Category Archives: Satan

Where is the Love?

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If love can’t be found among God’s people – where can it be found?  In the gospels and letters, Christians are admonished over and over to love one another and our neighbors. Love is our identity.  It is how we are recognized as followers of Jesus.  It is the badge that marks us as Christians.  It is the quality that sets us apart from the dog-eat-dog culture of materialism and greed.

What an unmitigated tragedy when the lack of love is noted among congregations of self-proclaimed Christians!  It is so contrary to what we should be that it even occasionally makes the news.  Most of the time, however, it is merely observed and noted.  The results are ugly.  People are driven away from such hypocrisy.  I am always reminded of what Gandhi, who lived and died a Hindu, had to say about the Christians he observed, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  Yes, some unfriendly observers may be looking for something wrong – but we make it too easy for them.  Lovelessness is always starkly obvious and always a source of ammunition for those who oppose any form of faith.

Recently one such unfriendly website chronicled the story of a young couple who dared to question leaders of their church about the expenditure of funds (to which they had contributed) and the lifestyle of some of the leaders (who lived off these funds).  If their account is credible, they became the object of scorn, anger and denigration.  Ultimately expelled from their church, their faith took a fatal hit and they are no longer practicing believers.

I really can’t verify this account but it is too much like some of my personal experiences and stories from others over the years to reject out of hand.  And, if true, what a repudiation of the love we should embrace and practice!  We have handed a gun to Satan and asked to be shot.  We have presented a sword to our adversaries and asked to be run through.  Truly, we are our own worst enemy.

I repeat: if love cannot be found among the people who purport to believe their God is the personification of love, where will it be found?  No matter how wonderful we think we are, without love we are nothing.

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
Where is the love?

—Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the Love?”

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Filed under Altruism, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Christlikeness, church, Community, Devil, discipleship, Faith, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Love, morality, Religion, Respect, Satan, Scripture, Songs

The Life of Rafferty

Since I became aware of the death of Gerry Rafferty I’ve been thinking about how we hear so many truths from unexpected sources.  For example, it is all too easy to go Back, Jack and Do it Again because You Don’t Always Get What You Want.  When You Can’t Hide Your Lying Eyes and Life in the Fast Lane makes you lose your mind, The Devil is Pleased to Meet You (we could go on but I’ll stop with these classics).

Rafferty’s rendition of Baker Street, has never failed to move me…not only with its haunting music, but with the truths in his lyrics.  In so many ways, they describe the life of Rafferty including his struggle with alcohol and his reclusive spirit.  The lyrics speak of misguided struggles leading nowhere, lessons learned but not heeded, of truths realized but never internalized.  Sadly, you and I have probably known some pathless pilgrims on Baker Street.

Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day, you’ll drink the night away
And forget about everything.

This city desert makes you feel so cold
It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul
And it’s taken you so long to find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything.

You used to think that it was so easy,
You used to say that it was so easy
But you’re tryin’, you’re tryin’ now.
Another year and then you’d be happy
Just one more year and then you’d be happy
But you’re cryin’, you’re cryin’ now.

He’s got this dream about buyin’ some land
He’s gonna give up the booze and the one night stands
And then he’ll settle down, it’s a quiet little town
And forget about everything.

But you know he’ll always keep movin’
You know he’s never gonna stop movin’
Cause he’s rolling, he’s the rolling stone.
And when you wake up it’s a new morning
The sun is shining, it’s a new morning
But you’re going, you’re going home

Rafferty never found the lasting inner peace longed for in his lyrics.  From his beginnings as an unwanted child with a dysfunctional family to the end of his life, his history is one of hopelessness addiction and unrealized potential.

Would Jesus Christ have made a difference in his life?  I think so, but you be the judge.  Since Jesus is the bringer of light and life, peace and hope — I believe it would have made a huge difference.  And since fellowship with His followers brings comfort, compassion, encouragement and shared strength, I am confident his life could have been very different.  Tragically, we shall never know.

Look around my friend.  Do you see someone on a hopeless highway, trying to find their way home?  Help them find the way to a new morning.
♦♦♦♦

My Blogs:
Whitticisms
: dwhitsett.wordpress.com

In the Charamon Garden: charamongarden.wordpress.com
Whitsett Woodcarving: whitcarv.wordpress.com
Mission South Pacific: missionsouthpacific.wordpress.com

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Filed under Biography, Christlikeness, church, Community, conversion, Culture Wars, Current Events, Devil, Faith, Jesus Christ, Life, Meaning of Life, morality, Religion, Satan

Enemies Within

trojan-horse-from-troy-the-movieBrethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things (Ephesians 3:17-19).

The most effective enemies are those of which we are unaware…the ones we fail to recognize as enemies.  In our subconscious we probably already know some entities are not helping the cause of Christ; that they are, indeed, major hindrances.  They are hindering enemies especially because we have become familiar and comfortable with them.  It is much like making a pet of a tiger.  We pet them, feed them, love them…and then one day, they have us by the throat.  They are attitudes, actions and situations that divert us from truly following Christ.  The world notices and these same diversions become hindrances to unbelievers and ammunition for anti-Christian activists.  And here is the kicker: so often, we shoot ourselves in the foot (pun intended).  This is a post that hopefully will challenge us to do some thinking about who and what our enemies are.  As usual, your comments, pro and con, are welcomed.

