The damage of deception

Here are the slides from this morning > damage of deception

Satan wants to step into an incidence of sin and get you caught/stuck so he can do as much damage as he can.  The heart of everything he does is deception.  When you fail or someone sins against you, Satan will attempt to attach a message to that hurt to keep you bound in it a long time.  Once we latch onto it, a stronghold is in place.

Where does it start?

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie … furthermore since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind.”    Romans 1:25,28.

“Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say, you belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of liars.”  John 8:43-44

How do we turn it around?  

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) and Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.  (John 8:32)

The enemy is going to lie to you.  He’s lying to you right this very moment.  You have to know the Truth to combat the lies.  The Word is your greatest weapon in this war.

Deception was at the heart of the very first sin.  The serpent said to her “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree?” 

  1. Wages an attack on the mind. Brings confusion.
  2. Then once, confusion was in place, Satan flatly denies truth “You will surely not die…” he distorts.
  3. Substitutes his lie for God’s truth“you will become like God”

If you and I question God’s character i.e. “maybe God isn’t all that concerned about me” –> it leaves us vulnerable to questioning His word and if that’s the case –> Satan can easily insert his lies.  YOU have opened the door.

It begins in the battlefield of the mind and then he’ll go after your heart and finally, your soul.

There are four main categories of lies…

  1. About God. He isn’t good, He cannot be pleased.  A distant and uncaring being.  It leads you to a path of “why try?”  And yet, Psalm 139 tells us that God knew us in our mother’s womb and He knit us together – each of us uniquely crafted.
  1. Myself. “God can’t or won’t forgive my sin” – Guilt.  Satan wants to trap you there.  “I’m worthless” – created from lies spoken over us by people.  We bite and he piles on.  If I was just _____ I’d be OK”.  Satan tries to lock you onto that ____ as your idol i.e. that which will give you a sense of security and meaning and will make your life work.  It’s a lie.  You can get back all that money you lost or get that house or get that woman … it is still not going to fill your soul.  I can never really change” – we get stuck here and Satan wants you believing that this is how you’re always going to be – that there is no way out.
  1. Others.  “I can’t trust anyone” – his lies have a measure of truth – there is no human you can trust absolutely.  “All women are ___” – if you’re hurt, Satan wants to attach a message to the pain – an absolute you can declare.  “If my wife would only…” again, making an idol of that one quality you wish she had.  “If I say no, they won’t like me” – people pleasing to gain approval.  “If I tell anyone, I will be ruined” – Satan’s trick of isolating you to do life alone and bake in your own shame without others to call you out of it.  The truth is, you’re only as sick as your secrets.
  1. About the Christian life. “I don’t need anyone else but God” – no, you’re made for relationship/community.  “I know what God’s word says but my situation is unique” – usually occurs when you want to go against God’s word.  “If I could just ____, I’d feel more spiritual” – the trap of performance i.e. praying, memorizing scripture, mission trips.  It’s a lie that you can perform your way into God’s favor.

 How do we deal with this?

  1. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ“What is this message I’m hearing Father? Where did it come from?  What is its purpose?”
  2. Renounce the lie I’ve believed and claim the truth of God’s Word – To know truth, I need to know God’s Word. Fill your mind with it.  It is the greatest weapon you have yet most of us rarely study the Word.  We live in a media world – messages come at us constantly telling us what we should believe.  Know God’s Word so you can combat it.
  3. Draw on the power of community – you cannot do this by yourself. Community can show you your blind spots and help you see reality i.e. “that’s a lie, here is the truth”.  Community encourages you to hang on.
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Dan Allender on agreements…

Agreements and vows, saying, “This is how I will live given the harm I have suffered”, have been implanted in the heart.  That is where evil, in many ways, puts its energy and effort to keep bringing spiritual harm.

It’s not as simple as saying, “That was my sin to make this agreement/vow” and repent of it and then freedom will come.  That does not address the contempt that’s there or the shame.  It’s actually increasing it.

Someone prays for you to break this bondage and you so want this in your heart – the freedom – but what you also have is a litany of all of these things in your life … “If you only knew these places in my heart” – “If you only knew these things I have done” – “How could I ever really be forgiven?”

