THE “SLEEP BOOK”

“For then I should have lain down and been tranquil; had I slept, I should then have been at rest.” —Job 3:13
 
Jesus wants to be Lord of our sleep. He plans to use our sleep both to advance His kingdom and to bless us with sufficient rest. Satan also has plans for our sleep, since it occupies nearly one-third of our lives. In addition to the sleep we lose through the activity of children or neighbors, Satan attempts to rob us of more sleep by tempting us to worry (see Eccl 5:11), fear (Sir 40:5-7), or anger (Eph 4:26ff). When we need to fall asleep, we instead lay awake and fret. This gives the devil a chance to operate on us (see Eph 4:26-27) and further his sabotage of God’s kingdom.
We really need discernment in the area of sleep. At times we are called to do without some sleep. The writer of 2 Maccabees spent many “sleepless nights” writing the Word of God (2 Mc 2:26). Like Jesus, we can be called to intercede and pray long into the night (Mt 14:23, 25). At other times, we sleep when we should be attentive to the Lord (see Mt 26:40ff; Prv 6:9ff; 1 Sm 3:1ff). Conversely, we often are called to sleep, but we won’t. We stay up late entertaining ourselves or working for perishable food (Jn 6:27) when God our Father wants to provide it for us. “It is vain for you to rise early, or put off your rest, you that eat hard-earned bread, for He gives to His beloved in sleep” (Ps 127:2).
If we give our lives to the Lord and live by His teaching, He will tell us: “When you lie down, you need not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet” (Prv 3:24; see also Prv 19:23; 1 Sm 2:8). In His peace, we gratefully respond: “As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling” (Ps 4:9). “Sleep in heavenly peace.”
 
Prayer: Jesus, may I sleep soundly in life’s storms (Mt 8:24-25).
Promise: Jesus “firmly resolved to proceed toward Jerusalem.” —Lk 9:51
Praise: St. Jerome spent four years in the desert, learning God’s Word in solitude and prayer.

GOD’S SWAT TEAM

“Although the dragon and his angels fought back, they were overpowered and lost their place in heaven.” —Revelation 12:7-8

Angels, being invisible, are hard for us to understand. Yet angels do take on bodies. This at least gives us a clue regarding the mentality of the angels. Angels usually appear in the Bible either as the average man (Heb 13:2) or as gigantic creatures (Rv 19:17). As far as I know, they never appear as fat little babies with wings. This common picture of angels tells us more about our confused state of mind than about angels.
Angels are formidable creatures who will attack demons. They do not just float around on clouds and occasionally resist Satan. Aggressively they take the offensive against Satan, who desperately tries to defend himself (Rv 12:7).
Therefore, spiritual warfare is nothing for us to hang our heads about but to rejoice in. Satan is the one who should be discouraged about spiritual warfare. He’s the loser. We, along with the angels, are “more than conquerors” in Jesus (Rm 8:37).

Prayer: Father, may I get to know the three archangels personally and talk to them daily.
Promise: “I solemnly assure you, you shall see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” —Jn 1:51
Praise: St. Michael thrusts into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Praise You, Lord, for providing such mighty helpers!

CHANGING TO BE UNCHANGING

“Afterward he regretted it and went.” —Matthew 21:30

Virtuous people should never change “from virtue to commit iniquity,” or they will die (Ez 18:26). After we tell our heavenly Father that we will work in His vineyard (see Mt 21:28ff), we should never change our minds. Jesus said: “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God” (Lk 9:62). After we tell the Lord, our spouses, our children, our families, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and even our enemies that we love them, we should never change.
To never change our faith and love, we must make some other changes. If we don’t change and repent of sins, these sins will change us for the worse. If we don’t change and be reconciled with those that we haven’t forgiven, then the poison of unforgiveness will change, warp, and destroy our love for God, our spouses, our families, etc. If we don’t let God change some habits in our lives, we will become enslaved and forced to change what should never be changed.
Our faith and love in Christ will never change, if only we let God make some major changes in our lives. Change to become unchanging.

Prayer: Father, by Your grace I will change whatever would lead me to stop loving You.
Promise: “At Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!” —Phil 2:10-11
Praise: Praise Jesus, unchangeable (see Mal 3:6) and risen Rock of my salvation!