Monday, March 1, 2004

Thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad! That's not many folks' dream way to spend Turkey Day. But for some American soldiers, Thanksgiving 2003 may be one of the more memorable holidays of their lives. That was the day the President of the United States joined them for Thanksgiving Dinner - actually helped serve them Thanksgiving Dinner. In the aftermath of the Iraq War, Baghdad was still not a very secure place, so the President's visit came as a total surprise, a total secret from the press. Many American soldiers were feeling the weight of an extended tour of duty and, for many, the sudden appearance of their President was a real morale boost. As GIs have learned in previous wartime visits from other Presidents, there's something re-energizing about a personal visit from your Commander-in-Chief.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What Makes the Battles Worth It."

You may not be on any military front lines, but the battles you've been fighting are taking their toll on you. Maybe you've been shot at, run down, there hasn't been much of a break in the action, and you've got some serious combat fatigue. In fact, it feels like you're losing the battle right now. You need some personal time with your Commander-in-Chief. No, not the President. No human leader can hold a candle to your Commander. He is, according to the Bible, the King of all kings - King Jesus.

In our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 24, beginning with verse 13, two of Jesus' followers are battle-scarred and going down. Their Savior has been crucified, and now His body is missing from the tomb. They're on the road to Emmaus and, "as they ... discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing Him." When He asked them what they were talking about, the Bible says, "They stood still, their faces downcast."

Eventually, they asked this stranger to have dinner with them. And "when He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road...?'" The Bible goes on to say they returned to Jerusalem totally "pumped." They started exhausted; they ended excited. They started on empty; they ended on full. What made the difference? The personal presence of their Commander-in-Chief, the One who makes all the battles worth it. Experiencing the reality of His presence is what always makes the difference.

That's exactly what you need right now, and maybe what you've been missing. You've been running all over the place, but it's too long since you had a walk with Jesus. A time when you pour out your heart to Him and He pours some of His heart into you. Maybe you've forgotten Who it's all for - the One who loves you enough to die for you. He's the reason for fighting the battles. He's the joy, He's the reward, and you're suffering from a Jesus-deficit. You may be serving Him with everything you've got, but you're missing Him. Other things are looking bigger than they really are because you haven't been with the One who's bigger than all those battles combined.

The bottom line is really pretty simple. It's all about Jesus, and you're missing Him in the midst of all your battles. But your King, your Commander-in-Chief, has come your way again today, asking you to just take a walk with Him, to have a heart-to-heart talk with Him. Not just today, but every new day. There's something very re-energizing about a personal visit with the person that you are fighting for. Believe me, there is nothing to turn the tide in the battle that you're fighting right now like the personal presence of your King of kings.



Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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