When Satan Tries To Steal Our Joy

When Satan tries to steal our joy we don’t have to let him. As difficult as it is some days, we can choose joy over despair. Not in our power alone, but in Christ’s.

Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort to block out the joy-stealers in our life and dwell on the joy we can have in knowing Christ instead. It takes practice to trust in the One who holds every tear we’ve cried to take away the sorrow. It takes faith to know the same God who created the world and has our names engraved on his hand won’t allow anything to reach us he didn’t plan or permit.

Current events are enough to make us hang our heads and run for cover. Every time I read the newspaper or listen to the news and feel my joy slipping away, I have to consciously remind myself God is still on his throne. He is still in control. Nothing happens he isn’t aware of. Even when I question what happens, I am determined to fight back against the joy-stealers.

I admit that is often easier said than done. Especially when I’m faced with yet one more health concern.

There may be moments when we stand tall on mountains of faith, then plunge to the valleys of doubt, deep fear, or depression the next.

It’s not like we go around tossing ourselves into those dark times on purpose. Our peace, happiness, and joy are not things we willing throw away. Those are things Satan, the deceiver, joy-stealer-extraordinaire delights in snatching right out from under us.

Stealing our joy is what the father of lies is good at. Satan really cannot stand for us to enjoy the life our Creator God provides for us to the fullest. He loves to drop us into a pit of despair. But Jesus is the rescuer who pulls us out of the slimy pit, puts our feet on solid ground, and restores our joy.

Satan wants us to live in joyless misery. He works very hard to fulfill that desire. His tactics are many. He uses people. World events. Natural disasters. Sickness. Death. Loss. Wars and rumors of wars.

When he attacks, we must remind ourselves he is defeated by the mighty resurrection power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When we find ourselves in a place where we feel something in our lives is missing, like we’ve lost something important, perhaps our joy in the knowledge we are a beloved child of the One True King needs reaffirmed.

Perhaps we need to sing the song many of us learned as children.

Perhaps we need not only sing the song, but believe it with all our heart.

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack to
Stay.

George W. Cooke

Or perhaps you would like to listen to Zach Williams’ hand-clapping toe-tapper, Old Church Choir. Either way, praise God and don’t let Satan steal your joy!

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Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too. After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. To him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 (TLB)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We Are Aliens In This World

Although this post first appeared October 4, 2016, I felt it worth re-posting.Hope you agree.

Last month during our trip through the Southwest, Pilot and I went through Roswell, NM on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. Although our intent was to visit the International UFO Museum Research Center to see if the truth really is out there, a tornado threatened to send us sheltering beneath the Roswell Museum and Art Center where Pilot soaked in the history of the Robert Goddard exhibit, so we decided to get out of town. Fast.

It seemed everywhere I looked between Roswell and Carlsbad there were aliens.

And this got me thinking about those of us who belong to Jesus.

We are in this world, but not of it. We are aliens, if you will. Sojourners traveling through this world, waiting for the day Jesus takes us to our eternal home in heaven.

To quote Henry David Thoreau, we march to the beat of a different drum. At least we should. People should be able to look at what we do, what we say, where we go, how we treat people, and notice we are different.

We are to reflect Jesus, not the world.

The patriarch, Abraham, was called out of the land of Ur to travel to a place God would take him; Canaan, the land the Israelites called the Promised Land. Abraham was an alien in a foreign land. He was just a-passin’ through.

We are called to be different from the world around us. We are called to a higher standard. A standard set by God. Not a standard set by the culture that surrounds us. God has chosen us to be holy and pure. We belong to him, as such, we are his ambassadors to people who do not yet know him.

This world is not our home. We are aliens. And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

The truth is out there, and it isn’t found in a science fiction tv show. It’s found in the Words of Truth recorded in God’s Holy Bible.

Have you visited the International UFO Museum Research Center?

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But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:9 & 11 (TLB)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Trees Chose a King

One of the worst eras in Israel’s history was the time of judges. It was during this time everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes. A quizzical story in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges tells of the time the trees chose a king.

The story comes after Gideon’s death. Finding a successor among Gideon’s seventy sons was no easy task. To solve this problem, Abimelech, the son Gideon had with a concubine from Shechem, went to his uncles and asked them to go to the leaders of Shechem. Abimelech wanted his uncles to convince the leaders he should become the next king since his mother was from Shechem.

The leaders agreed. They gave Abimelech money from the temple treasury to do as he pleased to make it so. The future king used the treasury money and hired some worthless loafers, as The Living Bible translation calls them. These hired guns slaughtered sixty-nine of Abimelech’s half-brothers. Only the youngest, Jotham, escaped.

