In this issue
The One Thing Your Father Needs Charles R. Swindoll
6 Battling Disappointment Robyn Roste 8
"Can a Christian be Demon Possessed?"
11 No Secrets Steve Johnson 14 Q & A Steve Johnson
Laughing Matters Technology Lies Phil Callaway
Copyright ÂŠ 2013 Insight for Living Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this monthly publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. Insights is published by IFLC, the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. IFLC is an autonomous ministry and certified member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture passages are taken from the NASB. Unless otherwise noted, photography and illustration by IFLC staff. Printed in Canada.
by Charles R. Swindoll
The One Thing Your Father Needs continued from p. 3
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In an age of equal rights and equal time, it’s only fair to give dads equal attention.
or a few minutes, I’d like you to think about your father—or, perhaps, about the predominant male role model in your youth. Meditate on what that one individual has contributed to your life. Think about his influence over you, his investment in you, his cultivation of your character. Picture his face…the lines indelibly etched on it. Think about the tone of his voice…his laugh…those eyes…some unique expressions that emerge through the miracle of memory. Ponder the feeling of his hand around yours…his arm across your shoulders. That grip that provided a balanced blend of gentleness and determination…of compassion and masculinity… of “I understand” and “Now, straighten up!” Remember his walk. No other walk is like his, right? That inimitable stride. Arms swinging and back arched just so. Best of all, I hope you can ponder a dad of exemplary character. The word is integrity. As you read this, pause and recall just one or two choice moments in your past when he stood alone. When he stood by you. When he stood tall against insuperable odds. When he sheltered you in a time of storm. When he protected you from the bitter blast of life’s brutal blows. When he said, “It’s OK—I forgive you” instead of, “You ought to be ashamed!” In the memory of such a legacy that time can never erase, give God thanks. That’s all. Just thank the Giver of every good and perfect gift for the meaningful marks your dad branded on the core of your charac-
ter…the wholesome habits he took the time to weave into the fabric of your life. While meandering through this forest of nostalgia, pause and lean on the great oak named Proverbs. Look closely and reflect on the words the wise man carved into its bark 29 centuries ago: The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. (Prov. 20:7 NLT) Ah, how true! Our Lord declares that you are the beneficiary in a perpetual, paternal policy. For the balance of your life, you will receive dividends from your father’s wise and sacrificial investments in “integrity stock.” Most of those dividends were unknown and unclaimed until you were grown. How many of us now find ourselves richly endowed! Your dad is not perfect; he would be the first to admit it. Nor is he infallible, much to his own regret. Nor altogether fair. Nor always right. But there’s one thing he is— always and altogether—he is your dad… the only one you’ll ever have. And frankly, there’s only one thing he needs from you today—plain and simple—he needs to hear you say four words: “I love you, Dad.” That’s the best gift you can give. If you give him your love, you can keep all the other stuff. If you were to ask him, the gift of your love is the most valuable gift of all. ▪ Photograph of Chuck Swindoll © 2012 by Luke Edmonson
by Robyn Roste
ecently I listened to a sermon on “the valley of disappointment.” This is a place we all travel through when we experience failure. How long we spend in the valley depends on what we encounter while we’re there. In this valley, there are bandits called Bitterness, Withdrawal, and Fatalism. When we’re feeling down the bandits 6
confront us over and over. The only way we can find a way out of the valley is to defeat the bandits without losing sight of who we are. I listened to the sermon with eagerness—I love allegories—but was disappointed when it ended without telling me how to battle the bandits. It’s one thing to find yourself in the valley and
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see Bitterness and Withdrawal coming for you...but what do you do once you identify them? Over the days and weeks following the sermon I’ve thought on this often. Many times I’ve encountered these bandits and been able to get out of the valley to varying degrees of success. But when I try to think of how I’ve done this I realize there’s no formula. As I think through how I’ve dealt with disappointment I’ve pinpointed one common denominator, and am certain this is a key to defeating the bandits. To be victorious over bitterness, withdrawal, and fatalism the answer lies in who you are in Christ. Christian culture uses the term “identity in Christ” often but I wonder if people understand what it actually means. Or maybe it’s one of those terms we’ve heard so many times it doesn’t register anymore. At its simplest, to rest in your identity in Christ means you believe what God says about you. For example: • I am loved by God and He lives in me (Gal. 2:20) • I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10) • I am chosen by God (Eph. 3:4-6) • I am justified through faith and through my faith I find peace (Rom. 5:1) • I am a new creation—my old life is gone (2 Cor. 5:17) • I am a child of God (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26) • God works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28) • God does not treat me as my sins deserve (Ps. 103:10) • God forgives my sins and redeems my life from the pit. He crowns me with love and compassion (Ps. 103:2-4; Matt. 26:28) • God forgets my sins (Ps. 103:12; Heb. 10:17) I’ve known these truths my entire life. I am convinced I am a child of God and as
such am loved, forgiven, and saved. But the moment trials strike I question who I am all over again. Somehow I forget what God says about me and begin to give in to the bandits. In these weakened moments I find myself acting out of shame, guilt, and anger. In his sermon Enjoying the Rewards Chuck Swindoll says I can’t keep doing this, that God doesn’t suddenly stop being sovereign when bad things happen. “You must see the hand of God, you must view life vertically from His perspective or you will lose all drive to go on.” Chuck says the most common reaction during crisis is a horizontal one—to complain and to try to escape the truth of it. But what we need to do is embrace the pain and acknowledge God’s hand is in it.
