Excerpt for The Forever Notebook: Daily Quiet Time Devotions for Christians, Book 3, July - September by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

BOOKS BY RICHARD WEIRICH

INSPIRATIONAL FICTION NOVELS

Mary’s Little Sister

Hope of Cherry Blossom Lane

Miracle at Gabriel’s Rock

Alexandra’s Song

Farewell PFC Polk: The End of a Nightmare

In the Valley of Hope: Faith Conquers Fear

Fifth Sunday: The Loving Hands Murder

INSPIRATIONAL NONFICTION

The Forever Notebook Devotionals

Book 1, January - March

Book 2, April - June

Book 3, July - September

Book 4, October - December

The Forever Notebook 365 Daily Prayer Journal



For a complete listing of books by Richard Weirich, visit the author’s website at www.richardweirich.com. Available in print and eBook editions.



The Forever Notebook

Daily QUIET TIME Inspirational Devotions

Book 3: July - September

RICHARD WEIRICH

Copyright © 2017 Richard Weirich

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of very brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

All scripture references are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

For information contact richard@richardweirich.com

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1546947752

First Edition: May 2017

ISBN-13: 978-1546947752

DEDICATION

To the Godhead — my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who saved me and dwells within me, my Heavenly Father who loves me and helps me through every storm of life, and to the Holy Spirit who has illuminated God's word and enlightened my way. To God be the glory. Forever and ever. Amen.



PRELUDE

Welcome to The Forever Notebook, Book 3. The devotions in this volume cover the months of July - September.

Each devotion begins with an anchor test and the message follows. Studies have been written to open your mind to the richness of God’s word, and to challenge you to grow in the Lord.

Some days the messages will encourage you to hang in, stay the course, and never give up. Other days you'll be exhorted to change some aspect of your behavior or challenged to strengthen your relationship with others.

In a sense, The Forever Notebook is like boot camp for the soul. It's an exercise regimen for those who desire a closer walk with God.

Think of the Forever Notebook as four 90-day challenges for spiritual growth. And although created chronologically, you can start whenever you want.

I sincerely hope your spiritual life will be enriched by my books. May God bless you and supply your every need in abundance through our great Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.



The Forever Notebook

Daily QUIET TIME Inspirational Devotions

Book 3: July - September

RICHARD WEIRICH

TABLE OF CONTENTS

July 1 - The Song in Your Heart

July 2 - Is Your Church an Accepting Church?

July 3 - Meet the New You

July 4 - The Best is Yet to Come

July 5 - The Strong-Willed Child of God

July 6 - Walking the High Wire of Faith

July 7 - How God Protects Us from Satanic Attacks

July 8 - What You Can Do to Guard Against Satanic Attack

July 9 - 7 Ways Satan Attacks Believers

July 10 - The Key to Better Relationships

July 11 - How to Get Along with Others

July 12 - Working for the Higher Purpose

July 13 - The Christian Work Ethic

July 14 - Healing for a Broken Heart

July 15 - Spiritual Gifts for Dummies

July 16 - How God Works for Us Behind the Scenes

July 17 - You Can’t Fake Your Way Into Heaven

July 18 - What It Means to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit

July 19 - Dress for Success

July 20 - Heaven is Worth the Wait

July 21 - Incomparable Senior Care

July 22 - The Powerful Influence of Faith

July 23 - Child-Like Faith Explained and Why You Need It

July 24 - Proceed with Caution

July 25 - Things Best Left Unsaid

July 26 - Hope for Living

July 27 - Get Out of Your Rut and Get On with Your Life

July 28 - Don’t Burn Yourself Out in Christian Service

July 29 - The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Children

July 30 - The Greatest Book Ever Written

July 31 - Just a Little Talk with Jesus

August 1 - Love Means You Sometimes Have to Say You’re Sorry

August 2 - The Valuable Plank in Your Eye

August 3 - Why You Get It and Others Don’t

August 4 - Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven?

August 5 - Battling Depression

August 6 - Make No Mistake, Jesus is God

August 7 - Peace in a Chaotic World

August 8 - Redeemed from the Empty Way of Life

August 9 - Stumblers for Christ

August 10 - Make Sure Your Roots are Showing

August 11 - Christ in You, The Hope of Glory

August 12 - The Power that Keeps You Saved

August 13 - When Faith Turns to Fear

August 14 - God Even Rescues Us from Ourselves

August 15 - Make Time to Serve the Lord

August 16 - When Running On Empty is a Good Thing

August 17 - The Extent of the Lord’s Forgiveness

August 18 - Freedom with Responsibility

August 19 - The Divine Vindicator

August 20 - Is Cursing a Sin?

August 21 - The Supreme Gift Giver

August 22 - Soulful Praise

August 23 - Unbalanced Christian Faith

August 24 - Faith Under Fire

August 25 - How to Handle the Thorn that Won’t Go Away

August 26 - What is God’s Will for Your Life?

