STOP PRESS: I started writing this yesterday, 13th May, but never got it finished. I have added a bit today and now I send it out. I have already done the Children’s ministry – it went well. Craig did most of the sharing. As you might have guessed, the children are very familiar with the story of Zacchaeus. I hope you had a lovely Mothers Day, Mothers.
Last night I was listening to a Christian Radio Station and I heard Adrian Rogers relate an anecdote that sent shivers up and down my spine:
I will try and recount it as he shared it:
Many people say they don’t believe in Hell. Interestingly, many people who believe in a heaven, don’t believe in a hell. Many people who acknowledge the existence of God, are not convinced there is the devil, Satan. I wonder where you stand on this matter? Do you think that he is the collective figment of our imaginations?
Ironically, if you don’t believe in the devil, he is more than delighted. It makes his job easier if we don’t believe he exists. He can more easily manipulate your mind if you don’t know he is there. If you believe in Jesus, and you believe that He is God, and that He told the truth, you had better believe that there is a devil. The bible tells us about how Christ was lead into the wilderness for a 40 day period and during that time, the devil attempted to tempt Him, but failed. Jesus, himself, spoke often about the devil.
Be self- controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Does this mean we quiver in our boots for fear of this enemy of our souls. No, for as John wrote, concerning Christians: “He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Paul writes: “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37)
The thought has just occurred to me: People now are aware of, and acknowledge the existence of the HIV. We know what it is, and we know what it is capable of if it gets into our systems. Regretfully, there are some people who refuse to accept the fact of its existence, and who try and explain the illness by some other means. Most people simply shake their heads when they hear of someone who says “There is no HIV.” We all know how wrong they are, and we all know how important it is that they do acknowledge its existence. Most of us know there is HIV and that HIV causes AIDS. We also know how the virus can get into our bodies, and consequently what precautions need to be introduced in order to prevent that happening. But if you asked me, am I scared of HIV, I would answer – NO – HIV can’t hurt me, if I take the necessary precautions. If I take care not to engage in risky behaviour, and to take necessary precautions such at wearing latex gloves if dealing with another persons bleeding wound. (I know this goes out to many medically trained people and if I have said something wrong here, you have every right and the invitation to set the record straight – but I don’t suspect that anyone will.) Some of you may be saying – well what is the point? My point is this, just as you don’t need to fear the HIV as long as you acknowledge that it does exist and are aware of what dangerous or risky behaviour might precipitate an infection, so, we as Christians need not fear the devil, Satan, because he has already been defeated by Jesus Christ through the cross, but we do need to acknowledge that he does exist and that he can lead us astray if we are not aware of his ways. The only way the devil can defeat you is through deception, and the only way deception can get to you, is if you believe the deception. But people need to be aware that they are being deceived in order to withstand that deception.
I am not going to launch into a major Bible study on the subject of the devil. However I just thought I would mention that the devil is real, and that it is desire as expressed in the verse above to “devour” you – that is destroy you. Jesus refers to him as the Thief who comes to steal, kill and to destroy (John 10:10) in contrast to Jesus himself, how He claims, has come to give abundant life.
Tomorrow, I teach a Sunday school class for the first time, and we are going to be talking about that “wee little man, Zacchaeus”. SO have a good week.
Last week, I received an email with a thought about Mothers that I thought would be appropriate for Mothers’ Day: So here it is –
Being a Mum
... the special bond between a mother and her child
Before I was a Mum I made and ate hot meals. I had unstained clothing and I had quiet conversations on the phone.
Before I was a Mum I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and teeth everyday.
Before I was a Mum I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot the words to lullabies.
Before I was a Mum I didn’t worry whether or not plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunisations.
Before I was a Mum I had never been puked on, pooped on, spit on, chewed on, peed on or pinched by tiny fingers.
Before I was a Mum I had complete control over my mind, my thoughts, my body and I slept all night.
Before I was a Mum I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.! p>
Before I was a Mum I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love being a Mum.
Before I was a Mum I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know the special bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.
Before I was a Mum I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every ten minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderful fulfillment, or the satisfaction of being a Mum.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much ... before I was a Mum.