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Day by Day - Aug. 25, 2009

August 25, 2009  

The Ghost of Ephraim, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll

2 Timothy 4:5-8

As we have been discussing, homes and churches across the country today are haunted by ghosts of the Ephraimites, men who were skilled and fully equipped for battle but who turned and fled when the going got tough (see Psalm 78:9).

Yes, "Let's just quit" are household words. A marriage gets shaky and hits a few hard jolts---"Let's just quit." When a personal dream or goal in life is met with hurdles and hardship---both goal and dream are soon forgotten. Before long we begin to resemble Rome in its last days---a magnificent mask of outward, impressive stature . . . devoid of inner strength . . . soft and mushy at the core, desperately lacking in discipline and determination.

There is not an achievement worth remembering that isn't stained with the blood of diligence and etched with the scars of disappointment. To run, to quit, to escape, even to hide solves nothing . . . it only postpones a reckoning with reality. It may feel good now, but it's disaster when the bills come due.

Are you facing some difficult battle today? Don't run! Stand still . . . and refuse to retreat. Look at it as God looks at it and draw upon His power to hold up under the blast. Sure, it's tough. Nobody ever said the Christian life was easy. God never promised you a Disneyland. He offers something better---His own sustaining presence through any trouble we may encounter.

I've never been much of an admirer of Harry S. Truman---but I did, at times, appreciate his gristle. The battle often raged during his presidency and on one occasion he responded to it with the words:

"If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen!" 

I've not met anyone who was able to stay strong without some time in the kitchen. Ephraimites are terribly undernourished. So my advice is a little different from Truman's:

If you don't like the heat---stay in the kitchen and learn to handle it!

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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