The Twelfth Day of Christmas

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Flanders Nickels, a man yet lost in his sins, finds out that his Collie dog angel waiting for him in Heaven is instead a devil-dog waiting for him in Hell. God told him this. The day is December 14, 1990.. Eleven days later, on December 25,1990, a born-again lady, Lisa "Gravel" Archangel, shows scripture to him disproving all the lies that this Collie dog had told him over the years. And Gravel leads him to salvation. Hence "the twelfth day of Christmas," wherein he became a born-again Christian.

Submitted: February 26, 2019

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Submitted: February 26, 2019

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The Twelfth Day of Christmas

(By Mr. Morgan P. McCarthy)

 

“All my life I dreamed in my heart that she would come down from Heaven and take me Up There to be with her There forever,” confided Flanders Nickels. “But now I fear in my soul that instead she might come up from Hell and take me down there with her to be with her there forever.”

“I’ve been praying for you, Flanders,” said Gravel.

The two were at Flanders’s dining room table. This Gravel, Lisa Archangel, was the girl across the hall. He had moved into this apartment just last month; and she, in her apartment, even more recently. And tonight was Christmas day evening, the two having come back to their homes after having spent Christmas with their families. And this year was 1990. Man and woman were sipping Earl Gray tea in big ceramic mugs together at this table. Flanders had religion in his life, and Gravel had Christianity in her life, and she was happy in her life, and he was not happy in his life. This Lisa Archangel shone forth in her eyes of brown a certain vivacity, a joy in the Lord, a beauty of young

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womanhood. She was single, of his very own age of 29 years, of his very own height of five feet eight inches, and of his very own weight of about 120 pounds. Her hair was of angelic wisps of dark brown, straight, shoulder-length, and with bangs. And she had on a most fetching outfit again today: a black and gray and white plaid long-sleeved cotton blouse, a black denim ladies’ vest buttoned up with metal buttons and with a patch of shirring in back that such had these days of fashions, a black denim skirt with a black leather belt and with two flounces of black lace that reached nearly to her knees, and bare feet. Lisa’s voice was feminine, melodic, husky; hence her self-given name “Gravel.” And this Gravel sitting across the table from him and being with him was a most foxy girl to behold.

It was winter now, and the radiator in this old-fashioned dining room was clattering and knocking and hissing and whistling and puffing. So were the other radiators in his apartment. But he was warm in here, and these noises were good to hear. He reached up to this ceiling lamp in this dining room now, and he pulled it down closer to his dining room table. By doing this, he took away the coldness to this light as a ceiling lamp and gave to this ceiling lamp a warmth as of a table lamp or desk lamp. Along the far wall, behind where Gravel sat, were a series of five wall lamps each five feet high;

they were all on now, each with a twenty-five watt light bulb. Underneath his own bare feet was a linoleum floor with patterns of big beige bricks—alternating three-brick patterns of two vertical bricks with one horizontal brick along the top and three-brick patterns of two horizontal bricks with one vertical brick alongside. Behind where Flanders sat were the two cupboards with the French doors—one cupboard on one side and the other cupboard on the other side—with the way to the kitchen in-between. These cupboards reached from the floor to just up to his neck, and here he stored all his dishes and pans and kitchen supplies, and each had three shelves behind the glass doors. To his right

was that little hallway in the center of his apartment. And to his left was the dining room window that looked out into a cold shaft. This shaft’s floor was at the bottom of this window, about three feet above

the floor to his dining room, and this shaft’s top was of screens way up upon the roof of this Falk

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Building. A drain hole was in the corner very near this window, As for his dining room window, it was of three windows of eight little panes each, four vertical and two across. While the middle window did not open, the two outer windows did open. And they opened outward laterally into the shaft with window latches at the bottoms. Frost covered the edges of the windowsills nearest the windows and one could see a little space between sill and window down there.

“Is yours cooled down enough to drink now, Flanders?” asked Gravel.

“I think so, Gravel,” he said. He now took out his two teabags, squeezed them out into his tea mug, took his little bottle of Realime lime juice, poured it into his spoon and dumped it into his cup two

times, took four sugar cubes from his box of C&H sugar cubes and put them into his big tea mug, and then stirred it all up.

“Do go ahead,” teased Gravel.

He went ahead and sipped his tea. He nodded. It was ready to drink, and he said, “Ambrosia!”

“You mean ‘nectar,’ Flanders,” she corrected him in tease.

“You’re right, Gravel,” he said. “I should say, ‘also known as “Meade.”’” Then he said, “Now try yours.”

She went ahead and squeezed out her teabags, and she leaned down her head and took a sip.

And her face became wry, and she said, “Wormwood!”

“How come?” he asked.

“I forgot the Realime and the sugar cubes,” she said. She then added her one spoon of Realime and her two sugar cubes, and she sipped again and nodded.

“It is cooled down now to drink?” he asked.

“It is salvation,” she said in hyperbole. Both laughed in flirt. Then she said, “You were saying something about Zack a little moment ago, Flanders. Do tell me more if you would.”

