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“No one is good, except God alone.”  Mark 10:18

“There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God….”  Romans 3:22,23

Okay, first from the title, you may feel that this is going to be a heavy, judgemental post, if you will read through it I’m hoping that you’ll see it is anything but that.  Second, I very purposely used the pronoun “I” in the title.  For I have not the wisdom nor talent for judgement to say anything about anyone else as it applies to the state of their soul.  I assure you, the log in my eye is large enough to keep me busy.

Evil is a tough subject in today’s world.  It is also a word that is very seldom used in the context of overly heinous acts.  So often after terrible deeds are perpetrated on an individual or larger scale, the motivations behind those deeds are explained by mental illness, being in abject poverty, the lack of proper oversight and the like.  Yet in our society we are loathe to acknowledge that evil exists, let alone think that it can be rampant in our society and thus the impacts of it.

Yet Jesus Christ and The Word of God are very clear on the subject.  Evil absolutely exists.  Evil is the very basis of sin which leads to the kinds of behaviors and acts that we are seeing with ever increasing frequency in this world.  I can not escape the conclusion that is stated in the bible.  I am evil.

What is evil?  At it’s very basic nature it is the love of self, the ability to puts one self in front and above all else.  It is the elevation of self to the highest entity leading to the ability to hate any and all others who are not the self.  I must confess that I have that capability within me.  I have to admit that, left to my own devices, I would embrace the me first manifesto which could lead to deeply troubling and disastrous acts.

I am evil.  I was not made for evil.  God did not create me to be evil.  Rather it comes down to my choice, my desire to be connected to, to follow the ways of the Prince of Evil, that is Satan.

If I left the post there it would seem a post of doom.  It would be to leave myself in a place of no hope.  I would be proclaiming my eternal damnation.

Yet this is a post of praise and thanksgiving.  This is actually a post of peace and joy.  This a post designed to uplift the downtrodden, to proclaim good news to those whose ears are filled daily with sadness and woe.

For while there is evil, there is also good.  Please, please understand this; evil and good are not on equal footing.  In comparing the ability to triumph, good is more powerful than evil, as evil is more powerful than me.  That is to say, I can not defeat the devil on my own.  His spiritual power is enough to overwhelm me anytime, especially in my earthly proclivity to desire to follow him.  That is why Our Heavenly Father never wants us to try and defeat evil on our own.

Our Heavenly Father, Our Creator God, is good; that is to say He is perfectly good.  In His perfection, He does not want that we should succumb to evil.  So in His perfect plan, He was not going to leave me alone.  First He would send His Son, Jesus Christ to allow me to come into His presence by washing me clean of sin by His sacrifice.  Yet Our Heavenly Father was not through there.  God knows, on our own, we are too weak to defeat the temptations of the evil one.  Thus, God gave us a helper, a champion.  God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.  It is the strength of the Holy Spirit within me that causes the evil one to be defeated.  It is the presence of the Holy Spirit within me, that keeps me and my heart from following after the devil and keeps me from doing evil.

There a couple of aspects for joy in all of this.  First, I am no great or deserving person to receive the Holy Spirit.  Anyone can receive the Holy Spirit, by proclaiming the kingship of and the fact that Jesus Christ was God’s only begotten Son who is now our Savior.  Second, the record of Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is perfect and will always be.  Evil will never be stronger.  Evil can’t practice, can’t workout, can’t call on additional support to somehow build strength enough to defeat good.

Therefore we can go forth in confidence.  We can go forth in peace and joy.  All we need do is humbly call upon Our Heavenly Father for deliverance.  All we need do is turn our hearts toward and over to Our Heavenly Father.  All we need do is love Him, who first loved and continues to completely love us.  Then He who is within us will allow us to do good.  We are transformed by Him for good.

Having done those things then listen to the promise of Jesus Christ! “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will also do and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father! And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do…” (John 14: 12,13)

That, dear sisters and brothers is the end of the story.  We can do all things in Christ, by the Grace of Our Heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit who resides within us.  By Our Heavenly Father’s Power and Blessed Mercy, evil is thwarted, the devil is defeated and death itself is overcome.  Thus today we can know peace and joy and we can rest in the Father’s love knowing His love for us will span all the rest of eternity.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we proclaim that You are God and You are perfect.  Yet I also confess that I am not God and I am drawn to do and be evil.  Forgive me when I turn from You and follow the evil desires of my heart.  I thank and praise You that You have not left me to my own devices.  We thank You for the precious gift of salvation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  We praise and thank You that You send the Holy Spirit to reside in us, allowing us through His power to overcome our evil nature.  We thank You for Your Love that surpasses all human understanding, that allows us to enter into Your rest with joy and thanksgiving.  We pray these things in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

“…be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might……that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers and against the rulers of darkness.”  Ephesians 6: 10,12

“He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

One only has to turn on an electronic device that receives news reports or open a paper to read to see that this is a dangerous world.  There are natural dangers; which society uses the phrase acts of God, floods, storms, earthquakes and the like.  Then there are the man made dangers, there are wars, there are crimes, there are unspeakable acts of depravity, meanness and selfishness.

Yet with both natural and man-made dangers what I find particularly troubling, especially with man-made dangers is the almost total lack of the spiritual in any discussion.  Especially with incredibly dark acts of heinous brutality, whether it be the mass shooting of children, or the mass beheading or executing of innocent civilians, society for some reason is loathe to use the “e” word in describing the root of the problem.

