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Sharpening Our Swords in 2004
(January 6, 2004)

      By Fern Horst

"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

"Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:1-11)

Recently a friend of mine discovered the same strategy that Jesus used in the wilderness to refute Satan's attacks against him. After a painful relationship break-up, Satan has bombarded her with thoughts of doubt. Over and over again she's quoted Scripture out loud to refute the vile thoughts that pummel her brain. If the thoughts trouble her at work she flies into the restroom where she quotes verses out loud that refute the lies Satan is trying to make her believe. She does this in her car, in her bedroom - anywhere and anytime that the attacks hit her.

While the support of her family and friends has helped her in this painful journey, her primary weapon in the midst of the battle is Scripture. Jesus set us an example when He used Scripture to counter Satan's temptations, and my friend has been wise to use the same weapon He did. In fact, the Bible itself refers to Scripture as a weapon:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword." (Hebrews 4:12a).

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil .... And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:11, 17)

My friend's experience reminds me again of the importance of knowing Scripture so well that it comes to mind when we are in need. The only way I know to be prepared with Sword in hand when Satan attacks is to read and re-read and re-read the Bible so that its truths become a real part of me.

Another dear friend of mine, an elderly lady who passed away a year ago, amazed everyone who knew her with her depth of Bible knowledge. She told me something one day that made me realize how she'd come to know it so well. For over 40 years she read five chapters a day which took her through the Bible in less than a year. When she was finished, she started all over again. After awhile, she said, she started seeing patterns, and she was able to make connections from one part of Scripture to another. I enjoyed it so much when she taught our ladies' Sunday School class, as she was able to connect passages of Scripture and bring out insights as no one else could. Her practice of reading the Bible became a challenge to me to read through the Bible each year.

For the fifth year, we at Purposeful Singleness are following a Bible reading plan to read through the Bible. These weekly devotionals are based on the Bible readings from the previous week's schedule. The particular plan we have chosen has a portion from both the Old and New Testaments each day, and takes the reader through the Old Testament in chronological order. Nothing else has given me such a comprehensive scope of the events of the Old Testament as using this Bible reading schedule.

You, too, can get a better scope of the Bible's chain of events by following this schedule with us. You will also gain a better grip on one of the most important weapons we have to get us through difficult times.

You can find the schedule and various other tools on our website at:

http://singleness.org/bible

May God richly bless you in 2004 as you seek Him with your whole heart!

© 2004 Purposeful Singleness
www.singleness.org/dev_209.shtml

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