August 27 - Victory in Jesus

August 28 - Heaven is a Choice

August 29 - God’s Remedy for Fatigue and Stress

August 30 - God Plays Favorites

August 31 - Your Face to Face Meeting with Jesus

September 1 - Your Labor for the Lord Matters

September 2 - A Roadblock Called Unforgiveness

September 3 - How to Treat Unbelievers

September 4 - Rejoicing in Hardship

September 5 - Off Death Row

September 6 - The Most Precious Words Ever Spoken

September 7 - Christian Service Burnout

September 8 - Don’t Let Me Be Lonely

September 9 - When You Need Answers

September 10 - Beware of Argumentative Christians

September 11 - Make Good Use of Your God-given Skills

September 12 - The Lamb’s Book of Life

September 13 - God’s Super Deluxe Bundle of Blessings

September 14 - How Husbands are to Love Their Wives

September 15 - Your Part in the Great Commission

September 16 - Good Works and Why They Matter

September 17 - Showboat Christians

September 18 - When Your Spirit is Willing but Your Flesh is Weak

September 19 - How to Please God Right Now

September 20 - Rest for Your Soul

September 21 - When You Fail to Do the Good You Know

September 22 - How to Resolve Conflict, Part 1

September 23 - How to Resolve Conflict, Part 2

September 24 - How to Resolve Conflict, Part 3

September 25 - When Your Attempt to Resolve Conflict Fails

September 26 - Rise Above Your Inadequacies

September 27 - God’s Word is Alive and Active

September 28 - What God Requires of You

September 29 - A Pure Heart and a Steadfast Spirit

September 30 - It’s Not Too Late for God to Heal Our Land

July 1

The Song in Your Heart

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:3

A new song from God that results in praise. Those glorious times when He does something amazing. An answered prayer. A previously unseen solution to a problem or an unexpected blessing.

Many times I’ve gone to bed with a problem weighing heavily upon my mind. Next morning I was greeted by a fresh thought, a new perspective. The solution that eluded me was suddenly available. The Holy Spirit had opened my mind to new possibilities and renewed my hope. As a result, I was given a new song of praise to God.

Singing. Humming. Whistling. A natural reaction to joy, like a light turned on in your soul.

Okay. Some of us can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but music still resounds in our hearts and minds.

Have you considered where music comes from? Where did it originate? Even before a cave man hammered out a rhythmical beat on a rock with a stick, there was music.

No. God didn’t one day hear an amazing singer on earth and decide to add music to His heavenly plan. Music was created by God for our pleasure and expression. It helps us communicate our deepest feelings and is in its highest form when offering praise to God.

The first mention of music in the Bible is in the introductory book of Genesis. And throughout the Old Testament we see that music was integral to the worship of the Jews. But one of the most revealing clues to the origin of music occurs in the birth narrative of Jesus in Luke 2 when angels appeared to the shepherds.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

In verse 15 of Luke 2, we’re told that the singing angels departed and returned to heaven. Later, in the book of the Revelation, the angels and inhabitants of heaven are depicted as singing in response to the wonder-working power of God. (Rev. 5:8-11, 13; 15:1-3) So when you get to heaven, there will be lots of music, and a continual song of joy in your heart.

Take a moment to consider the amazing spectacle represented in Revelation 5:11.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.

Voices lifted in praise to God without the direction of a worship leader and arising naturally in response to His magnificence.

Yesterday, my wife and I drove to Birmingham, and along the way I referred to the beautiful day. Dark clouds had given way to sunshine and signs of the newness of spring were all about us. The grass was turning green, trees were budding, and flowers were blooming. And I commented, “Only God could create something so marvelous.” Words of joy in response to God’s handiwork. A new song in my heart.

We take for granted the commonplace and ordinary. Those things we see and experience every day become dull and mundane. Growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I never realized how incredibly beautiful it was. That is, until I returned. It was like I had somehow missed God’s glorious creation.

Don’t let familiarity blind you to the reality of God’s blessings. We keep a song in our hearts when we, to borrow an old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” Take time to notice all that God has done.

You don’t have to wait for a miracle or an extraordinary answer to prayer for a song of praise to arise in your heart in response to God. Look around you. Take inventory of God’s blessings in your life. Consider the people He has given you to love. Enjoy the beauty of His creation. Think upon the promises He has given you through the work of Jesus, your Savior. Count your blessings.

And when that song of praise arises in your heart, you will have reason to share your joy with others, “Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:3b)

July 2

Is Your Church an Accepting Church?

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 15:7

I saw an interview recently, in which a wealthy man had built a doomsday fortress and he was only inviting those who agreed with him politically to join him in the event of a cataclysmic event. The bottom line: he was only willing to accept those who thought like him.

Consider the experience of the early church as Jews and Gentiles embraced the faith and worshipped together. Just as in our world today, they came from backgrounds accustomed to excluding others who were racially, culturally, and politically different.

In Romans 15:7, the Apostle Paul calls for unity based on Christ’s acceptance of us. Just as Jesus brought us into union with God, we must be unified with one another. One faith. One God. One Lord and Savior.

God accepted us despite ourselves. We were rebellious, sinful, and at enmity with Him. He is divine. We are human. But He accepted us the way we were; cleansed us, created us anew, and gave to us freely from His riches and glory. Likewise, God wants us to accept one another, look passed our differences, and to the commonality we share in Christ. We are brothers and sisters, children of the King.

You are not more saved than me or anyone else in the faith. You are not more highly favored than anyone else in the faith. However, there are those in the church who act as if they are better than others.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with people of like mind, talents, or interests fellowshipping with one another. But where we must draw the line is when those small groups become closed cliques who gossip, criticize, or ostracize other believers because they don’t live up to some non-Biblical standard.

One of the primary reasons people cite for preferring to attend a large church is because they can maintain their anonymity. They feel they can come and go without being judged. Many among them express negative experiences in small churches because they weren’t accepted, or because they were made to feel unwelcome.

In reality, Spiritual snobbery can be found wherever Christians gather. It is a problem faced by churches big and small, and a malady we should guard against.

Keep the goal of brotherly acceptance top of mind as revealed in our focus text: “… in order to bring praise to God.” We should strive to avoid behavior that hinders unified worship.

Following are ways we can make that happen:

(1) God’s church is not just about you and those you want to include in your circle of relationships. Paul opens Romans, Chapter 15, with this admonition: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” We should consider the feelings and preferences of others.

In my early days as a pastor, it bugged me that Baptists preferred to sit in the back of the church. One Sunday morning, I decided to do something about it, and called for the congregation to move to the front of the room. Some complied. Some didn’t. And I fear some may have been offended to the point of never returning. I later adopted the position that having them there was more important than where they sat. It was more important to bear with their preferences than to please myself.

(2) Respect the desire of others for anonymity but do be warm and welcoming. Be an encourager. In verse 2 of Romans 15 we read, “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

(3) Don't push people into things they don't want to do. Have you ever been guilted into a job or an activity in the church you regretted? Let the Holy Spirit do the arm twisting. Acceptance is not pulling or pushing believers to do our bidding. Acceptance is honoring NO without ostracizing the person who had declined our invitation.

It is easy to yield to the temptation of thinking of yourself more highly than others when you serve in the church and they don’t. Ultimately, that slippery slope can lead to non-acceptance. People on the front lines of Christian service are no more loved by God than those who shirk their duty. Pray for those who fail to serve, but never treat them like second class Christians.

(4) Do not participate in gossip sessions. Sunday School classes, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and miscellaneous church gatherings that contain gossip discussions do not honor God. Even that family meal after church can turn into a “he said-she said” fiasco. Sin hinders the work of the Spirit. Gossip is sin, so please don’t do it.

Remember, we sing “To God be the Glory,” and not “To Me be the Glory.” As far as it is up to you, do your part to promote an accepting Christian fellowship.

July 3

Meet the New You

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin —

Romans 6:6

Have you ever mastered something? For example: woodworking, oil painting, playing a musical instrument.

An advanced academic certification is called a Master’s Degree. Mastery indicates superior knowledge and skills; the ability to do what novices can’t.

Mastering a skill or professional discipline is a considerable accomplishment. If you have done that, congratulations. It didn’t come easily. You worked for it and deserve recognition.

But have you ever thought about the things that master you? As Christians, we call Jesus, “Master,” as we should.

Is He? Is Jesus really your Master? Positionally, for sure. But in practice that may be another matter.

The slave era was a reprehensible time in American history. The slaves had Masters, individuals who could treat their purchased subjects any way they pleased.

Slaves existed in New Testament times and some of the imagery used in Romans 6 was garnered from the unfair practices of the day. In verse 6, we’re told that as Christians “we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Later, at verse 14, Paul writes, “For sin shall no longer be your master…”

Paul’s argument begs an intriguing question. Is it possible to be a born-again believer, yet still a slave to sin?

Well, yes and no.

If sin has a hold on you, then it’s time for some soul searching. Paul’s directive in his second letter to the Corinthian church applies: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…” (2 Co 13:5)

If you knowingly and willingly sin, and your conscience is not troubled because you are disobeying God, then Christ is not your Master, nor are you saved. Anyone is capable of a guilty conscience, both saved and unsaved. However, the unredeemed conscience is not seared with guilt for offending God. There’s no desire to change for Him.

As Christians we all sin, but when it happens the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of unrighteousness and leads us to confession, repentance, and a concerted effort to depart from our sinful behavior.

Let’s go back to Paul’s imagery. Slave to sin. Mastered by sin. Is there an area of your life where Jesus is not the Master? Is there a sinful habitual act perhaps that has you in its grasp?

You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want Christ to be your Master. No matter where you are in your walk with Him, you can be that new creation, the new self of righteousness and holiness that God intended. (Ephesians 4:24)

Since I was a child, I have fought the battle of the bulge. Many times I have lost weight, only to gain it back. Finally, I feel as though I have won that battle, having kept the weight off for more than two years. However, I still think of myself as fat. Sometimes, I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see that I am not the person I used to be.

Paul wants us to see ourselves as who we are now and not that old sinner from the past. He says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with…”

The old you is dead and gone. That’s not you anymore. You are new and improved, suitable for eternal life.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14

Most often we think of grace as God giving us more than we deserve and think of it in terms of freedom from the penalty of sin. And it does mean that, but so much more. God has also given us everything we need for righteousness and godly living. We just have to appropriate that incredible aspect of His grace.

