Browsing Tag

Satan

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Using God

I really want to spend each blog post right now promoting Bible study and especially our new COMFORT study, but just a blurb here is warranted about the way women can be drawn into the lies of the world—lies that are issued in the name of spirituality, even placing God in the middle of the promotion of sin.

One blatant example I noticed this morning is something called “The Blessing between my Legs” conference that was held two weeks ago in Huntsville, Alabama at the Westin Conference Center. I know if you take a look here at the website or its attendant you tube videos, etc…, you will be amazed that any woman seeking God could possibly be drawn into such depths of uncleanness in the name of God-centered religion. (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-blessing-between-my-legs-womens-conference-2022-tickets-302014673017)

I hope the event was, as it appears, on the small and inconspicuous side. But, as I looked over this site and watched a youtube video promoting the event, I was reminded of lies with which we may be enticed to a world where sanctification is absent, while God is being “used” as the mouthpiece for promotion. 

1. It is blasphemous to say God gave me a womb to solidify my purpose. God gave me a purpose to engulf and consume all of my gifts, including the womb and its fruit. The purpose is His glorification (Is. 43:7). That order (encompassing purpose, first) is eternally important!

2. When I fail to identify my one true purpose (and first!)—His glorification—I can pretend that I am doing His will in any venue or walk of life. In other words, I can “make” my will be a part of His purpose. I can pretend. That’s pretty blatant in this quote from the website: This conference will literally WAKE UP the WOMAN in you that you have been praying for! Dr. Lady Chappell has pinned the BEAUTY, BABIES, BUSINESS, and BIBLE platform where women from ALL walks of life can connect and truly be EMPOWERED to be the modern day PROVERBS 31 woman! From the strip club to the boardroom, THIS is where The Blessing Between Your Legs LITERALLY gives you LIFE!!!!  

3. Sometimes women can do this in more subtle areas. While this ad is “off the charts”  I may decide I can bring him honor in a lifestyle or relationship that is oppositional to his commandments—a marriage that is not approved by His word, a career that takes my focus from my home and family, or a friendship that provides a constant temptation to seek the kingdom second or third. 

4. It’s important, always and in all ways (areas of life) to remember that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and that I can attach the name of God to any sin that I want to commit and the devil will deceive some people through my duplicity. The devil quoted scripture in the temptation of our Lord, Himself. Jesus was not deceived, but lesser men would have jumped from that pinnacle (Matthew 4:6). The devil is a master manipulator. 

5, We should be careful when we hear someone say, “I’ve been studying and I am now rejecting the old way of viewing this passage. My study has brought me to a new and better place of freedom and clarity and grace.” We should constantly examine the scriptures and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18). But just because someone claims to be smarter and more well-studied does not necessarily mean they have arrived at new truth. In fact, often it could be a sign of arrogance and a fall from steadfastness, as per this passage. 

6. It doesn’t take a trip all the way to the strip club to fall to the deceit that comes when we, as His women, forget our purpose!

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.

 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming (Col. 3:1-6).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

When People Disappoint

Sometimes people disappoint us. Sometimes we believe in, invest in, and become vulnerable to people who ultimately disappoint. That’s just a part of living because the devil is so busy in this old world. Sometimes he cannot get us by direct temptation. Sometimes he fails to get us to veer from truth, procrastinate righteousness or become apathetic to the cause of Christ, so he contaminates some strong part of our support system and, through the loss of some person or group of people we esteemed, he discourages us, erodes our faith in the Holy One, and sometimes tempts us to throw in the towel.

Maybe you have someone (or a group) in your life right now who is trying to beat down your zeal for righteousness. Let’s take some quick thoughts from scripture that are faith-sustaining. For today, let’s not wonder why God is not hearing our pleas but, instead, let’s remember these things:

  1. God’s timetable doesn’t always fit my immediate preference, but it is what benefits me in the long run. This is so important. That’s why we have so many passages about waiting on Him. His resolution is always worth the wait for His faithful people. It strikes my heart to think that even the persecuted prophet Jeremiah had to wait ten days for a word from the Lord (Jeremiah 42:7)  At least seven times in the Psalms only, we hear the words “Wait on the Lord.” Notice these words from Psalm 37. They are full of the promise that God gives the victory to those who faithfully wait. 

Wait on the Lord,

And keep His way,

And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

I have seen the wicked in great power,

And spreading himself like a native green tree.

Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;

Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;

For the future of that man is peace.

