Buffeted at the Buffet

27 01 2014

It’s easy to tell when we’re on the right track spiritually:

God is on the move in our lives and we’re cooperating with Him.

We’re hearing from Him in ways that are fresh and new.

We’re spending more time in His Word, or in worship.

We’re reaching out to others and speaking God’s truth into their lives.

At times like these, opposition grows and can become overwhelming, if we don’t know how our enemy operates.

I recently read 2 Corinthians 12:7 and noticed something I’d never seen before. Let me quote it, then we’ll chat.

“And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me…”

I’ve heard countless sermons on this “thorn in the flesh.” Most seem to think it was his eye problem, others that he was short and ugly…kinda’ rude, I think!

On the other hand, I’ve heard few talk about the “messenger of Satan.” For me, this bit was key.

What does a messenger do, anyway?

He delivers messages…words.

This one’s messages buffet us. They can be a continual onslaught

…nothing good or helpful…

…or true.

After all, his messages come from the father of lies – the one about whom Jesus said, “He cannot speak the truth, for there is no truth in him.

When I think of buffeting, I think of a ship at sea, fully rigged and sails billowing. Although the wind cannot be seen, the sailors must know how to read its effects. If they don’t, the vessel could be blown off course. Harnessed, the wind propels them toward their destiny. Unheeded, it could lead to their ruin.

In the same way, if we are not taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, we are at the mercy of the buffeting of these messengers of Satan.

We can find our mental energy consumed when we let the wind of their words carry us wherever they will.

As with a ship, this can lead to our destruction…which is, of course, the intent.

The Lord prepares a banquet before us in the presence of our enemies.

Never forget their presence!

For, while we’re enjoying the sumptuous fare set before us, they are at our side – buffeting us with memories of things done to us, things done by us. They seek to stir up strife, anger, bitterness, and rage – or guilt, shame, and condemnation. They hurl accusations against us. They can be relentless.

The most foolish thing a soldier could do in the midst of the war is say, “I’m sick of all the fighting, the continual vigilance, the stress of worrying about the next attack. Forget this. Let’s party!” We would hear about their death in the next edition of the news.

We must be wise, and not foolish. We are in a war. The time for taking off our armor comes when we reach heaven. Until then, we dare not remove it – especially at the banquet table.

Lord, this understanding is helpful; but is there anything I can do about it? I wondered.

“Yes, but it will take some effort on your part,” was His reply.

We must take those thoughts that come against us and turn them to praise.

If you think about it, every circumstance, every struggle, every dumb thing we’ve ever done has served to make us who we are today. The relationship we have with Jesus is a result of what we’ve been through.

We’ve learned by experience that God is faithful.

We’ve become stronger people, and discovered that things we thought would be the end of us have instead caused us to mature.

Current problems are opportunities for the Lord to show Himself mighty on our behalf.

Remorse and regret are not very helpful – unless we use those memories to praise the Lord for His immense patience with us. We can thank Him for those blunders, and for His atoning sacrifice that paid for every sin we’ve ever committed…and have yet to commit.

In other words, when we find ourselves in gale-force winds of adversity and choose to turn it into a praise meeting many good things come from our active resistance.

Life becomes peaceful when we take every thought captive and choose to look for the good, the right, the pure, the just, the lovely…the praiseworthy.

We move from a “victim” stance to one of victory as we look for reasons to be grateful for life’s events (and remember that they won’t last forever!)

Not only that, but a good look at the path down which we’ve come…including traveling companions selected for the journey…gives us a chance to see how God has taken all things and been working them for our good. That’s worth more than gold!

Do this often enough and our ever-present enemy may stand by us at the buffet…but the buffeting will cease – at least for a while. The last thing they want is for us to take their buffeting and turn it into a praise session!

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26 responses

2 02 2014
Mary Adrienne

I’m praying for you as your faith (like muscle) is toned and strengthened by its use. I know you’ll find new insights as you’re able, in the future, to look back on this time. I’m looking forward (selfishly) to you sharing them with us.

I had an image the other night of evil (and hate and fear and anger) disintegrating and dissolving into vapor at an onslaught of God’s love. I don’t know that Our Lord ever intended us to “love” Satan, but that was where my train of thought was headed. If Our Lord is pure love and we are to be more and more like Him, would it not follow that love should dissolve hate et al…

I haven’t found the words yet to quite capture the image without falling off the edge, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Keep yourself well-protected with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit during this time.

Blessings, Mary

2 02 2014
lessonsbyheart

Interesting that you should say so. At one time, I prayed that God’s grace would be able to reach even our arch-enemy. However, after reading through some Bible passages, I realized that the atonement we receive through Jesus’ death and resurrection is not available to demons or satan.

Not being privy to all that goes on in the spirit realm, I have to trust the Lord to lead me in such matters. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our love could, indeed, dissolve his great hatred? Unfortunately, I’ve read the end of the book and know that the story doesn’t have that kind of happy ending.

In the physical realm, however, I’ve seen love do some amazing things in people’s lives. That IS something I can carry out – and ask the Lord to teach me to love others with His love.

Tonite at church, my friend asked one of her “prayer warrior” friends to pray for me. He asked the Spirit for help – then commented on the butterfly necklace I was wearing.

