The Angel’s Marvel

“The outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls… It was revealed to the prophets that they were not serving themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced through those who preach the good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (I Peter. 1:9-12)

Angels are interesting creatures. We certainly don’t know all there is to know about them.  They are created beings, like us.  Although some of them messed up and rebelled against God way back in the beginning time (becoming Satan and his demons), most stayed faithful to God and have continued faithful since then.  That in itself is a mystery.  For some reason it doesn’t appear they make choices like we do, with sin and rebelling against God a constant daily struggle.  It seems to be rare, in fact only happening the one time we know of.  There are many of them, 10 thousand X 10 thousand (Rev. 5:11-12).

Michael is named as an archangel (Daniel 12:1 an example). Gabriel is named as a chief messenger (Luke 1:28).  Lucifer (Satan) is named (Isaiah 14:12KJV).  That’s all the names given.  Many people are intrigued by these creatures.  When they on rare occasion have appeared to humans, even though told not to, the humans often fall to the ground in submission, knowing they are from God (Numbers 22:31).   We are told they provide some level of protection (Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14).  And we know their presence is often invisible to us, but that does not mean they are not present (2 Kings 6:8-23).

In that last passage of scripture, we are told the story of Elisha and his servant. They are surrounded by the king of Syria’s army.  Elisha tells his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prays that God will allow the servant to see, and when God opens his eyes “Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  Oddly enough, when the Syrians attack, Elisha prays they will be blinded and they are.  Not what you would have expected from the army of angels, but it illustrates that they work in whatever way is needed, not always with a military type attack.  God showed compassion on the Syrians.

One thing we know is that the angels who rebelled against God have Hell waiting on them. It was created for them.  Jesus said, “Then he (God) will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”  (Matthew 25:41).  Who is Jesus talking to here?  Not the fallen angels, but to the goats (people) who he has separated from the sheep.  Hell may be created for Satan and his fallen angels, but we get to go there with them if we don’t align ourselves with God through Christ in this life.

9 Statue in Rome

That brings us to the most amazing fact. As intrigued as we are with angels, they are intrigued with us too!  Back to the I Peter passage at the top of the page, read that again.  In fact, Jesus tells us that when a lost human is found (becomes a disciple of Jesus), “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) Don’t neglect a salvation that even makes the angels stand in awe!

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, thousands upon thousands… encircling the throne. In a loud voice they were saying, ‘Worthy is the lamb, who was slain…’” (Rev. 5:11-12)

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Will My Children Become Christian?

If we are Christian, then we certainly want and hope that our children will be Christian also. As a Christian we hope for salvation leading to an eternity with God’s blessing in heaven, in addition to the meaning in life Christian faith provides.  Without Christ, Hell is the other destination, the Bible teaches.  We want what’s best for us and our kids in life and in eternity.

kids

But here’s the deal. In this day and age many children grow up in “Christian” families, only to abandon this pathway when they get out of school, as adults.  Why does this happen so often?

A new study published in the Religion, Brain & Behavior Journal shows that IF parents love Jesus sincerely, and demonstrate that with the way they live their lives, their children will follow their example.  On the other hand, if the parents are hypocrites (meaning they profess to be Christian, but it does not show in how they live their lives), children not only fail be become Christian, they are often drawn to atheism!  This is becoming epidemic in our society.

The study included a gathering of 5,000 atheists, with them being asked: How old were you when you gave up on your parent’s religion, and how committed were your parents in their faith practice? The responses reinforced that insincere or unfaithfully practiced Christianity resulted in the children struggling and many abandoning the so-called faith of their parents.

Their conclusions were somewhat general in nature, there were exceptions, as is usually the case with people of free will. But the study definitely said that the religious behavior and practices of the parents have significant influence on the path their children take.

What can we learn from this? Certainly, that those who say “I don’t want to take my child to church or insist they do anything religious, so they can make their own choice” are only fooling themselves.  The child looks for clues as to what they will and won’t accept in life, and by failing to expose them to your own beliefs you simply open them up to the beliefs of others who will influence them.  At least make your beliefs part of the mix they will have to consider.  Apathy on your part most likely will lead to apathy on their part, or else cause a reaction, with them seeking some tangent belief (or nonbelief).

