Once bitten, twice shy…

So I recently read (last night late actually) that an infamous \”preacher\” who made a name for himself as a man who plays with snakes was bitten and died. He refused to go to the hospital citing that \”God wouldnt allow him to die from a snake bite\”. I have a couple of thoughts about this that I will share here rather than make numerous posts on Facebook.

1. Obviously there was something not quite right with this. If you are a man of God, and you are living according to His Word then \”not dying\” should\’ve actually happened.Right?  Two stories come to mind from scripture…the seven sons of Sceva found in Acts, but more importantly Jesus message concerning sheep and goats. They did all these things (ministry) in His name but Jesus final response is \”depart from me I never knew you\”. Sure this guy was known in some circles (I had never heard of him before last night), but in the end he was building an edifice to himself through his Nat. Geo. contracted show, \”Snake Salvation\” rather than building the Kingdom.

2. Enough of the Side Show! When God does something that is real and tangible in the lives of people you know it! He is Not some side show freak who does tricks for peoples entertainment and sits in a cage to be stared at by onlookers desiring a thrill, chill or an exhilirating scare in their life. He is God! Have some respect for Him and the power of the Holy Spirit. My District Superintendant Rick Dubose (I live in the North Texas District of the Assemblies of God) gave a devotional at interview for ordination that I thought was simply amazing and powerful. Here is the readers digest version….Simon the Sorcerer seeks the power of the Holy Spirit by attempting to purchase the authority from Peter. Simon thought that it could be bought, when in truth those who walk in such authority are borrowing it rather than owning it as well. The authority and power belongs to God and he apportions it to us as he sees fit according to the plan he has at any given moment (1Cor. 12). Its not for sale by payment to show it off on some \”reality show\” or by allowing people in the church to control His power through their own money.

3. I believe taking up deadly serpents is more about spiritual authority than it is about physical activity. Most who practice this type of \”worship\” (I say this very loosely), have 2 scriptures they use. One is the Commission of Jesus found in Mark 16:18, and the other is found in Acts 28:3 where a snake jumps out of the fire and bites him. Paul lives a.d God is glorified and an entire island is saved for the Kingdom. Acts being the proof text for Jesus statement in Mark shows me that nobody literally placed with snakes in order to get people saved. A snake jumped out of a fire and latched on to Paul. He didn\’t randomly go and pick em up off the side of the road and play with them like a toy. Fact #2 is that God had a purpose in that moment for supernatural miracles to take place. The culture of the island was that any person bit by a snake was cursed, they were evil in some way and were being paid back for all that they had done. God was showing His authority to reverse a curse!

There was an authority given to Eve\’s seed that he would bruise the head of the serpent. The shadow of course is about Jesus, since it is written in the singular (seed and He are singular, meaning reference to one). Jesus was given all authority and then imparts that authority to those who would be His disciples. Not just the immediate 11( after Judas had hung himself), but for all who would follow him right up til now. Jesus who was prophesied as the seed, was never bitten by a snake (other than Satan at crucifixion) and didn\’t toy or play with them either! Examine it for yourself if you must, but nowhere in scripture is there a single instance of such fanatical lunacy. That being said, Pauls instance on the island is a testament that spiritual authority can and does operate in our physical reality. We do have authority both spiritually and physically, but not as a parlor trick for entertainment and illegitimate salvation.

No!! If the Kingdom of God is not expanded through it then we should walk away from it.

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