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What would Satan do?

Listen. Sometimes you have to give an article a flashy title to get people interested, okay? In this case though, this is exactly what I’m going to be talking about.

If you have ever read the biblical account of Job, then you may know Job went through hell on earth by being tested through several trials, like disease, loss of family, loss of wealth, loss of respect and all at the hands of Satan. See my old post “What Happened to Job“, if you care to read about this great story. We learn in the book of Job that Satan has been allowed many “abilities”, some of which allow him to do great harm and manipulation in our world.

First, let’s backtrack and set the stage. Most of my readers live in the USA and for the most part we live in a culture that epitomizes the American Dream. The dream that we can make ourselves into whatever we want. We can work hard and get whatever we want. We can make it happen if we try. Sounds good on the surface doesn’t it?

Now, let’s dig into this ideology. We see words like ourselves and we in the definition above which equates to me, myself and I. Are you with me? Good. I thought this would be easy for you. Moving on, we can easily see that this American Dream concept has also translated into an “I want this”, and an “I want that” mentality. A mentality of materialism.materialism

Next, we can look at how we live. Why do we dream? Isn’t it to make money so we can buy something or earn respect in someone’s eyes or provide a grand lifestyle? I like a statement I’ve heard my pastor and others proclaim.

We work so we can buy something we don’t need, so we can impress the people around us that we don’t even like or even care to know.

How sick and wrong is that? Can you honestly deny that you’ve taken part in this mentality? Now let’s transition to the meat of this rumination. What does the church look like in your neighborhood?

Let’s think about all of the church splits, church arguments about money, doctrinal battles and overall strife among denominations. Where does this come from? Obviously in the church, it comes from having an attitude like that of Christ and the concept of loving your neighbor as yourself, right? Ha! LOL! Where does it come from people? You tell me. How about, “I want this”, “I want that”? Hmm.

Sorry to say this, but I contend that the idea of the American Dream is a tool that Satan has used VERY well to get us to forget the real mission of the Church (with a capital C), so that we would spend our energy worrying about MY church (little c) and what type of music SHOULD be played. Our churches have become materialistic, our attitudes revolve around this concept and it shows.

In the bible Job was a righteous man and he was tested in oh so many ways. He passed the test and came out better in the end. How are we doing in the midst of our testing?  What do our attitudes truly show?

Jesus said, GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS

….oh, I’m not called to do that…I can’t, I have a church meeting about the building project…isn’t that the job of missionaries?…here, have some money so I feel like I’m a part of the work…this year I’m going on vacation maybe next year…I can’t give now because I have a cable bill, cell phone bill, car payment and credit card bill due.

What would Satan do?

In this case does he even…..need…..to do…..anything..…else?

Power & Authority

Here’s a quick study on some scripture from Dr. Luke.  Reading through Luke 9:1-6 we see something that can directly apply to many of us today!

1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,

Let’s think like a leader, a manager or anyone who is in a position to instruct someone else about what they need to be doing.  Jesus gave these men, who are obviously “under” him two things:

1) Power

2) Authority

How many of us are in a position where we do not have the power nor the authority to do our job how we think it should be done?  If we are above people, do we give employees the power and authority they need?

2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Here we have the boss giving us some clear direction.  Go out and preach.  Preach what?  Well, the boss has already spent a considerable amount of time teaching what to preach (and how to heal).  Jesus laid out the job requirements, the “how to” and now He expects some results.  The direction doesn’t end there:

3He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.

What a boss!  We even have details.  I’m pretty sure I could ask questions of this boss and not be disappointed.  Do you feel that way at work?  Do you have clear direction?  Power and authority?  Here’s the deal:

6So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

They went out.  They DID what they were told.  No grumbling.  No back stabbing.  What a work environment!  Do you feel motivated to do “what you are told” at work?  Do you feel equipped to do your job?

On the flip side, do you GIVE your employees that power and authority to do their jobs?  Do you give direction?  Clear details and expectations?  Do you WELCOME questions?  Do your workers do what they are told?

And you thought the Bible didn’t have anything in it that was relevant to your life today! Get reading!

Pride

Who do we listen to?  Are we tough enough to do what it takes?  Well, it seems that I missed a point of discussion in Tough Truth yesterday.  Here it is:

I failed to note how John so clearly put it in this verse from my reading today, “for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. “(The Holy Bible : NIV Jn 12:43).  Might this be another reason we fail to fulfill God’s plan for our lives?  Let’s see:

– What would they think of me?

– What would I do if…..?

– I would get laughed at.

