NCFI Cares: In The Trenches

In both Peter and Jesus’s teaching on Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Luke 22:31-34) we are reminded of an important aspect of standing firm against Satan, the comradery of our Christian brothers and sisters.  Whenever we are feeling discouraged by the attacks of Satan, or our faith is being tested we know our brothers and sisters around the world are also “in the trenches.”

I am unsure how many people are familiar with the expression or metaphor “in the trenches.” It is a reference from World War I when front-line soldiers lived and fought in deep ditches or trenches. These were the men who fought the daily battles. They were dirty and bloody, malnourished, wounded and sick, yet their bravery and determination would help them overcome the enemy.

This same reference can be applied to Christians around the world who are fighting against Satan in God’s holy war. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).

All of us are in the trenches resisting Satan and staying faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Next time, you feel like you are spiritually bruised and tattered; hold fast for you are not alone. For across the border, beyond the continent, and around the globe millions of our brothers and sisters are fighting the same war. We are in the trenches together standing firm in victory.

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NCFI Cares: Peter’s Wisdom

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During the Last Supper, Jesus warned Peter that he would be sifted by Satan and deny him three times (Luke 22:31-34). As the evening continues, Peter repeatedly denies Christ. His denial is not quietly, but vocally and wholeheartedly. After the third denial, we hear the rooster crow and our hearts break with Peter’s. For his personal sin becomes part of our redemption story.

After reading Peter’s experience, we are not surprised when he uses the metaphor “devour” to describe Satan’s tactic for Christians. For I am sure Peter felt sifted, distraught and close to being devoured. Thankfully, in the same passage Peter reaches out to all of us with wisdom:

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Peter encourages us to stay “sober and alert” meaning we can’t get complacent about Satan and assume he’s on vacation. We need to “resist him” by being strong in our faith. Not a faith filled with words and strength, but a faith dependent upon Christ (1 John 5:5). The true victor in the war with Satan is Jesus, thus our prayers are to him. For just as Peter depended upon the prayers of Jesus, “I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter) that your faith may not fail.” He tells us “I have prayed for you _____________(insert name) that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).

NCFI Cares: Stop, Look, and Listen

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In Matthew 17:1-4, Jesus is meeting with Elijah and Moses. Peter interrupts Jesus to suggest building a tabernacle for all three of them. Suddenly, a bright cloud surrounds them. A voice from heaven declares “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).  As I read this passage, I was reminded of the simple instructions to children  “Stop, Look, and Listen.” We teach children to use these 3 steps when crossing the street, “Stop walking, look for cars, and listen to instructions.”

The Lord is just as simple with us. When I am going in the wrong direction, confused by different messages, or too busy, God says “Stop.” He then will direct me to Jesus through a worship song, sermon teaching, or bible verse.  Now, that I have stopped and am focusing on Jesus, I am ready to listen to what God has for me. A further exploration found in prayer and scripture, brings clarity, instructional wisdom and/or personal encouragement from the Father.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for interrupting our lives to bring a freshness of your word, amen