Sunday, November 06, 2005

Taking Out the Trash

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."
--Job 1:7


I’m trying to make sense of something. It’s like reaching into a nasty old koi pond and trying to pull out a fish. It’s all too murky and stirred up to see anything. And when I touch something it’s slippery and slimy, and almost certainly smelly. When I am able to get a grip on something I’m not sure I want to pull it into the light.

Human beings generally believe in God, or at least a god (goddess). Christians believe in a personal God, one who cares and loves and suffers and sacrifices for His creation. We also believe in Satan. Maybe not a comic character who dances about on our shoulders, but perhaps some vague force opposing God. We might see it as some sort of Star Wars thing with two sides of the force battling across time and space. But since we aren’t Jedi knights we don’t worry about it too much.

We don’t want to live in a world where evil is personified. We don’t mind that sometimes things are bad, and sometimes there are bad people. And we don’t mind
sometimes acknowledging that we are naughty. But we don’t want to think that under the veneer of beauty the world is manipulated by some evil force who seeks us harm. Personally seeks us harm. We don’t want to be some pawn on a spiritual chess board.

Reluctantly I can see that there are dark forces in the world, sliding just beneath the reality we know. They move about unseen, like oily things gliding beneath the surface. Occasionally they create ripples in my world.

I written before about those whispers in the dark. Could there be something creeping about the edge of the light of my home? Might there be shadows within my home, places where the light of my LORD does not shine?

My eldest son felt compelled to play with fire. He burned much of our church down. He says he heard voices telling him to do it. For weeks. What does that mean? The psychologist says he isn’t schizophrenic. Could there be something evil lurking about my son, whispering to him, tempting him?

I know that my children have come from a place where darkness rules openly. But in the land of iPods and Big Macs getting a grip on cruelty and voodoo rituals doesn't come easy. What dark things might be lurking near my home because of the evil visited upon my children? Someone took a baseball bat to Jeremiah’s feet, crushing them. There are dents in his head. When he first came to us he didn’t believe we would let him have his own bowl of rice to eat. Isaac has scars all over his face. Someone had ritually burnt him to ward of werewolves.
I've heard worse stories from the woman who rescued my children. I’m not sure what to make of it all, but I want to figure it out.

So I’m “boning up” on the dark side of the force. That sounds a little flippant, but that’s my point. I prefer to think of evil as a dark figure with a cape who is into heavy mechanical breathing and sounds like James Earl Jones. But I think that usually evil does not grab our throats with an invisible grip. Usually it just whispers to us the things we want to hear, the things we desire, the self doubts, and what our rights are. It hints that our conscience doesn't matter. And the biggest lie he whispers is that he doesn't exist. I’ve gotten used to not thinking about the evil side of my theology. Which is just the way he wants it.

Now I’m reading books on spiritual warfare, and generational curses, and demon possession. Not a comfortable topic. I don't like it.

There was something in a book I was reading yesterday. It was a chapter on evil objects. It suggests that there are things in our lives that attract evil, push away what is good. I wondered if there was anything in my home that I needed to remove. There isn’t any pornography, or drugs, or voodoo dolls. Then I remembered. On the top shelf of my bedroom, in the corner, are some books and mementos.

When I was eighteen I wanted to learn about world religions. I took a stack of books and went off where there weren’t any people and read them. I have some of them still. And there are books from when I was a monk in a yogic ashram. But books can’t be bad. They are just information, and I love learning things. And oh, yes, there’s that little wooden box. It has a picture of Sri Ramakrishna, a stone from India, a few Rudraksha beads, and a candle from a hindu temple. So it’s not like I have any porn or any... Wait a minute. Those things? He wants me to get rid of that stuff?

Yeah, that stuff. And not just that stuff. I need to sift through my home and really take a look at what is in it. I am my LORD’s servant and everything I have belongs to Him. And frankly, there’s a lot of stuff He doesn’t want.