I can write about this since I have made some big changes in my life.  I feel it is right to share, so that maybe you will be encouraged as well.  I guess I feel I have been encouraged by God to make several leaps of faith, the biggest being quitting my engineering software training job and becoming a full time stay-at-home dad.  I was getting rave reviews from those I trained.  It was the most fun I had ever had in a job.  I was meant to teach!  I had a few friends exclaim their concern for me and my future career I’d be messing up.  My family was very supportive, so it could have been a lot worse, but if you know me, I’m not the easiest person to disagree with regarding something I’m planning on doing.  However, this was something God was planning on doing, so it was all the easier.  My plans never work out so smoothly!  I quit my job about 6 months before I had to, this was odd, but it was clear I was to quit in March.  Later, it was VERY clear as my wife went on bed-rest and needed me at home for several months before the birth of our son.  By that time I had been at home a while and had the routine down!  God is good.  We will see what God has in store next.  Teaching the Word, maybe?

You see, somehow we tend to forget that God is in control and everything will work out for good (eventually), we just need to hang on.  Do I always listen and act?  NO, sadly.  But I strive to do my best without thinking about what other people think.  Hopefully, this encourages you to think about the reasons you may or may not do what you know you are supposed to do.  Have courage, God has a plan.  It may not be easy, but He promises to help out.  Do not let your pride win out, this is one of the worst traits described in the Bible.  After all, Satan was booted from heaven due to his pride.

Blessings,

Jeff

Tough truth

You have a good job and life.  You are able to buy just about anything you want.  Next year you need more, maybe.  Your job is unsatisfying so you look for a new job to define yourself and support the family with honor.  Are these things bad?  Could they be the wrong ideas?  I’m still reading in John and getting more and more out of it.  From the following verses:

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.(The Holy Bible : NIV Jn 12:23-26)

Wow, this really spoke to me.  I’ve heard it before, read it many times before, but it made me really think about my life.  What did Jesus mean by “hate”?  It seems clear to me that He meant our “old life” before becoming a true Christian.  You could also argue that it means all aspects of our life, meaning we should all be missionaries, etc.  In a sense I think both of these thoughts are correct.
—-Let’s look at Paul, in some of his letters in the New Testament he is a “tent-maker” working when he needs to, and staying with supporters when they “support” him.  Paul was not defined by his job of tent-making, he was defined by his relationship with God and what he did about it!
—-Mary and Martha seemed to be hard workers surrounding Lazarus, they had many of the same feelings we have (i.e. busy-ness, sorrow, joy) They were not missionaries like Paul.  They supported Lazarus as far as we can tell and may have supported Jesus for a time too.  Lazarus attracted lots of attention because we was raised from the dead.  In John, it speaks of how many people came to know Christ through Lazarus.
—-Also, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Peter spent a lot of time performing miracles and spreading the Word.  BUT, we must also recognize that they had much help behind the scenes that wasn’t often spoken of in the Bible.  There was the scenario when they needed help dealing with feeding all the widows.  They noted that they needed someone to step up and take care of this ministry so they could take care of their own ministry of spreading the Gospel. (The pastor cannot do everything!)
—-So, what am I getting at?  In just a few examples, we see that we are all supposed to work in some way.  The job may change too.  We do need to put food on the table and take care of family.  The key is that we are also supposed to be ministering in some way.  Feeding the poor, preaching, helping others, encouraging, but doing these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  God says he gave us all spiritual gifts.  Can you tell what spiritual gifts those listed above had?
—-Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?  Have you ever taken what is called a spiritual gift assessment?  Here is a simple one, but there are many out there.  Try a few and see if you have a hidden gift you have never developed!!!
The Bible tells us we are all ambassadors for Jesus Christ.  We are to be defined by a new life in Christ, and we are to look back on our old life and truly “hate it”.  Are you still defined by your job, your standing in life?  Maybe it’s time to take a look, and see what God may truly have in store for you!  Don’t miss out!
In Christ,
Jeff

What happened to Job?

I’ve been reading through the Book of Job again and two points came up.

The first is regarding Satan.  If allowed, he can control people groups (Sabeans and Chaldeans who killed his servants), he can control the weather (great wind that destroyed the home), he can make you sick, deathly sick (full body sores on Job) and he can control peoples motives (Job’s wife’s asking when he would just “Curse God and die” and his friend’s waining support/condemnation).  What happened to Job?  He was stripped of his wealth, children, servants and health.  Satan does this stuff to us.  God does allow it, but for much different reasons than why Satan does it.

The second point is what happened to Job in the end.  While complaining, wishing he were dead and never born, asking God why, why, why, Job did not lose faith.  While his wife begged him to essentially die, and his friends begged him to ‘fess up to his “sinful transgressions”, he did not curse God.  God knew Job could handle it.  God knows that we can handle whatever trials befall us.  God even told us that these trials of life would make us stronger (and they do).  Lastly, God gave us the Book of Job as a guideline on how to react and what to expect.  What happened to Job in the end….?

Job was blessed, he prayed for his friends and family and they were forgiven.  The Bible even explains that Job was given “twice as much as he had before”.  Now that is encouragement.

Family wealth

If you liked this one, here is a link to more often missed Biblical insight:  Those Pesky Weeds

Blessings –

Jeff