The dark side

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Cross at sunset

For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger — someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. — Matthew 12:22-45

As he lay in the hospital bed, I couldn’t see his “friend,” but he sure could.

It wasn’t until after several minutes of talking, did he reveal that it was even there.

He wasn’t hallucinating.

He was being harassed by a demonic spirit posing as a comforting little friend.

After assuring him that this presence wasn’t his friend, all three of us went straight to prayer.

We prayed until we felt God’s peace.

Upon opening his eyes, his “friend” was gone.

Matthew recorded countless examples of Jesus confronting demons.

Paul told us that our fight isn’t against flesh and blood, but with the spiritual forces of darkness.

In this passage, several truths are revealed. Jesus is greater than, infinitely greater than, the devil.

The devil’s goal is to keep people from Jesus by fostering unbelief.

The words we speak show who is influencing us. The demand for signs reveals rejection of Jesus. Darkness won’t quit.

The Bible is very clear about maintaining a healthy perspective on spiritual battle.

Our undivided heart and undivided attention is to be laser focused on Jesus and his word, not the spiritual forces of darkness.

We are to know they are real and at work in our world.

We are to armor up and resist their efforts when confronted knowing that Jesus’ victory over them results in them having to flee.

Their primary tools are lies, temptation and deception.

Believer, be encouraged today — “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!”

A bigger story

But Joseph replied, ‘Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. — Genesis 50

“Well, that was humiliating”, I thought to myself. I was embarrassed, which quickly went to anger.

I did my best to present a front that I didn’t care and attempted to laugh it off. I waited way too long to obey God and forgive this person.

If someone who is in authority over asks you to do something that is uncomfortable, it’s hard to say, “No.”

Today, I would. Through that, God taught me how important it is to make sure to respect the dignity of all people.

Even after their reunion and years lived together in peace, Joseph’s brothers always thought he would pay them back for their evil.

Joseph never did.

His eyes and heart were always attentive to what God was doing.

As a slave, he understood his position in the master’s house as God-appointed, so he served well.

In prison, he saw his success as God’s blessing, so he led well. When Pharoah called, he gave all glory to God.

It’s really hard to recognize God’s hand when the person or people right in front of us are being significantly less than kind.

Injustices, real or imagined, put us on the fast track to bitterness.

Bitterness is a poison we drink thinking we’re going to hurt the person who hurt us. It’s crazy. It’s blinding. It’s stunting.

To grow to be like Jesus, we must, like Joseph and Jesus, understand our lives, including our suffering, as part of a much bigger story.

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