Archives For Satan


You can read the first post in this series by clicking here.

Satan is doing his best to make sure 2013 is a year you wish would never have occurred. He is using his schemes to concoct the deadliest, most sinful potion imaginable with one purpose alone: to thwart the plans of God for you. Here are the remaining things Satan will do to destroy 2013 for you.

4. He will confuse you with success

What? You heard me right. Success. The “American Dream”, the do-it-yourself mentality, the “if it’s to be it’s up to me” kind of attitude will haunt you this year. Success is not bad but the confusing point of success comes when we think all of it came at the hands of our own initiative. Then we think we are invincible and pretty soon there is no need for God. In a nutshell we become deists (And all of this talk about returning to our forefathers who were essentially a bunch of deists) .

3. He will specifically cater his onslaught to something you struggle with that nobody even knows about

The Hebrew author calls it the “sin that clings so closely” (12:1). I don’t have to define that for you do I? Odds are, you know exactly what I am talking about. That pesky little critter crawling in your heart has done some serious damage and besides you, two people know about this: God and Satan. On one hand God is trying to offer you freedom from that depravity but on the other hand Satan is trying to enslave you holding you tight to that sin. 2013 will bring a lot of different things but one thing is for sure: your sins will find you out one way or another.

2. He will try to divide your relationships

Unity is something that will be a challenge for every organized group. Satan finds some of his best work on the front lines of churches who are fighting for the kingdom of God. Satan tries to divide marriages by creating atmospheres of disloyalty and distrust spreading lies and causing couples to end what used to be a strong relationship.

1. He will do his best to freeze your dreams

The other day I was watching my girls talk on this phone (an old iPod of mine that broke) and they were carrying on two different conversations with people who did not even exist. I chided, “What in the world are you girls doing?” They responded back, “We are imagining dad, leave us alone.” I smiled. Grown-ups quit dreaming and I think they do this because fear grips them into a state of paralysis and what could be becomes, at least to them, what will never be. Satan freezes dreams.

So there you have it. The good thing is that the power of Satan has already been defeated at the cross. Satan has no control over those whom God has chosen in Christ and if we place our allegiance to the lordship of Jesus then what can Satan do to us? Make 2013 the year that you finally become a servant to the master and do not let Satan destroy you.

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It’s inevitable. As long as mankind is on this earth Satan is doing his best to thwart the plans, goals and desires of those in the kingdom of God. He loves doing that type of thing. Remember when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness and Jesus defeated his temptations? Luke records something that we miss from Matthew’s account:

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

An opportune time? Eugene Peterson in The Message words it this way, “The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.” He did not give up on Jesus as Deity in Flesh was presumably tempted up to his death. Yet we presume to believe that all of our resolutions, goals, vision and plans for 2013 will somehow be accomplished by our effort with no forthcoming barriers standing in our way.

It doesn’t happen that way. Every vision/goal/plan must account for the realities of stumbling blocks and challenges that inevitably come thrashing at our way. Satan has a way of doing that. Here are 10 things I believe Satan will do in an attempt to destroy you, your church, your organization, your initiative, your marriage and anything else you are associated with.

10. He will distract you.

Distractions are those little pieces of things that look good at first (business ventures, relationships, initiatives) but all they do is distract you from your vision. It is hard for you to accomplish anything without some sort of distraction coming your way. The key, I think, is the ability to discern what is a justifiable distraction versus a satanic distraction. Stay focused.

9. He will make you afraid.

Fear is something I have a lot of and it is difficult to manage. The “what if’s” pile up and cause me to become unfocused, timid and distrustful. This is one of Satan’s greatest tools. He promotes fear in you that will distract you (#1) and cause you to do what everyone is doing: which is nothing.

8. He will lie to you

He may even cause people to lie about you but one thing is for sure…he is full of lies. The trick is to not buy the lie that Satan is selling you. You are too this or not enough that or you need this or you need that. He will lie to you and bait you with something that is so tantalizing that you will not have the will power to resist. When you do bite on the bait it is only when you get burned do you realize that you bought the lie.

