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hope for churches in stress


God called Moses, a shepherd at the time, to set the Israelites free from slavery in Egypt. So Moses took his wife and sons and went back to Egypt with the staff of God in his hand (Ex. 4:20).

Moses was thrust into fierce combat on two fronts: against Egypt, a major world power, and against the gods of Egypt who, it was thought, controlled all nature to assure the might of the nation.

Moses stretched out his staff, a symbol of the authority of the Lord Almighty, and one Egyptian god after another was defeated. With ten mighty acts of judgment and justice, the Lord God humiliated the Egyptian gods and crushed Egyptian power.

Today, we contend with a different pantheon of false gods: the spirit of the age, the skewed values of our time, the pervasive emphases on good things taken to excess—all of which erode and undermine faith in Christ. Like Moses, we also fight against the cosmic forces that exploit these false gods (Ephesians 6:12).

As the underdogs in this fight, we can only prevail by the authority of the Lord God Almighty, now fully invested in Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 2:9-10), and mediated to us through the Bible, the Church, and the Holy Spirit.

When we fill our minds with biblical truth, we are protected against the lies and half-truths of our culture (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 John 2:14). For all who follow Jesus, ultimate truth is found in the Bible.

We need other Christians, the Church, to rightly interpret the Word of God (Acts 8:30-31). We call this “orthodoxy”—the essential beliefs common to nearly all Christians in all places and at all times.

We rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:12-14), not new truth, something in addition to the Bible, but biblical truth quickened to us directly so the Bible “comes alive.”

When we take full advantage of these assets (Ephesians 6:10-20), we can pray, speak, and act with the power and authority of Jesus. In his Name, by his authority, we can resist and overcome the false gods and misplaced priorities in our lives, just like Moses did in Egypt with “the staff of God” in his hand.

You may want to read three more underdog stories. When we face challenges beyond our capabilities, it good to remember biblical heroes who prevailed against great odds. Gideon, David and Paul all knew that God works in ways that confound our expectations.


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