Tag Archives: Satan

December 13; Are You Dressed?

Ephesians 4-6

I had a rare day yesterday where I had no responsibilities, no plans, no reason to leave my house. All day. I will confess I stayed in bed much longer than I normally do, didn’t make breakfast until 11:00, and thought: “I could stay in my pajamas all day.”

Well, I didn’t do that last one. I did put clothes on eventually, if you can call leggings and a sloppy shirt clothes. But let’s just say I would have been totally unprepared for company.

Not so today. I’m up, showered, and dressed, ready to tackle my day. Or am I?

Sure I have the jeans, shirt, shoes and socks I’ll wear to clean a storage closet out at church. I’ll stop at the grocery later, pick up some things I need for Good News Club, drop off something at the elementary school, then come home to get cleaned up and ready to go to a friend’s house for game night. But am I really prepared for the day?

Paul tells us we need to be prepared for war every day. We need to put on the full armor of God so we can stand against our enemy, Satan. We need to put on the belt of Truth, the breastplates of righteousness, the Gospel army boots, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit.

If I read Paul right, those things don’t magically appear any more than street clothes would have automatically replaced my pajamas yesterday if someone had come to my door. Getting ready for my day requires intentionality.

So let me ask you (and me), are you dressed? Have you spent time in God’s Word, spoken to your Commander? Have you intentionally asked God to prepare you for battle today? Because, friend, there will be battles today. Are you dressed for the occasion?

 

October 22; Beneath The Surface

Luke 17:20-18:14; John 7:1-52

I was listening to Christian radio this morning, and heard a young artist tell the backstory about a song she recently wrote. She said she felt the greatest thing about our God is how His love unites people. She assured us that God wants us to feel loved, and powerful, and worthy.

What are your thoughts? And where is the Scripture to back up your belief? Is the greatest thing about God unity among people? Does God ever in His Word tell anyone He wants them to feel worthy? What this musician said sounds Christian. But when you look beneath the surface, is it Biblical?

Her words came to mind as I read what Jesus said concerning the Pharisee and the tax collector. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Does that sound like Jesus wants us to feel powerful and worthy?

The tax collector had bowed before God, beat his breast and cried, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” He didn’t say, “God forgive me because I am worthy of your forgiveness.”

Later, Jesus said, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Friend, I think that applies to more than condemning a person for tattoos and nose rings. I think it can apply to accepting or rejecting some seemingly innocent, uplifting, empowering sounding songs and teaching. They appear to be right – but are they?

Please don’t accept anything you hear – anything I say, or your pastor says, or songs on Christian radio – without looking beneath the surface. Make a right judgment according to Scripture, not the trend of the day.

Satan is really good at sounding like a Christian. So look beneath the surface.

 

 

October 16; A Little Yeast

Mark 8:11-9:1; Matthew 16:1-28; Luke 9:18-27; John 6:60-71

The first time I ever tasted pizza was at my Aunt Doris’ house in the early ’60’s. I remember standing next to her in the kitchen and watching as she opened an Appian Way Pizza box, and pulled out three bags and a tiny tin can. She opened the larger of the bags and poured its contents into a bowl. Looked like regular flour to me.

Then she opened one of the smaller bags. The contents looked like a bit more flour. A little coarser, perhaps. And it had a strange smell. She told me it was yeast. (never heard of it). She poured it on top of the flour in the bowl, and mixed it together. Then she took some water and slowly moistened the flour mixture until she could use her fingers to push and squeeze it into a ball. I remember the sticky dough all over her hands.

Next she covered the bowl with a kitchen towel, and put it on top of the pre-heating oven. Then we waited.

While we waited Aunt Doris took a log of pepperoni and cut it into thin slices. She grated some cheese, and opened the tin can of red sauce. She took out a weird round pan and coated it with a thin layer of Crisco.

Then I witnessed a miracle.

Aunt Doris took the towel off the bowl on the stove and showed me what was inside. The dough had grown into a giant blob! It had taken on a life of its own. It was magic.

Needless to say, we finished compiling the pizza on that flat greased pan, and popped it in the oven. I can only say, it was love at first bite. I still could eat pizza every day.

I thought about this today as I read God’s warning concerning yeast. We all know He wasn’t talking about pizza dough, but used the magic power of yeast to warn us about false teaching.

I have shared my heavy heart as I witness how false teaching is infiltrating the Church at what seems like break-neck speed. That’s really nothing new. Jesus was talking to people 2,000 years ago about this happening right then, too. Why does Jesus give this warning?

Because false teaching, like yeast, takes on a life of its own. It might resemble the Truth. But if allowed to mix with the Truth, it grows, it changes what was into something very different.

