The pastor from my church in Nashville gave a 28 Day Challenge on Sunday at church. He challenged his congregation and those reading his blog to all read through the 28 chapters in Matthew as Sunday marked the 28 day countdown until Easter Sunday. I really still count this as my home church until I find a place here in Dallas. (if you are in Nashville and need a church, you should definitely check it out; or if you just want a good blog to read or sermons to listen to on iTunes - you have my approval :) )
So today we are reading through chapter 3. There are a whole lot of things going on in this chapter. I really love the gospels (Matthew,Mark,Luke, and John) because we get different viewpoints of significant events in Jesus' life. Verses 13-17 are about John baptizing Jesus. What an amazing thing to have encountered! Do you hear John's amazement as Jesus comes to him to be baptized? John is like "Jesus, I can't baptize you. I'm the one who is supposed to be baptized by you." But Jesus responds and says "Do it. God's work is coming together right now in this moment." So they experience this glorious moment as Jesus is baptized by John and the heavens are opened and God's spirit comes down, appearing like a Dove, and lands on Jesus and SPEAKS and says "This is my Son with who I am well pleased." wow.
Now, that's chapter 3. Do you know what happens next? The same Spirit that came down from heaven like a dove, leads Jesus INTO THE DESERT to be TEMPTED. Does anyone else think this is nuts? They experience this amazing encounter, and they are probably all just pumped up, and God leads Jesus to experience temptation/trials/hardship.
Why do you think this is? My thoughts are that this is exactly the beauty of knowing and walking with God. This is what happens in our lives. We experience and taste the Lord, and then something happens - we hear from that guy/girl that we broke up with who we have been hurt by and don't want to talk to, our lives become really busy and we don't feel like we have time to spend alone in the Word anymore; whatever you are tempted by - and then our hearts are shattered as we have such a hard time grasping the fact that just yesterday we had an amazing prayer time or God spoke to us at church or we were just simply feeling His presence. So we get mad or angry or lose faith. But we all know that hardships exist so that God can be glorified all the more. God is gracious enough to let us experience Him, so that WHEN we are in fact lead into the desert to be tempted, we can overcome and don't have to fall into temptation. Right? because our enemy doesn't want us to have those "baptism" moments... he sees them and will everything he can do to shatter them.
So, today, I'm worshiping the Lord. Tasting His goodness. Thankful for His presence in my life.