Removing the Head of the Serpent

I read this article and thought that it was very appropriate to post!

Article By: Kay Winters,

Recently I had a prophetic experience that clearly portrayed the condition of the church in America. My husband and I take evening walks that sometimes bring us through affluent neighborhoods. We enjoy viewing luxury homes with their beautiful waterfalls and fountains. Sometimes I venture to curiously peer into the backyards of these homes, finding exquisite pools, sports courts, fireplaces, and landscaping that reminds me of a Thomas Kincaid painting.

As we were enjoying our walk one evening, my husband suddenly blurted out, "Snake!" After jumping in the opposite direction, I saw a three-foot-long rattlesnake about a foot away from where we had been walking.

Having been raised on a farm in Georgia, I am familiar with the behavior of snakes, especially poisonous vipers. Snakes react to ground vibration, so I was mystified about why the snake was not hissing or coiling to strike us. To our surprise, the snake ignored us and slowly slithered in the opposite direction. He seemed to be right "at home" in the landscape of the neighborhood.

We decided to alert the homeowner regarding the snake. I rang the doorbell and was greeted by a man in his 40s. I said, "Sir, there is a rattlesnake in your front yard. Perhaps you might want to dispose of him." He froze and didn't respond. Knowing the snake could quickly escape, I continued, "Sir, this is a neighborhood with lots of children."

Finally, after another long pause, he replied, "OK, give me a moment." I could tell he did not want to be bothered, but my last statement provoked him to action. After what seemed like an eternity, the homeowner emerged from his garage with a six-foot pole that had a huge, razor-like blade attached.

I was amazed to see that the rattlesnake was still moving across the landscape at a snail's pace. The homeowner looked terrified as he cautiously approached the snake from behind. He repeatedly raised his weapon high in the air, practicing his potential strike, yet hesitated to deliver the death blow. Not wanting to embarrass him, I kept silent, but I couldn't help but think, What is wrong with you? Remove that serpent's head now!

Serving God or Mammon

At that instant, I realized that the situation with the snake was an analogy for the present condition of the American church. The homeowner represents the church, and the rattlesnake represents Satan.

Sadly, Satan is not intimidated or threatened by the church. In fact, he wanders in and out of the body of Christ often without resistance or consequence. There is no need for Satan to hiss, coil or strike at us because we pose little threat to him. He knows the focus of the church at large is not Christ-centered but self-centered. We have set our hearts on temporal treasures, in lieu of eternity, seeking the hand of God instead of the face of God. Even our ministers have been deceived, considering the size of their congregations, offerings and buildings as the measuring rod for success. A distorted "prosperity" gospel has taught us to use our faith almost exclusively to obtain larger homes, cars and 401K accounts.

Our spiritual eyes have been encrusted with an infection that has distorted our vision. Blinded by materialism, we pursue mammon while Satan lies quietly at our feet. Our pursuit of pleasure has hardened us to not only the cries of the needy but also the whispers of the Holy Spirit. We don't want to have our routines disrupted in any way. In effect, most of us are wearing a sign that says, "Do not disturb!" We have to be provoked to emerge from our comfort zones to serve at home, at church or in our communities.

Like the church of Laodicea, the American church has been deceived by riches. We are unaware of our spiritual poverty and blindness. As a result, many American Christians unknowingly worship the idol of mammon. In His mercy, the Lord has used the downward spiral of our nation's economy and monetary system to warn us not to trust in uncertain riches but in Him who freely gives us all things to enjoy (see Rev. 3:15-19; Luke 16:13).

Trampling on Serpents

We are destined to trample on serpents and scorpions, crushing Satan under our feet. However, one key element that enables us to triumph over the works of the devil is the depth of our repentance. Only profound repentance for our spiritual complacency and idolatry will cure our spiritual blindness, enabling us to identify the serpents in our lives. No longer ignorant of Satan's devices, we can shake the kingdom of darkness, cause Satan to flee and erect a "No trespassing!" sign on the landscape of our lives.

Jesus gave us the power to overcome the enemy. "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19, NKJV).

We must become a generation of snake killers because our battle is against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. As soldiers of the cross, we must exchange our cordial passivity for a violent militancy and remove the heads of the serpents in our lives. Indeed, His power working in us can break any yoke and cut through any chain, and His light in us can overwhelm any depth of darkness.

"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).

The snakes we encounter will hiss, coil and strike in fear at the Greater One who lives within us. As we exercise our authority and God-given power, many of these serpents will flee in fear. But what about those serpents who resist and refuse to exit our lives? We must say, "Off with their heads!" (See James 4:7; 1 John 3:8.)


A (Double) Surprise Pregnancy Story

Shane Tarpley writes:

I am reposting this article/ blog that is from a great friend in California. Laura is a very close friend and has experienced the ups and downs of family conception. I am sharing this post from her blog as encouragement and strength to any and all who may have or will face the trials of parenthood and joys of raising a family. She is an excellent and well versed writer. I hope you enjoy today's blog.

