Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Battles of War...

Iwo Jima, Japan 1945 - They fought for 36 days over an island made of 8 square miles of volcanic rock. It was a foothold, a large step in their strategy. 6800 died, over 19,000 were wounded. Their plan was to attack & win. The fought an enemy that they could not see, as the Japanese fought from trenches and underground passages. They were sitting targets, but they pressed on. Six men climbed Mt. Suribachi together, carrying a flag that weighed over 100 lbs. Their Sargent went with them. The order was to hoist the flag so every Marine on the island could see it. It was a symbol of victory for this battle, and hope for the future. New York City, 2001 - The end of the world as we knew it. Three New York City firefighters, raising a flag in the midst of desolation and despair. The colors of the flag stand brilliant against the gray backdrop of rubble. Again, it was a symbol of hope for the future of not only the city, but of the United States. It sent a message to all - We are still proud, we are not broken, we will press on, we will not give up.
These two pictures are universally known. When you see them, you know when they happened, you know the circumstances surrounding the events, but you don't always know the people in the picture. The flag raisers at Iwo Jima were Sargent Michael Strank, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, & John Bradley. The firefighters at Ground Zero were George Johnson, Dan McWilliams, & Billy Eisengrein.I can tell you these names, but unless you are related to them, you most likely will not remember them.
However, there is another picture that is well known. And although it alters slightly, different angles, and different artists, it is still a symbol that has stood through much trial, as a symbol of freedom. That is a picture of Christ on the cross. My King crucified that I might live. We know His name, and He is known all over the world
At this very time, we are at war. I'm not talking about the United States anymore. I'm talking about myself, and the Christians around me. If we are not fighting the daily battles, we are losing. Japan's strategy at Iwo Jima, was to kill 10 US soldiers before being killed. Their plan was not to win, but to be a detriment to the US forces. They planned to fail. If you are not planning to win, you are planning to fail. Their is no middle ground.
The Sargent and his men carried the 100 lb flag to the top of the mountain to plant it so all could see, who's control the island was under. Christ as our Sargent is helping us climb the mountains in our lives. Am I winning the battle against self, that is hesitant to show to the world who's control my life is under? Am I willing, like the flag at ground zero, to stand out against a backdrop of sin & spiritual death & destruction? To put Christ out there, through me, that others can see the victory He is helping me to gain, and the hope He gives to others?
At Iwo Jima, those men, represented the United States, at Ground Zero, the firefighters represented our strength and resolve. As Christians, we are ambassadors (authorized messenger or representative) of Christ. Am I showing a clear picture of who Christ is?
Ephesians 6:12-20a
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20For which I am an ambassador.

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