Satan Hates Me

“A great door for effective work has opened for me and there are many who oppose me” (1 Corinthians 16:9).

Satan doesn’t like me. Want to know how I know? He has worked overtime this year to break me and to stop the work God has called me to do. He has hammered my family, taken away my husband’s health and livelihood, and brought tension and frustration between the three of us. He has caused financial hardships. He has tried to destroy my confidence in my calling, telling me that I spent four years in seminary for nothing and I will never be in ministry. He has shaken my faith and battered my joy. And I almost believed him, that is until he attacked the heart of my calling.

Last week my 4-year-old laptop died. The one I write on. The one I use to write blog posts and words of encouragement and Bible-study lessons. The one I used to start writing my first book. That’s when I recognized that the enemy had declared war on God’s purpose for my life, and like Paul, I realized that was a sure sign of God’s calling. I am not a young person who can type on my phone with great speed and accuracy (I’ve been at this simple post for more than an hour!), but if this is the only way I can fulfill my calling, so be it. Satan will not win.

Beloved, I don’t know what God has called you to do with your life, but I do know that the enemy wants to discourage you and make you give up. He will use every avenue he can against you, but do not let him win. You stay the course. You keep the faith. You do it to the best of your ability with whatever you have left and you do it with fierce determination and conviction. Because the enemy only opposes what God blesses, so if Satan’s got you in his crosshairs you can know that you’re doing what God created you to do.

Satan doesn’t like me – in fact he hates me. But he hates me because he’s afraid of me and what God intends to do through me. And in the Bible, that’s the clear, bold mark of God’s calling. Let’s get back to it friend – you and I have a purpose to fulfill!


The Desire of the Heart

follow-your-heart“Each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  James 1:14-15

I used to work in a church office and we were often contacted by prisoners in jail who wanted us to visit and usually to try to intervene with the law on their behalf.  They almost always gave the same story, “I found myself in jail.”  As if they were innocently living their lives and suddenly looked up to see bars all around them.  It’s just one example of the human mantra, “It’s not my fault!”  And it’s as old as humanity itself.  In the Garden, at the scene of the first sin, Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve and even God.  But the Lord knew the truth then, and he knows the truth now.  As our key verse clearly says, we are tempted by our own evil desires.  No one ever just wakes up unexpectedly in the pit of sin.  There is a progression and we are wise to recognize where it all begins.

James lays it out:

Man’s own sinful desire

The lure of temptation

Taking the bait

Sin is born

The final outcome: Death

At the heart of all sin is our innate sinful nature and our own sinful desires.  Paul explained it in Romans 8:5 saying, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires.”  The Bible offers us countless examples of this truth. King David showed a previous bent toward lust with many wives, and when he was tempted with the beautiful Bathsheba, he answered that call.  The same was true of his son, Solomon, who “loved many foreign women” (1 Kings 11:1). He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines – that’s a thousand women – and “his wives led him astray” (1 Kings 11:3).  In fact, sexual lust was, and continues to be, the most “popular” desire among human beings.

Judas was tempted by wealth; the gospels reported that he was stealing from the funds for the poor even before his betrayal of Jesus (John 12:6).  When the temptation was offered to earn thirty silver coins, his desire overwhelmed him and he turned on his Friend.

Satan goes for our desires, which are often our weaknesses.  Money, sex and power are the usual enticements into sin and death, but there are more than we can conceivably count.  Every person has their own desire, their own personal lure, and be assured Satan knows it.  He has devised a scheme just for you and just for me, tailor made to match that craving inside us.  We answer to the temptation that calls out to our innate desires. If your desire is for material possessions, he will pull you into the mall, or entice you with advertisements for the newest shiny thing.  If your desire is lust, every TV commercial for lingerie will catch your attention and he will make certain you get plenty of pop-ups for sexual sites on your I-phone.  Want power, prestige, fame, a high?  He’s got just what you’re looking for.

