A Devotion for 12 December 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 6 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:12-16 (KJV)
When you read the title to this devotion, you may have presumed the subject was related to the Star Trek TV series, “Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.” That series was, indeed, related to wars in Heaven; but the War in Heaven of which the Bible speaks is not based on any fictional TV series, but a real and spectacular War of Angels and Demons. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9 (KJV)
Many among us may believe that the war referenced in the Book of Revelations ended with the Great Red Dragon (Satan) and his angels being cast down to earth, but it did not! Michael defeated that monster, but the Great Red Dragon has yet to capitulate though his destiny was crushed by the cross of Calvary. He is active in many lands and nations here on earth. One nation even uses his image as their national symbol (Red China). But the devil and his demons are active in every place where human life exists. These are not omniscient to know the heart of a man or woman, but they can certainly observe in real time our every move. They acquaint themselves with our every habit and inclination; and they learn how to best lay a snare of temptation for us in the paths that we trod.
On Thursday mornings, and often other days, I usually stop by a quaint little coffee shop about a block from my office around 6 A.M. This coffee shop is frequented by mostly military flight students, their wives, and one old bishop. They serve excellent coffee of such exotic titles that I can only order ‘regular American coffee.’ They also serve pastries and a really fine breakfast burrito! They also play the best music of any place I have been in the past fifty years – Glen Miller, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin selections to name a few. The name of the shop is ‘Boldly Going.’ I presumed this to be taken from that Star Trek series mentioned earlier; however, this morning, as I slowly drank my coffee and caught up with my emails, I looked around the Army Aviation memorabilia exhibited randomly on the walls. My gaze paused on a sign over the door which read, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16. I was amazed that I had not noticed that earlier. I wondered how many other profound observations I fail to make routinely. I was even more so enamored with that establishment after reading that sign than ever before.
There is something to be said for the attitude of BOLDNESS! An army of devils is hesitant to confront a soldier on the battlefield who is bold and fearless. Being bold presupposes power to handle whatever comes one’s way. I used to have an old mixed breed dog named Smokie. Smokie was half German shepherd and half coyote. He was fearless to threaten the UPS or mailman if they approached the front door. He struck terror in their hearts for he had unused fangs about one and a half inches long which he bared. He loved to walk with my wife and I on our evening stroll. One day as we were passing the training field for the high school football team, Smokie spied a black cat about 100 yards away on that field. He stopped, stiffened his ears, and let out a few gruffy growls. The cat stopped and got very low to the ground. Smokie mistook this for fear. He charged toward the cat barking his head off, but as he got nearer and nearer, the cat did not run. Instead, it crouched lower and lower as if preparing to pounce on the advancing dog. Well, dogs like people have pride. He did not wish to reveal his real cowardly character, so when he got about ten feet from the cat, he veered slightly off course and continued to run and bark as if he were actually after something else – but, I can declare, there was no ‘something else.’
Why was such a ferocious dog cowed by a cat less than one fourth his size? I suggest it was a matter of boldness on the cat’s part defined by his attitude to stand his ground. This same situation happened more than once with Smokie and his arch-enemy, cats. Smokie was a good old dog at home, and he left us at the age of 19 years. I still miss that brave coward.
I wonder how many professing Christians are brave cowards like Smokie – those who evince boldness in time of peace, and shrink from the battle in time of spiritual warfare? What is it about the truly bold Christian that distinguishes him from the mundane professor who will wilt under politically correct influences? I believe it is FAITH – the kind of faith engendered by a strong and undying love for His Lord. There are other distinguishing tendencies of the Christian that often go unmentioned from the modern pulpit. One of those traits of the strong Christian is his inordinate jealousy over the things of the Lord. It may surprise the reader to learn that jealousy is a Godly virtue when directed by a love of God and His people. Even God is a jealous God, “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 6:14-15 (KJV), therefore, His children should bear a Godly jealousy for His Person and work. “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:10 (KJV) Have we not often become jealous for the work of the Lord when we see false prophets and wicked ministers profess lies contrary to His Holy Word? Yes, Elijah was a man of Godly jealousy – so should we be.
Jealousy contributes to make us bold and courageous. But the wrong kind of jealousy can lead to sinful behavior. The motive must match the virtue!
Love will also build up the bold demeanor of a mother for her child, or a man for his wife. Nothing will satisfy the will to defend a loved one more. No threat, no grave danger, nor any device of man can stop a man whose commitment is based on unyielding love.
The War that happened in Heaven is still in progress – it has only been transferred from there to here on earth. We are all commissioned in that Army of God to continue the hostilities against a merciless Dragon whose objective is only to destroy the man that God has made and the Creation upon which he has been placed. The Dragon will attempt to achieve that end by promoting the murder of our most innocent of flesh – the baby in its mother’s womb – by promoting homosexual marriage from which there can be no progeny, by endless and sporadic wars, by man-created famine and disease. These are all in his bag of tricks and more. As soldiers of the cross, we must be trained, equipped, alert and bold to go forth to the battle at whatever point on the line we are committed by our Captain – the Lord Jesus Christ. His ministers are the videttes to inform of enemy movements. If we stand with boldness and fearless courage, the enemy will fade from the line. Unfortunately, the modern church has cringed in the trenches and failed to take the battle to the enemy whose relentless barrage of lies, deceit and lawlessness has only grown more intense due to our failure to stand up as men and women of backbone.
Isn’t it high time that we unsheathed our sabers of Gospel truth, emerged from our dugouts of doubt and fear, and harry the enemy lines at every remunerative point in his battlements? We are more than Conquerors, why not quit ourselves in the manner of conquerors? Defensive dispositions will not suffice – we must be out against the enemy lines and on the persistent offensive to recapture his mal-appropriated real estate. The enemy cannot be conquered from stationary trenches, we must be at his throat and in pursuit of his retreating lines. The Trumpet sounds!