It’s Halloween today in Australia, which traditionally is to celebrate the “Day of the Dead” or the night when pagans believe that the boundary between the realms of the dead and earth are thinner and so more easily accessible. As a result people dressed in scary costumes to masquerade as one of the dead so that the dead and any demonic creatures wouldn’t come near them.
Instead of celebrating the dead and the fear of death, I like to instead honour and acknowledge that today and tomorrow are All Saints Day or All Hallows Day, which celebrates and honours the men and women of faith who have gone before us. In remembering their lives we honour those ordinary people who had overcoming, mountain moving, world changing faith. They inspire, encourage and remind me of what is possible if we have faith and that it’s now our turn to make a mark in the history books. Their stories and lives testify that we are not alone but, “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” who are cheering us on to run our race well. They’re encouraging each one of us to rise to the challenge to make a difference just as they did (Hebrews 12:1-2).
People like Moses who by faith stretched out his staff at God’s command and the waters of the Red Sea were parted freeing millions from imminent slavery and death. By faith Joshua and the people of Israel marched around the great walls of Jericho and they came crashing down. It was by faith Daniel escaped the lions den unharmed, David the teenager won the victory over the giant Goliath and Esther silenced the wicked Haman and rescued her people from certain death.
It was by faith that men like George Muller, trusting only in God cared for and fed thousands of orphans every day without requesting aid or money from any man for over forty years. By faith Hudson Taylor, John and Charles Wesley, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Amy Carmichael, Dwight L. Moody, Charles Finney, Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Sunday and Jacquie Pullinger crossed land and sea, stepped out in faith and often chose to forgo security, family and support to share what Jesus had done for them. (I encourage you to check out their stories)
They shared not about the fear of death but about Jesus’ love, goodness and grace extended to all mankind and how He cares for each and every one of us.
Today, just as those great men and women of faith lived and shared their life with others, I encourage you to celebrate the fact that you are not alone and that Jesus has overcome all evil, sickness and fear. Therefore there is no reason to fear death or the dead. Instead you can determine to step out with Jesus, to make your mark and fulfil your purpose too. Plus Jesus is no “Skinny Jesus” so you can freely go and eat all the chocolate you want.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)
Prayer: Lord thank you for those who have gone before us and remind us of the difference one person can make if they put their hand in the hand of God and step out in faith. Please use me Lord to make an impact in the world and to be used by you too. In Jesus name Amen.