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June 14, 2020

There was a knock on my office door and the person looked troubled. “Can I help you?” The person went on to tell me that their child was having various kinds of emotional and physical problems and had been hurting oneself. They had seen doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists and nothing had helped. The person then asked if I would do an exorcism. Now I knew from the conversation that the person was serious, but this was way out of my knowledge and comfort zone. I replied that I would do some research, get back to the person but would try to help. After the person left, I got on the phone with a friend of mine, a priest in the community: “Can you help me with an exorcism?” “Why me, Bud?” “Well, you know the movie, The Exorcist. Jesuit priests helped…” “Bud, that was a movie!” Well, I had a lot to learn. He did say that the Vatican had official guidelines on exorcism, and he shared that with me and together we worked out a plan. I was not sure what to expect, but I got together with the family. There was no spinning of heads, etc. but there was definitely a darkness. We talked and prayed and talked and prayed and invoked God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to enter into the person and take the darkness away. Between God working through me and other professionals, that child (now an adult) is doing very well today.
On another note, over the years as a pastor I have experienced and seen many things, good and bad. I have been there when people have passed away and most of the time it is a peaceful time, a tranquil and hopeful time and folks have mentioned a comforting light. However, I have witnessed times when folks have screamed “No, no, no….!” I do not know what they saw, but the looks on their faces was one of fear and there was a dark presence. (I got chills then and I do now as I write this.) Wherever they were going, it was not a place I want to go!
“It had been 171 years since Smaug had attacked the dwarf kingdom of Erebor and set the town of Dale ablaze. The destruction and loss of life had been tremendous and were indelibly burned into the memories of long-lived dwarves like Thorin and Balin, who’d been there but who’d escaped the devastation. They knew the dragon was real because they’d seen him and personally witnessed his destructive power. In Laketown, only the very oldest men, in their youth, had even seen the dragon flying. Therefore, some of the younger people doubted there’d even been a dragon.
Far away to the south, in the Shire, hobbits like Bilbo had heard about dragons as well, and believed in them. But the more earthly minded hobbits felt that folks were better off focusing on practical matters like cabbages and potatoes – which were better for them anyway. A hobbit named Ted Sandyman summed up this view of dragons when he stated, “I heard tell of them when I was a youngster, but there’s no call to believe in them now.” (The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 2) And dragons don’t actually exist and never have existed, have they? No – at least not in the natural realm, in this physical reality – although great and terrifying monsters have existed in Earth’s distant past. (Job describes a creature called Leviathan, which bears a striking resemblance to a fire-breathing dragon. – Chapter 41) However, the Bible tells us that at least one dragon dwells in the spiritual dimension.
When Tolkien described dragons in Middle-Earth, he was unambiguous in describing them as evil. Every dragon that appeared was an arch-villain, a foe of all that was good, a deceiver and a corrupter of the innocent, and a destroyer of home and property. This view was rooted in Tolkien’s Christian worldview, in which the devil is described as ‘an enormous red dragon… that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray’ (Revelation 12:3,9). It’s a strange thing, but many people today, while they believe in God, have their doubts about whether the devil – the very personification of evil – actually exists. Almost all the world’s evil, they reason, can be explained as a result of either the selfish instincts within man’s heart or of natural forces. The Bible warns against such potentially fatal skepticism: ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). You can hardly watch out for an enemy you don’t believe even exists.
On the other hand, it’s not healthy to become too fixated on Satan’s power. Some people fear the devil and forget that we have power over him through Jesus’ name. The apostle John declares, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8). We’re certainly not greater than the ancient serpent, our archenemy – but Jesus is, and through His death on the cross He destroyed him who had the power of death, the devil. Jesus triumphed over all the power of the enemy (Hebrews 2:14; Colossians 2:15), and if we stand strong in the authority of His name, we can, too. We should never belittle the existence of the devil and his demons. On the other hand, we must remember that Jesus said, ‘I give unto you power… over all the power of the enemy’ (Luke 10:19). As sons and daughters of God, we have authority through Jesus’ name over the forces of darkness.” (Ed Strauss, A Hobbit Devotional)
Yes, there is evil and Satan is pulling at us all the time. There is a darkness and there are bad things happening in our world, but we have power over them in the name of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We are empowered by God to fight evil and darkness in our lives and in our world.
The best way to start is with prayer and love. God bless and God’s got this.

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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