Monday, May 16, 2016

Smoke Screens

image used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of Wikipedia, image by Luc Viatour
Romans 8:38-39  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We know that passage because Paul talks about his confidence in God's protection.  But it also highlights the the flipside of that confidence.  The demonic influences are after man because of God's love.  There's a reality that Satan doesn't like us much.  And it means that demonic activity is focused on keeping the unsaved that way and the saved miserable.  Not a pretty picture.

That's where it gets interesting.  Satan never seems to like a full frontal attack.  Instead, he's like a magician using smoke and mirrors.  Or, actually, like a military strategist using tactical  smoke screens.

2 Corinthians 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Another familiar verse.  That "subtilty" is an older English word that says the devil is crafty and subtle.  Again, he's not likely to make direct attack, but resort to smoke screens.

Ephesians 6:11-12  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

We've all read this, heeding the warning to put on "the whole armour of God".  That's the focus.  But we can't lose sight of why.  When we look at that, we realize the need to be vigilant.  And, when we co back to 2 Corinthians 11, we get a clearer idea of the subterfuge and smoke screens.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Saturday, I wrote about the transgender bathroom edict.  The one that has aroused so much discussion and reaction.  Some have vowed to ignore and fight it, some have applauded it, and others are somewhere in the middle.  And it dawns on me that it's just another of the devils smoke screens.

There's a lot of political polarization in the US, and international lack of respect for President Obama.  The polarization tends to get some to picture Obama as evil in his thinking.  Or the best president ever.  And it takes our focus away from the head general of the demonic manipulation and his smoke screens.

The hullabaloo about transgender people using bathrooms is important on its own level.  But it's a distraction from everything else going on.  Obama is not my favorite president.  But I doubt all of his maneuvers are from wrong motives.  We certainly don't question the motivation of legalists or lukewarm Christians, only the thinking that got them there.

President Obama was elected twice, partly on the basis that he was going to end our involvement in the wars in the Middle East, blamed on President Bush.  As of this moment, not only has that not happened, but President Obama has now been at war longer than George W. Bush.

There's Obamacare.  More and more it's becoming a financial disaster, with healthcare providers dropping out.  Despite Nancy Pelosi's arrogantly stupid "You have to pass it to know what's in it." statement, I believe the intent was right.  But it takes strong competence to design something that encompassing and have it work.  The same for the transgender bathroom issue.  Something that, if properly thought through, might very well have been handled very differently and more protective of the transgender people, as well as the rest of the population.

All of those things, in their own right, are important.  But, from a spiritual viewpoint, they're just smoke screens.  If we went to a show and a dummy "said" things that were offensive, we'd recognize that the fault was with the ventriloquist, not the dummy.  But all these issues have been handled in such a way to point toward the White House, not the ventriloquist.  They're more of the devil's smoke screens.

Those of us who read our Bible know that, as the end of time approaches, there will be more attacks and more smoke screens.  I don't have to drag out a bunch of verses as a reminder.  But we do need to be reminded, sometimes, don't we?  Otherwise our focus heads in the wrong direction.

We've talked, before, about what's labeled "The Lord's Prayer".  It was prayed during His heaviest assault by the demons, in the garden at Gethsemane.  So, Jesus knows about attacks, smoke screens, and seeking protection.  In Matthew 6:13a, He says, "And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."  Christ knew we would be attacked, too.  That he would try to muddle our thinking with his smoke screens.  And God gave us a solution.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

But we do get mentally detoured sometimes and need another reminder.

2 Timothy 2:24-26  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

We need to "be gentle unto all men" that God's message isn't clouded by smoke screens, but overcomes through God's love.  And "those that oppose themselves" can be anyone -- the unsaved, believers distracted by Satan's smoke screens, or the lukewarm. Even ourselves.  Are you ready to turn God's floor fan on the devil's smoke screens and just blow them away?

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