A Voice in the
Wilderness

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                           *** PORTIONS ***

Re: Face Off

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about
like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast
in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your
brethren in the world." (1Pt5:8-9)  "Therefore submit to God. Resist
the devil and he will flee from you." (Jac4:7)

A few weeks ago we discussed the sparrows around my house that I feed.
Passing mention was also made of the neighborhood crows. Today let's
receive instruction from the crows.

A few weeks ago I noticed how crafty the crows are. A couple had
swooped down to grab some of the sparrows' bread, and I shooed them
away. But not scarcely a minute later, as I looked out the front
window, I noticed one of the crows with one of the larger pieces of
bread. Sneeky little pest had circled back around after I ducked back
into the house.

Remember that satan is also clever. He dresses himself and his demons
up as an "angel of light" and his ministers as "ministers of
righteousness". (2Cor11:14-15)  Well, I learned that lesson, and when I
feed the sparrows now, I look around first to see if any crows are 
anywhere nearby watching. You see, I am now like Paul says, "..for we
are not ignorant of his purposes" (2Cor2:11)

Well, last night [Ed: from when this is being written] after I spread 
out the bread, a couple of crows began their swooping descent, so I ran 
out there, yelling and clapping my hands. I certainly figured that 
would chase them off 'right now'. But, No Way! You see, when their 
young were younger, and I might freeze in my tracks to watch how the 
parent feeds the young, and the parent saw me watching... even though I 
was a safe distance away, the fact that anybody would 'stop' to observe 
was enough reason to get nervous and fly up to a higher place 
"out-of-reach". On one such occasion, the parent and young both flew up 
to the power line and the parent sat there squawking at me, scolding
me, ruffling its wings at me.

But last night was different. As they saw me come out the door, they 
haulted their swoop and perched on the fence. As I went out, yelling 
and clapping, they just sat there, looking back at me...muttering at 
me. When I got close enough, they merely hopped up to the garage roof.  
So, as this stand-off was now getting under way, I went back to the 
house, wondering if they might stay up there, and the sparrows could 
come back. Nope! They decided to try another swoop; like they had done 
at other times.  So this time, back out I went. And back up to the
fence they went.  Again, just staring back at me, muttering. Then, hop
up to the garage roof, and around to the back side of the roof... Oh
yes...  'he won't see us back here'. Trouble is, I followed them back
around to the back side, and as I got within arm's reach, "Go on!" And
so, finally, reluctantly, off they flew.  [I've never seen crows so
bold and brazen before!]

Now, as I made my second trek out there, which resulted in their
finally leaving, I noticed that the sparrows had all gathered around
and were perched up on phone lines and tree branches, watching this
whole face off with great interest.  And as soon as the crows were
gone, they swooped down and -quickly- took care of the bread, where,
before the incident, they had been lazily puttering around at it...  I
expect, before the crows might come back. Being very 'vigilant' about
their task

Well, there are several lessons we can learn from this. Why do we
continually 'harp' on certain subjects? Because satan and his demons
are ever constantly, CONTINUALLY, coming back, and back, to deceive us.
Why are today's children growing up rebelliously? The parents wring
their hands in despair and whine, "Well, I -TRY- to do the BEST I CAN".
Well, the thing is, the rebellion repeats over and over. But most
parents just plain, simply, "give up" after two or three tries.
Understand that a child's rebellion comes with the same repetition as
satan's onslaughts. "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.."
(Pr22:15) because we are "conceived" in sin. (Ps51:5) It is the same
heart that brings forth the child's foolishness, that produces sin of
all sorts. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.." (Mt15:19) The
parent must be willing to confront the child's rebellion EVERY TIME it
manifests itself.  You see, the crows had it figured out that, if I
merely yelled at them once and they flew off, that I would go into the
house, and then they could come back and snitch some bread. The only 
way I was going to get rid of them was if I persisted back at them for 
every persistence of theirs. I had to "win" against them. The same way
that parents need to, yes, "win" over the child.

Just like when the robins 'trained' my cat years ago. However many
times the cat would jump into the air after them, that many times the
robin had to dive-bomb him. [He loved to jump into the air to catch 
things. He would go out running to catch the chestnuts I would throw 
across the yard, much like a football receiver catches a quarterback's
pass. Same with snowballs in the winter.]  How many 'hundreds' of times 
did the robin have to dive-bomb the cat? I didn't count them. But if 
that cat was to be trained to not come after them, this training was 
necessary. Well, the robin's persistence won out...because the cat 
could be lying around, and robins could come hopping around fairly 
close to him, and they were never in any danger from him! He tended to 
look away from them, in disgust.

