Satan

Beautiful Mercy for Ugly Sin

This love letter is amazing. As I read it and study more, the more I learn the heart of God and how much He truly loves me in spite of. Anyhow, there are four people that come to mind when I think of those that Satan very specifically targeted, not just a demon: Peter, Job, Judas, and David. Of course there may be others, but they are all I got. The first three I mentioned you are probably familiar with, but still going through Chronicles, I read about Satan’s encounter with David, and the story I knew but Satan’s role was unfamiliar.

Briefly, Satan was attempting to bring down Israel and used David to do so, by swaying him to pride and mistrust. You can read 1 Chronicles 21 for all the details. By counting the people David’s pride caused him to think that his success as the king thus far was by him alone, and what he had attained and accomplished was his doing. On the other hand, in doing so it was another slap in God’s face because it was as if David didn’t really believe the promise God made to multiply. He didn’t trust that God was doing what He said He would do. What I find the most intriguing are the events thereafter.

After David realized what had happened and God dealt with him, he was driven to build an altar and make a sacrifice to compel the Lord to stop the plague. However, in doing so, due to his guilt and shame, he nearly backed out because he was afraid, but the mercy of God is incredible. For the same place where David humbled himself after being so full of himself that God had to correct him, the place that represented one of his most costly mistakes and or sins, God still used it to build His temple.

So often in our own lives we mess up big and God has to deal with us, but when He does it’s in such a way that only He can get glory. God takes our mistakes and creates miracles. He uses our faults and failures as building blocks to an amazing testimony of His faithfulness, mercy and power. And truth be told, like David, it can be scary coming to God knowing just how flat out wrong we were, but His compassions are new every morning and His love endures forever. Coming to Him with a repented and humbled heart, the Lord is always willing to receive us with open arms. God will take the very thing hurt us and use it as a platform to help us and to see His promises come to fruition. David prepared the way for his son, Solomon, to build the temple of the Lord in the same place he built an altar.

In the end of his preparations for the next generation who would build the temple, David encouraged them. (See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). He reminded them that the Lord was with them and everything was taken care of, so all they needed to do was focus on the task. He told them to devote and seek the Lord and begin to build the sanctuary so that things could be set in place.

The same speaks for us. We must continually seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and surrender all of who we are to Him, heart, mind, body and soul (Matt. 22:37). As we do so, we begin to build our temples, our bodies, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16) and we allow those precious fruit and sacred things of God to fill our hearts and minds that will give witness to the name of Christ, like joy, peace, forgiveness, love, and hope. These things will give room for the work of God to go forth in our lives and through our lives that the Name of the Lord may be known by whoever interacts with us as we use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to usher in His presence and leave His sweet aroma wherever we go. We have to prepare the way and give God the ugly things, the broken things, the sin that hinders the process, so that His beautiful mercy and love can cover it and be our foundation to build on. In doing so we have mastered the art of being ourselves for a purpose.

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Ephialtes

300

So, if you know me, you that one of my absolutely favorite movies of all times, though it is rated R, is 300. If you have seen it, I don’t need to explain why; if you haven’t seen it, I won’t explain, just rent it and you will understand the greatness of this movie. There are amazing and dynamic characters and so many great one-liners, and truth be told, I considered it before, but not until I last watched it that I finally was able to put thoughts together to write.

With all that being said, it is one specific character that caught my attention, whose story reflects what I attempt to share as I write. Ephialtes. He was a deformed Spartan whose hearts desire was to fight like his father, however when he approached King Leonidas, Leonidas respectfully denied, yet gave him another option to aid in the battle for freedom, which Ephialtes did not like. Thus, he betrayed his allegiance and long story short went to the enemy’s camp, Xerxes, god-king of Persia, to get the “honor” he wanted.

It made me think, so often we have in mind what we want to do solely on the culture around us; we want to fit in. However, God tells us no, we get upset, frustrated, and tend to do stupid things. However, like Leonidas, God will tell us or show us where how He can best use us, highlighting our strengths, but because sometimes it is too “small of a task” we take things into our own hands, we don’t like the background, we want to be in the front. The problem is that these “big tasks” can’t function, let alone succeed without those behind the scenes, those bandaging the wounded and giving them water or collecting dead bodies. Just like a body, every enzyme not seen with the naked eye is significant, and without it we would falter gravely. Ephialtes was blinded to this by his pride. As a result, he did the worse possible thing.

