My friend Bill is faced with an ultimatum: “Make a desperate move within the next 3 months or lose everything you’ve worked for over the last decade”. This is his dilemma, but his story is not unique. I too have been faced with a similar situation in the past. You too many have been up to a “cut-throat” ultimatum, or you will be at some point. Looking back in retrospect, you may be proud of the way you handled the situation – or perhaps you are not. If you are in this situation today, perhaps a deadline to get married is dawning on you, an ultimatum to pay up some bills or else that which you have is taken for you – then to you I have come to preach.

The apostles were given an ultimatum by the high priest. Cease and desist or I will imprison you. Stop preaching or I will make a public debacle of you. The apostle responded with the immortal words, “We ought to obey God rather than men”. Those words are expensive. It cost them jail time. It cost them wounds inflicted from the officers whip. It cost them to be ostracized from the establishment. But those words, are also gloriously rewarding. Many believers were added to the fold because of it. Signs and wonders were wrought in large measure because of it. God was glorified in more ways than one. The apostles didn’t settle or break because of the ultimatum, it only made them joyous that God was up doing a mighty work on earth through them.

Don’t stagger or settle just because you face an ultimatum. Be steadfast, be steady, hold fast to that which the Lord has taught all through the years. Proceed with life with the same conviction, the same plans you had prior to facing the ultimatum. Carry on in the execution of your life work. If your work is of the Lord, then be rest assured that He is watching, He is interested and He is very much involved. He is alive and is up to something. I like that saying: “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something”. If God is not going to help you, then you might as well die where you are. If God is not going to save you, then you don’t want any other person saving  you. Don’t make decisions out of desperation. Trust God and continually ask Him, “Lord, what are you doing now?” Ultimatums do not necessarily have to be pressure points. They can be, if you will allow them to, an invitation to deeply consider what the Lord is doing at the moment.

…We ought to obey God rather than men – Acts 5:29