Chance of a Life Time
Helps for Servicemen
© 1952 Billy Graham
Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan All Rights Reserved
1. Soldiers Religious life.
BV4588.G7 ~~ LCCN: 52006063 ~~ OCLC: 8403798 ~~ 46p.
The Chance of a Life Time is presently held by 24 libraries including Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and The Library of Congress.
Table of Contents
1. Advice To New Servicemen 9
2. Overcoming Temptation 16
3. The Christian Soldier's Spiritual Weapons 29
4. The Serviceman's Personal Work 42
Incorporated in these few pages are helpful suggestions to Servicemen which we have picked up in conversation with countless thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces. We have learned something of their needs and problems.
This booklet is designed for the Christian Serviceman who suddenly finds himself in a strange new world where the enemy assails him from without and within. The author and the publishers send it out with a prayer that it will be used to strengthen you in your Christian life.
Advice To New Servicemen
Certainly no one need tell you that when you entered the armed forces you embarked upon an entirely new and strange life. You found yourself in new surroundings in a brand new environment, you made new acquaintances, and you began to have new and varied experiences far different from anything you had experienced before.
One outstanding effect of your call to military service is that you have to face many new problems. How to meet and solve these problems is naturally of primary concern to you. Remember this any problem can be handled at any time if you have the right attitude. Two essentials of a right attitude are "Be Careful" and "Be Prayerful."
A good Christian stands out from his fellows far more in service life than in civilian life. Consequently he has a far greater influence for good. The stars always shine brightest against the darkest night. A jeweler's stone shines most brilliantly against the darkest background. And thus it is with your testimony. It will be far brighter and more attractive as it is seen in contrast to any moral darkness it encounters. Your objective should be "... blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of life" (Philippians 2:15-16).
Invariably, men who have made a great mark for God in the world have been those who have had to stand alone
at one time or another in their Christian lives. Many leaders had to stand alone for God during their entire lifetimes. Think of Moses and of David, of Jeremiah, Luther, Wesley, Muller, Livingstone, Hudson Taylor and Judson. Don't be ashamed to take your stand for God, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness. "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:8). Stand up and be counted! Perhaps someone near at hand is looking for just such a fellow as you. Speak up for what you believe and you will encourage others who want to do right, but who are weak.
Your Christian conduct and behavior is not regulated by a lot of rules but by a happy, yielded, constant effort at all times and places to be well pleasing to Christ. Compromise with the world hinders the effectiveness of any Christian.
Every decision should be accompanied by prayer and every problem should be faced initially by praying. Remember this any decision made without God is dangerous. The Apostle says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed" (James 1:5-7).
SOME PROBLEMS TO BE FACED
Joining the Armed Forces requires many changes and adjustments, but to assume that one's ethics, sense of honesty and personal convictions must be among the items to be altered is far from fact. No man need fall victim to such reasoning. Just recognize immediately that your life in the service is strange, socially. You are thrown in as a stranger in the midst of strangers. This is all the more true as you realize that few, if any, of these strangers share your basic convictions.
Perhaps as never before you will realize that as a Christian you are a "different" person. As the Word of God says (1 Peter 2:9), we are a "peculiar" people, in the sense that we are different from the man of the world.
But regulations are to be observed, even though some of them may seem rough and rugged at times. When it comes to obedience, the true Christian should set the pace. It is as he is obedient to those in authority, pleasing them well in all things, and not talking back, that he "adorns the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," (Titus 2:9-10) and thus attracts favorable attention to his Lord. The armed forces regulations do not attempt to regulate a man's spirituality, nor his personal ideals and principles. These he need not surrender but should maintain at every and all costs. The private without a stripe has as much right to his personal ideals and religion as does the general with five stars on his shoulder, or the admiral with all the "scrambled eggs" on his cap.
Right now, if you have not done so before, ask yourself this question: Shall I honor and continue to observe a personal standard of ethics, morality and Christian experience, or shall I set it aside and follow the gang? Answer this question for yourself honestly, courageously and honorably once for always. You cannot serve two masters. Determine to live your life one hundred percent for Christ. "Walk worthy of the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 2:12, Colossians 1:10). To behave as a Christian is just as important as to believe as one.
In this sophisticated age, the warfare in which we are engaged as Christian young people is as real as in the early days of the Church, but it is more subtle and insidious. In the early days physical danger predominated. In our day the peril is largely of the mind and of the spirit, and thus harder to recognize. Remember, faithfulness to Christ requires disciplining the whole man body, mind and will. Bloodshed,
hate, tension, fear things which are so prevalent in the service are not conducive to the building up of our lives spiritually. We must constantly be aware of these dangers and battle them continually. Avoid that ulcer of the heart hate. You may be told to hate, but as a Christian you will discover that you are able to fulfill the responsibilities of your post from a higher motive.
CULTIVATE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Your attitude will mean a great deal to your success and happiness as a member of the Armed Forces. Do not take the attitude that this is "just a few years out of my life," or whatever length of time it may be. Your time in the service need not be wasted unless you waste it.
"Redeem the time" (Eph. 5:16) by using it to your future advantage. Your mind will have a tendency to become dull unless you keep it active with cultivated interest. Be alive in interests, such as in clean sports, the news, national affairs, various hobbies, and so on. Devote some of your off-duty time to study. Remember that in the service you may have more time than you have ever had before for planned self improvement. Spend much time in the Word of God.
Don't neglect your home ties, either. A young man may be a soldier, a sailor or a marine in the eyes of his government, but in the eyes of those whom he has left behind he is a son, a brother, a sweetheart, a husband, or a father. Realize that you are sacrificing to make home, love, friendship and devotion to God and man possible. He is unwise who neglects the very thing he is endeavoring to make possible for himself and others.
