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Monday, March 29, 2010

Warfare Portals 23

Dear beloved: An interesting question arises regarding spiritual warfare concerning the ability of Satan to come before God and ask for permission to attack the brethren. Of coarse, in the old testament we know that Satan did come before God in the book of Job. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. v7 And the Lord said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the Lord and said, " from roaming about on the earth and walking on it." v8 And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." So we know from this scripture that Satan had access to God along with the other angels, the sons of God, a term used in the old testament to describe the angels. We also see that God is the one who brings up the idea of allowing Satan to attack Job, and in verse 12 God finishes the initial proposition when He says, v12 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. And again in 2:3 And the Lord said to Satan, " Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause." So we see that God is incited against Job, but only so far as God has declared that He will go, not to the point of total destruction of Job, but only to severely afflict him.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, so rest assured that if you find yourself in the same situation as Job, that you will not be taken beyond your ability to bear it. v13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. And so as we go through our trials just as Job did, we meditate, we pray, we contemplate, our friends come to console or counsel or criticize us, and eventually we work our way through it and hopefully come to a point of praising the Lord. In Job 42:6 Job repents of his questioning and doubting attitude by saying, "Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes." Then in verse 9 it states that the Lord accepted (forgave) Job, and in verse 10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.

The whole story of Job brings out a cry from us, Alas Lord God, must we go through such trial and tribulation on this earth just to come to know you better? In some cases, the answer is yes, and not only that, but we are to take joy in our tribulations, as James tells us in James 1:2, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, v3 knowing that testing of your faith produces endurance, v4 and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. And so we are to not only endure trials, but actually take joy in them, knowing that they will make you perfect and complete! That's probably not the first thing on our prayer list, to ask the Lord for trials so we can be completed, and yet we know that trials are for our own good, to bring us into conformity with the image of Christ.

Paul sums it up in Phillipians 3:10, when he says "that I may know Him (Jesus), and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; v11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Paul wrote this book of Phillipians from Rome while in prison or house arrest, and he was prepared to suffer and die for the sake of the gospel. He states in Phillipians 1:21 For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. v22 but if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. v23 but I am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better.

Beloved, as you go into battle this day, do not resent the trials, tribulations, and temptations that God allows into your life, but look at them from God's point of view, that He is strengthening you for greater glory. When you can defeat your enemies and give God the praise no matter what you are going through, you know that you have then arrived at the fellowship of His sufferings. Praise the Lord for that! May God bless you this day as you take joy in your trials, in Christ, Jim

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