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The Feast of the Martyrs, the beginning of the Coptic New Year41734 AM


On Monday 11th September our Church celebrates the Feast of the Martyrs, the beginning of the Coptic New Year 1734 AM.  The lives, faith, endurance, sacrifice and courage of the our Forefathers the Martyrs continues to inspire and empower us to hae sound Christian courage.  We need courage in the following fields…..


     1.Courage in the Fight Against Evil
We have to fight against evil wherever it exists, in ourselves, in others and in the whole world.  St. Paul writes to his disciple Timothy, “You my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…you must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.”  (2 Timothy 2:1-4).

In his letter to the Ephesians, he addresses all Christians to, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the full armour of God so that you may be able to make your stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  (Ephesians 6:10-18).

In the book of Song of Solomon, the Lord likens His bride with a brave horse in war saying, “I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots.”  (Song of Solomon 1:9). Again, in the same book, he described His believers saying, “Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it…they all hold swords, being expert in war.  Every man has his sword on his thigh because of fear in the night.”  (Song of Solomon 3:7-8). Although the book of Song of Solomon is a book of love, it depicts the Church of Christ a third time, twice in military attire, saying, “Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun.  Awesome as an army with banners.”  (Song of Solomon 6:4 and 6:10).  Therefore, be courageous and “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21).



2. Courage in Suffering

     Even though each person’s suffering is individual experience, it is possible to find comfort or gain courage from the words of another sufferer.  In situations where human weakness and frailty are most exposed, God’s love is often also most clearly seen.  “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 and Joel 3:10).  “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”  (Romans 5:3-5).


      3.Courage when Fear Strikes
No one can truthfully claim to be a stranger to fear, though some are more vulnerable than others to its attacks.  We may even lie awake, imagining possible disasters.  We have many promises in the Bible concerning God’s care for us and protection of us.  It is good to keep a list of these promises handy, so that we can read them through, prayerfully and thankfully, every time fears and worries begin to fill our minds.  “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  So, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat or what shall we drink?  Or What shall we wear?  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:27-33).  We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.  So, be courageous when fear strikes.


     4.Courage to be Honest
It takes great courage to me honest with oneself; facing up to one’s strengths and weaknesses, responsibilities and conflicts.  We need sometimes to take a good, long honest look at ourselves to find out why we are not progressing to wholeness and maturity.  “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  (Matthew 7:3-5).  We are asked to be honest and “Faithful until death to get the crown of life.”  (Revelation 2:10);  and honesty needs courage, patience and sacrifice.


      5.Courage in Persecution
St. Paul set the general rule when he said, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”  (2 Timothy 3:12).  The Lord Jesus Christ confirmed that by saying, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”  (John 15:20).  Look at the Author and Finisher of our faith, when they insulted Him, He did not retaliate; when he suffered, He made no threats.  Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him “who judges justly.”  (1 Peter 2:23).  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:6,10).


     6.Courage to Overcome Painful Memories
It can require great courage to face the ghosts of the past, but unless we do so, those phantoms may continue to haunt and terrify us.  Perhaps we keep remembering a sin or failure or mistake which we have never really put right, or painful experience which we haven’t altogether come to terms with.  If we truly want to overcome bad memories, God will help us to lay all those sad or guilty ghosts of the past through confession and guidance.  God said, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  (Hebrews 8:12).  “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’”  (Isaiah 30:15).  St. Paul also says in this regard, “One thing I do, forgetting what is behind and looking forward towards what is ahead.  I press towards the goal.”  (Philippians 3:13-14).


     7.Courage to Face Death
If death meant annihilation, nothingness, then it would be true to say that many people suffer fates far worse than death; those whose minds or bodies are racked with pain or horribly impaired through disease or man’s inhumanity to man.  But the Christian does not see death as the end.  Physical death is the end of the time in which we are free to change roads or destinations.  And so what one makes of life determines what one makes of death.  Jesus said to Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die… for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  (John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:22).  Therefore, after the death of Christ and His resurrection, death lost its sting and the grave lost its victory.  Death, to the believer, “became gain and the desire to be with Christ is far better than living in the flesh.”  (Philippians 1:21-23).

Wishing you and your families a blessed and joyous Coptic New Year filled with abundant heavenly grace to have the courage to witness for Christ our Saviour.

COYA Servants

11th September 2012

1 Tute 172


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