What Satan is up to and how we may defeat him

We are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)

We actually know a good bit about Satan. More than we think, I expect. His history, his driving force, and his game plan are spelled out all through Scripture. We are left with tons of unanswered questions, but we know enough to understand how he works and what to do about him.

His devices. We know his maneuvers, his designs, his schemings, his wiles, and how resourceful he is. (Those are all different ways the Greek for “devices” is translated in various versions.)

Look at it this way. Satan is no fool. He has been studying human nature from the early days of the human race. He knows human psychology to a degree that any university in the land can only imagine. If they gave doctorates to serpents, he would have degrees out the kazoo. He is one smart dude.

He knows you.

The question before us, today, though, class, is this: do you know him? Do you pay attention to how he works?

There are two extremes to avoid: going to seed on Satan and seeing him in every thing, everywhere, is one extreme; and completely ignoring him is the other. There’s a balance somewhere in the middle where God’s people should take our stand.

If you are trying to do right, to live for God, to resist the encroaching infiltration of the world, then you are in his crosshairs. He has targeted you.

You’d better learn how he works and how to resist him.

Please note that I am not recommending that any of us specialize on the devil.

I’ve known a few ministers and a larger number of laypeople who seemed to focus on this archenemy. Every sermon they preached, every conversation they held, they talked about the devil far more than the Lord Jesus. Not a good thing. The Bible tells us to resist him (James 4:7), not to specialize on him.

We do far better by concentrating on the Lord Jesus Christ and obeying Him. However, if we do that effectively, we will soon encounter the adversary. From that moment on, we’ll be learning lessons about Satan whether we like it or not.

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When it’s okay to call your enemy an idiot

The July/August 2010 issue of The Atlantic carried an article that blew me away. “Why We Should Mock Terrorists” has as its alternate title “The Case for Calling Them Nitwits.”

I confess that something inside me likes this.

Finally, someone has struck the right note about these terrorists. They are truly fools. The author makes a case for such extreme behavior:

They blow each other up by mistake. They bungle even simple schemes. They get intimate with cows and donkeys. Our terrorist enemies trade on the perception that they’re well trained and religiously devout, but in fact, many are fools and perverts who are far less organized and sophisticated than we imagine. Can being more realistic about who our foes actually are help us stop the truly dangerous ones?

Something inside us insists that these jihadists are purists in their faith and disciplined in their devotion to their God. Not so, we are told. In fact, a great many terrorists can’t even read and write. All they know is what their wrong-headed leaders tell them. And like dunces, they believe all they hear and never turn a critical eye to anything.

Such people are not only our foes; they are their own worst enemies.

That brings us to my question: When is it all right to call your enemy an idiot and a nitwit?

Wrong answer: when it’s true.

Right answer: When your goal is not to win him over, but to destroy him.

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15 Satanic lies to keep you from God’s Word

“(The devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

If I were the devil, I would do everything in my power to keep you from the Word of God.  I would say anything I could think of, anything I thought you would believe, anything that works, to get you to read other things.

As Paul said, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).  We know how he works.  And here are some of the lies we have noticed pouring out of his factory, all geared toward destroying confidence in God’s Word.

One. “You already know it, so don’t read it.”

He’s lying to you. You do not know it. I’ve studied the Bible all my life and in no way could I say I “know” it. I know a great deal about it, but there is so much more.  For the typical church member to shun the Bible because “I’ve been there and done that” is laughable.

Two: “No one can understand it, so don’t read it.”

He’s lying.  Even a child can understand a great deal of Scripture.  Meanwhile, the Ph.D. will find plenty to challenge his thinking.  Only a book from the Almighty could touch so much at every level of their existence.

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Full-bodied, three-dimensional preaching

I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:21)

Grady Cook, a wonderful Mississippi artist, told me how he had improved his technique. “The picture you bought from me last time,” he said, “was all right. But I still had a lot to learn.” I assured him Margaret and I thought it was fine and that it was hanging in our living room.

“Since then, I’ve studied under a wonderful teacher,” he explained, “and have learned how to add darkness to my work.” He said, “Here. Look at this.” Pointing at the picture I would buy from him a few minutes later, he showed the shadows and the blackness of the undergrowth of the forest. It made the picture far more three-dimensional than the earlier one. The trees stood out. It looked like someplace I’d like to explore.

We still have both pieces of art on display in our home, but since he explained the difference, I’ve enjoyed the last one far more.

“There’s something missing in this sermon,” I said to myself. On the surface, it seemed to work just fine. The “fruit of the Spirit” passage of Galatians 5:22-23 is a familiar and well-loved one. I’d studied it numerous times over the years and had preached it on several occasions. I like what it says about the effect of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer who abides in the Lord, that as he/she grows in Christ, they will grow all nine qualities of this “fruit” in his life. The nine qualities are the “fruit,” not “fruits,” and we do not specialize on one or two, but the indwelling Spirit will be producing all of them. Full-bodied believers, I suppose we could say.

And yet, trying to put myself in the place of my people and listen to my own delivery of the message, it felt rather blah. It just lay there, boring me–and if I was bored, how much more the poor hearers would be.  Something was wrong.

Then I realized what it was.

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How God fooled Satan at Christmas

“….the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” –I Corinthians 2:8

There is more going on in this universe–above us, underneath us, in the spirit world surrounding us–than we can imagine.

God is always at work. The hosts of Heaven are constantly serving Him in ways unknown to us.  But so is His arch-enemy at work, as well as his minions.  We see this throughout Scripture.

Satan is the enemy is all that is good.  Anything that would honor God, benefit humanity, and spread the gospel, Satan hates and works to sabotage.

But God is not stymied by Satan. The Heavenly Father loses no sleep worrying about him.  Satan’s doom is settled, his fate is sealed, his days are numbered.

“On earth is not his equal,” said Martin Luther about the devil in His majestic anthem “A Mighty Fortress.”  Granted, you and I are no match for Satan.  But in Christ we are more than conquerors.  This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith in Christ. (Romans 8:37 and I John 5:4)

God is constantly handing the devil defeat after defeat. We see it in life, we observe it in the world about us, and we see it demonstrated in Scripture.

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Truths the devil uses to stop us from praying

The forces of hell will do anything to keep us from praying.

Satan tells lies to keep us from praying.  He uses pleasures and misinformation and our laziness to keep us from praying.  He uses false teachers and busy schedules and great television to keep us from praying.

He also has been known to use truth.

Don’t miss that:  Sometimes he speaks the truth.

Here are eight true statements Satan uses to put a stop to the most powerful force in the world, the prayers of God’s people…

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