Tag Archives: Devil

Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

The wind was steady and the snow was blinding. I could barely see my own outstretched hand as I shuffled through the deepening snow. My bare legs were now numb from the cold as I plowed through drifts nearly up to my waist.

Jesus’ footprints were barely visible and disappearing quickly. I had to keep moving. I found myself running, stumbling, falling, getting back up — again and again.

My numb shins began to burn and itch from the prolonged exposure. My eye lids were nearly frozen shut. I had to keep peeling off the frosted flakes in order to keep my eyes on the trail Jesus was blazing.

Worse than the cold wind and blinding snow, was the deafening silence I was experiencing. Snow has an insulating effect, a way of dampening the sounds of around you, until all you can hear is your own breathing and your own thoughts.

And the last thing I wanted in the world right now was to be left alone with my own thoughts.

“Jesus!?” I had been yelling out continuously, but I hadn’t heard his voice for probably 30 minutes — which felt more like 30 hours.

In the ripe silence my thoughts grew louder. Have you ever listened closely enough to your thoughts to discern they often take on different tones? At one moment they had the voice of a scared child crying out for help:

Where is he leading me? How much further? I’m cold. I want to go home. Please slow down, Jesus. I can’t keep up.

The next moment my thoughts had the sneering tone of the Accuser:

This is all your fault! You brought this upon yourself! You should just lay down, close your eyes and fall asleep into peaceful oblivion. 

Then the voice of truth again:

No, follow Jesus’ footprints! That’s all I need to do. He will guide me through this.

But the snow only increased and the tracks were beginning to disappear. A huge blast of wind came suddenly, and I found myself stumbling forward, face first into a drift. In the few seconds it took to gather myself, I had somehow lost my sense of direction. Which way was I heading? My cold, numb muscles struggled to pull me to my feet.

When I finally stood up and looked around, the footprints had completely vanished.

Continue reading Cabin 19: Footprints in the Snow

When Darkness Wins a Battle, We Still Win the War

I just got home from the most painful kind of funeral. A young man, in a moment of despair, took his life.  He was deeply loved, and will be deeply missed. I was his basketball coach years ago – a wonderful kid. These kind of funerals are becoming all too frequent. Here’s a piece I wrote a couple years back in a similar situation.  May it be an encouragement to others, and provide a Christian perspective on such tragedies. -JB

The forces of darkness are always around us.  Most of the time, if we’re fortunate, the dark cloud of death is not hovering over our home.  Though our number is coming, and many have already faced difficult seasons of suffering, pain, death and loss in our own lives.

Maybe cancer has taken a loved one long before their time. Maybe a car accident stole away a life in it’s prime. Maybe you lost a child before they even had the chance to be born. Darkness is real.  The world is broken.

This week darkness and death won a victory in Burnsville, as a young man, “16 years old, full of life, and smiles,” took his own life in a moment of desperation. The young man has been described over and over again with words similar to these by a Young Life leader:

“He was very involved in Young Life Ministry — committed his life to Christ at camp, spoke at their banquet, and was in a campaigner bible study 3 or 4 hours before he hung himself. He was a fun loving kid, hugged everyone he could pick up (and being a heavy weight wrestler, that’s everyone) and had a smile that lit up the room.  Kids, leaders, we all loved him.”

In the wake of this tragedy, many students connected to our youth group are struggling to make sense of it all.   Continue reading When Darkness Wins a Battle, We Still Win the War

Q&A: Can Satan repent, be forgiven and saved from Hell?

hell-11gA former student (now in college) asked the following question a while back. How would you answer this fascinating theological question about the nature of Satan, forgiveness, judgment, heaven and hell?

Q: I was discussing Lucifer and his fall from heaven with a roommate, and she wondered if Lucifer ever had a desire to return to God, knowing that he has lost the cosmic battle. While I don’t think he’d ever want to, theoretically could God’s forgiveness and Jesus’ blood forgive Satan and return him to heaven? Just a random what if, but do you have any thoughts?

A: Great question! I have some thoughts but it’s hard to make them brief. I’ll try.

1. I was just reading about hell last night in a great and highly recommended book for you and any skeptic friends you may have : “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller. pp. 79-82

2. C.S. Lewis really helped everyone see that Hell is “locked from the inside” meaning that we shouldn’t view God as sending repentant people there against their will kicking and screaming and crying out for mercy. No, as Keller puts it “hell is simply one’s freely chosen identity apart from God on a trajectory into infinity.” Read Lewis’ “The Great Divorce.” Here’s a lengthy quote from Keller’s book: Continue reading Q&A: Can Satan repent, be forgiven and saved from Hell?