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Friday, June 6, 2008

Well-watered garden
A well-watered garden on Stumptown Road in Lancaster County, PA

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"A Roaring Liar"

"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).  "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8,9a).

Keith GreenAbout 30 years ago the creative songwriter Keith Green, who spurred on Brooksyne's and my Christian growth, penned the thought provoking words to a song as though they were written by the devil himself. The song, "No One Believes in Me Anymore" has a line that goes like this: "I put some truth in every lie, to tickle itching ears."  These words ring Scripturally true and are so easily observed in our age.  Merely consider the many lies we are exposed to and the efforts to tickle itching ears. In contrast to this I hear the ancient word of our Lord in a prayer to His Father, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17).

Our daily texts may seem a bit unusual to bring a brief word of encouragement.  However the Bible forthrightly acknowledges the existence of our adversary, the devil. The Bible also provides the spiritual strength and needed tools to overcome the scheming plots of our enemy.  Martin Luther exposed the devil's job description as our ancient foe who seeks to work us woe.

In the first daily text this "ancient foe" is presented as a liar. Jesus is speaking to those who opposed Him, specifically the Pharisees.  His words were very strong and greatly offended the proud Pharisees. In fact the chapter ends with an attempt to stone Jesus.  This encounter is a stark demonstration of the Spirit of Truth and Light opposing the spirit of falsehood and darkness.

Roaring lionIn the second text this ancient foe is presented as a lion. Lions are mentioned frequently in the Bible and lived in Palestine, although they have since disappeared. The last one was killed near Megiddo in the thirteenth century according to my Bible dictionary. In the Bible the image of a lion is used both positively and negatively.

Positively we read of Christ who is presented as the Lion of Judah seated at the right hand of the Father on the throne!

Negatively we picture the lions devouring David's flock of sheep and the fearsome den where Daniel spent the night (I believe a peaceful one).  And of course we picture the devouring lion in our second daily text.

Peter forthrightly identifies him as our enemy. He stands opposed to the "abundant life" Almighty God wants to give us. He has been honing his deceitful craft ever since his first successful scheme in the garden of Eden.

The phrase, "prowls around like a roaring lion", describes the devil's method. It's interesting that Peter would call our attention to this detail.  If you've ever been to a zoo you can picture this prowling action.  It seems the lion walks about in a sly, quiet, haughty and deliberate manner before pouncing on the intended target. 

He's "looking for someone to devour."  This was written some 2,000 years ago. It was 500 years ago that Luther wrote "But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe." And it's the truth for our own generation as well!

Let's remember this sobering truth, not with an attitude of terror, but of caution and preparedness.  This text and others give us the tools to overcome our enemy: self-control, alertness, resistance, and standing firm in the faith. Join us in standing against this roaring liar today and be resolute in staying faithful to the Lion of Judah.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as we live in the Light of Your Word the devil's venomous plots are exposed.  We are not caught by surprise but rather we are filled with Your Spirit which prepares us to be on the offense rather than the defense.  We walk in truth and confidence as we stand strong on the day of evil. As we wear the full armor You have provided, for our protection, we can fight against the devil's evil tricks.  Our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this world's darkness and the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.  So we pray in the spirit continuously asking for Your discernment strength, and guidance.  We also pray for our brothers and sisters that together we will stand firm against the enemy of our souls.  Amen.
See Ephesians 6

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"No One Believes In Me Anymore"  This is a rather unusual video presentation with the original recording by Keith Green.  If you find the video distracting look at the lyrics while you listen.

Satanology is the branch of Biblical study dealing with Satan. Here's an excellent online article.

"Lion And The Lamb"  Audio

"Give Us Clean Hands"  Video

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Audio

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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