Trials are sometimes self-afflicted. We make poor choices. We don’t live right and walk in obedience to the Lord. But sometimes trials can be demonically induced where Satan may be trying to hinder you. Such was the case with the apostle Paul’s ministry because everywhere he went he was a threat to Satan’s kingdom.
“Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
Are you a threat to the devil’s kingdom? Does hell know you? Are you seeking first the kingdom of God? If not, then the devil is probably not going to bother you too much. Satan will especially oppose men that are called and chosen by God for a work or a ministry. The devil fears the anointing. It intimidates him. Again, such was the case with Paul and some of the other early apostles. History tells us that most of them were martyred for their faith and the powerful anointing they walked in.
For example, Paul had come into many visions and revelations that everywhere he seemed to go he was harassed by Satan.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” (Corinthians 12:7-8)
There have been theological wars fought through the years over the issue of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. What was it? Some say it was sickness and disease. Others say he had some kind of eye disease. The answer is plain and right before our eyes: It was a messenger of Satan! You see, everywhere Paul went the devil buffeted him by using wicked and unreasonable men to harass and oppose him because of the damage he was doing to Satan’s kingdom. The Lord allowed this persecution to keep Paul dependent on God’s grace through his humility, lest he become puffed up and exalted above measure.
Can you see that?
WHAT THE LORD SAID TO US
Before my wife and I were hit with this severe trial the Lord had spoken to us that this decade would be the most fruitful decade of our lives and ministry, and that we were entering into a fathering phase — which would be the final phase of our time on the earth. Ironically, shortly after that, I suffered a stroke and Carolyn was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her leg. We both suffered greatly with severe complications. Now certainly the Lord did not do this to us, but if you’ll remember in an earlier post, I shared the revelation Carolyn received for me when I was at a very low point. He said:
“Your husband is a John the Baptist like-one and this is a demonic attack to cut off his head and silence his voice.”
Now I certainly do not claim to be someone great or a threat to Satan’s kingdom in the same way the apostle Paul was. But now I understand that the devil wanted to keep my wife and I out of the most fruitful phase of our lives and ministry. Everything the Lord has done with us and in us for nearly 40 years of ministry has been to get us ready for what we are entering into now. In many ways, we feel like we’re just getting started. It’s the same way with some of you. The Lord is always ready to use us, but it takes time to prepare us, so we won’t lose our crown.
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
God does not want us to lose our crown. Our lives here on earth will determine our rank and position throughout eternity. Oh how we need to become eternally minded and understand what is at stake in how we live our earthly lives! This is especially true in how we deal with our sufferings.
Here’s a golden scripture in reference to our sufferings:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
There is a great blessing in suffering for the gospel’s sake, and eternal rewards and crowns attached to it. But there is also a measure of glory that will be revealed in us here on the earth, and of course, throughout eternity. Most American Christians know very little about this paradox. Life comes out of death. Fullness comes out of emptiness. And glory comes out of suffering.
When I was discharged from the hospital’s psychiatric ward on January 4th 2021 I came into a new fresh anointing of revelation and a deeper love walk. It was amazing to me!
For example, the Spirit of God came on me to write 5 books in just one year (He had told me years earlier that writing was to be my life’s greatest work). Those who believe that will benefit from the wisdom and revelation that is in the 17 books I’ve written, especially the last five. They are forerunners to the move of God that is mushrooming on the earth before Jesus returns. I’m not boasting in myself. I’m simply telling you what the Lord said. Believers have to decide what to do with that.
In Part 5 I’ll share more about this.
To be continued…
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