Matthew 4: 1-11

Illustrated New Resources

  • Confronting Satan without an Exorcist

    by Jim Chern
    Working in campus ministry, one of our goals is to come up with ideas, events, lectures that will engage others at the University. Without a doubt, the most successful event ever was a few years back when we hosted a Vatican trained exorcist to come and speak about his experiences in dealing with people who were possessed by the devil. We had posted flyers and gotten the word out about our “Night with the Exorcist” – and reserved a large conference room for the talk. Its always hard to tell what’s catching students attention or not. With so many sources of information – too many invitations and requests, and just distractions – you can never be sure what’s “trending” on campus – or as my generation would’ve put it – who or what has got a “buzz” around them. But this was far and away the most popular thing we had ever done...
  • Sermon Starters (Lent 1A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The great German pastor, preacher, and theologian Helmut Thielicke once told a story in his book “How the World Began” that illustrates something about the devil’s tactics in temptation. “The people never know the devil’s there, even though he has them by the throat,” says Mephistopheles in “Faust.” Recently I made an interesting experiment in this respect. My students performed volunteer services for several weeks in a camp for refugees and almost every day they put on a Punch-and-Judy show for the children. It was my job to play the devil. I wielded a horrible, fiery red puppet in one hand and mustered up a menacing and horrible voice to represent all the terrible discords of hell. Then in tones brimming with sulphur I advised the children to indulge in every conceivable naughtiness: You never need to wash your feet at night; you can stick your tongue out at anybody you want to; and be sure to drop banana peels on the street so people will slip on them. The pedagogical effects which I achieved in this role of the devil were enormous and generally recognized in the camp. The children suddenly stopped sticking out their tongues and they also washed their feet at night. They would have absolutely no truck with the devil. If they had had anything to say about it, the Fall would never have happened. But then, too, the serpent in paradise could not have been the kind of devil that I was. For then he would have had to play the game openly.” But Thielicke goes on to point out that the real devil is for this very reason never so obvious as his fiery red, sulphur-voiced devil. The real devil always hides behind a clever mask and it is just then, without our even knowing what is happening as often as not, that he does his best work.
  • Power and Its Abuse

    by Anne Le Bas
    The news these days is full of stories of the abuse of power. There have been a number of high profile cases. Peter Ball, a former bishop, John Smyth who ran Christian camps for boys from public schools, Jonathan Fletcher, once a leading light in the Evangelical wing of the Church of England. Last week well-founded allegations emerged about Jean Vanier, a Catholic layman who founded the inspirational L’Arche communities where able bodied and disabled people live together. He died last year, and in the wake of his death six women so far have come forward independently of each other to report that he coerced them into unwanted sexual activity over many years. He was widely regarded as a living saint, a spiritual superhero, so it must have been incredibly hard for them to blow the whistle on him, and very brave of them to do so...
  • A Blessing in Disguise

    by Paul Sizemore
    The song I have in mind today is entitled: “Jesus walked this Lonesome Valley!” For certainly the first part of this song is true enough! It goes something like this: Jesus walked this lonesome valley! He had to walk it by himself! Oh, nobody else could walk it for him; he had to walk it by himself! This verse does a pretty good job of describing the spiritual truth we have just heard in our Gospel lesson today – the story of Jesus, alone in the wilderness, enduring those temptations of the devil! But there is another similar segment to this song in that old mountain spiritual that goes like this—and with it I must express my profound disagreement. That verse goes like this: “You’ve got to walk this lonesome valley! You’ve got to walk it by yourself! Oh, nobody else can walk it for you! You’ve got to walk it by yourself!” The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that this is no longer true for us at all—in our relationship with the Triune God—because of what the Holy Son of God has endured for all of us! Because of Jesus, his perfect life, his death and bloody, unjust crucifixion, we will never have to go through all the trials and troubles of this life, simply relying upon ourselves!...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Will This Be on the Test?

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes plenty of Greek exegesis!!)
  • Jesus Tempted

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A newspaper from London England was looking for the opinions of the subscribers in addressing the problem of evil. Readers were invited to send in their responses to the question, What is wrong with the world today?..." and several other illustrations - recommended!!)
  • Not By Bread Alone

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Joni Eareckson Tada is well known as an attractive talented artist, who was paralyzed from the neck down because of a diving accident in 1967. At that time, she had just graduated from high school..." and other illustrations - also recommended!!)
  • The Proof Is in the Living

    by Sil Galvan
    If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all may doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, but don't deal in lies, Or being hated, but don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise.
  • Lent 1A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Illustrations, Quotes Etc. (Lent 1A)(2008)

    Compiled by Jack Lohr
    ("John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent....")
  • The Tempter's Snare