But Satan is not the one that God will hold responsible. We are all held accountable for our own desires.  King David warned his son Solomon, “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9).  He knows that while Satan sets the trap and pulls the string, you and I are to blame for crawling in to take the bait.  Our hearts – our desires – will deceive us and lead us into self-destruction (Jeremiah 17:9).

Our only way of escaping his trap is to have but one desire: God.

God wants to be the desire of your heart and mine.  Nothing can drag us away into sin if the desire of our heart is to please and honor the holy, sovereign Lord of the Universe.  We will still face temptations, but if our one and only desire is to be like Christ, those temptations will fail to entice us.  Jesus resisted temptation because He had no evil desires.  His desire was only to do the will of His Father, therefore He had no pull to the temptations of the devil.

One of the church’s favorite verses is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart.”  I have it highlighted in my Bible too.  But we tend to overlook the first part in favor of the second.  We hone in on “He will give you the desire of your heart,” but rush past the requirement expressed just before it: “Delight yourself in the Lord.”  In other words, if your heart yearns for God alone, He will give you your heart’s desire.  And after that desire is met in all His fullness, any other gift He chooses to give to you is “icing on the cake.”

If we are serious about living pure and holy lives, especially in this culture, we must adopt the attitude of Asaph who proclaimed: “Earth has nothing I desire besides you…God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25, 26).  When God is our heart’s desire, He will make sure we have the desire of our heart.


Holy Father, I know my desires are not often pure and the enemy know it too, as he casts his temptations before me.  My only hope is for you to be the sole desire of my heart.  I can’t do that on my own Lord, I need you to change my heart.  I want you to be my heart’s desire.  Amen.

Did God really say . . .?


“He who doubts is like is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Satan’s favorite weapon against us is to cause us to doubt God.  I don’t know why we fall for it time after time, it is such an old trick that he used all the way back to the Garden.  Check out Genesis 3, the account of the fall of Adam and Eve which is the fall of all mankind.

Satan, in the form of a serpent, slithered up to Eve with evil in his heart and a question on his lips: “Did God really say…?”  (Genesis 3:1). He was not asking for clarification of the Creator’s words, he was sowing that tiny seed of doubt.  You can almost hear him stress the word really.   He was asking Eve if she thought God meant what He said in pronouncing the inevitability of their death for eating from that one particular tree.  Well Eve took the bait and took a bite and Satan knew then that he has a sure-fire missile to use against God’s beloved creatures.  But the truth of God’s words proved itself, and mankind has suffered death—physically and spiritually ever since.  Oh if only Adam and Eve had believed God, how different it all would have turned out.  They learned the hard way the one thing you can be sure of, God doesn’t mince words.  He says what He means and He means what He says.

He used that same ploy against Jesus in the wilderness: “If you are the son of God… (Matthew 4:3, 6).  He questioned Jesus’ identity, but the Lord did not fall for it, because He knew the truth.  You will recall that the wilderness episode followed immediately on the heels of Jesus baptism.  Do you remember the Father’s words? “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  Right away Satan began to question Jesus’ confidence. That is the enemy’s other favorite dart against us; he plants doubts in our mind about our relationship with God.  “If you really are God’s child, why is He allowing you to suffer so much?”  “You can’t really be a Christian and behave the way you just did!”  Satan tried to cast doubt in Jesus’ mind, but his attempts failed, because Jesus knew exactly who He was; His Father had proclaimed it and Jesus never lost that confirmation.

Friend, Satan still works to cause you and me to doubt God.  He wants us to doubt what His Word says about what is right and what is wrong.  He uses the culture of the day to cast doubt on the reality of sin and the consequences of rejecting Christ.  He even uses the most learned people in society to cast doubt on the existence of God.  In the church he brings in those who twist and misinterpret the Scriptures to say “what their itching ears what to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3).  That is where we have to go back to the only source of truth—the Word of God and refresh our minds with what God really said so that we can stand firm in this evil day.

