“Resist Him Firm in Your Faith!”

Push back!!  You don’t have to take it sitting down!!  Or as my brother, Wes, says it… “Com’on, don’t be a spiritual woose!!!”

Here’s how Peter urged believers under attack by “the enemy – the adversary – the devil” to respond… (1 Peter 5.8-11)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  RESIST HIM, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Several things came to mind this morning as I read that passage during my time of “coffee with the Lord”…

  1. The attacks of the enemy are real… and he’s sneaky and devious!!!  Alertness to his devices is called for!  Don’t take your spiritual adversary lightly – his goal is your failure and eternal destruction.
  2. Push back!  Arm yourself with the Truth – what you know to be true from God’s word and your personal experience of God through Christ… be “firm in ‘the faith!’”
  3. Be aware that you’re not the only one experiencing spiritual attacks… it’s the common experience of believers “throughout the world” (and I might add, it has been the common experience of believers throughout the ages)!  Others have faced (and are experiencing) the enemy’s attacks and have overcome!  You can too!!
  4. And finally… “The God of ALL grace – the One who has promised to provide everything you need to overcome – will “make your strong, firm and steadfast” (and even if you falter and fail a time or two, He will “restore you”)!

So… Hang in there!  Don’t let “the adversary” intimidate you… he may bluster – he may roar!  God is greater!  Through His grace you can (and will) overcome!!

“Shepherd Style Leadership” – The “Jesus Style”

During “coffee with the Lord” I read a wonderful passage from God’s word – a passage that addresses the subject of leadership – 1 Peter 5.1-5.

“And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches… As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.  And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor… And all of you…  serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  (New Living Translation)

My doctorate is in leadership.  I can tell you there are all kinds of leaders and leadership styles… Transactional, autocratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, democratic-participative, laissez-faire, task-oriented, people/relations-oriented, transformational and servant-leadership!  And the list could go on…

THIS PASSAGE, HOWEVER APPEALS FOR A “JESUS-STYLE” OF LEADERSHIP – the style of “the Great Shepherd.”  Jesus said…

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.   A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me…  I sacrifice my life for the sheep.”  (John 10:11-15 NLT)

I want to be that kind of leader!  I need that kind of leader!  As a follower of Jesus, I HAVE THAT KIND OF LEADER!

Some Advice for Christians as They Approach “The End of All Things”…

I heard a Christian say it with alarmed emphasis the other day… “What is this world coming to anyway!”

Good question!  And the Bible is not ambiguous about the answer!  (This is where the habit of daily Bible reading can be helpful … it supplies Biblical answers to questions like that!)

But a related question begs for an answer… What should Christians do about it?  How should they respond to that reality?  At least a partial answer was supplied by my Bible reading today… 1 Peter 4.7-11 (I’ll post what it says as kind of a bulleted list)

“The end of all things is at hand [immanent]! Therefore…

  • Be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your  prayers.
  • Above all, keep loving one other earnestly, since love covers over a multitude of sins.
  • Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
  • Use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
  • If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.
  • If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides…

And then the finale … DO ALL OF THESE THINGS “SO THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD MAY BE PRAISED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen”

Listen… If the Bible is right in its assessment of the future (and I am convinced it is) … it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  In light of that, it seems to me that what you just read is really good advice!  I’m going to put the things Peter emphasized on my spiritual “bucket list.”  I want stay alert and be prepared for “the end” when the Lord returns!

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