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My Cousin's Crucifix (a devotional) from my life's past

Ben Avraham

Houston, TX
Apr 25, 2021
My Cousin's Crucifix

My cousin John lived in a suburb just outside of New York City. He lived with my aunt Nina and Uncle Ces. (well, his mom and dad) Ces was from Venezuela and my aunt Nina, her folks were from Italy.

We used to visit them on the Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas holidays. I'm from a mixed-denominational family. Ces and Nina were Catholics, my adoptive mom and dad were Lutherans, my biological parents were mixed Lutherans, Armenian, and Jewish (in their ancestry). I took after our Jewish ancestry, but never denying Yeshua as Savior and LORD.

Well, I remember once when we stayed overnight, I slept in John's room which had two beds. That was probably when I was 8 years old, that was in 1962. Downstairs in the basement was where the action was. Ces had two cushioned armchairs that tilted back and he used to watch the Bullfights from Mexico on Channel 41 from Patterson, N.J. (WXTV). He also had a bar with drinks for guests.

Back to John's room. John was one year older than me, so, I figured, he knew about almost everything. I noticed he had a glow-in-the-dark plastic Jesus-on-the-cross above his bed. Well, that night as we were about to go to sleep, he turned over and said to me:

"Jimmy, at midnight, we need to take Jesus down from the wall and hold on to him tightly for at least two or three minutes, because at midnight, the devil will come out of my closet and drag us both to hell."

I mean, that did it. That spoiled my night. It was 9 pm then, only 3 hours till "devil-time". I could just imagine at midnight, the closet would open and the room would fill with sulfur-smelling smoke, and a mean-looking devil would come out and drag us by the feet, yelling and screaming down to corridors to hell.

I remember dad telling me about hell. That was where all the burglars, muggers, thugs, bandits, liars, and bad boys and girls would go. They would have to shovel coal for the devil forever so that the fires would never go out. The devil would not give us water, much less, chocolate brownies. That would be messed up big time. I didn't want to go to that place.

In a way, I felt sorry for John, that his closet had an entrance to hell. I mean, I had a closet in my house in Chappaqua, and the devil never entered my bedroom through the closet. So, since I was to sleep in his room, well, he knew what to do. So, at midnight, we would "do it".

John went to sleep. I mean, really asleep, and the clock was ticking, ticking, ticking. I turned over and it was 10:30 pm,, then 11:30 pm, then, 11:55 pm. I mean, how could John still be asleep, knowing that in 5 minutes, Satan would come for us. Then we would never see Aunt Nina, Uncle Ces, nor mom and dad, ever again.

Well, I jumped out of bed and jumped in his bed and shook him; "John, John, it's almost midnight!" Sheepishly, he turned over and mumbled; "Oh, what, ah, what? oh yeah, the devil, yeah, OK, Let's do it!"

So then, at midnight, we had taken the crucifix down from the wall. We held on to it, John mumbled something, maybe it was a "Hail Mary" I really don't know. After a minute or two, he put it back on the wall. "Now go to sleep!' he told me.

Everything turned out OK. We foiled the devil. He didn't come for us. We had Jesus in our hands. After all, Jesus beat the devil at Calvary's cross, everyone knew that. We learned that in Sunday School. But we just proved that. The evidence was on the wall.

Years later, I learned that John was just having some fun with his cousin. But the reality of hell is serious. There is a hell just like there is a heaven. The devil exists. Well actually, there are many "devils" or "demons", Satan being the chief and Master of them all. All are fallen angels (Nephalim) and hell, and later, the Lake of Fire will be their abode forever. Hell was not made for mankind, but when mankind sinned, Our God, being a God of holiness can not allow sin to enter into heaven. So, unrepentant man and woman will have their eternity in hell, forever separated from God.

Yet the Bible clearly states that it is not God's will that ANYONE might perish, but come to a renewed relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. Our escaping hell and gaining residence in heaven does not depend on any material object, like crosses, stars of David, Menorahs, doves, fish with IXOYE on it. Those are "icons" or "symbols" of the faith, yet are powerless to save and redeem us from the curse of sin. Not even animals' blood could do that. Only the blood of our Messiah Yeshua could do that, once and forever.

By faith, we are saved, and this, not of works least anyone might boast. True words and worth more than gold. It is so simple, yet many miss it and will regret it for all eternity.

Can't imagine the devil making brownies, if he did, they'd come out charred and blackened, uneatable.