Category Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Infernal Gratitude

Author’s Note: This is the promised piece written from the demonic standpoint in the styles of C. S. Lewis, Paul Harvey, or Frank Peretti. 

Dear General Dick,

I appreciate your support for my transfer from your Lusty Erotic Legion to the Ether Ensemble. It’s been centuries since I’ve been given this kind of opportunity; I’ve watched friend after friend leave for other things and wished they would screw up so I could take their place. I was also afraid that since my friend Wormwood didn’t do so well with his charge I would never get a chance.

I am so delighted and amazed by all that the Ether Ensemble has been learning and doing in just the last two or three decades. I always thought we were so much better than those two-leggeds and Hym. However, to see all the machines and power that have just been exploding lately is so much more than I can bear.

And there are so many divisions–I really wish you could help me decide just where I fit.

The Lust troop is really powerful. The images proliferate and grow larger than life. We’ve been so successful at teaching the two-leggeds to hide what they do. I was almost revolted by the special ops that gets images of the baby two-leggeds, but yet I was also so enticed. And the devastation to relationships when the images become common knowledge–I love the devastation, but Suicide Squad and Depression Collection are just too wimpy and pathetic for my tastes.

Loco Mental troop is really devious. All the discouraging messages that are given to the adolescent two-leggeds…well, maybe not devious, but again Suicide Squad and Depression Collection are cleaning up.

Then you have all these systems… um, the two-leggeds call them apps… that have unique addresses and logins and passwords… It is so devilishly delightful to breathe in the face of two-leggeds; they forget these things and have to call the help desk or tech support… Anger Association and Abuse Assembly just rock it with this stuff.

And then this Fakebook thing… to post nasty things and then delete them… or to post nasty things and get the recipient to return over and over and over… I get disturbed when we work together but somehow Suicide Squad, Depression Collection, Anger Association and Abuse Assembly just make it all happen in a smashing fashion.

The black ops in Loco Mental are something else. They actually get two-leggeds to change files and the text in those files and then they put those files with the same name right in over other files. To watch the two-leggeds in schools and universities crying and cursing others and hating themselves is absolutely superb. And then the hatred, manipulation, and back biting in the office settings over changes no one seems to track… I have never been prouder to be in opposition to Hym in my life.

And oh, the Machiavellian mob… they are inspiring all kinds of deception and theft and fraud. So many two-leggeds lose their entire life’s savings by not knowing they’re at a bad site and leaving account numbers behind. Then there are the groups destroying everything on a hard drive and charging two-leggeds money to fix it… when the group caused it in the first place. And some two-leggeds sit away from other two-leggeds with machines that steal the data on the mark… er, credit cards. The Machiavellian mob members do so little to get so much… what a stunning and delightfully gratifying exhibition of our opposition to Hym!

Chaos Cartel is absolutely a smashing good division. They get two-legged in the machines called cars to look away from the road and check out texts on phones or emails on note pads or traffic density on GPS devices. Bang! Smack! Crash! If there’s no souls for us to snag and permanently separate from Hym, at very least we can have some injury or financial chaos, sure again to bring on the work of Suicide Squad, Depression Collection, Anger Association and Abuse Assembly

The Order of Observation is interesting. However, I don’t fully understand all its purposes yet. I know it involves watching others without being caught and then using that information to create chaos. It’s a lot like our Peeping Peers or Stalking Suite in the days before Ethernet and telephone. It’s been used by countries and organizations and employers and spouses.

I wish we could find a way to work in the Food Formation. I always enjoyed the smells of what they could get those two-leggeds to indulge in, but the Ether Ensemble isn’t as based in the senses of taste and smell. However, practically speaking, Ether Ensemble does offer far more opportunity for advancement if I can just avoid the antics of my jealous peers.

Admittedly, I will miss causing permanent separation from Hym. That said, this group with all its subdivisions is subtle. It causes little separations from Hym through unwise choices that Hym doesn’t like and just through wounds that easily fester and persist. I’m sure it’s a far better place for me to operate with my superior intellect and skill.

Again, I appreciate your support for my transfer.

I will not serve Hym!

Your former assistant, the Goofy Goblin

Mission Impossible: The Blessing War

One-two-three-four, I declare a blessing war!

Five-six-seven-eight, let’s prove Jesus truly great!

This is the impossible mission of every Christian, to reflect the glory of the risen Christ and to continue to write the next chapter in the ongoing saga of the life of the Church as documented by Luke in the book of Acts.

 

This message will not self-destruct. The sun and moon will pass away, but God’s Word remains forever intact, unchanging, and true.

 

To participate in this war, the challenge is simple: find the most annoying Christian you know, and begin to bless them.

