[My used Bible]
Out of all the books ever written and known to mankind which is the most quoted? That is and easy question. The Bible is the book most quoted. The most quoted Scripture is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He sent His Only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” [Another easily answered question]. Some people quote the Bible and don’t know it. For example, the phrase “reading the handwriting on the wall” comes from Daniel 5:5. Others think they are quoting the Bible, but really are not. For example, the saying “God helps those who help themselves” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. However, the complete opposite idea in found in Romans 5:6: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
[Bible Thumper Below]
Even when Bible verses are quoted, they can be misunderstood, misquoted, taken out of context and misinterpreted, so that it may be used to prove a particular viewpoint. This is when things can get ugly and God is misrepresented to a world which desperately needs a Savior of the weak. One of the ways the Bible has been skewed for centuries is when God’s Word is misused to prove that those who struggle with mental illness are demon-possessed. I believe this is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Now, I’ll tell you what I really think:
Twenty-first Century Christians who love the Lord Jesus Christ and who are called to be ambassadors for Christ and have been given the ministry of reconciliation [see II Corinthians 5:16-21], must get with the following program by “rightly handling the Word of Truth” [see II Timothy 2:15] and loving our neighbors as ourselves [see Mark 12:31). We live this way by:
1. TAKING OUR HEADS OUT OF THE BUSHES: As representatives to Christ, we must stop looking to find the devil behind every bush or lurking around every corner. Depression is not demon-possession. The Bible does talk about demon possession. It talks about Jesus and His disciples casting demons out of people [examples: Matthew 8:28-34 and 17:14-21, Mark 5:1-17, Luke 9:1-6]. When Jesus walked the earth I believe the evil one and his cohorts were in full force and made the most of their time before Jesus’ death and resurrection. I believe there are parts of the world where Jesus is not yet known and the black arts are practiced, where the devil can do his bidding. I believe “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places” [Ephesians 6:12] However, I also believe the evil one does oppress us with all kinds of sicknesses and hardships to discourage and harass us, BUT GOD’S Word tells me that the evil one cannot possess Christians because we belong to Christ. Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” [John 10:28]. Paul also says, “…God made [us] alive together with [Jesus], having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. HE DISARMED THE RULERS AND AUTHORITIES and put them to open shame, BY TRIUMPHING OVER THEM IN [CHRIST]” [Colossians 2:13b-15]. I know that the devil is alive and well in this world and causes all manner of evil. I just have to turn on the TV and watch five minutes of the local or national news to learn of the devil’s destructive handiwork. BUT GOD tells me that “[Christ] who is in [me] is greater than [the devil] who is in the world’” [See I John 4:4].
With that said, it is also good to know how Satan operates. I know that the devil [Satan] “is a liar and the father of lies” [See John 8:44]. Satan also twists God’s Word because he wants us to believe wrong things about God‘s character. Satan lied to Eve by convincing her that God was withholding something good from her [See Genesis 3:1-4]. He even tried to make Jesus question His Father’s character when Jesus was in the desert praying and fasting [See Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-14]. Jesus knew about Satan’s tricks and rebuffed his lies by using Scripture Himself and told Satan what God’s Word really said. I know that Satan is “the accuser” of the believers of Christ [See Revelation 12:10]. I know that when I feel worthless or think there is something wrong with my faith, these ideas do not come from God, but from the pit of hell and from Satan himself. Sometimes, he even uses Christians to promote his lies. Some believers in Christ think that when they are doing God’s will and working for Him, they should experience prosperity and good health and life should be smooth sailing all the time. This was not how it was for the first disciples who experienced persecutions, hardships of every kind, disasters and even death. Oftentimes, when Christians are doing God’s will, Satan will do everything God allows him to do to make things painfully difficult. Paul writes in I Corinthians 16:8-9: “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened for me, and THERE ARE MANY ADVERSARIES.” It is good to recognize Satan’s lies and insidious schemes that try to bring us down. Even after a victory we need to be watchful, for just as with Jesus after He was tempted in the desert and Satan failed, Matthew 4:13 warns us of Satan’s modus operandi: “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”
When I was writing about my Testimony [Parts I and II] for a blog series and as a presentation at my church many strange things were happening. First, a friend was annoyed with me for not getting together, which I thought was out of character and it really surprised me. Next, my smoke/carbon monoxide detector started beeping and announcing, “LOW BATTERY” at 4 a.m., so I had the battery replaced, only having it start beeping again by announcing, “LOW BATTERY” in the afternoon, while I was writing at my computer. I also had an unusual number of phone calls, dropped my dinner all over the floor and developed a hangnail on my “typing finger” with bleeding. All that happened was a bit annoying, but it was also quite amusing. I say this with the utmost humility: I knew Satan did not want me to write this blog series because I was writing it to glorify God and to help others. When I had finally finished my testimony, both in cyber-space and at church, I had a sense of accomplishment and was on a spiritual high. That’s when Satan went for the jugular. Nothing stresses me out more them computer trouble. My computer was doing strange things and I had to get it looked at. It was out of my control because I am not a “computer geek.” However, I did not get as stressed out as I normally do. Instead, I kept talking to God and telling Him that I trusted Him with my computer. I also asked God to protect me, “in order that Satan might not outwit [me]. For [I am] not unaware of his schemes” [see II Corinthians 2:11 – N.I.V.]. I never do directly battle with Satan because he does not deserve my attention. I always have my Heavenly Father do all the talking for me. Like the archangel Michael, I say, “The Lord rebuke you” [see Jude 9].
To be continued…