Tag Archive: Satan



“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed us to the message of reconciliation.” -Romans 5:17-19

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The Holy Bible should not be considered some mere book, that one reads once through, or even a few times, and that is all that is required. It is the Word of God and it may speak to us through a single verse in many different ways. This being the case, there is no such thing as too much repetition within the Holy Writ. We must consistently read and study, letting the Lord speak to us all the while, in order that through and by it, we may overcome the burdens or challenges that my arise within our lives. In addition, the memorization of Scripture, assists us to overcome the temptation of sin, which so easily entangles.

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When we look at the temptation of Christ as he wandered through the wilderness, we find that our Lord answered the temptations from Satan with Scripture. Whenever Satan attempted other tactics, they were shot down in a similar fashion. This should be a lesson unto us. Often times the Lord guides us to Scripture, prior to, or preceding, a particular temptation in our lives.

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Though I have wrote on this particular verse before, I do not question where the Lord is leading me in His word, and with every verse I ponder over it, and more importantly, I pray that it would remain in remembrance. In addition, I pray that the Lord would illuminate the Scripture for me, that it may be yielded as a weapon against darkness if and when the time should come.

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When a person comes to Christ, it is easier to believe that our past sins are forgiven, rather than those which are committed under grace. However, the glorious message of reconciliation shows us that even our current and future sins can be covered under this same grace. Concerning this truth, being a new creation, we are renewed day by day. Though we may have backslid yesterday, today is a new day in which our sins, by Christ, may not be counted against us, in the sight of the Almighty. Christ, along with the Spirit that dwells within us, shows that God is committed to His promise of reconciliation for all those covered in Christ blood. Given this, we should be committed to this message that others may be reconciled unto God.

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If we confess with our mouth that, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we become born again and are created anew. We are given a new Spirit by Christ, and our old selves pass away. This is only possible through Christ, who paid our debt when He took our sins upon Himself at Calvary, justifying us from our trespasses. Therefore, when we die in body, we will be given a new one, clean and free of decay, as Christ has. This is all due to the glory manifest at the cross, that in our faith in the Son, it may be credited to us as righteousness.

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“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16

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This verse is one that I personally need to repeat to myself daily. When one first comes to Christ and is covered by grace, it is often easier to accept it offers the nullification of the sins of the past than it is to understand that this very same grace covers the sins of the future. Now, I am not one who likes to consistently blame our sins on Satan directly, for to do so negates our own responsibility in sight of the Lord. Furthermore, since we are offered forgiveness in Christ, it testifies to our role in accepting and following the temptations or tricks of Satan.

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Before one comes to Christ, Satan’s deceptions center around keeping man from accepting God or coming to Him. Yet, after we are covered by grace, it seems that Satan reaches into a entirely different bag of tricks altogether. One of his favorite tools is one of condemnation for believers.

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"Lucifer in Hell," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1861 (From Dante's "Divine Comedy," Canto 34 of "Inferno")

As I have mentioned before, Satan hasn’t created anything. He merely takes God’s purpose, His great deeds, and twists, manipulates or perverts them, offering them unto man in a way God hadn’t intended. Our responsibility is apparent when we choose to follow either truth, or the lies of darkness.

As Christians, Satan may now attack us in ways that belittle Christ’s sacrifice and/or our relationship with the Lord. When we come to Jesus and are baptized in His blood, we begin to gain a conviction of sin through the Spirit and we may feel guilty or sorrowful for our disobedience in sight of God. Yet, the enemy tries to twist this conviction into condemnation, again making a mockery of what Christ accomplished on the cross.

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"The Darkness at The Crucifixion," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1866

I am no stranger to this lie, and I remain quite convinced it is a common trick used by the enemy that Christians need to be aware of and refute using scripture. This is a verse the Lord led me too early on after my conversion and one that has allowed me to overcome the stumbling block of such condemnation. This is the very same condemnation Christ took upon Himself and freed me of and it is disrespectful to the Lord to say that what He did wasn’t good enough for me, when everything about the message of reconciliation says otherwise.

Yet, let us remember that we are not given a divine “get out of jail free card,” to continue sinning. For to rely on grace as an excuse to continue sinning is to trample on the blood of Christ and take advantage of God’s Son to indulge in your own evil desires. This is disrespectful and evil as well, and I urge all Christians to not fall into that trap. The grace of God is not a pass for sin, but an opportunity to fight against it. Sin still has the ability to easily entangle, that’s why the conviction of the Spirit is so important, not to condemn, but to warn or identify that area in your life that remains a stronghold.

