Tag: the devil

Are You Hiding In The Bushes?

I’d like to begin this post with two questions.

The first – “Are you hiding in the bushes?”

The second – “Who’s in the bushes with you?”

Not long after God created Adam and Eve, not long after He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply, and shortly after telling them they had dominion over every bird in the sky, fish in the sea, and creepy-crawly thing on the ground, a certain serpent invaded their territory with a question.

“Did God actually say…?”

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV)

Notice the “serpent was more crafty…”, meaning he was cunning, conniving, and should never be trusted. We know that now, but Adam and Eve weren’t aware the serpent’s master was Lucifer, the adversary of God.

We know the devil can’t be trusted, but sometimes we act like Adam and Eve. We listen to his faith weakening, flesh enticing questions and suggestions.

And sometimes we end up in the bushes, just like Adam and Eve.

Many feel as though the serpent was crafty because he was able to manipulate the First Couple into disobeying their Creator. Yes, I’d have to agree; that was pretty cagey.

But here’s what really amazes me.

When they realized they were naked, and heard the sound of God walking through the garden, they listened to the serpent once again and jumped into the bushes. 

Hiding from God with His adversary.

Hiding in the bushes with the devil.

You may think I’m reading more into the passage than I should. I don’t think so, and here’s why.

I know the devil was standing (slouching) with them because of something Eve said. She told God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” When she said that, I can picture her pointing to the serpent next to her.

God didn’t leave the pair to go snake hunting. He said to the serpent right then and there, “You’ve had it!” And, eventually, the devil realized he had bitten off more than he could chew.

You are probably wondering why I think it’s such a big deal, hiding with the adversary and all. So, I’ll try and explain what I mean.

It’s one thing to disobey God. Outside of Jesus, there’s not one of us since Adam and Eve who haven’t disobeyed Him at some point in our life. At least once (hah!)

Disobedience is a terrible thing, and affects so many. But there’s something even worse than sin.

What!? Something worse than sin? 

Yes. Much worse, as far as I’m concerned.

What could be worse?

Hiding in the bushes from the only One Who can forgive and turn things around. Hiding in the bushes with the one whose whole agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy. As long as Adam and Eve stayed in the bushes, they were vulnerable to everything around them. They were naked, and they knew it.

They were now subject to fear, torment, and of course, the shame of disobedience. And the longer they hid, the longer the devil controlled them. 

Are YOU hiding in the bushes? Have you, sometime in the past, either ignored or rejected the commands of God and, instead, swallowed the tempting bait the devil tossed at you?

Don’t you think it’s time to come out of hiding? God hasn’t quit calling your name. He knows where you’re at, but you have to take the first step toward Him and declare, “Here I am.”

Those three little words are enough to turn the forces of evil from you, as God draws you to His side and clothes you in His righteousness.

“Here I am, Lord. I step away from the bushes, away from my excuses, away from my habits, and into Your light and love.”

Sure, God will say, “What happened?” But He already knows. He’s asking you for YOUR benefit.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 ESV) 

Yes, I believe it’s time, past time, to come out of hiding and into the light of His glorious love.

“He is faithful and just to forgive you of all sin, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness…”

What do think?

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)

Mister Big

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In my sixty years of living on this blue orb we call Earth, I’ve met just a few people I’d describe as big. I mean BIG.

Of course, there are different ways of measuring people.

When I was in grade school I met a man known as the Wilson Giant. He was skinny and 8′ 2″ tall. To a kid who was only 4 1/2 feet tall, that was BIG.

I was privileged to shake hands with another big guy almost 20 years ago. The late Reggie White, of Eagles and Packers fame. Wow! My hand was swallowed up by his.

While in the U.S. Army I met a couple of Israeli generals, while they were visiting the missile site I was working at.

Big men, in a military sense.

I met our state’s Governor a year or so ago. Governor Terry Branstad.

A big man, politically.

BIG can be impressive, but don’t think for a moment that BIG equals great.

Or even good.
There are people who act big, but never amount to anything more than an annoyance. Blab, blab, blab all day long about their accomplishments.

“I’m going to do thus and so, I did this and that. You should have seen me shut that guy up!”

