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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Committed to God MARCH 7


And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. Neh. 6:11.

There is :t spirit of courage in these words. Nehemiah wits rebuilding the walls and setting up the gates of Jerusalem. He was opposed by foes within and without-Sanballat the Moabite, Tobiah the Ammonite, Geshem the Arabian, and others. They charged him with treason before the Persian king. They tried to kill him. They bribed it false prophet to deliver a message supposedly from God in order to stop the building program. He rejected all this and said, "I will not run. I will not come down."

There are few virtues we admire more than courage born of clear convictions of the truth and the will of God. There are few things we despise more than cowardice and selfishness in such situations. Christian courage never trembles before men. Love of the truth never betrays personal integrity. It is only selfishness that grasps at personal gain that denies the faith.

What are we supposed to do in it difficult situation? We admire at man who faces terminal cancer with it brave heart and confident faith. A man is crippled by an accident, but he can do nothing about it. He is a Christian. He sees everything in the light of Christ's suffering for him, accepts what life brings to him, refuses all expressions of self-pity. Such people are much to be admired.

In Nehemiah's case it was not that inevitable. He could have quit in face of the opposition. But he was quite prepared to make sacrifice inevitable because of his convictions.

Christ promises us power, courage for every situation. His power transcends every other kind of power known to man. Christ is not just someone to be admired, but to be followed. The most magnificent act of courage the world has seen was our Lord's commitment to go to the cross to save us all. He could have refused it. He could have stayed in Galilee and not gone to Jerusalem at all. No Roman soldier would have gone looking for Him. He was under no external compulsion. His decision was absolutely free.

Christian courage is marked by a loftiness and a Firmness that distinguishes it from any kind of moral compromise.

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