Where children are concerned, Scripture speaks of, "For precept must be
on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a
little, there a little." (Is28:10) A continual CONSTANT attention to
training and discipline.

Our resisting of satan must be the same way. We cannot figure that he 
will come at us merely 'once', and now the battle is over. No! He comes 
at us just like the PLO come after Israel. From this angle, from that 
angle; this tactic, a new tactic. Just like the car salesman trying to 
make that sale, coming with every argument, suggestion and annoyance.  
Just like the fellow trying to seduce the girl! Just like the pretend 
[c]hristians who continually whine about worldliness, rock music, 
charismania, etc. If they are analyzing music, "how much" of the world 
can we have? How raucous is 'too much'? How much can I dabble in 
tongues and still be "safe"?  Our response must be firmly, "No!" As 
Jesus said, "Get behind me!" (Lk4:8) "Go away!" (Mt4:10)  Yes, if 
necessary, BE "RUDE".

Now, as Believers we know that Jesus Christ has won the victory over
satan. (1Cor15:57, 24-26)  He cried out, "It has been finished!"
(Jn19:30) So, as a result, we can sit around feeling good, and
praising, "Hallelujah! I'm saved! Praise the Lord!" And live lives of
quiet luxury and comfort...??

You know, I think we as Believers need to understand a bit better
exacly what it was that Christ did for us. You see, when I chased off
the crows, I was now the sparrows' 'hero'. [Ed: What an 'honor' of
distinction!]  You see, the early church -saw- Jesus being crucified on
that cross. They heard Him cry out, "My God, My God, Why have You
forsaken Me??" They saw the day grow dark. They felt the earthquakes.
And as they were His "witnesses" (Lk24:48), they "turned the world
upside down" with the gospel. (Ac17:6)

But for some reason, in this day, those who call themselves "Christian"
sit around, like the sparrows had been, getting lazy and fat. And they
are giving way to satan. When the sparrows saw the crows chased off,
they did not continue in their laziness. They were suddenly spurred on
to diligence to protect what they had, what had been given to them.

Thyatira was exhorted to, "..hold fast what you have till I come"
(Rev2:25)  Sardis was warned, "Remember therefore how you have received
and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I
will come upon you as a thief, and you will not at all know what hour I
will come upon you." (Rev3:3)  You know, the whole thing that spurred 
on this study was how, after I had chased off the crows, the sparrows
dived down into where the bread was...MAKING THE MOST of the advantage
I had just given them, to have their bread. It was put there for
'them'. Not the crows. Now, if they had not taken note of the window of
opportunity I had just created for them, who knows...if they were not
appreciative of the assistance, would I be as inclined to put out more
bread in the future? If they didn't really 'want' it... perhaps not.

So, how diligent are we? God gives us blessing; do we appreciate it and
make the most of it? Christ has won the battle over satan; and while He
is watching over us, satan seeks to circle around and come back,
swooping in to take away what Christ gave us. Do we allow ourselves to
be deceived into complacency and luxury? Or do we "stand firm in one
spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,"
(Phil1:27)

Satan would seek to do us in. But we are exhorted to, face him and 
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be like men, be strong." (1Cor16:13) 
When Jacob says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jac4:7), 
the word "resist" is in a tense with no past, present or future. We do 
not on one occasion "win" over the temptation, so now we rejoice that I 
"won" (past tense) and am doing 'pretty good'. When an athlete takes 
that stance because of that spectacular 3-pointer he just swished from 
clear down at the other end of the court, next time around the opponent
takes the ball away, because he was not paying attention. We are to
-ALWAYS- be "sober" and "vigilant". About the time you duck into the
house of comfort, is when satan comes swooping back around from behind.

If you don't like this kind of talk, then, perhaps you have not
"counted the cost" to be a Christian? (Lk14:28) Jesus promised, "In the
world you have affliction; but be of good courage, I have overcome the
world" (Jn16:33)  The battle has been won. Thus, it is not our strength
that wins over satan. We do not grab him and throw him out. We do not
conduct warfare campaigns against him. But we do "stand" against him.
And whenever it might seem hopeless, we still "resist" and "having done
all, to stand". (Eph6:13)  And when he persists in coming around, we
persist in resisting, and he will "flee". If he is not fleeing, it is
because we are not resisting. Look him square in the eye and say, "GO!"
And when he sits there 'muttering' back at you (Is8:19), say, "NOW!"

Amen!
Related Topic: I'm a Sparrow, too! See?