2. God’s methodology on the way to victory for righteous people doesn’t always fit my plan of victory. I’ve learned this so many times over in my six decades of life. I think it should happen a certain way. Then God slowly, but with precision, steps in and provides a plan that I could never have dreamed up in my most creative moments of plotting a course. His ways are higher than mine! (Is. 55:9—I love this passage!)

3. People, no matter how charismatic or apparently righteous they may be, are vulnerable to the devil, but God’s way is still perfect.  I am vulnerable. You are vulnerable. When people fail to walk in His ways (Yes, when I may fail to walk there), we should learn that consequences of sin are always worse than the sinner expects them to be. ALWAYS. That’s because we leave the perfect, stable, never-changing light of God and choose the dark path that has sin’s trap-doors and dragnets and faux rewards at every turn. We think we can navigate a path that promises an instant heaven while we remain unscathed. We think we can go on with life, normally, after experimentation with the devil’s temptation, but the path that promises an instant heaven delivers an eternal hell, with lots of casualties along the way.  Sometimes the consequences of sin reach out to those innocent people around the sinner. When I find myself affected, it’s important to remember that the hurt comes from sin; not from God. 

4. Prayer is not an instant release from pain. We know this in our minds, but our hearts want the immediate soothing of His peace. Daniel went into the lion’s den after praying. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found themselves in a very hot spot just after standing firmly with Jehovah. Jeremiah was in a pit and James was murdered. John the Baptist lost his head shortly after sending His message to the Advocate. Sometimes, the Advocacy renders, not immediate peace, but immediate problems that eventually lead to eternal peace. Sometimes the Advocacy renders, not immediate calming of circumstances, but chaos that gives muscle to spiritual goals. Sometimes the Advocacy—let’s face it—renders what seems like torture, tribulation and testing. But all of that pain brings something that can sustain us for an eternal reward (James 1).  I know there are readers who can attest to this even while walking now through the valleys that seem to have no “other side.” But there IS the other side of tribulation born of disappointment. 

While speaking to a friend, a mother of four, this morning whose world is being torn apart by the sin of someone in whom she trusted, I realized that there are many of us, who to some extent or another, are suffering collateral-damage-pain at the hands of the enemy.  We know, in our minds, that God is perfect. He has placed us in this testing ground to give us a large chance to glorify Him for a very short, sin-influenced lifetime—to even suffer pain at the hands of the devil, through other people—so that we can share in the glory that Jesus has obtained at the throne. We suffer so that we may know Him more perfectly!

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:10,11).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Nothing Outside His Control

As Glenn was leaving this morning, he said to me “Some days I can feel my heart pounding harder inside my chest.” 

I think we all have days like that. There are times, for all of us, in which we feel like our days’ activities and responsibilities have sped beyond our ability to calmly overtake them. It’s a feeling of control lost. Sometimes it turns into helplessness, throwing hands up, and sometimes even thinking “Why should I even try?” 

Of course, I’m not thinking I have more deadlines or responsibilities or opportunities than the average Jane. I’m just saying that, for all of us, there will be seasons of busy-ness that are larger than calendar space, times of stolen serenity or even heart hurts that make us contemplate reaching for the proverbial towel to throw in. 

For me right now it’s a basement that makes me cringe each time I go down there to the freezer or the treadmill or the book supply. Why did that other generation (the parents on both sides) have to leave us or move to much smaller quarters and how DID they accumulate this much stuff for which there seems to be no place? And why can’t I find any time to go through any of these stacks of boxes and books and drawers of furniture that are so intimidating to me in this part of life? And will the time not be very short until my kids are wondering the same thing? And shouldn’t I do something about that in a hurry, too? And while we’re needing to do all that, we’re also needing to go and take care of the parents— things they need today in their smaller quarters. And all the tasks that go on all the time—laundry, cooking, church activities ( they’re out the wazoo in a good way right now)—just keep happening. 

Then there’s the heart hurts of people around me —-things over which I have not one iota of control—things that I’ve taken into my own heart. I can release them temporarily in prayer, but my weakness is that I let them creep back in; I cannot master Matthew 6:25-33. Isn’t it interesting that 1 Peter 5:7, that tells us to cast our care on God, immediately precedes that statement about the devil prowling about seeking whom He may devour? Can it be that when I fail to release my burdens to Him, that the devil sees my hurting shoulders—realizes my hands are full and that I might not be prepared to wield the sword of the Spirit against his wiles—and so he attacks at my most vulnerable time?! I think so! May I learn to put down the stuff that I cannot use and pick up the sword!

