Today on our way to his school, my 15 year old son and I were doing our typical verbal “sparring.” Usually the topic is something completely stupid…like how I didn’t know for a really long time that “chips” in “fish and chips” were actually french fries because I LOVED Long-John Silvers fish and chips and I thought the little crunchies were the chips. I ate that stuff with LOTS of malt vinegar when I was a little kid… “Mmmm. I loved me some fried fried”! And he says, “Mom, it’s fried batter.”
Or we talk about music … or movies… or his classes and friends and teachers… or vehicles. Nothing is off-limits. Nothing is taboo. If it is in his head, I want to hear it.
He is super clever with a mind that thinks WAY outside of the box…and a mouth that has finally developed a pseudo-filter over the past year or so…but it is a very porous filter. So, if he is feeling chatty, and I am lucky, I get to hear the thoughts and opinions of a brilliant kid. I love that.
We generally talk in sound bites. What he thinks in two sentences or less and what I think about what he thinks in five sentences or less…or vice versa. Right before we pulled into his school property, we shared an agreed opinion that often the “worst” kids (trouble makers; druggies; promiscuous; etc. etc.) go to “Christian” or Catholic schools. Sad…and maybe not true. But it seems true. Maybe the lens that we are using to scrutinize them is more magnified…but we would hope that the students it produces would reflect what their school professes to stand for…like a church should.
My kid said that those “Christian” and Catholic school kids were bad because Religion had been “beaten into them” and they were rebelling. I took that opportunity to let him know that he needed to understand that Religion and Knowing God are NOT the same thing. Religion and God are not only NOT the same thing…but Religion can detract and distract from ever really knowing God. Religion is man’s twist on God. It is twisted. It is flawed. Religion tries to tell us what to think and what to do instead of us trusting ourselves to hear God’s voice ourselves. Religion complicates something that is uncomplicated. Religion puts layers and barriers between a simple One to one connection.
We didn’t have a chance to have a long conversation on this…and frankly that is for the best. I have found that planting seeds of truth and letting God tend it however He will…however He deems is best will have a FAR GREATER chance that the seed take root then if I pound it into soil that isn’t prepared… into soil that isn’t ready. I hope and pray that I am not someone who has beaten Religion into anyone and caused them to become resistant or hardened to the very thing that they need most…that they must have…real God. Not man-made God.
Heaven forbid it!
After I dropped my son off, I turned on National Public Radio. Usually I am happiest for it to be completely quiet in my car…but occasionally I feel like I should check in on the news. Has the world stopped revolving? The economy collapsed? Is there a tiny chance that anything good has occurred?
NPR is my 15 minute once or twice a week window to see into the happenings of the world. I don’t watch TV (except College Sports and “Impractical Jokers”…and that is only if my kids happen to be watching. People, that show is SOOOO bad…but so hilarious. I get sucked into their antics. Honestly, that is precisely why I don’t watch TV…because I know how susceptible I am to getting sucked in!) I digress….
Anyway, back to this morning…there was a report on NPR about the folks who are skeptical about Climate Change.
It was said of them, they “Don’t have to win…just cause doubts and delay.”
hhhhmmm. How could they “win”? Evidence is everywhere… yes, the earth goes through cycles but Respected Experts agree that crazy things are happening at an alarming pace.
And yet there are those who hear the skeptics… and it has created doubt. They see tornadoes in January, they see pictures of icebergs becoming extinct…But what does that mean? In my little life….in my little world? And change is hard. And I like my habits (bottled waters; luxury vehicle; comfortable temperature in my home…) “What I do or don’t do isn’t going to make a difference…” Right? So we wait. “Maybe I will change my ways tomorrow…when I am sure….when I have more proof… when it is easier….when I am dead and someone else can deal with it.”
That quote …”Don’t have to win…just cause doubts and delay.”
I stopped my car to write it down….Because as soon as it was said, I did not picture Climate Control Skeptics…
I pictured the devil and his minions.
That is EXACTLY how the devil does his dirty work.
And we need to see it so that we can call it out. “I see what you are trying to do, devil! And now that I see it, I am going to tell everyone I know what you are up to…so that they can see it too! You know that you can’t win…but you can cause doubts and delay. And if you delay people long enough…then in their small battle you indeed do win.”
God won our freedom. God won our life. But the devil has won every single one of us who doubts this. It is like hostages… POWS that are still held by their captors after the war has ended. The war has not ended for the captives. That is who we are if we have not accepted that we can be free. We can be free RIGHT NOW. I am here to tell you that no matter what your situation externally at this moment, that the chains that were holding YOU have been unlocked already. But YOU have to remove them and walk away.
I am not in anyway comparing Climate Control Skeptics to Satan. But this quote too perfectly explains what I KNOW to be the devil’s tactic…”Cause doubt and delay”…until it is too late.
And it may not be too late even on someone’s death bed! But WHY would anyone choose to give up a whole life that could be Lived…why would they put off for even a day…or a second …the gift that God has given anyone who will accept it? The gift of Living Free…with peace and joy and hope and courage and light and love? Why would anyone delay? Are they really going to miss what they might have to give up? Think about that. Everything that God would love for you to give up for His sake causes hurt and harm. He is asking you to give up some things not for His sake…but for YOURS! for Our sake.
Satan has already lost the ultimate war. He has been diminished from his Glory as God’s most beautiful but proud angel…sent away from God…but hurting God through hurting us. Satan is a havoc-wreak-er. The Final Outcome of the Ultimate Battle has already been determined. But until the final day arrives, the devil is determined to take out and take down as many children of God as he can. We… us little human beings are caught in the cross-fire. We are the prisoners of war. We are the collateral damage. The devil blows up our world all of the time. And I am not talking Big- Planet- World…I am talking little family world. We get sick…we lose our job…our friends and family get sick and lose their jobs… people die. We become addicted to things that damage us. We follow leaders who take us down dead end roads or into dark forests and leave us there. We are betrayed. Our trust is destroyed. We give our hearts away to people who don’t take care of them. We are disappointed that our life did not turn out how we hoped or planned. We try to find answers but that just leads to more questions.
