Tag Archives: evil

August 24; Getting Away With It

Jeremiah 43-44; Psalms 71 and 116

The people heard Jeremiah’s message from God – and they rejected it! They called the prophet a liar, and promised to go on living just the way they were living. In fact, they said that when they worshiped idols in the past, they’d had “plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm.” They went so far as to say that trouble started only when they’d stopped worshiping their pretend gods.

What they chose to forget were the many times God had sent prophets to warn them, sent plagues or famine to get their attention. Their memory was selective, “We had it good without God.”

We all know there are people who have rejected God as blatantly as these ancient Jews rejected Him. And we are witness to the fact that God doesn’t zap them dead the minute they utter the words, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 44:17)

Many non-believers, enemies of God, prosper in this world. But don’t think for a moment God or some higher power or the universe is blessing them for their sin. Jeremiah tells us in verses 21-22 that God is not unaware of what they are doing. He tells us God endures their sin for a time.

Why? Why would God sit back and let people be wicked? Well the answer is, He doesn’t. God doesn’t sit back – ever. If wicked people prosper it is because God is patiently throwing out roadblocks, conviction, signs, messages, hardship, unrest, whatever… in order to help those people choose Him. You can’t know how God is working in anyone’s heart.

I’m glad the organizers of the NIV One Year Chronological Bible include the two psalms in today’s scripture. This is the testimony God wants every man, woman, and child to have for themselves: God is gracious, God is good, God is righteous, He protects, He gives hope, and He is worthy of praise. And I believe the Bible tells us God will keep working in the hearts of even the most vile offenders, until they die.

But Jeremiah also tells us there is a time when judgment comes. Just because wicked people seem to prosper, doesn’t mean they are getting away with anything. One day they will have to account for their choices. In Jeremiah’s day that involved disasters, sword and famine. But the ultimate judgment is so much worse. It’s eternal.

So, dear Christian, don’t get caught up wondering why wicked people aren’t suffering. God is working. Trust Him. They aren’t getting away with anything. That fact should cause us to grieve for them, to pray for them, and to allow God to use us to save them.

 

 

July 4; Evil Didn’t Have To Be A Thing

Isaiah 13-16

We read of Satan’s fall from grace. This angel, a created being with the ability to think and choose, decided he wanted to be his own god. That, not what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, is the first recorded sin.

God didn’t create Satan evil. In fact, this angel we know as the devil was once known as the morning star, son of the dawn. But he took what God had given him, and twisted it until it died, and he was thrown out of heaven never to return.

Some people ask why a loving God would place evil in the world, why He would create sin. The answer is: He didn’t.

Ezekiel 28 seems to indicate that Satan made his decision to sin after the world was created. It would appear Satan enjoyed the garden as a perfect creation of God – until “iniquity was found” in him. Was Satan jealous of the relationship God had with Adam and Eve, and wanted them to worship him, too? (thoughts taken from “When Did Satan Fall From Heaven?” by Eric Hovind, creation today.com)

God didn’t create evil. He created choice. And with the ability to choose Him, we have the ability to choose to reject Him. We have the ability to choose to follow the Truth, and we have the ability to choose to follow our own twisted interpretation of the Truth. That’s where evil comes from. From me. And you, when we choose to deviate from the Truth of the Creator God.

When God created us with choices, He knew some would choose against Him. He knew there had to be consequences for that choice, serious consequences. And before day one of Creation, He knew He would do everything possible to help people choose Him, even as far as going to the cross in a human body to pay the ultimate price for sin Himself so we wouldn’t have to.

So no, evil didn’t have to be a thing. It still doesn’t. But it will continue as long as we who have the ability to choose between right and wrong, between evil and good, continue to choose sin.

You are going to make choices today. Are you going to make evil a thing?

 

April 28; Home

2 Samuel 5:6-12, 17-25, 6:1-11, 23:13-17; I Chronicles 11:4-9, 11-19, 14:1-2, 8-17, 13:1-14

Our worship service this morning centered around the second coming of Christ. I will tell you it made me a bit homesick thinking about the day God the Father will tell His Son, “It’s time to go and get my children.” What a day that will be!

Sometimes I read psalms like 101 that speak of God making things right, and I find myself asking, “When?” When will slanderers be put to silence? When will evildoers be cut off? And then I am reminded that God warned us things would not be easy while we walk this earth. Evil still exists because God still wants to save evil people.

The pastor reminded us when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Comforter. God Himself lives within all of us who know Jesus as our Savior. Is there anything too hard for God?

So today, as I consider who God is, I am so grateful that He is mine, so humbled by His love, and so underserving of any of it. One day I’ll look into those eyes, hold those nail-scarred hands, and know I am home.

June 26 – Satan In Church?

Lamentations 3:37-5:22

I suggested yesterday that we read Lamentations and consider our relationship, and the relationship of the Church, with God. I was struck again today by what I found in 4:12:

The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

That really scares me.

There are some who believe the Church is invincible because of God’s power. I think that leaves us open for a fall. If we believe the adversary and the enemy can’t enter the doors of the church, we haven’t been paying attention. It’s already happened.

It has nothing to do with God’s power. It has everything to do with our sin.

Once again I feel the urgency of lighting a fire under Christians and shouting WAKE UP! It’s time we identify the enemy and get him out of our pulpits, strip the name “Christian” from him, and call sin sin.

How long are we going to ignore our adversary, or worse – listen to him?

Dear God, help us defeat the one who is impersonating You. He is the adversary, the enemy. Satan isn’t just the power of evil out there in the world. He’s right here in our home. Defeat the evil in us, and in our churches, for Jesus’ sake.

