Giving encouragement and sharing the meat of God’s Word
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Summer transitioning to fall gives me much
more difficulty than any other seasonal change. I mean, winter to spring is a
roller-coaster ride. I’m up when the air has warmed, but down when the skies
darken and snow flurries return. Still, I know magnificent spring is only days
away. Spring to summer is exciting and much easier. The warm weather just gets
warmer. I bask the beauty of God’s handiwork enjoying intense sunlight and
longer days. Fall to winter also doesn’t seem to affect me as much. I’ve
already become accustomed to less daylight and cooler temps and, of course,
holiday anticipation keeps me in high spirits.
Nevertheless, when the shorter, gray daysof fall appear, I feel gloomy and down. I become
very introspective, thinking things need to change in my life, but not sure
what or how they should change. Sometimes, I seem to disengage, just going
through the motions of living.
Maybe some of you are like me. And if so, what
will it take for us to maintain lifted spirits and repel gray dayeffects? Should we jump on the world’s band wagon and start planning
Hallowe’en parties; or should we do something to please and honor our Lord?
I think the latter. In fact, it’s in these
times I really need to read God’s Word all the more; expecting Him to speak and
listening very closely for His voice. Then, I must BELIEVE what He says.
Normally God’s Holy Word is my passion, but
when the gray days hit, I have trouble desiring to be in His Word. Life’s
trials easily divert my attention and Bible reading is almost a chore. But,
Do you think Satan could be involved? I think,
yes. When we have difficulty absorbing the Word of God and hearing His voice,
you can be sure it’s a tactic of the enemy. Satan will use any method to thwart
God’s plan and get our eyes off the Savior. He will make us question who we are
in Christ and who Christ is in us.
Why is that? No doubt it’s because Satan
doesn’t want us to remember he’s already defeated and the lake of fire is his
future. Yet, I believe God uses Satan’s activity to purify and hone His Body,
Even so, this enemy wants us frightened and
scared, thinking we will never escape his clutches. But that’s a lie, a fiery
dart deliberately shot. And, according
to Mark Altrogge, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA, these
fiery darts are Satan’s greatest weapons.
So, let’s try to answer Pastor Mark’s
question: “How much power does Satan
In his article,
he references Job, indicating Satan’s power was limited to what God allowed in
Job’s life. What an amazing thought. Satan can only do to us what God has
allowed. Still, when you read Job, Satan caused immense damage. I certainly
wouldn’t want to suffer as Job did and I’m sure you agree.
So must we? Well, consider this: Job lived before Jesus died for our sin and
before He gave us His name, His
His armor. Job
lived before Jesus shared His inheritance
and before Jesus granted believers authority to trample on serpents and
scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.
Certainly, God allowed things in Job’s life to
prove a point to Satan, but mostly, I believe, to open Job’s spiritual eyes.
Still, I’m not saying that we
can avert calamity by rebuking Satan or that Satan initiates every calamity.
But what I am saying is, if gray daysare
fueling spiritual distance from your heavenly Father, Satan and his minions are,
no doubt, somehow involved. So remember, you do not have to remain distant. You
can seek first His kingdom,
draw near to God and
resist the devil,
because Jesus has overcome the world.
Have you been n a u g h t y or extra n i c e this year? Will you receive a lump of coal in your stocking or everything you wished for? “You better watch out…Santa Claus is coming to town.” Remember, “He’s making a list; and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s n a u g h t y a n d n i c e …He sees you when you’re sleeping…knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”  Aww, C h r i s t m a s fun! Interestingly, a few days ago I stumbled upon a website where you can actually ask Santa if you are on the “ N A U G H T Y o r N I C E ” list. Yes indeedy, folks! Step right up, because at: http://www.claus.com/naughtyornice/nn_hmpg2.php you will find Santa’s N i c e -o- M e t e r . By typing in your name and then clicking the “ASK SANTA” button, you can see where you stand on Santa’s N a u g h t y o r N i c e scale.
Are you ready to see how God works in the midst of rebellion, pain or anger, and are you ready to learn of great love and redemption? Fabulous, because today we begin the study of the Book of Ruth, a touching and true story much better than Cinderella. Ruth, a Moabite, lived in the time when Judges admonished Israel, approximately 1100 BC. So, to begin, we need to set the stage.
Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation…” Our last piece of protective armor is a helmet called salvation. Before we answer why we need this helmet, we first must understand salvation. The Bible, God’s holy word, tells us sometime after the seven days of creation, the serpent deceived Eve, so she disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. Eve then gave the fruit to Adam and he chose to disobey. With this sin or act of disobedience, a sin nature came to everyone born from Adam. Now all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and as God told Adam before He created Eve, the penalty would be death. This was not just physical death, but spiritual death or complete and eternal separation from God. However, because God so loved the world, prior to creation He had a plan in place to rescue mankind. Since the penalty of death or law was set in stone, any rescue would involve death. God’s plan: A onetime substitute would die in our place. However, the blood spilt in this de