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“For the first time, the gospel of Jesus has been received by this people group,” reported a Division president. He was sharing pictures of people being trained in Discovery Bible Reading—to share their faith and operate house churches. We heard how people who have received Jesus and been baptised willingly share their faith with others. A real disciple-making movement is happening (in a tough environment—either communist, Islam or Hindu background). We all rejoiced in what God is doing. The next time this president spoke, he shared that in another part of the territory, pastors and members with a background in Adventism are encouraging a subtle heresy. 

It seems wherever God’s work is progressing, there is an enemy who is counter-attacking. The good seed is planted and then weeds appear. As Jesus said, ”an enemy has done this” (Matthew 13:25). The great controversy is a real battle between Christ and Satan (Revelation 12:7-12). Conflict manifests itself everywhere—in the world with Ukraine and Gaza; in our societies with people with opposing rights; direct spiritual warfare in our church and homes—it has the same impact. We should not be surprised the enemy has strategies to bring each of us, our church and its entities down (2 Corinthians 2:11; 10:3-6). Sometimes the strategies are direct attacks from opponents; other times they come from within. Jesus commended Peter for confessing that He was the Christ but the very next words Jesus said to Peter were, ”get behind me Satan” (Matthew 16:16-20) because Peter did not realise the Christ must die. It reminds me to be humble and to keep seeking the Holy Spirit’s infilling every day and to listen to the Spirit, the Word and my colleagues to discern the will of God.

In the South Pacific, God is doing great things through PNG for Christ, broadcast, ADRA and other community justice, service and evangelistic projects. But other entities (and churches) are struggling to meet budget or church and community needs. 

In a devotional for a recent entity board, a leader within that entity (of another Christian denomination) reflected on Jesus’ words: ”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus has already triumphed over Satan and our only security is staying close to Him. This is the foundation of discipleship.

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