Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Fighting the Ghosts

God is the potter, and Christians are his clay (Jeremiah 18:4 / 2 Corinthians 4:7). And he is shaping you into the likeness of Jesus, using all of life to do it. That’s the idea of Romans 8:28-29. But when you go against his guiding hand, God has to break you to remake you. And God may use the devil to break a believer down.

Maybe you’ve experienced this. Everything seems to upset you. You try and try, but things just go wrong, and you can’t seem to get a break. It seems like awful is amplified all over your life. It’s like you’re fighting a ghost, whose arming your enemies. 

Now sometimes, God is allowing this season to show your faithfulness as an example to others.  God may allow an attack to show his strength in your life. You’re wearing the full armor of God. You learn to have the patience of Job. You’re earning rewards in heaven. And those who would accuse you of sin are wrong. You need to stand strong in the Lord despite all the hurt feelings, lack of support, and hard circumstances. And your faith will be vindicated.

However, sometimes you aren’t just fighting your emotions, or people, or systems, or situations. Sometimes, God will allow the devil to invade your life because you have continually opened the door. You have continued in a pattern of particular sin, and God will use the devil to break and humble you. God uses the devil in a Christian’s life to accomplish his purposes. God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.

 Satan wants to use this time to further cement you into distrusting, disbelieving, and disobeying God. But God intends for this season to liberate you into a deeper trust and greater belief and joyful obedience. The deliverance you need is not just from the devil, but to Jesus. It is no good to cast the devil out when you keep inviting him back in. If you want to stop fighting the ghosts, you’ll have to stop fighting against God’s will. 

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Monday, October 04, 2021

The midnight cries

Matthew 25:1-13…

The teaching of Jesus is that we cannot know the exact time of His return but we can know the signs of it drawing near. He repeatedly speaks of the suddenness and the unexpectedness of His coming, and calls us to be prepared at all times. Many know of the Second Coming, and they may believe in it, but they don’t behave like it matters what they do in the meantime. 

As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. This doesn’t mean that sleep is wrong or that everyone has to go through some period of backsliding. No, it means that life would go on as it had for a while. We have been waiting for 2000 years. Still, the wise live in a state of readiness, while the foolish are careless about it (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10).

Remember, all ten virgins were supposed to be part of the wedding party. They all knew what was coming.  All ten took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  There are many that are in some way affiliated with the church, or who have some feelings of attachment to Christ, but they are like the five foolish virgins who took no oil with them.

But at midnight there was a cry. All ten were awakened to the call. But if there is no oil in the lamp when the call comes, it will be too late. You won’t be able to get in based on family or friends. You have to buy the truth right now (Proverbs 23:23). There will be no time to buy when you hear the cry. This is true whether that be at death or upon the return of Jesus.

Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. This gives us a clear picture of what the oil represents. The foolish are those who never go beyond a superficial knowledge of scriptural truth. They have just enough knowledge to assure themselves that they can make themselves ready when the time comes. They think they can do it their way but Jesus says no way.

Lord, lord, open to us. You see, there will be a second cry in the night, but you don’t want to be a part of that one.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Prepared means productive

Matthew 24:45-51 / Luke 12:41-48…

When we might know something important is about to happen, but don’t think that it is going to happen too soon, we are tempted to be somewhat derelict in our daily duties. We have to rush to clean up if company is coming, having allowed the mess to accumulate to the point that we are frenzied before the family or friends arrive. We cram for the exam, having allowed ourselves to be lax in our studies. We sprint to the store, having forgotten the anniversary or birthday.

Last minute preparations are fine, unless we waited to prepare until the last minute. Putting the finishing touches on something is much easier if we have been in touch with the situation all along. Production is always preferable to procrastination.

Certainly, there are times when we are caught unawares and unexpectedly have to race in order to get something done. It is inevitable. Yet something that is expected arriving sooner than expected or at an unexpected time is the point Jesus is making here. The Lord will return, and we are to be about our business of living for Christ, winning others to Christ, and edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ, while we wait on Christ to return.

It is inevitable. Jesus will return. The problem is that in the realm of true religion, we cannot afford to be perverse. Jesus is teaching us that He won’t allow it. And this is about more than the end times. The Lord rewards those who are about His business, but He will capture the spiritually lazy in their own sloth.