My mother always used to say, "THE DEVIL DOESN'T START SHOOTING TILL YOU GO OVER THE TOP!"--Which is an illustration of the old WWI trench warfare. Not until you came out of your trench and started attacking his territory does the Enemy really let go and let you have it with all his big guns!
Another illustration is the story about old Black Sam: The servant of this wealthy plantation owner down South was asked by his master one day,
"HOW COME SAM, that you're a CHRISTIAN and YET YOU HAVE ALL THESE TROUBLES AND TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS? Here I don't even believe in God and yet I don't have as much trouble as you do!" He said, "Well boss, I guess I have to think for a little while before I can answer that one."
A few days later they were out duck hunting. In bird hunting, some birds are killed and some are just lamed or temporarily wounded. Sometimes they'll even get up and fly off again if you don't grab them quick. So his master yelled at him after he'd been shooting at several ducks & said,
"BAG THE LIVE ONES! BAG THE LIVE ONES! LEAVE THE DEAD ONES LAY!" And old Sam came back and said, "I think I got the answer, boss." He said, "I'm a LIVE one! The Devil is afraid I'm going to get away, so he tries to bag me first. You's a DEAD one, he's already got you, he's not a bit worried about you!"
THE DEVIL CAN'T GET YOU BACK ONCE YOU'RE SAVED--you're the LORD'S FOREVER!--But he tries hard to keep you from SERVING God, so he gives you a lot of trouble, he will tempt you to backslide and destroy your usefulness. He tries to keep you from winning others into the Kingdom.
HE TRIES TO KEEP YOU FROM BEING A GOOD OR EFFECTIVE WITNESS or a good testimony. If he can't destroy YOU he'll try to destroy your TESTIMONY.
The biggest thing the Devil's trying to do is just defeat you from being a good sample to win OTHERS, because he knows now he's going to lose OTHERS from his clutches because of YOU! You've already gotten there, but also he knows he's going to lose others too through you!
YOU NEED TO REALLY READ YOUR BIBLE to see that there ARE battles. But boy, the rewards are high! It's WORTH fighting the battles for such high stakes! I mean you couldn't HAVE bigger rewards than WE have! They're worth paying a PRICE for, worth SACRIFICING for, even worth DYING for!
HOW COULD ANYONE COMPLAIN?--That's terrible! GOD HATES MURMURING! They need to get their minds on their BLESSINGS and be THANKFUL for all God's GOODNESS! If they don't He'll give them something to cry ABOUT! Then they'll be thankful a little too late!
WHEN WE GET SAVED WE'VE JOINED GOD'S ARMY AND WE'VE BECOME A SOLDIER, AND WE'RE EXPECTED TO GO INTO BATTLE AND FIGHT! And there's no discharge in this war, it's a fight to the finish, every inch, till death do us part!
These guys have got to get some CONVICTION that there's a WAR going on, a war of the worlds between two worlds--the world of evil and the Kingdom of God! They're on God's side, the winning side that cannot lose! But they've still got to FIGHT!
JUST BECAUSE THEY WON ONE BATTLE, SALVATION by GRACE, a GOD-GIVEN VICTORY, some think they have some kind of a permanent victory. Well, that battle for their soul IS won and it's a PERMANENT victory of SALVATION FOREVER, they never have to fight that one again, thank God!
THEY'LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BEING SAVED ANYMORE or going to Hell or whether they're going to go to Heaven or not. That ought to be worth the whole thing, just having that battle off your hands!
JESUS WON YOUR BATTLE, He FOUGHT and BLED and DIED for YOU on the cross to save you and won the battle for you.
SO GOD HELP US TO BE SOLDIERS AND WILLING TO DO ANYTHING FOR YOU, LORD, in just plain thanks for Your salvation! He bought and paid for us, we're His property, we belong to Him now. He can do whatever He wants to with us.
JESUS was willing to die for US to save US, and HE WANTS US TO BE WILLING TO DIE FOR HIM TO SAVE OTHERS! He died for others, He died for us! So He expects us to be willing to do the same. (See 1John 3:16 ; John 20:21 ; 15:13 .)
THERE'S NO CROWN WITHOUT A CROSS, NO TESTIMONY WITHOUT A TEST, NO TRIUMPH WITHOUT A TRIAL, NO VICTORY WITHOUT A BATTLE, NO ROSE WITHOUT A THORN! Praise God, THAT'S WHAT YOU JOINED THE ARMY FOR--TO FIGHT AND TO WIN! Let's get on with the battle! We CAN'T lose! THE VICTORY IS ALREADY OURS! Just KEEP FIGHTING UNTIL WE GET THERE!
IF YOU KEEP FIGHTING, YOU CAN'T LOSE! Keep resisting the Enemy, keep raising up the standard of the Spirit, keep wielding the weapon of the Word, and you cannot lose if you keep fighting! "FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!" (See 1Tim.6:12 ; Jude 3 ; 2Tim.2:3 ; 4:7 ; Eph.6:13-17 .)
"BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE!" ( Rev.2:10 )
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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