A Talking Turtle Named Wayne


Have you ever met a talking turtle? No, I’m not kidding. Have YOU ever met a talking turtle?

There’s an old cartoon character you may recall-Touché Turtle. I used to watch him and his pal Dum Dum after school. 

Then, of course, there are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

But that isn’t what I’m referring to. 

I met one the other night. His name was Wayne. 

Wayne the talking turtle. 

It happened like this: I had driven out to a place in West Virginia, somewhere in the country, to see my wife who had been visiting her mom and siblings. 

As I pulled up to the house I was greeted by a rather large turtle, who had somehow managed to perfect two skills I’ve never known a turtle to do. 

Stand upright and talk. 

Yes, talk. 

As soon as I opened the door of my car, there he was, just as informative and polite as could be.

“Hello, you must be Jan. I’m Wayne, the talking turtle. I was asked by Mrs. Lloyd to meet you when you arrived and walk you to the garden where she and your wife are.”

Crazy, huh? 

And what’s just as crazy? I thought nothing of it. It made perfect sense at the time. 

Just like all dreams. 

Of course, when I awoke the dream faded and I realized there truly was no Wayne, the talking turtle. 

Too bad. I could have really gone somewhere, knowing a talking turtle and all.

As I thought about the dream, some scriptures about dreams came to my mind; especially the one in Acts 2. The one where Peter is quoting the prophet Joel:

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…” (Acts 2:17 ESV)

Realizing I’m no longer a young man, the part that excited me the most was God’s plan for His “old men” who are filled with His Holy Spirit to dream dreams. 

The word “old” does not refer primarily to one’s age. The Greek word for “old men” is “presbyteros”; specifically an elder, overseer, bishop, etc. In other words, the Lord doesn’t spend a lifetime building a person’s character, wisdom, etc., to simply turn them out to pasture when they reach a certain age.

This was very good news for me. 

It’s so easy to regard myself as too old to matter anymore. Too old to live an exciting life, a kingdom of God kind of life. 

Too outdated to believe something as nutty as a talking turtle. 

I do understand dreams the Holy Spirit wants to give elders probably have nothing to do with talking turtles. Though that’s not saying he wouldn’t or couldn’t do that. Stranger things have happened. 

Nor does one have to be sound asleep to receive a dream from Father God. 

But we need to be very careful not to shrug off God’s dreams like they’re as ridiculous as a turtle who talks. They may seem just as impossible, but if God is their author, they aren’t crazy. 

We’re being foolish if we don’t pursue them.

Ecclesiastes 5:3 says (in the KJV) that “a dream comes through the multitude of business (or much work)…”. Though other translations read much differently, the KJV really speaks to me about pursuing whatever dream God gives. 

It is extremely important we do our part, as we are enabled by God, in not only dreaming the dream but in seeing it come to pass. 

God gives the dream and gives us the tools and His Spirit to do what we must do. To do our part in seeing the dream fulfilled. 

Yes, even those of us who may dream up such bizarre things as Wayne, the talking turtle. 

People who sincerely want to see His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as in Heaven. 

Why Am I Me?


So, tell me…have you ever wanted to be someone else? Have you spent time wondering why you are you? Has your life been frustrating at times, all because you ARE you, and not some other person?

Like many people, I’ve had my fair share of questions. Such as, “Why was I born into my particular family?” “Why didn’t I get a better lot in life?” “What did I do to deserve the parents I was given?” 

Or maybe, “Why couldn’t I have parents like so and so has?”

I remember as a kid wishing my good friend Bob’s mother was my mom (usually immediately following an argument with my parents).

Right or wrong, it was a wish. (Though I’m not at all saying I was squeaky clean…)

There have been other times throughout the last 60+ years I’ve asked similar questions. 

But I’ve recently learned something. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

God had the complete and final say regarding all the things in which I had no say. 

Everything.

Even though bad things sometimes happen, things which aren’t His will, we’re placed into our specific families. 

God, Who knew me even while I was in my mother’s womb, had the final say. 

It was God who gave me, and you, life in the first place.

So, with that in mind, I’ve had to move on and not let those “why”, “why not”, and “what if” questions drive me crazy.

