Is Satan Watching You

 

How is your relationship with Satan? Is Satan watching you? Is He concerned about the havoc you may cause to his kingdom?

In Job 1:1-11, Job is seen from a heavenly perspective. God declares Job to be a righteous man. In the dialogue God asks Satan if he had observed Job, and Satan’s answer shows he had been watching the servant of God. Satan knew many things about Job.

Satan knew Job feared God. How did he know Job feared God? Job worshiped with his life. Job feared God, shunned evil (1), and offered prayers and sacrifices (5). Job walked the walk so loudly that Hell took notice.

Satan knew Job’s situation (9). He knew Job’s resources.  Does Satan have a better understanding of our resources than we do? He knows the untapped power of a focused Facebook account, he knows how the power difference between fifteen minutes of prayer or sleep makes.  He knew that the blessing was God given, he knew that God protected Job. As Satan is not omniscient, it appears that Satan had taken an extra amount of time to study one of God’s righteous saints.

Satan also knew that Job was not his servant, and he was losing worship to the Almighty. The testimony of Job seared the lungs of Satan with its sweet aroma and pleased the nostrils of God. Job was a man of such integrity and testimony that he caused the Prince of darkness great concern.

My prayer is that more believers would follow Job’s pattern and cause Satan to sit up and take notice. Job’s life was a testimony not only to his friends and family, but also to the heavenly host, as Satan watched the firework display of God’s glory.

The Monsters of My Heart

Recently, I have been praying more consistently for young people as they enter the dangerous and often frightening journey of reflecting into one’s own heart.  I too have been delving deep into my heart this last year trying to bring the light of Scripture to bear on my thoughts, motives, and desires.  In some way I understand Gandalf’s hesitancy to go through the dark mines as Saruman puts it, “You know what the dwarves uncovered in the darkness.”  I know that if I search my heart long and hard enough, I will come face to face with the Balrog of my desires that I would rather keep hidden.

I would like to add a few encouragements as well as cautions regarding heart searching.

First, it is a frightening and humbling experience, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Prov 18:12  The further I delve into my heart, the more frightening the creatures and desires become.

Second, it is an honorable pursuit.  The fact that we feel unprepared is ironically the first step in preparation.  This first step is needed before I will realize that I am in grave danger and in need of help.

Third, it is a treacherous route.   Satan has two strategies, either he will keep us from ever looking inward and questioning heart motives, or he will continue to allow evil to be revealed in such massive quantities that we will become overwhelmed and allow ourselves to give up the fight. In both scenarios evil reigns.  See Luke 18:10 for a visual representation of the too good or too bad principle and how to overcome it.

Fourth, we need proper light.  Nowhere in Scripture am I told to search my heart alone (Jer 17:9).  The only way we will safely navigate through the heart and keep from being swallowed up in darkness is by continuing in the Light.  God’s Word illuminates the path we should go. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psa 119:105).  Not only has God given us the surety of Scripture, He has given Himself.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” ( Psa 23:4)  God never brings us to a valley, He is not willing to journey through with us.  In fact, many times He takes his children through the valley so we will learn to trust Him alone.  Do not waste your valley times, earnestly, intently look for Him.

Fifth, it is a lonely route.  Many people will disagree or even try to make us fail or second guess ourselves (James 1:8).  The only way we can be certain and therefore have boldness is to get so close to God through His Word, that we begin to hear the heartbeat of God.  Soon His desires become one as our heart beats in time with His, and nothing shall move us.

Finally, it is the only route.  God does not take his children through flowery beds of ease, because He wants to show us how great He is, by showing us how frail we are.

Look at Me Lions

 

Last weekend my family and I went to the Madison zoo. Towards the end of our tour, we saw a whole bunch of people congregating around a particular pen. I figured it must be rather exciting, so we hurried to the site, and on the rock was the king of beasts. The King of the Jungle was on display, yet nobody was worried, nobody was running for their lives, and I thought, how sad. The most exhilarating thing this killing machine accomplished was lazily bat around a tire swing. One of the world’s foremost hunters did not even cause a newborn to tremble or cry. We were watching a “look at me lion.”

