I’ll Take Back what the Devil Stole from Me. A Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent

040514In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The story is a significant turning point in the ministry of Jesus, for as we shall see, it is because of this incident that the Temple leadership in Jerusalem resolves to have Jesus killed.

As is proper with all the gospel accounts, we must not see this as merely an historical happening of some two thousand years ago. Rather, we must recall that we are Lazarus; we are Martha and Mary. This is also the story of how Jesus is acting in our life.

Let’s look at this Gospel in stages and learn how the Lord acts to save us and raise us to new life. This gospel has six stages that describe what Jesus does to save us.

I. HE PERMITS. Sometimes there are trials in our life, by God’s mysterious design, to bring us to greater things. The Lord permits these trials and difficulties for various reasons. But, if we are faithful, every trial is ultimately for our glory and the glory of God. The text says,

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary, and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Notice therefore that Jesus does not rush to prevent the illness of Lazarus. Rather, he permits it for now in order that something greater, God’s Glory in Jesus, be manifest. In addition, it is for Lazarus’ own good and his share in God’s glory.

It is this way with us as well. We do not always understand what God is up to in our life. His ways are often mysterious, even troubling to us. But our faith teaches us that his mysterious permission of our difficulties is ultimately for our good and for our glory.

Scripture says,

  1. Rejoice in this. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials. But this so that your faith, more precious than any fire-tried gold, may lead to praise, honor, and glory when Jesus Christ appears. (1 Peter 1: 10)
  2. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)
  3. For our light and momentary troubles are producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:17-18)

An old gospel hymn says,Trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand, all the way that God will lead us to that blessed promised land. But He guides us with his eye and we follow till we die, and we’ll understand it better, by and by. By and by, when the morning comes, and all the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story of how we’ve overcome, and we’ll understand it better by and by.”

For now, it is enough for us to know that God permits our struggles for a season and for a reason.

II. HE PAUSES. Here to we confront a mystery. Sometimes God says, “Wait.” Again, this is to prepare us for greater things than those for which we ask. The text says,

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.

Note that the text says that Jesus waits because he loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus. This of course is paradoxical since we expect love to make one rush to the aid of the afflicted.

Yet Scripture often counsels us to wait.

  1. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Ps 27:14)
  2. For thus says the Lord God, the holy one of Israel, “By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet an in trust, your strength lies. (Isaiah 30:15)
  3. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…God’s patience is directed to our salvation. (2 Pet 3:9)

Thus, somehow our waiting is tied to strengthening us and preparing us for something greater. Ultimately, we need God’s patience in order for us to come to full repentance; so it may not be wise to ask God to rush things. Yet still his delay often mystifies us, especially when the need is urgent.

Note too how Jesus’ delay here enables something even greater to take place. For, it is one thing to heal an ailing man. It is another and greater thing to raise a man who has been dead four days. To use an analogy, Jesus is preparing a meal. Do you want a microwave dinner or a great feast? Great feasts take longer to prepare. Jesus delays but he’s preparing something great.

For ourselves we can only ask for the grace to hold out. An old gospel song says, “Lord help me to hold out, until my change comes.” Another song says, “Hold on just a little while longer, everything’s gonna be all right.”

III. HE PAYS. Despite the design of God and his apparent delay, he is determined to bless us and save us. Jesus is determined to go and help Lazarus even though he puts himself in great danger in doing so. Notice in the following text how the apostles are anxious about going to Judea. For it is a fact that some there are plotting to kill Jesus. In order to help Lazarus, Jesus must put himself at great risk. The Text says,

Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.

We must never forget the price that Jesus has paid for our healing and salvation. Scripture says, “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Pet 1:18).

Indeed, the apostles’ concerns are borne out when we see that because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Temple leaders from that point on plot to kill him (cf John 11:53). It is of course dripping with irony that they should plot to kill Jesus for raising a man from the dead. We can only thank the Lord who, for our sake, endured even death on a cross to purchase our salvation by his own blood.

IV. HE PRESCRIBES. The Lord will die to save us. But there is only one way that saving love can reach us and that is through our faith. Faith opens the door to God’s blessings and it is a door we must open by God’s grace. Thus Jesus inquires into the faith of Martha and later that of Mary. The text says,

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

Jesus prescribes faith because there is no other way. Our faith and our soul are more important to God than our bodies and creature comforts. For what good is it to gain the whole world and lose our soul? We tend to focus on physical things like our bodies, our health, and our possessions. But God focuses on the spiritual things. And so before raising Lazarus and dispelling grief, Jesus checks the condition of Martha’s faith and elicits an act of faith: “Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe.”

