The Most Beautiful Sight (AKA When Satan trembles!)

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile

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This week at our Mom’s Morning, several of the young mothers shared about their mornings—how they got up early (while it was still dark!) and had their devotions. Each one shared the precious wonder of quietness as they drew near to God before little feet began to patter. That is one of the most frightening things on earth in the eyes of our Archenemy. In fact, I can only think of one other thing that would be more frightening to him—fathers having their devotions!

These young women gather regularly to study God’s Word as it is expertly applied to parenting by Paul Tripp. (14 Gospel Principles That Can Drastically Change Your Family). They share their struggles and openly express their failures and shortcomings… and Satan trembles.

Raising children has never been easy. Every era has its own set of challenges. We recently watched a movie as children were pulled from their parents and shipped to another location because Hitler’s army was coming. I can’t even begin to imagine the heart-wrenching horror of having to do such a thing. Sadly, in my home state of Pennsylvania, we read once again about the unspeakable abuse of children in the Catholic Church. How do you parent through something like that? Michael Pearl states that “for the first time in the history of the world, Satan has mainline, 24-hour-a-day, intravenous access to the hearts of children… into the brains and hearts of children” (No Greater Joy, March/April 2018 p. 25). With the enemy’s ability to encroach our homes, we must be doubly on guard to protect and nurture our little ones!

But… there are parents who are fighting back! They are building a wall of protection for their children, staying alert to the strategies of a most artful and expert foe! They fill their homes with the sounds of God’s music. They faithfully come to church with their little ones. They guard the eyes and ears of those precious little souls who are in their watch care. But most of all, they are looking inward and allowing God to change THEIR hearts to be more like the Master, and that, my friend, is Satan’s worst nightmare! When moms make the effort to rise before their children to spend time in the Word, Satan trembles. When they not only read the Bible but apply it to their hearts and lives, Satan shrieks. And when they allow the Holy Spirit to use what they have gained from the Word to change to be more like the Master, Satan fumes. They whisper those sweet words of Jesus into their hearts and then into the ears and hearts of their children, and Satan flees! What a beautiful sight!

Are these moms perfect? They would tell you, no! Do they have perfect children? No again, but they are determined to what it takes to mold their children into soldiers for Jesus Christ, ready to do battle against the Enemy when it is time for them to take up their swords.

As Satan’s time of total defeat draws nearer he is ratcheting up his attacks. We can see signs of that everywhere, but I am so thankful for this next generation who are determining to “hold the line.” It truly is a beautiful sight!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.3 John 1:4

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:7,8

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Prisoners of War

In every war, whether here or abroad, one tragedy is universal to every battle: prisoners of war.  In each conflict, soldiers are taken, no longer in the fight, but brought to a prison where they are kept indefinitely – sometimes detained long after the war is over.  Some are treated harshly, other follow the Geneva rules of conduct in battles; but no matter the treatment, all are held against their will and are no longer fighting for the cause for which they had signed up.

The Christian’s life is as well a battle – indeed, it is the battle of the ages!  Daily, we fight a real enemy that never seems to tire.  His weapons vary, the battlefields are vast.  At times, he wins the battle, but unlike any other war, we know that he WILL be defeated!  That thought gives us the courage we need to stay in the battle.

Unfortunately, as in any other war, there are prisoners of war: those taken in the fight and held captive.  They are good soldiers.  They handled their weapon, the Bible, well.  They even had several victories, but then it happened.  The enemy closed in, our Weapon is laid aside, we run on our own strength, and we are taken – captive by our Enemy!  He holds us in his cell of despondency or unbelief.  He daily feeds us lies and shackles us with deception.  The light is dim; we cannot see.  We slump and hang our heads, defeated, discouraged and dangerously close to losing sight of the cause for which we signed up.

In a physical prison, with walls and bars and locked doors, some prisoners are able to escape the clutches of the enemy through inventive devices or well thought out plans.  As the prisoner escapes, his heart is in his throat, knowing that at any time he may be spotted and taken back.  The joy and relief are unspeakable as he crosses over into his home territory, back to the safety of the army he loves!

Unlike a physically bound prisoner of war, we have a secret weapon that will release us from the enemy’s prison.  With one simple choice of the will, the prison walls are broken down, the chains of bondage are loosed and we are free to go.  The ward of our cell can only watch as we boldly break through the doors of bondage and walk confidently into freedom.  He cannot sneer at the look of anger in our captain’s face because we took so long to choose – it is not there. All he sees is the look of unspeakable love – something he has never nor ever will see on the face of his leader!

Dear soldier, I write to you as a fellow soldier.  I plead with you to make the choice and break through the walls that Satan has built around you – walls that only you can destroy, through faith in our Captain – because of your love for our Captain.  Please look to our Savior and see Him waiting there!  Choose well, my comrade!  

 

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;

that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier

2 Timothy 2:3,4

 

AWH…CHOO! Sniffle, Sniffle.

ID-100158158Well, for the past four days, I’ve laid around doing nothing.  Wish it could have been on the beach, but it was on the couch with a box of tissues, a bounding headache, and a fever.  Today is the first day that I can actually function!

No one likes to get sick.  We try not to be babies, but I find myself groaning and complaining to my dear husband.  I’m sure at times like these he wishes that his office was elsewhere!