Jan 27 – A Great Deliverance

Genesis 43-45

We don’t always get to see the answers to our “why” questions. But Joseph and his brothers did. I imagine there were times Joseph might have wondered why God allowed him to be enslaved, imprisoned, then exalted. It must have been confusing for the young man.

But Joseph knew the evil that had come upon him at the hands of his brothers came from Satan. Satan wanted the outcome of Joseph’s captivity to end badly. Instead, God used it to preserve the whole nation of Israel. Joseph called it a great deliverance.

Do you have the same confidence in God that Joseph had when circumstances are confusing, and seem unfair in your own life? Remember what Joseph said to his brothers, then apply it to your situation.

Because God is in control. God can bring about good out of the evil Satan throws our way. Because God loves you way more than Satan hates you.

Dear God, I pray for those reading these chapters in Genesis today who are facing circumstances that are confusing and difficult. I pray that they will trust You to bring about good. I pray that Your will will be accomplished in each life, and that those who don’t know You will find You through the examples shown in Your trusting children. Give strength where strength is needed. Give patience or boldness if either is needed. I pray for a great deliverance. May we trust You with every detail. And thank you for being in charge of the outcome.

A Lesson From “Space Jam”

The Apostle Paul got me thinking about what it means to be innocent. A child is innocent of a lot of things because he hasn’t been exposed to the ugly side of life. Disney knows this. So they throw “adult” humor in their cartoons and films, believing children won’t get it, so won’t be effected by it. Or maybe they just don’t care if children get it or not.

Years ago I had my five year old nephew for a weekend visit. That’s a story in itself. I love that kid! Anyway, after a day of playing in the yard and eating pizza, we settled down for the evening in front of the TV and watched a video of “Space Jam”. Reed and I laughed out loud at the silly characters and cheered for Michael Jordan like we were in the stadium.

The next day was a rainy Saturday. So Reed asked if we could watch the movie again. He was an easy kid to babysit. We laughed as hard the second time. In fact, as I recall, we watched it for a third time before he went to bed that night. (I might not get the “Babysitter of the Year” award any time soon.)

I took him home on Sunday afternoon. His parents weren’t home yet so Reed took me to the basement to show me a video game he liked to play. He snuggled up next to me on the couch, and proceeded to push buttons on the controller to get the character to the next level. But the character kept “dying” at a certain point in the game. Over and over Reed would get it to that point, then fail.

All of a sudden, he exclaimed, “What the hell is going on here?”

I was shocked! “What did you say?” I asked.

“Why, is that bad?” he replied innocently, thumbs still frantically pushing buttons.

Reed lives in a home where neither parent swears. I am sure he never heard those words come out of either of their mouths. Why he would say that was a mystery to us all.

About a year or so later, Reed and his family were visiting me, and Reed asked if we could watch “Space Jam”. So, we sat down to enjoy the movie together.

Half way through the movie the coach, at a frustrating point in a basketball game shouts, “What the hell is going on here?”

We all looked at each other in disbelief. Mystery solved.

Romans 16:19 tells us to “…be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” Is that even possible in today’s society? I wonder.

Do you know the names of the Real Housewives? Do you laugh at the characters on Modern Family? Did you cry when Luke left Port Charles?

You have to admit that TV has destroyed our innocence. Have you considered what information and ideas it has put into your minds and hearts? Are you tolerant of sin, or worse, at a point where you don’t recognize sin as sin? Have you thought about what kinds of things your children are ingesting?

I’m not necessarily advocating putting your TV on the curb for the trash guy. That’s between you and God. I do, however, advocate that you and I be careful about what we watch.

We worship a holy God who demands holiness of us. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing not knowing what your coworkers are talking about around the water cooler when they are rehashing the events on last night’s episode of Dating Naked. In fact, your not knowing might speak to someone about their own heart’s condition before God.

Don’t ever apologize for being simple concerning evil. It’s far more important to honor God with our lives. It’s his approval we should be seeking. Isn’t it?

Father, I know that some people will think saying the word, hell, in frustration is no big deal. I know some people will insist that what they watch on TV doesn’t translate into sin in their own lives. But I read what Paul says about being simple concerning evil, and I am convicted. I know too much to be simple concerning evil. I’ve seen too much. But, I don’t have to continue to dump evil into my brain. Give me wisdom about my choices of TV shows, about what I read, about what music I listen to. I can’t unlearn what I’ve allowed to penetrate me to this point. But I can prevent more garbage from coming in in the future. Give me an innocence from today on as I choose to be wise in what is good.

Why Evil?

Last Sunday, the pastor posed a question in Sunday School: Why is there evil and has it always existed?

I guess to truly understand all the details of the answer to that question, you would have to have the mind of God. Our understanding is limited to what he inspired men to write in Scripture.

Like I Corinthians 15:56. Paul tells us the law gives sin its power. We wouldn’t know what sin was if God hadn’t spelled it out in the law.

We wouldn’t know what light was if it wasn’t for the darkness.

And we wouldn’t know what good was except for evil.

If there was no law, sin would have no power because sin, by definition, is the breaking of the law. But if there was no law, no sin, we wouldn’t know forgiveness, would we? There would be no choice. We would be puppets, robots.

It was important to God that his creation choose him.

Why?

I don’t know, except to say the love someone chooses to demonstrate toward me is precious, personal, more meaningful than if that someone feels obligated or forced. Being made in God’s image, I can only imagine he feels the same.

Dearest Heavenly Father, you are good. You are holy. And I thank you that you have made it possible to choose you. It’s hard to thank you for sin. It’s hard to thank you for sickness, wars, evil. But if it weren’t for those things, I wouldn’t understand what it is that you offer through your Son, Jesus. I wouldn’t appreciate grace. So, Father, I want you to know that I choose you today. I love you because I can. I resist temptation because I can. I deny Satan because I can. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you!