Posts Tagged "satan"

Don’t Worry – Joel Ericson

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Don’t Worry – Joel Ericson

Like anyone, I have my share of worries, and disappointments and I can’t tell you how often I have lain awake in the dark watches of the night working out (or trying to at least) the solution to my issue. I am usually unsuccessful. Through all that wakefulness and frustration and fatigue, I finally come to realize that maybe I’m not as clever as I think I am.  I’m stubborn.   However, as I attempt to “lean on my own understanding”, I have to remind myself that I have a helper who never fails.   Again, I have fallen into the trap so cleverly provided by the enemy.

1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.  Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.  Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.  The dominion belongs to Him forever.

How do I fall into this trap; time after time?

  • Humble yourselves – Humility is not in my nature. The devil knows this.
  • Casting all your care on Him – I think, maybe God is busy, or why should I bother him with this thing? The devil tells me this.
  • Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the devil is prowling around – I’m focused on my problem to the exclusion of my awareness. Yet the devil is aware.
  • Resist him and be firm in the faith – I’m too busy wallowing in my own quagmire. The devil grabs my attention.

Until I remember: “Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.  The dominion belongs to Him forever”; nothing positive happens for me. Fortunately I have established a relationship with the one who has infinite power to sustain me. Sometimes, I wish I could get to it sooner but I am poor and needy. God knows this.

Matthew 6:27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? It’s hard for me to remember sometimes, but God hasn’t failed me yet.
 

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Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

The Easter celebration is filled with powerful images.  The crown of thorns shows us the sheer brutality and ironic sensibilities of Jesus’ executioners.  The Via Delorosa is marked by the stations of Jesus’ ascent to Golgotha.  And the cross is a vivid reminder of the pain caused by God turning away from Jesus.

What I love about the Bible is how everything is interrelated.  One of the most obvious interrelations is the unity between the Garden of Eden and the place Jesus died.  I have heard it said that Genesis 3 gives the very first prophecy concerning Jesus.  After Satan successfully leads Adam and Eve into sin, God says this, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal.”  That he is a man born of a woman.  That he will not succumb to temptation, live a perfect life and crush the head of Satan.

The he is Jesus.  Satan strikes Jesus with the pounding of a pike through his feet on the cross.  And Jesus deals a mortal wound to Satan’s head by overcoming Satan’s most powerful weapon…death.  Therefore, the death of Jesus sets off a chain of events that cannot be reversed and the doom of Satan is secured.

It is certainly true that the work of Christ on the cross (the Atonement) is marked by a number of important effects.  One effect is imputing our sin upon Jesus and simultaneously imputing his righteousness upon us.  But another effect is the ultimate destruction of that vile snake that has hounded the righteous since the first rays of the sun.

Since the children have flesh and blood (us), he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil…  Hebrews 2:14

This Easter season, let’s remember not only our undeserved salvation, but also the deathblow dealt to him that would take away our salvation.

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Everyone Knows Evil – Pastor Matt

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Everyone Knows Evil – Pastor Matt

Everyone knows evil.  We can sense it like the coming of a thunderstorm.  From the avowed religious to the strict materialist, we all know evil is part of our world.

Now our culture has a difficult time in defining what-is-wrong-with-the-world (evil); thus, our definitions of evil range from poor education to nationalism to economics to chauvinism to anything we want.

As Christians we affirm that any one of these isms or societal problems can lend itself to terrible evil; however, focus on any one as the “true” or “source” of evil is to reduce evil to a group or an idea.  The problem with reducing evil to a group or an idea is to absolve oneself from any participation in evil; just because we can see the splinter in someone’s eye, doesn’t mean we don’t have a plank in our own.

Our culture is obsessed with finding evil in the world.  We hear it on the radio and watch it on the TV.  Evil is so often reduced to “that other group that doesn’t agree with us.”

On the other hand, Jesus teaches that evil is found within each of us, not just in ideas or other people.  He teaches that evil can be found in our own hearts; we are broken people who so often choose our own good over the good of others.

Jesus doesn’t stop there.  Evil is also the handiwork of Satan and his demons.  Our culture mocks the idea of a malevolent spiritual force, yet Jesus affirms that Satan exists and will be judged.

The Christian world-view expresses that evil is both the darkness in our own hearts, and the work of Satan and his demons.  This is important because we cannot express how to fix the problem of evil without a true definition of evil.  If the Christian definition of evil is correct, our framework for evil must change.  We no longer battle against people, but against Satan who is the ruler of this age.  We no longer define groups as evil, but rather see them as broken (like us), and in need of the power of Christ’s love.