ATTEND CHAPEL OR CHURCH REGULARLY
Determine to attend a church or chapel service at every opportunity. If you are alone and cannot attend a service anywhere,
there is still a Scriptural precedent. John, in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, writes, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day" (Revelation 1:10). The Lord's Day is set aside for special worship of our Heavenly Father and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Make certain that Sunday is a special day in your life, even though you may not be able to attend a service because of military duties.
Be as regular in attending church services as you were at home. Do not neglect them. They meet a great need in your life in the Armed Forces. It is regrettable that some chaplains lack spirituality, but attend the services of the chapel and make your contribution. Realize that chaplains are of all types. Some are conservative, some liberal, some are Calvinists, some Arminian, some Catholic, some Pentecostal, some Seventh Day Adventists, some Jewish, and so on. Your attitude should be the attitude of the Bereans in Paul's day. Even when the mighty Apostle Paul preached to them, they went home and ". . . searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). In commenting on this, the Holy Spirit called it a "noble" attitude. It is a good pattern for you to follow.
FIND AND CULTIVATE THE FRIENDSHIP OF GOOD BUDDIES
One profitable aspect of military service is the opportunity it provides for new friendships which will be both lasting and beneficial. A wise and careful selection of buddies often results in tremendous profit to each one involved. Determine to cultivate good companions. In pre-service days you no doubt associated with select church and school groups. When you arrived in the service you were thrown in with those of all ages, classes and color. The wise Christian service man selects his companions carefully.
It is rare that one cannot find associates to his liking. They may be few if he maintains as he should the sterling qualities
of Christian character and manliness by which he was known in his home community, but they can usually be found. Seek out fellow Christians through the chapel and your chaplain, by reading your Bible where others may see you read it, and by giving your personal testimony. Many have found "their crowd" in the service the very first night when they sat on the edge of their bunk to read God's Word and then knelt to pray. Others may lack your courage or may just not feel led to do this, but their own testimony will be strengthened by your courage. Those who love the Lord will soon let you know it and share in fellowship with you.
In choosing your companions, remember that you have an influence on them and they in turn have an influence on you. Evil companions corrupt good morals. "Be not deceived; evil communications (or companions) corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33).
George Washington said, "Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; it is better to be alone than in bad company." The Bible says, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20).
Be friendly to all alike, and do your job thoroughly and well. Take time to help your buddies. Remember that ". . . whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:26-27).
KEEP YOURSELF PURE
The environment among non-Christians poses a real problem. Determine by God's help to keep clean. You are what you think; guard your thoughts. This citadel the enemy will attempt to capture at all costs. You cannot stop evil thoughts from entering your mind, but you can drive them out. It is as we "cast down imaginations, and every
high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) that we are "kept in perfect peace" because our minds are stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).
Every outward immoral sin begins with a thought. Again I say, guard your thoughts! Keep them clean. Keep them pure. Purpose in your heart that you will not defile yourself. Avoid "dirty story" sessions and lustful language. Take a walk and get fresh air when your companions start them. Be careful, though, to avoid self-righteousness. Don't be prudish or obnoxiously pious. Your associates won't respect you for it.
Never tolerate sin in your life. " . . . if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Remember also that "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). Dr. V. Raymond Edman, President of Wheaton College, said something in chapel one day which I shall never forget. He said, "The first look is not sin. It is the second look!" You may be unable to help the first look, but watch and guard against that second one.
Have you dropped all restraint and gone the way of your Army or Navy crowd? Or will you not rather be like the fish who is willing to swim up stream against the current?
Satan's supreme purpose in the world is to bring about the Christian's complete defeat, spoil his witness and destroy him in respect to service. In combating this, one of the first lessons you must learn is to stand to stand for Christ. It takes grace and courage to stand against sin and against a world that delights to toy with sin to see how far it can go without slipping into the abyss. But the stand against sin has been taken by Christians in all generations, from Biblical days to the present time.
Back in Old Testament days, Daniel took his stand. He "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8). Chrysostom, the "golden-mouthed," in 350 A.D. preached against the vices of his day, angered the Empress and was sentenced to die alone in exile. No one can be a true Christian without facing evil, ridicule, indifference and circumstances that could be embarrassing without the whole armor of God. When you say "no" to invitations of your unsaved associates, you intensify your "yes" to our Heavenly Father's will.
I remember one day being in Pasadena, when the entire city was filled with an air of excitement. It was not just an ordinary holiday. It was the one big day of the year when the eyes of the sports world turned to this Los Angeles suburb.
Palm trees, orange groves, balmy breezes and the Rose Bowl game were going to make New Year's Day Southern California's "big day."
T. W. Wilson and I had been given "hard to get" tickets by Miss Henrietta Mears, "The Lady" at Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church. We made our way to Section D, seats 21 and 22. Soon we were shouting, laughing, eating peanuts and having a good time. T.W. and I, being true Southerners, were loyal to Alabama's Crimson Tide. By the end of the first quarter it was apparent that it was Alabama all the way*. As the Tide neared the Southern California goal line, the cheering students of California broke out in this chant: "Hold that line! Hold that line!" As I watched that scene so filled with tenseness and excitement, it seemed that I could see a spiritual drama being enacted. I could see myself before "so great a cloud of witnesses" and being tempted by Satan, while the great witnesses of the past who had lived for Christ and died in this same arena were shouting to me, "Hold that line! Hold that line!"
I am sure that many of you, when just about to yield or compromise in your Christian lives, have heard the still, small voice of God saying, "Hold that line. Don't yield to Satan's subtle temptations . . . Stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). Again God has said, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13). Or again, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (Galatians 5:1).
