Posts Tagged With: Satan

Listen to God

“Has God indeed said?” These are the very first words spoken by Satan as recorded in Genesis 3:1. They were words not intended to question what God had said, but to manipulate and twist what God had intended in an effort to cast doubt on His love. To clarify, God’s original statement to Adam was, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16). Yet when Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he didn’t go to Eve and try and deny that God spoke those words, he just mischaracterized them. He used the very scriptures God had spoken, but he completely twisted what He had said. Cunningly, he questioned whether God had really meant what He had said to Adam. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).

When Eve was tempted by Satan in the Garden, Satan used God’s own words intended for love and protection and distorted them into a negative prohibition designed to cast doubt on God’s graciousness. He effectively misrepresented God’s words, which led Adam and Eve to question God’s love for them. Thus, he was able to substitute the truth with his own lie and got Adam and Eve to believe God was holding something back from them. Through his deceptive ways, Satan took God’s positive invitation to eat from every tree, misquoted the Bible, and then turned those elements of truth into a justification for sin; “What a snake!” you might say. No pun intended.

As the story progresses, Adam and Eve having now sinned before God for eating the forbidden fruit, felt shame and tried to hide from the Lord. But as any loving father, God called out to them, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). As the Bible states, God is an omnipresent God; He’s “All-Knowing.” Therefore, God wasn’t calling out to them because He didn’t know where they were. But His intention was for Adam and Eve to confess what they had done so they could make things right. For God cannot forgive a sin that has not been confessed. Yet this is how many Christians live their lives today.

Have you ever played hide-and-go-seek with a small child? They are so innocent that you can go show them a hiding spot, go back to the tree and begin counting, and what will they do… they’ll literally go hide in the exact spot you just showed them. That’s what it is like when we try and hide from God. Just like in the case of Adam and Eve, God wasn’t looking for them for He already knew where they were. He was looking for them to confess. And like Adam and Eve, when we sin, God already knows what we’ve done and where we are.

Unfortunately today, Satan is still up to his old ways. Now instead of the Garden of Eden, he has infiltrated our pulpits. And once again he has manipulated God’s Word and twisted it into a wayward version of the truth. He has created an epidemic that has saturated the American church for the last twenty to thirty years. It’s an epidemic of “Perverted Grace.” As John Bevere states, “The grace taught and believed by many of our churches is not real grace, but a perversion of it. This is the result of overemphasizing the goodness of God to the neglect of the fear of him” (Bevere 95). When the doctrine of love and grace is overly emphasized and not balanced with the doctrine of obedience and repentance, what we see in the American church today is the result. And it is an error of God’s perfect plan for our lives.

We have “Changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man” (Romans 1:23). Yet even more frightening, is that while we are still listening to Satan’s old lie, “Has God indeed said?” now we have become even bolder in our disobedience. Unlike Adam and Eve, many Christians today are not even trying to hide their shame and sinful ways anymore. Where Adam and Eve once feared and hid from God, we now see man making brave statements like, “God is my friend, He understands my heart” or “I love Jesus, He’s gonna forgive me anyway, so what’s your problem?” This false sense of grace and goodness has led to “sin rationalization.” A rationalization by which sin is not repented of, but stemming from a group of “Cultural-Christians” that filters “God’s Word and commands through their own culturally influenced thinking” (Bevere 22). And as sin is more rationalized, a false sense of security occurs within the believer. The person trapped in the bondage of sin begins to convince themselves that since they haven’t been caught or punished, then God must be okay with it. But know this, as God showed when looking for Adam and Eve, He is never okay with sin. And no matter how you try and rationalize your actions, God says, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

I’m often amazed at people that think they are fooling God. They will know that a specific scripture states something is sinful, yet they will try and use a scripture that is taken out of context and try and condone that sinful nature. They will use a scripture like “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). There are two things wrong with this statement. First, it says love covers over, it doesn’t say love covers up your sins. Secondly, when people use this verse, and I have had it used on me, they fail to realize that the verbiage states a multitude of sins, it does not say ALL. If this is you, STOP! You are not fooling anyone, and you are surely not fooling God. If you believe that the Bible is the ‘Infallible Word of God,’ then you can’t believe for a second that it will show you it’s okay to sin. In fact, His Word confirms, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:13-14). It’s that same lie from the devil cropping up all over again…

