Six things Satan cannot do to rob your faith!

Satan cannot force you to sin, it is your choice. “It’s my own lusts, desires, and selfish wants that make sin appealing enough to cause me to step into it. The more I justify my desires and wants, the more I will want to sin in order to get them” (James 1:13-15, NIV). My free will causes me to sin. The devil can’t make me do anything. Satan may place a bad idea in front of me, but it’s my own fault if I step into it. Sometimes, I only see the full consequences after I fall.
Satan cannot take away your will to grow your faith. God will always give you the power to withstand temptation when you ask Him. But you need to remember to pray and ask God for that strength. I can sometimes think that I’m standing strong when I’m actually standing in my own pride and determination. Then, I will soon fall. But when I lean on God and His strength, He is faithful to help me to walk right on by any temptations that threaten me (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
Satan cannot continue harassing your faith once you have rejected and resisted him. Satan can whisper that I deserve better; he can invite me to get what I want the quickest, easiest way possible. He can even make lies sound truthful. However, once I make up my mind that I’m going to do it God’s way, Jesus will give me the power to follow through with my commitment and Satan has to flee. James 4:7 says that when I submit myself to God and resist Satan’s schemes, he will flee.
Once I embrace Christ by faith, Satan cannot control me anymore. When I allowed God into my soul, He locked the door behind Him. I have to say yes to Satan’s whispers, lies, and temptations in order for them to have any power in my life. Unfortunately, sometimes I do still agree with those lies—at least in a particular moment. But even after I’ve stepped in the wrong direction, I can retreat, repent, and head back to the One that my soul really loves.
Satan cannot steal your faith. Job lost everything: friends, kids, wife, status, and health, but he never lost his faith in God. Sure, he had a lot of questions. He also didn’t understand why God had allowed such things. But he stayed faithful to God. When I put on the entire armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:13-17), I am protected by a belt of truth as well as God’s righteousness. Shoes of peace cover my feet and help me to share the good news. A shield of faith stops arrows of lies that come at me. A helmet of salvation gives me confidence to go forward. And God’s Word is given to me as ammunition. Then, I can stand firm against Satan’s lies.
Satan cannot rob you of God’s love and forgiveness. Although I am fighting in the great battle of good vs. evil, I am able to hold my ground because God is on my side. God gives me eternal life and I will never perish. Problems will arise in my life, but in the long run they will seem much smaller. No one can snatch me away from God’s love (including Satan), for my Father in Heaven is more powerful than anyone or anything. His Hand will hold me securely (John 10:28-29).

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Lord, I’m concerned about my faith. How can I learn to love you more?

If you are feeling this way, you have already begun the journey towards a deeper faith and abiding love for God. First, you have admitted that you feel a “faith problem” has kept you from the love you desperately desire. And second, you recognize that the remedy is learning how to love God in a deeper, more profound, way. In this spiritual conundrum you may be tempted to feel you are all alone, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most, if not all, Christians feel this way from time to time. So, “buckle up” for a mini-journey into the indescribable quest of knowing and loving God more.
 
It all begins with delight. The Christian life the New Testament describes simply cannot be lived if our hearts do not love and treasure God.
 
No one sells all they own for a field, unless it holds a much more valuable treasure (Matthew 13:44).
 
No one forsakes sin to trust and obey Jesus, unless his salvation holds out far more pleasure than sin (Luke 19:8–10).
 
No one will — and no one can — draw near to God without believing He richly rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
 
No one counts their own righteousness as loss, unless they believe Jesus’s righteousness is the only thing that grants him the inexpressible joy of knowing the Father (Philippians 3:9–10).
 
No one leaves “houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands” for Jesus’s sake without the incentive of a far greater reward (Matthew 19:29).
No one willingly suffers for Jesus’s sake, unless he believes his afflictions aren’t worthy to be compared with the eternal weight of glory awaiting him (2 Corinthians 4:17).
 
You might be discouraged at this point, because your capacity to delight in God seems so small. Don’t despair or beat yourself up with condemnation. I feel the same way, and so does every Christian I’ve ever met. We all need and want more love for God.
And here’s the great good news: God wants to enlarge our capacity for joy-filled love for Him. He expresses this clearly through prayers in Scripture. The apostle Paul loves to pray for more, both for himself and for his churches. Here’s how he prayed for the Philippians: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11, NIV).
We are not destined to live the rest of our lives with small love and small faith. God wants more for us, and he wants us to ask Him for it with persistence. “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need. “Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open” (Luke 11:8–9, The Message). So, let’s ask and not lose heart, and He will answer our prayer! (Luke 18:1).

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If you are fearful of the storms of life, how do you feel about the calm?