In John chapter nine, the disciples asked Jesus a question about a man who was born blind. I can almost imagine the blind man pulling Peter aside to see if Peter would ask Jesus the question he had been wondering about for quite awhile. 

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins.” (John 9:1 – 9:2 NLT)

Somewhat like the questions I’ve had throughout my life…”Why?”

To read Jesus’ answer (in many translations) it can appear that God doesn’t mind seeing just how bad He can make someone’s life become. 
That doesn’t sound like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

It doesn’t sound like my Savior, either.

So this time, read it from “The Message” translation:

“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” (John 9:1 – 9:3 MSG)

“You’re asking the wrong question…” What a great response! 

For them, and for me. 

And, quite possibly, for you.

The Lord doesn’t want any of us attempting to find out why we got the short end of the deal when we were born. He’s not exactly pleased with the way some parents have treated/raised their kids. He’s not happy about the child abuse some kids endure. Or how many people have to find a way to cope with all the scars well into their adult life. 

We’ve all been given a life to live. And we can’t live it to the fullest when we’ve buried ourselves beneath the rubble of “Why me?” questions.

Blaming someone never corrected anything. No matter who is to blame, we must still look at what God can do. 

“With Me, all things are possible.”

Maybe you’ve accumulated a lot of baggage, maybe tons of garbage, growing up in your not-so-perfect world. I did. But my life need not, better not, be consumed by looking for someone to blame. 

There’s too much life to live to waste time doing that. 

So, to end this post on a positive note:

God uses less-than-perfect people from less-than-perfect homes, who have less-than-perfect parents, siblings, and circumstances. Why not let Him help give us purpose, direction, and, where needed, the emotional, mental, and physical help we may have missed while growing up.

Let’s get away from the blame game, and instead, get on with life; the life God has in store for all who will embrace His ways and thoughts.

“Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:7 – 55:9 NLT)

Selfishness 


Selfishness can be a very subtle thing. It can manifest itself in many ways, although the one acting selfish may not realize what they’re doing.

Some ways it may appear are-

  1. The need to be seen – the center of attention
  2. Manipulation
  3. Depression, pouting, anger, mood swings, etc.
  4. Monopolizing a conversation
  5. Interrupting someone else’s conversation
  6. Overachieving

Something I witnessed about myself the other day.

At a funeral, of all places. 

Sitting in the sanctuary, waiting for the service to begin, I saw a number of fellow ministers in attendance. Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, I feel out of place, unknown and overlooked, and desperately in need of some kind of recognition. 

Is it wrong to want to be liked? 

No. 

But as I got out of my seat to greet a minister I knew (though not very well – I had to remind him of my name), I sensed the Holy Spirit speak to my heart about selfishness. 

In other words, my act of greeting was more about me than him. It was about being seen with a well known minister. It wasn’t about my investing anything in the other person’s life, but trying to look important by association. 

Selfishness.

Ugly, worldly, selfishness.

Oh, what can be done about such an ugly thing?

First, I needed to acknowledge it as sin, whether anyone else noticed it or not. God knew it, and now I do.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3 ESV)

Second, I must stay on guard against such desires. One of the best ways is to remind myself who God has made me, in Christ. 

I’m not inferior, or superior for that matter. I am me. I was created on purpose, for a purpose. I belong to God, and He is the Lord of my life. 

In the above scripture, sober judgment can refer to being honest with myself, God, and others. I should find out what God has done, is doing, and has promised to do in me and get busy with that.

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1 ESV)

See, Peter wrote to people who had obtained a faith of equal standing with himself. Really? Faith as important and potentially powerful as Peter’s? Yes!

It’s something God has done for every one of us, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Third, selfishness cannot manifest itself if I’m concerned about how to make others feel encouraged, important, and edified. If I’m not adding to a relationship, at least desiring to, then I’m probably taking from it. 

In a word? Selfishness.

I’m working on it, though I’m certain I haven’t mastered it yet. 

How about YOU? Do YOU recognize a bit of selfishness showing in YOUR life?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

It’s the little, insignificant things in our lives that determine the kind of person we are. 

Are You “Damaged Goods”?


What does it take to push someone over the edge? How much stress can a person take before they snap? Is it a sin to have a mental breakdown?

