The Old Serpent and the Slacker
By Marsha West
Page 4

But first things first.  The Chief of Evil had sent him to inject apathy into the slacker's mind -- come hell or high water!  And he had better succeed  or…or what?  The thought of what his fate would be gave him the shivers.  He had to win.  He must! 

Poneros took aim and sent an arrow flying.  There would be no giving up.  He had to win.  His future as a leader in the mercenary army depended on it.   

The warrior deflected every deadly projectile that came at Brady.  He couldn't help but wonder why the fiend was spending so much time on this young man.  Certainly there were bigger fish to fry on Capitol Hill…or Hollywood.

Brady stirred sugar into his coffee, completely clueless that an angel was extinguishing fiery darts a fraction of a second before penetrating his mind. 

Out of arrows and ideas, Poneros settled on the hutch to rest.  He imagined coffee spilling all over the front of his starched white shirt.  Being that he couldn't get close enough to make that happen he cried out in frustration "Damn you to hell!" and then flew into the vent to regroup.  There was no way he could let the angel think he'd won.  What to do, what to do…? 

Perhaps one of his mind-games would work.  He had never tried it on an angel before.  But what did he have to lose?

Poneros elevated above the house and shouted down, "Hard to give one of them up, isn't it?" Grinning like the Cheshire cat he puffed out his chest and pranced around as if he had just won a great victory.  He was not fooling Chara, though.  The angel sensed that the evil forces would never get their hooks into Brady McCoy.  He wondered, "
Is his name written in the Lamb's Book of Life?"

No doubt Poneros was frustrated, but no way was he ready to give up on Brady McCoy.  A large number of Christians back-slid and when this one messed up, the demons would be on him like flies at an outdoor restaurant.   Meanwhile he had no choice but to leave.  No more dilly-dallying.  Time to face the music. 

Commander Fonias would be furious.  But that was nothing new.  He'd probably order him to take a refresher course in
10 Ways to Infiltrate the Human Mind and Capture the Soul even though he had excelled in that class and the old crank knew it.  That was many millennia ago, though. 

Poneros went through the list of the classes he had taken early on: 

The Trinity Is A Myth
The Devil Is A Myth
The Bible Is A Book of Myths and Fables
God Does Not Judge
Doubting God's Goodness
Evolution is Settled Science
Playing the Victim
Benevolent Abortion
The Inclusive Church
Fueling Human Narcissism
Christian Orthodoxy is Passé
Faith is a Force
Magical, Mystical Christianity
'New Revelation' Trumps Scripture
All Humans Go To Heaven

The fallen angel had tried every trick in the hand book.  Still, it was looking more and more like he had failed to get the job done.  The word fail was not in his vocabulary.  How could he face his peers if he…?  That's when he lost it.  The demoralized demon cried out at the top of his voice, "NO, NO, NO!" 

Surprised by the sudden outburst, Chara looked over at him wondering why he was so discombobulated.  Didn't he understand Angel?  He thought he had made it clear that his time was up.

Poneros' eyes narrowed on Chara and he declared: "Don't you get that McCoy is ours?" although he was thinking:
"At least he was ours until He sent this meddling angel to fight for him."  And then this bizarre notion entered his mind: "Maybe…perhaps…possibly the backslider was not ours to begin with!

Poneros shook off the thought.  He gave Chara the evil eye and snorted, "I will not allow a goody two-shoes angel to sabotage my work!" 

The warrior held back a grin.  Over the centuries he had been called many names, but goody-two shoes was a first.  Suddenly a message from Above flashed in his mind: 
A Special Envoy has been sent. 

"Ah, someone's praying for Brady McCoy,
" mused the guardian.

Realizing that there was nothing more he could do here, at least for now, the distressed demon took off like a rocket leaving a trail of sulfur behind him. 

Chara turned his attention back to Brady who was biting into a raisin bagel slathered with cream cheese. 
"Humans in America love to eat and this young man is no exception."

* * *

Brady settled into a kitchen chair and opened his Bible.  As was his custom before reading, he bowed his head and prayed: "Lord, as I study your word, teach me through the power of your Holy Spirit.  Make these words clear, practical and helpful.  In Christ's Name.  Amen." 

He removed his bookmark from Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6.  He took a gulp of coffee and began reading.  Above verse 10 was the heading: The Armor of God

Paul had used strong words to warn the Church about the ever present danger lurking around.  Although Brady hadn't taken spiritual warfare seriously when his pastor had spoken of it, the words on the page had his full attention.  He took a pen from a slot in the book jacket and underlined the essential pieces of armor:

The belt of truth;
The breastplate of righteousness;
Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The shield of faith;
The helmet of salvation;
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Be alert…praying always. 

Brady found it interesting that Paul had used a Roman soldier's armor as a The

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