This brought to mind many Christians with the same complex. We are surrounded by, “look at me Christians.” Christians who have the power of God coursing through their veins yet are content to be “look at my Christians.” They have the form of Christians, but don’t resemble a real Christian any more than the beast in the zoo. They contentedly bat around the tire swing of relationships and worthless pursuits and saunter fifteen minutes late to get feed at the next Sunday Morning service.

If a “look at me lion” were dropped into the wild, they would die without anyone to slice up their steak or bandage their wounds. In the same way, I wonder if we were placed in the “wild” and our circumstances changed and we had to face real difficulties and had to go to the Word of God to find out own answers, how would we survive?

Personal Works Cited???

 

It is an observable truth that those who refuse to learn from stupidity are bound to repeat it. That is why I wonder at the works cited paper. In this post we are going to focus on the question, “Does the works cited paper truly increase learning?” We will be examining three basic realms in which the research paper falls miserably short. It is proposed that the research paper is a waste of time, is inaccurate, and bound to previous learning.

The works cited paper is a colossal waste of time. The very idea that a student is required to research a field or topic that has already been researched is insane. The very phrase, “Personal Works Cited Paper” is oxymoronical in nature. The student is required to write his own thoughts on other people’s thoughts? If they have already written on the topic, wouldn’t it be more profitable to write on a different topic or if the teacher insists on a certain topic let them read what is already written? Does this logic apply to any other area in life? Imagine going to the local car dealer and after examining ten to twenty automobiles you are told in the interest of fairness and research to go build your own? Similarly, why should the student write his own paper when there are many references already written? If I am to write a paper and truly call it my paper, I shouldn’t be using anyone else’s ideas. (1)

This leads to my next point. Research papers are grossly inaccurate. They are the philosophical equivalent to a grungy buffet where you have no idea where the food came from or who (if any) washed their hands before handling your pizza. Because a research paper must have different sources the student is left with a huge variety of unhealthy ideas from a myriad of perspectives only one of which can be right. Supposedly this is to help the student be discerning in their study, but apparently that tactic didn’t work because there are still undiscerning people writing alternative papers (who ironically had to read various viewpoints).(2) If a student is required to write based on the research of others, what if the sources are wrong? Furthermore, as a student studies, he is invariably placed in a position of compromise, as he may be incapable of discerning a matter and may purport several untruths based on the research of faulty individuals. Research papers are also based on outdated material as the materials studied have all been written in the past.

Finally research papers are cyclicic, as they continue to plunge mankind into a sort of vacuous whirlpool of ideas. A student may have a completely new thought but in order to meet the criteria for the paper must suppress and smother the spark of intellect. (For actual case studies the writer recommends checking out the lives of persecuted geniuses such as Galileo, Edison, and the guy who invented Totinos pizza). This fact is one which all students should be intently concerned about for the simple reason that all intellectual progress is hindered by it. It must be asked, where did the source get its source? If we follow this idea far enough, someone started it all. Someone had to not cite his sources! Why is a student required to cite his sources, when the sources he cites from originally where not cited?   The implications of this fact are immense. Someone is in control of our entire intellectual system and therefore created the works cited as a tool for his own diabolical scheme. (3)

The world is being held in darkness as students everywhere are wasting precious time on inaccurate research determining preconceived conclusions. The only way to stop such a mad menace and deliver the thinking mind from certain doom is to ban the work cited paper. I realize this is no easy task, as it has grasped the intellectual world in a strangle hold (4), but there are subtle ways to let your mind shine and carry the truth to our needy world. Next time you write a works cited paper, you must determine what you are to write on before-hand and simply add those who agree with you, or if needed add the most ludicrous and unbelievable source you found and add it out of context, at the very least, write your paper and then add an outline. This is the only sane way to recover what we have lost in circles of academia worldwide.