Recently a celebrated and admired life-coach to the rich and famous identified the greatest barrier to success to be fear of failure. Fear of change, fear of failure, and even fear of success sometimes paralyzes people keeping them from the goals they desire. For example, the “millennial” experiences fear of being independent from family to the extent that they avoid opportunities for advancement and shun independence. Likewise, parents are sometimes are fearful that their children will no longer love them if they are disciplined, so they try to be best friends instead. In either case, fear causes failure.
During the ministry of Christ, we witness first-hand just how powerful a force fear can be in people’s lives. In Mark 4:35-41 we learn of an occasion in which the Disciples and Jesus found themselves traveling at night across the Sea of Galilee when a storm appeared. This sudden storm, common to the region, came about quickly when “there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat” (Mark 4:37, NASB).
The word translated “gale” refers to the momentum of the storm as that similar to a mighty whirlwind, or hurricane. Needless to say, the storm Jesus and his disciples experienced was likely the fiercest , most dangerous, one they had ever seen. It’s no wonder Jesus inquired of them after they had awakened him from sleep, “why are you so afraid?” Clearly, they were terrified about the storm occurring outside the boat and were nearly paralyzed with fear.
The surreal scene unfolds as the Lord of the universe commands the wind and the waves to “be still.” We know from the language used that the calm that occurred was immediate, and complete. Not a ripple of water stirred in the Sea after Jesus’ command. It is within the calm of the moment that faith came into focus, or lack thereof.
It is interesting that Jesus places the blame of their fear on a lack of faith. He said emphatically, “do you still have no faith?” After Jesus said this to his Disciples, it says that they became “very much” afraid. In other words, the storm that happened outside the boat caused them to be afraid, but it was the reality that the one who is greater than the storm was, in fact, inside the boat!
Fear arises out of impending peril from a hurricane-force storm, but it also arises out of the realization that the same one who created the elements themselves, even the storm, is actually in the boat with us! What does this mean practically for me, and the storms of my life?
 
Fear causes stunted spiritual growth. Jesus said, “why do you still have no faith” (Mark 4:40, NASB).
Fear keeps us from trusting in Jesus. When we experience storms, we fail to trust in him to see us through. The “calm” he provides reveals the awesome power of God to save.
 
Fear prevents us from reaching our full potential. Whether you are afraid of the storm, or even the one who calms the storm, success in life depends on a deep abiding faith.
The truth is that fear keeps us from experiencing not only respite from the storms of our lives, but more importantly, it keeps us from true faith in the one who calms the storms. The Lord said, “fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB).

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Uh oh! I think Satan may have “friended” me on Facebook!

Although social media has no doubt changed the way we think and live, but how beneficial is that for those in Christ? Social media can be an effective platform for the spread of the gospel. There are plenty of Christ-centered resources in the online community that I use on a daily basis to help me grow spiritually. But if we’re honest, we probably spend a small portion of our time advancing our spiritual growth, while the rest is spent on aimless scrolling. We spend hours a day consuming endless information, pictures, and videos without any safeguard for our minds. For Christians, this can become dangerous territory. After all, Satan is described as going about like “a lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Satan uses Facebook to destroy your marriage. It starts with a “like” here, and a “like” there. She’s only a friend. You justify the innocent interaction of the “like” button because it doesn’t cross any solid lines. Sooner or later you are hiding conversations from your spouse. Before you know it, you’re involved in a mental, perhaps even a physical affair. Many studies show that Facebook is the most common place that an affair starts.
Satan uses Facebook to dominate your thoughts. Aimlessly scrolling through the mind-numbing newsfeed is one of the most dangerous things a Christian can do. We live in a pornographic culture and it is almost impossible to avoid while scrolling. Couple that with the ease of giving into lustful thoughts and it’s a disaster for holy living. The temptation to scroll back up for one more look is even more dangerous because it’s privately done. Satan will whisper that it’s okay to look because there’s no harm. Who’s going to know? It can be your little pet sin. Matthew 5:8 tells us that the “pure in heart will see God!” Keep your heart pure and fixed on the Father. Get rid of anything that might hinder that. It’s absolutely worth it, and absolutely deadly if you don’t. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7, NIV).
Satan uses Facebook to occupy all your time. Social media is a very handy tool that Satan uses to rip your attention and affection from God. If you compare your daily amount of time spent on Facebook to prayer, how does it measure up? Psalm 1 tells us the blessed man meditates day and night on the Word of God. How can we know what to pray unless we meditate on His Word? How can we read the Word, much less meditate on it day and night if we’re constantly scrolling through social media? We’re simply choosing the pleasures of this world rather than spending time with the God of the universe. It’s that simple. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, NIV).
Satan uses Facebook to create self-worship. I don’t mean devil worshiping as in pentagrams, black robes, or any of that garbage. What I’m talking about is much more subtle and inward-focused. Social media can train us to worship the idol of self. We essentially create mini shrines of ourselves, striving for praise via the almighty “like.” Satan wants you focused on yourself. If you’re inward-focused, you won’t be focused on Jesus. Satan wants your source of self-worth to only be found in the empty praise and attention of others, not the atoning blood of Christ. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, NIV).
Facebook is your friend when you use it to God’s glory. It should never be the place to air out personal grievances, to say things in the cyber-world you wouldn’t say face to face, and certainly not the place to have an illicit affair. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul tells us to glorify God in whatever we do. This includes social media. We can either wield Facebook for God’s glory, or Satan’s.