7. He will attack your finances.

Odds are, he has already done this. Credit cards, keeping up with the Jones’, and keeping your expenses greater than your income is a recipe for disaster. Of course, this is a heart issue as Satan does not control your bank account (or does he?) but the truth is that most couples, churches and organizations fight over money and in a consumerist, money-driven, American-dream smoking world that we live in this is Satan’s easiest weapon.

6. He will make you lazy.

Technology does a lot for our culture but one thing is for sure, it has made us lazy. Phil Robertson (from Duck Dynasty) has a lot of wisdom saying he is “low-tech in a high-tech society.” It’s not just technology though that has done this. It is complacency and a hunger and thirst for anything and everything to quench our selfish desires. Instead of working, thinking, meditating we have become reactive, defensive and ultimately lazy.

5. He will take something from you.

I don’t want to get in a theological debate about this but in Job it seems to me that in Job 1 God allows Satan to take things from Job. His wealth, his possessions, his family and ultimately his health. Something will be taken from you this year. You might not be able to say it is from Satan but nonetheless Satan will have his hand in it in some capacity. When what we hold treasure to on this earth is taken from us that is an immediate challenge to see if we serve God or gods. We may lose a loved one, we may lose our jobs, we may lose the house, we may lose a friend, we may lose safety and security. But what does it profit a man if he gains the whole word yet loses his own soul?

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final 4…


The plane was late leaving Las Vegas so people were overly-tired, easily-agitated but most-of-all ready to go home.  A little boy who was no more than 12-14 months old was playing peek-a-boo with me a couple of airport aisles in front of me.  After a while he was tired of playing and then shortly he started to scream as if all screams on earth suddenly fused into this little boy’s lungs.  It was loud.  I could feel the tension in the mother but mostly I could feel the tension around the room as people looked at this boy with eyes that said, “I hope he is not on our plane!”  Without missing a beat this girl that was beside us (and her family) proceeded to mouth what most everyone  was thinking: “I hope that boy is not on our plane!”  The boy kept screaming and the girl beside me said, “They need to give him some benadryl or something because I can’t handle that on this flight.”  Her brother who was sitting behind me said, “Give him a tranquilizer or something!”

They were serious…

I thought: “How selfish could these people be?  I guess they were perfect children growing up and never cried, complained or bothered anyone’s ‘peaceful’ flight.”  I got up and walked away because I was so agitated.  Reflecting upon this I thought how selfish we all are.  In our parenting we think we are the best parents in the world and nobody is better than us and when anyone offers us advice we dismiss it because..again…we know it all.  How selfish!  We help programs in church that only affect us and we do that because we see no redemptive value in helping someone if we are not getting anything out of it.  How selfish!  We like certain bible class teachers, certain preachers who make us feel good, we like certain songs, certain people who pray, certain Scriptures (conveniently avoiding certain ones as well) all because these things are about us.  How selfish!  We think as if God wrote Scripture to give us a self-help book to give us a verse-of-the-day to make us feel better about the day (you won’t see 2 Cor. 5:10 as a verse of the day) as if God wrote the Scriptures to make us feel better.  How selfish!  We don’t like certain ministers because they “clash” with our personalities and we start dissension behind his back so we can eventually find a minister that “fits our personality.”  How selfish!  We get upset when that “minister” says something about our personal spirituality that we disagree with and so we ignore him because, “He doesn’t know what he is talking about!”  How selfish!  We go on vacation after vacation complaining how the drive was so long, the food was ok, the room was less-than-par and the kids ruined our peaceful leisure not really cognizant of the fact that in many of the world’s countries people live on less than $2 a day (“But we give money to missions for people overseas so we are ok”).  How selfish!

Another selfish aspect of our lives is the sad reality that most of us walk our spiritual lives as if we are righteous because of us alone.  Listen to Moses when he encouraged the Israelites to remember everything they received had nothing to do with them.

“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:11-20).

And as if they did not get the picture Moses says in the next chapter…

“Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deut. 9:4-5).