Please be aware. Please don’t allow Satan’s Christian-sounding lies to enter your heart or your mind. Know the Truth that is God’s Word. Don’t base an enlightenment on a verse or two, but read the Bible and keep reading it ALL.

Be on guard, Jesus tells us. Be on guard.

 

August 26; Is Satan Real?

Ezekiel 27:1-28:26, 33:21-33

Here in Ezekiel we meet Satan, a beautifully perfect creation of God, given a special place in God’s heavenly realm. Satan, Ezekiel tell us, walked in the Garden of Eden and on the holy mount of God. He was blameless and anointed, a model of perfection.

And proud of it.

That pride led to Satan’s downfall. He thought he should be a god. God had different ideas about that.

Some of you might think Satan is merely a picture or symbol of evil, that the created being we call the devil doesn’t actually exist. I believe Scripture tells us something quite different. In fact, we are told this being had a conversation with Eve, then later with Jesus Himself.

It makes me sad that this beautiful angel allowed pride and jealousy to tear him away from the Presence of God, to go from being an ordained guardian angel, to the enemy of God.

I take Satan very seriously. But I don’t fear him. I take him seriously in that I know he would like nothing better than to take me down with him. I take his tactics very seriously, the temptations he throws my way.

But I don’t fear him because greater is the One whom I serve, than that old snake crawling around in this world. As long as God is living in me through the blood of Jesus, I have no reason to fear Satan or his arrows.

Satan can’t snatch me out of God’s hands as long as I’ve placed my life in those nail-pierced hands. One day, Satan will come to a horrible end, and I won’t even care because I’ll be looking into the face of my Savior. Satan, this puffed up, self-aggrandizing, wanna be god will be like an insignificant blip in the eternal scheme of things.

Please don’t waste your time on him, don’t fall for his attempts at leading you to his horrible end. Put your hand in God’s, and be the victor. Is Satan real? You bet he is.

But the devil is nothing compared to my awesome, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, loving, merciful creator God who is going to crush Satan like a bug. Oh, Satan is real all right. But he’s a loser.

August 8; Not A Chance

Jeremiah 51:1-64, 11:18-12:6

I read these passages a couple times today because I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what I was reading. Jeremiah is saying God is going to destroy the Babylonians because of their sin. He is going to devastate the land. God is going to avenge His people. I see a picture about how God views sin, and that the consequences for sin are serious.

I guess it should make me glad to think God is going to destroy the enemies of the Church, that atheists and terrorists and false teachers and… will get what is coming to them, and that we will come out on top. But I have trouble wrapping my brain around that because I keep thinking: these are people for whom Christ died, people He wants to spend eternity with. Doesn’t John 3:16 say that God loves and died for the world? Is it true that He doesn’t want anyone dying without Him. Or not?

I can rejoice with the ancient Jews whose enemies were going to be punished. They lived before the cross. We live after the cross. I’m just finding it hard to rejoice thinking anyone goes to hell since Jesus died to save them. But isn’t the message of Jeremiah that the enemies of God’s people will be defeated in a very violent, very decisive way?

Yes!

But God reminded me my battle isn’t with flesh and blood. My enemies are not atheists, terrorists, false teachers… My enemy is Satan! The enemy is sin, evil.

So I read these passages a third time and instead of picturing bloody corpses, I pictured powers and principalities, wickedness, and hate. I pictured Satan and his thugs, sin and the hold it can have over me.

Gone! Annihilated! Crushed!

I believe Babylon is a picture of my real enemy, Satan. And Satan doesn’t stand a chance against my Savior!

Not a chance!

 

 

July 21; Subtle Sin and Satan. It’s Serious.

Isaiah 56-60

I wish the devil really did wear a red suit, had horns and a tail, and carried a pitch fork. It would be so much easier to recognize him and resist the temptations he throws my way. It would be so much easier to recognize Satan’s lies ands distortion of God’s Truth if a bull horn blared or thunder crashed when people spoke anything other than Truth.

But the truth of the matter is, that serpent is not so easily spotted. That’s why we need to be actively engaged in the study of Scripture. We have got to know what God has said, so we know what He does not say.

Isaiah tells us God is absolutely 100% able to save. (chapter 59). He is able and ready to accomplish His will, which is to redeem lost people. But we, who are His arms, legs, and voice, prevent Him from reaching the lost when we don’t address the sin in our own lives. Our iniquities separate us from Him, our sin hides His face from us, so that even our prayers fall on deaf ears.

