You alone are worthy of my praise

You alone are worthy of my praise

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalms 34:1-8

 1 I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.

 2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.

 3 Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

 4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

 7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

In 1999, the album “Better Is One Day” was published. It included a delightful song that harks back to the hymns of old when the Father was the focus of our songs, not us: You alone are worthy of my praise.

The beginning is as follows:

And I will give You all my worship

I will give You all my praise

You alone I long to worship

You alone are worthy of my praise

(I will worship)

I will worship (I will worship)

With all of my heart (With all of my heart)

And I will praise You (I will praise You)

With all of my strength (With all my strength)

And I will seek You (I will seek You)

All of my days (All of my days)

Oh, and I will follow (I will follow)

Follow all of Your ways (All Your ways)

It could well be a modern update to the ancient Hebrew song of David where he praises and honors the Father for all He has done for him (Psalm 34).

Sometimes doing good things, can have bad consequences and collateral damage. David killed Goliath and became the hero of Israel. King Saul became jealous and envious of David’s fame and decided to kill him. He pursued him for years (1 Samuel 21). Many of David’s Psalms are written while he was on the run from Saul. Psalm 34 is one of them.

Psalm 34 is an invitation, a happy, joyful invitation. The Father rescued David. Now David wants you to praise the Father with him and trust the Father to rescue you too. He wants you to look, to taste, to see, to enjoy, to respect, to honor, to know the Father yourself.

In that the Holy Spirit inspired David to write this Psalm, this invitation comes from the Father Himself to all children of the King. He wants you to know Him, see Him, taste His goodness, respect Him, honor Him, and rejoice in Him. The Father is good. He blesses and protects everyone who trusts in Him (James A. Johnston)

As human beings, we tend to be self-focused. For instance, seeking the Father’s purpose for our lives is a good thing. But in acting to fulfill His plan, we could easily dwell on how good it makes us feel rather than on the honor it brings the Him. This is a temptation in almost everything we do for Him. And that includes praise.

Worshiping the Lord should be all about Him, not us. In fact, children of the King are made for praise. Peter wrote, You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

Children of the King are to live a life of praise to our Father. Psalm 34 gives us some guidelines.

When?
At all times, in every situation, whether good or bad, our hearts and words should be full of praise for the Father (Psalm 34:1). Worship is a continual, moment by moment attitude of the heart.

How?
Worship and praise are all about boasting in and magnifying the Father (Psalm 34:2-3). As we focus on His excellencies, He grows bigger in our hearts, minds, and spirits.

Where? Praise should be a continual personal practice, the psalmist also proclaims, “Let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3). Exalting the Father through praise is supersized when our voices blend together in honoring our Him. When children of the King worship and praise Him in concert, our efforts are more than additive, they are multiplied. The Father is well-pleased when His children praise Him together. It is a foretaste of heaven to come.

Is praise a regular part of your life? When you give the Lord a larger place in your thoughts and heart, He is magnified, and praise becomes your sincere, natural, and normal response (Stanley, Michael W. Wesley).

REFLECT & PRAY

“In prayer, we act like men [people], in praise we act like angels” (Puritan preacher Thomas Watson).

Father teach me to acknowledge and bless You continually. May the awareness of Your awesome greatness be the center of my life.

INSIGHT

What does it mean to bless the Lord at all times? The idea behind “bless” is to speak a good word about someone.

“Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn’t just words. It’s the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God, because when you will the good of another person, you realize only God is capable of bringing it to pass. So we naturally say, ‘God bless you.’”

“You can bless someone when you will their good under the invocation of God. You invoke God on their behalf to support the good that you will for them. This is the nature of blessing. It is what we are to receive from God and then give to another.”

“Isn’t just a verbal performance. It isn’t ‘bless you’ said through gritted teeth. It’s a generous outpouring of our whole being into blessing the other person” (Dallas Willard).

When the Father blesses someone, He speaks a good word over that person for their well-being. It is not quite the same thing when people bless the Father. We cannot add anything to Him, nor can we improve Him in any way. Rather it is a matter of recognition. We say a good word about Him. For example His kindness, goodness, loveliness, or generosity. To magnify the Lord is to tell how great He is (ESV notes).

But there is more!

Children of the King are to experience His goodness. We are to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). This is one of those rare places in the Scriptures where the Father invites His children to put Him to the test. We are not to just believe it, but to come and find out.

The Hebrew word translated taste is taam. Taam has to do with determining or perceiving the quality of something. We are to discover by experience, to find out what indeed the psalmist already knew, the Lord is good. How can we possibly taste or sample the Father? We find out how delightful He is, by feasting upon His Word.

Psalms 119:103 How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.

“Taste” doesn’t suggest a sip or a nibble; it implies feeding on the Lord through His Word and experiencing all He has for us. It means knowing Him better and enjoying Him more (Wiersbe).

“Too often we are too full of the stuff of the world to care about tasting from the Lord. May the Lord challenge us to put that stuff aside and simply taste and see that He alone is good (Stanley)!”

“You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice” (Liddell).