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and my heart has been heavy about this so I just want to say it:  The person that will send you to hell is YOU.  You read this right.  YOU!  I could have been nice and said that the person that will keep you from going to heaven is you but the reality is that the person who will send you to hell is you. That is not popular for me to say this and I realize that some of the things I mention are some of the things I have struggled with but I know that selfishness is the pre-flight manual for the trip to hell.  Don’t like what I am saying?  I don’t either but it’s the truth…no…it’s the GOSPEL!  If we are to imitate Christ (see 1 Cor. 11:1) then our act of obedience is to make the selfless act of following God and taking up our cross (a symbol of shame).  If God calls us to suffer…it is the gospel. If God calls us to a church with only 60 people…it is the gospel.  If God calls us to serve in a capacity we despise…it is the gospel.  I am tired of the church, its leaders (myself included) and its adherents opting for a more selfish gospel when the words of Christ and his followers were radical, selfless and life-changing principles with one goal in mind: “Thy kingdom come…thy will be done!”  IT’S NOT MY KINGDOM COME AND MY WILL BE DONE IT IS THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE.  ALWAYS!!!

So…

Quit being selfish and think of other people (Phil. 2:1-4).  Be gracious to God for everything He has given you (Rom. 8:32).  Confess those things you need to confess (1 John 1:5-9).  Resist the urge to fight discipline (Heb. 12:7-11).  Realize that your, my and our entire existence is to praise God.


I went into my room last night and saw a small cassette tape on the table.  We are long past the age of cassette tapes so I was curious about this and I picked up and noticed that it was a sermon I preached while I was an intern at Washington Avenue church of Christ in the summer of 2002.  I came to the church building this morning and searched for a cassette player and as I am typing this I am listening to my sermon entitled, “The Christian Soldier.”  It is a humbling task listening to the way I preached years ago because I thought I was a good preacher back then.  Some of the phrases I used and the theology I purported I think to myself, “How could I have been that naive?”  I even preached from the King James Version of Scripture!!!  I write this to you because it is not a bad thing to look at the skeletons in our closet. 

  • Looking at our past helps to shape us.
  • Looking at our past helps to comfort us and how far we have grown.
  • Looking at our past helps to center us if we have fallen. 

So what skeletons do you need to look at and get rid of in your closet?  What are those pet sins you have that keep you from a relationship with God?  So often we do not look at what’s deep in our hearts because we are scared at what we might find.  If we are scared to look at what’s inside then that should be a pause for concern.  A problem neglected is a spiritual life infected.  Think about that…I just made it up :).  A problem neglected is a spiritual life infected.  If I have a mold problem in my foundation neglecting it does not change it but actually the problem gets worse. 

So open your closet door, and get the skeletons out.  In honor of the KJV and my sermon…

“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matt. 15:17-20). 


This is the post I did not want to write.  This is the post that will probably make you upset and want to click the little “X” icon at the top of your browser to close the blog and never return.  I don’t want you to do that but I understand why you would do that.  When an addict is confronted about their addiction their first response is anger and denial.  “I have everything under control” or, “I can quit any time I want to” are typical assertions by those who are, ironically, not in control and not able to quit.  So when you get mad at me I understand and your reaction is typical so I will not take offense to it.  I estimate that 50% of Main Street (congregation where I minister) uses Facebook (most of them are 25 and under) and roughly 25% of those are addicted to it.  There is no hard data that I make my observations from other than noticing the time spent on Facebook and the amount of activity based on their profile.  Before we begin with identifying if you are addicted and offering some help I want to first define what an addiction is:

An addiction is “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma” (Source).

Please pay attention to the definition itself…key words are “enslaved, habit, practice, cessation and trauma.”  Let me define it in a way that a teenager would understand it: “anything that you can’t stop thinking about doing.  If you were to stop doing this activity then you would have severe withdrawals.”  There is no hard-fast way to prove that you are addicted (click here and click here for two articles about “signs that you are addicted”).  Below are some things that I want you to consider and then I will offer some suggestions for help.

