Ever felt that way? Taking a quick glance at 1 Thessalonians 4, let’s find out how God feels about “ordinary”.
Round the corner, confront the lion.
March, mouth gaping. Spring is crying.
Sobbing from skies still dull and gray,
Pushing valiantly the clouds away.
Behind her warmer sunshine creeps.
Mid huffs and wheezes, a soft wind speaks.
It tells of fresh and new and green,
Beauty as if never seen.
Each year, I’m awed at lovely spring,
My heart, her merry tune still sings,
Since last year…
And wish her well and bid her hurry.
To best ole’ winter, in his fury.
Earlier this week, I told you that I intend to keep going with our conversations about The Screwtape Letters and the One Word, Naked. I plan to keep my promise.
However, last week was Ligonier Ministry’s annual National Conference. I wasn’t able to attend, but I received an email allowing me to listen to the entire conference online, after the fact.
I grew up hearing about Martin Luther. I read my history books dutifully, and passed the tests. Then, as most kids do, I promptly brain-dumped all the information other than his name and connecting it the Protestant Reformation. I got a refresher today from one of the speakers, Steven Lawson.
Lawson’s sermon was titled, “Here I Stand.” Personally, I felt as if much of what he said was redundant, but I was captured by the words he read directly from Martin Luther’s Here I Stand speech at the Diet of Worms. It rang of such conviction, such confidence in the truth, that it seemed almost to me, second to Scripture, to be the actual definition of truth. In fact, Luther’s entire point is to define truth as Scripture. I am compelled to share this with you today.
“Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen.”
Lastly, Max McLean has produced a fantastic rendering of Luther’s speech, and it is available on YouTube. It is a 3 part production, but I am inserting only part 2 here.
Part 2 contains all of Luther’s speech. Parts 1 and 3 are intro and background information.
– – – Forgive me friends, the code for embedding this video is not working. You can still follow this link here.
I grew up with the understanding that evangelism is important – people need to know that Jesus is not only the assurance of eternal life, but that He makes this life worth living. In the throes of my eating disorder, I was absolutely ready and willing to kill myself, check out, be done with it all. If not for Jesus, who gave me an underlying assurance of hope and peace, I would have died. If starving had not stopped my heart, I would have done it intentionally.
It wasn’t so much that Christians are always saying, “suicide is a sin,” I mean once I’m dead, what do I care? But it was something about this Jesus, something about His companionship in my pain, that made me want to try life one more day, one more day at a time.
Then I married a soldier. My personal soldier isn’t very vulnerable, and it’s been rare when he let me in his private fears. I did notice a heightened sense of mortality and sobering responsibility when he was deployed and in command. He felt the burden of not only his soldiers’ lives but their eternity. He places a great burden on the Army chaplains to do their job boldly and with an acute awareness of the personalities and needs of their audience.
His most recent assignment has been at Arlington Cemetery. Again, a place and situation where he is daily faced with death and often looks into faces of people who clearly have no hope. What then? Can we allow the very men and women who are willing to die for our freedoms – can we allow them to enter the battlefield without having done everything possible to offer them the assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ?
I am an avid reader of Table Talk Magazine. As a subscriber, I was recently made aware of an opportunity to arm our military chaplains with unique resources to share the gospel during deployments and in garrison. Given the recent assaults on religious freedom in the military, fully arming chaplains with useful resources is both helpful to their efforts and encouraging to them personally.
Here is an opportunity, presented by Ligonier Ministries through their chaplain support program, to care for the souls of soldiers. It’s time we did more than verbally espouse our support for the military, fasten yellow magnets to our cars, or shake a soldier’s hand at church. Care more. Do more. Do something!