 

Bibliography

1: Live Your Own Life, N.O. Learning, Shortsighted Press 2001

2: Never Trust a Book, S. N Eacky, Whatever Publishing house 2009

3: The Schizophrenic Guide to the Universe, Al. Fraido, Basement Publications

4: Sunday Morning Comics, Marmaduke goes to Space

Does a Loving God Send People to Hell?

 

Imagine you were asked by a coworker, “Does God love me?”  What would you say?

Suppose he asks a follow up question, “If He does then why do you say He is going to send me to hell?”

He continues, “But more importantly, if He loves everyone, why will He send innocent people to hell—especially those who have never heard of Him? Eternal torture seems to me—even in the cases where people have rejected salvation—over the top. Are you sure that He loves us after all?”

How would you answer his three main questions?  (1) How do we know God loves us? (2) Why does He send innocent people who have never heard of Him to hell? (3) How is eternal torment just?

I suppose I would approach the topic differently depending on if the person was a seeker with a legitimate question or a scoffer. I am going to work under the assumption that the person is truly struggling with these aspects of God and has a hard time accepting God because of these intense questions.

The question of the love of God is a question that probably every person has asked at one time or another. The cross is the greatest attestation of the love of God. Before the world was created, God knew that mankind would ruin this earth in sin and He willingly chose to take the pain, sickness, and sin of the whole world on His shoulders. Not only did Jesus suffer an excruciating death at the hands of the Romans, He suffered to absorb all of the white hot wrath of God. God had to destroy sin or else there would be no justice, and Jesus took the penalty for all sin. “The Father watched as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, began to sink drowning in raw liquid sin. God’s stored rage against humankind for every sin ever committed was placed upon His Son.”(1) Let’s say that your son develops a heart disease and he needs a new heart, and you volunteer to give him yours, and before you are wheeled into surgery your sons comes up to the stretcher and says, “Dad, before you go in, I want to have proof that you love me?” Do you think he could truly doubt your love?

Regarding an innocent person. I would like to see why you believe the person is innocent, especially in God’s eyes. Let me ask you if you think a German soldier of World War II who was part of the group that rounded up “undesirables” and brought them to concentration camps, deserves to be punished? What if the soldier was only the cook that feed all the German Soldiers? Even though he was innocent of outwardly capturing people, he still was on the wrong side and supported great wickedness. So it is with myself and every person, we may not be constantly doing horrible things, but we have been serving the wrong kingdom and supporting the regime of Satan. Furthermore in defining innocent, we are not the judge (in fact we are more like the inmates trying to claim we are all innocent). Let’s take a look at the standard that the Judge holds forth. God holds forth His standard and it is boiled down in the 10 Commandments. Do you think any person has ever kept all of the 10 Commandments? Let’s just imagine that someone sins only once a day and lives to be around 80. That is a grand total of over 29,000 sins. What judge on this earth would acquit a criminal with a rap sheet like that? (2)

In answer to your question regarding the eternality of judgment there are several thoughts regarding that difficult question. First, mankind’s sin is against an eternal God. Since I sin against an eternal God, there are eternal consequences. Let me explain it this way. “If I lie to a child, I probably will not suffer any consequences. If I lie to my boss, I could be fired. If I lie while under oath in court, I could go to jail. Under the right circumstances, if I lie to the U.S. government, it would be considered treason, and I could be executed. The same sin receives varying levels of punishment, depending on whom I’ve wronged.”(3) Secondly, the idea of justice is an interesting idea to accuse God of, let me ask where do you get your idea of justice from? As C.S Lewis noted, “There is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.”

