The Old Serpent and the Slacker * * *
By Marsha West
protective shield He had placed around her. The demon was so inflamed that he kicked the shield, looked up to the heavens and said in an accusatory tone, "She's a gossip…and…and…she paints her fingernails!"
The woman closed the Book and bowed her head.
"Egads, she's praying!" Bromos was at his wits end. "Now what?"
Tempting Brady was child's play compared to this piece of human debris. It was painfully obvious that his efforts would do no good on Barbara Bible thumper. Why the Powers had sent him to her was a complete mystery.
He snarled out loud, "I'm wasting my time here!" Oops! He must keep his musings to himself or…he pushed the thought aside as it was too horrible to think about what his fate would be.
Plan B: He'd leave for now. On his next visit he would try another tactic, something he hadn't tried before. But what?! He racked his brain trying to come up with a sure-fire way to cause her to fall into sin. He thought…and thought…and thought some more. But nothing he hadn't already tried came to mind. Nothing in his arsenal was going to penetrate the shield around the slime ball. Before he left he gave the shield another hard kick then got out of there fast.
* * *
Poneros showed up at Brady McCoy's a few days later to check on the novice Bromos. Demonical-induced apathy took little effort with a pushover like Brady. He had ordered Bromos to get Brady texting.
The forces of evil used not only the "text tactic" but also the "tweet trick." Electronics had become a blessing from Hell. To keep humans constantly distracted, evil forces saw to it that many of them had the "blessing" of large screen TVs, computers, laptops, the smartphone and the iPad. Humans had instant access to videos, music, and movies. Blogs, websites and social networking sites also kept their minds on overdrive. Even though all the amazing technology had come from Him, Satan always found ways to pervert it.
Brady's desire to read the Bible was sincere. He really wanted to gain knowledge and understanding, but whenever he would set aside time to study, his thoughts drifted and he would get virtually nothing out of it. Unless it needed a charge, his iphone was always with him, and he couldn't resist answering calls and text messages during his devotions.
Even worse, Brady had gotten into the habit of praying in bed at night and by the end of the day he was so exhausted that he'd fall asleep in mid sentence.
* * *
Brady was happy living in Colorado. A few months after college graduation he had gone to Colorado Springs for an interview, was offered the job and accepted it. Although taking the job meant leaving his family and life-long friends behind he was ready for a change. For most of the first year he attended church sporadically, but that changed after a friend invited him to Shepherd's Community Church. Brady had found a home at Shepherd's. Right off the bat he joined a Bible study, the worship team, and on occasion he filled in for an absent usher.
Brady liked how Pastor Tom Horton taught through an entire book of the Bible verse by verse, presenting truths, concepts and principles found in each passage so that the flock he shepherded would understand the literal meaning of each word. What Pastor Tom called "expository" teaching was new to Brady. Growing up he had gone to church with his parents but he hadn't learned all that much about the Bible. Looking back he realized that Pastor Olson was not a faithful expositor of the Word of God. His sermons were meant to be positive and uplifting because, for him, it was all about seeing that the congregation felt good about themselves and making sure no one carried around guilt. His motto was: "God wants you to live your best life possible." Pastor Olson often said that the good Lord wishes for His people to be happy, healthy and prosperous. Brady couldn't remember hearing the true gospel of Jesus Christ until Pastor Tom explained it to him.
From his time at Shepherd's, Brady now understood that there was way much more to going to church than what he had experienced growing up. At Shepherd's he learned the essential doctrines of the faith whereas Pastor Olson rarely mentioned doctrine.
Pastor Tom often said he wanted his church to aspire to "love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind." Likewise to love one another - a command, not a suggestion. "Deny yourself," said Christ, "pick up your cross and follow me."
Tom Horton pulled no punches when talking about the devil. He taught that followers of Jesus Christ are at war with "the world the flesh and the devil." He made it clear that from the beginning of time God had allowed Satan and his demons access to the human mind. They were also permitted to possess certain unbelievers.
Brady had enormous respect for Pastor Tom…however, good and evil angels engaged in a continuous battle seemed preposterous. Others in his church hadn't taken spiritual warfare seriously either. And because they failed to "put on the full armor of God" they opened themselves up to demonic deception, distractions and diversions.
The forces of evil could spot an unarmed believer from a galaxy away. For a training exercise greenhorn tempters were assigned to the Christians who had chinks in their armor. Veteran tempters were fearless, merciless, cruel, vicious, relentless, always spoiling for a knock down drag out fight!
The vets were skillful at messing with the human mind - both the saved and the unsaved. Once in a while they would even score a point or two with mature believers. Their main mission was to get poison darts into the minds of humans who truly put their trust in Him. Scores of His followers stood their ground against fierce attacks but, on occasion, He would allow them to weasel their way into the hearts and minds of those who were His. The tempters never understood why He would allow it, only that at times He did.
Early one morning Poneros returned to Cherry Lane to check on Bromos and was surprised to see that the greenhorn was nowhere around. "Where is that pea brain?" the demon snarled. Bromos would pay dearly for disobeying an order. But first things first.
Poneros checked the prey's alarm. Realizing it would go off any second he got busy blowing streams of air into the room cold enough to freeze an Arctic Eskimo. His mind was fully engaged on what he was doing so he failed to notice the angel Chara enter the room and lay a massive wing over the lump under the covers. With Brady out of harm's way, the angel cleared his throat, "Ah-hem."