If you didn’t notice, today is Friday the 13th. Are you still alive, or did a maniacal, undead mask-wearer visit your un-chaperoned slumber party? The night is still young, I suppose.
Well, so far I haven’t encountered a single monster – except our little dog who came in from running around in the wet grass and jumped in the bed.
Back in the 1980s, a movie came out to spoof Friday the 13th horror films. It was called Saturday the 14th. The promo line was, “It gets bad on Friday the 13th, but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th.” …..Whatever.
Real life, however, is far more terrifying than movies. As a matter of fact, the scariest day for any pastor comes every week. Someone should make a movie about it – a documentary. It could be called…..“Sunday Morning (before Church)”
Here’s what the announcer could say during the promo commercial…
“Forget abandoned campgrounds, haunted lakes, and dark rooms. Forget about blade-wielding criminals that won’t die. Forget about whatever goes bump in the night, requiring someone in a bathrobe and slippers to say, “Is anybody there?” All the real demons come out on Sunday morning before church….like clockwork. This is REAL!”
There is a Devil, believe me! Even if the Bible did not teach of his existence, I could take you to him, or at least one of his workers, at about 9am on any given Sunday. All I would need to summon his presence would be to ask, “Honey, where are my shoes?” I could also say something like, “How long are you going to be in the bathroom?” Any of these phrases is guaranteed to conjure something or someone.
The evidence of his presence can be seen in the items that come up missing. For instance, the Devil is regularly hiding stuff that was in total view only 8 hours before. He or his demons love to hide shoes, hairbrushes, shirts, dresses, pantyhose, lipstick, and Bibles. Occasionally, he even likes to hide the church mail that comes to the parsonage, leaving the pastor to look irresponsible.
But thankfully, one thing’s a constant: even though Satan is real, just like in a poorly-written movie, his ways are predictable.
Unlike our God, whose “judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33), the “wiles” of the devil never deviate from his modus operandi.
The Greek word translated “wiles” in the KJV is methodia (μεθοδεία). Essentially, it is a word made from combining meta and hodos (“after,” and “a way”), and is used to describe what could be called “a decided plan of deception and trickery.”
Satan is a “method” actor, in other words. He plays a part – a predictable part – in trying to deceive, trick, thwart, anger, harm, and sidetrack God’s people. He follows a pattern that can be anticipated and for which preparations can be made. It’s all in the Script.
Preparing for Sunday
So, why do unseen forces attack on Sunday morning? They do it because it is the Lord’s Day. They do it because they want us to be ineffective and powerless. They know that hurting, lost, and desperate souls need to be ministered unto, many of which might be on the verge of giving up.
The forces we battle against would love to use a missing hairbrush, a wrinkled shirt, a knicked face, burnt toast, or an upset stomach to literally raise the dead – the “flesh.” The enemy knows that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8).
Fortunately for us, all we have to do is be watchful (1 Peter 5:8), armored (Ephesians 6:11), and filled with His Spirit, the “power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). The “wiles” of the devil, his schemes, and his evil plans are no match for the God “who performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).
Bonus: 6 Ways to Have a Better Sunday Morning
- Do all you can do to get ready for church the night before. If necessary, get ready at different times, so as not to get ticked off at children or risk being asked, “What do you think of this dress?“
- Take different cars, even if your 10-year-old has to drive the lawnmower.
- Reduce dress standards/expectations so you can go to church looking like you just woke up.
- Put duct tape over everybody’s mouths until they get to the door of the church.
- Get up in the middle of the night to eat all you can so you can avoid breakfast, thereby avoiding arguing over what to eat.
- Become Adventist and go to church on Saturday (last resort).
If I Could Make a Movie
I do wish that I could make a movie that featured some of those evil characters in horror films. One, in particular, is the guy that comes and kills people in their dreams, Freddie Kruger. Another would be the ultimate movie villain, Count Dracula. Add to the list all the other demonic entities that send women running through the woods in high heels, only to trip on a spider web.
Just for fun, I would have all the demonic bad guys come up against a couple of praying saints, or an old preacher who’s broken-hearted and fed up with sin.
The bad guys would come against them in full force, swearing and threatening and promising all kinds of pain and suffering. Then when all hope seemed lost, right at the moment of despair, as the demoniacs were making their charge,
they’d run into a solid, unconquerable wall of Light…
the ringing sound of a massive sword being unsheathed would be heard…
terror would fill the eyes of the attackers at the sound of a Voice, saying…
“These are mine!“
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4
Now, where are my clean socks? I knew I put them in the drawer…..Honey?!