Grace Notes in the Desert

Grace Notes in the Desert is written for the saints of Rio Grande Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community.

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Grace Notes acknowledges we need God's grace and forgivness as much as the desert water.


Wilderness Tests

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

We Protestants don’t talk much about temptation or the devil; gone are the days of Jonathon Edwards, and other Protestant pastors, preaching “fire and brimstone” sermons. It just doesn’t happen in most American Protestant Churches.

But, anyone who’s lived long (I, myself, am almost as old as some trees, fast approaching the ½- century mark) knows, if they’re honest, the reality of temptation--which, you might be interested to know, comes from the Latin “temptare” meaning, literally, “to try the strength of", to stretch”; “to test”; and “to provoke.”

Temptation is certainly not something anyone would relish. One has only to watch the evening news--with its ‘Pryamid Schemers’ or ‘Senate Seat Sellers’-- to know that’s true. Maybe, that’s why, in The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prays, “lead us not into temptation”--because, God only knows if we will have the strength to overcome some tests?

But, if temptation shows us who we are; what we value; what we’re capable of; and what, with God’s power, we can overcome--then, in an odd way, it‘s something we need in order to mature, understand ourselves better, and, if we’re willing, trust God more. Perhaps that’s the very reason, the Gospels describe: “God’s Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted…”

This Lent, may our pray not only be “Lead us not into temptation” but “God, give us the grace and power of your Holy Spirit, to overcome it.”

Yours on the Journey,
A Pastor in the Desert