Most of us know that God is not the author of confusion, yet Satan throws rocks, hides his hands and before we know it we are slugging it out with an innocent by-stander, like a bar-brawl in an old western movie. Why is it so difficult to recognize the true culprit when all hell breaks loose? Now the Devil has run some foul Pimp-Game when he does the dirt and turns us on each other. Like a ventriloquist throwing his voice so that the sound appears to come from the puppet (dummy), the Devil knows how to insight an argument, a lovers quarrels, sibling rivalry, family feuds, gangland rumbles, race riots, religious conflicts and even world wars. He is a master in the dark art of “Starting Crap.” Putting enmity between humans is his favorite pastime. For Satan, causing strife is not just a job…it’s an adventure!
Like confused rats in a burning building, we trample each other when the going gets rough, instead of helping one-another to find the path to safety. And though that same burning building my be equipped with multiple fire extinguishers, they can only be effective if used and used properly.
This is the ordeal we face when we fail to use the weapons that Jehovah has provided. Having all that we need to battle The Evil One and his host of Demons is of no consequence if we are spiraling in a whirlwind of fear and confusion. Alas, we need not be Priests or Exorcists to banish wicked spirits and the destruction they bring. God has given us awesome tools, ever-ready for use; PRAISE and PRAYER!
Praising THE LORD GOD JEHOVAH in the midst of trials may or may not mysteriously pay that overdue bill, but it will certainly center our minds on the fact that we are Blessed in spite of our challenges. Lifting our voices in songs of praise may not eradicate the source of turmoil in our lives but it is sure to prevent us from giving Satan any undue glory.
“How can I Praise God when my world is falling apart?”
This was the question that was posed to me a short time ago.
Let’s take Mr. Blank. Mr. Blank is an ordinary person, like most of us, struggling daily to just keep from drowning in the sea of life. His wife is ill and his children are rebellious. Mr. Blank has more debt than income and his truck needs repair. He’s dealing with migraines and irritable bowels; not to mention he hasn’t rested well in a good while. His favorite uncle died and he couldn’t afford to attend the funeral, half-way across the country. These are not the kinds of troubles that people usually hang themselves over, but they are weighing heavily on Mr. Blanks heart.
At the invitation of a good friend, Mr. Blank has hit a joint. Now, he can be found most weekends, chill’n with his crew and kick’n back a few brewskies. No harm in that-right? Well, consider that Mr. Blank could be spending his limited funds in a much better manner and that it is no comfort to his sick wife that he is talking to his buddies more that he talks to her. His children have discovered his new pastime and now they have abandoned all parental respect for him or his words because they view him as a hypocrite. Mr. Blank will tell anyone that his weekend escapism makes his feel better. But the Suckiness of his whole situation is compounded by his efforts to excuses his mind from the reality of his plight. When the high is gone- the troubles return.
Might Mr. Blank consider that THANKING & PRAISING GOD WITH GENUINE APPRECIATION FOR WHAT HE DOES HAVE IN LIFE, may seem like a simple exercise in “taking your mind off your troubles” but it’s so much more. That same energy used to get high could be transformed into a powerful weapon to take the sting out of the darts that Satan is continually throwing. The time spent chatting about misery could be time well spent encouraging his friends and family to strive for more joy. And hours wasted with fair-weather friends could be precious moments cherishing the woman that he has promised to love and care for.
The list goes on and on. The rewards of constructive use of time are endless, and what more constructive way to spend our time than in praise and service of the Great Creator. If and idol mind is the Devil’s workshop, then we’d better get busy on the work at hand. The suffering of the individual is important to that individual but it’s also important to God. And though we have limited power to change the events and circumstances that influences our lives, we do have power and control over the way we react to those events and to the degree in which we allow ourselves to be effected and bitterly marred.
Instead of giving Satan credit for screwing up our lives; thereby giving him bragging rights and control (Control is seldom taken, it’s mostly given away), we have the tools to fight this real and powerful enemy; not in and of ourselves, but by Calling on the only Force, Spirit, Entity, Divine Creator, Merciful Being, Loving and Holy Father, The Great I Am, who is all powerful and more than capable of dealing with this devil in the spirit realm. He sent us a brother so that we need not feel alone- JESUS! What more do we need…Faith! After all, why even grab that tiny, kitchen fire extinguisher if the blaze has spread throughout the house. Then it’s time to call 911! Prayer is not just our 911 to God; it’s our spiritual food, our battery charger, it’s even our smoke detector to help us recognize when Satan is stalking around, playing with matches. Prayer exists to prevent us from getting third-degree burns over 99% of our lives. Praise is the stick that beats Satan back into his corner, and Prayer is the time out that enables us to catch our breath before we come out swinging. Prayer and praise are the boxing gloves that helps us throw blows…but we must know who to hit! To fight the real enemy we must develop keen sight and recognize him for all that he is. He has many names; here are a few that most of us are familiar with:
UNKIND AND COLD HEARTEDNESS
LINGERING DIRTY THOUGHTS
GENERAL LACK OF WELL-BEING
The general misconception is that Satan takes over a person and makes them kill some one or do something else of a dynamically dastardly nature. The truth is that he is constantly waging tiny wars and picking little fights to influence our thoughts. And it is our thoughts that designate our actions. So when a person says “the Devil made me do it.” the reality is “the Devil made me think it…and I chose to do it!”
Prayer is the lock that protects our thought pattern and makes it far more difficult for Satan to creep in and rob us of composure. Prayer aids us in exercising our free will to do what we know in our hearts to be the good and right thing. Actions like forgiving, being patient, listening calmly instead of flying off the handle, and showing compassion are all more challenging to engage when our ears are tuned to the Devil’s lies. We may want to shake hands and play nice, but we can’t stop thinking about how So-n-so did us or the rotten thing that Such-n-such did to us. Prayer is the loud speaker on the PA system of our soul that helps take our attention off the trash-talk coming out of Satan’s mouth.
When we learn to recognize the real villain, liar, trouble maker, thief, root-worker, swindler, hoodlum and General -All Around Mischief-Maker, then we will know how to get in Prayer and open a can of Whoop-A** on Satan and thus foil some of his shenanigans. And as for those trials that God permits, we will have the strength to endure without that insidiously destructive feeling of hopelessness.
PRAYER IS A WONDERFUL GIFT OF COMMUNICATION WITH GOD …LET’S PRACTICE PUTTING IT TO GOOD USE!!!