"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Tag Archives: Satan
March 23, 2013Posted by on
So…before I get to what everyone is talking about this week let me give my quick two second review of this last weeks episode. Once again, I feel like they missed a big opportunity by skipping two critical points in the Bible. For anyone who has read this blog you would see that I am a big advocate of the idea that the Old Testament points to Jesus. The Bible missed on a huge opportunity to demonstrate this by skipping over the book of Isaiah and his prophecy of the suffering servant. Additionally, did anyone else notice that they tried to pass off the prophecy of Jesus onto Daniel? For some reason that stuck out with me. It would appear that the producers of the Bible wanted to get into the whole prophecy thing but then gave the viewers the cheap and watered down version. They passed on Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy which is an incredible prophecy that was fulfilled to the day! Again…here they can demonstrate the absolute power of God, and pass on it.
Oh and by the way…for a more realistic look at the 3 wisemen READ THIS POST. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the producers…probably didn’t do their homework.
And now to the contreversy of the week…
I don’t know if this is intentional. It’s hard to believe that the producers of the show were sitting in a room saying…”He doesn’t look enough like Obama.” Look there is no way that Obama is the anti-christ. If you have read my posts you know where I stand on both the men pictured above. But I will have to say…that the likeness is…well…funny.
June 8, 2010Posted by on
I know Kevin promised updates on the G90X on Monday’s. Well…Kevin is not here, and I felt like I needed to post this. I will give an update tomorrow on the G90X.
This piece is a companion piece to “Is God Evil”. Just to recap… Two common arguments used by atheists and agnostics alike is that God is either evil because He is in control of everything and allows bad things to happen or He is not in control. In the “Is God Evil” blog I refuted both of those points using God’s Word as the foundation. So the natural response…If God is in control, and God is not evil…why then would He allow these things to happen?
I first began to think about this topic because I had my own motivations to study it. I was curious about why God would allow a recession of this magnitude and other bad things I saw in the world around me. I also was faced with a discussion with an agnostic/atheist who said they refused to believe in a God that would allow such horrible things to happen. This gets to the heart of the matter for a number of atheists and agnostics. Why?
Recently I had a conversation with a woman that I have worked with for nearly a year. Somehow during the conversation she had mentioned something about a trial, so I inquired. It turns out that her son had been murdered. The story is painful. All I could think about was what my response would be had something like this had happened to my kids. Anyway, her son had been shot because of an argument that went out of control. The guy that shot him then proceeded to pour gasoline on him and set him on fire. As she is telling the story she begins to cry, and then the most amazing words came out of her mouth… “I am so grateful that he was saved. I know that I will see him again.” Amazing!! Here, this mother had lost a son, in the most extreme way, and was still grateful to God.
So why would God allow this to happen to her child? Why would God allow a child to be raped (as David pointed out on several occasions from the “Is God Evil?” post)? We could look at the cause of evil in the world today. How the fall of man has allowed sin/disease into the world. I would rather focus on the “why?” as opposed to the “how?” Perhaps the “how?” can be addressed in a future post.
The first thing that has to be said when looking at the question “why” is that we have no way of knowing why God does the things that he does. As smart as we all like to think we are we have no idea. The perfect illustration to this is the book of Job. To understand what I am talking about you have to understand Job. Job was upright and blameless. He had not committed any specific sin when God allowed Satan to strike at him. Thus Job (and his friends) asked the question….why? Why would God do this to him? Now Job claimed he had done nothing wrong, and if he only had the opportunity to present his case to God he would be able to explain this. Job friends said that he had to have done something wrong…otherwise why would God punish him? Neither was right. God responds in Chapters 38 – 42. God challenges Job’s by asking him a series of questions. Basically God asks Job…”Who are you?” He does this in a sarcastic manner. Jobs response in 42:2-3 shows the lesson to be learned. There are things we cannot comprehend, things we will not understand. God makes this point very clear to Job, and Job gets it. What is the first answer to “why?” We will never know until God reveals it to us.
There are additional answers that we have been able to identify from the New Testament that allow us to understand why God would allow these things to happen. In my comments to the “Is God Evil?” post I identified a few.
The question was asked then…”Does God really need to allow these things to happen to display Himself?” The answer is yes. Yes, He does.
– It allows a witness
We draw this example from Christ. 1 Peter 5:1 is an example of how suffering allows us to be effective witnesses. Peter watched the suffering of Christ. For this reason he was able to be an effective witness to the event. Can you speak to suffering, if you have not seen the misery that comes with it? Can you speak to anything with wisdom, if you have not participated?