You remember the three Hebrew young men who refused to bow before the king's image. The king had made a great golden image and had ordered that everyone fall down and worship it at the sound of certain musical instruments. The decree was: "Whoever does not fall down and worship
should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" (Daniel 3:11). Everyone bowed down and worshipped for fear of the king except three men: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The king immediately called them before him and said, in effect, "Fellows, perhaps you did not understand my command, but I'll give you another chance. When the instruments play again, either you fall down and worship the image I have made or I shall have you thrown into the fiery furnace that has been heated seven times hotter than an ordinary furnace!"
The king's words received one of the most heroic and thrilling answers any group of God's men has given. Listen to it. Hear it. Feel it. See it. "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).
These three fellows did not know whether they would escape the fiery furnace or not, but of one thing they were certain: they would not yield to Satan's temptation to compromise their testimony. They were going to stand, and having done all, stand (Eph. 6:13). When the instruments played, the three refused to bow. The king was furious and had them thrown into the furnace. So hot was the flame that the men who threw them in were burned to a crisp. When the king looked in to see how his victims were roasting, he exclaimed, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? ... "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:24-25). God had vindicated their stand! They had remained true! He had seen them through! He did not leave
or forsake them! (Hebrews 13:5) And in all this, notice that the king could get them neither to "bend" nor "budge" nor "burn."
Perhaps you have been compromising in your Christian life. You have been giving in, yielding here and there. Satan has slipped in and done his deadly work in times of weakness. Your eyes have looked upon things they should not have seen. Your feet have taken you places you should not have gone. Your hands have touched things they should not have touched. Your mind has thought upon things you should not have thought. Your tongue has said things you should not have said. I beg of you to stand and having done all, stand. In this day when young people are leading "wild, strange, foreign-flavored, superficial lives," it is glorious to see a young man or woman living a clean, honest, uncompromising spiritual life for Jesus Christ, a life which will result in constant daily victory over sin and inward rest of soul.
Yield everything to Him! The greatest thing you must yield is yourself, because the greatest burden one has to carry in life is self his daily living, his failings, his special weaknesses and temptations, his peculiar temperament, his inward affairs of every kind. You must hand all these to God and leave them there. You must, ". . . cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you." He demands that you surrender your reputation, your work, your love affairs, your money everything, whether inward or outward, to Him. Not only must you commit the things of the future but more difficult still, you must commit the present to Him (Psalm 37:5). And when you do commit your problems to the Lord, forget them. Don't worry about them. Most people take their burdens, troubles and sins to Him, but they bring them away with them again and are as worried and unhappy as before.
God expects no less than our all. We must "confess with
our mouths the Lord Jesus" (Romans 10:9). That means He demands Lordship. It is only when you are entirely yielded to Him that He can fill you with His powerful dynamo called the Holy Spirit, who can then enable you to stand against every onslaught of Satan.
We are engaged in a battle. But remember, "When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you" (Deut. 20:1). Our battle is not a battle with flesh and blood; it is a spiritual battle against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12). The Holy Spirit is absolutely the only One who can give you the ability to "hold the line." Only as you "stand" against every attack can you say you are living above the clouds in glorious sunlight on the mountain slopes of God's love, peace, joy, happiness and pleasure. Naturally, you want the "fulness of joy" and the "pleasures forevermore" that are in His presence and at His right hand (Psalm 16:11).
Nowhere in the Bible will you find immunity from temptation promised. It is common to all (1 Cor. 10:13) and will be with us to the end. Every Christian can and should expect temptation.
Being tempted is not sin. Yielding to temptation is sin. Temptation comes from outside the mind; sin comes by cooperation from within the mind. Realize that temptation is not synonymous with guilt. Our Lord was tempted of the devil but certainly He knew nothing of guilt. Because He was seeking to do His Father's will at all times (John 5:30), Jesus was able to defeat the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness.
All who seek to have the mind of Christ are armed to meet temptation.
Temptation in the sense of an invitation to do wrong never comes from God. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13). God allows us to be tempted, however, so that we may be victorious and gain strength for future conflicts and so that our characters may be developed and our usefulness increased. In the same chapter we read, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love him" (James 1:12).
Dr. F. B. Meyer once said, "Don't fear temptation. Don't fear that you will fail. Don't dread defeat. Instead, know that the moment a poor trembling heart lays itself at the feet of Christ, and one thin languid hand touches the hem of His garment, that moment virtue streams in to be the complement of even twelve years of weakness." "The Lord is faithful, Who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2 Thess. 3:3).
There are some temptations from which we should flee and others which we must endure and conquer. However, good advice is to avoid temptation whenever possible. Our rule of life should not be to see how near we can live to the world and still keep the name of Christian, but on the contrary, to keep just as far away as possible.
"How near can you drive my carriage to the edge of the precipice?" was the question asked by a gentleman to various applicants for the position of coachman. Different distances, all perilously near, were given.
At last a careful-looking man said, "Sir, I should keep just as far from it as the road will allow."
"You are my man," was the reply, and the adventurous applicants were dismissed.
So it is with us Christians. We are not to see how much we can tamper and meddle with the things of the world, but to see how far away we can keep from those things which would be displeasing to God.
If the will is kept firm, God comes to the rescue. He grants grace to do His bidding and to overcome temptation. We fail to overcome temptation when we forget to trust the Lord or when we are too lazy or too proud to call on His strength. Oscar Wilde was right when he said that the easiest way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. The natural, easy, pleasing way is self-indulgence and moral softness. The hard way is self-denial and self-discipline which, incidentally, is commanded in the Word of God (1 Timothy 6:11-14). We have too many soft Christians today!
