Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Satan’

A Look Back: Seeing the Past Through God’s Eyes

Photo Credit: Noemi F Creative Commons flickr.com

Photo Credit: Noemi F
Creative Commons flickr.com

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.'”  Revelation 12: 10 (NIV)

I stood on the ornate paving stones, looking around at the brick buildings and the decorative trees. The autumn air was cool and fragrant with those pleasing scents of fallen leaves. My college looked well cared for after 31 years.   The chapel bells began to peel, and the evening hymn rolled out across the deserted campus.

Taking my college bound daughter to check out my alma mater included a walk down my own memory lane. I didn’t expect so many flashbacks – from all my years of life from 18 to 53, but they came fast and furiously. And so many were filled with actions and attitudes that I deeply regretted.

And yet, they didn’t sting. I realized, as I walked the college campus, that I have faced my crimes, my faults, and the harm I did to others. My Christian faith includes confession. My God offers forgiveness, and I take it with humility: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9  (NIV)

Amazingly, joy is the result, because now I can face my past, seeing it with courageous, clear eyes and knowing that God not only forgives, but also puts it right.

But, Beware! “The accuser of the brothers” doesn’t like us making peace with our pasts. Satan blames us and wants to bring up the wrong and keep us accusing ourselves and living with our heavy burdens.  He gnashes his teeth at our free gift of being set free from the charges against us and will do anything to try to strip it away, even after we have received it.

We have the choice to hear the voice of our Shepherd:

“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5 (NIV)

If it is necessary to re-visit our past, let’s do it armed with the truth and with humility and with steady faith in our forgiving God who gave us complete acquittal through Jesus Christ.

I Think I’m Hearing Voices

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

I believe in a loving God, and on the flip side, I also think there is a devil who definitely does not have my best interest at heart. How Jesus talks about Satan is recorded in the eighth chapter of the gospel of John: “He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:45)

So, in a very creepy sort of way, Satan will lie to us. Uh oh – that means that some of my thoughts might be influenced by an evil whisper with a whiff of sulphur.

I think I experienced a Satanic lie entering my thoughts just this week: “You are too late to do the great things you were meant to do. You have wasted time and your life’s work is not worth much.”

That’s a very dark thought, right?

Recognizing it as a thought to reject is the first step; as Jesus tells us, we must not listen to the “stranger’s voice”: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10: 4, 5)

However, the most crucial step is to replace the lying voice with the truth – In my case, I chose to listen to this: “I have made sacrifices in my fifty years to stay at home with my kids and then to educate those same children at home and that means my “professional” credentials are not very robust. But it was all worth it – I have been following the very specific call of God on my very individual life and the rewards will look different than others’ who have followed their life callings.”

Since I am a counselor’s wife, I would like to present the psychological spin on this subject: Cognitive theory claims that ANTs: (Automatic negative thoughts) or what we think about things are important in determining how we feel. The Happiness Institute has a good handout about common ANTs; the one that fits my story best is “emotional reasoning: mistaking feelings for facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are held to be true because they feel true.”www.thehappinessinstitute.com

Paul’s command in Philippians chapter 4 is not just a list of what to think about, it is also a direct order to think – don’t be a victim who helplessly allows all thoughts to enter indiscriminately and swish around for any length of time and then allow them to have the power to influence our lives.

We must THINK on the truths and reject the lies – hear the good Shepherd’s loving voice, not the stranger’s lies.

What are the voices in your head saying today?

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