ACTS – The Acts of God
Holidays can bring it on when you least expect it. An object stirs up a memory from the past. Even a touching commercial can remind us of days gone by, missing what once was. Certain songs bring tears to our eyes when we hear it at church or at a store while shopping. What is it? It’s the dark side. It is called depression. It falls over us like an ominous cloud. We think the worst of ourselves first then plummet into a pity party that no one, even you, wants to attend. Our minds begin to list all our sins and missteps of the past. We wallow in the why, replaying all the hurtful conversations in our heads. We fall into wondering
with investigating why did we do that and what were we thinking mode of reminiscing.
STOP!…Let’s think about WHO is getting the most joy from seeing us walk down this avenue of darkness? Yep, it is Satan, himself. He stirs our minds with negative thoughts, manipulating our emotions with self doubt, insignificance, sarcastic words while throwing a blanket of darkness over our souls. His only weapon in the warfare with God and His children is to separate us from the crowd of witnesses, lie to us and pull us down to where he sits…in the dark.
We don’t have to listen! We have help! We can shout if we have to (and I have!) “In the Name of Jesus Christ, get behind me satan! Dear Jesus defeat the foe that lies in wait to destroy my thinking and being…In Your Name, I pray. Pray believing Jesus will. There is power in the name of Jesus! Let Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit fight for you. He will. NO ONE loves us more than Jesus who died for us. No one wants to restore our the joy of HIS salvation more than He does. He went to hell and back for us. He’s got this! When we realize all the love He has for us we leave the darkness and turn toward the Light once again. The flood of light that cleanses and restores our souls will be exhilarating and life-giving.
WARNING: It seems the attacks from the foe happen greatly, with more intensity, just before doing something great with God. I see it in our next passage. Paul and Barnabas begin their preaching assignment after being sent out. They are quickly met with a wizard who thinks he has control of the community. We learn how Paul dealt with satan working through a man called “Dr. Know-It-All”. Don’t you love the name? How many know-it-alls have we experienced in our lives who made us feel less than valuable in the eyes of God and in others? Let’s see how Saul (Paul) handled it.
Acts 13, The Message
4-5 Sent off on their new assignment by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went down to Seleucia and caught a ship for Cyprus. The first thing they did when they put in at Salamis was preach God’s Word in the Jewish meeting places. They had John along to help out as needed.
6-7 They traveled the length of the island, and at Paphos came upon a Jewish wizard who had worked himself into the confidence of the governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man not easily taken in by charlatans. The wizard’s name was Bar-Jesus. He was as crooked as a corkscrew.
7-11 The governor invited Barnabas and Saul in, wanting to hear God’s Word firsthand from them. But Dr. Know-It-All (that’s the wizard’s name in plain English) stirred up a ruckus, trying to divert the governor from becoming a believer. But Saul (or Paul), full of the Holy Spirit and looking him straight in the eye, said, “You bag of wind, you parody of a devil—why, you stay up nights inventing schemes to cheat people out of God. But now you’ve come up against God himself, and your game is up. You’re about to go blind—no sunlight for you for a good long stretch.” He was plunged immediately into a shadowy mist and stumbled around, begging people to take his hand and show him the way.
12 When the governor saw what happened, he became a believer, full of enthusiasm over what they were saying about the Master.
What do we learn?
–A simple, honest, right to the point prayer, in Jesus Name, changes our thoughts in any circumstance or challenge.
–“Your game is up!” shouts Paul. We can use these very words to shout out a prayer…in Jesus Name…the next time satan tries to lure us into his dark places.
–Stay focused on the Light. When we turn our backs on the light, all we see is darkness. Turn to the Light. Follow the Light. He leads us to Life eternal.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As soon as something good and right happens, it is followed by the schemes of the enemy to bring us down. But we know that you have already won that battle and you will fight for us because of your love for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are God and we are not. You gave us life. You are the Light that we follow. Continue to teach and transform us to be and do all you intended for us. Don’t allow us to fall for the traps of the foe. In Jesus Name, Amen