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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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    • Nation's Actual Satan Worshipers Thankful That Harry Potter Been Taking The Heat Off Them For A While

      U.S.—The nation's actual Satan worshipers expressed their gratitude Wednesday that the Harry Potter franchise has taken all the heat off of them over the past several years, so they can focus on worshiping the Prince of Darkness without all the negative media attention. The post Nation's Actual Satan Worshipers Thankful That Harry Potter Been Taking The Heat Off Them For A While appeared first on The Babylon Bee. View the original full article

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    • God is the great revealer, Satan is the great concealer

      God is the great revealer, Satan is the great concealer   Man gave control over the world to Satan, at the beginning, through disobedience to God,   God created all angels (disembodied spirit beings) and humans (spirits living in a physical body) with a freewill, the ability to choose, a will that is free to make decisions independent from Him. Satan and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven when they chose to rebel against God. Man transferred his God given dominion over the world to Satan in the Garden of Eden the moment he chose to hear and obey the devil’s words over the words he had heard from God. From that moment Satan became the god or ruler of this world and the source of all the evil that influences the lives of most of the human race. This is why in the temptations of Jesus, Satan could legitimately boast that “The kingdoms of the world …this has been delivered to me” (Luke 4:5-6 - and Jesus didn’t refute Satan’s claim).   1 John 5:19 We know positively that we are of God, and the whole world around us is under the power of the evil one (Satan). AMP 2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. KJV Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   In the end Jesus takes back the dominion of the world from Satan,   Rev 11:15 “The kingdoms of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” ESV/KJV   Satan, the concealer, does not want us to know if or how he operates in our lives,   Now Satan’s kingdom is a kingdom of darkness, meaning he operates where there is no light or insufficient light from God, who is light, in men’s hearts to expose his activities. God’s word makes plain to those who have light that Satan has an enormous influence in the lives of all the unconverted and sadly in the lives of many of those converted to Christ but who do not currently walk in the light. But all of these who Satan constantly influences for evil are largely unaware that Satan exists let alone is a dominant factor in their lives. Why? Because Satan is the master deceiver, and able to remain anonymous in the lives of those with whom he proceeds to steal and to kill and to destroy (John 10:10). Hence:   Luke 21:8 (Jesus) “Take heed that you not be deceived…” Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived… James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.   These are multiple warnings, not to the world that is completely deceived, but to us Christians who also have the potential of likewise being deceived by the great deceiver:   Isa 14:12-17 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer…You who weakened the Nations…Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners. Rev 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world… Eph 2:2-3 AMP In which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world…following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to and under the control of the demon spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience…Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh, our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature, obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…we were then by nature children of God's wrath…like the rest of mankind.   The extent of our ignorance of Satan’s operations shows how successful he’s been with us,   The scripture makes clear that Christians were all once under the influence of Satan as everyone else is without exception and, we like they, did not know that we were. Why? Because this master concealer operates through thoughts that he imparts into our thought lives, that we in our ignorance falsely assume to be our own thoughts. These are what the scripture calls the fiery darts of the enemy, thoughts which only the faith that comes from an active, deepening relationship with God can extinguish or take captive.   2 Cor 2:11 Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (the same greek word translated devices is translated as thought in) 2 Cor 10:5 …Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery (thought) darts of the wicked one.   Satan’s principal weapons are thoughts, and are the major source of all evil in the world! Not just thoughts of overt wickedness, but also more subtle thoughts that have the superficial appearance of rightness about them. But they’re thoughts designed to divert us from a full surrender to Christ and to challenge the authority of God’s words to us, just like he did with Adam and Eve. Satan can’t force his will on us, for we have a will and a conscience, but if we don’t know how to discern his influence he’s bound to have some control in our thought lives, particularly with respect to God. It shouldn’t surprise us therefore to learn that Satan, as the great concealer, can disguise the nature of his thoughts so that they appear to us to be both truth and light:   2 Cor 11:14 …Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! TEV 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (consume with his thoughts).   