Category: Trusting God

How to Relate to Evil

Last night my daughter asked my wife and I some great questions about Satan. For example:

  • why did God create someone so evil?
  • didn’t God only create good things (in Genesis she pointed out that God looked at all He created and said “it is good”)?
  • why doesn’t God just “get rid of” Satan? She also pointed out that He was going to do it someday anyway so why not now?

In trying to answer these questions biblically, I found an article/sermon by John Piper that I thought might be timely and helpful for some people.  Below is a snippet with a link to the full text of the sermon where you can also watch it in it’s entirety.  Check this out:

How should we think and feel and act about Satanic evil—the death of little Zach at the attack of a pit bull? The deaths of three more miners trying to save their buddies? Five hundred dead in the Peru earthquake? The evil you confront in your own lives? Here is my summary answer. Eight things to do with evil. Four things never to do.

  1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
  2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
  3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 5:3-5).
  4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
  5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
  6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
  7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
  8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

But, on the other hand:

  1. Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
  2. Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33, 36).
  3. Never yield to the thought that God sins, or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways.” (Psalm 145:17).
  4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of his punishment in wrath. That fell on Jesus Christ our substitute. “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).

When we renounce the designs of the devil and trust the power and wisdom and goodness of God through Christ, we fulfill God’s purpose in letting Satan live. We glorify the infinitely superior worth of Jesus.

Here is the link to the full article/sermon.  I highly recommend you check it out for a greater perspective of God’s love for us and desire for our joy in His glory.  As always, share your thoughts/comments here.

Getting Closer To God By Learning How To Trust God

…Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4: 2, 3

Have you ever been stirred deep within your spirit?

Now what I’m asking here is not the same thing as having a deeply emotional experience (either positive or negative), so getting jacked up at a conference where the worship and preaching were awesome doesn’t count.  No, I mean stirred to action; stirred to change; stirred to boldness like never before in your life?  And not in a way that brought guilt or shame either…but in an encouraging, uplifting and empowering way?

The answer for me was no…until about a year or so ago.  But in the last 18 months or so, I’ve been truly stirred deep within my spirit on at least 3 occasions, the first of which happened when I went to The Creation Museum with my family about as long ago.  Now, unfortunately, I can’t go into all that God did for me on that trip here, but suffice it to say that He gave me a MAJOR paradigm shift that day and it changed so many things such as my parenting, my foundational faith in the scriptures, and my view of the world that I live in to name a few.  BUT, it mainly caused me to realize that after 10 years at that point of following Jesus, I hadn’t pressed in very hard or close to my Lord  It caused me to want to make time where I hadn’t made time before to study and read my bible, pray and listen to God more.

Which was a great thing…God needed to stir me up a bit.

The next stirring of my spirit came when our friends showed us the videos that I wrote about in the Day 3 post which as I discussed in the post, caused me to want to take a closer look at the times and seasons in which we live and be a watchman.  And the 3rd time was shortly after that evening when those same friends brought over a movie called Finger of God.

If you haven’t seen the film, I HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy and inviting as many Christian friends as you can fit in your living room to watch it.  At any rate, at one point in the movie, Darren Wilson (the director and creator of the film) goes to Redding, CA to show you what some kids at the Bethel Church and School of Ministry do for fun on a Friday night and I was blown away.  Now the whole movie is amazing and so while not taking anything away from the rest of the movie I was “stirred” when I saw what these kids were doing.  They get together, pray, ask God to show them where to go and give them words of knowledge or direction, then they write what they feel God has given them, compare notes and set out on a journey to pray for people’s healing, salvation and everything in between!  To see a snippet of this go to http://www.fingerofgodfilm.com/ and click on the fingerprint over California.

Why Don’t I DO This Stuff Too?

This stirred me to ask myself the simple question…if I believe, why don’t I do this stuff too?

So one afternoon my family and I along with some friends (same friends mentioned above and in know God more post and not long after that night actually) are on our way to enjoy one of my favorite treats, ice cream, at a local ice cream festival (pays to live close to the home of Velvet Ice Cream…apparently they have whole festivals to celebrate the stuff)!  My friend Dave and I were discussing the Friend of God movie and suddenly he says, “Hey, why don’t we all pray for opportunities to pray for people to be healed today while we’re at the festival!”  I must say, it’s a shame that I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but I was glad he did and so we all prayed.

