To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘The Devil’ Category

Depression (Again) (8)

The righteous person may have many troubles (Ps. 34:19a) is the observation of David and leads us to ponder upon the afflictions that specifically attach themselves to those who believe in Christ unto righteousness. Someone mentioned to me how Christians suffer particularly in the mental and emotional realm because of the workings of the devil in this arena.

Satan is very clever in using the vulnerabilities of our minds to his nefarious ends. Certainly there have been times during my recent depression episode when I have felt the reality of being bombarded by all kinds of derailed and pernicious thoughts and attitudes. Notwithstanding the vagaries of my mental state that has led to this, I am persuaded that demonic forces love to exploit these weaknesses so as to assail us and bring us down. I have felt that.

Therefore, i need to be aware that there are some very real spiritual matters happening. And I need to take heed to Scriptures which can garrison me from attack and collapse through demonic activity:

  • submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (james 4:7)
  • take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Eph. 6:14b)
  • we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5)

would be some of those scriptures.

Finally let us rejoice that

  • we have a Saviour who prays in John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. Our beloved Lord Jesus is praying for us in all our mental and emotional vulnerabilities
  • that Psalm 34:19 goes on to say but the Lord delivers him from them all. 

 

Satanic Attack

Yesterday was a strange day, It had many joys including a beautiful meal out for May Lin and myself with a friend. And yet it was a day when I sensed attack and oppression. I felt deep in my being the onslaught of the evil. one. Is this all in my mind or is it real? The happenings focussed on some relationship difficulty, physical discomfort, being hammered in my soul about an action I had taken and great perplexity over certain matters. All seemed to suddenly arise.

The Sons of Korah in Psalm 42 and 43 are working through the issues of the voyage of faith amidst difficulty and oppression of soul. So we read:

I say to God my Rock,
    ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?’     (Ps. 42:9)

and

You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?       (Ps. 43:2)

In working things through he makes the three-fold affirmation (see Ps. 42:5 and 11 and Ps. 43:5)

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

And so must we. In the voyage of faith many struggles come. Sometimes they are very much outside of ourselves. At other times they are deep in our souls. Whatever and wherever they are we must look to the Lord and trust in Him.

Finally one scripture that greatly encourages me in these times is:

The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all      (Ps. 34:19)

Praise God for the “all” there.

Finally and most pertinently, if you feel constrained in these matters please pray for me. Please pray for deliverance, protection and strengthening of soul in faith as I put my hope in God. Praise be to the Lord taht thsi is not in vain because Christ Jesus our hope (1 Tim. 1:3c) has come

Are Our Churches Satanic?

In Matthew 16:21-23 we read,

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’

Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”

The key issue I want to draw attention to here is how our Saviour rebuked Peter as Satan, because Peter had in mind human concerns and not the concerns of God. To have merely human concerns when we should have godly concerns is satanic.

This raises the question as to whether in our churches we can be satanic in our approach to our community life. Picking up from the words of our Lord to Peter, we are satanic when we are minding the ways of man, when we should be minding the ways of God. When we come to deal with matters in the church, and our approach is according to business reasoning or pure expediency, then we are minding the ways of man; we are being Satanic.

Why is it Satanic? It is Satanic because it harmonizes with the way of the adversary. The word “Satan” is derived from a word meaning adversary.

How do we make sure that we are being godly and not Satanic? We do so by making sure that we stick to the Word of God. This is because the Word of God reveals the mind of God. And we use the Word of God in a godly way. We do this by being faithful to scripture and relentlessly seeking the Lord’s Spirit to illuminate the Word.

So when we face issues, we keep ourselves from being satanic by always saying, ‘Consult God’s instruction  and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to the Word, they have no light of dawn.’ (Is. 8:10).

(Originally published at Venabling on 10th September 2013)

When The Battle Starts.

In Nehemiah the battle starts when Nehemiah starts with the task of rebuilding the wall. Up until then there is no awareness of the existence of any enemies. However, when Nehemiah starts to investigate the state of the walls of Jerusalem, or rather the state of the non-walls of Jerusalem, then the enemies suddenly appear. So we read in Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. ‘What is this you are doing?’ they asked. ‘Are you rebelling against the king?’

This reminds us that a dead church with nothing going on generally is a calm church. Dead churches very often have few problems. Dead churches are ignored by the devil. This is because they pose little threat to his dominion. But when people start to step up to serve the Lord and are committed to seeing things move forward then we will see the forces of darkness enlivened to oppose what God is doing.

