Shake the Snake – Know Who You Are!


snake1 Timothy 1:18-19   Acts 28:1-5   James 4:7   Isaiah 41:10   Romans 8:1

When a child of God’s faith is attacked, it is as though a snake attaches itself on the conscience injecting its poisonous venom of condemnation. It’s as though the believer is suddenly caught off guard and the temptations, accusations come out of nowhere. Therefore, the believer has to be on guard to know  how to shake the snake and continue in faith. This confidence only comes in knowing one’s position in Christ.

Acts 28:1-5 
I love the illustration of this in scripture. When the Apostle Paul was arrested and on his way to Rome, his ship had to be abandoned because of a storm. So, everyone on board swam to shore to a nearby island. The islanders were friendly and built a fire to keep the survivors warm. While Paul was putting brushwood on the fire a viper was driven out from the flame and fastened itself on his hand. Since it was a venomous snake, the natives watched expectantly for Paul’s death. But instead, Paul just shook the snake off without any ill effects. The natives were amazed and with this miracle God had their attention.

How was it that Paul did not die and instead was able to shake the snake and live? Paul was called to bring the gospel message to the gentiles and he knew it. He knew of God’s faithfulness because he experienced it so many times before. In fact, he had just survived a shipwreck thru his faith in God’s mercy and grace. He knew it was not his time to die. He knew his position in Christ and instead of being fearful, just discarded and disregarded the threat. (Ephesians 3)

Satan is like a viper hiding in wait to catch believers off guard, so he can stop them in their tracks. Things can be going along very smoothly, and then without any warning, Satan strikes. These attacks come in the following forms in the believer’s mind and the antidote for them all are in knowing the Word of God and Who the believer is in Christ.

bullet snakeDoubts (he knows the area we doubt God’s goodness)
Antidote: Proverbs 3: 5-6
bullet snakeTemptations (he knows our weaknesses)
Antidote: 1 Corinthians 10:13

bullet snakeAccusations (he is aware of our sins)
Antidote: Revelation 12:10, Romans 8:34
bullet snakeFear (he knows what we are reluctant to do)
Antidote: 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 46:1-3, Philippians 4: 4-7
bullet snakeConfusion (he interjects thoughts and lies)
Antidote: 1 Corinthians 14:33, Proverbs 3: 5-6, James 1:5
bullet snakeCondemnation (he convinces us there is no forgiveness)
Antidote: Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9

To undermine and pull the rug or foundation up from under the believer’s faith, Satan has to convince the believer it is possible to be separated from God’s love in Christ Jesus. He can then convince the believer of almost anything. He does this by both accusing God and the believer based on half-truths.  If the believer does not hold his/her position in Christ Jesus (knowing who he is in him), then it is easy to trip the believer’s faith and undermine his confidence in God’s love and eternal salvation.
(Ephesians 1:13, Romans 8: 38-39)

To safeguard the heart and mind, the believer needs to be equipped with the knowledge of God’s Word.  With every strike of temptation, accusation, doubt, discouragement, fear, confusion and condemnation there’s an antidote found in the spoken, written Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17, Psalm 119:89,105, Philippians 4:6-7)

When Eve was tempted by the snake (Satan), it began with disregarding God’s warning and Word to not eat of the fruit she desired. Instead of staying away from the forbidden fruit she drew closer in range to the tempter’s voice. Since she didn’t understand why God would withhold this beautiful fruit from her desire to eat of it she took the first step in opening herself to Satan’s voice and deceitful word. Knowing Eve’s desire to have what she desired, Satan positioned himself among the forbidden fruit and as she drew near posed the question which led to the doubt of mistrusting God.

