Daily Devotional for Tuesday September 26, 2006
(Proverbs 28:7; Revelation 22:14)
If there is one reoccurring message I have shared with you for over 7 years now, it is to never compromise the Truth of God's Word and the Gospel. Whether you realize it or not, those of us who are living in the United States are living in one of the last places on earth where you are free to express your faith in Christ and to share that faith openly with others. Many have scoffed at me in the past when I have stated that this will NOT be the case one day very soon. Just in the short life of Liveprayer these past 84+ months, we are already seeing a major cultural shift towards stifling the Christian message here in the U.S.
Monday, I wrote about the fact if you are a friend of the world, God's Word says that you are His enemy. I wish I could take credit for the timing of a recent news story, but it was clearly orchestrated by God. As a follow-up to yesterday's Devotional, I want to share with you this great example of how we can never compromise our message and faith in Jesus Christ.
I was excited when I heard that NBC had bought the rights to air the great Christian children's series "Veggie Tales." However, that excitement has turned to dismay, since it has now come to light that NBC will only air this great cartoon series after a few "minor edits." Those "minor edits" include ALL references to God, Jesus, and any Bible verses. Alan Wurtzel, an NBC broadcast standards executive, has said that all programs that are to be aired on NBC must meet the network's standards.
Since this same network (NBC) is planning on airing on prime time TV this November, Madonna hanging on a 10-foot mirrored cross with a crown of thorns, while singing one of her songs, I guess their "network standards" include no references to God, no references to Jesus, no Biblical verses, but that mocking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is perfectly acceptable!
So why did NBC even get involved with what they knew was an overtly Christian product in the first place? Simple, MONEY! They knew how popular this series has been over the years, so they wanted to tap in on the good name Veggie Tales has in the marketplace. No doubt they also saw this as an opportunity to create some good will with Christians. Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer, has said that he would have never signed with NBC if he knew they would take out all references to God.
I believe Phil, but I also know there was some sort of contract involved in NBC buying the rights to air Veggie Tales, and somewhere in that contract the issue of content had to be addressed. So either Phil didn't read the contract, he has very incompetent attorneys, or he signed it and took NBC's money naively thinking they would not edit the programs in any way. Veggie Tales without God, Jesus, and the Bible verses, is no different than Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny!
You see, compromise is the trap Christians are always faced with when dealing with the world. The world says we'll give you a venue to share your message, but in exchange for that venue, you need to leave this out and tone that down. So in exchange for the venue we agree, thinking that as long as we can get our message out, that is the most important thing. Here is the problem with that logic. The message without Christ, the message without God's Word, is no message at all!
This is exactly what led Christians 40 years ago to abandon the secular media and go set up our own TV stations, radio stations, publications. That way, we wouldn't have to compromise our message. The trap we fell into, however, was that we were extracting the salt and light from the marketplace, since the only people we were reaching were other Christians, meaning that those who needed the message of Christ the most weren't hearing it. The lost masses were still watching the secular media, which was now virtually void of God, Jesus, and Biblical Truth.
The lesson for you today is simply this.
DON'T EVER COMPROMISE THE MESSAGE!
Once you do, you have no more message. You have nothing to say. If I wasn't sharing the Truth of God's Word and the hope of Jesus Christ on the Internet every day, I would be doing nothing but wasting bandwidth. If I wasn't on TV five nights a week telling people what God's Word says and that Jesus is their only hope, I would simply be another TV program that was helping people pass some time.
OUR MESSAGE IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, AND IF WE COMPROMISE THAT MESSAGE WE HAVE NO MESSAGE!!!
I love you and care about you so much. Now maybe you can better understand the challenges and struggles I have had these nearly 4 years. Getting the uncompromised message of Christ to the masses via the secular media is VERY difficult. First, you have got to OWN the time. That means you must go out on the open market and compete with others who are seeking to get their message/product to the masses for the available time, which drives the price up and makes it very expensive.
Second, you have to find secular media outlets who will even sell you the time. I can tell you that there is only a limited amount of time you can buy, and even if you have the financial means, it doesn't mean they will sell it to you. God has given us great favor with the Viacom-owned UPN affiliate in Tampa where we have been airing every Mon-Fri "live" for an hour 5 nights a week since March of 2003. If you remember, from July 2005 through June 2006, we were also on "live" 5 nights a week on ABC affiliates in Miami, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach and the WB in Ft. Myers. This November 6th, we go back on nationwide "live" for an hour at Midnight EST every Monday thru Friday on the "i" Network, formerly Pax TV, which is now controlled by NBC. I tried to buy time nationwide on FOX, ABC, CBS, and the main NBC network, and they would not even consider it at any price. The reality in 2006 is that the secular media is perfectly comfortable broadcasting to the masses who live in rebellion to God, His Word, and faith in Jesus Christ. That is why they have no problem airing Desperate Housewives and any other overtly sexual program laden with bad language that glorifies every known sin, yet won't even consider a program that espouses Biblical Truth and the hope of Jesus Christ.
Third, you must negotiate up front for total control of content. I can honestly tell you that never once have I held back or refused to deal with any sin no matter how unpopular, due to the fact I have 100% control over the content of the program, as long as it is within FCC guidelines. (So far, Scripture and Jesus are still OK with the FCC.) I identify the cults and false religions of the world in order to warn people of their lies. I look into the cameras and tell people that there is only ONE WAY to God and to everlasting life, and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I refuse to compromise the Truth of God's Word, since I realize that every Daily Devotional I write, every TV program I do, we are reaching people who are looking for answers and hope, and one day God will hold me accountable for telling those people their answers are in His Word and their hope is in His Son Jesus Christ!
I will be praying for you today. Praying that you will not be shy in telling others about Jesus and that you will never compromise the Truth of God's Word. We live in a world that rejects God's Word and His Son, and will try to stifle our message. Let this word today be a warning to you. Be aware of those who want you to "tone it down," to not talk about your faith, to not mention the Bible, to not "proselytize." When we take our last breath, it is God who we will stand before, not man. It is God who has commanded us to take His Truth and the hope of Christ to this lost world we live in. My message to you today is DON'T COMPROMISE!!!