Satan Doesn’t Play Fair

Gentle Reader,

In fact, he loves to hit us when we’re down.

Satan doesn’t want to just knock us to the ground, you see. He wants to drive us into it. He wants to break our spirits. Coat our minds in lies. Wound our hearts so every beat is unbearably painful. He finds our vulnerable places and grinds his heel into them, laughing as we writhe.

This has been my experience across several weeks. I am simply worn out. Two surgeries, six weeks apart, have done a number on my body. Yes, I am healing, but it’s not a quick healing. It’s not an easy healing. I’m battling insomnia. I can’t seem to get caught up on anything at work. I’m on the “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle of pain and exhaustion.

Makes me crabby. Also heightens my sense of anxiety.

So the stupid Devil has been punching me. He whispers negativity into my soul. Tempts me to despair.

He doesn’t play fair.

Thankfully, God doesn’t play fair, either.

That’s the beautiful thing about being a believer: We who have trusted Christ have the very Spirit of the Living Lord dwelling inside of us. He comes in and makes Himself right at home. Just think about that for a second. God, who made all of creation just by speaking. God, who knows the names of all the stars. God, who exists entirely outside of time and so knows the end from the beginning. God, who got up and walked out of the tomb unaided.

He lives inside of you and me.

Talk about stacking the odds! That old Serpent doesn’t stand a chance. He can keep on punching and kicking. He can get a few licks in. But the nanosecond we cry out, even whisper, for help, he’s done for. The Spirit blasts him out of the scene. The Spirit pours out comfort, guidance and strength upon us so that we can get up and move forward, hand tucked safely in His.

Perhaps you’ve got the taste of dirt in your mouth today, as I do. Perhaps your face is streaked with sweat and tears. Perhaps you’re bloodied and bruised, the shield of your faith knocked to one side. You’re feeling weak, lost, helpless. Dear one, ask. Ask God for help.

He will grant it and then some.

Grace and peace along the way.

Somebody Knows

{ source }

Gentle Reader,

In my devotional reading today I came across a line from the song “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” written by Henry Thacker Burleigh. Growing up my parents would often sing the first line when I or my brother was throwing a fit. I had no idea that the lyrics were so rich and deep.

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down

Oh, yes, Lord!

Sometimes I’m almost to the ground,

Oh, yes, Lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

Now you may think that I don’t know,

Oh, yes, Lord!

But I’ve had my troubles here below.

Oh, yes, Lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

One day when I was walkin’ along

Oh, yes, Lord!

The sky opened up and love came down

Oh, yes, Lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

What makes old Satan hate me so?

Oh, yes, Lord!

He had me once and had to let me go

Oh, yes, Lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

I never shall forget that day,

Oh, yes, Lord!

When Jesus washed my sins away

Oh, yes, Lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

Nobody knows but Jesus

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,

Glory Hallelujah!

Take heart, my friend.

Somebody knows.

Grace and peace along the way.

Five Minute Friday: Open

{ source }

Gentle Reader,

You know what time it is. Kate and the crowd and some chocolate. A little humor and a little prayer.

We: open.

Go.

“Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” 

Rob Bell is causing a fuss again, although I don’t know why anything he says catches anyone by surprise. He hasn’t changed his stance on anything, really. I read Velvet Elvis years ago and wasn’t impressed by either the theology or the writing style. I saw a couple of the Nooma videos and found nothing substantial in them. I perused enough of Love Wins before chucking it across the room to know that it was just the same, tired, old “relevant” religion in a slicker, hipster-pleasing package. (Seriously, where does Bell get his clothes? During his interview with Oprah he sported some pretty sweet cuffed skinny jeans. And, oh, the boots!)

Side note: I won’t even get into how silly it is to take spiritual direction from Oprah right now.

I’ve never met Bell. I have no idea what he’s like in person. But based on his writing, I can say with certainty that what he sells isn’t the truth. The mishandling and even dismissal of Scripture, the constant harping on being “relevant,” (so bizarre to me, because what can possibly be more relevant – and transcendent – than Christ and Him crucified?), the outright call to travel along the world’s trajectory….

There’s nothing new under the sun. This kind of stuff has been preached and plastered everywhere for centuries. Bell is simply the latest, hippest peddler.

We have GOT to know the truth. We have got to be steeped in it. We have to know it backwards and forwards and inside out.

Should we be open enough to consider ideas? To have conversations? Absolutely.

But let’s not be so open we lose that which is most dear.

Stop. 

Grace and peace along the way.