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"Skandalon -- Satan's Trap" by Dr. Larry Ollison

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Post  Admin on Sun 02 Jan 2011, 2:56 pm

A message I pray will benefit many:
"Skandalon -- Satan's Trap" by Dr. Larry Ollison
Offended people are everywhere — they're not only in the world, they are also in the church. No matter where you go in life, you can meet someone who is upset and offended. Even a routine trip to the grocery store can become a nightmare after a brief encounter with an angry checkout clerk and all you are thinking is: Don't smash the eggs! Because offense is such a widespread problem, Satan uses it as a tool to detour believers from what God has called them to do.
The Greek word used for offense in the New Testament is skandalon which can be translated "bait stick." The best way that I can communicate the purpose for a bait stick is to tell you about a program televised by the Discovery Channel demonstrating how the natives of one particular culture caught monkeys.
The natives placed a cage in the jungle containing a bait stick that the monkeys desperately wanted. As the monkeys approached the cage, they saw the bait inside and reached through the bars of the cage to grab it. However, as long as their fists were gripped around the bait stick, they could not pull their hands out of the cage. Although the animals could have been set free from the trap, they desired the bait so badly, they refused to let go of the stick, making their seizure effortless for the locals.
When the natives approached with their clubs, the monkeys began jumping up and down and violently squealing, still unwilling to release the bait. They could have been set free at any time by simply letting go of the bait stick and pulling their hands from the cage, but they wouldn't. The closer the natives came to the animals, the more fierce their shrieking became. Fully aware that death was imminent, they stubbornly refused to loose the counterfeit treasure. The predators simply approached their target and clubbed them to death. The monkeys literally held life and death within their grasp.
That is a perfect illustration of what happens to someone who takes hold of offense. Whether you realize it or not, offense is Satan's bait stick that allows him to destroy your life. As long as you are determined to cling to the offense, your freedom will escape you in the same way it escaped the monkeys. While you desperately cling to the bait, the devil effortlessly moves in with death and destruction.
What is it that offends you? Is it as simple as somebody's breathing or the way they snort? Or is it what others say about you? Perhaps someone won't allow you to do what you want. Or possibly you're offended by something that was done to you as a child. Once the devil knows what offends you, he will continually send that particular thing into your life, hoping to lure you into his trap.
Sometimes harboring offense can feel good to your flesh because you are looking for the opportunity to get revenge. You know that you are seeking revenge when you mentally plot and scheme to get back at someone who has offended you. No longer seeking retribution is evidence that you have let go of offense.
However, as long as you cling to offense—like the monkeys held on to the bait stick—you can scream, you can jump up and down, you can even pray, but you will be snared by the devil's trap nonetheless. Even though offense and thoughts of revenge may feel good for awhile, they will soon bring ruin into your life.
All that was necessary for the monkeys to be set free was to let go of the bait. The only real thing that hindered them from freedom was their own intense desire. James 1:14 says, "Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed." In reality, the only thing that stood between complete freedom and ruin was the monkey's strong desire for the bait. A simple decision to let go brings life. In the exact same way, anyone willing to make the decision to release offense can live in complete freedom.
Excerpt from Dr. Larry Ollison's book, "Breaking the Cycle of Offense"
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
This article may be reproduced for teaching purposes but not for commercial resale. When writing about this devotional, refer to devotional #0236 - Larry Ollison Ministries PO Box 880, Osage Beach, MO 65065 USA
Larry Ollison Ministries uses all media means available to teach the gospel worldwide. Prayerfully consider becoming a partner with us and to order books, CD's and DVD's by Larry Ollison, visit: http://faithmanorg
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