The Word champions it all if we let it. Listen to the control in this passage I came across this morning in Hebrews 2: 

…or it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

I love that the ESV says there that nothing was left outside His control. My Savior who is now crowned with glory and honor has been given sovereignty over all things. Though He will not make me or any human do His will for now, there’s coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. There’s coming a day when there will be no basement, no plunder, no furniture, no heart hurts and no devil prowling. That day is, by any standard and for any living person, relatively soon.

I want to be sure that, while I’m waiting for that day, that I never forget its relevance to the little pressure cooker in which I can put myself. May I never let my pride, my possessions, my schedule, my family, or any self-deception keep me from surrendering to the sovereign One every single precious day of this short life. Ironically, when I turn down the pressure cooker and turn up the prayer and study, the tasks start morphing into opportunities, the hurts into growth; the basement starts to become pretty irrelevant. (The kids can clean that up one day, if I never get to it. That’s what we just did for two packed houses and garages, and a barn and a couple of workshops. They might get a turn, too! =))

This life is short. I want to savor every day.  As my Maggie, who’s two,  says “I’m going to fight that ole’ Satan, so he will start running away!”

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Resist means to set one’s self against. May I put all my weight into that push today!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #23: Proverbs 11:19–Talking too Much

 

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

 

My Favorite Proverbs:  The Danger of Talking too Much (Proverbs 11:19)

 “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

The devil must delight in the guilt a Christian feels when he or she suffers the consequences of words that should never have been spoken. This proverb simply says that if we want to sin more, we should talk more.  “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking” is a pretty good commentary on the history of humans. Read James 3:1-12. Verse five says, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”  A book of cardboard matches can destroy a forest, and words can destroy relationships, break hearts, and destroy churches. One of the strongest verses in the New Testament is a warning about our tongues: “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless (Ja. 1:26). This is serious and applicable to every one of us.

I suppose as we reflect on our lives there are few of us who have no regrets over things we’ve said. Oh, what we’d do for the privilege of taking them back—words spoken in anger or haste or ill will.  I’m so thankful for a merciful Father who “remembers our frame,” and that we are “dust” (Psa. 103:14).  Most of us need forgiveness for wrong words we’ve spoken.

For today, consider times we should be quiet and “restrain our lips.”

1. When our words to members of the opposite sex will somehow compromise our marriages.

2.  When we contemplate God.  “Be still and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10).

3.  When we are frustrated with our spouses’ petty weaknesses. 

4.  When we know of bit of unseemly information about someone and are tempted to repeat it.

5.  When we feel pressure to tell a lie.

6.  When someone else is talking.

7.  When, for whatever reason, our emotions are not balanced and the chance of saying the wrong thing—which one is apt to regret later— is greatly increased.

8.  When it is time to listen. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (Ja. 1:19).

Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy

Tonight’s short passage is 2 Samuel 11:12,13.

