When I was a young minister, one of the “whiz kids” in my congregation created quite a challenge. Constantly. We became friends, and remain so today. Bright, but unmotivated, and “sweetly” rebellious, he simply did not like school. Frequently, he’d cut classes and show up at my study, sheepishly challenging me to a game of ping pong or a game of chess. Usually, we’d play one game or the other, while I scolded him gently and beat him mercilessly. Then I’d drive him back to school. It was our “secret.” It was good for his backside that his Mom and Dad never knew.
Alan got through that period, married a beautiful, talented young lady who was the daughter of my Assistant Pastor when they met. Alan and Melody grew together, answered God’s call to serve, and have successfully pastored several very large churches. Growing a bit disenchanted with the role of pastor in a ‘megachurch,’ he’s “planting” a work now near the Triad Regional Airport (www.thejourneychurch.org). Knowing he was always very thoughtful, and feeling he would make an honest assessment of my efforts, I invited him to visit my “blog.” He responded personally with a challenge to face him (if I dare) across a chess board soon. Remember, I taught the “kid” to play. Then, perhaps very unwisely, he sought to intimidate his instructor saying I’ll be “dead meat” when we meet! Can you imagine! oooooo. woooooo! I am SO SCARED! THEN,
HE POSTED THE COMMENTS THAT FOLLOW:
“Just a thought! Didn’t Satan ‘desire’ to destroy Christ? In the Old Testament, Satan ‘desired’ Job. No doubt, when we are ‘desired’ by Satan, we are in good company. I think what we do with it is the important thing. We are going to be ‘desired’ and ‘sifted’ by Satan. How we respond is critical. Bob Sorge said in Pain, Perplexity and Promotion, ‘God will allow his servants to walk through pain so they will be annointed to speak to those who suffer thus.’ Suffering, even at the hand of Satan, may indeed give you a platform for ministry. That’s why He prays that your ‘faith not fail.’ Just a thought!”
Rev. Alan Cox
That idea had never occurred to me. Do you see now why I encourage you to: READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELF? DO YOUR OWN THINKING. WHEN YOU DISCOVER SOMETHING OF VALUE, SHARE IT!
Another response which gave me “cause to pause” and feel perhaps God WAS leading me when I decided to undertake this project came from a young lady who was significantly involved in my return to Christ. She happens to be my favorite Nurse in the entire world! And she knows she is also “tied for top” as my all-time favorite daughter! And she prays for her dad and she THINKS!
“I THINK THE WEB PAGE IS LOOKING GREAT. I ALSO THINK YOU’VE GIVEN ME FOOD FOR THOUGHT. THIS SERIOUSLY GAVE ME CHILLS. THE COMPARISON TO A CHILDHOOD STORY BRINGS THIS TO A VERY ELEMENTARY LEVEL. IT PUTS THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE. TO THINK THE devil STALKS HIS PREY LIKE AN ANIMAL IS FRIGHTENING.”
I LOVE YOU DAD, KELLI
While I’ve been thinking about this conversation and what Jesus said, I realized that a contest was taking place. Satan “desires” us, but God does, too! And both want us for completely different reasons and use totally different approaches. Somewhere I read once (I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer) that “The only real freedom we have is the freedom to chose our bondage.” That’s worth further thought, I think!
Satan wants you for his own eternally evil purposes. He seduces sweetly, promising you freedom. But anyone who’s ever been duped by him will tell you he’s a liar. Falling for his promise of freedom results always in SLAVERY, and in the end, DEATH. On the other hand, God calls you to a life of service, surrendering your self-interest to His will and putting others before yourself. Jesus said, if you’re serious about His call you must “deny yourself.” “Take up your cross, daily. The apostle, Paul, as a result of following Christ. said: “I die daily.”
So, Here, and throughout Scripture, it seems a struggle is happening. The lines are clearly drawn. Both Satan and the Lord “desire” me. They’re deadlocked, and it’s up to me to break the “tie.”
It was at another “crossroads” where “General” Joshua said: “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”
It’s also your clear choice.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING. COME AGAIN. BRING YOUR FRIENDS. Next time we take the next phrase: “That he might sift you like wheat.” Look it over again. Think about it. Then we’ll talk about it. -dk