Tag Archives: devil

More About Those Weeds

As I mentioned last week, yard work led me to think about weeds. I’m still thinking about them – because I now realize I missed some. The problem is I didn’t know, at first sight, that they were weeds. They looked like flowers – pretty, colorful flowers.

I asked my wife (the real gardener in the family) – and even she couldn’t always tell if something was a flower or weed. It left me wondering “How can something so pretty be a weed? How can something so attractive be bad? Why can’t we just leave them there – they’re so pretty!”

Let’s face it, weeds can be deceptive.

Then it struck me. Weeds are just like the devil. He, too, is deceptive. He is, in fact, a master of deceit.  “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” (Revelation 12:9 RSV) To be deceptive is to intentionally misrepresent reality in order to gain an dishonest advantage over others. It’s like the national or international company that wants our opinion or money but knows many of us won’t answer an 800 or 888 number. So it uses a local phone number to trick us into answering. It’s deception.

We first see this deceptiveness in the Garden of Eden. Satan made sin look appealing by saying to Eve, ““You will not certainly die…For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” (Genesis 3:4-5) Such knowledge sounded wonderful. But it was masterful deception. Eve would not die – physically – and she would know good and evil – in ways she had not imagined possible. But such knowledge was not good; it was destructive. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25) Deception.

Satan tried it again when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He told Jesus that He would have all the glory and splendor of the kingdoms of the world if He would simply worship Satan. Deception. Jesus could gain the glory and splendor, but He would only gain authority over the kingdoms of the world through obedience to His Father.

Another deceptive tactic the devil uses is to encourage the use of synonyms for sin. People do not ‘sin.’ Rather, someone makes a ‘mistake’, a ‘blunder’ or a ‘bad decision.’ A person has ‘shortcomings,’ a ‘weakness’ or an ‘infirmity.’ Someone makes an ‘error in judgment.’ And so it goes. You can change the label on a bottle of poison to read ‘Fruit Punch,’ but it it doesn’t change the poison. Deception.

No matter how pretty they may be, the deceptive weeds must be identified and uprooted – lest they take over and destroy the good flowers or the lawn. And now with each ‘beautiful weed’ I see I’m reminded there are many beautiful weeds all around my life that also need to be identified and uprooted. How we do so – that’s for next week’s blog. In the meantime, let’s not despair. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Time Out

The Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas seasons have the potential to be exciting and  beautiful. I said, “have the potential” because research shows that for many it is depressing – loneliness increases, broken relationships are magnified, families get unusually stressed, and indebtedness grows. These are some of the reasons the suicide rate increases at this time of year.  I’m not trying to be morbid – just trying to make a point. For all its glory and grace, this time of has become a struggle to survive. And even if none of the above is true for you, there is a common ground for all of us – we dread Thanksgiving to year-end because we know we’ll be way too busy.

With that in mind, this anonymous piece from a daily clergy email devotional I received makes an important point. May it be both a challenge and a blessing.

“Satan called a worldwide convention.  In his opening address to his evil angels, he said “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.  We can’t even keep them from conservative values.  But we can do something else.  We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship in Christ.  If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.  So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can’t gain that experience in Jesus Christ.  This is what I want you to do, angels.  Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels.

“Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.  “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow, borrow, borrow.  Convince the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles.  Keep them from spending time with their children.  As their family fragments, soon their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work. Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that small still voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, VCR, DVDs, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes.  And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical, contradictory music constantly.  This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.  Fill coffee-tables with magazines and newspapers.  Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.  Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk-mail, sweepstakes, mail-order catalogues and every kind of newsletter and offering products, services and false hopes.”

“Even in their recreation let them be excessive.  Have them return from the recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week.  Don’t let them go nature to reflect on God’s wonders.  Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Let them be involved in soul-winning, but crowd their lives with so many causes they have no time to seek power from Christ.  Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

It was quite a convention in the end.  The evil angels went to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.

Has the devil been successful in his scheme?  You be the judge.

How about this definition of BUSY:

Being Under Satan’s Yoke

Satan’s goal is to take our minds away from Christ and steer us towards the cares of the world.  God wants us to enjoy life, but He must be first.  If we are too busy for God, then we are too busy!”

Take Time Clock Meaning Rest And Relax

Slow down – and Have a peaceful, blessed holiday season!