Was racism involved in the Katrina disaster? Absolutely Š in several ways. While many first responders were racing as fast as they could to save as many lives as possible, without regard for the color of anyoneÕs skin, some responded by racing out of town in stolen police cars. When many sacked their own plans and joined the rescue efforts, others raced into town to pillage banks and jewelry stores. As some filled their vans and trucks with supplies for the needy, others emptied the shelves of shoes and TVs because they were greedy. Some people became heroes; others remained villains.
While man did both his best and his worst to his neighbor, spiritual forces were at work behind the scenes to encourage both types of behavior. Evil spiritual forces were working to stir up feelings of hatred based on race, jealousy, or fear. But those demonic forces didnÕt tempt just blacks and whites. Those wicked beings were stirring the pot between democrats and republicans, rich and poor, old and young, wise and foolish, and male and female Š just to name a few. There were murders and rapes within public buildings, the elderly were left by some to die, and men pushed women and children out of the way as they scrambled towards rescue helicopters. Those kinds of cowardly acts were not only caused by the evil nature we inherited from Adam, which looks out for self primarily, they were caused by invisible spiritual forces that tempt our evil nature to act within its character.
After the catastrophe, though, human goodness was on display. People gave food, water and clothing. Some gave shelter to the homeless. Corporations, made up of people, gave huge amounts of money and material. ThatÕs a wonderful showing of human goodness, but donÕt confuse human goodness with GodÕs goodness. There is a stark difference, and it is black and white in Scripture.
Some people donated because they realized that it could happen to them. For that reason, they gave hoping that others might give to them under similar circumstances in the future. Some responded to guilt after watching the mesmerizing media coverage and gave hoping to boost warm fuzzies within their own hearts. Others gave hoping to gain favor with God for their acts of benevolence. Humans, who donÕt know God, give with hidden motivations. They usually give in order to get, for that is the way the world operates, and Satan is the evil spirit who is now running the world system.
The devil works with the only people groups on earth. He works with his own children, and he works with the other group Š GodÕs children Š by infiltrating the church and spreading false doctrine. One of those false beliefs persuades people not to be bad, but to believe that they are good Š especially good enough to enter Heaven if they do enough good deeds. But the apostle Paul rejects that kind of thinking. He makes it clear in GodÕs word that we are saved from eternal separation from God not by good things that we have done, but by the mercy of God. By giving us the gift of faith, so that we trust in Christ alone for our salvation, God has chosen to impute ChristÕs goodness into our new character.
There is a difference between worldly help and Christian help. Christians, those having the Spirit of God living within them, are moved to acts of compassion by God, who ordained those acts of kindness long ago. Christian food, water or clothing isnÕt different from that provided by non-Christians, but Christians have a message of hope for the hurting that is absent from secular intervention.
That message is simple: God loves you! And even though youÕve lost it all, God is still here, stretching out His hands to you. A full-page notice placed by the Salvation Army in an IBD edition stated, Natural Disasters Call For Acts Of God. From what IÕve seen and read, it is evident that God is continuing to work through His people. Many acts of mercy have been recorded. Believers from all over the world, working alone and through Christian ministries, have provided help, and the glory of God has been on display. The world can see that, but they canÕt see the invisible war that rages in the spiritual realm.
Daniel, however, got a glimpse of the spiritual battle taking place behind the scenes when an angel announced that an answer to a prayer Daniel had lifted to God had been delayed 21 days by the prince of Persia. It was only when the archangel Michael came to his aid that he advanced and spoke to Daniel. Jesus dealt with evil spirits throughout His ministry. One bunch became the first pigs in space as Jesus sent them rumbling over a cliff. They fell into the sea. Jesus even cast out demons living within people He encountered. Demons do exist.
ElijahÕs servant, though, saw the good spiritual forces sent by God to protect them at Dothan. Elisha, a prophet of God, knew they were there, and he prayed to have his servantÕs eyes opened. One day, either at our death or as part of the Rapture, we will have our eyes opened and see Jesus face to face. Then, too, we will see the spiritual forces that have been battling for the hearts and souls of mankind. As we watch the coverage of Hurricane Rita now, may we remember whose we are and whatÕs at stake in providing not only physical and material needs, but spiritual needs, as well. If you canÕt be involved on the front lines on the Gulf Coast, get involved in the front lines of the spiritual battle and wield the mighty sword of the Spirit, praying always for brothers everywhere. He sends the rain & He reigns! Amen.
Mountain Time Moment
10 A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power.
11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm
against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.
12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood,
but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world,
against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world,
and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
13 Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,
so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Ephesians 6:10-13 NLT
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