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The Calumniator Made Me Do It!

Over the last few weeks I've been sharing about the enemy of our souls. Today we look at how he sows likes to sow the seeds of discord, division and disconnect relationships. We start with:

1 John 3:10 NLT So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

Rolling Stone magazine describes country music as having it roots in in God, but the late Charlie Daniels was not very wise about not fiddlin’ with the devil. Country music fans know that country music has profound and moving lyrics and thoughts; let me share some with you:

How many country singers does it take to change a lite bulb? 2. 1 to do it and the other to write a song recalling all the good times he had with that old light bulb. and the lyrics of country music are also profound and moving. Listen to these!

If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? l I Flushed You From The Toilet Of My Heart l If The Phone Don't Ring, Baby, You'll Know It's Me l When You Leave Walk Out Backwards, So I'll Think You're Walking In l They May Put Me In Prison, But They Can't Stop My Face From Breakin' Out.

Country music seems to be all about the sad things in life and looking backwards! Now it’s said that if you play country music backwards you get your wife, house and dog back; and your freedom, life, and sobriety will return. But… what happens when you play Rock music? Stand by, we’ll soon review some creepy truths!

Usually I like to focus on God’s goodness, grace, love and compassion. and on what He’s done for us… and what He expects of us! I like to preach about our greatest spiritual champion and the lover of our souls! But today we continue looking at our greatest spiritual enemy, the opposition, the one who’s on the opposite side of the spectrum.

We don’t often consider the one not filled with grace, compassion and love, or about the things he does to us-not for us! So we need to learn and be reminded about the foe of our souls- The Calumniator. What’s a calumniator? One who sows distrust and hurt by subtly leveling false and accusatory statements- with the intent to divide and destroy 1’s reputation and wellbeing. In the Bible, he’s called The devil or Satan - the enemy of all that is good!

4 weeks ago I suggested that if God exists, so does Satan. and if there’s a Satan, he’s got nothing good in store for us. But if there’s no Satan, then there’s no hell because hell was created as his final destination. and if there’s no hell… then there’s no need for Jesus- He’s unnecessary! From what did He save us? But there is a God, and there is a Satan that wants to drag us all the way to hell. But also, we have Jesus, Who as Lord and Savior offers us salvation… and protection.

Satan is Hebrew for adversary, accuser or opponent. The Greek word for devil, diábolos, has a slew of connotations for old slew foot: slanderer, defamer, maligner, attacker, condemner and more. But catch this one: he sets at variance. in other words, the Calumniator’s goal and intent is to cause division that will sever relationships.

He even divided the angelic host! The late highly respected pastor Charles Stanley wrote that the devil’s goals are to thwart God’s purposes, so he misleads and deceives. He uses people to cast aspersions and accusations. He create battlegrounds of chaos by stirring up criticism and distrust. We see it everywhere.

One article states the word “devil” means “to divide” or “to throw against”. It contrasts the devil’s strategy as being in direct conflict with Jesus’s desire for us. Pastor Stanley writes that division and disunity are satan’s primary tactic to destroy Xians and the Church from within. We see it everywhere.

Now we know that God exists. and if God exists, so does satan. and if there’s a devil, he’s got nothing good in store for us. God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit is our greatest protection against the enemy’s lies. Even Jesus used it against satan. We need our full Armor of God because we never know when or where the surprise attack hits.

My 1st point is that the devil wants to avoid us knowing it’s him behind the attack. Here’s a parable I found to explain his tactic to deflect the true source and cause of the issues and divisions that assail us!

A young boy was walking thru the woods with his mom. The wind kicked up and the trees were blowing wildly. The youngster’s hat blew away. Dirt flew up his nose and twigs and leaves were hitting him in the face. Frustrated and angry, he asked his mom why don’t they just cut down all the trees so the wind would go away. Listen… Don’t mistake the source and the cause! OK, let’s get into Scripture:

Isa 14:12-14 NKJV "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Lucifer, methinks you gots some Pride and Ego going there! And Jesus, speaking to the self-righteous Pharisees, reminds us that Satan uses others to do his work in: Jn 8:44 NIV You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies … and Ouch! Don’t wanna be a Pharisee or Devil’s tool.

One more: Ac 13:9-10 NLT Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?

It’s easy to forget that it’s not the trees that cause the wind. Satan, his minions, and the world whisper, for us to place blame and condemnation where grace and compassion, not guilt, is due. The Apostle Paul clearly explains our true battle in: Ep 6:12-13 NIV For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Listen, we’re not entering into a battle – we’re already in one whether we like it or not! And if we’re unaware of it, then we’re already losing a lot skirmishes- but hopefully not the war. As Xians we don’t realize we’re wasting our time fighting flesh and blood instead of praying against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Flip Wilson- anybody remember his signature line? The Devil made me do it! The devil might not have “made you do it”, but The Calumniator certainly falsifies and raises questions about happenstance and happenchance. He whispers and magnifies the faults of others in our ears, real or not, and then suggests we deflect and blame everybody else for all the hassles and issues we face in life.

Flip Wilson was flippant about the devil and his devilish dominions. But we too can be dismissive and forget just how active they can be… and actually are. We find it hard to attribute the evil we see to demons and such because, well they’re kinda hard to see.

But it’s a deadly serious matter as we see the accelerating evil and wickedness in this world. So when none of it makes sense; when everything seems to be spinning out of control and you ask yourself what in the world is going on… there’s no answer to what in the world is going on because not of this world. Don’t mistake where the wind originates- don’t mistake the true source and cause.

I’m going to share just a few of the experiences from 30+ years ago that convinced me of the reality that the Devil exists and is aggressively active. If there’s a God- then there’s a Satan. If there’s a satan then he’s got nothing good in store for us! That just as God has plans for us, so does satan. and these are my old stories that convicted me of such. and I hope you can link them with some stories in your own lives.

It was December 1985 and I was not yet a Christian. Alice and I flew to NY to visit an old friend. As we drove into NYC we were blown away seeing on top of a downtown skyscraper - proudly lit up in the nighttime sky, in huge red numbers: 666. The Apostle John identifies that number in:

Rv 13:17-18 NLT And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

The beast is the antichrist- the servant of satan. The how and who of 666 is shrouded in mystery just as the Holy Spirit intended it. Yet, even before I knew Jesus, I knew that 666, and therefore this building, had something to do with satan. It turned out this was 666 W 5th Ave. At the time… and surprise… it was the address for Columbia Records.

Listen, music can be quite the instrument of immoral and decadent influence and persuasion. It can change our way of thinking. Singers Billie Eilish chants “That all good girls go to hell” and Kesha sings “Don’t want to go to heaven witho raising hell”. Rapper Big L says he’s the Devil’s son with 666 on his skull. Satan wants “The Highway to Hell” to be attractive so they promoted that we just need “Sympathy for the devil”!

Years ago I discovered that Satan was sneakily involved in some of my favorite songs. I was unaware of it until I saw a presentation on Backwards Masking, playing records backwards. But today, most music genre’s don’t even try to hide their demonic emphasis.

True BM isn’t a deliberate message recorded backwards, but happens “naturally” in phonetic reversal. In other words, the writer had no intention or knowledge of the fact that the words of their lyrics contained another message that was only revealed when played in reverse!

When I studied it, the recording technology wasn’t sophisticated enough to devise a way to discover a series of words that when reversed could produce meaningful phrases… at least by human means! and there were too many instances of this to be mere coincidence. They praised satan.

They’re way 2 creepy to play here, but if you want to know more, ask Pastor Google. Now, a few years later, searching for KLove on my car radio I stopped to listen to a song I loved to play by Blue Oyster Cult called Don’t Fear the Reaper! It’s got great guitar parts! BTW, Columbia Records produced that album.

I blasted the volume, but as a Christian I actually listened to the lyrics. The words promoted satan’s dastardly deeds and works. There was no disguising that Don’t Fear the Reaper was making suicide attractive. Unlike Country music played backwards, the only things you get back from satan are pain, misery and heartbreak.

The recording and movie industries, as well as many forms of media, try to fascinate us and draw us away from God. They intentionally spread misinformation to misguide us about the true enemy of our souls. God warns us to know our adversary and not be naïve in or about our spiritual battle with him! So it’s imperative that we search the Bible for the truth which offers us clues on the devil’s M.O.- on how he operates.

1st, we need to recognize that our enemy isn’t an easily recognizable slew foot. Our cultural portrayal of satan as a red-faced, scary-looking, loud and proud goat-like beast with horns and hooves just… ain’t… found... in the Bible.

Actually, just the opposite! Before his rebellion, God describes satan in Ez 28:12-18 as a glorious model of perfection! Full of wisdom, faultless in beauty and blameless in all his ways. He was anointed and adorned with precious stones before humanity was created. At least until pride, ego and sin moved in and corrupted Lucifer, forcing God to expel him from heaven! Even though he was cast out by the Lord, satan still has access.

We’ve no idea how satan and his demons look because they’re spirit beings. But deception always wears a mask. And satan and his horde seeks to delude us into seeing them as our helpful servants, who are loving and righteous guides and a light for all people. But don’t mistake the trees for the wind… they’re not servants, they’re spoilers.