God doesn’t want your excuses, He just wants YOU. Now don’t get me wrong, God’s plan for your life is not some rigid pathway based upon unrealistic performance in order to receive His blessing. Actually the Bible says all of God’s laws are about righteousness and peace. By righteousness it’s referring to the blessing of things working out right. But it’s not talking about a rigid type of righteousness that if you do one small thing your salvation is at stake. However, it is asking you to do your part. And that begins by His call to alignment. Aligning ourselves with His Word, His ways, and His law. Maybe your sitting there thinking, “Well that seems pretty rigid, and pretty narrow.” The Bible says that, “The gateway to life is very narrow” (Matthew 7:14). But believe me, it’s not saying that you are just creeping along two narrow walls hoping to get by. God provides us with enough elbowroom to maneuver in. We’re not confined in some straightjacket that makes it impossible to move around. But He does want us to follow His desires. It’s learning to understand that we can’t decide to do whatever we want and expect that things will always work out because they seem right in our own eyes.

In His Word, the Lord has provided guidance, and it clearly shows that God has pointed out the limits. And that’s what He ultimately wants from you… To live life to it’s limits! But to do this, you’re going to have to do your part. God intends for each one of us to use our own judgment, our gifts, our talents; He was the one that gave those things to us. Furthermore, He didn’t set these limits as a way to control your fun. His Word simply points out these limits and says, “Don’t go past this limit, because when you do, things will begin to deteriorate, and life will get a lot messier.” Yet it never fails, there are always those who try and put God to the test. They go about life saying, “Well I think I can navigate through that. I’m an adventuress soul.” And to you I say, “Well lot’s of luck. Go ahead and make the attempt.” Because no matter how long you seem to manage on your own, remember judgment delayed is not judgment denied, and eventually there always comes the place of the back firing.

If you are reading this and feel as if you’ve been allowing Satan to whisper to you, “Has God indeed said?” I want you to fear not. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). To “confess” means “to agree with.” So when we confess our sin, we are agreeing with God and His ways. Take the time to pray and humble yourself before the Lord. Let Him know that you repent of your sins and no longer wish to try and hide from Him in the Garden. Just like Eve, you too have a choice. You can either continue listening to the master of all lies, or you can finally reject him and just Listen to God. 

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Works Cited:
Bevere, John. The Fear of The Lord. Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2006. Print.

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Categories: Daily Living, Forgiveness, The Church | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are You Being Distracted by Facebook?

As a “Techie-Guy” by nature, I love my iPhone, my Xbox-360 and any of the numerous devices that have come on the scene to keep us entertained and informed in this hustle and bustle world. Along with these devices have come websites that seem to make us feel like we wouldn’t know what to do if they never existed. Case in point… Facebook. A handy little website that enables us to keep in contact with our loved ones and reclaim our long lost friendships of yesteryear. While we’ve been provided the gift of staying in touch and knowing what Suzy and Tommy from grade school are doing now, along with that comes those annoying posts that people feel they have to let everyone know about. Like I really want to know that your cat has an ongoing digestive problem or that you currently hold the high score on Farmville. After graduating from college, one of my first acts as a new pastor was to prioritize my life. That means God, family, ministry. Recently, when we decided to take a family vacation, my wife and I decided to disconnect from all social sources; email, news, and yes… Facebook. While Facebook can be a good tool, what we discovered was that if you are truly honest with yourself as we were, I think you’ll agree that it really has become sort of a distraction. Answer this… Do you spend more time on Facebook or in HIS book? Do you feel the need to check Facebook everyday… several times? Do you sublimely just tap on the Facebook App on your smart phone? Gotcha… you’re being distracted!

