Daily Devotional for Friday February 7, 2014
Remain True to the Faith
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, Sometimes I wonder how you do it. You dish out an unpopular message to the world and you take abuse for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't you ever get tempted to soften the message in hopes of getting less persecution? And fitting in to the world with a weak, comfy Christian message?
ANSWER: This is a question I get every day. The answer surprisingly is NO! No sane person enjoys being persecuted, or taking the slings and arrows. No sane person would want to have 8-10 death threats a month as I have for over 10 years now. However, there IS a price to serving the Lord. Part of that price is to be persecuted, mocked, laughed at, and scorned. However, that is a small price to pay considering that Jesus went to the cross to pay for my sins, your sins, and the sins of all mankind! Softening the message is NOT an option, since like each of us, I will die one day and stand before God. I want that to be a great experience, and my life is dedicated to hearing His words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!"
Remain true to the faith. Along our journey of faith, God knows when we need encouragement, when our flesh is weak and we need to be challenged to press on. I am no different than you or any other man. I have my times of weakness, my moments of doubt, those days when the battles are simply too fierce. Satan is only too happy to seize those moments as he did when Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. He comes to tempt me, acting as my friend who is concerned about my well being, giving me all the justification I need to take my eyes off the prize. This is how satan will come to you as well. Listen to me carefully. SATAN IS A LIAR! HE IS NOT OUR FRIEND! HIS GOAL IS TO KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY....YOU AND ME!!!
Several months ago a dear friend sent me an excerpt from the writings of that great preacher and theologian from the 1800's Charles Spurgeon. As God's timing is always perfect, it came at a moment when I needed some encouragement. The weight of the work was extremely heavy and the flesh weary that day. I sat at my desk and read Spurgeon's' words and tears literally ran down my cheeks as I was read about my life, my battles, my challenges in his poignant words. I have printed out that passage he wrote and keep it with me. I refer to it often since it so perfectly sums up my life. It also perfectly sums up the life of any follower of Christ who is sold out to serve the Lord until their dying breath.
I want to share those powerful words with you today. I pray that they will inspire and encourage you as much as they have me so many days. They really sum up what this journey is all about. There is perhaps no greater challenge we have as followers of Christ than to remain true to the faith. So many over the years have been like Demas who we read about in the Book of Acts. Demas was a man serving God, but decided to turn back to the world. In those moments of temptation I often think back to the words of Peter. When asked by Jesus if he would turn away from the Lord Peter boldly responded in John 6:68, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!" That is why the child of God presses on, remains true to the faith. To whom shall we go?
Spurgeon writes: "Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, "Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me." So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, "Excelsior." He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth till war's trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. "It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare." Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, "Curse God, and die." Or he will attack your steadfastness: "What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do." Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: "Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times." Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end."
I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that you will pray over these powerful words, reading them over and over. They sum up so eloquently the challenge of remaining true to the faith. The challenge to not turn away from serving the Lord after a season to go back into the world. The temptation to indulge the flesh. The lies that the work you do for the Lord is all in vain and makes no difference. The physical battle of fighting weariness and fatigue. The war against apathy and political correctness. These are all very real issues those who serve the Lord must face along their journey through life as they strive to remain true to the faith.
I pray today that these words will challenge and encourage you in your personal journey. It is our steadfastness and perseverance that satan will assail. A Christian does not scare satan, however, a Christian who is steadfast and perseveres no matter what life throws his way is the enemy's worst nightmare! I hear every day from people who tell me they have followed the exploits of Liverpayer over these many years and have been encouraged by the fact no matter what challenges come our way we keep pressing forward, faithfully serving the Lord and trusting Him each step of the way, and then see the incredible fruit from that steadfastness and perseverance. I try my best daily to set an example for you that Jesus has already won the victory, our responsibility is to simply remain true to the faith!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,