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“Are You Prepared?”

Acts 19:13-15

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"

Thoughts for Today:

Most of us reading today's passage wouldn't even consider confronting a demon. In fact, ask yourself the question: When was the last time you recognized demonic behavior of any kind and cast it out in the name of Jesus? Probably never. So before becoming too critical of the sons of Sceva we should at least commend their courage, although limited belief ("Jesus, whom Paul preaches"). The response of the demon however, would have been very frightening: "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" With those words, the process of casting out a demon became less of a ritual, academic exercise, or money-making enterprise, and all of a sudden took on crystalline reality.

The sons of Sceva came face to face with evil -- maybe for the first time, and they weren't prepared. How shocked they must have been when the demon asked of them, "Who are you?" I wonder how they responded. I couldn't help thinking if I was in a similar situation how I might respond. Clearly the sons of Sceva did not have a personal relationship with Jesus so they were at a distinct disadvantage (as they had no individual authority over demons). I on the other hand know Jesus and Jesus knows me, so in that way I am personally comforted and protected, but how would I answer that question? The answer of course is with the full authority and empowerment of Jesus.

* Scripture tells us in Philippians 2:9-10, "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth."

* Jesus said in Mark 16:17, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons."

* And in Luke 10:19, "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."

Questions to Ponder:

Would you recognize demon inhabitation if you saw it? What would be some of the symptoms? What would you do about it? Are you prepared? One of the best places to hide is in plain site, camouflaged within and among our institutions -- the things we are the most accustomed to seeing. Just because the news media, your doctor, or your best friend doesn't believe in or recognize demonic activity doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Take a moment right now and ask the Lord to speak to you personally about this subject.

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About the author

Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.