Satan Was Offended


ImageHoratii 1784 a fight between the curatti brothers and the 3 horatii

We define “offended” as someone getting their feelings hurt. Whatever the situation, it is all about your perception and the need for someone else to make things right. All the work is on the offender because you are hurt by him or her. But that is not what is meant in Proverbs 18:19:

A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

That word offended there does not mean that someone else has hurt the offended brother  or wounded them. It is the same idea as what happened in heaven with Satan and his angels (Jude 1:6).

pasha` – primitive root (identical with pasa` – to stride (from spreading the legs) i.e. rush upon: – go – through the idea of expansion); to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel: — offend, rebel, revolt, transgress.

All to often we have flipped the meaning of this verb around. God didn’t offend Satan; Satan offended God! Satan took a stand, he strides to break away from the authority of God; he trespassed against God; he apostatizes – abandons his post, his position, his beliefs; he quarrels – HE offends, rebells, revolts. Satan was the offense, not God.

When we say we are offended – do we really mean we are transgressing, breaking away from just authority, apostatizing? Are we abandoning our faith? Or are we offending our faith with our constant need to have our fragile feelings validated? Why are we a culture of offendedness?

I think because we are an offense. We are apostates in that we abandon our principles the moment we think someone has offended us.

That’s judgement. We are judging the hearts and actions of someone as rebellious, revolting, purposefully taking a stand against us. We are accusing people of apostasy! – every time we cry “offense!” “offense”!

Almost always no one has offended you; you are just sensitive. You want a word, a cause that will justify your feelings, rather than sound doctrine and reasoning that tells your feelings to come under rule and reign of your spirit. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love believes the best. Why can’t we believe the best about people’s intentions? Why can’t we overlook an insult according to Proverbs 19:11?

We are a culture of offense – rebellion and revolting, breaking away from just authority. We do not trust, nor seek, nor desire the Bible as an authority, nor God as its author, nor him as our creator.

We don’t trust that God would tell us we are the offense.

Therefore we are offended.

Therefore we are more like Satan than the image of God.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Matthew 11:6

offended – skandalizo – to entrap, i.e. trip up, entice to sin, apostasy

1. put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip

  a. to entice to sin

  b. to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey

   1. cause to fall away

   2. to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority.

   3. to cause one to judge unfavorably or unjustly of another

Take time to study what offended really means and who it really applies to, then make a commitment to not accuse others of offending, and to not be offended yourself.

in as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men…

Insufficient Funds!


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Ask yourself some questions she told us:

Are you surrendered?

Are you content?

What’s not sufficient to make you content?

Ouch.

Some people say God’s in the healing business; I say he’s in the hurting business!

Hurts so good though.

I received a pretty good kick in the pants at our annual ladies’ retreat with one Mrs. Penny Soboleski. She reminded us of last year’s theme and challenge: surrender. I didn’t really know last year what I needed to surrender, but I was willing to do whatever God asked.

Well he knew what I was ready for and when. He asked me this year, not to surrender but to be content. This year’s theme?

Contentment

 

1 Timothy 6:6 – Contentment with godliness is much gain.

II Corinthians 12: 7-10 – So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So many terms here to understand and apply: surrender, contentment, sufficiency! Let’s look at a few:

Contentment: Miss Penny gave us a working definition for contentment as being: Believing God’s provision is sufficient

Discontentment:  My expectations not being fulfilled

Then she asked some questions:

What have you surrendered or surrendered to? I have surrendered to staying home, having seven children, and home educating us all.

She told us: You can be surrendered and still be discontent. (This was such a helpful distinction!!)

What are you discontent with? I am not content staying home

What are you not satisfied with? What is not enough for you to be content? …

Me. I am not enough.

Oh.

What is it I lust after? To be esteemed, recognized, successful. These things do not happen in my home. I am a terrible organizer, I am not patient and kind.  I am not a fun or crafty mom. I am a horrible house keeper. I have nothing I am doing in my vocation that makes me feel good about myself.

 

I am insufficient.

 

“My grace is sufficient for you.” “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

I’ve heard these phrases a hundred times at least, haven’t you? I have not had a clue how to apply them other than to just believe them.

 

But when I looked up the Greek words contained in these phrases some understanding and power were unlocked for me.

