Duped and disarmed

Though God the Father ordained the cross to deal with sin… Jesus was also nailed to the cross via the actions of secondary agents —rulers and authorities — such as Pilate, the Sanhedrin, and even Satan.

The “rulers and authorities” of Rome and Israel, as well as their father the Devil, disarmed Jesus, stripped Him naked, held Him up to open shame, and celebrated what they thought was their triumph over Him.

But despite these horrific details of the death that Jesus died, its paradoxical: for on the cross, God was disarming the powers, stripping them naked, triumphing over them, and holding them up to public contempt.

What Satan thought to be the end of his hated enemy once and for all, turned out to be the complete opposite. Death did not have the final say, for God raised His Son from the dead, proving that He is sovereign and evil does not get the last word.

In many parts of the world today, and in nearly all cultures, there are a lot of superstitions, which are conjured up to help protect people from the very real threat of what we know to be demons, even if they go by other names elsewhere.

But, thanks be to God, as Christians, we need never fear this dark demonic domain, for when Christ was crucified and raised from death to life, Satan realized he had been duped and disarmed.

John Calvin says that the demons “are disarmed, so that they cannot bring forward anything against us… our guilt being itself destroyed.” Demonic powers cannot rightly accuse those who are in Christ of guilt, nor can they possess Christians or separate us from God’s love.

So, this Easter, revel in the fact that Satan can no longer hold your guilt against you, he’s been disarmed and put to shame. We are the victors in Christ!

“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” Colossians 2:15

Freedom is not free

Freedom is not free

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13”

Unfortunately, for many today, Memorial Day signifies nothing more than the start of summer fun; sunshine, beaches, picnics, and vacations. This is a reminder to never forget that our ability to enjoy all of that, comes from God’s amazing grace, and the selfless sacrifice of all those who have fought for our freedom.

Here is a Memorial Day poem written by Kelly Strong titled Freedom Is Not Free.

I watched the flag pass by one day. It fluttered in the breeze. A young Marine saluted it, and then he stood at ease. I looked at him in uniform So young, so tall, so proud, He’d stand out in any crowd. I thought how many men like him Had fallen through the years. How many died on foreign soil? How many mothers’ tears? How many pilots’ planes shot down? How many died at sea? How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves? No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night, When everything was still I listened to the bugler play And felt a sudden chill. I wondered just how many times That TAPS had meant “Amen,” When a flag had draped a coffin Of a brother or a friend. I thought of all the children, Of the mothers and the wives, Of fathers, sons and husbands With interrupted lives. I thought about a graveyard At the bottom of the sea Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn’t free.

May that poem remind us that the greatest love comes from those willing to die for us. The soldier purchases our freedom here on earth, Christ purchased our freedom throughout eternity.

Open Concept

Open Concept

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Melinda and I enjoy watching some of the shows on HGTV. The shows we watch typically involve people who have bought a home that needs some renovation. You only need to watch a few of these shows to quickly catch on to the fact that the most desirable style today, describing the kitchen, living room, family room and dining room, is what’s called open-concept. We seldom make it through a show without hearing it several times.

Open-concept is where the walls that would ordinarily divide the rooms I mentioned, are taken down, allowing for, in essence one gigantic room. What distinguishes one room from another is simply a different style furniture and furnishings.

It seems that today’s culture, conditions us to divide and throw up walls. It’s not something that necessarily comes naturally. Just hang around kids for a while and you’ll witness open-concept. They don’t throw up walls. They don’t see skin color or status.

Putting up walls, as it relates to people, does not come from God. If Jesus taught anything, he taught us open-concept. In fact, he taught us to tear down the walls that we often build to isolate ourselves from certain people. You know who I’m talking about, THOSE people, the big-time sinners, the social outcasts, etc.

So, who’s promoting all the anti-open-concept? Why Satan of course. In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called “the accuser.” Now get this, the Greek word for “accuser” is “category.” This Greek word comes from the same root that gives us the English word “category.”

So, now you know. Satan is the eternal “categorizer.” The eternal divider. He’s totally against open-concept.

If Satan’s eternal plan is to divide, clearly God’s plan is to unite. To bring together. To destroy walls.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about much needed division, as it relates to what the Bible says is right and wrong, I’m talking about the walls we build between people.

At the cross, Jesus destroyed the barrier between man and God, and in the process, annihilates any barrier between man and his neighbor.

You may, or may not like an open-concept for the space where you live. But as a Christian, if there’s still walls separating you from people, they need to come down.