Flaming Fire Within Our Bones
Jeremiah was certainly one of the most distinguished notables of the Old Testament. To read his messages and experiences is to become acquainted with a great servant of God. I believe he revealed more of his inner feelings and personal reactions toward God and man, than did any other prophet or prophetess in Old Testament times. He was a young man of approximately 21 years of age when he accepted his divine calling to minister to the nations.
But Jeremiah lived in very bad times, times not too unlike our own. On the political front there was a great power struggle going on between the super structures. Assyria had occupied the leadership for some three centuries but now, she was weakening. Babylon was ascending in power and Egypt too, was striving for the position of world master.
Socially and religiously, conditions were rapidly declining. God's chosen nation had forsaken Him. They ignored the instructions as given to them by Moses and had turned instead to idolatry and harlotry. They abused the temple and yet, they mistakenly assumed that God's presence was still with them. But at some moment in that strange transformative time of history, Jeremiah (and others) had heard God's call and responded.
For Jeremiah, this meant that he had to leave the comfortable life he had made for himself. He had to relinquish all that had been safe and secure and respectable to become a spokesman and representative of God.
Well, Jeremiah performed his job. He had worked a long time and suffered much to discourage him. He had been beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, mocked, publicly humiliated, betrayed by close friends, plotted against and made the target of revenge. Surely we can understand his eventual collapse under the pressure.
Jeremiah sunk into a state of despair when the world into which he was sent persecuted him. He permitted his zeal in the service of the Lord to be eclipsed by the magnitude of his troubles. He was strife worn, struggle weary, and tired out from trying to fix a sinning, degenerating society. His vision was out of focus; his view wasn't clear for him anymore. And so he slips into a state of depression and like Job, cursed the day he was born.
That is what discouragement does to us. It obscures faith and prostitutes strength. It brings despair and depression so that it is difficult even to relate to God.
But in passing, I have noticed something peculiar under the sun. I have noticed that most of us are inclined to live in terms of our feelings. We have ego problems. I suggest this because it seems as long as things progress the way we wish them to, we have a zest for living and doing. As long as life runs smoothly and our work is appreciated, then we are satisfied and pacified and gratified. As long as life is a bowl of roses, even God gets to stand in our good graces. But when circumstances are adverse we are ready to quickly point a righteous finger of blame at God or wave the white banner of surrender. When the black clouds of troubles hover over our home and all is well turns to all is hell, too many of us are ready to throw the towel in before the battle has even begun.
Jeremiah was indeed human like the rest of us. And even though he shared our tendency to allow our darkened world to discourage us and distort our perspective he was yet keenly sensitive to the fact that God had called him to a service. He said, "God's word was in my heart as a burning fire, shut up in my bones and I cannot hold my peace."
I can understand Jeremiah because I am Jeremiah. I understand what happens to you when the Word gets in you; you forget yourself. You find the patience to run this race. You cannot sit back and feel sorry for your pitiful self. You must "work the works of Him that sent you while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work," You cannot hold your peace because God's word cannot be contained. When God's word gets in you, you have got to tell somebody what He has done for you. You must speak it, write it, sing it, hand-sign it, preach it through musical instruments. It is like a flaming fire within our bones that eternally burns and will not let us rest.
It was God's burning word that drew those long ago people out of their secure places. And God's compelling word is calling us today out of our easy places to heal the sin-sick work.
When I would give up and run and hide someplace, the fire within burns: You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid. When I would keep silent and retreat into my secure world, the fire within burns: You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor how can it be restored? When I would throw the towel in and go off to myself somewhere, the fire within burns: rescue the perishing, care for the dying, lift up the fallen, encourage the young.
When I would resign from my calling, I feel a fire burning within me. It is the same fire that made Abraham and Sarah leave their family and friends and home to go forth without maps or guides. It is the same fire that made Ruth break with her corporate history to dwell among a foreign people. It is the same fire that made Mother Theresa leave all and go into foreign missionary work. It is the same fire that made Mary Bethune devote her life to wiping out illiteracy among Blacks. It is the same fire that motivated Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach peace in the midst of violent and hostile environments. It is the same fire?..
Be encouraged today my friends. Lay aside every weight that so easily beset us and let us join together and run on. Let us run this race with perseverance, determination, with God's word burning in our bones. Let us run until like King, we can say, "I have been to the mountain top and I have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." Let us run on until like Paul we can say, "I have fought a good fight, I stayed on the battlefield, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
Be encouraged today to keep running. Let us run together until we cannot run anymore yet, with God's burning word burning in our hearts.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available in July.
You are welcome to visit AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification, to browse our newly expanded mini shopping mall or to peruse our recommended books.
Blessings to all!