What happens when your heart has been annihilated is that these agreements come of “I’m such a fool” – “How could I have been so stupid?” – “There must be something wrong with me”  – “I must be really dark” – “ I must have actually wanted that”.

Then from that come the vows“I will never be that foolish again” – “No one will ever have that kind of access to my heart” – “I will never trust people” – “I will always look for the worst”.

We need to get to the “words beneath the water”.

In a River Runs Through It, Norman Mclean says, “Long ago, rain fell on mud and it became rock.  But even before that, beneath the rocks are God’s words.  They came first.  Listen”.

If we can get to the words beneath the water, then there’s such power because we find such compassion, we see more clearly and then we can say, “I don’t want evil to have this kind of access to my heart any more”.  I see.  I can see more clearly now.  I can see God more clearly now.

If the stories of your life – of loss, abandonment, abuse, insult, injury are not entered into, you can be assured evil will enter them with haunting accusations.  It has and it will continue to do so.

I can know “I am a child of God, loved by God, preserved, protected, redeemed” and you can tell yourself that a billion times and the weed just grows back stronger and stronger.  And you’re left wondering “Why is my prayer not working as it seems to do for so many other people?”

It is because you didn’t back to the story – the genesis of all this – and go back to the pain and invite God into it.  (end)

And let me interject here – I could have had immense pain as a boy from my family or father or brother or bullies at school and I could have walled that up.  “Yep that pain is there but that’s in the past” and it’s like I have placed this divider in my life.  There is all that which happened “years ago” and then there is life beyond that divider.  And my life can be this series of mistakes, setbacks, broken relationships, heartache and disappointment and I can pray those away but the pattern continues to reappear.  Why?  Because of two things.  First, evil. Evil knows where you are most vulnerable and he’s coming right at that spot – that place as a little boy where you were so deeply wounded.  And the weeds keep coming back for a second reason – because I have this divider there.  This line in the sand, if you will, where the things in my past “back then” are not entered into, not talked about.  “They’re in the past and they don’t matter.”  Oh yes they do, my friend.  They matter.  So read back up to where Allender says, “If the stories of your life – of loss, abandonment, abuse, insult, injury are not entered into, you can be assured evil will enter them with haunting accusations.”

If you’re not willing to “go there” and invite Father into the pain of the past, He cannot heal it and bring you freedom and you’re allowing the murderer/thief/liar to continue in destruction. Freedom is there for the taking – the invitation of restoration – “Anyone … in Christ … is a new creation; old things have passed away … all things have become new”.  2 Cor 5:17

When God speaks a word over your life, as far as He’s concerned it has already been accomplished; it is finished.  Now it’s your job to believe it, speak it, and walk in the reality of it each day.  You have a choice.  Who are you going to listen to?  The Father sits at the table He has prepared for you in the midst of your enemies.  Will you lock tight on Him or turn your attention to the voices whispering destruction in your ear?

Satan, be gone …

From John Piper …

When we arm ourselves with the thought that Christ suffered for us, we realize that we died with him.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).  When we die with him we cease to sin.

It’s just like Romans 6.  “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. . . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:6–7, 11).

When the temptations of Satan come (not “if” it comes) — to lust, to steal, to lie, to covet, to envy, to retaliate, to put down, to fear — arm yourself with this thought: When my Lord suffered and died to free me from sin, I died to sin!

When Satan says to you, Why deny yourself the pleasure of lust?  Why deal with the mess you could avoid by lying?  Why not go ahead and get that harmless luxury you covet?  Why not seek justice by returning the same hurt you received?

Answer him: The Son of God suffered to deliver me from sinning.  I cannot believe he suffered to make me miserable.  Therefore, what he died to purchase must be more wonderful than the pleasures of sin you’re offering.  Since I trust him, my susceptibility to your allurements has shriveled up and died.

Satan, be gone!  My mouth doesn’t drool any more when I walk by your candy store.