But I think Satan’s strongest weapon against us is casting doubts in our mind about our identity and about God’s love for us.  When we are unsure about who we are and about our relationship with God everything else gets shaken too.  Hear this loud and clear dear ones, when you received Jesus Christ as your Savior, God spoke the same words over you that He spoke over His own Son: “This is my child, whom I love; with him (or her) I am well pleased.”  How do I know that?  Check out Jesus’ words in His prayer just before His arrest and crucifixion: “My they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23, emphasis added).  God loves those who are in Christ Jesus just as He loves Jesus Himself.  Because of the Son’s sacrifice, you and I are loved—eternally, unreservedly, and completely.  You can be sure of God’s love and of your place in His family.

My friends, don’t give Satan another victory over you.  Every time you and I give way to his words of doubt we stumble and fall in our faith-walk.  God has given His word in His Word to enable us to walk with confidence in the face of doubt.  Don’t let Satan trip you up with his old, tired routine. Trust God to always speak the truth, to speak it clearly through His Word, and to assure you of who you are and Whose you are.

There’s no doubt about it!

Holy Father – yes, You are my Father, and because of Jesus Christ, I am Your child.  Help me today to walk in the assurance and freedom of Your truth and cast aside every whisper and shout of doubt.  I trust in your Word and in You. Amen.


Refining and Sifting

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Job: 23:10


It seems that lately I write from the struggles of my own life, from the vat where grapes are crushed for juice, from the desert wilderness, and like Job from the smelting pot of the goldsmith. It’s a hard season with pressures coming at me from many different angles. I can understand Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.” I look to the heavens as ask, “God what is this all about? What are You trying to do – break me?”

His answer? “Yes. But not to leave you broken. To make you whole. To purify your faith.” You see, God does not just pull us out of the pit of sin and death to go our own merry way in life. He saves us to transform us, to make us more like His own Son. And it is a life-long process that often requires pain and suffering.

Peter, Jesus’ friend and disciple, is a perfect example. If you know anything about him, you know Peter was impetuous, brash and often spoke before thinking. More than once, Peter’s mouth got him trouble. He could say profound and powerful things, like his great confession: “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29), and a few minutes later, Jesus rebuked Peter for scolding the Son of God because He was teaching them about His coming death (Mark 8:31-33)! Jesus saw things in Peter that would both advance and hinder the Gospel.

At the Passover feast, which we now know at the Last Supper, while the disciples were arguing over their own status in His kingdom, Jesus made a terrifying statement. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). The statement is given in the plural “you,” meaning Satan had asked to sift the entire company of disciples. And they would all be sifted, to a degree, when they see their Rabbi and Friend being arrested. Yet Jesus’ next statement was very pointed and personal. “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (v. 32). In those words Jesus told Simon that he would carry the brunt of the devil’s evil deed, for the “you” here is singular – “I have prayed for you Simon.”

Why would Jesus give His friend and follower over to be sifted by the devil? Because there were things in Peter that needed to be removed. Pride, arrogance, stubbornness. Just like the things that need to be sifted out of me. What was left after Peter’s sifting? Two things: The prayers of Jesus and humble man ready to be used for His glory. Did you catch Jesus’ promise in verse 32 – “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” Jesus prayed for Peter, that his disciple’s faith would not fail. And we know that whatever Jesus asks of His Father is granted, because He always asks according to the will of the Father. Peter could not fail, because Jesus has guaranteed it by His petition. When I am in the sifter, as I am now, my Savior is before the Father on my behalf – “Father, do not let her faith fail.”

The other part of Jesus’ promise in that verse is seen in one little word: when. “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (v. 32b) (emphasis added). Jesus could assure Peter that he would turn back, because of His own prayers for Peter. Peter would survive the sifting and come through it with a refined faith. Jesus allowed Satan just enough heat and pressure to burn off the dross that lived in Peter, that would fight against the mighty work to which he was called.