“If it’s not your practice, pick a day this week and praise God throughout the day. Praise Him when you wake up, praise Him when you eat, praise Him when you leave the house and when you return” (Stanley).

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Restricted unrestricted generosity

Restricted unrestricted generosity

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over (Luke 6:38).

Deuteronomy 15:7-12

 7 “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.

 8 Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.

 9 Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the LORD, you will be considered guilty of sin.

 10 Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.

 11 There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.

 12 If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman . . .

The Toddler’s Creed

If I want it, it’s mine.

If I give it to you and I change my mind later, it’s mine.

If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.

If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

If it’s mine, it will never belong to anybody else, no matter what.

If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.

If it looks like mine, it is mine.” Anon

Two-year-olds believe the world revolves around them. The classic “Toddlers Creed” offers great insight into the mind of a two-year-old. They have trouble sharing anything that interests them, believe they are the center of the world, and assume everyone thinks and feels like they do. And their most favorite word is “No”.

A Toddler’s motto is “me,” “I want,” and “I can.”

This period of a child’s life is often referred to as the terrible 2’s. It is hoped that through gentle teaching and patience, this phase will pass. But sadly, for many of us it never did.

We are born selfish and tightfisted. We are by nature greedy, self-serving, grasping, and stingy. We seek to obtain and hold on to what we have.

There is a paradox to giving generously. This is not about loving your neighbor as yourself, with its wide and open application (Luke 10:29-37). It is much narrower and more restricted. Deuteronomy

The Law of Moses is quite specific and focused. This section is directed to your brother in need. Any question here as to its scope is answered: a brother is defined as a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman (Deuteronomy 15:12).

The Father limited the circle of those to whom the Israelites were required to give. This law did not apply to the poor outside Israel, but those within Israel.

There will always be poor people within the land; therefore, the Father commanded the Jewish nation in the Law of Moses: ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11). While believers today are no longer bound by the law of Moses, there are abiding principles that we take from it. The principle here is restricted, unrestricted generosity.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” Putting it another way, it is fantastic to give away fish, but giving away your only fishing pole, is another matter entirely.

Read the passage again. It means what it says. It is past time to really think this through. We are to cultivate within ourselves the habit of having restricted, unrestricted generosity. Within ourselves we are to have softness of heart and openness of hand.

The Father is quite specific. Sadly, we have perhaps conveniently overlooked this. If we are mean-spirited and refuse those we need, the Father considers us “guilty of sin” (Deuteronomy 15:9).

Let that sink in.

A materialistically oriented culture will condemn this law as foolish and unworkable. Many arguments can be marshaled against its implementation. However, such arguments would miss the theological orientation of the law.

Deuteronomy’s law was not driven by practicality or economic necessity but by God’s character. Justice and generosity were its hallmarks (Hall).

REFLECT & PRAY

Give someone a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach them to fish, and they will feed themselves.

Father, how many times have I held back because of my own self-centeredness? My guess is without measure. Father, I want to be just like You. You demonstrated remarkable and undeniable softness of heart and openness of hand.

INSIGHT

Why do suppose that churches most often have secondhand pianos? The answer is simple. We buy a new piano and we put it in our home and. We donate our old piano to the church and get a tax write off.

Sadly, we often wonder and question, as did Israel, the Father’s love for us. We should be more concerned about is our love for the Father. Malachi charges that when we offer to God less than our best, we dishonor Him. These words reveal with the Father’s outage at our outrageous behavior.

Malachi 1:1-14

 1 “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’”

 10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings.”

 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table.”

 13 “You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD.

 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!

Unless we are Amazon.com, we may grudgingly pay our taxes, but we do pay them.

Ponder for a moment. What does not belong to the Father God? When you correctly answer that question, you begin the journey of generous restricted, unrestricted giving with softness of heart and openness of hand.

Our heavenly Father is generous beyond measure. He wants us to become like Him.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you” (John Bunyan).

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Feeling His pleasure – doing His pleasure

Feeling His pleasure – doing His pleasure

God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13

Hebrews 13:20-21

 20 Now may the God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood –

 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

Chariots of Fire, released April 9, 1982, is the inspirational story of two British world-class athletics and their preparation and participation in the 1924 Olympic Games.

The film is anchored in the character study of the two athletes. Harold Abrahams is a super athlete of extraordinary ability and determination. His only goal is to win. He is addicted to running. His inner drive and turmoil are summarized in one phrase, “If I cannot win, I will not run.” Abrahams is a tortured soul who feels isolated and persecuted because of his Jewish heritage. He paraphrases the well-worn adage, I am invited to the trough, but not allowed to drink.

Eric Liddell is pretty much just the opposite. He is intrinsically good, faithful to his family, his country, his friends, and ultimately to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. He knows that it is the Father’s strength that surges from within. The Father’s power gives Eric his supernatural drive, will, and the force to win against seemingly impossible odds. Liddell triumphs by tapping into the reservoir of the Father’s great strength which courses within, and bursts forth as needed.

