Satan’s Simple Plan

haunted-house2

“The devil really only wants one thing from you”

-By Kevin DeYoung

What does the devil want to do with you?

Does he want to haunt your house? Not likely. You’d write a bestselling book or become a reality television star. Make your head spin around? You could make a lot of money showing off that trick. Get you to carve a pentagram into your leg? Nah, not the sort of behavior that draws a big following.

So what does the devil really want from you?

He really only wants one thing: he wants to keep you from Christ.

He wants to make you selfish. He wants you to live for your ambition. He wants you to live for your addiction. He wants you live for your ego. He wants you to live for anyone or anything that’s not Jesus. As long as he keeps you from Christ–from the true and living God–he doesn’t care how it happens. Make you sick like Job or rich like Uzzah, just so long as you forget your Creator in the days of your youth. He will be the accuser of the brethren in one breath and the lying spirit who says “peace, peace” in the next.

What does the devil want?

He wants you to believe the lie that you are okay without a savior. He wants you to think that the form of godliness counts for something even if it does not have the power. He wants you to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and exchange the truth about God for a lie. He wants you to love the world and ignore the Word. He wants you to be happy or sad or scared or complacent or hungry or full, anything that gets you focused on something other than union and communion with Christ.

When you become a Christian you turn from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18). And when you live as a Christian, the devil will do all that he can to get you to turn back to the way things were.

Christian! Dost Thou See Them

Christian! dost thou see them
On the holy ground,
How the troops of Midian
Prowl and prowl around?
Christian! up and smite them,
Counting gain but loss:
Smite them by the merit
Of the Holy Cross!

Christian! dost thou feel them,
How they work within,
Striving, tempting, luring,
Goading into sin?
Christian! never tremble!
Never be down-cast!
Gird thee for the battle,
Watch and pray and fast.

Christian! dost thou hear them
How they speak thee fair?
“Always fast and vigil?
Always watch and prayer?”
Christian! say but boldly:
“While I breathe, I pray:”
Peace shall follow battle,
Night shall end in day.

“Well I know thy trouble,
O my servant true;
Thou art very weary,—
I was weary too:
But that toil shall make thee,
Some day, all Mine own:
And the end of sorrow
Shall be near My Throne.”

– John Mason Neale; Attributed to Andrew of Crete (660-732),
Published in Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866. Edited.

7 Evils of a Grumbling Spirit

by B.J. Stockman

“As a sequel to my recent post “Mr. Grumbly Gills”, I thought it’d be helpful to draw from the deep wells of Jeremiah Burroughs’ old work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment to further demonstrate the sin of grumbling. It’s easy to ignore pervasive “normal” sins like grumbling and fixate on more occasional “shocking” sins like that sexual sin that held you years ago or that time you dropped the F-bomb on your parents, kids, or spouse. But don’t be deceived: a murmuring mouth is particularly grieving to God because it reveals discontent in God. Psalm 106 says that one of the reasons God made the people of Israel “fall in the wilderness” was because they “murmured in their tents” (v. 25, 26). Therefore having a case of Mr. Grumbly Gills has serious consequences. In the following, I summarize and add to Burroughs’ section on “The Evils of a Murmuring Spirit” and offer seven evils of a grumbling, murmuring, and complaining heart within the Christian:

1. It models Satan. The angel Lucifer was the first grumbler. The onset of his fall from heaven was a result of dissatisfaction in his position and the desire to be like God.

“The Devil is the most discontented creature in the world, he is the proudest creature that is, and the most discontented creature, and the most dejected creature. Now, therefore, so much discontent as you have, so much of the spirit of Satan you have.”

2. It is contrary to who you are. You are a son and daughter with a heavenly Father who loves you, the deeply beloved bride of Christ, and actual members of Jesus’ body. When you bellyache and complain about every little thing you mar your royal and treasured position.

“Are you the King’s son, the son, the daughter, of the King of Heaven, and yet so disquieted and troubled, and vexed at every little thing that happens? As if a King’s son were to cry out that he is undone for losing a toy; what an unworthy thing would this be! So do you: you cry out as if you were undone and yet are a King’s son, you who stand in such relation to God, as to a father, you dishonor your father in this; as if either he had not wisdom, or power, or mercy enough to provide for you.”

3. It is the opposite of prayer. In prayer we come to God with requests and with praise and thankfulness in order to commune with him, but when we grumble, complain and murmur we essentially reverse prayer and rehearse all that we aren’t getting or all that God is not doing that we think he should be doing.

“By murmuring you undo your prayers, for it is exceedingly contrary to the prayer that you make to God. When you come to pray to God, you acknowledge his sovereignty over you, you come there to profess yourselves to be at God’s disposal.”

4. It is simply a waste of time. It accomplishes absolutely nothing. It accelerates personal stress and is downright annoying and draining to listen to.

“How many times do men and women, when they are discontented, let their thoughts run, and are musing and contriving, through their present discontentedness and let their discontented thoughts work in them for some hours together, and they spend their time in vain!”