Recently, I came a cross a national poll that states that the typical person spends an average of 6.5 combined hours each week on Facebook. Do the math, that’s over 1-day a month that Americans spend on a website! What could you be doing with this time? After my wife and I returned from our vacation of cutting out all social media from our lives, we discovered something very interesting. We were happier, less annoyed, and more dedicated to our family. Some people might say that this was “Just because you were on vacation.” I would say, “No, it’s because I didn’t have to listen to someone tell me “If you’re blah, blah, blah… Repost this on your wall!” Come on, let’s be truthful here. Has this what we’ve really led ourselves to become more concerned with? Yes, Facebook can be a good keep-in-touch tool, and even used greatly for ministry; but is it taking you away from the real world and God’s call on your life?

The Bible is clear; Satan has one goal in mind, “To steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). And guess what, at this point, he’s winning. Divorce is at an all time high, teenage pregnancy is off the charts, and our children can be subjected to pornography within seconds of most Google search results. He will stop at nothing to win. And distraction is just one of his tactics that he uses to avert our minds away from pursuing God’s purpose for our lives and furthering Christ’s ministry. I’m not saying that Facebook is the Devil and you should disconnect from it (well not in this post anyway); but I am saying that when you become more obsessed with checking Facebook than reading the Bible then there is a problem. When you go through your day what book do you access first; Facebook or HIS Book? This American distraction has taken our time away from reading and studying the Bible, spending quiet time with God, and spending time with family; in short we’ve lost our biblical worldview.

If you are one of the elite that spend more time with God than on Facebook, then I commend you. But I’ll bet if most of us (present company included prior to this media separation experience) are honest, we’ll find that Satan has done a pretty good job of keeping us distracted from God. Look, my point is not to write this with the view of condemning you, but to make you aware of what is going on in the world. Our attack is no different than Jesus Himself once faced. Satan once tried to distract Jesus while He was enduring His wilderness experience and at Capernaum while He was beginning His powerful ministry. If Satan tried to distract Jesus, suffice to say that he too will try and come up with another tactic to distract our time away from fulfilling God’s call on our lives and our own powerful ministries.

It is my hope from this blog that you really stop and think. Where is your time being spent? We must all reclaim a deliberate walk with Christ and place more emphasis on what we are called to do. Preach the Gospel and love on our families; and this begins by cutting the umbilical cord of social media. Think I’m aloof in my call to action? There are many prominent pastoral leaders today that not only agree with what I’m saying, but also call for their congregations to completely disconnect from Facebook all together. Why? Because they know all to well that if we as Christ followers want to truly take charge of your lives, then we have to start by getting rid of various distractions; and with Facebook claiming that they will have reached 1-billion Facebook accounts by end of 2012, clearly Facebook has become a very real distraction in modern society. I’m not calling for you to go and delete your Facebook account; however I am hoping that for the sake of your family and walk with Christ you place limits on this distraction so that you can get back on the right path toward taking purposeful action daily! When we reclaim the sanity from Mark Zuckerberg’s college experiment spiraling out of control; we will all be brought back to our wealthy place in God so that we can be a blessing to His kingdom here on earth.

In closing, forgive me if you can’t find me to friend on Facebook; I no longer have one. I finally decided enough was enough. I’m making my life about His Kingdom, and not a social media site that has a proven track record of creating division amongst families and the Body of Christ! Don’t believe me? A quick Google search will shock you! Hmm… A rise in divorce, a rise in adultery, pornography, child-trafficking arrests, pedophilia arrests, not to mention the constant abuse of your and my privacy; yep, what would we ever do without Facebook?

I am thankful that God has given me a new lease on life. I’m not spending one day taking that for granted. I would hope if you are reading this that it sparks you to take a real hard and close look at your life’s priorities. I’m going to end with a view that I like from my father-in-law (who coincidently also does not use Facebook). He states, “He likes to deal “face-to-face” without the Book.” And isn’t that what we’re called to do, have real relationships? Life is not measured by the number of friends you try and accumulate on your Facebook friends list; it begins by how it’s measured through the relationship you have when you make the decision to accept HIS friend request. Have a blessed day, and remember… “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Marriage and Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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