Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

Which God Saves Us home Something From My Day home

Learning About Monsters

PPS to “Having peace with monsters under the bed”

This is the third in a sequence about “monsters”.

If you haven’t read the first two - I invite you to do that now.
This whole thing will / should make a lot more sense if read in order.

  1. Having Peace - With Monsters Under The Bed
  2. Knee Deep In Monsters
  3. Learning About Monsters (this article)


So - the good news - the surgery went well.
It would seem I was able to take to heart article #1.  
I was able to maintain the peace of God.
Even as the anesthesia drip started - I was peaceful and calm -
and soon afterwards - out.

No monsters under the operating table.
Cleared out by the peace of God.

More good news - recovery is going well - thanks to those praying.
No monsters in the recovery process -
none under my bed at home.
Cleared out and replaced by the peace of God.

Do I think they’ll stay gone?

No.

But I am grateful for the chance to recover fully and quickly without them -
content with the peace of God.


But still -
there’s more.


We talk about how God can turn bad things to good.

Since I couldn’t really do anything else - I spent Saturday watching college football.
BTW - this is something I almost never do - outside of bowl games, maybe.

Sunday - during our Bible study class -
we were talking about free will -
Stephen Hawking - who makes an occasional “appearance” here on the site -
and whether his illness and physical condition have anything to do with his feelings about God -
how he can go from wanting to know the mind of God to deciding there is no God.

Flash back to Saturday football.
I was watching the BYU game -
not because it was of great interest - it just happened to be the channel I stopped on.
They were doing their “hero of the week” - something they do for each game.
For that day -
it was someone who had a stroke at the age of two -
spent - for all practical purposes - his entire life in a wheelchair.

Now - he’s a computer science college professor -
and - regardless of what one may think of their religion being Christian or not -
he was honored by them.

So - the question comes up about Stephen Hawking.
I mentioned watching this story that was on national TV during the football game.

Yes - this particular individual could have turned against God -
as Stephen Hawking did -
as any of us could -
when things don’t go the way we want -
and especially when things go as bad as they did for these two individuals.

Some do - and some don’t.

Why?

I believe it’s that thing called free will.

God gives us the choice -
to run to Him -
or to run away from Him.

<As a side note here - I think it’s important to not lose sight of what’s happening -
I had surgery and am watching football because there’s nothing else to do -
I happened to watch this game -
they honor someone who had a life altering stroke at age two -
this question comes up Sunday morning -
we talk about both people and their choices -
and we see where the exercise of the free will that God gives us impacts our lives -
and the lives of other people.
I don’t believe in that many coincidences. -
But I do believe that God can and will use us -
in any situation -
if we let Him and don’t mess it up.>

Which way we go - I think - has a lot to do with who’s taking care of the monsters under the bed.

If we try to do it ourselves - we will fail.

If we ask for help from God - we will succeed - as long as we don’t screw it up.

I mean - think about this.
Since we’re into sports right now -
who wouldn’t go with someone who has the track record of victory when you’re in literally the battle for your life?

Look at what Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 -

Righteousness Through Faith

Ro 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished —  26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.


Just look at that -
man - on His own - has a winning percentage of zero - winless!
Jesus - on the other hand - is undefeated!
Who wouldn’t want to be on His team?


Well - how about people who can’t control the monster and won’t ask for help?


Right now - the Screwtape series is by far the most popular thing on the site -
so many of you know I really liked the book -
not only because of what it tells us about the monster - the devil -
but what it tells us about ourselves.

Since I’m recovering now - and can’t do much else - no work / no driving -
I’m at home and have plenty of time to get more of the lessons up on the site.

That seems like another good thing coming out of the surgery.


Given that I like The Screwtape Letters -
it’s probably also no surprise that I’m reading Demon, a memoir - by Tosca Lee.
I’m only about a third of the way through -
but find it to be most insightful - about the demon (Lucian) and about us.
And about the relationships between
God & us -
the fallen angels and God -
the fallen angels and us.

