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Thursday, July 07, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT - THURSDAY - “WE PRESS ON...” Part 1.

An elderly lady was once asked by a young man who had grown weary in the fight, whether he ought to give up the struggle. "I am beaten every time," he said dolefully. "I feel I must give up." "Did you ever notice," she replied, smiling into the troubled face before her, "that when the Lord told the discouraged fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old spot where they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing?" - Source Unknown.

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When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. - 2Tim 4:13-18. ESV

The Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome, as the result of persecution under Nero. He realized when he wrote this letter that his death was near. Alone and cold in his dungeon, the veteran missionary wrote this letter of encouragement to his beloved son in the ministry, Timothy. Soon afterward according to tradition he was beheaded on the Ostian Way, just outside of Rome.

I am sure that there were times in the life of Paul, when he would like to have retreated, but on his greatest moments of human despondency we always find these words of encouragement...
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. - Phil 3:14.

There will be times in our lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, that we will feel like retreating, we will ask the question, "Is it really worth it?" and we will just feel like giving up. Here are some reasons Christians feel like giving up;

  • People.
  • Problems.
  • Pressure.

But we will find encouragement from the words of Paul... “I PRESS ON...”

WE PRESS ON EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE BEEN DESERTED
At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. - 2 Tim 4:16.
Paul had written three years before requesting that someone would come to his defence but no one cared enough to respond. Look at the many people he had won to Jesus. look at the many people he had ministered to, look at the many people he had clothed and fed, but in his hour of need seemingly no one cared for his soul.

There will be times in our lives that we will need someone, we’ve been a friend, we’ve loved, we’ve ministered and we’ve been faithful, but in our hour of need we will have to walk alone.

During WWII six Navy pilots left their aircraft carrier on a mission. After searching the seas for enemy submarines, they tried to return to their ship shortly after dark. But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship. Over and over the frantic pilots radioed, asking for just one light so they could see to land.

But the pilots were told that the blackout could not be lifted. After several appeals and denials of their request, the ship's operator turned the switch to break radio contact--and the pilots were forced to ditch in the ocean. - Today in the Word.

Think of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples tarried and fell asleep. Surely the heart of the Saviour was broken but He knew he must fulfil the will of the Father. Calvary was just ahead, but He said, "I PRESS ON...”

WE PRESS ON THROUGH FORGIVENESS
May it not be charged against them! - 2 Tim 4:16.
Demas had forsaken Paul, Titus was busy ministering, and now Paul asks that no blame be laid to their charge. Paul was willing to forgive and forget, which is the mark of great Christians.

Many times when we feel we have been betrayed, we say, " I’ll get even" but the true mark of the Christian is to forgive and not only forgive, but forget as well. Should Jesus have had this attitude there would have never been a cross, but He forgave and said... "I PRESS ON..."


Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, "What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me." - John R. Stott.

The people, who see the greatness of their own forgiveness by God's love, will themselves in love, be forgiving. They forgive in love, because their heavenly Father has forgiven in love, and they desire to be an imitator of their Father... WE PRESS ON!

Loving Father, I thank you for the example that Jesus and Paul has set for me, in the arena of pressing on! Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to understand that there are times when I will have to stand on my own. Help me Lord to press on through forgiveness, that I may reach my goal. In Jesus wonderful name I pray! Amen!

GBYAY

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