May 13, 2009
We reflected on last week’s lesson of God’s good gifts. Romans 8:32, says that the very good gift of God’s son comes with every trial that comes our way. Jesus has already paid for all the sin. Sometimes we can’t see any good in a trauma, but it all comes with the good gift of his Son.
What about little things that go wrong? Where does Satan fit in? What part does God play in every day trivial events? If we really believe God is sovereign, there is a problem with blaming Satan for everything. We want to get to know God and study the truth, not the counterfeit.
We shared what we know about Satan offhand: He is the accuser, deceiver, father of lies, prince and power of the air, knows God’s word, and the god of this world.
We discussed the question of whether Satan can plant thoughts in my mind. Is it the voice we hear that discourages us and encourages our pride? Or is that our flesh?
Fear comes from pride—so to be fearful of Satan would come from pride.
We reviewed what scripture says about the Devil. 1 John 4:4, greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. 2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but power and love and discipline. 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will provide a way out of temptation. Temptation comes from Satan/the world/the flesh—the three work together. 2 Peter 1:2-3, says that his grace and peace are multiplied to us and his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Philippians 4:7—the peace of God will guard our hearts and mind in Christ. Revelation 12:10-11, at the end the accuser will be thrown down because of the blood of the Lamb. From Romans 8:38-39, we know that Satan cannot separate us from the love of God, nothing can.
The Old Testament definition of serpent means a hissing sound like a snake. Satan means to attack or accuse, cunning, opposing to God. The New Testament word for Satan refers to accuser. Devil is a traducer which means to speak maliciously and falsely, slander, discourage, and shame, to attack or accuse, to blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation. Deceive means to deceive the mind, divert others from the right way; to bring or seduce into error; to lead astray from; to deceive by false reasoning.
We reviewed several scriptures about the tools of the devil. Satan is tricky, if we don’t forgive, we are more susceptible to him. Satan has snares for folks in the church. Temptation can be a snare as well as foolish and harmful desires, and riches. People need to be gently corrected and repent to escape the snare of the devil. While we run in this life, sin entangles us, but we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.
We learned about the devil’s character: he tempts us, sometimes with food and flattery, he uses questions. His only weapons against us are words. In Job, God ultimately takes credit for what happened to Job (and that was also before the cross). There is no truth in the devil; he is a liar and a murderer. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion trying to devour someone. The lion roars to mark his territory and incite fear. 1 John 3:8 showed that Jesus’ death on the cross has destroyed the work of the devil. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, the devil had more dominion. In Revelation 12:9, the devil will be thrown down into the lake of fire.
1 Chronicles 21:1 said that Satan moved David to count Israel. In a parable, Jesus talked about how the devil sowed weeds. In the parable of the seeds, the birds that took away the seed was symbolic of Satan. Jesus called Peter Satan because his interests were focused on man, not God. In Luke 13:16, Satan put evil in Judas’ heart. The devil oppresses. Satan filled Ananias’ heart causing him to lie to the Holy Spirit.
Someone mentioned that the Devil’s future is already foretold, he just wants to take down as many people as he can with him. Romans 8:31-39 says that nothing can separate from the love of God. We learned in the lesson, “The Battle is in Your Mind” that we have divine power to remove strongholds—which are our thinking patterns. Our flesh dovetails with the motives of the enemy. We are deceived by thinking the flesh is good.
We completed personal surveys to evaluate our fleshly patterns. We recognized that we have been set free from the law of sin and death. We’ll know what the devils lies are by knowing the truth.
Satan and his demons are using all sorts of tools to get out their message, the world lives by the lies, and the flesh follows the lies, also. Satan is the author of the lies, but we have a choice whether to agree with him and believe the lies.
Overall, between God and Satan there is no contest. God always wins!
EGP, Semester Three, How did Jesus Deal with Satan?
May 20, 2009
A few shared examples of how they had been gripped with fear and called by God to pray for a loved one at the exact moment when the loved one had been in a potentially life threatening accident. Another noted that these initial thoughts and emotions (fear) were from God, calling us to participate with him through prayer.
We read 1 John 5:18, which states that the evil one cannot harm anyone born of God; Jesus keeps him safe. The devil is not all knowing, omnipresent or all wise. He can’t read our minds. The vast majority of the time, we’re dealing with our flesh, not the devil himself. However, the flesh acts in line with the devil. Both them want us to be our own God. The devil’s main tool against us is deception. A snare is a trap or trick or temptation. Satan’s snares will only work when you are following your fleshly habits or well-worn fleshly paths. Your beliefs will be in line with his. He depends on the element of surprise. He covers the trap with camouflage. The trap doesn’t kill you. It can only entangle and stop you from growth.
Lust means longing for something, especially the forbidden. There is 1) Lust of the flesh 2) Lust of the eyes and 3) Pride of life. Pride means self confidence, boasting, vaunting in things one does not possess. We discussed how this is the world’s wisdom. Self control means having our will under the control of the Spirit. When we’re self confident we think we don’t need God. When we don’t recognize the giver of the gift, we are confident in ourselves. Confidence is necessary, but self confidence is pride. Our confidence should come from our awareness of our identity in Christ. God gives grace to the humble and with his grace comes power. Even the “good gifts” that we receive and don’t always recognize as such are another opportunity to rely on God with humility.
