Bonhoeffer–Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (book review)

Title: Bonhoeffer–Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Author: Eric Metaxas
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: 2010
Pages: 608

Bonhoeffer–Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (book review)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during the time Adolf Hitler rose to prominence and brought on the holocaust. Eric Metaxas writes a biography of Bonhoeffer’s life. It begins with his childhood and ends with his death.

At a very young age, Bonhoeffer had finished getting a college degree in theology. He became a minister and was willing to tell the church that they needed to live their whole life for God, not just a part of it.

Bonhoeffer recognized the dangers of what Hitler was bringing to Germany and warned the church to take a stand against him. Bonhoeffer was not one to just ‘go with the flow’ that everyone else was willing to do. In doing this, he made various church leaders very angry and caught the attention of Hitler. With that attention, Bonhoeffer was eventually placed in prison and later killed for his stand.

While in prison, Bonhoeffer kept his focus upon God. He believed that he had to die to self and to live for God and that the death was the greatest victory for the believer. Death would usher the believer into eternity with God.

Eric does an excellent job at looking at the whole life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer with what can be known about him. Throughout the book, there are many quotes from Bonhoeffer and others. Whole letters that were written by Bonhoeffer are included.

Although this is a long book, I highly encourage one to read it. The life of Bonhoeffer will challenge a believer to take a real stand for God’s word and His truth in this fallen world. One can see many parallels between Germany and Hitler and what is occurring today in America and other places around the world, and how the church responded in both times.

Psalm 45:7 What Do You Love?

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. Psalm 45:7

People love many different things for many different reasons. Along with the love of things, people will also love certain ways on how to do certain things. One may learn how to grill a hamburger a certain way and that is the only way to do it, while others hate that way and do it differently. Although cooking a certain way is neither good nor bad, there are many things that are truly right and wrong.

The writer of this psalm writes about the king and says that he loves righteousness and hates wickedness, so God has anointed him with gladness.

Righteousness is the process of doing what is right each and every time. Most people agree with that they want to do what is right, however, most cannot agree on what is considered what is right and what is wrong or wicked. The world often sees wicked actions as acceptable, as long as it does not immediately physically harm someone.

God, being the Creator and Ruler of all, has set down some commands as to how people are to live their lives. There is the right way of living and the wrong way to live. One is a way of righteousness and the other is a way of wickedness. All wickedness is sin against God.

Believers will often try to blur these distinct lines and love the wicked ways of the world. Those who are truly living for God will love to do what is right and hate or flee all wickedness or sin. They do not ever want to do what is wrong in the eyes of God. As they live this way, God fills them with an overwhelming joy of life, because they are living by His righteous ways.

There are probably many different things that you love and things that you hate. As you look at these things you must ask yourself what are the things you love the most. Are these the wicked things of the world that lead to sin and death? Or are they the righteous things of God that lead to eternal life?

Love and follow the righteous ways of God and hate and flee all wickedness against God. Allow the righteous ways of God to fill you with the oil of gladness.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will love the righteous ways of God; that God will give you strength and direction to live by His righteous ways; that you will hate all wickedness and sin against God; and that you will live your whole life by God’s ways.

Picture by Ivan Lapyrin on Unsplash

Psalm 33:18 Is God’s Eye On You?

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, Psalm 33:18

In the workplace, the workers all know that the boss or other supervisors have their eyes upon them. Some hate that they are being watched, while others do not mind it at all. The difference is in whether one is doing what is right or is trying to cut corners and cheat the system. Those who are trying to cheat the system do not want to be watched because they know that they will be punished for doing wrong.

The writer of this psalm says that God’s eye is on those who fear Him and hope in His mercy.

Respecting authority is something that many people struggle with doing. People like to be free to do what they want in their own way and time, without restrictions. Authorities often lay out restrictions and good authority will punish those who break those restrictions.

Believers have an understanding that God is the ultimate authority in every area of one’s life. They also understand that if they do not obey Him fully that there will be severe consequences. They fear or respect God’s authority and do not want to go against Him. They put their hope in His mercy when they do make a mistake and sin against Him. God’s eye is upon that person.