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Christus Victor – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Christus Victor  – Pastor Matt

I’m the type of person that needs meaning.  If there isn’t meaning, I don’t care.  That’s why I struggled in school when teachers assigned busy work.  I couldn’t do it; there was no meaning except to keep me busy.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m a pastor.  The church is full of meaning.  The Bible is full of meaning.  Working with Christians is full of meaning.

I love the Easter season because we are confronted with the ultimate meaning: Christ’s work.  His death and resurrection have implications not just for our present circumstances but also for our eternal.  What is even more intriguing is the multiple meanings of Christ’s work on the cross, also known as the atonement.

One such atoning work is the defeat of Satan.  In John 12.31, Jesus says, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”  We don’t highlight the defeat of Satan on the cross as much at other elements of the atonement, but it isn’t any less significant.  And here is why.  Satan rules our world.  He became ruler after the fall of Adam and Eve.  God allowed Satan to take the reigns of power and he has done some serious damage.

See, when we talk about all the evil that is done in the world, we often forget who is the main perpetrator of that evil: Satan.  Satan needs to be defeated.  Satan needs to be judged.  Satan needs to be taken off he evil throne.  And that’s what Christ does on the cross.  He destroys the kingdom of the Devil and establishes his own rule.  How does he do this you might ask?  He defeats Satan at every turn; he heals, casts out demons, feeds, gives life, gives his life culminating in his resurrection.  The power of Satan, which seems so absolute (because he brings death), is broken by the man who was raised from the dead.

Now just as Christ’s rule hasn’t yet been fully established, neither has Satan’s ultimate defeat.  But it’s only a matter of time when Satan will be no more.  And we have the freedom to live in the promise of Satan’s ultimate demise.

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Getting Stuck – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Getting Stuck – Cassi Piper

A friend and I were recently swapping our best “trailer” stories. Whether they were our own mishaps, or those of a family member or friend, we shared some good laughs as we remembered times when trailers broke, came loose or suffered flat tires.

My absolute favorite trailer story involves my beloved grandpa. Grandpa used to own an old fishing boat that was transported on an even older trailer. For reasons unknown to us the previous owner had glued green Astroturf to the slides that guided the boat on and off the trailer. This made launching the boat difficult as the Astroturf created enough friction that much kicking, pulling, pushing and grunting was required to get the boat to slide into the water.

After many such battles with his trailer my grandpa was fed up and determined to find a solution. One day he found what he was looking for while watching television. The commercial he saw was for a silicone spray which claimed it made things slippery. Convinced that this was exactly what he needed my grandpa eagerly went to the nearest hardware store and purchased what he thought he saw on television and liberally applied it to his boat trailer.

The next time grandpa went to launch the boat my mom happened to be with him as they had been planning a father-daughter fishing outing for some time. As always, grandpa backed up his wood paneled station wagon until the boat was deep enough in the water where it should begin to slip down off the trailer. Excitedly, grandpa began to drive the trailer forward, fully anticipating that his boat would glide into the water with ease.  Much to his dismay however the boat didn’t budge. Even after many kicks, pushes and grunts that boat still hadn’t moved an inch!

Disappointed, my grandpa explained to my mom how he had tried a new product that was supposed to make the trailer more slippery. Upon closer examination however my mom discovered that rather than applying silicon spray as the TV commercial had advertised my grandpa had instead used silicone caulk, essentially gluing his boat to its trailer! Determined to still go fishing my grandfather scoured his wagon and found a pair of scissors which he used to cut the boat loose from the caulk. Though he finally did get his boat in the water that day, the long strips of green carpet permanently glued to his hull were reminders of the mistake he had made.

No matter how many times I hear that story it never loses its humor. However just like my grandpa accidentally purchased the wrong product, we as Christians can buy into a false Gospel, and that is no laughing matter. Many of us fall into the trap of legalism and judge unbelievers for falling short, leaving them to believe they have to clean up their life before they can come to the cross. Others cheapen God’s grace by accepting sinful behavior under the guise of unconditional love, leaving them to believe that following Christ does not require a transformation of character. Unfortunately, old habits can be difficult to unglue as feeling justified when we judge or taking pride in being tolerant can sometimes seem like second nature. And, like green carpet to a hull, we can permanently affix judgmental labels to those in our life whom we are called to love as Christ first loved us.

So, my prayer for us this week is that before we judge or write off the behavior of someone else we would rather look inward and ask God to show us where we need convicting and to give us the ability to compassionately relay His truth. Only by keeping our focus stuck on Jesus will we then be able to reflect Christ’s love and grace with the proper humility and understanding, thus projecting the true Gospel of Christ’s sacrifice while we were yet sinners and the resulting character transformation it brings to those who cross our path.

 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.   -Romans 5:8

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing

of your mind.   -Romans 12:2

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