Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord!" -- Jeremiah 51:45
As this warning speaks of a literal removal from the ultimate judgment coming upon Babylon, there is further food for thought. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:17 (quoting from Isaiah 52:11), "Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord..." This word of counsel is repeated again and again. God's people should live lives separated from a world system that is already under condemnation. John the Baptist said in John 3:36, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." The distinction is clear.
It is the teaching of the Scripture that true believers will be caught up to be with Jesus before He comes to earth again. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) If you are living with such expectation my friend, don't root your life in a world slated for the wrath of God. Follow the counsel and direction of God as recorded in 1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name." -- Jeremiah 51:19
The child of God has a wonderful privilege. Our portion in this life and the one to come is the Lord Himself. All our "stuff" will pass away or be left behind, but the Lord will be our blessed sufficiency throughout all eternity. Furthermore, the redeemed are precious to Him and are highly valued because they are His inheritance. No wonder Jesus says in Matthew 10:31, "Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."
The hymn writer Fanny Crosby tells us, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, O what foretaste of Glory divine, Heir of salvation, purchase of God..." When you walk with God, your life will be full my friend. Your cup will overflow because HE is your portion.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

“In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to theLord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.’" -- Jeremiah 50:4-5
The work of God is focused on the bigger picture. Present days may seem incredibly dark and distressing, but future days of renewal are in view. The Lord desires the return and restoring of His people Israel to the everlasting covenant. Time is of little concern when the finished product is true repentance.
May we take heart from these verses my friend? For many lost souls, seeking the Lord will take time and much prayer by others. Patience and focus on the bigger picture will be needed. As the Lord has never given up on Israel, may we never give up on those wayward pilgrims in our lives? Wait on the Lord and look for the day when they will come to Him with true repentance.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, you who live in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as the eagle's, I will bring you down from there, declares the Lord." -- Jeremiah 49:16
This weekend is set apart every year to remember those who served in the military and gave their lives for their country. We honor these soldiers for their loyalty and faithful devotion. We are grateful for the freedom they have preserved for us to enjoy. But, while we remember those who gave so much, may we be careful to consider the One "who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness." (Isaiah 40:23)
Nations rise and fall as the Sovereign Lord determines. There has never been any nation that was so protected and firmly planted that was not brought down in its pride. As an American I speak with tremendous concern for our nation. We have been blessed by God in more ways than words can express, but we often act as if it we did all by ourselves. When our pride becomes more godless arrogance than grateful patriotism we are no different than the Edomites of this passage.
While you plan to picnic and relax in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" my friend, take time to pray for her. Come before the Lord in humility and express your gratitude for His blessings. Confess the sins of this nation of which you and I are citizens. Seek the face of God for a spiritual awakening and revival. Find your security in the Lord alone as your rock!

