From the Editress...
It was a grey, dreary day, and the tired crowd politely applauded as Edward Everett finished his lengthy oration and stepped down. It was November 19, 1863, and the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg was in progress. Now a tall figure, dressed in black, stepped forward and faced the crowd. In a calm, gripping voice, he began to speak: "Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation..."
His name was Abraham Lincoln, the president who guided the United States through one of its most disturbing periods, the War Between the States. Thousands of soldiers gave their lives, fighting against their own countrymen. Lincoln's famous "Gettysburg Address" is a touching tribute to those who died in battle, and a ringing challenge to those who remained.
Today, the whole world is engaged in a fierce battle - it is not a war fought with guns or planes or ships, but the combat of good against evil; the love of Christ against the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:10-12). Each person must take a part in this battle, choosing to fight for God or for Satan (Joshua 24:15).
As in any combat, there are casualties. Through the years, thousands of Christians have given their lives for the sake of Christ. Hebrews 11:32-38 gives us a glimpse of what some have gone through. It is thrilling to read about such martyrs as Stephen and other first-century Christians, Jim Elliot, John and Betty Stam, and Cassie Bernall. But if we were in their places, what would we do?
Abraham Lincoln's words come down to us through the years, as noble and inspiring as they were to the soldiers in 1863:
"It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of [spiritual] freedom..."
Will you take up the challenge? Today, let's resolve to serve the Lord, whatever it takes! Let's "put on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). With His strength, we can face whatever lies ahead! Onward, Christian soldiers!
A fellow warrior,