The Snake and the Tricycle


I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. Luke 1:3

For years, I had retold a story from a time in Ghana when my brother and I were toddlers. As I recalled it, he had parked our old iron tricycle on a small cobra. The trike was too heavy for the snake, which remained trapped under the front wheel.

But after my aunt and my mother had both passed away, we discovered a long-lost letter from Mom recounting the incident. In reality, I had parked the tricycle on the snake, and my brother had run to tell Mom. Her eyewitness account, written close to the actual event, revealed the reality.

Jesus came to give us peace with God.

The historian Luke understood the importance of accurate records. He explained how the story of Jesus was “handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:2). “I too decided to write an orderly account for you,” he wrote to Theophilus, “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (vv. 3–4). The result was the gospel of Luke. Then, in his introduction to the book of Acts, Luke said of Jesus, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive” (Acts 1:3).

Our faith is not based on hearsay or wishful thinking. It is rooted in the well-documented life of Jesus, who came to give us peace with God. His Story stands.

Father, our hope is in Your Son. Thank You for preserving His story for us in the pages of the Bible.

Genuine faith is rooted in reason.

By Tim Gustafson 

INSIGHT:Luke was a highly educated physician in the Greek academic tradition. As a result, his word choice and grammar are eloquent and descriptive. Today’s reading is an introduction to his narrative of the life of Christ. We can be assured that what Luke writes is not based on hearsay but is deeply rooted in a well-documented eyewitnessrecord of Jesus as the Christ. Luke acknowledges that other trustworthy biographies of Jesus of Nazareth had preceded his account. But he felt compelled to write his own eyewitness narrative. It’s interesting to note that the book is addressed to Theophilus, which in Greek means “lover of God.” Most believe Theophilus was an actual person, but others say this name is a term that could refer to any of us who are lovers of God and yearn to learn more about His dear Son.

How does knowing eyewitnesses wrote the Gospel accounts of Christ encourage you in your spiritual life?

For further study read Beyond Reasonable Doubt at Dennis Fisher

The Truth Can Set You Free

Ephesians 1:3-6

All of us have probably enjoyed times when we were selected for some honor or given an assignment that we considered special. Though such moments pale in comparison, they can remind us of the deep joy that comes from knowing we belong to Jesus forever.

How sublime it is to realize that before the foundation of the world, God chose us to be part of His family! This choice—which means we were divinely selected to become conformed to the likeness of Christ—undergirds and defines our identity as God’s children. It stands as a great rock that stabilizes us when fears multiply and anxieties attack.

In spite of this, however, many believers become unsettled when they think about their own sin nature. Knowing God will condemn all sin, they become fearful that the condemnation of the wicked might fall on them. At the same time, Satan is forever whispering in our ears accusatory remarks about our behavior. He preys on our feelings of worthlessness. When this happens, we need to remind him—and ourselves—of God’s Word, which assures us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).

Remember that the Father has marked you as one of His own. You are somebody very special to God. In fact, you are so dear to Him that He sent His only begotten Son into a sinful world to die on the cross so that you and I could be near to Him (John 3:16). This is pure, unadulterated grace, for which we should praise Him unceasingly.


“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

This is the first mention of the great doctrine of justification in the Bible—that is, being seen as “righteous” by God. The same Hebrew word is translated “just” in Genesis 6:9: “Noah was a just man.” The reason Noah was seen as righteous and therefore as just, or justified before God, was that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). This is the first mention of “grace” in the Bible. The first mention of “faith” or “belief” is also associated with justification: “[Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

Thus, in the Old Testament and certainly in the New, justification is by grace through faith. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” and also “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24; 5:1).

Justification—that is, being seen and proclaimed as perfectly righteous, even in spite of past sins—must of course be authorized by God the Creator. “It is God that justifieth” (Romans 8:33). That God can indeed be both “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26) is based entirely on the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ, who conquered death. “Being now justified by his blood,” the Lord Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 5:9; 4:25).

Now, although we are freely justified by grace through faith, such justification inevitably generates good works also, for “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). HMM

“I will praise Thee for ever.”

Psalm 52

David, at this time, wrote a psalm, of which the title is—To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.

Psalm 52:1

Doeg had small room for boasting in having slaughtered a band of defenceless persons who never drew a sword. He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice. If David here refers to Saul, the words are equally forcible; how could a man who had in former days been valiant in arms, now rejoice in the murder of the helpless?

Psalm 52:1

If priests be slain, their Master lives. God’s cause lives on, though good men be hunted down.