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil. The words test and trial come from the same Greek word. Trials are important since they bring up questions and help us know what we really do or don’t believe. God does not tempt with evil. James 1:13 says that God is not tempted by evil nor does he tempt anyone, but each is tempted by his own desire. In looking at the temptation of Jesus, we see that God was in control, even during this. Jesus was tempted when he was at the end of himself (after fasting for 40 days). We discussed what was wrong with Jesus following Satan’s command to make bread out of stones. Satan was tempting Jesus to figure it out himself rather than asking God. Jesus’ weapon was scripture and the devil used deceit, and scripture wrongly applied. The second temptation was to show Jesus’ power and test God. The answer was to not put the Devil to the test. Next the Devil asked him to fall down and worship and have all of the kingdoms of the world under him. Jesus answered back with scripture saying to worship God alone. Jesus told the Devil to leave and he did. In the gospels, the demons left when commanded to by Jesus.
James 4:4—we are not to be friends with the world (give in to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life). Ephesians 5:6-11, says that so that we will not participate in darkness, God provides his word which consists of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Ephesians 6:10-18 mentions tools such as truth, righteousness, spirit, prayer, strength of his might, and peace in the spiritual armor. Our battle is not with others’ flesh and blood, but with the lies and deception. We have the truth of God’s word, his strength, peace, and prayer to combat the lies and deception. If we spend a lot of time reading, on facebook, on TV, or movies, then we are studying the things of this world and don’t have an opportunity to see the truth. We can be enticed by things that seem more interesting and if we aren’t in the truth, we don’t even know what is true/genuine since we don’t have a comparison point. The battle is in the mind and we have the powers to take thoughts captive against the deception. We’re called to immerse ourselves in the truth to know what we’re up against.
EGP Semester Three - Control Antidote=Thanks
May 27, 2009
We reviewed a new draft of the journal, especially for those new to EGP. The journal is a tool to help us get to know God. It is supposed to be individualized as needed. The purpose of our class is to get to know God and be in the Word looking for who God is—what he is saying about himself. We write down one thing about God’s character every day. You can pray beforehand and ask God what he wants you to know about him that day. The profess section can be what you need to learn from scripture. The purpose of the praise and profess section are to pray scripture about God and ask him to cause change in you in alignment with scripture. Ask God for a verse to pray for individual family members. Then it isn’t a pride or control issue telling God how something needs to happen for them and what God needs to do and telling God to do it. An example of praying scripture over them would be Proverbs 3:5-6, “Cause (loved one’s name) to trust in the Lord with all his heart and not lean on his own understand and acknowledge God and let him direct his paths.” If you pray scripture you’re praying God’s heart, his will, his desires, so you cannot go wrong. The peace through praise in the back of the journal is for something that you realize you want to praise God for every day and the Requests with Thanks section is where recurrent/permanent prayer requests can be listed.
This semester we’ve discussed pride, humility, love, conflict, shame and guilt, the battle being in our mind, the roots of unbelief, the enemy Satan, trials, and our purpose.
We discussed the antidote of pride and control which is humility and thankfulness. We discussed thankfulness as being grateful, thankful, appreciative, saying thank you, happiness, recognizing/acknowledging a gift or a blessing or its giver, acknowledging a sacrifice given.
The Old Testament Hebrew word from thankfulness is Yadah—has to do with hands, it also means confess (sin), praise (God), and thanks (gift). Its translation has to do with its context. Todah is an extension of the hand, a choir of worshippers, confession. In the New Testament, the word for thanks is eucharistia and eucharistos. These words mean gratitude, as an act of worship, thankfulness, well favored, grateful and thankful. Charis is in those words—the word for grace, the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life—it has to do with acknowledging that you’re well graced and God is the one who has been doing it.
We read scriptures about thankfulness, Jesus gave thanks when breaking bread and sharing the cup. He acknowledged God as the giver. Jesus thanked God that he had heard Jesus (when removing Lazarus’ stone).
When we are praying for a terrible situation and recognize we need to be thankful we can acknowledge that all good gifts come from God and he causes all things to work together for good to be conformed into the image of his son. Blessings from God sometimes take longer to reveal themselves. Good is whatever he uses to conform us to the image of his son. He has given us the gift of his son and will give us all things. Sometimes the gift is a reminder of the suffering of Christ. Christ went along to the cross for all of our prayer requests and problems. We have a privilege to participate in prayer and be part of God’s work. The lyrics to a hymn say, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” Instead of the focus on all the terrible things that are going on, the prayer focus should be on God and who He is and what He is doing.
Paul thanked God for his people since their faith was being proclaimed. Repeatedly in scripture, writers thank God through Jesus. There was a wrong example of given thanks, the Pharisee thanked God out of pride.
We read scriptures and substituted “acknowledging the abundant availability of God’s divine influence on my heart and its reflection in my life” for thanks or gratitude. God’s will is for us to give thanks (acknowledging the abundant availability of God’s divine influence of my heart and its reflection in my life) in everything, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
We finished praying/praising then individuals gave thanks recounting God’s work and changes and freedom through the class, and also spurred through others words and actions this year.