One of the best ways to overcome temptation is to keep busy for the Lord. Find something to do for Him. Seek to serve Him. Once you are willing, He will open innumerable doors of service for you. Servicemen, as few others, need a circumspect walk before the world, "Not . . . as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Eph. 6:6).
One good rule to follow is: any pleasure which tends to make us more companionable with unbelievers and less sociable with believers is to be avoided.
In fact, avoidance of danger when it comes to temptation is a principle in itself.
I heard sometime ago of a young boy who was in the trenches of France. The order was given to attack, but as the bullets and bombs began to explode and whiz around him, the boy became nervous and frightened. Throwing down his rifle, he began running toward the rear.
The Captain yelled, "Hey, where are you retreating to?"
Hardly slackening his pace the boy yelled over his shoulder, "Boss, I ain't retreating, I'm just advancing to the rear!"
This is exactly what God wants you to do. Not give up in the face of difficulties, of course, but when it comes to such things as youthful lusts, "flee!" (2 Tim. 2:22). By retreating and avoiding sin, you will in reality be advancing in your Christian experience. To yield to temptation is to ensure its recurrence. When we presumptously put ourselves in the way of temptation, we deserve to fall. If we parlay with sin, we will surrender. Remember, "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able" (1 Cor. 10:13).
Never act upon a wrong desire. It will always lead to sin. To maintain the right, however, strengthens you for the future. "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9).
Never feel ill at ease or embarrassed when you have to refuse to do certain things or go into certain places when the crowd does so. Don't be afraid to say "no." One of the most important lessons we can learn is how to say "no." Doing so will intensify our determination to witness for Christ. Close your mind to temptation. Ask for God's grace to turn from it. Remember, it is better to be a so-called "wet blanket" than a "dry Christian" one who is not separated from the ungodly to the Lord and whose life is therefore "like the heath in the desert" and like "the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited" (Jeremiah 17:5-6, see also Psalm 1:1-3).
We must "endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3-4). If hard experiences come and indications of the
enemy at work are seen, do not give up the fight, but by His grace endure hardship and "strength with His strength oppose." Prepare for the stumbling blocks which may appear in your path. Your ability to resist temptation will depend to a great extent upon your spiritual attitude when sin presents its ugly head. The problems you face will test your faith and will make you stronger. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
Again, know your enemy Satan. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Military personnel soon learn that one of the most serious errors that a military leader can make is to underestimate the ability and the power of the enemy. To underrate the skill of an opposing team is to lose the game.
When in doubt about what to do in any given circumstance, ask yourself these questions: "Does it glorify the Lord Jesus Christ? Will it make me a stronger Christian? Will it offend someone else?" You may think that something is "all right," but if there are other Christians around you who feel it is questionable, you should not "put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall" (Romans 14:13) in your brother's way. Paul said that if eating meat were to offend his brother, he would "never eat meat again" (1 Cor. 8:13) lest he may offend his brother.
Form the habit of bringing everything to the Lord Jesus. Make victory even more habitual than were your defeats. Never go any place where you cannot take Christ with you. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17).
God and a Christian are always a majority. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Notice that it is through Christ that he could do all things, not within himself. Here is where many fail. They have the desire to do right and to resist temptation, but they are not fully surrendered to Christ. Consequently, they are not able to do right and to resist temptation, but they are not fully surrendered to Christ. Consequently, they are not able to do what they know is God's will for them. If only we would fully surrender to Christ, we could do the "all things" which are within His blessed will. The deeper our separation from the world and unto Christ is, the more powerful and fruitful are we in our appeal to those who are dead in sin. Human endurance in divine things and in extraordinary trials will not suffice. We cannot endure in our own strength. "The arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own." Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).
We can endure every fiery trial, every persecution, every temptation and every attempt of Satan to hurt us only if we stay close to the Lord Jesus Christ. You were saved by faith, simply by trusting Christ. Live the same way! (Col. 2:6) Trust Him for deliverance in times of temptation. Don't wait until you sin and then turn to God for forgiveness, even though He will forgive, but turn to Him at the moment of temptation. "Lord Jesus, help me now," can mean the difference between victory and defeat in your life. It can mean the difference between joy and unhappiness, between peace and unrest.
But if you do fail, if you do sin don't give up! Don't brood over the sin. Confess it immediately; forget it and move on. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
WHAT YOU MAY FACE
Early Christian martyrs endured burning at the stake and death at the jaws of hungry lions in the arena. Today we face the more subtle hazards of indulgent living, cold rationalism, educated arrogance and an impoverished culture which knows no moral code. The courage and ability to face unknown danger has its source in the spirit. The battle is fought and won in the mind before the overt danger is encountered. Therefore, all courage becomes a discipline of the will.
Often, life in the service is pitched on a low plane of drinking, gambling, telling dirty stories, cursing, and so on, with little or restraint. You may experience an urge to "satisfy your curiosity" regarding things you would not think of doing at home. Woodrow Wilson once said, "It takes more courage to stand up against the wishes of friends, than to face the rigors of a battlefield."
There is no need to enumerate here the sins of the flesh and all of the things you will face in the service. The Bible says such things are "manifest" (Galatians 5:12). It is the overcoming of those things and living a victorious life over them that must occupy our major attention.
THE USE OF GOD'S WORD
God has ordained that His Word should be a primary factor in protecting us from sin. God's Word will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from God's Word. You cannot expect victory over sin if you neglect the Bible.
Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). And today, He can only "sanctify and cleanse (the Church) with the washing of water by the Word" (Eph. 5:26). If you neglect the Word of God , you deprive Jesus Christ of the means by which He wants to bring about victory in your life.
