Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Bait of Satan - Chapter 1 - Book Discussion

The Bait of Satan, Chapter 1 - Me, Offended?

The Bait of Satan deals with the issue of personal offense. In Chapter 1, The author explains that offense is "bait" that Satan uses to try to "trap" us with. When people - especially those closest to us - wrong us in some way, we are deeply hurt and feel betrayed.

Sometimes, due to inaccurate information or miscommunication, we perceive that someone has wronged us, even though that might not actually be the case.

Either way, we are offended and if it's not dealt with we live our lives with bitterness, anger and resentment festering in our hearts.

Chapter 1 - Key Points/Bible Verses:

Luke 17:1 - "It is impossible that no offenses should come." Jesus Himself said we are going to be offended at some point in our life; there's no getting around it.

Psalm 55:12-14 - In this verse, King David cried out that the sting of betrayal from someone he was especially close to was unbearable for him. The author, John Bevere, points out that "The closer the relationship, the more severe the offense." How true that is!

2 Timothy 3:2 - In the last days, Christians will become selfish and self-centered.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 - Pride can cloud our minds and harden our hearts. It prevents us from seeing and dealing with the truth and keeps us trapped. Pride causes us to view ourselves as victims and to justify our actions.

Revelation 3:14-20 - Pride caused the Laodiceans to be deceived.

Hebrews 3:13 - If we don't deal with the offense, it will produce more fruit of sin and further harden our hearts. We need to examine our hearts and ask God to reveal it's true condition.

1 Peter 1:6-7 & Isaiah 48:10 - When gold is refined, it is put through a purifying process that uses intense heat to remove the minerals that harden it and make it unpure. As a parallel, sometimes God allows us to go through trials and tribulations so that our sins will be revealed to us. We can purify ourselves through repentance.

Revelation 3:18 - We need to open our eyes and see the true condition of our hearts and stop blaming others. The author states: "Often when we are offended we see ourselves as victims and blame those who have hurt us." The truth will bring us freedom.

Day 1 and Day 2 - Devotionals:

Days 1 & 2, in the devotional at the back of the book, cover Chapter 1 of The Bait of Satan.

Day 1

In the following list of the fruit of offense, circle the feelings you have experienced when offended in the past:

I circled: hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment, & hatred.

List 5 (with 1 being the closest, & 5 being the most distant relationship) the names of 5 people who have offended you:

I ended up actually listing 9 people who I've felt a deep offense with at some point in my life. While I am on good terms with about half the people on my list and believe that I have worked through forgiveness with them, I recognize that I still hold some degree of bitterness and resentment towards several of them.

Write a prayer asking God for help and wisdom to avoid the bait of Satan.

Dear Father, please open my eyes and give me wisdom. Help me to use compassion when dealing with people and situations that could cause offense. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Day 2

Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 and then summarize how God purifies us:

He purifies us by allowing us to go through trials and tribulations that test our faith.

Think about your own life. What are the impurities in your heart that are hindering the character of God from growing in your life?

Impatience, irritation, resentment, bitterness.

Write a prayer repenting of blaming others and asking the Lord to give you eyes to see the condition of your heart.

Dear Father, Please forgive me for the times that I have blamed others for situations and offenses that I should have taken responsibility for my part in. Help me to examine my heart and reveal to me it's true condition. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Chapter 1 - My Thoughts

I think the author, John Bevere, is on to something here. In reflecting upon my own life, I can see that it is very easy for me to allow myself to get offended over minor things or make negative assumptions.

Just recently I went through a situation where I had called someone and left a voice message for them to call me back. A week later, I hadn't heard back, so I sent them a text message with the question I had for them. A few days later, I hadn't gotten a reply, so I emailed them. At that point, I was starting to get annoyed and frustrated.

It turned out that the person was just really busy. They did get back to me shortly after I emailed them and everything was fine, but it's easy to see how a simple situation like that can cause offense. Satan uses situations such as this to plant seeds of doubt in my mind. It's easy to start questioning my relationship with that person and start making assumptions.