  1. After reviewing what happened in last night’s passage, explain to your children the next thing David did to try to get Uriah to go home to his own bed with Bathsheba. He got him drunk. Let’s notice a couple of lessons we learn from this idea that David had.
  2. First, it was a very bad idea. God is always displeased when men try to get other people to drink alcoholic beverages. Make sure that you emphasize that God is displeased when we put into our bodies anything that will cause us to be unable to think clearly and make good decisions. He does not want us to encourage anyone else to drink and he certainly does not want us to trick someone into becoming drunk. This is probably what David did here. He wanted Uriah to go home and he probably would have had him carried to his bed where Bathsheba was if he could have gotten him drunk enough. Turn to Habakkuk 2:15 and read what it says about a man who offers another man beverage alcohol. Do you think David was putting shame on his own glory? (He was a glorious king, but right now he was doing something shameful.)
  3. Next, it is important to show your kids the reason that David wanted Uriah to drink. It is because, when people drink beer or wine or whisky, etc… (my grandchildren call it booze), they do things that they otherwise would not do. They do wrong and loose things that they would otherwise be embarrassed to do. You might tell your children that sometimes people who are drunk take off their clothes in public or say things that they would be embarrassed to say if they were not drinking. Uriah had already shown David that he would not go down to His house when his men were at war. But David thought maybe he could get him to do it if he was drunk. David knew what we all should recognize. Drinking is wrong and dangerous because it makes us forget the way we want to behave and it makes us do things we would never otherwise do. Get each of your young children to promise you, at this point, that they will never in their lifetimes drink “booze” or beer or whisky. Ask your older children if they can remember any other time in scripture when someone did something very bad because he was drunk. Maybe they may remember Noah (Genesis 9) or Lot (Genesis 19) or King Ahasuerus (Esther 1).
  4. But David’s plan failed. “Do you think David is starting to worry that Uriah and everybody else will find out that he stole Uriah’s wife and took her to his own room and pretended that she was his wife? I think that David is probably having a hard time sleeping at night. I think he is worrying now that Uriah is going to know that he has not acted like a good man should act. What do you think David should do? David should repent”… (Remind them that repent means to change your mind and go a different direction)… “and tell God that he is sorry. Then he should tell Uriah what he has done and that he is sorry. Then he should tell Bathsheba that he is sorry that he brought her to his palace that night. Then he should tell his messengers who went to get her that He is sorry he asked them to do that. But instead, as we will find out tomorrow night, David just kept on getting deeper and deeper into sin.”
  5. Next, tell your children that the devil tries very hard to make us believe that drinking beer is a lot of fun. He puts smiling people drinking beer on billboards on the highway. In magazines, the beer parties look like everyone is laughing and having a great time. Make sure you emphasize that this picture is what the devil would like us to see. But the real picture is daddies who end up not being able to give their children the things they need because they have  spent all their money on beer. The real picture is people making very bad choices and hurting other people because they got drunk. The real picture is homes breaking up and the real picture is people getting killed in car accidents because people were driving drunk. Read Proverbs 20:1 to your children and talk about what it means. Google “beer commercials” and find one to show your children in which the devil is making drinking look fun. (You can probably find one about football or a pizza party or a celebration…whatever you think  would catch your children’s interest.)  See if your children can tell you some of the ways the devil is deceiving in the commercial that you chose. Encourage them to remember all of their lives that the devil lies when he tries to get people to drink.

Quote the KidSing rule: Do the right thing.

Pray with your children.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: A Snake on the Porch

We live in the country. THIS week…A fat lizard greeting me inside my kitchen gate each time I come home, a fox and her three babies in the backyard, two chimney bird-nest smoke-outs, two mice caught in traps and an armadillo on Gurley Pike that I tried to miss, but just could not. (Those awkward things just cannot get out of the way, but I still will always have a little soft spot for them because of Rafaella Gabriela and Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla and Albert Andreas Armadillo, who found an aardvark in Schoolhouse Rocks!) When I picked up my mop wringer on my screened-in porch to find a suh-suh-snake, I’d just about reached my critter-quota for this week! (I’m only terrified of two kinds of snakes—dead ones and live ones.) This is the porch that’s just off both my dining room and my bedroom. The snake was lying just outside the door that I’ve left open on many a spring and autumn night. If I live in this house till my dying day, I will never sleep with that door open again—EVER! 

My faithful husband, who already had a lunch appointment, cancelled it and drove the thirty minutes home to decapitate and then discard the still-moving beast. 

I cannot figure out why I am so afraid of even non-venomous serpents. I don’t know why I thought of him last as I fell asleep at about one a.m. last night or why he popped into my head when I first woke up and lay there staring through the glass at that porch floor that will probably not ever get mopped again; at least not this year. 

Glenn tried to figure that out yesterday over lunch. “Did you have a big traumatic snake experience when you were little?” 

“I guess not except that time I was fishing with my grandmother and that snake slithered by us on the bank.”

“What did you do?”

“I climbed up in the bed of my grandfather’s pick-up truck, along with my aged grandmother, and yelled, with all of the volume I (we) could summon, across Hollis’s lake (My grandad always fished on the other side, probably exactly for the volume reason…) for him to come around there and “save” us, which he did….But I don’t think that was really traumatic, do you?”

My husband, ever the valiant and forbearing one, overlooking my reptile trepidation (really, phobia), said “Well, I think God, maybe, placed in us an aversion to the snake. After all, it was the snake in which the devil first came to tempt.”

Now that was very kind of him to give the fright that will haunt my dreams for several weeks now, a spiritual connotation, when, actually, I’m thinking all material…”You know, a condo downtown with a paved front yard might be better than this rambling old house in this forest,” … “A big and sealed screen door might be good beside our bed, here, even though the porch is already screened in,” … “ And could we caulk those porch floorboards?” 

