Shake It Off! 

- Pastor Evan Pitts

Proverbs 4:23 warns us to, “Guard our heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Paul the apostle exemplifies this principle throughout his life. He understood that between the prophecy (Word from God) and the promise is the PROCESS. We see this example in Acts 28:1-6, where Paul has a Word and desire to preach the gospel in Rome. Let's look at the process between shipping out from Jerusalem and entering Rome. “Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us. As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god". God used the circumstances on the island of Malta to prepare and provide for Paul to preach in Rome. Paul teaches us how to "SHAKE OFF" the enemy. The secret to entering the promises of God is to guard your heart and "shake off" bitterness, discouragement, and sin through the process. “For the word of God will never fail (Luke 1:37)." Bitterness sets in when we accept the venom of betrayal or offense. SHAKE IT OFF! Hebrews 12 tells us to pursue peace because a root of bitterness can defile us and cause us to miss out on the inheritance that God has for us. Secondly, remember that disappointments or SET BACKS are just a SET UP for a COME BACK! Disappointments can cause a crushed spirit or broken heart. The good news is, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).” Don't forget that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28). Lastly, we must Shake off Sin! Quit wallowing in shame and beating yourself up! Repent and put it behind you! Solomon says, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.” SHAKE OFF SIN, AND MOVE FORWARD! God forgives you, forgive yourself and change the direction of your life by relying on the grace of God. Friends! Let's SHAKE OFF the enemy and step into our divine destiny!