It’s easy to get in a pattern of believing that faith in Christ means we won’t have any trouble or pain, but God doesn’t say that. In fact He says there will be trials (Jas. 1:2). What we need to grasp is no matter what happens, God is in control. What we need to learn is what God says about who we are now in Christ. What we need to do is choose to believe it, regardless of how we feel, how we see ourselves, or how others view us. It is in this we will have the strength to find our way out of the valley of disappointment—by keeping our eyes focused on Christ and by believing what He says about us. ▪ Robyn Roste is the Living Bridge Media manager at Insight for Living Canada.
by Phil Callaway
haven’t quite caught up with technology. At least that’s what my son told me while I was trying to program my VCR. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was wrong. He said, “Here’s your problem, Dad. You put an 8-track tape in it.” Let’s face it; most of us have low-grade techno-fever. We rise before our cell phone wakes us. We’ve been watching the time displayed by our ceiling clock anyway. Shaving and showering, we listen to stock updates, our pulse racing. In the kitchen, breakfast is two granola bars and enough caffeine to power the Starship Enterprise. But the time is not wasted. We are reading the morning news while updating our blog. The car starts before we climb in and the commute is ideal for catching up on the texting we couldn’t do while wasting time with sleep. At work we’re mainlining the Internet and marvelling at the growth of our inbox. At night we watch baseball while checking player statistics and emails from friends who wonder why we’re not returning their text messages about driving their kids to soccer practice.
If there’s life on other planets and they have telescopes, we must look like we’re in a giant pinball game. Sadly, few things suck the joy from our lives like busyness. People headed for Europe used to spend weeks unwinding on ocean liners. Breathing deeply of the salt air. Savouring novels and visiting friends. Now we can make the same trip in less than a day, and when we get there, we’re itching to be first off the plane. Is the world a better place than it was in the days of the ocean liner? Each day worldwide, 50 billion emails are dispatched. Kenneth Greenspan of New York’s Presbyterian Hospital claims 50 per cent of all doctor visits are stress-related and that stress contributes to 90 per cent of known diseases. We have cell phones that work underwater now. This is a real answer to prayer. I’m often swimming, thinking I need to talk to Steve. Hey, I love bread makers and microwaves, but what I’d like more than
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anything is to lie down for a full hour without a cell phone going off. If I had the time, I’d sit down and write a letter:
Dear Guys Who Come Up With More Stuff: Please stop. We’re fine. We have enough RAM in our computers and enough room in our trunks. Our jets go fast enough now. You have put nutritional value on our potato chip bags and we’re amazed. But would you work on an invention that slows us down? That brings families together? That cures diseases? I’m still trying to figure out my email.
Simon Cowell of American Idol fame was asked by Rolling Stone magazine, “What would you like more than anything else?” He responded, “More money.” The interviewer wisely said, “But I read somewhere that you’re worth $90 million. Isn’t that enough?” Simon said, “No, it’s not enough.” Movie star Harrison Ford was asked what he’d like that all his millions can’t buy. He said, “Peace."
The enemy of our souls wants us to live in a noisy state of distraction from things that give us meaning and purpose. He’d rather we have 5,000 Facebook friends than one godly companion who loves us enough to encourage us to walk with Jesus. I say we make a conscious decision to filter out the noise, turn off the distractions, and listen to God’s voice. We’ll hear Jesus say, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG). Let’s walk humbly with God today. We can start by leaving the cell phone at least 50 feet from the dinner table. For 5,000 years people had no cell phones. We’ll be fine without one for 30 minutes. Let’s pry our fingers off the keyboard and get some exercise. It won’t kill us. And now I think I’ll go downstairs and put a cassette tape in the VCR and see what happens. ▪ Phil Callaway is a popular speaker and the author of Who Put My Life on Fast Forward.
