The Response: Psalm 91 (verse 2) “You are my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I put my trust.”
On the First Sunday of Lent Reverend Gina Frnka served as pastor. Neil Nichols served as the Lay Minister. The Readers were Arthur Clark, John Greve, and David Maitland.
The First Reading was Deuteronomy 26:1-11. The Israelites are being told that when they come to the Promised Land, they should take the first fruit of the land and offer it to God giving thanks for the blessings bestowed upon them. They should celebrate the bounty the Lord has given them with the Levites and aliens.
The Second Reading was Romans 10:8-13. Paul tells the Romans that they should believe with their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Reverend Frnka read the Gospel according to Luke 4:1-13. This passage tells of the temptations Jesus which he faced from Satan, when after his baptism he went into the wilderness alone to prepare himself for God’s work. First, Satan tempted him with bread, for he was starving. Then Satan asked him to bow down and worship him and he would give him all glory and authority in the lands. Lastly, he was asked to test God’s promise by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple and see if God would save him. Jesus answered each temptation: “One does not live by bread alone.” “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” When the devil realized Jesus was not going to succumb to his temptations he left him until another opportune time.
Reverend Frnka mentioned that it is not known how the Apostles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) had known about this incident, but all three had recorded it. This is a wonderful teaching of the type of temptations that Jesus faced and how he dealt with them. The Holy Spirit had entered Jesus at his baptism and was with him to help him through the temptations. Jesus had fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and communed with God.
The decision we have is do we take what the devil offers us, or trust God to provide and care for us? The devil used food, scripture, and power to tempt Jesus to accept greed, idolatry, and to test God’s love. One thing Christians must do is decide how they will face the evil in the world. One has the opposition in himself to take charge of his life and work things out on his own. This passage reveals that we have the presence of the Holy Spirit to aid us when we are tempted. The real evil beckons us to rationalize the temptation and choose what we want. We tell ourselves that it will lead to good things. This is the opportunity to choose between evil and God. We must believe that God is there to help us and we are not alone. Let God be God for us.
Don’t do something for others simply to gain glory for yourself but instead to help do God’s work. Work for God should not be for selfish gain. Lent is a time to return to the Lord your God. Jesus spent his time on Earth feeding, healing, and teaching. Then the ultimate sacrifice was required by his death on the cross. Though he went to the cross, He also was resurrected and ascended to heaven. This is another indication that it is God’s will to triumph over evil. If we remain aware of the Holy Spirit and let him lead us, we can overcome evil.
This week our delegates will attend the Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas in Corpus Christi. They will take part in the business of the Diocese and report back to the church about all the accomplishments and activities that the Diocese has participated in for the past year.
We continually pray for the ill, the military, and those who are in need. Next Sunday St. Matthew’s will have Reverend Lloyd Johnson for the 9:00 a.m. service. All are welcome to worship with us. PIM web site.