Laura Ziesel writes:

Today I have a great guest post to share with you. After my post on The Sorrow of Conception , which mentioned the grief surprise pregnancies can cause, I received this post from a dear friend. Desiring to stay anonymous to the Google-able world, he still wanted to share his story.

He has been married since 2005 to his high school sweetheart. Unbeknownst to family and friends (that was me!), his wife was already pregnant when they got married. He and his wife welcomed their first daughter in 2006 and their second daughter in 2007. Both were surprise pregnancies. And, to top it all off, my friend and his wife were both sophomores in college when they found out they were pregnant with their first daughter. He and his wife have since completed college, work full-time, and lead a youth ministry.

He has some great things to share. I hope you enjoy his story.


What were the fears you felt before having kids?

Where do I start? To say we were scared is a great understatement; we were terrified! Many thoughts raced through our minds, such as: How could we afford it? What would we have to sacrifice in order to care for this baby properly? Do we breast feed or use formula? What about insurance and medical cost, house or apartment, toys, diapers, routine schedule? These were the types of questions that relentlessly raced through our minds.

The biggest thing that stuck out though, above any other question, was this: What would our families think? It meant so much for us to please our families that we were in such despair over the fact that we had conceived against what we had been taught was wrong on so many levels. Obviously the marriage part was not an option at this point. (In our minds, neither was the baby.) We thought we could play it off being that my wife was still so small and fit into her wedding dress. We planned to pretend that we had just gotten pregnant on the honeymoon! Were we ever foolish (this is what sinful thinking does). So that was our first fear: loosing the support of our family.

Our second fear was very much financial. We counted the cost of our marriage way before I had even proposed and found that we had just enough to cover our needs. So now, two months before we were to wed, there was an extra body in the picture. How could we ever afford to get married, much less raise a baby? We moved back home from Atlanta [where they were in college]. We bought a house, which was cheaper per month than renting in Atlanta. We knew that my wife would have to be out of work for quite some time to properly care for the baby, so we started saving every penny would could. We sacrificed family time with parents and grandparents because it meant traveling and spending gas. While we distanced ourselves physically from family, we were very much in touch. They planned grand and elaborate showers, giving us a plethora of supplies. The outpouring of support from our families totally suppressed the first fear, as well as helped alleviate our financial needs.

Our third fear was the fact that we were still so young ourselves. How could we, sophomores in college, even begin to generate the brain waves capable of caring for someone other than ourselves? We, as most new parents or soon-to-be parents are, were very self centered. We very much enjoyed our free time and privacy. Now we had to divide time between husband, wife, and baby!

I will tell you though, as time drew closer to the birth, these fears took a brief hiatus and were supplanted by excitement. It was like waiting for Christmas; the anxiousness of awaiting the arrival of the perfect gift caved in on the fears of being unprepared or irresponsible or financially secure! But, after the baby was born and we settled back into life, our fears returned.

Finding out about our second baby was just as much of a surprise as the first. Although we were more established and meagerly financially stable, we cried again. “It seems like every time we get ahead, something comes and knocks us off” was the rhetoric we used quite a bit. Although many of the same fears resurrected with our second baby, this time there was a new fear: How could I love another child as much as I loved our first? In our oldest daughter’s 22 months of life she wrapped us around her pretty little fingers nearly every time she spoke. Her sweet little voice melted our hearts like a hot knife to butter. Again, the selfish thoughts of sharing my love, now that I had gotten use to sharing with someone other than my wife, was overtaking me. I prayed, fought, and wrestled with the thoughts of how, why again, etc.? But once our second daughter arrived, she was a phenomenal baby. She hardly ever cried except to eat and be changed. This was a great change compared to the first go around.

Did those obstacles actually affect your kids or the quality of your parenting?

Laura, I had to chuckle a bit at this one. The answer is a twofold answer. To answer just yes or just no I would be doing an injustice to you. On one hand, yes, it sure did! The only thing we could focus on for a long time was how little we had: money, time, sleep/rest, etc. We treated our daughter as something that took up time, space, and energy (though we really loved her more than life itself). We had negative attitudes and were insecure about being parents, so we were uptight about anything that anyone said that trampled our efforts of parenting. We began to neglect seeing family and friends for fear of having the “parent police” inspect our every move. So again we feared the judgment others would direct toward us. We did, secretly, take others’ advice, but we never breathed it to them that they were being considered for their recommendations. Pride ate us up like a cancer. We wanted to prove to them that we could handle it when in reality we were sinking faster than the Titanic. Again, sinful thinking creates frustrated lives. Our life was filled with desperation, and when we finally asked for help or advice it was often too late. As an example, our first daughter went through six major ear infections because we neglected to ask the right questions to family, friends, and our doctors. It seemed that we prayed constantly, but in a selfish manner: that God would heal our child, but for our benefit of rest and financial recoup.

