IF I WERE THE DEVIL...........
I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;
I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's
effort, instead of God's blessings;
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of
the other way around;
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;
I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent
machines to make it convenient;
I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals
are valued more than human beings;
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was
grounds for a lawsuit;
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young,
and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;
I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute
the mind of every family member for my agenda;
I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation
I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family
crumbles, so does the nation;
I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas
and movie screens, and I would call it art;
I would then funnel tax dollars to promote this art.
I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that
their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled;
I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few
who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically
I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and
the Bible is for the naive;
I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is
not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;
I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.
DEVILS' CONVENTION: A MODERN PARABLE
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep the Christians from going to church.
We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from conservative values. "But we can do something else.
We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative values and lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that experience in Jesus Christ.
"This is what I want you to do: Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior, keep them from maintaining that vital connection throughout their day."
"How shall we do this?" shouted his angels.
"Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.
"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, then borrow borrow borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children.
As their family fragments, their homes soon will offer no escape from the pressures of work.
"Overstimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still small voice.
Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TVs, VCRs, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes.
And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical, contradicting music constantly. This will jam their minds and break
that union with Christ.
"Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards.
Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail
order catalogs, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services, and false hopes.
"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week.
Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies instead.
"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Let them be involved in soul-winning. But crowd their lives
with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Christ.
Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."
It was quite a convention. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments of causing Christians to get busy, busy, busy and rush here and there.
Has the devil been successful at his scheme? How about this definition of Busy:
Wow, makes one think...Satan's goal is to take our minds and hearts off Christ then steer us toward the cares of the world. God wants us to enjoy life but He must be first. If we are too busy for God, then we are too busy!!!
(Don't forget to get out and worship this weekend and thwart the goals of Satan!)
Old John and the Devil
A Traditional Southern Folktale
Retold by Michael Parrish
A long while back, in a little Georgia village, there was a blacksmith who most people called Old John. Now John, he was a mean tempered old codger who didn't like anyone, especially children. You never met a meaner old man than John.
One day, an old man came hobbling up to old John's blacksmith shop.
"Mister," said John with a grudging, but respectful, nod towards his visitor. John's pa had told him that if he was ever disrespectful to anyone older than himself, that he'd give John the licking of his life. Old John's pa was dead, but he had been meaner than John when he was alive, and John still half-expected him to leap up out of the grave with a switch a-ready if he was disobeyed.
"Can ah have some water?" The old man asked, in a dusty-sounding voice.
Instead of drinking it, the old man threw it down; and before you could say Jee Whitikers, there stood before John, Saint Peter in all of his glory.
"John," he said, "I am Saint Peter. Once a year I come down from Heaven and see if there's one man who will help someone else. If he does, I give 'im three wishes."
A couple beats passed while the two eyed each other. John finally hitched up his pants and spat in the dirt.
"You fer real, mister?" John asked.
"Humph...well, ah guess we'll see, then. Number one: ah have me this rose bush out front. Every day, some durn kid comes by and picks one for his girl. Gets to so there ain't none left by the middle of June. Ah wish that who ever picks one of them roses gets grabbed up in that bush and gets beat by them thorns until ah say when!"
Saint Peter looked at John. "You sure you want such a mean wish?"
Peter glared at John and kinda kicked at the dust. "Well I have to give it to you but I really hate doing it."
The rose bush shivered and shook like someone was hitting it with a stick, and then was still.
"There, John...it's done. You got two more - I'd make 'em better 'uns if I was you."
John snorted again. Then he spat again and muttered out the side of his mouth, "Two: I got me a rocking chair on the front porch. After a long day of workin', I like t' sit down and rest, but there's always some durn kid siting in it. I wish that whenever somebody sits in that chair, they have to rock and rock and rock until I say quit."
"Nothing I can say to dissuade you, John?"
John's look answered that question without the need for words.
At that, the chair rocked back and forth madly for a moment, and stood still.
"Well John," said Saint Peter, sounding irritated, "I must say, you're a-makin' me upset. You've got one wish left. If'n I were you, I'd make it a right good one. The Lord's-a watching you."
"Well then he should see it when those durn kids come in mah shop and tap at my anvil - keeps me from working! I wish that they'd have to keep hammerin' and hammerin' that thing until I say stop!"
Saint Peter spluttered, "John, that's positively reprehensible! If I wasn't a saint, I'd hit ye for wanting stuff like that!" Then he sighed, "But a deal is a deal..."
The hammer leapt up in the air and hit the anvil so hard it sounded like a crack of thunder. As the echoes died down, all became still, and Saint Peter, still shaking his head in pity and disgust, faded from view.
John grinned and spat.
