Sheep Skins

Sheep Skins

Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one.
Drew
Drew
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Forgive me, if this essay is offensive to anyone or even too disturbing of a subject. It has been put on my heart to write about evil and demonic influences. I pray that the message does not stir up trouble in the mind of you, the readers. I pray it makes you aware of the dangers ahead, especially for us Christians.

*******

Tell me, does a lion wait for its prey in plain sight? Does the lion lie down in the open? No, of course not. If the lion wants to catch and kill its prey, it must do so by a surprise attack. Evil, or its father, creeps into our lives with a similar predatory tactic. Evil perhaps is a more dangerous predator than a lion. If I may be so bold to claim, evil is the greatest predator of all. We, as ignorant as we are, are sometimes not even aware of previous scars or bite marks. Perhaps humans are the greatest prey of all.

Perhaps I should give a clearer definition of what evil is to me. Evil is the vague noun to describe demonic influence or the damned faction of the spiritual warfare. When I earlier said its father, I was describing the Devil himself. So, when I say that evil wants to conceal itself for the surprise attack, I am stating all demonic powers hide themselves so they may have influence without our awareness and the devil is the greatest in his ambushes. C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, a book of spiritual warfare from the perspective of a demon, addresses how evil wants to stay hidden: “Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course, this has not always been so.”

Evil desires to come in the form of many things we are comfortable or even enjoy. Again, in Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis explains evil’s reasoning in its subtly: “There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least – sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us.” The more the prey thinks it is safe, the less chance the predator will miss its strike.

I am sure there are things you, the reader, may already start to think of for examples as daily practices that might be perverted easily: social media, T.V., and even eating (over indulgence). Even in the distractions, especially for us Christians, we may be susceptible to leaving Our Father. In the morning, we wake up incredibly tired and slowly get out of our comfy beds. We then race off to work or school because of the procrastination of our morning routine. During work, of course, we have no time sit still. After coming home from a long day of work and learning, we must absolutely see that show. After all, don’t we deserve a little distraction from that busy life? After our little me time, we are exhausted and need our sleep. In that whole day, where was the time with God, we Christians so desperately need? The less time we spend with The Father, the more susceptible we to demonic influence, especially in our daily practices. Our morning could turn into cursing the day before it has begun. Our work could be filled with frustration and ill temper. Our me time, when we get home, could become in need of such high standards of self-satisfaction and pleasure that we become addicted to those daily practices. Once, we are addicted to anything but God’s Word—it is a dangerous road. Thus, the alcoholic, drug addict, and porn addict are born.

But what about annual practices? What about those holidays we deem so sacred by the seal of tradition? Yes, I am referring to Halloween—and dare I say, Christmas and Easter. Do not misunderstand me. When I refer to Easter and Christmas holiday, I am not belittling the importance of Jesus’ birth or resurrection. I am condemning the practices of gift giving and Easter egg hunting for the sake of materialism—not generosity. These two holidays in themselves are not evil;it is what we humans do to pervert them that make them evil—yes, evil.

You know as well as I do, we get lost in that busyness of the holidays and the effect is often stress. Tell me, fellow Christians, who is it that wants us to be anxious and full of stress? So, answer me this question, can the devil truly use holiday rushes, such as Christmas and Easter to trouble our lives?

Now why have I not addressed Halloween? I have my own personal opinions on this holiday, but again, I want you, the reader, to think of the day, October 31st, and explain why we, as the Western Culture, celebrate it to such extents? Tell me, could the devil possibly use the day of Halloween to influence to such drastic evils? Be careful.

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Cover Image Credit: kameronbayneimages.com

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Mission Trips Taught Me More About Life Than School Ever Will

The people I've met and things I've seen have impacted me for the better.

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In the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I went on my first mission trip with my youth group. We went to Philadelphia for a week to serve in various places and spread God's love to those in the city (shoutout to all my M-Fuge peeps).

NO, we did not "force" our religion on those we talked to. But we did bring up God and church if they asked and through various activities we may have done. I don't quite remember the feelings I had during that initial week, but I remember leaving extremely happy and ready to tell more people about God.

Since that trip, I have gone to multiple other cities with my youth group every year and established so many relationships with those I met. In fact, there are still a few people I met from other churches during my trips with whom I still am friends on Facebook and Instagram.

Besides meeting people who also helped those in the community, I also met a handful of people who completely changed my outlook on life. There were some years I would go into the week not wanting to be there or upset about a tiny situation at home. Then during the week, God would work His magic and place the right person in my life to help me realize that those issues are small in comparison to what someone else is dealing with.

Not only would God help me with that issue of mine, but He would allow our group to work and establish faith in those we encountered.

We have had the opportunities to work in food banks, homeless shelters, adult daycares, and parks in what some people may consider the "sketchy" sides of town. No matter where we were, we all were able to experience how others live their lives.

There are some days when we get so caught up in our own drama, we forget how little these problems seem in comparison to others. A minor inconvenience to you may seem like a miracle for others. Simple little acts, like playing bingo with seniors, can turn someone's whole day around.

The older people we worked with played bingo with a passion!

In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my youth group returned to Philadelphia for another mission trip. I met these twin boys, about 11 years old, at a park we were working at. I learned on our first day there that these boys rarely were fed dinner, and lunch may have been the only time they would eat during the day. An adult who worked at the park later told me that the twins are always sent out of their house at late hours for reasons they did not know.

But despite the situation these boys were in, they came to hang out with us every day with the most infectious smiles on their faces.

I cannot confirm or deny this, but by the end of the week, the two of them may have been fighting with each other over who could "marry" me before I left. These boys established a sense of positivity in my life and impacted me on so many levels. I will never forget them.

It is so extremely important for someone to go out and do missions at least once in their life.

Not only do you spread love and happiness, but you also learn a lot about the world. There is so much you can learn in a span of one week that you can never learn in your 12 years of school. The people you interact with may spark something within to help you appreciate what you have. You may find out that you love doing mission work because of the change you can see in others throughout your time there.

When I have kids, I know I will send them on mission trips so they can learn about other parts of the country, other lifestyles, and how to spread love and happiness wherever they may go.

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