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Acts 28:1-6

"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..."

The Lord highlighted this passage to me several weeks ago and has given me a grace to share a deep revelation tied to this story. In Acts 28, Paul was serving on a missions trip. While he was carrying out the good work that the Lord had called him to do; he was bitten by a venomous snake. It was not revealed to Paul at that time, but that encounter with the snake ultimately led to a timeless analogy that all believers need to recognize. Paul was bitten by a venomous snake that was supposed to kill him. To make the story more interesting; the snake was hidden in the logs in the fire that was used to keep him warm. In a moment of comfort and peace is when he was attacked by the venomous snake. Sometimes, we may be serving the Lord, walking in our purpose, fulfilling our role for Him, and the enemy attacks us when we least expect it. The attack can come in a range of surprises: devastating news, financial hardship, relationship turmoil, failing businesses, illness, etc. Whatever the case may be, the agenda is the same: to steal, kill and destroy. In Pauls case, the enemy sent a lethal snake to kill Paul and destroy what God was about to do before it even done. After the snake attacked Paul, the people around him were frightened. They thought that surely, his death was imminent. But, surprisingly, Paul survived what was meant to kill him. He survived the bite of the venomous snake.

As disciples of Jesus, we need to understand the moral of this excerpt and memorize it onto our hearts and minds. God may not withhold the venomous snake from biting you, but He will make sure it doesn't kill you. He will bring you through the situation and give you victory. For the One who wore a crown of thorns on His head has redeemed us and given us crowns of glory.

Just as Jesus was lead to the cross to fulfill the law and Old Testament prophecies, He was not exempt from the deadly sacrifice He had to make. Yet, even unto His physical death, He was resurrected and reigns victorious, seated at the right hand of the Father. The death and resurrection of Jesus is another parallel to Acts 28, especially considering how sin entered the world by satan taking the form of a serpent and tempting Eve in the garden.

In this upcoming season, I hear the Holy Spirit saying,"Don't put your trust in the one who bit you; put your trust in the One who saved you." I spent some time reflecting on what this means. The word "trust" in this context is deeper. It's obvious we wouldn't willingly trust satan. However, we may accidentally "trust" his lies and deception, empowering and giving him authority over our hearts and minds. "Trust", in this context, means to entrust with your authority. Often times, we look back to our painful pasts and reflect how satan has attacked us. We oftentimes engage with that turmoil and trauma from those vicious attacks and it can overtake us. It can lead to distractions, depression and victimization- creating deception and frustration with ourselves and with God, slowly but surely establishing barriers between us and the Father. This is what the enemy wants. To fill us with deception, isolate us and make us question our God.

Not to say reflecting on the past can't be used as a tool from God. Sometimes, God can lead us to a place of remembrance and healing in the places of our hearts that have been ridiculed by the enemy. But sometimes, the enemy allures us into those places of pain because he wants to keep us in bondage of that memory, furthermore creating deceptions about our emotions, our identity and the Father. I urge you brothers and sisters, don't give any more attention to the wounds of the past and give God the full authority to heal your wounds. And when the Lord tells you the war is over, rejoice. For the One who wore a crown of thorns for you has given you a crown of glory.

Wear it proudly.

I decree and declare over you that what the enemy intended for evil in this season is being used for your good now and forever. Whatever the enemy has used to kill you in the past or present will not prosper because that's what HIS word says. No matter how poisonous the bite, it does not matter. Because you are more than a conquerer in Christ Jesus and,"...surely the God of peace will crush satan under your feet."

(Romans 16:20)

Arise, warrior. It is finished.

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