Daily Devotional for Monday April 24, 2006
Quitting, Giving Up, Turning Back is Not An Option
"Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69)
Have you ever come to a place where you were tired of fighting life's battles, things weren't working out the way you had hoped or expected and you simply said "This Jesus thing just isn't working." How about coming to that place where you heard what God said on a specific subject and decided that you didn't agree with Him and made the choice to reject God and do it your way. Has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit following Christ and go back to your old life?
The reality is, this is the exact place MANY come to at some point in their journey with the Lord. Based on the emails I get each day, I know there are people reading these words this very moment that are at that EXACT place. Each week we add apx. 8,000 new subscribers to the Daily Devotional. Each week we also see apx. 4,000 leave the Daily Devotional. In well over 80% of the cases where people unsubscribe, they tell me they don't agree with what God's Word says on issues like faith in Christ being the ONLY way to be saved, the sin of homosexuality, that abortion is murder, that all sex outside of marriage is a sin, that living together without being married is not God's plan, and any other issue you can name. They make the choice to quit following Jesus.
(Note: This is the exact reason so many pastors refuse to deal with the critical issues of life. They don't want to "offend" anyone for fear of losing people in their church and money in their treasury. So they compromise and stay away from the real issues of life and preach a "feel good," watered down Gospel, being careful to never talk bout sin. This "positive mental attitude Gospel" sounds nice but unless a person accepts the fact they are a sinner, the Holy Sprit convicts them of their sin, they repent and ask the Lord to forgive them, and then invite Him into their heart and life by faith, they are being duped into believing they are going to heaven by gutless pastors who are more worried about the applause (and $$$) of men than the applause of God!)
In today's anchor verses from the 6th Chapter of John's Gospel, we have the Biblical account of people who were following Jesus, but after hearing Him preach on an issue they didn't agree with, "many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed Him." In the Book of Acts we hear of a man who was part of Paul's ministry named Demas (Colossians 4:14). We hear of Demas again in 2 Timothy 4 when Paul states, "For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me." I remember many years ago preaching a message on Demas and in preparing that message, literally breaking down in tears reading that verse in 2 Timothy 4 about Demas turning his back on the Lord's work to go back into the world. How sad for someone to come to the place, for whatever reason, that they quit Jesus.
*Sadly, every day many pastors and people who are in full-time service to the Lord make the decision to leave the ministry. This is a HUGE issue that is rarely talked about or discussed. I will address is soon.
This, of course, brings into play the great theological debate regarding eternal security. I am not going to go into depth on this issue today, though I will soon to help those who may be confused about what God's Word teaches regarding if it is possible for someone to lose their salvation. You are free to believe whatever you want about this issue, but the Bible is clear that if you are truly saved by faith in Christ you will always be saved. Choosing to turn your back on the Lord ruins your joy, robs you of your peace, and causes you to miss the abundance of this life, but you don't lose your salvation. Salvation is a product of your faith in Jesus and God's grace, period. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God withdraws His grace, which by definition is His unmerited favor, or something you did nothing to earn in the first place. The real key to this issue, something only God knows for certain, is did the person really accept the Lord into their heart and life by faith to begin with.
The thing I have always loved about Peter was that he was a very bottom line kind of guy. He was never shy about stating his opinion, and more often than not that opinion was inspired by God Himself. Here again, we see Peter rise to the occasion when Jesus asked the 12 disciples if they too were going to leave. Peter boldly proclaimed, "To whom shall we go?" For those of you today who are discouraged, thinking about quitting, giving up, turning back, let me ask you the same question Peter did, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GO?"
I love you and care about you so much. You really only have two options, you stick it out with Jesus or you got to satan. There is no other choice. You either follow Jesus or you follow satan. Satan is a liar and his goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. By following satan you will spend all eternity in the Lake of Fire, a place specially created by God for satan and his fallen angels. God is Truth. God wants you to know His peace and joy and the abundance of this life. He loves you unconditionally. He sent Jesus to die for your sins so that you could spend all eternity with Him. As Peter correctly told Jesus, "You have the words of eternal life."
I will be praying for you today. Praying that the next time you get discouraged, the next time you get weary from fighting life's battles, the next time you start thinking how things aren't working out the way you hoped in your life, you will remember the words of Peter, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GO? The only place to go is to satan. Do you really want to go back to the way your life used to be before you started to follow Jesus? My friend, the Lord is your only real hope and your only real answer for this life and all eternity. The trials and tribulations we face are all part of living in this fallen world infested by sin. But take comfort today from the words of Jesus when He told his disciples just hours before gong to the cross, "Be of good cheer, for I have overcome this world!"
Even though we don't have the details, I proffer that one reason Demas turned back to the world and quit serving the Lord was the attacks that come when you sell out your very life to serve and follow Jesus. I told you late last year when I shared with you the news of the Liveprayer TV program going nationwide that the attacks would be at a magnitude like never before. The temptation to quit, to give up, to stop following the Lord, all stem from just wanting some peace from the never-ending attacks at every level. However, at some point you have to decide no matter what, you are going to serve and follow the Lord, even unto death! Trust me, many days death would actually be easier since that means the battles of this life would be over.
We are into the countdown of the last 70 days until the Liveprayer TV program goes nationwide. Satan has come after me hard on many personal fronts these past 60 days and I have no doubt they will continue. He has come hard after my wife. Thank you for your prayers, they mean so much. We will be setting aside the entire month of June for prayer and fasting. Satan knows that there is NOTHING he can do to stop me. His attacks only make me more resolved in the work God has called me to do and I know He is watching over me and will protect me.
The battle lines, however, have finally been drawn around one area . . . MONEY. Satan knows that the magnitude of what we are going to do is something that I can't do alone. His only hope in stopping this from becoming a reality is to attack those who God is calling to help me financially.
Some people may say, "Who cares if this TV program goes nationwide or not." That is a fair question. Two who clearly care are God and satan. God, because He knows that this instrument can bring thousands, even millions to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ while bringing Biblical Truth into the marketplace, and satan, who will do everything he can to stop a vehicle that has the audacity to confront him on his turf and expose his lies to the masses, while literally taking souls heading for hell on a conveyor belt and rerouting them to Heaven! This, my friend, is clearly a battle for the eternal souls of men.
The only Christian programming that exists are those on Christian stations and networks where 99% of the audience are already Christian. A very few take their typical preaching/teaching program they air on the Christian stations and networks and play these pre-recorded tapes on some secular stations on Sunday morning. There is NO "live" daily program on secular television to combat the false hope merchants like Oprah and Dr. Phil and all the garbage the secular networks air 24/7. Nothing that without compromise sharing Biblical Truth and without shame telling people that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way. We have proved in over 3 years that we can compete with the major network programs, attract primarily viewers who are not Christians, and bring the Truth of God's Word and the hope and love of Christ to the lost and hurting masses.
We are on the verge of seeing Liveprayer become a major force in this nation and world in bringing God's Truth to the lost and hurting masses, and as a vehicle to lead literally millions of people to faith in Jesus Christ. Now is the time, this is the moment, and God is calling YOU to help me make a difference in this world by letting Him use your life and all He has entrusted you with to reach those who need Christ's hope and build His Kingdom! Quitting, giving up, turning back IS NOT AN OPTION!