A Perspective on Life!
All of our lives we always seem to direct our concern toward attempting to conclude our life path or destiny in this lifetime without really knowing or understanding what this means to us. In reality the importance lies not in trying to determine our life path or destiny, but, in effect of how much growth we accomplish within one lifetime. So you are not condemned if you make one or two mistakes from time to time! The importance in reality in the acceptance of the situation, then the understanding of what you've come to learn and move on in your life. At the end of that particular lifetime, it is measured if we succeeded to meet our intended life path and the relevance is in what amount of growth that we were capable of achieving in that lifetime.
If you walk up to a stranger in the grocery store and ask them to define "simple," as in "simple life," they'll probably say something like "having less stuff." Or they might hit you with a frozen turkey. But probably they'll associate simple with stuff.
The Finer, and Finest, Things in Life
In America, we have a saying: The finer things in life. These are the things that most people talk about when they are speaking of thing of high quality. In fact, much of that which propels people to pursue success, particularly financial success, is the desire to participate in the finer things in life.
Have You Ever Felt GOD in You?
God is the primordial Creative Force that is believed to have created each atom that we see around us. When you sit and muse, have you ever heard a voice inside you talking to you? That is the voice that is in you, whom you may also call GOD.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of December 29, 2003
How to Guarantee a GREAT Day Every Day!
I have a standing interview every Monday morning on a radio station in thesoutheast that I enjoy very much. You can imagine though that it can becomeroutine. So to make it a little more fun, the host nowadays doesn't eventell me the topic before we go live on the air - that puts some excitementinto it!
Growing up, I remember my Dad had some really good friends. They had the most amazing, positive and magnetic energy. Arguably, they were also among the "coolest" of their time. One in particular, is not only admired by me, but by countless others who affectionately know him as, "Big O." "Big O" is called "Big O" for several reasons. The most obvious; he's big! Two, his first name is Orin. And three, his son, Orin, Jr., is nicknamed, "Little O."
What is it that stops you from jumping off a 5 story building, is it the fear of falling, the sudden stop at the bottom or knowing that you cannot fly?
I.Q. You Q. He, She, or It Qs.
I have, in recent years, come to believe that IQ tests are a waste of time for most of us, and a waste of money for some of us. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you want to know how stupid you are, check to see if you're paying for an online IQ test.
Get On with Your LIfe
You've lost your job, that's all you know, and you don't have money to go to school. Get on with your life. You sunk all the money you have into an internet business and haven't made a dime. Get on with your life. You say that you are broke and homeless have no education and no hope. Get on with your life.
There is much said in the word "integrity"! According to the Websters New Collegtiate Dictionary, it means: 1, an unimpaired condition: sound: incorruptibility: 2, firm adherence to a code of esp. moral or artistic values, undivided: completeness: syn. see honesty, unity.
It's all in the mind- your mind.
Anam Cara - Finding a Song for the Heart
All this week I have been singing.
Healing The Abandonment Wounds
I have counseled individuals, couples, families and business partners for the past 35 years and authored eight published books. Every individual I've worked with has had some abandonment wound to heal, and most relationship problems stem from abandonment wounds.
Why Should We Keep Our Thoughts Clear?
From my experience some healings come instantly or during short period of time as others require patience, persistence and firmness of our faith. Even though faith in God or Good helps to overcome our worldly trials but often because of lack of the divine knowledge we are not able to see the end of our sufferings. When human will is added to that faith we, pressing strongly our teeth, think that we stand firmly on the ground and fulfill God's will, but in reality we begin to feel moral weariness, dissatisfaction and discouragement.
By Now, Im an Expert at Memory Loss
I sat down to write my weekly humor column, but I just could not remember what I wanted to write about. This seems to be an increasingly more common affliction, ever since I turned 40. For instance, like most people over 40, I often can't remember my age.
Accelerate Your Abilities
In today's fast-paced life, the wins usually go to those with exceptional skills and abilities. The old quote is true, "The race is not always won by the swift and the strong, but that is the way to bet."
Make Mistakes! Its Okay - Really!
When you fall, do you get right back up? Do you learn from your mistake and move on? Or do you kick yourself so hard in the butt that you just mope around for days in your PJs and wonder why you're so miserable? Come on! Get a grip!
Care And Maintenance Of The Human Hard Drive
The human brain is very much like a hard drive. If you stop to think of it, they are both filled with billions of tiny bits of information, stored in the memory cells just waiting to be accessed. They both use electrical energy to find those bits and put them together to recreate something that we have placed there. They work on demand, and we expect them to instantly give us what we want.
Does Your Childhood Hold You Back?
Have you come to a point in your life and got stuck and unable to move on?
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|