Summary: The battle is spiritual -- it is against the devil and, his hordes of demons, the powers of darkness and sin. We will all be tested -- everyone of us marked with the sign of the cross and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord are ENEMIES of the devil.

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One of my favorite movies is “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo. This movie, about a family involved in organized crime,contains some very powerful lessons about the twisted thinking of those whose lives are controlled by Satan. One memorable scene shows

a meeting called to make peace after a war caused by what the five crime families euphemistically call a “Business problem”. All sides suffered horrendous losses including the loss of some of their own sons. The leader, Don Veto, asks “How did things ever

get so far?” We might ask the same question ourselves. How did things ever get so far? Why is everything such a mess after such a perfect start? Our bulletin cover says “Keep the commands of the Lord

your God”. It sounds so simple -- but Adam and Eve, thanks to Satan, could not resist breaking the only rule that God gave them.

We get more decrees and laws from God that we have trouble keeping. We are cautioned not to add to them or subtract from them. God’s laws are righteous and fair but man is unable to follow them and against the command of God even makes “Substitute laws” which enable the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to achieve self satisfaction because they can navigate their way through the maze of complicated man made laws while creating exceptions to exempt themselves from some of God’s Law. We ask again, how did things ever get so far?

In Thursday’s issue of the New Castle News (Sept 21, 2000) John Leo talks about a procedure frequently done at CHRIST Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Nurses testified before a Judiciary Committee about using a drug that forces a woman’s cervix open causing the expulsion of a live premature baby that dies soon

afterward. One nurse, said she retrieved a 10 inch, 21 week Downs syndrome baby from the soiled laundry in a utility room and cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. I repeat, this procedure is done at Christ Hospital ---- named after our Lord and Savior. Somehow I do not think this is what Jesus

intended when he said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them” (Matt 19:14). ----- When I read this I was hoping that the name Christ Hospital was a remnant from a former church affiliation and that they never got around to changing their name. Sadly, a phone call I made to the institution’s chaplain’s office revealed that the hospital is jointly affiliated with two main line Protestant Church Bodies.

How can this possibly be called simply choice? How

did things ever get so far?

We can find the answer in St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul sees the Christian, marked with the sign of the cross in baptism, , as a member of Christ’s army -- conscripted to do battle against the Devil’s schemes in spiritual warfare. We are not

contending against normal enemies -- we are not contending against mere flesh and blood. -------- We are contending against the authorities, against the powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). By being marked with the sign of the cross, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we are in fact in uniform so that Satan can easily identify us and launch his attacks. It is the same as going to an urban area and walking around dressed in the “wrong gang colors” or strolling down the streets of Bagdad wearing a US army uniform.

It is important that we understand that our enemies are not our fellow human beings............. Our enemies are not our fellow humans no matter how wicked they may be, -- even toward us. We are on the same level as they are. We are all sinners to the

core. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Our hearts are as naturally warped inwards as anyone else’s. ------ Our enemies are the rulers, and authorities and powers of darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Our enemies are the Devil, unbelief, false teachings, and our own sinful flesh. ----- God became man and took on our flesh and blood

to die for flesh and blood human beings -- every last one of us. No,the enemy is not other people no matter how wicked their deeds.

St. Paul tells us to be strong in the lord and in his mighty power. He tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against Satan and his schemes. It is sometimes tempting to choose the wrong weapons, to try to fight the war of God’s

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