The bottom line of this topic is: Parent, what do you truly believe? And, do you believe it enough to seriously put the tenets of your belief into practice?  If not, YOU have a problem.  That’s the heart of the thing.  And unfortunately, your problem may become your child’s problem.

Proverbs 22:6 states a principle. It’s not full-proof, but it’s usually true.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when the person is old, they will not depart from it.”  We live in a sinful and mixed-up world.  Don’t make it worse for your children by not living out your beliefs or helping them prepare. Are you a Christian?  Talk about it at home, pray openly, read the Bible, conform in a loving way, participate in the local assembly of Christians, and make it real for your kids.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but not works (does not live out his faith)? Can such faith save him (or have proper influence on his children)? So, faith by itself, without works (without truly following the Lord), is dead.” Jas. 2:14-17

Excuses People Make

    1. The church is full of hypocrites.  True. A hypocrite is someone who “acts” differently than what they truly are. They wear a mask, so to speak, like the actors on the ancient stages of Greece. Such a Christian says they are a saint, while in fact they are an active sinner. But isn’t that a contrast we see to some degree with everyone? No one is perfect short of heaven; we all continue to do what we know is wrong at times. Sometimes it’s very blatant and the person isn’t even trying to live by their so-called Christian values. That should be dealt with by the church elders. But otherwise, there will be some hypocrisy, I’m guessing even you are guilty.Hypocrite 2
    2. I don’t like the decisions of the churches leaders.  Are they unbiblical in some way you can point out? Do they show no compassion, no concern for what is written in the New Testament about church governance? That’s one thing, but if it’s about matters of opinion, few of us agree with leaders on all their decisions. Yet for an orderly church (just like any other organization) we need to respect and comply with the leaders as best we can, unless they take us away from Christ’s teaching. If you just can’t resolve things, seek another better led congregation. Don’t quit.
    3. I don’t know anyone in that church.  It takes time and effort (on your part) to make relationships within the church. Again, this is just like any other organization. Don’t come in late, set on the back row, leave quickly, then use this excuse. Plug into a small group, one of the best ways to meet people and form relationships.
    4. I’m just too busy to give up this one day I can rest or do personal things. Then you’re too busy! If being a Christian, and thus being part of the local church fellowship, is way down on your list of things to do, I’m questioning your Christianity. Jesus said our love for him must come before even our closest family members (Matthew 10:37). He insists on being in first place. Can you honestly make a case that you’re too busy one day a week to make worshipping him the top priority?
    5. I’m not good enough, I’d feel out of place there.  Wait a minute, remember the “full of hypocrites” charge? Now you say you feel out of place because you’re not as good as they are? That’s called waffling. But if this is your one complaint, truth is, many people outside the church feel this way. Don’t. It’s been said that the church is not a resort for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners. It is that, but more. It’s the place where we encourage each other to stay the course and not be sinners, at least not routinely. We all need that. This is where you need to be.
    6. I hold positions on issues that will cause me to feel judged in the church.  Christians should not create an environment of judgment for those who enter the doors and look, act, or believe differently. When they come we need to welcome them and do our best to provide positive Christian influence. We preach, we teach, we encourage, we ask people considering Christ to count the cost, and then together seek God’s position on issues. That’s the other side of the coin. Don’t come in insisting on “your way” whatever that might be. None of us are given that right as Christians, it is God’s way all the way. As you learn God’s way, yield. Whatever you and I give up will be worth it in eternity.
    7. The church has hurt me in the past.  Sadly, this does happen. Again, we are recovering sinners, and sometimes things happen, even in a church, that shouldn’t. Sometimes at the hands of a person who calls themselves a Christian, but who in fact isn’t; or a leader who’s a poor one. But, whatever the case, the church is local, and don’t let the mistakes of one local church, or one Christian, color your view of “The Church.” In the end, being part of the church is about our relationship with Christ more than anything. Let that be your motivation.

“His invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world…so they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:20)          So don’t make excuses in your discipleship, either.

