Over the years, too many Christians have turned a blind eye to the sin around them. Their attitude was that as long as they didn’t participate, then it didn’t bother them. And because of that, sin was able to spread without resistance. We are living in a time when it is no longer acceptable to just sit by and say nothing. We were born for a time such as this and silence is no longer golden! Continue reading
The devil runs this world, and lies and deception are his greatest tools. He is so cunning that he can trick a Christian easily through the lust of the flesh if the person doesn’t study the Scriptures to know God’s will, and doesn’t walk in the love and the knowledge and the wisdom God. Lies and deception corrupt those who participate in them and destroy the lives of family and friends who learn of them. Continue reading
It’s not always a peaceful walk when live the Christian life because there are times when the devil uses people to bring us unexpected trials and sorrows. Sometimes the stress we endure isn’t even from the evil darts; sometimes the greater hurt comes from the people who throw them.
Most of us just accept that the world does not like Christians and so we are mentally, emotionally and spiritually able to just ignore those darts when they get thrown at us. We can take the ridicule, the sarcasm and the mocking because we know that it’s really coming from the devil to get at us. In many cases we can shrug it off and when we pray about it, it’s gone.
But the sharpest and most painful darts come from people who we know and love; from our family and friends. We love them and we try to give them some space, yet they continue to create stresses and unkind situations that really upset us. Sometimes we just want to scream and cry because we love them and they don’t respect us for who we are and for the stand that we take for Jesus.
We can’t let these darts get to us. There is a shield that we can use to protect ourselves and we need to use it so that the darts cannot get through to us. Our life depends on it.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7 that we must cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us. This means that we should NOT carry the hurt in our heart, but that we need to pray and ask Jesus to take this hurt from us. He does not want us to agonize over it because the more we think about it, the more the devil plays on our thoughts and turns it into a massive situation. Negative attitudes develop, regretful words are spoken and the devil is filled with glory because he is able to destroy a little part of us.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” … Psalm 57:1
Jesus has given us an instruction in Matthew 5:44 as to what we should do about those who come against us: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
It’s not easy to pray for those who hurt us; many times we’d rather just do something spiteful to them or have it out in a loud shouting match, but that won’t accomplish anything except bring us down to the level of the devil’s game platform. We truly need to get on our face before God and just let it all out. We need to tell Him how we feel and how it hurts – and not because Jesus needs to know. He already knows what’s going on. We do this to get it out of our own system. Then we need to lift the one who has hurt us up to Him and let Jesus deal with them.
On our own merits we have no power at all to come against anyone who the devil is using to hurt us. Only Jesus can give us this victory – and we WILL get the victory when we trust the Lord.
“God is our refuge and strength; A very present help in trouble.” … Psalm 46:1
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we don’t waiver or wander off the path. We need to control our words and our attitude and let Jesus go to work. We need to pray and read the Bible and build up our faith and our trust in God.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” … Hebrews 4:12
We’re told in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
How do we resist the devil when the darts are coming at us and we didn’t even do anything to warrant the situation?
After we’ve given the problem to the Lord, and then prayed for the person to be saved, we need to praise God. We thank Him for His love, for His intervention, for His Spirit who lives in us. We praise Him for being our Savior. We praise Him that His Word is true and we praise Him for being Lord over our life.
The devil cannot be in the presence of our praises. It is the fastest and most sure way of getting him to leave any situation. The Bible says in James 4:8 that praise brings us into the presence of God, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And when God draws near to us, the devil flees as far away as he can.
Our lives need to be a testimony of God’s love and power and not a reflection of our own weakness and sinful attitude. People are always watching us to see how we will react, and often the loved ones who come against us do it to try to break us or else just because they delight in hurting us. Either way, we cannot allow ourselves to be used by the devil. He’ll always try to get to us, but he’ll only win if we let him.
When we come to our Heavenly Father as innocent children and give Him our praises and put our trust in Him, we will always win!