Dealing with the effects of suffering

Suffering – we hate it, but it is an inescapable part of this gift of life.  True, some suffer more deeply than others, but we will ALL experience suffering in some form or another…

Natural disasters.  Place, time, circumstances of one’s birth; where we live.  Economic difficulties.  Accidents.  Sickness, disease.  Death.

Suffering is a given for all who live in this world, even we who follow Jesus.   In fact, we may at times face even greater suffering BECAUSE of our faith.

Yes, God allows suffering in His world BUT . . . God never desires suffering to bring brokenness.  He is always present and always at work to redeem the impact of suffering in our lives.  Notice, first you suffer, then you’re broken and then… redemption!

Satan’s strategy is to get us stuck in one of two deceptive distortions:

I become consumed with myself.  I am not good.  I am not loved.  I don’t matter.  I become consumed with my fear, my pain, my shame, my grief.  I turn inward and isolate myself – from God and others.  Something is wrong with ME.

I become consumed with God as my adversary.  God is not good.  He is not loving.  He is not able.  He is absent.  He is not fair.  There is a progression in this from questions to accusations to judgment of Him. Something is wrong with GOD.

Job, a righteous man who loves God, goes through incredible suffering (at the hand of Satan).  He truly loses everyone, everything, even his own health.  Interestingly, God told Satan, “You can’t take his life”.  That’s a powerful truth in our lives – he may take all my stuff but he can never take my soul!  Insights from Job on dealing with suffering:

1. We live in a world at war.  Evil is real!  We have an enemy who is bent on destroying all that is good.

2. Both the righteous and the wicked will suffer.

3. There will be times we don’t understand why we are suffering.  God never actually explains to Job why he is suffering.

4. Theological answers don’t always help.  It’s a person’s heart that is largely under assault; not their head.  People just need others to be present, listening, caring.  They want to know they are not alone.

5. There is a bigger story than our suffering. God is always at work.  His timing may be very different from our expectations, but He is engaged.  Redemption is      His glory.  He sees where things are going; we only see where they are.

This is so encouraging for your soul…

So we’re not giving up.  How could we!  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.  These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.  There’s far more here than meets the eye.  The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.  But the things we can’t see now will last forever.    2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 MSG

6. Peace and healing come in our suffering when we “SEE” God like Job did  (42:1-5)

Lastly, the transformation of Job looked like this …

He moved from pride to humility.

From entitlement to “I deserve nothing”.

He went from talking about God to listening to Him.

From questioning God to trusting Him.

From accusing God to worshiping Him.

A triumphal warrior’s call

Subversive for the Savior
Devotional by John Piper      (my comments in orange)

When Jesus met the man filled with demons at Gadara, the demons cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)

Demons learned a mystery here. They knew they were doomed. They knew the Son of God would be the Victor. But they didn’t know until it happened that Christ was coming before the time of final defeat.

Christ is not going to wait until the atom bomb drops to end the war. He has begun to lead a subversive force into the territory of Satan. He has trained a “life-squad” (that’s us boys) to perform daring rescue operations. Christ has plotted many tactical victories before the time of the final strategic victory.

The resulting wartime mentality is this: Since Satan’s doom is sure, and he knows it, we can always remind him of it when he tempts us to follow him. (Remember … “Lake of fire, Lake of fire”.  When assaulted, remind the foul one of his final destination!)  We can laugh and say, “You’re out of your mind. Who wants to join forces with a loser?!”

The church is the liberated enemy of “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We are the guerrillas and the gadflies. We are the insurgency in the rebel kingdom of “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).  (Big AMEN to that!)

It is not safe. But it is thrilling. Many lives are lost. Satan’s forces are ever on the lookout for our subversive activity. Christ has guaranteed resurrection for all who fight to the death. But he has not guaranteed comfort, or acceptance from the world, or prosperity in enemy territory.

Many have gladly given their lives behind the lines running errands for the Commander. I can think of no better way to live — or die!

Generational sin

Our own flesh, the sins of others against us and an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy are all coming against us to try to keep us from becoming whole.  But remember…

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  1 Peter 5:8-9

Satan has been defeated.  Death has no sting.  We know where he will end up – in the lake of fire.  We have been set free over the power of sin.  But we must recognize the war still wages.  He will use any crack or crevice to come into your life and establish a stronghold.  “Just give me an opening.  Open the door.  Let me in”.