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("This year, perhaps more than any other, many of the movies in contention for Best Film illustrate powerful temptations. The Wolf of Wall Street, based on a biography and seeming to illustrate several recent exposes of firms, is a tour-de-force presentation of the temptation of money. Jonah Hill, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, says he wanted the role because he knew men he had grown up with who worshipped wealth that exclusively, who could not see anything in life as alluring, as enticing, as money...." and mention of other movies)
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 4:1-11)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis with numerous quotes from commentaries)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Lent 1A)

    by Various Authors
    ("William Willimon, in his book What's Right with the Church, tells about leading a Sunday School class that was studying the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. After careful study and explanation of each of the three temptations, Dr. Willimon asked, 'How are we tempted today?'..." and many more)
  • A Little Soul Searching

    by Keith Wagner
    ("At the Academy Awards Ceremony last Sunday, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, won the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar. Filmmakers Nicholas Reed and Malcolm Clarke took to the stage to accept their award and Clark said, 'When I met Alice Sommer, I was struck by two things; Her extraordinary capacity for joy and her amazing capacity for forgiveness. For those of you who don't know it, the amazing Alice Sommer died one week ago today, she was 110.' Sommer was the world's oldest survivor of the Holocaust..." and other illustrations)
  • Illustrations on Temptation

    Compiled by Peter Wales
    ("Henry Snowden pulled in to the drive-up window at the local Burger King. He ordered, paid for his meal, and eased away from the window. When he finally pulled over to eat, he got the shock of his life. There was nothing wrong with his burger or fries. His drink was cold and good. But the clerk working at the window had shoved two bags out the window at the 31-year-old man..." and several more)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2017 to 2019

  • Story of the Temptations

    by Richard Bryant
    A couple of weeks ago, the pest control professional (aka the exterminator) and I were talking outside the church. He asked if I’d seen anything that might merit his special attention. “I might have heard some yellow jackets by the window again about a week or so ago by window,” I said. His face grew a little pale. “Yellow jackets,” he paused. “Oh, no I hope it wasn’t yellow jackets. Are you sure it was yellow jackets?” “Yep, I think so.” I was getting a little hesitant of my ability to identify predatory stinging creatures. “Why?” I asked. “Cause if it’s yellow jackets I’m going to have to get my boss to come down here with his special suit. They can be mean suckers, with their nests in the ground. I can’t work with them yellow jackets. That’s a whole other ball of wax. You got to have special yellow jacket training.”
  • The Whisper of Eternity

    by Dan Clendenin
    Uberto Pasolini wrote and directed "Still Life", a poignant story about a low level functionary in the British bureaucracy of South London. John May is a case worker whose job is to find the next of kin for people who have died alone. And finding the next of kin for people who have died lonely and alone turns out to be quite a challenge...Most surviving family members "refuse assistance," as May's bureaucratic form puts it. They want nothing to do with their dead relative when May calls them. No, they don't want any of the personal effects that May lovingly collected from their apartment. No, they won't attend the funeral. No, they won't help to pay for the burial, and no, there's no one else to call. So, when those who died lonely and alone are abandoned even after death, May organizes their funerals.
  • Conversations Before the Cross: Satan Speaks

    by Jim Eaton
    The Wizard of Earthsea is a long story about a young wizard who becomes so proud of his gifts that he uses them to show off. But in showing off, a dark side of him splits off and the rest of the tale is a story of how that darkness darkens the world until finally the wizard, Sparrowhawk, must confront the darkness. Along the way, he learns this most important lesson: that all gifts are given with a purpose and the purpose is to serve others and serve the larger unfolding, blossoming purpose of the creator.
  • Temptation

    by Sonja Gerstenberger
    The survey of 2,000 people conducted by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment found: 29% of men and. 19% of women felt it was okay not to point out a bank error. 17% of men and 11% of women felt it was okay to increase the amount of an insurance claim beyond what repairs would cost. 17% of people felt it was okay to buy an item of clothing, wear it once with the tags on and return it to an online retailer. 10% of men and 5% of women felt it was okay to let a colleague take the blame for their error.
  • Lent 1A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    The great German pastor, preacher, and theologian Helmut Thielicke once told a story in his book “How the World Began” that illustrates something about the devil’s tactics in temptation. “The people never know the devil’s there, even though he has them by the throat,” says Mephistopheles in “Faust.” Recently I made an interesting experiment in this respect. My students performed volunteer services for several weeks in a camp for refugees and almost every day they put on a Punch-and-Judy show for the children. It was my job to play the devil. I wielded a horrible, fiery red puppet in one hand and mustered up a menacing and horrible voice to represent all the terrible discords of hell. Then in tones brimming with sulphur I advised the children to indulge in every conceivable naughtiness...
  • The Problem with Confessing Our Comfortable Sins

