Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Facing decisions - Crossroads

Pictures used by permission of Unsplash 

The classic World War II movie ‘The Longest Day’ portrays one of the clever military strategies of the German army. After the Allies had taken the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, their orders were to assemble in the town of St. Mere-Eglise in France. When they saw the sign for St. Mere-Eglise, naturally they proceeded in that direction. There was only one problem: The Germans had turned the sign to point in the opposite direction.

Unknowingly, the Allied forces confidently followed the sign and started marching toward the German trap. The hero of the Allied forces, played by John Wayne, showed up just in time to rescue them from certain destruction. One glance at his compass told him they were heading for disaster. “Hey, where’s everybody going?” he shouted. “Am I the only one here with a compass? It’s east; it’s east. Somebody moved the sign!”
It is an old trick, but in our spiritual lives Satan continues to use it against us with great success. He turns the signs pointing to ultimate victory and a great final destiny toward the defeating attitudes of fear, despair, and hopelessness. Jesus, on the eve of His death, wanted to prepare His friends for the battle ahead. He knew that the disciples would be confused and disoriented by the enemy, so He lovingly assured them of victory and pointed them toward their final destination, heaven. He has done the same for us. He assures us that regardless of the forces that might come against us today, heaven is just ahead and the victory is ours!

Jesus won the victory on “D-Day” when He died on the cross for us. At that point it was His intention to set our hearts on heaven. Keeping our eyes on heaven means that regardless of what we face, we know where we are headed. Heavenward travellers proceed with the confidence that all the difficulties of the journey are merely temporary and well worth the pain in light of the ultimate and eternal joy of our destination. 

However, we need to beware because Satan wants nothing more than to distract and disorient our hearts. He craftily points the sign toward feelings of inadequacy and defeat. He masks the signs pointing to guilt and regret with slick invitations to seduction and compromise. 

In fact, many of his distractions claim that heaven is really the here and now if only we will engage in a little out-of-bounds pleasure or in living to increase our stacks of stuff. When we think we have achieved heaven here in this world, the enemy has won the day. 

Take heart it is not too late to get back on track. Jesus holds the compass, and He knows that to follow Satan’s clever shifting of the sign is to walk right into the trap of Satan’s destruction. He knows the territory well and is calling us to follow Him all the way to heaven—the ultimate destination of eternal fulfilment and joy! So as we face another New Year ahead - hear Him shouting to our hearts: “Hey, you’re going the wrong way! Follow me!”

John Keys was born and educated in Chester. On completion of his schooling, he was assistant organist at Chester Cathedral for 3 years, before becoming an organ scholar at New College, Oxford. He wrote this simple, yet very appropriate children’s chorus which I remember singing as a child in Sunday School back in the 1950s.

I met Jesus at the crossroads, 
Where the two ways meet, 
Satan too was standing there, 
And he said, “Come this way, 
Lots and lots of pleasures, 
I will give to you today.” 
But I said, “No, there’s Jesus here; 
See what he offers me, 
Down here - my sins forgiven 
Up there - a home in heaven.” 
Praise God! That’s the way for me.

Used by permission of Messages with Meaning (28/12/21)
Written by Peter Francis 

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