Liddell unequivocally states, “Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, ‘Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.’ If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”

His motivation and driving force is summed up in one statement, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

The Duke of Sutherland comments, “The ‘lad’ is a true man of principles and a true athlete. His speed is a mere extension of his life, its force.”

All too frequently, children of the King are confused about the Father’s role in our lives. Sadly, our lack of knowledge and confusion create a warped misunderstanding. Many view the Father as a kindly, warm, grandfather figure who wants to make us feel good and spoil us with good things. While He is a loving Father who is good and kind and caring, providing for us, He does not exist to serve us. We exist to serve Him.

The reality is that we exist for the Father. Everything about us has been designed by the Father to equip us for the work He preordained long before our birth. The Father created us for His purposes. He has equipped every child of the King to serve Him in some fashion. He has a unique desire for each of us. We serve at his pleasure (Stanley).

We are His workmanship. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

Our greatest sense of well-being and self-satisfaction comes when we discover what the Father is doing and how He has invited us to participate with Him. When we do what He made us to do, we find great delight and contentment. Doing His pleasure, we feel His pleasure.

REFLECT & PRAY

Each child of the King is encouraged to pray for one another that they will be completely equipped to do the Father’s good pleasure in and through their lines.

Father, you are the Potter and I am the clay. You made me to participate in what you are doing on earth. Encourage my heart to do the good pleasure of Your will.

INSIGHT

He has equipped us with all we need for doing His will. His plan is to produce in us, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 13:21).

The Greek word translated equip is katartizo. Katartizo essentially means to prepare, make ready, or suitable in advance for some particular purpose. Here it means “to equip one for service” (Wuest).

The Father wants to give to us all that is good which we need in order to do what He wants you to do, that is, all that is good and necessary in order to do what He desires us to do (UBS).

Each of us is uniquely created by the Father with the exact personality and body we would need to fulfill His purpose for our life. He has equipped us with the strengths, abilities, and talents necessary to do what He planned for us. Every experience in our life is used by the Father to equip us for doing His will. Both the pleasant and difficult times shape our character, mature us spiritually, and train us to help others (Stanley).

There is something magnificent here that easily escapes our notice. Because we are the Father’s workmanship created to do His good pleasure, the Father is “all in” to make it happen. The writer of Hebrews is not praying to get the Father to do what he desires Him to do. Rather, he is praying that the Father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven for every child of the King.

“Our Savior in heaven wants to equip us for life on earth. Tenderly, He wants to set the ‘broken bones” in our lives so that we might walk straight and run our life-races successfully. He wants to repair the breaks in the nets so that we might catch fish. He wants to equip us for battle and outfit us so that we will and be battered in the storms of life. In brief, He wants to mature us so that He can work in us and through us that which pleases Him and accomplishes His will” (Wiersbe).

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

Eric Liddell understood this and felt the Father’s pleasure within himself when doing His pleasure. Liddell clearly had his priorities straight, “It has been a wonderful experience to compete in the Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal. But since I have been a young lad, I have had my eyes on a different prize. You see, each one of us is in a greater race than any I have run in Paris, and this race ends when God gives out the medals” (Liddell).

“God uniquely created each of us, and He’s provided us with everything we need to serve and glorify Him. All we must do is step out in obedience with full reliance on His grace and power” (Stanley).

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Straight thinking

Straight thinking

Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established. – Proverbs 16:3

James 1:6-8

 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Straight and Crooked Thinking, by Robert H. Thouless was first published in 1930 and revised in 1953. The author reviews and critically evaluates common flaws employed in reasoning and argumentation. The author discusses thirty-eight wrong thinking fallacies. Among them are:

Proof by example (sometimes known as inappropriate generalization) is a logical fallacy whereby the validity of a statement is illustrated through one or more examples or cases – rather than a full-fledged proof

Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position.

What does it mean to think straight? To think straight is to think in a clear or logical way, rationally or calmly. This phrase is often used in the negative to convey the opposite. “I’m so tired I can’t think straight.”

Romans 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind.

Something tragic happened when people chose not to acknowledge the existence and reality of the living God. There is a play on words in the original Greek which does not come across into English.

Regard

The Greek verb translated not see fit is dokimazo. Dokimazo has the basic sense of testing something with the goal of approving it. The people has in mind did not regard God worth even considering. They are basically theophobic.

The Greek word translated debased or corrupted is adokimos. Adokimoscomes fromawithout and dokimos acceptable, tested and approved. Hence it means failing to meet the test; hence worthless, unqualified, unapproved, unworthy, spurious, or reprobate. “In the present context corrupted refers to a mind that no longer functions as it should . . . [it lacks the] ability to make moral and spiritual distinctions. Phillips renders this phrase as “degenerate minds” and the NEB as “depraved reason” (USB).

The thinking of fallen humanity is at best limited and bent. At worst, it is unqualified to make sound moral judgments. The human mind is powerful, but slightly skewed. Some have likened it to a powerful giant buzz saw that is used in sawmills to cut tree trunks into boards. What happens when you run a tree trunk through a saw blade that is slightly out of alignment, skewed? And saddest of all, people do not know their thinking is off-kilter.