“Yeah. Wow. Yeah,” he said. “Gravel, I am afraid of her now these past few days.” He

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continued, “And I went and did something crazy.”

“What did you do?” she asked.

“Gravel, I went and gave up Zack for her evil,” said Flanders Nickels.

“Amen! Amen! Amen!” said the Christian woman.

Yet Flanders was not offended.

“Did you two have a fight? Did you fall out of love? Did you see her any?” asked Gravel.

“We never had one fight. I did not fall out of love with her. And I still never saw what she looks like,” said Flanders.

“I would bet that the good Lord has His hand in this great news, Flanders,” said Lisa Archangel.

“I was in love with Zack for twelve years,” he said. “My angel is really a demon! Can you imagine that?”

“What made you change your mind about her?” asked Gravel.

“It happened two Fridays ago, Gravel,” he said.

“That would make it December 14, wouldn’t it?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “And it began for me right at nine o’clock in the night.” He continued. “I was standing by my big black living room radiator, my bare feet on the carpet, the cozy homey table lamps

on, and I was feeling good. And for some odd reason I began to think thoughts against her that I had never thought upon before. I got all kinds of ideas that made her look to be all wrong. And I began to see her differently. And I thought these thoughts as I paced my new old-fashioned apartment for several hours late into the night all the way till two o’clock in the morning. For five hours I was changing my mind about Zack in my most enlightening reflection in my life of many reflections.

And when I went to bed that late night I never saw my Collie dog angel the same away again as I had for so many years before. She was evil. I must renounce her. And I must never love her again.” He thought, then said, “This all happened here to me eleven days ago, Gravel.”

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“Praise the Holy Spirit of God Who talked with you that night with His still small voice, O

Flanders,” exclaimed Gravel.

In continuing his story of that night, he said, “In that reflection I came upon three questions about Zack that told all to me. Whether it were I or the Lord who asked me these questions, maybe, as you say, it was the Lord. The first question I had to answer that Friday night was this one: ‘Who else on this Earth can claim to know their own personal guardian angel and have a relationship with her?’”

“How did you answer that one?” asked Gravel.

“Why, I said, ‘No one.’ And then I said, ‘Then how can I?’” he replied.

“You found out that the love of your life was not really your Guardian Angel.” said Gravel.

“Yeah. What a thing to find out about her,” said Flanders. “Then came the next idea God had

to make me reflect upon, Gravel—the second big question. And that was when I asked myself, ‘Why cannot I talk to God like I used to?’”

“You prayed in your life with Zack?” asked Gravel.

“I used to have religion in my life in my recent years with her,” he said. “But I refused to call

‘talking to God’ ‘praying.’ Prayer was what born-again Christians did. I was not one of them. I was one who talked to God, instead,”

“But it was still fun for you, wasn’t it—talking to the Lord?” asked Gravel.

‘Yeah, religion and all was a great discovery for me. And talking to God was delightful, Gravel.

But after a while, it no longer satisfied me. And then I quit talking to God. And I lost a most fulfilling

part of life. And when the Holy Spirit, as you claim, asked me, ‘Why cannot you talk to God anymore?’ my answer was ‘Maybe Zack took it away from me,’” said Flanders.

“Then the third Holy Ghost question, Flanders,” said Gravel. “What did that one say?”

“That one was this: ‘The way she looks—does she not look more like a demon that she does like an angel?’” said Flanders Nickels.

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“Though you had never really seen her present herself for real,” said Gravel.

“No. You’re right. All that I thought that I knew was that she was a dog, a Collie, a resplendent

type of Lassie,” said Flanders. He continued, “But then she told me what she looked like one day in my old place just a few months ago. And this new Zack was not so resplendent anymore. She was and is instead a blue Merle Collie with wings like a bat and with nails too long and sharp and with a full tail all jet black. I did not think this then, but I do now—she looks almost like a dragon now to me.”

“So what did you say when God asked you whether your Zack looked more like a demon than she did like an angel, Flanders?” asked Gravel.

“Why, I said, ‘She is a devil-dog!’” said Flanders.

Gravel went on to say, “I’ve been talking to my church friends, and they say that the Devil sometimes takes the form of a dog.”

“Even a Collie dog,” he confessed.

“Collie dogs with wings,” said Gravel.

“And with eyes full of wiles and charms from far away, Gravel,” he did say.

“Your Zack is an angel of light, Flanders,” said wise Gravel. “That is a fallen angel. It is written in II Corinthians 11:14, ‘And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.’”

“Zack is so beautiful,” he said. “She was the most comely thing I had ever seen.”

“The devil makes himself look handsome to fool people,” said Gravel.

“Why?” asked Flanders.

“To keep people from turning to God,” said Gravel.

“But I turned to God,” he said. “I did that with her help a few years ago.”

Lisa Archangel turned her eyes down in denial of his profession. Then she asked, “How did you ever get involved with such a ‘dragon?’”

