Hope we are catching you having a relaxing evening before the night sets in. We are reflecting on words Brother Nobles gave us during a service a couple weekends ago that really stuck.
There are a million reasons why we wouldn’t be here, why we wouldn’t be in the fight to overcome, and why we could easily give up and walk away. And if worship and thankfulness were reserved for the mountaintop moments, then maybe this isn’t the right time, but worship and thankfulness should always be what we do, no matter our circumstances. It is our answer to a God who thought enough of us to call us and open our eyes to the truth. Worshipping and thanking Him should be our response in the trenches, in the fire, or in the middle of a storm. There is a saying: never quit in the middle of a storm – you can’t see clearly.
We all come to that part of our walk, “This is not how I thought it was going to be”. Don’t let it take you out of the race. Our song or praise doesn’t change because our circumstances get hard. God doesn’t change. People fail. We give up. We quit sometimes, but God remains faithful.
Every Road Trip is Better with Music
So is our journey. The medley of praise songs that particular Friday night and the services since then have been worshipful and had an impact. The song Brother John sang recently, “Sometimes it Takes a Mountain” left us knowing we need Him like we never have before. The words began resonating in our spirit, and that just grew. It’s like when you first hear the song, you appreciate it and it sounds amazing (our singers and band are awesome), but then the second or third time . . . you put yourself in the picture. The words become your own, and that’s when something happens.
Without revelation of what you are singing, the best you’ll get are emotions from a lovely song, but when the words are in sync with the words of truth we are receiving, that is when they go deep. The spirit that spread during that song planted the message we had just received stronger into our hearts.
Old Things are Passed Away Has New Meaning.
My older brother loved classic westerns. In dying to ourselves, we all probably have some things that passed away quickly, while other things hang on and on and do not go quickly.
Like a gunfighter getting shot in the old westerns, he goes down into the dust and dies quickly. But other times . . .
The bad guy gets shot, and he falls over a chair. He manages to get up and stagger to the table half falling. He regains his balance holding on to the table but goes to his knees holding his chest. He crawls to the stairs, pulls himself up, only to fall over the railing and down a few steps. He manages to stand back up and makes it to the bar, falling over to the other side. Again, he gets up and limps a few feet out the swinging doors where he falls over the rail where the horses are tied.
You’re watching the movie wondering when in the world is this guy ever going to die? Just lie down and die already, lol. Some things we are battling might take a hit during a service or by our own fighting, but they are not going to die graciously or quickly. It’s going to take a whole lot more to completely put down these parts of our flesh. The carnal nature fights to live and to last.
Share this with a friend who left our recent services feeling encouraged because we have so much to draw on this week that will help us win our battles. These words will stoke the fire deep down, soften your heart, and reignite determination for the days ahead.
Brother Nobles opened that Friday night service saying he hoped during the songs we had just finished singing that we got lost in praising God and were not aware of anything else around us.
Putting Wheels on Your Prayers
Brother Nobles instructed us to keep building the spirit of worship. Not just in church, but build it when you are home, alone, or driving. Your prayer closet can be anywhere.
Elder LaFleur believed strongly in not giving up. He used to say, “Don’t Quit.” He also quoted Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Keep going, keep being thankful, and keep your heart with gratitude.
If you don’t have one already, find your prayer closet.
If someone says they never feel like giving up, do they have a pulse?
It’s okay to want to give up – the key is just don’t. Don’t act on it. No matter what God doesn’t do that you think He should have done, no matter what happens – don’t quit.
The word endure implies that you will have some suffering, and it will be long at times.
We are not unique. We have a whole book of people (the Bible) who went through so much and did not quit. There is nothing new under the sun. They endured the same things we endure. We cannot quit.
Eight People Who Didn’t Quit
These eight men gave us what we need to reconcile the questions, doubts, and contentions we have in our spirit when the going gets tough, or we become complacent and feel like giving up. They help us remember that the whole premise of the Word and being saved is that we have a chance to fight our nature and overcome.
David Encouraged Himself in the Lord.
“And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” -1 Samuel 30:1-6
Verse 7 – they wanted to kill David because they were grieving so hard over their families being taken away and everything burned down.
David had to endure a lot, and he also had to repent.
David was being hunted down by Saul. In 1 Samuel 24, David cut off a piece of Saul’s skirt. He followed Saul outside and showed him the part of the skirt he cut off. He told Saul he could have taken his life, but spared him instead. He was letting Saul know he was there and could have killed him. David felt convicted and repented for doing this deed.
Part 2: After David encouraged himself in the Lord, he sought God.
He didn’t quit.
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. -Philippians 2:25-30
This man was not going to quit. He was working in the ministry with everything he had. His body was wearing out from his servitude, but God had mercy on him because he didn’t quit.
From a young age, everything Daniel held sacred had been taken from him. Instead of becoming bitter and resentful, he remained unrelentingly faithful to God. God gave him favor and honor with King Darius.