Now while I wanted to and believed God would answer this prayer, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.  No one had eaten, and so that was the first order of business.  So we all stood in line forever and got our own greasy concoction and met up at a picnic table next to the main walkway in the festival.  There were two and only two spots remaining at the table when two ladies walked up and asked if they could sit there.  After they sat down, someone from our crew introduced themselves and asked their names.  This is where it gets cool.  The older woman of the two told us her name and her daughters name and immediately (literally they were the next words out of her mouth), began to tell us how her daughters husband had died recently and then she found out she had a terminal illness.  I know, if it hadn’t happened to me I might doubt it too, but indeed…it was real.  So we prayed.

Then we finished our meal, said our goodbyes to these ladies and began to walk around the festival.  I kid you not, we had taken only about 30 steps when we saw a life squad up ahead.  As we got closer, there was a woman in a wheelchair the medics were attending to, and so my buddy Dave and I reached out our hands and prayed for the woman while they finished up.  Later, Dave went back to the woman, asked if he could pray for her and when she said yes, he said the Holy Spirit was intense as he prayed for her.  She said she felt it and thanked him.

Do you trust Him....really?

Do you trust Him....really?

Reasons We Don’t Step Out In Faith

Now I tell you these stories to make a simple, but important point:  why don’t we ask God for more opportunities like that?  Why did I go through over 10 years of knowing Jesus before I finally prayed for God to move like that?  I would suggest 3 reasons Christians don’t step out in faith like that more:

  1. Haven’t Been Taught
    While it is true that very few churches actually “teach” practical ways to help you bring the rubber of your faith to meet the road of your life, I don’t believe this is the primary reason.  Also, here is that it hasn’t been modeled for us outside of scripture.
  2. Fear/Worry
    What will people think of me?  They’ll think I’m stupid or they’ll think I’m a weirdo or freak.  Ok, so I know this could be a big one, cause this requires boldness to the nth degree.  However, again, I’m not sure this is a ROOT cause of the problem but rather a symptom of the root.
  3. Lack of Faith/Trust In God
    That’s right, the one thing I would attribute most to not boldly going out and “doing greater things than these” as Jesus said we would.  I mean really, if we trusted him completely with “child-like faith”, wouldn’t we want the sick among us to be healed and His people to be set free from bondage and saved?  I’d say the answer should be YES!

I can tell you that even though I would not have wanted to admit it at the time, that is what held me back prior to this.  I did not have because I did not ask.  Now let me share one last thing from that scripture in James with you that blew me away.  First he goes onto say that “…even when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” and then in verse 4 he continues with “don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” and finally in verse 7 and 8 with “7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you.”.

You MUST Make A Choice

Do you see it?  You can’t be sucked up in the activities, busy-ness, stuff of the world and have time, energy or fortitude to press into the things of God.  You must choose.  And when you do, “…He will come near to you”.  In addition, Matthew 7: 7 & 8 says:

7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Then he follows that up with proof using us earthly fathers as examples saying, if your son asked for good things who among you would give him bad things (paraphrased).  I just love this picture of how richly He’s telling us He wants to bless us and how all we have to do is ask and He’ll give us all we can handle and more.

Christians Everywhere Need To Wake Up!

But with all this great news and inspiration to dig deeper into the things of God, let me close with a warning.  The very next 2 verses in Matthew (13 and 14) say this:

13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I truly believe we need to take hold of this and wake up as Christians in America today.  Maybe the missionary from India who told our pastor once that the USA was much harder to serve Christ in was right.  Are we too rich, too self-sufficient, too engrossed in us and not God to notice he wants us to be doing more of the super natural; realizing and walking in the spiritual gifts more?  I know I was.

So if you feel that way, let me ask a question; what must He do to wake you up and get your attention?

Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it.  Don’t get lost in the world trying to find that narrow road and remember, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.