1 Thessalonians 2:17-18, 3:5
Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.
That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless. NLT
Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to You forever and ever! Amen!
I hate to think of that great dragon - the ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world. I'd much rather look upon You and Your Kingdom and salvation and power and the authority of Christ, but sometimes it's helpful to take a good hard look at the beast so that we won't be deceived by him. Thank You for causing me to do that today.
The ancient serpent, he is more crafty than any of the wild animals You made. From the beginning of time, he has been a twister of words, a deceiver, and Your accuser. He was a murderer from the get-go, killing Adam and Eve and all mankind. There is no truth in him. He is a liar and the father of lies.
From the Thessalonians, I learn that he is the one who interrupts my ministry. It is he who blocks us from being with other believers. And, he is the robber who steals our hope, joy and rewards. He doesn't want us to win the race; so, he sets up obstacles of oppression, opposition and affliction to try to trip us, trick us and take us off course. His goals is to render the efforts of the evangelist useless.
Lord, please give me the discernment of Paul to recognize who is behind the assaults and attacks on my faith. When I am tempted to shrink back in fear and walk away from You, help me to remember the one who introduced me to Christ, and those who nurtured me. My unfaithfulness would render their work useless and defame Your name. Thinking clearly, I will chose to run with all my might toward the prize of the high calling. The finish line is just ahead! You are coming and I can't wait to stand with them in Your presence in Glory where we will receive the Crown of Perseverance for overcoming that great ancient serpent. Deliver me from evil and temptation I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Run, Beloved, run! The finish line is just ahead! Jesus is coming!
What do you do when you are tempted to turn away, to give in, or to give up because of pressure, affliction, or the cost of obedience? Stop and think of those who introduced you to Christ, and those who nurtured you in Christ. How will your actions impact not only them, but the reputation of Christ, who suffered for you?