Saturday, June 24, 2017

Castaway's ...

Are we so dull we just don’t see it anymore?  Perhaps so over-exposed that our senses just do not even detect the warnings anymore?  For many in the world, the Bible is just anecdotes and fairytales.  For those folks, the central characters in the Bible are no more real than Mickey Mouse or the Easter Bunny.  And that is the level of comparison that is often made … something harmless compared to the Bible.  But if good comprises the descriptions of God, then evil comprises the description of His enemy.  Satan is not Mickey Mouse, nothing like what Mickey represents.  Satan earned a name change, after destroying the Lucifer he was, and becoming the evil incarnate he chose to embrace and now is powerless to be changed from.  Satan does not want a change.  Satan wants to hurt, destroy, cause death, and control everything he touches before he kills it.  Satan and his now demonic hoard were not cast out of heaven because of a few parking infractions.  They invented war there.  They invented pain there.  They invented lies there.  These castaways were forced out of perfection, away from the love of God, because their evil would have killed every living thing in proximity if it were allowed to remain.
And most modern Christians are content to ascribe red skin, a forked tail, hooves, and a pitch fork to how they consider what Satan is … this, while intently watching episodes of Lucifer on Fox.  And this is hardly a rant against a single show.  Our media is full of the fantastic, all rooted in stories of good and evil, where evil spans a gamut of things intended to scare us, or entertain us, or make us somewhat sympathetic to it.  The word castaways itself is hardly something that strikes fear into the hearts of readers, it is innocuous enough, subtle enough, but it represents a horror that is unrivaled, and a danger we have become so blunted to, that we invite it into our lives and make it dinner, as if it were just an estranged friend with a harmless agenda.  It’s not.  And demon possession is not just something that makes up good horror stories in the movies, with awesome special effects applied.  It is something intended to ruin your life, estrange those you love, disintegrate your family, and indulge lusts within you that would turn you from mild-mannered-you, into the mindset of a serial killer with no remorse or regret; not instantly, but slowly and imperceptibly over time, where there is little defense made, or request for defense.
Modern Christians hardly look for defense against it.  It is easier to comprehend why those who lack a real faith in the Bible, would pick up a Ouija board and dabble.  They are looking to experiment with the supernatural and see if something more truly exists.  Interesting to me, they do not try prayer to the God who represents love and good.  Instead they pick up the tool of evil and invite it to interact with them.  Seems like the answers of a God who loves them deeply would be better for them, than the answers of an entity who would wish to destroy them from within.  Yet Ouija boards are not burned today, they are manufactured today.  The castaways that answer are not harmless, they represent a picture of evil your mind has yet to imagine.  And instead of running from it, too often, it is opened up in the living room and treated as if it were no different than the game of Monopoly or Chess.  It is different.  It has consequence, whether you perceive it or not.  For in this method, as well as a host of others, we take down the “not welcome” signs, and invite demonic castaways to find their homes in our homes, and our hearts.  Even if the special effects we envision never actually materialize in front of us.
I imagine everyone misses those they have lost.  I imagine the idea of continuing to communicate with a dear departed one, who surely exists in heaven (no one we know ever goes to hell in our minds, that is unthinkable); would be great to talk to just one more time.  So because the devil convinces us of the immortality of the soul, that we cannot be truly killed, as he told Eve way back in the Garden of Eden.  We buy his lie.  We begin to believe we are never truly killed, that we simply pass on to the next dimension.  Hell for those other enemies we have.  Heaven for literally everyone we know (and love).  Since their disembodied souls live there, why is it so hard to believe that they may wish to travel back to earth, in some ghostly or spirit-y form to talk to us, perhaps give us advice.  King Saul of Old Testament times believed this, and consulted a witch to get his answers.  But it was not Samuel he raised, only a demon that resembled Samuel.
The departed love one you seek to converse with, may come, but in truth you are now only conversing with a demon who knew your lost one, as well as you do.  They can imitate expressions, gestures, sayings, and looks.  They understand how to mimic us down to the DNA level (why would we think we are the only ones to begin to understand DNA).  So the show is spectacular.  That is if you like watching a horror movie in 4D, that is bent on destroying you, while it portrays the villain as the hero.  And because Christians, let alone atheists, do not believe in the “sleep” of death.  They invite this horror movie into their lives, and do not even ask for a defense.  But this idea is not new.  I imagine two men of long ago, tried this same thing around the campfire.  I imagine at first it was a great experience, getting lots of advice from the long departed they admired, even perhaps loved.  But then something went sideways.  Instead of just talking to them, the demons entered them, and refused to leave.  This would make the men slaves to the will and strength of demons, that up to that point, they did nothing to deter.  And voila, demon possession of the type in the time of Christ.  While it may be more subtle in our day, it is no less effective, brought about by the same ideology, and methods.
Matthew records the story of what had happened to two men who had invited castaways to find a home within themselves, and now were powerless against that earlier decision.  Picking up in chapter eight, and verse 28 he begins … “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”  Jesus had moved locations from Capernaum (Peters house) across the lake.  The devil had already brought out a great storm on the sea intending to kill the entourage before it could make the far shoreline.  But Jesus simply quieted it with a word, and distance was negated.  Getting out of the boats however, they had landed in demon territory.  These two men, possessed of many many demons, were so fierce, and so superhumanly strong, that no one tried to pass by this way.  Interesting that they lived in a graveyard, a foretelling of what was to become of them, and a perfect metaphor of those who stand without Christ, and in the arms of His enemy.  But what is the strength of mortal men against the fury of thousands of demons?  The word castaways now hardly does the terror justice.  Fear rules this land.  And none of the Rabbi’s or Sanhedrin rulers have any kind of solution.  It would appear the organized religion of God stood powerless against the might of the Satanic kingdom established in these two men.
