Friday, May 28, 2010
A friend recently gave me the following suggestion: "When Satan comes to remind me about my past, I remind him about his future."
One thing Satan does is continually accuse us before God (See Revelation 12:10). He will accuse us, too, of our past in our mind if we allow him to. When he does, however, we can remind him not only about his future in hell, but also that Christ shed his blood on the cross and gave his life to pay for our sins and has washed them all away. So what's there to accuse us of if we have confessed our sins to Christ and asked for and accepted his forgiveness? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Because Christ died for us and cleansed us from our sins, we can, in his name, resist the devil and, as James said, he will flee from us. Satan hates the name of Jesus. Be sure to mention it when Satan comes to tempt you. Instead of trying to reason with Satan, just remind him of his future and mention the name of Jesus … and pray a simply prayer, "Help God! Help!"
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have defeated Satan and all his evil emissaries, and that there is power in your name to defend against any and all of Satan's devious ways and to defeat him. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 4:7.
Acts International: Daily Encounter
Thursday, May 27, 2010
"Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked."---1Timothy1:19
"Victor Hugo, who is famous for his novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame, also wrote a story called "Ninety-Three." It tells of a ship caught in a dangerous storm on the high seas. At the height of the storm, the frightened sailors heard a terrible crashing noise below the deck. They knew at once that this new noise came from a cannon, part of the ship's cargo, that had broken loose. It was moving back and forth with the swaying of the ship, crashing into the side of the ship with terrible impact. Knowing that it could cause the ship to sink, two brave sailors volunteered to make the dangerous attempt to retie the loose cannon. They knew the danger of a shipwreck from the [loose] cannon was greater than the fury of the storm."-- Brett Blair, Cited on www.eSermons.com
Life's certainly like that. Not always, but more often than not, it isn't the storms without that cause us the most problems, but the storms that rage within us—such as a spirit of bitterness, jealousy, pride, greed and so on. Other "loose cannons" are unresolved hurt, anger, a lack of forgiveness, guilt, lust, and so on. These, if not confronted and resolved, can readily cause shipwreck of our relations, our faith, or even our life. Some "loose cannon people" in organizations also need to be brought under control before they destroy "the ship."
Acts International - Daily Encounter
Friday, May 21, 2010
"Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."1
How can we be sure when and if God is speaking to us?
When I was a young Christian I wanted to serve God and sometimes felt he was telling me to do something. However, this "still small voice" within sometimes had me very confused and in bondage. In time I came to see that this "voice in my head" was not from God at all because, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,"2 and I had no freedom.
One's inner "voice" may come from God's Spirit, or it can come from ourselves (our own compulsions), or from the tempter. If the tempter knows he can't pull us down into acting out in destructive sinful behaviors, he may try to "push us over the top" where we become "so heavenly minded we are no earthly use."
To know where one's "inner voice" is from, we need to learn how to discern between a conviction and a compulsion, or recognize if the "voice" is from the tempter. With a conviction from God I am drawn and always have the freedom to say no. With a compulsion I am driven and feel that "I have to" do what the "inner voice" is demanding of me. If from the tempter, we know that it is a voice wanting us to do what we know is wrong and sinful.
Some people try to justify what they want to do by claiming God told or led them to do it. Or they don't do what they don't want to do because God didn't tell them to do it—even though it is a clear directive of God's Word. No wonder that the Apostle John advised in the Bible, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
First and foremost, God speaks to us through his Word, the Bible, and never in any way contrary to it. He also speaks or leads through various circumstances, as well as through inner convictions. If it is from God, it will be in harmony with his Word and there will be a sense of freedom. If it is contrary to God's Word or any type of compulsion we can know it isn't God speaking to us and we need to reject it.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Finding One's Wings
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."1
It's an old story that we've all read about, but it's a good reminder as found in the following parable about "a new mother who discovered a butterfly struggling mightily to escape its cocoon through a tiny opening at the top. She became concerned when the creature seemed to give up after making no progress. Certain that the butterfly wouldn't make it out without help, she enlarged the hole slightly.
"On its next try, the butterfly wriggled out easily. But the young woman's joy turned to horror as she saw its wings were shriveled and useless. Her well-intentioned intervention turned out badly because it interrupted a natural process. You see, forcing the butterfly to squeeze through a small opening is nature's way of assuring that blood from the creature's body is pushed into the wings. By making it easier, she deprived the butterfly of strong wings."2
The same thing happens to children when parents over-protect them by doing too much for them, by spoiling them, or doing for them what they can and need to do for themselves, and by making decisions for them that they are capable of and need to be making themselves.
There can be a fine line knowing when to hang on and when to let go, but it's important to realize that, as parents, it is our responsibility to train up our children so that by the time they come to adulthood, they are capable of and responsible for taking care of themselves and are healthy, interdependent adults. True, good parenting requires parents to protect their children from harm, but being overprotective can cause children to grow up being emotionally immature or even emotionally crippled.
It's the struggles of life that make all of us strong and healthy. As blind and deaf Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the wisdom to know when to protect my children (and others) from harm and when to let go so they can develop their wings and become strong, self-reliant and responsible adults. Help me too, not to do for others what they can and need to do for themselves so they don't become over-dependent on me instead of being dependent on you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV).
2. Michael Josephson. www.charactercounts.org.
Acts International - Daily Inspiration
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Jesus never yielded to pressure. He never made decisions based on outcome. He always made the right decision. He always performed the same no matter what the circumstance. He lived a life based on absolutes, not circumstances. He never gave in to "situational ethics."
As God entrusts us with more and more responsibility, He brings more and more pressures into our lives to "test the product," to make sure that He can give even more responsibility to us. This process helps us see where we are in our maturity and determines our level of future responsibility.
Are you a product that can withstand the product test? Will you perform as the Maker designed no matter what outside pressures come?
Know that you cannot perform well unless you are continually in relationship with and obedient to the one who made you.
Trust the product developer today.
He has made you to perform well under pressure.
by Os Hillman
Saturday, May 8, 2010
When we live with this mind-set, we will see the miracle that what we give away multiplies: food, knowledge, love ... everything. There will even be many leftovers.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
We need friends. Friends guide us, care for us, confront us in love, console us in times of pain. Although we speak of "making friends," friends cannot be made. Friends are free gifts from God. But God gives us the friends we need when we need them if we fully trust in God's love.
Friends cannot replace God. They have limitations and weaknesses like we have. Their love is never faultless, never complete. But in their limitations they can be signposts on our journey towards the unlimited and unconditional love of God. Let's enjoy the friends whom God has sent on our way.
Daily Meditations - Henri Nouwen's Society