on the air in JUly
Character Counts Character—the solid rock on which a well-constructed life rests. Unfortunately in today’s world, character is often in short supply. Join Chuck Swindoll as he explores the practical foundations of biblical character found in God’s Word. 10
Upcoming Messages Include: A Plea for Integrity Reinstatement of a Runaway Coping with the “Slough of Despond” Beyond Charm and Beauty
No Secrets by Steve Johnson
ver hear a preacher refer to the secret of the victorious Christian life? Over the years I have attended many Bible conferences and heard many people preach about the secret of the victorious Christian life. Like countless others I listened, hoping for some mystical truth to be revealed that would turn me into a super-Christian—faster than a speeding dart, stronger than the powers of darkness, and able to overcome sin with a single bound. Years passed before I finally discovered the secret. The secret is…there is no secret! Victory in the Christian life is no secret at all, yet many believe living as a victorious Christian is something mysterious or for the elite few. Because of this they chase after every Christian fad, conference, and book promising them victory and are disappointed again and again. Paul clearly spells out victory in Christ. All we need to do is understand it, claim it, and apply it. In Romans 6:1-10, and 8:10-11 Paul explains this not-so-secret truth in terms of union with Christ: I am in Christ, and He is in me. The following Bible story illustrates this truth so well. Because of David’s great love for Saul’s son Jonathan, David made a vow that he would show kindness to Saul’s family forever. After Saul and Jonathan died David asked, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam.
No Secrets continued from p. 11
9:1). David learned of Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth. From that day forward Mephibosheth fellowshipped with David and ate at his table. Blessing came to Mephibosheth because of the covenant David made with Jonathan. In the same way what happened to Jesus extends to all believers. We are baptized by the Holy Spirit, which means we are united with Christ. Therefore Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, His victory over sin, over Satan, and over death all become ours too. God puts the Spirit of Jesus in us to empower us to live in this new life and so His life becomes ours too. This is the bedrock truth on which the normal Christian life—the life of victory—is built. I am in Christ and He is in me. Romans 6:11 says, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We all must now consider (or reckon) it true of us personally. It’s like saying, “Do the math!” Put yourself in the equation now. Suppose I wrote you a cheque for $10,000. You could say you are richer because there’s a cheque made out in your name. But until you cash that cheque and claim the money, you are no better off. This is a pivotal point. It isn’t enough just to know and understand the theology. The cheque called “I am in Christ and He is in me” must be cashed to experience the riches of it. You cash that cheque by realizing YOUR name is written there. The riches are for you personally.
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“Because I am in Christ and He is in me
Taking the cheque analogy one step further, once you cash the cheque and claim the money, you can apply it to purchases. In the same way, once we understand and claim the truth, we can apply it to our daily lives. “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13 NIV). Because I am in Christ and He is in me I have a new position in God’s kingdom and a new Master, Jesus Christ. I don’t have to obey the old master, sin, or the adversary Satan. I am free to know, live for, and obey Christ. So every moment of every day I am to live surrendered to God to be His instrument for His kingdom and glory.
I have a new position in God’s kingdom and a new Master, Jesus Christ.” I said there was no secret to the victorious Christian life. It is the clear truth of my union with Christ: I am in Christ and He is in me. And while there is no secret to that there does remain one unknown. It is this—we do not know what God will do in us or how He will work through us when we understand, claim, and apply this to our lives. ▪ Steve Johnson is the executive director at Insight for Living Canada.
by Steve Johnson
Can a Christian be Demon Possessed? Answer: Theologians discuss the terms demon possessed and demonized (the English transliteration of the Greek word, which means having demons). But it’s the related biblical truths that shed light on the issue and help us answer this question. In Scripture, demon possession involves a demon having direct or complete control over the thoughts and/or actions of a person (Matt. 17:14-18; Lk. 4:33-35, 8:27-33). Illness, rage, self-mutilation, and superhuman strength can be some of the effects of this control. On the other hand the Holy Spirit indwells believers (Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:16). Evidence of this is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23). It is inconceivable that God the Holy Spirit would allow one for whom Christ died, the one who is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the one who now belongs to the Lord, to be inhabited and controlled by a demon. 14
There are neither biblical examples of believers being possessed by demons nor is there biblical instruction regarding exorcism (expulsion of the demon). If believers could be possessed we would expect both. Therefore, the silence of Scripture on these topics speaks volumes. When we first became believers, God transferred us from the kingdom of darkness and the rule and reign of Satan to the kingdom of righteousness and of His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, 1 John 5:18 tells us “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” The word “touch” in this verse has the sense of grabbing onto. Demons cannot possess a believer. They do not have the authority to do so. The believer belongs to Christ, and neither Satan nor his demons can reclaim one who belongs to the Lord.