My dad has a few bucks. He lives in Southern California and is very successful. (If you can call divorcing his fifth wife, giving away one of his houses, and spending most nights with his former maid successful.)

He takes pride in throwing stuff away. I don’t give him things anymore because when he tires of something he throws it away. He takes pride in paying extra for garbage service. He hauls five or six cans of trash to the curb every week and it is often filled with stuff that people give him. After a birthday it might hit six trash cans and seven large plastic bags. After Christmas... well let’s just say it is astonishing.

But I think Jesus would just as soon haul five or six cans of the stuff I have given Him to the curb.

I thought that those books and mementos are just that, mementos. But why do I have them? I’m not going to read them again. I know all that I want to know about that stuff (actually, more).

So, out with The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Out with The Autobiography of a Yogi. I don’t need to read Patangali or The Baghavad Gita or Surathji. I certainly don’t need the beads or the candles.
There's even a fragment from a Mayan temple my father-in-law gave me. That stuff is dead, and it is nearly forgotten.

Nearly, but not quite.

That is how he works. He whispers in my ear: “That’s not important. That doesn’t mean anything.” And so I let it sit on the shelf.

There are a lot of things I know I need to do with and for my kids. And I am working on it. I'm reading the gospels out loud to them, to be sure they hear the good word about the Living Word. There's the reading I have taken on. I’ll finish up those books. I'll go to that seminar this Friday on spiritual warfare, and I’ll enlist friends in helping me through prayer. But there are a lot of things that I can do to clean up my own act.

I don’t need any Schwarzenegger movies, or horror movies or any of that stuff. I don’t need any books on mysticism or mythology. And I don’t need mementos of a life that is dead to me.

Hang on a second, LORD. Let me help you haul those cans to the curb.






UPDATE (Tuesday 10/8/05):
My first thought was to burn that stuff. Seemed a little dramatic, and I thought, why not just let it rot in the landfill forever? So I wrapped it all in a paper sack to make sure it didn't fall out, and put it in the trash.

Well, the can didn't get picked up today! Strange. First time for everything. So it is still at my house, outside, in the trash can. I'm tempted to dig it out and do something more permanent with it.

I've got to say this whole thing is giving me the creeps. I don't like dealing with this sort of thing. But I can't deny it since scripture is very clear here.

Thank you, all of you, who are saying that you are praying for me and my family.


39 comments:

Anonymous said...

CS, have been praying for you and your family, I don't know all that much, but I do know that the more that you gave to God, the harder Satan trys to pull you back to the dark side, that is why we have to keep our guard up at all times
take care
janice

curious servant said...

Thank you.

Pia said...

i've read books in the past that i think will be helpful in your situation. for the spiritual warfare read the bondage breaker. i've learned a lot on that. try also reading the power of a praying parent by stormie omartian.

i believe that prayer can do so much for us.

God bless.

MMM said...

you could record a cd of you reading the bible, and let it sit on continuous play in your house. that's what we do here. it is a good thing to stop and cock my ear and hear the word.

Lillee said...

Interesting. Our preacher once suggested that African Art, while interesting, has deep roots in voodism. Many people use it to decorate thier homes with not knowing what they are bringing into thier homes.
Generational curses...I had to chuckle, you must be penecostal. We've been discussing those in a class I am in. When I tried to tell my mom that I beleived the reason the women in our family have so many issuses with depression were because it was a generational thing, she got mad. I said, "Mom, we can stop this, we can break it right now, just by giving it to God." I didn't get very far with her, but, it's something I am praying about

Bad Alice said...

May God bless you for taking these children into your life. May God protect you all.

Evil seems to be such a shape shifter. There's the incredible evil of systems and the men and women who run them: the torture chambers, the death squads, abuse, abandonment. Then there is the evil we grow ourselves, those little unpruned patches you mention, those little talismans we can't seem to let go and that we feed our bad energy into, creating a magnet, a beacon for whatever wandering evil might pass through.