How long must a person be subjected to abuse before they become damaged goods?

Can a person who’s snapped, gone over the edge, and become damaged goods ever find true freedom and solace; safe from the long reaching arms of their abuser?

I should probably interject something here, as a point of clarification. Abusers (I’m referring to people who damage others either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) aren’t necessarily demon possessed, but they ARE allowing themselves to be used by the devil. 
He is a murderer, thief, killer, and destroyer. 

And he uses people to get his junk accomplished. 
I wondered these things while reading the gospel of Mark. 

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:1 – 5:5 ESV)

A wild man. A mad man. Why? How? I don’t know, because the narrative doesn’t go there. 

But it COULD be due to how he was raised, what he was subjected to, or something else involving people from his past. Maybe he allowed hatred and bitterness to fester and grow in his heart until he completely yielded to the powers of darkness. 

I don’t know. 

I do know he was damaged. 

Damaged goods. Not a very nice description, is it? But what does it mean or how does it happen?

I’m really going to simplify things here and answer with three words. 

People hurting people. 

People, for whatever reason, sometimes hurt others. Allow the hurt to continue, and more damage is done. Eventually, if not helped, and the hurt is reinforced with more hurtful actions and words, the person can become so damaged they are beyond anyone’s ability to help them heal.

But not beyond God’s ability to save, heal, and deliver. 

Jesus changed the man’s life by releasing him from the things tormenting him. He didn’t erase the man’s past, but he did disable the power of the past. 

And isn’t it odd how the ones who knew the “crazy” man seemed to have preferred he remain in that condition instead of enjoying true freedom?

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region (Mark 5:14 – 5:17 ESV)

That’s what makes me think they were part of the problem in the first place.

The madman in Mark five is, to me, a picture of damaged goods coming in contact with the Lover of the soul. No matter how bad things had become for the man, hurt and total hopelessness met its match that day on the Galilean seashore.

And that’s one huge reason why I love the Lord! He took a damaged person (me) and delivered my life from destruction. 

How about you?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1 – 103:5 ESV)
 

Spiritual Pimples

I was chatting with a guy the other day, talking about how we sometimes allow things, situations, and, of course, people the opportunity to offend us. 

Sometimes we let the wrong things get under our skin. We hang on to them until they begin poisoning our system. 
Kind of like pimples.

Pimples are indicators of more serious problems.

What should we do? When we see it for what it truly is (or when it finally comes to a head) we should squeeze it until the blood flows. The flow of blood helps cleanse the wound (as Jesus’ blood cleanses all our sin).

It helps get the poison out of our system. 

As you may have figured out, it’s much better to never allow offenses to get under our skin. That being said, it is imperative we continuously wash ourselves in the water of God’s Word. It’s also important to be in close fellowship with other believers who may help keep the wrong things from getting under our skin by watching for areas in our life where an infection could be setting in. 

Spiritual pimples are indicators of a more serious problem…

…a poisoned soul.

…an offended heart.

…a victim mentality.

…a joyless existence.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31 – 4:32 ESV)

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:14 – 12:15 ESV)

Childhood Monsters

Childhood monsters can become adult demons.

It’s been some time since I’ve written a post; no excuse other than I didn’t feel like writing. 

Instead, I’ve been watching a television series on Netflix called “Criminal Minds”. 

I realize the show is not for everyone, and some of the themes are pretty dark, but I have always been fascinated with behavioral studies.

Especially as it pertains to why certain criminals do what they do.

But watching an episode last night hit a little too close to home. No, it didn’t make me want to go out and kill someone. 

But it did stir up old memories from my childhood.

So it hit me: childhood monsters can become adult demons.

I’ll not bore you with details, but suffice it to say I had monsters to face as a kid. Real monsters. They didn’t hide in my closet or live under my bed, but I saw them every day.

At times, everything seemed wonderful. The monsters were nowhere to be seen. But things could and did change without warning. 

And the monsters were back. 

Thinking of all of this while watching the program made me realize a few things. 

First of all, I thought of just how blessed I am to have weathered a stormy childhood. I’m not saying I’ve never had to deal with any adult demons. No, I’ve had plenty. 