  • Babysit the kids of a stressed parent
  • Buy a cute outfit for the single parent (or the child of a single parent)
  • Buy staples for the large family that looks more like a chaotic circus in number and lifestyle
  • Clean the house for someone who’s been sick
  • Give him or her a ride to work when the car breaks down
  • Give time to the charity they most support
  • Invite someone with no other family to a holiday meal
  • Make dinner for your pastor’s family
  • Offer to mow the yard
  • Offer to take him or her out for coffee
  • Pray a blessing over that Christian in the privacy of your home (the Aaronic is particularly generous)
  • Serve coffee to a recovery group
  • Take the nursery for a day
  • Take a newly beamed up stepparent out for a quiet day doing some refreshing activity
  • Visit that crotchety great uncle twice removed in a nursing home
  • Volunteer to chaperone the next teen road trip
  • Walk away silently and say nothing out loud about your frustration because you too probably have an area that annoys other Christians

 

Seriously, in the war to win souls to Christ, it’s all about perception. Do you love others the way Jesus did? If outsiders (those who don’t serve Christ) can’t see your love and your unity, they don’t see Christ and will not choose to serve Him. And that could have destructive consequences for an eternity.

 

PS — If you don’t like this post, you can thank my senior pastor for another wonderful sermon on applying the Bible to modern life. Any resemblance to persons living or dead may or may not be intentional.

 

Why Dance Should Be Part of Worship Per Psalm 149

*ducks the flying daggers and rolls for cover under her computer stand*

I’m going to start with a story… actually two. And they will dove tail at the end… sort of.

Story 1

Many moons ago, when I went to a small liberal arts college to major in a physical science, I acquired a gaggle of friends of all genders, denominations, religions, spiritualities, sexualities, etc. You get the picture–proper rebel without a clue about life, love, and relationships.

Judy was in that group. She was tiny with a focused ball of energy that carried her through studies and extracurricular activities and clubs and late night game nights. She was actually a theology major at our liberal arts college of one denomination, but she wasn’t that denomination. She had a dynamic way of bridging all denominations and explaining us to ourselves.

She had an irreverent yet fun phrase to explain the Bible, “Like Prego, it’s all in there.” She was trying to teach us that God put together every jot and tittle of that Good Book to help us live life in a way that pleased Him. Not that I was quite ready for that lesson at the time.

Story 2

I have always been frustrated by some Christians’ attitudes to resist new things. New music styles, new songs, new ways of ministry… I agree that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. However, we are broken people living in a broken world. Things change; nature cannot create order without extensive energy expenditure, so entropy rules the day. However, even in the midst of an entropy tidal wave, our knowledge in many subjects is expanding exponentially. Change can and must happen as long as it does not violate God’s Law.

Dance is one of those “new” things. Some Christians seem to see dance as a delight to the enemy. And I would agree in most cases in the modern world. However, I believe there are and could be forms of dance that Abba would find pleasing. Unfortunately, I never knew how to prove it… until recently.

Since my surgery, my sleep patterns have been greatly disturbed. When I can’t sleep at night and I’m too tired to read, I channel surf. One of my favorite overnight shows is Reflections. They do pretty soothing music and scenery with Scripture verses (obviously, it’s not airing right now). Most recently Psalm 149:3 flashed on the screen. I would have danced for delight had I not just had abdominal surgery!

Synthesis

This is where the stories get tied together. I encourage you to review all of Psalm 149; some of my favorite variations include International Children’s Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New King James. Avoid Douay-Rheims; it just misses the mark.

Although I had always assumed the psalm was written by King David, its unknown author has issued a call to worship that isn’t just about sitting around singing songs, sharing socials, and staying within the four walls of a place of worship.

It starts by telling us what worship is. It is praise to God Most High.

Then it tells us how it is accomplished. You sing songs. You play music, and right there in verse 3, you dance!

The psalm also tells us where it is accomplished. We can worship corporately in a public assembly or quietly in the privacy of our beds.

Finally, we are given a two-fold why. The first is a being reason: because Abba is happy with us and loves us; He saves us through Jesus. The second is a doing reason: the psalmist issues a battle cry and we are to fight the battles Abba gives us to expand His kingdom. Yes, worship is a weapon of warfare, and dance is just one tool in our arsenal.

Let’s keep fighting the good fight!

Spiritual Warfare Lessons in “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

Author’s Note: I admit it. I miss my college days. The papers exploring ideas; the journal entries connecting life to classwork; the late nights filled with coffee and laughter. I want to do something a little different here… call it a fusion piece. I want to look at literature and see if I can examine it under the microscope of theology, in this case spiritual warfare. Yes, it will be wild, crazy, and zany. Go ahead and check out at this point. I fully understand! =)

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In the mid-70s, Chuck Jones, creator of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Brothers studios, created an animated short TV show based on Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.” A high level summary of the show would be: Mongoose nearly drowns. Family finds mongoose and nurses it back to health. Mongoose expresses gratitude by taking out some nasty snakes, including main characters Nag and Nagaina (cobras), their eggs before hatching, and somewhere in the middle a deadly dust snake.