He went to Xerxes, asking for the same thing as Leonidas, and like Satan, Xerxes played to his pleasures and stroked his ego, and all he had to do was kneel, the exact same way that Devil tempted Jesus. This kneeling was not out of reverence or love, but of greed, arrogance, and manipulation. The Devil comes the same way, as an angel of light, appealing to our desires and pride, but it is not in God’s will or timing, thus we need to run far from it. Like Xerxes, the only thing Satan has in mind is destruction, giving in to those temptations is what damages our relationship with God, families, reputation, honor, and testimony. The problem is that we want when we want it how we want it.

If you look back in the conversation Ephialtes had with King Leonidas, you notice that he asked him to stand. That is so profound to me, because God has called us to stand, to be strong in Him and confident to face whatever Hell has to throw at us, trusting in His power and love, His mercy and grace, His provision and protection. Kneeling before Him and worship is a given, but it’s a choice we make on our own; those under Leonidas’ rule gladly knelt before him out of respect and a genuine love for him, Xerxes on the other hand, if not coerced, they just did so out of duty and to keep “getting.” Like the Devil, Xerxes just gave him what he wanted so he could get what he wanted, not because he actually cared, but he wanted to destroy the other kingdom.

So many get caught in that web and we miss the great opportunity that God has for us in serving Him in a way that brings out the best in us; we want someone else’s gift and hinder God from using us and Him shining through us. Like God sees in us, Leonidas saw the best in Ephialtes and catered toward his strength; like Satan does to us, Xerxes saw the worse in Ephialtes and played to his weakness. It wasn’t until he sees Leonidas again face-to-face that he realizes how completely wrong he was, just through Leonidas’ compassion; he still blessed Leonidas. In the same way whenever we come back to the loving arms of our King, His arms are open and He still desires to bless us, even though it was our betrayal that lead Him to a glorious death on the as was Leonidas. As well, pleasure and satisfaction only lasts temporarily when Satan gives it to you, operating outside of purpose and your function, and the aftermath is destruction, brokenness, emptiness, ineffectiveness, and guilt.

Being you for a purpose is accepting and embracing the strengths God has given you, not being prideful or jealous of other people’s gifts. God already knows how He can and wants to use you, and in whatever way, big or small, it will bring glory and you will shine in your differences, so don’t try to blend in; God doesn’t like to use blenders. God wants the best for us, and He truly cares and sees the best in us, even when we don’t; He knows how we can be most effective for His kingdom. He does not try to manipulate us or have impure motives. Trust the wisdom and knowledge of God, don’t do as Ephialtes did and compromise who you are and minimize who you were created to be because things don’t go your way and or God doesn’t do as you wanted Him to. Our king, like Leonidas, has been doing this for a while and has a pretty good track record, so I think He knows what He is doing. Just trust His judgment.

Be you for a purpose, not only yours, but other people’s freedom depends on it.

A Screwtape Perspective

So, if you are unaware, we are living in the final days. Now to give you a time frame or a IMAG1165-1-1date, by no means will I attempt to do so, but I will just say, open your eyes. Jesus laid it out flat when the disciples asked him for the sign of his return in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. For some time I wondered why such bad things foreshadowed his return, but if you haven’t read either of those passages, here are a few things: wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, weird weather in random places, lack of love, children going against their parents to the extreme, brothers fighting each other, Christian persecution, pestilence, fearful events, and increase in natural disasters or events (famines and earthquakes).

Now if you just watch the news or read through Facebook, you can see the truth of each of these happenings, whether a random shooting, children killing their parents, parents killing their kids, monsoons, earthquakes, diseases and sicknesses, or wars and tension between nations (ie Russian, Ukraine, US, Iraq, Egypt, Liberia, Libya, etc). It’s heartbreaking to be honest and it again just makes me wonder why things are getting so ridiculous. I understand God is sovereign, but it’s like seriously. Then I think well, many of our problems are a result of our desire to not want anything to do with Him or His Word, just in the US alone, not to mention the persecution of Christians around the world.

Besides all that, I have been reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” So far the book has blown my mind to get a further glimpse into the mind of Satan and the tactics of him and his counterparts. Nonetheless, in one of the letters, Uncle was speaking on how the idea that war or pestilence are a shoe in for attacking the faith alone is an exaggeration and can actually hinder the Enemy’s desire for people to undermine their faith and keep people from turning to God. The reasoning is that in the midst of things like war and pestilence, people tend to call out and seek redemption from a higher power, the Enemy of the Enemy.