    by Terrance Klein
    Sometimes we can hear words, even understand their meaning, and still not comprehend them. Why? Because their significance is so far removed from the world that we know. It was like that 100 years ago, when the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov learned that his father, the Tsar Nicholas, had abdicated the throne of the Russian Empire. Alexei’s father was still at the front when news reached the royal household. His mother Alexandra broke the news to his four sisters, but she asked Pierre Gilliard, the prince’s tutor, to tell the 13-year-old boy that he would never be tsar, indeed that no one would. Sometimes we can hear words, even understand them, and still not comprehend them. Their meaning is so far removed from the world in which we live: A tsar-less Russia was incomprehensible to the prince.
  • Visions from the Catacombs (Lent 1A)(2017)

    by Terry Kyllo
    On the plane home I watched the movie "Loving". In one scene, the husband, a white brick mason who had married a black woman, was drinking with some of her family. One of her family told him that "the best thing you could do is divorce her." He went on to say that Mr. Loving could divorce his wife and and be done with all the stress of their inter-racial marriage and as a white man, he could move on and escape the tensions. But this was not an option for black people. They could never divorce their skin.
  • Where the Wild Things Are

    by Anne Le Bas
    I’m sure many people here know Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. Max, a small boy in an animal costume, runs riot round his house until his mother tells him he’s a wild thing and sends him to bed without his supper. But in his room a forest grows, and a boat appears and Max sails away to a distant island “where the wild things are”. They have a wonderful wild rumpus together, until Max starts to feel a bit lonely, and wants to be where “someone loved him best of all”. So he sails home to his room, and there is his supper on the table, where his mother has left it for him – “and it was still hot”, says the story. What seemed like years was really only a short time.
  • Tempted

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Often artists paint the pinnacle of the Temple, the top of the mountain. Often the Devil is portrayed in demonic and threatening ways (which would seem to be easier to resist than temptation that is beautiful, easy and just-one-step-away). Which is why Briton Riviere's version of Christ in the Wilderness is so appealing.
  • Our Three Temptations

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    We are, all of us, made in God's image and likeness, blessed, and our private secret that we are special is in fact the deepest truth. However that isn't always easy to believe. Life and circumstance often tire us in ways that tempt us to believe its opposite. It happened to Jesus. He too was tempted, and there was a particular prelude to his vulnerability: During his baptism, he had heard his Father say: "You are my blessed son, in whom I take delight!" Those words then formed and defined his self-consciousness. Knowing that he was blessed, Jesus could then look out at the world and say: "Blessed are you when you are poor ... and meek ... and persecuted." But throughout his life Jesus struggled to always believe that.
  • In the Wilderness

    by David Russell
    We are remembering Martin Luther King this weekend. If he were still alive, Martin Luther King would have turned 90 years old this past Tuesday. In the early days of the civil rights movement, during the bus boycott in Montgomery, it seemed like he could not go on. He received death threats on the phone. He feared for his family. Many sympathetic whites didn’t want to rock the boat and many middle class blacks were offended and unsupportive. The image of the sheer neediness of so many people pressed on his mind. Constant phone calls added to the pressure. On an already sleepless night, there came another death threat, and he couldn’t go back to sleep. In a life that faced many wilderness times, this was perhaps the low point. Taylor Branch, in his Pulitzer Prize winning book Parting the Waters, described what happened: King buried his face in his hands at the kitchen table. He admitted to himself that he was afraid, that he had nothing left, that the people would falter if they looked to him for strength. Then he said as much out loud...His doubts spilled out as a prayer, ending “I’ve come to the point where I can't face it alone.” As he spoke these words, the doubts suddenly melted away. He became intensely aware of an “inner voice” telling him to do what he thought was right. This experience of God’s grace and presence was a life-changing event for King. And it came out of his wilderness experience. King learned to trust God in those wilderness times...
  • The Lure of Limitless Living

    by Carl Wilton
    There’s a time when Frodo, the hobbit — whose job it is to carry the magical ring to a certain volcano and throw it in inside, to destroy it — is meeting with the Elvish Queen, Galadriel. Now, Galadriel is good. She’s also beautiful and powerful. Frodo’s despairing of his mission. He’s unsure he’s got what it takes to bear the ring. He offers it to Galadriel — figuring she’s so much better-qualified than he is to do that hard thing. But Galadriel refuses the offer. She does think about it for a minute. She says to Frodo he doesn’t know what he’s asking: “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2014 to 2016

  • Naked Reality

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("On one family holiday, my daughter Hannah was stung by a jelly fish and a young mum from a neighbouring party came to her rescue. She wasn't quite naked, but as near as makes not much difference. And it did seem strange, this naked person administering first aid. We were very grateful for her anaesthetic spray, but standing next to her, thanking her, was a peculiar experience...")
  • Lent 1A (2014)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("I was with a group of clergy the other day and heard about an acolyte who caught her hair on fire during communion. At some point she got too close to a candle and her hair caught on fire. At first people just smelled it, then she turned to one side and the assisting minister saw it and started beating it out with his hands. After it was all over, someone commented to her about how calm she had been and she drew herself up and said, 'I AM an acolyte and acolytes DO NOT panic!'...")
  • Get Up and Don't Be Afraid