The Father thinks perfectly straight. He always has and always will. He never varies, He never equivocates. He is absolutely consistent and therefore totally trustworthy.

REFLECT & PRAY

Can you imagine the Father ever saying, “Whoops I made a mistake?”

Father I recognize that my thinking is limited and often bent and biased. Enable me to think Your thoughts after You and gain stability and consistency.

INSIGHT

He made us in His image and gave us the ability to think and reason. Yet our knowledge is extremely limited. Compared to Him, even the wisest and most intelligent among us down through the millennia, knows almost nothing.

Isaiah 55:8-9

 8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

 9 “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Right-thinking comes from a right understanding of the personality and attributes of the Father God. The apostle recognized that the Father is all-knowing and all-powerful. The Father is sovereign in all things. Paul’s understanding allowed him to think straight and remain calm in difficult circumstances.

Psalms 46:1-2

 1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

 2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Wrong thinking results in instability (Chuck Swindoll).

A double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).

The Greek translated double minded is dipsuchos. Dipsuchos literally means having two minds. It connotes being uncertain about the truth of something or someone: doubting or hesitating. It speaks of a person with divided loyalties.

The Greek translated unstable is akatastatos. Akatastatos is derived from anot and kathístemito settle. Thus it has the sense unsettled, unsteady, restless, fickle, not subject to control, or unruly.

How do we become stable and learn to think straight?

We place our utter confidence in Him. We should exchange our thoughts for His thoughts, our ways for His ways. We begin by granting the fact that the Father is the final arbitrator. What He says is not opinion but Truth.

Psalms 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will take care of you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

The psalmist encourages us to pass on our burdens to the Lord and allow Him to take the load. We give Him our anxious thoughts, our worries, our troubles. We allow the Father to be “troubled” and “worried” in our place.

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Can we be forgotten?

Can we be forgotten?

I have written your name on the palms of my hands. – Isaiah 49:16

Isaiah 49:13-16

 13 The LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.

 14 Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”

 15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!

 16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind . . .

In an age characterized by isolation and despair, we often feel abandoned and forgotten. In our dejection and sadness, we ask, “does anyone really care?”

During dark times of the nation of Israel’s history, the people felt forgotten and forsaken. They grumbled and whined, “The LORD has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).

But nothing could be further from the truth.  The Father’s response to their complaint was to assure them of His unfailing commitment. He would never, ever forget or abandon them. He answers them with two beautiful and poignant word pictures.

Rather than speak of His own love as a father, He compares Himself to a mother. The Father reminded them that He could no more forget them, than a woman can forget her nursing child.

The Father asks, “How can a mother forget her nursing child?” Day and night a nursing child demands its mother’s affection and attention. It is unthinkable that a mother could forget her child. A nursing child is wholly dependent upon its mother for nourishment and life. The Hebrew word translated nursing child is ulah. This word is more specific than child or even baby. It refers to a very young child that is still nursing. 

But there’s more. The Father being all-knowing, omniscient, never forgets anything and He never learns anything.

Writing things down helps you remember and remain committed. It provides a record of your thoughts, feelings, and a path to the future.

In our society, it has become common for people to tattoo symbols or names of those they love on their skin. In Isaiah’s day, some servants would inscribe the names of their masters on their hands. But masters did not write the names of their servants on their hands.

Yet the Father, to highlight His focus and love, has inscribed the names of those He loves on the palms of His hands. The Hebrew word translated carved is chaqaq. Chaqaq means to cut, inscribe, engrave, chisel as a lasting record.

The Father is all in.

REFLECT & PRAY

So many times we experience dreadful isolation and a sense of abandonment.

Dear Father, thank You for being totally committed to me and keeping me ever before Your mind and heart.

INSIGHT

Strictly speaking, the Father being omniscient cannot really forget anything. But from our perspective, sadly too often that does not matter. We are the ones who forget about Him. So, His Word is full of reminders of His love and commitment for us.

A mother and nursing infant are bound by ties of dependence and life, yet even this relationship can falter. But the Father will never waver. The Father’s everlasting love outlasts even the best love on earth.

Isaiah 49:15 Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.

The word pictures presented here are among the strongest illustrations of the Father’s love found in the Old Testament.

The Father loves each of us individually more than any mother has ever loved her own son or daughter. Everything He does in our life, He does out of love and for love’s sake (Stanley).

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you see your name written on the palm of His hand. Then imagine your name smeared a bit by your sin. Your name is still visible but a bit smudged. The Father not only wrote the names of those He loved on His hands; He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for them.

Does the Lord Jesus Christ carry our names on His hands as well?

Now visualize the resurrected Christ.

John 20:24-28

 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving but believing.”

 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Because of the crucifixion and death of Christ, He now has nail scarred hands forever. With a little bit of imagination we can connect the dots together.

I can see that the nail went right through the middle of my blurred name, covering it with blood. My name is forever on His hand. My name is covered with His blood. I am remembered, I am loved, I am forgiven.

Henceforth, whenever I see a tattoo, I will remember His nailed scarred hands.

