Bishop Eddie Long says the devil has been messing with his mind.
"The devil told me to stay home," Long says in his New Year's Eve message. "[But] God says, 'I've already done everything I'm going to do. I'm just waiting on you to catch up to what I've done.'"
But still, the devil plagued the bishop's mind.
The devil, he said, asked him "why you going to church? You need to rest. You're in recovery. I said, let me tell you something. I said if I was going for my ego, I'd lay here. If I was going trying to prove something, I'd lay here. I said God ain't through with me and sometimes you need to see the skinny Eddie and the big Eddie and all that. It ain't got nothing to do with physical appearance, it's what in your heart ... You are a Scripture ... I want to see you struggle. I want to see you fight the devil and get victory," Long said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Long stepped away from his congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in recent months due to an unspecified illness.
The bishop says he has not returned any communication with those who have reached out.
"I know a lot of you try to contact me, and call me and text me. I can't return all the texts, I get all the love. Just know I can't do it. It's just too many, too many," Long says in a sermon posted to YouTube in December.
"But it makes me feel good to see all them folks that's praying for me. I want you to know because one reason I can't even when some ... is because everybody want to ask questions. I don't want to rehearse facts," Long says.
Some, like gospel singer Kim Burrell, speculate Long has contracted HIV/AIDS. Others say the bishop has cancer.
"I am recovering from a health challenge that I trust God to deliver me from. It is unrelated to the eating for life diet consisting of mostly raw vegetables that I am continuing as part of a holistic approach to good health," Long said in a statement.
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