To confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate; to throw into confusion*
I’ve told the story in past blogs about the elder member of our church board back in the 1990’s who would always begin his monthly meeting comments by giving a testimony of the Lord working in his life. I will always remember the time he related when the devil physically manifested himself one night at the foot of his bed many years prior to that particular night.
I don’t recall much of the content of the story except that he rebuked the devil and he left. But one point I do remember is what Brother Chester said he looked like. He described the enemy of our souls as a human form whose head and face were green and slick like that of a mallard duck. That picture created a lasting imagine in my mind… most likely intensified by the fact that I have never (even previous to this) been a fan of ducks!
Now, while I have not experienced a personal face-to-face interaction with the devil like Brother Chester’s vivid recollection, in the current journey that my beloved wife and I have been walking over the last few years, I have been through some of the most personal, harsh, eye opening and difficult persecutions in which he clearly stood behind the scenes as the instigator and architect of the words spoken and the actions taken against us and our family. I have seen him work through unsuspecting, usually loving and very-close-to- us individuals as pawns of his handiwork… and let me tell you, that any way you look at it, it has been quite ugly… just like Brother Chester’s description of what he saw that night!
In my morning Bible study today, I was looking at what the Apostle Paul said about the “mystery about Christ” and “how God gave me the responsibility of bringing his kindness (or grace) of this mystery to you.” (Ephesians 3:4 & 2 God’s Word ©) As I contemplated this “mystery” and thought about the devil’s role in the persecutions that we endured, I had the urge to jump to my feet and shout glory!
It suddenly hit me that at the very beginning of our journey, when lots of pain, confusion and important decisions were needing to be made, that the devil immediately came on the scene to discombobulate (yes, that’s a real word!) everything, in his attempts to “steal, kill and destroy” the abundant life that the Lord has so graciously provided for us through Jesus’ finished work on the cross. (John 10:10 God’s Word ©) The reason I wanted to shout was that even though I was blown a little off course at the onset of the attacks, we ultimately KNEW the mystery of the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ and through it all, have been able to set our anchor firmly onto the Rock of our salvation!
I had to laugh when I read a story that the author of the commentary I am currently using related about a missionary friend of his. It seems that the missionary was taking a lot of persecution from local detractors in the midst of his missionary work. One of his key irritations was their continual attacks on the missionary’s physical features. The man of God finally faced his distractors and told them that they were right… up to a point.
He boldly declared that yes his looks were unsightly. Yes, he was bald, yes he had needs with his dental care and with other areas of his physical features, but one thing he could brag about was that he had beautiful feet! And he went on to share the Lord’s picture of him in his missionary work as stated in Isaiah 52:7 declaring: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion; Thy God reigneth!” (KJV)
So yeah… I had a good laugh as I had heard some pretty absurd, negative and false things said about me to my face or to our kids and family friends. But you know… according to this verse… at least my feet are beautiful as I have continued to publish abroad the good tidings and good news of all that Jesus has been doing for us (and through us) in our stand of faith on Him and His Word... in the midst of everything we have been going through!
So my point? What the devil has meant for evil, Papa God, in his great and intimate love, wisdom and power that far exceeds any natural understanding for us, has turned it into GOOD!
As my wife and I drove home through the fields flowing with beautiful green crops (would you believe tobacco!) surrounding our country neighborhood yesterday, I couldn’t help but come to tears as I recounted ALL THE BLESSINGS He has sent our way due (I firmly believe) to the unmovable stand of faith in what we believe to be His directions for us over the last six or seven years.
And that would include our recent acquisition of what is turning out to be the perfect dog for our particular needs… For example… Piper had a particularly rough morning today as she was experiencing some hard jerks. I was comforting her and giving her the Word on the subject when Fiver came up to her and began to gently lick her hands. Well you know… Piper looked over at the dog, smiled and then relaxed while the jerks lessened and then stopped! Hummm… I did pray that the new pooch would take a liking to her…
So yea… The devil is real! Just look at all the negative activities going on around the world right now! I think the Sheriff of East Baton Rougue Parish put it eloquently on Sunday at the press conference following the shooting of 6 police officers, by stating that the incident “wasn’t about gun control, but about what’s in a man’s heart!”
What do we do? We put on our sandals and show off our beautiful feet by going out and telling about the Good News, the good tidings of peace that only trust in Jesus Christ can bring. We engage the enemy with the Word of God and watch as Papa God turns the enemy’s direct attacks into good! Like He told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 God’s Word ©)
Have a great week! Don’t give in to fear and keep asking yourself… “What part of the Word of God am I expecting to stand strong in and tell others about today?”