Great magicians perfect two intentional arts that set them apart from other magicians. The first is the art of misdirection, getting the audience’s attention to focus on an unimportant object or action so nobody notices the important movements happening right before their eyes. The second is the sly physical manipulation of objects with imperceptible movement, commonly known as sleight of hand.
On Wednesday afternoon January 6, 2021 my sister asked me, “have you seen the news?” So, I clicked on the news. Our White House in Washington D.C. was being swarmed. I seriously could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. People scaling the walls of the White House, news that a woman had been shot that later died, people vandalizing offices, stealing objects and as I write this today five more died from that day. But the most serious thing that came to my mind was the epitome of the state of lawlessness of our country symbolized by the disrespect shown to the White House as it was breached. No matter where your loyalty in politics fall, that was a sad day for our country.
As I watch all the anger, blame, destruction, and chaos I see the craftiness of the enemy. Like a great magician creating misdirection, and sleight of hand. Making sure in the physical that all eyes are drawn to the chaos daily through the media. Which allows him to continue his path which is to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 10:10).
These things going on in our nation are things we used to see on the evening news regarding foreign nations and would never have believed it would be our nation someday. And yet, here we are. And you know what? Many of our missionaries/missionary families serve in foreign countries that live with this type of instability most of the time.
How do they handle it? Well, they are not perfect by any means. And they do go through their own times of struggles. However, their ability to handle it is no different than yours or mine as a believer, it lies in our trust or lack of trust in the Father and His Word.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV)
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
My friends we are in the last days. The enemy wants you to believe this is something new. No! It is misdirection! The truth is those last days started over 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified for our sins, was buried, rose again, and ascended to the Father. And things have steadily become more difficult throughout the ages. Read that passage again. Why have the times of difficulty come? Because people will be lovers of self, etc. Notice that verse started out with lovers of self. Everything else becomes a consequence of that behavior.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Have you taken a good look around you lately regarding marriages, families, and specifically at all the finger pointing that has gone on at every level of human existence? The enemy wants you to fight horizontally. So, you only see through your eyes or the eyes of the distortion of this world. It is his sleight of hand movement manipulating people through their differences, using the media (one of his greatest tools), encouraging people to turn on one another instead of being able to agree to disagree on the issues.
Please understand that your spouse, children, family, friends, peers, etc., are not the enemy! Do not be deceived!! This is a “spiritual battle” we are in. You must fight from a vertical position.
His Word tells us…
Psalm 33:13 (ESV)The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man…
Proverbs 5:21 (ESV)For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.
Psalm 18:6 (ESV)In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Our God sees! He hears!! Do not be deceived into thinking He does not know what is happening in your life with all the things going on in this world and that He does not care.
Those are lies from the enemy! While we may get tripped up by the misdirection and sleight of hand, He does not! But may I encourage you to me more mindful of what is going on in the Middle East and Western Europe while keeping your focus on God! The enemy would have you be ignorant of those areas. And remember…
He is a God that cares for you and a God that will lead you through. So, look up as we journey through these days of trouble and trials.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.