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Give thanks that God does not want you to take on these strongholds alone. It is important that one press on, ignore the taunts from the enemy, work on your relationship with the Lord, and pray He would mold your heart and guide you into victory. If God demanded perfection in man, then Christ wouldn’t have came. What He does demand however, is your love, faith, trust and loyalty.

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Do not lose heart if you slip and fall, for Christ’s grace is sufficient for you, just as it was for Paul. As a river’s water is renewed day by day, Christ, the River of Life, will renew your water day after day, hour after hour, and moment by moment. Though our bodies age, decay and become marred by mud, sweat and blood, the internal self is not bound to such a sentence. Rather we can develop that side of ourselves which is unseen, and gain a richer relationship and understanding of our Savior.

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Do not let conviction of sin, and even guilt, turn into condemnation, which is closely followed by despair, for this leads to death. Rather rejoice, not in your sin, but instead that the Lord by His Spirit is convicting you of it, and is therefore with you, and realize that if He couldn’t cover your sin, you wouldn’t have been granted the Spirit, a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, in the first place.

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“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

Let us not compare our Christian walk or spiritual gifts with anyone else in the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6-8 makes it abundantly clear that we differ in gifts and those godly manifestations expressed in the body. These are from God and are granted to us by His grace. This is important to realize, for even these blessed gifts by the Lord can be used by our sinful nature to feed our pride.

The enemy loves to turn our work for the Lord into something sinful. It’s not to say the work of the Lord in and of itself is sinful, of course not, but rather that we ourselves may sin in our efforts to be in complete obedience with our Lord. We may have the gift of prophecy and we may serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show mercy. Yet, a hidden danger might lie in wait, for instead of acknowledging the source, we may use these gifts to feed our pride. This verse suggests that Paul himself was tempted with this as he followed obediently to complete God’s great works.

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"Apostle Paul," by Rembrandt. oil on canvas, c. 1657

Yet, God in His wisdom knew that this would hinder the great work He was doing through and with Paul. This partnership would have been spoiled if the apostle would have become conceited. So, there was given to Paul a thorn in his flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. What this “thorn” actually was has been debated for some time. These range from a physical malformation or defect of some sort, to a sin that tormented Paul. Regardless of what it was, we know that this “thorn” kept Paul grounded with the Lord, and he eventually found that “thorn” to be a blessing, for without it Christ’s power wouldn’t be able to “rest on him” to the degree it did.

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Outside Christ, who was perfect, even the most amazing men of God in the scriptures had grievous faults, which should give us some hope. It certainly does me. Moses for example was a murderer, had anger issues, was a stutterer, and was disobedient to the Lord. Though Moses was disciplined for this by not being able to enter the promised land, God used this faulty man to do an amazing work, as He can use us, as faulty as we are, to do great works as well.

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"Moses Striking The Egyptian (detail)," Amsterdam Hagadah, c. 1695

When we come to the Lord in faith, He is not beyond bringing hardship, weakness, persecutions, “thorns,” and difficulties in our lives so that we may not loose sight of Him. If we are too prideful in our walk with the Lord and in the gifts He bestows in us, we should not be too shocked when, in His sovereignty, brings about a hardship to “ground” us.

Although I don’t like speaking for God, I do feel comfortable saying that God doesn’t want to encourage sin in your life. So if you haven’t been granted gifts to a fullness yet, perhaps if they were given unto you, the glory would go to the self and not God.

Let us pray for the understanding at only comes from the Spirit, that we may be instructed on how to avoid becoming to proud in our obedience and the gifts God pours into us. Let us pray that we will give credit where it’s due, that is, to the source of the gifts we are presented and indeed all things. Let us forever strive not to pervert that which is Holy or shift the glory of God onto the self. May He be forever praised. Amen.

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” -Hebrews 12:1

Verse one begins one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture, Hebrews Chapter 12. Despite the subject matter of discipline and judgement, which can have the tendency to make people cringe, especially while they live in sin, it is one of the most beautiful passages in all the bible. Of course, that’s a personal conclusion and not made from any independent study. It could have something to do with the fact that this chapter is the one that led me to the Lord. Thus, it has a deep personal significance for me.

Nobody knows without a doubt who wrote Hebrews, for the writer does not identify himself. Though it was accredited to Paul in the past, he seems an unlikely candidate, due to the style of writing differing from his. For instance, Paul identifies himself in his letters, but Hebrews is void of any such attribution. Yet, there are a couple candidates, and it appears that whoever the writer of Hebrews was, was indeed a close friend of Paul’s. Verse one suggests this by presenting the allegory of an athlete, which Paul was a frequent user of. Paul’s metaphors found in his other books and the allegory used by Hebrews’ author are so similar, it seems logical that the writer knew Paul intimately. Scholars have narrowed authorship down to two possibilities, Apollos or Barnabas. Whoever it was, they wrote a book equal to that of Paul and of vast importance for any Christian. Not only does Chapter 12 remain one of my favorite sections of scripture, Hebrews remains my favorite book outside the gospels. I recommend it to anyone engaged in an in depth bible study.

