Friday, July 17, 2009

Darfur

I wrote this poem awhile ago after some conversations with a good friend of mine and after reading about the situation of the brothers and sisters in Darfur. So this is dedicated to all the brothers and sisters in Darfur - both in the refugee camps and those that are rendering aid. Currently setting it to music but the composing process is long and tedious.

It’s only Darfur

It’s raining
Cold as ice
A young woman leaves to gather firewood
Not for warmth but for money
To buy food for the family
Her children wait anxiously

The rain turns to fire
Men appear beat and rape
Send her back naked
Another life destroyed
Broken spirits, battered, torn

It’s Darfur
Poor poor Darfur

Elsewhere the sun is getting hotter
The people all complain
Air conditioning is necessary
But the money’s gotten tighter
So the snowbirds may stay put this year
That second home’s expensive

Yet in Darfur
The babies they are dying
And the mothers can’t put them down
They carry them for weeks on end
But hey,

It’s Darfur
Only Darfur

The camps protect from bullets
Beatings fire
But not from the enemies of
Despair, disease, starvation
Neglect
Things one could survive
But not really
While the enemies called
Indifference
Blind Ignorance
Continue to rule the nations
Concerning

Darfur
Just Darfur
Poor poor stricken Darfur
Who cares,
It’s only Darfur

In the forties the nations came together
Never again would millions die
Because they were different
But there are always the
Exceptions when it comes to nevers

Like Darfur

Men are killed or maimed in front of their families
Their only crime is that they are male and
Might be able to feed the hungry
While the villages are burned out
Millions going homeless

And the nations sit by
Idly
Greedily
Even selling the weapons
Providing the funds
That are used for the killing
But hey

It’s only Darfur
And there might be oil
Not a lot but enough to justify the
Actions
The inaction of a world
Gone cold towards Darfur

Far far away
Backward Darfur
Unimportant
Hundreds dying
Irrelevant
Thousands tortured maimed
Insignificant
Millions homeless starving

Darfur
Only Darfur

Why bother sending aid
They would only be killed trying
Why sacrifice a few to feed the many
Our problems are more important
What new car should we get this year?
Has to be smaller, sadly can’t afford an SUV
a Lexus might do
And coffee’s getting more expensive
Besides

It’s just Darfur
Hell on earth Darfur
But still only Darfur

Yet when the babies die
The mothers can’t put them down
They carry them for days, weeks
Where woman are raped, tortured
For collecting firewood to sell for food for their families
What’s left of their families
Where the men are maimed, killed
Just because and
Who cares?

It’s just Darfur
Darfur

Where the rain,
Cold as ice,
Burns with hatred
But it is the indifference of the nations
That kill more and more each day
In Darfur

Just Darfur
Poor poor Darfur
Unimportant Darfur
It’s not happening here
So who cares
It’s only Darfur.

copyright 2009 D Althouse

What are Demons really?

So you may recognize the demons for what they are and what they are not.

Note: Scripture Citations are from “The Complete Jewish Bible” David H Stern

When someone says the word Demon, what comes to mind? Is it a funny little cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork that sits on your shoulder trying to tempt you into doing something your parents, friends, or spouse would not approve of? Do you think of movies like Christine or Carrie? Maybe your thoughts turn to Halloween and children dressed as ghosts and goblins? Well, no matter where your thoughts take you, one thing is certain, Satan and his demons are real and are working very, very hard these days to confuse people about God and exactly what God wants from them. Since demons are very prevalent in the spirit of the world today, one would do well to recognize them for what they are and are not.

There are several things one must keep in mind when discussing demons and their “power” to control or influence mortals. First, there are two classes of demons; internal and external. Internal demons reside within a person. External demons are Satan and the angels that work for him. Finally, demons cannot affect inanimate objects as demon is a living thing and must abide in a living object, something that has a mind and/or soul to control.

Internal demons can only be found within a person’s heart and are the opposite of the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22) This is what allows us to choose between good and evil. (Romans 7:15) Without the struggle, we would be merely robot slaves doing only good, not by choice, but because that is all we would know. Jehovah does not want an army of robots, but a people that freely choose His ways above all else.

The internal demons drive unknowing and stubborn hearted people to the ultimate sin – the denial of God.(2Tim 2:12b) The workings of these demons take may forms: hatred of self, hatred of others, hatred of all kinds, wickedness, lies, boastful pride, deceit, cruelty, greed, lust, confusion, ignorance, unclean & foul speech, indifference, prejudice, brazen insolence, intolerance, anger, depression, disgust, vanity, laziness, lack of compassion, jealousy, rage, violence, fear, selfishness, insecurity, poor self esteem, excessive self doubt, showoff attitude, to name a few. These are some of the weaknesses of the heart referred to in Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:16-17, and Galatians 6:19-20. These can only exist within the being of man. That is also why there is the expression: “We all have our demons to fight.”