Our hands, our fingers, our lips, and our tongues are useless to God when sin exists in us. (verses 1-3). And not just the blatant, “I’m having an affair” kind of sin. It’s pride, and jealousy, and laziness, and compromise, and tolerance, and whatever else Satan dresses up like truth, or however he helps us rationalize our evil. God can’t use blood-stained hands.

When we speak lies, when we live a lie, we conceive trouble and give birth to evil. A lie, whether spoken or lived, or just believed, takes on a life of its own. It becomes a poison that kills, a spider web that traps. Whoever is caught in those lies will die. (verses 4-5)

People caught in the web of lies, may wear that web like clothing. But Isaiah says the truth is, they wear the covering of evil, of violence, ruin and destruction. There is no peace in the life of the one who has put on a lie and tried to pass it on as truth. (verses 6-8)

They live in darkness. They try to feel their way around, they stumble and fall because they have no light in them. They are blind to the Truth, and they live without hope. (verses 9-11)

It’s a pretty bleak picture that Isaiah paints here in this chapter. And it’s serious business. It’s nothing to blow off, or minimize. All of us are subject to Satan’s lies. All of us have sinned. It’s easy to read the “they” of this post and of what God inspired Isaiah to write, and think, “Well, that’s not me.” But I wonder.

In fact, Isaiah tells us that God looked for one righteous man who would be able to intervene, someone without sin who could stand up to the lies. And there was no-one. Not even one of us. Your sins, and mine, have driven a wedge between us and God. That’s a fact.

So God, knowing that there will never be one of us able to set things right, did it Himself. He gave His own life. God, in human form, paid the price I deserve for following Satan’s clever lies. Jesus died for my sins.

The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins. (verse 20)

I started this post by saying I wished Satan was easier to spot. When the truth is, if I am in God’s Word, if my heart is pure, my sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus, Satan’s not as clever as he thinks. Greater is God in me, than that snake who is in the world.

I pray that each of us will deal with sin in our lives, even the sins we’ve labeled, “no big deal.” I pray that we all will want to be God’s hands, fingers, lips, and tongue to proclaim the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are souls God died to save out there that are yet walking in the darkness of sin.

God went to the cross alone, died so that we can be forgiven. He did that Himself. But He is depending on us to carry the light of His Truth to a world of people living in the darkness of sin. Let’s get out there and shine that light.

 

July 15: Pass or Fail

Isaiah 37:14-38:22, 39:1-8; 2 Kings 20:1-18; 2 Chronicles 32:24-31

When I was in college I had the opportunity to “audit” a class or two. I was permitted to attend a class that wasn’t required for my major.  I could attend the lectures, do the work and take the tests, but my grade would be either pass or fail instead of the usual letter grade or percentage like in my other classes. It gave me the opportunity to learn a topic of interest without the pressure of making a grade for my GPA.

I think we are living life on a pass/fail basis. Not that we are simply auditing life. In fact, the result of our lives has much more significant outcomes than a GPA. Because in the end, we will either go to heaven or hell. Pass or fail.

During the course of our lives, we face times of testing. Sometimes we go through difficulties in life, and come out on the other side stronger in our faith, our relationship with the Lord more real than ever. We pass that difficult test, so to speak, and realize we really do have faith in God. Like Job, in all these things we do not sin. Actually, the tests involving hard times, illness, grief can be the easiest tests to pass because we can recognize the enemy, and face it head-on with God by our side.

But we’ve got to understand that hard times are not Satan’s only weapon against us. It’s not the only test he throws our way. Often that snake will revert back to his Garden of Eden tactics: pride, flattery, friendship.

Read what went down between Hezekiah and Merodach-Baladan the son of Babylonian king Baladan. This enemy sent men to Hezekiah with presents and good wishes. Isaiah says Hezekiah gladly received the enemy, gave them the grand tour of the palace and storehouses and sent them on their way. The enemy had tapped into Hezekiah’s pride, and the king couldn’t wait to show off.

Hezekiah had passed the war and illness tests. But he miserably failed the test of pride. Let’s remember that it’s Satan’s sole mission to trip you up. He’s throwing darts and trick questions your way, hoping you will fail to be true to God. And often, his methodology is flattery, success, and pride.

Paul, in his second letter to Timothy says:

Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babbling: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

I think Paul and Isaiah would both tell us to arm ourselves with the Word, ground ourselves in the Truth of Scripture, put on the whole armor of God so that when, not if, Satan throws a pop-quiz at us, we will be ready.

Then look what else Paul tells Timothy: watch out for the flattery, the pride. Those things will lead to ungodliness, which is a fail.

You will be tested today. Will you pass, or fail?