Let us be encouraged then when we see difficulty and opposition in the church and realise it may well be that we are going the right way. And let us respond with Nehemiah and say to our enemies whether they be human beings or spirit beings ‘The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it’ (Neh. 2:20).

The Devil

Here is an article recently placed on the Feltham Evangelical Church website about Satan.

The Devil

The devil is real. He really does exist. Scripture testifies to this and Christian experience testifies also. In fact we are victims of a great delusion if we believe that there is no such being as the devil. On the other hand others have exposed themselves to great danger by becoming obsessed with all things evil. For us as Christians we should make sure that we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11b) whilst not becoming obsessed with the devil. Let us then seek to learn a few things about this mighty, but evil anti-God, anti-Christ and anti-Christian being.

Who is he?

We can learn something of who the devil is from the names attributed to him in scripture:

  1. The devil means the accuser or slanderer. He roams around seeking to bring accusation against anything or anyone who belongs to God. So concerning Job he said to God that Job only trusted God because of the benefits he got out of such a situation (see Job 1)

  2. Satan means adversary. He stands firmly and bitterly opposed to everything that is of God.

There is a summary of who he is when an end-time scene is described in Revelation 12:7. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Where did he come from?

Many understand two passages in the old testament as using historical events to pictorially describe the origin of Satan. These are Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:1-19. From these passages we learn that the evil one was once an angelic being dwelling on the mountain of God, walking back and forth in the midst of fiery stones and perfect in his ways (Ez. 28:14-15a). However, through pride he fell. He wanted to be like God and thereby iniquity was found in him (Is. 14:14 and Ez 28:15b).

What is he doing now?

Scripture says that there is an eternal principle that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23a). The devil sinned and thereby he fell into death. Subsequent thereto, he has been moving to seek to deny spiritual life wherever he can. He longs that all would live in the realm of death The Holy Spirit actually says that he has the power of death (Heb. 2:14b). Moreover he has lots of experience in this terrible work. Since the garden of Eden when he, through the serpent, deceived Eve he has been leading people into death. Romans 5:12b says that consequent to the fall death spread to all men.

To be more specific about the work of the devil we have to be aware that true life is possessed and experienced by walking in the way of God. One sub-plot to the Bible story is that of Satan relentlessly works to drive people from the path of God. So in 1 Chron. 21:1 he tempts David to number the people; in Zech. 3:1 he resists Joshua the High Priest and most significantly in the wilderness he seeks to drive the Lord Jesus from the way of God, the way which would lead to our salvation, with a trio of vicious temptations (see Luke 4:1-13).

Is he on his own?

No. He has with him an unnumbered host of demons. These are the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode whom God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgement of the last day. They now operate as his servants.

How does Satan affect our lives?

He is there seeking to hinder us just as he did Paul when Paul desired to go to Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:18b). More specifically he seeks to prevent us going in the way of the LORD. So if we are seeking to live for the LORD our lives will be characterised by the wrestling of Eph. 6:12a. Moreover we are in a battle against all the demonic hosts and we cannot survive in our own strength. We need to continually put on the whole armour of God as it is described in Eph. 6:13-20. Armourless Christians are vulnerable Christians.

As members of the army of God then let us rally to the cause of our Father. Let us stand against our enemy. Only when we leave the scene of this world will we be free from the attacks of enemy forces.

We must remember, though, that although Satan is powerful our God is more powerful. Satan does not know everything; he cannot be everywhere at once and he has limited power. Our God is the victor. And so thanks be unto our God who always causes us to triumph in and through our LORD Jesus Christ (see 2 Cor. 2:14).

(Adapted from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter: October 2004)

The Cost is too High

A pastor that I know was discussing with a friend, the issue of pastoral ministry. He mentioned that he felt one of his sons seemed to have the abilities for serving as a pastor. However, he felt a certain degree of apprehension about this.. The reason was expressed in the words “the cost is too high”.

These words have rested in my mind and I have mused on them over the years. I don’t know what he was specifically referring to. However, when the intensity of ministry comes drilling into my soul I ponder upon the cost of serving in a pastoral capacity.

As the heart of the situation is the fact that Satan wants to take out the leaders first. We heard this fine message at Feltham, which is here, from Basil Howlett earlier in the year. This was one of the themes he picked on; that is how Satan attacks leaders

So there are times when the going seems tough. However, we look forward to that day when we stand before the Master. Oh what it might be to hear any words of appreciation from him. It almost seems impossible. But such is the case for those who remains faithful. Hear these words from the Master to one who have been faithful in using the bags of gold put at his disposal.  His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:23)

Oh LORD be my helper to keep going for your glory in your strength with tastings of your joy until that glorious day.

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