But things could have been worse. A lot worse. 

Secondly, we all need a savior. Not just to forgive us of our sins, but to make us a brand new creation. A child of God. After all, without the new nature we receive from the Lord, anyone is capable of giving in to the demands of our demons. 

Remember, our childhood monsters CAN become our adult demons.

Finally, I thought of those who are trying to overcome the past, and distance themselves from their monsters. 

It doesn’t work. 

You can’t outrun your memories, experiences, hurts, scars, etc. No one is that fast. But there are some things you can do to keep the monsters at bay, and the demons off your back.

1. As mentioned before, we all need a savior. Rather than constantly facing your demons, turn your heart to Jesus Christ. He’ll not only forgive you of your past, but will also make you a brand new creation.

2. Choose to forgive the past’s players. That doesn’t mean you have to spend time with them. In fact, forgiving them is more for your own health and welfare than theirs. Without the release of forgiveness, you may become the monster you hated. You may find yourself doing the same things to the people you love; all the while hating every moment of your life.

3. Renew your mind with God’s word. Take control of your thoughts, not allowing hatred or bitterness to hang around. 

4. Feed your faith in God. The monsters/demons who want to keep you under their control lose all power when your source of emotional and mental strength, along your personal self-worth, is based upon Father God’s opinion of you.

Not theirs.

5. Love covers a multitude of sins. Yours, theirs, everyone’s. However, excuses cover nothing. 

Excuses only allow childhood monsters to grow into adult demons. Excuses say, “That’s just how they are. They can’t help what they do. They weren’t treated well in their childhood, so we shouldn’t expect any different.”

Love cuts them off at the knees, because love declares truth. Truth says, “That isn’t right. Regardless of the reason why the monster is on the loose, it isn’t right and something must be done about it. I’ll put up with it no longer.”

Truth is what monsters and demons fear the most. 


Childhood monsters can become adult demons,
but they don’t have to. At least not in your life. 

Beyond our ability is…God

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 – 1:9 NLT)

Tough times happen. Trouble comes. Yes, even for people who seem to have it all together, and are a testimony of godliness to their community.

Take the apostle Paul. Busy with God’s work, he ran into some unexpected trouble. At one point, he and his pals thought they might even die!

See what he wrote? “In fact, we expected to die.”

But they didn’t die.

Instead, they learned something very important.

“…we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

They learned to rely on God.

Even if things didn’t turn out the way they wanted, they were still determined to rely on God.

On God Who raises the dead.

You could possibly be facing the biggest problem you’ve ever faced. It might be a huge physical problem, financial worries, or family relationship issues.

And it may appear to be just about over; finished with no way out.

But maybe you could take this opportunity to learn something about God.

He’s faithful, He will not quit, and…

He raises the dead.

I’m not saying it’s a fun time, nor do I believe that’s what Paul was implying.

Troublesome times come, even to those who seem to be God’s special people.

But we can face those moments much easier if we’ve prepared ourselves to rely upon God Who raises the dead.

Even when things look hopeless.

Are you ready for your next lesson?

With Healing In His Wings

There is a special place in God, a place known as the Secret Place, or the Hiding Place.

It’s a place of peace, protection, provision; the fulfillment of God’s Promises.

A place where healing flows freely, grace covers like a shield, and no evil is allowed.

A special place where all the promises of God have been secured by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It’s a place known also as The Shadow of His Wings; the Mercy Seat of God.

Jesus.

He is our place of refuge. Our place of communion with Almighty God. The Table prepared in the presence of our enemies.

“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” (Exodus 25:22 ESV)

Meeting with the Lord under the shadow of His wings, at the place where His testimonies, presence, power, and mercy all join together, is the place to which He calls us.

“Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles.” (2 Chronicles 5:7 – 5:8 ESV)

Notice King David’s words:

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.” (Psalm 17:8 ESV)

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” (Psalm 36:7 ESV)

“…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” (Psalm 63:7 ESV)

“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4 ESV)

It so grieved the Lord Jesus, shortly before His crucifixion, that His people would reject Him; would fail to run to His place of protection and fellowship. Scripture records Him weeping while lamenting over the city of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV)

It grieves Him today, with mankind clamoring to find meaning in life without God. He calls to each person, “Come to Me”, yet many have not yet answered His call.