Matthew continues in verse 29 saying … “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”  The demons make the argument that they did nothing to seek out Christ.  They remained in their home territory.  So why was Jesus here?  Being next to the Son of God, the source of all love and life, now reminds them of the beings they once were, and the proximity they once held near the throne of the Father.  Their former lives and existence are now pure torture to remember.  They cannot bear to be so close.  They must get away.  They must get away from the presence of Jesus.  They ask if Jesus is here to torment them with memories of what it is to love so purely, or stand so close to love, or to be who they once were?  It is torment to them.  It is anguish to them.  There are no fires present, except the fire of love.  But the torment remains.
Matthew continues in verse 30 saying … “And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. [verse 31] So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.”  The devils, the demons, had planned to kill their hosts over time.  The hosts of this hoard would not benefit in any way.  They would be slaves, until they would be killed.  The methods are no different today, even if the fury is less evident.  Entering your home and sowing discord and fury between husband and wife, or parent and child, is no less effective at destroying relationships, and the love that would normally accompany them.  After all we invite them in.  They come through our habits, our choice of what we focus upon, our sins that we indulge over and over and over again without abandon, or remorse.  And somehow we are surprised that the enemy of the Lord still exists?  The demons knew they were to be cast away, they only wished to move from one target to another.  Have we presented them with a current one?
Matthew continues in verse 32 saying … “And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”  What the demonic legion had in mind for their original hosts, was now accelerated in the herd of swine.  Destruction, death, frenzy.  Note, that the demons would not be destroyed in this action, only the hosts.  The demons were free to find a new host, in a new time, perhaps in every time.  Only the hosts suffer, are enslaved, and eventually die.  The demon is free to move on.  They hate the love of Christ, but crave the destruction of mankind.  The math is easy.  Since they cannot hurt God directly, they hurt what God loves, and in so doing, they torture the God of love and life.  They will do this as much as they can, until the appointed time comes, and they can do it no more.
Matthew continues in verse 33 saying … “And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told everything, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. [verse 34] And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”  Here is where the story goes sideways.  You would think that the town’s people would want a savior to cast away every demon in that area, to free them from the fear of it.  You would think the liberation would be welcomed, even if at the loss of the material possessions of the pigs.  What is the price of a herd of swine to have every demon cast away from this region?  But whether they feared an even greater loss of wealth, or whether they feared they were meeting the boss of all demons, or whether they just refused to believe the Son of God would ever come to see them because they did not deserve it.  The results were all the same, they asked Jesus to leave their region.  How do you ask the one who would liberate you to leave you alone?  How do you choose to be a castaway, or make God one?
Perhaps the same way we do it today.  Perhaps we choose to cling to our habits, our entertainment, our sins of the flesh; until we would rather have Jesus give us some space, than see these attributes about our lives change into something else.  You see only Jesus can drive away the demons of our lives, and out of our homes, and away from us.  But then, Jesus does exactly that.  When we invite Jesus into our homes, the sins we treasure tend to leave.  So the struggle in the human mind begins.  Do I really want change, or do I like my slavery to self?  Do I enjoy the sins I commit, thinking them to be the fun in my life, the spice of my life, believing self-less-love to be boring or too demanding?  And too many of us, like the people of that region, would rather have Jesus a little distant from our real lives, a little ways outside of our hearts.  We will claim to be His followers, but in real life, we only follow a little.  And the demons we entertain instead will allow us to feel as though we are doing “ a good job”.  Demons love us to think we are “good people”.  After all, none of the folks we know and love ever go to hell when they die, always only to heaven, right?  God’s mercy, and all that.  But while we live, we entertain that which would destroy us, even if we do not perceive it.
It is an old saying that “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled off, was making us think he does not exist”.  There is truth to that.  Modern Christians have seemed to have all but forgotten it.  None of us even consider we face the same demonic hoards, those two men succumbed to so long ago.  None of us even consider that tinkering with Ouija board might actually have permanent consequences.  How could watching the show Lucifer ever present any real kind of problem, it is only a show right?  And for that matter, how could watching any show that presents the ideas of good vs evil, as something man gets to choose, present a risk.  It is only entertainment right?  Nobody believes it is real.  Nobody believes that what we focus on might actually change how we think, or what we believe.  Nobody that is, except a huge group of castaways that intend to dominate our lives, imperceptibly, so that we never even know they are there.  Jesus acts just like demon repellent.  But then, do you have Jesus?  Have you made Jesus a permanent part of your home, or is He just a periodic guest, from time to time, when it is “convenient”? 
Man cannot defeat these castaways.  Jesus can.  The math is simple.  What will you do about it?

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