By Johnny O. Trail — People tend to show off what they have. When I took General Business in high school, we talked about a concept called “conspicuous consumption.” Conspicuous consumption is defined as “expenditure on or consumption of luxuries on a lavish scale in an attempt to enhance one’s prestige.” (Bing online dictionary). The idea is that a person purchases or possesses certain items to show off their wealth.
Maybe the Judahite king, Hezekiah, wanted to show off this wealth when he entertained certain emissaries from Babylon. Isaiah 39:2 says, Continue reading “Ramifications of our actions on future generations”
What would you do if the Lord called you “Satan”?
It happened to Peter. Why would Jesus deliver such a rebuke to such a dedicated disciple?
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21 ESV). Continue reading “Setting your mind”
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (Matthew 16:23, ESV)
Peter is the only disciple who was called “Satan” by Jesus. It was the strongest rebuke ever uttered by the Lord to any of the twelve – Judas included.
Moments after Peter was commended for his confession of Jesus as the Christ of God, he was being rebuked for insisting that Jesus need not die in Jerusalem. It was an echo of the temptations Jesus endured from Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-4).
Like Peter, Satan knew Jesus was the Son of God. Like Satan, Peter encouraged Jesus to avoid the cross. Peter had become “Satan’s catspaw” (Robertson).
Continue reading “Satan’s Catspaw”
“And you ain’t no friend of mine.” This is how I feel when our friendly neighborhood pooches break off the flower stems just when they are about to bloom.
Now, if Wallace or Max or Bailey would get rid of the rabbits that eat my flowers and vegetables, their friendship with me would remain intact even for the brief moments when they aggravate me with their destructive romping in the garden.
I am about to put my willow branches in a cage, along with their water bucket, after finding them pulled out of the water and their new roots drying in the harsh spring winds. No doubt the culprits are just some animals brushing up against the branches and interrupting their work of making roots. Continue reading “Ain’t nothing but a hound dog”
It is written” (Luke 4:12).
“The Bible means exactly what it says!” I’ve heard this a number of times, and in one sense, I agree. In another sense, that statement could inadvertently be more dangerous than it seems.
The Bible is not just a literal composition. Yes, it is a rule of thumb to understand any passage literally unless there is good reason or evidence to understand it otherwise. However, it should also be understood by all students of the Bible that there is plenty of reason to not take some passages literally. We will illustrate this in a moment. Continue reading “The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?”
“The quickest way to sell your soul to the devil,” a Wicca website explains, “is to join the church of Satan.” As the teenagers sometimes say, “well, duh!”
This organization, established in 1966, “teaches members to take pride in having the strength and dedication to implement the tools of Satan and the wisdom to recognize the Unseen in our society.” It goes on, “You don’t need to give some other organization your hard-earned money to sell your soul … understand that there is no such thing as a soul.” Continue reading “Sell your soul to the devil?”
Satan is doing everything he can to destroy our faith. He’s the consummate liar (John 8:44) and will use whomever or whatever is at his disposal to accomplish that goal (1 Peter 5:8).
Nothing will be spared.
The devil has no conscience, no scruples and he’s incapable of queasiness or doubt. He speaks in our voice and will ingratiate himself in any way possible to turn our head. Our constant attention is needed. Continue reading “Satan doesn’t care why we leave the Lord”
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 NKJV).
This summer and fall Nepal has been struggling to obtain essential goods, such as food, petroleum supplies (gasoline, diesel, and propane) and other necessities. Certain ethnic groups in the southern plains, near the Indian border, have protested the newly approved constitution by staging sit-ins at border crossing points. Nepal officials charge the Indian government with aiding the protestors by closing the border to trucks carrying needed supplies. Continue reading “What Satan needs Christians to do”
Satan appears to be our friend and supporter (John 8:44), but he will do anything to destroy us. We can resist him (1 Peter 5:8-9; 2 Peter 3:9), but it requires spiritual strength and maturity to do so.
One of Satan’s goals is to destroy our self-image. We either think too much of ourselves so we become our own god (Luke 16:18-31), or we consider ourselves worthless.
If we don’t love ourselves, we may be incapable of healthy relationships. What we think of ourselves permeates every aspect of our lives. It can feed on itself, growing in magnitude. Continue reading “Satan, self-esteem and self-talk”
Prayer is a blessing beyond human comprehension (Psalm 145:8). God said to continually bring our requests to him (Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
We need Christ because without him, we can’t be saved (John 14:6). Only in him do we find all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Children will benefit from learning about Jesus because their morals and decision making will improve dramatically.
In 1962, prayer in schools was declared unconstitutional because some were offended by petitions to God. However, in the mid-20th century, Christian values were far more common than they are today in our increasingly pagan society. Continue reading “Dangers of restoring prayer to schools”