Daily Devotional for Monday July 15, 2019
***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Dear Lord, help me to stand strong in these difficult days. I know that in the end, YOU...and YOU alone will have the final word. Give me boldness and courage to stand for You as evil abounds. In the name of Jesus I pray..AMEN!!!
"...strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said." Acts 14:22
Swimming upstream. 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!!!
Last week 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, understanding what he is saying in regards to often felling like I am standing alone against the world. 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 as we “swim upstream.”
In those moments of great challenges 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?
In this writing, Spurgeon speak of the challenge of going against the stream, that Christians must be willing to stand alone against the world’s ways. It is critical to point out that he wrote this at a time in history where the Christian faith was accepted by a large percentage of the people. Of course sin was present as it always has been since the Garden of Eden, but certainly not in the bold, dramatic, and visible way that sin exists in our culture today.
Spurgeon says: Living fish may go with the stream at times, but dead fish must always do so. There are plenty of such in all waters: dead souls, so far as the truest life is concerned, and these are always drifting, drifting, drifting as the current takes them. Their first inquiry is “what is customary?”
God’s law is of small account to them, but the unwritten rules of society have a power over them that they never think of resisting. Like the Vicar of Bray*, they can twist round and round if the stream is running in an eddy; or, like the sluggard, they can remain at their ease if the waters are stagnant. They stand in awe of a fool’s banter, and ask of their neighbor leave to breathe.
Is this a right state to be in? Each one of us must give an account for himself before God; should not each one act for himself? If we follow a multitude to do evil, the multitude will not excuse the evil nor diminish the punishment. Good men have generally been called upon to walk by themselves. We can sin abundantly by passively yielding to the course of this world; but to be holy and gracious needs many a struggle, many a tear.
Where, then, am I? Am I sailing in that great fleet which bears the black flag, under Rear Admiral Apollyon**, who commands the ship Fashion? If so, when all these [ships] come to destruction, I shall be destroyed with them. Better part company, hoist another flag and serve another sovereign.
Come, my heart, canst thou go against the stream? It is the way of life. The opposing waters will but wash and cleanse thee, and thou shalt ascend to the eternal riverhead, and be near and like thy God. O thou who art Lord of the strait and narrow way, aid me to force a passage to glory and immortality.
(Taken from Spurgeon’s Illustrations and Meditations)
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 even if you feel like you are standing alone. These are all very real feelings those who serve the Lord face along their journey through life as they strive to call out sin in our culture.
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. He will like that it is you against the world, just give up! A Christian does not scare satan, however, a Christian who is steadfast and perseveres no matter what the sins the world around us may embrace!
I hear every day from people who tell me they have followed the exploits of Liverpayer over these last 20 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 and not be afraid to call sin...sin!!!
Please visit a special page on the new Liveprayer.com website that is dedicated to the many writings, teachings, and prayers of the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon!
Spurgeon Page: http://liveprayer.com/spurgeon.cfm
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,