Monday, November 30, 2015

Dec 1 - Matthew 6:27

Can all your worries add

a single moment to your life?

Matthew 6:27


In one of the first devotionals that I ever remember reading, the writer talked about “working the night shift.”


He wasn’t “working” a job. He was talking about staying awake half the night … worrying.


And he called his worry “sin.”


“How arrogant am I,” he said, “to think that I can’t close my eyes for a few hours and trust the creator of the universe to carry a few burdens.


“Sleep,” he said, “is faith. It is trust.” It is giving over our … well, let’s call it what it is … “control” to the Good Shepherd who says, “Come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11).


Control is our greatest idol. Worry is a lack of … wait … I know that we all worry, even many of the most faithful among us!!! For some, it’s a temperament thing. We’re simply anxious. Sorry! (And generally, we don’t like it!)


We know that if God created the universe and holds the world (and its events) in his hands, it’s a bit of a failure of faith to not trust God to carry the weight of our problems for those eight hours as we sleep.


We know that.


We know that our worries can’t add a single moment to our lives.


Yet we still worry.


If you have a nervous personality, I’m not calling you more or less of a sinner than all of us already are. We all sin. And we all fall short. This is just one of the hundreds ways that we create distance between us and God.


So let me redeem this. Let me turn worry into a matter of faith in a good way! Every time you worry, make it an occasion for prayer! Worry is simply surfacing your desire to control. While prayer is a matter of trust as you place your life intentionally in God’s gracious hands.


All our weaknesses – and we all have different ones – are simply an opportunity to turn to the God who can do what we can’t do on our own. And in this case … it’s the ability to help us quit working the night shift and sleep better as we trust more.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who less and less

wants to add single moments to life

and more and more wants to

add multiple moments to

my time in eternity


Nov 30 - James 1:25-26

F R O M   P A S T O R   N A T E



if anyone thinks he is religious

and does not bridle his tongue

but deceives his heart,

this person’s religion is worthless.

Religion that is pure and

undefiled before God, the Father,

is this: to visit orphans and

widows in their affliction,

and to keep oneself unstained

from the world.”

James 1:25-26

Description of Graphic Below


Some people say that we in the church shouldn’t even talk about Christianity as a religion, it’s about relationship. 


Have you ever heard that?  Well, it’s certainly true that Christianity without a relationship with Christ is not saving faith.  However James clearly tells us that there is religion that is pure and undefiled before God. 


We’re supposed to have religion!  It just needs to not be a worthless kind of religion! Our greatest gift from God is a restored relationship with him through faith in Christ and his sacrifice. 


So what’s the point of religion?  It’s the method by which we improve that relationship. 


When we bridle our tongue and repent of what we ought not do, we chip away at the sin that separates us from God.  Even as saved believers in Christ, our sin affects how close we are to God in our relationship.  Religion is the how-to of worshiping God and drawing close to him, so that we can know him well! 


This week, remember to take advantage of the method God has given you to work alongside the Holy Spirit in cleansing your heart.  The reward is God drawing near to you!


Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts (James 4:8)


From a sinner who wants to

get as close to God as he can,

Pastor Nate


This diagram starts with a heart.


All of the experiences of our life pours into our heart – the good and the bad, the light and the dark. And life (and death) flows out of our heart.


Even for well-intentioned people, good and evil flow out of our hearts and out of our mouths.


·        Good words tend to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. See the top right corner of the diagram. Good words produce salt and light … and light loops around pour more light back into the heart.


·        However, unkind thoughts and words of death present us with a choice. (See the diamond-shaped flow-diverter in the bottom right corner.)

o   If we choose to bridle our tongue, we purposefully funnel the evil into a process of repentance and restoration. We, indeed, begin to turn the darkness within us into light.

o   If we however do not bridle our tongues (nor our heart), if we indeed say “no” to God, darkness backflows into our hearts and becomes a different kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.


