Thursday, August 6, 2015

Man between God and the Devil

The summer is lovely but I miss the groups I am in.  I liked it better in Europe where there are more holidays and vacations but not such one long one.

I have finished a couple of books, and found some more children's music, courtesy of the public library. Another book, given by a friend, was on teen suicide.  It truly was a sad and dark read.  The epidemics of divorce and drugs and so on, cause so much loneliness and hopelessness with seemingly no way out.  The author of the book was in this sort of place himself as a teenager and predictably he found Jesus and became a suicide prevention speaker and evangelist, who has been grateful for the life has had with his wife, family and work.

What was the most helpful thought, I thought, was the claim God made on the man "You live for me now."  This truly is the redemption, because if I live for myself, I will spiral down in myself.  As in baptism we are claimed for God's kingdom, so God's grace really suffices.  "My grace is enough."

This does not mean that you give up the work of discovering your own feelings, talents and passions, but they will be in service of God and man and not myself, (not primarily).  "That I may live in your kingdom in innocence and blessedness."

This is true freedom.

Concupiscence is often the definition of sin, something like "lust".  We often talk about this insatiable desire.  Lewis says it is for heaven, and because we all desire it, it most likely has been planted in our hearts by our Creator, and means that there is one, indeed.  But there is desire and lust, that is just for pleasure and more and more and more, that is never satisfied with any good gifts.  I certainly know both "desires."  How much are they at war with each other?  As we sometimes say "Man between God and the Devil."  Bundles of desires, we surely are.

"Jesu, hilf siegen, du Fuerste des Lebens;
sieh, wie die Finsternis dringet herein,
wie sie ihr hoellisches Heer icht vergebens
maechtig auffuehret,
mir schaedlich zu sein.
Satan, der sinner auf allerhand Raenke,
wie er mich sichte,verstoere und kraenke."
(Johann Heinrich Schroeder, 169

In English (my translation, you can have it.)

"Jesus, give victory, oh, you king of life,
see, how Darkness is forcing its way in,
how it brings up vainly its hellish mighty army,
to make damage for me.
Satan,--he thinks up all sorts of plots,
how he may find me, disturb me and hurt me."

We need to watch out for this darkness and temptation to hopelessness in ourselves and in others, and ask for help, as in this hymn.

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