It’s Demons!

Once in a while you come upon one of those cases where nothing works. Meds don’t work. Sound reasoning from the Scriptures does no good. What’s left? Behavioral modification, psychoanalysis, extended rehab, nothing is effective to change the heart. If you know Jesus, you know that Jesus is the only one who can change the heart, but a person must also choose Jesus. Jesus wants to change everyone, but only those who let Him can receive that change.

But you know who doesn’t want that change? Do you know who wants you to stay just the way you are in depression and anxiety, in anger or self-destruction? It’s Demons! The devil has every interest in seeing you destroy yourself. He wants to take you away from God and will do all in his power, as God allows him, to destroy your sense of self-worth, your feeling of forgiveness and grace, especially your peace. He will sense his henchmen to take you down, through whispers, through oppression, through others who will hurt you.

And yet here is this promise in the Scripture. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. You must choose God. And in that choice you have the power to resist the devil. You have the power to choose not to listen to him or his minions. You have the power to resist him and his spiritual poverty. It is in your power to choose, and in that choice, many find healing. Because sometimes it isn’t a biological problem or a thought problem, but it’s demons. Demons will steal your joy and impoverish your spirit. They constantly tell you that life isn’t worth living and that you are alone. They will isolate you and corral you to believe that you are the only one with your problem.

You must choose to believe the truth. Jesus loves you and had died for you. Jesus has given everyone because He loves you. Even now He longs for you. He calls to you. Amidst all of the voice of sorrow and despair, Jesus’ is the only one speaking hope into you. Resist the devil. He will flee. Resist the darkness, and light will flood in. Resist the voices. They don’t love you. Submit yourself to God and enjoy His love and grace.

Dear Father, I know I’m not much. But with you, I am something. All my life the enemy has tried to tear me down and make me feel like I am worthless. I know that’s not true. I am valuable because your Som died for me. I have been bought with a price, far more valuable than gold or silver. Help me see that today, to resist the darts and wiles of the devil, and embrace your grace in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Ever been afraid? A few years ago when I was in college, I got stranded on the interstate for a bit because I ran out of gas. Of course it was night and it was raining. Which is actually the perfect time to run out of gas, really. After waiting with my flashers on for an hour or so, nobody stopped, so believing the next exit was just a little further, I got out to walk and get gas. I walked for a while until a trucker had pity on me and picked me up. After getting to the gas station, I got some gas and I got a ride back to the car. After my ride left, confident I was ok, I put the gas in and got in to turn the key. Nothing happened. Not a whimper or a sigh. That’s when the fear started to take hold. I started to pray. ”Dear God just let this car start!” Still nothing. Fear turned to anger. I got out and slammed the door and started walking again. This time, a state trooper pulled up behind me and asked me if I owned that car back there. I said I did and he offered me a ride to the next station. An hour later I was back in my car with a wrecker go jump start me. Once the motor turned over, I was able to make the rest of my way back to school. It was a journey I will never forget.

Did God send both the Trucker and the State Cop? Probably. In this situation that was out of my control, I prayed. I prayed when the gas ran out, praying for just a little bit more in the tank. I prayed as I sat by the side of the road and waited for someone to stop. But God didn’t answer my prayers by bending the laws of physics. He answered with simple, ordinary means.

Nowadays, I face work and financial pressures. That same fear still bothers me from time to time but then I remember all those times that God had already prepared the way, prepared the people I would see, and is preparing me for new challenges. When I am afraid, I trust God for the things I can’t see. Because I know He is always there for me.

I pray your Monday is a good day.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

All of us, at one time or another, can confess to being overbooked, overstressed, and anxious for the future. I’ve been having a season like that lately. Faced with yet another stack of things that needed to get done, I felt anxious at first, but then remembered that God sees the future. God knows what coming before I do, and He’s already prepared a way forward. I put my faith in that, even though I couldn’t see far enough ahead to know it. Just knowing I have a loving Father who knows what I can handle, who wants me to grow and be challenged, I know that the path ahead will be difficult, but He will walk the path with me because He already knows the way through. Thank You Lord that I have to only worry about today. Help me be prepared for what’s coming, but appreciate you in the now for the joy and beauty you bring.

Tasting the Goodness of God

So what comes to mind when you see this verse? Can God be tasted, or is that what God intends for you to take away from this verse? And how do you combine both the idea of refuge with the perceptions of taste and sight?

Many a time, David sought refuge in caves. For him, a Cave was a place of safety. It was hidden, inaccessible but to the ones who know where the caves are. As a boy, he probably spent months exploring the caves while out keeping watch over sheep, looked for caves that he and his sheep could take refuge for the night. This became for him a metaphor for the protection of God.

So what does a cave taste like? Maybe our understanding of what this verse means needs to meet its context. Are there odors so powerful you can taste? And would those odors, associated with safety and comfort arose those feelings in you whenever you smell them?

