Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Monday, June 16, 2014

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Pain is your body's way of communicating with you. If you are exercising and you feel pain, the pain tells you that the exercise is working. If you are in the kitchen and you lean your hand against the stove, the pain tells you to remove your hand from the stove. Pain hurts; it is unpleasant, but it can be a gift sometimes.

Jeremiah had that gift. When he found himself in that difficult dilemma where he had to choose between doing the popular thing and the righteous thing, pain interceded. He described this as "burning fire shut up in the bones." (verse 9) He could say, I was tempted to ignore God's call for me to be a prophet, but then his body told his conscience "no."

As leaders in the church, be we pastors, diaconal ministers, or church council members, we are sometimes called to make difficult decisions that are not always popular. And, if we are honest with ourselves, we can recall those occasions when we chose the "path of least resistance."

The problem is, those moments become painful only after the fact. I wish God would give me the gift of "burning bones" every time I am tempted to follow the path that is the opposite of the direction God is leading me.

God Almighty, when called to be your prophet, give me the courage to follow your will. Make my bones burn every time I am tempted to ignore your prophetic call. Amen.

Jeff Gross
Pastor, Living Lord Lutheran Church, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Master of Divinity , 1994

Jeremiah 20:7-13 (NRSV)

7 O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, "Violence and destruction!" For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering: "Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. "Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him."
11 But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.