Masquerading As An Angel of Light

Satan works undercover. And it’s important to understand this.

The devil is very good at masquerading. He knows how to look like a good guy. He understands how to win our confidence. He is an expert in getting us to drop our guard.

So we need to learn to keep our guard up. Our feelings can mislead us. Our eyes can deceive us. Our mind can play tricks on us.

Satan — and the messengers who work for him — are out to to deceive us with their lies. And they they will not be satisfied until they depart with our lives in their hands.

This is the high-stakes war we are fighting. And souls are at stake.

So be vigilant. Test everything. Step carefully and walk soberly.

Let the word of God be your measuring rod. Let prayer be your mother tongue. Let Jesus be your constant companion.

And don’t forget: Wolves sometimes wear sheep’s clothing.

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15, NIV).

Lord, protect me from Satan’s lies. Help me to recognize the devil when he tries to deceive me. Forgive me for all the times when I have believed his lies, and fallen for his deceptions. Thank you, Jesus, because your forgiveness and righteousness always protect me from the devil’s schemes.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, September 9, Isaiah 20:1 – 23:18, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 and Proverbs 22:7-16.

Header image based on "Mask" by Ricardo Liberato, CC By-SA 2.0

A Target on His Back

Jesus was very busy — doing one good deed after another.

People who had been knocked down in life were being helped back up. The broken and ill were being made whole again. The suffering were being relieved of their hurt and pain. With all this going on, one would think that it would be hard to question Jesus’ heart, or his power and purpose.

But instead of resolving all the questions about Jesus, all this simply served to put a target on his back. His mom and brothers came to proclaim him a crazy person and declare him incompetent. The religious teachers explained it all as the work of Beelzebul — Satan.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons” (‭Mark‬ ‭3‬:‭20-22,‬ NIV).

Have you ever sincerely, with all the right intentions, tried to do something good? Maybe you thought to yourself, “This is really great!” And then you discovered that all your good work was only going to bring intense criticism. Doing the right things in God’s eyes sometimes invites the people of this world to put a target on our backs and throw a lot of darts.

Not fun, is it? And it certainly couldn’t have been fun for Jesus either. But one thing it does tell you is that your Savior understands from experience what it’s like to go through trials like this.

You have a Savior who has been tested and tempted in the same ways you have. His heart is full of patience, empathy and most of all, forgiveness. When we get discouraged, or hurt or angry, or even when we are tempted to retaliate, we need a Savior like Jesus.

Because we can trust that Jesus has the power to heal our wounded hearts too.

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, February 17, is Exodus 21:1 – 22:31, Mark 2:18 – 3:30 and Proverbs 5:1-14.

Jesus, thank you for coming down to this earth to be my Savior. It helps so much to know that you have experienced the things I am experiencing. It encourages my heart to know that you will forgive my sinful responses to the sin of others. It strengthens my resolve to continue doing what is right to know that you will heal my wounds.

Header image based on "On Target" by ViZZZual.com, CC By 2.0

Placed in the Fire

When we go through periods of testing, when life takes us through the fire, this is a time to call on God’s name in prayer. And we can do that remembering that God uses those trials to refine our faith.

No matter how serious the trial, no matter how critical the test, God hears and answers our prayers. And Jesus walks with us in the fire. Even if the fire is very, very hot, we can be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:13-20) and say, “The God we serve is able to deliver us. But even if he does not, we will not serve your gods or worship your man-made idol.”

Rest assured, because of Jesus, God hears both our bold prayers and the confessions of faith that accompany them. When we hear God say, “They are my people,” our Spirit-inspired response is to confess boldly, “He is our God.”

As God says through the prophet Zechariah, “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13:9, NIV).

Lord Jesus, walk with me through the tests and trials. Refine my faith in you, so that I confess you boldly as my God and my Savior.

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, December 30, is Zechariah 12:10 – 14:21, Psalm 149:6-9, Proverbs 31:1-9 and Revelation 20:1-15.