CHASING THE DEVIL
(Trussville, AL USA)
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor 10:12-13)
Halloween is now over. And as usual we had a sufficient influx of small doorbell ringers. I always enjoy this famous, villainous holiday. It's not due to any pious intentions, but because of its intrusive uncertainty. Costumes of all fashions, all running up the walkway, dragging those big candy buckets..
Why all those devil costumes? Do these kids not know the evil they represent? Have the parents not taught them? Maybe they don't, so it's not the kids' fault, just the costume trend of the day. After all, who buys them anyway?
Well, now that this night's over, just to be thankful for not having my home surroundings intentionally defaced by childish pranks. I think I'll take a little catnap after I turn out all the outside lights and pack away all those leftover sweets.
I guess this neighborhood project was more taxing on the old nerves than I realized, for my little shut-eye turned into a full-fledged dream world, a dream like none other I had experienced.
I found myself in a big church sanctuary. What was so unique were the people. There were parishioners, all dressed in their Sunday best. What was so odd was that sprinkled within the congregation were some individuals dressed in authentic devil garb, minus the pitch fork. And these so-called devils were essentially roving around the room, as if attempting to lure or entice the congregation.
"What is this display? What's with all the costumes ? It can't be leftovers from the evening's trick or treat event, as these characters appear to be grownups," I surmised rather cautiously, as I looked around.
"Why it's in your Bible, my son," came an unknown voice echoing from behind me.
Turning around, I happened to observe this weird looking character. He was dressed as if he had stepped right out of the Bible. Being shocked by his entry, I couldn't help but answer him rather sarcastically, "Who are you? You look as if you have just stepped out of a Bible coloring book."
Responding in a deep old English accent, he replied, "I'm here to come to your aid. You seem to be wondering about all these seeming devils making a move on these good people."
"Well, yes I am. I know the Scripture supports the true fact of a real devil. But why didn't God just destroy Satan when he rebelled against God? I know Satan will go down in defeat in the end (Revelation 20:10), but what about now? Why allow Satan to destroy so much of our current world system?" I asked.
"You see, my son, we serve a sovereign God, who is over all creation, including Satan. And Satan is only allowed a certain freedom in this world. God has His plans for our world from its beginning to its end. (Psalm 18:30) Nothing surprises God. (Isaiah 14:24) God even places good and bad leaders to affect His purpose." (Daniel 2:21)
"Nonetheless, I still know you are rather upset, seeing such a scene at this church. However, just remember, we should not ever question God's timing, for to question God's timing is to in fact question God Himself. And I know, you being a Bible scholar, you would never do that," he replied
"I guess you're right, but why in a church? Why would a devil appear in a church?" I questioned in disgust.
"Sad to say, my son, but Satan does some of his best work in the church. Do you remember your church conference last year that resulted in a church split?" he continued with his critique.
"OK, you win, but again just who are you? You seem to not only know the Bible, but you also know how to apply its Scripture to today's living," I reacted, rather proud of his insight.
Then it happened. I just couldn't believe my eyes. When the pastor approached the pulpit to preach, and when he commenced reading from the Bible, all these would-be devils disappeared. I mean they were gone in a twinkle of an eye. Not only did they disappear, but so did this strange character. I didn't even get a chance to thank him for his spiritual insight.
And along with the nice man's disappearance, I too found myself awakened. Wow, what a dream! Or had I experienced a real live vision prediction? I say that because of what came next in my life.
After returning to sleep, I was awakened the following morning with the most bizarre phone call. You see, after I had been laid off of work, I had placed my clothing designer profile with a number of clothing manufacturers.
A nice gentleman, at the other end of the line, advised me he had reviewed my qualifications and was very interested in having me come in for an interview.
He stated that his company was the leading clothing manufacturer, and due to demand, they were opening a new novelty costumes division specializing in authentic devil costumes. Due to having experienced a recent increase in the need for devil-looking costumes, he needed someone with my expertise to head up this new department.
So what did I do next? You guessed it, I graciously thanked him for the offer, but as a Christian, I respectfully explained the reason for me declining an interview.
And what was his reaction? It was quite a surprise. Not only did I sense a possible tearful ending to the conversation, he let me know that he would be a visiting his church pastor. He also advised me that he had an opening in his choir robe department, and he would like to talk with me about a manager's position.
However, this little episode didn't end with the bizarre phone call. As I turned back over in bed, my attention was directed to my Bible lying on my night stand. Picking up the Bible, I was drawn to a well-marked passage which read.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
After a little tearful prayer, I turned back over, covered up and finished my shut eye. Amen!
I realize that Scripture tells us that the Bible is the main avenue of our conversation with our heavenly Father, and I agree. (Hebrews 1:1-4) (II Timothy 3:16-17)
However, dreams may also be a perfect way to hear from God. You see, when we are asleep and dreaming, we are quiet so we can't ignore God. Plus we are not easily distracted. We are basically all ears in our deep sleep.
"For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears …" (Job 33:14-16) *
"I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions." (Joel 2:28)*
Yes, I have had some real life dream revelations in my life time. So you be the judge. What about you?