“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ― Winston Churchill
Have you ever felt like leaving the ministry? Giving up? When we hear of people considering this, we are shocked. But until it happens to you, it’s hard to imagine. Since my conversion in 1994 and especially from 2008, the Lord has graciously opened doors for me to testify of His salvation, goodness & deliverance from New Age Spiritualism. Yes, every now and then, there have been battles, but nothing compared to one I experienced in recent weeks. After sharing and ministering in a lovely church, the enemy hit me so hard, affecting me in various ways, including my health. I really believed I had had enough and decided to leave the ministry. Even, informing my Board of Ministry Advisors and people close to me.
Yet before this, over previous months, different people had prophesied that there’d be a breakthrough in my health soon and also in ministry, such that the Lord would be opening new doors of opportunity and also using this ministry to see many people freed from even darker forms of the Occult, than we’ve seen so far. Also, that the Lord would give me revelation, on how to do things ‘differently’. He did indeed do this and I was so thrilled. Thus, I wrote a ministry guide, for specific prayer points for freedom from a range of Spiritualist activities. Although those areas had been ministered to before at our meetings, having a detailed guide was quite helpful. This ofcourse, was like a dream coming true.
The very day before my testimony event, someone actually prophesied to me about the ‘type’ of attack that I would experience after the event. However, when it came, just days later, it still was a great shock, especially due to the directions it came from. The Lord also gave the exact same ‘picture’ to myself and two others. So, the Lord had prepared me for it. Although I knew the Lord was with me, in all of this, isn’t it amazing how we can still react from our flesh?
Did I experience inner turmoil & shame at the thought of leaving ministry? Yes! How can you stop doing what the Lord has called you to? How can you be so disobedient & selfish? How can you give up what you love doing and have prayed 20 years for? How can you stand in church and sing songs like, ‘I Surrender All To Jesus”, when your words are contradicting your actions! And what would I do with my blog articles, etc? I felt I could give away my blog to someone who could use it, but probably keep my YouTube channel going. I’d have to politely cancel invitations to speak or write, etc.
That Sunday however, my Pastor preached a sermon on giving up your calling, even though he didn’t know my thoughts! He mentioned, Jonah who tried to run from God’s call and the whale. (Actually, Jonah & the whale, and also Elijah running from Jezebel had been in my mind a lot!) I knew the sermon was apt for me, but was still so beaten down, I still didn’t want to continue in ministry. I explained this to Pastor and he told me of a true story, that had happened that week. He said it was like a parable for me. He mentioned he was up north & that a car key ended up in the sea, and a deep sea diver was sent to find it! It seemed impossible, but the diver saw it, simply because it had a little light on that was shining! Pastor said, although just now, I feel at the bottom of the sea like Jonah, yet my light still shines & the Lord would bring me back to the surface again.
‘If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.’ Psalm 139:9-10
It made me think, probably Jonah and Elijah, were actually being selfish to want to give up. Both seemed to suffer from self-pity, perhaps even a little depressed. “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ (Jonah 4:2-4) Not Christ-like selfless attitudes to dwell on!
Elijah was focused on the problems Jezebel had caused, instead of keeping his eyes on our all-powerful God. He doubted that God would protect him this time. Sad, discouraged & exhausted Elijah told God that he had had enough. He sat beneath a tree & slept. 1 Kings 19:2 Elijah did not repent for this attitude. Instead, he gave a list of excuses. God even displayed His power right in front of Elijah, to give him the opportunity to set his focus back on God. As if God was saying, “If I can split a mountain and cause an earthquake at My whim, do you really need to worry about what one woman can do to you?” After Elijah would not repent on the mountain of Horeb, God told Elijah to anoint another man – Elisha to become the prophet & take Elijah’s place.
Is that really what we want? Do we really want the Lord to choose someone else? When I had decided to leave ministry, I remembered the verse in Esther 4 : 1-14, ‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place …’ In my mind, I thought the Lord could maybe give someone else my calling.
But the Lord wouldn’t let this wrong attitude prevail. Hallelujah! People all through the old and new testaments suffered for their faith. The Apostle Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, etc. Christians today are tortured, beheaded, buried alive. The situation right now in the Middle East is horrendous. My friend Vince McCann wrote on Facebook today, ‘Interesting in the light of all the terrible stuff in the news about ISIS beheading people that the book of Revelation (in the Bible), speaks of a time when believers in Christ will be killed, specifically by beheading – Revelation 20:4.’