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Win – Win

Win-Win

And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice. – 1 Kings 3:28

1 Kings 3:16-28

 16 Two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled.

 17 “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house.”

 18 “Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.”

 19 “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it.”

 20 “Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her.”

 21 “And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”

 22 Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.

 23 Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other.”

 24 “All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.

 25 Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”

 26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child – please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”

 27 Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”

 28 When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.

Traditional negotiations take the positional bargaining approach. Each side tries to gain an advantage over the other. The needs and the desires of the other side are disregarded. This approach obviously meets resistance from the opposing side, which is trying to do the same thing. If and when all parties find common ground and agree, the negotiation ends.

Older negotiation styles are Win-Lose, Lose-Win, and Lose-Lose. A newer approach is a Win-Win. In a Win-Win approach each party sees the other as a partner rather than an adversary.

Solomon possessed supernatural wisdom and discernment from the Father. He had no difficulty seeing through the words spoken by the two women. The circumstances reveal that one of the women was obviously lying. But which one? It was one woman’s word against the other.

Solomon bypassed the women’s words and instead targeted their hearts. He wisely recognized that the threat of death to the child would reveal the child’s real mother. By suggesting that they “divide the baby” between them, Solomon discovered the true mother as she revealed her heart. He gave her baby to her.

The true mother’s heart “yearned” for the child’s welfare. The Hebrew word translated yearned is kamar, that is, deeply stirred. The expression refers to a deep emotional experience (deeply moved, filled with compassion). It might be literally translated, “her compassion was made hot [or, agitated] or “she burned with compassion.”

1 Kings 3:26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child – please do not kill him!”

The emphatic, powerful nuance of the Hebrew, is not captured with the simple phrase “not kill him.” Far better options are “Certainly do not kill him!” “Whatever you do, do not kill it,” or “on no account let them kill him!”   

REFLECT & PRAY

If the Father spoke to you and told you that you could ask Him for anything, what would it be?

Father more than anything I want to have the heart of Solomon, and seek Your wisdom that I might make excellent, sagacious decisions.

INSIGHT

How did Solomon become so wise, and why?

At the beginning of his reign the Father came to Solomon. The Father initiated a conversation with an extraordinary invitation, “Ask what you would like me to give you.” There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the Scriptures. Imagine, anything and everything were on the table.

There was only one thing that Solomon desired above all else, the wisdom and knowledge of God. Solomon’s request was not derived from selfish ambition but rather from his need and desire to wisely govern the Father’s people. Solomon was noble and good in heart and sought only supernatural wisdom and knowledge that he might best serve the people of God.

1 Kings 3:5-12

 5 The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”

 7 “Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go Out or come in.

 8 “Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.

 9 “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

 10 It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.

 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice,

 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.

Solomon’s wisdom provided a Win-Win outcome for the true mother and her baby, not so much for the fraudulent mother.

The Father wants us to ask Him to meet all of our needs and delights in revealing to us His desires and His ways of doing things. He delights in answering our prayers We can be confident that whenever we ask the Father for something, He hears and responds to us, giving us precisely what we need—which may not be what we think we need or want (Stanley).

The supernatural wisdom of the Father is available to each child of the King. But like Solomon, our focus needs to be off of ourselves. Rather, we should seek to use wisdom to assist and benefit others.

James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

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The Father holds my hand

The Father holds my hand

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41:10-13


 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 11 Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
 12 You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.

 13 For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

The early days of the American War for Independence were fairly bleak. In 1777, after a string of defeats, Philadelphia had fallen, the brutal winter at Valley Forge approached, and the situation appeared desperate. George Washington sent out communiqués to his commanders. He wrote, “We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.”

We live in fearful, tumultuous times, filled with forebodings of doom. It seems as though everything is coming apart. America has seen difficult times before. Some were historic days of tragedy December 07, 1941 and September 11, 2001. Longer periods of time are characterized by one traumatic event after another. Social, religious, and political norms imploded after decades of pressure reached a breaking point.

In 1968, it seemed as though America was on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. Social unrest was rampant. Clashes erupted over cultural values, race, and the Vietnam War movement. Two men considered heroic figures by large portions of the population, were tragically tragically assassinated: Rev. Martin Luther King and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

“In some ways, historians say, America nearly lost its mind and its soul. In other ways, historians argue, the nation reinvented itself and became a more-tolerant, less-constrained place, more willing to let people express their individuality and challenge authority. Overall, the upheavals of that year, both positive and negative, made it clear that once social change reaches a critical mass, it can’t be stopped” Kenneth T. Walsh).

“It was a hinge point in history, one of the most consequential and tumultuous years in the American experience, and it changed the country forever” (Kenneth T. Walsh).

America rose above the tumult and upheaval. But it was sullied by intense cynicism regarding government and traditional institutions. Dark days lay ahead, but there was hope that the future could be brighter and better.

But now 50 years later it seems as though America is on a collision course with an apocalyptic destiny. Many lament that there is no path forward, the Earth itself appears to be in fatal decline, and new technologies threaten traditional industries and occupations as never before (The Washington Post).

