Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I had a dream about a month ago that terrified me. My little nephew, who can be a little rascal at times, was really acting up. He was demon possessed! And I was the one given the role of casting out the demon. Finally when I did, a dark and oppressive power rushed over me. I woke up Melissa with my screams.
That dream gives me the willies. And I've talked with others who have experienced demon oppression, and their description is much like what I experienced. While mine was probably just having eaten too much sugar before bed (probably marshmallows or some-such demon possessed delectable), it was terrifying enough for me to realize what we are up against as believers.
And then I read passage of the father with the demon possessed boy out of Mark today. In it Jesus in effect is saying, "'If I can cast out your demon?' Are you kidding me? I'm Jesus!" Then in Hebrews, I read that Jesus was made our priest not by the power of being a descendant of Aaron, but by "the power of an indistructable life."
This Jesus we follow is bigger, stronger and more powerful than our deepest fears. My deepest fear is hell. This morning I was reading about it in Mark. Fun it is not. Hell is absolutely terrifying! Jesus says it's better for us to chop off appendages than to go there. Fun.
Last night I was watching the Animal Channel, and they were describing a house haunting and how this poor woman was woken up and held down by a powerful and dark presence that told her to "Get out!" in a deep voice. On the Animal Channel! What? Fun.
Now that I think about it, just last week we were having a little family outing in Chattanooga at the Corn Maze. Unfortunately the corn was about ready to harvest and the plants were wilting, which left in plane view their "Horror Fair" located right next to the maze. David and Teya kept commenting on the "interesting statues," which consisted of people chared black and impaled on poles (I think they burn them at night). I wish I still had the "unenlighted" eyes of a child that saw stuff like that as just "interesting statues." Fun.
So here I sit, in my comfortable little Starbucks nook, with the sun streaming in and everything here on Lookout Mountain absolutely exploding in fall colors. And I'm struck with the staggering beauty of God juxtaposed to the horror filled experiences described above. Why would anyone want to have anything to do with hell?
I imagine no one really does. But every day I make choices that seem to draw me closer to it's gates. I even question if I'm a Christian at all sometimes. I'm so ridiculously selfish and though I know I'm not enslaved to sin, it sure feels like it.
But my reality as a child of God is Christ. Not in some obscure metaphorical or simply spiritual way. But Jesus Christ is going on and on and on, pleading my case before God's throne. A case not based on "Look what Phil did, he really isn't all that bad, he just needs a little work, a tweak here and a tweak there."
No! Jesus is pleading my case because it's his case. He owns it. He's actually "living to make intercession for me" (Hebrews). What a relief to know that his work on the cross, while final, continues to be in play for the believer. That since Jesus holds his priesthood permanently "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God."
Jesus' work continues in little old Philip. As scary as I sometimes am, Jesus ain't scared. That's a comfort during this season of so many contradictions: Thanksgiving and Halloween, beautiful changing leaves and haunted houses. It's a comfort when you get the willies.
Note on picture above: He looks like my Hebrew Professor in Seminary!