…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
In our society today Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in America. We get dressed up in different costumes and walk around to houses and ask for, and receive candy from people.
There is a history to Halloween, that I won’t get into in this post but to say that, Halloween goes back to the eve of All Saints Day, observed with traditional games and customs. The word comes from medieval England’s All Hallows’ Eve. However, many of these customs predate Christianity, going back instead to Celtic practices associated with November 1st, the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on this evening, playing tricks on human beings to mark the season of diminishing sunlight. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution. Survivals of these early practices can be found in countries of Celtic influence today, such as the United States.
Now every Halloween we will see at least one person who will be dressed up as the devil. They will have the normal devil costume with the red suit, tail, horns, and pitch fork. I’ve often wondered, where we get that image from? How many of us really believe that the devil, the enemy of God and anything that is righteous, really looks like that? Do You? You would be surprised at the answers people will give you on this.
We just have to go to the truth, God’s Word, to see what and who the devil really is.
His first entrance onto the pages of scripture is in Genesis 3:1-5. Right from the beginning, and the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, we see that Satan is questioning God and the truth of what He says. He puts doubt into the heart of Eve, that God can’t really be trusted, that He really doesn’t have your best interest in mind when He tells you something. He puts that doubt into Eve that God is holding back from you what is good and beneficial, and therefore He can’t be trusted. Listen and read this to yourself over a couple of times and see the subtlety that the devil uses and still uses on us today.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5
“you will be like God,” is literally, “you will become a god or become a god unto yourself.
Also notice the word crafty, because that’s the word that God uses to describe the character of the devil, crafty. It means cunning in a very subtle way, deceitful in a very deceptive way, that is the devil…that is Satan. Do you really think that he would dress up like a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitch fork? Do you really think that he would want to stand out and be easily identified by you or me? No, he is full of cunning and deception, and his objective is to fill you with doubt and deception as to who God really is, and to pull you and me as far away from the truth of God and His word as he can.
Listen to how Jesus described the devil as He was having a discussion with the religious rulers of Israel. These were men who prided themselves on their study and knowledge of God from the old testament.
“They answered him, “Abraham is our father!” Jesus replied, “If you are Abraham’s children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You people are doing the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.” John 8:39-47
Jesus was asking them, why don’t you believe me when I am telling you the truth, and the reason was because their real father was the devil himself and they would naturally do the things of their father, it’s who they are. Jesus told them that you are just portraying the character and nature of your father, the devil, and he has always been a liar, in fact he can’t ever tell the truth because the truth is not in him.
Listen to what Paul said; “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Corinthians 2:14
It’s only natural that we will follow the character and nature of our parents. Look at your own kids, one will have your patience while the other will have your spouse’s eye for artistic beauty. They will just naturally follow the genes they received from their parents, and so will you and so will I. That’s why Jesus said to another religious leader, Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. That literally means born from above. A second birth must take place. read the rest of chapter three of the gospel of John
There are only two kinds of people in the world today, children of the devil and children of God. You are either on one side or the other. There is no in between, and Jesus defined this to the religious rulers.
A better costume to wear if you want to be dress up as the devil for Halloween this year is to dress as an angel. Yes, I said an angel…“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2Corinthians 11:13-15.
Dress as an angel of light, not just an angel, because that’s what Satan can look like. He’s not parading around as a guy in a red suit, he’s in your church, he’s in your schools, he’s in your government, and he may even be in your family as well. He is a liar and he is cunning and deceptive in everything he does. He wants to keep you from the truth and he wants to keep you from the knowledge of God, and he will do anything he can to accomplish this.
If you’ve never been born from above, if you’ve never asked God to forgive you and come into your life and make you a brand new person, all you have to do is ask Him, and He will do it. His word says so and that is the truth. Click here for the full story.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
What if you were visiting Niagara Falls, and you saw a canoe with three or four of your family members, and they were just floating down the river, having a great time. Unfortunately the river emptied into the huge drop of the Falls, and if they continued on this route, it would surely end in their deaths, and they had no clue where they were headed… what would you do?
That may not be happening literally, but it is happening spiritually all around us.
Everyday we encounter hundreds and maybe even thousands of lives, people we see at the store, our place of work, our neighborhoods, and our friends. Thousands of people who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of people who our in the canoe of life, and heading for the falls, and don’t realize anything is wrong.
Do you care? Our you remotely interested that others are on their way to death and total separation from God for the rest of eternity?
If you are a child of God, you should care and you should be interested because that’s why Jesus Christ came to this world over two thousand years ago.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
God is on a search and rescue mission. He has lost something and He wants it back, and He has chosen you and me as His ministers of this mission.
God was the first missionary Himself. Go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, after Satan, through his craftiness and lies, stole the bride of Christ away, and you find Him walking and looking for His bride.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary, and He has been on a search and rescue mission ever since. He has been looking for His lost sheep and calling them back home. This is the theme all through the bible and if you don’t get this down, you will struggle understanding the rest of God’s word.
There is an incredible program going on in Detroit Michigan, called E.A.C.H. – everyone a chance to here. To here what? To here the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this program is growing rapidly. I would not be surprised if this spreads to our entire nation.
There are almost 500 hundred churches involved, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches, all with the same desire and effort…to get out God’s good news to mankind.
Ladies and gentleman, there is only One church, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Jesus Christ, that God the Father made for His son. Satan stole her away, and God wants her back. He paid the price for her redemption…the door is open and God is calling an army of witnesses to get the word out. The only reason there are divisions in His Church, is because of you and me, not God.