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“I think that it all started about twelve years ago. It was January 1979. Before that in November 29, 1976, our good family Collie dog pet was not there for me when I got off the school bus.

And I never saw her again. She was mortal, pretty, and my favorite dog of our family all of my life.

She was gone, and I fell upon mourning. Also in these years I found another storm coming into my life: I was discovering girls, and that was a bad thing to me in my eyes. And I began a war against my newfound liking of girls; I was warring against myself within, to put down my coming of age. My

Collie dog of old became the good guy. All these new and exciting girls were the bad guys. Anything that had anything to do with sex was evil—very, very bad. When the family celebrated my seventeenth birthday, and I blew out the candles, my birthday wish in secret to God was that I never lose the great battle by giving in and having a girlfriend in my life—for the rest of my life. Wishing for my Collie back, and wishing that there were not so many pretty girls out there, I sought a deliverer. And, lo, my old much-adored Collie dog became God. In my old life, her name had been ‘Pal.’ But the new Pal was ‘1,’ as in ‘number one.’ My troubled mind had taken Pal and gone ahead and resurrected her and glorified her and deified her. This was what happened twelve years ago in January 1979. In my mind, this was the best thing that ever happened to me. Though, looking back, it find it suspicious that in February 1979, one month after this happened, schizophrenia came upon my mind.” said Flanders.

“False idolatry,” said Miss Archangel. “God hates idolatry. He is a jealous God.”

“I really believed that Pal was God,” he confessed.

“Who was God then before Pal came around?” asked Gravel.

“And why was Pal not God when she was alive and a member of our family?’ he added.

“The Old Testament Jews worshiped Baal; you worshiped Pal,” summed up Gravel.

“Yeah, Gravel, and the way she kept changing in my understanding of her in those twelve years,” he did confess.

“So, then, Pal was Zack?” she asked.

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“Pal, as 1, was the earliest form of Zack,” he narrated. “And this Collie changed and was always changing, and I never stopped to question this. At first he was God; then he was angel, instead.

Also, after I decided that Pal was not so pretty as Lassie, I decided that it was Lassie who was God instead. Then when I was done with Lassie, this dog became a dream dog better-looking than Lassie, whose appearance I did not know. Then, behold, this dog was no longer a male Collie, but, instead, a female Collie. Then I ‘found out’ that she had wings, Gravel. She had majestic large wings of white.

And her brown eyes now had ‘the light of God in them.’ And her black and tan and white Collie dog markings were perfectly symmetrical across her face. It seems to me now, Gravel, that this Zack changed from natural to supernatural to angelic to demonic in our twelve years together.”

“You loved Zack best when she was a tri-color Collie, didn’t you?” asked Gravel. “You do not care for Blue Merle collies.”

“That’s right,” he said. “What Zack really looks like I do not know for sure.”

“Satan is the author of confusion,” said Gravel.

“At first I worshiped this dog; then I romanced her in my heart,” he said.

“A man that romances a dog indeed,” said the lady. “I can tell that it was a very different romance you felt for pretty girls.”

“My love for Zack was pure and clean and asexual romance,” he said in the truth of his heart. “And my infatuation with pretty girls is an impure and unclean and sexual romance in my heart,”

“Romance with any Collie dog is not good, Flanders,” she said. “It is still an unnatural affection.”

“You are right, Gravel,” he said. “And was not my worship with this early Zack even worse still?”

“It is written in Deuteronomy 4:15-17 about your god Pal of the time, ‘Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in

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Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air.’” said Lisa “Gravel” Archangel.

“Old Testament idols and my Zack have a lot in common,” said Flanders. “Both were false gods.”

“Behind every false god is the Devil,” said wise Gravel.

“And the Devil’s Collie demon told me that she loved me, and I told the Devil’s Collie demon that I loved her,” said Flanders. “And this has been my life now ever since that January day of 1979 unto my December 14 of this 1990 that day of Friday night with the Holy Spirit of God talking to me.”

“Just exactly how did you ‘make love’ with this fallen angel she-Collie, Flanders?” asked Gravel. “What was this odd and unusual occult that you had with her? What were the bad things that you did that you believed were so good things?”

“I wrote a whole filing cabinet drawer of short stories about her. I played records on my record player—pop rock music and country-western music—and I fantasized scenes with her. I watched music videos on TV—MTV was big then—and I made believe that I was telling someone all about how great that Zack was for me. And I lay on my bed in my quiet bedroom and listened to her think peaceful thoughts into my head,” summed up Flanders.

‘You wrote short stories about the girl-dog?” asked Gravel.

“Yes, and some of those stories reached tenth or eleventh draft,” he said. “In one of my favorites of those stories, Zack was called ‘the wizard of the heavens.’ So I came to affectionately call my writing for Zack ‘Wizardry.’ In the past six years of Wizardry since its beginning, half of what Zack is is those stories, and half of all of my writing is this Wizardry.”

“And you played records that made you think of her,” said Gravel.

