Behind Enemy Lines

Image by Defence-Imagery from Pixabay

We all love stories of rescues from behind enemy lines, don’t we?

There’s something thrilling about the courage of soldiers who risk their lives penetrating hostile territory for the sole aim of retrieving a fellow soldier who is trapped there.

Perhaps you’ve seen movies like “Behind Enemy Lines” or “Saving Private Ryan,” both of which feature storylines of military units launching search and rescue missions into enemy territory to retrieve one of their own soldiers.

We admire the willingness of soldiers to potentially sacrifice their own lives to save another’s. They deserve our utmost respect.

But did you know that God goes “behind enemy lines” to save people, too?

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Sounds Like Paradise

Image of New Zealand by Lars_Nissen from Pixabay

Right now, living in countries like New Zealand sounds like a sort of paradise to the rest of the world.

Some island nations have been able to beat back the novel coronavirus to the point where life is almost back to normal.

People in those countries can once again attend concerts, go out to restaurants or to church, return to their workplaces, and hug their friends and family.

They can pretty much go about their pre-pandemic lives.

For those of us living in countries still battling second or third waves of COVID-19, life in places like New Zealand seems like a dream.

We hope that one day maybe life will be like that for us, too: we long for a world where there are no more restrictions, suffering or death due to COVID-19.

In essence, we all yearn for a release from “bondage,” don’t we?

But even when we’ve been able to put the novel coronavirus in the rear-view mirror, this ache for freedom won’t quite go away.

Why?

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My Secret Is Finally Out!

Image by philm1310 from Pixabay

Are you a secret cookie dough eater?

Many of us learned as youngsters that raw cookie dough can taste even better than baked cookies. As adults, some of us will sneak a spoonful or two of cookie dough when we’re baking, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

For some of us, however, our addiction to raw cookie dough is rather more extensive. We have a particular problem resisting those tubes of uncooked cookie dough that you can buy in the refrigerated sections of grocery stores.

When we were kids, our Mom would buy a tube of dough and put it in the fridge, but it would mysteriously disappear before she had a chance to bake it.

As adults, our addiction to this surreptitious habit continued. We’d sometimes eat an entire tube of dough without baking a single cookie for our families.

Last summer, the Pillsbury company finally acknowledged what many of us have known for decades: their raw cookie dough tastes darn good, and people can’t resist it. So they’ve developed a formula that is safe to eat raw.

Pillsbury Cookie Dough tubes now state on the label: “Eat or Bake.”

Fellow cookie dough eaters: our secret is finally out!

And yes, I’m admitting that I’ve been a surreptitious cookie dough eater, too. There, I’ve said it.

Frankly, it’s a relief to have it out in the open. It feels liberating to finally admit my secret “sin.”

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In Dependence Day

Image by Linnaea Mallette, Publicdomainpictures.net

This weekend, my neighbours south of the border celebrate their nation’s birthday.

July 4th is known as Independence Day for our American friends. There is much to admire about their yearning for freedom and their hard-won independence.

On the whole, independence is a good thing. We try to foster independence in our children, and rejoice when they’re finally able to do tasks for themselves, such as tying their own shoelaces or making their own beds (although some teenagers never seem to master this one).

But as Christians, we have a slightly different take on independence. We’re called to live “in dependence” on God, not independent of Him.

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Break Your Four-Minute Mile

Last October in Vienna, Kenyan Olympic champion Eluid Kipchoge made history. He became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, a feat that had long seemed impossible.

After running the 26.2 mile course in one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds, Kipchoge drew comparisons to Sir Roger Bannister. Bannister was the Briton who in 1954 became the first person to run one mile in under four minutes, an achievement also once thought to be unattainable.

Kipchoge said something very significant after his race: “I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.”

Why did he say that? Because Kipchoge knew that a funny thing had happened after Bannister’s victory: other people began breaking the four-minute mile as well. They suddenly saw that it was possible, and were inspired to believe that if Bannister could do it, so could they. The barrier he broke for people was just as much a mental one as a physical one.

Do you have a “four-minute mile” in your life? Are there things you would like to achieve, but you feel they’re impossible?

Take courage, because God specializes in breaking barriers!

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Solidarity With the Persecuted Church

Photo by Imagens Cristas on Flickr
CC BY-NC 2.0

For those of us who are regular church-goers, the cessation of regular worship gatherings due to the coronavirus has been wrenching.

With churches shuttered temporarily, the children’s and youth activities, Bible studies, and men’s and women’s groups that they housed have had to close down along with them. Sure, some churches have switched to live-streamed Sunday services and online gatherings, but we’re not able to meet in person to worship or fellowship like we used to.

We probably feel a little hard done by, don’t we?

But there’s one group of Christians for whom these sorts of restrictions have long been an all too familiar reality:

The Persecuted Church.

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Feline Prison Break

Photo by Mark Turnauckas on Flickr CC BY 2.0

Did you hear about the “prison break” at a Houston, Texas animal shelter recently?

A cunning criminal had been opening the heavy door of the senior cats’ enclosure for several nights in a row, setting the captives free to roam the shelter. Each morning, workers at the Friends for Life Animal Rescue would arrive to find the door mysteriously opened, and would have to wrangle the 15 cats back into their room.

The staff were stumped at who could be responsible for the feline jail break. It was only when they looked at footage from the building’s security cameras that they were able to crack the case.

The identity of the culprit came as a shock.

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When The Wall Came Down

“The Fall of the Berlin Wall–November 1989” by Gavin Stewart CC 2.0

Ever wonder if there’s a world out there beyond your imagination?

Citizens of the former East Germany got a partial answer to this question thirty years ago when the Berlin Wall began to be dismantled on November 9, 1989.

Those who had been trapped behind the wall for decades were suddenly able to travel to West Berlin and visit parts of Germany they hadn’t seen in almost a generation.

What they saw there astonished them.

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Spot The Mistake

View from D-Day Landing Craft, June 6, 1944

On Remembrance Day in Canada (Veterans Day in the US), we remember the servicemen and -women who lost their lives to ensure the freedom we cherish so deeply today.

The numbers are staggering: it’s estimated that over 400,000 U.S. military personnel lost their lives during World War II. The US National D-Day Memorial Foundation estimates that over 4,000 Allied servicemen lost their lives on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) alone.

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