“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
–1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
Tension filled the air. 10 minutes were left before the action started, but the two men were already facing off. The sheriff had been killed in a gunfight, and it had been decided in the Silver Dollar Saloon that the fastest man with a gun would become sherrif.
Crossfire, Texas was usually a sleepy little hamlet, so keeping law and order would have been no problem for either man on another day. But today, the town was blanketed in a festive atmosphere.
The owner of the Crossfire Gazette, however, had reason to worry. He was the local barber as well, and he always kept his ear to the ground for the juiciest bits of gossip. He had learned this morning that the stagecoach was extremely late, and it happened to be carrying a huge gold shipment. It was also rumored that two infamous outlaws, the Morris Brothers, had been sighted in the area.
Right now, though, no one seemed to be concerned about that. All 300 townspeople must have come to the main street at once. The sidewalk in front of the general store overflowed, and there was revelry and mirth in the air. Without a sheriff, the slightly rowdy crowd gathered to see who would defend their town, should the notorious brothers ride in.
Some Crossfire citizens had decided to make a day of it. They had brought picnic lunches, and bets were being taken. Still others began to tune musical instruments for an impromptu dance.
Suddenly, the newspaper man began waving his hand frantically. He pointed to the west, where he saw two billowing clouds of dust.
“I told all you people not to come!” he shouted to the crowd. “There could be danger coming!”
An unsetteling panic ensued as people strained to look in the direction where he pointed. Unable to see over the heads of those in front, the people in the back yelled, “What’s going on? What danger?”
The newspaper man called back, “I only wish I knew.”
As he started waving his hand again, the crowd began to murmur as the owner of the general store pushed his way to the front.
Cupping his hands to make a megaphone, he bellowed, “Everybody calm down and go to your homes! I’ve got a couple pairs of field glasses in the store. I think the two men who were going to fight should stay here as lookouts. I hope all we’re seeing on the horizon is nothing more than clouds of dust, but you never know.”
A few people were quite dismayed, particularly the picnickers and thrill-seekers, but everyone eventually went away. Crossfire became as quiet as a ghost town. The duel was forgotten, and the two gunslingers who had claimed to be the fastest draw stood guard at either end of the town.
Then suddenly, gunfire erupted from both sides as the stage pulled in. Sprinting quickly, both would-be duelists ran towards the stage. One man got on either side, holding the Morris brothers at gunpoint.
I can only give you a short summary here. Hopefully you’ll read the whole story in this week’s issue of the Crossfire Gazette. I will say that because two men worked together, many lives were saved, and the town of Crossfire was spared.
While we are not back in the old west, the Bible says that we are all engaged in a battle. The problem is that since this battle is unseen, most of us take it too lightly. Sadly, that is exactly what Satan wants, for we are fighting the battle behind all battles.
The apostle Paul put it this way in Ephesians 6:12-15:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
In other words, the Bible says that Satan is a thief. who has come to steal, kill and destroy. So I would like to look at the topic of spiritual warfare in that light.
To do this, let me ask you a question. What has Satan stolen from you? Is it your health, your dreams, or your joy? Or has he attempted to kill and destroy your passion for life altogether?
However you might answer this, you can know that God is a god of restoration. First of all, rid your mind of a victim mentality. Take a stand, but not in your own strength. Put on the belt of truth, and let your identity be in Christ. In the same way, put on His righteousness, which you can do by asking Him into your heart, or recommitting your life to Him. By studying His Word, learn to hate what grieves God’s heart, and live a life that consists of confession and fellowship with Him. Now you can stand strong, knowing that God is with you.
Aside from standing, the Bible also has a lot to say about walking. If you’ve ever tried to walk in shoes that don’t fit, you know that it is next to impossible. So Paul is simply saying that we need to have our feet properly fitted with good news shoes, in order to tell others about the peace we have found in Him.
Today Christ is challenging all of us to live revolutionary lives. He tells us that if we lose our lives for Him, we will find them. So instead of a duel, live a life which is in harmony with God–a life which is a duet with our Father.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.mynvm.com and click on the PayPal button. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.