Posted in theology

Satan roaming, MacArthur standing

By Elizabeth Prata

The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” (Job 1:7)

God knows where satan has been, of course. God is omniscient. This means He knows all there is to know. When we see that question in the Bible asked by God we know it’s a way of drawing out information from the one who is being asked, as God did with Adam in the garden, (Genesis 3:9), or when God asked Cain where his brother is (Genesis 4:9).

When God asks satan where have you been, and satan replies that he had been walking up and down upon the earth, we might picture satan stomping around causing trouble. But we rarely stop to consider what kind of trouble, what does that trouble look like? We also might not consider how satan has cohorts, conspirators who fell with him, and how they might be acting as an army in unified and precise formations to carry out that evil trouble.

We often hear the angels referred to as “heavenly host.” This is a military term. We can picture squadrons of unholy angels dispersing under orders from their leader satan, the adversary. So what does that ‘trouble’ from the unholy angels look like?

There are myriad varieties of their unified battle against God these long centuries. Wars, genocides, mobs, chaos… Since the unholy angels influence the ungodly and even sway the godly from the path and blind them briefly, when we see a unified action suddenly erupt, we can intuit that a spiritual adversary is behind it. It does not take much for satan to light a fire under sinful people, who are already opposed to God and whose flesh is willing. Here is what I believe is an example of what satan is doing as he roams the earth:

Last week Pastor John MacArthur took a stand for biblical morality. He has a wide influence and a large platform. His call for preachers to preach on biblical morality this Sunday was in response to a Canadian legislative bill banning any conversion therapy for transgender or homosexual people. Even mentioning biblical morality to them would be considered ‘conversion therapy’ and the offender would be arrested as a felon and jailed. Any online content would be removed by the government.

The bill banning conversion therapy in Canada received royal assent on Wednesday, making it into law. Bill C-4 makes providing, promoting or advertising conversion therapy a criminal offence. The bill defines conversion therapy as the “practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, or to change a person’s gender identity to cisgender.” (Source).

Our Canadian preaching brothers appealed to us, their neighbors on the south, and MacArthur took up the call.

"MacArthur, who is known for his syndicated broadcast program "Grace to You," published an open letter on the Grace Community Church website Tuesday calling on "ministers of the Gospel" to join him on the third Sunday of the new year in preaching about "a biblical view of sexual morality." (Source)

The Canadian law takes effect January 8, so MacArthur’s call for faithful men of the Gospel everywhere to preach on biblical morality is for Sunday January 16.

As the wave of push-back against satan’s wiles rose higher, received attention, and garnered public commitments, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere a huge wave of negative publicity against MacArthur rose up. It muddied the waters, it sidetracked discussions, it was evil and sly.

A video clip of MacArthur allegedly preaching against religious liberty was circulated. I say it was evil and sly because the clip was edited. It was edited in such a way that it made MacArthur seem like he was saying the opposite of what he actually said.

A twitter friend noted, “So John MacArthur is calling on pastors and churches to take a firm stand on Biblical sexuality and against all sexual immorality. Then, SUDDENLY and TOTALLY UNRELATEDLY, there is an outcry over something John MacArthur said from the pulpit, taken out of context, over a year ago?” (@ShinarSquirrel).

Right. See my shocked face…

This article explains in detail what happened if you care to delve. “Clip Of Pastor John MacArthur Had Critics Pouncing…Turns Out It Was Edited.”

Roman soldiers were known for their commitment to formation, operating under orders to the strictest degree, and for their success. They were also known to be terrifying. Would the unholy angel legions be any less committed, less precisely operational, or less terrifying? No. (The unholy angels, AKA demons, are only as successful as God allows them to be. But for now, they are allowed to operate according to His plan).

Not only the unsaved but even strong Christians can be drawn into the fray.

–We can forget that the opposition is actually the mission field,
–We can forget our manners and issue harsh words that are not edifying,
–We can become confused ourselves as we spend time in the fray, or have our point of view slyly shifted,
–And more

When we see sudden eruptions against a strong biblical stand, and when we see a lock-step reaction online, in print, or in real life to something biblical, we can heavily suspect satan and his legions behind it. THIS is what spiritual warfare looks like. Satan is roaming around, but what is he doing exactly, and what does that look like in my life and within my spheres? Think on this.

We don’t look for satan or his demon cohort under every rock, but we do have to be mindful that we are soldiers and earth is God’s battlefield. We don’t fight in the usual ways like the Roman soldiers did, but we are in a battle.

1 Peter 4:12 reminds us that the fiery trials are nothing surprising. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you;

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us of who and how we fight, for it IS a battle, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

God wins. Someday the adversary and his evil companions will be locked up and then thrown into the Lake of Fire. What a day that will be!

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Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

“Demons are troubling you. What you need is some harp music!’ said only 1 person ever

Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. Saul’s servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.’ So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.’ (1 Samuel 16:14-17)

Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

In the previous verses, Prophet Samuel has just anointed David. The Spirit rushed powerfully onto David, and the Spirit departed from Saul. David’s rise begins, and Saul’s descent has begun.