 

Satan Has a Plan for Your Life!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone talk about “God’s plan for your life” and use that phrase as if no matter what happens, it’s part of God’s plan. My wife and I just watched a movie recently that was faith-based, and in the story there’s a young lady with a daughter.  They lost their husband and father, respectively, in Afghanistan.  It tells of the wife’s struggle to make things work afterwards, how she lost her faith in God as life spiraled downward for her.  By the end of the movie things lead her back to her faith and as she prepares to enter a church again to worship, she comments about how God’s plan for your life sometimes is not what you want or think it will be, but in the end it works out if you trust in him.

That may sound good at first glance, but it conveys the idea that everything that happened to this lady was part of God’s plan. Did God plan for her husband to die in Afghanistan?  Did he plan for her to experience very difficult times emotionally and physically with a job that couldn’t pay the bills?  On and on you could go with examples of things that were negative and hurtful, and yet all part of God’s plan if you accept this very predestination point of view.  Is that the correct way to view this?

I contend that Satan has a plan for your life! The Apostle Peter tells us in his letter that we need to cast all our anxieties on God, who cares for us, and then says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”  (I Peter 5:8-9)

Jesus-and-Satan

There is a spiritual battle for your soul going on constantly. God wants your faith and allegiance, and so does his adversary Satan.  Meanwhile we are creatures with free will, able to choose who we give our allegiance to, living in a sinful messed-up world where the consequences of sin touch everyone to some degree.  Much that happens in life is the result of the messed-up world we live in.  That’s not God’s plan.  His plan is to provide salvation without forcing it on anyone.  He does so in-the-midst of the craziness of life that can impact us in numerous bad ways.  And, throughout this process Satan attempts to tempt us away from God and to himself.

God works for our benefit within this framework of life, but he isn’t causing everything that happens, it is not all part of his plan. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”  (Romans 8:28). Bad things happen that are not part of God’s plan, but as Paul says to the Romans, God can use even these things for our good, IF we love him and are called according to his purpose.  In other words, we need to have a Christian worldview and be willing to live sacrificially for the good of others, knowing our real reward will come in heaven.  We are mistaken if we think Romans 8 tells us that God will make all things work for our happiness in this life.  All things work for “good” and that has a very broad other-centered meaning, I believe, not a selfish meaning.  God’s purpose is to save and to sanctify in the hotbed of life.

In the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, a demon writes to his nephew about the spiritual battle with his enemy, which is God. The demon writes, “The enemy wants men to be concerned with what they do (obedience); our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them (life circumstances).”  Yes, Satan has a plan too, to mess things up!  He works all things for bad, if we love him and are called for his purposes. Both want your devotion, your faith, your obedience.  So, you need to have a plan!  And your plan needs to reinforce your choice.  If you choose God, be purposeful in using the resources he provides to become a faithful follower.  That involves church, Bible reading, like-minded friends who can encourage and reinforce the path you are on.

People say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Think so? Only if we realize that the “reason” is a battle between God and Satan for your soul.  Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11) so you can stand against the schemes of the devil. Realize you have a say in what happens.  Make your choice and take your stand for the Lord.

Christians Drinking Alcohol

This is a tough issue, and one quite honestly that I’ve avoided for a long time. What should a Christian’s perspective be on the topic of drinking alcoholic beverages?  Opinions vary, and it’s not hard to understand the reasons why.  On one extreme are those who have family or friends whose life has been destroyed by alcohol.  Even if they recovered, it’s a lifelong battle to stay away from this “demon” so that they don’t relapse.  On the other extreme are people who’ve grown up in a very controlled environment of alcohol consumption, who have a glass of wine with a meal but never overindulge, and have no problem controlling this behavior.

Once you move this argument into the religious arena you’d think it might become simpler, but it really does not. In our U.S. American culture where protestant churches have dominated, we see a mindset of total abstinence, partly due to the wanton ways of those involved in our westward expansion (cowboys celebrating the cattle drive, in saloons, etc.).  On the other hand, when you go to many other countries you see alcohol as part of everyday life for most families, including Christians.  When my wife and I were in Italy we had tour guides who were Christian telling us about helping their kids learn to drink responsibly when they were growing up by watering down the wine and gradually introducing it to their children.  Once they are adults they generally drink responsibly, usually with meals.  Like any adult behavior (including eating food) there can be issues, and people who abuse their freedom.

