When life gets tough remember this.

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“When is the devil being beaten? Well, not when we feel great and confident, when it looks like wonderful things are happening… No. The devil is being defeated when we are feeling attacked and under the gun, when we feel weak and helpless and do not know what to do, when we are not sure how to respond, when in our perplexities and sense of weakness we come before the Lord and plead with him for strength to go on one more day, and for grace to help us stand.” —Ray Stedman

Boy oh boy I can really attest to this one! That’s when the big victories are won! A particular instance comes to mind. We’d been private teaching in east Taiwan, a tropical paradise. All needs were met for our little family and life was easy.
Then came an urgent call for my husband to take up a post in the south. Long story, but basically having passed on all classes and given notice to leave our beautiful house within the week, the whole thing fell through at the last minute. We couldn’t go back, couldn’t go forward, we tried everything to no avail. My husband collapsed under the strain and sank into deep depression. It was all left on my shoulders along with four kids. I recall lying on my back in total mental exhaustion saying “Jesus,I can’t do this. Help us!”
The phone rang. Amazingly a friend of my husband heard be were moving and asked was there any way we could baby sit his apartment and cover his classes while he was away in the US. Within five minutes we had a place to stay, a steady income and 6 weeks to find our feet in Taipei (which we did).
This has happened so many times that I tend to give a sigh of relief when faced with desperate impossibilities. I know that’s when I’m finally out of the way and God can take over.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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from November 2014

Song Bird Songs

jesus wrestling devil

My son put this picture on the screen of the laptop he was setting up for me knowing how much I like upbeat pictures of Jesus.

I thanked him (of course) but didn’t retain it. Though a great picture and well portrayed the premise was off. Though an attempt to portray the more dominant side of Jesus (rather than the frequent milk toast versions) it falls short. At no point even when occupying a human body was the Devil ever on equal enough terms for there to be any power contest. Even during the temptation in the wilderness the Devil had power only to trick and deceive. In the new testament Jesus  just orders the demons around.

So while this is a great picture and I love it, a truer one might be (thank God) that Jesus appears and the Devil makes a run for it!

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Life’s Gamble.

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(from September 2014)

Song Bird Songs

sp. warfare

The dice thrown down determines who shall enter on this day

Into the jaws of trial, and who shall guide the way

As swords are drawn in battle and to foul purpose lent

The Devil’s here incarnate the veil it has been rent.

He throws his die upon the earth upon foul purpose bent

The moments pass, his prey consumed. Can this be what was meant?

No, who shall counter in this game? Who shall stand before

The one that hell’s afflicted and guide them to the door?

Who will grasp unto the light and in its presence bare

The one entrapped, and squirming, just who will help them there?

God enters in upon the fray as in His hand He holds

A soldier armed in dread array His purpose to unfold.

He dare not lose for in his hand God placed the thread of life

Which once He gave…

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Peaceful Warfare.

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warrior

I came across these two quote illustrations and thought how well they go together. First the concept, then the application.

(If you don’t believe in God or the Devil just think positive and negative forces.)

voices

It’s a great mental strategy to check troublesome thoughts and see which column they belong to (just caught a random one while looking this over which, though well meant, has been bothering me and realized why – keep up the surveillance!)

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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jesus wrestling devil

My son put this picture on the screen of the laptop he was setting up for me knowing how much I like upbeat pictures of Jesus.

I thanked him (of course) but didn’t retain it. Though a great picture and well portrayed the premise was off. Though an attempt to portray the more dominant side of Jesus (rather than the frequent milk toast versions) it falls short. At no point even when occupying a human body was the Devil ever on equal enough terms for there to be any power contest. Even during the temptation in the wilderness the Devil had power only to trick and deceive. In the new testament Jesus  just orders the demons around.

So while this is a great picture and I love it, a truer one might be (thank God) that Jesus appears and the Devil makes a run for it!

So Who is Satan Anyhow?

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satan

Whether you consider him mythical, symbolic or an actual entity, with Halloween approaching in all its lurid costumes it’s surprising how few folks know his origins.
The story is told in the Bible that Satan was once God’s top man, (or angel) the light bearer, powerful and beautiful beyond imagination. His body embellished with music he led the praise of God. So what happened? Basically it seems it wasn’t enough for Satan being the supreme angel. In his pride he wanted to be God, to be worshiped, therefore he rebelled persuading a third of the angels to join him.
He’s described as “the Prince of the Air” and “the father of lies.” The most common caricature of Satan is a little guy with horns and a tail but I would probably depict him as a handsome, impeccably dressed, intellectual, smooth tongued and alluring, only the eyes giving him away as evil. Genesis has him pictured as a snake persuading Eve with subtle words to doubt God(His Bible knowledge is reputed to be better than most Christians and he tries to use it against them as he did Jesus.)
Halloween costumes are often sexy, but again there in a subtle lie here. Sex was God’s creation instigated before “the fall of man”, it’s sexual perversion that is Satan’s domain. He cannot create only pervert. He’s also referred to as “the god of this world”. In spite of God’s overall sovereignty he is said to have power in this realm giving the “kingdoms of this world” to who he may. (God gave dominion to man and through man’s choices Satan took control to a large extent.) This is an interesting viewpoint depicting Christians as God’s 5th columnists working to bring down Satan’s power explaining why evil runs rampant in the earth unless restrained by good.
Another little known Genesis Bible history is that the angels who followed Satan had sex with the women of the earth and that their children were giants of a vicious and diabolical nature. This could explain a frequent question of why in ancient history God asked his people to slaughter whole populations even women and children (lest the DNA be further corrupted). There are some interesting books on this due in part to the many assertions, photos etc. of giant human skeletons being unearthed. It’s not my intention to get into that here as I’m not at all sure about these assertions but it’s an interesting read.
Whatever you believe I hope this has given some new background to your Halloween celebrations. Personally I shall breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over and I can look forward to Christmas when we celebrate the forces of good.

Darkness is not the opposite of Light!

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light
Contrary to what is often accepted darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it. A subtle distinction but it’s where this thinking leads that makes it important.
The opposites label tends to invoke the idea that light and darkness are two forces of equal power. If you want to disprove this just turn on a light, it’s clear darkness has no power of its self as light has, there is no battle of opposing forces. When the light is turned on the darkness disappears because it has no true substance.
This is important is because light and darkness are so often used as symbols of good and evil, God and the Devil, but in the same way, as anyone who has truly tapped into the power of prayer knows, just like light and darkness, there’s really no contest, when God comes evil is powerless.
It’s good to remember this when seeing so much evil portrayed – the “light switch” is always there waiting for us to turn it on.