(November 10, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge…
Dr Jim McClure’s Teaching article this month is timely as tomorrow is Remembrance Day – which remembers that the horrific WW1 came to an end a century ago and the tragedy of the sacrifice of so many lives so young and not so young!
Yes WW1 freedom came at a staggering price… Dr Jim also reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly paid the greatest price of all in dying for every sinner.
In our modern society many may not be engaged in outright war but there is a great enemy that grips many, even Christians – fear! Pastor Jeff Benson in his article encourages us that God can set us free from personal fears and weaknesses.
The reality for Christians is that we’re washed in our Saviour’s blood and set free to journey forth appreciating what’s ahead of us not just in eternity but enjoying now who we are, what we are, life itself, and in serving Jesus in whatever he wishes!
Nothing should hold us back, not even most sicknesses (as we ourselves have proved yet again in recent months) or disappointments and setbacks, and certainly no one especially our dark enemy, the devil and his tricks!
Remembrance Day speaks of war… we Christians and churches need to renew our mindset and engage in a spiritual war against the evil and deception that surrounds us, even on the local scene! There is a call for renewed intention to advance the kingdom of God with the Holy Spirit’s help.
And Remembrance Day also reflects on battles that recall the spirit of the many who sacrificially gave their all to win victory over an evil enemy. The spirit of brave and bold warriors is a cherished part of many nations’ histories over the pursuing years of new warfare and tragedy that have hit their countries and communities since WW1.
Envisioning our victory
In our battle against our spiritual enemy and things that would hold us back from personal victory and accomplishing much for our Saviour and his kingdom (not just our local church) a spiritual envisioning is encouraged!
Even as Remembrance Day recalls the determination to believe in and to look ahead to victory, we too much look forward to – with focus, determination, courage and enthusiasm – to extending the kingdom and achieving much in future days by visioning and acting in the Holy Spirit’s supernatural with the Spirit’s willing help!
In any war there were particularly scary moments for those brave warriors caught up in the fear and uncertainty of unknown tomorrows.
We recall dark times ‘back home’ in Northern Ireland during WW2, even though we were merely little kids and not in troubled Europe… the penetrating, frightening air raid sirens especially in the darkest of nights, the taped-up windows, the gas masks, bomb shelters, troops on the move from local camps and our childlike inquisitiveness as to what was really going on but being told little.
Now we didn’t know the Lord back then, and certainly not the amazing ever helpful Holy Spirit. It was a scary time and we’re certainly glad that our own kids never went through such a time – or worse as many have in days since in many parts of our world… and still are sadly!
Fear and a sense of helplines, hopelessness can so easily sneak in! And it’s the same when we determine to serve Jesus, not just go to church and leave everything up to the pastor alone. The truth is that we’re never alone… the Holy Spirit is there to make us all able soldiers in Christ’s army. We just have to see him, that is to sense him, be aware of him!
We Christians term ourselves ‘people of faith’… well our particular ‘Today’s Scripture’ reading is Hebrews 11:1 – reminding us that: ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ The Good News Bible puts it this way: ‘To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.’
Our encouragement here is that we truly live out that terminology… that we would exercise faith and fulfil whatever our great commission given us by an expecting Saviour.
In some cases this is an urgent call to remember our calling, to rise up in faith and go forward!
A particular dark night ‘spirit’ victory
I (Robert) once stayed overnight at a friend’s home. Feeling restless after retiring I browsed the bedroom’s bookshelf and came across the most amazing piece of handwritten literature… an old huge volume of on-the-scene experiences of a young WW1 private. Filled with on-the-spot drawings of soldiers and war, one particular chapter detailed the youngster’s (and his brothers-in-arms) fears, confusion and concerns.
The incident gripped me vividly… about a freezing, dark night when certain death faced his little group of outnumbered mates come the dawn when it was known that superior forces would be attacking. Graphically he described a lonely night that was filled with fear, tension and apprehension as they crouched in the terrifying blackness during long trying, uncertain hours.
That ‘night is always darkest before the dawn’ is so true! Men wept openly, praying to the God they weren’t even sure existed, desperately hoping for some kind of miracle.
Then came the dawn. Shouts, battle fire, dense smoke. The enemy horde advanced quickly toward the brave but naturally scared and seemingly doomed petrified little group.
Heavenly ‘ghost army’ help
Then the incredible happened…
Suddenly, just as the outnumbering enemy forces moved in to attack, a mysterious army of what seemed like heavenly soldiers began to appear from nowhere through the smoke and, bypassing those young lads, lunged toward the enemy.
Instant fear fell on the opposing troops, never mind this young man’s brother-in-arms! Dropping weapons the enemy fled and the little group was saved. It was truly incredible, amazing! Shaky, uncertain prayers had been answered!
And just as suddenly as they had appeared the unstoppable ghost army disappeared and a holy reverence fell on the young man and his mates. Had they imagined it? Had it really happened? But there was no other group of kindred soldiers near them. Who, what was that mysterious spirit army?
No one said anything, they just couldn’t speak… but there was an awareness that a miracle had taken place. Up they got and went onward to victory! The dark hours had given way to victory for them despite their fears and the odds.
Spiritual help in our dark hours
We all have them! Dark lonely hours, nights… spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical.
Fear comes in, as does a sense of being alone with no one caring. Doubts lead us to believing lies. Troubles, uncertainties, people not understanding us, sicknesses and unpaid bills always seem worse in the dark hours!
Unlike those brave young men in the tale above, we don’t have a ghost army, a spirit army of helpers… but we have the Spirit, the third person in the godhead! Through Jesus our saviour we Christians can know our caring God, the one we can pray to in trust and hope. We can depend on him and the Holy Spirit who in within us no matter what!
And with the help of Jesus, our commander-in-chief, and the all-powerful ‘ghost’ the Holy Ghost/ Holy Spirit we win through every battle into total victory. The key lies in focusing and looking beyond what we can currently see and sensing the Holy Spirit’s presence, touch and miracle-working power!
The Holy Spirit is our friend! Before he returned to heaven Jesus promised his followers (and that includes us!) this great assistance… ‘I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! I will not leave you orphaned…’ (John 14:16-18Mge).
As we journey forward, onward in all that is life for us, may we always be aware that the invisible Holy Spirit is there beside us, in us, around us… our supernatural friend!
Every day can be a spiritual remembrance day for us! Know it… and flow in victory with his ever-available help.
May we all know our God in meaningful personal, relational ways and move ahead as conquering veteran warriors for Jesus and his kingdom. We can overcome in life and against our satanic enemy!
1John 2:13-14 is such an appropriate scripture: ‘You veterans were in on the ground floor, and know the one who started all this; you newcomers have won a big victory over the evil one. And a second reminder, dear children: You know the Father from personal experience. You veterans know the one who started it all; and you newcomers – such vitality and strength! God’s word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the evil one.’
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan connect is firstname.lastname@example.org. (Scripture and other emphases ours). Relating links: Jim McClure’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2018/11/10/dont-forget-to-remember/ Don’t Forget to Remember! Jeff Bensen’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2018/11/10/fearless-faith/