I see God saying…”I see this. All of it. This is terrible. It breaks my heart to see you hurting and struggling. I have given you a solution. I can’t take away the things that people are doing that are hurting you and My Creation…not yet. I will not give up on you. I can’t destroy everything that is bad because I still want My Lost Children to come back to me. I have given you a solution. I have given you Me to help you. I want to help you. Let me. And then when you know me and you are strong…I want you to help me get my Lost Children back. Be a light. Guide them back to Me.”
The devil uses us as human shields and our loved ones for target practice in his war games. And then somehow he successfully gets us to ask, “How can God let this happen?”
God hates these games. But until we see that this world is a war zone with the devil and his demons running amok and doing whatever they fancy… until we see it for what it is and we GET OUT and find the refuge and safety that ONLY God can provide… we are in danger. We will remain in danger always for physical destruction as long as we live in our body. But we do not have to be available to be mentally or spiritually tormented in this life for another day! Our soul does not have to fear. Our soul does not have to be in danger! We will have moments when we are weak…but they will not overtake us and consume us if we depend on God’s strength.
I can’t promise that you won’t be hurt even when you know God and live under his protection. In fact, when you are trying to rescue people who are Lost then you will get hurt. Some people may even lose their life in this battle. Even us.
Matthew 16: 25-26 “…For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Mark 8:35-36 “…”For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
Luke 9: 24-25″For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
Hopefully we won’t have to physically die…but we do have to stop living like we are the only ones who matter…or living with our heads in the sand!
We are not going to extract ourselves from the grip of control that the devil has on us unless we acknowledge that it is a real thing. We unwittingly have given the devil power to use and abuse us because we haven’t said, “NO MORE!” …and we haven’t said it because we don’t believe he is real.
He is real.
Do you believe it?
I just told you what Jesus said in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Let’s hear what he says in John.
The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You Are of Your Father the Devil
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.”They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Hear the Word. Please. Seek the Truth. Don’t be afraid of the Light to expose things that need to be seen. The things are MUCH scarier in the dark. WE are the light…” for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11
The first step to Freedom is to admit that we are POW’s. But you are captive in a very posh prison.
What you don’t know is that the place where you are is NOTHING like the place that you are destined for. You might be comfortable…but if you are not abiding with God then you need to leave. Be courageous and step out in faith that God’s Plan for you is WAY better than anything that you have now or that you can even imagine.
What do you believe? Do you Know GOD or are you confused by all that you have heard of Him? Has what you have seen in the world made you doubt?
Please don’t delay to find out for yourself if what I am saying to you today is true. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not promised one minute from now.
What is your heart saying?
What do you crave above all else?
…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…
These are the things that you gain when you stop living the World’s way.
You were made to be free.
Let me tell you a little story… a shortened version of one I heard long ago : There is a city dog and a country dog. The city dog has a fenced in yard. When he gets let out of the house he runs around and around and around. He has worn our the grass around the perimeter of his fence. He is “FREE!”. Running Running Running. Around around around. Barking Barking Barking.
The country dog is on the front porch at the feet of his master. The country dog doesn’t have a fence. He knows that the entire world could be his because he has no fence or barriers keeping him enclosed. But he is perfectly content. He is at perfect peace because he really is free.
I am the country dog. Thank You, God. I want you to be the country dog too.
Oh MY GOODNESS!!!!! As I was looking for an image for my post I came across this story. Is this affirmation of this post? 🙂 WHOA!!!!!! God is so cool. BTW…this kind of thing happens to me ALL of THE TIME! Thank you, God!
A Tale of Two Dogs ~Trevin Wax
Once upon a time, there was a dog that lived in a sprawling house in the middle of the city. Though the house had plenty of doggie toys and plenty of room for play, the city dog hated being cooped up inside. Day after day, it looked longingly out the window and past the fenced-in yard around the house to the street where cars zoomed and pedestrians rushed by. The dog made little use of its spacious accommodations, choosing instead to focus on the doors that were always closed and the curtains that were always drawn.
Every evening, the city dog anxiously awaited the arrival of its master – not because it loved the master but because the master’s arrival provided an opportunity for escape. As soon as the dog heard the master’s keys jingle outside the door, it attempted a mad dash out of the house and into the yard. But without fail the good master, with a pained expression of disappointment, made sure the dog stayed inside where no harm might befall it. Wearily the dog would retreat to a corner of the house and start planning its next escape.
A dozen miles away, there was another dog. This dog lived in a one-room house set on a sprawling country farm. At one edge of the farm’s borders was a cliff overlooking a rushing river. On the other side was a dark forest. But no fences were present. The country dog was free to roam the farm, but it usually preferred to stay close to the front porch. It worried that if it strayed too far, it might miss its master’s arrival.
Every evening, the master’s arrival was the highlight of the country dog’s day. As soon as the master came into view, the dog would bound to his side to greet him. It followed close behind him, wanting to get into the house, not because of anything special inside but simply because it was where the master stayed. Each day without fail, the master showered his love and affection on the country dog and then led it inside the tiny farmhouse, where it wagged its tail with great contentment. Even in a shack, it was so satisfied to be in the master’s presence that the outside world held no power of attraction for it.
Growth in holiness does not take place when our focus is on the boundaries but when our focus is on the Master. Fences may keep us from harm, but love for the Master is what keeps us from fences.
* Good lesson 🙂 Friends, focus on the Master. when you do…then you are free.