Tag Archives: teaching children about Satan

Teaching Children About the Wrath of God

Adults in America today have a hard time with the wrath of God. They don’t want it to exist. They want to ignore it, and they hope that by ignoring it or denying its existence, it will somehow just go away. I’m sorry, Americans. God’s wrath is a part of His character and it won’t go away just because you want it to!

Perhaps the mistake is in defining God’s wrath as an emotional response on His part, as if He were a human who is on His last nerve. The wrath of God is coming, not because He’s going to suddenly snap and overreact to childish behavior, but because He has promised us since Adam’s sin that He would destroy evil and He always keeps His promises. I’ve heard it said by so many that a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. But are they really thinking about what that means? If God allowed sin to continue forever, in what way is that loving? Yes, God is allowing wickedness to exist for a time, because He wants to give everyone a chance to repent. But a holy, loving God must deal with wickedness and destroy it once and for all. Unfortunately, those who stubbornly cling to sin will be destroyed along with the sin. How else can there be a “happily ever after”? It isn’t as if they haven’t been repeatedly warned!

Children have an easier time understanding the wrath of God because they long for their parents or other authority figures to “make everything okay” in this sinful world and they get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Children understand sin. They know they do wrong things, and they know that others do wrong to them. They want the bullies to be punished and the adults who hurt them to be dealt with accordingly. Too many adults today are afraid to tell children about God’s wrath, thinking that it will frighten them. This is, I’m sure, because the adults know deep inside that they deserve God’s wrath and it frightens THEM! Children, on the other hand, are greatly comforted by the knowledge that God is greater than sin and that He will deal with evil. For them, a loving God is One who will destroy their enemies and make the world the place of beauty and wonder that they know it should be.

In this lesson, (Isaiah 33-35) God tells Isaiah what the future will be like for the wicked who refuse to repent and then what the future will be like for those who DO repent and who love God.

Those who sin and won’t repent deserve God’s wrath. What is wrath? It means anger. Did you know that God gets angry at sin? He is so holy that He has to hate sin. Sin hurts everything He created. It destroys the things He loves. Imagine that you created a beautiful work of art and then an ugly monster came and threw dirt on it and stomped on it and ruined it. That would make you mad, wouldn’t it? Sin is the ugliest monster you can imagine. It must be destroyed. What if some people throw their arms around that ugly monster of sin and won’t let go of it, even when God begs them to? The time will come when God will finally get rid of sin once and for all, and the people who stubbornly hold onto sin will be destroyed with it. God warns people and warns people that this time is coming. Everyone has time to repent and let go of the monster of sin. If they won’t stop sinning, they must be punished, mustn’t they? It’s the only way to get rid of all sin. Satan and all of his followers will also be punished, and all the sin in the universe will be destroyed. God says that in that time, “all the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine; like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” That sounds scary, doesn’t it? But we don’t have to be afraid, do we? Why do we not have to be afraid? Because if we belong to Jesus, He has already saved us!

The redeemed will be saved from God’s wrath. Redeemed means “bought back”. We were slaves to Satan and to that monster sin from the day we were born, because Adam and Eve gave this world to Satan in the beginning. But Jesus paid the price to buy us back. What was the price Jesus paid to buy us? His own life! He died on the cross to pay for our sins. If we die for our own sins, it’s too late—we’re dead! Did Jesus have any sins of His own to pay for? No, Jesus never sinned. So when He died, He was able to die for your sins and for my sins. And then He rose from the dead! All we have to do is believe that Jesus died for us and we are redeemed!

Isaiah says that when Jesus returns He will bring the fruit of righteousness, which is peace. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Listen to this: “See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind, and a refuge from the storm; like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those of those who hear will listen.” Isn’t that beautiful? If we believe in Jesus, we will rule with Him. The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will jump around like deer! The desert land will have water and be fruitful. We will all live happily ever after with our great God! Doesn’t that make you want to rejoice?


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Draw Swords!

My family loves the “Lord of the Rings” movies. We watched them in the IMAX theater on opening nights. We bought the DVDs and watched them repeatedly. We still constantly quote lines from the movies to one another, and we even enjoyed the special features so much that we still quote lines from them to each other. Yes, we are total geeks. But as interesting as my readers may find these facts of my family life, that’s not the point of this blog entry.

One of the stories the actors told in the special features particularly caught my interest. The actor who played Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen, felt it important to stay in character as much as possible. And in his mind, Aragorn’s sword was what defined the character. So, Mr. Mortensen carried his sword everywhere he went. He put it in the back seat of his car where ever he drove. He carried it into restaurants and leaned it against the wall close at hand. He took it with him into his hotel room and slept with it near. His sword was always either in his hand or so close to him he could grasp it at a moments notice. He spent many hours learning how to use it with the guidance of an expert swordsman. He spent many more hours practicing what he had learned. He told a story about one time while on his way down the street from the sound stage to his car, still dressed in his costume and practicing his riposte and parry with his weapon, he was stopped and questioned by the police. Apparently this “desperate, Rasputin character,” as he put it, had alarmed the neighbors and they had called 911.

The point is, because he dedicated so much time to learning about his sword, constantly practicing and handling it, he became intimately familiar with it. Although he had never touched a sword before beginning the filming of “Lord of the Rings”, he became an expert swordsman in a matter of months. Such dedication for something as ephemeral as a movie.