As it says in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nov 25 - Matthew 6:25,26

Jesus said,

Do not worry about your life …

Is not life more than food,

and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25-26


Thousands of years ago, God provide! On the top of Mount Moriah, he Lord gave Abraham a ram/a lamb to serve as a substitutionary sacrifice for Isaac. That was yesterday’s story. We said that Abraham renamed this spot Jehovah-Jireh, which means, “God provides.”


But this was not the final time this Mount would play a significant role in Israel’s history.


About a thousand years later, through King David (and through God’s direction, of course) God's people would claim Mount of Moriah as the city of God. Jerusalem! And on this precise spot, God’s people through King Solomon would build the Temple.


So think of the significance … On the exact same spot where God provided a substitutionary sacrifice for Isaac (a lamb/ram), the people of God, from the time of Solomon and for the next thousand years, would bring daily sacrifices of lambs (and oxen and doves). This was God’s command. This was God’s provision. So that God’s people would know the literal cost of sin, God granted Old Testament forgiveness through the substitutionary sacrifice of … a lamb.


Then, another thousand years later, the chief priest and elders plotted from this same Temple Mount to put Jesus-the-Son-of-God to death. The first time John the Baptist met Jesus, he called him … the Lamb of God. And again, God used a substitutionary sacrifice – this time, of his Son – to eternally effect the forgiveness of sins.


In Matthew 6, Jesus acknowledges a very real human anxiety. How will we provide food for our families? Money and finances are a first and obvious human concern in the passage we’ve been studying for three days from Matthew 6.


But then Jesus points to a more transcendent point. But, he says, “isn’t life about more than food, and … clothing,” … and money … and things of this earth. Jesus is pointing us beyond this world. He’s pointing us to heaven. When we worry about money, we are pointing down and wondering how we will provide for our family’s wants and needs. Jesus wants us to look up! He invites us to depend on Jehovah-Jireh to provide us ultimately with food and clothing … and so much more!


God does provide … in earthly terms. There is and will be enough food in this world to go around. (The problem: Humans are greedy and gluttonous. We don’t always share. If we all just trusted in God, part of Jesus’ Sermon on Mount point, we wouldn’t have to worry.)


But our life on this earth is short!


So why, really, are we focused here. On this Mount of Moriah, God provided a substitutionary sacrifice … for the forgiveness of sins. In the shadow of the Temple, Jesus paid the price for our sin and provided an opening to the door to heaven … where there is no hunger and worry. And the quicker we embrace this Kingdom perspective, the sooner we quit worrying so much about earthly things!


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who wonders

if we ought to have lamb

for Thanksgiving

(Hmm. Does lamb have tryptophan?

Then maybe I can stay awake

for Black Friday madness!

Except isn’t it strange that

on Thursday, we give thanks

for what we do have,

while on Friday we rush out

to buy more stuff?

I wonder how this fits with

Jesus’ words in Matthew 6?)




Monday, November 23, 2015

Nov 24 - Matthew 6:25

Jesus said

Do not worry about your life ...

Is not life more than food, and

the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25

Yesterday, we introduced the concept of Jehovah-Jireh (literally God-our-Provider). The theme was Jesus' call to "not worry about ... what [we] will eat or what [we] will drink, or what [we] will wear" ... or rent payments ... or finances in general. Why? Because if God provides for "the birds of the air [who] neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them," won't God provide for you who are "of more value than they?"

That was yesterday's point -- simply put: Trust in God ... rather than money or the things of this earth

"And yet," I was beginning to say, "Jesus makes a deeper, more transcendent point for those who have quit worrying about temporary earthly things and can attend to God's more eternal plan. And it starts with these words from Jesus: Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

What is the "more than" that Jesus is talking about? In these words we find the key to God's transcendent provision. 

Let's start with this: God is Jehovah-Jireh, Our Provider. Do you know where this name for God comes from? In Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him there. 

Whoa. Sounds harsh, right? Actually, it was normal. All the other ancient "gods" demanded human sacrifice. (And let’s be clear: Any power-or-"god"-that-is-not-GOD is Satan. And Satan did then and does now still "inspire" human sacrifice.)