Isn’t it time, if you haven’t done so already, to meet the new you?

July 4

The Best is Yet to Come

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:1-3

We’re given two directives in our focus text.

• Set your hearts on things above

• Set your minds on things above

Both points mean essentially the same thing. Think about that place where Christ is and don’t dwell on earthly things. Seems simple enough. But is that really what we think about? I submit that we are consumed with earthly matters and think little about things above. But why?

The primary reason is that life is one big distraction. Earning a living. Caring for a family. Jumping from problem to problem. The pursuit of earthly dreams.

Did Paul mean that things on earth don’t matter? Are we to live day to day with our heads in the clouds without giving thought to what’s happening in our world? Of course not. God wants us to view life with a heavenly perspective.

Imagine that you just won the grand prize for the big 4th of July celebration at your favorite department store. Your luxury one week cruise to the Bahamas departs one month from today. It will not cost you a dime. Additionally, the store has given you a $500 gift card and a set of travel luggage. All you have to do is be ready to depart on August 4. Can you do it?

Meanwhile, the rest of your day-to-day life remains the same. Same problems. Same responsibilities. However, now you will get things done with greater efficiency and in less time. Your attitude will be substantially better and there will likely be a substantial spring in your step. Why? Because that amazing free vacation is coming soon.

Your outlook changes when you have something substantial to look forward to. That’s Paul’s point. Look at what God has already done for you and then look at what lies ahead.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…” (v1) Your resurrection is a done deal. Bank on it. Count on it. Just as Christ has been raised, God has given you a ticket to heaven “where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (v1b) You have even been given victory over death. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (v3) And your eternal gift is kept safely with Christ.

Yes. You still have life to live with all its problems and distractions. But you have something far more amazing ahead of you than a free cruise.

Everything we get excited about in this life is fleeting. Big events, special occasions, and earthly treasures are here today and gone tomorrow. Think about your last vacation. That week flew by as did your bank account paying for it.

But heaven lasts forever. God has something better than you and I can imagine. No matter how things look on this side of creation, for those of us who have been saved by God’s amazing grace, the best is yet to come.

July 5

The Strong-Willed Child of God

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

My boys are as different as night and day. As children, one was compliant and the other was strong-willed. I love both of them equally, but motivating and teaching them requires differing approaches. What worked for one didn’t work for the other.

The same can be said of God’s children. Some of us are compliant; strive to follow his commands, apply spiritual principles to our lives, and lead a disciplined walk with God. Yet others among us live out our Christianity like fish swimming upstream. We’re strong-willed and stubborn, more dependent upon self-will than God’s will. But God loves us equally and customizes our teaching and motivation according to our unique needs.

In our focus text we learn that God’s will is “good, pleasing and perfect...” God’s will is infinitely better than self-will. Our will is not always good, sometimes displeasing, and seldom perfect. Yet, for some of us, we’re dogged determined to have life our way.

I’ve never cared much for instruction manuals. Consequently, many of my purchases have been assembled with parts left over. Some things turned out crooked, or they malfunctioned. That’s when I picked up the book to find out what went wrong, which is precisely the way many Christians go through life. We do it our way, get ourselves into trouble, and then turn to God’s word to find a solution.

Paul warns against following the “pattern of this world,” but that’s what we do. We trust in people and things for fulfillment rather than God. We buy in to man’s philosophies and ideologies and then try to mix them with God’s doctrines. We stubbornly care more about pleasing others than pleasing God.

Two years ago, I went on a nutritarian diet with GBOMBS. I know. What is that? That means eating the most powerfully nutritional foods on the planet. G=greens. B=beans. O=onions. M=mushrooms. B=berries. And S=seeds. There’s more to the diet than that, but you get the general idea. I followed the diet meticulously for a year, lost 70 pounds and felt healthier than I had in my adult life. But there was one banned element on the diet I refused to give up. I had to have my coffee.

We’re like that with Christianity. Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” But some things we’re unwilling to give up.

Our will often supersedes God’s will. Yet Paul wants us to know we’re missing out when we place a higher value on the pattern of this world than on the things of God. You may think your will and your way is better, but God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect.

The key is renewing the mind so we can test and approve the perfection of God’s will. That means we need to get rid of the old stinking thinking in which we have convinced ourselves that our ways are better than God’s ways.

Get your head and heart into God’s word. Accept and apply what you learn. Fervently desire his will, “Not my will but Your will.” When you read God’s promises, take Him at His word. Believe it. Put it to the test. “… test and approve what God’s will is…”

The first sermon I preached was based on Romans 12:2. That was about thirty years ago. Since then, I’ve had countless opportunities to test and approve His will. And I can say with all confidence that without fail, God’s will is just as He says, “good, pleasing, and perfect.”

Strong-willed or compliant. Early or late in life. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to experience the better life He has in store for you. If you haven’t already begun, start taking Him at His word today.

July 6

Walking the High Wire of Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 3:5

Faith can often become a tightrope, especially in those times when you have no choice but to trust God.

Have you ever been in a bad job situation? Your future with the company is in doubt. Layoffs have already begun and you could be next. But you can’t survive without that job and can’t imagine finding anything to replace it. Oh, you might find another position somewhere, but matching the income and benefits would be near impossible.

So there you are on the high wire of faith; praying, trusting, and hoping. And then you get the call to the boss’s office. Your heart sinks, you break out in a cold sweat, and say one more fervent prayer before knocking on her door.

Minutes later, you’re handed you’re severance package which is less than you expected, and you return to your work station to remove your personal effects.

Then comes the long drive home as you try to come to grips with the painful reality of unemployment. All your hard work and loyalty rewarded with termination. Just doesn’t seem fair.

“God. Why didn’t you answer my prayers?” Fair question. You had been praying for months and had done all you could to remove any sins that might hinder your request. As much as you don’t want to think it, you feel like God let you down. You had put your trust in Him, but He failed you.

Soon after, seeds of doubt enter your mind. Maybe you did something wrong. Possibly God is punishing you for some unknown sin. Or maybe this faith and God stuff isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Despite those negative feelings, in your heart of hearts you know God cares for you. Eventually you retreat from your pity party and apologize to Him for your faith failure.

“What can I do Lord? What do you want me to do? Show me the way? Speak to me, Lord. Please. Something. Just let me know you are there.” And in that still small voice you hear, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”

“But I do trust you, Lord.”

“Yes, but you are leaning on your own understanding.”

That’s when the light comes back on, when you realize that losing your job wasn’t the end. Trust in God doesn’t stop at the notification of bad news. Take your eyes off the severance check and the fear of survival. That’s your understanding, but that’s not what you lean upon. Trust God. Lean on Him. It just means you’re going to be walking on the high wire of faith for a while longer.

In 1981, my partner and I lost our morning radio job in Houston, Texas to a format change. For the next six months, we were unemployed, but I prayed fervently every day for God to give us a new and better job. Ultimately, after some offers that fell through, a situation came available in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately, it was for considerably less than what we had been making. But it was the only offer on the table, so we took it.

A year later, the Birmingham boss called us into his office and said it was time to renegotiate our contract. We could stay but only if we took a substantial pay cut.

In my mind, my radio career was near its end. However, a year later, ratings skyrocketed and that same boss was willing to sign a long term contract, with a substantial increase in income and a signing bonus.

What I saw as the end wasn’t. My understanding was wrong. The Lord had something better.

Time after time, I have seen God do the impossible. He often stretches our faith to the last minute and beyond.

Let’s look at that scripture one more time. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”

I’ll leave you with this final thought for today. For a Christian, the end is never the end.

July 7

How God Protects Us from Satanic Attacks

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Studies have concluded that many Christians do not believe Satan is a literal being. They see him as a figurative representation of evil. However, I believe there is more than enough scriptural evidence to prove the devil is real.

Satan has supernatural but limited power. He is not deity. He is not comparable to God. Unlike our Lord, the devil is not omnipotent (all powerful), nor omniscient (all knowing), nor omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). And the evil one is definitely not immutable (unchanging and unchangeable). God’s truth never changes. But there is no truth in Satan. He twists, convolutes, lies, and manipulates to accomplish his evil purposes.

Satan is a created being, a fallen angel who hates both God and man and works to defeat God's plan of grace and salvation through Christ.

This is the first of three devotions in which we will explore the reality of Satan. Today, we’ll look at How God Protects Us from Satanic Attacks. Tomorrow, we’ll explore What You Can Do to Guard Against Satanic Attack. And then on the third day the subject will be How to Know When You are Under Satanic Attack.

Before we freak out over this evil menace who desires to harm us, we must keep the promise in our focus text top of mind. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

In fact, Jesus’ earthly mission was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8) which He accomplished by His victory at Calvary and the beginning of the age of grace.

Notice how Jesus contrasted His redemptive work with Satan’s destructive plan. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Satan robs and kills. Jesus gives abundant life.

Jesus defeated Satan, but He didn’t destroy him. That will come later after the Lord’s second coming. Until then, the devil remains, prowling like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), looking to keep unbelievers from the faith (2 Corinthians 4:4), and disrupting the lives of believers. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Before going to the cross, Jesus expressed His concern about Satan’s attacks on His followers in a prayer to the Father. “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

Back to our focus text. Notice the two things that God will faithfully do for us: strengthen and protect.

Neither term means that our lives will be kept from attack. Scripture teaches otherwise. But we can expect that when we are assaulted with evil that God will strengthen us for the ordeal and protect us from irreparable harm.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how God has equipped us to handle demonic attacks. An important segment of scripture on the subject is found in Ephesians 6. At verse 6, in the context of protecting ourselves with the shield of faith, we learn that we can “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” As Christians we can expect that Satan will launch assaults against us, but God strengthens us for the battle and protects us by fending off Satan’s arrows.

The devil is noisy, brash, and can stir up more than enough racket to unsettle you. Your day can be going along nicely and all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, all hell breaks loose. An irate coworker. An unfair demand from a boss. A false accusation by a friend or family member. Trouble in your home life or a shocking health concern.

Just remember, when those evil arrows start flying, that God has promised to protect you. My wife and I have had many discussions over the years on this topic. We have regularly observed that “the arrows fly, but nothing hits.” Lots of scary stuff, but we will survive the attack.

Can everything bad that happens to us be attributed to Satan? No. We’ll look at ways to recognize what is and what isn’t OF the devil in the third devotional in this series.

Here’s the good news. You’re on the winning team. Satan can intimidate you but he can’t have you. In the end, he will be destroyed. (Revelation 12:9; 19:20)

When you suspect you are under demonic attack — PRAY. Claim God’s promise: “… the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

July 8

What You Can Do to Guard Against Satanic Attack

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8-9

All Christians are subject to satanic attack. That’s why we’re told to “be alert.” And just in case you don’t think it’s a big deal or you’re not a target for evil, Peter warns you should take this counsel seriously. Be “of sober mind.” It’s no laughing matter. You could be next.

This is the second of three devotions on the reality of Satan. Tomorrow we’ll look at How to Know You are Under Satanic Attack. Bad things happen, but not all of them can be attributed to the devil. Today, however, we’ll focus on God’s instruction on how we can avoid and ward off those evil attacks.

We’ve already seen the importance of being alert and sober minded. By the way, Satan is a liar and deceiver. He would love for you to think all this talk about satanic attacks and spiritual warfare is much ado about nothing.

In verse 9, we’re told to “resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Hold onto sound Biblical instruction. Remain firmly aligned with Christ and His promises.

I find it amazing how family members and friends are experts on a faith they refuse to accept. And some of their arguments are convincing. They don’t mind treating you like you’re a fool for believing such nonsense. Don’t allow the devil to cause you to doubt your faith or change your godly belief system.

When your faith is challenged, don’t blow your witness. Remain true to godly values. Satan will push all your buttons to provoke you into saying or doing something you will regret. He’s a master at making the good guy look like the bad guy. Resist.

James 4:7 echoes Peter’s instruction and tells us what we can expect when we resist the devil. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

The most thorough teaching on how to resist Satan is found in Ephesians 6:11-17. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (v11) The verses that follow expound upon the extraordinary armor with which we have been equipped.

(1) Truth

What does God say about you and your relationship to Him? What does God say about the situation with which you have been confronted? Abide by the Lord’s truth and not by Satan’s distortion of it. And if you don’t immediately know the answer, find wise counsel. If you can’t find it in God’s word seek help from a respected Christian. You’ve heard it all your life that the truth will set you free. Find it and resist the devil.

(2) Righteousness

Don’t give the evil one an opening by engaging in sinful behavior. Once you have been lured down the path to temptation, it’s a long and hard road back.

(3) The Gospel of Peace

When you gave your life to Christ, you ceased to be at enmity with God. You entered into His peace. There is no peace to be found with Satan. His way always leads to chaos. Rest in the reality of the peace you have with God. Do not be suckered into anger that seeks evil revenge or results in ungodly behavior.

(4) Faith

I can’t improve on that great old hymn, Standing on the Promises. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and put the devil on notice that you will not put up with his evil nonsense.

(5) Salvation

You are saved by grace and through faith. You are a child of the King and your birthright is irrevocable. You belong to Jesus.

(6) The word of God

When Jesus was confronted by Satan in the wilderness, he responded with the truth of God’s word. The greater our understanding and knowledge of scripture, the greater our ability to resist the devil’s attempts at tripping us up.

(7) Prayer

Verse 18 adds prayer to the list. It wasn’t included in the armor illustration used by Paul to instruct us on how to resist the devil. But prayer definitely applies. “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

The bottom line: God has equipped us with all we need for resisting the devil and his schemes. And we have God’s promise that He will give us strength and protection when we’re under attack.

More tomorrow when we look at How to Know When You’re Under Satanic Attack.

July 9

7 Ways Satan Attacks Believers

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:4

Paul refers to Satan as “the god of this age.” Because of that, until Jesus returns this world will never improve. Evil, apostasy, and depravity will increase as the evil one works toward establishing his own rule and worship as depicted in Revelation 13.

The devil is “the god of this age” which means we are living in a world that opposes the godly values that you and I hold dear.

However, God has not left us defenseless in these evil times. He has promised to protect and strengthen us to deal with Satan’s attacks. He remains the sovereign Lord over all creation. Satan’s earthly dominion is allowed by God, but again I repeat the devil is not deity, but a created being, a fallen angel with limited power and authority.

The Lord has equipped Christians to stand and fight against the enemy. In other words, although the age is evil, we must continue to stand up for righteousness and the advancement of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, we looked at the armor God has given us for our protection. But the last piece of equipment that Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:17 is and offensive weapon, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” So we fight the evil in our world according to the commands and promises in God’s word. As we forge ahead by the authority of scripture we bathe our actions and thoughts in prayer. (Ephesians 6:18)

As children of God through Christ, we have been given all we need to function and make a positive difference in an inherently evil world. And just as we have been equipped for battle we are also given considerable information about the enemy and his tactics.

Following are 7 ways Satan attacks believers:

(1) defamation (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14)

As you strive to lead a godly life and build a reputation for righteousness, Satan may attack your good name. Don’t be surprised when you’re treated as the bad guy. In such situations remain true to God, do not be led astray, and trust the Lord to vindicate your cause.

(2) accusation (Revelation 12:10)

As the accuser, the devil may put you in situations in which you are falsely blamed. Not only does he use demons and unbelievers to stir up trouble, but he also works through carnal or ignorant Christians. These attacks can happen anywhere; home, work, and even in the church. Nothing agitates us more than to be blamed for something we didn’t do. In those times, remember to resist the temptation to blow your top. Take your stand with the sword of the Spirit (God’s word), prayer, truth, and the other strategies we discussed in yesterday’s devotional.

(3) temptation

In 1 John 2:16, we’re told that temptation is rooted in three areas: the lusts of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life. Satan doesn’t want you to be spiritually mature and serving Christ. You can expect that your spiritual intensity will be met with considerable opposition. Remember that the evil one doesn’t play fair and will strike your weaknesses.

(4) imitation (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Satan can appear as an angel of light. He can veil and disguise evil to make it look good. That’s why it is so important to have a solid understanding of Biblical doctrines so as not to be swept away from the truth.

(5) deception (Revelation 12:9)

Satan is the father of lies. He may send people into your life who appear to have just what you’ve been looking for. They may appear godly and say all the right things. Learn to trust the Spirit within.

(6) disruption (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

Paul said that Satan hindered him from visiting the church at Thessalonica. In fact, his ministry was completely derailed and he was imprisoned. But God used him anyway.

If the devil disrupts your good intentions for God, it doesn’t mean your service for the Lord is over. God is not confined by separation, isolation, time, or distance. He can use you where you are.

(7) misrepresentation

The Bible warns that we’re to be on guard against false prophets. How easy it is to fall for doctrine that tickles our ears, yet is contrary to the truth of God’s word. Satan is the master liar. His desire is your eternal destruction, to keep you from a saving knowledge of Jesus. And once you’re saved, he will do all he can to extract you from the faith. Don’t ever think you are so wise that you can’t fall for one of the devil’s lies. Be on guard. Resist.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention disease as a tool of Satan. Just as Satan doesn’t deserve the credit for all our troubles, so it is with sickness. He can use illness only if God allows it.

The cause of life’s troubles is not nearly so important as what we do about them. What matters is what we’re doing today in response to those difficulties. Whatever the cause, God’s word provides a remedy for every problem.

Please take notice of this important point. Everything that God tells us to do to avoid and resist the devil should be standard daily operating procedure for every Christian. And it can be reduced to two things, trust in God and faithful obedience to His word.

And so we come to these great words of comfort:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25



July 10

The Key to Better Relationships

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…

Philippians 2:3

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get along with everybody? Imagine how much better life would be if you could experience harmonious and peaceful relationships with everyone. Yes, even those cantankerous individuals who get their kicks out of making you miserable.

Now that’s a utopia that won’t be enjoyed until we get to heaven. Down here on earth, we must continue to coexist with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When we study the Bible, we think a lot about growing our relationship with God. But I wonder if we have a tendency to overlook scriptural teaching on our relationships with one another.

In fact, there are teachings on our relationships with others that are controversial, even rejected. For example, the instruction on wives submitting to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24) But when balancing that mandate with the whole of scripture, it shouldn’t be hard for anyone to accept. The role of the husband is to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loves the church. (Eph 5:25) Later in verse 33, Paul amplifies his meaning. “… each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” So the marital relationship is to be one of sacrificial love and respect. It’s a 2-way street in which both partners have a God-given role and responsibility. Harmony prevails when we follow the divine design for relationships.

Our focus text in Philippians holds the key for healthy relationships. “… in humility value others above yourselves…” The word I want you to focus on here is VALUE.

One of my neighbors has a car and a truck. Without fail he washes and polishes both vehicles once per week. Why? Value.

We give those things we prize our best. Paul teaches that we are to value others above ourselves because when we hold them in high esteem we treat them better.

By the way, he didn’t say to just hold the ones who treat us well in high esteem. He just says to value others more than ourselves. That’s right up there with turning the other cheek. Not easy. But it is worthwhile.

He also tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” Me first won’t cut it. And don’t think of yourself more highly than another.

Who are the people in your inner circle who cause you the most grief? Surely a name or two come to mind. Put aside your biases, hurts, and opinions of that person and think of how you can look at him or her in a favored light. Your goal is to value them more highly than yourself.

Why would God want us to do that? Because it’s precisely what Jesus did for you and me. “… he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:7)

We say we want to be more like Christ. He’s our supreme role model. If that is truly what we want then we must also take to heart the Bible’s teachings on interacting with others. And that includes: “… in humility value others above yourselves…”

The key to better relationships is placing value on others, even when it’s undeserved. And as with any spiritual maturity challenge, bathe it in prayer. Trust God to help you effect change that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others — to His glory.

July 11

How to Get Along with Others

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

1 Peter 2:17

We can’t control how other people treat us, but we can control how we treat others.

