Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
I keep reflecting on this last chapter in the book of Acts where the Apostle Paul was found shipwrecked and landed on the island of Malta. As he is finally in a place of stability and gets to warming himself, a viper flies out of the fire and fastens itself on his hand! The people are around expecting him to die and nothing! They think he is a god or something. Paul just shakes it off and continues doing what he was doing.
How often when we finally arrive at a place of stability that something tries to creep up and fasten itself upon us. It is always that one lil thing that can be so very poisonous. I hate that! I am just being honest. It could be one lil thought…one lil text…one lil message… one lil reminder… one lil thing that just throws you off course when you were in a good place.
But one thing that I do know is that we can’t entertain that one lil thing! We have to kill it by the fire…the fire of God! The fire of His Word! With what God has promised us and a focus of our future—and not on our present circumstance or the past that tries to sting us!
I love this scripture as our reminder:
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:53-58
So when the poison of our past tries to creep in—don’t let it settle! Shake it off fast! Don’t entertain it, ponder, dwell, feed or keep playing that mental loop in your mind! Cast it out QUICKLY!
You have to keep confessing, declaring and getting yourself around that environment in every capacity to keep your spirit on FRESH FIRE! My friend don’t you see that every time you reach a place of stability the sting tries to come in! Just like the chapter in Acts specifies–the viper is driven out of the heat! So when you get to that place where you are on fire here comes the bite! That is expected…typical work of the enemy…that is how he functions. It could be something so simple or even something big as in another heavy trial but you HAVE TO know that you are going to be more than OK! God is fighting for you and with you and through you!
My husband was sharing yesterday during the bible study at our church that charcoal together will keep burning but if you separate one from the batch eventually it will cool down and turn off! We can’t be that charcoal Christian! Don’t isolate and cool off. We have to keep it together and the way that we do that is by keeping firm with the body of Christ.
Just stand your ground! Don’t be a prisoner of your past, pain or problems! Please! I know these are constant reminders but that is exactly why we have His word! And that is exactly why I write too.
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
THIS IS YOUR SAFEGUARD!!! Reminders HELP! Encouragement helps! Don’t entertain your enemy. And sometimes the biggest enemy that we have to face is SELF!
Let’s put this past us during the close of this year.
There is a better way. Believe that. Live it. And walk in it!
Listen to these lyrics below and have them seared in your soul…
We Will Not Be Shaken
Brian Johnson, Bethel Music