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Posts Tagged ‘Satan’

If you see somebody troubled by worry, you can help them transform from “worrier” to “warrior.”

I’m not talking about martial arts training or paying off their debts or resolving their health issues.

I’m talking instead about helping them to know that they’re not alone.

Encouragement is everything when it comes to having victory over worry.

Here’s King Solomon’s view on the matter:

“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25)

Notice the directional element to Solomon’s sentence — worry => down…. encouraging => up.

Look around your workplace or home and lift somebody today with your words. Help them toward becoming a warrior of faith and away from a worrier in fear.

There are battles against the Enemy that need won and warriors are much better suited for the conflict than are worriers.

Everybody likes to win. Let’s share with them our confidence that the battle of eternity has already been won by Him who conquered the cross.

As always, I love you
Martin

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They had lost their homes, their jobs and many of their family and friends. And they had been forced to leave their beloved Jerusalem.

In fact, one of their beloved leaders had been murdered and countless numbers of people they loved had been thrown into prison.

All because of loving and living for a man who had taught them to love all people.

It wasn’t fair.

But it was a time of great faithfulness.

The beginning of Acts 8 describes the tsunami of persecution that came against Christians after the martyrdom of Stephen.

Hell was unleashed in a sense upon Christians in and around Jerusalem, the birthplace of Christianity.

Yet, what Satan intended for extinguishing the flames of faith instead spread them to a much wider audience.

The hard times actually served the purposes of the Great Commission.

Check out these words from Acts 8:4.

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.”

I don’t wish hard times on anybody. I certainly don’t go looking for them.

They happen, though, and it’s important that we look within them for opportunities to spread our faith, whether it be to the person seated in the Career Center next to us who is also looking for a job or it is the discouraged looking man in the surgery waiting room two seats down from us who could really use a prayer for his wife who is in surgery as is ours.

The seeds of hope that sprinkle from our lives into others just might sprout and grow as the Lord finds more receptive minds and hearts.

Listen, when tough times come, particularly those that seem SO unfair, let’s shine, not whine.

How people view our faith — and hopefully Jesus — will be radically different based on which we choose.

One other thing… please pray for the millions of Christians around the world who are facing persecution by terrorists yet continue to shine, not whine.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Repenting isn’t fun.

After all, who thinks apologizing to God is a happy time?

But everybody sins.

And that means that everybody should repent before God for doing what we shouldn’t have.

Hopefully, as we mature in faith, our repentance becomes less frequent because our sin becomes less frequent.

Like you, I’ve found that it’s much more pleasant to sin/repent much less often.

You have your list of recurring sins just as I have mine.

Thank God that He is gracious and leaves opportunity for us to repent our way toward restoration of intimacy with Him.

Let’s reject Satan’s lie that repentance is an unreasonable demand of a cloud-based control freak.

Let’s remember that Satan refused to repent and was condemned to eternal suffering as a result.

Acknowledging our failure and our need for restoration through God’s mercy and Christ’s blood is a pain but without it, we won’t experience the gain of peace with our Father who was previously pained by our choice to ignore Him.

Here’s what repeatedly repentant King Solomon wrote about repentance in Proverbs 14:9…

“Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

Peace with God is always awaiting us on the other side of repentance.

When you sin — and we all do — please run down the path of reconciliation.

God will always welcome and restore a repentant heart.

As always, I love you
Martin

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So Israel was told by God to drive out the pagan tribes upon entering the Promised Land.

Why? To prevent the corruption of theology and morality that would surely follow if they didn’t.

Some Israelite tribes did drive out some of the pagan tribes inn their appointed regions during the decade or so of conquest expeditions beginning with Jericho.

But some tribes didn’t.

The Book of Judges cites the tribe of Judah’s failure as attributable to the enemy’s chariots, when really it appears to be lack of faithful determination.

Pharoah had chariots. Many of them. And he was determined to use them as his key weapons for forcing the fleeing Hebrews back into Egyptian slavery.

The problem for Pharoah was that the chariots didn’t float and were destroyed by the collapsing walls of the the temporary corridor through the Red Sea.

God was bigger and “badder” than the chariots.

Judah forgot that and looked at the threat, not at history.

We do the same sometimes.

We see threats and feel fears.

We forget about the fact that chariots don’t float and that God is bigger than our biggest enemy.

We forget that God called us to overcome the enemy territory in our moral lives, our ethics lives, our financial lives, our prideful, control-freak-of-other-people lives.

Big victories don’t come by defeating weak enemies who flee when we say “Boo!” in Jesus’ name.

Those kinds of victories involve pitting steely faith against iron chariots of “stumbling block” sins and sometimes-oppressive peer pressure and physical/financial limitations that leave us feeling vulnerable.

The same God that emptied the tomb despite all that forces and wishes of Satan, his demons and his co-conspirators on earth is the God who is bigger than the chariots in your life and mine.

Whatever territory in your lifestyle that an unsanctified enemy is dug in, don’t fear the rattling chariot as you begin to attack it with the conviction of transformation.

Press in to God with prayer and study and association with fellow spiritual warriors and then press forward in faith that God will shield you from destruction as you carve out a larger sanctified zone in your life.

