Friday Nights - The Devil's Playground
Have you experienced the devil ganging up on you by using things or people to jeopardize or prevent you from doing something important for God? For pastors that “something important” would probably be the sermon each Sabbath. From my anecdotal experience I have found that Fridays, especially Friday evenings and nights, are Satan’s favorite target. If he can thwart or disturb the pastor’s final preparation for the Sabbath sermon, he has gained a victory (or so he thinks).
Friday night, July 27, 2018 – sermon preparation goes according to plan. Topic: Understanding the Trinity. That night something scares our sensitive little pooch, and she is restless and shivering ALL night long, keeping us awake for most of the night. The night before, she was fine. The night after, she was fine, and has been fine ever since. Why did it have to be on a Friday night? I guess the devil does not want us to understand the true facts about what God is like. He would like to keep us confused and in conflict over the Trinity, lest we understand His true character. He would hate for us to learn to love the Father, love Jesus, and love the Holy Spirit. If he could prevent us from forming an intimate relationship with God, he knows he has cut off our lifeline to eternal life (John 17:3).
Well, the devil did not get his way. God blessed and I awoke Sabbath morning feeling refreshed, praising God for His goodness. I sensed His presence in the sermon delivery, and I trust that He was uplifted and received the honor and praise. I was blessed and many who were there expressed similar sentiments. It made me think of how Ellen White shared her experiences of being attacked by the evil one when she lost her voice, unable to speak before an important speaking appointment, and how after seeking God in prayer, her voice returned and grew stronger as she spoke (and remember there were no electronic sound systems) (Cf. Life Sketches, 72).
Friday night’s experience made me think back to at least two other similar Friday night experiences over the last couple years. The first was on June 10, 2016, when I started to experience excruciating abdominal pain, like I have never had before or since, which landed me in Salem Hospital. My sermon was ready, but was never preached. The elders stepped in and took the sermon, and I understand that it was a blessing to all.
The second Friday night experience happened on January 6 last year, when I got a call from Tami Davis about a demon-possessed young man, Houston Garcia. After bringing him to the church, and confronting the devil, God revealed His power and mercy, and Houston was freed from his bondage. Most of the evening and night was taken up by ministering to Houston and the Davis family. I had no sermon for Sabbath. The devil thought he had won. You may remember how Houston and the Davis family took the sermon time that Sabbath and shared what God had done. What a powerful testimony of praise to God! The devil lost again.
I am encouraged by the words of God’s messenger, Ellen White, who wrote:
“Satan can no more hinder a shower of blessing from descending upon God’s people than he can close the windows of heaven that rain cannot come upon the earth. Wicked men and devils cannot hinder the work of God, or shut out His presence from the assemblies of His people, if they will, with subdued, contrite hearts, confess and put away their sins, and in faith claim His promises (Messages to Young People, 133).
Next month we will look at what things prevent God’s people from hearing the message that He wants them to hear. How does the devil succeed in allowing the Word to fall on hard ground only to be pecked up by the birds (Matthew 13:19)?