Tag Archives: devil


Have you ever trusted someone only to be deceived?  Deception is as old as—well—as time itself.  A deceiver works his magic by flashing one set of motives, while armed with another.

Deceivers are cunning.  Their tricks work for a reason.  But in order for deception to work, we first have to believe the deceiver’s lie.  Take the Garden of Eden, for example:

The devil appeared to Eve in an irresistible package. He presented a temptation tailor-made to her secret longings.   “You won’t die when you eat the fruit from the forbidden tree,” soothed the serpent.  “God knows that if you eat the fruit, you’ll be like Him…knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-13).

Eve “saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.”  Turning a deaf ear to her heavenly Father’s warning, she “took some of the fruit and ate it” (Genesis 1:6).  She gave a bite to Adam, their eyes were opened, and they “suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.”

Horrors.  Eve had wanted to be like God only to realize she was not dressed for the job. She and Adam were stricken by deception, shamed at their utter inadequacy. Sin was downloaded into their DNA. Humanity has wrestled with our fallen condition ever since.

The most deadly deception, however, was the devil’s attack on God’s character.  “God’s motives are not pure,” he lied.  “His rules are not from a heart of love…He just wants to keep you from being all you can be.”  Sound familiar? Satan found a strategy that works, so he uses it again and again. When will we ever learn?

James gives us a moment to ponder the heart of our loving heavenly Father:

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows  (James 1:16,17).

Think about it. Everything good thing that has ever happened to you is from your loving, heavenly Father. Even His boundaries are for your good. And the bad stuff?  Suffering will always be something of a mystery, but James challenges us to greet the hard places with joy (James 1:2). Throw a counter-attack, he urges. Trust God to use those very trials to grow our faith roots deep.

Make no mistake about it. You do have an enemy, but it’s not God. Don’t let anyone tell you that God is not for you! He is all loving, infinitely good, and in complete control.  Grasp that one, dear friend, and you’ll resist the deceiver when he comes knocking.

Guard Against this Enemy-Day 16

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). 

In order to grow strong in the Lord, we need to stick together.  It’s true. We are better and stronger when we’re part of a team—a body of believers. Who would dream of fighting a war alone?  Or playing against an entire basketball team by ourselves?

I heard a statistic recently that sobered me. Guess why most missionaries leave the field? Not because of living conditions or less creature comforts; not fear of threats like ebola or isis; not rejection or even attacks from the locals; not family issues. The reason most missionaries leave the mission field is because of conflict with other missionaries.

Internal strife is destructive—perhaps the most painful type of conflict. Those who know us best have the power to wound us most deeply. Just ask anyone who has experienced divorce. Continue reading

Are you dangerous to the devil?

“Fasting is a little scary,” remarked a friend during our recent 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  She’s right.  Whether it’s food, a favorite treat, social media or shopping, giving up something we depend upon leaves us longing. Empty. Thirsty.

Maybe that’s why fasting is so powerful.  I’m forced to switch my lifeline from food (or whatever) to God Himself.  I find myself hungrier for His Word and more receptive to His voice.  Even Jesus chose to fast before in His duel in the desert with the devil.  He had just been  baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Afterwards, God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  What an amazing spiritual mountaintop!  But notice what happened next:

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry (Matthew 4:1,2 NLT).   It was the Holy Spirit himself who led Jesus into the desert.  A place of vulnerability and isolation.  On top of that,  Jesus fasted for forty days and nights!  Not exactly the breakfast of champions.  So why would He physically weaken Himself in preparation for the fight of His life?

Let’s read further to find our answerThe tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3, 4 NIV).  The devil’s first of three temptations hit Jesus right in the gut, so to speak.  He tempts him to turn stones into bread.  What could be wrong with that?  Jesus could simply try out His divine power.  Turning stones into bread wouldn’t cost Him any money or cause a scandal.  And hunger after forty days with no food seems like a legitimate need.

But Jesus, weak in body yet mighty Spirit, knew the fight with the devil was not over.  His counterattack came straight from the Bible, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”  With each successive temptation, Jesus fired back at the devil with Scripture until the evil one finally slinked away in defeat.

For forty days, Jesus had prepared for this time of testing by fasting, praying, pouring over God’s Word.  He was armed and ready.  Power to contend with the devil didn’t come from His human strength or logic,  but from the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Dear friends, I wonder if we hunger for the true bread of the Spirit?   We nourish our bodies with food.  We keep our cars fueled up.   We recharge our smart phones and laptops.   But are we humble enough to admit that we can’t win our spiritual battles without God’s Word?  Jesus showed us how.  We don’t live by the “bread” of this world alone, but by every Word from the mouth of God.  That’s how we stay armed and dangerous to the devil.




joyful destroyer

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).

Destroyer. I’ve never thought of Jesus as a destroyer.  Destruction is pretty much the devil’s domain. Yet John tells us that Jesus came to earth to “destroy the devil’s work.”

Let’s face it. The devil likes to sin. He’s been “sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).  His diabolical mission is to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10) and his handiwork includes death, disease, strife, hatred, and all the miseries known to man.

I imagine that Jesus felt triumphant after  He defeated the devil. The writer of Hebrews tells us it was for “the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).

The concept of Jesus as a “joyful destroyer” came alive for me the other day as I headed out for my usual jog around the neighborhood.  I had spent my morning quiet time reflecting on this passage, from 1 John 3, especially verse 8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  I found myself repeating this verse over and over in my mind (this is called meditation) as I headed out for my run.

As I rounded the corner, I noticed a pickup truck stopped at the end of the long driveway we share with a few other families. Two workers had gotten out of the truck to inspect what appeared to be a tire in the middle of our driveway.  As I jogged closer, I was struck by a sickening realization.  The object was not a tire but a very large snake. And did I mention? I HATE snakes!

The older of the two gentlemen proceeded to grab a rake out of the back of his pickup and strike the snake sharply on the head. The beast reared up and hissed.  Ugh.  I could swear the man was smiling as he whacked the snake again and again into the next kingdom.

He finally put the snake out of its misery and held up his trophy to display its full length (four or five feet).  And then he looked at me and laughed.  “That old snake was just waiting to get those little legs.”  Mr. Truesdale was the man’s name, and I could tell he enjoyed the rescue immensely. I could have hugged him.

I continued my run and kept thinking about how much joy Jesus must have felt when he defeated his enemy, the “ancient serpent” as he’s called in the book of Revelation (20:2).

Jesus also destroyed death, the devil’s major work. In so doing, He brought eternal life to you and to me and to all who would believe in Him. This is the victory that brought Him the greatest  joy.  It brings me joy, too, for it means I will live with Him forever.

Pray now and ask God to show you someone who needs to hear about Jesus today.  I pray for just the right opportunity for you to share this Good News.


Written!  It is written. Jesus prefaced His rebuttals to the devil with three simple words.  We don’t know the full extent of what happened during His forty-day duel in the desert.  What we do know is that He emerged victorious.  The evil one left Him until “a more opportune time.”  He returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit.  News about Him spread throughout the country side.

This power encounter with the prince of this world was a defining moment for Jesus.  If we take time to reflect on His fighting tactics, it can be a defining moment for us as well.  Jesus has given us some important tips about how to do battle with the enemy of our soul. Continue reading