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I wonder sometimes if the most challenging part for Jesus in the wilderness was not the tests that came at the end. I wonder if the hard part was those forty days which came before. Indeed, I wonder how it was at day seventeen when not a whole lot was happening yet and there was still no end in sight. That time when it must have seemed as though God was so very far away. For I've had those times. I expect you have as well...")
  • Satan: Slippery as Satin

    by Beth Johnston
    Almost 25 years ago, in one of the small rural churches I was serving, a nine or ten year old, who was very good at reading in public, was reading today's gospel text, or one similar to it, and this is what he said, 'Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satin! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Satin has a high lustre, and is very slippery. It is this slippery characteristic of satin that made that boy's verbal slip, more than just amusing; it was 'bang on'...
  • Temptation

    by Linda Kraft
    ("Living with a kitten these past nne months has been vastly entertaining. But she IS a kitten. And this particular kitten has been in a lot of trouble lately for doing what comes naturally for her. She has been chewing on cords. So far, she's chewed through three iPhone charging cords and one cord that attaches my husband's keyboard to his computer...")
  • Love and Right and Wrong

    by Julianne Parker
    ("'The trouble with you is that it's never your fault.' The words hit her like a slap across her face. 'Well, it rarely is.' She spat back. Carol is a pretty mixed up sort of person. As a child she had been abused in multiple ways. She had received mixed signals about things like love and right and wrong. This influenced the way she behaved. Some might have put it that she was more prone to sinning...")
  • D-E-V-E-L

    by Larry Patten
    ("Once, when about ten years old and visiting our grandparent's farm, Grandma protected my tender ears by spelling out—not speaking—a terrible word. Grandma, voice raised to get Mom's attention, said something like, 'And I'll tell you this, that man has got the . . .' She hesitated, glanced my way. Ah, a grandchild in the room. Grandma, softer, continued, 'He's got the in him.'...")
  • Who Is in Charge?

    by Wiley Stephens
    (includes several quotes)
  • My Flannel Graph Jesus

    by Debie Thomas
    ["The first time I heard the story of Jesus' Temptation, I was fidgeting in the Sunday School classroom of a tiny New England church. 'Do you know why (the devil didn't stand a chance against Jesus)? Because Jesus knew exactly who he was. He knew he was the Almighty Son of God. So the devil couldn't bother him.'...")
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Honor

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Temptation

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2011 to 2013

  • Multitasking Kills Leadership

    by Scott Benhase
    ("As leaders of the church, we need to step back, gain perspective, listen to others, and spend time in solitude so we can think reflectively and prayerfully. Such reflective time is a necessary precursor to right actions. We must be able to think and see clearly before we can lead and act faithfully..." on the need for prayer - worth the short read!!)
  • God Abstracted

    by Kyle Childress
    ("Stanley Fish, in his book The Trouble With Principle, talks about this using the example from several years ago of the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles. Remember Rodney King was beaten by five or six Los Angeles police officers and it was all caught on an amateur photographer's video. When the verdict was announced, many folks around the country were shocked at the acquittal of the officers....")
  • Lent 1A (2011)

    by Delmer Chilton
    "Several years ago someone gave me a tee-shirt that I absolutely loved. I wore it so much I wore it out. Just the other day, I was dusting the furniture and found its remnants in the rag box. It read: 'To do is to be' – Plato. 'To be is to do' – Descartes. 'Dobedobedo' – Sinatra. What we do, how be behave, what we believe; is a large part of how others define us..."
  • These Forty Days

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
    ("There's been a horrible disaster. You've departed this earthly life, and you now stand before the pearly gates. A smiling face greets you from the gatehouse. And you hear the jingling of keys as St. Peter comes forward to greet you. 'Come on in,' he says in a warm and friendly voice. 'Let me show you around.' Your mouth drops open in wonder as you behold the magnificence of the place awaiting you...")
  • Lent 1A (2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Genesis 3 reminds us of how things go when suspicion displaces trust, when self-reliance and an independent spirit trump a belief that there is a God who has our best interests at heart. And so the slogan 'Trust and obey' gets displaced by 'Analyze and retrofit'. A church choir's rendition of 'If you but trust in God to guide you' gets drowned out by Frank Sinatra belting out, 'I did it my way!'...")
  • Into the Desert

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("'Silence is the gateway to the soul,' said one wise commentator, Christopher Jamieson, the Abbot of Worth Abbey. He said those words in the course of a television program, The Big Silence, which was shown last autumn and which made quite an impression on me. He took 5 people – ordinary people and helped them to build some silence into their lives...")
  • You Are Invited

    by Sharron Lucas
    (Includes a link to the temptation scene from the Last Temptation of Christ.)
  • Lent 1A (2011)

    by Dorothy Okray
    "Temptation has been a topic of conversation in literature down through the ages, including the Bible. The following are just a few, including some of the funnier ones:..." and other quotes, illustrations and links to videos) (In order to highlight the text, drag your mouse over it.

