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Debating the Devil

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The Garden of Eden – from Genesis Chapter 2 | Bible Answer Girl

Of course, we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, the woman replied. It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said You must not eat it or even touch it, if you do, you will die. No! You won’t die, the serpent replied to the woman.

Genesis 3:2-4

Steal, kill, and destroy. That is the objective of the enemy (John 10:10), and his ways are cunning (Genesis 3:1, Ephesians 6:11). Left to ourselves, we are no match for him. Praise God for His provision of the Holy Spirit! With the guidance of the Spirit and the promise of God’s Word, if we resist the Devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7).

Perhaps it sounded absurd to Eve when the serpent questioned whether they could eat the fruit in the Garden. Her reply to the serpent was: “Of course we may eat fruit.” She went on to explain which fruit they were permitted to eat and which fruit was forbidden. It was not a mystery to her. It was not the fruit she had to be on her guard about; it was her own heart.

Perhaps Eve was not confident about the difference between spiritual and physical death, and the serpent took full advantage of this ignorance. The enemy is prideful, and he often uses the lure of pride as the bait to dangle before our eyes. What tastier treat makes the mouth of pride water more than being all-knowing and all-powerful? He baited Eve by saying, “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Then the woman saw with her natural eyes that the tree was good and delightful. It is the way of the enemy to twist clarity to make it confusing. The temptation of the serpent was to tell Eve that she was actually blind, but by eating the fruit, she would be able to see like never before. She believed him. She looked, and instead of seeing off-limits fruit, she saw what appeared to be good and delightful fruit. Minimally, the enemy stole her peace with God, killed her innocence, and destroyed the provision she once had.

Her life would have been different if she had taken the dilemma to God before she acted on the Devil’s deceit. The enemy knows how to cleverly coat his stories with just enough truth so that it appears right. Whenever we are unsure, we should always come to God for His guidance. He is faithful and will help us. He loves us and will equip us with what we need (His Word) to recognize the enemy’s deceit. Treat His Word as your trusted friend and ally. It will never disappoint.

The Devil clouds our circumstances. Trust God to clarify and clear all the confusion.

In His grace,

Amanda

❀ Christward: A Hopeful and Joyful Embrace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (available at Amazon)

Humility Is Pride’s Enemy

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In Luke 20:23-25 Jesus requested a coin and then asked the crowd ...

Whose image and inscription is this?… Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:20, 21

We will not have to look further than the stirrings of our own heart for an explanation of our conduct. Jesus spoke a parable about the wedding banquet, and the Pharisees’ hearts were not softened, leading to repentance, but instead was hardened even further, which fueled their resentment towards Him.

The Pharisees and the Herodians did not see eye to eye. The Pharisees despised the rule of a foreign power, and the Herodians advocated the supremacy of Caesar. But their shared vision of hatred united them in their pursuit to ensnare our Lord.

The pride of the enemies of Jesus presumed their wisdom and intellect was superior to His. Together, they plotted and formulated questions they assumed Jesus would be unable to unravel, and thus they imagined they could easily trap Him by His words. Flattery is insincere praise used to further the interest of the flatterer. So with deceit in their heart, their approach was to use flattery in an attempt to draw out His pride (As if the Darling of Heaven suffered pride in His heart as they did.).

They began by calling Him teacher, but their hearts did not respect Him. They applauded His morality by saying He was truthful, but they did not believe He taught the truth of God. They praised Him for His fearlessness and impartiality, but they thought He was out for Himself. Familiar with how the pride of man operates, Jesus’ enemies were certain the flattering techniques would throw Him off guard. Interestingly, what they said was right, but the eyes of their heart could not perceive it. We should take note that when flattery begins to emerge, knowingly or unknowingly, prideful insincerity is at work to deceive. What Jesus’ enemies failed to calculate was that His brilliance could see through the flattery straight to their malice. He was able to unravel their questions and answer them in a way they never imagined He could.

We must ask for the Lord’s wisdom and knowledge so that we can see through flattery, unravel puzzling situations, understand with clarity, and can answer questions with God’s wisdom and knowledge. As we ask this Lord, we also ask for assistance in casting down our pride so that we are not enticed with the temptation of the Pharisees.

Humility is pride’s enemy. The guidance of God says wisdom comes with humility (Proverbs 11:2), and if we want to be honored, humility must come first (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12, Luke 14:10). Oh, that we would be encouraged by Christ, comforted by His love, and desire more fellowship with His Spirit! May we overflow with affection and mercy. May we no longer be driven by rivalry and conceit, but in humility, may we consider others as more important than ourselves. May we not only look out for our own interests but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4). In the name, power, and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we ask for humility to work powerfully in us to kill our pride. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Christward: A Hopeful and Joyful Embrace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Available at Amazon)

Hannah’s Triumphant Prayer

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Hannah prayed: My heart rejoices in the LORD: my horn is lifted up by the LORD. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and He weighs actions. The bows of the warriors are broken, but the feeble are armed with strength.

