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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Satan’s Secret Weapon

I secretly loved being scared when I was a kid.  We’d watch the old monster movies – Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, Werewolf – they were awesome, and provided just enough fear to give you a thrill.  When I got a little older, the movies got a little scarier.  To get to my best friend Julie’s house, I had to travel down a stretch of road where some large, old trees hovered over the street.  There were very few street lights in this part of town, and it was pretty eerie.  Julie and I were always a bit apprehensive about traversing this stretch to reach the house at the end of our destination – if it was dark.  At some point, we convinced ourselves that we were perfectly safe…as long as we didn’t hear the theme music from Friday the 13th.  You know…the dreaded, “Che che che che che.  Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah.”  Seeings how real killers don’t play theme music before they attack, we were never going to hear that music.  It was all perfectly logical to us and kept us safe for years as we went back and forth to each others homes.  Sometimes, just for fun, one of us would start mimicking the music as we rode our bikes under those smothering trees.  We’d laugh and peddle faster.  That little jolt of adrenaline was fun and we had no real fear of anything.

Fear.  A very wise man once said, There is nothing to fear but fear itself.  Now, unless you’re lost…he’s right.  If you are lost, you better be in great fear of the flames of Hell that await you.  More than that, you better do something about your condition…right NOW.  But, for my Christian friend, you have nothing to fear.  As David tells us in Psalm 23Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  David didn’t say while I’m riding my bike to my friend’s house, while I’m fishing at Grand Lake, while I’m shopping at the mall, while I’m taking this test.  He said, I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

There is nothing, no place, no circumstance, no event that tops “the valley of the shadow of death”.

Nada.

I’m walking right into this valley where death itself casts a dark shadow, and it’s waiting to consume me.

Who’s not afraid of that?

David most beautifully explained that we don’t have to be.  His valley is preceded by two very powerful words…”Yea, though.”  David meant, even though.  

Even though.

Even though I’m doing the scariest thing anyone can do…I fear no evil.

Why?

Was David some superhero?  Bullet proof?  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

No!  He was not.  He was just a shepherd boy.  What made David so powerful wasn’t some other-worldly strength or magic or the blood of a Greek god.  David loved God so much he had total and utter faith in Him.  David’s faith in God is what made him so powerful.  He believed with his very bones that God was with him.  That is why he could so boldly announce, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  So, David said, I’m not afraid of anything – giants, jealous kings, enemies, conquering nations – because God is with me.

If God is for us, who is against us?  Romans 8:31

Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?  Hebrews 13:6

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you.  Isaiah 41:13

Brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t let fear overwhelm you.  Don’t let fear cripple you.  Look fear right in it’s ugly face and recognize who it is.  Fear is Satan.  Satan wants to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan.  Satan wants to derail you.  He most certainly does not want you to be a witness to your neighbor who plays his music too loud and cusses at his kids.  He wants you to worry about losing your job if you listen to a Christian radio station in your office or mention God to your co-workers.  He wants you to never ask your alcoholic uncle if he knows Jesus.  He is so happy when you worry that your adult child won’t come around or might be mad at you if you invite them to church.  Satan delights in making you believe that you don’t know enough about the bible to lead a bible study.  And, he is absolutely joyous when you feel there is no way you could ever go all the way to such-n-so place and share the Gospel.

The ultimate tactic Satan uses in dimming the light within Christians is…fear.  Fear is his secret weapon.  It’s outer shell is made of doubt, worry, anxiety.  If he can get you to buy into his lies, he has succeeded in getting you to hide your light.  By hiding your light, Satan is keeping you from fulfilling the Great Commission.

At the heart of most of this fear is the idea that you might lose something.  Your job.  Your house.  A friend.  Some money.

So?

Who cares?

If you are that tied down to those kinds of things, let me gently remind you that this world is not your home.  Now, maybe you don’t fully understand what that means.  Let me say it again.  This world is not your home.  THIS WORLD IS NOT YOUR HOME!  When you realize that and fully accept it, you will be free.  FREE.  Free from fear.  You can’t fear what lays no hold over you.  Your inheritance awaits you in heaven.  Your family land is in heaven.  Your father is in heaven.  Your mansion is in heaven.  Your home is in heaven.  Don’t be so attached to the things of this world.  Just laugh and peddle faster.

Children of God should have no fear.  David knew this.  God is with us.  As we go forth boldly into the world and proclaim His great name, He is with us.

Please share with me your favorite verse about overcoming fear.

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The Most Important Thing My Mother Ever Taught Me

Not every lesson my mother tried to teach me went the way she planned.  One such time happened when I was about 15 years old.  Mom called my little sister, Mary (who was 12 at the time), and I into the room and told us to sit down…she wanted to have a talk with us.  I remember vividly, my mind racing back and forth, wondering what in the world she wanted to talk to us about.  Had something happened?  Was someone sick?  What is going on?  It was a bit odd to say the least.  She began to talk about how ladies should behave, and went on to say that she never wanted to hear about either one of us ever using “the finger” in public.  Now, let me paint this scene for you accurately, my mother was a very strait-laced woman.  We did not have talks about sex or menstrual cycles or anything that might cause discomfort on her part.  For her to want to discuss “the finger” with us was ludicrous.  Immediately, I thought, “Oh, some girl has flipped her off while she was driving.”  My mind was in shock AND…I was 15.  A 15 year old smart-ass, full of sarcasm, and way too quick on the draw.  Every mother’s dream.  I was not alone in my abilities.  Oh no!  My siblings had also been graced with such powers, and my little sister was no exception.

While Mary and I were both confused and surprised by this impromptu conversation, we sat quietly and listened to mom as she heralded the virtues of a “lady” she desired – demanded – to see us exhibit.  As she ended her lecture on “the finger,” she nonchalantly added, “And how do they know that’s what that means anyway…it could mean HELLO!”  My sister and I could hold ourselves no longer, we turned and looked at each other at the same time, and I blurted out, “Hello Mother!” while I gleefully flipped her the bird.  Mary had struck the same pose and repeated after me.  We both jumped up from our seats and ran through the house, middle-fingers held high, yelling…”HELLO!”  Trust me…this is not the way my mother had intended this conversation to go.  “No! No! No!” she protested, but there was no going back from this.  “You said,” I most happily pointed out…”it just means HELLO!”

We tortured our mother with this for quite some time in the years that followed.  We flipped off our brothers (who had not been privy to this conversation originally), and if we were in the car with her, sometimes we flipped off other cars.  She really wanted to kill us, I’m sure, but we would always say, “It just means HELLO, mother.”  As we got older, we stopped tormenting her with it as much.  Yet, we never forgot, and every now and again, one of us would bring it up.  She always seemed to smile about it and was able to see the humor in it (after the fact, of course).

My mother taught me many things, as all mothers do.  Some lessons were learned at the end of a belt, and some came much more easily.  Some things I learned through direct instruction from her, but a wealth more came by less direct methods.  She modeled perfect morals – not a word could be spoken against her character by anyone.  She was a bit judgmental and could hold her own with the most hateful…but…I’ll not hold that against her.  I learned from her by just watching her and being around her.  I picked up on her love and compassion for others, her desire to be with family and the importance she placed on it, the happiness movies brought to her, and so many other things.  Most importantly, I knew how much Christ meant to her.  The power of her faith is the most important thing my mother ever taught me.  It made me want to have Jesus in my life – the way she did.  I wanted to have faith like that, and if it ever be possible, more.

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.  Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her:   “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”  Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.  Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Thank you dear Lord for giving me a mother who loved You, served You, worshiped You, and feared You.  I am happy to know she has received the rewards of her labor.  I will always praise her as my mother and as a follower of You.  Bless me with being able to show how much You mean to me to my own children.  Help me, that my children may ever see You in me.  Amen.