However, the Father does not change. He remains steadfast and unmovable. He holds each of us fast in His strong right hand as we walk through times of darkness and uncertainty. He is there for us and He will take us exactly where He wants us to go.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

REFLECT & PRAY

“Each of us will face fear at some point; it is what we do with it that matters most. We must claim our position as God’s children. We have the power to overcome fear when we apply His Word to our lives” (Stanley).

Father, thank You that You are ever present with me and I need not fear. Embrace me with the security and comfort that You alone can provide.

INSIGHT

Fear is defined as an emotional foreboding or dread of impending distress, misfortune, or terror. Fear includes anxiety and loss of courage in the face of an unpleasant or dangerous situation. It frequently results in dread and terror.

“We are fragile mortals, given to fears of every sort. We have a built-in insecurity that no amount of whistling in the dark can mollify. We seek assurance concerning the things that frighten us the most” (Table Talk). Often, our greatest fears are not due to external forces. They lurk and erupt like volcanoes from the inner recesses of our beleaguered souls and wounded hearts.

The Scriptures are replete with repeated words of encouragement to “fear not” and “not be afraid.”

Zephaniah 3:16 Do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp.

Every child of the King can be assured that the Father is with them. He will strengthen them in the midst of their difficulties and trials. In the end, their enemies will come to nothing (Gary Smith).

Isaiah 41:10-13

 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 13 For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

The Hebrew language does not employ underlining or bolding to indicate the most important words or thoughts in a sentence or paragraph. Rather, Hebrew syntax employs word placement or repetition. Hence, the most important word or phrases are often repeated or placed at the beginning or the end of a sentence.

In Isaiah 41:10-13, “do not fear,” is repeated and occurs at the beginning and the end of the section. Because the Father is actively involved and present in the midst of the difficult circumstances, they have no reason to fear. Hard times are certain, but a fearful response, although natural for people, children of the King can avoid it entirely.  “The exhortation not to fear is part of the bedrock of faith” (Friesen).

In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Fear will come calling, but the children of the King should refuse to entertain it at all. The Father is with us and upholds us with His strong right hand.  “Do not fear” can become the credo of every child of the King.

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Private sin

Private sin

The LORD was displeased with what David had done. – 2 Samuel 11:27

Psalms 51:1-12

 1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.

 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.

 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.

 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.

 5 For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

 7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.

Coming to terms with private sin is never an easy matter. Even more so when private sin becomes public sin.

In our day, time and time again, dark, secret, personal private wickedness and immorality have hit the front page.

Over the past few years, a number of well-known politicians, familiar public figures, and prominent media personalities have been publicly accused of serious sexual misconduct and abuse of power.

Such charges have been made against Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, A.J. Calloway, Brett Kavanaugh, Sylvester Stallone, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Thom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, David Copperfield, Michael Douglas, and Jeffrey Epstein.

A headline could read Abuse of Power, Sexual Misconduct and #MeToo. Some of the accused are woefully, horrifically guilty. But the presumption of innocence has been lost in the #MeToo era. To accuse is enough to convict without a trial or hearing.

Regrettably, abuse of power and sexual misconduct is the way of the world. This is nothing new. But the children of the King are expected to be “better.” But sadly, way too often, the King’s kids are no better than the enemy’s kids.

Imagine the headline from the Jerusalem Post, 1000 BC, breaking news – David the King of Israel accused and found guilty of adultery, cover-up, and murder. The greatest king in Israel’s history had sunken to the deepest levels of human lust and self-preservation. Because an “The heart wants what it wants” (Emily Dickinson).

Love is frequently not under conscious, cognitive control. For example, you cannot just decide to stop loving somebody, no matter how hopeless. Similarly, you cannot simply decide to fall in love with somebody, no matter how suitable.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father sees as well in the dark as He does in the light.

Father how often have You watched and seen my sin, but held back from a harsh blunt confrontation. Thank You for Your gentleness and kindness. I confess and acknowledge that I am a sinful man.

INSIGHT

The Father has a way of confronting His children and bringing them to repentance. For some of us, it might be considered a curse, for others a blessing, but regardless it is a fact.

So it was with David. His secret sin was found out for all to know and see. The Father sent Nathan His prophet to confront David and perform the needed spiritual, heart surgery required. The Father had prepared Nathan for this difficult confrontation. Nathan’s words were wisely chosen. He told the story of a crime that had been committed by another, an empowered rich man. David was furious and passed judgment on the man in question. But in fact, what he had done was pass judgment on himself. With one quick thrust of the sword, Nathan delivered the immortal words that pierced his heart and still echo down through the centuries, “You are the man!

2 Samuel 12:1-7

 1 So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor.

 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle.

 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter.

 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”

 5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!

 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”

 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Unconfessed and hidden sin has a way of making us callous. It deadens the spirit and distances us from the Father. We find ourselves descending in an ever increasing downward spiral into a prison of our own making. Without confession and repentance, the future is not bright, but dark and dismal. In his own words, David reveals how he had been haunted by his sin (Psalm 51).