When Jotham heard the citizens of Shechem declared Abimelech king of Israel, he stood at the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted across to the men of Shechem. There he told the tale of how the trees chose a king. In his tale, the trees who sought a king represented Shechem. The king the trees selected represented Abimelech.

Jotham’s story follows.

The trees sought a king, but the most important and productive trees refused to accept the position. The olive tree was busy producing oil and couldn’t be bothered to rule over unproductive trees that simply waved their branches in the wind.

Next, the fig tree said it would rather produce sweet fruit than rule as king over useless trees.

The grapevine refused asking, “Should I give up producing wine to hold sway over trees?”

In desperation the trees pleaded with the prickly volatile thorn bush to be their king. The thorn bush agreed. With conditions.

“If you want me as your king, come and take refuge in my shade.” (Rather ironic since thorn bushes produce limited shade.) “But if you won’t choose me as your king, then let fire come out of the thorn bush and consume you.”

Three years after making Abimelech king, the Shechemites revolted against him. As was predicted in Jotham’s story, Abimelech destroyed them with fire. (9:47-49)

The people got what they asked for. A prickly volatile thorn bush who destroyed them. In the end, however, the actions of a woman with a millstone standing on a rooftop put an end to the thorn bush king.

Perhaps something we can gain from the inclusion of Jotham’s story of how the trees chose a king is when God’s people abandon him, and do whatever is right in their own eyes, the consequences of their decisions lead to disaster.

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 “Go and talk to the leaders of Shechem,” he requested, “and ask them whether they want to be ruled by seventy kings—Gideon’s seventy sons—or by one man—meaning me, your own flesh and blood!” (Judges 9:2 TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Dave Peever is taking a break from writing his “I Am” series which posted here the last Tuesdays of the month.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Listening To The Voice That Matters

Noise. Confusion. Doubt. Chaos. So much bombards our life making it difficult to know which way to go sometimes. A devotion from Streams in the Desert says we are to be still and listen for God’s clear direction when our path seems uncertain.

“When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.”

This devotion tells us to take our questions to God. It says if we will get alone with God where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach, and wait there silent and expectant, even though all around us insists we make an immediate decision or action, the will of God will be made clear.

The world clamors for our attention in light and shadow. Everyone has an opinion and advice they aren’t afraid to share, whether the sharing is done in a healthy way or not.

The world works hard to pull us away from following closely after Jesus. Voices all around us tell us what we should do and how we should do it, often against what God’s Holy Word tells us we should do. At those times, as the Streams in the Desert devotion writer suggests, we are to shut out the intruders, and calm ourselves in God’s truths.

God doesn’t shout to be heard. He doesn’t rush us toward a decision. He doesn’t keep us so active or agitated we can’t hear from him. He doesn’t frighten or push us. Those are the deceiver’s tactics, not God’s.

Just as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice by being still and listening to it, we can know Jesus’ voice in the same way. But first, we must shut out the imposter’s voice.

“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.

“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
—Selected

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And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Boast in the Name of God

In Kay Arthur’s book, Lord, I Want to Know You, she asks, Where do we run for help? What’s our first instinct? Do we trust and boast in the name of God as our defender, or do we trust and boast in human strength?

I have to admit far too often my first thought when I face an overwhelming problem is to either try and solve it myself, or run to someone I feel can. While there are times when either of these actions may be the prudent thing to do, the problem I see is defaulting to humans before we seek God.

In biblical times chariots were a means of protection and escape. They were a measure of an army’s wealth and power. We don’t need to look further than the exodus account to see how useless Pharaoh’s chariots were against the power of Israel’s Jehovah-nissi when his people reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14).

While we don’t have chariots pulled by horses these days, far too often there may be things or people we trust and boast in perhaps more than we trust and boast in the name of God.

In her book Kay Arthur asks, “Why don’t we take an aggressive stand in the face of fear?” She suggests it is because we don’t trust and boast in the name of our God. She suggests we write down our fears, troubles, insecurities. As we consider our list, she says to ask God to show which of his attributes will meet that need.

Recording God’s attributes and names in a journal as I read through the Book of Psalms helps me see God as so much more than a single faceted divine being. The first attribute I recorded in my journal is filled with fierce fury against those who plot against him.

From there my list includes ruler of all nations, my shield, my only hope. God is the lifter of my head. That’s an attribute and name I boast in often.

God is righteous, the perfect judge, majestic, creator, everlasting, refuge, merciful. He is the helper of the helpless, father to the fatherless, healer, trustworthy, shelter in the time of storm, redeemer, strong and mighty in battle.

And that’s just the beginning.

In our time of trouble and need there is nothing better than to boast in the name of God. When we run to him in full trust, believing he is more than capable to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream, hope, or imagine, we find he alone is worthy to be praised.

I’d love to hear what names of God you boast in.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. Psalm 20:7 (NASB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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