It’s fiction -
but based on the Bible and with what little we know -
it’s a potentially amazing story of how things got to be the way they are -
from a devil’s point of view -
as told to a human editor.

Very thought provoking.

It’s something I think I’d like to do a class on sometime -
although at 253 pages - it’s not light reading for a class setting.
Guess we’ll see where I end up on that one.
I hope it works out.

At any rate -
without giving away anything about the book -
there’s one line that I have to include  here -
because it tells us something -

Idiot!

This line is from Lucian - the devil - talking to Clay - the editor.


Why would a devil call one of us an idiot?
I’ll give you one thing it wasn’t -
it wasn’t because we followed the devil.

Does that get your attention?


There’s a reason why - in Matthew 10:26-33 - Jesus said -

Mt 10:26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.


He’s saying don’t be afraid of the monsters.

He is saying that - if it comes to a choice of being afraid of the monsters or afraid of God - be afraid of God.  Don’t fear the monster - it can only take your earthly life. God - on the other hand - can condemn you to Hell for eternity.

But -
huge but -
Jesus also gives us another choice here -
one that has nothing at all to do with fear!

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

Why be afraid when acknowledging Jesus changes God -
from being someone to fear -
to the One who will take care of you?
What an offer.
And this from the undefeated - and undefeatable One.

Most definitely -
easier said than done.

Also - most definitely -
only done with His help -
With Jesus - the Father’s gift of salvation -
with the Holy Spirit - the counselor and teacher from the Father - sent at Jesus’ request -
to fight the monsters.


I don’t know why we don’t talk so much about the Holy Spirit -
or about the monsters - the devil -
any more.

The further I go on my walk -
the more I feel like we should.

Not doing it is like walking into battle -
unaware that there’s even a battle going on -
against forces that we can’t see -
and can’t even recognize the side effects to tell they are in fact present.


On that note -
here’s that entire sequence from Matthew that was included above -

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Mt 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

Mt 10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;  3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;  4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.  6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.  7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’  8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.  9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts;  10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.  14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.  15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.  16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Mt 10:17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.  18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.  19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Mt 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Mt 10:24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Mt 10:26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Mt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  35 For I have come to turn

“ ‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

Mt 10:36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’


Mt 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mt 10:40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.  41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.  42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”


I don’t know if we say things like this often enough.

It’s real - it’s important.

Satan knows it’s important.

Do we?

Do you?


Here’s a “what if” for you -

What if all the interest in fantasy / vampires / video games -
places where we can either play the bad guy -
or play the good guy to defeat the evil bad guy -

What if all this is a “gift” from Satan?

What if it’s the ultimate illusion -
something to fulfill a need -
placed in us by the Father -
a need and a desire to take our parts in the Heavenly war which we are most assuredly involved in.

What if Satan is taking advantage of this need -
and channeling that desire into a worthless video game -
a game that gives the illusion of taking sides in the Heavenly battle -
without actually taking part -
without serving any useful purpose at all?

What if that’s what’s happening?

It’s a “war” of attrition -
where everyone who participates in the fantasy / video game “battle” -
has actually chosen sides with the devil -
by the mere act of not being involved in the real battle -
the one between good and evil that really counts?


Here’s a question for those who will not like what I just said -
because I’m attacking a very important thing in their lives.

What if it’s true?

What if - two simple little words -
followed by two really big important words -
it’s true.

What if it is true -
what if you were missing out on the real battle -
the life and death (forever) battle -
and all the while you thought you were really into something -
you were into nothing -
because you were tricked?


Intrigued?

Here’s a final thought from Paul -
in Ephesians 6:10-20 -

The Armor of God

Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Eph 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,  20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


To be sure -
we are all in a battle.

The questions are -


Where are your monsters -

And who’s helping you fight them?


October 15, 2013

Well - the surgery went well.
The monsters were under control.

And now while recovering - I have peace while learning more about the “monsters”.