It kind of reminds me of a guy who’s been trying to be BIG for ages and ages. Ever since the thought was birthed in his heart and mind, he has attempted to be BIG.

Though he’ll NEVER be BIG in the way he’s dreamed of, in my opinion he HAS reached the status of Mister Big in a lot of other areas of life.

He IS the BIGGEST:

Abscess – for once he gets under your skin, your life becomes poisoned.

Bully – he always has to have his own way.

Con – always has an angle; all for his advantage.

Deceiver – smoke and mirrors, never the whole truth, nothing but the truth.

Enemy – basically the ONLY enemy to mankind.

Failure – he was created for greatness, but threw it all away. He will NEVER amount to anything good.

Gainsayer – forever contradicting God’s word.

Hellion – self-explanatory

Ignoramus – he’s limited to his own devices. Does not have access to God’s wisdom.

Jailbird – though still at large, his days of incarceration are on the way.

Killer – it’s one of the things he does better than anyone.

Liar – and the father of lies. Every time his lips move…

Manipulator – he applies pressure to our weaknesses. “You can’t live without this…”
Nut – he actually believes he can beat God. Insane.

Organizer – of strife, discord, hatred, and rebellion against God.

Pretender – Paul even referred to him as an angel of light.

Quack – a charlatan, the great pretender.

Risk – if you take your chances with this guy, you’re playing the worst odds.

Segregationist – he always promotes isolation, discord, and bigotry.

Thief – he steals, kills, and destroys. Always.

Un – unscrupulous, unprincipled, undesirable, and undeserving of any praise.

Vicious – he’s out for only one thing… his own way.

Wanton – lewd, perverted, and the author of such things.

X – someday he’ll be the biggest has-been of the universe.

Yellow – his true color. He hides behind the deeds of others to fight his war with God.

Zany – I don’t know how else to explain such illogical behavior.
Mister Big. The devil, adversary, killer and thief.

Yep, he’s big alright.

But only in his dreams.

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?

A Pleasurable Python?

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How much pleasure can be derived from having a 12 foot Python as a pet? A pet, according to the dictionary, is “a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.” So how would someone find pleasure in a huge, powerful snake?

Maybe the snake could be trained to fetch a newspaper. Imagine the look on the paperboy’s face as the snake meets them at the door at six o’clock in the morning.

Perhaps it could be trained to give full body massages? But could you ever be certain it wouldn’t massage you just a bit too much?

And what would you do if, when you’re cuddling with it while watching your favorite movie, it turns to give you a little peck on the cheek and latches on to your ear, instead? Would you say, softly and tenderly, “Petunia (that’s the snake’s name), please let go. I know you love me, but I really need my ear. Please be nice. Remember, I’m the master and you’re my pet. PETUNIA! LET GO!!!

Can anyone REALLY trust a snake?

Is there any way to successfully reason with a snake? If a snake COULD be tamed, how long might it take? Does a snake ever become a true pet, as in domesticated, or does the snake’s “owner” become the snake’s pet? Which one enjoys the “relationship” the most; Petunia or the owner?

I’ve read that Pythons, depending on the exact breed, are approximately 12-40 inches long when they hatch. To some, that’s such an adorable size. But I’ve also read they can reach lengths upwards of 12, 20, and in some cases, 50 feet long!

I don’t care who you are; that is NOT adorable! THAT is scary!

Note: I really wanted to show a picture of a giant python, but thought it would be too distasteful. So, please enjoy the picture of one of my “nephews”. His name is Kirby. A TRUE PET.

How about if I give you a little secret?

If you don’t want to be devoured by a snake, don’t try and keep it as a pet!

Enemy? What Enemy?

20130906-140901.jpg“Enemy? Who me? I don’t have any enemies. I’m friendly to everyone and everything.”

That is the kind of attitude I picture Adam and Eve having. After all, they were living in Eden, the place of ultimate pleasure; Utopia for those of you who aren’t quite convinced about this God thing.

Anyway, there was an enemy in the Garden. Unfortunately, he was undetected until it was too late.

