What Christians Fear Most

monsters

Sometimes I feel like a monster.

Not when I lose my temper. When that happens, I’m just being a typical fallen human – my old fleshly self.

But sometimes I feel like a monster from Monstropolis. You know, the ones from Monsters Inc. who are afraid of children.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

But we’re not much brighter. We fear man.

We clamor for man’s approval and stop at nothing to gain the respect of the masses.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, on our worst days, we’d rather be judged by God than by our bosses.

This is the wrong way of living. Jesus is very clear in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.”

We’re so anxious to please others and remain certain not to offend ignorant people with the Gospel, but we’d much rather offend the One who commanded us to do just that!

Think about it. There are plenty of reasons why we don’t witness the way we ought. Laziness and carelessness may be at the top of the list, but fear is most certainly right up there.

Why won’t you witness to your boss? Because you’re afraid of getting fired.

Why won’t you witness to your neighbor? Because you’re afraid of making future front yard conversations terse and awkward.

Remember. These people who do not know the Gospel are as harmless as a child in Monstropolis. You have the Holy Spirit fighting with you, and enabling you to carry on the task.

Easter’s coming up. Invite someone to church. Just a simple, harmless invitation.

After all, who doesn’t like an invitation somewhere, right?

And don’t loose sight of who the real enemy is: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Don’t be like the monsters who are scared of little children. Know who your real enemy is and realize the potential – through Christ – they’re keeping you from.

Lukewarm

Lukewarm

The turntable in our microwave is broken.

Whenever we put something in there to heat up for a few seconds, the motor tries to turn the glass disc to rotate our food, but it’s too weak to actually accomplish its objective.

So when I want to heat up my leftover ravioli, the microwave makes this loud, obnoxious, Orc-like “RRRRRRRRRRRR” noise, which rattles the glass disc against the metal base.

Luckily there’s a “Turntable Off” button, which silences it, but the bigger problem still remains. 

Our food doesn’t rotate.

So our refried beans get burnt on the edges. Or it takes extra long to cook things that should just take a minute or two.

And sometimes I forget this. So when I scoop a bite of seemingly steamy mashed potatoes into my mouth, I immediate spit them back out on the plate because it’s still cold in the middle.

It’s like drinking water when you think it’s Sprite.

It’s instinctive, spitting lukewarm food out of my mouth.

I don’t spit my cold ice cream out, because I know it’s going to be cold, and it’s supposed to be.

I don’t spit my sizzling steak out, that had just spent the last hour-and-a-half in a 450-degree oven. It’s hot, the way it’s supposed to be.

But those mashed potatoes – when they give off the illusion of being warm and toasty, with steam billowing off of their sides – I expect them to be warm.

And when I bite down and realize it’s all been a lie, and that the middle is still icy-cold, I don’t want to swallow – I want to spit.

And spit I do. It’s not by choice. It’s not because I’m mean. It’s not because I just love to cast judgment upon my food.

Spitting my deceptive food back out onto my plate doesn’t make me an unfair, evil culinary dictator.

It’s just a reactive impulse.

After all, I gave my mashed potatoes more than enough time to heat up. But they didn’t. They could have not sizzled and smelled so good when I opened the microwave. They could have just remained cold and I would have given them more time.

They didn’t have to lie to me and give off the appearance that they were done.

But the hidden ice-chunks buried underneath a lukewarm exterior are enough to make me spit them out, because it’s not what I expected. And it’s not what I asked for.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’”

-Jesus, Revelation

Smudgefutt Letters Part III

C.S. Lewis’ unmatched masterpiece, Screwtape Letters inspired me to write my own imagined, yet likely, letter from a demon mentor to his apprentice. Click here for Part I, and here for Part II.

Dear Pigmud,

I see that you’re concerned that your patient isn’t as headstrong about a certain issue he shouldn’t be giving a second thought to at all. Let me assure you, he is right where you ought to want him. You say he has a friend who is with child and she wants to abort it. Good for her! (Not like we have a shortage of spirits to taunt the world’s population, but that just leaves more of us to gang up on more influential people.) 

But in your last message to me you wrote that you yourself were struggling with the beauty of abortion. ‘Smudgefutt,’ you wrote, ‘if the unborn or partially-born babies go to Heaven (may It never be completed), then why would we want to encourage their premature deaths?’ I swear to our Father Below, sometimes you are such an idiot! 