Friday, May 27, 2011

"For, because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken; and Chemosh shall go into exile with his priests and his officials.... Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord." -- Jeremiah 48:7, 42
I just read a short note from a good Christian friend. She spoke of her daughter who has concluded that God doesn't exist and lives life self-sufficiently. She grew up with two very gracious, gentle and godly parents who served the Lord in teaching and evangelism. The message and example was clearly provided every day of her early years, but she came to the personal conclusion that there is no God.
I truly grieve for this young lady and many others who are just like her. They are following in the path of the Moabites. They trust in their works and treasures. They literally magnify themselves against the Living God. And at the end of the day, without any repentance on their part, the words of Hebrews 10:30-31 will be sadly realized, "For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
You can reject the Lord, deny His existence and ignore His grace my friend, but a day is coming when "... at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11) Judgment Day didn't come on May 21, but it will most certainly come. And only those who bow the knee to Jesus in this life will be ready for that day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid." -- Jeremiah 46:27
No matter how we turn the pages, the Lord occasionally needs to discipline his people. Yet, while He will bring judgment upon the lost and unbelieving world, He will only correct and renew His children. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 30:5, "For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
When the corrective hand of your heavenly Father rests upon you my friend, don't be dismayed. His purpose is far greater than you can understand. He will bring out the very best in you and ultimately give you "quiet and ease". Remember, "... He also predestined (us) to be conformed to the image of His Son" and, "...neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:29, 38-39)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go." -- Jeremiah 45:5
When our disappointment and dissatisfaction comes down to the basics it's all about us. Serving the Lord can lead us into very demanding and far less rewarding situations than we imagined. Baruch had much higher hopes for his future than being an assistant to a ridiculed and rejected prophet. While God was dealing with the hard hearts of a very rebellious people after years of blessing them, this servant was more concerned with his own sorrow than with God's.
When you are greatly discouraged in the service of God, remember that He is at work in ways you cannot see, Yet, He will be sure to care for you in His way and His time. As the Lord heard Baruch, He assured him that he would be cared for in all places to which he might go. Seek not great things for yourself my friend, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says declare to us and we will do it.’ And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in anything that he sent me to tell you." -- Jeremiah 42:19-21
However sad these pages may be to the reader, the lessons are timeless. We are inundated with books and articles written about the will of God. How can we find the will of God? What are the easiest steps that will show us God's will for our future? Which job should I take, or which school should I attend? Who should I marry or where should I live? The questions are unending, but one question rises above all others... are we willing to do God's will, once it's discovered?
The request was made for Jeremiah to seek God's will and the promise was made to follow His will, no matter what. But after all was revealed, the people followed their own desires, even at the cost of their lives. Wisdom tells us that to know God's will is to obey. He never reveals His plan for our lives without the expectation that we will follow. The hymn writer put it best my friend... "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus."

Monday, May 23, 2011

"... So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go." -- Jeremiah 40:5
Take a moment and place this occasion alongside Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." This moment in the life of Jeremiah gives insight to the words "all things". While the army of Babylon moves at God's command for disaster, Nebuzaradan is directed to free Jeremiah and bless him with food and a present.
The Lord worked all things together to accomplish His great purpose and yet bless His servant. In the very midst of sorrowful days, God was carefully and specifically protecting and providing for Jeremiah. Our Lord controls the little things as well as the big things for our good. Just trust Him my friend and your needs will be met, with a present beside!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.’” -- Jeremiah 39:17-18
Here we find one of the many silver threads woven throughout the Scriptures. God honors those who honor Him. Ebed-melech the Ethiopian trusted the Lord and willingly sought the welfare of Jeremiah at the expense of his own safety. When King Zedekiah was too frightened to obey the instructions of the Lord, he suffered a great loss, but the Ethiopian received his life as a prize of war.
No matter how dark the days may be, whatever the future may bring, however deep the troubled waters may seem, God is faithful to those who trust Him. While a rebellious king is forsaken, the faithful servant is blessed. Be true to His Word and honor Him, however great the temptation and He will honor you my friend.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray for us to the Lord our God.”" -- Jeremiah 37:2-3
The above passage reflects the wonder of the ages. The world is full of those who refuse to listen to the Lord, but they are quick as a jack rabbit to pray. This is like the man who ignored the "wet paint" sign on the park bench and then promptly sent the cleaning bill to the park rangers office.
The Word of God is given for good purpose. In it we find wisdom and counsel for the challenges of life. There are also commands that are given for our protection and blessing. The Lord didn't give us the privilege of prayer just to get out of the trouble that disobedience causes.
Listen and obey as well as pray my friend. Like any new product, we are instructed to read the handbook first before we call the help line. Prayer was never intended to be just a "Get Out of Jail" card. So, always take time to listen and life will be much better.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot." -- Jeremiah 36:23

Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:9, "... I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!"  The servants of God can be imprisoned or silenced, but the Word of God lives on without hindrance. The king could burn the scroll, but not the Scriptures.
The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:18, "For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." My friend, you can deny, ignore and even destroy the Bible, but you can never hinder, nor hide from God's living Word. Don't be like Jehoiakim who learned this truth the hard way.(2 Kings 24:12-17)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves." -- Jeremiah 34:15-16
"My word is my bond"! Such was the promise of trustworthy businessmen years ago. Today, the "word" has been replaced by ironclad contracts that will stand the test of legal proceedings. We might believe that times have changed, but the above passage tells us a very different story.  This was a time when an entire society could not be trusted to keep their word to the Lord.
To make a promise to the Lord is very significant thing. Solomon wrote these words about promises to God in Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, "When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay." Have you broken any promises lately?
From the vow made at the wedding altar to those made at re-dedication services, we all have made promises to God. Be wise and "pay what you vow" my friend. May your "word" to the Lord be your bond and may He find you as faithful to Him as He is to you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." -- Jeremiah 33:2-3
"Just give me a call, anytime!" How many times have you been given this invitation? You have heard these words from neighbors as well as significantly important people who have great resources to help in time of need. Yet, how many of them were really serious and how much help would they truly give?
In contrast, we have an invitation from the Lord who made and established the earth. The door is opened to call, with a promise that He will answer and tell us great and hidden things that we have not known. The Lord intends to open His heart to the one who fully opens their heart to Him in prayer.
Will that person of open hearted prayer be you my friend? Will you take the Lord at His word and call to Him for help in your time of need? Will you look to Him for answers to the questions that press upon you like a great weight? When the Lord invites you to give Him a call anytime, He is serious! So, just do it, and discover the blessings of a lifetime!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you." -- Jeremiah 32:17
Jeremiah saw impending doom riding on the wind and the future of his people slipping away in the night. Yet, he was told to buy a field, with faith and hope in the Lord of restoration and renewal. The clouds may cover the sky with deep darkness, but we serve and trust the One "... who makes the clouds his chariot; He rides on the wings of the wind" (Psalm 104:3) We too can find hope in the One who promised that "the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings." (Malachi 4:2)
Whatever the problem or however great the threat... nothing is too hard for the Lord. He alone made the heavens and the earth by his great power and outstretched arm. And you, my dear friend have the eternal God as your dwelling place, and underneath are His everlasting arms.(Deuteronomy 33:27) Please trust Him and rest in His care because... He loves you with an everlasting love! (Jeremiah 31:3)

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Thus says the Lord“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." - Jeremiah 31:2-3
No matter how far we may drift from the Lord, He never drifts from His children. If we take a moment to look, we will find grace, even in the wilderness of our wanderings. When we turn and seek the Lord, we will find rest for our souls. You may ask why? Because the Lord loves us with an everlasting love and has continued His faithfulness to you.
Do you feel adrift and distant from the Lord my friend? Have there been too many days between quiet intimate moments with the Friend that sticks closer than a brother? Do you wonder if He will receive you into close communion as He had in the past? Remember that you have a Heavenly Father that never changes (Malachi 3:6). Therefore, He will receive you with an everlasting love and continued faithfulness. Why wait? Come on home... He's waiting for you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. " -- Jeremiah 29:7
Paul recorded the following in Acts 17:26-27, "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him." As Judah was placed in Babylon, we are placed where we live by the providential direction of the Lord. How then should we live?
In the welfare of our towns and cities we will find our welfare. As those who are sent to be the salt and light of our world we must pray for our communities. Rather than grieve over the mess that may exist, we are directed to settle, build and pray. In our commitment and ministry, we can make a garden out of a desert, a sanctuary out of a slum, and we will make a difference for the Lord. Are you praying my friend?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

“It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me." -- Jeremiah 27:5
Like ants that build their tunnels and mounds, so are men who scurry about building their kingdoms. They are under the false impression that they are in control and rule by their own power and wisdom. Wise is the leader who recognizes, as Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in Daniel 4:34-35, that God's "dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
As we are inundated with news reports focused on the "Road to the White House", may we remember that God gives such leadership to whomever it seems right to HIM. Fear not my friend, the LORD of hosts is still very much in control of His earth. Be obedient to the Word of God recorded in Romans 13:1 "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." and leave the rest to Him.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds." -- Jeremiah 26:2-3
Throughout the ages God has chosen individuals to speak for Him. They have been given a charge to proclaim the message of the Lord without holding back a word. The calling has been one that carried hope for repentance and yet possible persecution for the speaker. Today is no different than Jeremiah's day... we need those who will stand in the pulpit and say "Thus says the Lord!"
We don't need those who are moved by the whims of men and politically correct issues. We don't need those who are afraid to speak with spiritual conviction and Biblical clarity. We don't need those who speak "peace, peace, when there is no peace". More than ever, we need those who will stand without fear and say... "Thus says the Lord!"
Pray for such men my friend. Pray that God will send them across this land and around the globe. Pray for those that God will send, that they will remain bold and true to the message given to them. Pray that hearts will be open and receptive to the reviving work of the Spirit of God. Pray as if your very life depended on it... because the life of the church does!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

