Satan’s Master Blueprints (and how to overcome his plan)

The sermon last Sunday laid out the trap I unwittingly fell into every time. Then I became aware of the trap. And still got ensnared.

It reminds me of those Ninja Warrior courses. You can study the course, you can practice going through it, you can train for months to prepare for it. But sometimes you are still going to fall into the water.

And then you are eliminated.

BUT, unlike the Ninja warrior course, you get do-overs with Christ. You can go through the maze again and again until you get it right. But be forewarned: you often must successfully complete one obstacle before you can move to the next.

This trap of Satan’s is no secret. It’s laid out in the Bible for all to see.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

You need not read further than Job to see the three areas he attacks us with.

  1. Your Health: This was a big one for me. I’d overcome addiction and not even been tempted. Then something would happen. A car accident, an injury, a needed surgery…once the doctor gave me the first shot of something, the devil had me in his grasp again. Sometimes I was able to pray through it. Other times I wasn’t so strong. It was a battle I thought I was destined to battle-and lose- forever. But then I got through it once. Then again. And then a third time. And I felt like the chain had been permanently broken. I will always be on guard in this area but I do feel like I went to the mat with the devil over this one and won.
  2. Your Finances: I have been poor and I’ve been well-off and both have their issues. When there’s no money, you can get worried or despondent and really doubt the Lord’s ability in your life. When there’s plenty of money, you can easily lose sight of what’s really important. Our current income is commission-based and the Lord has blessed us. But He has also had us go through some really lean times. I once thought we were doing okay if there was a new box from Amazon arriving every day but I’ve come to realize that’s not it at all. We are okay when we are focused on our relationship with the Lord, with each other, and we are serving others. Sometimes it takes times of having no money to strip my focus back down to Him. I have, however, gotten better about panicking when it looks like our sack of flour is almost gone. He always provides and there’s always just a little more each day to see us through. (See 1 Kings 17 for a perfect example of this.)
  3. Your Family: This is currently the obstacle I struggle with and since Satan can’t get me on the first two, he has moved to this. For the most part I do well. I’ve learned to step back and not take things so personally all the time. Mostly. I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, especialy when it comes to my family. But I recognize that miscommunication is a trick of the devil that always leads to hurt feelings and I can usually separate the spirit and the flesh in this regard. But what I REALLY struggle with is when someone hurts one of my kids. I’ve had to literally ask myself if revenge is worth more to me than serving God. And sometimes I don’t like the answer. This is an area I think we all struggle with to some degree but we don’t have to.

Because we know that the Lord sees all, knows all, and can do all. He’s our own personal bodyguard and if we hurt, He hurts. We can find power in the following scripture (verses Satan hates) and we CAN overcome anything.

  • “. . . For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8b
  •         “. . . I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall be any means hurt you.” Luke 10:18b-19
  •         And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:17-18
  •         But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.     Luke 11:20
  • How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
  •         And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11
  •         “. . . And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”    Revelation 20:9b-10
  • For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15
  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19

Destroying the Legoland Within

Have you ever built a giant structure with Legos?

Or a Jenga tower taller than you?

Let’s face it, one of the best things about it was watching it crash to ground. ESPECIALLY if a sibling had been the one to build it. (Come on, don’t act like I’m the ONLY bad sister out here!)

Building, creating, even (ahem) helping deconstruct these toys is a lot of fun. They’re toys.

The problem you get into is when you start building a foundation of sin in your life.

You may start with something small- sneaking office supplies home or taking a pill to help us unwind. But then it keeps building. And building.

Before long, that little drink after work has turned into six. You aren’t taking care of your home, your kids, or yourself.

Or maybe you’ve run out of medicine the doctor gave you so you start looking for new doctors. When that doesn’t work, you end up meeting a friend of a friend in a parking lot, justifying that if the doctor had given you what you needed, you wouldn’t be in this position.

It’s not just drugs and alcohol.

Have you ever been convicted of what you watch on television? You leave it on wholesome tv for awhile but then everybody starts talking about that new show on HBO. You tune in and pretty soon you’re back to watching whatever you want, regardless of the sin that leads to the laugh track.

‘Cause if you can laugh at it, you can do it.

What about gambling?

You say you want to play a few slots on vacation but here it is, months later, and you are desperately trying to win back your rent money.

It doesn’t happen overnight but once you open the door to sin, it quickly consumes you.

That’s why the Lord says in Galatians 2:18, For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

Why would you go to the all the trouble of cleaning up your life only to sully it up with sin once again?

Some of us had to dig pretty deep to destroy the roots of sin in our lives.

When we built our home, with post-Katrina regulations, we had to dig a 14-foot footing in the ground as a base.

That was nothing compared to the depths of sin and hurt and anger that I had to clear out when I came to Jesus.

So why would I build it back again?

….and let me tell you a little secret….

If you’ve ever been convicted of something in your life, you’ve KNOWN that it was something God wanted you to stop doing, it doesn’t magically become okay with God again.

You’ve just rolled it around in your mind and made it okay because it was something YOU wanted to do.

You can deny it, pretend, justify….but you KNOW deep-down that it’s wrong.

And you are once again building up that foundation of things you destroyed.

...and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15

Did you think the devil would wait outside?!!

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I’ve been spending the last few weeks getting my office organized. That includes sorting through dozens of notebooks of half-written blog posts, story ideas, and journal entries.

Last night I came across one such entry that made me (once again) laugh at my naivety. For a fairly smart person, I can be so clueless sometimes. But, as I’ve said before, I believe this is what makes me special- a childlike wonder for life and a heart that wears rose-colored glasses.

This entry was from five years ago, when we moved to the Coast and I first joined Dale in full-time ministry. We had gotten involved with many churches and many other ministries and, with my enthusiasm for this new adventure I was embarking on, I assumed everyone was in the same place as I was, mentally and spiritually.

We were all going to work together and change the world!

So day after day, I’d wake up and put on the armor of God. I never forgot because I had the verse taped to my dresser mirror.

Armor of God Ephesians 6:10

Then, when we’d get to another church, a ministry, or even our own church, I’d think, “Whew! Time to relax a bit!”

Now if you’ve been in church any length of time in your life, you’re probably laughing right about now. You may have been through a church split or served in a church or even seen the ugly underside of a ministry in it for all the wrong reasons.

But I hadn’t.

I’d spent thirty years in a large Baptist church that I thought operated on love and sunshine. If there were problems within, I never saw it. Why would I? The inner workings of a church are fraught with issues the congregation need never be concerned with.

Nor had I any dealings with people who were using the name of the Lord for personal gain.

So when I found myself a little hurt and angry, and more than a little bit confused, I had to consider that my romanticized view of ministry wasn’t realistic. And I had to figure out what to do about it.

I had scribbled on the top of page, “Why in the world did I think church was the place to take off the armor?” But what I wrote in confusion immediately turned to clarity.

My resistance wasn’t going to be on the streets where people are mistakenly convinced they are one day headed to the ultimate party of all parties in hell.

No, the real threat to Satan is in the churches where the power of God can transform lives.

So why wouldn’t he spend more time there instead?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 13: 29-30 that where there’s wheat, there are tares. We should expect those tares, those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, those who embody the spirit of the antichrist in our churches. That’s where Satan needs discord the most.

But we, as Christians, also need to remember that we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Seeing what (or WHO) is wrong doesn’t make it our mission to destroy them. Pray for them as they are under the sway of the evil one. There are times to confront, there are times to go to an elder, and there are times to walk away. If you are in such a situation, pray for wisdom.

But never, never ever ever, take off the armor of God!