Many in the church have lost this fear of God and see Him as just a loving God who would never punish. They choose to continue to live in a sinful way, despite claiming to believe in Jesus. God takes His eye, hand of favor, off of those who live that way. In the end they have no hope in following the ways of the world.

God has freely forgiven you of all your sins, if you have chosen to believe in Jesus and follow Him. This means that your life has changed to a new creation, in order to live for Him. Living for God means that you will fear or respect God’s authority over your life. You will allow Him to have complete authority over every area of your life. Yes, you will have times of making mistakes, but then you can hope in His great mercy and love to forgive again, building you and not tearing you down.

His eye will be upon you as you fear and hope in Him.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will give God the respect due Him; that you will respect God’s commands to you; and that you will have hope in His great mercy over your life.

Picture by Aniket Solankar on Unsplash

Job 8:6 False Prosperity

If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Job 8:6

Being prosperous is something that most people dream of and aim for. While all will aim for it, many, in their own minds, will never really make it there. In order to be considered prosperous, most believe that they must own a large home, have several cars and a very large income with no bills. And all of this must be at least as much as their neighbor has or more, regardless of how much that is.

Bildad tells Job that if he were really pure and upright God would make him prosperous right away.

Belief that prosperity makes one better. It is all about having more physical things, rather than having good character. Having more tends to be seen as having greater favor.

Inside the church this false belief has crept in and taken over the mindset of many believers. Along with seeking bigger, better and more things, many also believe that if one is faithful to God, He will automatically give them all of those things. Although God can bless a believer with many physical things in this life, He does not always do that. God only gives a believer what is best for him.

Physical prosperity is seen as a sign of one’s holiness bringing on God’s great favor, and those not prosperous are seen as failing in their walk with God.

Many believers have been blessed with great prosperity only to forget about God and their original mission to serve God. They begin to serve the things rather than God.

One must believe in and follow God, trusting God with all that God provides, whether little or great. God may or may not provide a lot of physical things, but either way He provides true life and true prosperity.

You may or may not have a lot of things in this life. One thing that you can have and is free is forgiveness of sins and an abundant life that will last for eternity.

Do not allow yourself to be caught up in the false belief that following God will automatically make you physically rich. That is a choice God makes based on what is best for you personally. The things of this world will pass away, but the life Jesus provides will last for eternity and nothing is better for you than that.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will know the riches of God’s grace in your life; that you will see how prosperous you are with the eternal life God is giving you; that you will seek God above all things; and that you will seek to be like Jesus, rather than like the world.

Nehemiah 4:1 The World Will Mock

But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. Nehemiah 4:1

Whenever someone does something that others do not like they are often mocked and ridiculed. People will do whatever it takes to try and discourage and stop others that they do not agree with or like. The process of mocking will often include telling lies and false rumors, making fun of the other or anything else possible to discredit the person and get them to fail.

As the Israelites were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Sanballat was angry and began to mock them for what they were doing.

Believers are to build up walls of morality, holiness and righteous living in the towns, cities and nations in which they live. They are to be set apart, separate from the wicked and sinful ways of the world, clothing themselves with Christ’s righteousness and putting up barriers to keep themselves from participating in sinful activities.

Immediately upon building these walls of protection on their lives, the world will begin to mock believers. Sometimes this is directed at a specific individual, while other times it is to believers as a whole. Watch many television shows, movies, and read books and magazines to see how the world will mock true Christians.

Upon being mocked, many believers will back down and stop building the walls. Some will give in and begin to let the world into their lives, sinning on purpose against God and His standards of living.

Instead of giving in, believers need to group together to hold each other up and keep on building those walls together, allowing God to spread His hand of protection over them. A choice to obey and follow God rather than the world must be made.

God has shown you how to live your life in Christ Jesus through His word. You are to live a life that is holy and separate from the world.

The more you choose to stand for God and build His wall, the more the world will choose to mock you and try to destroy you. The world does not want to lose you to God and will do whatever they can to make you stop and return to sin. Don’t give in, but lean on God, His word and the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you strength to build a holy and righteous life in Christ Jesus.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that God will give you strength when the world mocks you; that you will turn to God for strength as the world attacks; and that you will be able to build walls of holiness in your life and the lives of those around you.