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And the Devil will Flee

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I haven't written or spoken much about the devil during my years of pastoral and internet ministry. In some churches where I have been invited to preach there has been a suggestion that it is a taboo subject - you know "We don't talk about that here." Well, perhaps we should, and I intend to

- controversial or not - because I experienced a major attack for the first time in my life and I want to share that with you.

We all know about the love of God and there are some passages in the Bible about the devil. Like 1 Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." God is real to us and that is the very basis of our faith. But the devil? Does it exist or is this symbolic or a biblical myth to scare us? Do we really understand the power of the devil and the authority we have in the name of Jesus Christ to defeat it and be victorious? If not, then here is a reminder.

Laying in my hospital bed in a private ward one night, recovering from surgery, I put out the light preparing to sleep. There was still some light from the passageway. As soon as I closed my eyes, the ward was full of horrible black demon-like creatures, chattering and crawling toward me. I opened my eyes and they disappeared. Closed my eyes and they reappeared. This happened several times until I fell into a restless sleep.

The next night, on putting out the light, a dark, leering, ugly face appeared before me and gradually got closer until its nose was touching my nose. I opened my eyes and it vanished, closed my eyes and it reappeared. This happened several times until I realised that for the first time in my life I was knowingly under satanic attack. For nearly nine years I had been writing and emailing Word for the Week and each morning Vera and I covered that program with prayer, specifically against satanic attack. But in my hospital bed, alone in the ward, not in the pink of condition but certainly not suffering from drug-induced hallucinations, it was time for the devil to do the 'roaring lion' bit. Here was Ron Clarke, recovering from major surgery and about to start writing again - this time with a new lease of life at age 73. Someone to devour?

My eyes remained closed as I stared out the apparition. I prayed: "I come against you in the name of Jesus Christ. Go." I waited. We stared, eyeball to eyeball. After a few moments the face gradually moved away and finally disappeared. I have not been troubled again and, praise be to God, He has allowed me to start writing again.

Does the devil exist? Believe it. Do we have the power to banish the devil from us? Believe that too, invoking that authority by calling on the name of Jesus Christ. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

Dwight L. Moody (1837–1899), the American evangelist and the chief spokesman for the revivalist wing of the flourishing American evangelicals of his day, said: "I believe Satan to exist for two reasons: first, the Bible says so; and second, I’ve done business with him."

Have a good and victorious week, Pastor Ron NOTE: As the work of Satan and his demons requires understanding, I have included the Bible study for all recipients this week.

Word for the Week Page 2 LIFE ISSUES HOME BIBLE STUDY PROGRAM Relating the Word of God to the realities of life. This week’s ‘Word for the Week’ study message: AND THE DEVIL WILL FLEE

* Read Matthew 4:1-11 (key verse 1). Satan even tempted Christ himself. This temptation by the devil gave Jesus the opportunity to reaffirm God’s plan for his ministry. It also gives us an example to follow when we are tempted to give up. Jesus’ temptation was an important demonstration of his humanness and sinlessness. He faced temptation, but he did not give in. Satan is a fallen angel. He is real, not symbolic, and he is constantly fighting against those who follow and obey God. Satan’s temptations are also real. He is always trying to get us to live his way or our way rather than God’s way.

* Read Mark 1:21-28 (key verse 27). Many psychologists dismiss all accounts of demon possession as a primitive way to describe mental illness. Although throughout history mental illness has often been wrongly diagnosed as demon possession, clearly a hostile outside force controlled the man described in Mark 1. Mark emphasized Jesus’ conflict with evil powers to show his superiority over them, so he recorded many stories about Jesus driving out evil spirits. Jesus didn’t have to conduct an elaborate exorcism ritual. His word was enough to send out the demons.

* Read Luke 9:37-45 (key verse 30). Jesus confronted demons with absolute authority. These demons recognized Jesus and his authority immediately. They knew who Jesus was and what his great power could do to them. Demons, Satan’s messengers, are powerful and destructive. Still active today, they attempt to distort and destroy people’s relationship with God. Demons and demon possession are real. It is vital that believers recognize the power of Satan and his demons, but they are powerless against those who trust in Jesus. If we resist the devil, he will leave us alone.

* Read Ephesians 6:10-18 (key verse 12). The enemy is unseen, but the struggle is personal. These enemies who are not “flesh and blood” are demons over whom Satan has control. They are not mere fantasies—they are very real. We face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, these beings become our enemies, and they try every device to turn us away from him and back to sin, depression or failure. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side. We need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided this by giving us his Holy Spirit within us and his armour surrounding us.

* Read James 4:1-10 (key verse 7). God has already defeated Satan (Revelation 12:10-12), and when Christ returns, the devil and all he stands for will be eliminated forever (Revelation 20:10-15). Satan is here now, however, and he is trying to win us over to his evil cause. With the Holy Spirit’s power, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us.

"There are two great forces at work in the world today: the unlimited power of God and the limited power of Satan." Corrie Ten Boom (1892–1983)

This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its ninth year, originating from Snug, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe email w4w@tassie.net.au with the words 'subscribe word' (or) 'subscribe word and study'. Our ministry is free and mailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend - we welcome new subscriptions.

Pastor Ron Clarke JP w4w@tassie.net.au www.pastornet.net.au/word4week

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