Tag: the adversary

Beating Back the Bully

 

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(excerpt from new book)

Bullies don’t back down until they’re forced to. When you stand up to them, even when you aren’t sure of your own ability to fight, it sends a message to them that you’re not quite the pushover they thought you were.

Years ago, when I worked in a factory, a certain employee thought he could boss me around. He knew I was a Christian and must have figured I was an easy mark for him to bully. He’d holler at me, “DO THIS! DO THAT!” And for a while I did it, because I didn’t want to make anyone mad. Plus, he was a lot bigger than me!

Well, one day I finally had my fill.

So when he yelled at me (in front of an audience) to do something, I yelled back at him, “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

“What did you say?”

I repeated, “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

About two seconds later he was standing in front of me, towering over me.

“What’d you say?!”

I didn’t budge or back down. Looking up at him, square into his eyes, I remember thinking “I’m dead. He’s gonna kill me. One hit and I’m done.”

But, you see, I’d had my fill. I was tired of being bullied.

So I said it again. “I’m not your dog. Do it yourself!”

Guess what happened? He looked at me, looked around at the other guys, turned, and walked away.

And I lived to work another day.

Now I don’t hold to the fantasy that the devil will get tired of bullying when we stand up to him. No, though he WILL leave for a while, keeping his eyes peeled for another opportunity. But the good news is, you and I were not created to be lunch for that mangy lion. We’ve been given all we need to face every trial and temptation, and live to work another day for Jesus.

I encourage you to continually remind yourself Who it is you belong to. What He has done for you, what He is doing in you, and the eternal truth that “Greater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world.”

You do NOT need to be the lion’s next meal. You do NOT need to accept the bully’s remarks or give in to his enticements.

You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus your Lord.

Believe it. Declare it. Live it.

To God be the glory.

 

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A Matter Of Faith 

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I recently asked my Facebook friends “Is the devil real – yes or no?”. 

Overwhelmingly their response was yes.

Okay. Does that mean the devil IS real?

No. Public opinion doesn’t make a thing true or false. 

If YOU asked YOUR Facebook friends the same question, yours might respond in a different way.

Back to my question: “Is the devil real?” What are the possible answers?

1. Yes

2. No

3. Maybe yes, maybe no

What if I asked, “Is God real?”
Same choices.

Truth is truth, regardless of whether you, I, or anyone else believes it.

And truth is truth whether or not you or I know how to prove it.

So, is the devil real?

Let’s go through our choices. Starting with, “Yes, he’s real”, how might that truth affect us? Will it change the way we act? Should it?

“No, he’s not…” I mean, really. If we were to find out the devil isn’t real would that change our worldview?

Maybe you are of the opinion that no one can know until their life is over. But if you wait until that happens, what then?

There are people who claim to have seen the devil. Others claim to have seen God, Jesus, angels, demons, and Elvis Presley (while visiting Branson, Missouri).

I’m not going to make a big deal about what someone claims to have seen. Why? Because none of it matters, where faith is concerned. 

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)

I believe the devil is real. I also believe he’s a liar, a killer, a thief, and grade A jerk. Why do I believe that?

Because, and only because, I believe the Bible. 

 

It’s simply a matter of faith.

 

I believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is His revelation to mankind regarding His holiness and our sinfulness. It reveals His character and our lack thereof. It also reveals the way His undying love reached out for you and I, through the cross of Christ, and our woeful attempts to reach Him by being good enough.

I believe in God and I believe in the devil. Better still, I believe God and what God said about the devil.

Someday each one of us will find out, in no uncertain terms, exactly what is true or false. But until then, we must choose what we’re going to believe.

That could make all the difference in the world and the hereafter. Because, like I said…

…it’s a matter of faith.

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

A Mouthy Snake

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A long time ago, back when life was good, and things were as they were meant to be, there lived a man, a woman, and their God.

And a mouthy snake.

There were other reptiles, birds, and animals in the area, but since they aren’t the principle players in this story I won’t share any details about them.

Remember these characters: a man, a woman, their God…

…and a mouthy snake.

God didn’t create snakes to slither and slide all over the ground. Nor did He intend for them to be the conniving, manipulative, and utterly detestable creatures they generally represent.

But that mouthy snake let the devil get just a little too close. Next thing you know, the devil was putting words into the snake’s mouth.

And the rest is, as they say, history.

(I realize you may think the snake had nothing to do with the devil’s takeover. But things were different back then. And there was some reason why God cursed the snake. So…)

The same thing happened to the man and the woman. They let the devil get too close. Next thing they knew, they were munching on the forbidden fruit while doing something they’d never done before:

Hide from their Creator. 

You see, every time we let the devil get a little too close, bad things happen.

