Never Give Up!

During World War II, Britain was under attack by the forces of Germany.  The attack included daily and nightly bombings of industrial targets, towns, and cities.  More than 40,000 civilians were killed in these bombings and more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged.  For the citizens of Britain, this was a very discouraging time. Defeat seemed inevitable. But the British did not give up. Eventually the tide of the war turned, and Germany was defeated. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister during the war.  After the war, he was famous for giving lectures.  His great message was “Never give up!” As a fellow believer, I want to encourage you with the same message in your Christian life – Never give up!

Don’t give up on prayer.  Is there something that you want very much, and you have taken it to God in prayer but He hasn’t seemed to answer your prayer?  Maybe it is salvation for a loved one. Maybe it is relief from chronic pain.  Maybe it is strength and wisdom to do what you need to do.  Don’t give up praying.  The apostle Paul taught in Colossians 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”  Don’t give up asking for an answer from God.  Be earnest.  Be vigilant. Be thankful.  Jesus taught us to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1-8a “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’  And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man,  yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said.  And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”  The teaching of Jesus is that if the unjust judge would give the widow what she wanted because she was so persistent, then how much more will our Father in Heaven answer our prayer since he loves us and cares for us.  Don’t give up on prayer.

The Israelite people were delivered from slavery in Egypt by the power of God.  He performed miracles with the plagues that came upon Egypt that finally convinced Pharaoh to let them leave.  When they left Egypt, God divided the sea and they walked through on dry ground so that they escaped Pharaoh’s army that had pursued them. They were overjoyed that they were now set free.  But then they came to the wilderness and things were not so pleasant.  The food didn’t please them.  Sometimes they had no water.  The peoples of the Promised Land seemed too powerful to defeat. The Israelites complained about how bad it was and most of them decided to return to slavery in Egypt rather than to trust God and enter the Promised Land. The writer of Hebrews wrote about that time.  Hebrews 3:7-14 “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” The Israelite people were so close to obtaining the Promised Land; but things got difficult, and they gave up and God rejected them.  Don’t be like the Israelite people and give up on your faith in Jesus Christ and your salvation. Don’t give in to the deceitfulness of sin.  Don’t have an evil heart in departing from the living God.  Instead, exhort one another frequently. Hold steadfast to your faith until the end.  Never give up!

In John chapter 6, Jesus taught the people that He was the living bread that came down from heaven. John 6:53-54 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” The people didn’t understand Jesus. They thought that He somehow was teaching cannibalism. They didn’t understand the spiritual significance of what He was teaching. John 6:60-63 “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you?  What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.’” John 6:66-69 “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Many of His disciples did not understand and appreciate what Jesus was teaching.  So they gave up on following Jesus.  Things were too difficult.  But when Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to also leave, Simon Peter replied “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  If you don’t follow Jesus, where are you going to go?  Where else do you have the promise of eternal life? Being a Christian can sometimes seem difficult.  You may want to give up and take the “easy” path and follow your fleshly desires.  But Jesus is the only one who can give you eternal life.  Never give up on Jesus and in believing and following Him.

Jesus spoke to the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  My encouragement to you is to listen to that admonition.  You may have trials and troubles in your life.  However, be faithful until death and He will give you the crown of life. Never give up!

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