God Strengthens     

1 Peter 5:8-11

8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And 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. 11To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.


If you have ten dollars in your pocket, what can you buy with it? Snacks, toys, what else? Can you believe that with $10, you can buy a residential lot where you can build a house and have wide backyard for your garden? Really?

It happened few years ago in one southwestern Manitoba municipality.

What was the catch? Buyers must build a house on the $10 residential lot within 15 months of the sale’s closing date. Buyers were required to pay $1,000 deposit. Once their home is complete, $990 is refunded, accordingly.

Why did they sell residential lots at $10? The population was decreasing in that rural municipality. Young people were going to the big city and only older people were left in that particular municipality. Meaning the town was dying.

Dying municipalities is a community concern not just in rural municipalities in Canada but also on the other side of the border. It has been told that no person or community has the monopoly of a particular problem. Each person may have gone through problems similar to what others had already suffered or endured.

What concern had caused your stress and anxiety, and that no other person had struggled with it yet? Have you practically applied what we learned previously in 1 Peter 5:7? 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

We pray, “Lord, take this concern that causes me to be anxious.” But, after a little while, that concern still causes us anxiety; it just cannot disappear, why? No changes of situation whatsoever. The problem is still there. There’s mental and emotional restlessness until situation has apparently changed or progressed.

By faith, we still pray that the Holy Spirit of God empowers us to be alert, sober and mindful. The enemy roars and searches for confused victims to devour.

1.  Roar

8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

Apostle Peter had his personal share of doubt. He was also disturbed by possible danger around him. Instinctively, he wanted instant solution to problem. Nevertheless, he was also quick and asked help from the Lord. He realized that it’s favorable to be alert and sober in mind when he sensed danger or problem.

We can read what he did in Matthew 14:26-31, 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

How do you cross a body of water? Ride a boat, raft or swim, if you can. Amazingly, Jesus just walked on the water. Why did he perform such wonder? Peter walked on the water initially, but he started to sink when he saw the wind. Most probably, the strong wind caused big waves, and water splashed on him.

Peter was a fisherman; he knew that big waves can drown him. He must be terrified when he cried for help, and Jesus Christ reached out and helped him.

When Apostle Peter advised us cast all our cares on the Lord, he also added that we have to be alert and sober in mind also. How do we do that?

Problems that cause anxiety can affect us mentally and emotionally. We can possibly be stressed or anxious, and we want immediate solution right away.

It is not easy to pay attention when problems confuse us mentally. If we are driving, we have to be alert and sober. But if we are emotionally disturbed, we may easily get angry with reckless drivers. What more? We may disregard the traffic, speed limit or caught surprised when vehicles ahead of us suddenly stop. Road rage is prevalent maybe because motorists are anxious of their problems.

If you were student, and you were emotionally and mentally bothered by particular concern, can you be attentive to lectures also? If you’re employed, and you’re mentally and emotionally restless, can you accomplish your work well?

We pray for help from the Lord; we cast all cares on him. So, to be alert and sober practically prove that we trust him, and we don’t want to miss the help that he delivered for us. Moreover, the enemy the devil roars and searches for victims. When we pray for stronger faith, can we avoid devilish temptation and resist him?

2.  Resist

9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

It is biblical; it is real! Everyone may experience the same kind of sufferings.

You may not have financial problem, but you may have health problems: physical, mental or spiritual health. Others have relationship concerns at home, in school or place of work. Others have concerns with their children, grandchildren, and siblings. Health, finances, relationship can cause anxiety or stress to anybody.

The devil rules in this world. It is written in 1 John 5:19, 19We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

What concern has bothered you that others did not encounter yet? None!

The devil may try to stir and cause concerns to appear as if it’s the end of the world. We have to resist him. How do we resist the devil? We cry for help from God. His grace is sufficient. The Lord has solution to any problem. Agree?

It says in 1 John 4:4, 4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Some of us may have unspoken concern that they may feel embarrassed to tell others about it. Some problems have no immediate solution. That’s tough! Recurring concerns can be terribly stressful and tiresome. What should you do?