Where does that leave us? How about this.  If we are Bible believing people we usually base our beliefs on what the Bible teaches, right?  So why not do that with this subject?  Let’s take a look.

We might start by asking, “What would Jesus do?” On the one hand we have no specific example of the Bible saying Jesus drank anything alcoholic.  But, we have no place where he condemned it either, and in fact we have an example where he provided it to many.  You remember it, the wedding at Cana of Galilee.  It was his first miracle!  Some try to say it was just good grape juice, but that goes against common sense for a wedding of that day and that culture.  And because this was a miracle, the miracle would seem to be taking water and turning it immediately into wine (which normally needs time to ferment).  You could turn it into grape juice just by squeezing grapes into it.  It’s the wine factor that really makes this a miracle.  Once Jesus turned water into wine, and not just any wine, it was the best they had experience so far (John 2:10), do you think he forbade them from drinking it?

wedding of cana

As Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof would say, “On the other hand…” We all know alcohol can be dangerous.  Some people just can’t handle it.  The Bible does warn us about such.  We are told in Proverbs 23, “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.  In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.”  Deuteronomy 32 says wine can be like the poison of serpents.  No doubt about it, we are not being responsible if we fail to see the potential dangers of alcohol.  The Bible says that getting drunk crosses the line into sinful behavior. “Do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

Again, where does that leave us? Jesus once gave an illustration of the kingdom he was initiating where he said “No one puts new wine into old wineskins.  If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins.  But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2) If he wanted complete abstinence you’d think Jesus would use a different illustration or say, “Destroy that sinful wine!”  He didn’t.  His point was that his kingdom could not be contained in the old wineskin of the Law, his kingdom would be of the Spirit.  Are you, as a Christian, controlled by his Spirit, do you walk according to his Word?  If so, you’ll control this area just like you do others.  That’s the bottom line, what is it that motivates us, what is it that leads our thoughts and actions?  If we allow it to be anything other than the Lord and his Spirit, we are in trouble, even if we never take a sip of alcohol.

A general guideline for the Christian?  Thoughts can vary, but how about this: Don’t flaunt it in front of others who may be weak (Rom. 14:21), if you do it at all do it responsibly, never getting drunk, never drinking and driving, and consider abstinence as possibly the cleanest and safest path.

If we are Christian, our goal is to honor the Lord at all times!

Walking with Jesus to the Gihon Spring

The time has finally come. Jesus has spent the night with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.  It’s a steep climb up the hill from Bethany and Jesus with his disciples walk that portion of the trip the next day.  As they near Bethpage, a small village near the top of this ridge, Jesus asks them to get a donkey.  Seems odd.  Jesus just walked up this steep hill, why does he want a donkey to ride down into the Kidron Valley?

We learn in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, daughter Zion! Shout, daughter Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey.”  Oh, so that’s why.  For some reason this fulfills prophecy, as Jesus begins what is called his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

It’s getting close to Passover, and during this high festival of the Israelites, people come from all over to be at Jerusalem as they seek to offer their sacrifices, and as they celebrate this historical event, when God rescued Moses and all the people of Israel by having the death angel pass over their houses if the doorposts were painted with blood. During this festival there is not room within the city, so people camp all over, including on the side of this hill, the Mount of Olives.  These campers are all along the road as Jesus mounts the donkey and with his disciples goes down the hill, with Jerusalem before them.  His ride will end at the bottom of the valley, at the Gihon Spring.

Jesus on donkey

Again, these are Jews and they sense something special. They’ve heard of this Jesus, some of them have seen him perform his miracles, others understand what is taking place.  They gather their palm leaves to wave as they cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  (Matt. 21:9) Others shout, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10) Others, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38) Yes, they are recognizing Jesus as king, just as Zechariah had stated.