    (In order to highlight the text, drag your mouse over it.)

  • Tempting Fate

    by Barbara Pitkin
    ("Canadian writer Alice Munro is one who consistently achieves the delicate balance between the fatedness of a narrative with the freedom of discovery—as a reviewer of her 2004 collection of short stories observes, 'The third thing that is so compelling about RUNAWAY is a powerful sense of fate, chance, destiny—the exact word is unimportant...")
  • A Blessing for the Wilderness

    by Jan Richardson
    ("Let us say this blessing began whole and complete upon the page. And then let us say that one word loosed itself and another followed it in turn. Let us say this blessing started to shed all it did not need, that line by line it returned to the ground from which it came...")
  • The Desert: The Place of God's Closeness

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("In her biography The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day shares how, shortly after her conversion to Catholicism, she went through a painful, desert time. She had just given birth to her daughter and her decision to have the child baptized, coupled with her profession of faith, meant the end of her relationship with a man she deeply loved. She suddenly found herself alone..." and another illustration from MLK Jr.)
  • The Devil Made Me Do It

    by John van de Laar
    the clip of Flip Wilson on the Ed Sullivan Show is broken on the link but you can find it here.

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2008 to 2010

  • Speak of the Devil: What Tree Would Jesus Eat From?

    by John Auer
    Poet Scott Cairns writes of “The Entrance of Sin” in the book Recovered Body – “For sin had made its entrance long before the serpent spoke, long before the woman and the man had set their teeth to the pale, stringy flesh, which was, it turns out, also quite without flavor. Rather, sin had come in the midst of an evening stroll, when the woman had reached out to take the man’s hand and he withheld it. . . .” Let us hold on – to each other, ourselves, and all the world!
  • A Friend of the Devil

    by Samuel Candler
    ("Many of you know the name of the song I am referring to. It's called Friend of the Devil. The chorus goes like this: 'I set out running but I take my time; A friend of the devil is a friend of mine.'...")
  • Super Tuesday Meets Ash Wednesday: First Sunday in Lent 2008

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ["This week, Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") and so-called 'Super Tuesday' both fall on February 5. While millions of revelers from Rio to New Orleans will indulge in raucous parties, tens of millions of Americans will chase the holy grail of politics...")
  • Lent 1A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a certain mother was tempted to quit – quit her job, quit her family, quit her parish, quit everything...")
  • Shortcut to Wisdom

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("There was a time when you thought animals could speak, and you didn't care if you wore clothes, and you didn't know what death was. 'Turn backward, turn backward, O Time in thy flight, and make me a child again, just for tonight.'...")
  • Lent 1A (2008)

    by W. Douglas Hood, Jr.
    ("There is a delightful little film about a small boy who learned to walk on his hands instead of on his feet. The story is done in animation and stresses the pressures toward conformity in our society....")
  • When Faith Is Tested

    by Philip McLarty
    ("Only as we are tested can we truly know ourselves to be children of God. No one knows this better than Lance Armstrong. Growing up, he proved to be a gifted athlete. He won the Iron Kids Triathalon when he was thirteen and trained with the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team when he was sixteen. He was on a fast track in his career as a professional athlete. Then tragedy struck...")
  • The Tempter, the Tease and the Trial

    by Steven Molin
    ("In his book The Screwtape Letters, author C.S. Lewis describes the relationship between Screwtape, a sort of 'high ranking officer in the devil’s army', and a 'devil in training' whose name is Wormwood, and who happens to be the nephew of Screwtape. Wormwood’s assignment is to lure one suspect away from his faith in God, using all the tricks and toys that the devil has in his arsenal...")
  • Lent 1A (2008)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("I have only known one person who had her demons driven out by prayer and fasting. And I learned a lot from her. I will call her Alice...")
  • Holy Deal

    by Larry Patten
    ("I was attending the memorial service of a person I admire. Once I had been his pastor. The place where his service was held wasn't his home church. The location was changed because everyone knew there would be an immense crowd and a larger space was necessary...")
  • Discernment and Dessert in the Desert

    by Jan Richardson
    ("In David's second story, Francis is trying to discern whether he should spend all his time in prayer, or whether he should also go out and do some preaching...")
  • Struggling with Temptation

    by Ed Searcy
    ("In 12-Step programs like AA, one of the keys to recovery from habitually saying yes to temptation is partnership with a sponsor who is available 24/7 when temptation threatens to overwhelm...")
  • Illustrations (Lent 1A)(2008)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("There once was a woman named Soul who was walking in a garden. She was humming a real sweet tune for she was saved and had the joy of the Lord. But she was a 'baby Christian'. As she was walking a handsome and charming man came out from behind a tree. Soul was very startled. She said, 'Hello, I'm Soul, what is your name?'..." and other quotes)
  • To Be Tempted

