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On family pictures from my childhood you can count five children. But my mother frequently suspected that there was a sixth. His name was Not Me. Not Me was the child who smeared up the bathroom mirror, left toys all over the floor, and melted a plastic soldier on the stove. Not Me dropped chewing gum in the rug and broke the basement window. The very first response of men and women who sin against God is denial. Not me!... Read More
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YOU’VE BEEN WARNED Children don’t like to have to think ahead, and they really hate warnings that their present pleasures are coming to an end. They like to pretend that the day of reckoning will never come. They want summer vacation to be endless. They don’t want to hear that the science project is due next week. They forget to apply for financial aid, and they dawdle away precious months in selecting a college or tech school because graduation day... Read More
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  When you need emergency medical attention, you don’t have to worry about the competence of the doctors who attend you. In order to practice medicine in your state, doctors need to pass and maintain rigorous state board standards. You have no such government guarantees for church leaders though. And herein lies one last sobering heads-up about your enemies—they have infiltrated congregations and church organizations too. Our enemies are not only on the outside, but Satan’s sinister agents are sabotaging the... Read More
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The news gets grimmer. You have not only one enemy but many. Satan’s fellow fallen angels, often called demons, hate you too. What’s more, Satan has deceived certain human agents and persuaded them also to follow his terrible agenda. Sometimes Satan’s human agents manage to achieve high government or military power, and they use that power to attack and hurt the believers. The Bible calls satanic governmental or military power a “beast coming out of the sea.” The beast “was... Read More
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Okay, so dragons don’t really exist. And yet, although dragons aren’t real, stories of them appear in literature of many different peoples over many millennia, and their general characteristics are well-known—they have enormous strength, scaly bodies, they breathe fire, and their heavy spiked tails are weapons too. But still, they are mythical creatures—does that make Satan mythical too? No chance. The harsh reality of pain and death force us to see that evil is real, and so is Satan. St.... Read More
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One of the delicious thrills of going to the zoo is to see ferocious wild animals in cages. We see them stalk around, glaring and growling, but we know that the steel bars make them helpless to hurt us. Still, we shiver a little when we imagine what it might be like to meet a lion on the open savanna, when he is hungry and we are the prey. The Bible wants you to know that your archenemy, Satan, is... Read More
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YOU HAVE ENEMIES Armies hate guerrilla wars. Their foes don’t wear uniforms, won’t come out in the open, and won’t “fight fair.” Guerrilla fighters hide among the civilians, avoid major battles, and live by the ambush. The main reason your life is so hard is that you have enemies, guerrilla enemies that wish to conceal themselves. Guerrilla fighters know that they are not strong enough to win conventional battles, and Satan, your enemy, knows it too. The Bible uses vivid... Read More
Prophecy and Promise
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Do you know where “flyover” country is? Super-trendy hipsters from both coasts have been overheard referring to the Midwest as flyover country–you know, the uninteresting and backward part of America that you have to jump over to get from New York to L.A. Are the prophecy sections of the Bible flyover territory for you? Do you like the stories and letters in the Bible but get bogged down in the prophetic messages? That’s understandable, but it’s a shame. For the... Read More
Obey Your Parents
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You've seen what happens when a child has not learned to obey, haven't you? "Sally, come here. Sally! I mean it, right now. Please, Sally, if you come here, I'll take you to McDonalds. All right, Toys 'R' Us too."   It's disgusting, isn't it? When parents don't teach their child that they will say something one time and expect it to be done, that child has learned, "I have power. You don't mean what you say."   A child... Read More
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From what I hear, grandchildren are God's reward for making it through all the years of worry your children caused you. You can play with grandchildren-and give them back when it's time for diaper changes or bedtime routines. Having grandchildren is like a mulligan from God--you can make up for some of your parenting mistakes by doing it better with them. While you now enjoy a break from the physical work, God still has important spiritual work for you. "Only... Read More