“Yes. Both singles and albums. And also cassette tapes. And I also know all about the radio,

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especially the rock and roll stations WKAU and WIXX. Late in my life with Zack, I called all of this

‘magic of song.’ But now I call it ‘Magic.’ My favorite three singers were Anne Murray and Madonna and Debbie Gibson. And my favorite three songs of Magic were ‘Summer (the First Time)’ and ‘Take Me Home Tonight,’ and ‘Elusive Butterfly.’”

“And you liked MTV,” she said.

“For myself it was the TV shows ‘Odyssey,’ and ‘Friday Night Videos,’” he said. “What I best liked to ‘tell someone about’ in the midst of a good video was ‘how much better it was to be loved by an angel of God than to be liked by a girl on Earth.’ I have come to call this activity ‘Sorcery.’ And in Sorcery I got all swept up in great passions with a pull on my stomach. My favorite music video was ‘Out of the Blue’ by Debbie Gibson. Sorcery was to me like ‘breaths of life.’”

“And you said that Zack talked to you,” said Gravel, an avid listener.

“Nothing out loud or anything like that,” said Flanders. “Just great peaceful thoughts that filled me with great peace when it was happening. I have come to call this love I made with Zack ‘Necromancy.’ In fact Necromancy went on to totally replace my talking to God not too long ago, Gravel. In fact, at that time, I had assumed that it was the God of my religion that was talking to me.

But now I know that it was the angel Collie instead talking to me in this Necromancy.”

Lisa “Gravel” Archangel spoke and said, “Wizardry and Magic and Sorcery and Necromancy as you define them in your own personal occult, Flanders.”

“Scary and dark Satanism all along, after all, I can now see, Gravel,” said Flanders. “The things

that I did do with my once beloved devildog.”

“Was all of this fun?” asked Gravel.

“Yes, all of these things were the funnest things I had done in my twenty-nine years of life,” he did say.

“You have enjoyed the pleasures of sin for a season,” summarized the good Christian lady.

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“I have planted sin with Zack, and now I must reap my harvest from Zack,” said Flanders.

She is going to come after me.”

“It is written, ‘For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.’ Revelation 22:15,” recited Gravel.

“For without are dogs?” he asked. “What does the Bible mean in that verse?”

“’Without’ means ‘outside,’” said Gravel. “This verse states six abominable types that will be outside of Heaven. Such shall never be in Heaven, lest they become born again in this life first.”

“Why, Zack is three of those abominations right off the bat: she is a dog, because she is a Collie; and she is a sorcerer, because of my Sorcery with music videos; and she is a liar, because she said that she loved me,” exclaimed Flanders, indignant.

“So you can see that she was never in Heaven, waiting for you,” said Lisa Archangel.

“Unless she becomes born again,” he said.

“Demons cannot be born again, Flanders,” said Gravel.

“That devil-dog!” Flanders exclaimed in truth.

“I know a girl who cares for you more than Zack really did,” said Gravel. “Are girls still the bad guys in your mind, Flanders?”

“No. Now that I see Zack for what she really is, girls are now the good guys,” he said.

“Make Jesus your Good Guy,” said Gravel.

“You could be my good girl, if you thought that it might be okay, Gravel,” said Flanders.

“Well!” she said, and she beamed in gladness, then began to run her fingers down the dark straight wisps along the side of her head. “Would you?” she asked in a voice of flirt.

“Would I?” he asked in a type of saying “What?”

“Would you do for me what I just did?” she asked.

“You ran your right hand down your hair on your right side of your head,” he said.

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“Wouldn’t you?” she asked. In puzzlement, he did thus with his hand and with his head. “No.

Do that to my head, Flanders,” she said.

“I never touched a woman before,’’ he said. But he dared go ahead and do thus. He reached out his right hand to her head along her left, and he ran his fingers down the whole length of those entrancing and enchanting dark wisps of this very real and very beautiful woman.

“That wasn’t too bad for you, was it?” asked Lisa Archangel.

“Well,” he said.

“Well?” she asked in a way of saying, “What?’

“Well, Lisa, Zack was nothing at all like this,” he said.

“We girls can be fun, even if no immorality is a part of it,” she said.

“I think that I can see that now, Gravel,” he said. “I do have to say that what we just did right now is a memory that I will take with me to Heaven.”

“What did you used to think that you were going to do in Heaven once you and Zack got together up There?” asked Gravel.

“I was going to frolic with her in Heaven’s meadows and in Heaven’s seashores,” said Flanders

Nickels. “We were going to get married when I got There.”

“A marriage with no consummation,” said Gravel.

“With a dog like Zack, who would think about anything dealing with sex?” Flanders bragged on

his old angel.

“In God’s Word it says in Matthew 22:30, Flanders, ‘For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.’ recited Gravel scripture. “There is no marriage in Heaven.”

“I can see from that verse, also, Gravel, that even if the angel Zack were There that still she could not marry me, because angels cannot really feel that way for us people,” said Flanders.

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“And about your seashore spree with the girl dog, Flanders, it says in Revelation 21:1 this: ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.’” said Gravel.