Consider the following examples the next time you read about Christ casting out demons from humans:

First, how does a person look when they are totally enraged? They get red in the face, the body stiffens, the movements are violent and jerky, the voice bellows, they may even be unintelligible, they curse, the eyes tighten and glare – would not the ancients with their lack of understanding consider the person to be possessed and having fits? And what are the best counters to someone who is totally enraged? Kindness, love, understanding, and compassion. Is it no wonder that Christ, the ultimate being totally possessed with God’s perfect Love was able to cast out these demons with a few words (Mark 5:1-15, 9:14-28)?

You may have heard the expression, “I was too mad for words.” Is it not conceivable that a person that is so absorbed in hatred, anger, and fear of his fellow man, may refuse to speak at all until confronted and reunited to the perfect Love of Jehovah, thru Christ? Even more so, does not anger, hatred, and fear cause stress both physically and mentally resulting in ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, rashes, and a basic lowering of the body’s internal health defenses? Would not a person so consumed by hate, greed, selfishness, jealousy, anger, be subject to “fits” of rage, violence, swearing, and cursing? Again, when confronted with God’s perfect Love thru His son, peace returns to the person so afflicted and healing begins. Because of God’s love, and our growing love for Him, we are moved to put on a new personality filled with the fruitages of the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 3:9-10)

Would a person who has no self esteem, is lazy, and has no self respect, care how they look or dress? They may not even bother to bathe depending on the extent of their indifference. Once again, when confronted with and reunited to the perfect Love of Jehovah, thru Christ his son, a person becomes clean of heart and appearance.

Internal demons are those that invade the heart, mind, or soul of a person. We as Christians can freely choose to succumb to or to fight against these demons, knowing that Christ’s sacrifice of his life has given us the power to overcome these internal demons whose ways lead to sinful behaviors. This is why it is important to remain vigilant, and to keep prayerfully learning all we can about the ways of Jehovah, our Lord. We need to put on the complete suit of armor that God provides us so as to protect our mind, heart, and spiritual heart. (Ephesians 6:13-18) By so doing we can stay on the straight and narrow path of righteousness.

This is not to say that it is an easy fight, or a fight that should be done alone. We may need the aid of doctors, close trustworthy friends, but ultimately our power and our strength to endure and to fight comes from Jehovah thru the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. (Isaiah 40:29-31) However as Paul points out in Romans, Jehovah does not desert or separate Himself from us, it is our choice to quit and our choice alone. (Romans 8:38-39)

Unlike internal demons, external demons, or the angels of Satan, are outside the person and can appear as humans, or angels of light, or dead persons (ghosts), and they often do. (2 Cor. 11:14-15) Many people have an unclear picture of demons thanks to years and years of propaganda advertising concerning both angels and demons. The bible clearly shows that angels are very powerful spirit creatures. One angel killed 185,000 highly trained soldiers in one night. (2 Kings 19:35) We don’t know if 185,000 is the limit, or if that was all there was, but no human can wipe that many people out in one night without the use of dangerous weapons and neither can some weird looking cartoon character. A demon is an angel that has turned bad. A third of the angels were thrown down to the earth when Satan was kicked out of the heavens.(Rev 12:4 & 9) These are the demons that wreak havoc upon us through wars, violent crimes, and the numerous poor living conditions through out the entire world.(1John 5:19)

A person or persons influenced by demons can be recognized by their works in total. There may be one or two “good” works, but upon closer scrutiny it can be seen that these “good” works were merely done to deceive others into following these demons. History gives us quite a few people that were obviously under the influence of demons as they were often referred to as “totally evil”, “looking like the Devil himself”, or “the Devil incarnate”. Ghangas Khan, Caligula, Nero, Hitler, Stalin, Mengela, Mussolini, are just a few that come quickly to mind.

However, we once again have God’s promise through Christ that Satan cannot harm us if we stay steadfast in our belief. He will try everything in his power to twist those beliefs so that we stray from the straight and narrow path to life, but we are assured protection if we but cling to Jehovah and his ways. Furthermore, we have the promise of eternal life through our belief that Christ was sacrificed for our sins, and our trying our best to love God fully and whole heartedly and keep our integrity.

Like he did to Job, Satan can harm those we love (to the extent they are or are not Christian), the things we own, and even our earthly bodies, but he cannot harm our soul, our heart, our spiritual life which all belong to Jehovah our God. (Job 1- 2:8) Besides, as with Job, Jehovah can and promises to undo any physical or mental problems that result as an attack on our integrity. (Job 42:12-16) We may have to wait until we are in the Paradise conditions of earth but we are promised a complete curing. (Rev 21:4, Isaiah 65:17-25) Satan also will not kill us. Why? If he kills us, he has lost as Jehovah can resurrect us fully intact. (Acts 24:15) This means that Satan and his demons only want to turn every person they can away from God. They will do it through any and all means possible, from something as simple as causing people to believe that God does not care which creates apathy, or something as complicated as outright demonic influence.

We also have God’s promise that He will never allow us to be burdened more than we can bear. So why are “tested” at all by the demons? Is it because we lack faith? Is it because we are not righteous enough? No, for God knows our hearts. He knows whether we can handle a test or not, so it is not for Him that we are tested but to show others, non-Christians and fellow Christians, that even in the worst of situations we will remain true to our Heavenly Father and His command to love Him with all our heart, being and soul. To love even our enemies as we love ourselves, and as Christ loved us in sacrificing his blood so we may all be saved from sin. As long as we hold to this, no demon of Satan can have any hold over us or do us harm.

