Friday, June 26, 2009

The Dog Stick

Our subdivision is mostly level, with a few gentle hills here and there. This usually makes for a nice, leisurely bike ride. However, there are times when a neighborhood dog is running loose, and he decides to give chase! For that reason, I carry a sturdy branch that I call my “dog stick”. I can wave this threateningly in the face of an oncoming canine. Upon seeing the stick, the dog backs off and just barks, instead of charging.

When I cozy into my favorite spot to have my quiet time with the Lord, I try to remember to grab my “dog stick”. Strangely enough, it looks a lot like a pencil. Oh, it is a pencil! Satan, the “dog” that he is, seeks to distract me with reminders from my “to-do” list, people to call, or unresolved issues from previous days. He wants, by whatever means possible, to deter me from gaining necessary spiritual strength, wisdom and encouragement. His attacks are relentless; if one method doesn’t work, he’ll try another! That’s when I raise my “dog stick”. With paper and pencil in hand, I can quickly jot down those diversions that come to mind, so that they can be put aside to deal with later. Sometimes, of course, these thoughts form the basis of needed intercession, but I still write them down. This helps keep my mind from wandering and helps me focus, instead of becoming frustrated and giving up.

Paul warned the Corinthian believers to beware of Satan’s desire to “outwit us” (2 Corinthians 2:11), “For we are not unaware of his schemes”. We must continually be on the alert for these “schemes”. Peter writes these words of warning: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of the deceiver’s most effective schemes is to distract us from praying, but we can keep him at bay with our own “dog stick”!

Related scriptures: 1 Peter 5:6-10, Mark 14:32-38, James 4:7-10, Ephesians 6:10-20,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5