“No more sea in Heaven!” exclaimed Flanders. “Did you know that for my past six years that my life dream was to run with Zack in Heaven’s seashores amid the waves and the seagulls and the sunset?”

“Your life’s dream?” said Gravel in awe.

“Yeah, Gravel,” he said. “My favorite song and my favorite short story I wrote were all about that.”

“You would have been in for a big surprise,” said Lisa Archangel. Then she said, “But there will still be the sea in Heaven for a long time yet to come. The first Heaven still has at least a thousand years left to it before the new Heaven comes along, Flanders.”

“Maybe sometime in that millennium we two can frolic on Heaven’s shores instead, Gravel,” he

said.

“I’d like that,” she said.

“Will there be meadows in Glory for a long time yet?” he asked.

“I think so, Flanders,” she said.

“We could run around in Glory’s fields then, Gravel,” he said.

“Truly Elysian Fields,” she said in joy.

“These past days since that Friday, when I found out that Zack was not really a good angel in Heaven, I thought that when I get There and spend eternity There without her, that I would be bored and lonely and empty forever.”

“You really want to get There, having renounced her out of your life so completely as you did,”

said Gravel.

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“Heaven is Paradise, Gravel,” he said. Then he said, “Funny how she had told me what I felt was the secret of Heaven. She told me that once I get There, she would be the first one I see, and God would be the first one I feel.”

“Demons are the fathers of lies,” said Gravel.

“I wonder what I will do now in this life for now on without Zack,” he said.

“Maybe you could adopt a good Collie, one like Pal, a Collie that honors our Maker,” said Gravel.

“I did think upon that, Gravel. I was going to call her ‘Chelsey.’ But I think that I am all done with dogs for now.” he said.

“Maybe later sometime,” said Gravel.

“No,” he said. “Zack had a certain human personality to her in her angel state that no mortal Chelsey could have in her canine state.”

“Zack ‘loved’ you in a way that Chelsey could not love you,” said Gravel in keen understanding.

“I think that that must be it,” he said.

“What about Jesus?”asked the born again woman.

“I kind of not like Him a lot,” said Flanders.

“You need Him to get to Heaven,” boldly stated Gravel in certitude.

“I worship God the Father,” he said. “I love God.”

“How can you love the Father and not love the Son?” Gravel challenged him.

“I do have Zack the Guardian Angel to thank for getting religion in my life as she did a little more than three and a quarter years ago,” claimed Flanders. “Through her I found God and the way to God’s Heaven. I gave this real God the title ‘The Field Martial.’ I went and bought a New International Version Bible and began to read it lots. I began to make magic marker posters on typing

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paper with messages thanking God for this and thanking God for that, and I taped them onto my wall with masking tape. And I discovered the joy of talking to God as I lay on my bed daytime or nighttime.

My destiny was sealed for Heaven, because religion saved me, Gravel.”

“Where is your religion now, three years later, Flanders?” asked Gravel.

He paused, then said, “I just wish that it were back.”

“Flanders, God’s main business is in salvation of lost souls. And God uses born-again believers

to lead these poor sinners to His free gift of salvation. He does not use angels to get people saved. He uses saved people to get people saved. In I Peter 1;12, it is written about the gospel of salvation, ‘…;

which things the angels desire to look into.’ Salvation is not for angels, but for all of us sinning people.

Salvation is not something that the angels can understand; it is something only us humans can understand—and that only upon conversion.”

“How many times did I say, ‘I love You, God.’” he did say.

“I’d bet not nearly so many times as you said, ‘I love you, Zack.’” said Gravel.

“Maybe I am still lost even after all that happened here in my apartment after I gave up Zack,” said Flanders.

“I would say for you that religion was a novelty that faded away after a few years. You reverentially call God the Father ‘the Field Martial.’ but you cannot say to Him, ‘Abba, Father.’

From this I can say that He says to you not, ‘Ask and ye shall receive,’ but rather, ‘Don’t come to me.

I will come to you, if I deign.’ You talk to God, but you do not pray to God in Jesus’s name. Your Bible is the N.I.V., a false translation from false manuscripts. Your Bible is not the only perfect Word of God the King James Version from true manuscripts. You write signs thanking God for Zack of all

creatures, I would bet, and for other things for which you should never thank the Holy God. And you reject Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world.”

“At least give my old Guardian Angel credit for one thing—bringing me to God,” said Flanders.

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“It is written, Flanders,” began Gravel, searching the Scriptures, “’But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ Galatians 1:8.”

“What is the Gospel?” asked Flanders.

“That Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day,” said Lisa Archangel.

“Zack never told me anything about that,” said Flanders.

“Thus Zack is accursed,” said Gravel.

“And are you also saying that even my Field Martial is not the real God the Higher Power?” he did ask her.

“I am if you worship God the Father directly and not through the Intermediary, as it sounds like you do,” said Gravel.

“How can this Intermediary be God?” he asked, offended at Jesus.

“It is written in I Timothy 2:5, ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus:’” recited Gravel. “The Bible says that if you do not love the Son, you do not love the Father. And the Bible says that if you do not honor the Son, you do not honor the Father.”