  1. How much time are you on Facebook per week?  (click on survey below to see results)  No compare that with how much time you spend reading Scripture, praying, serving the community and worshiping.  Remember Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:24 where he stated that no man (and woman) can serve two masters?  That applies to anything and everything that evacuates your time and energy to the neglect and dismay of God Almighty!
  2. When you are on Facebook what are you doing?  I know people who spend 4-5 hours a week on Facebook but they are writing messages of encouragement and checking on people who have fallen away.  I would say that those 4-5 hours are spent wisely.  Most of us who spend 6+ hours on Facebook are doing one of the following: Facebook stalking, checking pictures, chating, checking updates, responding to comments or looking for friends.  Is that the best way to spend your time?
  3. How often do you check Facebook?  You can set your mobile device to receive updates from comments, statuses and messages.  Many of you have mobile Facebook where you can check from your cell phone.  How often do you do that?  When you wake up in the morning?  Right as you get out of school? During a down period at work?  Right before you go to bed?  Maybe you wake up at night and  can’t sleep so you check Facebook?
  4. If you were told not to check Facebook would that bother you?  Pay attention to how you answer the question because it is crucial to understanding if you are addicted.  You might say “Of course not,” then go without a day or so but in the back of your mind if you are wondering what is happening at Facebook then you are addicted.

By now you know if you struggle or not but I want to offer some advice…

  1. Write down how much time you use on Facebook.  Write down when, where and how you check Facebook.  This is crucial because it will show you how much time you spend so you can jump to…
  2. Admit that you have a problem.  Facebook is not wrong but when it takes away from family, homework, spiritual formation and work then it becomes an issue.
  3. Give yourself a set time to look at Facebook and be realistic.  “I will spend 8-10pm on Facebook” is a bit ridiculous.  Start by saying I will only spend 30 minutes from 4:00-4:30pm looking at Facebook and that is only to encourage people.  Gossip is easy on Facebook so try to avoid it.
  4. When you have withdrawal symptoms meditate on a favorite verse.  I recommend Proverbs 3:5-6.  When you think about Facebook just divert your thoughts to “trust in the Lord with all of your heart…”
  5. If you are really bold deactivate your Facebook account.  This will let you keep all of your data where as deleting your account will permanently destroy all of your pictures and what not.
  6. Block Facebook on your computer.  Of course you can unblock it but blocking it will let you know how serious you are.
  7. If you MUST use Facebook remember to use it in a way that gives God the glory.

I know this was a long post but I wanted to be honest with a problem I see among many teens, young adults and even older adults.  Tomorrow we delve into using Facebook appropriately by not being that guy or that girl.  Take the survey below.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME, (why Paul?) because the days are evil.  (Eph. 5:15-16).

Dear Satan,

April 18, 2010 — 1 Comment

Dear Satan,

I want you to know that I am tired of your reign in this world.  I am tired of hearing of your success stories day after day.  I am tired of seeing you in the movies, on TV, on the internet, in the homes, and in our minds.  I am tired of watching you destroy ministries, families and churches all the while ou have a silly little smirk on your face as if what you are doing is entertaining.  I am tired of you taking away people from our churches.  Satan, these are good and honest people and you have no care in this world but that of your own.  You work your way into the homes of people and begin under a cloud of anonymity.  Then your plan works even more…even more…until finally you have complete control over situations and God is out of the picture.  I guess you can sit there on your little Satanic throne and laugh, chuckle or whatever diabolical majesties do in the spiritual realm.  I know that this letter means nothing to you as you have been around long before the earth was created and, odds are, you will be here long after I am gone.  Congratulations on that.  You will have more people to inflict torture on than will experience joy in heaven.  I hope you like doing that because I have something to tell you….

You’re worthless.  You are nothing compared to the God of creation.  You think you are sneaky prowling around like a lion yet you forget Who even allows you to walk on this earth.  You remember Job don’t you?  Who let you do that?  It was God.  You remember the time in the Garden when you so inconspicuously caused Eve and Adam to eat that fruit?  Who had control over you at that point?  It was God.  So go ahead but know that with each passing day the times of your rejoicing grows few.  Why?  Because the kingdom of God is among us.  That’s right!  Jesus Christ resisted you and still has power over you.  You cannot defeat the kingdom of God and you cannot defeat God Almighty.  There will come a day when God will destroy you ultimately but hat time is not now so count your victories right now because they are fleeting.  I am here to let you know that I am sick and tired of your incessant, ritualistic garbage.  I am telling you that there will be times you will creep into my life but you will not have power over me. 