Scripture connects faith to seeing and experiencing great things.

  1. All things are possible to him who believes. Mk 9:23
  2. If you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you.” (Mt 17:20)
  3. And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (Matt 13:58)
  4. When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Mat 9:28)

So Jesus has just asked you and me a question: “Do you believe this?” And how will you answer? Now be careful. I know how we should answer. But how do we really and truthfully answer?

V. HE IS PASSIONATE. Coming upon the scene Jesus is described as deeply moved, as perturbed, as weeping. The text says,

When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”

In his human heart, Jesus experiences the full force of the loss and the blow that death delivers. That he weeps is something of mystery since he will raise Lazarus in moments. But for this moment, Jesus enters and experiences grief and loss with us. Its full force comes over him and he weeps; so much so that the bystanders say, “See how much he loved him.”

But there is more going on here. The English text also describes Jesus as being perturbed. The Greek word here is Greek word ἐμβριμάομαι (embrimaomai), which means literally to snort with anger, to have great indignation. It is a very strong word, and it includes the notion of being moved to admonish sternly. What is this anger of Jesus and at whom is it directed? It is hard to know exactly, but the best answer would seem to be that he is angry at death, and at what sin has done. For it was by sin that suffering and death entered the world. It is almost as though Jesus is on the front lines of the battle and has a focused anger against Satan and what he has done. For Scripture says, by the envy of the devil death entered the world. (Wisdom 2:23). And God has said, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ez 33:11).

I do remember at the death of some of my loved ones, experiencing not only sorrow, but also anger. Death should NOT be. But there it is; it glares back at us, taunts us, and pursues us.

Yes, Jesus experiences the full range of what we do. And out of his sorrow and anger, he is moved to act on our behalf. God’s wrath is his passion to set things right. And Jesus is about to act.

VI. HE PREVAILS. In the end, Jesus always wins. And you can go to the end of the Bible and see that Jesus wins there too. You might just as well get on the winning team. He will not be overcome by Satan, even when all seems lost. God is a good God; he is a great God; he can do anything but fail. Jesus can make a way out of no way. The text says,

He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go free.”

I have it on the best of authority that as Lazarus came out of the tomb he was singing a gospel song: “Faithful is our God! I’m reaping the harvest God promised me, take back what devil stole from me, and I rejoice today, for I shall recover it all!”

But notice something important here. Although Jesus raises Lazarus, and gives him new life, Jesus also commands the bystanders (this means you and me) to untie Lazarus and let him go free. So Christ raises us, but he has work for the Church to do: to untie those he has raised in Baptism, and to let them go free.

To have a personal relationship with Jesus is crucial, but it is also essential to have a relationship to the Church. For after raising Lazarus (us), Jesus entrusts him to the care of others. Jesus speaks to the Church – to parents, priests, catechists, all members of the Church – and gives this standing order regarding the souls he has raised to new life: “Untie them and let them go free.”

We are Lazarus and we were dead in our sin. But we have been raised to new life. And yet we can still be bound by the effects of sin. And this is why we need the sacraments, Scripture, prayer, and other ministry of the Church through catechesis, preaching, and teaching. Lazarus’ healing wasn’t a “one and you’re done” scenario, and neither is ours.

We are also the bystanders.  And just as we are in need of being untied and set free, so we who are also members of the Church also have this obligation to others. Parents and elders must untie their children and let them go free by God’s grace, and so pastors must do with their flocks. As a priest, I too have realized how my people have helped to untie me and let me go free, how they have strengthened my faith, encouraged me, admonished me, and restored me.

This is the Lord’s mandate to the Church regarding every soul he has raised: “Untie him and let him go free.” This is the Lord’s work, but just as Jesus involved the bystanders then, he still involves the Church (which includes us) now.

Yes, faithful is our God. I shall recover it all.

This is the song Lazarus sang as he came forth (I have it on the best of authority).

32 Replies to “I’ll Take Back what the Devil Stole from Me. A Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent”

  1. Msgr. Pope,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for your post. Your words made me realize how very much God loves me and he is very much aware of what I am going through at this very moment. Just like this helped me I am sure you are helping bring God’s healing love to other’s with your blog. I think that what you do matters very much to Christ. Thank you for shepherding us.


