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The Real Enemy

“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.” Philippians 3:17-18 NLT

Can you believe it? This is Memorial Day weekend. Many of us will appreciate a day off tomorrow (Monday) because our Nation will be honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedom. Sadly, this year will be limited in celebratory scope because of the hidden enemy known as the coronavirus. Most community celebrations have been canceled. One of the new responsibilities and pleasures I have taken on is to host the Memorial Day Service at the Hawthorne Parkview Cemetery. It is an amazing privilege to able to share about men and women who paid the ultimate price to provide us the blessings of liberty and freedom we daily experience. Many of you don’t know my grandfather and my step-grandfather from Germany both fought in World War II against the Americans. That places me in a unique predicament but a great perspective comes from my family history. As we consider the verses penned by the Apostle Paul never forget at one time he too was an enemy of the cross. There were several German soldiers who were followers of Jesus and had no choice as to whether or not they could serve in the German Army. For each of us in 2020, one of the most important things we can do is make the right choices as it relates to who is the real enemy of the gospel right now. It’s not the people who are panicking about COVID 19, it’s not even Dr. Fauci, or the people who want to try to shame us because we choose to start living “somewhat normal” again. Our fellowship will use common sense and follow WEDC & CDC guidelines as we ramp up our regular activities and outreach. Hopefully one day, those who are not followers of the cross will realize that Jesus Christ is the only hope for this life and the life to come. God allows things in the natural to help us understand what his Son did for us on the cross. Hear me clearly, the people who disagree with what we are doing are not the enemy. Even the unseen virus is not the enemy. The apostle Paul is no longer the enemy, my relatives in Germany are not the enemy, the people who may not like our decision to re-open are not the enemy. Memorial Day weekend is a great example, where we gather around gravestones and honor those who lived out reckless love what the Bible calls greater love. One day we will look back at this occasion whether it’s here on earth or from Heaven and we will remember that the enemy of the cross has always been the Devil and his agenda. Sometimes I wonder about my own life...if I can live to the extent of remembering who the real enemy is we battle. One of the markers of spiritual maturity being active in our life is found in putting other people’s needs above your own. Rest assured I take great caution with this unseen enemy virus. Yet my responsibility to shepherd the flock, which God has given me to lead, requires wisdom and not being guided by fear. We don’t always consider our interest as the highest priority. We consider the needs of others, and not just your spouse or children, but those around us. If you’re thinking about your own life… take a few minutes this Memorial Day weekend to consider what you have done to put the needs of others above your own. When was the last time your comfort, your desires, and your aspirations took second place and you chose to live like Jesus and go after the real enemy?

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