What are some examples of Satan disguising himself and his thoughts, which he imparts to people, as right and illuminating thoughts? Since there is only one mediator between God and all men, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5) Satan inspires all the other, seemingly right, religions to divert those he can deceive from becoming Christians. Then within the Church he sows the thought seeds of many, seemingly right, Christian teachings. But they are all false teachings that oppose God and keep Christians from being fully saved and eternally secure.   1 Tim 4:1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that…some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. NLT Therefore, 1 Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine (teaching) closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.   He is able to get away with these deceptions because all of the false doctrines that contradict God, that he imparts through thoughts, like - “the inevitability of sin”; “God is in control anyway”; “I can’t lose my salvation” – These teachings all have a strong appeal to and give license to our sinful human nature,   Inevitability of sin, 1 Jn 3:8 The one who practices sin is of (belongs to) the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the (sin) works of the devil. Matt 1:21 …you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin. Rm 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you… NKJV   God in control, Matt 6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done (because it is being hindered by the kingdom of darkness), on earth as it is in heaven.   Can’t lose my salvation, Heb 6:4 …bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened, those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come, and who then turn away from God. NLT   As Christians we do not have to be deceived, provided we grow and walk in God’s light,   God has made it possible for every Christian to see through the deceptions of Satan and continue to walk in the light and not be snared by the subtle works of darkness. God’s two principal requirements to do this are: (1) A heart or spirit that remains tender toward God and receives daily the engrafting of more of God’s light giving words, and (2) A willingness to submit to and do God’s will and thereby remain under the leading and control of the Holy Spirit. Only such Christians as continue to hear and obey God’s voice, God speaking through His word and by His Spirit, and don’t listen to Satan’s thoughts or voice.   John 10:4-5 And when He (The Chief Shepherd) brings out His own sheep...the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger (Satan) but will flee from him for they do not know the voice (thoughts) of strangers... 1 John 2:26-27 These things I have written to you (God’s word) concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you have received from Him abides in you and…teaches you all things, and is true, and is not a lie… Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God (your spirit clothed with the protective truth of God’s words), that you may be able to stand against the wiles (deceits) of the devil.   In particular Satan imparts thoughts that contradict the true teaching that every believer in Christ needs to be baptized with and remain full of and under the control of the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the only One who can cause the word of God to become truth and light in the hearts of believers and so expose all of Satan’s works of darkness.   Acts 19:2 Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Matt 3:11 …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit… Eph 5:18 …be filled (continually) with Spirit… Rm 8:14 …as many as are led (under the control of) by the Spirit, these are the children of God.   Satan does not want to be known, but God wants to be known, He is the great revealer,   1 Cor 2:9-14 ….No (natural) mind has conceived the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God…But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned (revealed by God’s Spirit to a person’s re-born spirit). Matt 11:25 …Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (to those spiritually born again and willing to grow up in spirit). Col 1:26-27 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known…this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   Everywhere in scripture our loving and redeeming Father makes indisputably clear His eagerness to reveal Himself to the hearts or spirits, but not to the intellects, of anyone who will allow Him to do so. This of course is the absolute worst thing from Satan’s standpoint and he will do everything possible to conceal this truth. He wants to stop people becoming Christians, and then if they do, to stop them becoming true disciples of Christ. Since they, with Christ actively living in them, will make others of his captives into Christ’s disciples too. Although Jesus Christ defeated Satan at Calvary he still controls the world and most of the Church because of their ignorance of his devices. And what is God doing? He is regaining control one soul at a time, as each soul turns at His correction so that He can make Himself known to their hearts by the Holy Spirit and through His word.   2 Tim 2:24-26 …the servant of the Lord must not strive (quarrel); but be gentle to all men (people), able to teach, patient, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if perhaps God may grant them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. NKJV Prov 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My words known to you (to make you holy as He is holy and to expose the beguiling thoughts of Satan). Jn 16:33 Jesus, These things I have spoken unto you (the truths in this message!)…In the world you shall have tribulation (trouble, because of the world, our own flesh, and the Devil), but be of good cheer; I have overcome (All your enemies!)… NKJV   Thank you Father for revealing the truth and for making a way for us to be more than conquerors, and to always triumph “in Christ”, Amen!