"St. Jerome in His Study," by Albrecht Duerer. engraving c. 1514

Verse one brings to mind the familiar image of an athlete. The cloud of witnesses, refers to great holy men of the past who gave all for their love of the Lord. Their faith led them to obedience and by that obedience, the Lord’s will became known on earth. These witnesses prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ so that by and through Him we may be reconciled unto God.

Sir Isaac Newton and earlier John of Salisbury brought into the common lexicon the phrase, “standing on the shoulders of giants.” What is meant by this is that progress is made by carrying on those things pioneered by what and who has came before. It is no different in Christianity. The Kingdom of God is not meant to be stagnant, but rather to be forwarded by those who belong to Christ Jesus. Thus, because we are made aware of this by the Spirit and the Word, we are called to remove those hindrances and stumbling blocks that prevent us from doing our part in moving the Kingdom forward.

Sir Isaac Newton

Christ opened up the Kingdom to and for us that we may be admitted by faith rather than by works and He being human for a season, can readily identify with man, for He was tempted by sin as we all are, yet remained in perfect obedience to the Father. In fact, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say He must have been tempted beyond all men, due to Satan’s awareness of His true nature.

We have a merciful God who doesn’t just reside in the heavens, but became man, and experienced all the grotesqueness of sin. At the same time He underwent the struggle we all encounter, but was victorious. Amazing as it is, we have a God who knows what it’s like to fight against sin and thus verses that hint at how easily sin overtakes us are not infrequent in the scripture. This should give us hope and we should praise God for this, that He can identify with even the most lowly of us.

Again, the athlete allegory is mentioned at the close of the verse. “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Christians aren’t called to just skate by going to church just on Sunday’s and Easter, but to take an active role in the mission God has set out for them. This requires effort and perseverance, for it will not always be easy, for sometimes we will be ahead and other times behind. Yet, we are called to keep our eyes on the goal, and the prize that we will receive when we cross that finish line.

In life, we often convince ourselves that we have to run from something, like a bad circumstance or sin, but we rarely tell ourselves that we need to run towards something. In life, you are always running towards something. Don’t focus on what you are running from, for when running a race, a participant is discouraged from looking back, lest they slow down and stumble. Keep you eyes forward along the track that the Lord has set out for you and the magnificent finish line that marks the end, for it is there we will gather with Christ and all the other racers in the glorious winners circle that is promised to those who run and finish the race.


“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.” -Habakkuk 2:4

I regard it as a wonderful and amazing thing that when I first began reading the scriptures and developed my relationship with the Lord, I found some humor to be included in the Bible. I knew it would take some self discipline to sit and read the scriptures, for where I was at I knew the Lord would have plenty to say to me, some of which I probably didn’t want to hear. This isn’t too uncommon and most believers can probably relate to some degree, for when one lives in the darkness, the light can hurt or blind you for a time. Yet, when I began to notice little things that made me smile or laugh, I considered it a huge step towards developing a deeper relationship with God by His Son. Not only did I believe that conceptually, but I also felt it in my spirit.


I shall quickly mention here though, that the humor in the Bible is very different from the humor we are used to in the world, for the humor is never arbitrary, to be funny for the sake of being funny, but it is meant to teach and provide insight at the same time. Also, the humor comes at the appropriate time, meaning that God may have you focus on the lesson at hand, then follow it up by something that may make you chuckle. In a same way, something might make you chuckle to get your attention and then the message might come to you.

What ever the case, its possible we all approach the scriptures individually and maybe some are convicted about reading over the word of God with more of a stone-like countenance, but I ask why? If we do laugh and there is humor in the world, then it follows that it had to originate with God as did everything (See my note on 1 John 4:19, “On Love’s First Cause”). In addition, the potential of humor in evangelism cannot be denied. It is man that perverts humor. I will take this opportunity to confess that I myself have engaged in crass forms of it from time to time, which I am sure Lord didn’t find particularly amusing. Yet, despite my struggles, to me and my walk it was a fantastic realization that God does indeed have a sense of humor.