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Aesop's Fable The Fox and the Lion is a good illustration of becoming comfortable with danger. 'When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion..." and other illustration)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Choices For Faithful Living

    by Beth Johnston
    ("A grade 10 class had been assigned a term paper. Now, after many weeks, the day of reckoning had arrived and the papers were due to be handed in. The teacher knew that a particular student named Gene had not been working on his paper as diligently as the others in the class...")
  • Sounds Good, What Can Be Wrong With It?

    by Beth Johnston
    ("Do you remember the T.V. series Little House on the Prairie? In one episode, late in the series, a grown up and married Laura Ingalls Wilder is given a prize for her stories on her life in the 'little house'...")
  • Clarification: Living by the Word

    by Frederick J. Streets
    ("Henri Nouwen in his book In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership interprets the three encounters Jesus had with the devil in the wilderness as the temptations to be relevant, spectacular and powerful...")
  • The Devil Made Me Do It

    by Bob Allred
    ("Dr. Scott Peck wrote his book The People of the Lie to encourage us to take seriously the wiles of intentionally evil people who hide the fact that they have sold out to Satan...")
  • Six Flags Over Jesus

    by Mickey Anders
    ("He had finally got his chance to make the Really Big Sale. He was going into the final interview on the biggest contract he had ever written. He gazed about her office. Then he noticed a contract on her desk. She had evidently been studying a bid from a competitor....")
  • The Mystery of History (Part 1)

    by Gil Bailie
    ("Do you know the story of the teacher who wants to teach artistic imagination to her children? She's going to draw pictures on the board and have them free associate. She draws a circle on the board and says, "Johnny, what does that make you think of?..." and other illustrations)
  • The Temptation of Sloth

    by Phil Bloom
    ("At first glance it seems like sloth or laziness is the last thing we have to worry about – everyone is so busy and no one seems to have much time at all. However, busy-ness can mask sloth. Let me give a personal example...")
  • A Date With the Devil

    A story rendition by John Caughron
    ("If I close my eyes just a little bit, I can almost see him lurking in the shadow of a rocky outcropping in a scene that could be west Texas, or maybe southern Utah. Sun beating down... The kind of heat that sizzles off the rocks and lightly broils your face on its way toward the blistering sky... No water for miles... never has been, from the look of it...")
  • The Cup of Wisdom

    by Dan Chambers
    ("Jim Autry, wrote a poem called Life in America. 'There's a line I want to use, see? in a poem I want to write, okay? Now don't groan or roll your eyes. Give me a break. ...")
  • The Vision Thing

    by Tom Cox
    ("We instinctively know that not every urge, craving or desire is a worthy one. A truth best illustrated by the account of the son of King Louis XVI of France. His father dethroned, the prince was taken by his father's enemies...")
  • Isadore Isaac Isin

    Narrative Sermon by Kenneth Duley
    Isadore Ivan Isin is my name. Isadore is my name and selling sin is my game. My initials are I, I, I. is the title of this game…for all those young people taking notes on the sermon. I sell sin. I sell sin because sin is pleasure. Sin is enjoyment. Sin is happiness. Sin isn’t death. Sin isn’t painful. I would like to sell you on the pleasing pleasures and positive possibilities of sin. Life can be so boring, and a little sin can add zip to your life. I am here to sell you the zip, the zing, the zow of life as a way of escaping boredom.
  • Lent 1A (1996)

    by Mary Durkin
    ("It is said that one day Satan was instructing his students about the ways of deception, asking them what they thought was the best way to lead people away from God...")
  • Temptations and Trials

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("The African lion and the wild cat look so much alike, yet they are different. An ancient African theory explains it this way. The same lioness gives birth to numerous cubs some of which are truly lions at heart and some of which are not. How does the mother lion know which is which?...")
  • Sin and Despair, Salvation and Hope

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("There is an old Scandinavian legend about mighty Thor and how one day he visited the land of the giants. When Thor arrived there he found that the giants were engaged in various contests of strength...")
  • Victory Over Temptation

    by Michael J. Fish
    ("One of the most compelling stories of Nathaniel Hawthorn is called Young Goodman Brown, the story of a young preacher from Salem Village who has an eerie meeting with the devil himself...")
  • When We're in the Wilderness

    by Justin K. Fisher
    ("Do you know why the notorious bears of Yellowstone National Park aren't as visible as they used to be? Well, it seems that over the years these furry creatures were not only being photographed by wide-eyed tourists, they were also being fed...")
  • Following the Script

    by Patricia A. Gillespie
    ("In a small rural school, deep in the South, there was to be the performance of a play at the high school. Nothing like this had been done in this school before. There was never enough money and not enough interest. But a new English teacher had been hired, who was bright and enthusiastic, and she rallied students and parents to pull together this production...")
  • Temptation

    by John Hamby
    ("This man said he was shopping in the mall with his wife when a shapely young woman in a short, form fitting dress walked by. He said as she walked by his eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining his wife asked, "Was it worth the trouble that you are in?...")
  • Lent 1A (2002)