It’s clear to me that you have your focus backward. The whole point of what we’re doing isn’t to keep people out of Heaven. It’s to keep people away from the Enemy. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t Heaven where the Enemy is and His presence fully available?” Let me explain. 

We’re not in Heaven, and we never will be, so why should we care what goes on there and who goes? Once they’ve gone, they’re gone, and good riddance! 

But while the people are still alive, we want to encourage them and lure them as far away from the Enemy as possible in order to either A) Keep them from joining His ranks, or if they already have, B) Keep them from enjoying His blasted gifts. Because when they join Him or enjoy Him, in essence they are worshiping and glorifying Him.  But when they’re not enjoying Him, or even thinking about Him, then they’re dishonoring Him. 

But we want to bring people so far away from honoring Him; we want them to disobey Him. And what better way to disobey Him than to tempt them and convince them to kill one another? And since we don’t know who could grow up to be the next Luther or Moon or John or Paul, we might as well kill them while they’re young. 

Now back to your patient. You say he’s okay with his friend aborting her child. You say he will be supportive of whatever she chooses to do. But he doesn’t necessarily call himself “pro-choice.” I say, fine! He’s fooling himself into thinking he is for saving that child’s life as long as he doesn’t force her to abort. But what you must keep from him is that anyone who doesn’t stand up and defend that baby’s life is just as bad as the lovely doctors who cut the babies into pieces or vacuums out their brain tissue, and discard those worthless bodies like worthless rags in the trash. 

Do not let your patient realize that by not advocating against baby killing, that he is just as bad as the people who kill them. When it comes to voting for officials who support baby killing and spread the lie that a woman’s body is her own (for men don’t own their bodies either, as every human essentially belongs to the Enemy), make baby killing a non-issue. And when his friend is struggling with whether to abort or not, remind him that the way to be her “best friend” is to let her make her own choice. 

I love how weak the men have become – so weak that they’re more concerned about their worthless image than defending the life of a baby – and how increasingly stupid people can be. But be warned, the stupidity comes in waves. Do not let the Enemy have a foothold on this issue or they’ll smart up. One of the last things we want on women’s faces are dry eyes. 

Yours Truly, Smudgefutt

P.S. I have sent our comrade Cutpus in advance to your patient’s friend because he is very good at convincing people that their actions outweigh the Enemy’s offered forgiveness. 

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Behind Curtain Number 2

LETS_MAKE_A_DEAL-01

I’m sitting in the waiting room of Toyota’s repair/service section and the flatscreen TV is showing “Let’s Make a Deal.” And I’ve got to tell you, that’s an addicting show! This is why I never turn the TV on during the day when I’m at home.

You all know how the show works. It didn’t take long for me to realize two patterns:

1) The chosen contestants are required to act as loud and obnoxious as possible, and

2) The audience will always suggest opening the Big Box.

Even if the contestant is holding a $4,700 check in his hand, and he’s faced with the decision to keep the money or see what’s in the Big Box, the audience will go nuts pestering him to look in the Box.

I think that’s because they have nothing on the line and really, they’re just curious.

We’re all curious, aren’t we? The good thing about the Bible is that it lays it all out on the line. There are few secrets in the Bible.

But Satan keeps most of the world’s pleasures in the Big Box. And when we choose to see what’s in the Big Box, we’re forfeiting the truth of the Bible every time.

Today, you will be faced with many temptations and decisions. You will be given the choice of following God’s Word, or experience the promised sensation of keeping money that doesn’t belong to you, feel the so-called power of dominating your wife or kids, lie to a friend, or cheat on a test.

You should see the looks on these people’s faces when they exchange a $1,000 check with what’s in the Big Box and it turns out to be a platter of cheese. Or a giant stuffed green dinosaur.

Sure, the Big Box holds some great things sometimes, like an all-expense paid trip to Canada, or an entertainment set, complete with surround sound. But honestly, when I’m already holding a $1,000 check, I can spend it on anything I want. I might not need an entertainment set, or I might rather go to Spain than Canada (not to be picky).

So when you’re confronted with making a worldly choice, and you’re equipped with the priceless Word of God, it always comes down to foolishness when we disarm ourselves and choose what’s in the Big Box, no matter how glamorous or pleasurable it may be.

The Silver Coins – A Parable

prodigal-color

Once there lived a father and a son. The father loved his son very much as did the son love his father. One day the father said to his son, “You’re old enough now to perform a chore for me. I want you to take this silver coin, travel across the country and deliver it to the king. If, for any reason you lose the coin, come back to me and I will give you another one.” The boy, feeling very sure of himself took the coin and began his long journey across the country.

