Staying Strong :: By John Lysaught


Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

Those of us in the faith who have our hope in Christ know Psalm 23 and can recite it on the drop of a dime. Tucked in the Psalm is an encouragement that I’ve never really noticed but is fitting for these last days. That is verse five, in which we are told God will prepare a table for us in the midst of our enemies.

A few years ago, this verse did not have the weight of importance to us as it does today. Sure, we have had enemies from Satan and in our spiritual battles, but not like the times we are living in today. Now, in the present, we need to be strong and stay strong in the presence of our enemies.

Like the world in Noah’s time, we are facing the same today. Morals and godly values are declining more each day. Corruption is widespread, and hate and murder are in the eyes of those not of our faith. Satan is becoming more unrestrained and is working to destroy the church.

The Christian faith is being attacked. Here in the US, it is not as bad as, say, Australia or Canada, but it is coming. The stage is being set for us as well; and when it starts, momentum will speed it up, and it will enlarge like a snowball rolling down a mountain.

On all fronts, we are being surrounded by the enemy. They bombard us with lies and speech contrary to the Word of God. They want conformity to their beliefs and their way of thinking, the brainwashing that Satan has perpetuated within them. We do not have to worry about this because God has our back, per se, and we can be confident in His power over the enemy.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

As we find the grip of the world tightening around our freedoms to worship and our faith in general, Joshua says not to be frightened. How true that is today as it was for Israel in the Old Testament. And how much truer this will be next week and this year. But we do not need to fear because God is with the Church, right now and forever.

When we stay strong in God, there is a peace that will overcome us and bring us a type of serenity that the world does not understand. If we let fear take root in our hearts, we will become dismayed and can lose our strength in trusting the Lord.

People are lost, and they have put their hope and strength in the wrong places. There is a lot of worldly fear in the world because what they put their hope in (the world) fails them over and over again. Promises that are broken and lies about the truth are what the world exposes to people in the world through evil influence and people.

There is a population of believers that have been affected by this as well and have fallen prey to the “strength and hope” of the world. Call them what you want, but I don’t necessarily believe they are all nominal Christians by their own accord. They are victims of poor church leadership and teaching.

The church I used to attend stopped being a church after COVID hit. Even through today, the pastor has not once discussed the turmoil or had faith regarding what we are going through. He gives feel-good messages that leave the congregation feeling good about themselves. This is weekly.

The believers that are trusting the world have probably not been shown otherwise by their pastors. They don’t understand that one cannot have one foot in the light and one in the darkness, the darkness being the world. When they trust the errant pastor more than God’s Word, something is wrong, and it leads back to the pulpit.

Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” This is so simple and true. Believers would do well to do this, and to those we know, the believers that have been disenfranchised by their pastors, we need to let them know that they can put their trust in God during these dark times.

Staying strong in the Lord is closely tied to fear and how we, as Christians, respond to it, not like the world does but as followers of Christ. If there were no fear of what is happening or what is coming, why would people seek the Lord for strength or comfort- they would not. But in this hour of reckoning, this fear is separating the sheep from the goats, the seeing from the blind.

As we stay strong in the Lord, our ability to discern remains sharp. We need to be careful, though, because the blade can be dulled if we start listening to the world and its puppets. When our blade is razor-sharp, we can see through the bull that is being spouted out of the mouths of those who represent Satan and want to advance his plans.

Part of the fear people have, speaking of believers who are not strong yet or are misled, is facing the repercussions for standing strong for God, for our faith in truth. They fear what others might think of them or do to them if they proclaim the faith or just let people know their beliefs.

Fear of a missed promotion, losing friends or family, being ostracized in social circles, etc., are just some of the reasons for fear of proclaiming and practicing their faith. But how can they stand for God when their freedom and life are at stake if they do not stand for the little things now? They will not.

We have all faced moments of our life when we were like Peter when he denied Christ three times. It could have been for a minor thing or major thing, but we have done it. What is important is that (I hope) we learned from it and will not do it again. I say this because we need spiritual fortitude these days, not feebleness.

1 Peter 3:14 says, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.”

Staying strong in the Lord prepares us for the suffering we are facing and will continue to face until the rapture of the Church. I think if we can remember this, our strength will carry us through with our heads held high and our hands lifted up.

Have no doubt, friends; there will be more intense suffering. There is already for both believers and unbelievers. Mandates, empty shelves, inflation, hate, groups against groups, etc., affect us all. We are not immune to this because of our faith, but we can be immune to the fear that is overcoming people because of it.

Staying strong in God will not save us from suffering, but our souls are saved. That’s the difference, and that is what matters. We have Christ as our Savior, and they have pundits and idols as theirs. They have Facebook and Twitter; we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Friends, time is waning on this earth. Now is the time to stay strong in God. We will face those trials and tribulations discussed in the Bible, and we will suffer because of our faith. But when the time comes, and it will, when you must make your faith count, will you stay strong in the Lord, or will you tuck tail and run. I pray you stay strong.