“Behold your adversary. Though you cannot see his face and detect his form, believe that such a foe withstands you. He is not a myth, nor a dream, nor a superstitious imagination. He is as real a being as ourselves…I hate the devil worse and worse every day, and I have vowed, if it is possible by preaching the Word of God, to seek to shake the very pillars of Satan’s kingdom.”
Whatever the number of people is who don’t believe that there’s a God, I suspect the number who don’t believe the devil is real is even higher. The world in general doesn’t seem to take Satan too seriously, often lumping him into the same category as vampires and zombies. We see this evident in the growing number of TV programs and movies about the supernatural. On the other hand, amongst Christians, either the topic of demonic activity is almost ignored, or it’s given too much attention and credit. C. S. Lewis commented,
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.
“God does not deal alike with all; He has trials for the strong and cordials for the weak…If God does not give you that which you like, He will give you that which you need.”
With a full-time, M-F job, I really value my Saturdays to get stuff done. Today was one of those Saturdays for which I had plans that included helping my husband paint a bedroom and running three miles. But as the saying goes, “Man proposes, but God disposes,” and I somehow managed to throw my back out early in the day such that I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do some of the things I intended to. But it occurred to me that instead I could write and publish a review this weekend, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so apparently “everything happens for a purpose,”as they say. Continue reading
“Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25)
“To love Christ involves loving the thing that He loves the most on the earth: the church! To profess love for Christ yet have no love or the church is a great contradiction!”
If you’re a church-goer or member, have you ever thought about why you attend? Do you go simply because you were raised going to church and it’s a tradition or habit? Do you go for what you hope or expect to get out of it? Do you believe church attendance is for the most part a good thing, but not necessarily required of a believer? What about joining as a member of a specific local church body? Continue reading
As we come to the end of 2016 and look ahead to 2017, I thought I’d share this poetic prayer from The Valley of Vision.
O LOVE BEYOND COMPARE,
Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
with thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.
Most of the New Year messages we see offer wishes for health, success and prosperity, and that there be no troubles or sorrows in the year to come. This poem reminds me that, no matter what “If’s” I may anticipate in the coming year, my sovereign, loving Father has ordained it for my good, to sanctify me, and will take me through it for His glory. I pray that if you are His child, this will serve to comfort you as well.
The Gifts of the Magi and the Gift of God
“And they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
Is gift giving a joy or a stress for you? Why is gift giving many times so stressful, especially during the holiday season? We may find ourselves worrying about things like: “Who should I buy presents for this year? What should I get them? When am I going to have time for shopping? How much should I spend? How can I afford this??” One reason I believe gift-giving can be so stressful is that our materialistic, commercialized culture imposes so many expectations upon us. The Bible provides many examples of gift giving and gives us some ideas about the proper motives and attitudes of giving. Some of these may be helpful towards making the giving of gifts more of a pleasure than a burden.
Matthew’s gospel account of the Christmas story tells of wise men, or magi, who came from somewhere in the East (possibly Persia, Arabia or India) to see the Christ child and offered Him gifts. In this account we can see several things about the wise men and observe some lessons about gift giving: Continue reading