1) Content – there is “content”, autarkes- be self-content, self-sufficient. Not meaning “self-made man” but, there are things we can content ourselves with – sufficient for one’s self – as in Paul’s epiphany: I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Phil 4:11, also 1 Timothy 6:6 – contentment with godliness – self-satisfaction – is much gain.

2) Content – then there is “content” which is “sufficient” – arkeo – be possessed of unfailing strength – be enough – not connected with “auto” i.e., “self”. – My grace is “enough” for you. II Corinthians 12:9. The rest of the verse explains why we have to learn to settle for God’s grace – yes, settle: for my strength (dynomis – as in dyno-mite) “force” is made perfect (consummated!!) in weakness (lack of strength. feebleness).  When God says, “enough”, we have to learn to be content with what he calls sufficient. Sometimes we are dis-content with the amount or the extent of his grace; but

never

the

less

it is perfect – complete for what he has purposed.

There is an amount, a length, a measure of contentedness and sufficiency God has equipped us with in our person we are allowed and even expected to utilize: autarkes.

But there is also a measure that is short and unable to measure up: weakness: astheneia – God has purposed as well.

And to the extent we don’t allow for that weakness, that feebleness, that failing to manifest, the more we cover it up, avoid it, and cope with it, the less we are operating in God’s strength. The less it is conceived in our bodies and minds and spirits.

Did you note “consummated”? You know – that mystery that happens on the wedding night – or used to only happen on the wedding night? it is the physical and spiritual union of the husband to the wife. His strength. Her weakness.

We don’t like to be weak, to be vulnerable. In essence we don’t like to receive because it means we need.

But if we act like a scared or scarred bride on her wedding night – not allowing or receiving her husband’s strength – then we will not be consummated in God’s strength.

I told you I am discontent with staying at home because I feel unable and ill-equipped to accomplish success in my home. I need someone else’s strengths to shore up all my weaknesses: non-administrative, non-organizing, impatient, unkind, unmotivated, etc… on and on and on.

And here is God offering me his “dynomis” – his force, his strength, his character.

But I don’t like these thorns that keep me from boasting. I also told you I desire, I lust after, esteem, success, acknowledgement. If I stay in my weaknesses then part of my problem will remain as well: I want to boast. I want someone to boast about me. In my autarkes – my own strengths, my gifts, my honed crafts – I have power, I have force.

And then, just how will God get any glory? How will his strength show through me? When a marriage is consummated there is evidence. God wants it to be evident He is in my life. But I want it to be evident I am in my life – apparently. Which just sounds silly now that I write it: I am in my life. Of course I’m in my life! Why do I need to prove it? Over and over and over? Why am I not concerned with evidencing God in my life, over and over and over?

How do I boast in my weakness?

I don’t know. But God says it’s ok if I boast in that. That’s what I ought to be identifying with: I don’t know. Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner, and save me. 

ugh!

eww.

ick.

Look at the end of verse 9 in II Corinthians 12: Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Do you ever feel like God is temporary or inconsistent?

Sometimes he’s so close, and sometimes it seems like he’s changed phone numbers! That word “rest” there means “to fix a tent or habitation on”. The children of Israel were wandering forty years in the desert. While they were being testing and tried God had them erect a temporary tabernacle they could take down and set up as they went.

I know I’m not home yet. I’ve not arrived, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I do feel like I’m wandering as I wonder. But God is here. And he’ll rest upon me – he’ll set up a habitation if I’ll but glory in my weakness and allow him to consummate his strength in me – HIS power – not my own.

God wants to habituate not visit. In my weakness God finds rest! And in God’s power, I find rest.

So, here I am, boasting in my “insufficient funds”! It may be bad news at a banking institution, but in the store rooms of heaven, my weakness makes room for the treasure of God’s grace, and strength, and provision.

 

How can you let God’s sufficiency empower your weaknesses?

Moral Shepherds and Immoral Kings


 

 

 – Why we should be exposing our children to fairy tales and stories. God is only truly believable through the imagination. And so then are his statutes only obtainable through parable, story, and fable.

This is an amazing article on the moral imagination. I hadn’t hear that term before reading this post some years ago. 
I specifically was inspired while reading the section about Beauty and the Beast: most children these days are only exposed to children’s TV programming. While we all have known this is not healthy for children – my eyes were opened to “why” we are seeing such moral depravity in younger generations: they were not exposed at early ages to morally imaginative stories. They are always silly, or community-citizen animation, but not moral and virtuous stories of old.

