Facebook and I have a love hate relationship. I am thankful for the ability to keep up with friends and family; however, the constant demand for attention and the heaps of negativity and drama are draining to life. Over the past few years, I have only skimmed my newsfeed and I ignore Messenger even if the constant new message notification icon frustrates my OCD tendencies. There is so much more to life. Nonetheless, I enjoy still keeping up with my family and friends, and I especially love looking at my memories each day. There is nothing like taking a walk down memory lane. For multiple reasons, my memory (both short-term and long-term) is not good. Taking these daily strolls is always an adventure. But this week, I got a surprise.
In my memory feed, I saw some old photos of my children and dogs. I saw events and gatherings. I saw some quotes I shared. Then I saw a blocked post. A blocked post! The reason? It “goes against our community standards.” Community standards? What? This is the word of God. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (NIV). This verse from Isaiah 12:2 was as important to me then as it is to me now. Such a powerful declaration, a memory that came on just the day when I needed to be reminded of it once again. But it doesn’t follow community standards. And what are the community standards? Safety, voice, and equity.
The Word of God will always convict the world. Though His Word is Truth and should be our plumb line in life, where we hold everything up to the True Standard—His standards, the world will always see this as folly. But these community standards speak of our God more than the world will ever know. When we find that there is no true safety from the dangers of this world, we find refuge in Him. We find salvation in Him. When we find that the voices of this world are often sharing lies and agendas and hate and destruction, we can rest in Him and trust Him. He is our strength and our defense. When the lies are spoken about us, He speaks over us His truth, His love, His grace. When the world seems like there is no fairness, no justice, no equality, we find that He so loved EVERYONE, that He sent His only Son to pay the ultimate price so that we ALL have the opportunity to come to Him, to be free, to be redeemed, to be healed, to live out a great inheritance as a child of God, a son or daughter of the God Most High. That despite the doings of the father of lies and our own sin and shortcomings, we can have a loving, eternal relationship with our Father. He is my safety, my voice, my equity.
And so today, even while the world has community standards and wants to block the truth and keep you from receiving all that God has for you, reach out to Him. Draw near to the One who is Hope. Cling to the One who is Peace. Rejoice in the One who is King. One day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess—JESUS IS LORD!
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2 [NIV]
This morning was a foggy one. As we ventured out on our normal walk, it was difficult to see up ahead. This would not be such an issue; however, Max has post-traumatic stress disorder. If he encounters another dog, he sometimes gets very fearful and the situation escalates. This is not normally an issue on morning walks as no one else is crazy enough to walk their dogs so early. However, every so often there is a chance encounter. Being able to see, allows me to prevent Max from having to undergo a stressful situation. It is hard to properly prepare for something you cannot see.
As believers, we are commanded to be prepared. Paul tells us to, “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:18). Peter warns us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This coming week, I will be preaching about the devil and his demons. Some people believe it’s unnecessary to discuss this topic. Whether it be fear, disinterest, or something else—the truth is we need to stay alert, and we need to know what we need to stay alert against.
The devil has been defeated. He has already been condemned (John 16:11). Victory is with Jesus. Even so, the devil is the prince of this world and he is still out and about trying to spread his lies, because he is the father of lies (John 14:30, John 8:44). We need to remember our battle is not of this world (Ephesians 6:12). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). Put on your full armor of God and pray continually. Do not let the fog prevent you from knowing what is Truth and what is a lie.
Every year, there is the annual ant season. I get out the ant baits and liquid gel a friend recommended. In a few days, everything is back to normal. But before this happens, there is a time period when the ants come and take the bait. This morning, as I was checking to be sure things were flowing smoothly, my daughter asked me about how the ant bait works. I explained the process.
As I was explaining everything, I considered the plight of the ants. An ant grabs the stuff from the bait contraption and carries it back to his home. He shares this with his family and friends. Together, they fall. It’s a simple process that works each year during ant season. But it’s also a process that is played out with humans.
We, like the ants, can take the bad bait and carry it to our homes, which results in destruction. It is sad, but it happens often. We carry home our acts of sin. We carry home lies the devil has provided. We carry home false teaching. We carry home a lot of things that can cause problems. Today, take back your house. Consider what’s coming into your house. Is it right? Is it pure? Is it truth? Don’t allow the devil to get a foothold.
“Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.” – 3 John 1:11 [NLT]
For the past few weeks, I have had a song in my head—one of the first “Christian” songs I used to jam out to as a child. The song that kept replaying was “Old Man’s Rubble,” sang by Amy Grant. It is a song older than me, a song that appeared on Amy’s first album. The chorus asks if you are living in an “old man’s rubble.” After a few weeks, I wondered why it was still stuck in my head.
When I was young, I used to sing the song with great passion, focusing on the lyrics about “listening to the father of lies.” I knew back then that he was and is the father of lies; however, today I can grasp things more clearly. Today I can easily understand that the song isn’t about the father of lies or the old man’s rubble, but rather, about the new creation that results from knowing the Father of light, about rejoicing in Him who is making all things new.
As we begin a new year, we need not focus on the old man’s rubble. Rubble is something that is left behind. It is defined as waste or wreckage. It is what is left behind after a collapse. Rubble remains. It is the ruins. It’s debris. We walk through the rubble to something better, something greater than that which we leave behind. The song says we will be “living in a mighty fortress” and we will be “clothed in power and might.” Embrace these lyrics. Trust that the old man you once were is rubble, and do not try to carry it with you into what God has for you next. Ready yourself.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 [ESV]
Yesterday I had to spray the weeds. It is one of my least favorite activities. Though I am not too fond of dusting, I can understand the reason. Things are happening all around—my family is doing things that helps the dust to collect. We are living life. But with weeds, they just come. We don’t do anything. We even put mulch all around hoping to have a barrier of protection.
When it comes to our walk with Christ, it is important to understand that Satan is like those weeds, sneaking up and ready to cause havoc. We may think that we spray the weed killer and we will be fine; however, that is not the case. With Satan, the father of lies, he doesn’t turn away easily. He will do whatever he can to thwart your walk with Christ.
So what can we do? Put on the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). This includes the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Sword of God’s Word, the Shield of Faith, the Belt of Truth, and the Shoes of Peace. DAILY. Every day. Remind yourself that within you is the fullness of God—the Comforter, the Helper—the Holy Spirit. No matter what comes your way, you have the power to overcome through Christ. When Satan comes at you, tell him to leave in Jesus’ name and watch him flee. You will slip up. Some weeds will sprout. But Jesus has already won the battle. Claim His promises. Cling to His Word. Embrace Him.