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"Who is Satan? What does he do? What does the Bible say about him?" My quick thoughts.

What is “the Devil”? Where did he come from? Can demons possess Christians? I get asked these questions often. In my experience, people are usually squarely located on either the side of “I don’t believe in Satan/I don’t ever think about it” to the other side of “I pray against Satan and his demons all the time.” It reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said in The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”
Recent posts

Did God use "stuff" in creation? How should I read Heb. 11:3? My response

David,
In one of your classes I thought I understand you to say that God created the heavens and the earth by putting order to chaos.The Webster dictionary defines chaos as "a confused mass or mixture", which to me means there was something of substance.Therefore, God put order to something that was already in existence.
However, this morning I read: Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
This scripturestates God did not create the universe out of what was visible (matter/chaos) .
Fully understanding that our human brains do not comprehend nor understand many of the capabilities of God and won't until we meet Him, how do you reconcile this?
Friend

Hi,
Great question!
My own view is that ancient people in general, which would include the Hebrews, considered the act of creating quite differently than we do. John Walton does an excellent job of articulating these distinctions i…

The Audiences of Jesus

When you read the Gospels carefully, you discover some great insights concerning the audience to whom Jesus speaks. There are four types of audiences addressed in Jesus’s ministry: (a) His opponents, (b) the crowds, (c) the disciples, (d) the Apostles. I want to briefly explore the final three audiences and reflect on why this matters.
“The Apostles” Jesus’s very first disciples were “taken” from John the Baptizer’s group of disciples; Andrew (and probably John), then Andrew recruited his brother, Simon Peter. Soon after, Jesus called someone else from the same hometown as Andrew: Philip, who then brought his brother, Nathaniel (John 1:35-48). We see in these, and with others, Jesus used a network of relationships that already existed (e.g., brothers: Andrew and Simon Peter, John and James), business partners (Peter and Andrew fished together with James and John, Lk 5:10), while the others almost certainly would have known each other because they lived in the same towns (Capernaum and …

A New Year, A New You

New starts can be very powerful. There’s something about starting a new year: it’s motivating, inspiring, and easier to commit to needed changes. In Leviticus 25 we learn how the ancient Israelites experienced a brand new start every fifty years, when debts were forgiven and land was regained. They sounded this radical new start with the loud burst of the ram’s horn, hence the name given to this merciful event: the Year of the Ram (or Ram’s Horn = יוֹבֵל, yovel). Most translations give it the euphemistic name of The Year of Jubilee, probably since that’s what the sound of the ram’s horn likely invoked in the people.
Do you need a new start in 2018?
I’ve been praying and reflecting much lately on a very difficult topic: surrender. One dictionary says that surrender means “to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” Of one thing we can be certain: Jesus demanded and expected utter surrender. For example, he told the crowds: “If anyone wants to become my fol…

Some thoughts on when Jesus was born

“Keep the Christ in Christmas.” “Remember the reason for the season.” How much do you really know about the celebration of Jesus’s birth? The term, “Christmas,” is an Old English expression for “Mass of Christ” (Cristes Maesse). The Western and Eastern Churches disagree over the exact time of Christmas. In the Western Church, Christmas time (or “Christmastide”) begins on December 25 and ends on January 6 (the Day of Epiphany). Hence, this is the origin of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”     No one knows the precise date of Jesus’s birth because for the first few centuries of the Church, no one seemed to care when it happened. Before 525, there was no official date adopted by the Western church. The first reference to the birth of Jesus on Dec 25th might come from Theophilus of Antioch (171-183). Some ancient authors agreed; others disagreed.       It was not uncommon for ancient authors to date Jesus’s birth in association with the vernal equinox (or some other association with the Sun)…

A momentous day in the history of Christianity approaches

I recently received the results from a DNA test that I submitted to Ancestry.com. It says that I’m almost 90% British, which explains why I’ve always been an Anglophile! I’m working on my British accent, but it’s horrible. And while I’m practicing my accent, I began exploring my genealogy (again). It’s made me think about all of my ancestors and what flows in my blood. Besides discovering that I’m related to David Crockett (which is pretty cool), I’ve discovered other things that my ancestors did. One, while a Private in the Confederate army, was captured during the Civil War and was released (or escaped!) and then had tons of kids. I can’t imagine what I don’t know about my ancestors. I can’t imagine how many of my mannerisms and features have been passed down to me without my knowledge.
The Church is like that, too. So many people have no idea that we believe things and do things within churches that have been passed down to us from our spiritual ancestors. For example, on Tuesday, O…

My greatest struggle

I’ve never written a blog like this before because I’ve never wanted this blog to be about me. But, I feel compelled to compose this now for some reason. Maybe it’ll help me; maybe it’ll help someone else.
I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I’ve had it for years. It affects me every single day. I’ve been through therapy. I’ve read books and listened to lectures. Yes, I’ve prayed about it. I pray about it nearly every single day, in fact, because I live in a low-grade constant fear and anxious state.
PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder caused by an intense, traumatic experience (or experiences). It actually re-wires the neural networks in your brain, so that the brain becomes “hot-wired” to freak out. This is called having “triggers.” It’s where your brain responds before your pre-frontal cortex (where your consciousness does its work) can respond to the situation. You can feel the blood leave your head, a panic attack, or gorgonizing anxiety and then think, “what happened…