It's Halloween today in Australia, which traditionally means to celebrate the "Day of the Dead" or the night when pagans believe that the boundaries between the realms of the dead and earth are thinner and more easily accessible. As a result, people traditionally dressed in scary costumes to masquerade as one the dead so that any demonic creatures wouldn't come near them.
Instead of celebrating the dead and the fear of death, I like to remember 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 with overcoming, mountain-moving, world-changing faith who inspire, encourage and remind us of what is possible if we have faith. Their stories and lives testify that we are not alone but "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses" cheering us on to run our race well. (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 Jericho's great walls, and they came crashing down.
It was by faith Daniel escaped the lion's 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 and how He cares for everyone.
Today, just as these men and women of faith lived and shared their life with others, I encourage you to remember that you are not alone and that Jesus has overcome all evil, sickness and fear. There is no reason to fear death or the dead. Instead, you can determine to step out with Jesus, make your mark, and fulfil your purpose.
"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 will step out in faith. In Jesus name Amen.