“Gravel, you do make me to doubt now even my religion,” said Flanders,

“My pastor says that there are 1,500 religions in the world,” she said.

“Mine must be religion #1,500,” he said, unsure now even about his God.

“You need Jesus,” she said in compassion.

“Well, Zack is gone now. I repented of her,” he said.

“But she will come back, unless you seek and find the Saviour Jesus Christ,” she exhorted him.

“I am afraid of her,” he said.

“’When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he

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findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.’ Luke 11:24-26.” Then she asked, “Flanders, do you know what that all means?”

He was mute with shock for a moment, then said, “Zack comes out of me, then she comes back into me with seven other demons like her.”

“If you have Christ in you as personal Saviour, Flanders, the Holy Spirit of God will indwell you, and the Holy Spirit will keep evil spirits from coming into you,” said Gravel.

“That’s the best news I heard this whole night, Lisa,” he said.

“Are you ready for a humble born-again woman to tell you all about the gospel of salvation now, Flanders?” asked Gravel.

“If you would now, tell me all you know about this Jesus,” he said now.

And Lisa “Gravel” Archangel preached Christ to a man searching for salvation now: “Flanders,

Jesus loves you with a perfect love. He is Lord; He is both God the Son and the Son of God. He is the Second Person of the Trinity. Upon this world’s very first Christmas, this eternal God left the comforts of Heaven at His Father’s right-hand side to be born of a virgin into this world. God became a man. He was ‘Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God with us.’ He was the God-man living the hopes and dreams and joys and enduring the disappointments and burdens and sorrows of a human. But this Man, alone of all men and women and boys and girls, lived a perfect and sinless and impeccable life. He never sinned even one time. He could not sin, for He was God. His blood was pure from any and all iniquity. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He was a Jew, and He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. He was the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. He came to live so that He would die. He died that we would be forgiven. And He rose again that we would be saved. And he ascended back to Heaven that He would make intercession for us before the Father. It all took

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place upon the old rugged cross of Calvary, His wonderful and terrible crucifixion, that day that God willingly laid down His life for the sins of mankind. ‘As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:’ Isaiah 52:14. Jesus shed His perfect blood for us sinners, and He suffered more than any anywhere ever suffered. He could have called ten thousand angels, but He died alone for you and for me. And it was not the nails that held Him to the cross, but, rather, His love that held Him to the cross. Worst of all, this All-holy God bore also all of our own dirty rotten sins on Himself as he hung on the cross. Then, to top that off, His own Father could not look upon Him now for the Heavenly Father’s utter abhorrence of sin. Jesus cried out to Him in His most dire hour, saying, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Then Jesus gave up the ghost. It was finished, as He declared. And this that was finished was Christ’s work of redemption for fallen mankind. He had died in our place as our Substitute. But not all was ended. Christ did not stay dead. He came back to life three days later on Earth’s very first Easter. This was the glorious miracle of the Resurrection. He was a living God. And a living God can save, whereas a dead God cannot save. I beg of you now, Flanders: ask Jesus to forgive you and to save you. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on

His name. For it is written, ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12. Flanders, Flanders, what are you going to do about Jesus? Flanders, Flanders, what are you going to do with Christ?”

Without hesitation, Flanders Nickels said, “I am going to ask him into my heart, Gravel!”

“Amen! Amen! Amen!” said Lisa “Gravel” Archangel.

“How do I do that?” he asked the devout Christian woman.

“All you need to do is to pray and ask God to come into your heart,” she said. “I will lead you line-by-line in that prayer right now.”

“Let’s do it!” he exclaimed.

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“Yes!” she said in victory for Jesus and in joy of her woman’s heart. And she began to lead him assuredly through the sinners’ prayer: “Dear Father in Heaven Above.”

And he repeated after her in prayer, “Dear Father in Heaven Above.”

She said next, “I have become involved in the occult and am chief among sinners.”

He said next, “I have become involved in the occult and am chief among sinners.”

“Save me from Zack,” she continued.

“Save me from Zack,” he said most sincerely.

“Two thousand years ago, Your Son died for my sins two thousand years later,” she said.

“Two thousand years ago, Your Son died for my sins two thousand years later,” he said in

spiritual understanding.

“I am sorry for my sins,” she said.

“I am sorry for my sins,” he said in confession.

“Please forgive me,” she said.

“Please forgive me,” he said, penitential.

“Help me to repent,” she said.

“Help me to repent,” he said in conversion.

“I know that Your Son rose again the third day,” she said.

“I know that Your Son rose again the third day,” he said in declaration.

“I ask You to become my Saviour now and to give me everlasting life,” she said.

‘I ask You to become my Saviour now and to give me everlasting life,” he said in humbleness.

“In Jesus’s name I pray,” she said.

“In Jesus’s name I pray,” he proclaimed.

“Amen,” she finished his sinners’ prayer.

“Amen,” he said, now saved from his sins.