The story is told of a woman who, having read in the Bible that God refines His people like silver and gold, visited a silversmith and asked about the process of refining the precious element. The smithy said he put the silver in a kettle and exposed it to extremely high heat that caused the dross, or waste to rise to the surface where he could scoop it out. This process took intense heat and so she asked, “how do you keep from burning it?” The man replied, “I lean in very closely to the kettle and watch it carefully, using only as much heat as necessary until it is just as I want it.” She asked “How do you know when it is ready to be removed from the heat?” The smithy answered, “When I can see my reflection in the surface.” We are called to be the reflection of Jesus Christ to the world and that image must be pure.

Jesus allowed friend to be sifted, to go through the crucible of intense suffering to remove what was marring His image in Peter. He became a mighty Apostle and preached the first Gospel message after Jesus’ resurrection. The Lord used a humble Peter mightily in the birth and growth of His church.

I did not welcome the suffering and pain of this season in my life, but I know that God is purifying my faith and refining me to be His witness to the world. I trust that He is leaning in closely and watching over me, allowing just enough heat to accomplish His purpose – to see His Son reflected in me. I know that my Savior is praying for me, and when the process is complete, like Job, “I will come forth as gold.”

Jesus, my Savior – as You were in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, come and stand with me now; carry me through this season of suffering on the wings of Your prayers. Let me come through as a reflection of You in the world. Amen.


A Real-life Lesson in “Loving My Enemy”

“But I tell you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27

I had every reason to hate her. She attacked me with hate-filled words. She criticized me as a mother and as a Christian, attacked my faith, criticized my decisions and filled her tirade with contempt. Her words spilled over with venom and spite. She even brought her friends in to throw their barbs at me.   She clearly hated me. Wasn’t I justified in hating her?

To the world, yes. I had every justification to hate her and attack her back. To throw around a few barbs and verbal missiles of my own.  That’s what she was trying to do, to bate me into a verbal battle. That’s what she deserves right? I should call my friends and bash her just as badly as she bashed me.

But I don’t live by the code of the world. I live by the Word of God and the example of Jesus Christ.

So the next day, my heart still heavy with pain and grief, as I came to my early morning time with the Lord, I prayed about the situation. I asked God for wisdom. He had witnessed this conversation. He was aware of the hate this person has for me. Surely He would say my anger is justified. I sat down and opened my first devotional reading for the day. Colossians 3:13 – “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The next devotional reading took me to Luke 6:27, our key verse. “But I tell you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Wait God…what? Forgive? Love? Do good? Bless? Pray? Did you even pay attention to that whole mess at all God? I am the one who got bashed here! Why should I have to be the one to forgive and do good and bless? And love? You really can’t be serious!

I turned to the last devotional Scripture for the morning, Matthew 5:43-48. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons [and daughters] of your Father in Heaven” (v. 44-45).  And there it was. God was not telling me I was justified in my anger. He was telling me if I wanted to live the genuine Christian life, I couldn’t respond like the world responds. He was telling me that I had to live in a radically different way. He was telling me that if I want to be His daughter, I must love my enemy.

And the truth is, no person is truly my enemy. Paul says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). No man or woman is our enemy. We have only one enemy, Satan. He is the one who is behind every act of hate and every attack for man against man. Retaliation only breeds more hatred and keeps the battle going, and this is what our real enemy is trying to accomplish. Whatever is done against me, by the hands or words of another person, Satan is the force behind it. He is my enemy. If I keep this truth in mind, I can respond to another person’s attacks with forgiveness, I can pray for them, and yes, I can even love them.

I must confess, the “love” part is not as easy to do as it sounds on paper. And as I read those Scriptures, I had to tell God, “I can’t do this on my own. The only way I can love this person is if you help me. You have to love her through me, because I can’t God – it’s not in me.” And that is the whole point. I can’t. Love –genuine love – has to come from God. That’s what the Apostle John says, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). Listen to this, “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16). I can only love the one who hates and mistreats me because God loves me, and His love fills me up and spills out onto the one I cannot love on my own.