– It develops our capacity to comfort others
Look at 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Paul is making two distinct points. First, that God is the father of compassion and comfort. God will always be there to comfort us. Also Paul makes the great point that the suffering we endure will create patient endurance and allow us to share our comfort. Seriously, who is more able to provide more comfort in times of suffering? Those who have not dealt with any, or those who have? This was Paul’s point.
– It is a training tool
Suffering allows us to grow. James 1:2-4 tells us that trials will help us persevere. The Bible verse here says it all. “… that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” See the parallel passage in Romans 5:3-5 “3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
– It displays the awesome power of God’s grace
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 displays this point. Here Paul is under attack, and describes the thorn in his flesh (suffering). Paul pleaded with God three times. God’s response? My grace is sufficient. God did not tell Paul, okay I will make it all stop. God responded by saying, I get it, and my grace is enough for you during these trials.
It is hard to endure or even watch the evil and suffering that exists in the world. How do you, from any perspective answer the question, “Why would God allow that to happen?” Rape, child molestation, murder, genocide etc… Look at the above answers. As painful as it is for us, our faith has to reside in God, otherwise…what else is there? Man? Randomness? Chance? These things happen for any number of reasons that will be beyond our control. We must, in all circumstances, know that we must continue to have faith in God.
April 26, 2010Posted by on
Is God Evil?
What a question to ask. When you look out at everything happening in the world how can you not help but to wonder? We have seen a number of calamities over the last 10 years. Just to name a few, September 11, Katrina, Haiti, wars, a tsunami, and recently earthquakes and volcanic activity. In addition to these major events innumerable amounts of people have suffered pain because of cancer, murder, rape, kidnappings, divorce or whatever. If God is a God of love how can he allow these things to happen? An agnostic said to me once, “I refuse to believe in a God that allows these things to happen.” And I’ve seen an Atheist write, “If their God is so loving why does he allow violence?”
Atheists will use the following argument to show that our God is not in control, and/or our God is evil: “Your God says that he is in control of everything, this means that he allows bad things to happen. This can only mean one of two things…God is evil because he allows evil things to happen to others, if you say that he is not Evil, but is in fact love, then God cannot be in control of the world because of all of the evil that happens.”
If you have ever been in a heated discussion with an atheist, or even an agnostic, this topic surely came up. With an atheist, it came up as another reason for them not to believe in God at all. If it was an agnostic, it came up as a reason for them to not believe in the God of the Bible. Thus, either directly or indirectly, they claim that the Bible is errant, after all the Bible emphatically claims that God is good (cf. 1 John 1:5, Psalm 25:8, Genesis 50:20).
So the real question is…Is God Evil? The simple answer….NO!
And not just a simple no, or a feeble no. Not the kind of no you hear from your child as you ask them questions when they know they have been caught in the middle of a lie. The answer is a very strong NO!
To prove this “NO” I am going to focus on two key points used by atheists and agnostics to formulate their opinion…God is not in control, and God is Evil.
God is not in control: Atheists and Agnostics alike will try to tell you that bad things happen because God is not in control. So what do we know so far about God being in control? We know that God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere at once). We can confirm that God is everywhere, and that he knows everything. But what does the Bible say about God’s control. How does he demonstrate it in the Bible? If you look at the Bible you will notice that God demonstrates He is in control, not only by the large things, but also with the smallest things.
God’s word is really fascinating when is comes to His power. God could simply say that I am in control of everything and be done with it. But, what God does is demonstrate his power. Sometimes He does so in the most extreme circumstances (Sodom and Gamorra), others in the most simplistic circumstances. Here are a few verses… God’s own words… about his control.
Matthew 10:29 – God demonstrates that he is in control of the small things.
Mark 1:27 – God has the ability to intervene against evil spirits.
Amos 3:6 – God controls disaster.
Matthew 8:27 – God controls nature.
Proverbs 21:1 – God controls our leaders hearts.
The Bible does not give us a simple statement, like… “God controls everything.” The Bible gives us a complete picture of what God controls… which is everything. Birds, demons, natural disaster, human hearts, nature, and even Satan himself.
All of this will lead some to the conclusion: Well, if God is in control of everything… God must be evil. This is where atheists will try to catch you.
God is evil: If God is in control over everything, we now have to show that the result of that is that God is good, rather than evil. To demonstrate this we need to look at one of the deepest characteristics of God: His love.
God’s love is all over the Bible. Included in this is the ultimate display of love, the sacrifice for others. If God is love…how can God be evil?