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1

Notice how crafty the serpent misquotes God making His command seem unreasonable. Then notice how Eve also misquotes what God has said by adding to what He actually said:
“From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” Genesis 3:2-3

But what were God’s exact words:
“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

God did not say if you touch it you will die, but if you eat of it you will surely die. She also failed to name the exact tree which was forbidden. The forbidden tree had a name and the serpent was quick to identify it – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It’s like the attraction to a poisonous mushroom. It’s important to distinguish the poisonous from eatables. The poisonous mushrooms can be identified. Therefore, it is important to know what they look like and where they grow. You can look at them and handle them. But it is not until you eat them, you’re endanger of dying. (James 1:15)

So, the “poison” was not hidden in the forbidden fruit, but in the venomous speech of the accuser. He had poisoned her mind and Eve was now persuaded God was not really good and that He was withholding something good from her. In fact, she believed God had lied and bent her ear to the voice of “accusation.” This is like the Israelites who time after time received God’s grace and provision but continued to believe He was withholding His goodness whenever they wanted their own way. (Numbers 14, Romans 8:32)

When Jesus began His mission, He was immediately tempted by the devil. In every temptation Jesus withstood it with the Word of God. He knew the Father’s will in every temptation, and this was His defense. He also knew Who He was and His purpose. Therefore, He shook off Satan’s attacks and continued on.  He gave us this example to reveal how important it is to know through God’s Word who we are in Him.
(Ephesians 3: 16-18, Matthew 4: 1-11, John 1:12)

There was a time in my Christian walk, I believed I was separated from God’s salvation and love. I had fallen into the condemnation of the devil because of pride and with that pride in ignorance blasphemed the Son of God. (1 Timothy 3: 5-6, 1 Timothy 1:20) I did not know I had fallen into the snare of the devil until I experienced his accusations day and night. Prior to this, I knew things were not right in my relationship with the Lord, so I asked Him to do what was necessary to bring me back walking in love. I felt hopeless and did not think I could ever be forgiven because I did not understand the atonement of Jesus Christ. His atonement covered all my sins the moment I placed my faith in His blood sacrifice and resurrection. I did not know that even though I had committed those sins Christ’s blood was powerful enough to cleanse me of all of it. In fact, He had already paid the price and I was already forgiven.  All I needed to do was to acknowledge His forgiveness and believe it.  Little by little He began to rebuild on the sure foundation of my faith and as He sifted out everything not of Him, only my faith in His work on the cross remained.

The accuser continued to point out my past sins and convinced me I had forever severed my relationship with the Lord. But the Word of God says, otherwise:
(Romans 8: 31-39,  Ephesians 1: 13-14, 2 Timothy 2:13, Philippians 1:6, 1 John 1:9,
Romans 8:1)

Then one day I began to believe in His mercy and grace and confessed I would
“Wait on Him” to straighten out what I did not understand and misunderstood. It was at this point I heard His small, still voice say, “Just Walk away and don’t give it the time of day”.  And so I did, I stopped listening to the accuser and began again believing what the Lord had to say.  It was as though at that moment, I took off with the wings of an eagle strengthened by His love soaring with renewed faith – in His Loving kindness and Goodness, once again. (Isaiah 40: 30-31)

And that is the way I learned to shake the snake, and move forward in the assurance of God’s salvation and Love. (Ephesians 1:13)

Resources:
Bible Hub: biblehub.net

Who Am I in Christ?

Book: When the Enemy Strikes by Charles Stanley

 

 

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Weeding


Sequoia
1 Corinthians 3:12-15

It’s been discovered the beautiful majestic Sequoias are dependent on fire for their regeneration and growth. . When the fires are suppressed other plants take over and the Sequoia is strangled from growth and reproduction. In the same way a Christian’s growth and reward is dependent on the burning away through trials the debris that accumulates without the Lord’s faithful pruning.

The Lord burns away the selfish motives getting in the way of a believer’s spiritual growth.  He purifies the mindset so only His will remains. This is the groundwork where a genuine love for Him and others may grow.

The weeds of selfish ambition choke the blooms for the Lord’s glory.  The Lord Jesus Christ continues to weed so only His motive remains which when completed manifests the Father’s heart- the cultivated, unconditional and unrestrained- Perfect in every way -Agape Love. (Philippians 1:6)

References:

Giant Sequoias and Fire
Bible Hub

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Where Judgment Begins


judge

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17

Psalm 73
Proverbs 11:31
2 Chronicles 7:14
Romans 5: 9-10

It appears today by moral standards the ungodly are allowed to flourish and go unpunished, and with the increase of lawlessness the love of many is waxing cold.
(Psalm 73, Matthew 24:12)

God deals with the sins of the believer by grace through faith. God deals with the sins of the unbeliever by wrath through disobedience.