It was obvious to onlookers that Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit. This should have given Saul pause. It did not.

Did Saul examine himself to see if he was in the faith? No, he didn’t.

Instead, Saul addressed the symptom. Let’s soothe the demon, not investigate why I have a demon. Saul did not appeal to the LORD, he did not pray, he did not sacrifice.

A band-aid on a gushing artery will never solve the problem.

Here is another resource in which we look at practical ways to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. JC Ryle’s first chapter in his book Practical Religion, the chapter is called Self-Inquiry. Ten questions for self-examination.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Saul failed to meet the test. Christians if they are true believers will never have the Holy Spirit completely removed from them. God’s hand will never completely release them, they (we) can and do endure seasons where God has withdrawn temporarily.

Grace To You: I Feel Abandoned in My Trial

Ligonier: Grieving the Holy Spirit

Mike Ratliff: When God Leaves us to Ourselves

Naylor’s Heart Talks: When God Withdraws Himself

The good news is that if one is a true Christian, the withdrawal in New Testament times is only ever temporary. Naylor again:

If God apparently withdraws from us, it is only because he sees that we need to be left alone for a season. He sees that the heart must be drawn away from selfish interest; and when this is accomplished, he comes back and reveals to us anew the fulness and richness of his love.

Saul sinned. He never took spiritual inventory. He never went to the source. He only salved the symptom. William Congreve famously said, “Musick has charms to soothe a savage breast,” but the savagery always returns. Repentance and dependence on the LORD will quell the terror. Harps only go so far.


Posted in bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: The power of greed

And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. (Matthew 8:34)

Yesterday’s Bible reading in Matthew 8-10 has a tremendous scene where Jesus traveled to Gadara, where there were two demon-possessed men. The men were wild, unclothed, screaming demonically and tearing apart rocks and breaking the chains the people put on them to hold them back. They did not let anyone pass that area, and they lived in the tombs. If there was ever a living monster, these two men were it. (Luke 8:26-39 holds more details than the Matthew verse).

Imagine the pain the demon-possessed men were in. Their spiritual despair, their grief, their torment. Imagine the upset they caused for the people of the region, with commerce and trade and simple passage having to be altered just to avoid them. The night-time screams, the scared children, the harm that undoubtedly had come to hapless victims who ventured too near.

In a miraculous moment, Jesus healed the men and dispatched the demons. The man was clothed and in his right mind. All the people of the area came out to see it. What did they do? Did they praise Jesus for His sovereignty over all creation, even demons? Did they congratulate and welcome the man who was now returned to human habitability? Did they fall down and worship the One who was obviously the Messiah? No. They didn’t do any of that.

They were more concerned about their money. Their pigs were dead. “Jesus, go away! You ruined our commerce!”

Avarice is a strong motivator. Don’t underestimate greed. Greed is the basis for false teachers to perpetuate lies. (2 Peter 2:32; 2 Corinthians 2:17). Loving money too much is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10). How shocking and sad their greed blinded them to the wonders of God. They preferred the pigs.

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Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The angel was delayed three weeks…

In Daniel chapter 10, we learn that Daniel has been praying for 21 days. He had inquired of the LORD, and Daniel was awaiting the reply. On day 24, the reply came, personally in the form of an angel. Daniel lifted his eyes and this is what he saw:

I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. (Daniel 10:5-6).

What a mighty being! Angels are strong and powerful servants of God!

Beryl is a gemstone like amethyst. It can be yellow or green or aquamarine in color. It sparkles, as any gem does. We all know what lightning looks like, as we know fire’s qualities, and burnished bronze and the sound of a multitude. The Hebrew word for multitude is roar or tumult. So, when the angel spoke, it was loud.

Such a being is powerful and frightening. No doubt that is why the angels all greet those whom they visit with the phrase “Fear not!”

So why is it that puny humans think they can march around the block and utter a few phrases and believe that the unholy angels will be scared enough to scuttle away? Is it the Christian’s duty to engage with spirits they have somehow deduced lurk about a certain location? Is it biblical to think that we can directly confront such powerful beings and use our own words to turn them away from their evil deeds? Is it realistic to think that a believer can utter a prayer that will “bind” such a powerful creature?

The holy angel visiting Daniel was delayed three weeks by an unholy angel, and only escaped when Michael arrived to help him. And we think that though such a powerful angel was delayed so many weeks, we can utter a prayer, similar to snapping our fingers or twitching our nose, and the unholy angel will fly away from us? Think about it.

We are not ignorant of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11). We should not be ignorant of his power, either. He is not God’s equal. But he and his cohorts are much more powerful than the little winged cherubs we like to think are the angels. Satan hates us because he hates God. He is at war with God, that old adversary, the usurper. (Isaiah 14:13-14). We must let God wage the war. We wage the war in His strength by standing and resisting, not by chasing and exorcising.

Our job is to grow in grace and strength, not chase around demons.

photo EPrata