So few are left who remember first-hand. Dad told us his story time and again–not a legend, but a true chunk of time that legends are made of and one that always kept us spellbound.
He and his buddies were flying through blinding snow, without modern instruments. Asking to take the controls, Dad sat down in the pilot’s seat just in time to swerve the plane, and the five soldiers watched as a mountain went by their plane. One they had almost crashed in to. It was a miracle, though short lived, for a few hours later their plane was hit by shells and crashed over German lines. The Germans had seen the crash, and ran to see if anyone had lived; miraculously they had. Dad told us of the capture, and the beginning of the march in the deep snow. As hours passed, the Americans devised a plan to escape their captors, and again, miraculously, they were able! However, not long afterward they rounded a large rock, where another group of German soldiers were standing. Armed, when Dad’s little company was not, one of the Germans put a pistol to Dad’s head. “Tell us what you are doing here!” Dad knew only enough German to say they had crashed, and were lost. Their fate lay in the hands of God. The Germans conversed, then, rather than killing them there, began marching them toward the nearest concentration camp. Dad had lost one of his boots in the crash, and the snow had built up around his foot. He had just enough body heat to have it form a boot of snow, and although his foot turned black, he did not lose it–another miracle in the midst of many. God alone was their source of strength.
They arrived at the camp, where they were herded in like cattle. Rations were slim even for the Germans; for the others, their meat or protein were the things that crawled on the ground. The snow provided water, along with tiny sips from the well.
Dad was one of the very blessed ones. He had to live in the prison camp only four months when shouts came from far away–General Patton was coming! As the armies started drawing closer, the guards within the camp fired haphazardly at whomever was near, running at the same time to avoid being captured themselves by the army beginning to appear over the hill.
Dad made it home, weighing 85 pounds. He had a little son he had never seen, and a wife who loved him. Almost all of those who served in the WWII are gone now.
Britain was a country where enormous fear had set in as the country was so heavily damaged with so much bombing. To encourage the people, they had 3 posters printed, one of which is seen everywhere nowadays–unknowingly the words that have been on my computer desk for a very long time–to help on those days when the people thought they could not make it through: “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!” Seeing it reminds me of the strength it took for Dad to endure the crash, the capture, the march, the prison camp, the insects for food, and the snow for water. It reminds me to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Get your notebook, click on the link for the sermon preached Sunday, August 21, 2016 at Thomas Road Baptist Church, and listen as Charles Billingsley encourages our hearts with the words of Psalm 46. You can click on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and select the sermon. Get a friend, or group, and do an in-depth study below, or do it on your own. You can make it last for the week, or do it in one day! Enjoy knowing God and His protection as He fights your battles, gives you strength, and helps you “Keep calm and carry on” by being plugged in to Him!
Overcoming Fear with Faith
Frustration can explode when you’re in the middle of a document, only to have your laptop shut down because you forgot to recharge it. Or electricity goes out just as a you’re doing something important! Can you think of a personal example of a problem caused by losing power?
Over the next few weeks, we will examine how our lives are powerless unless we are deeply “plugged in” to Christ Jesus, walking in faith daily. We will look at the fear that can enter our thoughts and hearts as we are bombarded with chaos on every hand, until we remember that we know the source of true power: it is God and God alone.
Think About or Discuss:
- Read Psalm 46:1-11. What is the central lesson this Psalm teaches? Keep your notebook handy to write down thoughts that come to your mind.
- As you read the Psalm, what did the words speak to your heart?
- It is said of the great theologian, Martin Luther, when he heard discouraging news, that he would say, “Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm!” Why do you think that was?
- In verse 10, what are some meanings of the word “be”? Does it indicate action?
- Everyone knows what it means to be “still,” but why is it so difficult to actually do it? If God tells us to “be still,” He considers it extremely important. What are some of the meanings you consider for the phrase “be still”? (They will be listed at the end.)
- God continues to tell you why He desires that you “be still.” What does He tell you next? What would God mean by “know”?
- Why is it so important that you know the heart of God?
- As you think of your family or friends, what makes the difference between knowing them, and being acquainted with them? Why does this Psalm illustrate the importance of knowing Him intimately?
That I AM God
- If you remember the recent sermons on the life of Moses, God called Himself the “I AM.” What are some of the characteristics of God being “I AM”?
- What does God want for you in this Psalm? How does that help you define “Who” He is? Why should that bring you tremendous peace in the midst of the trouble and fear of today’s world?
An old hymn says “trials dark on every hand.”* That so well sums up our world. Everyone is besieged by busyness or electronics wherever you turn. As you enter this new week, think how these things take your time away from knowing God better. What activities can you omit in order to spend time alone with Him, and actually “Be Still”? Pray for the discipline you need in order to hunger and thirst to really KNOW God. When you recognize His unparalleled power, you will realize you have no reason to fear anything, for He has your back. Thank Him continually for the good things He has done in your life! This week, ask Him to show you ways to know Him more intimately, and overcome those times when you find yourself living in fear.
Memory Verse: Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Focal Passage: Psalm 46:1-11.
Memorable Quotes: “Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm!” Martin Luther 1483-1546); “In the presence of power, fear subsides.” Charles Billingsley
*Song: “We’ll Understand It Better By and By,” lyrics by Charles Albert Tindley
Contemplate: “Be”: to exist; “Still”: to cease striving; to abandon; practice solitude, detach daily; leaving anything that takes our focus away from God; “And Know”: knowledge at the deepest level (Jeremiah 29:13); “that I AM God”: from Greek Elohim; He is always in the present, and He holds the future in His hands. To Him is all power, honor, majesty, glory and much, much more.