When he came to the town, he was interested in the things they were selling. So he bought a piece of candy from one of the booths with his father’s silver coin. Upon doing this, the boy felt sick to his stomach and knew that he had let his father down. He returned home to his father with a broken heart. But the father did not scold him nor punish him like he thought he would do. Instead the father smiled and gave his son another silver coin and said, “Now, be careful when you cross through that first town. Don’t stop to look at anything.”

The boy was soon on his way, thankful and glad for his father’s reassurance. When he got to the town, the boy did not slow down like he did the first time. This time he picked up speed and ran all the way through without stopping. When he reached the end of the town, the boy was tired and had to slow down.

At the end of the town was the woods, and sure that he was safe from any danger, the boy strolled along carelessly. Before he reached the end of the woods, a beaver came out from behind a tree and told the boy that he would cut down a tree and provide a bridge for the river up ahead… but it would cost him one silver coin. The boy agreed to this, because he wasn’t prepared to go swimming. Upon giving the beaver the silver coin, he realized that there would be no point in continuing on in his journey without the payment due to the king. So the boy, very much ashamed at his lack of preparation, turned around to collect yet another silver coin from his father.

The father’s heart melted when he saw his son coming home with his shoulders slumped and head hung low. The son cried to his father, “I’m so sorry.” And the father spoke these words to him: “Here is another silver coin. Take it, and do not simply walk through the town letting your eyes fall on whatever is available, and do not let your guard down when you enter into the woods. Run as fast as you can, stopping for no one for you know now that you cannot trust the people there.”

So once again, the young boy set off across the country, running through the town, and running even faster still through the woods. When he reached the river at the end of the woods, he noticed that a tree lay across stretching to the other side, just like the beaver promised to do. But he also noticed that the river was no deeper than the height of his ankles; it was more like a stream.

The boy continued to walk on past the woods, being very exhausted by now and was breaking quite a sweat. When he cleared out of the woods completely, the boy found himself at the foot of a windy road leading up a high mountain. The boy pressed on, though slow as a snail because he was still trying to catch his breath from the long run. Half way up the mountain, the boy came upon a wishing well. Now everybody knows the law of the wishing well. One tosses his money in and makes a wish. So the boy tossed his silver coin in and wished for a dozen more silver coins. The well told him to go home and ask his father.

Dumbfounded and empty-handed the boy returned home and apologized to his father once again. Certain that his father would scold him this time, the boy found himself to be very hesitant when he entered into his father’s house. But the father did not scold his son this time either. Instead, the father gave him another silver coin and said, “Be a bit more careful this time. Make sure you hurry through the town, run through the woods stopping for nobody because you know the woods people cannot be trusted, and make haste up the mountain as fast as you can, wishing only that you make it to the top.” With these words the father hugged his son and sent him on his way once more.

The son did what his father told him and hurried through the first town, ran through the woods, and made haste up the mountain. But in each new terrain, the son somehow lost his silver coin either by being careless and losing it or giving it away or spending it on something ultimately worthless. And each time the son found himself empty-handed, he returned home to his father, who was always waiting with another silver coin and a smile. Needless to say, the boy got his wish and he received more than a dozen silver coins – one at a time, of course.

         One day when the boy returned home yet again to apologize to his father, the boy said, “Father, every time you send me out on the same quest, and every time I fail you. How come, when I return home to apologize, you’re never angry at me?”

         The father’s response was simple, and it was then and there that the boy understood his father’s compassion. The father said, “My son, the tragedy isn’t that you make mistakes. The tragedy would be if you never returned at all.”

-Andrew Toy

 

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The Smudgefutt Letters Part II

gargoyle

C.S. Lewis’ unmatched masterpiece, Screwtape Letters inspired me to write my own imaginative, yet likely, letter from a demon mentor to his apprentice. Click here for Part I.

Dear Pigmud,

It goes against my wishes to tell you about my current patient. But our Beloved Father Below has insisted that I do so. He favors community and closeness amongst his followers, but frankly I feel like he is just taking his mimicking of the Enemy a bit too far. It’s as if he actually believes the Enemy has a superior tactic. (You will please be so kind as to delete this message as soon as you read it, will you not? I would hate to be reprimanded for saying such things.)

But as I must, I will tell you about my patient. He believes himself to be a Christian (may they be severed from the Enemy), and a devoted one at that. He was raised believing the “truths” taught to him in church and at home.

