Faith Is Not always Easy!

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)

 

 

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“Don't Be Hoodwinked By Satan"

Have you ever been hoodwinked? Our word "hoodwinked" is actually a falconry term. We use it to mean "to deceive," but Webster notes that the word also means "to blind by covering the eyes." The falconer must hoodwink his falcon. In the beginning of training, the bird rides hooded on his owner's arm. The hood allows the bird to adjust to the sound of his owner without being frightened by the sight of him. Later the hood is removed and even the noise of many people does not intimidate the bird.

However, the bird quickly learns to dislike the hood and begins to dodge as the falconer attempts to replace it. And so the falconer places a small piece of meat in the hood and the falcon puts his head nearly all the way into the hood to get the meat. The bird gets the meat, but he also gets hooded!

This is an illustration to us that if we aren’t careful, we will get "hoodwinked" by satan. Let me illustrate with a personal experience: Some weeks ago, I wasn’t doing well physically. I had body aches, I was more wobbly as I walked, and began saying to myself, “Well, it’s about time because I will be 70 my next birthday.” As much as I enjoy taking Paris (my West Highland White Terrier) for a ride each morning through our subdivision in my 1917 Model T, I was having more difficulties getting in and out of the car. Linda was constantly warning me to be careful getting in and out. In a Model T you don’t just open a door and sit down like today’s cars, you have to literally climb up into the car on the passenger side and then slide over to the steering wheel. There is no driver side door. For me, it’s a bit of a chore and I began to think, “I’m getting weaker so maybe I should sell my 100 year old car and let someone else enjoy it.”

As I look back, I believe God miraculously healed me from cancer. I believe it was not only to benefit me, but it’s to God’s glory.

One of the first things I read about healing that really helped was from Mark 1. Jesus has been healing all day long. Finally, everybody goes away and night falls. The crowds come back early the next morning and Simon Peter goes looking for Jesus because he’s not to be found—he’s somewhere praying. When they find him, Simon says, “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus’ reply to Peter is so amazing. He doesn’t say, “Oh, quick, let me go back down the hill and help all these sick people.” Instead he says to Peter, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—where I must preach there also. For this is why I have come.”

When you read those words, “This is why I have come,” you begin to see Jesus’ priorities of healing differently. God is interested in a deeper healing; physically and spiritually.

After cancer treatment, since I had to retire and could no longer serve in a church, God gave me a new ministry of prayer and encouragement. For years, even before cancer, without setting my alarm clock, I get up every morning around 4 am for prayer and Bible Study. I send a Facebook message or email to many people I pray for to encourage them. I always include a verse of Scripture. In the words of a friend, I also use my Model T as “transportation to share the gospel”. As Paris (West Highland White Terrier) and I take our morning drive through our subdivision, I occasionally have people flag me down wanting to look at my car. Every time I go to the gas station, there is always someone asking questions about my 100 year old Model T. I see these opportunities to share how God has blessed and healed me from stage 4 Lymphoma, brain cancer, and thyroid cancer. I’m excited and thankful and want to tell people what God has done in my life.

Just a couple days ago, I was walking out of my shop to the street and a guy came up, soaking wet with sweat, totally exhausted from his run. I had the opportunity to tell him how God has blessed and healed me. In conversation he asked if he could see my Model T. He was so exhausted he lay down on the shop floor and I turned a big shop fan on him to cool him off. After a few minutes we walked to the house and Linda gave him a large glass of water. After getting his strength back, he went on home.

The thought occurred to me, “That’s why I have this 1917 Model T. This is the new ministry God gave to me after getting cancer and had to retire in 2012, and satan has almost hood winked me.”

At a low point physically, I entertained thoughts of selling my Model T. Satan almost hood winked me! In the Bible, the Apostle Paul called satan a deceiver. “But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.” ( 2 Corinthians 11:3)  Again the Apostle Paul said, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

In 1 Peter 5:10 [ESV], Peter says, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace … will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  Honestly, I’m amazed that these last years of cancer treatment feel like only “a little while.” Maybe God does that when we finally do love Jesus more, when we finally do follow him more closely. Maybe he erases all the horror, all the despair, all the depression of the past when we learn how to trust God. He pushes into the background all the terrible times of anguish and pain, and He brings forward the highlights—the moments of hope, peace, and growth. As I look back over those years, I just see God at work. That’s pretty exciting.

Don't allow yourself to be "hoodwinked" by satan!

 

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