He pointed out that although the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, there is still a time of waiting in the sun for its wings to dry. If this time isn’t taken, or its wings forced open while still wet, the butterfly will never be able to soar.

What he had to say goes along with what the Lord has been telling me…wait. For the first time, I’m content to do so, and happily writing new songs in the interim.

Thanks for your encouragement and prayer…and for taking time to read! Whooee. You’ve been busy. Don’t miss “Dirty Undies!” 😉

The Lord bless you, dear sister.

Love,
\o/

29 01 2014
Eddy

Praising Him is what I do when I’m in the storm. It’s difficult to do so at times, but it’s worth it everytime! Thanks for writing this Sis…it’s a real good, and much needed encouragement right now.

29 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

So glad the reminder was helpful. It was written from the eye of the storm on this end. Keep on keeping on. Praying for peace and rest for you today.

\o/

28 01 2014
sagescenery

Great post!! Time to enjoy the buffet…flavored with praise…to stop the buffeting!! I love this!!

28 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

It got me through one horrible day…not completely unscathed – but at least still on my feet. 😉

\o/

29 01 2014
sagescenery

Ahhh…sounds like the enemy is up to his old tricks again, but he’s no match for Spirit-filled, Spirit-led warriors of the Almighty God!!

29 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

27 01 2014
nopew

All I would say about what you write I put in a blog post on Dec. 29, and it is still my prayer of hope. “O that I could…”
Peace

27 01 2014
StephenWhoElse

Watch out too for the sneak attacks and quiet sabotage! The enemy is sly and knows our weaknesses! I’ve gone through a few of those experiences.

28 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Isn’t that the truth. Just the absence of that particular entity and all his cohorts will make heaven blissful. {sigh}

🙂

\o/

27 01 2014
Mel Wild

“We must take those thoughts that come against us and turn them to praise.”
Amen and amen! Two things you bring up that are so important. First, not all thoughts we think are our thoughts…or God’s. We must discern and take captive those things that contradict God’s thoughts toward us. The second is what I quoted from your post here. This is the power of moving in the opposite spirit. Praise changes everything.

Great post full of insight and wisdom, as per the usual. 🙂 Blessings.

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comments, Mel. I can teach it ’cause it’s my daily ordeal at the moment. AUGH!!! Can’t wait for heaven. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my little praise sessions that dot every day. 🙂

\o/

27 01 2014
Mel Wild

Well, that’s where the precious oil comes from. like with the olive. Being pressed and squeezed! The praise definitely helps with the”counting it all joy” part. 🙂

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

You should be able to hear the creaking and groaning from this press – all the way from there!

Actually, the praise times are making a huge difference. It completely changed my attitude. God knew what He was talking about – eh? 😉

Thanks for the encouragement. I surely do appreciate it.

\o/

27 01 2014
Mel Wild

You’re welcome. Yes, praise brings us to Him instead of our problems, all creaking aside. :)Blessings.

27 01 2014
Valerie Rutledge

Struggling with this today. Thanks for your post and I would appreciate your prayers, sis.

27 01 2014
Marijo Phelps

MY FRIEND IS KEEPING IT TO READ OVER AND OVER TO REMIND HER… what do you think about this – the more we struggle with issues the more we have to write about and fulfill this scripture… (which I dub the “mouthful” scripture) Comfort in Suffering

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

Praying for sure!

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Awesome!

We are pressed, but not crushed; persecuted, not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise shall endure. HIS JOY SHALL BE MY STRENGTH!

Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!

(Great song – I’m Trading My Sorrow) – much of it right out of Scripture…all of it true. 😉

Y’all hang in there. Forever is going to be amazing – with none of this stuff to hassle with! God is good.

\o/

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

It isn’t easy to remember that what seems to be a dagger from the enemy will become a tool in the hand of the Lord who works all things together for our good. I don’t know what you’re dealing with, but I’ve got stuff going on here too. I’ve been having “praise” breaks every few minutes in an effort to shut out the enemy.

Hang in there.

Lord, at times like these, would you help Valerie and I both to take a break from the battle and remember that one day we’ll be Home – no more of this stuff to wade through! Hallelujah!!! Give us Your grace to get through these days graciously. Oh, how we need You! In Jesus’ name – Amen

\o/

28 01 2014
Valerie Rutledge

Thank you…for the encouraging words, the prayer and the reminder that every circumstance we face is temporary until we get to Heaven. I pray for your strength as you battle as well. The enemy is strong and conniving, but God is so much greater. BIG hugs!

28 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Yeah, read today’s post and you’ll discover what yesterday’s battle was all about. God was going to be glorified, and the enemy did his best to prevent that. It was AWESOME!

\o/

27 01 2014
shirleymcp

This fit in with my reading of the Word this morning…Matthew 4. Jesus answered every temptation of Satan with the Word of God. We need to know the Word of God….and know the God of the Word. Thanks for your sharing! God’s blessings on you as you continue to share the Truth!

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for taking time to read and comment. 🙂

\o/

27 01 2014
Marijo Phelps

This is definitely for me and for a friend today! THANK YOU dear Sister!!!

27 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

It’s my life at the moment. I’m getting to practice what I preach! 🙂

\o/

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