God is a just God and punishes sin. If He ignored sin He would not be just, therefore He begins first by cleansing His temple with His blood. Then He exacts discipline rather than punishment. God deals presently with the believer’s sin for cleansing and to refine their faith through trials and tribulation (1 Peter 1:7). He delays His punishment to the unbeliever to bring them to faith.  God’s punishment for sin is eternal death. (Romans 6:23). One day all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Those who went through the testing of their faith to prove their righteousness is in Christ will be justified by His grace. Those who refused and rejected God’s way of salvation which produces unrighteousness are condemned. (John 3:18). Christ has atoned for all sin by His blood sacrifice but it has to be accepted.

God first deals with our sin, then our works and our faith. (Ephesians 2: 8-9). In 1978 as a young mother I was caught up in building a ministry to be recognized by man and God. What started out as a sincere desire to help others turned into a way to be prestigious earning a name for myself. (Genesis 11:4)

God loves us too much to allow us to go astray from abiding in Him. It is what He has created us to be as one with Him in Christ Jesus (John 17: 20-21). He is faithful to deal with anything getting in the way of our relationship with Him. My unfruitful work manifested itself as judgmental and religious; thinking, believing I was spiritually superior through vain imaginations
(Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Hebrews 13:9).

The Lord was merciful to judge my sin and discipline me so I could return to my first love-Jesus (Revelation 2:4). Therefore, for a season, He separated me from family and friends and even the Word which became twisted in my mind during this painful trial. My faith in Christ was tested as the Lord began to identify my sin and establish my faith. As I had judged I received judgment and my hypocrisy was revealed (Matthew 7:1-2). Satan was allowed to sift me and what was not of God belonging to faith in Christ was removed (Luke 22:31-32). When the cleansing of my soul was complete, the only thing remaining was the foundation of Jesus Christ whereby the Lord began to rebuild with His tools of grace (Isaiah 33:6, Colossians 1: 16-17, Ephesians 1:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). All my works went up in smoke and I began all over again drawing closer to the Word of God. I came out of this fiery trial with God’s unconditional love healing my failures while again embracing Christ’s victory on the cross (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). I also developed spiritual discernment by studying His Word, whereby, I could detect teaching motivated to lift-up Christ from teaching motivated to lift-up self (Hebrews 5:14). I learned to Avoid teachers who’s motivation is to develop a dependency on their teachings, rather then teaching dependency on God (1 John 2:7). Teachers of the Word will guide believers into knowing how to study the scriptures for themselves, hearing God’s voice personally, rather than a dependency on their instruction. If when you hear a teaching and the teacher is being lifted-up rather than Jesus, or you are lifted-up and magnified, then it is false teaching.

I believe if a person belongs to Jesus Christ, any trial experienced in the believer’s life will result in strengthen faith and discipline whereby the Lord works it for good (Romans 8:28). The Lord is zealous and jealous over His flock, and will guard those who belong to Him from deception (Matthew 24:24).

The Lord disciplines those who belong to Him and is committed to presenting them to the Father without spot or blemish. The believer who yields to the Lord’s discipline has a testimony of His mercy and grace. The believer who refuses His discipline will suffer lost in rewards and in testimony, but because of their belief and Christ’s faithfulness they will be saved.
(Ephesians 5:27, Hebrews 12:6, 1 Corinthians 11: 29-31)

The Lord deals with His church so His body does not suffer the judgment coming upon the whole world through God’s wrath. There will be some who will come to repentance and faith  through God’s wrath instead of His grace. This will occur during the tribulation period. And there will be those whose hearts are so hardened they will never come to faith having rejected the only way to salvation.  (Revelation 3:20, 1Thessalonians 5:9, John 14:6)

But the Lord will complete the work of salvation in the believer’s life and trials and tribulations only come to humble, sanctify and bring the child of God to surrendering their life for Christ. So rejoice, for the Lord is preparing you for His eternal purpose and know trial or failures can never separate you from the love of God found in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8: 31-39)

Blessings

Listen to Laura’s song- “Blessings”

 

 

 

 

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