A man can do worse than be by himself. He can read. He can think. He can sit on the porch and listen to the sounds of life out yonder.”
–Elmer Kelton (The Man Who Rode Midnight)
“This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break.”
–Genesis 32:24 (NLT)
“Men think of the world not as a battleground, but as a playground.”
“True Christianity is a struggle, a fight and a warfare.”
I remember not long after President Bush left office that the phrase “War on Terror” was not to be used. Instead the new president said that it was an “Overseas Contingency Operation.” So, the question is, how do you execute a non-war? If there is not a war, then how do you make plans to win? What kind of missions do you are your soldiers sent to fulfill?
Are pastors not doing the same thing? In fact, I read where 40% of Christians say that Satan is only a symbol of evil. He is not a real being and in the past there was too much hype about him. Pastors are not preaching the complete truth from the pulpit. They are giving the picture of life as a “playground.” Their messages are ones of indifference, ignorance, but not revealing the truth of evil and how the devil continues to deceive. Hmmm, seems like they may even be deceived.
R. Kent Hughes wrote, “When it comes to human subversion, he is the ultimate manipulator.” Just look at some of Satan’s activities: he beguiles, seduces, opposes, resists, deceives, sows terror, hinders, buffets, tempts, persecutes, blasphemes, and more. Has he tried any of those on you?
Realize that in the last days the war will intensify. Spiritual warfare will become more and more intense, and right now most Christians do not take spiritual warfare seriously. We may be offended by someone, and say “oh my,” but then we go our way and are seduced by Satan. We laugh at entertainers and pay money to fill their already fat pockets. Here are two examples:
January 13, 2011, Colbert took the Doritos Super Bowl ad (which thankfully wasn’t aired) to equating Jesus with a corn chip who “snackerficed” Himself for our sins.
Elton John said, “Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.”
We continue to endorse these people and others like them. We laugh when we should be crying at the depravity of man. We snicker at crude jokes even if they border on blasphemy. What is sacred? It often starts very subtly by showing irreverence to the things of God. Go ahead and mock what I’m saying, but the devil is a deceiver.
I came across the following in some of my old notes and thought I would share it with you. It was written by Air Force Chaplain, Leonard S. Edmonds.
“Every person takes refuge in something. Life is such that no person is free of trouble. Responsibilities produce worry and tension. Our tasks are often dangerous, monotonous, unpleasant. People are sometimes difficult. World conditions are disturbing and threatening. Events occur daily to disturb and sadden our lives. Death stalks our paths.
To relieve our anxieties, fears, and hostilities, we seek a refuge of one kind or another. We read a book, play cards, or go to a movie. We gather with friends to share our stories, fun, and complaints. We go to school, develop a hobby, listen to music, or take part in sports. Sometimes we seek refuge in ways more harmful than helpful.
But there are times when no refuge is adequate but God himself. For the ordinary troubles and tensions of the day, the book or hobby or evening with our friends may provide all the release from anxiety we need. But when the great tragedies strike, when our fondest dreams are shattered or death comes near, we need a Refuge that this world cannot provide. We need God!
Prayer: Help us, O Lord, to be still and know that you are God. In the time of trouble, be our refuge and strength. In life or death, keep us in your love. Amen.”
“In thee, O Lord, do I seek refuge.” Psalm 31:1 (RSV)