King David was embarrassed, humbled, and grieved by the revelation. But the confrontation gave David the opportunity for repentance, forgiveness, healing, and restoration. He gladly latched onto it. David knew that the Father was righteous in His judgments. But he also knew that He was gracious and forgiving and merciful because of His loyal love.

He appealed to the Father and was forgiven. Some would say, he was not quite the same afterwards. Even though he was forgiven there were still consequences. Bathsheba gave birth to a child. But the Father sent sickness and the child died.

The Father was not confused by David’s flailing attempts to hide his secret sins. The cover-up simply did not work. David’s attempts to hide his abuse of power against Bathsheba and Uriah was exposed in full color. His secret sin has been front page news for 3000 years!

The Father judged and sentenced David for his sins. David paid dearly for his lust and deceit. The spiritual principle of sowing and reaping was executed. David was repaid “in kind” (Deuteronomy 19:21). And more, for the sword did not depart from the king’s household.

Hosea 8:7 For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind.

This is an object lesson for us all. We must deal with our own evil and secret sins. If we do not, the Father will reveal them and deal with them for us. Repent and confess but be wise. And by all means do not put it on Twitter or Facebook.

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Reset justly

Reset justly

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32

Matthew 26:52 All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.

The year 2020 was a year of many seemingly unprecedented events: the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather, global social upheaval, and a nearly global movement to attempt to correct past wrongs. Cries for justice and freedom were often not peaceful but violent. Riots, looting, destruction of private property, and historical monuments were rampant. Seemingly, restraint was often totally lacking.

Perhaps a time of reflection upon wisdom from the past is called for. Edmund Burke was a British statesman, parliamentary orator, and political thinker prominent in public life from 1765 to about 1795. He was a classic political thinker. His intellectual achievement depended upon his understanding of philosophy and its practical application in civil and social life. Consider the great pith of his reflections and observations.

“He that sets his house on fire because his fingers are frostbitten, can never be a fit instructor in the method of providing our habitations with a cheerful and salutary warmth.”

“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”

“It is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.”

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”

Edmund Burke could be commenting upon global conditions in the 21st century, and particularly those of America. In fact he was reflecting upon the French Revolution 1780 – 1799, and particularly the Reign of Terror from September 5, 1793, to July 27, 1794. The people of France defied and rebelled against the exploitative and repressive values that had existed for centuries. The Revolutionary government decided to make “Terror” the order of the day. The French people destroyed the symbols of the monarchy and ultimately the monarchy itself. Those deemed guilty by the #Me Too movement of the day lost their heads also. The goal was to purge France of the enemies of the Revolution. Images of beheadings by the guillotine were immortalized by paintings and caricatures of the time. It is also been called, “The Bloody Revolution.”

It was soon followed by The White Terror, a violent reaction against supporters and participants of the Reign of Terror. Violence begets violence.

Matthew 26:52 All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.

And so it was. All who took up the guillotine also perished by it.

There must be a better way.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality” (Edmund Burke).

Father guide me and give me wisdom that I may know when to make peace and when to make war.

INSIGHT

There are over 1100 prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah of Israel. Over 300 of them predict that He will come as the Prince of peace, die for the iniquity of people, and make redemption possible for all who would accept it. The Lord Jesus Christ would be a Suffering Servant. His first coming would be characterized by miracles, teaching, and peaceful confrontation. He would frequently turn the other cheek. He did not come to reign but rather to die for the sins of the world.

But at the same time over 800 of the prophecies indicated that he would be a powerful King, who leads a powerful army, destroys his enemies and sets up the Kingdom of God on earth.

When He returns, He will not be turning the other cheek, but rather He will wage war!

Revelation 19:11 I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

There is a time for peace and a time for war (Ecclesiastes 3:8).

How are children of the King to know which is which?

The New Testament is very clear regarding the value of peace, and being a peacemaker.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

You might say that is our prime directive. However, not everyone who we wish to be at peace with, will reciprocate and want to be at peace with us.

Romans 12:18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Living in peace with others is the goal. However, Paul qualifies this standard with the proviso, if it is possible, we are to do all we can. Peace and harmony with others may not always be achievable. Children of the King are not be responsible for the reluctance and failure of others to make peace. But we should always attempt to do so.

The desire for peace, is not peace at any price, but rather peace which adheres to principle. “Christianity is not an easy-going tolerance which will accept anything and shut its eyes to everything” (Barclay). Sometimes war is necessary.

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

This should leave us somewhat conflicted. The Father must show each of His children how to act in every given situation. Often the Scriptures demand such dependence.

Proverbs 26:4-5 

 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.

 5 Answer a fool as his folly deserves, less he be wise in his own eyes.

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APT attacks

APT attacks

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

 2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. . .

 3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.

 4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

In early November 2020, pharmaceutical partners, Pfizer and BioNTech, announced that they had developed a vaccine for COVID-19 which was 90% effective. This is a true modern scientific breakthrough. Regrettably, a week later Microsoft detected three state-sponsored hacking operations (also known as APTs) that have launched cyber-attacks on at least seven prominent companies involved in COVID-19 vaccines research and treatments (ZDNet).

