The Day Satan Shot Himself In The Foot

For generations the Gideons in Canada have presented each student in grade seven with a New Testament including pages of helpful notes. Thousands of anecdotes and stories attest to how God has used this portion of the Bible to bring young people to Himself. Recently, however, many school boards have forbidden the Gideons from distributing these New Testaments to schoolchildren.

Satan, mankind’s greatest enemy, hates God and His Word, actively fighting every attempt to distribute Bibles. I can personally attest Satan tries everything in his power to keep the Bible from being translated into the remaining 1,800 languages that still do not have any part of God’s Word translated into them.

No doubt he laughed a long, loud infernal laugh when the school boards slammed the doors shut in the Gideons’ faces. He didn’t know it, but he laughed too soon. In motivating those boards to stop young people from receiving the New Testament, Satan shot himself in the foot.

Here’s how.

The Gideons International in Canada developed a smart phone app with an up-to-date New Living Translation of, not just the New Testament, but the full Bible. This app called NewLife not only has the Bible and the original helps that came with the Gideon New Testament, but with a greatly expanded set of hyperlinked helps, explanations, introductions and readings.

Gideons1With this easy-to-use app readers of any age can start at SQUARE ONE and explore topics like “God’s existence,” “the purpose of life,” “what’s truth,” “morality,” “the Bible,” and “Christianity.” Or they can go straight to the TELL ME MORE section where they’ll explore topics like Jesus Christ, faith, sin, prayer, church and so on.

Throughout the app they’ll find suggested readings for when they want to dig deeper on a particular topic. Clicking on each book title will take them to a quick synopsis of the book.

Also featured in NewLife is a BIBLE HELPS topical index section with common things people want to find in the Bible. For example, you can find Bible verses for when you’re afraid, or considering marriage, needing peace, or feeling victimized. You can also find important passages like the Christmas and Easter stories, some of the miracles of Jesus, or a selection of the most popular Psalms. Wondering what the foundational Christian virtues are? Scan the list and read the Bible verses that apply, on their own or in context.

What's Easier than Flipping  Pages? Touching A Screen.

What’s Easier than Flipping Pages? Touching A Screen.

When you’re READY TO CHANGE, the app will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to start a new life based on the teachings of Christ. By the way, the app was put on the Gideons in Canada website just before Christmas without any fanfare, promotion or advertising. Within days, positive comments came from all over the English speaking world including two people in the UK who indicated they had repented and accepted Christ’s forgiveness for the first time in their lives when they followed the steps in this section of the app!

Currently NewLife is available for use only on iPhones, iPods and iPads. When an Android version of the app is developed, the users of half a billion Android phones and other devices will be able to download the NewLife app too. By then, a new feature will help users find churches nearby.

When Satan closes one door, God opens another. And what a door!

Doesn’t this situation remind you of that text in 1 Corinthians 2:8? “The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross” (MSG).

In the same way, if Satan had known God’s plan to mightily expand the availability of His Word to school children and millions of others, he wouldn’t have pushed those school boards to forbid the distribution of New Testaments in schools.

Yes, this time Satan shot himself in the foot. No doubt he’s enraged at the way God turned his evil plans into a good outcome. Can you imagine Satan hopping mad on only one foot?

Those of you who use Apple mobile devices, go to www.gideons.ca and click on the iPhone App tab which will take you to the iTunes store to download NewLife for free.

With this app any Christian, even a grade seven student, can sit down with a friend and answer his questions, even lead him to faith in Christ. It’s all there, so easy to follow, so easy to share.

Doesn’t this make you want to break out and sing Our God Reigns!?

Why Should Christians Need Encouragement?

“Working vacation” and “original copy” are oxymorons:  the words cancel each other out. “Discouraged Christian” should be an oxymoron, but it isn’t. Why?
Before Joshua started his invasion of Canaan, God told him, “Be strong and courageous.” These words were passed on seven times to Joshua, to Moses, to the leaders, and to the people. David repeated the theme in the Psalms, saying, “Be of good courage.” Jesus, after telling his followers they would have lots of trouble in this world encouraged them by saying, “But cheer up, I have overcome the world.” The apostle Paul constantly urges his readers to encourage each other.
Why do you think the encouragement theme is so pervasive throughout the thousands of years of human history as recorded in the Bible? Could it be because we human beings are very often dejected and discouraged, disappointed and depressed, dispirited, downcast, disheartened and in the dark?
But why should Christians need encouragement? It is easy to understand discouragement in selfish people who constantly want more and can’t get it. But discouragement and depression don’t just happen to them, people who live serving God also suffer every form of discouragement. We are not exempt. Why not?
Here we are, children of a loving Father-God. We know He is Love, He is Light, He is just and all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, and present everywhere. The more these truths about God soak into our minds, the more we set ourselves to live right, love others, speak kindly, and think pure, uplifting thoughts.
And what is the result? We, His children, the ones He says He loves suffer the same sudden disasters that fall on those who live selfishly without any thought of God. We also experience deep disappointments, car accidents, killer cancers, botched surgeries, and financial failures.
What should be our attitude when these bad things happen to us? Here are a few things to consider:
1) It may be too soon to judge if something that happened is good or bad. We may only be halfway into the story.
2) Even if the story ends badly in this life, God is no one’s debtor. He is just, and will reward suffering in this life with glory in the next.
3) We can turn stressful situations into an opportunity for personal growth.
4) God wants each of us to live bringing glory to Him. Some will do this by being highly successful in public ministry, others by suffering in private under multiple physical and emotional stresses.
5) We are all involved in a spiritual battle and some of us will be wounded.
6) God has given every person on earth the ability to make choices. Every choice, good or bad, has far-reaching consequences which affect other people, even Christians.
7) When we receive comfort and encouragement in hard times, we are better able to sympathize with others and to comfort and encourage them.
8) A well-known poem tells us God answers our prayers, although not always in the way we expect:
I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.

We can’t help but get discouraged at times, but we don’t have to stay discouraged. We can be like David after raiders had kidnapped his family and those of his followers and his own friends wanted to kill him. David “encouraged himself in the Lord” and went on to win a great victory with God’s help. (1 Sam. 30:6)