How much does God loves us?
1 John 4:8 – God IS love
Romans 5:8 – God has demonstrated that love through Christ
Romans 8:38-39 – There is nothing you can do that can separate you from God’s love.
And the ultimate display in love…
John 3:16 – God sacrificed his only child because of His love for you.
Many question the motivation of God. I know that I certainly have. It has to be a natural reaction in some cases. No matter what, there are two things that are constant, God is in control and God is love. Everything our Father does is because He loves us … because He loves you. The problem with the argument presented by many is that they try to force God into being one thing or the other. If God is in control He is evil, if God is not evil there is no way He could be in control. God is perfect in nature, and is perfectly capable of being in control of everything, and being love at the same time. The next question some will naturally ask…why? Why would God do these things? Well….It’s not so much “do” as it is “allow”. God doesn’t do anything evil, but He does allow evil to exist and persist, for now. Why? Because He loves us too much to make us simply be puppets. We don’t always know what the specific reasons for bad stuff happening is, but what we can always bank on is that ultimately everything that happens branches out from His love for us. How does that work? Well… maybe next time.
March 27, 2010Posted by on
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV)
So what are the strategies against Satan?
1. Understand who you are in your relationship with Christ. One of the hardest realizations of my growth had to be realizing the truth about who I am in Him (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). For me this was the step immediately before repentance. Ultimately, only God knows you as well as you do. But until you are open about your own weaknesses you cannot hope to address them. This would include identifying your sin and then repenting for it. This is demonstrated in a 3 step process described in Romans 6… We need to know who we are in Christ (Romans 6:1-10)… We need to consider ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11)… We need to submit ourselves completely to God (Romans 6:12-14).
2. Know that you cannot defeat him on your own (James 4:4-10). Here is a solid piece of humble pie for many of us. You have to come to the conclusion that you are not in control. Even those who do not have a type “A” personality will try to control a situation when it starts to spin out of control. One of the hardest things for me to do is to realize that God…is in complete control. Even when “bad” things happen. You have to learn to let go of that control and walk in faith and trust God. This faith in God, is essential. Another bad cliché? No, the absolute truth. The only true way to defeat Satan is to accept Christ and to trust Him (Ephesians 6:16-18).
3. Know that God loves you. The most powerful moment in my life was truly understanding the depths of God’s love for me. I am His child. He loves me, defends me, protects me, and most importantly He forgives me. Realize this, Gods love for you is so complete, that even when you do stupid things… He will forgive you. God has never abandoned you. Despite your choices, which have put you at odds sometimes with God, God will always be by your side. This is an extremely important strategy to defeat Satan because for one simple reason, forgiveness. Satan wants to convince you that the sin you just committed is the one that will break the camel’s back so to speak. He wants you to think that THIS TIME God will not forgive you – The Bible calls this condemnation. This is an absolute lie, and I can say that with downright confidence because God has promised this (see Romans 8:1). Knowing that God loves you requires faith. God’s love can cover you with protection that you cannot imagine. You MUST accept this very simple truth. This can provide an armor so to speak that you have to put on (Ephesians 6:13-14).
4. Understand that Satan is as real as Christ. Everyone has heard the over used phrase “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. Sound like a cliché? It isn’t. Satan shows intelligence (2 Corinthians 11:3), emotions (Revelation 12:17), and that he has a will (Isaiah 14:12-14, 2 Timothy 2:26). The Bible also shows that he is a created being (Ezekiel 28:11-19), and that he is a spirit being (Ezekiel 28:14). Satan manifests himself in this world through rulers, authorities, powerful people, EVIL PEOPLE (Ephesians 6:12). Do not fall prey to the thinking that the devil isn’t real. Do not believe the lies that Satan is some story. Do not cringe when you mention Satan or when others mention him.
5. Prayer, Prayer and MORE PRAYER (Ephesians 6:18)
6. Read, Study and Memorize God’s word… (Ephesians 6:17). This is our only offensive weapon in the Armor of God… Don’t believe it? Check out how Jesus Himself used His knowledge of the Bible to defeat Satan in Matthew 4:1-11.
Even knowing these will not guarantee that you will have success all of the time. Satan will score, but the outcome of the game has already been determined. Christ is victorious in a blow out. You have to be vigorous in your defense, and be prepared. Because the cool thing is that if you have totally placed your faith in God, you don’t even have worry about the outcome. Your fate has been decided.