No, it seems that society wants to explain terrible human behavior in terms of people living in a bad environment where they can’t assimilate.  Or that the real problem with a mass murderer is an undiagnosed mental defect that if caught in time would have completely eliminated the chance of the act occurring.  Now please understand, I have had to deal in a very personal way with mental issues so I definitely believe that they exist and can be helped.  However, here is the bottom line, if human society believes that all maladies are either mental or physical, that all solutions are within human capacity to solve, then humanity is in desperate, disastrous trouble.

For as much as we may try to heal and strengthen the body; no matter how much we try to treat and improve the mind, scripture makes it clear that the real power lies within the spirit.  Even within the spirit, the real power does not come from our spirit; the only way we win, the only way we can be victorious is by connecting to and relying upon His Spirit; the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus Christ and sent to us by Our Heavenly Father.

It makes absolutely no difference whether we acknowledge evil and the prince of evil; Satan.  We might not see air and therefore deny its existence.  However, that does not change the fact that air exists and of course we need it for our very survival.  So it is with the spirit.  Satan would be very happy for us to deny his existence.  Satan would be very happy for us to delude ourselves in thinking that evil is a function of simple human issues and thus can be easily overcome.

Jesus Christ was also very clear.  We must completely abide in Christ.  The only hope that we have to defeat evil, is to do so spiritually.  It is through the power of the Spirit that we’re able to be generous to our enemies.  It is through the power of the Spirit that we’re able to forgive our enemies.  It is through the power of the Spirit that we can come up against the power of evil, and completely, totally be victorious over it.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, the reality is that Satan and evil exist.  However, we should not face that reality with fear or trembling.  For while they may be able to easily defeat us on our own; we are never left on our own.  Our Heavenly Father promises us, that those who believe in Jesus Christ will never be forsaken.  Those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ will have access to all the strength and armor of God Almighty; a strength that has never nor will ever know defeat.  So let it be that the first thing we look to is the spiritual.  Let our first reaction to adversity, to coming up against evil, be to fall on our knees and pray for the strength of Our Heavenly Father to be poured out upon us.  Then let us go forth in confidence and courage knowing that, as we abide in Christ and Christ abides in us; we will overcome evil in all its various appearances.  Knowing that with the Holy Spirit within us, He will insure that our mind is clear enough, our body sound enough, to overcome any and all evil.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we must surely acknowledge that evil and Satan exist.  And if we are to have any hope in victory we must acknowledge that we are no match for the Devil on our own.  We are so thankful to you Most Merciful Heavenly Father, that You have promised to never leave us on our own to fight against Satan.  Grant that we would not rely on our own power but call upon the Name of Your Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ when we are faced with evil; knowing that by abiding in him; no evil will overpower us; the devil will not defeat us.  This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”  Matthew 5:4

“They encourage themselves in an evil matter….They say who will see them?…….But God shall shoot them with an arrow…so He will make them stumble over their own tongue”  Psalm 64:5,7

We find ourselves pondering mysteries beyond our capabilities to solve.  Jesus Christ knew that there would be misery brought about by tragedy.  He knew that unforeseen and unfortunate things were going to happen to good people.  He knew people were going to find themselves in a place where they would mourn.  Where we would be gripped with an overwhelming sense of loss and despair.  On the surface, blessed seems so out of place for someone in those circumstances.  For me the only thing that comes to mind is the sense that those who mourn, would have loved and cared in the first place.  One who is so cold that tragic loss does not phase them because they do not feel any love, any remorse for loss, is in such a fearful place every day.  But those who know the blessing of giving and receiving love and therefore feel the gut wrenching loss when the object of that loss is taken from them; Our Heavenly Father will come to them and comfort them.  There will be time of blessing.

And it may seem that evil wins.  That in the pulling of a trigger, the setting off of an explosion or other horrendous act, that evil has triumphed.  And an all too human is response is to,  instead of looking to our human, fallen nature which spawns such evil in the first place, we often turn our blame to God; as if He was the one that carried out the horrific act.  Yet, for me, faith must be the activity that I dwell on and cling to, as I am at a loss to understand the why of such senseless acts of hatred and violence.

Finally though, from years of study in history and years of living experience with such tragic events, whether it be someone of world inflicting evil, like a Hitler or a lone disturbed individual who impacts a community, their evil does not last.  Yes the impacts carry on, but their evil is thwarted.  They may seem to have the upper hand, but their supremacy is fleeting.  History has shown over and over, that good, the good that comes from God triumphs in the end.  He will enact His Justice.  How do we know?  Jesus Christ came to earth.  While on earth He was tempted and overcame those temptations.  This earth and the evil in it, did all it could do to stop Him; thinking that they had triumphed when Jesus died.  But no earthly or other evil power can restrain the Power of Almighty God.  Jesus Christ rose on the third day, shattering the forces of evil for all time.  And here is the most important aspect of that act, Jesus Christ did not do that just for Him.  Jesus Christ’s act was to allow all of us to overcome the evil power of this world by following Him.  We will overcome.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are in mourning today and we confess that we need Your Blessing.  We confess that we do not understand the workings of we humans in this world and tend to lash out at anger at You for the evil we do.  Forgive us Dear Father and restore and renew our faith.  Strengthen us and give us a resilient spirit, that we will respond to hate with love; that we will respond to divisiveness with togetherness; to separation with inclusion, that we will respond to despair with hope.  That through our faith in You we will strive to live a life of victory over evil.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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