Although it’s been years since I’ve mentioned this, it’s worth the retelling, TV shows like The Preacher, Lucifer or Angel from Hell, seek to mislead and misguide us. Lucifer’s a benevolent caring entity who wants to help the cops catch criminals. The Angel is a drunk continually messing things up. And the Preacher’s totally misguided! and our current line-up is just blatantly and absolutely shameless and worse. But the Apostle Paul gives us warning about those that would misguide us: 81 2Co 11:13-15 NIV For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. and no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. Satan’s hits are always hurtful and harmful. And of course he never paints it like it is! It's always sugar coated like the liquor ads where the drinker is beautiful or handsome, well dressed and successful- not the poor sod lying in the gutter in their own mess. Listen, it’s vital to see thru the cover-up.

Jesus said Satan is a liar and a thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy. and he’s good at it! He may be defeated but he’s not dumb, and he wants to drag us down to hell with him when the time comes. If we’re unaware of this we play right into his hands and enter his deadly and dangerous games. He’s always in conflict with God and never stops struggling against Him… and us! Make no mistake, we’re his prey. and he’s constantly on the offensive lurking and looking for chances to get us! We read in: Job 1:6-7 NIV 1 day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Remember Satan was cast out of heaven, so… Earth is Satan’s stomping ground- and I do mean stomping!

He encourages defiance and disobedience to God and His kingdom. He’s the ultimate source behind every evil and all lawlessness. Satan does anything and everything in his power to oppose the Lord and those who would follow God. The Apostle Peter warns us to be alert in 1Pe 5:8-9 NIV Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. How do we resist? By submitting ourselves to God!

What truly cemented my certainty that the devil and demons exist were all based on real life events and personal experiences. Just as what truly cemented my certainty the God existed and I needed Jesus were all based and continue to be based on real life events and personal experiences. And in my role as pastor and spiritual leader I really have learned that I am indeed the devil’s prey and he’s constantly prowling around looking for ways to hit, hurt and harm me. But I have Jesus, my Lord and Savior!

So, some things we need to understand and know – more today than ever before. Satan’s resourceful and powerful with authority on Earth. His assault is cruel and non-stop. The devil skulks behind the scenes acting covertly to prevent and/or derail our faith. He loves to side scrape and blindside us unexpectedly and distract us from obedience.

Satan wreaks havoc in our lives thru deception and lies, and everywhere and anywhere- so be aware! Beware! Satan whispers in our ears that others are not trustworthy and underhanded. That the Bible holds no answers and cannot change lives. That Jesus is weak and ineffective… if Jesus even exists at all. Satan deceives us about who God is, who God says we are, and who he himself is.

That he doesn’t even exist is his most potent weapon. and just so you know-he leaves us alone when we’re disobedient to God- why mess with success? His strategies in spiritual warfare are beyond our capability of grasping. But his tactics are usually mounted though people because his most effective attacks are thru our emotions.

And the Bible warns us that we’ll be under attack from within the Church because Satan wants to tear Jesus’ church, Jesus’ followers and our relationships apart! But we’re not without resources or protection! As I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks, Paul tells us of our greatest defense - the full Armor of God in:

Eph 6:10-13 NIV Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full AofG so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 4 our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full Armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Our conflict with satan is spiritual and therefore tangible P weapons are ineffective. and Scripture doesn’t us offer a list of satan’s specific tactics of which to be aware, but if we’re obedient to God’s instructions, we’ll stand and have victory regardless of his strategies.

Don’t dismiss satan’s warfare against us. Be aware to just how much he’s actually involved in and around every aspect of our lives in a growing and more aggressive way. and just as the Holy Spirit aids us in our Christian walk, Satan calls us away from growing in Christ and serving God in any effective capacity. OK, last points.

The Apostle Paul advices and warns us of the devil’s traps in: 2Ti 2:25-26 NIV …gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. When we grasp the magnitude of satan’s deception, it’s easier to not mistake the root source and causes. But if we’re oblivious, our efforts at right living fail because we’re too easily pushed off God’s path of obedience. King Solomon put it bluntly and even repeated it two times in

Pr 14:12 and 16:25 NIV “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Listen, the bottom line to resisting the devil is always to submit to God: James 4:6-10 starts out by saying: God gives us even more grace to stand against evil desires and God opposes the proud but favors the humble.

The proud don’t and/or won’t submit! James continues in: V7-10 NIV Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. This morning we got into some really heavy, but vital possibly life changing stuff. So let me ask you to take some time to pray and reflect on your own lives. As I asked last month, are you allowing things in your life that stand in the way of your relationship with the Lord and/or gives the devil access to your homes and minds and entice you to fail and fall? If so, take the time to make the conscience choice, the decision to put on the Full Armor of God and allow God to speak to your heart and renew your mind. OK, I said earlier the lyrics of CM can be profound and moving… not as profound as Scripture, but they can still have great lessons for us. Let me close with these lyrics from a county song:

Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life / End over end, neither left nor to right / Straight through the heart of them righteous up rights / Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life! and remember, Christ has already defeated the devil for good at the cross and won our victory but we need His armor!

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