My heart was hurt. The attack was brutal. The pain was severe. But this person isn’t just someone I can write off and walk away from. I have been called by God to respond in a Christ-like manner. I have been called to forgive and bless and pray and love. But I desperately need help. Only God can overcome my human heart that wants withhold love and protect itself from abuse and hurt. Only God can help me to love. Because He is love.

Merciful, loving Father, please I pray, take my broken heart, my battered spirit and my mind that is full of turmoil and apply the healing balm of Your love and peace.  I cannot love in my own strength – the truth is, in my own nature, I don’t want to love. But this is what you have called me to do. Help me Abba, to soak up Your love so that I can love, even in the face of hate. Amen.


The Battle is On!

“I have hidden your Word in my heart,” Psalm 119:11

When Satan comes to pick a fight, you’d better have something bigger than a pocketknife in your hand.

Spiritual warfare. Not a phrase that makes us all warm and fuzzy, but we need to realize that spiritual warfare is very real, and as the end draws nearer, the battles will become more fierce. We have a cartoon image of the devil – red long-johns, a tail, horns and a pitchfork. We joke around that “the devil made me do it,” and we expect to flick him off our shoulder like a pesky fly. Dear friend, you and I need to wise up. We need to know that the devil is real, that he is powerful, and he hates us because God loves us. And we need to know how to fight him. Because whether you signed up or not; if you are a child of God, Satan has declared war on you.

If that thought makes you want to run and hide, let me assure you – the Lord God has not left you defenseless. First He has promised His presence to protect us, Isaiah 52:12 says “The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” The Lord is both before you and behind you. The enemy will encounter Jehovah Gibbor Milchamah – the Lord Mighty in Battle, before he can reach you. And he cannot launch a surprise attack from behind, for he cannot get past Elohim Tsebaoth – God of the Angel Armies.

He has also provided us with His own mighty armor, found in Ephesians 6:13-17. “The belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace…the shield of faith…the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” We are going to study closely each piece of the Armor of God over the coming weeks, but today we are going to look at “the sword of the Spirit.” In the Sword of the Spirit, He has given you and me the weapon that causes Satan to tremble-the Holy and Mighty Word of the Living God. It was Jesus’ own weapon of choice when Satan came to tempt Him in the wilderness-every offer the devil threw at Him, Jesus countered with Scripture.

Did you notice that Paul called the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit”? Let’s see another passage that uses the same image. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword.” Want an even stronger picture? Revelation 1:12-16 describes the God-Man, Jesus Christ as He appears in John’s vision; verse 16 tells us “out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.” Even in the heavens, Jesus still uses the Sword of the Spirit to deliver justice.

So where do we get this sword, and how do we learn how to use it? Our key verse gives us the answer – we hide God’s Word in our heart. Simply put, we memorize Scripture. Every verse, every passage, every promise and every truth adds to the weight and length and strength of your Sword. And the more you study the Word and meditate on it, the more adept you will be at using it. Is there a particular area of weakness or stronghold where Satan usually attacks? Look for Scripture that addresses that area. Read the verses aloud, write them on notecards and place them in areas like the kitchen, your desk, your bathroom mirror or bedside table. Get a journal and write the verses out, look up the words, consider how this verse applies to your life – these are all excellent “drills” to help you grow in knowledge and strength in the Word of the Lord.

Consider this, when Satan launches an attack against you, and all you know is John 3:16, (which is an awesome verse to know), you are trying to defeat the enemy with a pocketknife. But if you have been reading, studying, meditating and memorizing Scripture, when you reach into your heart where that Word has been stored and grab hold of those verses, you are going to pull out a SWORD that will send your enemy reeling and scrambling to get away. That’s how the child of God does battle with the enemy of our soul.

