I heard an unusual statement from the Lord recently, “Go lower, come up higher; shake that snake off into the fire.”
I asked the Lord what that meant. Holy Spirit reminded me of Paul getting bitten by the viper and shaking it off. I immediately thought about the last few weeks, and there had been an unusual amount of hindrances and distractions. Some have been the usual annoyances that are obvious, others seemed more of an all-out attack, much stronger and requiring immediate attention. What I have noticed is that the tendency is to be upset about the disturbance, believing that it is something taking me away from what I need to be doing. However, each time I found that even in having to deal with the occurrence at hand, there was plenty of time to do what I needed to do.
Holy Spirit led me to re-read the account in Acts. Many may read the account of Paul shaking off the snake and think he was on a missions trip. He was actually enroute to Rome to go before Caesar beause he was imprisoned and in custody of a Centurian guard! At one port, Paul advised (by discernment and wisdom) that conditions would be adverse because the season was changing and to continue would be dangerous and cause much damage, but the owner of the ship didn’t take his advice.
Are you in a place of adversity because others wouldn’t listen to your advice? Stay in faith – God is with you! Shake off the snake of fear, and of belief that you are a victim of others’ choices! God is moving; suddenly, things change!
When the winds were fierce for days, and it looked as if all hope was gone and lives would be lost, Paul went lower to seek God. He fasted and prayed, determined to hear God. An angel appeared to him and told him what God had to say about it!
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of [any man’s] life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.” (Acts 27:22-26 KJV)
When the ship hit shore, it was broken apart by the fierceness of the storm dashing it upon the rocks. Has the enemy been telling you all hope is lost, your means of livelihood are shattered, there is no way out of your situation? BUT GOD!
It will be as the Lord has said. I am hearing Holy Spirit saying, “Many of my children have lost heart, are discouraged because of your circumstances. I am opening your ears to hear that it will be as I have said. Have I not promised, have I not said, new lands are coming, blessings ahead.”
Stay the course, be strong in faith! All attacks from the enemy are designed to hinder and distract us from moving forward on the path set before us. Go low, let Holy Spirit search deep into your heart, be willing to die to selfish motives, secret ambitions, fears and doubts because of our own understanding of the situation and the devil’s taunting. We need to go lower, look deep within and make sure there is nothing in us that the enemy can attach to. Die to all lies we have gone into agreement with that have gotten us off track. We go lower to once again be baptized into the death of Christ. Let go of any and all things that are not in alignment with the Truth of God and His plan for our life; leave them behind and then we can go higher. Leave it all below, everything of your own, may your only desire be to make Him known. Leave it behind, render it dead; come up in the power of His life instead.
” Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. ” (Romans 6:3-4 KJV)
We go higher to seek God’s view of the situation, the mind of Christ. We have the mind of Christ, but we also have the mind of the flesh – sense and reason without the Holy Spirit; the natural mind and all the ways we plan and try and control our days. We go higher and align ourselves to do the will of God, to see what He sees and hear what He says and bring His Kingdom to the earth. Often we think we are thinking “spiritual” thoughts when really we are thinking from the soulish realm – the mind, the will and the emotions – filtered through our understanding of spiritual things. Our thoughts of “being in the spirit” are not the same as hearing His thoughts. His thoughts are higher than ours. We have to go higher, let go of all of our ways of thinking and trying to figure things out, or trying to “be spiritual” or “think spiritually” and be still to hear His thoughts about the situation.
The story isn’t over yet! Favor and blessing are coming and the Kingdom will be advanced.
“And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid [them] on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the [venomous] beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” (Acts 28:1-6 KJV)
Paul knew he was on assignment, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome“(Acts 23:11). He remembered the word that he had been given and knew he wasn’t going to die in Malta. Paul trusted God to keep His word. He was focused and intent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and see the Kingdom of God come upon the earth as it is in heaven. He lived a life of focused intent, as did Jesus.
Jesus tells us in Mark 15:16-17, that these are the signs following those that believe:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18 KJV)
Strong’s Concordance indicates that “take up” can actually mean to put away, take away, loose, remove. Paul knew that what Jesus said was true!
We are in a season of greater works than Jesus did, and we can trust God to keep His word! If He has opened the door, He will provide the more! God is for us; if we are in His will, the devil has no authority or power.
What happened after Paul shook the snake into the fire? The Roman leader on the island called for Paul, as his father was very ill. Paul prayed for him and he was healed. After that all those on the island with diseases came and were healed. Paul and his team stayed with them three months and received honor while there and also were given provision for both their present needs and their future journey! They even got a new ship!
The shipwreck brought Paul to a divine appointment – one that included being bitten by a snake! Paul was not deterred from the assignment God had given him; he lived a laid-down life. His trust in God’s will and humbling himself to God’s divine orchestration of circumstances would bring God’s delivering power and the Kingdom of God wherever he was sent.
It is time to trust God in all of our adverse circumstances, go lower and die to our plans, thoughts, desires, opinions of what we think is happening, then come up higher to see from His perspective and receive His mind about what He is doing and what we are to do.
We think of favor as a land of calm seas and a bounty of goodness handed to us on a silver platter. Pioneers and forerunners forge new ground in adverse conditions. We are taking ground that the enemy has had in possession and there will be storms and adversity. BUT GOD! Our God in the midst of us is mighty to save, and He is bringing us in to new lands where His Kingdom will be established!
The enemy wants to distract us, hinder us, stop us from fulfilling the mission and bringing the Kingdom to the earth – the healings, deliverances, salvations and provision for Kingdom purposes. It’s time to shake off the snake and throw him into the fire; show the world the devil is a liar!
I am hearing, “It is time to go lower, then come up higher. Put on the new man, heavenly attire; shake that snake off into the fire. I have made all things new, believe that this belongs to you! Eternal life is here and now, principalities and powers will bow as they see the risen One. Christ is in you, the battle is won, move in authority as a daughter or son! I am with you, as I have said. Look to Me and do not dread. New lands are before you, look to Me as the Head. It will be as I have said.”