Ages ago the Psalmist David asked, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" (Psalm 119:9) Then he gave the answer, "By taking heed thereto according to thy Word . . . Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:9,11).
Jesus said to His disciples, "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).
The Bible is no ordinary book. It isn't just a "Book-of-the-Month," or a "Book-of-the-Decade," or even a "Book-of-the-Century." It is the Book of all ages! God has chosen to speak to us through His written Word. It is the final authority and the one safe guide in life. It demands of us more than a casual reading. Each of its 1,189 chapters contains messages of truth and the more we dig into it the richer are the gems that we find. The Word of God supplies the answer to all of our human problems.
As a blacksmith or any other workman must have good food to enable him to work and maintain his physical strength, so every Christian must partake daily of the spiritual food which begets spiritual strength and power. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
Make the Bible your constant companion. It is the Word of Life. It has a message for every mood. Make up your mind to read your Bible every day from now until you die, or until Jesus comes. Nothing helps more to establish the sway of God in our lives than daily feeding upon His Word.
When Jesus Christ was tempted, He turned to the Word of God. Three times, during His wilderness temptation, Satan tempted Him and each time was repulsed as our Lord said, "It is written . . ." We must rely upon the Word as He did. The Apostle John also points out that we "overcome the
wicked one" when "the Word of God abides" in us. It is only "by the Word of God's lips" that we are "kept from the paths of the destroyer."
It is because the Word of God is such a necessary and vital part of the Christian's equipment that the entire last chapter of this booklet will be devoted to it.
*[webmaster's note: Alabama won the 1946 Rose Bowl, 34-14 over USC.]
The Christian Soldier's Spiritual Weapons
DO YOU PRAY?
In the Second Century Tertullian wrote: "Prayer is the wall of faith, our armor and our weapon against the enemy who watches us on every side. Therefore let us never walk unarmed, but daily let us be mindful of our station, by night of our vigil. Under the arms of prayer let us wait the trumpet of the angel. Even the angels all pray . . . The Lord Himself prayed, to whom be glory and power forever and ever."
S. D. Gordon once said, "The greatest thing anybody can do is pray." Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, "More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of." J. H. Jowett said, "I'd rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."
There is abundant evidence in the Word of God to the importance of prayer. Jesus said that "men ought always to pray and not to faint" (Luke 18:1). Paul said, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Peter said, "The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Peter 4:7). James emphasized that, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).
To maintain one's spiritual life in the armed forces is both a possibility and a responsibility. It can be done and it must be done. But the Christian soldier or sailor must learn early to have communion with God. However pressing your duties,
you must take time daily for two things speaking to God and letting Him speak to you. It may be that you will need to learn to seek the presence of God in places and under circumstances that are not at all conducive to godliness. But you must not fail thus to seek Him.
The first and chief need of our Christian life is fellowship with God. The divine life within the Christian comes from God and is entirely dependent upon Him. Prayer becomes the very life-breath of a man's soul. It is our royal privilege to talk to our Father and to know that He is interested in every detail of our lives. He has numbered the very hairs of your head. Let Him bear your burdens. Let Him solve your problems.
You will find it utterly impossible to succeed in the Christian life without making much of prayer. God does more through the prayers of His people, in accomplishing His purpose in the world, than by any other human means. Without exception you will find that all great soul-winners have been men and women of prayer.
The Christian ought to have an appetite for prayer. He should want to pray. One does not have to force food upon a healthy adult or child. Exercise, good circulation, health and labor demand food for sustenance. So it is with those who are spiritually healthy. They have an appetite for the Word of God and for prayer. If you find that you do not have such a desire, or if it is extremely weak you should ask the Lord to reveal to you why this is true. There may be an obstruction in the way some sin that interferes. The Bible tells us to "desire the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:12), but in the verse just before, it tells us that we must "lay aside" certain things first (1 Peter 2:1). If you do not have a desire for the Word and prayer, perhaps you should start by checking yourself against that list.
Sin breaks fellowship with God. A little girl committed a certain offense and when her mother discovered it she began to question the daughter. Immediately the little girl lost her smile and a cloud darkened her face as she said, "Mother, I don't feel like talking." So it is with us when our fellowship with God is broken by sin in our lives. We do not feel like talking to Him!
Yet, if we don't feel like praying, it is probably a good indication that we should start immediately. If we start in the right way with confession of our sin we will soon find ourselves "feeling like praying" again. Sin breaks fellowship with God, but confession restores it (Psalm 66:18; 1 John 1:9).
The admonition of Scripture is that we should "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). It is not necessary to be on our knees all the time, but our heart should be on its knees all the time. Deliverance from our fears (Psalm 34:4), the peace of God (Phil. 4:6-7), the confidence that comes from the accessibility of the power of God and His infinite wisdom at all times (James 1:5), the sense of sharing with God in His word on earth (Isaiah 6:8) are all some of the blessings which come through prayer.
We need to realize that we do not come in prayer to find ourselves, but to meet God. Allow God to speak to your heart. It is during our periods of quietness that we most fully experience the presence of God. In our praying, everything depends upon God's taking the chief place. We have the full confidence that God hears and answers prayer. "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (1 John 5:14-15).
One of the big problems in the armed forces is learning when and where to pray. The complexity of life in the service makes meditation, prayer and a quiet time extremely difficult, but that is all the more reason for having it. To learn to be alone with God in the presence of others is something that every Christian in uniform should learn. No matter how busy you may become, be certain to take time to be still before God each day. If it is possible to set aside a period of only five minutes to spend in God's presence, you will get more out of it than you would out of the busiest hour. Usually you will be able to set aside at least a half-hour, however. Then, during the day, live in an atmosphere of prayer in your heart. You will discover that God will meet you even amid the stress of busy, trying days in the service.
