3/24/17

Satan's False Premises and Promises

Like slick, conniving snake oil salesmen of days gone by, modern-day sales reps and advertisements
can also offer too-good-to-be-true promises.

Satan was the original snake oil salesman, promising Eve one thing, but giving her quite another (Genesis 3:1-6). 

Though his words were partially true, he meant something entirely different. His premise was selfish and a terrible reflection on God. And the devil's promise was false too.

Here are some EXAMPLES of how our enemy works:
  1. He uses lies to blind the spiritual eyes of people so they will not understand the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he hinders our gospel witness to them (Matthew 13:19).
  2. He keeps people in bondage to sin (the "gods" we set up in our lives) so they will not respond to the Lord (Galatians 4:8).
  3. He lies about and slanders God, casting doubt on His words, and ultimately, His goodness (Genesis 3:4-5).
  4. He uses "sons of the evil one" (even "fake" Christians) to deceive people and create disunity in the Body of Christ (Matthew 13:38-39; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). 
  5. He encourages us to believe false doctrines (lies) and compromise biblical theology (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
  6. Our adversary prowls, cleverly using our weaknesses (and even strengths) to set us up for ultimate failure and destruction (1 Peter 5:6-8). 
  7. He tempts us to deceitfully impress people, rather than live authentically for the Lord (Acts 5:3; John 8:44).
  8. The evil one outright tempts us to do wicked things (Matthew 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), because he's a destroyer of all that is good and holy.
  9. He slanders Christians before the Lord (Revelation 12:10), especially after he "sifts" us to see how committed we are, and we give in to temptation (Luke 22:31).
  10. He uses emotional turmoilespecially discouragement, doubt, depression and despairto attempt to cripple us (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
  11. He instigates persecution for our faith and godliness (Revelation 2:10).
  12. He tries to confuse our minds and steer us away from the simplicity of Christ and power of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 11;3).
  13. He subtly suggests we ignore (or even thwart) what God desires to do (Matthew 16:21-23).
  14. He promises thrills outside God-given boundaries for sexual intimacy (2 Timothy 2:20-211 Corinthians 7:5).
  15. Our enemy constantly fights our progress in Christ (Ephesians 6:12). He attempts to rob Christians of joy, peace, happiness, purpose and a host of other things the Lord wants to bless believers with in their walk with Christ. 
At the base of all his other agendas, Satan wants us to worship and serve anything and anyone other than our Father in heaven, and to believe anything other than the pure Word of God. 

He wants us to find satisfaction in things other than what God provides for us. He lures us to value anything or anyone more than Christ. 

When we succumb to our enemy's temptation to yield to misplacedeven addictivedesires, we will likely end up broken or damaged, maybe even destroyed.
Basically, the enemy uses false premises and promises to make us FUNCTIONING IDOLATERS.
Dr. Tim Keller wrote:

"Sin isn't only doing bad things, 
it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. 
Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, 
even a very good thing, more than on God. 
Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. 
Sin is primarily idolatry."

Beyond Satan's lies, he uses other means in his attempts to destroy us. He is a murderer (John 8:44). He uses fleshly afflictions and diseases to harass us and try to shut down our effectiveness (Job 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:7). And Satan tempts believers to find quick fixesunbiblical answersfor their problems. Then he robs them of joy, peace, happiness, purpose and a host of other things God has for His children.

So how are we to deal with Satan's agenda to conquer us?

We must never take Satan or his agenda to destroy us lightly. 
What lies of the enemy are you believing today? What are the false premises and promises that may have ensnared you and hindered your worship and service for the Lord?

3/9/17

How to Cultivate Unfading Beauty

My mom used to say, "Pretty is as pretty does." Boy, is that true!

Some of the prettiest women in the world don't behave attractively (and vice versa).

For me, "pretty" isn't the issue. 
It's the condition of a person's HEART.

I know some people the world might reject who have the most beautiful souls.

A Powerful Scripture about Beauty:

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as elaborate hairstyles
and the wearing of gold jewelry
or fine clothes.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Yes, beauty does fadephysical beauty. But spiritual beauty becomes more glorious and attractive as a person grows in love and grace. A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

Writer and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has often said she wants to grow to be a wise old woman. She walks in wisdom as a child of light, living out what is "good and right and true" (Ephesians 5:8b).

What I have noticed is, the wiser she becomes, the more beautiful she appears. 

Living in the fear of God, with respect for Him and His word that causes us to walk in wisdom, is indeed the best "beauty treatment" any woman can enjoy.

Would you say you have a beautiful soul? What would God say?

3/4/17

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

The Lord spoke to me through a teabag tag.

I read my Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tag and mulled over the words:

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." ~ Henry Ford

Now Ford didn't sit back, "intending." He got busy and built an automotive empire that earned him a place in industrial history. What adult in America does not know the name "Ford"?

But I believe my Father God doesn't want me to focus on building a reputation for myself.

Oh, he wants me to have a good reputation. "A good name is to be more desired than wealth..." (Proverbs 22:1a). We are to do our best to "maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men" (Acts 24:16). Paul recommended Christian leaders have "a good reputation with those outside the church" (1 Timothy 3:7). No Christian should bring reproach on the name of Christ by bad behavior.

