Thursday, September 25, 2008

Heeding the Call

I asked the Lord to show me which book in his Word to study next, and I'm going to start on the book of Jeremiah, which is found in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah was a prophet whose ministry started when he was about 20 years old. Often called "The Weeping Prophet" and "The Prophet of Loneliness", because he was commanded not to marry. He was also known as "The Reluctant Prophet", yet for more than 40 years, he was faithful to God's call in his life to go to the people of Judah with God's Word. During his time of ministry, he had strong opposition, and endured beatings and imprisonment.

He was sensitive and sympathetic by nature, but was sent by God to deliver a message of stern judgement.

This sounds like he could have lived in our day - there is strong opposition towards believers, and especially towards those who dare to stand up for what's right and wrong in God's eyes. I have seen this kind of opposition in the lives of many people, but especially in the lives of prominent people, who are in the media spotlight. When they profess their Christianity is a major part of their lives, they are ripped apart by the media, liberals who are elected officials, and tv talk show hosts who cater to the Hollywood crowd.

Although most of us will never be in that spotlight(Thank God), we too can expect the same kind of treatment from the world when we dare to take a stand against things like abortion, prayer in school, and other issues that oppose the liberal left.

In Chapter 1 of Jeremiah, it starts off with the word God gave to Jeremiah when he called him to minister. You can easily apply this to your own life, because God is reaffirming to him that he will be with him, even though at times his life will be hard, just as he is with us when we go through various trials and opposition in our lives.

1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Every person is known of God even before we are born. This same thought is written by King David in Psalm 139:13 - 18. This is something that the liberal left who support abortion do not believe. They don't want God or anyone else telling them what is right or wrong - they have set themselves up as their own gods, with their own set of values and laws.

In verses 6 - 8, we read of Jeremiah telling God that he doesn't feel qualified to fulfill this call, and we also read God's reply to him.

1:6: "Ah Sovereign Lord, I said. I do not know how to speak; I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, ' Do not say, "I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you', declares the Lord."

How many times have we basically said the same thing to the Lord when we know he's telling us to do something? That which he is telling us to do at that time is probably something that might seem outrageous or silly to us, and we want to argue with him about it. God gives us opportunities each day to hear his voice and be blessed when we follow his command by obedience.

There was a lady in a grocery store one day who was behind me in line, and as I was taking things out of my buggy to put on the counter to get checked out, I noticed that she look distraught and was softly crying. At that moment, I knew the Lord was telling me to pray with her right there. My "flesh" was crying out "but I'm in a grocery store Lord", and hesitated a few minutes. The Lord was very insistent with me, and I'm thankful he was, because I received a blessing that day by following his lead and applying those verses above to my own life.

I didn't know the details of this woman's life - she was a total stranger, but I did turn around to her and said something to the affect of, "I know this sounds crazy, but I feel like the Lord is telling me that I need to pray with you right now, if that's ok with you". She began to cry more, and said, "yes please pray for me". I can't tell you what I prayed - this was back in the mid 1980's somewhere, but I can tell you that when I finished praying for her, that her countenance was changed, and she thanked me and said, "God bless you".

No matter how silly or off the wall something that the Lord asks you to do is, I would strongly encourage you to be obedient to that call. Just like he told Jeremiah, "don't be afraid, for I am with you", so too will he be with each of us.

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