I can’t say for certain that our fears positively affected our children or our parenting. I’d like to think that our parenting is improved because we have now learned that the only sure thing is that we are nowhere near perfect parents. Moreover, as hard as it is to swallow and say, we do not have perfect kids either. And that’s freeing.

Did you cling to any Scriptures during both surprise pregnancies and during parenting?

As funny as this may sound, we clung to the scripture of 1 Cor 10:13: “There hath no temptation take you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

In addition, one of my favorite verses is Rom 8:15-18: “For ye have not received a sprit of bondage again to fear, but a spirit of adoption whereby we cry ABBA FATHER. For the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children then heirs, and if heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

We have made mistakes, lashed out in anger, and caused fears and frustrations to overtake our marital relationship. We have climbed many hills and fought many battles, but when it was all said and done and the smoke had cleared, we stayed “nearer my Lord to thee” just as the old hymn says. God was our ONLY hope of survival, our ONLY hope of restoration, and our ONLY hope of proper parenting.


God and Gender: It's Really Not Confusing

A Canadian couple’s decision to raise a “genderless” child has perplexed me.

I was scratching my head last week after hearing about the couple from Toronto, Canada, who announced they were going to raise a “genderless” child. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, parents of two boys named Jazz and Kio, had a third child named Storm on New Year’s Day. Witterick announced to her family last month that she intends to keep the child’s gender a secret and let him/her figure it out on his own.

So far mom and dad have not granted interviews, but the mother said in a letter to the Edmonton Journal, published May 30, that letting Storm determine his/her gender was “a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation.”

“Someday soon, Storm will have something to say about it,” the mom added. (And I’m thinking he/she also may grow up resenting its parents for this bizarre decision.)

We know where this line of reasoning came from. We already have laws on the books in several states to protect people who don’t know their gender or who have altered it surgically. In Gainesville, Fla., for example, a man is allowed to use a women’s restroom if he “feels” he is female, regardless of whether he has had a gender-change operation.

Also, some educators have advocated a policy of not telling little boys they are boys and little girls they are girls. They fear this will lead to “gender stereotypes”—such as girls wanting to play with dolls, boys wanting to drive monster trucks and all kids thinking heterosexuality is normal.

So far it doesn’t look like the Canadian couple is setting a popular trend. I doubt parents are going to send their boys to school in pink tights anytime soon. But this decision was made because we live in a time of growing gender confusion. To stay on track we must reclaim some simple principles from Scripture:

1. God created gender. Gender is one of the most fundamental concepts in the Bible. Genesis 1:27 says God created mankind “male and female”—and both genders together reflect God’s divine image. God, who is a spirit, has both masculine and feminine qualities, so when He made mankind He needed men and women to reflect His nature as well as to procreate.

Gender is determined by the foreknowledge of God; it is not our choice. He is the Creator, we are the creature; He is the potter, we are the clay. To say that a child is going to “choose” his/her gender is the ultimate in rebellion against God’s created order.

2. Attacks on gender are ultimately aimed at God. The apostle Paul noted that the reality of God and his power are clearly evident “through what has been made”—the Creation—but that sinful and unbelieving people reject this obvious truth. Romans 1:21 says: “They did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

All we know about gender is obvious in nature—and it should be taught at home (as well as in fourth grade health classes). God made males and females, and when they are intimate they often have children. Same-sex couples can’t have children biologically without help from the opposite gender.  It’s a no-brainer. Gender isn’t that difficult to figure out!

It is true that some people develop same-sex attraction, but this is not because God is confused, or because He occasionally creates a male with a female psyche, or because He thinks it will be OK for a certain percentage of men to have a relationship with each other. Homosexuality is just one of many manifestations of the fallen world we live in—and anyone who struggles with sexual brokenness can find healing and freedom in Christ. (And they should be able to find this healing in any church, without fear of judgment.)

3. Children should be taught to embrace their gender, without unhealthy stereotypes. Many modern psychologists think if you reinforce a boy’s masculinity he’ll grow up to be a wife-beater, a rapist or a violent thug. They also oppose teaching a girl to be feminine, lest she grow up to believe all she can do is bake cookies and vacuum.

This was obviously the thinking behind David Stocker’s decision to keep baby Storm’s gender a secret. He said: “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It's obnoxious.” Stocker thinks he’s providing freedom to his child by adopting this choose-your-own-gender policy; in the end, what he’s doing could be classified as child abuse.

Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” There’s nothing wrong with reinforcing a child’s gender—this will result in emotional health. But in a fallen world where men often oppress women, and where women struggle with their self-worth, we also must train our kids to rise above unhealthy stereotypes.

True masculinity, when transformed by Christ, is not violent or dominating. True femininity is not defined by inferiority, timidity or domesticity. Boys can be trained to be strong yet compassionate gentlemen. Girls can be trained to be confident women of character. And churches can help raise healthy families no matter how confusing our culture becomes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...