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
There is a time line that EACH is following and it starts with Easter. A prayer walk in downtown Detroit, and there is expected to be around 30,000 people there, maybe even more, and then the army of God is going to go out into the world and spread the good news by doing good.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
My friend is a missionary to Africa, and most of the people in his area are Muslim. He is a carpenter by trade and is building a school in Ghana. One of the Muslim villagers is working with him, and my friend and him decided to fix all the fences in the village.
While they were doing that, one of the Muslim Imam’s was watching them. He watched as they fixed the fences without being asked and without asking for nothing in return.
The Muslim Imam approached him and asked him, “are you a Christian?” He replied, “yes I am.” The Imam declared, “you are different from the others.”
You see, they have seen other people who have called themselves Christians, and they lied and cheated and have brought the name of Christ down.
It’s not by what you say, but by what you do that others will know you belong to Christ. Demonstrating His love and compassion to the world, through the actions we take, will demonstrate who we really belong too, and it’s the best way to spread the good news.
“So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’24 will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
” Matthew 7:20-21
That’s what EACH is all about. Demonstrating with your life and then give an answer of the hope that is within you, when someone asks.
What are you doing? Who will be in heaven because of what they saw in you or what you demonstrated in your life, or by what you said.
This is God’s program and we are just His tools. What kind of tool are you.
I don’t know how many of you are married but if you are married or you may be planning a wedding, you remember that there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes on to make sure this very special day goes on without a hitch.
God is planning a wedding and He is preparing for a marriage feast. Now when God puts things into motion, I guarantee that they will go on without a hitch. There won’t be any last minute complications that will throw His plans off.
The greatest romance novel is the Bible. If we go back to the beginning, the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God talking to someone when He said,
“Then God said, “Let us make
humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
There is a very distinct difference that we bear from all the rest of God’s creation. We bear the image of God Himself. We are image bearers for God as we walk in this world.
You see, God made the world for us and He made us for Himself. We bear His image because we belong to Him. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “you look just like your father.” Well we can say that about all of us, because we bear His image. Now Satan comes along.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd
than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ ” Genesis 3:1-5
Satan comes along and he challenges God’s love for Adam and Eve. He tells her that God is holding back on you. He’s not telling you the truth. How can He love you if He would do this to you? I won’t do this to you. I will give you everything. You can trust me. Come with me, and Adam and Eve ate from the tree and plunged all humanity into sin.
That tree was kind of like a wedding ring. We were betrothed to God and we ran off with another lover…Satan. Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us. The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary looking for the lost. Did He know where Adam and Eve were? Yes He knew. He knows where you and I are today my friends. This is the whole theme of the Bible. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand the rest of the Bible. God lost something and He wants it back!
“And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:15
God became the first prophet and made the first promise that He would fight to win back our love.
“The LORD God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
God becomes the first priest to offer a great sacrifice to remove the sin problem. God could as easily walked away and said, “you’ve run off with another lover, I will go make me a new one. I don’t need you. You’ve made your choice.” He didn’t do that. He told Satan, “You’ve stolen from Me what was mine and I will win her back.”
“You were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
There is going to be a great wedding feast that God is preparing for His bride. You can read all about at the end of the book of Revelation. He has already paid the price, He has already bought us back from the Evil One, and now His offer goes out to everyone.
Are you getting yourself ready for the wedding day? Are you inviting your friends, family, and everyone you know to this great celebration?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
As I was getting ready for an appointment that I had this morning, I thought I would help my wife out as she was getting ready for work. I had some extra time, so I made her lunch and then went back to getting myself ready. I saw she was in a little rush so I told her that I would start her car for her and get it warmed up before she had to leave. The temperature was twenty degrees that morning, as we live in Michigan, and the winters can get cold.
As I was finishing brushing my teeth, I saw her getting her keys and running out into the cold to start her car. I yelled out, “honey, I will do that for you”, she said back to me as she ran by, “I need it done now”.
I was hurt. I thought to myself, she doesn’t believe me when I said that I would start her car and it would be all warmed up for her, before she had to leave. She didn’t trust me to handle that one simple little task. Have I ever let her down before? Well, yes, I guess I have at times, but not with something as simple as this was. I had already made her lunch and got the coffee ready this morning.
Then it hit. God was tapping me on the shoulder and He said to me, “Brian, that is an all to familiar scene with Me. How many times has you done that exact thing to Me.” I thought, ” you’re exactly right God, as You always are.”
How many times have I read in God’s Word, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Do I believe Him? Do I really trust what He says to be true? Has He ever let me down before? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will show up in the way I live and respond to the circumstances in life.
When I respond to God as my wife responded to me, that really shows that I don’t trust Him. By my actions, I’m calling Him a liar. I’m saying that He can’t be trusted completely, and that’s what Satan did to Eve. He called into light the validity and truthfulness of God’s Word.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
When God says He’s got your back, that should take that burden away. I shouldn’t worry about that anymore. That’s the whole purpose of trusting someone. When I told my wife, I was going to start her car and have it all warmed up and ready to go, she should have said, thank you. That is something that I don’t have to worry about anymore. You have lifted that burden off of me and have taken it upon yourself. I can now move forward with one less task to carry, but she didn’t do that. Like I do with God, she continued to worry and carry that burden herself.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You see, love is an action word. God just doesn’t say He loves us, He showed His love for all humanity, by dying on a cross for your sins and mine.
“but He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8
There is every reason my wife doesn’t totally trust me. I have let her down and have not always come through like I promised I would, but thank God, He is not like us. God is the One who is faithful, not you and me. He always comes through and He will never let us down. We need to quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“casting all your anxiety onto Him,” because it matters to Him concerning you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 5:35
He is faithful and true, and yes, we can trust Him completely for everything in this life and the next.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11