If children are only exposed to what is silly,  not only are they deprived of learning a correct definition of humor – which is not bodily functions or back-side bearing – but also they are missing the formation and inspiration of virtue, character, and morality. I wish I had read more to my children when they were younger than I did! I am glad we turned off the TV, especially children’s shows years ago. But I have not taken special care to ensure the reading of fairy tales. Redeem the time, Lord Jesus!!

Another inspired insight from this article concerns the prophet Nathan. He had to confront David about his manifest transgression against the house of Uriah and against God. When he came to the court of the king, he used a story. He had to capture the heart of the shepherd in order to rouse the conscience of the king. When we try to “teach” ethics and morality we only rouse the conscience of the king. Children are made in the image of God – they are royal heirs and they don’t take kindly to condescension.
Don’t we each feel some sense of dignity that needs defending when people are about to accuse us of sin or injustice? We metaphorically cut off their heads – we distance ourselves, or fight back. But often we do not repent.
So, our hearts must be got at another way. Is there something or someone ELSE we care for deeply, that we would never want to see hurt – an animal, a child, a lady in distress? Well we would never want to be the cause of pain or penalty for that fair one. And so the moral is embedded in the heart more assuredly than if we tried to forcibly erect it in the conscience. Perhaps the heart is more of a garden than the conscience. And so it is that by time and tending and cultivating this moral imagination, a great plant produces fruit in the conscience that is ready during a time of crisis to be consumed.

Running Your Mouth


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Just because you don’t run your mouth doesn’t mean you don’t run your mind.

Running your mind the way you would run your mouth if you were to say what you were thinking or feeling is worse in some ways because it masks what’s in your heart.

You see every issue you have with other people and situations and circumstances has ONE common denominator: you.

The Bible says the heart is deceptive above all things, who can know it? You probably don’t even realize how much of the issue you are.

All our issues stem back to us, not “them”. Jeremiah 17:9 says not only that the heart is deceptive, but it’s wicked – wicked! – the Hebrew word there is sick and incurable! You are stuck with an incurable, inoperable sickness! it’s so bad only the God of the universe sacrificing his only God-son could cure what you have! Other people are not you’re source of ill or health. there’s nothing ANYONE can do to make you whole again – nothing but the blood of Jesus. But it ONLY saves. Even it won’t make you content.

The whole book of Philippians  is about learning to be content whether people or our circumstances are ideal.

I have recently been sinning in my mind with my attitude toward people and circumstances. God had to remind me: I’m the common denominator. I am not God; I cannot change people; I cannot change circumstances – that’s why it’s called Providence! And while that’s a sentimental name for a circumstantial miracle, its point is not the realm of human ability our possibility – except to perceive and give glory to its proprietor.

Praise The LORD

So the next time you are tempted or find yourself in the midst of running your mind – remember to glorify GOD with it instead.

If you shut your mouth in order not to say something you shouldn’t, you ought not be thinking it either.

Moral Shepherds, Immoral Kings


 

 

 

 – Why we should be exposing and reading to our children fairy tales and stories. God is only truly believable through the imagination. And so then are his statutes only obtainable through parable, story, and fable.

 

 
 I had a thought while reading the section about Beauty and the Beast: most children these days are only exposed to children’s TV programming. While we all have known this is not healthy for children – my eyes were opened to “why” we are seeing such moral depravity in younger generations: they were not exposed at early ages to moral imaginative stories. They are always silly, or community-citizen driven animation, but not moral and virtuous stories of old.

If children are only exposed to what is silly – not only are they deprived of learning a correct definition of humor – which is not bodily functions or back-side bearing – but also they are missing the formation and inspiration of virtue, character, and morality. I wish I had read more to my children when they were younger than I did! I am glad we stopped TV, especially children’s shows years ago. But I have not taken special care to ensure the reading of fairy tales. Redeem the time, Lord Jesus!!

 
 
Another thought: When the prophet Nathan had to confront David about his manifest transgression against the house of Uriah and against God, he used a story. He had to capture the heart of the shepherd in order to rouse the conscience of the king. When we try to “teach” ethics and morality we only rouse the conscience of the king – and he is a KING!
 
Don’t we each feel some sense of dignity that needs defending when people are about to accuse us of doing unjustly? – even if we are just surmising what may happen in the future and what we need to do should we be faced with the temptation to do unjustly – well, we are KINGS! We don’t do injustices!
 
