VIDEO Where the Battle is Won or Lost – Too Soon To Quit!

“If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord… —Jeremiah 4:1

Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world. The Spirit of God seizes me and I am compelled to get alone with God and fight the battle before Him. Until I do this, I will lose every time. The battle may take one minute or one year, but that will depend on me, not God. However long it takes, I must wrestle with it alone before God, and I must resolve to go through the hell of renunciation or rejection before Him. Nothing has any power over someone who has fought the battle before God and won there.

I should never say, “I will wait until I get into difficult circumstances and then I’ll put God to the test.” Trying to do that will not work. I must first get the issue settled between God and myself in the secret places of my soul, where no one else can interfere. Then I can go ahead, knowing with certainty that the battle is won. Lose it there, and calamity, disaster, and defeat before the world are as sure as the laws of God. The reason the battle is lost is that I fight it first in the external world. Get alone with God, do battle before Him, and settle the matter once and for all.

In dealing with other people, our stance should always be to drive them toward making a decision of their will. That is how surrendering to God begins. Not often, but every once in a while, God brings us to a major turning point— a great crossroads in our life. From that point we either go toward a more and more slow, lazy, and useless Christian life, or we become more and more on fire, giving our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory!

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The attitude of a Christian towards the providential order in which he is placed is to recognize that God is behind it for purposes of His own.  Biblical Ethics, 99 R


“Too Soon To Quit!” | December 27, 2020

A Song in the Night

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8

The sun had long set when our electrical power suddenly went out. I was at home with our two younger children, and this was their first time experiencing a power outage. After verifying that the utility company knew about the outage, I located some candles, and the kids and I huddled together in the kitchen around the flickering flames. They seemed nervous and unsettled, so we began to sing. Soon the concerned looks on their faces were replaced with smiles. Sometimes in our darkest moments we need a song.

Psalm 103 may be one of the psalms prayed or sung after the people of God had returned from exile to a homeland that had been laid waste. In a moment of crisis, they needed to sing. But not just any song, they needed to sing about who God is and what He does. Psalm 103 also helps us remember that He’s compassionate, merciful, patient, and full of faithful love (v. 8). And in case we wonder if the judgment for our sin still hangs over our heads, the psalm announces that God isn’t angry, He has forgiven, and He feels compassion. These are good things to sing about during the dark nights of our lives.

Maybe that’s where you find yourself—in a dark and difficult place, wondering if God really is good, questioning His love for you. If so, pray and sing to the One who abounds in love!

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

How might God’s saving acts in Jesus give you a better picture of what He’s like? How does He view you?

Dear Jesus, help me to see the love of God revealed in Your life, death, and resurrection. Lift up my weary head that I might sing of Your goodness and faithfulness.

Sunday Reflection: Living in His Light

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

After calling His followers “the light of the world,” Jesus reminds them how light is most effective—and how it isn’t (Matt. 5:14-16). Just as a city on a hill is visible from its rural surroundings, light is not to be hidden under a basket. We have to see light in order for it to be beneficial, and when a lamp is placed in a central or prominent place, it can illuminate an entire house.

This is how our Father wants us to be in our respective “houses” as well. Without the Lord’s light, those who are hurting and feeling hopeless sit in darkness. But in God’s light, we see light (Psalm 36:9). And by reflecting His light, we can illuminate what is true and good—and bring peace, healing, and hope to our hurting world.

Think about it
• What are some ways that we can follow Jesus’ example in being a light to the world?

• Think of your own faith community. Who are the people who have best demonstrated His light?

Judgment from the Word

“I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.” (Psalm 119:121)

The Hebrew word mishpat is one of the eight terms used in Psalm 119 to identify the Word of God. The psalmist used mishpat in the opening of this stanza (Psalm 119:121-128) to declare obedience to God’s “judgments”—especially regarding those who oppress the Lord’s people.

Sometimes the Lord seems to delay action against those who rebel against truth. The prophet Habakkuk lived during such a time:

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!…for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
During such times, we need “surety” (Psalm 119:122) from God to strengthen our minds. Paul warned Timothy of “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1) ahead but also reminded him of God’s pledge: “They shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was” (2 Timothy 3:9).

After pleading his case, the psalmist stated: “It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law” (Psalm 119:126). He expressed his love for the commandments—exceeding his desire for wealth—and concluded: “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128). May our hearts be as resolute and as strong amid our opposition. Make it so, Lord Jesus. HMM III

Long Eternity to Enjoy Ourselves

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him…. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. —1 John 2:15, 17

Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian….

Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers….

We can afford to suffer now; we’ll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves. And our enjoyment will be valid and pure, for it will come in the right way at the right time.   BAM141-142

Lord, may I be faithful to call people to that which is important to You, at whatever cost. Amen.

A Private Place

And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. —Isaiah 32:18

For those who want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life…I offer a brief paragraph of counsel.

Retire from the world each day to some private spot….Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelops you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God, and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few….

Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life….Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration. OGM128-129

God is bound to give himself to a heart that is detached….God would sooner be in a solitary heart than any other. BME089, 096

The Solitary Place

Isaiah 35:1

It would be my first holiday alone, following the death of my husband. “It will be a difficult Christmas,” my friends told me solemnly, causing me to approach Advent with a kind of dread.

My friends were right, of course. There would be no secretive plotting of the children’s gifts, no laughing over the tree that looked so perfect in the lot and so wretched in our living room. And on quiet evenings when the fire used to synchronize the tangled memories of a hectic day, I would know only the deafening roar of my solitary place.

Christmas seems to have been a solitary business for those involved in the first Advent. Consider Mary, alone with the poignant knowledge that her child, born of God, was destined to die. Consider the wise men, alone as they trudged across the desert without affirmation, and old Simeon, alone as he languished in the Temple, yearning to see the Christ before he died.

Each awaited Christmas in solitude of heart—the solitary place that begs all company but Christ. Each worshipped Him, accepting the miracle of the Incarnation, of God becoming flesh.

Martin Luther wrote, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you… had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God.”

If we attempt to substitute the so-called goodwill of Christmas, its mingled tradition and merriment, for the presence of God, we will only be more savagely aware of the emptiness of life. For without Him life is a desert and joy a series of mirages.

Why are the lonely more lonely at Christmas? Why are the despairing more desperate? Can it be that Christmas makes us more aware of our poverty without God? That all the merriment of friends and family, all the tinseled accompaniments fail to fill the void and leave us lonelier still? When holidays end, even though touched with human warmth, and no splendor has occurred in the soul, the end seems worse than the beginning.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad… and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1 KJV). No place is so solitary that God cannot fill it with Himself. Indeed, we come in our solitude and discover in Him everything.

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word