Sorry I’m a little behind on posting these. The thing is that I usually do them at night, so I can’t post until at least the next morning.
My challenge for day 4, which was 2 days ago, was to pray for the world.
That sounds like a pretty heavy challenge, doesn’t it? There’s a lot of tragedies happening in the world right now, which means there’s a lot to pray about.
As I was praying, I found myself becoming irritated with the world. I obviously wasn’t going to blame God for what was happening, so who was left to blame?
People. Us. You. Me.
It’s so easy for us to point the finger at God and say, “If He is a merciful God who controls everything, then why is He letting bad things happen?” I know, trust me I do, how difficult of a question that is to answer, and how caught up on it people get.
The simple answer is, it’s not His fault. It’s because of evil. If you want to blame someone, blame Satan!
You might think, “Why can’t God just abolish evil?” Well, eventually He will. It says so in Romans 16:20-“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Until then, it goes back to the matter of free will, which I posted a quote about not long ago. Though free will makes evil possible, it also makes possible any joy or goodness worth having.
Maybe you’ve seen the movie Bruce Almighty, where a man played by Jim Carrey is given the powers of God, and told he can do anything but mess with free will.
He tries to use his powers to get his ex-girlfriend to love him, but it doesn’t work. But isn’t that a good thing? Because would love even be love if it were forced? Doesn’t it feel good when someone loves you not because they have to, but because they want to?
Sure, there is a lot of evil in the world, but there is also a lot of good. I’m not suggesting we ignore the evil. I’m suggesting we overcome it with the good. Romans 12:21 puts it beautifully: “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Conquer. That’s such a powerful word. Conquer evil! Be so good that evil just can’t stand it!
I would like to close with a quote that was on my mind while I was praying for the world.
People deny the existence of God, and then blame Him for the chaos that ensues.
This is one of my favorite quotes. It’s one of the few quotes that I actually have memorized. I think about this often: what free will is, and what its repercussions are, but why it’s ultimately necessary and even good.
We’ve surely all heard the infamous story of Jekyll and Hyde. They are two sides to the same person. The difference is quite extreme. One is good and one is evil. It is a case of split personality disorder. While not many of us have two literal personalities living in us, most of us have two sides. Especially Christians. We have that side of us that is Christlike and holy, and that side of us that ruins our righteousness; that side that is not who we are. It’s our sinful side. Sometimes it shows itself for a brief moment when we break character and cuss at someone on the road. Othertimes, it shows itself for longer periods of time when we experience a lapse in judgement, such as when we put ourselves in a place where we will be tempted to sin and, consequently, do. Either way, when we switch back to our godly side, we realize that what we did was wrong and we feel guilty. We know in our hearts that the person God made us to be would not do what we just did. Romans 7:15 says, “I do not understand what I do…What I hate I do.” Verse 20 goes on to say, “If I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, mankind has had a sinful nature. We let this sinful nature, this other side of us, take over sometimes. In a song by Plumb titled ‘Lord, I’m Ready Now,’ she sings the lyrics, “I was so caught up in who I’m not.” That happens. I can think of many times when that’s happened to me. When my godly side got mad at my sinful side because it couldn’t believe that it made my body do what it just did. These two sides war against each other, see? They cannot coexist. One always comes out on top. Another song that comes to mind is ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ by Casting Crowns. The song is about warring against your sinful side. The reason I titled this post ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ is because I just heard a Plumb song by that title. There’s an excerpt from that song that fits well here. “You make it look like I am the crazy one here.” In the worst of situations, when it feels like you’ve hit rock bottom, you begin to wonder if choosing to live your life for God was the right decision. You think back on your sins and wonder if they’re even that bad. You begin to think that it’s not fair that God doesn’t let you do what you want. The “you” that Plumb is referring to is her sinful side: Hyde. It makes her feel like her godly side is crazy, and not her sinful side. It makes her feel like she’s crazy for not doing what she sees others doing. There comes a point in every Christian’s life when they want to give into their sinful side. Permanently. It is then that you have to weigh the pros and cons of being a godly Christian. It is then that you must remember the guilt you’ve felt in the past when your sinful side took over. Then you will realize that it’s worth it to be a Christian. Not easy, but worth it. It’s okay to live a life that others don’t understand. It’s best to not let your sinful side get the upper hand.
Words are things that people say or write. They have the power to do good or evil. Ephesians 4:29- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Devotion for the week of 8/4/14-8/10/14
God has appointed guardian angels over all of His children. Psalm 91:11 says, ‘God will put His angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go’. Yesterday my youth pastor told us of a time he was traveling and he met this woman who was demon-possessed. She was angry and told him that she wanted to hit him but she couldn’t. He asked her why she couldn’t and her answer was ‘Because you have all those big, strong men around you’. She saw the angels that were protecting my youth pastor and the demons inside of her didn’t dare mess with the angels of God. Psalm 34:7 says, ‘His angel guards those who honor the Lord and rescues them from danger’. Angels come in many different forms. They have been seen in the form of a human being, and in the form in which they have wings. Certainly you’ve heard the saying ‘angel in disguise’. Well angels actually can be in disguise. Sometimes when I’m alone in my room in the dark I imagine both the angels and the demons around me. Because, just as we have angels appointed to us by God, we have demons appointed to us by Satan. Of course the way I imagine them is stereotypical because I really have no idea what they look like. But I like to just lay there and quote scripture and softly sing praise songs because I know that the demons hate that. And I know that the angels are singing along with me. Honestly, I’m not afraid of demons. Apparently they’re wimps. They get scared away at the name of Jesus. Plus, I have faith that the Lord’s angels will protect me. I like to just lay there and imagine that I’m talking to the demons about how great my God is and about how they can’t get to me because I won’t let them. Christians can have demons but it’s not called possession because possession means they are in your soul. If you’re a Christian they can’t be in your soul because that’s where God is. Of course, non-believers have a greater risk of being possessed. Possession is a scary thing but, like I said, demons are fairly easy to get rid of if you know how to do it. Not that I’ve ever done it, but I know people who have. Something as simple as ‘In the name of God, go to Hell!’ can work. Demons fear the name of God and angels rejoice in it. So don’t fear…rejoice!