  2. Dear Msgr. Pope,
    What an appropriate reading in today’s gospel. I would like to share a brief, but powerful story concerning Lazarus. About a year ago, my husband was rushed to the hospital, as he was in cardiac shock and very close to death. All of his internal organs were shutting down and he literally turned blue and purple. His doctors told me to start planning his funeral, as he wouldn’t live through the night.
    I prayed to Our Lord and said, “Lord, your will be done. I accept your plan for my husband”. I honestly meant that, even though it was difficult to say. Well, I’m pleased to say that my husband lived and is doing well to this day. Praise God. I compare my husband to Lazarus……..he was literally brought back to life by Our Lord.
    What a witness he has been. In fact, the team of doctors were absolutely shocked by his recovery. Jesus still performs miracles. I believe with all of my heart that we were given one that day.
    Thank you for allowing me to share this story.
    May God richly bless you and all of the readers!

  3. I do so enjoy reading your blogs. You bring God’s message and words to me in a way I understand. May God continue to bless you in your work.

  4. Thanks so much Msgr. Pope! I just read this and listened to the song with a catechumen preparing for tomorrow’s Third Scrutiny. Very helpful!

  5. Thanks so much Msgr. Pope! I just read this and listened to the song with a catechumen preparing for tomorrow’s Third Scrutiny. Very helpful!

  6. Wonderful and a very educative post Msgr Pope (as usual)!

    There is something I have been wondering about this story. One of the first questions that I have noticed in movies (Barabbas for instance with Billy Zane) or books about this story is that people immediately want to ask Lazarus about how it was to be dead; “what was it like?”, “did you see anything?” “Did you see God or the Devil?”.

    Do you know the reason why absolutely nothing is mentioned about it in the Gospel?

  7. Msgr Pope: Have you thought of publishing a book of your blog articles? Maybe there are too many so maybe you could select a few and call it, ‘The Best of Msgr Pope’. Seriously, though, I think it would be a great idea and I’m sure would sell a large number of copies and raise lots of money for your parish/archdiocese.

    1. Yes, I have tried but no publisher seems interested. I am publishing a book on the Ten Commandments Later this year, so I guess that’s a start. I think in order to interest a publisher I need first to find an compiler/editor who can stitch together my many thoughts into thematic portions and then seek to publish them. SO far I haven’t had luck finding one. My Cardinal works with Mike Aquilina in this regard. But I am not in that league that I could get Mike to do that for me. I suppose I will have to wait until the Lord opens a door.

  8. No, the beautiful artwork is not a mosaic at Ravenna but a painting The Raising of Lazarus by Duccio di Buoninsegna, made about 1310 in Siena, Italy

  9. Thank you, Monsignor Pope. Your explanations helped me to see this Gospel on a far deeper level. I learn so much from your blog!

    God bless you.

  10. I’m a member at Holy Comforter and I have to say this homily truly blessed me today. I can’t stop thinking about it. It was exactly on time for the situations I’m going through in my life. Thank you.

  11. I’m wondering about this statement of Jesus: ““I am the resurrection and the life;
    whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
    and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
    Do you believe this?”

    How is this reconciled with Catholic teaching that “outside the Church, there is no salvation”?

    I’ve often wondered why the Catholic Church promotes such an elitist view in light of the many Christians who believe in and love Christ but are of protestant denominations.

    Thank you for your explanation. This is a serious sticking point for me as I know many many protestants who love Christ and it is hardly believable that God would not save them.

      1. I read the CCC. I was hoping you would be willing to help me understand. God bless. I’ll see if someone else can help.

        1. Dear Willow,

          The CCC states in # 847 “This affirmation (that there is no salvation outside the Church) is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and His Church: ‘Those who, through no fault of their own,do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience-those too may achieve eternal salvation.’ ”

          Those who are unaware of the Gospel, or of the fact that membership in the Catholic Church is necessary, receive salvation through Jesus Christ if they are sincere in their own beliefs. However, if at any time, they come to recognize the truth of the Catholic faith, they must enter the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has the responsibility to evangelize all people. to attempt to draw them to this Church founded by the Lord Jesus Himself. Hence the RCIA program which prepares non-Catholics for entrance into the Church. Anyone baptized “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” even in a non-Catholic faith, is validly baptized. Such a person would need to formally seek entrance into the Catholic Church, an. go through the RCIA program to become thoroughly familiar with the basics of the teachings of the Church and of her Doctrines. But they would not have to be rebaptized in order to come into the Church. Such persons would make a “Profession of Faith” indicating acceptance of the tenets of the faith set down in the Nicene Creed and then be confirmed and receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the glorious Easter Vigil.

