What Satan Is Working to Prevent

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

Worship, in part, begins with “noticing.”

Noticing God. Becoming aware of His awesome, terrifying presence. (There’s a reason the Bible says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.)

I’ve always taught that Satan is continually, methodically, systematically and slowly dulling our awareness to the presence and power of God.  His tactics have never changed.  Just as in Eden, his goal is to get us to live our lives apart from intimacy with God.

So… Life happens. Long days at work. Families fragmenting. Issues at school. Financial pressures.  Like Peter, the storm gradually captures our attention. And we notice Christ less and less, until we get in the habit of rarely noticing Him at all.

And Satan thinks to himself, “Game. Set. Match.”

But God is here…. “immortal, invisible, Almighty God.”

Eugene Peterson, author of the The Message Bible, wrote, “Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”

Author, Philip Yancey, in his book, The Bible Jesus Read, writes that worship “announces to our senses the splendor of an invisible, untamable God.”

“Interrupting our preoccupation with ourselves….” “Announcing to our senses….”

Noticing….

When this finally happens….that’s when we remember all over again we’re in the presence “of an invisible, untamable God.” And the ground on which we stand is holy ground.

This is exactly what Satan hopes doesn’t happen.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Sting of Hypocrisy

“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Mark 7:6)

A number of years ago I was visiting a friend in the hospital. She was having open-heart surgery. Another friend of mine was there, as well, with his wife. His wife said, “Nick, I used to work for one of your church members.” “Really?”, I replied. “Who was it?” She told me their name which I easily recognized as a leader in our church.

She went on to say, “I quit just last Friday.” I asked why.

I wish I hadn’t.

She began to describe how hateful this person had been to her. The more she shared, the more I could see how deeply this church member had hurt her, and the more my stomach began to feel sick. I was at a loss for words. There was this awkward, thick silence hanging in the room.

This woman did not attend church anywhere. Neither did the other friends and family members who were standing in the room.

And they listened to every word.

The atheistic philosopher, Friederich Nietsche, was once asked what made him so negative toward Christians. He replied, “I would believe in their Savior if they looked a more like people who have been saved.”

The truth is we are being watched by a curious, lost world that questions if we actually believe what’s on our Christian T-Shirts, bumper stickers, and church marquis. They’re watching how we treat the trainee at Wal-Mart who just can’t seem to work fast enough, what we rent at the video store, and how we respond when we don’t get our way.

Describing the hypocrites of the early first century, Jesus said, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Mark 7:6)

The lesson of hypocrisy is an old one. But I re-learned it all over again – painfully – that morning during a visit with a friend in the hospital.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick