How to respond to Satan’s accusations

“Satan accuses Christians day and night. It is not just that he will work on our conscience to make us feel as dirty, guilty, defeated, destroyed, weak, and ugly as he possibly can; it is something worse: his entire play in the past is to accuse us before God day and night, bringing charges against us that we know we can never answer before  the majesty of God’s holiness.

What can we say in response? Will our defense be, ‘Oh, I’m not that bad?’ You will never beat Satan that way. Never. What you must say is, ‘Satan, I’m even worse than you think, but God loves me anyway. He has accepted me because of the blood of the Lamb.’”

— D. A. Carson, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

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Quotes on God’s glory

“God is glorified not only in His glory’s being seen, but being rejoiced in.”
Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World

“If there lurks in modern minds the notion that our desire for our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that the Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

“I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise…lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside… I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.”
C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

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Brennan Manning on God’s Love

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“If” by Rudyard Kipling



(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)
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Now Why This Fear

Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for the debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?

Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love

Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood

How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me

Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free

Original Verses by Augustus Toplady (1772), Music, Alternative, and Additional Words by Doug Plank
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

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Catholicism in Spain

Sometimes it’s difficult to explain the Spanish religious climate to American Christians. In Spain, nearly 78% of people claim to be Christian. [It’s interesting that a few years ago that number was 90%]

Of that 78% of Christian people, 94.5% are Catholic. This leave the remaining 5.5% to be divided by Protestant, Independent, Anglican, Orthodox, and Other.

I have many American Catholic people in my life whom I love and respect. I believe they have a vibrant personal relationship with God the Father through his Son Jesus Christ. I believe we’ll live and worship together in the new earth one day. Additionally, some of my favorite Christian authors are Catholic; many of the Church fathers who inspire me were Catholic. As I talk to people about the spiritual darkness and lack of Christianity in Spain, I’m not casting doubt on the faith of my believing Catholic friends. I’m casting doubt on the empty, cultural Catholicism prevalent in Spain and other places in Europe (Italy, for example).

I was reading this morning about people groups in Spain and came across the Basques (0.5% evangelical). These people have a rich cultural history and an absolutely fascinating language- a language with one of the most amazing histories on earth. As I read about the Basques, I found this explanation of Spanish Catholicism and I want to share it here:

What is difficult for many American Catholics to understand is that the Catholic Church around the world has a mission strategy of syncretism. They accept the “traditional beliefs” of the new people, and then try to re-create those in a Catholic form. Catholics would say that they are successful in that. Others might tend to disagree.

Another aspect of Catholicism in Spain is that it is very much a cultural Catholicism for the overwhelming majority of people. To be Catholic means to participate in the big events of the Catholic Church (infant baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage in the Catholic Church, burial in the Catholic cemetery, and then the Mass for the dead on the anniversaries of their passing.

Finally, down through the centuries the Catholic church has played a prominent role in the governing of Spain since 350 A.D. right up through the 1970s. They have insisted that to be Spanish is necessarily to be Catholic, and since the decline of the Roman Empire, they have lobbied subsequent national leadership to embrace the Catholic faith as their own and as a force for unity with Spain. Even General Franco used the imposition of Catholicism to “unite” all of the Spanish nation under his leadership. As a result, When Franco died in 1975, many Spaniards rejected the Catholic Church as well as Franco’s failed agenda. The Basque Country went from the “most Catholic” to the “least Catholic” of all the autonomous regions of Spain in a 20-30 year period following Franco´s death.

Most Catholics still claim Catholicism if they claim any religious affiliation at all, but it is, for the most part, a cultural Catholicism only, and even in that limited sense, any real allegiance to the church has been greatly weakened.

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On Faith and the Prodigal Cat.

On May 4th, at about midnight, our cat (Roy Rogers) accidentally jumped from our 3rd floor balcony and down to the street. He escaped the love of three robust and busy kiddos, consistent food and water, and a chair of his (basically) very own.

Missing Poster (Roy)

We searched like crazy for the first week. Asked neighbors, local businesses, the veterinary clinic… Friends came over to help us search under cars and in other unlikely places. A lot of tears fell.

The second week, we started putting things away that reminded the kids of Roy. We were still keeping our eyes open, but not expecting anymore to find him. Over and over we were surprised by the people in out community that asked us if we had found him yet, and encouraged us that it was still possible.

But then on Thursday, while Brian and Malaki were heading to basketball practice, they saw a flash of grey and white in the alley. It dissapeared quickly, but they were pretty sure it was Roy. Brian dropped his to-do list, and went out on the search again. He called some cat-loving friends, Jamie and Eddie, and they searched until 11:45pm. They found him, but couldn’t catch him.

The next afternoon, Brian and Jamie put on some old clothes, and crawled under a locked door, into the empty storefront where Roy was hiding out. Eddie, the kids and I waited outside. We were just hoping to catch him if he ran out. (or explain to police or neighbors who questioned us)

About 10-15 minutes in, Brian called out, “Eddie, Malaki – get ready. I have something for you.” and he passed Roy under the door and we put him safely back in his carrier. (And went directly to the vet.)


I admit that I did not expect to find Roy after those first few days passed. I just didn’t think it could happen. And I thought if we did manage to catch him, he would come back so wild that he couldn’t be safe to keep. Well, I was wrong on all counts.

Brian and Jamie - Cat Rescuers

The one of us that had faith that his pet would return was Malaki. He prayed every day that God would keep Roy safe and bring him home. He told me of times at school that he would stop working, close his eyes, and pray. And when Roy appeared again, no one was more surprised than Brian and I, but no one was less surprised than Malaki. And no one was happier, (except maybe the culprit himself, who will not stop meowing unless someone is touching him).

So we’re thanking God today for bringing home the prodigal cat once again, and for giving us an example of childlike faith, even when it’s hard.

Together Again

(*All pictures for this post are courtesy of Malaki’s camera)

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