(In the fall of
2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a
beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard
province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many
ways, and some of the lessons we learned are outlined in this series
that appeared sporadically through the fall of 2018 and the
winter/spring of 2019...
The name of the tiny town was St. Joseph du Moine, located in the Acadian (French) section of Cape Breton. If it hadn't been for the sign marking the entrance to the community, however, we might not have realized that this was a community at all...Until we came to the church, that is...
The church of St. Joseph, a Roman Catholic parish, is located just off the main highway. Since most churches in the region were built in the 19th century, what caught our attention was the fact that this was a modern structure. We decided to stop for a visit, and while my husband snapped pictures of the beautiful sanctuary, my attention was drawn to the model of an old church on display in the foyer. Ever curious as to why there was a modern church building in such an old town, I made my way over to investigate. Here is what I would learn...
The church of St. Joseph du Moine, originally built in the 19th century, was founded on miracles. At the time it was decided that a church should be built, there was, apparently, a major storm at sea; and when the wind and waves calmed, the beach was littered with just enough drift wood to construct the original church building. Some years later, the presiding priest asked each family in the small fishing community to donate the proceeds from one day's catch towards the purchase of a church bell. The catch that day set community records and was just enough for the bell.
Miracles didn't provide them with the protection they needed from fire, however. It was the middle of the night in the middle of winter when the blaze began. The closest fire brigade being 10 km away, the entire structure was completely ablaze before they could arrive. A few years later, the modern church we stood in was built to replace it.
As we drove away from that building, we couldn't help but notice the building that now stands beside the church: The regional fire hall...
Our lives as Christians are much like the history of the Church in St. Joseph du Moine. We have been saved in miraculous ways. We were bought with a price, justified, sanctified, loved and spoiled by the God of the universe. But just like that original church building was vulnerable to fire, we are also vulnerable. Temptation, problems, addictions, etc. abound, to the point that the Bible describes it as such: "The devil...prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8b NLT).
So often we cave to those attacks of the enemy, and when help arrives, we are already completely engulfed in the addictions, the sin, the circumstances. Wouldn't it be nice if someone would build a spiritual "fire hall" next to us, so that whenever the enemy's fire approaches, we are prepared?
The good news is: We can have that spiritual "fire hall". During those moments when our enemy's attack is the fiercest, we can cry out to the God of Angel Armies: "God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us." (Ps. 46:1-3 MSG. See also vs. 7,11).
Perhaps it would also be nice to not be quite so "flammable", so likely to fall into the traps of the devil. This is exactly what the Bible advises: "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." (Eph. 6:10-11 NLT).
What do you say? Will you join me in staying alert? In putting on the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, the Belt of Truth? Will you join me in taking up the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit? Will you stand alert? For when you do, then you are protected against the archenemy of our souls.
(If you need help in knowing how to put on the armour of God, why not check out the series "Armour of God" that was recently published in the Nugget? You can do so by clicking here.)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click here.)