When The Enemy Lies

Your know those times when the world is falling apart and everything you do is wrong? You feel like the stupidest person on earth and nothing anyone says helps you in the least. Guess whose game plan that is! Hint, it’s not God’s. Satan’s plan is to kill, steal, and destroy. That means that he will use every device to pull you down, if not physically, then emotionally. The enemy lies.

Granted, we have to admit that we are not perfect, but doesn’t mean that every evil thought that runs though our head, especially when we are stressed, it true. Whether is comes, from your own thoughts, the news, or someone you know, lies will try to take you down; lies that are completely false and destructive.

So what do you do? First, you have to recognize them. Jesus said,  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) He also said, ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) That means that you need to learn to hear His voice and you do that through reading the Word and prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Ask Him to help you hear His voice. He wants more than anything to be in communion with you, like any loving parent would. Spend as much time as you can learning to hear Him. He will be surprisingly responsive to encourage you to come closer. Do it! It’s awesome.

After you know that you are hearing God, knowing what is true becomes easier. All you have to do is ask. Even so, when we are under pressure, or have to deal with serious difficulties, it’s not always easy to realize that the enemy is at work. That’s why having a habit of spending time with Jesus is important, especially in the hard times. He will help clear your mind and keep you centered so you can see what is true and what is a lie.

And when you recognize a lie, all you have to do is rebuke it. Rebuke the lies of the enemy and claim the truth of God for your life. Thank God for His goodness and faithfulness and ask Him to lead you in all righteousness. He gave us authority over all the works of the enemy. We don’t have to put up with lies that tear us down. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matt 10:16) Don’t fall for the lies. You are amazing.

Why Do You Want Salvation?

If asked, I think most people would say that the reason they want to be saved is to avoid going to hell. It’s not an unreasonable desire, but I think it misses the entire point of salvation. Let’s go back and look at why that is.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He had to create it because there was nothing, nothing that we understand anyway. He made the earth and animals and people. Then He chose a specific people group to call His own. He led them and taught them to understand their need to trust Him and His will and desire to love and protect them. As we follow the story of human interaction with God, it becomes clear that the reason for creation was for God to have a relationship with us. Not an oppressive, domineering relationship, but an intimate, loving, family relationship.

“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6) He has called us to be His own family. We’re meant to call Him Daddy, or Papa. He wants to spend time with us, enjoying our company, teaching us and protecting us in life.

As an adult, I learned much more about my earthly father than I did as a child. The more time I spent with him, the more stories I heard that I had never heard before. The same is true with God. Never assume that because you believe in God and accept His salvation that that’s all there is. He promises that we “may know the mystery of God, namely Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Those treasures aren’t just dropped in your lap. They don’t automatically come after a set amount of time or service. You have to want them. You have to spend time with Papa asking for more. Ask and it will be given. He is delighted to show you the deeper things.

Why should you want to be saved? Because it allows you to know the most magnificent mind in the universe and be called his family and friend. Dive into that and the idea of being saved to avoid hell becomes irrelevant.

Is God Mad At Me?

Several years ago a church changed their street message board to say “God is not made at you”. Soon after, they were inundated with angry phone calls for some time. Apparently, many people believe that God is mad at them and feel the need to vent, to ask why, to affirm their stance that God is indeed vengeful. Do you wonder, Is God mad at me?

Rest at ease, He is not. How do I know that? I can read it in every book of the Bible. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal live. (John 3:16) A vengeful God does not sacrifice His most precious Son. A loving God does. Why? Because He wants to ensure a way for us to be with Him. Jesus took on the sins of the world, including ours, and covered them with His own blood. All we need to do is accept that gift of sacrifice with humble thanks. His love for us is outrageous and never ending.

But what about the Old Testament God who looks pretty vengeful? God told His people what they needed to do to stay safe within His protection and grace, but over and over again they deserted Him to worship idols. His anger was against their actions, not the people themselves. He repeatedly told them to trust in Him and He would cover them with His mercy. Most of the time, they did not.