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A hidden king and a pool of blood!

So, what’s in a name? Expecting couples scour the internet looking not just for a name for their new edition, but more precisely, the perfect name. Girl’s names, boy’s names, all have something in common. They not only identify the recipient, but also describe them. Given my last name (“Price”), we were encouraged to name our child “Half (Price),” or “Sale (Price),” by not-so-funny friends. But, given the history of mankind, there are a couple of names widely avoided by those “in the know.” Few people would name their little girl “Jezebel,” or their son “Ahab,” for example. This wicked pair were rightly regarded as the evilest pair ever to rule Israel.
 
It was the prophet Elijah who first exposed their wickedness, but others would soon follow suit. Their reputation, and their wickedness, was evident for all to see. It’s no wonder Elijah took such a visible stand against them. When Elijah pronounced God’s judgement on them, though they were at the height of their power, he forever sealed their fate.
 
King Ahab devised a scheme in which he could be hidden, at least to the enemy. He struck a deal with Jehoshaaphat, King of Judah, wherein he would disguise himself to the enemy. The enemy then, armed for battle, were not looking for a common soldier, but only the king himself. Ironically, when the armies of the king of Aram saw Jehoshaaphat dressed in his royal clothing, they turned to attack him, but when he “cried out” (surrendered), they spared his life because he wasn’t Ahab, the king of Israel.
Ahab’s scheme to remain hidden, however, didn’t fool the armies against him. A marksman took his bow and shot at random a Soldier that just so happened to be king Ahab himself. It was just a crack in his armor that did him in, but once the arrow hit its target there was no hope for survival. Here’s the gruesome part. King Ahab, clutching to life, directed his chariot to retreat where he spent the whole day bleeding to death. The Bible says that “he died at evening, and the blood from his wound ran down his body to the floor of the chariot. Ahab died in a pool of his own blood” (1 Kings 22:35, NASB).
It gets even worse. After his death, his blood-soaked chariot was brought to the pool of Samaria where the “dogs licked his blood” (1 Kings 22:38, NASB). To add insult to injury, this particular pool was the location where the prostitutes bathed. How’s that for a tragic end to a despicable life? What do we learn from the death of a wicked king? First, no one can escape the judgement of God for nothing is hidden from Him. Second, no one can escape the consequences of a wicked life. And third, the bloody aftermath of wickedness affects everyone, even the innocent.
What is God telling us in this odd, but all too real, tale? Is it simply that the wicked will be punished and suffer for their sins? Or, is there something to this whole pool of blood thing?
I’m reminded of another person on a different afternoon, in a place not too awfully far from the pool of Samaria. He was the crucified innocent lamb, but His blood was spilt not for a single sin of His own. His blood dripped, then poured, from His body until he breathed His last. But this King of Kings is not hidden, nor is He guilty. By His blood, we are cleansed. We gather at the “pool” of the cross and partake in His salvation. And, this is not hidden! It is a spectacle of grace and the fulfillment of a sacred promise.

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The Shiloh Supper: A call to impatient praise!

It was more than a meal, it was a yearly feast at Shiloh where Elkanah had brought his two wives, Phinennah and Hannah, for a sacrifice. In the course of tradition, Elkanah gave a portion of food to his wife who had bourn him sons, but to Hannah who hadn’t, he gave a double portion. Vexed as she was because of her barrenness, Hannah could not complete her supper at Shiloh, and instead, left the table to retreat to a place of prayer. Surely the Lord would hear her prayer of anguish and bless her accordingly.
 
While in surrendered prayer to the Father, she prayed in silence moving only her lips to convey her requests to God. Eli, who had been watching nearby, assumed she was drunk for only the righteous pray out loud. When confronted she answered his charge and clarified her intentions.
She had prayed these words to the Father: “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11, NIV). What an audacious request during what most would consider the most inopportune moments. The reality of her circumstance so troubled her heart that she couldn’t fully participate in the Shiloh supper. She had been given a double portion because of the unfairness of her predicament and was even accused of being intoxicated. At this point in the narrative should we feel sorry for her, or, question the decision to exchange tradition for personal gain?
When we find ourselves broken and in desperate need of an answer from God, what are we to do? Should we pretend and go through the motions of faithfulness, or, do what Hannah did?
As we “unpack” this narrative we are faced with some obvious truths. First, life moves on regardless of our personal anguish. Second, depression is a normal human response to anxiety. And third, God is the appropriate object of worship and recipient of praise even when the answer seems elusive. Jesus instructs His children to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-8, NIV).
James, the half-brother of Jesus, said about the subject of persistence: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7, NIV). It makes a difference what you believe when you pray. If you believe that God is able, but also that He is willing, your persistent prayer will be answered.
Hannah received an answer to her impatient prayer because it was important to her to be heard, but also answered. Her faith commitment to dedicate her child to the Lord should He answer her prayer is much more than a down payment of desire. In other words, it’s not that she wanted it so badly, it’s that the faith of her heart depended on God to gift her by grace.
Have a persistent prayer? Step away from the table, offer God the desires of your heart, and see what He does in response.

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