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.
Satan has a way of making us feel less ashamed of our sin (the thing that separates us from God), and more ashamed of ourselves (the thing that links us to Him).
I had an intensely scary nightmare during my routine Sunday nap. In it, I was sitting on the floor in front of my bedroom door with my legs crossed and I heard a deep, dark voice talking to me from behind. The voice was assuring me that it was okay to do what I was being tempted to do even though I knew it was wrong. I felt like I was hovering above the ground and, when I looked, it turned out that I was. Not by much. Perhaps a few inches. I thought it was very cool that I was doing that. The voice asked me if I liked hovering and I said I did. Then, suddenly, I was hovering 5 feet in the air, with my legs still crossed. I was unable to move. It was like I was sitting on an invisible pedestal. It was no longer fun. It was terrifying. I didn’t know what was happening and I was afraid I was going to drop straight to the ground and get hurt. The voice was taunting me and threatening to let me plummet to the hard floor painfully. That was when I realized that the voice was Satan. I woke up from my dream feeling violated. How dare Satan invade my subconscious! But now I see what the dream means. The hovering represents sin. At first it seems fun and harmless until you realize what the cost is. A few inches off the ground was fun. But being feet off the ground with no control was terrifying. In the end, after giving into temptation, we all fall onto that hard, unforgiving ground. But every time, God is there to help us up and forgive us.
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!
Devotion for the week of 7/14/14-7/20/14 (Sorry it’s late. It’s summer and I totally forgot that yesterday was Monday…)
I have met many people in my life who I knew that if they were to die right then, they’d go to Hell. Every time I’ve met someone like that, it’s made me very sad and I’ve wanted to do something about it. Unfortunately, many times I didn’t do anything. But there have been times when I’ve tried very hard to save someone’s soul. Back when I was in 7th grade I had a friend who claimed to be a Wiccan. At that time I didn’t really know what she believed, and I still don’t. People used to tease her and call her a witch. However, as far as I know, she didn’t do any witchcraft or perform any rituals. She was just into the supernatural. Anyway, I spent a lot of time during that year, before she moved over the summer, witnessing to her. I wish I could tell you that she’s a Christian now, but I can’t. I remember one time in particular I was really fed up with her constant rejection of my attempts to talk with her about Christianity. It was after school and I had a flute lesson to get to. I saw her by the bathroom and we were talking. I don’t remember exactly what we said but I do remember what I said as I was walking off. And I know you aren’t supposed to be this blunt when you’re witnessing to people, but I was on my last straw and I didn’t know what else to say. So, angry, I shouted to her, “You’re going to Hell!” And her reply was even more surprising than my sudden outburst. She shouted back, “I don’t care!” … I had never gotten that kind of response before and I haven’t since. Usually people know that’s true but try not to think about it. But she knew it was true and didn’t care. I don’t understand how someone couldn’t care that they were going to be tortured for eternity in a pit of fire. I’ll never know if she truly didn’t care or if she was just saying that, but her words will stay with me forever. The Bible describes Hell in a few different places. In Matthew 13:49-50 Jesus says, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Revelation 20:14-15 says ‘Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire’. Based off of those descriptions, Hell does not sound like a place that I wouldn’t mind going to. I encourage you to witness to the lost souls around you and show them that Hell is not a place they want to go. But don’t do what I did and try to scare them into being a Christian. Yes, make them aware of how horrible Hell is, but also make them aware of how amazing Heaven is and how graceful and loving our Savior is.