5. It swallows up the blessing of mercy before it arrives. If you covet a particular mercy of God (like say a big raise), when it finally comes you won’t be thankful for it but will waste it. Coveting a blessing can turn the blessing into an idolatrous curse.

“Discontent and murmuring eats out the good and sweetness of a mercy before it comes. If God should give a mercy for the want of which we are discontented, yet the blessing of the mercy is, as it were, eaten out before we come to have it….There are many things which you desire as your lives, and think that you would be happy if you had them, yet when they come you do not find such happiness in them, but they prove to be the greatest crosses and afflictions that you ever had, and on this ground, because your hearts were immoderately set upon them before you had them.”

6. It worsens sufferings and afflictions. A murmuring attitude in the midst of affliction increases the affliction. Having a bad attitude in the midst of pleasant or mediocre circumstances poisons your heart and the hearts of others, and how much will this increase if this overwhelmingly negative spirit continues and truly difficult circumstances arrive.

“It in no way removes our afflictions, indeed, while they continue, they are a great deal the worse and heavier, for a discontented heart is a proud heart, and a proud heart will not pull down his sails when there comes a tempest and storm. If a sailor, when a tempest and storm comes, is perverse and refuses to pull down his sails, but is discontented with the storm, is his condition any better because he is discontented and will not pull down his sails? Will this help him?”

7. It wears the hopeless costume of pessimism.

This doesn’t mean you have to go all Joel Osteen on the world. It simply means consistent pessimism is not in line with the sure hope and life-changing power of the gospel. There is an inherent optimism within the gospel that produces hope, love, joy, peace, etc. Positive commands like “rejoice in the Lord” and “in everything give thanks” and negative commands like “be anxious for nothing” and “do not grumble” all reveal that there is a gospel optimism about the Christian life that is to flavor the personality of a Christian.”

-B.J. Stockman, http://bjstockman.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/7-evils-of-a-grumbling-spirit/

Post-Prayer Satanic Whispers

Here’s an awesome post from David Murray which I found very encouraging. Too often, I think my struggles are unique to me. What joy comes knowing that my spiritual state is in God’s hands and that doubts are common to all believers.

““…and forgive my sins. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Within seconds the wicked whispers start.

“Too short.”

“Too shallow.”

“Too distracted…again.”

“Missed out her, and him, and them…”

“Yawn. Nothing new to say?”

“You call that a prayer?”

“Not enough faith…not enough passion…not enough anything.”

“You don’t actually believe that made a difference, do you?”

“You’ll probably not even think about prayer for the rest of the day”

And on, and on, and on it goes.

Relentless, cruel, malicious Satanic whispers that begin the second I end my morning prayer with, “Amen.”

Anyone else get that? It’s so discouraging, isn’t it. I mean, why pray if all you get at the end of it is an even heavier feeling of guilt and failure? Prayer should be a delight not a dread.

I’d really welcome your own input on this, but here’s how I try to fight back, silence the whispers, and turn prayer into a soul-refreshing delight again.

  1. God has forgiven me all my sins – even my sinful prayers.
  2. Jesus is perfecting my prayers and presenting them absolutely flawless to my Heavenly Father.
  3. My salvation does not depend on my prayers but on Jesus’ prayers.
  4. My Heavenly Father listens even to the raven’s ugly grating squawks (Ps. 147:9) and gives it food; how much more will he hear and answer the ugly grating squawks of one of His children?
  5. God delights in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy (Ps 147:9).
  6. God knows I’m a limited creature who cannot possibly pray for everyone everyday.
  7. Surely the Devil would simply leave me alone if my prayers were really so pathetic and useless.
  8. Just because my children don’t (can’t) tell me everything about their lives doesn’t make me love them less, nor does it reflect a lack of love on their part.
  9. But maybe best of all, “You, Satan, are going to be crushed under my feet shortly” (Rom. 16:2o).

Anyone got any more armor or weapons to fight this battle with? Any effective rebuttals or even prebuttals?”

Complements of: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2012/01/27/post-prayer-satanic-whispers/

Should I Marry a Man with Pornography Struggles?

Should a godly woman marry a guy with pornography struggles? This morning Dr. Russell D. Moore posted a powerfully perceptive article on marriage, sin and repentance. This is one of the wisest articles I’ve read in quite some time on the mortification of lust. His theological extrapolations on the grievous nature of sexual misconduct are uniquely profound. Here are a few highlights:

“Pornography is a universal temptation precisely because it does exactly what the satanic powers wish to do. It lashes out at the Trinitarian nature of reality, a loving communion of persons, replacing it with a masturbatory Unitarianism.

And pornography strikes out against the picture of Christ and his church by disrupting the one-flesh union, leaving couples like our prehistoric ancestors, hiding from one another and from God in the darkness of shame.

And pornography rages, as Satan always does, against Incarnation (1 Jn. 4:2-3), replacing flesh-to-flesh intimacy with the illusion of fleshless intimacy.”