Isn’t the human body amazing?  Why would a few raised degrees of body heat throw us off so much?  You’ll have to ask your doctor that one, but there is a lesson there for us!  🙂  There is an enemy germ in me, which has thrown my body into attack mode.  It’s working hard to make me better, but in the meantime, simple operations seem impossible—even writing a blog!

That can happen in our spiritual “bodies” as well.  When we allow something to attack our spirit—a  confrontation which leaves our spirits torn, or an ungodly entertainment that soils our souls, an unexpected heartbreak which leaves our hearts shattered—everything goes into “fix-it” mode.  Our minds are clogged with unwanted thoughts; our hearts are clouded with unlovely attitudes, and until we are cleansed, life shuts down.

Sadly, there are times when we have allowed the “sickness” to go on for so long, that our spirit-bodies build a resistance to the Spirit’s wooing.  It’s as though there is this huge tough callous over an infected wound, and we don’t want to deal with it; and at times like these, God may need to get out the “big guns” to get our attention! Unlike an incurable disease, often “spiritual sickness” which was caused by wrong choices just need to be reversed into making right choices.

“You make that sound so simple.  You don’t understand. It’s complicated.”

Have you noticed that that is the popular phrase now?  Life is complicated.  What made it so complicated?  You’re not going to like this…SIN. 😦  Talk to Eve if you want to know about a complicated situation and the devastating consequences of wrong choices!  But Eve did not die.  Yes, her life was never the same, and I’m sure there were many days when she said, “If only I hadn’t…”  But she did, and hopefully she learned from it and went living the life that God gave her in the way that God intended it to be lived.

When God stops us with sickness or difficult situations, we will always benefit by keeping still and looking up!  Take the time to pray.  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7) This verse was the first verse I ever remember memorizing.  It’s a dear, old friend with more benefits that a bowl of hot chicken soup!

And don’t forget Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…  In a world that is moving at high gear 24/7, we would do well to stop and “have a little talk with Jesus.” (Just a side note: when we were in Israel, we saw neon signs in the business windows which flashed: 24/6!  They know how to “keep the Sabbath.”)

We often leave off the rest of the verse: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Oh, how that needs to be done in this age!  We exalt our God when we obey Him, live clean and holy lives before this sin-cursed world, and travel down life’s bumpy road with the joy of the Lord in our hearts and beaming from our faces!

…neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

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War – The Great Equalizer

americanstory_portrait_168x238Last evening, Tom and I watched a wonderful movie recommended by spiritclips.com for Memorial Day called An American Story aka After The Glory. (By the way, if you have not discovered spiritclips.com, it’s a wonderful site for good family films sponsored by Hallmark.  Check it out!)

The film is about six WW2 soldiers who come back to their hometown in Texas to find unbearable corruption in the town’s political engine.  Wonderful story, but the one idea that struck me was that these six soldiers came from all walks of life: a lawyer, a Mexican, a factory worker, a bartender; but on the battle field they had become best friends–equals–six men battling a common enemy, fighting for their lives!

War–the great equalizer.  When a soldier puts on a uniform and carries a gun, he stands shoulder to shoulder with his comrades.  They don’t worry about skin color, their financial state, or their educational achievements. One goal and one enemy has united them.

As Christians, we too are equal–the ground at the cross is level.  Sin is our great equalizer, knocking down any props of prideful successes we may be leaning on and requiring each of us to kneel at the feet of Jesus, asking for forgiveness and seeking a new life in Christ.  Can you imagine if we could earn forgiveness and the keys to heaven by our own good deeds?  What a mess we would make of things!  Heaven would then become like the Mormon heaven where there are different levels to earn!  Pride would annihilate the humble spirit of “just as I am, I come,” and worst of all, Jesus would have died in vain!  We are all equality guilty and all in need of a Savior.

Our enemy is also the great equalizer.  Satan freely attacks us all, perhaps not in the same way, but he only exists for one reason: to destroy God’s people or keep mankind enslaved to him. We are equal in our battle against him, each holding the fort in our spot on the battlefield, all fighting for the common cause: bringing glory and honor to our Commander!

As we enjoy this opening holiday of the summer season, may we take pause to remember all those who fought and died for our freedom.  No matter how great or small the deed, we remember each soldier  who paid the ultimate price!

May this Memorial Day also serve as a reminder of our fallen comrades who have died for the cause of Jesus Christ!  It would serve each of us well to say a prayer for Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the 27 year old Sudanese mother destined to be executed if she does no renounce her Christian faith.  The battle is ours, my friend!

War–the great equalizer.  Christian, is there not a cause?

          Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
        ye soldiers of the cross;
        lift high his royal banner,
        it must not suffer loss.
        From victory unto victory
        his army shall he lead,
        till every foe is vanquished,
        and Christ is Lord indeed.
 
        Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
        the trumpet call obey;
        forth to the mighty conflict,
        in this his glorious day.
        Ye that are brave now serve him
        against unnumbered foes;
        let courage rise with danger,
        and strength to strength oppose.
 
        Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
        stand in his strength alone;
        the arm of flesh will fail you,
        ye dare not trust your own.
        Put on the gospel armor,
        each piece put on with prayer;
        where duty calls or danger,
        be never wanting there.
 
        Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
        the strife will not be long;
        this day the noise of battle,
        the next the victor’s song.
        To those who vanquish evil
        a crown of life shall be;
        they with the King of Glory
        shall reign eternally.