His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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More Than a Battlefield

Do you ever feel like there is an ongoing battle raging within you? Do you feel two sides of your personality fighting it out? Each side has opposite purposes, and each is trying to win control over you—right? Does it feel like those old cartoons, with a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other, each trying to convince you to go their way?

Does it sometime feel like YOU are a battlefield?

I’m listening to an audio version of the book The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis. Have you ever read it? Great book. And fun, as well as a bit weird. But it definitely has gotten me thinking. I think I’ve believed in the reality of Satan for as long as I’ve believed in the reality of God. And at times I’ve believe in the battle between the two of them.

But now I’m convinced that I am one of their battlefields. And I’m tired of it. Oh, I know—it’s part of life. Whether we believe or not, the battle rages on. And I think not believing is the most dangerous policy, for it gives the advantage to Satan.

Anyway, I want to see if I can affect the game a bit. I want to be more than just the battlefield. I want to make more of an effort to join the fight, on the side of God.

What do you think about this battle idea?


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Satan is Terrified

Jesus confronted Satan many times during His life on earth. This morning I was reading about one of those times in the gospel of Mark. Jesus came across a demon-possessed man causing trouble among some tombs. In referring to the man, Mark writes:

“When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’” (Mark 5:6-7)

The demons of Satan were absolutely terrified of Jesus. Satan fell on his knees at Jesus’ feet and begged Jesus for mercy. I stopped reading and just focused on that fact. What does it mean to me, that Satan is terrified of Jesus? Think about it – what does it mean to you?


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It’s a Cold, Cruel World

It’s difficult and often dangerous out in the “real” world. As I raised my children, I protected them, fed them, taught them, cared for them, and loved them. I did my best to create a safe, joyful and loving environment at home. Yet they left.

Well of course they left; that’s the way of our society. Raise your children and then send them off on their own, to fend for themselves and put what you taught them into practice, hopefully.

It’s part of our nature to want to go out on our own, and live independent of our parents. We want to make our own decisions and direct our own life, without having to report to someone else. And along with this comes the responsibility of dealing with our own problems, on our own.

Of course for many of us, mom and dad are no farther away that the other end of the telephone, and they are often willing and able to help us deal with our problems. We may have left them when we moved out of their house, but they never really left us. Loving parents make themselves always available to help and guide their adult children.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I think this little scenario illustrates our history and relationship with God.

Humanity, in the persons of Adam and Eve, were lovingly raised by God, who offered them a home with Him, forever. He would protect them, feed them, teach them, care for them and love them. But the independent nature kicked in. Adam and Eve wanted to leave home and go out on their own, make their own decisions and direct their own lives.

I know some self-proclaimed atheists who make a case that all of the world’s problems are evidence that there is no God, for how could a God possibly allow so much evil. The truth is, God does not allow evil, in His home. But humanity struck out on their own, into the cold, cruel, evil world. We left God to go out on our own, spurred on by our prideful ego, which told us we were smart enough to live independent from God.

Yet we are not alone in this cold, cruel world. God is always just on the other end of the phone, lovingly willing to help us deal with our problems. All we need do is call, and listen.


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Is all evil from God?

I once read a blog post that claimed that God created evil, and therefore God is evil. One thing that was interesting about this post is that it was written by an atheist who also stated, “I do not claim to know God because God is a lie, an invention of men.” I often find it interesting how atheist bloggers spend so much time writing about something they don’t believe in.

There are several things I want to say about this concept of God creating evil. First of all, the atheist blogger made several references to the bible in stating his case. But in the end, he judged God based on taking very small bits and pieces of God’s history. If you want to accurately and fairly judge someone, you need to look at their whole story. But only fools and atheists endeavor to judge God. For who are we to judge the one who created us?

And another thought on this idea of judging God… to judge someone, you also need to know something about their motives. In a murder trial, the judge wants to know if the crime was pre-meditated or not. Who of us could possibly know God’s motives? And did you notice, the atheist blogger stated he does not know God, but he apparently knows God enough to judge Him as evil.

Second, I don’t believe that God created evil, but I do believe that He allowed evil to be created, and I believe that all evil originated with Satan, as recorded in the creation story in Genesis.

To better understand God’s relationship with evil, consider a human analogy: A parent has something to do in the creation of their child. Let’s say that despite all the parents’ efforts to lovingly raise their child, the child becomes a chainsaw murderer. In our society, will the parent be tried and found guilty of murder? Is the parent in any way blamed for the child’s crimes? Usually not. Yet the atheist blogger wants to blame God for the evil acts of His children. How convenient.

But WHY did God allow evil to be created and proliferate. The bible seems to indicate that it’s because God allows freedom of choice. Satan chose evil and enticed the human race to choose to follow him. Now the atheist blogger stated that he didn’t believe in free will. Again, how convenient (if I have no free will, I’m obviously not responsible for my actions).

And finally, why is it that some people choose to blame God for evil? Again, a common human characteristic is that we don’t want to take responsibility for our own actions. Like the person who sued McDonalds when she spilled a cup of hot coffee in her lap. Some people want to blame God for all the evil in the world, simple because they don’t want humanity to take responsibility for it. And they solidify their case by claiming there is no free will.

Yet again, how convenient… evil is from God, humans have no free will, so when someone does something evil, it’s not their fault, it’s God’s. What a cop out. What childish denial.

Not only does the truth set you free, but it sometimes might hurt.


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Religion – the Root of all Evil?

“The time has come for people of reason to say: enough is enough. Religious faith discourages independent thought, it’s divisive, and it’s dangerous.” Richard Dawkins made this statement in his 2-part documentary entitled, “The Root of All Evil?”

Apply the power of Google if you want to find out more about Dawkins and his documentary. My intent here is to look further into the question about what is the root of all evil. Is it religion, as Dawkins professes, or something else?

It’s actually quit simple to disprove Dawkins. Just look at the amount of evil conducted NOT in the name of religion. The murderer who knows nothing of God or religion – just one such example breaks down Dawkins’ assertions.

Yet history is indeed full of evil conducted in the name of some religion. It’s happening all around us, everyday. So what does all evil have in common; both religiously motivated evil, and evil of other motivations?

Are you ready? The root of evil is not religion, or secularism, or even money. The root of all evil is pride.

What motivates the parent to abuse their child? A need to exert power, to exercise authority, to appear in control, ego, selfishness… pride. What motivates the dictator to murder his own people? The answer’s the same.

Why does the religious extremist set off a car bomb in a crowded marketplace? Because they are not willing to allow others to be different from them – agree with them or die. I’ve greatly simplified the issue here, for the sake of brevity. But it all boils down to selfish pride; if you don’t agree with me, you must be WRONG. The only difference between the extremists and most of the rest of us is that they assign a much more severe punishment for being “wrong”.

I could go through an exhaustive list of more examples, but I would rather invite you to come up with your own examples of evil acts. Look at each act and find the motivation. If you dig deep enough, in the bottom of that pit of evil you will find pride.

But to give Dawkins another chance, maybe religion is the root of pride? That could be possible. Using my religion of choice, let’s see what God and Jesus have to say about pride:

“To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” (Proverbs 8:13)

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (Proverbs 13:10)

“The Lord detests all the proud of heart.” (Proverbs 16:5)

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans 12:16)

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Dawkins believes getting rid of religion will get rid of evil. What do you believe? Be careful not to let pride, selfishness, or arrogance motivate your answer.