So, while this was obviously a horrifically sad request, it probably wasn't utterly shocking to Abraham. But this wasn't about human sacrifice. This was about Abraham and his descendants needing to know the God-Jehovah could be trusted. That the true-GOD-who-was-not-"god" would truly and utterly and absolutely and eternally provide!

Abraham trusted. That was the test. Abraham went to the place that God showed him -- Mt. Moriah -- and just as this grieving father drew his knife, the angel of the Lord pointed Abraham to God's richer provision -- a substitutionary sacrifice, a ram, a lamb. 

They named the place: Jehovah-Jireh -- God Provides. 

But that is not the end of the story for that place in scripture! And here's where we begin to unravel Jesus' more transcendent point. But let’s stop here for today, and let me leave you with this question:

      Where else does Mt. Moriah -- the place called "Jehovah Jireh" – appear in Scripture?!!

In Christ's Love,

a guy who is an NC State fan

... and we Wolfpackers wouldn't

mind any sacrificial losses for

teams mascotted by UNC's Rams!

(Is one allowed to trash talk

in a Christian devotional?!)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nov 23 - Matthew 6:25-26

Jesus said,

Therefore I tell you,

do not worry about your life,

what you will eat or what you will drink,

or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food,

and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air;

they neither sow nor reap

nor gather into barns, and yet

your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6:25-26

Do you know what Jehovah-Jireh means?

We sing it in a song that slurs into a rhyme: "Jehovah-Jireh, my provideh." Literally, it is "God-our-provider."

In our world today, we look at money (and the jobs or governments who provide our money) as our providers. "Let's be realistic," we say, "we need money to survive, right?" And if we have more month than money, we worry about what we will eat and what we will drink and what we will wear. We worry, indeed, about how we will pay the rent. 

I am not denying these things. Three days ago, I personally packed 2500 or 10000 meals to send to places where hunger is more than a worry. It is a daily battle (and an utter desperation when it involves your kids). 

Jesus does not deny this. (Indeed, our Savior spends a lot of time -- as does all of scripture -- imploring humanity to break the cycle of sin and share with the poor ... trusting that even in sharing there will be enough ... because God truly is our provideh.)

Yet as important as are food and generosity and worrilessness and trust-in-the-God who-provides-generously-for-even-the-birds-of-the-air, Jesus sneaks in an even more transcendent point when he asks this question: "Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

Tomorrow we'll discuss this deeper point. For today, we'll settle on these three questions to ponder ...


·         If God is the true, generous, and gracious provider, why do I keep worrying about money, food, and a variety of things? 


·         If I currently have enough financial blessing to not be worrying too much daily, what is my personal call to generosity?


·         And finally, I've left a hint for tomorrow: What does God provide more transcendently than money, food, and the things we otherwise worry about?

In Christ's Love,

a guy who tries to think

more about sharing what I do have

than I worrying about what I don't have


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Nov 21-22 - Matthew 6:24

Jesus said,

No one can serve two masters;

for a slave will either hate the one

and love the other, or be devoted

to the one and despise the other.

You cannot serve God and wealth.

Matthew 6:24

What does your eye focus on and desire?

That was our yesterday's theme as we looked at Jesus' preceding verse in the Sermon on the Mount.

It's today's theme too, as Jesus' thought progresses.

What does your eye focus on? What does your heart desire? Is it God (and the things of heaven) or money (and more accurately the things of earth)?

In other words, are you looking up or down?

In our current world, money is a necessity. It's how we put a roof over our head and food on our table. Americans are absolutely rich according to world standards and historical standards. But I'll bet there doesn't seem like enough money to go around, does there?

When my first son, Paul, went off to college, it seemed like most all of the parents (our peers), were talking about paying for their kids college. It was the American middle-class dream.

Then the economy crashed.

By the time our son Jay went to college, it seemed like all of our peers were talking about loans.

Whether it's cars or houses or college tuition or Christmas presents, debt (rather than giving or savings) is the new upside-down way that the American middle class tries to maintain our sense of lifestyle entitlement. And if we're honest, most of us are mortgaging our future to finance today's short-term desires.