In your prayer and devotional life, it is best to get off alone. This is oftentimes difficult, but watch for the time in your day's schedule when it can be done. There is no part of your day that will be more profitable to you. It may be that you will be able to get alone with God during the noon hour in garrison. However, early in the morning is usually best. There are fewer distractions and interruptions at that time of day, and your mind is generally clearer. David said, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up" (Psalm 5:3). Jesus likewise set this example: "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35).
However, the important thing is be sure that you have a definite time daily for prayer. You can depend upon it that a day that begins with prayer will end with praise. "Getting down on your knees helps you to stand on your feet."
Skeptics may deride and those who are weak in faith may doubt, but those who have diligently prayed know that God answers prayer. Phillips Brooks said, "Prayer is not conquering God's reluctance, but taking hold of God's willingness." A main reason that our Heavenly Father wants us to pray is so that we might receive an answer. "Ask, and you will receive" (John 16:24) is the divine order.
How does God answer prayer? I do not know. One thing is sure, however things happen when God's children pray; things that otherwise would not take place.
Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make,
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched grounds refresh as with shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and allthe distant and the near
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear:
We kneel, how weak; we rise, how full of power.
Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong
Or othersthat we are not always strong?
That we are ever overborn with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be
Anxious to troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH
MAKE USE OF GOD'S WORD
You as a serviceman could do nothing better than to dedicate your years in uniform to a study of the Bible. Certainly this would be "redeeming the time (Eph. 5:16). Neglect the Bible and you neglect your own soul. Invest your leisure hours and spare moments in the service to a mastery of God's Word. This will bring you not only profit and blessing, but eternal dividends.
The Bible is the only Book which can lead men to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. No preacher or author can improve upon it. "This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its histories true and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword and the Christian's character." The Bible is not primarily a book either of theology or of theory, of literature or of learning, but one of practical, everyday living. It meets every requirement of God and every need of man: redemption from the past, guidance for the present and guaranty for the future. The whole Book is the revelation of God to man.
Only ignorance scoffs at the Bible! The greatest rulers, the greatest statesmen, the greatest scholars, orators, scientists, soldiers and the untold millions of the common people all have thrilled to its divine wisdom. Its challenge will curdle the thin blood of human effort. It speaks of conquest, battle, courage, power and genuine victory.
We were "born again . . . by the Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). "Of His own will begat he us with the Word of truth" (James 1:18). This happened when someone planted some of the Word in our hearts where, in due time, it generated faith (Romans 10:17) by which we were enabled to turn to Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).
Christ did not come just that we might have life, however. He wants also that we might have it "more abundantly" (John 10:10). He wants us to live a rich and healthy life, and we get our life from the Word of God. Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you ... they are life" (John 6:63). Peter said, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (1 Peter 2:2).
Paul said, "I commend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up" (Acts 20:32).
Evangelist D. L. Moody once said, "I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible." Bible study is an evidence and a test of our professed love of God. The Bible is indispensable to the Christian's well-being. By our use of it we indicate what our professed love of God really amounts to. It is only the feeble Christian who refuses or neglects to make a time and place daily for the study of God's Word.
Use a Bible or Testament with good readable print. Mark those passages which are most helpful to you and read them most often. Memorize verses which are particularly meaningful to you. Study your Bible diligently. I say study it, don't just read it. Study it sensibly, earnestly, ardently; read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. Make your reading and study time practical. Your object is not so much to gather information, as important as that is, as to gain inspiration, and so you should discover what is the application of what you read to your circumstances and need. Value in Bible reading is not how much you read, but what you get out of it. Do not study the Bible spasmodically. Read some each day to a systematic plan.
Robert Boyd in his book First Words to New Christians passes along this helpful information concerning how to use the Bible:
1. Own a good print, well-bound Bible, a concordance and "Topical Text Book."
2. Set a portion of each day sacredly apart for Bible study. Let your body go unfed rather than your immortal soul (Acts 17:11).
3. Choose an hour for study when your mind is clearest.
4. Study with a humble, teachable mind, not to see what
you can make it teach, but what God meant it to teach (Matthew 11:25).
5. Pray for the guidance of the Author of the book (Psalm 119:18; John 14:26; 1 John 2:27).
6. Read the whole Bible through consecutively, again and again (Luke 24:27).
7. Study, not skim. Weigh each word. Look up all references and read them carefully. Search the Scriptures with the text book and concordance to see how God handles such words and subjects as "Sin," "Salvation," "The Cross," "The Blood," "Repentance," "Faith," etc. Analyze books of the Bible verse by verse, writing down all the teachings of each verse (Joshua 1:8).
8. Read it as it is the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13), submit your judgment unhesitatingly to its teachings, believe all its promises, heed all its warnings and obey all its commands, always and at once. Remember, it is God's message to you.
9. Study and accept not only what you like, but all God has to say (John 7:17).
10. Commit to memory at least one verse each day (Psalm 119:11).
11. Carry a Bible or Testament with you for the improvement of spare minutes (Ephesians 5:16; Acts 8:28).
Luther said that he studied the Bible like he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he climbed the tree and shook every limb, and when he had shaken every limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it as rapidly as you would any other book, then shake every limb, studying book by book. Then shake every branch, giving attention to each chapter so as not to break off the sense. Then shake every twig by a careful study of
the paragraphs and sentences. Finally, you will be rewarded as you look under every leaf by searching the meaning of the words.
