A three-year old nursery school pupil was asked by her teacher, “Who created you?” She answered, “Anti, mummy created me.” The teacher burst out laughing. Again, the teacher asked her, “Who is God?” She answered with all seriousness, “Anti, God is daddy.” The teacher couldn't control her laughter. At least the little pupil made an attempt in her second answer. Is God not daddy? He is the Big Daddy in Heaven. The teacher finally posed this question to the pupil: “Who is the devil?” She answered, “The devil is a thief.” The teacher laughed heavily, to the extent that tears started running down her cheeks. The pupil asked her, “Anti, why are you crying? Did the devil beat you?” My dear, is the devil not a thief?
As soon as I attained the age of reason, my parents began to teach me about God. They told me that God is a spirit. He is invisible. He has no beginning and no end. He is the Alfa and the Omega. He created Heaven and Earth. God is the Creator while I am a creature. My mother taught me that God is everywhere. I began to wonder. I then asked her, “Mummy, is God in the toilet?” She answered, “Yes, He is there.” As little as I was, I asserted, “Mummy, God cannot be in the toilet because it smells.”
My mummy also told me about the devil. Originally he was the head of the Angels in Heaven. His name was Angel Lucy. After he rebelled against God, he became Devil Lucifer. As a result he was expelled from heaven with his follow rebellious angels. The Archangel Michael drove him and his accomplices down to earth. His throne is in hell, where there is everlasting fire for the devil and evil people. I asked my mother, “Why did God chase down the devil to earth to pursue us?” She answered that the devil only pursues people who do bad things. Further she told me that the devil tempted Adam and Eve in Paradise and they ate the forbidden fruit. I nodded my head and asserted that this devil must be powerful. My mother corroborated by saying, “Yes, he is powerful but God's power is superior.”
A certain man was called up to pray during the Prayer of the Faithful in the church. He said, “God, we are indeed trying our best in our encounter with the devil every day. You know how much you fought with him over there before you cast him down to earth. Please God do us a favour, because it is not easy.” Instead of praying, the congregation burst out laughing. But the man stood his ground with his eyes closed prayerfully. I assure you that hell would be shut down any day the devil repents and asks God for forgiveness. That day is yet to come.
After my priestly ordination in 1993, I was about to depart to my first place of assignment. My father called me into his room. I sat down, looking at him fatherly. He cleared his throat and admonished me to listen attentively. I was wondering if something was amiss. He told me that I must be careful in my apostolate as a priest. “My son, beware of the devil! Since all people have gone to church, the devil himself also entered the church.” I appreciated my father's fatherly advice. As I was leaving my father's room, I started binding and casting. Later, I started asking, “The devil in the church?” Having just been newly ordained, I vowed by the grace of God to deal decisively with this devil in the church. Instantly a passage in the Bible struck my medulla oblongata. It says, “Be calm but vigilant because your enemy the devil is prowling like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pt. 5:8 – 9). I spat and shouted, “God forbid!”
Indeed my father has joined his ancestors in the world beyond, but his prophecy has come true. It has dawned on me that the devil and his agents also come to church. Some Christians come to church with ulterior motives. Some are in the church to fulfill all righteousness. Some come to church to steal. Let us be careful while praying in the church. For vigilance, just close one eye and keep the other wide open. A distressed woman came into the Chapel one day and was praying with her two eyes closed. She kept beside her a handbag containing her mobile phone, keys, N10,000 loan she got from somebody and golden wrist watch. After communing with God in the Holy of Holies, she made the Sign of the Cross and waved to God. She turned to collect her handbag, it seemed like a dream. She searched around for it, all to no avail. She screamed, “I am finished!” She ran out of the Chapel and began to cry hopelessly. However all hope was not lost. The God she prayed to in the Chapel did not abandon her. Sympathizers were touched to the heart. They contributed the sum of N50,000 and gave to her. Seeing the surprise gift, she thanked her benefactors and exclaimed, “The Lord is good, all the time!” My fellow Christians, be alert as you pray in the church. If you are careless, the Lord's goodness may not come your way.
During night prayer vigils, the devil manifests in various ways. In one of the vigils, a young man and a young lady were caught at the church gallery in the very act of fornication. If Moses were there, he would have recommended that they be stoned to death immediately. Later the female fornicator became pregnant. At the fullness of time, she gave birth to a baby boy and named him Churchfun.
At another vigil prayer, a group of boys were caught in the church sacristy performing an act of initiation into cultism. It is not an over statement to say that one third of the people you see in the church are cultists. One of the cultists was sent by their master to come to church to bring Holy Communion for occult purpose. He came before the altar and knelt down to receive the Holy Communion. The priest before giving him the Communion, said to him, “Body of Christ” and he answered, “Amen.” Immediately the Holy Communion entered his mouth, his tongue stretched forward and became long, such that it was touching the ground as he was standing. He fell down there and started foaming at the mouth. He shouted, “My people, let me confess! I was sent from the occult world to bring Holy Communion for satanic purposes. Please help me. I am dying. God have mercy! God have mercy!” He shouted louder, “The devil is here!!!” His tongue continued stretching to the main entrance of the church. He gasped for breath and died. The congregation shouted, “Up, up Jesus! Down, down Satan!
On another occasion, it was time for offertory during a service in the church. An elegant woman known for her piety and donations in the church rose from her seat and was dancing towards the altar to offer her gift. Accidentally, her outer wrapper got loose and fell off. Instantly, a strange and fearful object fell down from her waist. Seeing the occult object, the people started running towards the pastor for protection. The pastor went near the object and began the prayer of exorcism. As he was praying, the fear object started crying like a human being and burst into flame. The woman carrier made confessions of the evil things she has done. The people shook their heads asking, “Who then can be saved?”
Can you believe that there are so many neo-pagans in the church today? Neo-paganism is the practice whereby some people are Christians by profession and at the same time pagans by practice. They eat at the Altar of God in the church. At home they eat at the altar of the Idol. Did the Bible not say, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons as well; you cannot have a share at the Lord's table and the demons' table as well. Do we really want to arouse the Lord's anger; are we stronger than he is?”(1Cor.10:21 – 22). Neo-pagans believe more in idolatry than in God. Through Baptism they became initiated into the Church. By commitment they are initiated into Idolatry. They wear Christian uniforms externally. Inwardly their hearts are attached to pagan shrines. They pretend to worship God in the Church, but in reality the devil is their god. They pay their church dues and belong to some societies in the church to deceive people. By their fruits you know them. Who am I, a sinner, to judge? I heard that the devil has also entered into the Sanctuary. Lord, have mercy! The devil has come into the church, run, run, run!