In the rush to fund today's "needs" and the anxiety over tomorrow's inevitable short-falls, we keep looking down rather than up. Jesus says, "no one can serve two masters."

So how do you get off the treadmill? (You know the answer, but until you and I are ready to change, we're chained to this world and we lack the peace and joy of the kingdom.)

In Christ's Love,

a punk rocker

(at least that's what

all these chains

make me look like)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nov 20 - Matthew 6:22-23

Jesus said,

The eye is the lamp of the body.

So, if your eye is healthy, your

whole body will be full of light;

but if your eye is unhealthy, your

whole body will be full of darkness.

If then the light in you is darkness,

how great is the darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23

Our eyes are figuratively -- if not literally -- the window (the entry point) to the soul. What we see -- and likewise, what we hear -- shapes our heart and mind.

And it's what we stare at (and dwell upon) that truly defines who we are. If we focus on good things, the eye is the lamp to the whole body. But what happens when we focus on dark things? We say that the TV show and lyrics don't shape us, but they do. Like the old adage, "you are what you eat," a diet of questionable content creates a gradually murkier heart and countenance.

The context for this passage is ... financial. In the verse just before, Jesus said, "where your treasure is, there your heart is also." Treasure reflects our priorities and desires. It's a measure of what we focus on. And our focus progresses in this way -- it goes from our eyes ... to our minds ... to our hearts.

When we focus on light, our life grows progressively good. When we focus on darkness and compromise, that light is progressively extinguished (even if it's subtle at first).

In Christ's Love,

a guy who just had

his annual eye appointment;

Dr. Mauney dilated my eyes

and I could see more light.

(Lord, dilate my eyes, and

help me see the light!)

You are Invited: Jay's Wedding, Nov 28

S p I r I t   o f   J o y   F a m I l y



Mary Louise and I invite you to

Jay & Emelie’s Wedding

3pm, Saturday, Nov 28

at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

1001 Queens Road, Charlotte.


Come do what Spirit of Joy does best: Worship!

It will be a full wonderful worship service!

It will be military with uniforms and a sword arch.

There will be hymns and bagpipes and ceremony.

And come early (2:30) for an organ prelude

(almost a recital) from my son Paul.


Note: Sorry, we can’t invite you all to the reception: 1) It’s a small reception venue. 2) The bride’s family is paying! And 3) it wouldn’t be fair to say we’re inviting all 700 of our church family members!!!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nov 19 - Matthew 6:21

Jesus said,

For where your treasure is,

there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

What do you spend your money on? What does your treasure prioritize?

Do you prioritize a big house? Here’s a funny thing that Mary Louise and I are learning: Kids eventually move out of those houses that were bigger for a larger-family season. How big of a house do you really need now? Now think about it ... according to Jesus, what does this say about your heart?

Do you prioritize the cars you drive? Yesterday, I talked about the deceptive lure of "the new car smell." It wears off. But then what? Does that create a new craving within you? Indeed, what does Jesus say this says about your heart?

Do you prioritize big TVs, expensive cable packages, fast gaming computers, $10 movie tickets, luxurious vacations, etc.? Indeed, what does our culture's constant need to be entertained say about where our hearts may be?

Let me ask you a few (hard) questions:

·       How much do you spend on name brands? What might this say about your heart?

·       How much do you spend on eating out each month? What does this say about your busyness, the expense of convenience, and perhaps the priorities of your heart?

·       Are there any hobbies or addictions (or anything else good or bad) that is eating up your budget? What might this say about the priorities of your heart?

·       How much (credit card) debt are you racking up? What does this say about wisdom and priority?

·       How much do you put into savings? What might this say about your heart?

·       How much do you give to church and other charitable endeavors? What might this say about your heart?

Don't get me wrong. God (nor I) want to be a killjoy. Scripture never talks about money as a bad thing! (It’s not money, but the love of money, that’s the root of all kinds of evil – 1 Timothy 6:10.) We can have fun in life! We hopefully have hobbies. Vacations can be a memory-making blessing. But we must live wisely within our means … and not be envious of what others have.

