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  1. Enemies with Smiling Faces: Defeating the Subtle Threats That Endanger Christians
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InterVarsity Press Bolero Ozon. Enemies with Smiling Faces: The world is a dangerous place. Learning to recognize these "enemies with smiling faces" can keep you from falling prey to their mind-bending, heart-rending lies. Some enemies mask themselves in popular "Christian" concepts that are not truly biblical: Quick fix faith Feeling-only faith One-sided faith Spiritual superiority Other enemies are disguised as "common-sense" notions prevalent in today's world: Self-construction Affluenza Character without design Privatized faith God calls those who follow him to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

And because God calls you not simply to resist, but also to love your enemies, Posterski also offers practical, biblical strategies for relating to and living among "enemies with smiling faces. Depreciating the Image of God. Balancing Conviction and Compassion. Craig will move on. But next time he will be more careful. He will be reticent in forming relational commitments. The painful memories will never be completely erased. Life is not what Craig expected it would be.

The love of his life and a cherished friend had turned on him. Intimacy and trust and laughter and expectation collapsed on top of him. The same people who had given him the best moments of life now were inflicting deep torment. All of us have been hurt by others. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we have also hurt others.

Sometimes our words have been intended to cause harm. Other times, without our awareness, our actions have wounded people and afflicted them with sleepless nights. Our experience with pain is not limited to human relationships. We are also familiar with spiritual pain. While we may have difficulty admitting it out loud, there have been times when we were disappointed with God.

Enemies with Smiling Faces: Defeating the Subtle Threats That Endanger Christians

Most of us are careful not to blame God directly. Instead we harp on the shortcomings of the church, the inadequacies of the minister or the hypocrisy of Christians who claim more than they live.

That is how some of us tend to express our disappointment with God. Since I have known Luke, he has always been serious about his faith. In fact it is hard to think of him without immediately thinking of the Christ he knows and loves. Believing that friendship includes uncensored acceptance, I let my silence be the signal to tell me more. Sometimes I feel so shallow I start thinking about giving it all up.

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When I did respond to Luke in words, there was no temptation to feel spiritually superior. Doubt has always been mixed with my faith in Christ. My years as a serious follower of Jesus have raised questions that continue to be unresolved. The interface between the theory of my faith and my behavior is still being examined. Sometimes my theory gets refined, while other times I must face the reality that some of my attitudes and behavior are simply sinful and unacceptable.

His frustration with his faith and his anger toward God were rooted in well-intended assumptions about God and the gospel. The church he was attending was not out to deceive him into believing he should always be able to discern how God answers prayer. Too much of life was left unexamined. There was too much superficial goodness, too much rhetoric about victorious Christian living, too little honesty about the days and nights of real living. People who live without regard for God live with vulnerabilities too. The world parades and preaches promises that form another ensemble of enemies with smiling faces.

We live in times when it is easy to confuse dreams with reality.

In the sober light of day we acknowledge that unending progress is in fact a myth. But technological advances, the dazzling allure of cyberspace, scientific breakthroughs and important medical findings all feed our expectations.


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But when we are told that we can become whatever we want to be, that we can do all that we want to do, we are being set up for a tumble. If we buy into the dream that first-class living is about having enough money to do whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, with whomever we want, we will discover it is not enough.

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There is no virtue in lugging around the consequences of years of undisciplined eating.