As we approach Autumn, I begin to smell these things again. Burning wood, Pumpkin Spice, autumn leaves, baked pies and roasted meat. These are smells of comfort, safety, and family. Our senses are reacquainted with home and our anxiety resets when we feel safe. Like David, we feel the surrounding reassurance that everything is going to be ok. Why? Because we are in the presence of God.

Wherever you are, taste. Wherever you are, see. Take in the world around you and be reminded of the goodness of God. He is a certain and steady refuge for the weary of heart.

Worry and Anxiety

is there a difference? Worry is something we do, almost reflexively. A lifestyle of worry is anxiety. Anxiety can become a medical condition, treated with medication. Jesus calls us not to a lifestyle of worry and self-doubt, but to trust in Him. When we worry, we proclaim that He is not enough for our needs, that our faith in His provision is faltering. I know this because worry has been the fault in my own family. And though there are times I have been anxious, I try not to think about the what-ifs. I encourage you to think about this text in the context of your own life. Ask yourself if there is anything that you hold on to that God cannot take up for you. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He offers to share the burdens with us, rather than we bear them alone.

Whose Afraid Of The Big, Good God?

“For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.” Job 31:23

Have you ever been afraid? I know I have. Fear is something that grips us when we are caught in something we don’t understand and presents itself as a threat, like Medicare part B, or overdue mortgage payments, or high gas prices. Our safety is threatened, our life is threatened, and we are powerless to do anything about it. Fear can paralyze us, its icy chill freezing our blood in its veins. But it also makes a powerful impression, and motivation for action. If I am afraid of losing my house, I will put in longer hours at work, or if I am scared of Medicare, I will pour more time into studying it.

Job’s words are interesting, if not ironic. Job says these words as he is sitting in an ash heap, covered in painful sores. Job has received the business end of destruction, with all of his children killed by a whirlwind (1:18, 19), his wife scorning him for being faithful to God (2:9), his property destroyed, raided, or carried off by invaders. If you or I were sitting there with Job, we might say, “hey, uh, Job? Do you think you’ve seen destruction yet?”

Job is confessing to his fear. He dreaded, or as some translations read, was terrified. Job felt real terror when he thought about the destruction that God could wreak upon him. Why? Because Job had a healthy understanding of who God is. God spoke the world and the universe into existence (Genesis 1) and upholds it still, that is, keeps it together, by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Scientists have yet to discover everything about the universe, but they have discovered one important thing. At the level of the sub-atomic, the atoms are held together by an unknown force, which they call a “strong force” which counteracts the “weak force” which threatens atoms’ flying apart. Scientists can’t explain how each force works, but they know that they do. Job knew what that force was: “the word of his power.” Job knew that in God’s word, power and strength, the very atoms he was composed of held together, the very atoms that composed all of his great wealth, his family, his possessions were held together by the Creator. Thus the great Creator could also wreak untold havoc upon him if He so chose. Jesus put it this way, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) There is a place for fear, a healthy fear of God, a terror perhaps, but a motivating fear. What did this fear motivate Job to do?

If you read the rest of Job 31, you find a man who has committed himself to a path of righteousness. He knows what the alternative is. He swears off lust (vs. 1), lies (5), dishonesty (6), adultery (9-10), injustice (13), closing his ears to the poor (16-20), greed (24-25), idolatry (26-27), gloating (29), cursing (30), inhospitableness (31-32), and overworking his soil (38-40). Job is sensitive to what God requires of him, and has been very careful to be obedient. This was motivated in part, by his fear.

Despite his innocence, Job realizes that the destruction has come upon him anyway. “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded had happened to me.” (3:25) But Job was not hopeless, for he knew that his integrity would ultimately triumph, despite his dark circumstances, for he says , “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (19:25-26) Does this sound like a man in utter despair and hopelessness? It should, but it doesn’t. Though what he had feared had come to pass, he has found that destruction isn’t the worst thing that could happen to him. The worst thing is to have his soul cast into hell. He knows his Redeemer will not allow it, and one day he will see God in his flesh. Job learned that his fear wasn’t sufficient as a motivation to serve God. Fear alone will service a tyrant, fear without love will lead to rebellion. Thankfully the Bible doesn’t leave us in fear.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15, 16) God’s children? This isn’t fear (though I will confess I’ve been afraid of my Dad on more than one occasion). This is love. If you are a Christian, you are not motivated so much by abject fear of what God would do to you, so much as what God has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ. God has expressed such love for us that He has sent His Son Jesus to die for us, cleanse us from our sins, and bring us into sonship with God. We are no longer strangers and aliens but children. What Job says in faith we repeat with full assurance, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” We have been bought back from sin and brought into God’s love as His children.

The invitation is to you, your household, and all who are afar off. Choose this day whether you will serve God in love, or be afraid of Him and of His judgment for the rest of your life. The invitation is open. Get to know your Father.