 – ah, but we do. All the time, and we justify our injustices. So, our hearts must be got at another way. Is there something or someone ELSE we care for deeply, that we would never want to see hurt – an animal, a child, a lady in distress? Well we would never want to be the cause of pain or penalty for that fair one. And so the moral is embedded in the heart more assuredly than if we tried to forcibly erect it in the conscience. Perhaps the heart is more of a garden than the conscience. And so it is that by time and tending and cultivating this moral imagination, a great plant produces fruit in the conscience that is ready during a time of crisis to be consumed.

Worship Me with Your Ears


rabbit

 

“Worship Me with your ears”.

I was singing loudly as usual, you know, to bless the folks in front of me. OH, and I was singing to God to bless him too. God had said to me a few months ago – while I was doing the same thing – Your voice is louder than Mine. OH, Lord. I am so sorry. I will work on this.

It wasn’t just about the singing, it was about my life. God also shared with me that I can’t hear him because I am too loud. He made me put it into practice too. It was easy to sing softer during worship time at church. It was excruciating to say nothing when my feelings were hurt by my husband. I immediately went to write a SCATHING email to him laying out in perfect persuasion and pointed passion the ways he was failing in our household and how he had hurt me. Just the second before my finger found the send key God whispered, Is your voice louder than mine? 

UGH!!

But God! This letter is the only thing keeping me from crying. I don’t want to be hurt, I want to be angry and act in that anger. I want to avenge and pillage! I had to erase the whole thing, because if I kept it as a draft, I was sure to “edit” it and send it later. I then sulked up the stairs to my bathroom where I turned on praise music and cried. THAT HURT MY FEELINGS, LORD!! Then I left it alone. I didn’t take it with me. That was it.

The next day my husband sent a text apologizing – which is a big step for him – but it wasn’t good enough for me. It was so mean, what he said to me, I wanted a full-on frontal, verbal apology. God would not have it. I walked around offended a few more days, but God would not be moved. So then I-I-I had to apologize. That’s what I get for trying to be louder than God.

 

But this weekend, God upped the ante: I want you to worship me with your ears.

In two ways he showed me I need to be a better listener. And then he gave me this word to back it up. And again, it was easier to not use my voice to worship in the congregation, but once I got home – oi vey! I have six children still living at home. I have a lot I want to say. But God wants me to listen.

So, if you think about it, pray for me – pray for me ears! Or, I suppose pray for my mouth! – that I might not open it, but instead, worship God with my ears. And, if you think about it, you might try it as well.

James 1:19

Proofing Your Faith


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Proof.

The world wants proof.

Proof God exists; that he is; that he is coming.

Well you know what? God wants proof.

Proof that WE love him. That we follow him.

And he doesn’t even want it presented to himself.

He wants us to prove to ourselves, so that we may not be deceived.

Consider these two scriptures:

1st out of Luke 13:

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Do you know what you do with leaven – yeast? You wait on it. It has to “proof”. 1st you have to “bloom” it – sort of a 1st proof – you have to ensure it’s even active before you put it in your bread. You mix it with a little sugar to give the living bacteria something to eat, and they in turn give off carbon dioxide which creates bubbles. You do this separately, in a bowl with a little warm water. Image

If after fifteen minutes there are no bubbles, you have dead yeast. The bubbles and the “digesting” of the sugars throughout the dough, the yeast itself, develop the texture and the flavor of the dough making crackers into bread. But you have to wait. and you have to prove the yeast again.

Once you know you have live yeast you mix it in with the rest of your dough and you knead it – you agonize over it – wrestling with it creating gluten – stretchiness – in your dough. Once you have kneaded it enough for the type of bread you are making you set it aside to proof. This takes hours. And sometimes days. It is a patience-building process. You don’t make bread in 30 minutes.

Or even an hour. Image

This does two things: ensures your yeast was alive enough, and gives it time to work throughout the whole dough to cause it to rise.

This brings us to our second scripture reference out of 2 Corinthians 13:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Prove your own selves.

Proof

 

Is the yeast of the Kingdom of God in you? Have you bloomed? Is the yeast alive? Is it active? Are you a cracker, or do you resemble the Bread of Life?

Assess your own self today and see if God exists. If you find him lacking, it is not that He is not, but that he is not in you.

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Pictures provided by this great recipe at: http://www.macheesmo.com/2010/03/chocolate-donuts/