To bring it all together, through all the terrible things that are happening in the world we live in, God is getting our attention so that we can get right with Him before it is too late. If Jesus would come back when the world was all honky dory, there would be no incentive to get right, and more people would be lost. With all that is going on, people are seeking help and an answer for what is happening. I am hear to say Jesus is that answer an he is on his way back, and with everything occurring, he is providing more and more opportunities for people to come to a saving knowledge of His love, mercy, grace, power, and redemption and salvation. Uncle Screwtape (a high ranking demon in the book) even said so Himself, it’s through the suffering that people turn to God, and the Devil and his demons don’t like that; misery loves company and they will do all in their power to bring as many people to Hell with them.

Open your eyes. Your God-given purpose, your destiny, your calling is so pertinent to giving and or providing an answer to the struggles of so many others. By choosing to be all that God made you to be, being you for a purpose, you will help usher in the coming of the Lord Jesus, in a way that only you can, providing hope to those that need to hear and know that a better day is coming.

Devil’s Credit

You know what, the choir sang a song today, and the lyrics express a doctrine that many church people believe. With all that said, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we give the Devil waaaaaaaaaay too much credit. In this scenario, like the song I heard them sing today and many other popular gospel songs, we talk about how the Devil came and stole this and that from us and we are taking it back. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus himself said that the Enemy comes to steal, and yes he does; full-time he is fulfilling his purpose. But may I dare say, he doesn’t steal everything we give him credit for stealing. More times than we admit, we give it to him or we let him take it, or turn the other cheek when he begins to creep.

Just like what is in your house, you fight to keep it and safeguard what’s in it, so that if anyone tries to get to it, you fight for it. You put up an alarm system or keep a weapon close by, or take up some form of self-defense, and whatever other safety measures. Yet there are those that don’t don’t guard themselves or don’t put forth any worthy effort and pretty much hand over their stuff to the intruder. The Christian life is the same.

Too many of us just hand over our promises without even fighting; we give up too easily; we don’t prepare for the enemy so we can’t and don’t defend ourselves, for things that we never should have given him. To be real, he may not even have our possessions at all, we just let things rust for one reason or another. God says certain things belong to us, and like anything we own, we won’t just hand it over without a fight, and the blessed part about it, God has given us the resources and weapons to protect what’s ours just by His Word alone. What God gave you is yours, not the Enemy’s, to use for His noble purpose that He has for you. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, and if you believe that, there are some things the Devil shouldn’t have access to and should be protected at all times at least by the weapon of His promises. Joy, peace of mind, patience, love, and self-control, those are things that as a follower of Christ, the Enemy should never have the ability to steal, less we give him the keys, giving him access and permission.

Likewise, too many times the things that are going wrong in our lives and the situations that are anything but pleasurable in experiencing, we say the Devil set it up or set us up, or he is attacking us, and we rebuke it. Again, yes he is busy and forever disrupting the kingdom man or woman, but far too often we credit him for what we did too ourselves. To be honest, enough of the things that we do experience that unfavorable things people are giving the Devil credit for, its by their own merit, their own sin or wrongdoing. Sin, going against God’s Word or not doing what He tells us to do in certain situations, we set ourselves up for trouble whether we realize it or not. There is a quote that says “sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go, keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay, and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.” On the flip side, sometimes the hell that is breaking loose in our lives is a result of prayer; we may have prayed for patience, a good man, a good woman, a sign that God wants us to leave a job or relationship, a more loving spirit, for God to keep us humble, a better house, or a better car without realizing what it will take for us to see His answer fully manifest; so we wind up upset and broken because we forgot what we prayed and neglect to remember that His thoughts and ways are not our own.

So in reality, when we are really reaping what we have sowed or God is setting us up for what we prayed for and preparing us for His purposes, we blame Satan himself. It’s time to wake up with a purpose so that God can get the glory, not the Devil. Lucifer was kicked out of Heaven because of his pride, stop blaming and giving him credit for everything and blowing his head up even more.

No Days Off

Everything in life has a person from the sycamore tree to the bumble bee. As the point this site attempts to get across, you have a purpose just as do I, but there may be something that you never given attention to or rather put the pieces together of what has or is happening in your life and the world around you. The Devil himself has a purpose, that purpose, found in John 10:10, which states that he is here for the purpose to steal, kill, and destroy.