The world of voodoo, that's a scary realm to brush against. The denomination I work for has church planters that are building churches in Haiti and Haitian communities in the US. They can attest to the reality of curses and spiritual warfare.

bornfool said...

I think I need to do some house cleaning myself. I still have several books on Wicca sitting around in a box somewhere. Why do I still have them?
Nice post.

curious servant said...

LILLEE: I'm not pentacostal, but I would say that I am perhaps a touch more demonstrative in worship than most in my church. As for generational curses, I'm not sure where I stand yet. I am in the researching stage of this. I will go wherever He leads. Thanks for the comment.

BAD ALICE: Thanks for the comment. Though I was focussed in this post on personal issues, I truly appreciate your comment encompassing the larger issues of evil in the world.

BORN FOOL: Nice echo! I truly want to get rid of the stuff that isn't God glorifying. I need to stop thinking of stuff as MINE and think of it as His.

Hikingalong said...

I've been praying for you and your family. Burn the items you know God wants you to get rid of...don't just throw them away. I have had personal experience with material things and evil. An example I can give you is a wooden statuette that my in-laws brought back from Jamaica. They thought is was just an innocent native artifact. When I received it from them, I immediately felt evil exude from it. I didn't want to hurt their feelings so I just put it away until they left. After they left, I took the "idol" and burned it. I can't tell you the opposition I faced from Satan as I prepared to destroy this item. That's why I strongly encourage you to burn those items in your home that you don't need to have around. After you do it, take some holy oil and annoint each room in your house while pleading the blood of Jesus over each room. You may think I'm a religious fanatic, I'm not. I do believe God has given us power over evil through the name of Jesus and through his blood. It's not only good to pray the words "I plead the blood of Jesus over my home' as you go about, speak the words out loud! Let the demons hear you and tremble! Keep yourself prayed up and put on your complete armor (Ephesians 6) Read the book "Pigs in the Parlor" by Frank Hammond. You can go to Amazon.com and read the excerpt to give you an idea what the book is about. This is a very practical book about demons and demon possession. Also, if you haven't read "This present darkness" or "Piercing the darkness" by Frank Peretti, you might want to read them. They are fiction but, they can give you a very good picture of how Satan works. I hope I've helped you some.

bjk said...

Count me in as an intercessor for you and yours.....

I am praying especially for your children. The choice will have to be theirs to follow Christ (in the simplest of faith)...but what an example they have in you as Dad....

I pray for you and yours big bold prayers....

Nancy said...

Wow. What a post. Have you ever read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis? It's the definitive book on the Enemy.

Also, have you been "baptized in the Holy Spirit" as is talked about in the Bible. THe Scriptures talk about having the Holy Spirit as well as being filled with it in something which is called the "Baptism". Have you experienced both?

In your circumstance, you need all the power of God in your life.

Bless you!
Nancy

curious servant said...

Thank you Nancy.

I left a reply on your blog.

Nancy said...

Hey Curious,

Glad to hear it. Thanks for the note. I know the baptism of the Holy Spirit isn't a cure-all, but you might as well have all the advantages God offers... :) Keep your chin up.

Blessings,
Nancy

Nancy said...

Hey Curious... I was just wondering... What about the boys? Have they also received the baptism?

Nance

curious servant said...

Yes. They were Baptized about eight years ago (I have the date written down at home) in the old sanctuary that burned down.

Nancy said...

Well, that's good. I can't imagine what you're going through, just thinking through this as well with ya.

You are well loved by God. He adores you and is directing the path of your family.

N

Running2Ks said...

I add my prayers, and I hope the messages that come through to your family are full of love and peace.

McSwain said...

I see Stormie Omartian's book was already suggested above. It as a chapter on this very thing. Excellent book, and she's an excellent, godly lady.

An old book, but C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" is a classic.

And yes, I'm praying for you and your family.

McSwain said...

I see someone already suggested "Screwtape Letters," too. Oh well.

Most definitive book? God's Word. But you already know that.