Daniel was well-liked, which made other men jealous. They could find no fault with him, so they used the fact that he worshipped his God steadfastly by praying three times a day with his window open. They consulted with all the governors, princes, counsellors, and captains of the kingdom to establish a statute and to make a firm decree that whoever asked a petition of any God or man for thirty days, ‘save of thee, O king’, he would be cast into a den of lions.
Just when you turn 80 years old and think it might be time for you to put up your feet, relax, and perhaps enjoy the fruits of your labor, another trial comes, one which may be harder than anything you have faced so far.
Why not say I’ll take 30 days off because I’ve been praying all these years and not run the risk of liberty or life? Or Daniel could have compromised and prayed but not opened the window. Daniel would not let that window be closed, even for one day. He was not a novice. He knew the Word of God and what it meant to stay under the covering. He knew about the mercy of God. He understood when things looked their worst, when it is darkest, that is when victory is about to come.
He kept praying three times a day with his window open. He didn’t quit. King Darius tried to find an exemption because he knew he had been tricked by the men into signing the decree, but he could not find one. He still had to answer to Cyrus. When Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, Darius worried and lamented about Daniel all night, but because Daniel didn’t quit God, the Lord was there and protected him.
Where do we even start? He was whipped, beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked three times, and even lost at sea for a day. On top of this, he had been sleep-deprived, hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked. He also had to stay on top of what was going on in the churches. There were men who didn’t like Paul. They were smooth talkers and tried to fool the people. Some people were even convinced by their ridiculous arguments (looking at you, false apostles).
He juggled all of that, plus Paul fought his own personal struggles – he had to live with what he had done to the church. Through it all, he didn’t cave to disappointment or hardship.
He didn’t quit when he didn’t see God come through. When he found himself in jail, he didn’t say, “Well God, if you’re so real, why haven’t you come through for me?” Paul fought the good fight, and he won it. He remained faithful = he didn’t quit.
No matter what circumstances you face, you resolve in your heart that you will not give up in your walk with Him. Endure.
Paul endured and didn’t quit.
In the days of Noah, thank God there was a man who could still hear His voice. The message God spoke to him was not easy, but by faith, Noah built the ark as he was warned of things not yet seen. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but the people of his day were not concerned with his instruction, they were not listening, and they were pushing the message away. Noah prepared the ark as God instructed him, saving his household.
Noah built the ark despite the wickedness around him, the scorning of people, and the unprecedented message he gave about a flood coming. Noah was willing to endure the snickering, laughter, and mocking. He went in faith first – moving with the fear of the Lord, and despite every natural inclination he would have had to give in and give up, he didn’t quit.
Abraham did not even consider quitting.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. -Romans 4:20
Verse 18 – hopelessness and despair will cause you to quit. But don’t. Keep moving. Keep going forward. Put one foot in front of the other and follow Him.
Just believing is not good enough. Abraham had works behind his belief. God required Abraham to leave where he was and go to a different land. Most of us would rather be blessed just right where we are, without having to move.
(Remember Luke 15, the parable of the great supper? People were invited to a great supper, but they had to leave home and go to the supper. It wasn’t delivered to their door, so they made excuse after excuse to not go.)
Abraham could have stayed home. Thank God, he didn’t.
God provided for Abraham but not without Abraham first being obedient and trusting Him. His faithfulness helped him believe he would have a son at 90 years old and then helped him through being asked to sacrifice that son – all because he didn’t quit.
Then Job answered and said, Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. -Job 23:1-6
Verse 9 – we have all been in this position. Lord, I don’t know why all these things are happening, but I’m not going to quit. Job was in the middle of a great battle, but he didn’t quit.
Verse 12 – this scripture is about a man who is not a quitter. His life in God was more important that anything in his physical life, which was why he didn’t quit.
Jesus endured the cross.
Jesus’ journey between Gethsemane and the Cross is why we have a chance to overcome our lives today. When you read it, the words stir the images up in your head and connect those words we have been taught.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? -Matt 27:46
There is something so heavy here. Jesus poured out His soul unto death; then death was defeated. When you have revelation of what really transpired on that journey from Gethsemane to the Cross, you will know it is never going to be easy. It wasn’t meant to be. He laid down His life, His will, and through every painful and hard moment . . . HE DIDN’T QUIT.
The Drumbeat: His Mercy Endureth Forever!
We are singing that new song in Revelation. Do the things in the truth of God still mean something to you? Do they resonate in you? Don’t sit off to the side and say you’ll get to it later.
If you were there that evening and heard Brother Nobles read Psalm 136, there is no way you were not completely moved by it.
Most of the time when we read, we retreat into a personal, quiet world inside our heads, but when it comes to this Psalm, you are missing out. Sometimes when we read silently, we feel like we are outside looking in at the people there. As Brother Nobles read these verses out loud, he took us right inside Psalm 136.
As he was reading, you could hear the drumbeat of “for his mercy endureth forever”.
You could also feel the strengthening of bonds between us and the Lord and each other. There was an unspoken but understood phrase in our heads that followed “for his mercy endureth forever” . . . so don’t quit.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.