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“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”   Matthew 10:28

“Now he did not say this on his own authority…..”  John 11:51

“You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe and tremble.”  2:19

First, let me proclaim, through the Grace of Almighty God, Good does and will always continue to ultimately triumph over evil.  Our Almighty Father is on His throne and will see to that.  If you read no further, make sure that you leave with that assurance.

There is a struggle going on.  It has been going on since the dawn of time, is ongoing today and will continue until Jesus Christ, in all His Glory comes again at the hour appointed by His Father.  That hour we do not nor can not know.

Yet the struggle is fundamental.  The struggle is taking place at the core of our being.  It is evil attempting to overcome good.  I purposely place these two terms, these two concepts in this order evil versus good for a reason.  You see, although it can be very hard to realize as we look at the world or at least what is brought to us by secular society, but good, as compared to evil, is by far the more powerful of the two fundamental states.  Love is exceedingly more impactful than hate.  The light triumphs over the darkness.  As God is the only consistantly True Good, His design was that good would be the desired fundamental state to be in.

Thus, here’s where the versus comes in.  Evil cannot survive along side good.  Evil does not want to exist in some subservient level to good.  So evil lashes out against good and this lashing out, this competition, this ultimate conflict manifests itself in many ways.  Individually, it is the attempted self destruction of the mind, body and soul, through giving into temptations of thoughts and deeds leading to tragic contemplations and outcomes.  Collectively, it can be the actions of one against many as in a mass murderer.  Societally, it can take the form of one nation striking out against a segment of its own population or striking out at other nations to enforce its evil designs upon those nations around it.

So understand, evil knows of good’s existence and wants nothing more than good’s total annihilation.  Therefore, evil is most often the aggressor.  Evil is the state that drives the person to overdose with pills.  Evil is the state that drives the gunman to walk into the classroom and start shooting.  Evil is the state that says one country will gas its own citizens to death or invade and subjugate its neighbor.  What is one of the most stark ways that we come to know this?  Think back to one of the earliest incidents of this in our country with the Columbine High School, mass murder.  The two individuals made it a point to ask to at least some of their victims, if they were Christian and then to single them out to be killed.  Time and time again, these outbreaks of maniacal violence have targeted the good, the innocent among us.  And while in not every case can it be shown that Christians were singled out, what is clear in each case, evil is attempting to destroy the good.  It may even seem at times that evil triumphs.  That is until we shift our focus from the perpetrators to the responders.  Whether, it is the first responders or heroes in the midst of the tragedy who selflessly lay down their lives or risk having their lives taken to confront the evil.  Or the countless others who come to help in the wake of tragedy, the evil is swallowed up by the good.

Why bring this up?  Two reasons, first; again, as I started out with, do not despair with what is going on in the world.  We must hold on to our faith; knowing the omnipotent power of Our Heavenly Father and that His plan will be triumphant.  Also, second, as evil knows and acknowledges good’s existence as the demons did when confronted by Jesus Christ, we must also understand and acknowledge that evil exists.  We must not fall into the trap of thinking these acts of violence are merely symptoms of some man-made error or circumstance solely or our own making.  That if we somehow eliminated poverty, educated everyone, removed weapons from people, gave everyone access to mental health resources, that these monstrous acts would be eliminated.  Even with all those things, evil would still exist, would still fight for control over us.

Bottom line, evil is not a creation of mankind and will not be solved by mankind.  Evil, in the power of the devil, exists and is eternal.  In reading God’s Word, especially the Book of Revelation, which is an enigmatic book to be sure, one thing that seems clear, is that, while God will destroy evil’s influence over His New World, His New Creation, those who have followed evil will have an eternal condemnation.  I do not declare this of my own knowledge or wisdom, I humbly refer to His word.

