Showing posts with label Satan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Satan. Show all posts

Saturday, July 2, 2022

When Temptation Comes

1 Corinthians 10:12-13
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.


The rocks along the shore wore green algae like a coat. The waves washed over the slick surface and presented a tempting place to walk.

We sat on the boulders near the lighthouse and watched people meander as close to the water as they could. On a hot summer day, folks were tempted to let the cool water run over their feet and relieve the heat. Moms and Dads held the hands of their little ones or carried them on their hip. One misstep on the mossy rocks could result in injury. Yet, the water tempted.

In 1 Corinthians, the author wrote to the Corinthian church about temptation. They had been enticed by sins common to their times, much like the sins that tempt people now. As I watched the water slide over the moss-covered rock, and I thought about how slippery the surface must be, and how the allure of the cool water on the soft algae might feelI pictured Satan whispering to come test the waters.

That’s how he works. He sets up an alluring situation, crooks his evil finger, and invites anyone he can fool to come to his side.

Be aware of the trickster, the one who invites people down the road of sin and rewards with heartache and sorrow. One step on those moss-covered rocks and down the person would goinevitably injury would follow.

Corinthians doesn’t just warn against temptation, the author shares good news, the best newsGod has His hand out to help me if or when I fall. He gives me a way out of sin and temptation. Through Jesus, God gives a fresh start, a new life, and the hope of heaven. That’s a reason to sing praise to God.

Through Jesus life, death, and resurrection, He gives everyone the opportunity to be forgiven and be with Him in heaven. His hand is reaching out to anyone who wants to grab on.

When temptation comes, seek Jesus.

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Choose Wisely


Ecclesiastes 4:12
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The trees embraced.

As I finished my walk around the neighborhood, I noticed two shaggy birch trees hugging. They had obviously grown side-by-side, whether planted that way on purpose or by chance. As they'd reached their full height, the trunks had twisted together. Maybe in the process one held the other up, or they grew together like twins. Either way they were a beautiful sight.

The two trees got me thinking. Who do I cling to and grow with in life? As a child I grew into myself alongside my family. 

I am twined with my husband and my children. Most important, I've asked God into my life to weave his beautiful pattern.

But, God isn't the only one vying for our commitment and love. He's not the only one who wants to get close.

In the plant kingdom, there are lovely green vines that choke the life out of other plants. The Dodder vine, also known as "devil's guts" and "strangleweed" destroys the host plant by sucking the life out of it. Much like Satan, who sucks the life out of people.

I am astounded by the amount of evil in the world. If I spend a few minutes with the news or social media, I'm sick to my stomach. Satan runs his tentacles out into society to grab anyone who will listen. The Devil is real, and he's reeling in anyone who will associate with him and act out his evil plans. You see, the Devil uses a choke hold to suck the life out then fills minds with his desires.

On the other hand, God doesn't force me to love him or obey him. He's given me free will to choose to follow him. His hugs are open, not choking. When I intertwine with God—Jesus and the Holy Spirit also wrap me in their love. They give me hope and encouragement. They are the strongest cord I could hold on to. God doesn't choke out the weeds, he invites them in to love and be loved. God gives life to the broken and heals the wounded. I want his embrace.

Choose wisely who you welcome into your life.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

They Remind Me of Hope

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Every summer, for as long as I remember, I've looked forward to the black-eyed Susan's blooms. I love how they dot the fields and ditches as if they are attending a ball and dressed in their finest array. Yet they show a humbleness by bowing their heads in a friendly wave. Their golden yellow color reminds me of the summers of my youth when we'd play in the fields, take walks or ride our bikes down the one-lane road, and these lovely flowers would dance and sway.

They also appear around my birthday. As a child I thought God planted them just for me, in time to celebrate the day I was born. (Can you keep a secret? I still feel a little bit that way.) For whatever reason He created such a delightful yet simple flower, I'll be forever grateful. When this perennial beauty returns, I am reminded of the eternal hope I have in Jesus.

The verse in Romans encourages me to remain joyful because I have hope. Hope of eternal life, hope of salvation, and hope for a life filled with joy. But in this world I will have pain and sorrow. The writer of Romans calls it affliction. I think of that word as a medical malady, but I believe he refers to the difficulties of life. It's hard to be patient when Satan attacks, when I feel hurt and stepped on, and when life just stinks. Yet I am called to be patient, to wait on the Lord. He asks me to be faithful in prayer. Jesus wants me to call on him in my affliction. His desire is for me to talk to him and seek his help.

