What is so wise about a serpent?

Snakes lay low and blend into their environment.  They get the lay of the land, and figure out where their safety is.  They are extremely precise when they strike.  They wait until the optimum conditions are lined up, and time it just so. Serpents are wise enough to flee from danger.  Jesus said we are to be wise as serpents.

To be harmless as doves.  Harmless means honest, sincere, without guile.  Stick with truth, and don’t get drawn into debate.  Soar above the fray.

Be Sober: Serious, sedate, temperate and subdued, not excessively emotional, not extreme, or fanciful nor fearful.  Keep your “spiritual wits” about you.

Be vigilant: keep careful watch for potential danger and difficulty, watchful, awake, alert.

Walk circumspect: circum (around you) spect (mindful, thoughtful, attentive).  Don’t get so deep into anything to the exclusion of attentiveness to the bigger picture and what is going on around you.  Don’t let down your guard.

Those perilous times are upon us.  It is not just what we see happening on our streets, and in the news.  There is an intentional stirring up of  conflict and “precision strikes” being made upon our specific individual vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

It doesn’t get easier from here.  Hold on for dear life, trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in everything.  If you are a stay-at-home Mom, acknowledge Him in your mothering, your “mundane” tasks of laundry, dishes, refereeing, shuttling.  If you are a businessman, acknowledge Him in your business.  If you are disabled, acknowledge Him in what He has allowed because He is wise and has a purpose in it.  If you are struggling and feel powerless, know that He allows it for the purpose of helping you rely on Him.  We don’t do it on our own, we pretty much have to be forced a lot of the time.

If you are prone to depression, be proactive in counter-acting negative thoughts and replacing them with scripture and thankfulness.  If you are sick and the medical bills are piling up, you can still be thankful if you have insurance that pays some of it, or for friends who care, or for the fact you are not as sick as you could have been.

If you are a pastor discouraged in your ministry, you can still rejoice in your own salvation and the knowledge that our redemption is near.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness  ( both refer to sexual promiscuity) not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

This weekend in our family, there was a lot of strife, contention, emotion, a lot of misunderstanding.  Satan is really good at that, but we have to be mindful of the fact he is always right there ready to exploit every emotion and sore spot and weakness.  We are feeling the evil move in, making it personal.  We are seeing the evil day come to hand.  It is going to be important to call on the Lord at all times and in all things, and when we let our flesh get the better of us, to repent right away, and not let anything fester.  If we hurt or offend, we need to own up and apologize, make restitution where possible.

I imagine you have noticed the same thing in your own household, or work environment, or church, even.  We should not be surprised and we can’t afford to fall for it.  Our battle is not with flesh and blood.  Yet we very often take it out on flesh and blood, causing injury and offense.

It occurred to me that this time as we are at the final moments, is a lot like when a woman goes through pregnancy, which for many of us, is pretty miserable for nine months, and yet when the term is up, you then have to “walk through fire” of labor and delivery to be done with it. There is no other exit. Can’t turn around, can’t take a detour or easier option.  Many women have been known to say “I can’t do it” when the absolute fact is that she will, she must and therefore, she can, she just doesn’t “feel” like she can.  It can be grueling and we have to accept that and prepare as best we can, and place our trust in what we have learned and done, and in the people alongside us who are there to help us get through it.  Don’t trust your feelings.  Don’t trust your doubts.  Don’t trust even necessarily your own eyes.  This is peak deception time.

I personally have many moments when I feel like I can’t face or endure something to get to the other side of this, to redemption, to release.  But now is not a time for giving up. See it through, faithful to the end, not perfect, not sinless, but repentant, humble, determined, leaning on the Lord, pressing into Him, knowing He is the stronger one in the yoke, and will not let us stumble and fall, but will enable us to go on as long as we are willing and as long as we desire to be obedient and to serve Him in whatever our situation or circumstances are.

It is like that time on the airplane when there is an emergency situation, and we are supposed to help the children and elderly and otherwise helpless, but we only can do that if we put on our own oxygen mask first. There comes a time when it is the real deal, that the flight attendants must necessarily cease to assist others and strap themselves in.

It is not selfishness, it is a matter of navigating the turbulence we are now firmly in the midst of. It is a time to keep short accounts and encourage others. It’s the last hour of the night shift when many are just waking up, while some of us have “labored through the night”.  Those are our reinforcements, no our replacements.  All leave cancelled for the foreseeable future!

Remain vigilant with intense, unfaltering, wary watchfulness with an attitude of submission to the Holy Spirit to avoid unnecessary frictions, distractions, and sins.

Pray, pray pray.  If you don’t have a huge repertoire of scripture memorized, write them on cards and plaster them all through your house or work station, or carry in your pocket and refer to them often.

That old serpant, Satan, is a clever one.  He outsmarts us a lot of the time.  But when he comes around accusing, harassing, stirring up trouble, we can remind him of Revelation 20, verses 2-3 and 10.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

This is the hard part. But it will all be over soon.