    by Roger Haugen
    ("The Mission is a movie about a Jesuit missionary sent to S. America, to a remote tribe that has repelled all efforts at conversion. One priest finally makes it into the community. He became close to them and found them to be very spiritual people...")
  • Getting What We Want

    by Mark Haverland
    ("In the very first Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, Calvin's dad is working on the car. Calvin walks up in a safari hat and says, 'So long, Pop! I'm off to check my tiger trap! I rigged a tuna fish sandwich yesterday, so I'm sure to have a tiger by now!'...")
  • True

    by Beth Johnston
    I am a big fan of ER, an NBC ‘doctor show’. On this show, which is a bit of a soap opera, various med students learn how to apply their medical knowledge, in the real life of a busy Chicago emergency room. They have a great deal of book learning and know how things should be done, yet the real life stories of their real live patients need to be taken into consideration as they balance their learning with their job of treating the whole patient.
  • The Man in the Mirror

    by Craig Kocher
    ("I've been reflecting some on Arthur Miller's most famous character, Willy Lowman, in the modern play, Death of a Salesman. If you remember the story, it's about an American family in the post War II boom....")
  • The Pit

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Whether we want to admit it or not, we are pit-dwellers. Adam and Eve dug the first pit and we have never been able to get out of it. Some say they dug it with disobedience. They ate the forbidden fruit. They were told, "Don't do thin vand they did it anyway....")
  • The Journey Begins

    by Richard Lischer
    "Flannery O'Connor has a story about a little girl who loves to visit the convent and the sisters. But every time the nun gives her a hug, the crucifix on Sister's belt gets mashed into the child's face. The gesture of love always leaves a mark..."
  • Lead Us Not

    by John Manzo
    ("A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter. Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read...")
  • Satan Sunday

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Recently, I was again reading C.S. Lewis' SCREWTAPE LETTERS and was reminded that C. S. Lewis has a different configuration of God and Lucifer...")
  • Temptation

    by David Martyn
    ("Roger Trigg, a professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick in central England, said the word sin could seem "terribly old-fashioned and judgemental". But he added that a close examination of the list of present-day vices suggested it was not so different to the seven deadly sins...")
  • Training Days

    by George Mason
    ("I believe the word was 'fragile'. That's what they said about the French figure skating judge who succumbed to pressure from the Russian Figure Skating Federation and caused a huge Olympic brouhaha two years ago...")
  • Fly or Be Invisible

    by Jim McCrea
    ("One of the more interesting segments of This American Life was called 'The Invisible Man vs. Hawkman'. It that segment, John Hodgman posed this question to a variety of adults: if you could fly or be invisible, which superpower would you choose?...")
  • Moving from Entertainment to Servanthood

    by Calvin Miller
    ("I have a poet friend in Seattle who lives next door to an old woman. He has written a wonderful little poem about her. She is 88 and his need to touch her perhaps renovated his own life...")
  • Final Exams

    by Johanna Morrigan
    ("I was probably about 5 or 6 years old, and I remember lying in bed at night feeling small, frightened, and pretty resentful of a God, who in my youthful eyes seemed to take great pleasure in taking all the credit for anything I did that turned out we...")
  • Does the Devil Make Us Do It?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    ("Jon Leveson raises the question of whether Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have been half as clear and courageous in his resistance to the Nazis if he had believed Hitler and his followers to be just the unknowing victims of inner psychological traumas...")
  • Shortcuts and Hard Yards

    by Nathan Nettleton
    ("My daughter has a story book called The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek. The story tells of a bunyip who crawls out of the murk at the bottom of the creek one day and doesn't know what he is. In order to find out what he is, he begins asking all the creatures he encounters. Some of them are able to tell him that he's a bunyip, but when he asks them what bunyips are like, they are less than helpful...")
  • What Does Discipleship Cost?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    ("How many people saw the movie Jesus of Montreal? For me, the most powerful scene in that movie, was the temptations scene. The movie was about a group of actors in modern Canada, putting on a passion play, a dramatic presentation of the story of Jesus journey to Jerusalem and to his death there...")
  • Lent 1A (1990)

    by Richard Nolan
    ("A few years ago a professor from Yale Medical School offered a seminar in medical ethics for the physicians connected with a Connecticut hospital. At some point he mentioned a moral issue that could be argued in more than one way and with more than one reasonable solution...")
  • The Mystery of History