Finally, I understand many of these questions are deep and you may have suffered an awful lot, but let me ask you another question. When the Titanic went down there were over 2,000 people on board, and over 1,500 of them died. I would like you to imagine that you were on the Titanic watching the lifeboats slip away, and someone yelled to the passengers on deck, we found a lot more life boats below deck there will be room for everyone. Would you refuse to go aboard because other people may not know about the lifeboats, or you were unsure if the person that made the life boats was a caring, loving person?

 

(Special thanks to Dr Timothy Miller of MBU for the original idea, and many of my atheist friends for being so open in their questions.)

  • When God Weeps Tada, Estes pg 54
  • Ray Comfort Witnessing ideas
  • http://defendingcontending.com/2009/03/10/why-is-hell-eternal/
  • S. Lewis Mere Christianity

How Hypocrites Point to God

 

There are many complaints and objections that unbelievers propose as legitimate arguments to a belief in God. A common argument is the inconsistency or hypocrisy of Christians. While this is sadly true of many that claim Christianity, the claim self-destructs because those that use hypocrisy are actually admitting a deity that is concerned about morality and consistency.  

First, those that use inconsistent examples of God as proof that He does not exist are affirming there is a consistent standard that has been violated. The atheist in calling out hypocrisy is adhering to a moral and logical system outside of himself. This idea is glaringly inconsistent on the part of the atheist as morality must come from a higher source. In order for an atheist to claim deviation from a standard, he must be admitting there is a standard to begin with. Atheist’s must borrow from a religious world view in order to have an argument in the first place. As Ken Ham states, “You cannot borrow lumber from my worldview, to build yours.” (1)

Second, those that use inconsistent examples are actually affirming the truth of the Bible. The atheist is agreeing with God, as God is against this sin and will judge the empty hypocrite (Mat 24:51). Most atheists would not care to hear that they are taking God’s side, but the fact is God is vehemently against hypocrisy even to the point of dispelling His chosen nation, Israel, because of their failure to acknowledge their sin (Mal 3:8). (2) Religious hypocrites even crucified God’s Son after Jesus made more than 20 references to the religious leader’s hypocrisy. Furthermore, God shows that hypocrisy is a sign of an unbeliever (Mat 7:14-16). God is very much concerned about the consistency of His people that large portions of Scripture and even books such as I John were written in order to teach people how to live a consistent godly life. In reality the atheist is ultimately arguing that believers follow the Bible.

Third, those that use inconsistent examples are still required to decide for themselves (Heb 9:27). The atheist cannot use other bad examples to exempt himself. In doing so, the atheist is setting himself up as the relative judge of concrete truth. If believing and following God where a matter of mere preference (i.e. does one like pepperoni or sausage pizza) the consequences would be negligible; however, the issue of believing God is not a matter of preference to be judged. Truly the atheist has set himself up as God (Rom 1:18-21) and become the determiner of truth. Sadly there are many hypocritical Christians, yet that fact does not remove the individual response of the atheist to truth.      “Biblical theology sees man as a responsible personal agent.” (3) Every individual is responsible to accept truth, regardless if those that claim truth are inconsistent.

In conclusion, imperfect examples do not prove that there is not a designer, especially when the examples are living in willful disobedience of an express command. This would be similar to driving a new car out of the lot without putting oil in the car, and then using the seized up engine to prove there is no manufacturer because the car is not working. If the guidelines are not followed, the broken car is actually a testament to the manufacturer’s wisdom and the owner operator’s foolishness (Psalm 53:1).

 

 

1   Ham Ken, Demolishing Strongholds

2.  Constable Thomas, Study Notes Micah, pg 33

3.  Davis John, Evangelical Ethics, 280

What I wish I knew at College

 

 

Welcome to a whole new world.   College, a chance to spread your wings, stay up late, learn new things and eat cold pizza for breakfast. If I could relive a portion of my life, it would be college. If I could relive it, there are several things, however, I wish I knew before starting college.