Psalm 52:2

Eastern barbers use the razor so well that a man scarcely knows that his hair is shorn; and so with wily cunning, base men injure the servants of God. Doeg’s tongue with its soft but sharp speeches, cut off the priests of the Lord. May the Lord save us from slanderers and backbiters.

Psalm 52:3

See how low a man can descend so as not only to utter falsehoods, but to love them better than truth. It is a mark of the foulest character when a man actually prefers dishonesty to justice.

Psalm 52:4

Some evil persons have a taste for calumny, they are never better pleased than when they can injure those who are better than themselves. Shun them. Above all never fall into their sin.

Psalm 52:5

God will one day deal out justice to slanderers, he will pull them up like ill-weeds, and cast them into the fire. A terrible portion awaits all liars. They will not let others live, and God will not let them live.

Psalm 52:7

Good men will look down upon plotters and slanderers with supreme contempt, and the Lord will give them good cause to do so, for they shall be taken in their own net, their subtlety shall slay them. Persecutors may be rich, but their wealth shall not save them; justice has ways and methods for bringing the great ones of the earth to its bar. God cannot be bribed; he will avenge his own calumniated servants, and that right early. Therefore let us patiently endure all manner of slander for Christ’s sake.

Psalm 52:8

Though much abused and hated, David was not plucked up nor destroyed as his enemies would be. He was one of the divine family, and found himself in the household of God everywhere; and yet more, he found himself fresh and vigorous at all seasons like an evergreen olive. If Nob was, as some think, situated upon the Mount of Olives, we can understand why the Psalmist was led to adopt this simile. Though Nob was gone the olives stood, and David also lived on despite Saul’s enmity. The psalmist’s faith, like an olive, was abiding and perpetual, its leaf did not wither, neither did its fruit fail. It renewed its youth from day to day, and possessed a sacred immortality. He knew God’s mercy to be eternal, and in that he trusted. What a rock to build on! What a fortress to fly to!

Psalm 52:9

David’s thankfulness was continual, like the mercy in which he rejoiced; he looked upon God’s punishment of his foes as already accomplished—“thou hast done it,” and therefore he waited patiently till the bright days should dawn for himself and the persecuted church. He felt, as we ought to feel, that quietly to tarry the Lord’s leisure, is good for all those who would be accounted the Lord’s saints, and is also one of the best means of doing good to our fellow-believers, who from our patient waiting will learn how to possess their souls in peace.


The Devil’s Destination

Ephesians 6:11

What I am about to tell you is so simple—yet it is also life-changing and revolutionary I want to help you understand how the devil tries to work in the realm of the mind and emotions. If you grab hold of these truths, they can set you free from the devil’s lies forever!

In Ephesians 6:11, Paul explicitly tells us how the devil operates. He writes, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” I want you to especially pay attention to the phrase “the wiles of the devil.”

The word “wiles” is taken from the word methodos. It is a compound of the words meta and odos. The word meta is a preposition that means with. The word odos is the word for a road. When the words meta and odos are compounded into one word, as in Ephesians 6:11, it literally means with a road. You’ve probably already figured out that the word methodos is where we get the word “method.” Some translations actually translate the word methodos as the word “method,” but the word “method” is not strong enough to convey the full meaning of the Greek word methodos.

Let me make the meaning of this word real simple for you. As I said, the most literal meaning of the word “wiles” (methodos) is with a road. I realize this seems strange, but when you connect this to the devil as Paul does in Ephesians 6:11, it means that the devil is like a traveler who travels on a road. He is headed in one direction and has one destination.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you’re going to take a trip, the logical thing for you to do is get a map and chart your journey to your destination. You don’t take just any road; rather, you strategize to find the best and fastest way to get where you’re going. Right? It would be pretty foolish for you to jump in the car and take off with no sense of direction. Taking any road could lead you in a multitude of wrong directions. It’s just better to use a map and stay on track. Correct?

This is precisely the idea of the word methodos. The devil isn’t wasting any time. He knows where he wants to go. He has chosen his destination. Rather than mess around on a bunch of different routes, he has mastered the best way to get where he wants to go. He is not a mindless traveler. And when he arrives at his place of destination, he has one main goal he wants to accomplish: He wants to wreak havoc and bring destruction. Therefore, we must ask: “Where is the devil traveling, and what does he want to do once he gets there?”

Paul answers the question about Satan’s destination in Second Corinthians 2:11 when he says, “… we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] devices.” Pay careful attention to the word “devices” in this verse. It is the Greek word noemata, a form of the word nous. The Greek word nous describes the mind or the intellect. Thus, in one sense Paul is saying, “… we are not ignorant of the way Satan schemes and thinks.”

