Tuesday, August 5, 2014
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Most Americans weren't around on that D-Day 70 years ago. And even though we weren't, we should be very glad they succeeded when they hit those Normandy beaches. They stopped one of the most powerful threats to freedom in history – Hitler's Nazi Germany.
Steven Spielberg used his cinematic genius to help this generation get a little taste of what that victory cost. The movie "Saving Private Ryan" carried a pretty strong "R" rating because of the brutal D-Day violence it portrayed. I'll tell you this: Hollywood has no rating for how awful it really was.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about D-Day's Battle Cry For Us."
The heroism of the Allied troops who waded ashore that day just defies words. They knew what they were headed for. A beach laced with deadly landmines. Nazi sharpshooters and artillery on the sheer cliffs above, positioned to just mow them down as they hit the beach.
But they still charged into the face of the enemy for a cause greater than themselves. They were some of the greatest of the Greatest Generation. In the words of President Reagan on an earlier D-Day anniversary, "We are all the children of their sacrifice."
But now, 70 years later, I've been profoundly challenged in my personal faith by their sacrifice. Actually, in the words of a correspondent who watched those warriors charge the beach, he said, "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the disregard of it."
That hits me personally. Because there have been too many times when fear has stopped me from doing the right thing, even the life-saving thing. That is the central mission of my faith; the one that caused Jesus to charge onto our "beach" to set us free. Knowing He would die brutally for that Cause. "Jesus, we are all the children of Your sacrifice."
His mission, He said, was to "seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Lost because we had defied the God who made us and become our own god. Running the life He's supposed to run. In the Bible's words, "Each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6), leaving us with this awful eternal death sentence. Which Jesus shed His holy blood to pay so we wouldn't have to. I know that. But the people around me have no idea that what Jesus did on that cross was for them. This is life-or-death information! They've got to hear it.
Then why don't I tell them? Why do so many of my fellow Jesus-followers choke on this life-saving Good News? Fear of what they'll think of me, of them rejecting me, of me messing it up. Do you know all the fears have one thing in common? They're all about me. What will happen to me if I "go in for the rescue?"
Back to D-Day. "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the disregard of it." Sure, you're afraid. But you refuse to let your fear decide what you will do. Because of what's at stake. The greater Cause – someone's forever. That's what I should be afraid of. What's going to happen to them if I don't risk to rescue them, if I let my fear decide what I do. God underscores how urgent our mission is when He says in Jude 23, "Snatch others from the fire and save them."
Even the heroic Apostle Paul had his battles with fear, believe it or not. In our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 2, beginning with verse 2, "I resolve to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling." This is the great Apostle Paul. "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with the demonstration of the Spirit's power."
See, he didn't let his fear decide, even though he was afraid. He still told them about Jesus Christ and Him crucified, because spiritual rescue wasn't about him. It's not about me. It is a demonstration of the Spirit's power. Hallelujah, I don't go in alone! The Hero of eternity's D-Day goes with me.