Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sin Hurts

"Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame?" -- Jeremiah 7:19
Have you ever heard a parent say, "The punishment hurts me more than it does you"? Did you ever wonder if that was really true? Well, the verse before us says the very opposite. The rebellion, sin and apostasy brought more trouble and hardship to Judah than to the Lord.
We often deceive ourselves into believing that only God is heartbroken over our sin. To our own shame, our lives are wrecked and miserable as a result of our rebellion. We want to blame God for our misery, but all along we are the cause.
Hebrews 11:25 points out that the pleasures of sin are fleeting and we are told in Proverbs 13:21 that, "Disaster pursues sinners". In other words my friend, "The sin hurts you more than it hurts God".

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ancient Paths

"Thus says the Lord“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’" -- Jeremiah 6:16
"The Times They Are a-Changin'"... and so they continue to change forty-seven years after this album by Bob Dylan was released in 1964. Yes, the times are changing, but there are some things that never change. Only in the unchangeable truths will anyone ever find rest.
Israel found many religious roads and new ideas surrounding them every day. The passages of immoral and unjust behavior read like this morning's newspaper. Yet, there are as many editorials and blogs that say "Peace, Peace, when there is no peace" (verse 14) There comes a time for every generation to stand and look for the ancient paths, where they will find the good way.
Have you tried to deal with changing times by walking in new paths my friend? Did you think that ancient paths were too antiquated and irrelevant for 2016? Well... have you found peace and rest for your soul? May I suggest another way that is firmly fixed and secure? Consider the words of Psalm 119:89-90, "Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast." 

Friday, April 29, 2016

We're Not O.K.!

"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?" -- Jeremiah 5:30-31
Why do people flock to churches that have "fun" events and entertaining services? What is it that attracts them to worship centers that send them home every week with little more than a positive "I'm OK, You're OK" message?
Our sin-sick hearts never want to be confronted by the truth. Just as we avoid the Doctor's diagnosis of illness, so we refrain from spiritual x-rays and M.R.I.s. We just want someone to tell us that we're alright with God and the world. But, "what will you do when the end comes?" 
The truth is, we're not OK my friend. Sin eats away at our souls like a cancer and it destroys our lives if we don't deal with it. We need physicians of the soul to be honest with us and apply the right spiritual medication to bring healing. The end will come before long, and entertaining services will never prepare us for the inevitable.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

God-Hearted Leaders

“ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." -- Jeremiah 3:15
What do we expect from a Pastor or Bible teacher? Should they be well dressed and skilled in story telling? Must they have great organizational abilities like the CEO's of large companies? What should be their most important quality?
The Lord promises Jeremiah shepherds after His own heart. Time may pass, but the flock of God still needs those who are shepherds after the Lord's own heart. It's all about heart... God's heart reflected in the heart of His servant-leaders.
One of the weaknesses in Israel at the time of Jeremiah and the church today is a lack of God-hearted leaders. Your Pastors and teachers desperately need your prayers my friend. Those that seek the heart of God need the support of God's people. These are those who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

No better way

"Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lordfor my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." -- Jeremiah 2:12-13
Over time we all grow up and set aside the things of our youth. We look for new and better ways that will be fitting for adult lives. Some will forsake the simple teachings of their parents and embrace the odd philosophies of their college professors. After all, don't they know what works best, since they are wise and learned?
The words of rebuke recorded in this passage are no less needed today than then. The people of Jeremiah's day sought new religions and gods. Certainly the surrounding nations had better ideas than the ways of their childhood. But the Lord was shocked at their evil practices. And in addition, their choices turned out to be broken, unable to satisfy.
Have you selected "new" ways in the place of the simpler and basic beliefs of your youth my friend? Did you think that there was a better path to follow and a greater source from which to receive provision? Remember the Lord's words recorded in Isaiah 46:3-4... "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Consecrated before birth

"Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." -- Jeremiah 1:4-5
Take time to consider the overwhelming implications of this passage. God is at work in the lives of His children before we are even conceived. He has plans for our lives to serve and glorify Him. Furthermore, the Lord affirms that He formed us our Mother's womb. Each one of us is a personal creation of the Sovereign of the Universe. We are no mistake and as God's workmanship, we are of great value. Lastly, before we enter the world, God consecrates us to His purpose and work.
All of the above thoughts establish the fact that God does have a "perfect will" for your life. He doesn't simply bring you into this world and set you lose to pick and choose "whatever". I emphasize His title "Sovereign" and remind you my friend, He is our King and we are His servants. Paul worded it this way in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Do you love Him?

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” -- John 21:15
The most popular time of the year for weddings is fast approaching. Two people will stand before the Pastor and he will ask... "will you love, honor and keep...?" By that time the expected answer is always, "I will". When we love someone, we will honor them and care for them more than anything.  
Three questions and three answers... each with a clarion call to care for His sheep. A simple challenge is given to all who will follow Jesus. If we love Him, we will love his children. If we love Him we will care for His sheep. If we love Him, we will honor him by valuing those for whom He gave His life.
Do you love Him? How much do you love and honor him? How many do you love and care for in His name? Who do you love with selfless compassion on His behalf? Do you love Him and his more than anything?