      in Devotionals

    • Where Did Satan Come From?

      The Bible’s account of the fall in the Garden of Eden raises a number of important questions. Chief among them usually goes something like this: Where does evil come from in a good world created by a good God? We must admit that the Bible does not explicitly and definitively answer this question. But we must also acknowledge that the Bible does tell us many things that, taken together, can help us make a reasonable attempt at an answer. Where Did the Serpent Come From? Genesis 3:1 is the first Bible’s first mention of a serpent. Genesis 1–2 gives no record of God creating any such animal. But several factors support the idea that God created serpents at the same time he made every other “beast of the field.” For one thing, Genesis 3:1 tells us the serpent was “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made,” which implies that God made the serpent, just as he made the other beasts. The serpent approached Eve without in any way catching her by surprise. If this was the first she had ever seen of a serpent, Eve would at least have been a little surprised by its presence. What is more, Isaiah 65:25 states that the new heavens and the new earth will contain serpents along with other animals, which seems to suggest they were all part of God’s original creation. These things all support the conclusion that God created the serpent along with every other animal and that he pronounced it, and everything else, “very good” (Gen. 1:31). What, then, do we do about the temptation account in Eden? How does a serpent, created good by God, intentionally tempt Adam and Eve and lead them into rebellion against God? Again, it’s important to point out that the Bible is not explicit here. But several key passages suggest the most likely answer is that Satan inhabited the serpent and used it as his instrument to deceive Adam and Eve. Passages like Matthew 8:28–34 and Mark 5:6–13 indicate that demons can inhabit both people and animals. And Luke 22:3 shows us that Satan himself, at least on one occasion, “entered into” a man and used him as his instrument to betray Jesus and hand him over to be crucified. What’s more, Revelation 12:9 and John 8:44 offer proof that the serpent of the garden is none other than Satan himself. John Calvin argues that Satan chose the serpent as his mouthpiece because he knew that he couldn’t appear to Adam and Eve and speak to them as himself. He needed a mouthpiece that wouldn’t raise their immediate suspicions, one with which they would have been familiar. Calvin then goes on to say that Satan chose the most suitable animal possible to carry out his plans. He chose the one animal in all of God’s creation that was most cunning or crafty (Gen. 3:1), the one that was the most shrewd or wise (Matt. 10:16). He took the serpent’s natural gifts and perverted them for his own nefarious purposes. This is one reason why I believe God created the serpent just as it is now. He created it to crawl upon its belly and to eat the dust of the earth. Although I know others will disagree with me and prefer to think of the serpent as being created upright and consigned to travel on its belly only through the judgment in Genesis 3:14, I think there are at least two factors that support my view. First, Isaiah 65:25 indicates the serpent will crawl on its belly in the new heavens and the new earth and suggests this was its original, pre-fall condition, now being restored in the new heavens and the new earth. Second, it seems odd that God would vent his anger upon the serpent in Genesis 3:14, and thenceforth relegate it to a different destiny for eternity, when the passage’s whole tenor indicates that God is chiefly aiming at Satan in his judgments. It’s Satan, not the serpent, who is chiefly to blame in this encounter with Adam and Eve; and it’s Satan, not the serpent, who is chiefly assailed in the judgments pronounced by God. It’s enough for the serpent to be consigned to the condition it was in before the fall, but now, there’s also enmity between it and mankind until Jesus returns. No doubt this enmity is part of God’s plan to give humankind a constant reminder of our fall and of the dangers of Satan, our spiritual enemy. Where Did Satan Come From? But if Satan is responsible for possessing the serpent and using it for his own evil purposes, then the question follows, where does Satan come from? The Bible seems to teach that Satan is a created being who turned against God and embraced evil. Revelation 12:7–9 and Jude 6 are two important passages here. Both indicate that Satan is an angel who is responsible for leading a group of fellow angels in rejecting God’s authority. As a result, they were removed from heaven and “thrown down” to earth, where they have now given themselves to making war against the seed of the woman, God’s people (Rev. 12:17). Hebrews 1:7 and 1:14 further suggest that all angels are created beings God designed to serve him and his people. And according to Genesis 1:1, God existed all by himself in the beginning when he began his creative work. God alone is eternal. God alone is self-existent and the ground of all being (Exod. 3:14; Acts 17:28). Everything else proceeds from him and is made by him. Satan himself was part of God’s good creation. Where Did Evil Come From? But if Satan—and every other creature—was created by God to be good, where did evil come from? Again, the Bible doesn’t explicitly answer this question. But it suggests a probable answer in at least two main ways. First, passages like Habakkuk 1:13, Psalm 5:4–6, James 1:13, and 1 John 1:5 teach that God is not the author or creator of evil. He is pure light and, as such, there is no darkness in him whatsoever (1 John 1:5)—not even a shadow of turning (James 1:17). And if God cannot be tempted with evil, as James 1:13 says, then surely it follows that he cannot create it, because to create evil would itself be evil. Second, passages like 1 John 3:4 and Titus 2:11–12, among others, suggest that evil is not a “thing” in and of itself but is the absence or privation of something. Just as sin is the privation of lawfulness (1 John 3:4), so evil would seem to be the privation of goodness—or, of God himself. Evil is un-godliness, un-righteousness (Rom. 1:18), and everything else that is not God. It’s not a substance that must be created—like every other substance—to exist. It’s an anti-God attitude or a posture that sets itself against God. And if that’s true, then all that’s required for evil to exist is for creatures to exist who have the ability to choose or to reject God. Thus, evil can be said to have “entered” the world when God created the angels, one of whom chose to turn away from God, set himself against him and led as many others as he could to do the same. Big God What does all this mean? For starters, the origin of evil has been a nagging source of doubt for many and a disconcerting source of embarrassment for others. As Christians, we haven’t always been ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15)—at least not in this area. But my desire is for others to see that the Christian worldview really is plausible, far more so than the atheistic worldview that has absolutely no basis in itself to explain the existence of evil. More than anything else, the problem of the origin of evil ought to remind us of how big our God really is. He is, as Paul says in Romans 11, “unsearchable” and “inscrutable,” and his ways are beyond our tracing out. When we have gone as far as we can, we still haven’t come close to plumbing his depths. He is far deeper than the deepest ocean and far greater than the greatness of the universe. In the end, all we can do is to cry out with Paul, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forevermore. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). Related: Who Made Satan? (Matt Smethurst) View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

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