What is an APT?

Cyber APTs are a relatively recent development that puts not only individuals, but companies, state and federal government computer systems at risk

An APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) is a stealthily, shrewdly, intelligently conceived, and developed effort to attack computer networks. It is not a singular effort or battle but rather more a campaign in which an intruder, or team of intruders, establishes an illicit, long-term presence on a network in order to mine highly sensitive data (imperva.com).

The targets of these assaults, which are very carefully chosen and researched, typically include large enterprises or governmental networks. The consequences of such intrusions are vast, and include:

  • Intellectual property theft (e.g., trade secrets or patents)
  • Compromised sensitive information (e.g., employee and user private data)
  • The sabotaging of critical organizational infrastructures (e.g., database deletion)
  • Total site takeovers

Executing an APT assault requires more resources than a standard web application attack. The perpetrators are usually teams of experienced cybercriminals having substantial financial backing. They are often a nation state or state-sponsored group which are government-funded. They represent a new level of cyber warfare (imperva.com).

If an exceedingly bright human hackers can figure out how to do this, certainly even more highly intelligent spiritual hackers can do far worse.

Children of the King are also subject to spiritual APT offenses and incursions. Our souls and spirits are relentlessly probed for weaknesses. There is little information for our assailants to obtain, because of their intelligence network, they already know what we know. Rather than extraction, they attempt to implant suggestions, ideas, emotions. They use disinformation and misinformation to attempt to sabotage our walk with the Father.

Revelation 12:9 The serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world . . .

We have a great extremely intelligent and cunning enemy whose purpose is to thwart the Father’s purpose. “As the serpent, Satan deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3); and as the lion, Satan devours. The word ‘Satan’ means ‘adversary,’ and the word ‘devil’ means ‘the accuser, the slanderer’” (Wiersbe).

REFLECT & PRAY

“We must never forget that we are in a spiritual war. Regardless of how well things may seem to be going for us, we live in a perpetual war zone. How many casualties occur because we think we live in a time of peace” (Stanley)?

Father our adversary fully intends to harm us and make us spiritual casualties in our service to You. Father teach us to know and understand our enemy and enable us to take a stand and resist him until he flees.

INSIGHT

“The devil is always out to see whom he can ruin. Again, Peter must have been remembering how the devil had overcome him and he had denied his Lord” (Barclay).

Luke 22:31-32

 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.”

 32 “But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

“Peter portrayed the devil here as a roaring lion seeking to devour its prey. The devil roars like a lion to induce fear in the people of God. In other words, persecution is the roar by which he tries to intimidate believers in the hope that they will capitulate at the prospect of suffering. If believers deny their faith, then the devil has devoured them . . .” (Schreiner).

The extreme distinction between the Father’s goals and methods and those of the enemy the devil is conspicuous and striking. The Father gently and tenderly cares for His children (1 Peter 5:6-7), inviting them to bring their worries to him so that he can sustain them. The Father promises to care for and protect His flock (1 Peter 5:2) in difficult times.

The enemy wants only to terrify the children of the King. His goal is to induce fear that will devour their faith. He does not want to deliver them from fear but to rather destroy them. He is like a wounded, crazed animal lashing out in its final death throes.

What should children of the King do? Should they capitulate and turn the other cheek? Absolutely not. “Those who act like sheep, will be eaten by wolves” (Anonymous). Children of the King are told to be vigilant and resist. They are to stand firm against the devil and his machinations.

James 4:7 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James commanded us to resist the devil actively and persistently. The Greek word translated resist is antistete. Antistete has the sense of to stand against, resist, set oneself against, oppose, refuse to yield whether in deed or word.

“This promise of the devil’s flight bears upon our understanding of his nature and influence. The devil had been referred to only indirectly up to this point (James 2:19; 3:6). He is the embodiment of all that resists God and is at enmity with God (James 4:4). James . . . [Reveals] absolute evil is never a positive force.”

“Evil cannot coerce the human will but is dependent upon it, much like a parasite. The devil is the active opponent of God and his people, but he resorts to his lying, deceptive capacities. Human creatures who believe these lies contribute their physical and mental strengths to his cause of influencing humanity for their destruction and his glory.”

“The devil is not called the tempter within James, for temptation results from evil desire within the self (James 1:14). But the devil is close by the temptations and conflicts that humans cause. Nevertheless, if he is consciously resisted, in submission to God, the devil cannot fight back and must flee the attack that is our resistance to him.”

“How do believers know that he is present? Wherever envy and selfish ambition are present in the conflicts and quarrels of the body of Christ, the devil is there” (Richardson).

How do we do this?

It is essential for each child of the King to take a stand on the Word of God and refuse to be budge “Unless we stand, we cannot withstand . . . Just as David took his stand against Goliath, and trusted in the name of the Lord, so we take our stand against Satan in the victorious name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Wiersbe).

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

“Our faith must be like a solid wall against which the attacks of the devil exhaust themselves in vain. The devil is like any bully, and retreats when he is bravely resisted in the strength of Jesus Christ” (Barclay).

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