Some suggested plans for studying the Bible might be as follows:
1. Study the various Bible characters in God's Word.
2. Study some of the great themes of the Bible, such as love, grace, the Cross, repentance, forgiveness, etc.
3. Study it book by book. Take some book of the Bible, outline it, make notes on it, etc.
4. Study some passages such as the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, etc.
5. Study some of the great verses of the Bible.
6. Study some of the great doctrines, such as sin, the Holy Spirit, the Second Coming of Christ, etc.
We must obey the Word of God. We say that we regard it as our guide in faith and life, in doctrine and practice. It is really that to us? Do we honestly, humbly and systematically submit our arrogant minds to God's revelation? If we are not filled with God's Word, we certainly cannot know how to live according to His will.
GIVE OUT YOUR TESTIMONY
It is altogether too apparent that many people have a false conception of Christianity. They think that all it can offer is tiddlywinks, sewing circles, pink lemonade and thumb twiddling.
No! The Gospel challenges every fiber in vigorous young men and women. It takes stamina, strength and courage to stand and live for Christ in the barracks, on board ship, on the front lines. The challenge of Christ summons everything that is noble, strong and true. "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
It is total war when people devote all their resources to winning. The Christian life is total war. We are in the battle of right against wrong; salvation against condemnation. Nothing less than all of our resources will do. We need holy boldness in our personal testimony for the Lord.
If you talk down the spoken-witness angle, telling yourself that the testimony of your life is more important than what you say, examine your motives honestly to see if your main difficulty is not that you are afraid and ashamed of Christ. Can you boldly say, as did the Apostle Paul, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes" (Romans 1:16). Or do you perhaps need rather his admonition to Timothy, "Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord" (2 Timothy 1:8).
Missionary Benjamin Mudditt has told how he was saved one night in a tent meeting and determined the next morning to witness in the office of his new found Saviour. He feared one man especially who was likely to ridicule him. Nine o'clock came and Mudditt's courage oozed out; nine-fifteen and he felt it was no use, he simply could not tell of his conversion; nine-thirty and he broke out in a cold sweat. Then he suddenly realized it was now or never, and without further delay he blurted out, "I say, Smith, I went to the tent last night and got saved!"
"Did you, Mudditt?" replied the other. "So did I!"
Let us take a fresh grip on ourselves and on God. Let us with holy resolve determine that not a day shall go by without testifying for the Lord Jesus. We shall find that the world around is hungry for the real thing and will listen respectfully and often thankfully to our witness.
Hudson Taylor said that the nearest way to a man's heart is by God's throne of grace. Intercession will do more to win the lost than all the preaching, the writing, and the personal work
in the whole world. Speak to God about men before you speak to men about God.
Remember, however, God has no other plan for saving the lost than through our witness and our giving out of His Word. So start working for God right now, while you are in the service.
IS YOUR FAITH STRONG?
The anxiety which paralyzes the world need not affect the child of God. God desires to guard our hearts and minds against it. This can be done by faith.
Faith is tremendously important in the life and destiny of every person. Our daily lives are controlled by faith faith in our loved ones, faith in our associates and in our plans for the future. Thus, too, our lives as believers are controlled by an abiding faith in God.
Faith is merely expecting God to act because He is God. It requires only two parties the person who has faith and God, the object of his faith.
God considers our faith as extremely important. The trial of our faith is, to Him, "more precious than of gold that perishes" (1 Peter 1:7). It is the basis upon which He performs all His promises. Jesus said, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
No Christian soldier or sailor is truly equipped for the spiritual warfare before him if his faith is weak. The Bible says, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16).
ARE YOU OBEYING GOD?
To be still before the Lord is faith's greatest and most difficult accomplishment. The Psalmist says, "Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it
to pass" (Psalm 37:5). Do not guide your own affairs, but turn everything over to Him. He cannot guide your life unless it is committed entirely to Him. "He shall direct your path" (Proverbs 3:6).
Obedience is the cardinal law of soldiery, and likewise for the Christian soldier. We must be willing to obey God. There are no regrets to be had when God leads and we follow.
Obedience is the great organ of spiritual revelation. Doing the will of God is the divine condition of spiritual light. "If any man will do His will, he shall know . . ." (John 7:17). God takes into the nearest communion with Himself those who obey Him (Psalm 25:14). Whenever our Heavenly Father disciplines us it is to make us better children, but it is not for us to disobey in order to draw His chastisement. Disobedience not only brings darkness, but is darkness.
God requires literal, prompt, cheerful obedience. Nothing less will do. He will never force you to obey, but there will be times when you are faced with a definite choice either to obey or to disobey (Acts 5:32).
Mendelsohn once visited the cathedral at Fribourg and having heard the great organ, went into the organ loft, and asked to be allowed to play it. The old organist, in jealousy for his instrument, at first refused, but was afterward prevailed upon to allow the great German composer to try the colossal "thunderer" of the cathedral.
After standing by in an ecstasy of delight and amazement for a few moments, he suddenly laid his hands on the shoulders of the inspired musician and exclaimed, "Who are you? What is your name?"
"Mendelsohn," replied the player.
"And can it be! I had so nearly refused to let Mendelsohn touch this organ!"
How little sinners, and saints too, know what they do when they refuse to let Jesus Christ have full possession of their whole nature and evoke the full melody and harmony of which it is capable! There comes One to us who desires to take our lives and play upon them. But we withhold ourselves from Him, and refuse Him permission when, if we would yield ourselves to Him, He would bring from our souls heavenly music.
The Serviceman's Personal Work
The greatest business in life is the persuasion of dying men concerning a living Saviour. The work of soul-winning is without doubt the greatest work God permits men to do.