These are the Last Days, and it’s not the time to give up! Christ didn’t give up, He continued and fulfilled His destiny, even to die a horrendous death on the cross for each of us. All of this, puts our own struggles into a very clear perspective indeed!
Imagine meeting Jesus in heaven after we die, feeling His love for us, but seeing the sadness in His eyes that we had abdicated our calling.
We can choose to focus our thoughts on God who is bigger than any problem we’ll ever face. The sooner we recognize fear, self pity, abdication, etc, the sooner we can repent and ask the Lord for a deep transformation of our hearts and minds. None of us like going through storms, but we learn things about ourselves that the Lord wants to bring change to. “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
During the days and weeks that followed the enemy’s backlash, I kept remembering that in January, a few prophetic people had said there would be ‘chaos’ this year. It seemed, I’d just lived through a type of ‘chaos.’ But praise God, I survived!
A few days ago, two men who don’t know me, gave me an encouraging word from the Lord. Encouraging me to get my focus more fully back upon Him and also onto the joy of my salvation. They even gave me a verse from a psalm that always reminds me of my conversion from the dangers of the New Age, around the time my mother committed suicide due to the New Age. As such, it’s a very special psalm to me.
‘I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me;I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.”
What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord — in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.’
Perhaps you feel like giving up. Perhaps you have even just resigned officially from ministry. Maybe your health has not been so good. Maybe your finances have been low for so long. Maybe you have been stolen from, or mistreated. Or falsely accused or lied about. The disciples were falsely accused! Jesus was! Or maybe it’s just that the spiritual warfare has been quite strong lately.
Maybe you do need a rest, or even a sabbatical, but please don’t give up!
And if your recent battles have actually included another person or more people, remember Christ’s commands to love and forgive others, so a root of unforgiveness or bitterness doesn’t take a hold of you.
Matthew 18:21-22 Keep your heart right and react properly. Remember the bracelets with the inscription WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? It’s a good reminder!
If Jesus could still love and call Judas his friend, knowing he was about to betray Him, then we can still see the good in others. ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ Matthew 26:50
Sometimes, after we’ve experienced trials or attacks, if we handle it right and react properly, it can strengthen us. God can use it to make us all the more determined and to follow more so after Him and also His will for us and our callings! So, in the end, attacks have actually done us a favour and helped us to grow a little, mature some more and persevere!
(Some notes in the above few paragraphs adapted from an article : https://bible.org/assets/pdf/FIT%20-%20Elijah%20Runs%20Away.pdf )
Different scriptures have been given to me in recent weeks, from others. Here are one or two, which may also encourage you, if you have been going through a similar situation :
2 Timothy 2:1-3 ‘The Appeal Renewed.’ You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
And also :
2 Timothy 4:1-5 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
The following article may also be helpful.
You Mustn’t Quit! By UCB’s ‘WORD FOR TODAY’.
‘I press on toward the goal for the prize.’ Philippians 3:14
Paul writes: ‘Forgetting what is behind & straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…All of us…who are mature should take such a view of things’ (vv. 13-15 NIV). Paul was driven by his vision of reaching the world for Christ (Rom. 10:1). It was his yardstick for daily living & his motivation for every effort. It made him relentless. An unknown poet wrote: ‘When things go wrong as they sometimes will, and the road you’re trudging seems all uphill. When funds are low & the debts are high, and you want to smile but you have to sigh. When things are pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don’t you quit! Life is strange with its twists & turns, as every one of us sometimes learns. And many a failure turns about, when he might have won if he’d stuck it out. Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow—you might succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than it seems, to a faint & faltering man. Often the struggler has given up, when he might have captured the victor’s cup. And he learned too late, when the night slipped down, how close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out—the silver tint of the clouds of doubt. You never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar. So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—it’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.’
By UCB’s TODAY’S WORD FOR TODAY, 8th Aug. 2014. http://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today-24705.html
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ― Winston Churchill.
I’m not a particular fan of Churchill, but his quotes are inspiring!
To end this note, I’ll finish with a famous quote, used during WWII, to boost the morale of the country, by the UK Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.
“Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” ― Winston Churchill.
And these scriptures are particularly encouraging. Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’
And I love this one, Genesis 50:20 ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’
Many thanks for reading this post. God bless you! Laura Maxwell
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