What problem is far worse than death? When Christ resurrected from the dead, he had personally proved that no concern is too difficult for him to solve.


How do you interpret what it narrated in John 11:1-7? 1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Scholars suggest that Lazarus and his sisters may have been orphans so that they really cared so much for each other. Did Jesus love Lazarus and his siblings because of their deep concern and care for each others? It is possible. Literally, it’s recorded that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sister; and yet, he waited for Lazarus to die. He let the sisters of Lazarus grieved and mourned in loneliness. Why?

Jesus waited until Lazarus was legally declared as dead by authorities; then, he went on and brought Lazarus back to life. That miracle that Jesus performed happened for the glory of God so that Christ may be glorified through it.

Personally, can you accept that the Lord had intentionally arranged series of difficult circumstances to test us? By faith, we trust that he will deliver solution to problems in his perfect time, and he will be glorified in your life. Amen.

Surely, we will personally encounter problems common to mankind. Why?

God designed it that we can only have problem-free life when we reach heaven. Additionally, difficult concerns are godly instruments to test our faith in the Lord. When Lazarus died, his sisters still believed in Jesus, but their faith grew stronger when they practically witnessed that Christ restored Lazarus back to life.

Similarly, we grow stronger in our faith when the Lord solves our problems.

Concerns may cause anxiety. And, we pray for stronger faith. The sufficient grace of God will become realistic to us when he restores and strengthens us.

3.  Restore

10And 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. 11To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

The God of all grace has sufficient grace for everyone, believers or not. In this world, the Lord allows everyone to experience suffering for a while. But for believers, we seek him, and he helps us grow stronger in our faith in him after we overcome our problems. He called believers to enjoy eternity with him in heaven.

So when we face challenges, we seek the Lord for help; and, we experience his grace. Then, we grow strong, firm and steadfast in our faith in him. But there are times when we are terribly bothered by concerns. There’s temptation to quit trusting God. The Lord Jesus declared in John 10:27-29, 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

This declaration of Christ may have inspired the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” [OSAS]. Truly, the Lord won’t let his sheep perish forever. The Lord himself restores and strengthens us to persevere in our spiritual journey. Christ is the living water; he refreshes our soul, and we grow strong, firm and steadfast.

Have you ever accepted the invitation of Jesus in John 7:37-39? 37“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

In this world, we thirst for things. This world offers temporal gratification. Progress, popularity or power of some sort, those are things everyone may desire. Everyone can be successful in particular thing but not in everything. We may take similar career path but not necessarily have similar success. Why is that?

God allows various kinds of challenges as practical proofs that he created each of us very uniquely. Even local churches are unique. We can try to emulate or copy ministry approaches from other churches until we discover our identity. All local churches have problems. Interestingly, have you read of churches that copied from other churches their solutions to church split and had success?

Despite the confusion among churches, not a few believers have grown stronger in their faith in Christ. There’s no problem-free-kind-of-life in this world. But, God is with us; let us seek his help for us grow strong firm and steadfast.

Christ Jesus declared in John10:10-11, 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The devil is compared to a thief. Its purpose is to steal our peace, kill and destroy our life. Christ is the Good Shepherd. He sacrificed for us to have fullness in life. Absolutely, it is only by his grace through faith that we keep on trusting him despite our difficulties in life. God himself strengthens us. He allows struggles and confusion for us to practically prove, if we firmly rely upon him steadfastly.

Like sheep, our tendency is to follow our instinct. We can only see things before us, but the Lord can see our future. God called us to his eternal glory in Christ. Can you understand Revelation 4:8, 8Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.

Do you know why they never stop praising God in heaven? They are filled with gratitude for the endless grace of God they experienced. God forces nobody to praise him. Praise is instantaneous response of grateful hearts. We praise the Lord for his eternal grace, and we thank God when we sense gratitude of heart.

The God of all grace will himself restore and make us strong, firm and steadfast.

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