Now spirits can always go one of two ways with these types. The first (and most favored) technique is to allow them to hear about the Bible (may it burn in Hell), and make them think they believe in the stories. But all the while, we’ll whisper doubts in their ears, telling them that whales can’t really spit people out and the plagues brought onto the Egyptians were just coincidences or merely never happened at all. Just build up enough doubt that causes them to be comfortable in their “belief,” yet, willing to be proven wrong. This way, when they are of age and enter the rest of the world apart from their parents and Church (may it fall), we’ve got piles upon piles of doubts about the Enemy to bring back to their attention.

Now, I’m taking an alternate approach with my current patient. He knows how to draw the line between reality and fantasy – he’s quite bright in that regard. He knows the Enemy exists, and he even knows that His Son died for His believers. But I have achieved the goal of keeping this information merely at a head knowledge. I have kept him from actually believing it. How do I know this? Because of his actions. 

It’s not unusual for him to tell white lies now and then, and he frequents pornography websites and meaningless sex-romp movies at the cinema . How do I know he’s okay with doing these things, and it’s not merely a struggle or a loosing battle with temptation? Because he’s not praying and asking the Enemy for his wicked forgiveness. He does these things as though he were popping corn kernels in the microwave. 

True Christians might fall under these influences, and many for years at a time, but the difference with them is that they not only recognize these actions are against the Enemy’s Laws, but they seek out help and forgiveness and they daily labour at breaking free from these glorious distractions, the way a prisoner might vigorously plot his escape from prison, tearing down its walls brick by brick.

To be honest, I’ve got it pretty easy with this patient. The only thing I need to watch out for is any sign of brokenness or any realization that maybe – just maybe – he’s not saved. But luckily I’ve got him at a church that doesn’t ask such ridiculous questions. He walked the aisle several years ago and filled out a card saying that he accepted the Enemy into his heart. Thanks to me, he thinks that moment was his key to Heaven. Our Father Below gave me permission to keep that card and hand it to my patient when he gets here. 

Yours Truly, Smudgefutt

Click here for Part I

The Smudgefutt Letters Part I

gray-demonsI have always respected C.S. Lewis and his masterpiece, The Screwtape Letters: letters from a chief demon to his nephew, a demon in training. I love the creative ideas surrounding the letters and the honest attempt to dig into the enemy’s brain. They are are once hilarious, and terrifying. Even though they were written on the stage of World War II they are still just as applicable and stirring today as they were then.

But still, seventy years later, things have changed, and there is a new generation much different from Lewis’s readers dealing (or not dealing) with a whopping fresh set of arsenal from the Enemy Below.

Dear Pigmud,

I am honored and thrilled that you are ready to begin your training. I am, however, disappointed that it took you so long to be approved by our Beloved Father Bellow. I was beginning to wonder how utterly worthless you really are, much like those creatures the Enemy created for Himself. 

But you must remember this. Though they were all created by Him, they don’t all belong to Him. Many are willing to be cut off from Him, and others still are stupid enough to believe they belong to Him, even though there is nothing in their existence that would support that lie. Actually, it is mostly due to us that those foolish people believe such things. 

There are countless people who say they belong to God (may He be defeated) or other gods whom they think are just as sufficient for their idea of salvation or will point to God. I have chosen such a person for your first project. He is what Christians (may they be severed from the Enemy) call an agnostic. 

What he really calls himself is an atheist, because he’s uneducated enough not to know that there truly can be no such thing as an atheist, since his god is physics and other types of sciences – he does believe in a “higher” being. He has complete faith that his life will be directed and, in essence, continue to run its course because of the sciences that surround him and uphold him. 

But be aware, Pigmud! Don’t let his carelessness against the Enemy allow you to slip into a casual, halfhearted fight against him. You must always remember that no matter how far away from the Enemy it seems he is, the Enemy is always just one thought or breath away – or at least the iota of a curiosity about the existence of God. As soon as he starts dabbling with the first hint of a curiosity, then you’re in trouble, and you’ve got to go into overtime. (I’m sure this will happen, so more on that later.)

Your mission then, which you have no choice but to accept, is to keep your patient content with his faith in the sciences and the physical space around him. Allow him to continue to be in awe with the world and the multitudes of innovations that continually appear. On the off chance that he sees a sunset or a mountain view, bend his heart so that it bows down and thanks science for giving him such “gifts” to behold.

Yours Truly, Smudgefutt

[Image Credit]

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