I'm thankful I have hope that gives joy. I'm grateful for patience (I kind of cringe when I say that, but I know patience is a blessing.) I'm more than appreciative that I can talk to God about life. He listens to me and takes what I say to heart.

When you see the black-eyed Susan's nodding their heads, remember there's hope in Jesus.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Love Your Neighbor

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

I love that God made our world in color.

From the kayak, I watched the sun cross over the fresh spring foliage. The shore, covered in trees, showed various shades of green. The sky moved from pale blue to sky blue to cerulean as the white clouds whispered across. Along the bank, rocks and pebbles rested in assorted shades of brown. Beautiful colors. All created by God.

In the hours before we took our kayaks out on the lake, I'd wrestled with how to respond to recent news of racial strife and sorrow. I'm an older white woman who has only walked in my shoes. I can't say I understand what my friends of color are experiencing, but I can say I care. 


I contemplated how to offer hope in a time of sorrow and help in a time of stress. But I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how.

As I prayed, I understood two things:

  • What's going on in the world right now is breaking God's heart.
  • God loves every single person he created, and he calls us as his followers to love people, too.
In Matthew, Jesus said to love God and love people. It's that simple. But sin has gotten in the way. Satan stirs the pot and throws in envy, anger, and a whole lot of other junk. He rejoices when he recruits one more person to destroy another human being, a building, a lifetime of work. He spreads his evil anywhere he can.

Together, let's toss Satan out and pour in the ingredients of love, hope, compassion, and peace. Let's stir in joy, acceptance, patience and understanding in whatever way we can.

As I floated in the kayak and soaked in the variegated world we live in, Jesus reminded me to love and appreciate people. He gave us different shades of skin, different textures of hair, different eye colors. And he gave all of us hearts for love, abilities to help, and minds to think. We are more alike than we are different, because we are created in God's image.

Love God and love people. Click to Tweet

Saturday, October 19, 2019

God Promises Restoration

1 Peter 5:6-10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 

Living life as a Christ follower is no picnic.
At fourteen years old, I walked down the church aisle and gave my life to Jesus. If you remember anything about the teen years, peer pressure and mean girls infiltrated the school. I'd accepted Jesus the summer between my eighth and ninth grade year. When I entered the doors to my high school years, I waltzed in as a shiny new Christian. Even though many of my friends went to church, my heartfelt love for God took a hit. For some reason, friends turned on me and made fun of me. They couldn't understand why I wanted to devote my life to Jesus. Thankfully, I was part of a great youth group. But even at that, I sometimes felt alone in my stand for Christ. Satan never let up. 

Fast forward to many years later. I worked in an academic library. My surroundings felt like high school all over again. As a believer working in a liberal setting, my faith remained challenged. But this time, I understood why.

God's people are tested every day, all over the world. Satan is relentless. But so is God.  His love and grace surpass anything the devil temps us with. No matter what damage we suffer in this world, God promises to restore his children. He offers his strength and support to give us the courage to continue life for him and the hope of eternal life in heaven.
No matter the struggle, the broken heart, the disappointment, the sorrow, God promises restoration.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodness: Victory is Mine

2 Peter 1:4-5a
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness…

Ephesians 6:14-17
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The large box jutted over the end of the cart making it difficult for the woman to see where she was going. She managed to maneuver the awkward package to her car. With the trunk flipped open, she struggled to lift the box. A gentleman walked up to her and asked if she needed any help. At first she said no, but he encouraged her to allow his help. He placed the package in her car without difficulty. When she thanked him, he said it was his pleasure. He had just returned from the war and witnessed so much distress and evil, that he wanted to come home and do good. As she pulled away from this gracious stranger, she watched him approach another person in need.

The soldier fought in a physical war where he witnessed evil, destruction, and despair. I've not been in a battle with guns and warfare, but each day a spiritual war swirls around me. Satan and his army attempt sneak attacks and outright assaults. He wants me to make bad choices and ignore good. He lurks around waiting for me to wear down so that I might lose my patience, criticize others, or just give up on my walk with Jesus. But Satan does not win the war of good and evil because Jesus, like the soldier, carries my load. As I think about the new year approaching, I choose to do good. I put on my gospel armor and prepare for the battle of life. You see, I love Jesus and he loves me. Without him I lose the battle, but with him the victory is mine.


Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What battles do you face?