Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thorn in the Flesh

I read and respond to many prayer requests on Facebook -- so many people are going through trials and tribulations and need our collective voice going up to the Throne on their behalf -- myself included. One I read recently was seeking agreement to his prayer that he shared in which he started it by saying, “I claim victory over such and so.” I’ve seen others begin with “I decree this in Jesus’ name.”

These words defy the LORD’s instructions to us to “ask” in His name. Asking is not decreeing, demanding, or claiming. It is common to see such wrong prayers performed by televangelists in which they address Satan and say “I take authority over you Devil” . . . Does that make the devil omnipresent? Why talk to him as if he tuned into all prayers as God does?

Do we have all authority over the devil? If we did, the antichrist would never rise and fulfill the prophecies of his 7-year revolt and earthly exaltation. When Jesus sent out the seventy in His name while He was still with us, they returned excited about their delegated power:

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”- Luke 10:19-20

Does that same power operate in Christians today or even after His resurrection and ascension? Certainly spiritual warfare against the power of the enemy over our lives continues and we can have victory as we resist Satan and he flees from us. But even the devil has a purpose here in the scheme of things until Jesus returns and locks him up. If we could just stomp on him, why couldn’t the Apostle Paul do so when he pleaded to the LORD to be free from his invisible enemy?

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” - 2 Cor 12:7

So Paul could not demand, decree, claim, or rebuke what God allowed. If he could not do so, neither can we.

The war against the powers of darkness will continue until Jesus returns with us His saints to rule and reign over this planet. Until then, we need the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6 to resist the enemy. We must not give him any advantage over us by wandering off into enemy territory. 

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” - Eph 6:16

And we must be on the alert for one another -- we’re not in this battle alone. Soldiers watch each others backs. This is where confessing our faults one to another and bearing one another’s burdens come in. The need to gather together is all the more vital as we see the Day approach. The devil knows his time is short and he is on the rampage. It’s not “every man for himself,” but “all hands on deck.”

Keep on the lookout for your brother - you are his keeper.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” = Rom 8:35-39

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." - 1John 3:13-16

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