Do you believe that God is mad at you because bad things happen to you? Bad things happen to everyone, even when we know how much God loves us. He never said we wouldn’t have problems. He said if we trust Him, He’ll be with us and work things out. It’s the trust part that trips up most people. We don’t know how to take our hands off to let God be in control. Most of the time, we doubt that He will do anything for us. It’s a real test of our faith. If we really believe, if we really trust that God is who He said He is, we can relax and watch Him do what we could not.

Bad things may happen because we’re not even trying to trust Him so we just make stupid decisions. We suffer the consequences of what we got ourselves into. Even then, all we have to do is tell God how sorry we are for what we’ve done and ask His forgiveness. He will always forgive. It’s His nature.

No, God is not mad at you. He loves you very, very much. He’s a great, good God who wants to give you every blessing in heaven. All you have to do is receive it.

How Is It Possible To Be Friends With God?

 

I am friends with GodIf you have ever had the privilege of standing on a hillside away from city lights at night and looked at the expanse of stars in the sky, you know the wonder of our God. The massiveness of His creation and the beauty of it all should open your heart to want to know Him more. What is astonishing is that He wants to know us even more. But how can that be? How can the God of creation not know me?

That is the wonder of our relationship with Him. From the very beginning, before the first star was released to the vast expanse of space, God wanted to know me. He knew my name, He knew my heart’s desires, and He knew my weaknesses before a single atom was made. He knew who I would be, but He wanted to know my heart as I revealed it to Him. He wanted to be my Friend.

This is a concept almost too deep to bear. How can I be friends with God? How can I approach Him without fear and trembling? Well, He is God and He knew our fear so He revealed His great love for us through His prophets and through His Son. When we understand and establish in our hearts that God loves us more than we can comprehend, we can respond back with our human love. It is smaller and more fickle than His love for us, but it is where we start.

In that love that we feel from Him and for Him, we become friends. There is a comfort and boldness to go to Him without trembling. We can know Him as Papa and run to Him in joy. When we sit in the quiet place to listen to Him, He also listens to us. He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him. He wants us to tell Him about all the loss and pain that happens in life. If we don’t tell Him, then we hold it in and it hurts us. When we talk to Papa, we release it to Him and there is room for healing and joy.

And after we let go of our hurts, Papa crooks His finger at us to follow Him. There is more that He wants us to have. There are treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places to find. He lays out a treasure hunt in the heavenlies and invites us in to scamper and find His delights. Yes, it sounds fanciful, and yes it is real. After every delight, He crooks His finger again and draws us deeper. There is no limit to the wonder of knowing Him. The only limits are those we allow. We stop when others stop. We stop when we think others will judge us or not understand. God is waiting for those who will press in to know Him more.

He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him, and there are no boundaries in that knowing, only further possibilities. The more we reveal our heart to God and not hold back because we are embarrassed of our selfishness or greed, the more He can replace those harmful attitudes with His goodness, and His goodness reveals more of Him to discover. Our friendship with God is the reason for all creation. He is my Friend and I am His.

What’s God’s Favorite Color? And Other Personal Questions

 Does God have a favorite color?

What’s God’s favorite color? What’s His favorite music? I wonder if He eats — what’s His favorite food? He is a person. That means He has a personality. He’s no respecter of persons, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t really love some things more than others. We do, and we’re made in His image.

Think of your best friend, or someone you respect most in life. What are they like? What is it about them as a person that you find attractive? Now think of God like that. Think of Him as a person you want to get to know. We were made to live in communion with Him, so that means that we’re meant to do more than stand at a distance and sing pretty songs. He wants friendship. We love to talk to our friends about everything. Time flies when we get together. That’s what God wants as well.

When we invite Jesus into our hearts, we have His Spirit living in us. If we stop and listen, we’ll hear Him speaking. We’ll learn some things if we do. We’ll learn that He has a sense of humor. We’ll learn that He loves beauty and has a wildly creative nature. We love it when He encourages us, but do we ever turn and and ask what matters to Him?

I want to get to know my Father just as He knows me. I want to have conversations with Him in the evenings and talk about the day, like He did with Adam and Eve. I want to hear His heart and learn what tickles Him. I won’t want to look at Him as if He is not approachable. He’s very approachable, and He’s waiting with arms wide open. He’s my Father and Friend. I wonder what His favorite flower is. I think I’ll ask.