From the moment he fell from heaven, he understood who he was and what he was to do, and may I say, he has lived up to his purpose. From the first sin, Satan has done everything is his power to ruin and mess up what God had established and created in so many ways. whether it be how we treat each other (racism, genocide, abuse, selfishness, greed, hatred, violence, slander, gossip, pedophilia, gender bias, tyranny, etc), how we treat ourselves (suicide, drug abuse, STDs, alcohol abuse, depression, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, homosexuality, etc), how we view God and who or what He is (philosophy, religions, cults, atheism, the occult, astrology, evolution, new age beliefs, existentialism, humanism), or how we treat his creation (animal abuse, pollution, construction, abandoned projects, littering, etc).

The ironic part about it is that each of these things listed are a lie; someone somewhere somehow was deceived and believed the lie of Satan to act on it and further fulfill the purpose of Satan. As the father of lies (8:44), the Enemy knew his purpose and what it was going to take to get there, some lies were just straight up wrong and evil like God is non-existent or that women are inferior to men or pedophiles deserves the same treatment as married heterosexuals or a person is not a person at conception. On the other hand, there are less obvious deceptions like we can treat animals any type way because they are animals, or God isn’t a loving or forgiving, but an absent non-caring God, or a person has no worth or value or identity – thus harm themselves – or if you fall out of love or things get bad that gives the right or to divorce and go from one spouse to the next.

Bottom line, Satan has one trick deception, and he is very good at it and uses his “gift” to carry out his purpose and because he has used it since the beginning of time and it works; he knows the power of fully using his gift he achieves his purpose every single day feeding and creating lies, persuading people to believe them and act on them, and continuously destroying what God created as perfect.

The Devil doesn’t take a day off, why do we? He knows who he is and his purpose and everyday he works toward fulfilling it in our homes, our families, our school, our churches, our community, out government, or our relationship with God through various methods, whether we realize or recognize his tactics, through music, television, books, movies, media, science, education, false doctrines (the tickle-your-ear messages found in far too many churches today), desire for money, and politics. Many times his lies are so well conceived that most of us are blind to what we are receiving or being fed, which is why it is so crucial to put our own thinking aside and embrace the mind of Christ to be able to discern what is truth and what is a lie, no matter who it is that speaks or promotes it.

The blessed part about John 10:10 is that it doesn’t stop there. Jesus has a purpose too and his is to give us a life more abundantly, and how does he do it? John 14:6 says that he is the truth, so whatever lie the Enemy has told us we find the truth in Christ alone, and when we discover God’s truth, we are set free and have the ability to live the life Jesus is purposed to provide us. Ephesians 6:14 tells us to wear the belt of truth, the belt holds everything together, every peace of armor, in the same way the truth holds our lives and faith together so that we can fight the Devil and ultimately fulfill our own purpose in life that God has predestined us to do,

So I encourage you to open your eyes and ears and discover God’s Word to recognize the lies that we are subject to believe. Satan is busy and every day he fights to take this world to Hell with him, but as Christ-followers we have the truth in God’s Word and we must use it fight the battle that most are unaware of or refuse to acknowledge, the battle between¬† unseen kingdoms (Ephesians 6:11-12). It’s time to stand up and fight, taking no days off because Satan is getting bolder and bolder, just watch the news or those crazy videos on Youtube about forces that control this world (I’ll leave it as that) or what some people are doing that seems so left field and evil. Now is not the time to be passive or afraid, but bold and strong, and discover and fulfill the purpose God has for you, because in one way or another, whatever you God-given purpose may be, it will help to counter act the lies Satan how been telling. You, whoever you are reading this, are meant for greater things and God wants to use you, yes you, to fight with him against his arch enemy. No matter what you gift may be, no matter if it’s just one thing, let God take that gift and make room for you to do great things (Proverbs 18:16). I mean look at Satan, he had one thing, deception, and look at what his deception has done over thousands of years, some of his lies started back in Eden and people still believe it today. So even if all you can do is write, you write your heart out; if all you can do is debate, let God use that for His glory and open doors; if all you can do is sew, you make clothes fit for royalty; if all you can do is teach little preschoolers you pour into their lives as much as God allows; if you can sing, you better sing like no one else has your gift.

Whatever you have whatever you do, do it on purpose, because you hold the truth that can break chain and set people free from the bondage from Satan’s lies. This world is getting darker and darker, and this world needs the Light of Jesus that is in you. Remember, even if you wait or you are nonchalant about serving God in one way or another, Satan doesn’t take days off, even if and when we do. So everyday, wake up ready to fight and learn the truths of God through His Word. Satan is fulfilling his purpose each and every day one person, one community, one group at a time. Are you??