Practical Proverbial, from Philippians, 23 January 2020

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. Philippians 2:19-20. (EHV).

This week, I saw “1917.”   Absolutely compelling movie.   It’s the story of two British soldiers in World War I who are given the assignment of going behind German lines to contact a battalion about calling off an attack (because the attack is a trap set by the Germans).    One of the men is entrusted with the mission specifically because he has a vested interest in completing it:   his brother is in the battalion.   If they don’t complete the mission, the battalion will be slaughtered.   But completing the mission might just get them killed.   Naturally, the two soldiers take the mission, and the rest of the movie is about their journey through the battlefields of northern France.

The general who sent the two men on their mission was like Paul.   He desperately wanted to get good news from the stranded battalion.   He had no one else like either of the two soldiers (especially the one with the brother).  And he hoped to hear good news – that the soldiers delivered the message to call off the attack – out of genuine concern to serve someone else.

That genuine concern should be our motivation as well.  We should be looking to send out other people to help, people who show real concern.   And before that, we should be willing to go, ourselves, out to help, to do whatever needs to be done to help someone else. That’s the fundamental reason for doing mission work:  to go out to help others as Jesus would.   We should be willing to, excited to, pour ourselves out for others so that they can prosper, then can celebrate.   When we can’t go ourselves, we should help others go.

That’s what happened in the movie (because that’s one thing a military does):   others were sent to do a job to help someone else.   It’s not easy to do, this pouring one’s self out.  But it’s rewarding, and it’s rewarding for the one who sends as well.  To know that, even if you can’t do much, you can do at least this.  It’s one way the world goes around.

If you haven’t seen the movie, go see “1917.”  It brings to life a war that ended over one hundred years ago but whose outcome still affects us now.  And then think about how you could go out to help someone.   Or, if you can’t, how you could support others as they venture out.

For further reading:   1 Corinthians 16:10, Philippians 2:21

Lord Jesus, thank You for people who want to go into the world to do Your love-work, for putting it on my heart to go and to help.   Help me to do these things for You.

Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 6 June 2019

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:4 (NIV).

Another thought about this verse:  belief is a choice.

You and I don’t have to believe what we do:   we choose to.   Yes, we’re compelled by faith from within.   We can’t begin to believe in Christ unless He first (through His Spirit) plants the thought in our receiving heart.   We can’t follow a political leader or ideology without watching it, learning about it, experiencing it.   And as much as I believe some people quickly fall in love, we don’t do that, either, without first being moved about the other person.

We choose those things.   Faith, following, love:   they’re choices. Just like turning away from the truth.   That, too, is a choice.

Nobody forced the Canaanites to follow their pagan gods or demonic, detestable practices.   They chose.   The Jews of Jesus’ day weren’t forced to conspire against Him:   they chose to.   Germans of the 1930s weren’t forced to follow Nazism (at least not at first):   they chose to follow evil.   Parishoners at Jonestown, followers of Elijah Mohammed, members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Manson family:   they weren’t forced to do the things they did.   They chose.

So it is with those who turn away from God’s truth and turn aside to myths.   To be honest, it’s another person’s American right to follow Zoroastrian mysticism, follow the Maharishi Yogi, or run around naked in the forest to celebrate Mother Gaia.   It’s their right to turn aside to myths.   In America, our Bill of Rights preserves our right to believe or not believe what we want.   In other words, what we choose.

So it is with God as well.  Even God respects that right.   God doesn’t force us to believe in Him.   He asks us to.  He asks us to, then teaches us through His word and our experiences why His teaching is the true way.  His word, the constant miracles of nature and our world, the tangible results of faith in the lives of those who believe, our own experiences, love:   all of these scream proof that Jesus is who He said He is.  It’s up to us to believe or not believe, to choose what we will take to heart about it.

Sure, NOT believing is easier said than done.   It isn’t easy to stop believing in something without a drastic event occurring.  Yet that, too, is a choice.  It was this way in ancient Judea; it is the same today.   In the days that make up the end times, it will only get worse.   Even obvious proof won’t sway the choices of those determined to not be swayed.

For further reading:  1 Timothy 1:4, 2 Timothy 4:4.

Lord, use me and what I say and do to witness You to those who choose unbelief.   Help me to not judge.   Help me to live out Your word better.   For them.