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah’s poetry was birthed from sorrow. If anyone possesses a sorrowful spirit but can learn to tune their heart towards God as sweetly as she tuned hers, we may find satisfaction to have walked through our griefs. Hannah chooses to magnify the Lord with her words. What a lesson we can learn from Hannah! O Lord, may we learn to express your majesty in our own humble way. May we turn to glorify your beauty and give little attention to our troubles. Trials will teach us how to flow our words like oil from the pressed olives. May the Lord be praised, and His love commended in the best terms our speech can come at, and may the Lord grant us the knowledge that this resulting fruit was worth the suffering.

If we honestly searched, we would discover that many of us are not fit to receive a great blessing until we have gone through the furnace of affliction. Hannah gained divine grace in her great sorrow. Her name stands among the highly-favored women because of what she did during her time of sorrow. We, too, can be like Hannah and shine brightly among the faithful. May we pick up our burdens and take them to the Cross of Christ. We shall not become murmurers as well as mourners. In your season of heaviness through manifold temptations, anticipate the delightful results of good fruit as a result of how you choose to respond at that time.

It was by suffering in patience that she became so brave a witness for the Lord and could so sweetly sing, “There is none holy as the Lord, neither is there any rock like our God.” We cannot bear testimony unless we test the promise and, therefore, happy is the person whom the Lord tests and qualifies to leave a testimony to the world that God is faithful.  Yes, Lord, You are faithful! We sing praise to Your name because you turn our sorrow to joy.

In His Grace,

Amanda

❧ Women of Faith Series

Christward: A Hopeful and Joyful Embrace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (available at Amazon)

Don’t Fear Change When The Road Forks

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Fear of change at the fork in the road : Conferences That Work

But those who turn to crooked ways, the LORD will banish with the evildoers.

Psalm 125:5

This picture reminds me of how the Lord taught my heart many years ago depicting a path similar in some ways to the one above, and it remains a vivid memory to this day. The issue was my lack of forgiveness towards a person. It is not a great challenge to prioritize personal perspectives and agree with our opinions that relational problems are usually the other person’s fault, while our behavior remains justified. The Lord showed me that if I continued on the path of unforgiveness, it would corrupt me, but if I choose the way that initially appeared more demanding, it would lead to purity. What I remember to be so visually startling was the path I was walking seemed more pleasant than the path the Lord invited me on. He showed me what my eyes could not see – that up ahead, my seemingly pleasant path was darkening and turning barren. His way, although it was initially difficult (killing pride is always strenuous), turned into a beautiful garden path. Please remember that just because something looks easy and makes sense to your intellect does not always mean it is best; it might just lead you into spiritual darkness. Let’s take note of Orpah’s fork-in-the-road result.

Orpah married Chilion, whose Hebrew family had moved to her native Moab. After Chilion died, Orpah, along with Ruth, her widowed sister-in-law, vowed to return with their mother-in-law, Naomi, to Israel to begin a new life. Maybe Naomi’s kindness over the years influenced Orpah to consider leaving her own family. Perhaps Orpah had grown to appreciate Naomi’s God.

But Naomi, grieving her dead husband and sons, painted a dismal picture of the young widow’s future with her. Because of this, most likely, Orpah decided to stay. Since her well-being depended on marriage, Orpah’s choice made sense. Her country and Israel had clashed for centuries; most Jewish men, unlike Kilion, would hesitate to wed an enemy. A man who shared Orpah’s background presented a far better marriage prospect. Besides, though Orph admired Naomi and her God, Yahweh seemed stricter than Moab’s Chemosh and his female counterpart Astarte, the goddess of fertility. Perhaps Orpah questioned whether she wanted to spend a lifetime keeping all those commandments. She decided to take the path that appealed to her and seemed to make the most sense. She returned to her people and their gods.

The Old Testament does not mention Orpah again, but rabbinical literature connects her with promiscuity resulting in pagan offspring who fought God’s people – a marked contrast to Ruth’s descendants, who include King David and Jesus Christ.

When the road forks never allow fear, pride, or comfort, keep you from making a godly decision. We need God’s vision along every step on the path, particularly when it forks.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith Series

Christward: A Hopeful and Joyful Embrace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Available at Amazon)