What is your perception of what we've learned so far in The Bait of Satan? Do you struggle with offense on a daily basis? Are there people that you have been holding onto offense with for more than 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

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9 comments:

Joel Schultz said...

I do not have any questions or devotionals at the back of my book, so I'll be posting a little differently.
In the introduction to his book, Bevere mentions nine fruits that result from offense. I chose hurt, anger, outrage, and bitterness as the fruits that I have experienced because of offense.
Jesus said that it is inevitable that we will be offended every day. He also said to keep forgiving; if a repentant offender asks for forgiveness, we are told by Jesus to forgive them 7 X 77 in a day. Wow! I have a hard time forgiving the first time. But that's why this book is such a valuable tool because the devil will use offense to try and take us out of God's will. Bevere says that no man, no woman, no child, and no devils can EVER take us out of the will of God. Only we can take ourselves out. Bevere mentions that we get our word "scandel" from the same Greek word that is translated "offense" in our Bibles. What does the Greek word refer to? He says it means to disquise, to be sneaky. Anyone that has ever hunted knows that you need to bait the animal to have a much better chance of catching them. But you also know not to bait it, and then stand around and wait for it. You have to be smarter than the animal. The devil knows our weaknessess, and he tries to exploit them all the time. He is very cunning, and throws bait out every day. Now that we have this powerful resource, maybe we can withstand his attacks. Bevere uses insights about predators from nature shows he has watched, that warn about isolating from the pack. If we allow offense to seperate us from the "pack",(family, friends, church body) we become lone rangers, we are isolated, and we are beaten by the enemy. No matter what offense happens, do not let it seperate you from the pack. My scripture verses that I would like to share are 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 "For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguements and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
And 1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers (and sisters) throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Viki Nygaard said...

Hi Joel,

You brought up an excellent point, and that is that we can’t allow offense to separate us from the “pack.”

While reading my October 31, 2007 devotional from Turning Point Magazine last night, I came across the perfect illustration for what you described in your post. I’d like to share it with you:

"An Aesop's Fable perfectly illustrates the importance of unity in the body of Christ. A lion prowled about a field in which four oxen dwelled. Often the lion tried to attack them; but whenever he came near, they turned their tails to one another so that whichever way he approached them, he was met by the horns of one of the oxen. At last, however, the oxen started to quarrel among themselves and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. The lion saw his chance, attacked them one by one, and soon made an end of all four."

In other words, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Joel!

Karon said...

So far, I'm finding this book a little different than I expected. It seems to be directed toward those who have experienced a significant hurt in their life. The offense I struggle with, however, is more along the lines of someone volunteering me without asking me first or people who seem to live by the motto, "Forgiveness is more easily obtained than permission."

While I have suffered emotional harm at the hands of others, I'm not currently dealing with any situations like that. I do struggle daily with instances like this, for example:

We made a firm decision last Wed (Oct 31st) to purchase new countertops. I went to the showroom and worked out all the details. The person wrote up the order, took my credit card information for a deposit and told me someone would call in a day or two to setup an appointment so they could come out and get the exact measurements. I still haven't heard from anyone.

Out of curiosity, I went online to view my credit card statement and saw that my card was charged for half of the total the same day I went in. That ticked me off (offended me). Now I'm all huffy about that and have thoughts running through my head like, "How dare they charge my card almost a week ago and they haven't even called to MAKE the appointment yet, much less come out and actually measure anything!"

Viki, the instance with Cody's transportation is a typical thing. You mentioned this was a good opportunity to become offended and that you didn't. That's the type of stuff I'm typically dealing with.

But... with that said... :) I'll give you my answers.

Which of the fruits of offense have I experience?

hurt, anger, outrage, strife, bitterness and resentment

List of 5 people who have offended me.

This could go on forever - LOL, but I included:

Sylvia
Todd
Jacky
Laura

Prayer

Father, I want my relationships with others to be right so my relationship with You will be right. I ask You to help me overcome trials in my life and avoid being offended. In Jesus' name, Amen.