As a child, I loved watching Rikki-Tikki dart around exploring. The mongoose family motto of “Run and find out” became a subconscious battle cry for a curious, intelligent girl. I remember how Rikki-Tikki’s eyes got red and he snapped to attention in the presence of an enemy. I remember fearing for the life of the young boy. I hated Darzee’s instant presumption that Rikki-Tikki would never survive in the dark tunnel with the enemy cobra. I remember the thrill when Rikki-Tikki emerged triumphant.

My own kids now watch that show. I can hear their squeals of delight thunder through the house. They cheer on Rikki-Tikki and boo for Nag and Nagaina.

Older and more experienced, I see it differently.

I have learned that there is an unseen world of angels and demons. We don’t see them, but they see us. We can be affected by what they do, just as our righteous prayer or weak moment of sin can affect them. We need to admit they exist and can affect the seen world; as we do this, we need to remember that they can do no permanent harm if we are in the center of God’s will.

In watching “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” I see an extra layer. I see the spiritual warfare lessons, and this is what I see.

Lesson 1: When the storms of life nearly drown you, accept help from more sound brothers and sisters.

In the opening scene, Rikki-Tikki is half-dead, nearly drowned by a sudden deluge. He is found by a young boy and his family. They dry him and clean him. He begins to revive. As he revives, he can choose to bolt or he can choose to stay and get food and water. Obviously, he stays or we wouldn’t have a TV show (or the story on which the TV show is based).

As Christians, we need to analyze our lives to determine if we’re being drowned by life’s storms of unemployment or dealing with children’s issues at school or a health crisis. Once we ask for help, we have to graciously receive that help, whether it’s financial or emotional or spiritual.

Lesson 2: Just or unjust, in warfare, the young are hit the hardest.

At the beginning, the tailor bird family tells Rikki-Tikki that a baby fell out of the nest. Nag had a snack, and the fledgling is no more. Toward the end, Rikki-Tikki goes for the cobra eggs. In each case, the enemy sought to cut off a fighter by ending the family line.

We should pray daily for our children; we should also pray for those children that have no one to pray for them. More than that, we should look to be able to offer an encouraging word at the right time or provide a meal or ride in a crunch. We should know the children of our neighbors as well as we do our own. Instead of scrolling past the post from a parent about a child’s bad day or medical issue, take a moment to stop and pray.

Lesson 3: Help comes from the most unusual places.

At the beginning, when Rikki-Tikki is running to find out where his garden needed some effort, he encounters Chuchundra, the musk rat. Chuchundra is a scared, anxious, pitiful creature. Yet, in a moment of clarity, he hears the cobra trying to enter the house and points it out to Rikki-Tikki.

Toward the end, Darzee’s wife, a grieving mother, choose to find the courage to serve as a decoy for Nagaina. She diverted the cobra’s attention long enough for Rikki-Tikki to destroy part of the cobra’s clutch of eggs.

In both of these cases, the unusual yet ordinary served a purpose and provided assistance at the right time. Our still, small Voice so often provides help in His time through unusual earthen vessels.

Lesson 4: Because sometimes the enemy appears without warning, preparation and attention are key.

Karait was a snakeling. The story never indicates whether he’s a cobra or some other venomous beastly creature. It does indicate that Karait has a bite as dangerous as a cobra’s, and he was instantly ready. Rikki-Tikki had to ready even more quickly; without vigilance, Teddy the boy would have been dead.

We too need to be both ready and vigilant. Our enemy prowls about looking for opportunities to steal, kill, and destroy. He is also deceitful, making himself mesmerizing and pleasing in an attempt to lull us into complacency. We need to stay attentive to our still, small Voice. We have some powerful weapons in our arsenal: truth; righteousness; faith; salvation; and the Words inspired by our still, small Voice. When properly applied, these weapons strike a powerful blow. If we don’t have them, it’s difficult to succeed in battle.

Lesson 5: There will always be naysayers prattling about gloom and doom.

When Rikki-Tikki went down the hole to tackle Nagaina in her den, Darzee’s wife immediate wanted to sing a funeral dirge eulogizing Rikki-Tikki for all time in the garden.

Don’t get me wrong; there are times when, as Mercedes Lackey stated, “Glorious destinies result in glorious funerals.” However, Darzee’s wife gave up too soon, prematurely assuming there was no hope.

We must surround ourselves with positive, pragmatic people who will both encourage us with truth and wait for the right time to bring constructive criticism into our minds. When another seems to be sliding backwards into old lifestyles and choices, we must not assume there’s no hope and that’s the way things will always be. We must be friendly and prepared to offer both encouragement and correction in the proper proportions and timing. We must pray without ceasing and love without conditions.