For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Tim. 4:6-8)
“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. (II Chr. 20:15b)
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Marylois and I are here with family to mourn the passing of her younger brother Joe. He left us for eternity earlier this week after a short illness, due to complications following brain surgery for a hematoma. Joe was an accomplished airline pilot, with over 22,000 accident-free flight hours on all types of aircraft including the DC-10. Joe also was a committed Christian who loved the Lord. He like Paul, fought a good fight in his last illness and finished the race. Joe’s race in life was more like running through an obstacle course.
The hardest challenge in an obstacle course that I faced as a Naval officer in training was the ten-foot wall. You could not climb over it by yourself, you had to have help. This was to encourage teamwork. One man would form a step with his hands and let the other man place his foot in it. This added lift would enable that person to reach the top of the wall. Then the person on the top, would reach over and grab the hand of the person standing below and pull him up. Joe faced his last obstacle this week, the wall of death. But he did not surmount it alone. Jesus who is the lifter of our heads was there already to pull him up. Joe finished his race and received the crown of righteousness, a crown that is given to all who love Jesus appearing.
On the morning my brother-in-law passed away, we were leaving the hospice where he spent his final five days. As we were driving away, we saw an amazing sight in the sky above. Three waves of four air force jet planes, twelve in total, flew in tight formation roared over our heads. We were simply “gob smacked” as the English say. I felt they were a heavenly escort of angels taking Joe’s spirit to the Father’s House. We could only praise God, for this salute.
Israel, A Battleground
Scripturally, the phrase “I have fought the good fight” in Paul’s writings refers to a race, but it could also be interpreted to mean “I have waged a good warfare.” What is a “good warfare?” The battle in which you emerge victorious. The nation of Israel is a country that has experienced much warfare before and after becoming the homeland of the Jewish people. I have in my twenty-two years living in this land, had numerous opportunities to stand on ancient and past battlefields.
If you were with me on a House of Peace “Battlefield tour”, we would first go to Emek Bakka, the “Valley of Tears”, a site in the Golan Heights where 50 Israel Centurion Tanks held off 500 Syrian Tanks for three days, during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. During this time the nation was able to call up sufficient reserves to defeat the invading armies. The courage demonstrated by the Israel forces in this location, saved the nation. Remnants of the battle are still there today, with destroyed tanks kept as memorials. These Israelis soldiers had waged “a good warfare.”
The first Kibbutz established in the pre-State of Israel was Degania in 1910. The Kibbutz is located near the southern part of the Lake of Galilee. Degania was attacked in 1948 by a large column of Syrian forces. During the battle, a number of Syrian Renault 35 tanks approached the main gate of the Kibbutz. Defeat for the Israeli defenders was certain, as they were running out of ammunition and reinforcements were blocked. Yet, a brave team of defenders scored a direct hit on the leading tank with an armored piercing shell, knocking it out. Seeing this the rest of the Syrian forces abruptly retreated, thus saving the Kibbutz and the Southern Galilee region from Syrian control. Today, the destroyed tank remains, positioned where it fell, directly in front of the Kibbutz’s entrance. The “Kibbutzniks” had waged a good warfare. When I happen to visit this place, I tell those I tour with that the enemy in this case was defeated at the gates, which serves as an excellent spiritual lesson for our own lives. Never give up. When the enemy comes in your life like a flood, believe God to raise up a standard that will defeat your foe.
Ancient Beersheva or “Well of the Oath” is located in the center of the Negev Desert. Today the “Tel” or ruins of it, is surrounded by the modern-day city of Beersheva. During World War I, this strategic hill, which has a commanding view of the surrounding area, was occupied by Turkish troops dug into trenches and reinforced with machine gun. A daring late afternoon charge by the Australian Light Horse Brigade over-ran these fortified positions, thus securing a British victory and opened the way for the eventual defeat of all the Ottoman Forces. These brave men also waged a good warfare, and their break-through victory is still celebrated yearly at this site.
The Valley of Elah
At the base of the Judean foothills, lies the ancient battlefield where David faced Goliath. No memorials or statues grace this site today, but it is easily identifiable from Biblical descriptions of the site. Here David gathered five smooth stones, and using one defeated the hero of the Philistines. You can travel there today and gather your own stones from the very same creek that David found them, so as to defeat your giants. You could say with God’s help, David waged a good warfare.
Golgotha or “the place of the skull,” as the Bible identifies it, lies today as in Christ’s time “outside the gates of Jerusalem. I take my guests here, to tell them, that this is the place where Jesus defeated Satan, sin, death, and hell. This place, near the Garden Tomb was where our Lord poured out His blood, so we may have life everlasting. Here, Christ gave his life, but emerged from this spiritual battle victorious. To me, Golgotha is the greatest battlefield on earth, a place where Jesus waged a “good warfare.”
The lessons we can learn regarding Paul’s word to Timothy in Chapter Four, is to “fight the good fight” despite what life throws at us and keep the faith. He who is faithful will surely do what He has promised. Remember, the battle is the Lord’s not ours.
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace