Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Shredder

A peaceful sleeping puppy
     My home is quiet right now.  The only thing I hear is the ticking of my clocks, the snoring of my old basset hound Roscoe and the soft breathing of our puppy Beau.  I enjoy these moments of silence as they seem far and few between.  Those of you who read this blog regularly know that we are keeping our son's puppy Beau for him until he is able to find a place that allows dogs.  I do not mind this job except that it is rather like going from an "empty nest" to having a toddler back in our home full-time.                              Roscoe is tried and true.  He sleeps most of the time and only gets up to find a new spot or eat his dinner.  Beau, on the other hand, is known as "the shredder"!  If something is not nailed down, he will eat it, chew it, or otherwise find a way to destroy it.  We have lots of toys for him but he prefers things that matter to us such as:  socks, shoes, underwear, and clothing of all types.
     On Monday, after our family had all gone home from the wonderful weekend we shared, Beau decided to take his shredding abilities one step further.  He attacked my perfectly good runner that helps to protect the wood floor as you enter our living room area.  The carpet wasn't that old, but somehow it must have had something good embedded in its fibers because he happily shredded a nice big hole in it.
I wanted to sit down and cry.  It is not that the carpet cannot be replaced or that it was expensive.  I just don't enjoy seeing my things destroyed.  I will not tell you what I wanted to do with this puppy when I discovered the mess he had made, but my thoughts were not sanctified in the least!
     Reflecting on this latest act of destruction, I couldn't help but compare the situation to what happens to each one of us at some point when the enemy of our souls comes in and shreds our dreams.  It seems that Satan loves to attack us in a variety of ways when we are most vulnerable.  His suggestions slip into our minds like a hand into a glove.  If we are unguarded in our thinking, we can easily pick up his lies and make them our own.  He can shred our confidence in our salvation by loading us with false guilt.  Then again, he can undermine our faith in Christ's sufficient work on the cross and cause us to feel as though we must "do" more to earn God's favor.  In all, his goal is to shred our witness tearing holes in it wherever he can so we become ineffective ambassadors for our Lord.
     In order to combat his assault on our minds, we have to recognize who this enemy is and how to stand against him.  Scripture tells us in John 8:44 who Satan is as Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and Jews assembled to hear him:  "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Jesus was addressing the fact that the people listening to him wanted to kill him.  They could not abide what He was saying about Himself or God the Father.  They were totally under the domain of their father the devil.  Either we are God's children or we belong to the enemy.  There is no in between.  Likewise, Jesus is pointing out the difference in this passage between Himself as the truth and the life and Satan who is a murderer of life and a liar.  What a contrast we see!  Therefore, we know that Satan is the father of lies and very adept at this process.  He is a dream shredder.  His ways bring destruction. However, there are some things we can do to stop the assault of the enemy.
     First, we need to know the Bible.  Jesus used this defense when He spent time in the wilderness during the forty days and nights He fasted.  When Satan attacked, Jesus reminded him of the truth found in the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11).  Keep in mind, this was not just one time, but three times that the enemy came at the Lord.  Satan even used the Word of God himself though he twisted it to suit his needs. Each time, Jesus rebuked him with God's Word.  Finally, Satan left him.  We have to learn to do the same thing when those nagging thoughts of guilt, inferiority, insecurity, or inadequacy come to our minds.  Quoting Scripture is good for our soul.  It reminds us of who God is and who we are in Him.
     Secondly, we need to dress for success in the full armor that God has provided for us.  The Apostle Paul describes each piece in Ephesians 6:10-20.  He begins by stating:  "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (vs. 10-11).  Then, Paul goes on to remind us that we aren't fighting against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of this present darkness.  We are in a battle.  Yes, people (even Christians) can be used to attack one another...but behind it all are the powers of darkness.  Being prepared for combat with the appropriate weapons of our warfare is important.  If we stand in God's power fully trusting in His might, we will over come.  Paul ends by telling us to keep alert with perseverance.  It is a lifetime battle dear ones...not a one day struggle.
     Finally, we must pray at all times.  Paul reminds us of this in the passage mentioned above in Ephesians.  We are to lift up not only our needs but the needs of all the saints that we may be kept from temptation and delivered from evil.  Jesus emphasized this when He gave His disciples the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).  Too often, we rattle off a quick prayer without much thought about it.  However, the key is to be engaged in talking with God, our power source for living.  He wants to hear from us about our struggles, weaknesses, and trials not because He does not already know them, but because it will change us as we lay them at His feet.  Prayer really does make a difference!
     Our enemy the devil is like a shredder of dreams and hopes, but he is a defeated foe.  We must learn to arrest him at every turn with God's Word, the weapons of our warfare and prayer.  Through Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate victory, but until He returns, we have been told to stand firm in the power of God's strength.  Satan will flee at the sound of God's truth.
Ready for action and playful as ever!
     Just as I am learning how to prevent destruction in my home by an over energized puppy, so I am learning to stand against the enemy of my soul.  Though he is like a prowling lion, I know THE LION TAMER and His name is Jesus...the way, the truth and the life.  We do not have to have to live at the mercy of the dream "shredder" any longer.  The blood of Christ has set us free.  Let us begin to practice and live out what God has shown us in His Word so that we live as more than conquerors in Christ.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts here.  How have you been able to prevent Satan from shredding your dreams and hopes?


Patricia said...

Good words here, Barbara. The Word of God is certainly our sword against the enemy. I told a friend yesterday that I'm also learning to laugh at him....tell him I see what's he's up to and remind him that he not bigger than my God - whose plans and purposes for my life will prevail.

{I can only imagine your frustration at seeing your rug torn to shreds....especially after such a busy weekend. xox}

jean@pilgrimscottage said...

Having a puppy in the house is truly like having a toddler. Same difference, almost! When situations come our way to throw us through a loop, it helps me to stand back and refocus on what the Lord may be teaching me from them. Reading God's word certainly gives us the warfare equipment in our fight.

Barbara Thayer said...

You are correct Pat...I was frustrated with the shredding around my house....but then, I have tried to since become prepared to counter his puppy attacks. The same holds true for our fight against Satan.

I like what you said about laughing at the enemy. He truly has no hold over us any longer and he cannot do more than annoy us when we stand in our armor and trust in the Lord! Good words my friend! Thank you.

Barbara Thayer said...

Jean...excellent words my dear friend! We do need to look at any given situation and ask what God is trying to teach us through the circumstances. I like that! If we spend time looking at God's purpose, we will have our attention on the correct One!

Blessings to you my friend. If you can I encourage you to visit as well. Pat and you are magnificent photographers of God's great beauty! I know you will bless each other!