Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Seventeen: Exposing the Enemy

Before You Begin:  Read Acts 13:4-12
            On Cyprus
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Stop and Consider: “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
Questions Asked of Me: Wow. Now that’s calling ‘em like you see ‘em. Is there a time when we should be this direct in our rebuke of someone? Are we sometimes guilty of being too nice?
Yes, I have been too nice so as not to offend or seem like a “Jesus Freak.” Definitely not something I am proud of but had completely forgotten this story of Paul and needed the reminder. I know how he was raised but how was he given such strength and authority for Jesus’ name so quickly? He clearly possessed something that I didn’t at his “Coming to Jesus” moment.
I know that Jesus has used my personality to work for His glory since accepting Him but, even having been reminded of this part of Paul’s journey, would I have the courage to “call it like I see it” as quickly and as readily as He did? I am a spokesperson for Him; a Cheerleader for Jesus but do I do as much as I know He wants of me? I would have to answer that perhaps I don’t but I also don’t think I am in too many places to be put into that position…maybe that is another part of the equation; not putting myself out there enough for Him. I will work on that.
What are some methods the Devil uses to try keeping the clear message of God’s Word from getting through to us? How are we to challenge and overcome these obstacles?
Just like the Devil’s visit to the Garden of Eden; he shines doubt on everything Jesus promises to us through His Word. He paints it in a different light and skews it to benefit him; clearly telling us that the easier, wrong decision is the better choice to make most immediately. If we are constantly in His Word we cannot be touched by Satan or his ‘assistants.’ He can’t distort the clear message of Jesus if we stay out of his way. He can’t skew Jesus’ words to be something they are not without being given the opportunity.
How does it help to know that a real enemy is engaged in battle against you, an actual foe who is seeking to deceive and distract you? Rather than suffering endless pangs of guilt over your inconsistency or weakness of character, does it strengthen your muscle to know that your acts of obedience are blows against Satan’s army? This is war! Wanna fight?
Praying God’s Word Today:  We heed Your call, Lord, to be sober, to be on alert! For our adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. May we resist him, Lord, firm in faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by our brothers in the world – knowing, too, that You, the God of all grace, who called us to Your eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support us after we have suffered a little (1Peter 5:8-10).

Dear Jesus:
Thank you for picking me to be on Your team. I am so glad to know that no matter how hard Satan tries to get to me, You are there. I am sure he was pretty excited when I hid from You. I know that he thought it was only a matter of time before I slipped back to my old ways; but You knew better. Thank you for being there for me when I decided to be obedient and follow You as I knew I should have from the beginning. I know that You have never taken me anywhere that You weren’t already there. Give me the strength to stand up for Your name in any situation and give me courage to seek those that don’t know what You are capable of. I know that with all that I have gone through, it pales in comparison to what You know I am strong enough to go through. Thank you.



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