Satan’s Goal

But stretch out Your hand now, and touch [Job’s] bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face! Job 2:5

What is best known about Job is that Satan attacked the man, his children, and his livelihood. Job and his wife survived; everything else was gone. What is less well known is why Job was the target of Satan’s attack. And therein lies the key to understanding spiritual warfare.

Job was a righteous man who “feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Satan targeted Job because he wanted to prove to God that righteous people will curse God when they are in difficulty. Satan wanted to get Job to change his attitude about God. He wanted Job to take his wife’s advice and “curse God” (Job 2:9) because of what God allowed to happen. God had confidence in Job, however, and it was well founded. Job didn’t curse God. Instead, he set out on a quest to understand what God was doing in his life. Satan’s goal in spiritual warfare is not just to hurt us. His goal is to get us, because of our pain, to “curse God”—to stop believing in the goodness of God.

If you are hurting today, remember Job’s story. Don’t let your circumstances change your faith in God. Instead, resist the devil and submit to God’s plan (James 4:7).

Scars are the price which every believer pays for his loyalty to Christ. William Hendriksen

Giving God Glory

Romans 15:5-11

Jesus’ request as He looked to the cross was that He might glorify His Father. (See John 17:1.) That is to be the desire of our hearts as well. From the moment we wake up each morning, and then as the day unfolds and as news of tragedy or success reaches us, our request is to be, “Father, glorify Yourself.” In the simplest tasks as well as in the hardest ones, a Christian’s longing should be to reflect the Lord to others.

When we pray for His glorification, we’re saying, “God, do whatever will bring You the greatest honor and make You known to the world.” It means that we are also surrendering what we want the outcome to be. God in His sovereignty will choose what will bring honor to His name. And whatever happens, we are to believe He has done just that.

It will come as no surprise to hear me say we live in a world that doesn’t always give God the honor due His name: There will always be some who reject the Son of God and refuse to believe in Him. But our desire should be the same as our Father’s—for people everywhere to know the perfection of His character, which never changes.

God calls us to praise His name and reveal Him. We honor the Lord as we worship in our churches, as we testify to His work in our lives, and as we proclaim the truth of His holy Word in our communities.

By our attitudes, actions, and words, we have the privilege of revealing our loving Father to a world that desperately needs Him. Let us join together, united in love, to give Him the glory.

What Is Life?

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

We often overlook the fact that the Bible text uses a unique word for “life” that is never applied to plants and vegetation. The word choice of the Holy Spirit is chay (and its derivatives) and occasionally the word chayah. Together, those words are used 763 times in the Old Testament—never applying that quality to plants or vegetation. Plants are food.

Another unique fact about living things is that they move. “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth” (Genesis 1:21). The Hebrew word is ramas, used 17 times in the Old Testament. It is used to describe birds gliding through the atmosphere. It is used of insects “sneaking” around on the floor of the earth. It is used of large beasts “stalking” and moving freely through the wild lands of the earth. Living things have the ability to move independently. Plants do not.

“The life of the flesh is in the blood,” announces Leviticus 17:11. The concept is pretty simple. If a moving creature has blood, it is alive. Life also has nephesh—the Hebrew word for “soul”—perhaps best equated with the self-conscious awareness that “I” exist.

The other noncorporeal term used by the Holy Spirit to describe and define life is the Hebrew word ruwach. Of the 389 times that word appears, it is most often translated “spirit.” Lots of mystery here, but it is very clear that living things are not plants!

Humans have all of the above qualities and share them with other living things. But we were especially created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That makes an enormous difference. HMM III

God, the Holy Spirit

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? —1 Corinthians 3:16

Our blunder (or shall we frankly say our sin?) has been to neglect the doctrine of the Spirit to a point where we virtually deny Him His place in the Godhead. This denial has not been by open doctrinal statement, for we have clung closely enough to the biblical position wherever our credal pronouncements are concerned. Our formal creed is sound; the breakdown is in our working creed.

This is not a trifling distinction. A doctrine has practical value only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives. By this test the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as held by evangelical Christians today has almost no practical value at all. In most Christian churches the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent makes no real difference to anyone. Brief reference is made to Him in the doxology and the benediction. Further than that He might as well not exist. So completely do we ignore Him that it is only by courtesy that we can be called Trinitarian. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity boldly declares the equality of the Three Persons and the right of the Holy Spirit to be worshiped and glorified. Anything less than this is something less than Trinitarianism.

Father, help me to be conscious of the Holy Spirit within me today. I yield my temple to Him, that He might indeed make a difference in my life. Amen.

Our Worldwide Body

For the body is not one member, but many… Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:14, 27)

Stating it in the most simple terms, the Christian Church, called to be the Body of Christ on earth, is the assembly of redeemed saints.

We meet in local congregations and assemblies, yet we know that we are not an end in ourselves. If we are going to be what we ought to be in the local church, we must come to think of ourselves as a part of something more expansive, something larger that God is doing throughout the world.

There is an important sense here in which we find that we “belong”—belonging to something that is worthy and valuable, and something that is going to last forever!

These are considerations concerning the whole Church, the Body of Christ, and the fact that in our local congregation we have the joyful sense of belonging to an amazing fellowship throughout the world. Every believing church has a part with us and we a part with them.

Brethren, the Church must have the enabling and the power of the Holy Spirit and the glow of the Shekinah glory—God within us. For then, even lacking everything else, you still have a true church!

The barrel of meal wasted not

The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.

You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God’s grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack.