Devotions

Monthly Archives: October, 2017

Fallen – His End #2

Devils and Demons | The Bubble
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

The invention of the DVR has revolutionized how live sporting events are watched. Someone can miss looking at a game live, DVR it, and watch it later as if they did not miss anything. The trick to doing this is staying in what is called “The Bubble.” Staying in The Bubble means not finding out any details about a sporting event so that everything that happens in the game is a surprise. I will never forget the day when my dad mentioned the final score of a Michigan vs. Michigan State football game to a random guy standing next to us. The guy was in “The Bubble” and was furious when my dad told him the outcome of the game. If you have ever watched a recorded sporting event with already knowing your team wins, you know how different the experience is. When your team is losing for parts of it, there is no anxiety; you already know the outcome. In comparison, we are not in “the bubble” in our Christian life. We have the book of Revelation, and we know how the battle of Good vs. Evil ends. Look what Revelation 20 says about it:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).

These verses paint an incredible picture of what the final battle between God and Satan is going to look like. This fight ends with Satan being thrown into Hell (actually The Lake of Fire) to suffer for eternity, along with beasts and false prophets. The Christian life can be difficult, and the world can seem hopeless at times, but we can take solace in the fact that we know who ultimately wins. 

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

One day, literally every living thing is going to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. Christ will be seating on His throne and will rule forever. We have an incredible eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ to look forward to as believers. An eternity of being able to worship God through our every action, being sinless, and having every inch of us reflect the glory of God. If you find yourself discouraged, let this incredible reality be an encouragement. There will be a day when there is no more pain, sickness, or death. Christ will have perfected everything as He originally intended it to be in the Garden. Satan will try to defeat Christ, he will fail, and God will forever be glorified.

Fallen – His End #1

Devils and Demons | Satan’s End
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to Pastor Caleb

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  Revelation 12:7-9

“But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Revelation 12:12b

“…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Revelation 20:10

It is not a question or something that we can debate, we all know that one day we will leave this world. The problem in every mind is “where will we go?”.

The Bible is very clear in telling us that when our time on earth is done, we will continue to live forever. Whether we live forever in Heaven with God the Father or in Hell separated forever from God, is a decision we must make while we are here. Our days are short.  We must make a choice to choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior, so that we may join Him in Heaven forever. If we do not choose Jesus, then we have rejected Him, and the Bible says that the penalty is to be separated from God forever in Hell. We must make sure that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and secure our eternity in Heaven with God.

Satan, the angel called Lucifer, has waged war against God.

Satan knows the Bible, and he knows his days are short.

My brother-in-law works for the Oakland County sheriff’s department. I was thinking about situations that he has been in when a gunman is barricaded in a building. The outcome is inevitable. Either the gunman will surrender, be arrested, and go to jail, or at times when the situation escalates, and gunfire begins, the gunman’s great standoff very often ends in his death.  Yet, in his pride and anger, the gunman somehow convinces himself that he can control the situation and manipulate another outcome.

Satan knows the Bible very well. He quoted Scripture to Jesus when he tempted Him on the mountain. Somehow, in his pride and anger, he chooses to wage war against God and all of Heaven.  He must know that his fate has already been sealed and his final sentence is to be cast into the Lake of Fire, where there will be torment night and day forever.  Hell was created for Satan and his demons. Unfortunately, all of those who do not choose to have a personal relationship with Jesus will be there with them.

Satan knows the end is coming. We are on a timetable, too. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows the number of our days.  Our days were planned in advance for us before we were ever formed. Do not let your day slip by without choosing life, choosing Jesus. Do not fight the fight of pride and anger along with Satan. The Bible tells us that God wants to give us life, abundant life, not just now, but forever in Heaven with Him.   

We are created with free will. According to the Scriptures in Revelation 12, the angels must have been created with free will as well.  I try to imagine what it would have been like to have been set up as an angel, living in Heaven with God, surrounded by His beauty and holiness. There is no sin and life is perfect. My brain struggles to comprehend it. So, I definitely cannot imagine how Lucifer (aka Satan, the devil) could think that he could be as God.  I also cannot imagine, knowing that our end is inevitable, Heaven or Hell, why everyone would not choose Jesus.  Have you made your choice?

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 

Fallen – His Preachers #6

Devils and Demons | Falling Star Wars
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved reading and watching movies about mythical worlds. Whether it be: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, or Wizard of OZ, I love being able to dive into these fun and imaginary worlds. Now, before I get started, know that I do not condone or support in magic or witchcraft. That being said, one of the greatest antagonists I have ever seen was Voldemort from Harry Potter. As the story unfolds, Voldemort recruits a group of followers called the Death Eaters. These Death Eaters continually attack and plot against Harry and his friends, doing all they can to stop the young wizards. Their goal is to recruit more followers to Voldemort’s cause of becoming the most powerful wizard of all time. 

In 2 Peter 2:1-3, Peter writes, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” Peter lays it all out for us when he writes here about the reality of the false teachers and prophets that were coming out of the woodwork. Their goal is simple, to give false testimony and preach false teachings that contradict Christ; or as Peter writes the Master.

The Death Eaters gave their allegiance to Voldemort and his mission. They travel all over the world trying to destroy innocent wizards and trying to convince the people that Voldemort is the one whom they need to follow. Likewise, Satan has recruited hundreds of false teachers and preachers to aid him in his mission of devouring and destroying the lives of everyone in this world. These preachers will not stop at anything and will take on any means necessary to carry out Satan’s mission. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we must be watchful of these false preachers. In 1 John 4:1-3, John writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

So, this is the challenge I want to leave with you this week; be careful. John told us how we must test the false teachers and preachers that are already in this world. He did not say they might come, or they were eventually on their way, but that they are already here. Just as the Death Eaters were walking amongst the people, disguised in the schools, and attacking Harry and his friends; so do these false preachers walk amongst us. They are in the workplace, the schools, on TV, they write books, and even preach in the church, with the mission to deceive as many from the cause of Christ as they can. So, be careful and watchful for these false preachers, because they are very real and they will do whatever it takes to sway the world from Christ.

Fallen – His Preachers #5

Devils and Demons | False Teachers
Roger Allen | Facilities Director

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

In the last few years, a couple of high-profile pastors have been forced to leave the ministries they started. Whether they stepped down or were removed, there is one thing that resonates, that sadly their fall took many unsuspecting people with them. This did not happen overnight. According to the Bible, they had disqualified themselves long before it was played out in public. They were consumed with themselves and deliberately blurred the lines between biblical truths and falsehoods. Something new, exciting, and different can divert our attention from the truth. Someone who has been given the gift of speech can lead us in a direction that has dire consequences. The sheep are scattered.  Why were the warning signs ignored?  The Bible tells us that even the elect can be fooled. Like a cat to a laser light, we love our ears tickled. Matthew 24:24 says, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible even the elect.” Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing!

Did they lose sight of their pastoral responsibilities? Were they diligent with their heart? Did they give into a culture that thought unpopular biblical principles were obsolete or were they deceived? One thing for sure, with so much at stake we should be diligent in our pursuit of the Word. Jesus has given us the Bible as our litmus test to weigh the measure of the leader under whom we sit. We have a responsibility to discern what is right and honorable from that, which is evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 adds, “But test everything; hold fast what is good.”

Fallen – His Preachers #4

Devils and Demons | Hole in Won
Josh Lahring | Production Director

I have never been one to play any sports, but over the past year I have taken up golf.  I do not know much about it other than the goal is to try and get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  I know there are a ton of rules, but I have no idea what they are. Someone could tell me anything about the rules, and I would probably believe them.  I have never taken any time to read or learn anything about the sport.

In many ways, as Christians, we do the same thing.  We just try to ‘play the game.’  We do not take the time to know our book, the Bible.  We just listen to whoever sounds good to us.  This is a danger, and it can be easy to fall into false teachings.

2 Timothy 4:3-5 warns and challenges us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

For many people, they just want to hear a comforting motivational speech.  They want to hear how good they are, that God loves them and that He is going to bless them.  They do not want the truth.  There ears ‘itch’ for someone to make them feel good.

The Bible should not be just a rule book to us; it is our way to know God and let Him speak truth into our lives.  He loves us and has a plan for our lives.  It might challenge us, convict us, and even push us out of our comfort zone.  Jesus was radical in His teaching.  Unfortunately, to many the things that they heard did not sound right to them.  They looked for someone who might sound really good to them.

Paul writes in Acts 17:11, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”  The Bereans listened to Paul and stilled re-examined the Bible to make sure he was telling the truth.  They trusted God’s Word and evaluated everyone else based on that.

If we do not know the Word of God, we will not know whether what we are hearing is truth our not. 

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