 

But why?  What is it about this donkey ride into the Kidron Valley that points to Jesus as a king?  The Jews studied the scriptures (I Kings 1), and they knew.  They would recall another time when the kingdom was in transition and something just like this took place.  David had been king, but his time was coming to an end.  He had not yet announced his successor.  His son Adonijah saw this opportunity and wanted the kingdom for himself.  As he went about being coronated outside Jerusalem, Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan learn of it and go to warn David.  David had promised Solomon would be king.

David puts Solomon on a donkey that had previously been used only for himself. In view of all in Jerusalem he has Solomon ride the donkey down the western hill of the Mount of Olives to the bottom of the Kidron Valley, ending at the Gihon Spring.  Once there, Zadok the priest anoints Solomon as king!

gihon diagram

And so, as Jesus does this same thing the people wave their branches and shout Hosanna to another son of David. They are ready to crown him as king!  But this story has a twist.  Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the king who will reign forever.  But just a few days later his crown will be one of thorns.

 

Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked his Apostles. Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus answered, “Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:15-19)

There’s a lot packed into the words of Jesus above. For now, let’s focus on the “keys” that Jesus said he would give the Apostle Peter.  What is Jesus talking about here?  We all know the tradition that Peter is the gatekeeper of heaven and when we die we must get permission from him to enter into heaven through the Pearly Gates.  There’s been many a joke told with that as the premise.  Or, the Catholic Church has used this as a proof text to say Peter was the first Pope, and what the Pope says goes.

St Peter Pearly Gates

Let me offer an alternative view. I believe Jesus’ words provide a near-term but very far-reaching perspective on the keys he promised Peter.  Go with me to Acts 2.  It’s the day of Pentecost as the disciples wait, just as Jesus instructed, until he sends his Spirit.  The Spirit arrives like a rushing wind, and speaking in a tongue that all can understand on this festival day Peter preaches the first resurrection sermon.  When he is done telling them what has happened to Jesus, who Jesus really is, they cry out, “What must we do?”  And Peter provides the key, telling them “Repent and be baptized ever one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  He thus opened the door of salvation for all these Jews gathered at this Jewish festival.

Fast forward with me to Acts 10. Peter has been focused on his fellow Jews, most likely holding onto his prejudice against the Gentiles (non-Jews).  He is in Joppa (not by accident where Jonah fled his mission to the Gentiles) and in a vision comes to understand that God has made clean what was formally considered unclean.  Cornelius, a Gentile centurion (Roman soldier) lives in Caesarea and has a vision of his own. He’s told to send for Simon who is called Peter.  He does.  Peter goes and realizes that God has granted salvation by faith to the Gentiles, saying, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.”  Peter preaches the gospel to those in Cornelius’ house and God’s Spirit impacts them as it did the disciples on Pentecost. Peter provides the key, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Baptism

The door of salvation is now open to all; both Jew and Gentile! Peter used the keys Jesus gave him, and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.  In other words, to be loosed from your sins, respond in faith, repentance, and baptism, becoming a disciple of Jesus!  For those who do, the door to God’s Kingdom swings open, as do the gates of heaven.                                                                  

An App for That

When you own a smart phone, it provides amazing technology that makes information easy; possibly too easy. I must admit I enjoy the various “apps” I can add to my I-Phone.  There’s one for the weather, quickly able to access a radar screen to see where bad weather is moving.  There’s one for ESPN so you can get an immediate update on sports scores and activity (there’s even the ability during baseball season to watch pitch by pitch where the ball is within the strike zone, on a visual display).  There’s an app for Facebook, of course.  I have another for my 401(k) and can check the balance of funds anytime.  There’s another for our bank.  There’s one I use for USA Today or Fox News to check what’s going on in the world.  And, I also have a great Bible app on my phone, where I can quickly change versions, highlight text, etc.

iphone apps

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But have you ever heard the phrase “information overload”?

Our culture is inundated with technology that provides information; all kinds of information. At a quick click you can access porn sights, for example, so there’s plenty    of negative stuff out there too.  Of course all of these sites that are free parade advertisements past you constantly trying to get you to bite.  And even if it’s generally positive stuff, it absorbs time.  Unless we manage our time well, that becomes a problem in itself in terms of Christian stewardship.

