Your attention, please.
In the last Morning Briefing, we looked at Paul’s command “...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” >The passage: https://www.bible.com/bible/111/EPH.6.10-20. Next, Paul will talk about putting on the armor of God to stand strong against the devil, who does whatever it takes to distract the people of God. I saw it vividly when I ministered to the homeless community in Long Beach, California.
Take the Duke of Earl (who took great care of me on the street)—as he endeavored to give himself back to God and avoid behaviors, people and places that would defeat him, the devil got quite clever in keeping him from surrendering to God. [Time out: it is no different with you and me. Let me ask you, what does the evil one put in your path to deter you from walking closely to God? His tricks are varied. Is it frustration in your business that distracts you? Is it worry, addiction, resentment, unforgiveness, discontent? Hmmm…]
*Flashback* The Duke lives in Long Beach’s Lincoln Park; actually, he is kinda’ like the mayor there—sometimes like Dirty Harry too, having the size and the training to handle out-of-order park citizens and common dwellers. One day, (well along in his process of returning to the Lord), he spotted a smallish, older woman——lying on the ground convulsing, apparently having an epileptic seizure and then she passed out...cold. Parkgoers walked by, either not knowing what to do or just not wanting to get involved. Not the Duke. He got her back on her feet and talked to her about what was wrong in her life.
Not too many days later, he encountered the same woman again, and this time, he heard some creeps talking about what they were going to do to ‘Gina’ while she was unconscious. The Duke was so disturbed. ‘She’s not going to survive living in the park,’ he said to me. ‘She is either going to die in a seizure or be killed’ by one of the guys out there. He told her she could grab her bedroll and stay near him at night, and she did. It wasn’t long until he was looking out for Gina during the day too.
Strawberry blonde and small, Gina wore an occult star around her neck and another on her finger—talked a lot about tarot cards and the like. The Duke noticed that she seemed to draw strong responses from people in the park. Some threatened her; others cursed at her. . . and she often hid behind him. That seemed to make him even more protective.
Then he noticed she was baiting some of the guys; in fact, she even got him in a fight, protecting her—after which he was awake the whole night, wondering if the dude he had ‘put to sleep’ would come looking for him, seeking retaliation. Sleeping out in the open, no matter who you are, leaves a man vulnerable.
Enter one Pastorwoman (what they called me on the street). I had committed to help the Duke complete an apartment application, on the notice that the USMC Purple Heart’s had approved him for housing assistance. When I picked him up, I could tell he was all out of sorts. (I had already told him of my concerns about Gina. I went so far as to say, ‘Duke, you’re sleeping with the devil, man.’ (Not literally, but close enough. Her jewelry showed her allegiance.)
Seeing how agitated he was, I decided a park visit was in order. Walking up, I talked with some of the dealers near the main planter—several who just happen to be “Christians”— wait, what? And then I walked over to where Gina sat with three other sketchy characters and a pit bull.... After saying ‘hey’ to Gina and introducing myself to the others, I sat down Indian style straight across from Gina, and tried to engage her in conversation. She remained mostly mute and wouldn’t look me in the eye . . . she knew I was onto her. I think I made her nervous. Oh well.
But later in the day the bottom dropped out. As soon as he walked back in the park, Duke encountered Gina, who was aggressive and confrontational. In fact, when he called her on some lies, she threw herself on the ground and began convulsing...she uttered expletives, her eyes rolled back in her head and a strange voice came out of her mouth—certainly not a woman’s voice. To say that it was frightening would be an understatement.
He called me and asked what he should do. By then I was back in my hometown, doing a little grocery shopping in the late afternoon. The only counsel I could give him right then was ‘get away from her...get far away from her.’ Within minutes, paramedics arrived on the scene and took her for treatment.
Now what in the world went down? While most of us will never encounter the demonic on such a level, I believe that Gina had ‘pledged her troth’ to the devil and he was happy to oblige. The best thing for the Duke to do was get away from her.
James 4.7 – Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Question: do you flirt with evil in any way?
Note how clever the devil was. . . he appealed to the gentlemanly, protective pride of a Marine vet, in such a way that the Duke could not just walk by and leave her there —yet that little gal was besieged by evil—through her own dangerous choices—dangerous to her and to those who would get close to her.
In our culture, we do not have to go looking for evil, it comes right to us – via technology. Think of what people do and watch just on their cell phones.
We must be aware and not flirt with the enemy’s fare for it is dangerous—first, it will distract, then corrupt, and it just might destroy.
Be careful then, how you live, not as unwise, but as wise…
we just read it in the last chapter of Ephesians…5.15
Praying we will be wise,