Summary: I sometimes feel so vulnerable to the attacks of Satan but Jesus says that NO ONE will be able to snatch Jesus’ sheep out of His hand. That is extremely comforting, especially when I’m at my lowest.

-The high school that I went to was a big football, track and wrestling school

-All of the best athletes played football

-The coach of the team highly encouraged his best players to not play basketball anymore but to concentrate during the winter on lifting weights instead of shooting a basketball

-It’s no surprise that our boys basketball team was never very good. Our girls team was awesome but the boys team stunk.

-I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of an organization called Bigger, Faster, Stronger. They specialize in helping amateur athletes naturally become bigger, faster and stronger through strength and speed training. They go around the country and do clinics to help coaches and athletes.

-One came to a community nearby so we took a bunch of football players and checked it out.

-One of the things that the leader does is dare somebody to come up and try to take a quarter out of his hand. They have to put their hands at their sides and he place his open hand, palm up near the person’s belly button. This gentleman alleged that no student athlete has ever had anyone get the quarter from him.

-A good friend of mine, the star running back from our team and an extraordinary athlete volunteered. If anyone could do it, this kid could. He set school and state records for the pole vault. He set school and state records in the 100 meters and the 4x100 meter relay team. He was an all-state 1st team football player who went on to play division 1 college football at the University of Minnesota and is now an assistant coach with the St. Louis Rams and he had a huge ego to boot.

-He was probably the only kid that ever went up against this strength coach who ever thought that he was up against someone inferior to them.

-To him it was like a dare.

-The coach might as well have said, “You wanna bet?”

-My friend took his place, shook his arms and rolled his neck around to relax, placed his arms by his sides and focused as the older man placed his open hand out in front of him. The stage was set. We just waited for my friend, Matt to make a move and then his hand struck like a cobra. We couldn’t believe our eyes. He actually got four of his fingers inside the man’s palm before he was able to close on top of the quarter but the older man’s grip clamped down like a bear trap.

-They wrestled over the coin for several minutes, each trying to get a better grip than the other.

-Finally, Matt’s hand emerged like a man set free from prison WITH the coin.

-The strength coach swallowed his pride and congratulated this extraordinary young man for breaking his upbeaten streak {PAUSE}.

-This is sort of what takes place every day. Obviously, it doesn’t always take place in a gym but also in offices and homes and factories and out on the street

-There is a battle going on

-However, this battle of strength and quickness is fought, unlike in the case of Matt and the strength coach, between unequal foes.

-And this battle is difficult to perceive with the naked eye.

-The battle that wages is between God and Satan

-You can disagree with me on this one but I believe Satan already knows that he’s defeated but, as they say, misery loves company.

-If you were going to sentenced to everlasting torment, wouldn’t you want someone there to accompany you. You wouldn’t want to endure it alone.

-Peter in his first epistle states that the devil is a roaring lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour

-We make God’s job difficult because we are like the sheep in Jesus’ illustration that wander off

-We have a tendency to let ourselves get too busy

-We let ourselves put God on the back burner

-We don’t attend worship as often as we should

-We let dust collect on our bibles and devotionals

-We don’t turn to God in prayer, when we need him

-In Martin Luther’s explanation of the second commandment. Oh, by the way, Lutherans and Catholics don’t number the commandments that same way other Protestants do. We skip the graven images commandment since that is really rolled up into the 1st commandment. So, as I was saying in Luther’s explanation of the second commandment, Luther encourages us to “call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”

-I think Luther’s explanation of the third commandment is instructive as well. He writes, “We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.”

-But we get silly sometimes

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