And most of all we must constantly realize that how we spend our money reveals our true priorities. Are we a) self-focused, b) generous, c) kingdom-focused, d) wise, and/or e) undisciplined?

As Jesus says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

In Christ's Love,

a guy who must need a bypass

(my heart often needs a

spiritual tune-up)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nov 18 - Matthew 6:19-20

Jesus said,

Do not store up for yourselves

treasures on earth, where

moth and rust consume and

where thieves break in and steal;

but store up for yourselves

treasures in heaven, where

neither moth nor rust consumes

and where thieves do not

break in and steal.

Matthew 6:19-20

We live in a culture that chases happiness. And in America, it is "things" that too often make us happy.

For example, I want a new car. I've had my current on for years. The mileage is ticking up. Little problems are creeping in. And it's getting more and more and more and more and more parking lot dings.

Furthermore, it's not practical. We have an old pop-up camper that we can't tow anymore because one of the kids totaled our old beater pickup.

So I want a new vehicle -- a truck with a hitch.

And I want -- get this -- that new car smell!

But here's what I also know: When I look for earthly things to make me happy, they are always temporary. The new car smell wears off. And I have to keep purchasing more and more to make me happy.

And that shapes my heart. It makes me focus on the things of this earth. And they're all temporary. If moth and rust don't consume them, moth and rust will consume me.

How many 94-year-olds have I visited in nursing homes? All their possessions have been whittled down to what will fit in two dressers drawers. And if they've focused on the things of this earth, they are usually very bitter – because they have few things to make them happy anymore.

But if they've focused on relationships -- including and especially on their relationship with God -- they're not truly alone, even though they're in a temporarily isolated place.

In Christ's Love,

a guy who would like a small truck

and quite frankly, I could easily afford it.

For what we give to charitable causes,

Mary Louise and I could both have

very new and very nice cars,

but we choose to give generously

… to helping kids learn Bible verses ...

and packing 10,000 meals

to be shipped overseas ...

and turning on the lights for AA

to keep one more person

sober another week.

That's WAY better than waiting for

new car smells to growing stale and

worrying about the inevitable dings.

(P.S. Because of these blessings,

I am way richer than any car

could ever make me look!)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nov 17 - Matthew 6:16-18

And whenever you fast,

do not look dismal,

like the hypocrites,

for they disfigure their faces

so as to show others

that they are fasting.

Truly I tell you, they have

received their reward.

But when you fast,

put oil on your head and

wash your face,

so that your fasting

may be seen not by others

but by your Father

who is in secret; and

your Father who sees in secret

will reward you.

Matthew 6:16-18

What is fasting?

It is purposefully doing without something ... for a heavenly purpose. 

Abstaining from food is clearly the most common form of fasting in the Bible. 

What fasting does is surface our physical hungers. We humans are certainly driven by physical desires. Some physical motivations are primarily a form of reflex -- for example, if a lion jumps in front of us on a path, our response will likely be fight or flight. It's virtually automatic. We scream (and run) or spring (into action).

So what happens if a man sees a cookie? If he's like me, a desire arises within him. (Is eating the chocolate chip confection a reflex?) 

How about this one ... if a man sees a naked female form, does a different but potent desire arise reflexively within him?

In many ways those "hungers" -- physical hunger and lust -- stem from a moment of instantaneous reflex. But what we do with those desires is an intentional choice. Fasting trains us to control our desires ... and thereby allows us to choose a deeper, more purposeful life. 

By fasting from food, I begin to understand the force of physical desire on my life. I see what really controls me. I see the effect that "withdrawal" has upon me. Is it impatience? Anger? Depression? Or is it the cropping up of a different bad habit or longing? Fasting can lay me bare and reveal who I am. 

It's humbling. But when we God into this humbling hungering, we begin to see God's love and provision. It's bigger than the hunger. It's bigger than the pain. Indeed, when I realize how weak I am (and often grouchy and ugly about it) -- and when I realize that God still loves me even at my ugliest -- then God's power begins to provide when my weakness can't. 