If you have learned anything over this year it is that life is fleeting (Think of Chile, Haiti, the Olympic accident, etc). The search for truth that you may be agonizing over may end in an instant. At that point you will know the truth, and will find out that Satan, and God are both real. As each of us have seen or read about tragic and unexpected deaths of some nature or the other… The point is we all know that this life can end in a split second. No warning or lead up. Just over. In that moment Christ will reveal himself to you as your judge. You may think that you have years to take a journey to determine the truth. In reality, you may only have a fleeting moment before the truth will be revealed.
March 26, 2010Posted by on
God created everything. This would include Satan. Looking at the timeline presented in the Bible we know that Satan and his bunch of rebels were kicked out of Heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve. Satan was the best and brightest of the angels. But he had a flaw. He wanted to be like God – Really, he wanted to BE God. This naturally caused a rift between God and Satan, and of course God wins. With Satan, 1/3 of the angels departed from heaven (we know them now as demons). If we know that Satan fought against God because he wanted to be like God, we can draw some conclusions.
1. Satan is not God thus,
2. Satan is not Omnipotent (All Powerful) and,
3. Omniscient (All Knowing) and,
4. Satan is not Omnipresent (Everywhere at once).
These four simple points cover a lot of area. Because Satan is not God, he cannot know everything that is or will be, and he cannot be with us all of the time and He can (and will be) defeated!
All of these points are critical to gain understanding of our common opponent. Satan is an aggressive opponent, and knows how to attack people. This statement implies a level of omniscience. However, we have already established that he is not omniscient. So how does he know? I believe Satan is an excellent observer of human behavior. Let’s be honest – he has had thousands of years of observations to draw from.
Observation is a highly effective strategy that is often used in business, sports and war. People are taught to watch for cues that indicate what people are thinking, how they might respond, when to press, and when to lay back and let it ride. Anyone’s personal experience is limited to maybe 20 to 30 years of active observation. Satan, though, has all the years going back to Adam and Eve to draw from. This gives me reason to believe that while Satan is not omniscient he certainly can provide a very educated guess as to how you will respond to temptation.
While we are all created uniquely, we all are prone to various kinds of temptations which are not unique. Our mistakes are not the first of their kind in human history. This is Satan’s tactical advantage over us. He knows that while we are unique in our creation, our response to temptation is not. After thousands of years of observation of personality types, and responses, he knows how to trip a trigger and crawl into your life. There is hope, though… See 1 Corinthians 10:13 While Satan has millennia of experience tripping people up, God, though the Holy Spirit, has been equally practiced at helping God’s people deal with sin… More on this later.
Everyone has their pressure points. Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the same issues appear over and over in your own life? I never thought about it until recently. Then it finally dawned on me: Satan is real, Satan is clever and Satan is a very astute observer.
The attacks can be sudden, and from out of nowhere. There can be long pauses between attacks (demonstrating Satan’s lack of omnipresence). Rest assured, if you are making an impact for God, if you are beginning to grow in your faith, or beginning in your path towards the truth, you will attract his attention and his ire. This is where understanding your opponent’s tactics will really help you.
Satan deals in half truths. He wants to present you an option that appears to be in the nature of the Bible and God’s word. This is the trick of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Here is an example. If you are beginning to grow in your faith, then it is fair to say that you are trying to rid yourself of some bad habits. Stress is a fantastic way to push people back to a default habit or personality trait. Apply a little stress, and the normal person will revert. Let me use examples out of my own life. Things like success are a difficult temptation for me because, while I have my moments, I am not a humble guy. Another example for me is fear of betrayal. Satan knows my weaknesses, and knows what I need to see in order to feed my arrogance and paranoia. But this is not limited just to me! Satan’s desire is for you to revert. God’s desire is for you to succeed by becoming more like His Son – See Ephesians 5:1-2.
Look at these startling statistics. The Bible mentions Satan over 180 times, Jesus mentions him 100+ times. Despite that, 60% of believers believe that Satan isn’t a real living being, but rather a symbol of evil. The greatest achievement of Satan is to have convinced the world that he doesn’t exist. Not only has he convinced the world but also believers.
If you are a believer let me boil it down a little more strongly…You are willing to have faith that Christ was born of a virgin, Christ is the son of God, Christ lived without sin, Christ died on the cross for your sin’s, Christ was resurrected, and God created angels, …Do you really think it is so farfetched to believe that Satan is real?!
Next time, we will look at specific strategies for defeating this very real and active enemy, but as a preview you may want to take a look at the following passages: James 4:4-7; Ephesians 6:10-18 & Romans 6:6-13.