Sweden – Linda Johnson

Feb. 23 – Some gathered for prayer at 9:30. News flash! Temptation is not a sin. Jesus was tempted and he was without sin. It’s all right there in Matthew 4. And he was tempted by the devil, offered everything the heart desires. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was in all ways tempted, yet without sin. He endured the same temptations of everyone and knows what it is like. Temptation did not overcome him but empathy did.

Empathy, the ability to identify and feel what someone else is going through. Man can fall short in being empathetic. It’s a finite world and there’s only so much one person can do for another. But, Jesus is our high priest and is able to help us navigate the trials and tribulations that life has to offer. How does one know that?

Daniel 3 tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow to the golden image. Wonder of wonders, Jesus the Son of God was with them in the fire. One can only imagine how terrifying it would be to be thrown into a fire. Jesus was there, though, and that made all the difference.  

Daniel was cast into the lions’ den for praying to God and not to the King. It’s in Daniel 6. He was in there with hungry lions. But an angel was sent to shut the mouths of the lions. (Daniel 6:22) God did not abandon Daniel and He doesn’t abandon us to this day. He is not a distant God but our personal savior.

Jesus came walking to his disciples in the midst of a raging storm. One that was so bad that they were scared witless and believed that they were going to die. They saw someone on the water and thought they saw a ghost. He told them not to worry, it was him.(Matthew 14:24-33) Even in the middle of a raging storm, he is a constant refuge.

Jesus has demonstrated time and again that he is there for his children. Hebrews 4:16 sums up how he cares for mankind, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Praise be to God and his Son, Jesus. 

Pastor Strong can be  heard on our radio program which is on KKOZ 92.1 FM at 8:05 a.m. Sundays. Or, come and hear Pastor Josh live on Sunday mornings. Service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.