God had given His kids a clue when He told them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV) The phrase, “have dominion”, was the clue. It means. “to subjugate, to bring under control, to subdue.” If there’s no enemy, there’s nothing to subdue.

But there was an enemy. An enemy of God; an enemy of man.

Undetected.

I’ll admit, there are some things I can’t explain about those Garden Days of Adam and Eve. Like people actually conversing with a serpent! I mean, I’ve yet to meet a snake I’d like to get to know. But snakes, excuse me, serpents, were different in the Garden. For one thing, they used to have legs, or else they moved about by hopping on their tail. Why do I say that? Because of this: “The Lord God said to the serpent,“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:14 ESV)

I’ve heard people say the serpent could talk because it was possessed by the devil at the time. Could be true. Or, God created them with the ability to talk. I don’t know. Regardless, there was an enemy in the Garden and God’s kids didn’t know it.

So day after day Adam and Eve, while tending the Garden, would walk by the tree, comment to each other about its beauty, and wave to the serpent (who just happened to be in the area). I can picture the serpent waving back, fruit in hand, giving them one of his special, “you can trust me” smiles.

Imagine with me, the First Couple, walking and having a conversation something like this:

“Eve, I really like that serpent. Just a nice, friendly creature. Always has a smile for us.”

“And he’s such a beautiful creature. All those colors, muscles; so graceful when he walks.”

“Yeah, and the way he carries himself makes me wonder if he’d be the one to put in charge when we take a vacation. Such confidence and pride.”

“Maybe we should stop and visit with him”, Eve said. “Maybe ask him over for supper. You know, Adam, I’d really like to ask him about that tree he’s always leaning up against. Are you sure that’s the tree Father told you about?”

“The very one.”

“Looks harmless to me…”

“Yeah, me too”, replied Adam. “Me, too.”

“Let’s go back and visit.”

Adam smiled at his wife and said, “Honey, I was about to suggest that very thing. Let’s go!” And away they went, back to the tree they had just passed; back to their new “friend.”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ’You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. ’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. ” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened (Genesis 3:1-7 ESV)

You see, I believe the serpent could use his “craftiness” against Adam and Eve because their guard was down. They had entertained the idea of being friends with the serpent before he enticed them to eat. Why do I believe that? Because we’re the same way a lot of times.

We’ve heard at least once, that as Christians, we have an enemy who only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. We’ve heard the enemy is the devil. So, keeping a vigilant eye, we watch for any signs of the devil. But we don’t see any ugly red mess with a tail, horns, and a pitchfork, so we let down our guard just a wee bit.

Now he may not camouflage himself as a serpent these days, but he may show up dressed in a very popular ideology, or anything that seems harmless, is appealing to the five senses, yet carries the sting of death. Those who’ve accepted his friendship before they really knew who was masquerading as a good guy, will have a much harder time resisting his wonderful smile.

See, these five things can get us into a world of hurt!

1. Familiarity with the serpent

2. Visiting the tree regularly

3. Putting ourselves in compromising situations.

4. Defenses weaken when enemies are viewed as friends

5. Repeatedly viewing and visiting with your enemy can give him an opportunity to violate you

Adam and Eve had what they needed in God to recognize the enemy AND subdue him, running him out of the Garden. You see, Adam was supposed to have access to the Garden, the serpent was not.

So the undetected enemy became the master of the Garden; Adam was no longer in charge. And it would be some time before the second Adam, Jesus, would come and break the serpent’s hold and buy back Adam’s lease.

But He did, hallelujah, He did!

But there’s still that enemy who likes to hang around with people who don’t recognize him. He wants to entice us to live our lives apart from God’s ways, and distanced from God’s Presence. But, like Adam, God has given us “clues” regarding our enemy:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” (1 John 5:4 NLT)

Remember, friend, God tells us there’s an enemy in our world. He tells us to not become chummy with it, but to keep our distance. He’ll help us know what to do and say, as well as how to recognize the enemy.

One final word. God’s friend is our friend and God’s enemy is our enemy. So know your enemy just well enough to identify him and defeat him.

God will help you.

Questions for comments: have you ever witnessed the enemy wearing a special costume, attempting to lure you into trouble? What was the costume? How did it affect you?

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