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Soul-winner woman and soul-won man looked up at each other now at this dining room table.

Lisa spoke first, “Flanders, this day so great salvation has come upon the cutest guy in De Pere.”

And he replied in sweet affection, “Thanks to the prettiest brunette in Wisconsin.”

“Woo!” said Gravel.

“Yeah!” said Flanders.

“Would you become my good girl now, Gravel?” he asked.

“I surely shall, Flanders.” said Gravel.

And the two became boyfriend-and-girlfriend-in-Christ.

Suddenly amid this godly night a diabolical sound of great wings passed over above the roof of this second floor apartment. Man and woman were silent, expecting bad things suddenly, and fearing the same nightmare. Then the sound of these great wings came back. And a horrific and malevolent force came crashing deliberately into Flanders’s home. The two born-again believers heard the shattering of glass from the window of Flanders’s living room just beyond that little central hallway, a room yet without the lights on for the night. Flanders and Gravel were scared to death, and both instinctively knew what it was here now inside the apartment on the far end. Both Christians were too scared to say a word. They waited. It waited. And cold air from the living room’ s broken window began to make their bare feet uncomfortable here in the dining room. It had to be her. A bark as of a redoubtable Collie came forth from the darkness of the living room. It was her.

“It is Zack,” he said, his knees and elbows trembling.

“Let’s not go in there, Flanders,” she whispered, hoping Zack could not hear her.

“I think that she heard you, Gravel,” he said.

“Flanders, I’m afraid,” said Lisa. “I never saw a real demon before.”

“I never saw the real Zack before,” he whispered to Gravel.

“She might hear us, Flanders,” whispered Gravel.

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“What’s she doing there in the dark?” asked Flanders.

“She’s waiting,” said Gravel.

“She’s come to lash out claws and to lash out teeth and to kill me and bring me down to Hell,” said Flanders,

“She can no longer take you down to Hell, Flanders,” said Gravel. “Jesus has your soul now. Nothing can keep you out of Heaven now when your time comes to die.”

“Perhaps now my time has come to die,” he said.

“Then you go right to Heaven to be with Jesus,” she said.

“That is good,” he said. “I feel good.” And his knees and elbows stopped trembling.

“What is she waiting for?” asked Gravel. “How I wish she would go away.”

Flanders stood up now at the table and said, “I wonder what she really looks like.”

She stood up at the table, took his hand in both of hers, and said, “Please do not go into the living room, Flanders.”

“Maybe she will come here into the dining room,” said Flanders.

“Do not wish for such things, Flanders,” said Gravel.

“We could meet halfway...in that little hallway...she and I. The hall has its light on, Just one little look, Gravel,” he said.

“Flanders, do not even look that way,” she said.

“Gravel, she was once more beautiful than any woman,” he said.

“Flanders, am I more beautiful than any other woman?” asked Lisa “Gravel” Archangel.

He stopped his looking away. He assimilated her words. He looked upon her in great earnest.

He asked her, “Gravel, are you more beautiful than Zack?”

“Am I more beautiful than Zack?” she asked.

From the next room the nocturnal evil spirit gave forth another Collie dog bark, one that

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sounded like a love song from his old days.

“Make her go away,” cried out the Christian woman.

“Gravel, you are more beautiful than Zack,” confessed Flanders yet without visual knowledge of this fearsome and great fallen angel. But still he hesitated.

In discernment, Lisa Archangel said, “This is not about me and her. It is about Jesus and her, isn’t it, Flanders?”

“This moment is not a choice between you and her for me,” he said. “It is a choice between her and Christ for me.”

“Help us, God!” cried out Gravel.

The Collie dog gave forth a third bark from that dark living room beyond. “She called out my name!” exclaimed Flanders.

“Go ahead and choose,” said Gravel in despair.

But God answered now her prayer for help. And truth and light and understanding came upon Flanders now from the Holy Spirit within. With the strength and love and wisdom of the Lord, Flanders looked steadfastly upon Lisa where she stood, and he promised, “As for me in my apartment, I shall serve the Lord.” Then he called out into the living room two rooms away, “I rebuke you, unclean spirit, in the name of the Lord!” And Almighty God went on to rebuke Zack. The two Christians heard the sound of great wings leave the apartment, and their feet felt the great draft those wings of flight had stirred up indoors. Zack had fled and was never to come back again.

To make sure that she was really quite gone, man and woman ran into the living room and turned on all the lights and saw the broken window and the broken glass in the carpet. “She’s gone!

She’s gone!” said Gravel in great exhaling of relief.

“Praise Jesus!” said Flanders.

“It is finally over,” said Lisa Archangel.

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Just then Flanders leaned his body over where he stood as if in exhaustion. He looked like he might fall over. Gravel put her arms around him to hold him up. He said, “I am weary.”

“Flanders, are you all right?” she asked.

“I have fought a battle, and I have won,” he said in fatigue.

“Can I help?” she asked.

