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Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Mesa Arch Utah (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Mesa Arch, Utah
We've been sharing a lot of local photos so we thought today we would share a clearly non-local photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt!

"Spiritual Pest Control"

Message summary: We are in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

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"Be self-controlled and alert. 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 your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:8,9). "To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you" (Philippians 3:1).

Safeguard live animal trap
In our role as corporate chaplains we visit Safeguard, a company that builds live animal traps for the pest control industry. These traps are considered "humane" since the animal pest can be safely caught and then released unharmed in another area (presumably not near your neighbor's house!).

In a recent visit I spoke to Kelly, the sales manager, about business conditions. The company normally has an uptick in sales in the fall as animals move closer to homes seeking warmth and calls are made to the pest control companies.

I told Kelly that in a sense I am also in the pest control business. I have to be wary of pests in my own life, as well assisting others deal with the pests in their lives!

These pests are the many attempts of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy (See John 10:10). These pests come in so many different forms. Today we will all inevitably deal with a variety of spiritual pests although we may not prefer to think in these terms! The daily Scripture text has a fitting word: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8).

"Be self-controlled and alert." That's a short Scripture portion we all
should memorize. D. Edmond Hiebert, in his Expositional Commentary, writes on this passage and the specific word translated "self-control": "a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the 'reckless irresponsibility of self-indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.' It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such 'level-headedness' is a constant Christian need." Note: This level-headedness is really needed in these times!

"Your enemy the devil". Perhaps Martin Luther had this verse in mind when he wrote his most famous hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" with this line, "But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe". The Holman New Testament Commentary states concerning this phrase, "Wake up! Pay attention! We are involved in a spiritual battle. You need to know the enemy and his characteristics. You need to understand that we are in a life-and-death battle."

"Prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" The dictionary describes the act of prowling as one who goes about "cruising, moving secretly, undercover, incognito, stealing, lying in an ambush." It's a perfect description of the tactics of our enemy the devil who lies in wait trying to steal that which is of most importance to us. The Spirit through Peter gives us sound advice that will keep us from being tricked, caught off guard, and entrapped by the enemy's sinister schemes.

"Resist him, standing firm in the faith" Earlier in his life Peter had resisted the Lord and ended up submitting to Satan! But now many years later he is a stalwart defender of the faith.

"Because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."  Whatever we are facing others have faced it or are presently facing it as well.

Through our study and application of Scripture we can be wise to the many pests we face and to the devil's schemes which will help us stand firm in the faith. We can also be consoled in knowing there are many others undergoing the same kinds of testings and yet have power through Christ to resist the enemy and endure the suffering that comes from such trials.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, through the knowledge of Your Scriptures, through the application of its truths, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit we can resist the enemy of our souls. When our faith is tested, which is of greater worth than gold, it is done so to test that our faith is genuine. Since faith that is not tested is faith that cannot be trusted, help us to remember that when the enemy is persistently prowling, You are inviting us to prove our faith to be genuine which will help fortify us for future testings and serve as a witness to others that we are who we claim to be; people of faith. Help us also to remember that not only are we undergoing trial, but believers all throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings or far worse. We want to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and empathy for others who suffer. May we be found faithful. Amen.

Stephen's Note: Virtually any time we use an analogy such as we did with the trap today there is a breakdown. In the case of the traps catching pests we stressed that they are live animal traps. But the best course for dealing with pests in our lives is, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

Brooksyne's Note: A recent example of one who is at last learning and practicing self-control came to me in the form of a text on Thanksgiving Day - a perfect timing for me to break down in joyful tears for this individual.

In my chaplaincy role I met a new employee, introduced myself, gave her my card and invited her to call me if she had need. And she did right away. We met over breakfast and she told me of her long history of drugs and alcoholism. She is in her early 40's, has married and divorced twice. Her three children chose to break off their relationship with her as her life was such a mess for most of their lives.

It took only a week for me to see it in person as she went on a drunken binge and ended up in the hospital detoxing. I visited with her and with her approval began to make plans for her to once again deal with this life controlling substance abuse. To make a long story short and to make it sweeter her mother traveled over 1000 miles to gather her daughter and put her in a Christian program where she would receive the help she needed. The irony in this sad situation is that her mother has volunteered in prison ministries for over 20 years working with women who are drug dependent.

Sadly, the Christian rehab did not work out and I had my fears that this woman would once again return to addiction. I had only heard from her a couple times over the past year. Then I received the following text on Thanksgiving from her mother (edited and fictional name used):

"God's blessings to you and your family now and days ahead. Cheryl and I think of you. Her oldest daughter spent ten days with her in October. Her second child is spending Christmas with her. I am thankful the Lord is working in their lives. Thank you for being in His calling on your life when the Lord put you in Cheryl's life."

Readers, never give up praying for your loved one who is caught up in Satan's life controlling devices. Miracles happen everyday, but many of them happen one day at a time.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Chainbreaker"  Video  Zach Williams  We indeed are in the business of pest control and a major pest is the drug scourge which we see in the course of our chaplaincy work. We want to see the chains broken.

Safeguard traps

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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