Striving for Acceptance

It’s not easy being different.  And yet, being different is part of our Christian walk.  We are different from the world not because we try to be but because following Christ separates us from those who aren’t.  Sadly, many who claim to be Christians lie, cheat and steal just like their worldly counterparts.  But the similarities don’t end there.  Too often our values and ambitions are the same as those outside of Christ.  To place our hope in riches, to ignore injustice, to place comfort above compassion and status above service proves we are still of the world.  Here’s the truth: the way of Christ runs counter to the ways of the world.  Never forget it. Continue reading

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A Lesson from the Carrot Patch

carrots-in-love-2One of my favorite parables of Christ is found in Matthew 13:24-30

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” And he said to them, “An enemy has done this!” The slaves said to him, “Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?” But he said, “No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

My carrot patch (the picture above is of carrots I harvested today just in time for Valentine’s Day!) started out pristine – weeds were not allowed. After the seeds came up I faithfully pulled each weed and laid mulch between each row of carrots. It was beautiful. Then, I got busy elsewhere and the weeds took advantage of my distraction.

Now, the carrots are finally ready to be pulled but it’s hard to tell the carrots from the weeds. But, know what? It’s not a problem. When we need carrots, I just go out and pull both weeds and carrots. It’s easy to tell the difference – the carrots have those long, orange roots (you know, the part we eat) while the weeds don’t. So, I quickly sort the carrots from the weeds and take the former into the house to prepare for a meal.

While this method won’t work for most vegetables, this is how I would love to garden…just let the weeds grow! Then, when it comes time to harvest, sort it all out.

In the garden of the world that’s exactly what God does. He asks us to sow the seed (word of God – the gospel), plant and water (1 Corinthians 3:4-9). The resulting growth is His work, not ours. In every case, some weeds will come up. Thankfully, it’s also not our job to discern the weeds from the wheat, that’s God’s business. At harvest, He takes care of the sorting.

When we try to do God’s work and pull up the weeds, precious souls are damaged. We’re terrible at it. Yet, that’s exactly what we spend a lot of time and energy doing…deciding who’s in and who’s out.  The results are predictable: disunity, denominational polarization and isolation, anger and disgust by those who observe.  Men and women are drawn by the cross but  repelled by our actions.  Satan loves it.

Let’s leave the weeding up to God.

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President and Prayer

prayer1I write this article as the votes for President of the United States are still being counted. We don’t know yet who will be the chief executive of this declining nation. We do know there has been great fear.

I won’t begin to categorize the fears but the response of many evangelicals has been to fall on their knees in prayer. Prayer is always a good thing. But will prayer change the vote? Would God manipulate the supporter of one candidate to vote for the other “divinely chosen” one? Sorry to be such a heretic, but prayer right before the election is a matter of “too little too late.” I certainly believe that Christians ought to bring this election (and all elections) to the throne.  We need to remember, however, that God does not change people against their will.

As I wrote my daughter a few days ago, our nation is, as the phrase aptly describes, “slipping its moral moorings.”  What happens on Election Day will be a reflection of this.   I am more concerned about our overt approval of homosexual lifestyles, abortion, and the erosion of civility and ethics than who becomes president.   If McCain or Obama is elected to preside over an increasingly immoral nation, not much has been accomplished.

Unless something happens to draw the citizens of our nation into a relationship with their Creator, we are in big trouble. Prayer draws upon the power of heaven to do God’s will. He has told us what His will is…reconcile men and women to Him who loves them.  We steadfastly refuse to do it!  While we have hidden in our buildings holding “worship services,” Satan has been winning the hearts and minds of those we have ignored.  Our prayer ought to be that God’s people will finally do God’s will.

None of this will, of course, make sure that we get the right president. But does it really matter? After Election Day Jesus will still be the same. The job He gave us will still be the same. We need to pray our prayers and then get up off our knees and do that job!

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Satan, the Opportunist

“Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose…(Acts 6:1)”

“When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)”

Success for God is failure for Satan. He will oppose, in any way he can, the progress of the kingdom. We can count on it: when things are looking good, Satan is looking for an opportunity. And, being a thorough demon, he usually finds one.

The church in Jerusalem was enjoying a brief run of popularity. In spite of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, “…the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women were constantly added to their number” (Acts 5:13,14). Then, all Hell broke loose. The first trouble came from outside: the arrest and flogging of apostles with a warning to shut up about Jesus. Then it came from inside with a complaint of unfair distribution of food. When it originates inside the body our out, it is the work of our adversary. Satan will not abide such advancement since it means retreat for him.

It is highly dangerous to discount his ability to disrupt any forward movement on our part. He will shut us down us if we let him. It is wise to aware of his schemes and strategies and to be assured that he will employ them against us. The warnings are clear:

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26,27).
“…so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

It is when disciples are growing numerically and everything looks good that we should be on guard. I have, with my own eyes, seen savage wolves filled with the lust for power, tear successful churches apart. The carnage is horrible.

In the case of Jerusalem, seven godly men were chosen to answer the complaint and the tables were turned on Satan. “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).

In Australia, several churches are making decisions and plans to recapture the purpose and mission of the church. God will surely bless such decisions but we must be warned: Satan is also making decisions and plans.

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