Day 1 New Testament Reading Plan: Matthew 1-19
Devotional: "Power Given to Resist Satan’s Schemes"
Thank you for participating in this 14-day fast with a special emphasis on the power of the Scriptures. Some of you are choosing to read along and complete the New Testament in just 2 weeks which is amazing. You will certainly be enriched! I’ve found that the more I read the Scriptures, the more meaningful it becomes, and continues to check my attitudes and actions. I need the Word of God every morning and evening to be strong in Him and to fulfill His will.
The first devotion of this fast is centered on Matthew 4:1-11:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered,
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him,
“Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him,
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him,
“Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
The first devotion of this 14-day fast is from Matthew chapter 4 when Jesus is tempted by Satan, yet rebuffs him by quoting Scripture. Jesus probably had the first five books, as well as other long passages of the Bible memorized at an early age, as was common for Jewish boys. Not just the ability to recite passages, but a keen understanding of Scripture was needed for Jesus to resist temptation. As is seen, in the second temptation, Satan himself uses Scripture to try to tempt Jesus! This gives us insight into the incredibly deceptive nature of our adversary. He’s called the Deceiver and Father of Lies for a reason. We see this not only in the Garden of Eden with Eve and Adam, but also in Revelation when Satan is locked away for 1,000 years so that he will no longer deceive the nations (but is released one last time).
The end of Ephesians 6 reminds us to wield the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” when resisting the devil and temptation, and Jesus shows how this is done. Memorizing and understanding short and longer passages of the Bible gives incredible strength to resist deceptions and temptations. The famous missionary to Ireland, Saint Patrick, had all 150 Psalms memorized and even more passages from the Scripture. William Wilberforce, the famous Member of Parliament who led the charge to abolish the slave trade had Psalm 119 memorized, the longest chapter in the Bible. All Christians of consequence through the ages engaged with the Bible vigorously including reading it, memorizing it, studying it, meditating on it and listening to it. Even former president Theodore Roosevelt said that a thorough knowledge of the Bible was worth more than a college education.
Today, we have more access to the Bible than every before. We can listen to all sorts of translations on YouTube or other apps, and can buy excellent commentaries on books of the Bible to gain deeper understanding. We have the opportunity to benefit from its wisdom like at no other time in history! Taking time every morning and evening for 30-60 minutes to read the Bible and pray will change your life if it’s not part of your life already. I pray that as you engage in this fast, that you are radically changed by the power of God!
Dear Lord, Creator of heaven and earth and author of every word in the Scriptures. We hallow Your great name and give You honor and praise. Thank You, thank You for the Scriptures which provide wisdom for life, and especially for knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank You for Your great mercy to us.
Founder and CEO, Christian Union
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