The Gathering Place

Services: Saturday & Wednesday 7P

  Monthly Devotion

I once had an acquaintance who after looking for and having five jobs in six months decided he would join the Army.  He was eighteen years old at the time.  His friends tried to tell him he was making a mistake, but the young guy forged ahead.  Within one week of entering boot camp he had called his Mother begging her to help him get out.  His Father would not be moved by his pleas.  “We tried to tell him,” He said.  “Let him learn the hard way, after all the Army won’t kill him.” 

After four-weeks an Army commander contacted the family.  He recommended a medical discharge for the young man.  The guy had become so desperate the Army doctors were afraid he was going to commit suicide. 

The situation got worse before it got better.  The young man went to jail before getting his life back on track. 

I’ve known of people who became Christians thinking it would make life wonderful.  They would tell God all the things they wanted and needed, and God would deliver.  They believed going down front in a church building, repeating a prayer and going to church on Sunday morning gave them entitlement to every blessing God has in the book, and that God was going to start delivering immediately.  Unfortunately, they either neglected to read, or were miss-informed about the real Christian life.  The one where sacrifice is required.

 Once you repent of your sins and asked Jesus to be The Lord and Savior of your life, you are immediately inducted into the Army of The Lord.  Satan was always your enemy, but now, you have become the devil’s #1 enemy.  You now have a target and price on your head.  Satan unleashes his evil legions to do whatever it takes to make you give up, quit, or end it all.    

The first couple of weeks of Christian boot camp go pretty good, as the Sargent watches out for the new recruits.  The next few weeks things are not too bad.  We experience some troubles getting over the training walls, but again our Sargent is there to help us through the situation. 

Then it happens, in the middle of the night we are called to active duty.  No more fake bombs and bullets; the enemy is throwing real flaming fiery darts directly at us.  Our training Sargent isn’t there to help us through and we seem to all alone.    We cry out to God for help, but there doesn’t seem to be any relief. 

Then to make matters worse, someone who is supposed to be on our side begins to tell us how weak and pathetic we are.  How we need to buck up and take it like an adult.  They even start spreading the news around the camp about our failures.  Rather than coming along side us to help with the problem, they make us feel isolated and out of place.

The good news is God, The Commander and Chief has not abandoned us.  He has not thrown in the towel and stopped fighting the enemy.  Far from it!
In Daniel 10 we find a story that should encourage us.  Daniel has prayed for understanding concerning a vision.  He wants God’s direction in His life.  We find that the answer did not come as quickly as Daniel might have wanted it to.   “12Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was  withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”

Gabriel, a chief prince in his own rite, tells Daniel how warfare was taking place to deliver the answer to him.  Notice Gabriel says that Daniel “set his heart on understanding and humbled himself before God”.  The word humble means “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance”.  In other words, Daniel did not demand God answer him within a certain time period, or else.  Daniel was willing to dig into the trench, hold his position and wait for instructions from is superior.  His heart was set on understanding.  He was willing to sacrifice his life for a greater purpose. 

If you are a Christian, have you come to the realization you are in God’s army?  Do you understand that army life will require sacrifice on your part?  Are you in a situation where you are willing to hold your position or have you abandoned it? 

Remember, you are NOT alone in this fight.  More on that next month.