Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: Fear No Evil
By Dolores Stohler
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Her body was in a weakened state this morning as she prepared for church, due to the fast, but it was her morning to serve and she was never one to shirk her duty. She checked her email before she left and received a shock. “Oh, Lord, there’s been a shooting in Arvada!” she exclaimed. Not many details. Do they have a suspect? she wondered, as she read the brief message. A thousand questions filled her mind as she drove to church. Silently, she prayed for the safety of her own church family.
Later, with the noonday service ended, Jeanne stood near the entrance to the worship center, watching the crowd file out. She alerted herself for trouble, though she never expected it.
The scene changed suddenly as people who’d left the church returned in a rush. She heard women scream hysterically. Bedlam ensued as the pop, pop, sound of a handgun echoed throughout the foyer. It was Jeanne’s worst nightmare but she remained calm as she made her way swiftly down the hall towards the commotion. Then she saw him--a man in a black trench coat, wearing combat boots and armed to the teeth with weapons. People were scattering right and left as they ran for safety. Still moving towards the gunman, Jeanne sought cover and crouched, her own gun at the ready..
“Holy Spirit, please be with me,” breathed Jeanne over and over again as she worked her way toward the shooter. Seeing her come, one man tried in vain to distract the gunman so he wouldn’t see her advance. She was close enough to shoot now, wondering how many people were dead or injured before the gunman entered the foyer. She had to act fast! Confronting the intruder, she leveled her handgun and yelled, “I’m the security guard. Raise your hands or I shoot!” The startled man took aim at her but Jeanne was faster. She fired her gun and took him out. “And my hand didn’t even shake,” she marveled later.
Does courage count as a spiritual gift? I rather believe it does. Consider the heroes of the Bible such as David, Daniel, Moses, Paul. And there were women, too: Ruth, Esther, Mary, Deborah. All of those we regard with awe were endowed with a wonderful courage, as well as strength of character. Or maybe it was their courage that made them stand out. If the church in America is to remain a pillar of strength, then all of us who call Him Lord must stand up and confess Him. We mustn’t allow the faith of our founding fathers to die before the onslaught of materialistic liberalism that is fast claiming the populace of America. His Spirit will guide us to victory.
The Rev. Brady Boyd, pastor of New Life Church, confessed in an interview that the words of the 23rd Psalm kept running through his mind these past few days: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NIV)
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