“For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the Lord persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets" -- Jeremiah 25:3-4

Peter wrote of the Lord's patience in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." Whether in the days of Jeremiah, Peter or today, our God is, according to the old phrase, "Long suffering".
When times of spiritual correction come, let's not think or believe that we never had a warning. The word that is used twice in the above passage is "persistently". God's great desire has always been focused on repentance, rather than judgment. He has always given  fair warning of our sin and its heartbreaking results.
Why wait until there are no more signposts my friend? Turn to the Lord today, before the summer is past and the harvest is over?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” -- Jeremiah 23:16-17
As this passage warns, so does the apostle in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." The years and generations have passed, but false prophets still rise up in our midst. We have recently heard and read about one who would lead people to believe that "No disaster shall come upon you" because "Love Wins".
This well known pastor speaks visions of his own mind that fly in the face of two thousand years of Christian Church history and scholarship. He comes to the evangelical community with a new interpretation of the Scriptures that downplays divine judgment and eternal condemnation. His arguments literally defy the very teachings of our Lord Jesus.
Be wise my friend and very careful when you are confronted with such teaching. The human mind may struggle with divine truths, but we must never deny them to fill our hearts with vain hopes. Be noble like the Bereans by “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:11) Stay true to "sound doctrine" and "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." (Titus 2:1/Jude 3)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice." -- Jeremiah 22:21
Jeremiah spoke similar words of reproof again and again. But why listen to warnings when life is so good? There was no reason to give any obedience to the Lord since they were so prosperous. Do our circumstances in life ever affect our response to God's Word?
As we study this book we find a long list of Jeremiahs warnings. And yet Judah pushed them off without any apparent intention to respond. There are many that we know that react the same way to the message of accountability to God. When life is really good, there doesn't seem to be any reason to repent or change.
Take note of this short but provoking word my friend. We may drift from the way of faithfulness and devotion to the Lord, but life may still be good. Never allow this to deafen our ears to His convicting words of correction. Make the right choice before "prosperity" slips away. Obey His voice while it is still called today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot." -- Jeremiah 20:9
In discouragement Jeremiah tried to be silent about God's message. He thought persecution and humiliation would be abated by his silence. And then he began to suffer deep within his heart, to a point of weariness. He learned that it is better to suffer opposition from men than conviction from God.
Has the Lord given you a charge my friend? Have you considered putting it aside for fear of what others would say? Are you struggling with God about the task at hand and the conviction within? The lesson from Jeremiah is clear; to find peace with God, obedience is imperative. Otherwise, over time you will grow weary and find a fire shut up in your bones.
You may be torn, but it is always better to obey than to lose your God given peace and suffer from "heart-burn"!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it." -- Jeremiah 18:7-8
On many occasions, Israel was given opportunity to repent. Time and again she chose to follow her own plans. Yet, even after declaring a chastening work upon the people, the Lord expressed hope to the repentant. If they would turn from evil, the promise of forgiveness was available.
Have you found yourself in a place of no return my friend? Do you believe that all hope is gone and the Lord will not accept your repentance? Well, the God of Jeremiah is still the God of today. He is merciful and forgiving to all who will turn from evil and come to Him through Jesus Christ. 
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" -- Ephesians 1:7  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." -- 1 John 1:9 Forgiveness is only a prayer away.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

“Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord…  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” – Jeremiah  17:5-9
The choice is clear and often repeated throughout the Scriptures. Trusting people leads to trouble and trusting God leads to blessing. No one's plan is ever better than God's plan. So, which road do we choose to follow? Are we sure that we're on the right path? Do we dare trust our own heart? Even that is deceitful above all things.
The so called successful gambler will only bet on a "sure thing". Well, in life there is one, and only one "sure thing"... that is to "trust the Lord". All other steps are dead end efforts at best. Search your heart my friend and be sure that you do not trust a faulty person or your sin-sick heart. Remember... "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) 