Every time.

It doesn’t matter why, or whether we meant to or not; you give the devil an inch and he runs for a touchdown. 

So why do we continue to pay attention to such a troublemaker?

Short memories on our part.

Smooth talking on his.

So what if we quit listening to the devil? Or better still, what if we kept him out of our garden?

Is it possible?

I believe so.

Let’s say our garden represents the things we sow, or allow others to plant, into our lives. As Adam and Eve were placed in their garden to tend and cultivate it, so God has given us the responsibility for our little plot of ground. 

We have a say in what happens in our life. We are not entirely victims of circumstances or chance. We are caretakers of our destiny, of our Creator’s will for our lives.

And the devil is not part of the plan. 

Neither is a mouthy snake. 

So what should you do if a mouthy snake starts talking to you in your garden?

The same thing Adam and Eve SHOULD HAVE done.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)

The snake didn’t resist the devil and was cursed for his part in the fall of man.

Adam and Eve didn’t resist the devil, and met a similar fate.

“So how can I expect to do any better?”

We have a little more arsenal.

“Really? What do you mean?”

We have their example of how to fail, AND Jesus’ example of how to win!

Our first parents lost because they got something mixed up. They became confused about who they were to resist, and Who they were to submit to. 

Which allowed the devil to get too close.

They should have done what we’ve been instructed to do. At the slightest hint of a mouthy snake, or a crafty man or woman, SUBMIT to God.

Run to Father God, dig out His word (your bible), and find out the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, the truth you need to tend to your garden.

THEN resist the devil and he will flee from you.

We have enough things to do in our garden without sitting and listening to a mouthy snake. We have God to pursue, and our destiny to fulfill.

And we cannot afford to allow the devil to even step foot on our turf.

Don’t you agree?

The Quiet Lion

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When are the devil and his evil compatriots the most dangerous? 

When they are the noisiest

 Or, when they are the quietest

 Maybe I’d better back up just a bit and lay some groundwork. 

 The devil is likened to a roaring lion, who is constantly seeking someone to devour. Jesus said the devil only wants to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).

Notice how a lion goes after its prey.

The lion not only ambushes its prey, it also stalks it. In other words, it doesn’t always make a lot of noise. 

At times, it is extremely quiet.

And that’s where the danger lies.

The quiet lion.

Unless the prey recognizes it’s being stalked, it makes no effort to defend itself. It goes about life with a business-as-usual attitude and focus. Looking for food and water, trying to find a place to lie down and rest; just the daily grind of routine living. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary. 

 
That they’re aware of, anyway. 

Until they hear the lion’s roar.

But by then, it may be very hard to resist. 

There may not be TIME to resist! 

 Sure. They may find a way to beat off the attack. They may be stronger than the lion realized. 

However, they may lose a leg or an ear in the process. And, they may bleed to death after it’s all said and done. 

Wouldn’t it be better if the subtle, stalking movement of the quiet lion was recognized while he was still far off? 

Do you understand YOU and I are the devil’s prey? And there are plenty of warnings in the bible for the child of God. Warnings such as: 

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

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34 ESV) 

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 ESV) 

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV) 

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

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13 ESV) 

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” (1 Peter 4:1 ESV) 

It is MORE than wise to pay close attention to your spiritual surroundings. 

It is BIBLICALLY MANDATED! 

What I mean is, we’re instructed to walk humbly with the Lord, listening to the Spirit’s voice, so we can be aware of our enemy’s maneuvers. 

Maneuvers such as the manipulation of our minds with fear, greed, lust, or any number of schemes designed to get us to lay down our guard and leave our heart unprotected.

Know what I mean? 

Yes, the devil goes around like a roaring lion… but he usually won’t roar until he’s just about on top of his prey. 

Sure, like the aforementioned quarry, we may fend him off and claim the victory. And the scripture does say to “resist him steadfast in the faith”; so it’s possible to successfully ward off an attack. 

But at what cost? 

Is losing an ear (the ability to hear the voice of God) or a leg (the ability to do the works of God) worth running the risk? 

No, I don’t believe so. In fact, I KNOW it isn’t. 

There have been times in my life when I’ve allowed the quiet lion to get close enough to ambush me. And when he finally roared, I was already wrapped up in the paralyzing feelings and desires which I had allowed to grow unchecked in my life. 

Yes, with the Lord’s help, and the love and care of His people, I finally got the lion’s teeth removed from my ear and legs. But I tell you, it was some time before I was able to hear again.

And my walk has forever been altered. 

So pay attention, brothers and sisters. Don’t wait until you hear the roar before you begin taking evasive action.

Watch out for the quiet lion.

The life you save may be your own.

 

 

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