In 1 Peter 2:17, we’re given four directives for coexisting with those with whom we must interact. When applied, these mandates can help us experience greater peace and harmony within our relationships. And when our kind disposition toward others is rebuffed, we can know we have honored the Lord by our obedience.

Peter tells us very succinctly how we are to behave toward everyone, other believers, God, and government. And he gave his instruction at a time when Christians were undergoing persecution and their movement was unpopular with the general population.

The way we treat others should not be based on the way they treat us. Our behavior is based on who we are, God’s children, and what the Lord has done for us.

(1) Show proper respect to everyone.

Yesterday, in The Forever Notebook, we examined Philippians 2:3, “in humility value others above yourselves…” As Christians, we are to value others and give them god-inspired respect.

It has often been said that respect is earned. But based on the teaching of scripture that common saying is incorrect. Rather, respect is to be given to everyone regardless of how we have been treated. We look to God for our honor and not to man. Respect that is not earned is grace, giving the recipient better than they deserved or earned.

(2) Love the family of believers.

Other believers are worthy of an extra measure of our respect because we share a common bond in Christ. We are family. Of course, even in loving families there is discord. But we learn to work through our differences, keep on loving, and find ways to resolve our conflicts. Just as our individual behavior reflects our witness for Christ, so does our corporate conduct. A church fellowship in turmoil is a liability and not an asset for the Lord’s service.

(3) Fear God.

Without this element in place, the other three will fail. The reason we go the extra mile in our relationships is because of our love, respect, and fear for our Lord.

I’ve heard it said that fearing God shouldn’t be interpreted the same way we normally think of fear. Fear of God is just healthy respect and admiration. However, I submit that fear of God should be taken literally. It means just what it says.

The Bible teaches that we’re to fear God and not man. Our eternal destination can only be determined by God. I don’t know about you, but the thought of eternal torment in hell was frightening, enough to cause me to accept God’s plan for everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Although we are to fear God, He is love. (1 John 4:8) Everything God has done and will do for us has resulted from His perfect love. And as we learn in 1 John 4:18, “perfect love drives out fear…” As Christians we no longer agonize over where we will spend eternity. God’s loving act of redemption has freed us from that fear.

God is our Father, the One who disciplines those He loves. (Hebrews 12:6)

So the fear we have for God keeps us in line, teaches us how better to live a godly life, and is the highest form of honor and respect.

(4) Honor the Emperor.

Well, we don’t have an emperor, although it may seem like it at times. But in context, Peter instructs us to honor our government. We are to follow the laws of our land, pay taxes, and respect governmental authority.

God wants godly behavior at all times, in all circumstances, and in all relationships. He wants His children to be well-behaved peacemakers who reflect His light in a dark world.

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

July 12

Working for the Higher Purpose

even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 10:33

We come into the world wanting attention. “Hey, look at me. Look at what I have or what I can do.” But when we are born again, that focus changes, or it should. Instead of saying, “Look at me,” we should say, “Look at Him.”

If your life was an advertisement for Christ and His kingdom, how effective would it be?

Some people share their faith by handing out gospel tracts. Others carry a big Bible and preach in a public square. Some enlist in witnessing programs, like Evangelism Explosion. Then there’s the bring-a-friend-to-church method. Nothing wrong with these efforts at bringing the lost to Christ. But nothing represents Christ better than godly living and a sincere concern for others.

In the two previous devotions, I emphasized the importance of valuing others, placing them in high esteem, and giving them respect. That’s what Paul means when he says, “I try to please everyone in every way.” He lived a godly life around everyone, including prison guards. And he was motivated by a higher purpose, not for his benefit, but for the benefit of others.

He didn’t allow mistreatment, slights, or the offensive behavior of others to alter the way he treated them. Paul employed the hard teachings of scripture that call for loving your enemies, blessing those who persecute you, loving your neighbor as yourself, and forgiveness. He took the position, “If God loves me, after all I’ve done, then I can love you.” In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

Paul’s statement that he tried “to please everyone in every way,” does not mean that he conformed with the sinful practices of the crowd he wanted to reach for Christ. He didn’t go out drinking with the boys, attend wild parties, or embrace the seedier side of life to accomplish the higher purpose. But he treated everyone with respect, valued them more highly than himself, and looked beyond their faults to focus on their greater need.

Red Lobster has been running a TV ad lately that makes me want their lobster dinner every time I see it. That’s amazing, considering I don’t like lobster. The ad gurus have successfully caused me to think again about something I had previously dismissed. Oh, that I could live my life in such a way that someone who had rejected Christianity would take a second look.

Who in your life is the thorn in your side? Thank the Lord if no name comes to mind. However, for most of us there is someone, or more than one, who has hurt us deeply. We say we forgive them but the wounds remain. The thought of valuing them higher than ourselves may sound good in theory, but it’s not practical. When misfortune comes their way, we can’t help but get a little satisfaction from it. They are deplorable, reprehensible, and undesirable. Yet they remain in your life. By necessity, possibly because the two of you were once married and had children together. Or that coworker who treated you horribly is now your boss. Or maybe you were betrayed by a friend.


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