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This Little Light of Mine

One of my favorite times in church as a child, is when we would sing songs in our Sunday school.  Often, we would perform one as a special for the congregation before the preaching service began.  These children’s church songs usually had hand gestures or other body movements to go along with the words, signifying the ideas in the verses.  I particularly loved, This Little Light of Mine.  The version we sang went like this:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel, NO, I’m gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel, NO, I’m gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel, NO, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Not let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine

Not let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine

Not let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

When we sang the second verse, Hide it under a bushel, we held the index finger of one hand straight up (our light) and we’d cup our other hand over our light.  Then, as soon as we got to, NO, we quickly removed our cupped hand to expose our light.   In the third verse, we never used the word blow – yes, you’re right – we would blow fiercely on our finger.   It was all very serious.  Our movements were deliberate and well timed.  We were very professional.

Hide It Under A Bushel

It pains me to tell you that I was hitting the backside of 40 before I truly understood the depth of the words I sang with joy thousands of times in my childhood.

To my great dismay, I have spent most of my Christian life with my hand cupped over my light.

Hidden under a bushel.

Where few could see even the faintest glow.

And this pleased that great dragon, Satan.  I have brought him much happiness with my ill-spent life, for it is his only purpose to remove those he cannot have in eternity – Christians – as far away from God as he can possibly get them.  My archaic beliefs about Christianity made it very easy for Satan to do his job.  I was very private about my Christianity.  I shared it with very few.  I kept it deep down inside where I thought it was safe from a wicked world full of lost souls.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a horrible person with a reprobate mind, but I wasn’t the person God meant for me to be.

The love of Jesus that was shed abroad in my heart was crying to get out.  My light desperately wanted to shine.

Just How Far Can You See?

You know, the human eye is a powerful, powerful organ.  It can detect the flame from just one candle at 30 miles away.  30 miles!  That seems unbelievable, but it’s true.  Google it!  30 miles.  One Christian, just one, all alone, fearlessly letting their light shine can effect tens of thousands of people within that 30 mile radius.  Think of it!

Now ponder this…how far your eye can see depends on how many particles of light the object you are looking at emits.  (Those particles of light are called photons for all our smarty-pants out there!)  The farthest object from earth that is visible to the naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy.  It’s only 2.6 million light years away!  Let me put that in miles for all my American friends…that equals 15 quadrillion 34 trillion miles.  In case that doesn’t make any sense to you, I’ll write it out: 15,340,000,000,000,000.  And yes…you can see it with your own two eyeballs, no telescope needed.  To put that in perspective for you – the moon is only 238,900 miles from earth.

So, if that one lone Christian can be seen from 30 miles away, think how far away a group of Christians can be seen.  What about a whole herd of Christians?

The Light of the World

The Bible uses the word “LIGHT”, 272 times (KJV).  Compare that to the word “BELIEVE”, 143 times (KJV), and “HELL”, 54 times (KJV).  Jesus Himself said He was the light of the world in John 8:12:

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

Look how He tells us to live our lives in Matthew 5:14-16:

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp stand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
You see my friends, without the light…there is only darkness.  Darkness is only a condition void of light.  We cannot see darkness.  We know that it is dark, because we do not perceive any light.  We only see light.

We only SEE light.

Let me say that one more time for the people in the back…

We.  Only.  SEE.  LIGHT!

Still, as a people, darkness envelopes us.  It oppresses us.  It smothers us.  We find ourselves lost in it, afraid, apprehensive about what secrets it holds.  Yet, with the tiniest flicker from the smallest flame, the darkness recoils.  It flees to the corner of the room, attempting to hold its ground.  Having no choice, with nowhere else to hide, it must surrender to the power of the light.  Hope enters through light.

No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp stand.  We are to let our light shine for the whole world to see, because so much of the world believes they only see darkness!  Christians must show them the truth…we only see light.  This reality is what helped me understand that I couldn’t keep my light hidden any more.  I want the whole world to see the light within me is Jesus Christ.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, show the world your light!  Do NOT let Satan blow it out.

Never doubt the power of the light that is within you.  Light wants to shine.  It wants to radiate across the terrain and invade every nook and cranny.  It wants to fill the world with joy.  It wants to bring hope.

Light knows the way to eternal life…it’s through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Show this to the world!  Let us unite, lights shining bright, and may our illumination radiate to the Andromeda Galaxy and beyond.

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