Dear friend, we cannot pretend that the battle does not exist, lest we do so at our own peril. Our enemy is very real, he is powerful and he is on the prowl. But you and I have the presence of God, the power of the blood of Christ, and the perfect Word of the Lord God Almighty. It is time to take up the armor of God, grab your Sword, and stand on the Name of Jesus and the Word of God. How about making this verse your starting point: “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).


Mighty God, the enemy is real, the battle is real. But You have given me Your Armor and Your promise to stand with me against my foe. Make me strong in Your Word and in Your mighty Spirit. Amen.


An Indestructible Life

“…one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.”  Hebrews 7:16


This passage in Hebrews is written to show that Jesus Christ is the perfect High Priest chosen by God to not only bring the sacrifice for our sins, but to be the sacrifice.  Jesus is our Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14) and the only acceptable sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29), because He alone lived a perfect life, and indestructible life.


So the question that comes to mind is, what causes destruction in our lives?


My first response was, of course sin, which we all know is Satan’s tool to destroy humanity.  The curse of sin has burdened man since Adam and Eve reached out for the forbidden fruit.  Despite our best attempts to socially, psychologically and even religiously rid ourselves of our sin nature, we have failed.  We have a bent towards sin, and bent towards destruction.


So the Holy Spirit sent me into deeper research, to understand the cause of destruction, and hopefully, how to avoid it.  A study of the word throughout Scripture points to “destruction” coming through blasphemy and heresy – false teaching, and rejection of the truth.


The book of Jude is written as a warning against the “very things that destroy” us (v. 10).  Jude is writing to call believers to “contend for the faith” (v. 3) against those who “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (v. 4).  He warned against those who “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand,” (v. 10) and against “scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires, and divide (believers).” (v. 18)


Peter writes: “There will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2 Peter 2:1- 3), “they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people” (2:18) and “exploit you with stories they have made up” (2:3) so that “many will follow their shameful ways and bring the truth into disrepute.” (2:2) He finishes his letter by warning that “ignorant and unstable people distort the Scriptures to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)


Paul advised Timothy to “correctly handle the word of truth.”  He warned his mentee “against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen,” and “avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.  Their teaching will spread like gangrene, and destroy the faith of some.”


Jesus warned about the “wide gate and broad road that leads to destruction,” (Matthew 7:13) as He spoke against those who reject the truth (the narrow road).


So what really does lead to destruction? I believe the answer is deception, which begins with Satan deceiving one person, who shares the lie (which he believes to be truth) and deceives another, who deceives another, and before long the lie has taken a deeper hold than the truth.  Isn’t that exactly what happened in the Garden?  Satan introduced a lie, which Eve shared with Adam.  “And they did eat…” (Genesis 3:6 KJV)  Then, as now, no one stood up for the truth, and the result has been a domino-effect of destruction throughout the history of mankind.


How do you guard against destruction?  Jesus told us.  John’s Gospel records His words: “If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)  Only by knowing the truth, the Word of God, can you can guard against deception.  Otherwise, anything that sounds “right” becomes truth to you, and sets you up for the enemy’s destruction.


Don’t allow yourself to be led down the path of destruction.  The truth is as close as the Word of God.  Read it. Know it. Believe it. And be free.


God of Truth, burn in our hearts a desire to know Your truth.  Teach us to recognize the lies of the enemy and the world by the knowledge of the truth of your Word.  Today God, I choose to know the truth and turn away from destructive lies.  Amen


The Heart of the Matter

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your Word.”  Psalm 119:37

A popular children’s song says “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see…Oh, be careful little ears what you hear.”  That’s good advice for any age, because our eyes and ears feed our minds and in turn influence our hearts.  Our hearts affect our mouths and hands and feet.  What is in our hearts will influence what we say, what we do and where we go.

