To say that I have had an exciting nursing career is an understatement. My entrance to the dark underworld of perpetrators began in 1994. Working for the New York State Division of Parole was a life-altering experience. The symptoms reported by the residents during their initial intake assessment were usually a feeble attempt to escape [abscond] from the locked facility. Outside medical evaluations for emergent conditions were the only valid reason the resident could leave the building for the initial four weeks following admission. From behind bars to the ability to look out the windows of a residential building in a commercial area on a busy street in Upper Manhattan tempted many of the residents to test their skills on nursing staff that appeared to be naive. After all, how much could two nurses [wearing regular clothing] know about the art of manipulation?
Reading medical books was a favorite past-time for a few residents who attempted to mimic the symptoms of certain infectious diseases. Yes, I must admit that the skill of manipulation was utilized quite well. But there was always something out of sync with the reported symptoms. Usually, the symptoms reported did not include a high fever that always accompanied the actual disease. In addition, the residents were unaware that the nursing staff received a complete copy of their medical records, which we reviewed to approve their transfer to the minimum security facility. Unless there was an acute onset of an undiagnosed condition, all residents transferred were in excellent health.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the Apostle Paul tells us of the signs of the last days.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
The Loss of Our Time
Satan, our arch-enemy, is highly effective at manipulation. We can agree that he is the Master Deceiver. Still, many anticipate obvious deceptions that they can readily identify. Not so! He cannot be equaled in the Art of Manipulation. His most effective tactic is to chip away and steal our valuable time with God. We are not referring to a cookie-cutter approach. The distractions are customized for every disciple of Jesus Christ. It is in the areas of relaxation, self-improvement, and our career goals that leave us too exhausted to put God first. From social media to the pursuit of academic goals or children enrolled in too many extracurricular activities are the distractions that diminish time spent with God. Still, the number one distraction, our jobs. We easily transition from a 40-hour week to uncounted hours [even if we are not physically present] spent in overtime and thinking about the responsibilities of tomorrow.
Considering your daily schedule, does God receive even 5% of each 24-hour day?
Yes, the skill of manipulation works so well with time. We rarely notice the wasted minutes escalating into hours until we are spiritually depleted, mentally overwhelmed, and physically exhausted. But wait! God sees that we require a reminder that we need Him. By allowing trials and hardships to enter our lives, we receive a necessary spiritual wake-up nudge. And how do we respond? We respond with misguided emotions because our spiritual resources are tapped dry. Then we are overcome by the Ds–downtrodden, depressed, and despondent. As despair overwhelms us, we feel forsaken, and ask, “Where are you, God?”
Spending time with God matters. In Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10-11, we are warned: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The change that is required to serve God wholeheartedly is a choice. God tells us that His very Name is Jealous. God is God! The “I Am that I Am” does not change. Put God first! Anchor yourself in Christ! Ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Time spent praying and studying the scriptures opens our spiritual eyes. The Spirit of God imparts the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to identify Satan’s manipulative attempts to steal time that belongs to our loving and patient Heavenly Father.
Prayer: God, help us to give you more of our time. Time to worship and commune with you every day. The time to receive spiritual renewal along with wisdom as we seek knowledge. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry