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"The devil made me do it" and we all laughed. Ephesians 6.10

It was funny when he said it, but was Flip Wilson right? Television variety shows were big in the late 1960s and 70s. But one comedic sketch from the Flip Wilson show still makes me laugh - when he assumed his Geraldine garb and defended himself by saying 'The devil made me do it!' I guess Flip was way ahead of his time, in more ways than one. It didn’t matter if it was in a Southern California city in broad daylight… It didn’t matter if she was a small ordinary-looking woman.... the fact is, she had aligned herself with evil. As such, she made herself a target for demonic activity. [The devil in the park: ] Why talk about evil? Why discuss the ways of the evil one? Because you and I must be able to discern his ways, his motives and how he is at work. Perhaps you think it does not touch your life personally, but when you consider the craziness in the world, it all traces to one source. When you pray for your son and your teen-aged granddaughter, you will understand more of what is assailing them--things that were not even at play a decade ago. When you consider what is happening in your own family--division, strife, bitterness . . . evil is having a field day. While awareness is critical, there is no cause for fear—here’s why: With regard to the power of a demon in your life, it cannot possess you or take you over if you are a child of God.. Why? You have the Holy Spirit of God in you . . .and as John the beloved wrote, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.1 If you haven’t already, memorize that scripture . . .it is true, and it is powerful. It used to be, and in some parts of the world still is, that people attribute(d) everything to the devil, while most of us in the western world attribute very little to him and his activities. To some, it seems uneducated--another of his deceptions. Hmmm. I suppose if I can relate to any one disciple, it would be Peter. I am passionate, committed, impatient, oft impetuous and can be forgetful. But Peter knew about temptation and falling to it. He knew what it felt like to believe the lie, even though he had been warned. Not surprising then that he would write, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, stand firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.2 We consider Paul's teaching that we are to put on the armor of God—truth, righteousness, Scripture, prayer—more to come from Ephesians 6.3 “If I can’t be taken over or possessed by demons, what can demons do to me, as a follower of Jesus Christ?” she asked me. They can demonize you—physically, (causing sickness such as epilepsy-type behavior), mentally, (causing psychological problems), and spiritually, (causing deception, doubts, and constant temptations of the flesh). Paul warned Timothy “that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons”4 These are the later times. “Is there any protection for a Christian from demonization?” Yes. We are to walk in faith and live godly lives. “For he [the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”5 I have personal experience with this point as well. Choosing to live in sin, when you know better, is dangerous. A number of years ago, I got a phone call from a distraught husband who told me he thought his wife was ‘possessed’, and she was hearing voices. 'Will you meet with her? You are the only one she will see.' So I met Joan at a local coffee house, taking her to an outside table so she could talk freely. As she was telling me a little about what was happening in her life--mind you, we were not in the hood, we were in our idyllic little surf community, the Christian school our children attended right up the street-- she suddenly stood up and started taIking as Barbie. Wait, what? Sure enough, when things were sorted out, it seems they had both been deeply into pornography and drugs—both of which provided an ‘entry point’ for demonic activity. Frankly, in their case, the results were disastrous. Do not be naive. Someone reading this right now--could be in India, Africa, Southern California, Holland or New Jersey-- is saying 'this suddenly makes sense--what I am encountering, but what can I do about it?!' Here are several succinct suggestions: 1. In faith turn to Christ, committing every area of your life to him. 2. If you are dallying with known sin/evil, renounce it--get away from it. 3. Use the authority you have in Christ. Just a simple prayer like, “In the name of Jesus, I command you, Satan—be gone! You have no part here.” 4. Destroy any objects you might have around that are associated with a struggle with sin—i.e., occult books or objects, illicit drugs, pornography, etc. There is no reason to have them around if they tempt you or trip you up, so get rid of them.6 And then I was on a conference call prayer meeting with my corporate guys and one of them reminded me that the devil doesn’t usually act the same way in areas where he has already won the battle through materialism and busy-ness, messed up priorities. Whoa—quite a comment—insightful, thought provoking, was he right? I pray you feel assured, empowered and equipped. GREATER IS HE that is in you, friends, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD. Step off, Satan. You are not welcome here. Next: armor up. In Jesus' Name--powerful song: I pray God's peace and grace over you, Christine 1. 1 John 4.4 2. 1 Peter 5.8-9 3. Armor of God: Ephesians 6.10-12 4. 1 Timothy 4.1 5. Colossians 1.13-14. 6. Power Healing, John Wimber

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