But the word noemata also denotes Satan’s insidious plot to fill the human mind with confusion. There is no doubt that the mind is the arena where Satan feels most comfortable. He knows if he can access a person’s mind and emotions, he will very likely be able to ensnare that individual in a trap. One writer says that the word noemata not only depicts Satan’s scheming mind but also his crafty, subtle way of attacking and victimizing others’ minds.

I personally like this because it identifies the primary destination of the devil—to get into a person’s mind and fill it with lying emotions, false perceptions, and confusion. It was for this reason that Paul urged us, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The words “bringing into captivity” are from the Greek word aichmalotidzo, which pictured a soldier who has captured an enemy and now leads him into captivity with the point of a sharpened spear thrust into the flesh in his back. The captured enemy knows that if he tries to move or get away, the Roman soldier will shove that spear clear through his torso and kill him. Therefore, this captive doesn’t dare move but remains silent, submissive, and non-resistant.

However, when Paul uses the word aichmalotidzo in this verse, he writes in a tense that describes the continuous action of taking such an enemy captive. This is not a one-time affair; it is the lifelong occupation of this soldier. He constantly has a spear in his hand, and he is always pushing it against the flesh of an enemy’s backside as he leads him away to permanent captivity.

Because the devil loves to make a playground out of your mind and emotions, you must deal with him like a real enemy. Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, you must make a mental decision to seize every thought he tries to use to penetrate your mind and emotions. Rather than let those thoughts take you captive, you have to reach up and grab them and force them into submission! You must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!

But if you’re going to beat the devil at his game, you have to put all your energy into taking every thought captive. If you’re not really committed to seizing every thought the devil tries to inject into your mind and emotions, he’ll strike you again! So once you make the decision to do it, stick with it. It’s time for you to take charge of your thoughts and drive his lying insinuations right out of your brain!


Lord, I don’t want the devil to fill my mind with insinuations and lies. My mind belongs to You, and the devil has no right to flood me with false perceptions, vain imaginations, or lies about who I am or what I will never be. I refuse to let him operate in me any longer! You have provided me with the helmet of salvation, and by faith I put it on to protect my mind against the devil’s assaults. He can strike as hard as he wishes, but Your Spirit and Word protect me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! When the devil tries to invade my mind with lies, I capture those lies and drive them clear out of my brain! Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, I seize every thought that he tries to use to penetrate my mind and emotions. I grab each lie and force it into submission! Because I stand firm on the Word, the enemy’s lies are not able to exert any power against me.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Can you think of one area in your mind where Satan repeatedly tries to attack you? What is that area, and how long has he been attacking you in this area of your thought life? Has it gone on for a day, a week, a month, a year, or for many years?
  2. When you feel heavily assaulted in your mind and emotions and you need someone to pray with you, is there someone you know you can go to for prayer and support? If so, who is that person? If not, don’t you think it would encourage you to find a friend to whom you could talk and who could help you resist the lies of the devil?
  3. What is the most successful tactic you’ve learned to shut the devil up when he’s trying to roar loudly inside your head?

Rather than fall victim to the devil’s attacks, you must make a mental decision to seize every thought he tries to use to penetrate your mind and emotions. You have to reach up and grab those thoughts and force them into submission! You must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!


Three Godless Values That Confront You Daily

1. “Reason is superior to faith.”


That is, facts and faith inhabit two separate realms and must not be mixed. In this age of reason, most folks view God as irrelevant. Redundant. Therefore, Christianity is “severely questioned, contemptuously repudiated, or studiously ignored.”


Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28)


2. “Business practices are amoral. Value-free.


That is, pragmatic realism dictates the modus operandi. Just get the job done. Religious idealism has no place in the hard-nosed business world of Machiavellian reality.


They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31)


3. “We are emancipated, self-sufficient individuals who are free to do as we so choose.”


That is, democracy means I am owed individual freedoms as I understand them. Personal responsibility for my actions does not enter into the picture.


In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 17:6)


CONCLUSION: A cursory review of the 20th Century (Auschwitz, Hiroshima, etc.) makes it self-evident that this philosophy has led to a profound sense of isolation, “fear, [and] disenchantment… A feeling of abandonment, doubt, a sense of danger, alienation, and anxiety.”


The wicked man flees though no one pursuesThere they were, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread.” (Proverbs 28:1a; Psalm 53:5a)


CHALLENGE: That as Jesus’ disciple we take counsel of the Scriptural injunction, Be sure that no one leads you away with false and empty teaching that is only human wisdom, which comes from the ruling spirits of this world, and not from Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 – New Century Version.)



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