8.30.2011

Devotional_Thoughts

Don't Give Up!
"For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."  1 Corinthians 16:9

These words were penned by the Apostle Paul, one who could speak from experience.  Paul faced many hardships, from within the church and from outside the church.  He knew all too well how many were opposed to the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus.  There was another who had first hand experience with persecution, the general of the Salvation Army, William Booth.  When he began his mission work in east London in 1865, it was to violent opposition, and it grew even more violent in 1878 when Booth's "Christian Mission" became the "Salvation Army" and Booth assumed the title of general. The record challenges our modern sensibilities and credulity.  The Salvation Army's historians tell us: One Salvation Army officer came into a meeting loaded down with dead cats and rats; he explained these had been thrown at him; and that he had caught and held the dead animals because if he dropped them the crowd would merely pick them up to be thrown again.  Pots of human urine would be dumped on street preachers.  Beatings were not uncommon; in 1889, at least 669 Salvation Army members were assaulted-- some were killed and many were maimed.  Even children were not immune; hoodlums threw lime in the eyes of a child of a Salvation Army member. The newspapers ridiculed Booth and some referred to him as "Field Marshall von Booth."  Soon a band of thugs and ruffians organized themselves into the "Skeleton Army"  and devoted themselves to disrupting the meetings of the Salvation Army.  They often attacked the members of the Salvation Army as they paraded through the streets or held open-air meetings.  They frequently stormed Salvation Army meeting halls by the hundreds, breaking out windows and wrecking the inside of the buildings.  At first the police did little to stop the "Skeleton Army."  Instead of helping they frequently harassed Booth and his followers.
Hebrews 12:4 says, "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin."
If you and I are serving the Lord Christ, we are in a battle, and that battle is not over until we are "promoted to glory."  While we are on this earth, we are up against countless opposition.  The only way we will remain faithful is to "keep our eyes on the prize."  Hebrews 12:2  says, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  He is our prize, He is our peace, He is our joy and our strength!  He endured the cross for us, are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to bring the message of hope and salvation to a world that is dying in it's sin?  The gospel is medicine for the soul, but to many, self denial and a moderate lifestyle tastes bad and they reject the medicine and the messenger.  O that the world would see the riches of life in Christ! 
And so I encourage you, brothers and sisters, don't give up!  Take the encouragement of the Apostle Paul, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

Prayer for the day:  God give us grace, that Your strength may be made perfect in our human weakness, in Jesus name and for His sake we pray, Amen.

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