Read the entire post here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/01/23/should-i-marry-a-man-with-pornography-struggles-my-response/

Guaranteed Trials

“Are you indeed Christ’s sheep? Then be sure you will have many a trial. Where would be the value of a Savior, if there were not enemies to be saved from? Yes! You will have many a trial! Satan has great wrath against all who have escaped his snares, and he will bring every weapon to bear against your peace; he will start many a doubt within your mind, he will stir up many a vile and blasphemous imagination within the chambers of your heart, many a horrid thought you once would have believed impossible—but still remember those words, “never perish.” Yes! You will have many a trial!”

-J.C. Ryle, Tract: The Privileges of the True Christian

Complements of http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/10/31/be-ready-for-many-trials/

The Legacy of Luther: Part 1

Translation by Thomas Carlyle, 1831

A safe stronghold our God is still, A trusty shield and weapon;
He’ll help us clear from all the ill that hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell hath risen with purpose fell;
Strong mail of craft and power he weareth in this hour;
On earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can, full soon were we down-ridden;
But for us fights the proper Man, whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same? Christ Jesus is His Name,
The Lord Sabaoth’s Son; He, and no other one,
Shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o’er, and watching to devour us,
We lay it not to heart so sore; not they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill look grim as e’er he will,
He harms us not a whit; For why? — his doom is writ;
A word shall quickly slay him.

God’s Word, for all their craft and force, one moment will not linger,
But, spite of hell, shall have its course; ’tis written by His finger.
And though they take our life, goods, honor, children, wife,
Yet is their profit small; these things shall vanish all:
The City of God remaineth!

 

Translation by Frederic H. Hedge, 1853

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

 

-Martin Luther, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, paraphrase of Psalm 46, 1527-1529

Psalm 46:1-11

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Selah.

Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Selah.

A Bold Letter

Dear unsaved friend,
Could you please read the following carefully, and then sign it–if you agree to it.

  

I am resolved to persevere in sin, and follow the maxims and customs of those around me–though it costs me the loss of my soul, and exposes me to everlasting damnation.

I am resolved to reject the Son of God–I will not embrace Him as my Savior, or have Him reign over me. I am resolved that I will not accept the pardon which God presents to me in the gospel, though it cost Jesus His life to procure it–and I know I must eternally perish without it. I am determined not to submit to God’s way of salvation, and I consent to be lost forever! I have made up my mind, that I will never consent to receive a free salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ–I will not have it!

I am resolved . . .
to reject God’s message,
to dare His justice,
to defy His power,
to refuse His mercy,
to brave His threatened wrath, and
to harden myself against all His invitations, expostulations, exhortations, and promises!

I am resolved that I will not . . .
bow to His authority,
yield to His entreaties,
believe on His Son,
repent of my sins,
love His name,
or obey His precepts!

I am determined that there shall never be joy in Heaven among the angels of God–on account of my conversion.

I will never . . .
desert the ranks of Satan,
give up my sinful practices,
ask for mercy at God’s hands,
or take up my cross and follow Christ!

I am resolved . . .
to keep on in my old wicked course,
to persevere in my present sinful path,
to associate with my carnal companions–
and if it secures my eternal damnation–then let it do so!

I will not receive salvation on God’s terms,
I will not stoop to be saved by grace alone,
I will not take the yoke of Christ upon me, and engage to be His subject and servant–even though Heaven and all the glories of eternity would be secured by it.

If I cannot escape the wrath of God–but by faith, repentance, and holiness–why, I am determined go to Hell, for I am resolved not to yield to any such terms!

It is of no use for the preacher to spend His breath upon me! My mind is made up, I will be my own master, I will take my own course! No one has any right to interfere with me–for I shall injure no one but myself!

I have no objection to going to church, or to attending to some religious forms–but to give my heart to God, to be crucified to the present world, and to make God’s glory the end of life–will never do for me; therefore I gladly take the consequences.

If this is required of those who would be true Christians–then you must stop urging me–for I will not yield! You must stop all attempts to convert me, for my mind is made up! I have heard hundreds of sermons, I have read the Bible myself–but I have hardened myself against the whole, and I am not going to yield now!

Tell me no more of the Savior’s love,
tell me no more of the pleasures of holiness,
tell me no more of the terrors of death,
tell me no more of the dreadful judgment,
tell me no more of the joys of Heaven,
tell me no more of the agonies of Hell–
for you will never induce me to yield myself unto God, and seek the salvation of my soul. For my mind is made up, and my daily conduct is enough to convince you of it, if anything would. I am resolved not to yield–let the consequences be what they may!

I will go on just as I have done!

I will not be Christ’s servant!

I will not be God’s child!

I will obey only Satan!

I will follow the course of this evil world!

I will serve my lusts and pleasures!

In proof thereof, witness my signature, ____________.

-James Smith (1802-1862), Letter to an Unsaved Friend

Complements of Geoff Kirkland: http://vassaloftheking.blogspot.com/2011/10/letter-to-unsaved-friend.html