But for the Christian, it shouldn't stop there.

I want to build a reputation for the Lord. 
Not that He needs it, but that it is His due.

I want to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9-10), and I want to magnify His name (Psalm 34:3). God will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). Our goal must be to bring Him glory in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).

The funny thing is, God honors those who honor him (1 Samuel 2:30b). But how many of us stop to think about how we can honor God?

I say I want to do that. I talk about it all the time. I intend to honor God. But I can't just think and talk about it. I must take action.

Deciding to do is not the same as actually doing.

Doing is often linked to obedience.

I am grateful I learned obedience to the Lord in a revival ministry, Life Action, in the early 1970s. By God's grace I am still taking action to please the Lord. (But sometimes I need a reminder to be more intentional - like that teabag tag!)

If I want to glorify God, I will want to: 
  • Obey Him,
  • Serve Him (with joy),
  • Demonstrate Christ-like love
  • Stand up for righteousness in the culture, and
  • Bring Him honor and glory in all I do.
Good intentions are not enough. 

I have to go beyond intentions to commitment, and then act on those commitments in daily choices.

What are some of the choices you will make today to bring glory to the Lord?

2/20/17

Praying for the President's Wife


I have been praying for the President, because I believe that is biblicalalways have (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

But today I am also praying for President Trump's wife, just as I prayed for every President's wife. I remember how Michele was viciously called names. I hated that. Now it's Melania's turn, apparently.

We simply have little respect and grace these days.


Will you join me in prayer for Melania?

I am praying she knows Jesus (in other words, that she is not just religious), and if she doesn't know Him personally, she will come to know Him soon. That is the most important thing to me.
  • Out of that, I would pray for godly purity, strength, integrity, wisdom and kindness to reign in Melania's life.
  • I am praying for her as she mothers her son, and as a wifethat she will support the President and cultivate respect for him. 
  • This high calling has a tough learning curve. I am praying Melania will be humble and teachable, and especially receptive to the Word of God during these tough days. 
  • I am praying she will be a woman who models love to this nation that needs to understand what love looks like on so many levels these days. 
There are no perfect people. There is no perfect President or President's wife. So we must pray for our leaders.

Franklin Graham wrote in 2014:
"Prayer is the Christian's greatest weapon in a world that seems to be coming apart around us."
We need to pray for our leaders and their families and stop shredding them apart.


Graphic of Melania Trump from wikipedia.

2/11/17

Uncommon Love

Valentine's Day our hearts will turn to love, especially romantic love, but there is another love that defines and motivates me today.

I call it "Uncommon Love."

I made hopeful stabs at this kind of love for yearssacrificial and selfless lovebut the truth is, I could not live out this true kind of love until I knew the love of the Lord for me and in me.


"This is love: not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his Son 
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

I learned all my efforts to love selflessly would never obligate God to love me back. I am flawed in countless ways, and particularly in my ability to love wisely and well.

But then I read 1 John 4:19.
Because the Lord first loved me, I am able to express uncommon love.
That understanding changed everything!

It is the Lord's effectual love and work in me that enables me to conform to Christ and love as He would, for God is love (1 John 4:16b). He defines and is the pattern for love.

As Christians, God's love is engraved on our souls.

And God wants to perfect His love in us. He wants to direct our hearts to His kind of love (2 Thessalonians 3:5) and causes us to express that love in practical, helpful ways in the church especially, but also to others throughout the world—to those who look and act like us, and those far different.

He wants us to express love:
We must remember God loved the world so much He sent His Son to die to redeem people who were hopeless without Him (John 3:16).

Imagine such love.

That's why hatefulness—any lack of love toward a brother or sistershows we do not truly KNOW or LOVE the Lord of the Bible (1 John 4:19-21). In fact, John says, "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar" (4:20).

I've thought a lot about love recently. Voices in the culture demand we "love" in many ways, often in hateful tones (great hypocrisy). Even within the church, there seems to be a disconnect about what loving God-loving others looks like.

We get in our holy huddles and clutch our material possessions without compassion; we only love in word and speech—not in action and truthwhen God calls us to "lay down our lives" for those He loves (1 John 3:17-18). He wants us to love each other as He has loved us, modeling His love to a watching world (John 13:34-35).

I believe love must be connected to the redeeming, sanctifying, heart-changing Gospel, or it is not true love. Anything less, while admirable, may alter culture temporarily or alleviate some stressful situations, but is it the transforming love that comes from a change of heart and change of mind?

There is so much to unpack in 1 John 4so much that is misunderstood by our culture. And I will admit I am a toddler when it comes to expressing godly, agape love.

But this I know: the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (4:14), and it is only by acknowledging our need of Jesus and His righteousness, and allowing the Spirit of God to transform us, that we are made holy and truly loving in the Son.

And it is this holy love from God in usnot the love of religion or even the syrupy, politically correct "love" of the God we think the Bible describesthat gives us "confidence on the day of judgment" (4:17) and best motivates us to love others and meet their needs.

I still have much to learn about loving others in our hurting world with uncommon love. And I have even more to learn about this amazing God who love us firstthe most incredible love of all.