The Place of Devils

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The 1960 preface to the Screwtape Letters included this fascinating response to the place of the devil:

The commonest question is whether I “believe in the Devil”.  Now, if by “the Devil” you mean a power opposite to God and, like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No.  There is no uncreated being except God.  God has no opposite… The proper question is whether I believe in devils.  I do.  That is to say, I believe in angels, and I believe that some of them, by the abuse of their free will, have become enemies of God and, as a corollary, to us.  These we may call devils.  They do not differ in nature from good angels, but their nature is depraved.  Devil is the opposite of Angel only as Bad Man is the opposite of Good Man.  Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael [the archangel].”

Fascinating.  Did you get that?  Angels are created beings with free will.  Some of them rebelled and were thrown out of heaven, along with their leader Satan/Lucifer.  (See Isaiah 14:12ff, Revelation 127ff)  He commands the armies of fallen angels (demons/devils/minions/whatever word you like) who are trying to tempt men into rebellion again God.  Yet remember that they are under the authority of God.  (See Job 1-2)  Michael commands the armies of angels who are ministering spirits sent to aid those who belong to God (Hebrews 1:14) and also fall under the authority of God.

Now we know what the spirit world’s organizational chart probably looks like.  Something to think about.

Daring to Be a Courageous Parent

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“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4

We’re doing a parenting Bible study that coincides with our Vacation Bible School (VBS).  We picked Dr. Kevin Lehman’s series called “Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours” which is Biblically based, but not overwhelming to a non-churched crowd.

Lesson 1 was about developing the courage to do what is best for your kids!  Here are some key thoughts:

AUTHORITY.  God has placed you in authority over your children.  They are to obey you.  This is right.  You must be the parent (which is different from being the friend).  Exercise your authority.

LOVE and DISCIPLINE go hand in hand.  “Just loving” your kids is a recipe for disaster.  You must also discipline them.  True love involves training and discipline.

HAPPINESS IS NOT THE GOAL.  It’s ok for your children to be unhappy sometimes.  That is the reality of life.  Children need to learn from difficult periods.

Reality Discipline is an action-oriented way to make your children ACCOUNTABLE for their actions.  The goal of this is to develop children who are able to deal in practical ways with: (1) Accountability, (2) the Authority of God, and (3) the Realities of life.  … more to come on that topic!

How do we keep from provoking or exasperating our children?  “Get behind their eyes and see the world as they do.”  Have clear rules and clear/fair consequences.  Be consistent.  Train your children to do what is right, not just punish them when they do wrong.  Do not parent in anger.

Cute little baby?  She’s a hedonistic (pleasure-loving), selfish, little sinner!  Like all of us – who either hide it better or have been reformed by the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.

As Dr. Lehman says, “Children are like wet cement that must be formed early, before it hardens!”

‘Children obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:20-21