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Recognizing Distractions Early Before It’s Too Late

There is a strange phenomena that occurs when individuals are about to draw close to God.  The apostle Paul points to the spiritual realm to explain distractions, interruptions and unexplained events, Ephesians 6:12.  According to Paul, the devil’s strategy includes three waves.  The first enables certain rulers to rise to power such as judges, kings and political leaders.  This wave is reinforced by worldly forces, areas, regions and territories under demonic oppression where evil is allowed to reign.  Finally, there are spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realm fueled by demons, minions and strongmen to execute Satan’s schemes on earth.

It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. 17 She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” – Acts 16:16-17

Using this criteria, Luke details an example from Paul’s ministry while visiting Philippi.  While on his way to participate in a prayer and worship service, a slave girl was sent to distract Paul.  Apparently, a demonic spirit recognized that Paul’s missionary team were servants of the most high God.  Just as spirits hounded Jesus, this revealed truth caused a slave girl to interrupt Paul’s message of salvation to Europe for several days, regularly screaming and shouting as Paul tried to preach.  According to Luke, this gradually wore Paul down, annoyed by this constant distraction.  When Paul rebuked this spirit, the owners of this slave girl complained to the chief magistrates, convincing law enforcement to imprison Paul and Silas.

She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment, Acts 16:18.

While in prison, Paul and Silas could have been distracted by anger, bitterness and injustice.  Yet, prayers of the saints strengthened these men, turning this setback into a golden opportunity.  How you may ask?  Well, Paul and Silas transformed their prison cell into a worship service.  As Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns, a great earthquake rocked Philippi.  When this quake opened the doors to each cell, some would have taken this as a sign from God to escape.  However, Paul demonstrated amazing leadership, convincing all the prisoners to stay put; saving the life of the jailor who was about to kill himself, the fate he would have faced if any prisoner escaped.  These are the blessings that await those who recognize spiritual distractions early before it’s too late..

by Jay Mankus

Unguarded

Confidence, egos and pride tend to convince individuals that they can handle anything that life throws their way.  With success, this mindset gradually leads people to become self-reliant, trusting in their own strength and abilities.  And yet, these factors create the perfect storm, setting the stage for a demonic attack on the unguarded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

The human mind is an accessory, a willing accomplice.  As the mind is a giant sponge, able to record and store millions of pieces of information throughout your life.  Some of this content triggers fond memories of former relationships, places or things.  Meanwhile, other events can expose or uncover secret scars, a painful remainder of nightmares from your past.  Subsequently, anyone who starts a day without the covering of prayer or a support system is vulnerable to invisible attacks known as spiritual warfare.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

After a great first month of 2016, I’ve found myself falling back into careless patterns.  Any type of apathetic manner allows on open door for the Devil to come back into and torment your life.  This is why addiction, bad habits and unguided souls experience so much pain and remorse.  If you find yourself in this precarious situation, going through life unguarded, its time to create a war room, a place of prayer to prepare you for Satan’s schemes.  Like the old American Express Ad campaign, don’t leave home without it.

by Jay Mankus

 

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