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts." -- Jeremiah 15:16
Where do we turn in the midst of turmoil and persecution? We may find reason to complain and grumble over the way we have been treated, but is there any relief? Jeremiah was often plagued with discouragement, but he reminded himself of the sweetness of God's Word and the reassurance of God's call in his life.
Living for Jesus isn't always easy. The trials are many and opposition is no different today than it was in the days of God's "weeping prophet". To stay the course is always a challenge beyond our own strength. The encouragement and power to press on is still the same for us as we find joy and delight in the Word of God and His personal calling. Be strong in Him and never give up my friend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, declares the Lordbecause you have forgotten me and trusted in lies." -- Jeremiah 13:25
How do we end up far off from the Lord, experiencing his chastening hand? What is it that leads to a hard road of discipline from a loving heavenly Father? Could it be that time has passed by; day after day, week after week and month after month without seeking His face in devotion, prayer and worship?
The Lord measured out a portion of corrective discipline to a people who had "forgotten" Him and trusted lies. When many new ideas and opportunities eat up our hours and days, time passes ever so quickly. As we look back over the months we suddenly realize that we have failed to give careful devotion and worship to the Lord. We claim that we've been too busy, but the truth is that we've just forgotten the One who holds us in the palm of His hand.
The sin-sick believer is just someone who allowed one day after another to pass by without spending quality time with Jesus. And after a while they just forgot Him. Don't let that be you my friend. MAKE time every day and never forget the Lover of your soul and the Friend that sticks closer than a brother!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?  And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” – Jeremiah 12:5

Somewhere in the early years, we are led to believe that life will get better. We tend to think that the troubles of youth will slip away as we mature. Then, as time passes, we find out that the challenges of later years are often the most difficult. Along with this, whenever the struggles come, we find ourselves questioning the Lord and wondering when they will pass.
The answer is simple. The storms and hardships will pass in God's good time. And those that will follow may be even more pressing. But, in all that we face, He is there to give us strength. He only asks us to stay the course and stand strong in Him. The Lord was quite pointed with Jeremiah in answer to his complaint. If we grow weary in the small stuff, what will we do when darker days come? 
Don't let the rocks on the path cause you to stumble my friend. The day may come when the path seems to disappear and you will need to trust the One who leads the way. In the hard days, rather than grieve and grow weary, dig in and grow strong in your faith. The demanding days ahead will need matured faith strengthened by the simpler challenges of today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

“Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,  for the customs of the peoples are vanity…” -- Jeremiah 10:2-3a
How well do we understand the cry for relevance? The church is continually pressed to be up to speed with the contemporary world. But, how far should we go to be like the nations, to reach them for Christ? Someone once coined the phrase, "Be in the world, not of the world!" 
With great sadness, we see the Church of today acting very much like Judah of old. She has learned the way of the nations and she has become influenced by their customs. Rather than being transformed to the image of her Savior, she has become conformed to a world of vanity. Rather than effecting, she has become affected.
The simple truth is found in this my friend: Choose who you will learn from. You can learn the ways of the nations or you can "...learn from me (Jesus)" Matthew 11:28. The only way that you can make a difference is to be different. The only way to make disciples is to be a disciple. You need to be in contact with the world, but never in contract!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” -- Jeremiah 9:23-24
It's not about earned degrees, it's not about being physically fit and it's not about having a profitable portfolio. All these things are far from pleasing the Lord and bringing lasting value to a life. Consider that which the Lord highly values: that we have a deep, growing relationship with Him, showing the love, justice and righteousness of God on a daily basis.
Such a life can be achieved by anyone who turns to the Lord before the harvest is past and the summer is ended. (Jeremiah 8:20) Have you embraced the Lord as your Redeemer and Reason for living my friend? Has he become your heartbeat and breath of life? Make your boast in the Lord and abundant life will be yours at every level. Jesus said it best in John 10:10, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"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".