I know you can see the obvious connection coming. We as the People of the Book should learn a lesson from Mr. Mortensen. Our Sword, the Sword of the Spirit, deserves at least as much attention from us. We should let it define our character. We should practice and study it constantly. We should carry it with us everywhere we go. We might actually frighten a few people, too! But that’s all right; the important thing is to become so intimately familiar with it that we become experts in the Word. Then we can go on to help others learn more about this Sword. Most importantly, we can teach our children how to wield it effectively.

Ephesians chapter six outlines the “armor of God” that we are commanded to put on. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith: these are all :defensive. Our only weapon against the enemy is the Sword of Spirit. Only the Word of God; not human knowledge, not our own thoughts or logic. His word alone. But it is powerful enough to defeat the devil and all his followers, if we use it properly. I’m afraid some of us, with only a weak grip on the sword or sketchy knowledge of its character, only harm ourselves with it. It is, after all, a two-edged Sword.

We parents and teachers owe it to our children to be as intimately familiar with the Word of God as we possibly can. That takes time, dedication, attention, practice, determination, and help from those who have more experience that we have. The more we know, the more our Sword will define our characters. The more we practice, the more our children will see the importance of studying God’s Word. The more we allowed God’s Word to permeate our beings, the better equipped we become to do God’s work in the world, including our most important job: raising our kids in the fear and knowledge of the Lord.


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War in the World

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are at war. This war is not fought far afield; it is not the Battle of Bunker Hill, with families picnicking in safety as they looked on. This is not trained soldiers facing off in lines or in trenches, with their women and children safely back at home. This is barbaric, Vandal and Visigoth-type warfare. This is an enemy who crashes right into our homes and places of work; into our schools and even into our places of worship; and violates men, women and children alike, old or young, educated or ignorant. This is an enemy who attacks whole families, whole communities from the air, without our ever seeing the faces of our attackers. This enemy is vast in number and is almost always completely invisible to the naked eye.

I am referring, of course, to germs.

(Perhaps you thought I was writing about something else.)

We all know how pervasive and how dangerous germs are. We are all made aware from infancy how important it is to fight and to avoid germs. We have all heard of plagues and pestilences which wiped out whole villages, decimated populations, caused untold suffering. So, why are we not living in a state of constant terror? Well, I know that there are germophobes who DO live in constant terror, but they need more help than I can offer in this forum!

We do not live in fear of germs because we know how to fight them. And, 99 percent of the time, we are successful. We do not fall ill day after day. When we do become ill, we generally recover. Knowledge is power, and we acquire this knowledge early on. Who does not remember his mother admonishing: “Wash your hands before you eat. Don’t eat food off the floor! Stop kissing the dog on the lips! Wash that apple before you eat it. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Get in the tub, you’re filthy!” As we get older, we learn even more about combating the enemy: we cook our food thoroughly; we refrigerate it adequately; we keep our homes clean and disinfected; we teach our kids how to avoid getting sick. Because this knowledge is too important to keep from our children.

Wait. Maybe I AM writing about something else!

I have had parents and teachers tell me that they will not teach their children about Satan and his demons because they don’t want them to get scared. What would happen if we did not teach our children about germs? They would get sick all the time; they might even die of an illness. Ignorant children are not germ-free children; they are actually MORE susceptible to germs than knowledgeable children. There’s no need to terrify our children with stories about germs, but they do need to be made aware of the existence of germs and of what they need to do to protect themselves. It’s the same way with the forces of evil. There’s no need for anyone to be terrorized by demonic activity if they are adequately knowledgeable about the enemy and how to avoid or defeat it. Prayer is our greatest defense, and the name of Jesus will send the enemy running. Keeping our minds and hearts clean helps prevent a great deal of infection by the wiles of our enemy, and knowledge of Scripture helps us combat the lies he whispers in our ears. Knowledge is power: God is the greatest power of all!

There is a kind of magical thinking among some parents and teachers that causes them to believe that keeping children ignorant will protect them. “What they don’t know can’t hurt them,” they say. I contend the opposite: What they don’t know will certainly hurt them! Without knowledge, our children are helpless and defenseless before a ruthless enemy who is out to destroy them. Don’t be deceived: Satan wants our kids! There’s no need to be alarmed by this. There is great need to be aware of it!

I was myself first confronted by a demon at age seven. I didn’t know what it was and didn’t know what to do. Over the past 30 years that I have spent in teaching children, I have discovered that my experience was hardly singular. A great many of our children have been attacked by the enemy, and being unprepared, they had no idea what to do. Most were too afraid or confused to tell anyone about their experiences. Many who dared to alert an adult of their experiences were dismissed as having an over-active imagination. This is a shameful state of affairs. If we are the people of the Book, as all believers should be, we ought to know our Scriptures well enough to realize that we have an active enemy who has no scruples, no conscience, and is not ashamed of attacking the young and helpless rather than the older and better-armed.

There are ways of teaching our children how to combat the enemy without terrorizing them, just as there are ways of teaching them to avoid germs without undue emotional stress. Just be matter-of-fact, and tell them the truth. Tell them that our God is greater than the enemy and is able to protect them, and that His Name is all-powerful! Teach them to pray. Teach them the Scriptures. Teach them that they can tell an adult what happened to them and they will be believed. Encourage them to talk about their concerns and fears, and know your Bible well enough to be able to answer their questions.

I Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world.”

James 4: 7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

It’s hard to keep vigilant when you haven’t been told to be vigilant. It’s hard to resist the devil when you don’t know anything about him. It’s easier to resist the devil when you know that we are all in this fight together and none of us are alone in battling the enemy. It’s easier to confront the powers of evil when you know the power of “the mighty hand of God”.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war. Arm yourselves and your children and prepare to fight!


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