Daily Devotional for Friday September 21, 2012
Fighting for the Faith
(1 Timothy 6:12)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, my sister and I were talking about that papyrus found that mentions Jesus might have a wife and I said if he was married, it would have been written in the Bible. She said, King James and possibly others before him, took out some of the books he considered "unacceptable."
ANSWER: First, you are 100% CORRECT. Jesus was NOT married, and did NOT have children or it would have been in the Bible. If this papyrus is even legit, it was probably from one of the SCORES of "books" written but deemed not inspired and inerrant prior to the complete canon of 66 books we recognize today as the Bible in 90ad, or after. Just like today, many "books" were written that were theologically, historically, archeologically, scientifically inaccurate and not accepted as Scripture. Just like today, there were many "cults" that took pieces of Biblical Christianity but added their own "Scriptures." If it is not in the Bible, it is not true!
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12
When is it time to fight? I don't know too many people who really enjoy a fight. Fighting is something most children do as they grow up, mostly with their siblings. I vividly remember growing up, the oldest of 3 boys, constantly fighting with my little brothers. I started to play sports at 5, and remember many fights with my friends I grew up with over a backyard game of football that at the movement was more important than the Super Bowl. Fortunately as I got older, I realized that fighting really doesn't solve whatever the problem is, and in most cases only makes it worse. Sitting down and working out whatever differences there were was a much better way to handle problems. However, it takes 2 parties who are motivated to work things out for problems to be resolved peacefully. Sadly, there are times in life when that isn't possible and you are left with no other option but to fight.
That of course begs the question, what is worth fighting for? Our life. Our family. Our country. Our faith. Today, I want to hone in on fighting for our faith. I often get much encouragement and inspiration from reading about Paul's life. As you read thru the New Testament, especially the Book of Acts, it is incredible how this man fought for the faith. I am challenged by all Paul personally endured as he fought for the faith. He literally gave his entire life from the moment he met Jesus on the Damascus Road until his work was finished and he was executed for following Jesus Christ. Between those two events, we see one of the greatest examples of fighting for our faith there ever was or will be.
You see my friend, this world that lives in open rebellion to God, His Truth, and Jesus Christ, does not want to be reminded of their sins nor told that when they die they will spend eternity in hell for those sins. Man began to rebel against God his Creator from the very beginning and nothing has changed over these past 6,000 years of human history. The very existence of the children of Israel, God's chosen people, was often in jeopardy by those heathen peoples groups who lived in open rebellion to the one true God. God sent Jesus as the Savior for mankind, yet he was not only rejected by the world, but by His own people. For the past 2,000 years, the Christian faith has been under attack by those who rejected Christ, from the Roman emperors in the early days of the church to the governments of this world today.
THE CHRISTIAN FAITH HAS ONLY SURVIVED BECAUSE OF THOSE WHO WERE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO FIGHT FOR IT!!!
I contend that one of the main reasons the Christian faith is so weak and ineffective in our world today, especially in the United States, is that people have never really learned how to fight for their faith. We were born in a blessed and unique place and time of human history, a nation founded on its belief in the God of the Bible, the Truth of His Word, and faith in Jesus Christ. For the better part of the 236 years this nation has existed, it was clearly a Christian nation. It really wasn't necessary to fight for the faith as so many of our brothers and sisters around the world over these past 2000 years have had to. However, over these past 40 years, we have become like the children of Israel. We have turned from God to the false gods and idols of the world. We have fallen into gross sin and debauchery. We are now living in open rebellion to God, His Truth, and Jesus Christ. While this has been happening before our very eyes, Christians who never had to fight for their faith before have sat back and done virtually nothing.
Despite growing up in the church and making a commitment to Christ at age 12, I spent the decade of my 20s like Saul, persecuting God's church. I wasn't involved in killing Christians or trying to destroy the church, but in living my life for the temporal pleasures of the flesh and this world, in rebellion to the Bible and Christ, I was doing my part to contribute to the destruction of the faith. I thank God every day that 20 years ago I had my encounter with Jesus in the cell of a Federal Prison. It was at that moment I dedicated the rest of my life to the Lord and began to fight for the faith, a fight I will be engaged in until my work here is finished and God calls me home.
I realized quickly that the real fight for our faith was taking place in the marketplace. It was clear very quickly why the lost world we live in was winning and we were losing, we had abandoned the marketplace many years ago and retreated behind the four walls of the church to safety. We literally left the marketplace to the scavengers of satan. We are responsible for abortion on demand. We are responsible for the mainstream acceptance of homosexuality and gross sexual perversion. We are responsible for the decimation of God's Holy Institution of Marriage and the family. It is easy for us to blame satan, but the reality is we abandoned the marketplace and left it to satan to have his way.
Let me share with you something I have learned over these past 20 years of fighting for the faith. If I wake up tomorrow and decide I am simply tired of fighting, I've done my part for 2 decades now let someone else do it, the world will keep spinning. People will be born and people will die. In the end, God's plan will unfold. This is about me being faithful to what God has called me to do. You see, I have no other choice. I've given my life to Him. God has raised me up in these last days to fight for the faith. When I take my last breath it is not some man I will stand before, but God Himself. He is the one who I will answer to and who will judge me. I will keep fighting for the faith until my work here is over because I have committed my life to serving the Lord.
What keeps me going is the changed lives I see each and every day. People who come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. People who God touches in a miraculous way. Every day I watch the hand of God working in people's lives all over this world. I also never forget that God never gave up on me. It would have been easy for Him to write me off and let me live a life of rebellion, but He loved me enough to reach out to me and let me know He had a better plan for my life. He has given me a peace and joy that words can't describe, and despite the battles, the weariness, He has given me a life of abundance I could have never imagine. Not the temporal abundance of this world, but the true abundance of the eternal things of God. That is why I get up each day, put on the armor, and fight for the faith!
I love you and care about you so much. Liveprayer is in a very real fight for our continued existence. After 13 years, satan knows the only way to silence our voice is by blocking our finances, to literally destroy God's work here by keeping us from being able to freely minister to people around the world each day through the Daily Devotional and by TV. We have come to a place where we either do nothing and allow our work to die, or we fight and encourage those who can help us save to souls and help turn this nation back to God and HIS Truth!
We have become a huge target for satan over the years because there is nobody on the internet communicating with the vast numbers of people we do around the world on a daily basis. Also, because of the firm Biblical stand I take on the issues of the day, we have made an incredible number of enemies who would love to see Liveprayer wiped off the Internet. We have faced many challenges over the years, but this is the most serious effort ever mounted to try and destroy Liveprayer. I know the future of this ministry will be determined in the coming weeks, as we seek to make it to January when we have the opportunity to debut a 24/7 "LIVE" prayer channel on TV, also accessible to people worldwide via their wireless device. That is why I am confident that God will see us through and we will prevail with your prayers and help.
I will be praying for you as well. I pray that as you have watched me take my stand for our faith each and every day these past 13 years, to boldly and without fear go into the marketplace and fight for the faith, it will inspire you as well. Everyone who prays, everyone who sacrifices to give, is fighting for the faith with me. That is why Liveprayer, with no money other than what people give each month, has been around 13 years and has impacted tens of millions of lives around the world for Christ, seeing over 600,000 souls we know of come to faith in Jesus!
GOD HAS HONORED OUR SACRIFICE FOR HIM! Let me encourage you today to rise up and fight for the faith where you live. There is a world around you that is lost, hurting, and souls dying every day and going to hell. There is nothing more precious you will ever fight for since Christ is the only hope for this world and each person. In the end, when your life is over, God will honor you as you hear those words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!"
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,