So now that we understand internal and external demons, the question logically comes up about inanimate objects and demon possession. First, you need to remember that demons are living spirit creatures and they mean to control or influence minds & hearts. This means that inanimate objects cannot contain demons of any kind as objects do not have minds or hearts. (Even though plants are living creatures, they do not possess a thinking mind and are thus included in the group of inanimate objects.) This is stated throughout the Scripture in various ways. The question to the effect of “why do you persist in worshiping images made from wood, made of man, etc?” is often asked. (2Kings 19: 17-18, Isaiah 2:8, Isaiah 44:13-17) The prophets often show the folly of worshipping idols by testing them against the power of God. In fact the only place in the Bible where inanimate objects obtain any form of “life” are the Pharaoh’s magicians’ staffs that turn into snakes in replay to Moses’ staff. Even they admit it was simply a trick. One that was often used to deceive the common ignorant person into believing the magician had special powers. (Exodus 7:8-12) Also, throughout the New Covenant, Christ and later his disciples only cast demons out of people, never objects. There is no mention of Satan ever entering or using an inanimate object to achieve his goals. Psalms 115:4-7 puts the final nail in the coffin so to speak in that it gives us the basic principle that inanimate objects cannot hear, speak, or move. Since Scriptures are inspired of God and we know that God cannot lie, this becomes the unshakeable rule and therefore demons cannot possess objects, ever. (2 Tim 3:16, Hebrews 6:18) Demons can only inhabit living creatures that have minds and hearts.

As long as a person realizes that an object with no life can never sustain life in any form, then they have nothing to fear from things. This is why there is the command not to “worship” objects. Why? Because they have no power whatsoever, which then leads to the question of what is an idol?

An idol is any object, behavior, or person(s) that receive adoration equal to or greater than that given to our Lord. Two examples: if a person says “I love my girlfriend so much that I worship the ground she walks on,” he has created two idols – the ground and the girlfriend. Or take the cross. If a person wears or displays a cross believing that the cross (the object itself) will keep them safe from harm (a popular theme in a lot of horror movies) thereby protecting them, the cross becomes an idol. If, however, the cross is used simply as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice (granted he died on a tree but that is another discussion. Galatians 5:24, Luke 23:32), then the object is not a idol, although one would question the depth of faith and spiritual maturity of someone that needs to wear a constant reminder of what they believe. In short, it is the person’s emotions projected on the object in question that causes the sin of worshipping idols, not the object itself. Other less obvious forms of idols are money, work, recreation, famous persons, and health, to name a few. In short, anything that the person shows they are devoted to by where they spend the majority of their time, thinking, and emotions. While the motives may be well intentioned, these things become idols none the less when that is what your actions show. Actions always show where your heart truly is.

So how do things like the casting of spells that we connect with witchcraft, (spiritism will be discussed another time), and voodoo work? Very simply put, they are both a type of psychological warfare on the soul of a person using the internal demons to work imaginations upon the person. This is done through the use of deception and/or hypnosis.

There was a study done in Africa during the 1960’s on how voodoo works. It was pointed out that unless the person “cursed” knew about it – the voodoo was ineffective. It was only because the person was aware of the curse and thus consumed by fear and influence, that the fear transferred into pain whenever the figure of the person was stuck with needles or placed upon the fire. Usually these “attacks” were also accompanied by some type of poisoning through the use of herbs and funguses.

Because people are naturally afraid of the unknown, and are always searching for the easy way out, the demons of deceit, confusion, ignorance, and fear are always available to help out when “spells” are performed. When a person can conquer these demons, then no “spell” can work upon them. Thru the power of Jehovah’s love, and His son Christ, we as Christians have this power – so no evil can ever touch us. (James 4:7)

In conclusion, internal demons are those found within the heart. They are controllable and fairly easy to cast out if you let Jehovah, our God work through Christ within you to fight them. External demons can only harm the physical but not the spiritual person if that person is a true Christian. (Someone that has dedicated himself to the belief that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only and unique Son, so that anyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed,” and lives his life accordingly. (John 3:16)) Finally, inanimate objects have no power whatsoever in that they cannot sustain life. Therefore, the only “powers” they have are the emotions that people project on them. Fear is and will always be the greatest stumbling block to mankind. As someone famous once said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Conquer your fears and the demons will flee from your sight.

You are at the fork in the road to life and there are two paths to travel on: One is narrow and full of thistles as far as you can see. The other is wide and clear and beautiful as far as you can see. Which will you choose?

Which should you choose? The path with the thistles. Why? Because it is like life as a Christian, the way is difficult at first as we fight against the world in leading a righteous life. We use Christ as the sickle to help cut through the thistles and eventually make our way through them to see that the path leads to a beautiful world – with no dying, sickness, poverty, violence, evil. Just people united and filled with love.

The path that is clear represents the way of the world. The easy way out. But what you cannot see it that up ahead, out of sight, the path drops to a certain death. Will you turn back in time?