We will all face trials in our lives. Fasting is a voluntary trial. It reveals who we are in a humbling way. It reveals who God is in an empowering way. And most of all, it trains us to trust in God's provision in a safe environment, before real lions -- including lions like cancer -- jump out in front of us. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who shouldn't be

writing about fasting

a week before thanksgiving

(maybe the week after

New Years when we're

all ready to start our diets!)

Wait ... fasting isn't dieting!

The latter is physical.

The former is spiritual.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nov 16 - Ephesians 6:10-18

Jesus said,

Deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:13b


To protect their soldiers, the military graciously provides helmets and body armor.


So here’s the question: If a soldier is wise in battle does he wear the protection provided for him? (Of course.)


That’s how it works in our battle against generic evil and the literal evil one.


·         God’s part is to provide helmets and body armor.

·         Our part is to put on the whole armor that God provides!


You’re probably familiar with the Apostle’s Ephesian 6 admonition to put on all the forms of protection that God supplies, including the belt of truth (to help us stand tall), the breastplate of (to guard our hearts), the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation (to guard our thoughts), and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (our only offensive weapon to strike back.)


Since you are probably familiar with this, indeed, I want you to hear this in a different – but very powerful -- way. The Message paraphrase renders Ephesians 6 like this …


And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong.


So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.


This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.


Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.


Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.


In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.


Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.


Recommit yourself to putting on every piece of God’s armor.


In Christ’s Love,

a soldier who is

more like Achilles

(I leave parts of my heart

and mind exposed)


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nov 14-15 - Matthew 6:13b

Jesus said,

But rescue us

from the evil one

Matthew 6:13

Each week we pray in church, "deliver us from evil." Deliver us from what? From "generic evil"? ... or from a real, personal, living "evil one" which are the actual words that Jesus used.

Even non-believers believe in generic evil. (Read the headlines. People do horrific things. There’s lots of heinous stuff that goes on daily. It’s evil … generically so.)

But the Jesus and the New Testament don't talk about just generic evil. They talk about specific evil and scripture talks constantly about a literal evil one who is at the root of it.

The problem is that this is the most rejected of Christian Doctrines … even by many "good Christians." (I know, because this described me for a lot of years.) I could believe in a good God. But it seemed like superstition to believe in a bad devil. (And some overly dramatically Christians didn't help me along, talking breathlessly about how demons were behind every flat tire and, apparently, behind every bush.)

But then I read one of the Gospels straight through. (It happened to be Mark.)

And guess what? I found a battle on every page.

·       Jesus did battle with Satan himself in the wilderness.

·       Jesus did battle with literal demons, casting them out … just about every time people came to him for healing.

·       Jesus regularly talked (and always acted like) there was a specific battle, not a generic darkness.

So suddenly, I had a choice. I could believe Jesus ... or I could believe me (and the pop-psychology of our era that writes evil off as superstition).

Now, I must tell you … I definitely don't see devils behind bushes if at all! Rarely if ever does "the devil make me do it" -- whatever it is. 99.987% of the time, my own sinful heart chooses my own multitudes of sin.

As a pastor, I can say I've encountered only one person who was definitively possessed.

But that's Satan's way of dealing with the Western world. A million shades of gray, leading us to a million little compromises, is just as effective in pulling us from God. But if you want to hear of an American encounter with real evil, ask most missionaries! Missionaries who serve in other cultures will tell you stories that will make your hair stand up! There Satan is not bothering with shade of darkness. There it's black and white, good vs. evil with no shades of gray. It's Christ-and-light or voodoo-and-darkness. And each side has power (or forms of “power”) … yet only one side sets people free.

      Is denial – perhaps because of Satan’s shades of gray and compromise – your area of deception? Indeed, what has kept you from acknowledging real darkness. Ask God to 1) open your eyes, and 2) clothe you with armor.

In Christ's Love,

a guy who wants to wear

the real armor of God

instead of generic armor

of personal opinion

when the battle is real