Friday, October 25, 2019

When You Kick the Devil, You Better Be Wearing Your Armor by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
(Please read 1 Samuel 28.)

In the mid-’90s, I pastored a small church in Des Moines, Iowa. When we moved there, images of “The Heartland” came to mind. Cornfields lined the roads as we neared the city. Stories of commitment to family, country, and honor were regaled. It was where the true America lived.

One December, our daughter came home with a letter from the principal of her elementary school informing us of an upcoming Winter Festival. When I inquired about the nature of the festival and my willingness to donate time and resources, if needed, I was told that because of our ever-increasingly diverse population, symbols denoting the season—in this case, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.—were not allowed per board policy.

That’s when my gloves came off.

We had just celebrated Halloween less than two months earlier. There didn’t seem to be a problem with displaying images of witches, ghosts, the Devil, black cats, and the other usual suspects of the holiday for that “festival.”

So, I brought some things to the attention of the principal. As it turned out, she felt the same way I did, but she was duty-bound by board policy. And now being an administrator myself, I get it. It wasn’t that I was offended. It wasn’t that I wanted the school to be isolationists and only display “my colors.” It was about equal air time and understanding that there are forces out there beyond the scope and sequence of educational standards that look for any opportunity to pollute the minds of our young people without ever giving the other side the same opportunities to educate, celebrate, and enrich. I know the power of God’s Word. I know the power of the Holy Spirit. I know the power of the Blood of Christ and the forgiveness of sins.

And that’s just it. So does the Enemy.

So, I went to work. I told the principal that I felt compelled to write an article about the issue. She encouraged me to do so. I figured it would go one of three ways: DOOR #1: They’d allow all symbols and stories; DOOR #2: They’d ban all symbols and stories; or DOOR #3: They’d keep it the way it was: “Yes” to Halloween, “No” to Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.

I wrote the article, never really expecting The Des Moines Register to publish it. Well, they proved me wrong. I wrote about the nature of Halloween, how it’s a high holy day for many people. Wiccans, Satanists, and other like-minded people hold that evening of October 31 as the most sacred and powerful day of the year, some of them praying for the destruction of Christians and Jews, others praying for a world free from a reign of God Almighty so they can “worship” as they wish. Then I turned the discussion toward the unfair practice in the schools wherein this particular religious holiday gets to be celebrated in our schools while other high holy days, like Easter and Christmas, get shunned for purposes of separation of church and state.

I called for the school board to revisit its policy.

The article appeared in a Sunday edition of the paper. That next week, I received emails and phone calls to the church from all over the U.S. It seemed I had stirred up a hornets’ nest by linking Wiccans and Satanists to the same holiday and lumping them all together. I was asked to hold a debate at a “church” in North Carolina against a noted Wiccan leader. I guess Wiccans and Satanists do not like to be recognized as worshippers of the same god.

The next week, in the Letters to the Editor section, the back page of the front section was literally filled with angry celebrants of Satan’s most holy day, calling for me to recant. In that Sunday’s paper, in the same section where my article appeared one week prior, a professor from the University of Iowa explained how she became a witch and tried dearly to argue that Satanists and Wiccans are not to be linked in any way.

What she and myriad other respondents failed to grasp, however, was that they were proving my point. What was touted by the everyday, working American family as a harmless holiday filled with harmless images of witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters, and spider webs for the purpose of handing out not-so-harmless candy turned out to be something entirely different to an otherwise hidden substrata of the population.

Their numbers staggered even the principal who had urged me in the beginning to “write something.”

The editor of the paper, in an effort to stave off a threatened lawsuit by the debater’s church in North Carolina, asked me to write an apology. I agreed on one condition: “That you print exactly what I write, no editing allowed.” He agreed. So, I proceeded to apologize if I offended anyone who felt lumped together (for that was not my intention at all – to denigrate anyone’s beliefs), but I then proceeded to explain that the mentioning of the two as being “cousins of sorts” cannot, from my Christian worldview, be totally separated. Then, I went on to quote Deuteronomy 18:9-13 as the basis for my beliefs.

The editor and the paper got lambasted for allowing me to write my “unapologetic apology.”

C’est la vie. Truth is truth.

For those of you who don’t believe in witches, don’t believe people can conjure up dead spirits, and the like, you might want to read 1 Samuel 28. Saul believed in it. So much so, that he originally expelled all the mediums and spiritists from the land of Israel (v. 3).

However, Saul became desperate. God was no longer speaking to him. Saul tried to communicate with God—dreams, Urim, prophets (v. 6), but God remained silent.

Now, here’s the rub. Saul knew why God had abandoned him. Samuel told Saul the reason when he was alive in 1 Samuel 15. It was out of that conversation that we get the marvelous quote in 1 Samuel 15:22: “Does not the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

That was the crux of the issue.

Saul had disobeyed God. And Saul acknowledged his sin in 1 Samuel 15:24. However, what was done was done. God would not relent. So, here we are in chapter 28, and what do we find Saul doing? Using a witch to bring Samuel back from the dead.

What I love about this scene is how in the midst of evil, Samuel speaks the truth, reiterating to Saul why God has forsaken him (v. 17). Samuel also predicted Saul’s death and the death of his sons. That was scheduled to take place the next day.

Man, I bet Saul wished at that moment he hadn’t summoned Samuel. Bummer. It explains Saul’s lack of appetite toward the end of the chapter.

As a writer, do you stand amidst the evil around you and speak the truth? You know, evil comes in all shapes and sizes. Some forms worse than others, but evil nevertheless. When you are confronted with it, what do you do?

I believe that as the days grow darker, our lights will shine brighter. That’s what I believe Jesus meant when he said to set your light in the places of darkness in Matthew 5. Who lights a lamp in a room where the sun shines in? Like a city on a hill, who needs it “lit up” in the midday? But if it is illuminated in the darkness, it looks magnificent. Our lights must confront the darkness. Our lives must glorify God. And as is often the case, light exposes darkness. Especially this time of year when the world is dressing up, like the Celtics of old did to worship Samhain and ward off evil spirits.

We shouldn’t turn to darkness to seek the light either. That’s what desperate people who know not God do. That’s what Saul did, and you see how well that worked out for him.

Oh, and by the way, the school board of Des Moines chose Door #2. Was it the door I wanted? No. But at least Satan and his cronies got flushed out of the darkness and their holiday treated like all others.

I consider that a victory in this enemy territory we live in (Ephesians 6:10-20).

As a writer, do you stand amidst the evil around you and speak the truth? #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
I wrote the article, never really expecting The Des Moines Register to publish it. That next week, I received emails and phone calls to the church from all over the U.S. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
It seemed I had stirred up a hornets’ nest by linking Wiccans and Satanists to the same holiday and lumping them all together. I was asked to hold a debate at a “church” in North Carolina against a noted Wiccan leader. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

Triple Time
Triple Time

Book 2 of The Blake Meyer Thriller Series

A Looming Attack. A Loathsome Abduction. A Lethal Assassin.

Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer has an impossible choice to make. After thwarting a massive biological attack on the continental United States, the contagion is still missing and in the hands of the enemy. So is his family. Abducted as an act of revenge.

The clock is ticking, and the chances of finding his wife and children wane with every passing second. The assassin behind it holds all the answers.

Or does she?

Three demands. Three choices.

Blake Meyer knows what must be done...but can he accomplish it before it’s too late? Time is literally of the essence. And double time will not be fast enough.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out as well. Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming soon! And, his new standalone novel, The Letters, is due out January 7, 2020 in e-book, February 18, 2020 in paperback! It is a “Christmas Carol-esque” book that will haunt your family pleasantly for years to come!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

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