Summary: Failure to understand these elementary insights about a REAL DEVIL will leave gaping holes in your defenses, thus allowing Satan, to advance against you.
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.Matthew 26:14-16 (NIV)
That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 (MSG)
…11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him… Matthew 4:1-3a
My father died today, March 12, 2005. The location? Mercy General, a Catholic Hospital in Sacramento, California. His age? 76. The care was exceptional. Each person offered words of comfort and professional advice that fit the moment. On the day of Dad’s death, apart from medical personnel, he died alone. Oh, some of his siblings had made their way to see him in the last couple of days, but my dad had been in the hospital for almost two months and not told anyone.
Over 40 years ago Dad abandoned his wife and five kids. He was a drifter. So, on that last day of his life, he died alone. Cause of death? A bleeding gall bladder. Two weeks before his death my dad rejected the doctors’ recommendation for surgery. It could have been different; so very different.
It could have been different at the age of 18. A family friend offered to pay for my dad to go to college (it included a baseball scholarship) but his dad refused. He was too proud for a handout.
It could have been different years ago when the state of California offered medical treatment for possible mental illness; my dad refused.
It could have been different if he had stepped up and taken responsibility for the six kids he fathered. Dad could have been the recipient of a lot of love, but he would not take responsibility as a parent. Mom refused to allow us to be subject to such irresponsibility and moved back home near her parents who helped raise 5 kids in Everett, Washington.
It could have been different when dad visited a few weeks after the birth of our first son, who was named after me. Dad was grateful we had given Kenny Squires the family name - his and mine. I was teaching at Southern California College and serving as a College Pastor at a church in San Diego. As we drove to class one day, I looked forward to introducing Dad to the students. The drive deteriorated as he reamed me out for not being there years ago when he lay in a hospital dying. My wife refused to let him get away with such nonsense; I had no idea he was sick. Once again, he refused to accept reality.
Two weeks before his death my dad refused major surgery that would have saved his life. The ironic thing is, one doctor was so bent on his having surgery that he was willing to rush my dad into surgery against his patient’s rights. A more seasoned doctor talked him out of it. To the end my dad blocked and refused. The day before his death I became the last in the series of “it could have been different” for my dad as I (the son) refused to allow the doctors to resuscitate, provide dialysis, or aid in his breathing. The doctors provided enough pain medication to keep him comfortable. The medical world looks to the kids of the ill over the siblings for those decisions. I wish it were not so!
My grandfather refused. My dad refused. My mom refused. My wife refused. And I refused. The only One that never refused was a loving, heavenly Father. Dad was alone from man but never alone from God. The devil may have tried to steal my dad’s life, but he could never steal his afterlife. The only non-family member that attended the small memorial service two days after Dad died was a man named Herb. Herb had been my dad’s friend for over 15 years. A dear Baptist brother on a mission to make sure that my dad knew Christ as his savior. Several years ago Herb had talked about faith in Christ and my dad had responded.
It could have been different. How could this happen? My dad was certainly responsible for his choices. He had a Christian heritage, was a gifted musician, and had a large and loving family. But I am not ready to lay all the blame on him. I am putting some of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the devil. He is the bully on the block. He catches us in the alley. He taunts us as we walk home from school. He badgers us on the drive to the store.