Sunday, August 01, 2010

2010 – August 1 – I Can’t Help Myself

Bogger’s Note: New Month, … new day, … new opportunities to share Christ and His truth with others.

Study from God’s Word Jeremiah, Chapters 17 - 20 … Passage for Reflection: Jeremiah 20: 8 – 9 … NIV 8 Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

My Journal for Today: When I read and study through these chapters of Jeremiah’s book, I really get a sense of the humanity, yet the humility, of this “weeping prophet,” chosen by God to bring a message to His recalcitrant, yet chosen, people. Jeremiah must’ve hated having to speak out to a people who had lost their sense of what God had done for them.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to a group of about 75 African-American high school football players. My message was on why God wants us to live lives of purity, especially sexually, so that He, The Lord, will be glorified. And as I talked to these young men, many of whom were drifting off asleep, I could read their thoughts, which projected, “Why should I even listen to this old, white, dude?!” Yet, there were a few – a very few – eyes which caught mine, … a few young men who wanted to hear the message of truth I had been led by God and this opportunity to share with them; and it was for those few, a remnant of believers, that I had a burn to speak on … to share the message of God’s truth with those few who might hear.

You know, my devotional author, Dr. Smith likened what Jeremiah must’ve felt like in those days when very few were listening to him to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer must’ve felt like just prior to WW2. You probably know that Bonhoeffer was the Christian theologian who was imprisoned by the Nazis for preaching against them; and he was executed by them in one of the holocaust camps just a few weeks before the end of the war.

Interestingly enough, Bonhoeffer could’ve ridden out the war in New York; but he chose to book passage on the last steamer allowed by the U.S. to go to Germany from the USA in 1939. Bonhoeffer went back to Germany because he had “a burn” in his heart for “his people,” the Germans, whom he could see were following a devil, Hitler, into unrighteousness. In his own words, writing to another theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, Bonhoeffer in 1939 wrote, "I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people... Christians in Germany will have to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose but I cannot make that choice from security."

It’s tough to be a Christian, standing up for God, when you see the culture drifting into sin, death, and decay. One feels like the proverbial salmon swimming upstream with headwaters that flow rapidly against us. But like Jeremiah and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one must continue to speak out against ungodliness when we see it. Sometimes I hate seeing men fall like flies on the battle fields of life, succumbing, even as Christians, to the flesh and the world and Satan’s ploys. And like Jeremiah, it’s tough to have a burn to deliver a message which is considered politically incorrect at best and downright threatening at worst.

But like Jeremiah, those of us who have God’s message, especially those of us who know what has been charged in passages of truth like Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20 [oh, I hope you know those by now], we have the burn that Jeremiah or Bonhoeffer had for God’s message because we have the same Holy Spirit driving us who drove those men. And that Spirit is not the Spirit of the victim, it’s THE SPIRIT of victory (i.e., see 2nd Tim 1: 7 - linked).

I hope you feel driven, as do I, to keep on keeping on in our degenerating culture, … to bring the messages of truth from God’s word to God’s people and to the lost.

My Prayer for Today: As You are my witness, Lord, I carry on! Amen

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