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("There's a title to a country music song which is as superficial as anything I've ever heard in my life. But Emerson said that 'something foolishly spoken can be wisely heard'. The title of this song is The Girls Get Prettier at Closing Time....")
  • Temptation, Sin and the Offering of Christ

    by William Oldland
    ("Lord, he thought he'd make a man, Dem Bones gonna rise again. Took a little water, took a little sand, Dem Bones gonna rise again....")
  • Partial Truths

    by Jeeva Sam
    ("Not that long ago, certain companies in the U.S. were virtually giving away computers as long as you signed up for the Internet at the same time. A few months after these 'give-aways' were advertised, the Federal Trade Commission declared that advertisements promoting 'free' and 'low-cost' computer systems were deceptive and misleading...." and other illustrations)
  • Testing, Testing

    by Jeeva Sam
    ("A group of four university students took off on a ski trip during Spring Break. The skiing was good, but the partying was even better, and the trip got extended by a day. There was only one problem with the delay, though. It meant that they would not arrive in time for their Physics mid-term...." and other illustrations)
  • Go Find Your Smile

    by Mike Slaughter
    ("There are subtle temptations - joy stealers - that come into our lives. They will try to tell us that we can't be satisfied until the pressing concerns of the moment are cared for...")
  • Critical Encounters

    by Alex Thomas
    ("A few years ago a book called I Heard the Owl Call My Name was popular. It was about a young priest going out into a northern mission in B.C....")
  • Finding Our True Self

    by Alex Thomas
    ("I recently viewed the movie The Lord Of The Rings. Frodo, the main character in the story comes into possession of a certain ring, which if it gets into the hands of certain dark and powerful lord, will be used to snuff out the light of civilization, and cover the world in darkness...")
  • Concentration on the Task at Hand

    from Today in the Word
    ("Somewhere in the history of organized sports, a coaching staff tried out a new theory. These coaches reasoned that taking their teams away the night before a big game and putting the athletes up in a hotel gave them a competitive advantage. They felt that this cloistering would remove the athletes from the distractions of everyday life and allow the team to focus more thoroughly on the game ahead...")
  • The Big Temptation

    by Mark Trotter
    ("So what have we learned from this temptation story? I think maybe this. Maybe this ought to be our hymn as we journey to Good Friday and Easter. This is our pilgrim song. 'Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain...")
  • The Challenge of Saying "No"

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One day Bud and Sandy Snavely were sailing their sailboat, the Sensuous Sea, up the Columbia River. They got caught in a terrible storm known as a 'widow maker'. Five to six foot waves were crashing against the hull. It was a long, bumpy ride. Suddenly, Bud heard the sound of something clanging against the side of the bow. Straining to see through the driving rain he noticed the anchor had come loose from the pulpit..")
  • Temptations Will Come

    by Bill Wigmore
    ("I had a friend in early recovery who gave me a little book titled Our Devilish Alcoholic Personalities. It was abbreviated as ODAP. And in this book, ODAP was the name of the devil personally assigned by Satan to try to snag us alcoholics and addicts. Over the years, I think a lot of us here have received more than a few sales-calls from ODAP....")
  • Temptation

    by Steven Wyles
    ("There's a story about a young man who was sent to Spain by his company to work in a new plant. He accepted the job because it would give him the chance to earn enough money to marry his boyhood sweetheart...")
  • Tempting

    by Tim Zingale
    ("My son worked in the steel mill for several years. They would take scrap metal and throw it into a fire and melt it down and form it into rebar, which is used for adding strength in construction and foundations. As the metal is liquefied in the fire, the weak parts are burned and turned into smoke that goes up the chimney...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

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Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

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Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

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Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources

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The Classics

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Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Discipleship: An Instrument of Peace and Love

    by John and Robin McCullough-Bade
  • Who Are We?

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday Review, wrote this editorial in 1959 as a direct result of a personal experience: 'It happened at the Stamford, Ct., railroad station. It was Sunday evening, at about ten P.M. Some two dozen persons, among them several young men in uniform, were waiting for the express to New York. The door to the waiting room flew open...")
  • Temptation

    by James Farfaglia
    ("Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the men of the Zulu tribe it is quite simple. The method the Zulus use comes from their knowledge of the animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine..." and another illustration)
  • The Landscape of Lent: Wilderness

    by David Russell
    ("Steven Covey tells a true story about a man who experienced a time in his life when everything seemed flat, boring, dull. He went to his physician, who found nothing wrong with him physically. The doctor then suggested that he take a day for some spiritual renewal. He was to go to a place that had been special to him as a child. He could take food, but nothing else...")
  • Facing Our Temptations, Finding Our True Selves

    by Alex Thomas
    ("In 1934, Admiral Richard E. Byrd was exploring the South pole. He ended up living in a specially built shack alone for many months . He faced obstacle after obstacle. His radio malfunctioned. Poisonous fumes from a gasoline engine that was used to generate electricity caused him to become ill. He couldn't eat and had been near death before a rescue party was able to reach him. Admiral Byrd wrote a book about his experience; it was entitled, Alone..." and other illustrations)
  • Our Temptations

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Frederick Buechner in his book Now and Then says that when he studied at Union Theological Seminary, one of the faculty members that left a powerful and lasting impression on him was James Muilenburg...")
  • Piety and Privacy

    by David Risendal