Then finally, there is One who is Good, there is One who has the power to defeat all evil when it attacks; which it will.  He is God the Father, and The Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Again, please don’t misunderstand me as I’ve said in the past, yes, we should help the poor, teach the ignorant, help the sick, all those things it is right to do.  Yet understand for those things to be “good”, they must be done in the Name of Our Heavenly Father.  As we are told in the teachings of the Gospel and the admonishments of the likes of Peter, Paul and the other’s who wrote the epistles, the only way for us to overcome evil in ourselves and in the world is by relying on God, The Father through Jesus Christ.  They have the power to overcome and triumph and see to it that we do the same.  It is ironic that evil, in the guise of demons and even the devil understand that Good exists and even fear it.  Would it be that we understand that evil exists and that the only way for us to defeat it, is by first calling out to and then relying on the strength and the power, that is God Almighty.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we live in a world where evil attempts to thwart good in any way it kind.  We also live in a world that often denies that evil even exists.  So it is that we come to You today, calling on You to protect us from evil that preys on us constantly.  Surround us with Your Love and Power that we might resist evil and seek Your good.  Besides protecting us, as we abide in Your Son, make us agents for good that we might be Your instruments in triumphing over evil.  That in that triumph we will not seek to glorify ourselves but will turn and give You all the Glory and Praise.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

“For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark, will be heard in the light and what you have spoken in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  Luke 12:2-3

It’s been said that we’ve become a connected world such that has never been seen before in history.  With social media I can see things that my “friends” are doing, today, when they are half way around the world.  I can read people’s opinions, great and small, on virtually any topic.  I can get information in real time, with much less filtering from government or traditional information outlets (for example news organizations).  I can comment AND, and this is a very important aspect, I don’t have to give my name out or anything about me when I do.  AND, I can go searching for sites and places, and because I don’t physically have to show up, no one really knows what I’ve done………Do they?

Jesus accepts an invitation to dine with some Pharisees and other leaders.  Some might think He was not being a good guest, but His hosts start to criticize Him for not washing before He ate.  So Jesus responds.  His response is not just about the physical act of washing, it is about the humble need for cleansing.  He chides the Pharisees about being much more interested in appearances of actions versus the inward proper motivation for actions.  He chides the lawyers for not using their learning to truly help others versus, using their learning as way to keep others ignorant and dependent on them.

Then Jesus goes out and speaks to the multitudes and in that way He is speaking to us.  He tells us, don’t think we can hide our hypocrisy behind the shield of seemingly good acts or social position.  Don’t put your faith your ability to be sneaky or conniving.  You will be found out.  The extent of your daytime piety or generosity mean little if your actions at night are of greed and depravity.  And what happens at night, what you think is being kept secret, what has transpired in the backroom, will be known.

How many times have we seen that today?  A person says, well more than that, they swear, that they did not do something; and then the exact opposite comes out.  How many times have we seen the video gone viral of somebody doing something shocking and seemingly so out of their public persona?  It is pretty amazing that people feel, these days, that they can send something electronic and that it will remain secret.  I’ve heard it said, and it seems to be true, in the world of electronic communication, there truly is no delete key.

So as we contemplate our sin, our evil and we spend our efforts and resources thinking about whether we will get caught.  The short answer is yes.  How does that happen?  It happens because God knows our hearts.  And as Jesus said in Matthew and Mark, it is in our hearts where the struggle between good and evil resides.  How do we not get caught?  We don’t go there in the first place.  We understand that truly, there is no place to hide.  When evil raises up its ugly head, and understand, evil is going to try to invade our very hearts, we must cry out to the One who has the power to overcome that evil, because He did it before.  On the cross.  Let it truly be that what is heard from our heart in those dark times is not the desire, then plan and finally action to accomplish evil, but the desperate cry of help to our Abba Father.  That the blaring light of truth that is shown on us is the Light of  His True Love.  Let that be what we get caught in.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we pray to You Dear Father, humbly confessing that we often devise plans of evil and wickedness in our heart.  That we think we can hide our thoughts and deeds from you and the world.  So it is that we truly pray for Your Strength and Your Mercy so that we can overcome the temptation to do evil.  Cleanse our hearts, Dear Father that we can live in the confidence of Your Love not fearing what might be uncovered or shown in the light of day.  That through that cleansing, we may become vessels of Love, Light and Truth, which will bring Praise to Your Holy Name and good to Your people on this earth.   In the name of the One sent to Save us from evil, Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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