Remember, chariots don’t float when overwhelmed with a flood of Living Water.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We humans seem pre-disposed to wanting quick fixes.

Many want to pop a pill in order to get past a depressing moment.

Many want to dive right into a rebound relationship after a heart is broken.

Many want to buy lottery tickets rather than give more offerings to the Lord.

Many want to yell at or belittle their kids or spouses — or both — rather than calmly listen and understand how to help loved ones avoid making poor choices.

Many want to go to church a few times and say a few prayers and think that will transform the spiritually confused, compromised heart.

The only quick fix that really counts is the instantaneous justification that becomes ours when we fix our hearts/hopes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ.

Other than that, life is a sometimes slow-moving journey.

Particularly with respect to our financial status.

Patience is mandatory when it comes to financial health and God’s will.

Here is what King Solomon had to say about the matter:

“Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”

No financial advisor in his or her right mind would advocate gambling as a sound financial strategy. Yet, millions of people think that buying lottery tickets or heading to the casino or bookie joint will improve their financial health.

It’s so foolish and contrary to fact.

But Satan’s lies are tasty and always have been, particularly to those not conditioned to hunger only for truth taught by the Lord.

Millions of others buy into the claim that multi-level marketing schemes are the path to affluence. For a small percentage of recruits, that turns out to be true but the reality is that most people lose money after signing up with network marketing honchos who know that most spend more than they earn with the schemes.

Here’s the reality. A stronger financial position for most people depends more on what is NOT spent rather than what is earned.

Yes, getting a better-paying job is a great idea and should always be welcomed. But many of us don’t have that option if we believe that God has us in the job where He wants us.

We can work hard to cut our expenses, though, and to pick up supplemental income here and there and to strive for saving money, both with deposits in savings accounts and by fixing or making things ourselves.

It takes time to build wealth this way, but it is a far move viable strategy than is trying to invest in just the right cheap stock that might soar in value or to invest in some alleged “can’t miss” invention that goes nowhere or to pour money into some other get-rich-quick strategy that actually turns out to be a get-poorer-quick calamity.

Let’s follow Solomon’s advice.

Patiently.

Let’s get financially richer slowly, recognizing that we’re already been made gazillionaires spiritually.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We could never adequately appreciate times of quiet unless we knew times of chaotic, noisy racket.

When the annoying rattle in the dashboard stops and we can drive without the distraction to our thinking, it’s good.

When the neighbor’s incessantly barking dog is finally given a bowl of food and is silenced, it’s good.

When the persistently griping co-worker goes on vacation for two weeks, it’s good.

Quiet is SO nice compared to corrosive noise.

Yet, without that racket, we wouldn’t value the calm as we should.

It’s all about the contrast.

And so it is with the chaotic, corrosive effects of evil.

In fact, God re-purposes that evil so that it promotes good.

Satan must hate how God does this.

But Satan hates everything, so that’s OK.

Check out this verse that can help us understand the place of evil in serving God’s purposes:

“But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)

These words of God were directed toward Pharoah when he wouldn’t let the Hebrews leave Egypt.

Pharoah was evil in his heart toward Moses and the Hebrews and defiant in his rejection of God’s miracle-amplified mandates to “let the people go.”

In verse 15, Moses told Pharoah that God could have simply wiped the Egyptian ruler and his people “off the face of the earth.”

But God’s sovereignty and His purposes are better served by God’s will overcoming evil rather than eliminating it from the earth.

It’s quite logical when we think about it.

Teams don’t lift trophies after practice sessions, but instead after championship contests.

There is no victory where there is no contest.

Evil creates the occasion for the contest.

Faith in God’s purposes and power creates the avenue for the victory.

God allows evil so that His children might re-purpose it for His glory and their victory.

Let’s remember this when evil stings us. Just like Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

As faith strengthens us during the contest over whom we trust — God or Satan — victory over evil will become our testimony that can spread God’s fame throughout the “earth” of our lives.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I saw the stark contrast between spiritual darkness and spiritual light this morning.

It’s so sad to think that some people can be so filled with envy and fear that they’ll embrace evil thinking and intent bent on destroying innocence.

Yet, it makes me so glad to know that people can choose a better way that embraces godly thinking and an intent to pour innocent love into the lives of others.

First, the dark moment.

Then He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.” (Matthew 12:13-14)

Jesus had compassion on a man with a crippled hand and healed him. But because the healing occurred on the sabbath — most likely during a worship service — the Pharisees went ballistic.

If Jesus kept doing this miracle stuff on the Sabbath in direct contradiction to the Pharisaic teaching, then everybody will start doing stuff on the Sabbath, the religious big shots surmised. And the Pharisees’ leverage of fear would weaken significantly.

This Jesus guy had to go, the Pharisees decided, because He was messing up the agenda of control and power upon which the Pharisees counted. It’s a pathetic picture of spiritual darkness.

Contrast that with the abundance of spiritual light found in Psalm 15, also part of today’s reading in the One-Year Bible.

“Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?

“Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?

“Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

“Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.

“Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts.

“Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.

“Such people will stand firm forever.”

Let’s be people of the light, wanting to do what’s right.

And whenever we’re tempted to resent Jesus because we’re convicted of thinking or doing wrong, let’s recall who gets to spend forever in the land of the living.

As always, I love you
Martin

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