Better...

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

If God is calling you to do something for Him, expect to be tested. Temptation is a test of your true character. Literally, it is a proving of the heart -- a demonstration of your inner motives. It challenges your convictions and exposes your weaknesses. But it serves an important purpose.

Jesus, here in Matthew 4, is being led up into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. No doubt He was dreading such a trip -- He hadn't eaten in 40 days, the weather was likely hot, and the mountainous terrain would be rugged. But it wasn't the devil who led Him up into the wilderness, it was the Spirit of God.

Yes, the Holy Spirit led Jesus. Notice that word "led." The transliterated Greek word is "anago," which means "to lead up into a higher place." You see, the Holy Spirit was leading Jesus into a higher place. And today, it's so important for you to understand that a testing from God will lead you into a higher place. So often we think that when negative things happen, they bring us down. But God's plan is to take you to a higher place. He wants to broaden your perspective, to deepen your understanding. And when you overcome, you will see that the real purpose of the test was not merely for you to succeed in a challenge, but for the Holy Spirit to empower you like never before.

Maybe you are in the middle of temptations right now. Maybe you are experiencing challenging testings. Realize that God is leading you with a purpose. Life's trials and setbacks will make you either bitter or better. They will leave you empowered by God -- strengthened in spirit and grateful in heart -- or bitter and defeated. It all depends on whether you place your focus on yourself, or on the Lord. After all, the only difference between being bitter and better is the letter "I".

The above was taken from:"Today's Devotion by Mike MacIntosh"

My Thoughts:

Every morning I wake to find a new devotion in my email box from my very first pastor: Mike MacIntosh. I always look forward to reading his thoughts on the scripture he's chosen, for the day, and this mornings devotion especially hit home. "The only difference between being bitter and better is the letter "I"." How many times does that one word trip me up in my walk with the Lord? "But Lord, I deserve better...I shouldn't be treated this way"...and the I, I, I's go on and on. When we get our eye's off the Lord and onto our selves we become discontent, disgruntled, and dislikable. I have to confess that this is where my heart has been lately and I don't like it very much, so today I have decided that my eyes need to be refocused where they should have been to begin with!


ellen b. said...

I, I, I, the never ending battle. But thanks be to God for His patience and steadfast love for us :0)
Here's to getting better and not bitter!! Hope all is well with Cori G!!

Diva Kreszl said...

thank you for sharing this wonderful message with us!

grey like snuffie said...

I like the idea...I'm realizing that sometimes when life happens I do need to deal with the bitter to be free to walk in the better. We are a work in progress...always a choice about what to do with life and all it's happenings. Cori, I hope you have a grand week!

Simply Heart And Home said...

It is a small world. I know Mike MacIntosh (though I doubt he remembers me - it was a long time ago). Years ago when we lived in San Diego, before I had my children, I taught at the Calvary Chapel preschool. This was when Mike MacIntosh was pastor of Calvary Chapel at the North Park Theater in North Park. Later it became Horizon Christian Fellowship and Horizon Preschool.

Great devotional by Pastor Mike.

Have a lovely Sunday evening


Cori G. said...

Thank you Ladies and I'm OK! I was in need of a little spiritual heart surgery, but I think I'm recovering just fine.
Gina, that's so funny and what a small world it is. I started going to Horizon a few weeks after they moved to Mt. Alifat (?) or what ever that street name was. You can subscribe to his online daily devotion...I think I left a link ;-).

God bless all.

fairmaiden said...

This is a good teaching. I have never heard that before..."I" being the difference. It's hard enough to keep our eyes off of ourselves in our selfish driven society, let alone try and teach our children to. Thats where I'm at...trying to gently get my young adult children's eyes onto to the LORD and off of self. It was very trying this weekend.