I will make it my goal to ruin your existence and to embarrass you by showing how much Christ can do in this so-called “perverse generation.”  Be prepared for what you are about to witness because the way I see it, Christians have all the cards and they are stacked against you.  So run…if you can…but you can’t hide. 

Sincerely,

Robbie Mackenzie (Ex-follower of Satan but saved for 11 years!)

 Here is a good video on the same subject. 


Today I begin a 21 week Journey in the book of Job on Thursdays.  I am walking through the bible and on Thursdays I am studying the genre of poetry and so the first book is Job.  Thursdays will also be entitled “Theology Thursday” (an idea I stole from Small Town Youth Pastor) and will delve into things maybe a little deeper and more difficult to understand.  My hope and prayer is to probe your thinking and to challenge myself a little. 

A lot is occuring in this book and I do not have the time nor the space to introduce the Book of Job or even Hebrew Poetry for that matter.  I recommend John Hartley’s Commentary on Job for those issues. 

Today is Job 1-2 and a lot hit me this morning as I thought about what to write and what to think about and the more I do think about it the more I feel compelled to pray.  Pray about the unknowns and pray about the difficulties of life and the many “Job-esk” people who are out in this world right now.  So maybe before we start “theologizing,” it might be good to first of all do some “praying.” 

All is Lost (Job 1)

You cannot paint a more pious picture of a man than one painted of Job in 1:1-5.  how many of you fathers go to God not knowing if they have sinner but just in case you go anyways?  On top of that he was blameless, upright, feared God and turned away from evil.  You could argue that every aspect of Job was righteous.  If there was ever a man in Scripture who could be just like Jesus…Job was that man! 

1:6-12 is hard for me.  It is unfair from the standpoint of things unknown to me.  The bad part is that this divine encounter between Satan (the Adversary) and God is unannounced to Job.  He has no clue that his whole world is going to crumble.  While he is eating dinner, talking about life and laughing there is a storm at the door waiting to take everything he has!  Satan does this because he thinks it is so easy for Job to be like this because God, of course, has “hedged him in.” 

I feel the same way you know…it is pretty easy to worship God in America being hedged in by “freedoms” of religion.  In some aspects I feel Satan tempting all of us in that way. 

Job loses it all in 1:13-19.  We blink and we suffer in a moment’s time.  Suffering is not racist, sexist, judgmental and is probably the best example of an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Job’s response?  Mourning and prayer.  Job embodies both!

All is Really Lost (Job 2)

Murphy’s Law may not have been so named in Biblical times but the concept was alive and well.  Job’s health was attacked as a last ditch effort by Satan (who, by the way, is not mentioned at all after this in the book…why is that?).  Job won but at a cost…everything.  Job’s wife (Mrs. Job?) receives a bad reputation of which I think is unfair.  Keep in mind she lost her children too.  Keep in mind she lost all the money and the livestock too.  Keep in mind that the man she loved, the man she has shared intimate moments with, the man who she has slept with nightly for many years is now in physical, spiritual and emotional agony!  Cut her some slack.  Foolish…yes…but I would probably do the same thing if I lost Kaleb, Amelia, Madelyn and saw my wife in physical torture.  Cut her some slack. 

Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar…friends who were willing to sit with him and agonize (see picture above).  Watching your friends go through pain is not an easy task.  I have a friend right now who is going through an incredible amount of torture and it is so hard for me to say anything so I am simply compelled to sit and be with him. 

“For they saw his suffering was great…”

Literally in Hebrew, “For they saw the abundant pain grow!”

You may know of people who struggle and all we can do is pray for them and be with them.  We see their pain and…we weep.  No words…just weeping. 

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do we reconcile a God of love who allows something this painful to happen?
  2. In what ways can we place ourselves in Job’s context?
  3. What characteristics does Job have that call us to amazement? 
  4. What can we learn from Satan in this context?
  5. What are some things you are going through right now?
  6. Who do you need to reach out to right now to help?

Hope this blesses you!