But, really…I hope I can be as afraid of the Genesis 3 snake as I was (am) of that one Glenn killed out on the porch. I know Jesus already crushed his head at Calvary (Genesis 3:15), taking away his power over my purchased soul. But still…Jesus wants me to fear him. The serpent is still moving around in our world today (I Peter 5:8) . May I have a healthy fear of the snake that can kill both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). May I call for reinforcements from the One who is stronger than I, when I find myself spiritually paralyzed by that serpent. And may I keep the door closed between me and that snake.  I don’t want to be asleep while that crafty (Gen 3:1) and venomous snake slithers into my house. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “We Have Contained Them…”

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 12: French troops patrol around the Eifel Tower on January 12, 2015 in Paris, France. France is set to deploy 10,000 troops to boost security following last week's deadly attacks while also mobilizing thousands of police to patrol Jewish schools and synagogues. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) 

The U.S. quote of the week has to be “We have contained them”.  It was President Barack Obama speaking with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. The subject of this containment? ISIS. And this statement was made only a few hours prior to the multiple attacks and carnage that awakened Paris to the horrific reality that 128 innocent citizens had been killed by ISIS terrorists and scores of others wounded.

This is not a political post, but ISIS did not look “contained” as it lit up the city with ambulance and police vehicle lights and as civilians who could still mobilize literally ran for their lives to places they only hoped would be safe from the carefully planned and executed destruction last Friday night in Paris.

That’s the way it is with our spiritual enemy Satan. He is not the kind of enemy we can, with one blast of spiritual energy, soundly defeat and bury forever. Sometimes we think we’ve “contained” him and, if we do, that’s the very time he is able to do the most damage to us…claim the most spiritual carnage. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). If it was flesh and blood, we could kill it and win. It’s principalities and powers. It’s rulers of the darkness of this world. It’s spiritual wickedness in high places. Fighting the devil is a lot like fighting ISIS, only on a massively huge scale. He’s an enemy that we can’t pin down, in this lifetime. In fact, even more resilient than ISIS, the devil is always seeking whom he may devour.(I Peter 5:8). I can never, in this world, say “The devil is contained. He is no longer a problem for me.” In fact, when I begin to feel smug in his containment and in my abilities, that’s when He’s more likely to attack.  Thus Paul’s warning in I Corinthians 10:12: “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” He (Paul) knew that even he, the chosen apostle, had to wrestle constantly to contain Satan—to keep him from reducing the fighting soldier to a “castaway” (I Corinthians 9:27).

Maybe the scariest part about the attacks in Paris for those of us who live on this side of the Atlantic is the statement often found on ISIS-related sites: “American blood tastes the best and we will taste it soon.”  I do not want to ever give an ISIS terrorist the satisfaction or impetus that comes with knowing that  Americans are fearful. But the obvious mood of America must now be, in spite of any words about containment, one of great trepidation. We are an obvious target and we pray that our leaders will find ways to protect U.S citizens from this evil.

The spiritual parallel is glaring. Christians are the target of our enemy, the devil. He is not spending his resources and time trying to tempt those who are already under his power. He wants the blood that is best. He wants those who have the blood of his arch enemy, Jesus Christ.

He wants you and me. He wants our marriages. He wants our children. He wants our money. He wants our time. In fact, he wants me to be routinely going about my life—to the soccer matches, to the restaurants, to the concerts—and even to worship. He wants my ears to be dulled to his blasts and my senses to be secure thinking his attacks are just “part of the noise” that is my everyday routine—until I am a part of the eternal carnage…until my life is done and his destruction has no reversal.

I do not know that the powers-that-be in America are always wise enough to recognize and deter the destructive power of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. But I DO know that my spiritual leader is wise and strong enough to have already ultimately defeated His enemy, Satan. The devil will not take down the kingdom of Christ. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:16). But Satan can still destroy people who are in that kingdom and he would like to sift us a wheat (Luke 22:31). It’s important to remember if you are in the kingdom, you are targeted by the devil. You have the blood that tastes best to his diabolical senses. Yes, he is powerful Yes, he is unthinkably evil. Yes, he is that roaring lion. But your Lion, the Lion of Judah  (Revelation 5:5) is stronger and has already won the war on terror with the Devil. So don’t be a casualty in a war that’s already been decided. Be strong and courageous. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and discipline (II Timothy 1:7). Soldier on!