Nancy said...

Okay, The Screwtape Letters is not the MOST definitive book... The Bible would come in first...

MrJ said...

Wow! 20 comments. I didn't go through them all..

I trust God to lead me for edification. Naturally I wouldn't seek it in Buddhism etc. Tempting though....there are so many "nice" things that come from "other" places. I am a science fiction fan...but it is a hobby not my lifestyle.

My thoughts lie with the fact that God is in control and he wins. He is everywhere...even in the darkness...there is light.

Hey...drop me an e-mail if you get a chance... I have a question. I love you bro.

curious servant said...

Hi folks! As you know I am going to a seminar Friday night and Saturday morn about all this spooky stuff. I expect that it will lead to an interesting post for this week (I try to post on Sundays).

But I wanted to say something positive about my children, something that those of you out there can read and know how I feel about them.

So I wrote a new post and I am going to stick it on this blog on Friday. I just thought I'd give a head's up for those who only check in after Sunday afternoon.

Again, thanks to all of you who are praying with me here.

Alexa said...

Hi. First time visiting your blog -- and I'm a bit blown away by the post! Good post.
I'm Catholic, so you'll know where I'm coming from.
I have so many religious pictures around the house that it looks like a monastery! That helps I think. And holy water fonts. And holy candles (candles that have been blessed) and our house has been blessed.
Evil is certainly a reality, and the devil certainly is out there fighting along with St. Michael and all the angels, but the good thing is that the Good always wins.

You obviously have a great deal of love in your heart.
So? You've already won the battle! (But prudence is telling you to get rid of those things, I agree!)
God bless.
And thanks for visiting MY blog!

Judas Hate said...

Thank you for your most gracious comments!

I love that you are one of a handful that really seem to see beyond the name and various rants to realize I (on occasion) may have something worth the read.

Hence the title to my blog:-)

Be well my friend!

bjk said...

Can I ask how your wife is doing now? Just find myself thinking about her lately...is she doing OK?

curious servant said...

She is struggling.

I seem to be handling all of this better than she.

She works too hard. She wants to be a house wife, and iron my clothes and clean the house. I deeply appreciate her efforts, but she works too hard.

Also, my psoriasis is getting pretty bad and she feels that she needs to cover for me.

For example, She didn't want me to rake the leaves in the yard. I did it anyway, but she insisted on getting out there and doing it. It was almost a race between us as I wanted to try to do it. I haven't told her, but the next day my hands started bleeding because of the stress the rake put on them.

She is a student at a junior college right now (she wants to become a drug and alcohol counselor). She studies late (getting A's).

She does too much. She takes on too much. And she is unhappy many days with the challenges that are facing us about Jeremiah.

Please know that she loves our children. She cares for them and does little things to make them happy. But she does too much and she is frustrated and tired.

Anonymous said...

will be praying a prayer for her,
huggs

see-through faith said...

hi
not sure what you did with the stuff in the end - but burning IS a good option.

It's all about obedience to God. the stuff itself is probably irrelevent but if you hear God's whisper - when we do - it's time to step out in faith and obedience. Failing to do that, is the stronghold of the enemy who whispers or shouts *god wouldn't ask you to do that * etc

Lord protect CS and his family andhousehold
Your light is the most powerful thing we'll ever know. Let it shine in every nook and cranny, and drive back any forces of evil, lurking for anyreasons. We ask for your protection, for your hand on their lives, and your love to flow freely. In the name of Jesus we bind any voices that are not yours. Amen

Be blessed :)

see-through faith said...

praying for your wife too.

we are all different and her *too much* may or may not be significant. The BEST possible thing you cna do is pray for her and with her, and encourage her to rest with God on retreats etc

but you know all this.

pecheur said...

CS,
this story resonated with me.

just finished a training session this week on spiritual warfare, and our speaker told of how he felt it was necessary to get rid of the pagan artifacts brought back by missionaries to the facillity. Poweful stuff

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