Saturday, December 30, 2017

Prisoner of War

In Concentration camps, throughout Germany, rumors circulated that the Allies had come to the rescue.  It wouldn't be long and this war would be over and the horrors that millions had suffered would be a memory, instead of a constant living hell.  Rumors, whispers were enough to give some hope to stay alive, but for others it wasn't enough, day after day, people searched for ways to end it all.   It doesn't take long for the reality of your daily misery to make you forget all the joy behind you and the hope of the future set before you.

Imagine with me, day after day, of fear, starvation, human suffering to a degree I pray to never fully understand.  The atrocities and humiliation of prisoners of war, you can only know if you have experienced it.   The misery of always thinking and hoping this would be your last day...  This has been your reality so long you aren't sure you have the strength to believe you will be rescued from this hell.  But you've heard the rumors.  You want to hope, but day after day it's the same...  you're a prisoner of war, in the camp of your enemy.

Searching the skies, listening for a distant rumble, waiting.   You've heard the rumors, THE WAR IS OVER.  The enemy has been defeated.  The Allies have WON... but where is the rescue.  Who will set the captives free?

It's been more than 2000 years since we heard "THE WAR IS OVER."  Mark's gospel (good news) heralds "Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

"Jesus went through Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: The time is fulfilled, and the KINGDOM OF GOD has come near." Mark 1:15

On the cross, our Savior, delivers the death blow to our enemies.  His ultimate act of war, having risen from the grave, conquering death...  He ascends to his throne as the reining King of kings.

But, we are still on enemy turf.  The enemy has been defeated, but we're still down here waiting to be rescued.

The Bible tells us that we are in a war.  From the beginning to the end the Bible is an epic, a saga, a chronicle of the war that is being played out until the Reigning King comes to claim his people.

In ancient times the conquering king would send out heralds to the cities with the "gospel" - the good news... "We have fought for you, we have won, and now you're no longer slaves; you're free."  -Timothy Keller.

Jesus the conquering King had defeated the enemy and he has sent out the good news through the Gospels...  We are His now.  We are free now.  He is coming to take us home soon.

Getting personal though and to be honest...  I feel like one of those prisoners in the enemy camp.  I hear the rumors.  I keep hoping I will see the rescue, but sometimes I can't see past this camp.   I have a hard time believing there is an rescue coming.

The enemy is so good at psychological warfare.  Yes, I believe there is a real spiritual enemy.  He has many names in the Bible; satan, the devil, Lucifer, the serpent...but his most telling name is the "father of lies".  He is the master deceiver.  He knows how to steal hope and kill joy.  From the beginning he cast suspicion on God's character and lures God's people away from him.  He continues to the same thing today.

Over the loud speaker of our minds he screams lies to make us doubt all that God has told us through his Word.  I feel like I am in a constant battle to hold onto and believe what I know to be true....  Jesus is my Savior, He is coming again, and He is preparing a place for me.

Christian, this is a war and we are still on the battlefield.  We are fighting the battle to Believe... We are fighting constantly to hold on to the ground that we have gained through faith.

The Bible tells us that satan is the "god of this age" 2 Cor. 4:4 and the "prince of the power of the air" Eph. 2:2, and "ruler of this world" Eph. 12:31.  As long as we are in this world we are deep in enemy territory.  This place is not our home, but let us hold on to and remember that we do have a home.  We all feel and know that this place doesn't feel right.  Eternity has been set in our hearts.  We have a longing for that place.  We may still be fighting battle, but the War has already been won.  As we are waiting to be rescued, let us not give up on what we know to be true.  The KING is coming.  The stories that we have heard are true.  Keep the hope alive.

Corrie Ten Boom, a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, suffered the same atrocities as others, however, she was able to keep her hope alive during her imprisonment, by reading a small pocket Bible she had been able to sneak into the camp.  She and her sister Betsie held worship services in their barracks with other women.   Corrie Ten Boom said that when they opened that Bible they "would hear the LIFE-GIVING words passed along the aisles in French, Polish, Russian, Czech, and back into Dutch.  They were little previews of heaven, these evenings beneath the light."

Heaven is never more real to us than when we suffer on earth.  If you are going through a hard time, maybe you're ready to give up the fight, you're tired of holding on...  you're not sure if you even believe all this anymore.. grab your sword, open it up and refresh your soul again with the words of life.  Drink deeply of the life giving Word of God and believe that your King is Coming, the War is over... we're just waiting for the rescue.

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