Thus, during your devotional time, if you find something particularly amusing, don’t be afraid to laugh, for the Scriptures tell us that laughter is a manifestation of joy (Psalm 126:2). The Bible wasn’t meant to be a burden on us, as it can honestly feel like due to the spiritual battle and war against the self in particular times of conviction. Rather, we are told that the yolk is light and to take great joy in God’s word (Jeremiah 15:16). Indeed, it is difficult to read about the crucifixion, for the events are brutal, but paradoxically it’s difficult not to smile when one thinks on Christ going through all the suffering He did for us that we may be saved by what He accomplished, and then appearing to His disciples alive and victorious! Amen!

One prime example of this pure humor is Habakkuk 2:4. I had to laugh, not because of the enemies of God’s existence and their sinful being is funny, but because what the Lord brought to my mind during the reading of this verse. An image of a “puffed-up” cat. Indeed, the very fact the Bible can be said to contain the imagery that is suggested by “puffed-up” is really kind of funny. Yet, despite the humor I find too an important message. Though in worldly humor we can make a person laugh just for the sake of pure entertainment, hardly ever can this humor actually teach us something important, besides maybe revealing the depths of sin by what kind of humor we may or may not indulge in.

This isn’t the case with God, when something strikes us as humorous when reading the word, one also needs to remember to reflect on the meaning and purpose of that particular which brought us to laughter. Again, this this verse is a great example and tells us a few things.

First, that the enemies of God are often bloated with pride. When we look at at the animal kingdom, we see creatures that extend their forms as a whole for a variety a reasons. We see a reliance based on appearance. What I mean is this, a cat does it when he is threatened in order to make himself look bigger than he really is. Thus, it is self manipulation, the cat “knowing” he may be perceived as weak by what he considers a threat. Thereby, the cat attempts to manipulate its appearance and alter how that aforementioned threat might perceive of it. Of course, I will point out a cat is sinless in its display.

We know this is true in many aspects of life. Think about some of the bullies you may have known, or maybe you were even one at one time in the past, or even now (I will pray for you).

Such people are usually putting on a display for any variety of reasons and though the cat does it for protection, such men do it because egoism, pride, or for the desire to be prideful in some thing, even if it means puffing themselves up to torture others, for they feel the more people they have underfoot, the greater they are. This consequently adds to their pride. The sad thing is we all tend to fall for the “puffed up” guise.

Secondly, those who act in like manner are not virtuous people. They rise up against anything that challenges them or threatens their pride, which by the way, is extremely fragile. They indulge in all glorifications of the senses and forgo the spirit, mind and God, for such a person cannot be hindered by such ridiculousness. They are threatened by those who have security and contentment, and will ruthlessly mock or attack those who have acquired it, for it is what they truly desire, but they remain bitter that through their comfortable means they cannot attain it, and indeed mock all other system of intermediate steps to acquire it. It is never based on rationality, but more so rather on emotion and not based on strength, but rather frailty. At times its not just explicit hate, but its expression can take on the appearance of something much more innocent and thereby more deceptive, like humor.

Their wretched minds are dark, and their actions sinful. They will attack those who even have the nerve to offer a better way of life. We see this not only in man, but these traits are even evident in Satan. Thus, if a man is puffed up to a large degree like I have described, the person is most likely following in the trail of darkness rather than being led by the light. The perversions that Satan originated, become the person’s own, represented in his spirit, thoughts and actions. He lives according to the self, not respecting anything, but demanding respect from everybody. This can get to such an extent that he will try to silence his mind and spirit to focus completely on the flesh.

From "Paradise Lost," by John Milton. "Satan Lands Atop Mt. Niphates, Where He Laments The Loss of Heaven," by Gustave Doré, c. 1866

The antithesis however, is that the upright, the secure, the content, and the joyful, will live in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of pushing any differing person away as the enemy does, the faithful will attract the lost to themselves, and more importantly, by the Lord who shines bright within those that are righteous in God’s sight.

The books of the prophets are amazing in that, not only do they give us insights of how we are to live today concerning our own lives, but also contain prophecy about the the Christ. Habakkuk, though a minor prophet by scholarly classification, is no different from his “major” counterparts, other than slightly harder to spell.

The Prophet Habakkuk

We see that the phrase, “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness,” not only suggests tests how we are to live to be granted righteousness, but also that we will need to be faithful to something greater than the self, namely the Lord Jesus Christ, who was still to come in Habakkuk’s time. Also, because it is in a singular context, we see that it is pointing to a savior who by His faithfulness, will be made righteous and offer that same righteousness to all that would approach Him in humble faith. Not only was this verse fulfilled in Christ, it has been fulfilled within us at the present, that is in The Body of Christ, and will be fulfilled in the future when the enemy is brought low and deflated by the power, authority, and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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