Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have often been told that people frequently give way too much credit to Satan for things that happen. Those people in turn, give credit to God for pretty much everything - including bad things. My problem with this thinking is that the Bible itself gives Satan credit for a great many things! It may sound holy and righteous to attribute everything to God, but is it Biblical? We see in James 1:13 "Let not man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." This specifically prohibits us from attributing the works of Satan to God. Just as not good thing can come from the devil, no evil thing can come from God. God may use it to accomplish something, but it is not from Him. James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." it is obvious from I Chronicles 21:1, 2 Timothy 2:26, and James 4:7 that the devil is very much alive and well!

I Chronicles 21:1
"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

2 Timothy 2:26
"And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

James 4:7
" Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Satan is very busily at work! We see that he works his evil deeds in the lives of Christians as well as the unsaved. If he was not actively working to tear us down, we would not have been told to resist him.
Websters 1828 -Resist - 1. To stand against; to withstand; hence, to act in opposition, or to oppose. 2. To strive against; to endeavor to counteract, defeat, or frustrate.
Notice that "resist" does not mean just standing unmoving and unshaken while the devil beats on you. "Resist" is proactive - we must be passionately taking an aggresive offense against him. We often see "resist" as a defensive action but it is also an offensive action. Our aim is to defeat the devil, not just hold him off. When we say "Oh well, God allowed it so He must have a reason" we are already giving in to defeat at Satan's hands. God receives great glory from victory. He allows temptation so that we may resit and defear Satan through His power. Our Father loves to see Satan lying in the dust of defeat while His children rise victorious.
Sadly, it's not often that we allow our Lord to view that scene. All to often we fall defeated because we have trusted our own power to maintain rather than trusting in our Father's power to overcome. His desire is that we would give the battle back to Him and allow Him to fight it for us. Then the victory is sure!
Unless we recognize the works of Satan as being from him, we will never be able to effectively resist and overcome him. God has warned us about Satan's deceptive wiles. It's time we started acknowledging his power and fighting him with the greatest weapons of all - our Father, and His Word!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Victory or Supression?

Why is it that we as parents expect our children to display character that we ourselves do not possess? How is it that we can be angry towards our children and yet expect them to respond in a quiet and submissive manner? Ah, we're trying to teach them the right response and hope that they will not end up with the same faults that we have. We expect victory in our childrens' lives that we do not have in our own. I wonder how many of us realize that though we might teach our children to suppress their anger, it still seethes inside them every time they see us display an angry countenance. The only way to conquer their anger and more importantly ours, is to claim God's victory and believe in it. We must give our anger problem to God and allow him to fight the battle. That means giving up every part of self to His divine control. Only through His power can we have any hope of overcoming. It's time we understood that He doesn't want to help us fight the battle, he wants to do it Himself. All of it. For me, I feel that my children will be better off getting away with an occasional outburst of passion/anger and me staying calm, than them not getting away with it and yet me being angry. They must see calm control in our lives or they will never possess it themselves. They must see peace and calm when things are not going our way far more than seeing it when things are all great and good.
Colossians 3:21
" Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest the be discouraged."
Matthew 18:6
" But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea."
Does this shine a more clear light on the subject? This is how precious children are to our heavenly Father, and yet we offend and provoke them to anger when we speak harshly, when our frustration is displayed, when we get angry with them for any little (or big) fault. I'm not saying that parents should not discipline their children - God forbid! What I am saying is that the attitudes that we display are the attitudes that our children will display, and if we can't discipline our child in a calm godly way that draws them closer to us and to God, then we have no business correcting them.
I am not in any way trying to make myself an authority on this subject. I am so very far from my own ideal, nevertheless my Father's. This is just something that God is teaching me and through His power I aim to enact it in my life and in my attitude towards my children. What could glorify our precious Saviour more than us reflecting His image to our children and them in turn reflecting that image back to Him?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Call For Mothers

The Lord is giving me such a vision of what He wants me to be. Where, where did we come up with the version of Christianity that we have today? Where did we come up with the idea that it's normal for habitual sin to rule a Christian's life? When did it become "normal" for a Christian mom to be stressed, frustrated and angry most of her waking hours?
Colossians 1:9-14
" For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"

Verse 11 is what I would like to bring attention to. I understand that this is for all Christians, but having a child of my own now is making my responsibilities very sobering! So, let's apply this to moms. I understand this verse to say that through Christ's strength and power we are to CONTINUALLY be in a state of patience, longsuffering, and joyfulness. Most moms (even Christians) today would say that that's impossible when you have several children - is it? I believe that not only is it possible, it is God's divine plan for every Christian mother and that it is our DUTY before Him to fulfill it! I know, you're going, "wait a minute, slow down here" but I meant exactly what I said. This is the only hope for our children! Our responsibility is to show Christ to our children - how if not through our daily lives? It doesn't matter how often you tell your kids that God gives you strength for each day. If they see you (and me!) living in a state of stress and frustration, it will effect their very image of God. They will conclude - and rightly so - that God apparently doesn't have enough power over our lives to allow us to live in victory.
What about the fact that Christ DIED to give us victory in this very area? When God showed me this it literally brought me to tears. We live in a state of habitual sin ruling our lives (we don't see frustration and stress as sin do we?) and are therefore boldly stating that Christ's sacrifice was not enough. Verse 13 says "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness..." - He already has! Why don't we believe it? Why don't we claim it? Sure, we can put on a front of patience and joy when others are around, but how do our kids see us? I'm not saying that we'll never fall, but I am saying that our continual habit will be patience and joy. Christ has a far, far higher standard for us than we've settled for. We accept that "fact" that "that's just the way moms are - it's our lot in life" NO IT'S NOT! Christ did not die so that we could live in sin and say "well, God hasn't changed me yet, so until he does...." Every time we give in to sin (that includes a snap at a child!) we cut Christ to the heart - He fought so hard for this victory, and we carelessly toss it aside because we don't believe Him enough to trust that He WILL grant us the power to overcome.
This isn't meant to bash anyone. It's meant to call us to a higher standard. We as mothers help to define the identity of our children. We demand respect and yet treat them like dogs, all the while quoting "children obey your parents". It's not a wonder at all that our children leave and we have no influence in their lives. We've shown them a Christ that is not desirable in any way. They see that we claim Christ and yet live in constant defeat - why would they want a Savior like that?
It's time that we began relying on Christ's power to live a set-apart life that is in His image. Not just the world seeing Christ in us, but our children seeing Christ in us. No it doesn't come easily, it only comes by our lives being completely consumed by our love for Jesus. We'll spend hours of intimate time with Him, we'll sing about Him, our voices and lives will reflect an abundance of His love, and our children will see that He IS our life. Only then will they desire to follow the path that He has chosen for them. They MUST see Him in us - we define their reality!