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Knowing he cannot possess believers, Satan’s objective is to render us ineffective. All he can do is use his lies and power to influence, attack, and oppress us. He tells us lies about God, ourselves, and others trying to deceive us into behaving in ways that don’t glorify God. He can inflict illness, adversity, and calamity to cause us to question the character or will of God. He knows our personal weaknesses and can use the lures of the flesh and the world to bait us. He will wait years to spring his trap if necessary. Believers who have been tripped up or caught in one of Satan’s traps are in spiritual bondage. Some of the more common things that bind believers and hinder our effectiveness are pride, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, and unconfessed sin “…do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4: 26-27). These things quench the work of the Spirit in and through us and limit our effectiveness for the Lord. Sadly, Satan’s traps have sidelined many believers. Their refusal or inability to free themselves from his traps by confession and repentance keeps them limited. Since Satan’s aim is to trip us up Scripture warns us repeatedly to be aware of
"The believer belongs to Christ, and neither Satan nor his demons can reclaim one who belongs to the Lord." his schemes and to be on the alert. We cannot stop his attacks but we can fight back with the truth of God’s Word aimed directly at the lies. We are told to resist Satan and stand in the strength and power the Lord provides (Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5: 8-9). Believers should neither fear possession nor be ignorant or cavalier about it. We are secure in Christ and greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). I hope this helps. - Steve Steve Johnson is the executive director at Insight for Living Canada.
* For further study on this topic read Freedom from Spiritual Bondage by Charles R. Swindoll
This Month’s FEATURED RESOURCE
Listener Favourites Volume 1: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow 6 CD messages This special collection of Chuck’s best-loved messages has something for everyone. Topics include hope, joy, grace, marriage, prophecy, and end times. See enclosed form for ordering information
Unwind with A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider! Let the stories surprise you, make you laugh, and inspire you to have a deeper relationship with God. Featuring 37 Canadian Christian authors including Maranatha News co-founder Johanne Robertson and award-winning songwriter Evangeline Inman.
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Paws & Tales DVD 12: Prayer and Rejoicing NEW! 2 DVD episodes, approximate running time 50 minutes
Staci discovers she can make a difference as a follower of Jesus and C.J. learns how to rejoice with others. Caring about others is the central theme of these two animated episodes.
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How Great is our God 12 messages + workbook
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A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stimulate the Mind and Delight the Spirit paperback featuring 37 Canadian authors, 336 pages
The much-anticipated sequel to Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stir the Heart and Warm the Soul features a unique collection of inspirational stories, poems, and articles in an attractive gift book.
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Man to Man: Chuck Swindoll Selects His Most Significant Writings for Men paperback by Charles R. Swindoll, 374 pages
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Top Temptations Fathers Face booklet by Charles R. Swindoll, 44 pages
Being a father has never been easy, but today’s culture offers fathers more temptations than ever. Chuck shares powerful principles to help dads recognize and eliminate temptation through the power of God’s Word.
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Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility
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Chuck presents an honest picture of an ordinary man who God transformed into His personal spokesman to confront evil. Today we are more than ever in need of Elijah-like men and women. Elijah’s life will inspire you to live courageously!
“I love this book because Chuck showed me through Elijah’s story how to equip myself for those seasons of discouragement we all must face.”
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Listener Favourites, Volume 1: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow 6 CD messages
This special collection of Chuck’s best-loved messages has something for everyone. Topics include hope, joy, grace, marriage, prophecy, and end times.
on the air THIS MONTH! Dropping Your Guard: The Value of Open Relationships 12 CD messages + workbook
In a world that focuses on images and quick impressions, we’ve forgotten how to really know one another. Many of us recoil from true intimacy. This series will help you to escape the trap of superficial relationships and experience true oneness in the Body of Christ.
Insights on Romans: The Christian’s Constitution, Volume 1 & 2 Set 44 messages
Journey back in time to ancient Corinth where the Apostle Paul dictates a letter to the Christians in Rome that forever shapes the course of the Church. In depth and detail, Chuck takes you inside Paul’s letter to give you a clear and logical explanation of how you can ground your life in relationship with God.
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Scripture for Practical Christian Living: 40 Verses for Spiritual Growth
The Benefit of the Doubt: Encouragement for the Questioning Christian
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How can you hide God’s Word in your heart? To help you commit Scripture to memory we designed a beautiful set of cards, which highlights 40 selected Scriptures. You will also have the benefit of hearing these verses read by Chuck on the companion CD.
Chuck addresses some of the most pressing questions about spiritual doubt. He encourages you to grow through your uncertainty. Discover what every believer should know about doubt and why.
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Dropping Your Guard: The Value of Open Relationships paperback by Charles R. Swindoll, 205 pages
Email, texting, tweeting. Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned conversation? Escape the trap of superficial relationships and develop rich connections that will feed your soul and mature the Church.
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