"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." (Psalm 14: 1 NIV)

A number of years ago an owl attempted in the dark of a winter's morning, to make off with one of my miniature long haired dachshunds. Fortunately it did not succeed, and I learned and implemented a valuable lesson. A neighbour showed me how to string webbing created from rope, from tree to tree across my dog run, thereby preventing birds of prey the ability to get back out if they were foolish enough, which they are not, to fly in. That was eleven years ago, and I have had no problems of this nature since.

Within the world there is a bird of prey, so to speak, who loves nothing better than to swoop down and seek to make off with people's souls. The Scriptures have many names for him but the one I will use today is the prince of darkness. The prince of darkness is no fool when it comes to knowing that there is one God and only one God:"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." (James 2:19 NIV). But he does not want the world to know it. Rather he desires that as many as possible serve him as their one and only god and he preys upon people in many and various ways ("Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 NIV). He offers them riches and power, but his offers are lies: "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44b). He is canny enough to give them a certain amount of what he has promised and what they want, but there is no lasting peace or joy or satisfaction in what he gives; and in the end, any riches or power he does dispense all fade away for no one can take such things with them when their time to die comes (See Ez. 28:12-17; 1 Tim. 6:7).

The prince of darkness also seeks to prey upon the children of Light, those who have chosen to believe in the One true God through Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12 NIV). He cannot rob them of their souls, but he can, through his tricks and deceptions, keep them from living the life of spiritual victory which Christ bought and paid for through His death on the cross ("It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Eph. 5:1 NIV; See also Eph. 6:12). He does this through various ways, some of which include whispering words of false guilt into their minds such as: "surely God has not forgiven you *that* sin or *if* there really was a loving God he would never allow such suffering in the world or the Bible doesn't really mean that, after all it's just a matter of *interpretation*."

There is a way, however, for the Christian, to guard against this bird of prey, this prince of darkness. And that ism within our minds, to string webbing created from the lifeline of God's word that He has given to us: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV). Read it, study it, learn it, know it and use it: For when we do so it protects our hearts and souls and minds from the lies of the evil one. It also prepares us to be able to share God's truth with those who do not yet know Christ and His life giving power and salvation, and God's word does not return null and void.

Recently, Easter was celebrated on April Fool's Day. How appropriate in many ways. For many fools denied that Jesus was the Messiah, God with us. But Jesus fooled them all when He died and rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and is seated at the Father's right hand (See Eph. 1:20). He was and is no fool, and neither are those who choose by faith to believe upon Him this day and in the days to come.

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Ps. 14:1 NIV). What do you say?

Prayer: Father God may the fools of this world be enlightened this Easter by the truth of Your Word that Satan may be put to flight for another day. In Christ's name, Amen.

Lynne Phipps