If I’m living whole, there aren’t any cracks he can exploit.

If I dance with danger, if I flirt with temptation, he’s coming.

Generational sin.  Family affairs.  Sins of our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents that affect us today.  Derrick gave us a good list…

Alcoholism.  Drug abuse.  Verbal/physical abuse.  Rage.  Being frozen in fear.  Bitterness.  Unforgiveness.  Embracing poverty.  Victimization.  Racism.  Sexual immorality.  A family history of infidelity.  Pornography/sexual addiction.

Some of these are so ingrained in our family that we have taken on the stance of “this is just the way I am.”  “Just the way I am” is NOT have God intends for us to live our lives.  Where is the freedom in this?  Where is the restoration?  Where is the victory of the Cross?

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  Exodus 20:5-6

Punishing.  Focusing on that one word can tend to lead us to think, “It’s just who I am – God’s doing this to me”.  Other translations use the word “visiting” which is the better translation.

Visiting.  Like making a call on someone.

When someone visits you, you have the freedom to either let them in the door or ask them to leave.  Too many times, we invite them in.  We invite these things into our home/lives and are ignorant of the whole thing.  And the enemy just slides in.

Generational sin is not about blaming Dad that, “I’m this way because he was”.  It goes deeper than that.  Importantly, you are not automatically bound to live under the sins of your fathers.

“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”  Ezekiel 18:20

You have a choice.  You don’t have to live under the patterns of your family.  You’re not bound to it.  Nor does it excuse anything.  We all must account for our own lives, our choices, our mistakes.

You don’t have to live this out.  You can break the pattern.  You don’t have to take this down to your children’s generation.  You have a chance to break these patterns.  How?

Recognize the pattern – irrational behavior that crops up.  Areas where you are just stuck.  Repeating events that come up for no real reason.  Identify that something is at work.  The “Ah-ha” moment.

Renounce any generational curse that you believe is over your family – renounce them by name.  Break the power of that sin in Jesus’ name.

Ask forgiveness for and judgment you have against members of your family – we stand in judgment over them for the wrongs and in so doing, we have not forgiven them.

Lastly, ask God to break the patterns“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13

It is for freedom that Christ set you free.  Will you live that way?

Whom will you obey?

From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers   (my paraphrase)

“You are slaves to the one whom you obey.”  Romans 6:16

The first thing to do in examining the power that dominates me is to take hold of the very unwelcome fact that I am responsible for letting it dominate me.

If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because at some point, long ago, I freely gave into self.  I opened the door.

If I find myself today a slave to lust or sexual temptation, I must readily admit that this burning lust was first stoked by the gas I poured on the fire.  I dabbled in it.  I pushed the line.  I focused too much on it.

“What I feed grows, what I starve dies”.

Likewise, if I obey God, I do so because I have yielded myself to Him.  To obey Him means my self has to die, my self has no vote, my self has no voice.

If you give into, or yield to, your selfish desires and live your life out of that desire, you will find it is the most enchaining tyranny on earth.  It will consume you and all those around you.

There is no power on this earth to break the bondage formed by yielding.  Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust (lust being that – “I must have it at once” – it can be lust for another woman, lust for sex itself, lust for power, money, approval, acceptance, etc). –  yield once and even though you may hate yourself for having done so, you’re now a slave to it.

Open the door and let that thing in your life and … it is in.   You can’t undo it.  I open the door a free man and close it a prisoner.

Release from this prison comes only through Redemption.

I must yield in utter humiliation (I must be humbled) to the only One who can break the dominating power.  “He sent me … to proclaim freedom for the prisoners”.

You will find this out in the most ridiculously small ways – “Oh, I can give this habit up when I like”.  You cannot.  You will find that this “habit” absolutely dominates you because you gave into it.  You yielded to it.  You opened the door.  It’s easy to sing, “Break every chain” and at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself.

Yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in any human life.  He is the only way.

Will you surrender to Him?