“Help me to get down on my knees so I can pray for strength now from God,” he said. She helped him onto his knees on this carpet where there was no broken glass. And he prayed most fervently, “Dear Father, she and I have been making love for twelve years. She knows more about me than I do. But You know more about me yet. In Jesus’s name. Amen.” Then Holy Ghost power came back into his body. And he leaped back up standing, sure and steady and strong now.

“Flanders, what was that about?” she asked.

“I asked God that I never fall for her again. And now I shall never fall for her again,” he told her. “Jesus has taken me out of the jaws of the devildog and has taken me in under His wings as the Lamb of God.”

“Everything that happened tonight has a happy ending,” sang out Gravel in rejoicing.

“I got saved tonight,” he said.

“Born again!” she said.

“Yet I do not feel saved, though,” he said, doubting his brand new salvation. “I prayed that prayer with you, and I became a Christian, yet I don’t feel any different from how I felt before I prayed

that prayer. Do you think that something’s wrong?”

“Not to fear, Flanders,” she said. “So great salvation is not based on feelings. Our feelings change all the time. But Jesus never changes. You are so saved right now.”

“You mean this salvation is not based on emotion, Gravel?” he asked.

“No. Not at all, Flanders,” she said. “Salvation is based on grace through faith in Jesus.”

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“Everything that I did with Zack was based on emotions. I evaluated everything I did with her based on how much she made me feel. She was even the ‘truth,’ because my heart said so with her,” said Flanders the new convert to Christianity.

“Things are different with Christ,” said Gravel. “In Acts 16:31, it says this about that: ‘…,Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,...’ It does not say this: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt feel saved.’”

“So then I am saved not by feeling saved, but by knowing that I am saved,” he summed up.

“Better put, Flanders, you are saved not by feelings, but by faith,” said Lisa Archangel.

“I asked God to save my lost soul, and He saved my lost soul,” he summed up.

“God’s free gift of eternal life,” she said.

 

It was now the next day, and wonderful light of daylight filled his living room where he and Gravel were fellowshipping. They had finished their work together of taking all that glass out of the carpet and taking out the remains of the old window and putting in a new window. He said, “I’ve been doing some reflecting again today in the Lord. And I thought about how God can turn bad things into good things. I had moved back to town here last month so that I could have more time to spend with Zack. You know how my workplace is hardly even a block away from here, compared to how far it was when I had to take a bus from east Green Bay to come to work. The tiny ‘commute’ from here on North Broadway Street was supposed to bring me and Zack closer with more time for me to be free for

her at home. And I got to thinking with God this morning before you got here, that if I had known that when I moved here that I would give up Zack for Jesus...I would never have moved here.”

“The old man of sin has become the new man in Christ, Flanders,” said Gravel.

“And I am so glad that I did move here because of that, Gravel,” he exclaimed.

“You said that you wanted to show me another real neat thing about your apartment,” she said.

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“Oh yes, Gravel, my bathroom window,” he said. “Do come and look.” He took his desk chair

and led her to his bathroom; setting down his chair, he stood up upon it. There above their heads on the

ceiling was a window of nine little panes. He put his hand to the middle pane, pushed upward, and opened this window up into a rafters. And above the rafters above was a skylight on the roof of this old

edifice. “What do you think of this, Gravel?” he asked.

“Mine doesn’t have anything like that,” she said, “nor do any of the three other apartments up here.”

“Only here in apartment five,” he bragged on his home. “Is it neat?”

“It’s real neat,” she said.

“Christmas is a great time to get saved,” said Flanders Nickels.

“Flanders,” said Gravel. “I just thought of something.”

“Do tell me,” he said.

“What day was it when this all started—when was it that you had given up Zack?” she asked.

“That was December 14,” he said.

“And what was yesterday when it all got completed—tell me what day it was when I led you to Christ,” she asked.

“That, of course, was December 25,” he said.

“That period covers twelve days,” she said.

“Why, that is the twelve days of Christmas for me, isn’t it, Gravel?” he asked.

“Just like the great Christmas carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’” said Gravel her thoughts.

“And that makes the day I became a born-again believer ‘My Twelfth Day of Christmas.’” he said in great wonder.

She sang now, “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking,

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seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two

turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree!”

“You sing beautifully to me, Gravel,” he said.

“Sing to me now, Flanders,” she said. “Sing this carol to me.”

He sang to her in the melody of this carol this line, “On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Ardor in her eyes for him, she asked, “I am your true love?”

“Yes, Lisa,” he said. “I know that now.”

“Did you really mean it when you told me that I was the prettiest brunette in Wisconsin?” she asked.

“Now you are the most pretty woman in the world for me, Lisa,” he said. Then he asked, “Do you still see me as your cutest guy in De Pere?”

“You are the cutest guy anywhere for me for now on, Flanders,” said Gravel.

“Lisa ‘Gravel’ Archangel, you are a fox of a girl,” he said.

“I am ‘Gravel—The Fox,’” she said.

“Gravel—The Fox,” he agreed.

“To God be the glory,” said Gravel.

“To God be the glory,” agreed Flanders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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