July 5

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 7
     Psalms 137-138
     Jeremiah 1
     Matthew 15
''Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations."  ''Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord." (Jeremiah 1:5, 8)
            July5 is my spiritual birthday. I always felt that I related a bit to Jeremiah. Jeremiah thought he was a nobody that God chose to use. You see in verse 6, ''I cannot speak for I am but a youth." This was a prayer of a man who felt personal insufficiency and inadequacy, yet this was a man that God chose to use in a great way.
            It has always been an incredible thought to me that God knew me and chose me before I was even formed in the womb. This call to Jeremiah and to each of us was clear in His heart, prior to even our birth. As I celebrate my spiritual birthday, I am in awe of the birthright that I have been given.
            When God called Jeremiah, he perhaps already sensed the sinfulness of the age, and that his role would be a difficult one, a warning and a rebuke. He lived in a time when the elderly were respected and the young kept silent. Then to discover that God had a plan of preaching and prophecy for him was overwhelming. Plainly, Jeremiah sensed his own inadequacy when he faced the mission which God had called him to perform.
            In a sense, Jeremiah was making excuses to God. God's reply to him contained several lessons for us today: Don 't make excuses when God calls you. ''I shall go with you, and I am stronger than anyone else. You should be speaking My words, and I always speak truth. Do not fear them, and I will deliver you. Your authority comes from Me, and I rule nations and kingdoms."
            When God has saved you and called you, you do not have to fear the faces or the threats of this world. In Jeremiah 
39: 18, God assured Jeremiah that ''your life shall be as a prize to you.'
We are not speaking here of personal property and possessions, for that should be a matter of indifference to us, but God has promised to protect us for the purpose for which He has designed our lives. Many times our temptations are to indulge in the discontent of self-pity as if to say, ''Why should I be treated like this." If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter whether it is just or unjust. It is sad that we do lean to our own understanding instead of trusting God with all of our hearts.
             We are to minimize our inadequacies and maximize His overshadowing personal deliverance. Whenever we feel inadequate to do God's will, let us turn away from our doubts, and pray for God's presence and strength to become our sufficiency.  He has chosen you from before the time you were born, and has promised to deliver you.  You can trust Him.
            Islam grew from about 45% of the population in 1900 to 92% of the population in the year 2000 in the country of Senegalin Africa. This is rapid growth, and they are very proud of it. Tolerance for other religions has almost ceased, and we need to recognize that very few Muslims ever come to Christ. One of the things we need to pray for in Senegalis a new receptivity to the Gospel and the preservation of freedom of religion. It is amazing that this secular state with such a large Muslim majority still has freedom of religion.  Pray that it will continue. Evangelical believers are scarce, Christian leaders are few, and missions in Senegalhave struggled for years without much fruit in the adult population. The hope is in that many young people are now responding to the Gospel.  Pray that this will continue, and that the next generation will make a difference in this African nation.
“Trouble and perplexity drive me to prayer, and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble.”