  1. I wish I had known about life…

Lots of learning happened when I didn’t expect. After tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of books, I couldn’t repeat one main point or reproduce one study guide. The learning that will stay is the learning that is done. My learning often came through involvement. Go out of your way to find ways to utilize the stored information until it becomes part of you. This utilization will take different forms depending on your major (particularly if you are a heart surgeon), but find ways to involve yourself.

  1. I wish I had known about family…

My adventure was a bigger loss for my family, than me. While I was looking forward my family was looking backwards to the way things used to be.

People could not experience my life if I didn’t share.  People back home want to know about your life.  It helps them feel connected.

They also want you to ask about their life. One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that because it used to be that way when you left that it will stay that way  Even if nothing changes at home, the family still wants to tell you about themselves.

Come to think of it, I don’t know if anyone back home knows that my intermural football team went undefeated?

There are lots of ways to keep in contact, but do not forget the simplicity and importance of writing a hand written letter. There is something extremely meaningful about this form of contact especially for moms. I would suggest making a list of all the blessings and skills your family gave you and making it personal.… Mom, thank you for giving me the best years of your life. Thank you for the skills you gave me, potty training has been immensely useful….

  1. I wish I had known about snacking…

Don’t eat pepperoni pizza past midnight.

Never ever, ever, even think about taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach.

Most granola bars are candy bars in disguise.

Eat a salad once a day.ramen

Buy Reese’s Puffs when it’s on sale.

Remember not all Ramen noodles are created equal.

Anything from the Dollar store should not be eaten.

(After years of concentrated study and field research,

Maruchan brand should be sought after as the ultimate in epicurean delight.)

www.eduinreview.com/blog/2010/08/10-ways-to-spice-up-ramen-noodles/

 

  1. I wish I had known about friends…

I wish I had invested more in friendships. Find people you can invest in. Use your skills and areas of expertise to help people. Don’t be afraid to just hang out.

I wish I had purposefully invested in those who were investing in me. To this day, some of my strongest friends are professors and pastors I met at school. Feel free to take your Pastor (or his wife) out for coffee, send them an email thanking them specifically for their investment. Remember, your home Pastors and wives go through withdrawal seeing their “kids” go off into another world.

Remember your professors. Most professors have been in school for longer than you have been alive, yet even with their education, you probably make more money flipping burgers at McDonalds. They are there because they love you. Talk with them after class, ask them deep questions that show you are interested. Not only will this help you learn more, it may result in a better friendship, and probably a better grade.

  1. I wish I had known about me…

I spent a lot of time making sure I didn’t fail. Failure makes you stronger. Make sure you put yourself in situations where failure is inevitable. The process of picking yourself up will create character and build stamina for life.

It is easy to have a very egocentric outlook on life. Criticism shows more about me than it does the other person. When you find yourself complaining or not liking a situation ask yourself a few basic questions. “Why don’t I like this?” “What can I change?” “What can I learn?” Be specific in your answers.

As a quick example, when I was at school there was a rather boring professor. The answer to the first question involves stating the facts. He was not engaging, the topic was not made relevant.

Part of my solution was found in the answer to the second question, “What can I change?” I realized I could not change the teacher, but I could engage by asking questions, and make the lesson relevant by talking to him about the significance after class.

In answer to the third question, “What can I learn?” I analyzed the teaching style and kept track of things I would do as a teacher, and things I wouldn’t. After asking those three questions, a boring informational class actually became a time of intense personal learning.

  1. Things I am glad somebody told me…

Keep a journal. It will help you analyze your thoughts and is an excellent resource.

Wake up at the same time. It is tempting to sleep in on off days, but your body will work better on a schedule.

Take a power nap. 15 minute naps are like plugging in your smart phone while online.

Plan ahead. Get big projects like reading done at the beginning of the semester. (Make sure to check if there are requirements attached such as a weekly quiz or report.)

Exercise with a friend.

Don’t date the first semester. (Desperate people are looking for you…!)

Pursue personal interests.