However, there is a special promise for those who look for and find the secret place.

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2 ESV)

You see, He didn’t go through all He did just for everything to remain the same. He wasn’t punished for His sins. No! It was for us.

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3 – 53:5 ESV)

And now the place of eternal refuge AND healing is open to whoever will dare to believe; will dare to receive Jesus Christ as Lord (Ruler) of their life.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”(Romans 10:13 ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6 ESV)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

For when we take a step toward Him, He arises with healing in His Wings.

And new life begins…

It’s time to stop the thief! (part two)

As I mentioned in the last blog, while reading Ephesians 4:28, something really stood out to me.

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The words my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on were “Let the thief no longer steal…”

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus is speaking of the devil, and while Jesus has gone to the cross and paid for our freedom from the devil, he, the thief is still finding plenty of people to rip off; even those who are born again.

How is this so? The first way is when someone doesn’t know the thief’s plans (is ignorant of his devices), and isn’t ready for the attack. He may not even be aware he’s been robbed!

Paul said we’re to be aware of what our enemy is up to.

“…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV)

So did Peter.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Designs, devices, plans, ideas, thoughts, plots… all speak of something the evil one does on purpose, for a specific outcome.

Our responsibility, if we’re to stop the thief, is to first know the character and nature of our adversary, and through the word and leading of the Spirit of God, recognize the ploys of our enemy.

Jesus said, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.” (Luke 12:39 ESV) 

Sure, He was referring to the coming of the Lord. But what He said also applies to every area of our life; i.e. don’t allow the thief any room to work in your life.

So how can we keep him at bay?

1. Learn to hear the Master’s (Jesus) voice. He speaks in accordance with His word, so become a student of the Word (especially the New Testament).

2. Be quick to respond to a prompting of the Spirit, even if it doesn’t make sense. What if you’re not sure it’s God? Then talk to a friend who has a history of hearing and obeying God. They may be able to help you sort things out.

3. Don’t accept everything that comes into your life as God’s will. It just isn’t so. If everything was God’s will, there’d be no reason to be vigilant about watching for the devil’s maneuvers.

Right?

That’s why it’s of utmost importance to know the difference between God’s will and the thief’s shenanigans.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15 – 5:17 ESV)

Do we have time to waste? Then we have time to get to know our Father and His ways better. For the better we know the Father’s voice, the better we’ll be at fending off the thief.

God’s will brings peace and wholeness, while the thief’s intent is to steal, kill, and destroy.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 ESV)

The next post will cover the second reason why the thief is getting fat off the lives of God’s people (and how to stop him).

We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word):

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes

Later…

It’s time to stop the thief! (part one)

I read a familiar scripture today and it was as though God was speaking directly to me. I saw it in a different light than I’d ever seen it in the past.

The scripture was Ephesians 4:28, which reads: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The part my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on was “Let the thief no longer steal…”

Immediately I thought of different tests, trials, and attacks my family and I have endured over the last several years. And although God has been faithful throughout all we’ve gone through, the Lord was reminding me about my responsibity to make sure the thief, that is, the devil, isn’t given free reign over my life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus said the devil is a thief, killer, and destroyer.

When allowed to initiate and perform his designs for us, we will never taste of the abundant life Jesus promised.

I thought about some different areas where the thief had been allowed to go about his business uncontested.

Here is a list of things the thief typically uses to gain entrance to our affairs; virtually bypassing any security system God has for us.

The thief is “allowed” to operate when:

1. We don’t know his plans (ignorant of his devices)

2. We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word)

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes

3. We let diligence be replaced with slothfulness

4. We don’t understand how totally defeated our adversary is

5. We allow pride to keep us from calling 911

6. We’ve turned over our “house keys” to the thief

7. There’s no power in the house (all the lights are off)

8. We are entangled with care and worry

9. We refuse to forgive

10. We make no attempt to stop the thief (unarmed)

Over the next week or so, I’ll address each of the ten items listed. With scriptural and personal examples you’ll get a better idea about how to stop getting ripped off by the thief.

Later…

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