For Day Two

I Peter 1:6-7

God purifies us with trial by fire.

What impurities do I have?

Being judgmental, taking offense at little things, not walking in love always, and many others.

Prayer

Father, I think my problem is not blaming others but rather being judgmental and harsh toward others. I know this is my fault and that I tend to be too sensitive about certain things. Please help me to walk in Your love and be kind to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Viki Nygaard said...

Hi Karon,

I'm with you in that I am not having issues with major offenses right now. Granted, I have had major offenses in my past, but the majority of them have been worked through. This book should help me wrap up any loose ends in that area.

My goals for this book are that it will:

1. Help me to calmly deal with everyday minor offenses.

2. Help me put to final rest to any past major offenses.

3. Help me to prepare for any future major offenses.

Thanks for joining us in our discussion, Karon!

Viki

Anonymous said...

I was so hurt by almost everyone at the church I attend & seems like it still happens in certain situations. By now I should be over things. When I forgive & something happens or they think I am saying acting or do something I haven't I pick the bait back up. I love the Lord God and I want that oure relationship with him that I had when I met him & the heart to really forgive so I will not hurt others because I have to get them to separate from me an attempt byme to avoid pain. How horrible. As a result of taking the bait I turned to eating and gained over 50 lbs. which caused me health issues. I'd rather forgive truly than die with this filthy heart. Help me dear Lord I pray to be VICTORIOUS. HELP ME MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES. PRAY FOR ME ALL THAT CAN REACH HEAVEN I NEED HELP.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say by reading the replys of others has helped me to be real about how I feel. I don't want to go to hell it's not a good place. I thank everyone for sharing. I fell I can get some help by confessiing everything and owning up to the choices I made

Vicki Kiboneka said...

I thank God for this book, u know many of us think that the sins that will take us to hell are murder, robbery, idol worship, but offense too can take one to hell..because it births resentment, hatred, revenge, anger, and others.
I have been getting offended almost every other time,and it would stay on my mind for a long time..But im learning the only way to overcoming evil is by doing good.
Love those who hurt you, for they are just being used by the devil to bring hurt to your life.They are just conduits for hurt pain.

Lets live lives of righteousness and holiness before our God..bitterness, rage, anger, are all stains on our white garment of salvation...and remember he is coming back for a church without spot or blemish.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, a loved one gave me the book "Bait of Satan" several years ago, but it's this very person who seems offended by my every comment and action (or inaction) and has been for years!

I think what Satan does is blow up in the minds of the often-offended individual a completely innocent thing, making it seem intentional and even premeditated. I would never, ever intentionally hurt this person, try to make them look or feel small, yet that is how we usually leave things when we part ways - me with my hair blown back from the righteously indignant riot act I often get from things so innocuous it would make a cat laugh.

It's all about the intent. If it's true we're "known by our love," remembering details from I Cor. 13 would be helpful for Christians who sometimes forget that their "feelings" aren't always trustworthy. Because love: "keeps no record of wrongs, believes the best, is not provoked, thinks no evil."

If in doubt about whether or not you've been "dissed," remember this chapter.

Anonymous said...

I love this book. As I read over the posts' I saw myself in each one at different times in my life. How Awesome is our God! I know that He has brought me to a place that I have been trying to reach for my whole life.

I was abused as a child and would have died at the hands of both parents or myself if not for God. The other things that have happened during my less than perfect childhood and teen years have been an environment to breed these different attitudes in my spirit. God was always with me and He brought me through. I am now a pastor's wife and my husband loves me unconditionally.

This book has brought many things to my attention that I didn't know were there. As I go through life, I know that God doesn't promise easy or perfect, but as we strive to follow His way and His leading, He will always be there for us.

I cannot and don't want to control other people. I do have to control my self and forgive those that hurt me whether it is intentional or not. My reaction and my attitude are what I will stand before the Lord and give an account. I pray that all who read this book will be as Blessed or more so as I have been.