Deliver Us From Evil (book review)

Deliver Us from Evil by Don Basham was an interesting book about a Christian man's journey from believing that the devil and demons did not exist and had never existed to recognizing the influence of them in our world.  The tag line of the book is "A Pastor's Reluctant Encounters with the Powers of Darkness."  It is really an apt description.

At the beginning of this story, Mr. Basham was a minister at a church that was in the midst of revival.  They had regular prayer meetings.  People were being healed, and miracles were happening.

But he, and many or all of the church members did not believe that the demonic had any influence in the lives of people.  They didn't even believe they existed.  Demons were just an old, archaic way of explaining the sinful nature of man.

Mr. Basham soon found himself in multiple situations where the demonic was evident, but he still didn't want to admit this was real.  He decided to conduct an experiment where he chose to assume they did exist and see what happened.  Before long, he was convinced, both by his Bible study, conversations with other Christians, and his experiences.

The book tells about many of his experiences with the demonic, but I think one of the most useful parts of this book is his notes.  Throughout the story he will explain how he processed his thoughts and experiences.  Often, he made lists and notes which he included in his book.  Seeing how he came to believe these things is beneficial for those who are already convinced and those who are not.

Because this book begins with a person who is at stage even earlier than the skeptic, this book is useful for those who are curious or who have had experiences they can't explain but doubt that demons exist.  It is also useful for the one who is already convinced but wants to learn more.

If you want to read this book, it is available on Amazon as a paperback.  If you decide to read it, I hope that you'll use my affiliate link above or here to order.  Your ordering experience will not change, nor will your price, but Amazon will compensate me in a small way for introducing you to this book.

I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen in exchange for my review.

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Red Lights and Low on Gas

Saturday night, I found myself across town with about 30 miles worth of gas in my car.  My husband had told me he would get gas in the morning, so I headed toward home.  I knew there was enough gas to get home and to the gas station in the morning, but I asked God to help us extend that gas a little farther by helping me not have to stop at any red lights.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that it didn't take a great amount of faith to ask this because it had happened before, but it was an uncommon occurence, considering the number of stop lights involved.

And the only stoplight I had to stop at was the one where I tried to slow down a bit, way in advance, expecting the light to turn at any minute, with the intention of giving the light time to turn yellow, red, and back to green before I reached it.  Once I realized I had miscalculated, I sped up again, hoping to make it through, but the light turned yellow too soon, so that I had to stop rather than try to make it through the intersection before it changed to red.

I apologized to God there in the car, for trying to take care of it myself, and I did not have to stop at another light.  There were a couple close calls, and there were a couple I had to slow down coming up to them, but I didn't have to stop and wait at any light the rest of my way home.

The whole thing reminded me of the story of Abraham, Sarai, and Hagar.

Honestly, any time I try to make my own way, I am reminded of this story.

God had promised Abraham an heir, more specifically, a son.  And Abraham grew frustrated and decided that God must be needing his help to get this accomplished.  Sarai (later to be renamed Sarah) offered her servant Hagar to have a child with Abraham in her place.  This was a common practice in that day, though not necessarily something God approved, particularly in Abraham's case.

A child was born and caused no end of trouble, especially once Isaac, the child God has promised was born to Sarah.  I've talked about this story in the past, so I won't go any further into the story, but I simply want to make the point that we as humans have a tendency to *help* God along, when He doesn't need our help, and sometimes our help is even a hindrance.

I would love to hear about a time that you tried to help God and the lesson you learned from it.  Please leave your comments below.  I would love to turn one or more of the comments into an opportunity for some of you to guest post here, so I hope you'll tell me your stories!

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Grumpy Old Men: Mad About Hypocrisy (Video)

It's been a while since I've shared a sermon with you, and it's been a while since I've listened to one from my alma mater, so I knew it was time to find something worth listening to and worth sharing.

I was pleased to find one about David, since I've been reading so much about him lately.  (You can see my posts about that here and here.)  This is a great look at David, Bathsheba, and Nathan.  I hope you'll listen and share.

There is also an audio only version here.


Discussion: Demons

Do demons exist?

I recently started reading a book about a particular man's journey in learning about the existence of demons and spiritual warfare.  I was surprised that the man had been the minister of a church that regularly had healings take place and many other miracles, but he solidly did not believe in the real existence of the devil or demons.

I have a hard time with the idea that he could so easily accept the miraculous but be so convinced that Satan was an archaic idea that first century people used to explain their own sin nature.

This makes me wonder:  what are your thoughts about the devil and/or demons?  Do they exist?  If they exist, what role do they play?  Do they directly affect people?  Do they affect Christians too or only non-Christians?  What do they do?  Is there anything we can do against them?

Please comment below and then share this post.  I look foward to hearing your responses.

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The Lord Looks at the Heart

I've been reading a lot about the life of David lately.

First, I read a historical fiction book about Michael, and right after I finished that one, I read two more books from the same author, one about Abigail and one about Bathsheba.

While I realize that much of it is conjecture, it brought me into the life of David in a unique way, through the minds of his wives.  I suggest you read all three of them if you like fiction.

I've also been slowly reading through the Bible, and coincidentally or not, I have come to the life of David in 1 Samuel.

Not long after reading the story of Samuel anointing David to be king of Israel in the book Michal, I read it again in the word of God.

"Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons."

But Samuel said, "How can I go?  When Saul hears of it, he will kill me."

And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'  You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you."

So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem.  And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, "Do you come in peace?"

He said, "In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.  Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.  He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him."

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel.

And he said, 'The Lord has not chosen this one either."

Next Jessee made Shammah pass by.

And he said, "The Lord has not chosen this one either."

Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.

But Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these."  And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?"

And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep."

Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here."

So he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.

And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he."

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.  And Samuel arose and went to Ramah."

1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NASB)

This is a favorite passage of many.  It is as reminder that we shouldn't judge a book by the cover, a person by their good looks.

I find this intruiging.  I wonder what Samuel would have thought of David had he been the first of the brothers he had seen.  Would he have thought him a suitable king?

If God had wanted to, He could have sent Samuel out to find David tending the sheep, without ever crossing paths with Jesse and the rest of his sons.

But I think He was ready to prove a point. When we first heard of Saul, one of the first things that was mentioned was how tall he was, and it is mentioned other times throughout his story.  It seems that just because he was a head above everyone else, the people thought he would be a good king.

To anyone the least familiar with his story, it is obvious he was not.

And now, God allows Samuel to look over a line of men, any one that might have been first choice of the people, and He rejected every single oen of them.

And then there was David.  He was good looking, maybe more so than his brothers, maybe not.  But looks really don't matter.  It's irrelevant.  Good looking or bad looking, God is looking at the hearts of the men of Israel, the sons of Judah.  And in one heart, He found a man that wanted to follow Him, who would be a good king, and would become the ancestor of the Savior of the world.

We can't make decisions about people based on looks.  Whether good-looking or not so much, the heart tells the story.

It remind me of that movie from several years ago, called Shallow Hal.  Hal was cursed so that he saw what was on the inside of people rather than the outside.  From the outside, we could see the girl wasn't as thin as he thought she was, or the other girl's teeth weren't perfect, or she had coke-bottle glasses.  Or sometimes she really was exactly as he saw her.  At one point, he meets a beautiful woman and is repulsed by her because all he can see is the badness of her heart rather than her pretty face.

You just can't make decisions about people from what you see, unless what you see is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

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A Life of Miracles (book review)

The lives of Christians in the earliest days of the church were filled with miracles.  And sometimes we hear stories of or experience miracles in our lives today, but it's hard to imagine they can happen to us.  We're imperfect followers who don't always like to do what God asks.  Why would He work miracles in our lives?

I won't be one to wonder about the motives of God, but I do know that everyday, normal Christians struggling with their day to day lives can experience miracles.

Recently I read A Life of Miracles by Don Schulze.  The entire book was telling about his journey with Christ and his wife and children.  They spent their lives swinging back and forth on a pendulum, following God's instruction to the letter some days, and looking more like Abraham, Sarai, and Hagar other days.  But the common theme is that God worked in their circumstances.

They saw physical healings.  They had received mortgage payments from near strangers when they were about to be foreclosed.  They were gifted with money in unusual circumstances right when they needed it.

One of my favorite stories from the book is when they had no more money to carry them through the pay period and Don, who was a salesman at the time, had to meet a client for a sales presentation.  I won't tell his story for him, but by the end of his appointment with the client, he had a fifty dollar check in his wallet that was meant for him, not the company, and the promise of a probable purchase in the future.

The whole book is filled with God's actions and God's voice.  It was an incredibly encouraging read, and the fact that Don and Leia struggled mentally and spiritually through these experiences was a reminder that we don't need to be perfect to be cared for by God or to further His kingdom.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for my review. 

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One of the most interesting characters in the Bible was King David.  He was raised as a shepherd, became a part of the king's family, and then became king himself.

Even though David was called a man after God's own heart, he had problems like anyone.  Some of those problems stemmed from his multiple wives and their children.  His first wife was taken from him by his father-in-law (the king), another wife became his through sin.  His children committed violence against him and each other.  Even at his death, his children were still causing him trouble, fighting for precendece over each other, and more signficantly, fighting for the crown.

I recently read a book based on the life of Michal, David's first wife.  It opens up the lives of Michal, King Saul, Michal's brother Jonathan, and David.  While I wouldn't say that everything happened just as explained in the book, it is a good imagining of what it might have been like, based on the information we're given in the Bible.  

At the moment I write, this book is available as a free Kindle download on Amazon.  I hope you'll read it.  Let me know what you think of it, and if you like it, consider reading the author's other books about the wives of King David.

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