When we have too much information we tend to gloss over it and don’t pay enough attention to the important things. I peruse the local paper every day, but my focus tends to wander to the trivial stuff (like the funnies) and I often miss the murder on page one.  How did I do that?  Lack of focus.  Too much info and I gravitate to what appeals, rather than to what is meaningful.

If we are Christians, disciples of Christ (same thing), that must mean something in terms of how we live: the choices we make, the values we adopt, the activities we pursue, the character we develop, the service we provide.  We need focus!  Is there an app for that?

Indeed! There are two: the Bible, and the church.  The Bible is a collection of inspired manuscripts written by men who were linked to God in history, providing God’s values and expectations, providing stories of human victory and failure to walk God’s way.  It’s a very honest book, documenting the sins of its heroes just as it documents their successes.  Ultimately God is the hero!  This collection of books leads us to Jesus Christ and the salvation he provides through his sacrifice for our sins, which can be accessed by faith, as we make Jesus Lord.  The church is a resource where the mature can help school the immature, where we all remember and learn, where we seek to make the Bible teaching real in our life.  Read the Bible, participate in church, make application.

Distractions? There are many.  Don’t let modern technology rule.  Access God’s apps!

The Devil’s Schemes

Thoughts from the devil’s perspective…

Television. Ah, even the word is music to my ears.  A human once said when seeing an early version of this tool, “This is a device that can teach people.”  We got a big kick out of that one.  Oh, it can teach alright!  We use it most effectively.  Much of the secularization of the American culture has come as we gradually encourage those in Hollywood to introduce anti-biblical concepts through the stories told on television.  Slowly but surely this modem of secular morals brings more violence, more sex, more vulgar language, more un-Christian thought into the minds of those who set passively and soak it in.  What was once unthinkable, becomes thinkable, even acceptable.  Must say, we are very proud of the results.

Our adversary must be frustrated with our success. He has gone to great lengths to provide written instruction, a book of sorts, to his followers, with stories that illustrate the catastrophes caused by rejecting him, stories that direct these followers to key elements of right relationship, stories that demonstrate his love for these abhorrent creatures, his forgiveness, but also his requirements.  We have actually encouraged the publication of these instructions, all neatly bound in an attractive book with footnotes, introductions, references, etc.  At the same time, we’ve encouraged busyness to the extent that this book lays dormant on shelves.  Busyness, laziness, no matter.  Few really read this stuff, or even go to their so-called places of worship to hear the “preacher” talk about it.  Many of those who do go, allow habit to close their ears.  Kudos to my demon friends for the extent of this success.

HolyBible_on_shelf

Along similar lines, I am very pleased with how we’ve largely removed this “book” as the guidance for cultural issues like homosexuality and sex outside of marriage for straight couples. By successfully making this an emotional issue based on feel-good and selfish thinking, it has become a subjective topic that has created a wave of support for us, even among his followers.  Hey, when the rule book lies dormant on the shelf, or when feelings overcome an objective reading of the guidelines, our battle is almost won!  Pairing love with obedience, faith with faithfulness, commitment with sacrifice (as truth in a sinful world is pursued), such common-sense things lose their weight when these humans become convinced that it’s all about selfish indulgence in this world, little thought of the next.  Well done, I say!

More victories come our way when we allow attention around holidays (a play on the words Holy Day), to become more about traditional tomfoolery. The virgin birth of their hero becomes a side show for Santa Claus and an excuse for drunken parties.  The resurrection (I shudder to say that word) becomes some vague imagery with a rabbit, of all things.  All Hallows (Saints) Day was intended to recall those who set an example for these “followers,” but we have turned it on its head with Hallows Eve (Halloween) and a sugar filled quest for candy amidst ghouls and goblins.  Our strategies have been so very successful, I think you must agree.  These are just a few examples of many victories.

Sure, there are those diehards we can’t get to.  Those who actually do rely on “the book” and work together to reinforce what our adversary desires.  But their numbers are diminishing.  Thank the devil!  Oh, shall I boast, since that is me?

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church: Eph. 6:11)