Standing Firm in Faith

We are so blessed to share this awesome message from Pastor Kevin Koop with you! So very timely for such a times as this! God Bless you Pastor, we send our love in Jesus to all of you in South Dakota! We love South Dakota, one of our very favorite states!
Kevin Koop
Standing Firm in Faith

1 Peter 5:7-9 – “Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you. Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering.”

2020 has been challenging year for most of us. Difficult times often tempt us think that God doesn’t care for us, or he’s angry at us for something. Our experience in that isn’t unique or new. Christians at the time of Peter’s writing, faced horrible persecutions at the hand of Nero. Rather than scolding fearful Christians, Peter instructed them to turn their anxiety over to God and reminded them that God cared for them. Believers knew God loved them, and had experienced his mercy, grace and love, but they still needed a reminder. Some of us need a reminder today as well. God cares. So turn your anxiety over to Him. Tell him what you’re feeling. Your doubts. Your fears. The ‘what-ifs’ that bombard your mind at every news broadcast. He has a way of bringing peace when we talk to him about the things with which we struggle.

Peter then, reminded them that Christians have an opponent in the devil or Satan. Satan will never remind us of God’s love. He uses our trials to get us to buy into his thinking. What’s his thinking? That if you’re a child of God, your life should be better than what you’re experiencing. Satan even tried to get Jesus to think this way when he came to Jesus in Matthew chapter 4 and tempted him. The Holy Spirit had led Jesus to the desert where Jesus fasted for forty days. Naturally, Jesus became hungry. Satan came to him and said, “If you’re the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” In other words, “As the son of God, you deserve something better…you should take matters into your own hands rather than trust God.”

This is the same thing Satan did to the people of Israel after they were rescued from Egyptian slavery. While in the desert, they became hungry and thirsty. Satan got them to buy into his thinking that they deserved better. So they complained and grumbled; they wanted to go back to Egypt; they even contemplated killing Moses and appointing someone who would take them back to Egypt and slavery. They didn’t learn to trust the Lord through their adversity, they just got offended, complained, and tried to take matters into their own hands. Jesus’ response when Satan tempted him showed that He had learned the lesson Israel was supposed to learn. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

If the devil can get us to believe that we deserve better, we will follow the example of Israel rather than that of Jesus. We’ll gripe and complain rather than trust. We will try to take matters into our own hands, rather than trusting the Lord and waiting upon him. That’s how the devil devours us as prey. The Bible says, “They that wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength” (Isa. 40:31).

Be firm in the faith. Know that God cares for you. Resist the temptation of believing you deserve better, and getting offended at God. When you take offense, you get robbed of peace. When you trust him, standing firm in the faith, peace is restored even if the circumstance doesn’t change.

Pay attention to Peter’s next words, from 1 Peter 5:10 – “God, who shows you kindness and who called your through Christ Jesus to His eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while.”

The trial is temporary. The promise is forever. Hold on to the promise.

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