Boy, old John sure had his bit of fun with those wishes. Boys went home with scratches all over their legs from getting bush-whipped. They stumbled home after rocking hours and hours. Some had sore arms for weeks after beating the anvil with a hammer for a whole day. Yes, indeed, he had his fun...
And so did the Devil. Every day for years, he would look up in glee to see what John would do next. It was fun watching, but one day, he decided it was time to take John on down to Hades. He sent one of his smaller devils to bring John in.
John was sitting on his chair that day, rocking contentedly, when in a puff of smoke, a little devil appeared before him.
"John, I aim to take ye back to mah Daddy." The small demon said.
John smoked his pipe. "Well, ah guess ah can't fight ye. Let me go get some clothes. You sit here and I'll be back in a jiffy."
The devil sat and rocked. When John came back, the little guy tried to stand, but he was stuck to the chair!
"Rock, chair, Rock!" shouted John.
The little devil was snapped back and forth until he got the worst whiplash you've ever seen.
Finally, he shouted, "Let me go and I'll leave ye alone!"
So John said, "Stop rocking, chair."
The chair casually tossed the devil into the yard and stopped. The little devil glared at John as he disappeared in a black cloud of smoke.
The next day, the Devil sent his older son.
The little devil appeared in a boiling cloud of brimstone.
"You're coming with me, John, and I ain't a-gonna sit in that there chair!"
John said that's okay, he'd been beat fair and square. He told the little devil to just come here and help him finish the horse shoe he was making and he'd come peacefully.
The devil picked up the hammer and started pounding. But when he was through, he couldn't stop. He kept pounding harder and harder until he thought his arm would fall off.
He screamed to John in a panic, "Let off, John! Let off and I'll go back home!"
John said to the anvil, "Let 'im go."
The little devil was swinging up and when the anvil released him, the hammer swung him out into the yard. Still rubbing his shoulder, he disappeared into a sickly green cloud of smoke and ash.
When the Devil heard from his son what had happened, he was furious!
"If ye two can't do a job right, I'll do it mah-self!" he roared.
The next day, John was in the front yard pitching horseshoes on a Sunday when the sky turned black as midnight. Thunder clapped in the trees and fire flew up into the sky. The smell of brimstone filled the air, and off in the distance, a dim red glow began to form, quickly growing brighter and closer, until the Big Daddy Devil himself appeared, on a wagon of fire pulled by black horses with coals for eyes.
"John!" He shouted, 'midst thunder and lightning and smoke.
"John, you're a-comin' with me and a-comin' now!"
John was scared now, but he didn't dare let it show.
"I reckon you can wait until I feel like going, old man," He said impudently.
This really set the devil off! "Ah've a mind to thrash ye, living in my land and talking like that to me!" (For everyone who's been to Georgia knows that the Devil must favor it - why else would he make it so hot?)
Well, the Devil went to make good on his threat. He leapt off his wagon and tried to grab a thorny stick off the rose bush. The rosebush grabbed the Devil and pulled him inside and stuck and pricked and scratched and scraped him until the thunder died down and the smoke cleared off and left the Devil crying for mercy!
"Let me go John and I'll never bother you again! I promise!"
John wasn't so sure the Devil would keep his promise, so he let him be pricked a while longer, for good measure, and then let him escape to lick his wounds.
John lived a happy life - for him - and died years later.
After climbing the stairs to Heaven, he saw Saint Peter going down to grant another person three wishes, just as he had granted John those many years ago.
"Oh no ye don't, John!" he cried when he saw where John was headed, "You ain't wanted up there! Go down to the Devil where ye belong!"
John turned sadly and went down to the gates of Hades.
When he arrived there, he found the doors tightly shut against him. "Let me in!" he called out.
"No!" shouted the Devil, peeking over the wall. "I'm afraid of ye. Go to Heaven!" The last word was spoken like a curse.
"But, they won't have me up there."
"Neither will I. But here, since you're a man after mah own heart" -and he handed him a glowing bucket, filled with burning embers- "Take these coals from mah Hades and go start one of your own. Just find a good place and dump 'em down on the ground."
John took them and reluctantly left. He wandered to what he thought was a good place, but when he tried to dump out the bucket, nothing would come out! He tried to put the heavy bucket down so he could think - but it wouldn't let go of his hand. He moaned as he realized that the Devil had tricked him, just as he'd tricked the Devil all those years ago. He would be doomed to walk the earth for eternity, carrying his heavy bucket of coals.
And so, for years after this happened, whenever the Mountain People see a will-o-the-wisp floating ghostly red across the hills, they say to each other, "There goes old John, still trying to find a place to put his own pocket of Hades."