          You might want to seek out an RCIA program in your area for the purpose of becoming familiar with what the Catholic Church teaches, not what those outside the Church say that it teaches. Some parishes also have programs for continuing faith formation for adults. Some of these might be helpful for you as well. But in the end, you must follow your own conscience, living in accord with what you sincerely believe to be truth.

          Hope that this is helpful to you.

          1. Thank you so much, Judy Kallmeyer ! That was very helpful. God bless you.

  12. A truly faith-building article. But I am concerned that a “Silva Mind Control” ad appears at the bottom of the YouTube video by Bishop Walker (I am sure that this is without Bishop Walker’s permission). My husband and I were involved with Silva Mind Control and it was the gateway into New Age. It is an attempt to make you feel as if you are the god of your life. In the course, you are taught how to draw the good things to your life by making a lab in your mind. Then you are told to invite spirit beings into this mental lab (by opening yourself up like that you can attract evil spirits). The fruit of this course was spiritual disaster for years. We lost our faith. Our family fell apart. What saved us? We threw out all our Silva Mind Control and all New Age books and tapes. AND we returned to confession and confessed the sin of having other gods before the One True God, and before Jesus our Lord and Savior. Don’t be misled. This is not a simple course to develop your mind.

  13. Thank you for this pertinent article. I am in the midst of a powerful and remarkable series of generational healing prayers. This theme ties in with the idea that the sin-induced suffering hurts and even angers Our Lord. Breaking the transmission of generational evil is truly an example of being untied and set free. Thank you again.

  14. Msgr. Pope, you never fail to touch my heart and feed my hungry soul. God bless you!

  15. Msgr. Pope,

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful expression of wisdom that brings out the Truth in ways that penetrate to the heart. There are 6 P’s in your stages and actually a hidden 7th one. In 6. He is passionate, He prays to the Father. I guess you could say Jesus’ whole life is a prayer but now I wonder if these 7 steps may be useful in analyzing other scriptural moments and/or practically applying in our own live situations.
    1. Permit
    2. Pause
    3. Pay
    4. Prescribe
    5. (Be) Passionate
    6. Pray
    7. Prevail

    Something to Ponder.

    Thank you and God bless you!

  16. Inspiring post , Thank you. Just out of curiosity, who is the best of authority that told you the song Lazarus was singing?

  17. Oh my goodness. Words cannot express how much this meant to me. Thank you, Monsignor, and God bless you.

  18. What about fear of the future even when you know God has it under control? In 2009, my little boy died suddenly at home in an accident. He was 2. Nothing bad every happened to me before. I had no idea what real horror was until he died. It’s been more than 4.5 years and I can say I’ve healed quite a bit. However, I have one area of healing that just won’t happen. I always fear more suffering is to come. It’s like the security that comes in life with Christ was pulled out from under me- like ‘security’ in life was a rug that was just pulled away and left me reeling. Not that I don’t deserve what happened or it shouldn’t have happened to me, it shouldn’t happen to anyone. And I’m definitely not above anyone else or less deserving than anyone else. My mother cried “Why me”. I thought “Why not me?” And if God wants my child, how can I say ‘no’ to Him. But now that time has gone by and I’m getting on with life, I know that tragic things can and will happen to me. I have a hard time enjoying even good times. I fear the future, the unknown, the pain that I know is coming. No one can say to me “Everything will be alright”. I already know that isn’t true. I know eventually, in the next world, everything will be alright. But somehow, that doesn’t give me much comfort now. I could live another 30 or 40 years. And I have no idea what’s coming. And people say “God only gives you what you can handle” which makes me so angry. It’s almost like saying “Thank God it’s you and not me. Your child must have died because you’re stronger than me”. But I’m not stronger. And I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to face another tragedy. I barely made it the last time. For two years, I honestly didn’t think I would make it. And now, when I think about the future, I wonder what’s in store for me. And I can’t find that peace that comes with trusting Christ. I hate to think I don’t trust Him because I do love Him so very much. How do I regain that trust I had up until my child’s death?

