A letter from a missionary out in the jungles of New Guinea writing to his friends at home caught the nature of spiritual warfare:
“Man, it is great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old devil’s heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease. He doesn’t waste time on a lukewarm bunch. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up, and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on mourning? No, sir. That’s the time to pull out the stops and shout Hallelujah! The old fellow’s getting it in the neck and hitting back. Heaven is leaning over the battlements and watching. ‘Will he stick with it?’ And as they see who is with us, as they see the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We’re not going to run away. We’re going to stand!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Bobby Leach, an Englishman, startled the world some years ago by his daring feat of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. He came through the experience miraculously unscratched. Some time later, Leach was walking down the street and slipped on a small orange peel. He was rushed to the hospital with a badly fractured leg.
Believers are more frequently brought down by a minor skirmish than by a major battle. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
The story has been told of a mental hospital that many years ago devised an unusual test to determine when their patients were ready to go back into the world. They brought a candidate for release to a room where a water faucet was left on so that the sink overflowed and was pouring water all over the floor. Then they handed the patient a mop and told him to mop up the water. If the patient had enough sense to turn off the faucet before mopping up the water, he was ready to be released. But if, as in the case of many, the patient started mopping while the water was still flowing, they kept the patient for more treatment.
Ad Christians, all of us face the world in which we live and are confronted with the need to do battle with the evil that dominates it. But, like the patients in the mental hospital, until we realize where the source of the evil is, we will make no real contribution. To see less evil in the world means that we must conquer the evil that is pouring forth from our own heart. That is conversion. Then, to deal with the evil around us, we need a “mop and bucket,” the spiritual armor that God has provided for us. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Backward Christian Soldiers
1. Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.
Christ our rightful master
Stands against the foe
Onward into battle, we
seem afraid to go.
Chorus: Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.
2. Like a mighty tortoise
Moves the church of God.
Brothers we are treading,
Where we've often trod.
We are much divided,
Many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, but
Not much charity.
3. Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the cross of Jesus
Hidden does remain.
Gates of hell should never
'gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ's own promise, but
we think it might fail.
4. Sit here then ye people,
Join our sleeping throng.
Blend with ours, your voices
in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease and comfort
Ask from Christ the King,
But with our modern thinking,
We won't do a thing.
Backward Christian soldiers, fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus, nearly out of sight!
Christ our rightful Master, stands against the foe,
But forward into battle, we are loath to go.
Like a mighty tortoise, moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading, where we've often trod.
We are much divided, many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, not much charity.
Crowns and thorns may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus, hidden does remain.
Gates of hell should never, 'gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ's own promise, but think that it will fail.
Sit here, then, ye people, join our useless throng;
Blend with ours, your voices, in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease and comfort, ask from Christ the King.
With our modern thinking, we don't do a thing!
Backward Christian Soldiers...
True story. A Christian leader -- we'll call him Steve --as traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. Guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. "Looks to me like you're memorizing something," he said. "No, actually I was praying," the man said. Steve introduced himself. "I believe in prayer too," he said. "Well, I have a specific assignment," said the man with the goatee. "What's that?" Steve asked. "I'm praying for the downfall of Christian pastors." "I would certainly fit into that category," Steve said. "Is my name on the list?" "Not on my list," the man replied.
Common Ground, Vol. 10 No. 7.
Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us. Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now--before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they're needed.
Craig Brian Larson.
In the Greek Orthodox tradition, the day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes. . . .They felt they were imitating the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the Resurrection. Satan thought he had won, and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, having the last word. So he thought. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation became the last words.
William J. Bausch, Storytelling: Imagination and Faith.