God may not have retained many of us as lawyers, but He has subpoenaed all of us as witnesses, witnesses of His saving grace. We dare not be guilty of withholding the Gospel from a hungry, broken-hearted, perishing world. This, as someone has said, is "Christianity's greatest crime!"
If we are to arrest, convince and convict others who are in the service with us, there must be something so lovable, so winsome, in a word so Christ-like about us, that others will be compelled to stand still and think and wonder. A poor, struggling Christian with Christ in his heart is of infinitely greater service to God, no matter how many blunders he makes, than the greatest pulpiteer who has lived without Christ.
Only by living in daily communion with Christ and by meditating on His life and death for our sins can we see clearly how we are to live before men. As we look to Him for grace to overcome our failings and daily grow more pure, kind, unselfish, humble and patient, so will others be more ready to listen to the witness of our lips. The qualifications of a soul-winner are: a heart that is cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit, and an outward life that is entirely consistent and through which flows the convicting and drawing power of the Spirit.
There are two things which above all others will produce these qualifications: daily feeding upon God's Word and a constant life of prayer.
The Bible has always been God's instrument for soul-winning, whether in the period of revival or in the gleaning of quieter periods. God has used His Word and He will use His Word. As Robert Murray M'Cheyne has well said, "It is not our comment on the Word which saves, but the Word itself." Paul said, "The holy Scriptures . . . are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
Let us remember, however, that the Lord sends us out to win souls, not to win arguments. As Walter L. Wilson says, "We will never catch fish by throwing stones at them to try to force them on the hook. We must entice them, allure them, attract them, invite them and offer them that which they like, even though the hook is on the inside."
We can only persuade men to surrender themselves to Christ as we ourselves are persuaded concerning the urgent, pressing and burning necessity of the work. We must really know that men are lost without Christ. We must really feel the awfulness of the guilt that weighs them down.
God puts a tremendous price upon the soul of one sinner: the priceless blood of Jesus. It demanded the mobilization of all the forces of the Trinity to rescue man from the dungeon of sin. God the Father's love, God the Son's sacrifice and God the Holy Spirit's power are united in the great work. God has come from heaven to earth to rescue man's soul from the grasp of the great adversary. The gates have been stormed, the prison doors opened, and it now only remains for God's messengers to go in and announce the message of liberty and bring the prisoners out.
As Dr. Harry Rimmer indicates, little originality is permitted a Western Union messenger boy. His sole obligation
is to carry the message he receives from the office to the person to whom it is addressed. He may not like to carry that message. It may contain bad news or distressing news for the person to whom he carries it. But he cannot stop on the way, open the envelope and change the wording of the telegram. His duty is to take the message.
We young Christians have the Word of God. Our great Commander has said, "Go and take this message to a dying world." We are to go, "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Some are neglecting it; some are tearing up the message and substituting one of their own; some are taking out a part of it; some are telling the people that the Lord does not mean what He says; and others are saying that He really did not give the message at all but that it was written by ordinary men who are mistaken about the meaning of it.
Let us remember that the Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians centuries ago just to "preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2).
During these days of your service in the armed forces, seek to find some work to do for Christ, and then do it. Do not wait for some opportunity to present itself to you, but seek for work. Pass out a tract, invite folks to meetings, talk to your service buddies. Always be looking for something to do for Christ and you will receive more from Christ.
God's purpose for you and me after we are converted is that we be witnesses to His saving grace and power. Are you a daily and constant witness: Are you one of God's minutemen? Are you a commando for Christ? He expects you to witness at every given opportunity. You are to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
Acts 28:23 presents a thrilling scene. Paul, held in bonds at Rome,
persuaded men concerning Jesus from morning to evening. Concerning each of us it should be said every day, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow" (Matthew 13:3).
Remember, we are sowing seed. Some indeed may fall on beaten paths and some among thorns, but it is our business to keep on sowing. We are not to stop sowing because some of the soil looks unpromising.
We are holding a light. We are to let it shine though it may seem but a twinkling candle in a world of blackness. It is our business to let it shine.
We are blowing a trumpet. In the din and noise of battle the sound of our little trumpet may seem to be lost, but we must keep sounding the alarm to those who are in danger.
We are kindling a fire in this cold old world full of hatred and selfishness. Our little blaze may seem to be unavailing, but we must keep our fire burning.
We are striking with a hammer. The blows may seem only to jar our hands as we strike, but we are to keep on hammering.
We are using a sword. The first or second thrust of our sword may be evaded and all of our efforts at striking deep into the enemy may seem hopeless, but we are to keep wielding our sword. It is the sword of the Spirit.
We have bread for a hungry world. The people may seem to be so busy feeding on other things that they will not accept the Bread of Life, but we must keep on giving it, offering it to the souls of men.
We have water for famished people. We must keep standing and crying out, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters" (Isaiah 55:1). We must persevere. We must never give up. We must continue to "hold forth the Word of life" (Philippians 2:16).
The seed will find some good soil and spring up and bear fruit, even thirty or sixty or an hundredfold.
Someone will hear the trumpet, even in the din and tumult, and will flee to the Refuge and be safe. The fire will kindle a sacred flame in some cold hearts and woo them to God. The hammer will break some hard hearts and made them contrite and yielded to God. The sword will pierce the armor of sin and cut away the self-satisfaction and the pride and will open hearts to the Spirit of God. Some hungry men and women will take the Bread of Life and some thirsty ones will find the Water of Life at our hands.
For further reading, check out this online book about Billy Graham entitled:
Billy: A Personal Look at Billy Graham, The World's Best-Loved Evangelist
View and Purchase Books Written By Billy Graham
The Chance of a Life Time by Billy Graham
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