  19. Rejoice in this. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials. But this so that your faith, more precious than any fire-tried gold, may lead to praise, honour, and glory when Jesus Christ appears. (1 Peter 1: 10)

    Msgr. Charles Pope,

    It is not a coincidence, that you included the above scripture exactly on the day when I had experienced it word by word!

    So I would share it with you, in order to believe that who rely on our Lord, HE SURELY BE HEARD AND OVERJOYED ONCE JESUS CHRIST APPEARS!


    My brother is separated. He left to live abroad. He is now living with a widow! My Mrs, who literary hates these irregular situations, made it clear to me that this particular woman would never step into our home!
    We argued, something which from my side I made a mistake, since I am trying to live spiritually as much as I can! I simply couldn’t accept the fact that I have to tell my brother about it! So at the end we agreed to wait for that actual moment to occur!

    A family wedding came about! My brother sent an email and informed me that he was coming over only for the wedding! My Mrs, had the intentions NOT TO GO TO THE WEDDING! To keep away from being involved as much as possible in awkward situations!

    In the same moment, my Mrs., after being 4 years on the waiting list to have her hipbone replaced, she received a phone call from hospital in order to have it done, only five weeks away from the wedding day!

    I said to her, that Jesus supplied you with a genuine excuse, for being absent in the wedding!

    The wedding day was last Saturday 4th April!

    That day early in the morning, my brother phoned and told me that he was at the hotel, and needed to come over to have his laptop repaired by my son!

    Upset, and hurt, I did my best to make it difficult for him NOT TO COME AT ALL, instead of told him not to come with his woman, so I simply told him that I would be late working at my factory, and concluded that we could meet at the wedding!

    My Mrs. got up and asked me who phoned! I told her that my brother phoned and explained what I said to him. She started to argue, I refused to start arguing, so I simply said to her that I will put her through where he was staying and she could tell him herself! So uncomfortably she did! In fact afterwards, she was about to start arguing again, I suffered, and very, very upset, kept everything within me and said it’s over and done with, please no more arguments!

    Things started to change, she decided to go to the wedding obvious with her walking crutches! something which she was never ready to do at all cost!

    My brother came in the afternoon to my factory to introduce her to me! After about 15 minutes, they left, and I said to myself, this woman is a perfect kind of person that my Mrs. like! There was nothing in her for my Mrs to pick upon! Without being aware of Jesus was doing his work!

    We went to the wedding, and as soon as my brother saw me, he asked me if he would introduce her to my Mrs. And how, I said to him! Throughout the wedding they never spoke, but since my Mrs, wanted to leave before it was completely over, SHE HERSELF WENT AND HUGGED AND KISSED HER! My brother told me that she was very surprised, and overjoyed that my Mrs. did so!

    Sunday late in the morning, My brother came over with his laptop to be repaired! After a while my Mrs. offered him a coffee, which he refused due to the fact that he left his woman in the car, and he had to leave and will call again for his laptop in the afternoon. As soon as he was about to leave, my Mrs, with tears in her eyes, said to him: BRING YOUR WOMAN THIS AFTER NOON FOR TEA!

    Within me I said: this is certain Jesus’ work!

    I switched on my laptop, and I found your article and as soon as I read:

    Rejoice in this. You may for a time HAVE TO SUFFER the distress of many trials. But this so that your faith, more precious than any fire-tried gold, may lead to praise, honour, and GLORY WHEN JESUS CHRIST APPEARS (1 Peter 1: 10)


  20. I am an evangelical on the opposite side of the country who found this sermon, seemingly by accident, when I googled “take back from the devil.” I’ve been in a trial of unemployment for around a year-and-a-half and have lost almost all my savings. It has been extremely difficult, but the Lord has worked absolute miracles in my soul as a result and is bringing me to places I might not have reached without God permitting the enemy’s attack to push me. I can testify to the great and immense insight in this sermon. It’s one I will file away and refer to in the future.

    The one thing I would add is this: Out of pride, the devil always overplays his hand. When he does, that is the tipping point. I saw this in my own battle, for I didn’t even realize it was a spiritual attack until he pulled a stunt one too many times and I realized there was more going on that what can be explained in the natural realm. That caused me to run to the Father and start fighting back – the end result was a greater level of surrender to the Lordship of Christ than God has ever had from me. As with Jesus, the Spirit leads us into the wilderness to be tested, but God isn’t throwing us under the bus – He’s setting the devil up for a fall in a way that primes us for great victory.

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