Our hearts are the core of our being.  In the original Hebrew language, our Western word “heart” has many different words, with slightly different meanings, but they all come back to one point: “the inner person, the seat of affection, emotion, thought, desire, conscience and understanding.”  Surely this is why King Solomon wrote in his series of Proverbs, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Solomon is advising us to “protect, preserve, and keep vigil over” that place of thought, desire, affection and emotion.  So how, exactly, do we “guard our hearts?”  He gives us several points to put this important principle into practice

“Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (v. 24).  Doesn’t it seem that society’s language has become so base and filthy?  I remember when you would never hear the profanity on television that is tossed around today.  I remember when a man would not use coarse or profane language in front of a woman, out of respect.  Now women have mouths as filthy as a sailor.  Jesus said “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).  If profanity and coarse language, inappropriate joking and – uh oh – gossip – are tripping over my tongue, I don’t just have an ugly mouth, I have an ugly heart.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you” (v. 25).    Two young men were sitting in a football stadium looking at the field covered with snow. They decided to see who could walk the straightest line from midfield toward the goalpost in the end zone.  They both stood on the fifty yard line and started walking.  When they reached their prospective goals they met back in the stands.  They laughed to see one boy’s trail veer off center and end up several feet from the goal post.  “I don’t know what happened,” he said, “I watched my steps, and put one foot carefully in front of the other.”  The other boy’s trail was dead on, stopping right at the center post.  “I didn’t look at my feet as I walked,” he said “I never took my eye off the goalpost.”  The goal of the Christian life is become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 12:2 offers this word: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”  Keep your eye on the goal.  Never take your eyes off of Jesus.  Wandering eyes lead to a wandering heart.

“Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm” (v. 26).  Whether we want to accept it or not, we are no longer living in a Christian culture.  The world today rejects the solid foundation of the Christian faith, and has created its own “spirituality,” that has no root in the time-honored traditions and beliefs.  You can believe whatever you want to believe, and you can change your belief when something more appealing comes along.  The paths that are level and secure are those that have been trod for thousands of years by faithful believers in the One True God and in Jesus Christ, His Son.  The way that is firm is “The way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).   Solomon also said “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day” (v. 18). The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has stood the test of time, and it will stand for eternity.  Don’t allow the world to draw you off of the firm, level truth of God’s way.

“Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil” (v. 27).  We have an image of Satan, red skin, horns a tail and a sharp trident.  I expect Satan laughs at the caricature we created in our imagination.  Evil is not always so easy to identify. Paul wrote “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 1:14). Evil is often subtle, cloaked in seemingly harmless decisions.  But evil always reveals itself when we are in deeper than we ever bargained for.   This verse tells us that the best way to guard against evil is to stay right on that level and firm path.  Jesus overcame evil, and He alone can lead us safely along the right way.

Finally, “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life” (v. 13).

There is no greater road map than the Word of God.  It is the original GPS – “God’s Positioning System.”  The instruction you will find in the Bible is true and is a rock-solid foundation to build your life on.  There are two verses that I believe express the importance of the Bible in the life of the believer.  The first is Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  Its companion verse is Deuteronomy 32:47, “They are not just idle words for you – they are your life” (emphasis added).  Wherever God takes you in this life, His Word is a sure compass and a guiding light; and in the Scriptures, both Old and New, is everything you and I need for life.  The Bible is real words for real life.  I encourage you to make Bible study part of your daily routine.  Find a church that teaches the true Word of God, even consider participating in a Bible study class or group.  Sink your roots down into the rich and fertile soil of God’s Word and you will be amazed at how deep and strong your faith will grow.

The Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest King of Israel, yet for all his wisdom, he failed to follow his own advice.  He allowed his heart to be turned away from God as he pursued multiple foreign wives (700 of them, plus 300 concubines!), and they led the King to worship foreign gods.  Solomon’s eyes beheld the exotic beauty of these women, and …well, be careful royal eyes what you see.

Holy God, teach me to guard my heart, and keep in pure and humble and always turned to You.  Let my words be pure, my gaze steady, my path firm and my way sure.  Amen.