Day 39: How Jesus Persevered through Trial

Luke 22:39–46 depicts the last moments Jesus spent with his disciples before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He spent the time in prayer. Several important principles about perseverance emerge: First, Jesus talked to God regularly. According to Luke, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray….’” Matthew and Mark identify “the place” as Gethsemane, a large garden with olive trees (Matt. 26:36, Mark 14:32). Luke may be merely describing what Jesus did that particular week, but it seems more reasonable to interpret him as … Continue reading Day 39: How Jesus Persevered through Trial

Week 5 Giveaways for 10 Weeks of Free Books and Gospel Publishing House are giving away free books every week through the end of September. Check out George Paul Wood’s blog ( every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. (Central Daylight Time) for the list of books and contest rules. Then, come back to his blog on every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. (CDT) for a video announcement of winners and discussion of new and interesting books. Book Giveaway for Thursday, August 26, 2010 GPH Product: Dr. George O. Wood, Living in the Spirit kit for church-wide series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit ($89.99 value) GPH Product: … Continue reading Week 5 Giveaways for 10 Weeks of Free Books

Day 38: How Jesus Resisted Temptation

The devil tempts us. God tries us. When we resist the former and persevere through the latter, God produces character in us. Jesus models how to do both. Over the next two days, I want to look at his example, beginning today with how he resisted the devil. My remarks are based on the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1–13). First, Jesus overcame temptation because he was already spiritual prepared. Luke writes: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where for forty days he was … Continue reading Day 38: How Jesus Resisted Temptation

Day 37: The Gateway to Character

When God leads us into trials, he does so in order to accomplish something in our lives that he could not accomplish through other, less trying, means. So, rather than cowering when life tries to bean us, we should stand straight and swing away, knowing that God is presenting us with an opportunity to hit a spiritual home run. Listen to James 1:2–8: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, … Continue reading Day 37: The Gateway to Character

Day 36: God and Greek Vocabulary

The final petition of the Lord’s Prayer says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). The first half of this petition raises two interesting questions: (1) Does God ever lead us into temptation? (2) If not, why do we ask him not to? The answer to the first question is a resounding “No!” James 1:13 identifies evil desire as the source of temptation, not God: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted … Continue reading Day 36: God and Greek Vocabulary

Day 35: The Ministry of Reconciliation

It is relatively easy to confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness. It is much harder to forgive others when they sin against us. But Jesus teaches us to do both: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). This is the pattern of our praying and the design for our doing. Paul describes this praying and doing as “the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:16–21. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so … Continue reading Day 35: The Ministry of Reconciliation

Day 34: Closing the Circle

Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts,” but we often overlook the condition he attached to that petition—“as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). To drive the point home, he added, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (verses 14–15). When we forgive others, we close the circle that began when God forgave us. Is God’s forgiveness really conditional on our forgiveness? Yes—if words have any meaning. But look at … Continue reading Day 34: Closing the Circle

Day 33: How to Confess, and How Not To

We are sinners who need to confess our sins. When we do so, God is able and willing to forgive us. The question, then, is how we ought to confess. Jesus’ parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the Temple to pray provides an answer (Luke 18:9–14). Luke explains the context of this parable in verse 9: “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable….” From this introduction we can deduce that the spirit of confession is the antithesis of self-righteousness and judgmentalism. Verses 11–12 … Continue reading Day 33: How to Confess, and How Not To

Day 32: The Cross and the Problem of Forgiveness

How does God forgive us? Ephesians 1:7–8 gives the answer: “In him [i.e., Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Redemption and forgiveness are powerful images. Redemption portrays a slave set free. On several occasions, Paul refers to us as “slaves to sin” whom God has liberated through Christ (e.g., Rom 6:6, 16, 17, 20; 7:14, 25). Forgiveness portrays a debt being canceled. We are debtors to sin and owe God more than we can pay, but God has canceled our debt. According to Paul, redemption and forgiveness come at a great cost go God, … Continue reading Day 32: The Cross and the Problem of Forgiveness