when it was day, the jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed paul. there were more than forty who made this conspiracy. [acts 23:12]

“bummer of a birthmark – hal.”


gary larson, in my humble and small opinion, was a genius in observing and poking at the human condition. he was a cartoonist who entitled his works – “the farside.” they were out there, weird, different, and really good at poking fun of our weirdness and craziness and brokenness.

in this cartoon, one deer is lamenting with another deer the unfortunate birthmark he has. the birthmark is a red and white bullseye. considering deer have a “bullseye” put on them every day during hunting season – this is truly an unfortunate birthmark for a deer.


consider this – when you were born again in Jesus Christ by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit – you were given a spiritual “birthmark.” your birthmark – a bullseye for the enemy (satan) and all his demons. when you were born into the kingdom of light, you immediately became an enemy of the kingdom of darkness. and whether you are awake to this war or not, every day the enemy has you in his sights. he is targeting …

  • your eyes – urging you to focus them on worthless and sensual things.
  • your hands – wooing you to put them ONLY into temporary tasks.
  • your heart – leading you to worship idols that resemble but are not the LORD.
  • your dreams – encouraging them to be for selfish gain.
  • your relationships – enticing you to protect yourself at all costs.
  • your marriage – calling you to live for you, not die to self.
  • your parenting – reminding you – you are the king, get these people to serve you.
  • your spiritual endeavors – if you do good things and pursue God – he will owe you.


you are a target for the enemy. hear the voice of your LORD and receive it today …

be sober-minded; be watchful. your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [1 peter 5:8]

put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, [ephesians 6:11-12]

therefore, rejoice, o heavens and you who dwell in them! but woe to you, o earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” [revelation 12:12]


in one sense, you have been given a “bummer of a birthmark.” you are and will be under attack all your days as a child of God. it is why paul found himself in the middle of an evil “conspiracy.” 40 men had vowed to kill him. as ephesians 6 says, this was not about a death threat by some crazy fanatical people – or “flesh and blood.” this “conspiracy” was about “cosmic powers of this present darkness” wanting paul dead.

now, you may not consider yourself a “paul” worthy of a “conspiracy” unto death. but, if you are a born again follower of Jesus Christ infused with the person and power of the Holy Spirit – you are on the enemy’s hit list.


in one sense, this is a bummer. in another … we are told this is worth rejoicing in for the Lord’s sake!

be sober-minded; be watchful. your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. and after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. to him be the dominion forever and ever. amen. [1 peter 5:8-11] 

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. [acts 5:40-41]

but rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. [1 peter 4:13-14]


today, remember there is a conspiracy against you. but don’t let this remain a hidden mystery or a secretive plot from your own heart and mind. “be sober-minded” as the word says – “be alert.” you have a target on you!

and today, rejoice – that you are counted worthy of suffering for the name of Jesus Christ! hear and receive the words of your savior today …

“blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,” [matthew 5:11-12]



Lord, i submit to your Spirit. open my eyes to the enemy today. all day keep me sober-minded to his schemes. and even more, fix my eyes on Jesus. may i desire his heart, his ways, his presence – more than any other thing all day. in his presence, i will remember and rejoice, even if i am attacked, even if i suffer for his name sake! in Jesus’ name – amen!


~ john ryan