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” … Psalm 19:14
The world we live in has compromised “good” with a lot of deception that looks good but is really evil. Matthew 7:13 says that there is a lot of sin in the world and that many people are heading in the wrong direction because of it. Many Christians stay away from the obvious sins of the world and live in their own space where they try to uphold what is right and avoid being involved with people and events that don’t support Christian ethics. But too often our mind wanders off into curiosity as we watch the world and the fun it seems to be having – and that curiosity can lead to sin. We do this because we don’t know how to control our thoughts.
We have been programmed from birth to accept some of the deceptions of the world and to believe that as long as we don’t deliberately break any of the Ten Commandments, then we’re doing just fine as Christians. And unbelievers accept this as a protocol for life, as well. After all, we haven’t killed anyone, robbed any banks, shouted out in profanity or slandered a Minister of the Gospel so that makes us a lot better than most people, so we’re okay – in our own eyes.
This is likely one of the greatest deceptions that many of us face. We miss the true benchmark, which is the Word of God aka the Bible, and we compare ourselves to other people and to what THEY deem as acceptable, and we follow them instead of God. Remember Cane? He thought the same thing and look what happened to him! God asked for a blood sacrifice and Cane thought that his offering would be better because HE was a gardener and wanted to give what HE wanted. But his thoughts were sinful and caused him to not only act on them, but to become jealous and to even kill his own brother.
When WE decide what is right and what is wrong we literally put ourselves out there as a target to be attacked by the devil. Why? Because it’s our thoughts that begin the process of anything good or bad that we do. If we think on something that is sinful, the devil will encourage us and influence us in every way possible to get us to act on that thought, and the more we meditate on it, the more he works on us to do it. Before long, we will act on it and then twist the scriptures to justify it so that we don’t feel guilty. This is a deception that can destroy us.
The only way that we can control our thoughts is to focus on the Lord, study His Word and meditate on them day and night so that the thoughts of the world cannot have any room to enter in. And when we do this, the Lord will be very present and give us peace so we won’t be tempted by bad thoughts.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” … Isaiah 26:3
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” How do we love God with our mind? By studying the Bible and filling our mind with the things of God.
We’re also told in Joshua 1:8 that, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” God has promised that He will bless us when our thoughts are on the things that He has set out for us.
But He also warns us that it’s not a simple journey because as soon as we begin to read the Bible so we can think on the good things, the devil gets angry and works even harder on us to get us to stop reading and go back to thinking his way. And he doesn’t give up easily.
John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” And the only way that we can overcome his attacks is to read more and pray harder, and the more we read, the stronger and more like Christ we become and the easier it is to defeat the devil.
In James 4:7, it says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. [read, study, pray, praise God] Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
How do we resist the devil? By ignoring the bad thoughts that come at us and focussing ONLY on what God has to say about any subject that we’re concerned with. The devil will always be ready to fill our thoughts with things that are wrong but that seem right, and the only way we’ll know if the thoughts are from God or from the devil is to study the Bible and know what God has to say about them. Then we can resist [or cast down] the thoughts that we know are not from God, and we can act on the ones that we know ARE from God.
There is a saying that flooded the Christian world a few years ago – “What would Jesus do?” or “WWJD”. If we’re ever in doubt and don’t have the time or the ability to read or pray about a situation that is coming against through thoughts that are challenging us, then we can simply stop and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do if He was here facing this?”
When we can think the way Jesus thinks, then we can keep ourselves pure in thought and out of trouble.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” … Philippians 4:8
When we do things we shouldn’t – and we know we shouldn’t do them – our favorite fallback is to say, ‘the devil made me do it’. And since the only two influences we have in life are God or the devil, that is somewhat true.
But we can’t really blame the devil for something we do because God has given us a free spirit whereby we have the ability to choose. In everything we do in life, we can choose to do or not do it. The devil influences us or “tempts” us but we CAN choose not to do it. We CAN choose to listen to the small, still voice inside us which is God’s Spirit, and follow that instead.
And sometimes we feel as if we can justify our actions by our emotions and choose to do the wrong thing because we’re afraid of what might happen if we stand for what is right. But we should never be afraid to do what is right because:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.