Friday, August 27, 2010

Despising the Word of the Lord

Despising the Word of the Lord
Jer 36:23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Jehudi's mistreatment of the Word of God. (He did this on behalf of King Jehoiakim)

1. He only read 3 or 4 leaves and had had enough.
The Word of God must be taken, and understood as a whole. Taking a portion out of context does more harm than good. There is no way the king could have understood how jealous God was over his people by having only 4 pages read to him.

2. He cut it with a penknife, no doubt removing the parts he didn't like.
Religious people included, many gladly accept the milk and honey of the Word but reject the dire warnings concerning sin and idolatry.

3. He burned it in the fire, such was his rage and anger.
Our generation just misplaces the Bible, for a year or 10. “Out of sight, out of mind.”

4. He went after the messenger.
If you don't like the message, give the preacher what for. This is nothing new, is it?

As to how people went after the messenger, see 38:6, Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.

Oh, Lord, that people's eyes would be opened that they may see your Word as life and truth!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Expected End

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jer 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jer 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive

Today's verses, realized in context, speak of the purposed, 70 year Babylonian captivity of Israel. This was determined by God upon His people Israel because of their refusal to walk in His statutes.

In His wisdom and foreknowledge, and through the preaching of His faithful prophet, Jeremiah, God would see them through to an expected end and restoration in the Promised Land.

But that account holds secondary application for us. True, God allows us to see persecution, testing and trials. However, He has great purpose for those problems. Chiefly, that we might be brought closer to Him, that our faith be increased and our sins left behind.

Know that your problems are not a product of a cosmic roll of the dice, but they are a precise calculation of God, working in you His perfect plan to bring you to a much better place.

Work with His plan today, not against it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Transcendent, Personal God

Jer 23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

Deism was all the rage a couple of hundred years ago. Many of America's
founding fathers are accused of being Deists, but I am not convinced.

A Deist is one who believes that God created the universe and then
abandoned it. He would think that God is not at all involved in personal

But we are assured here in the Word that our God is one who is always near
and never afar off. He knows our situation and is interested in the affairs of
men. When Israel was enslaved in Egypt of old, the Lord said to Moses that
He saw their affliction, heard their cries and is come down to deliver them.

All that to say that the mighty Creator of the universe cares for you in your
most intimate struggles.

Frank Graeff wrote it this way:

1. Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

* Refrain:
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

2. Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

3. Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

4. Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
* Refrain:
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good Figs, Bad Figs

Jer 24:2 One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Jer 24:3 Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Jer 24:4 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jer 24:5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
Jer 24:6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.

Here, the Lord distinguishes between good figs and rotten figs.

The good ones represent the Jews to be taken to Babylon and purged, then brought back to the land.

The bad figs speak of the jews who would remain behind in the land, and those who escaped down into Egypt. The Lord counts them as so corrupt as to not even be counted as redeemable.

I often wonder about the folks who are greatly used of God, those who are shelved for a time, and those who are so reprobate that the Spirit of the Lord no longer strives with.

Then I contemplate my own existence. How that God, in His grace, has not allowed me to fall into that third category. I have definitely felt worthy of being shelved for a time and, truthfully, have felt deserving of being cast off like the rotten figs. But, and oh, thank God, He continues to allow me to serve Him, pouring out His rich blessings.

Oh, glory to God, my cup runneth over. He sees me as a redeemable fig!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Name Calling: You, You... Magormissabib!

Jer 20:1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.
Jer 20:2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.
Jer 20:3 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.
Jer 20:4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
Jer 20:6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

Due to the actions of this man against the prophet of God, Jeremiah, fresh out of the shackles of his stocks, has this to say to him, "God says that you are no longer 'liberated' but are an 'afright all around'!"

Now that's some heavy duty name-calling. Nanny, nanny boo boo!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Searching, Trying, Giving.

Jer 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

It is true that every step you take today, every thought that passes through your cranium, every action you take is being carefully audited by heaven.

The fact is that God is looking for someone to bless! He delights in rewarding His own, not just in glory at the judgment, but even as we pass through this vale of sorrows.

We are assured in Psa 34:15 that "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry."

Furthermore, we know, because of Pro 5:21, that "the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings."

Pro 15:3 assures us that "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

Concerning the heart, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts." Pro 21:2

1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

So, dear friend, know that our wonderful Lord is watching you this day, trying your reigns, and giving rewards according to the deeds we do for Him.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Sermon by Bing Crosby

Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
Kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way, if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don't care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a fish?

A fish won't do anything, but swim in a brook
He can't write his name or read a book
To fool the people is his only thought
And though he's slippery, he still gets caught
But then if that sort of life is what you wish
You may grow up to be a fish
A new kind of jumped-up slippery fish

And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo
Every day you meet quite a few
So you see it's all up to you
You can be better than you are
You could be swingin' on a star

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Silly Brides!

Jer 2:32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

Did you have a big wedding? Then you know the dress issue is a huge ordeal. Friends, attendants and family gather around the pending bride down at the bridal boutique as she is fitted for that perfect gown of snowy white.

No detail is ignored, the price is weighed, the purchase is made and the most central item for the whole shebang is settled. (Now, if only the bride can stay the same size until the big day, when she dons her gotcha gear…only to be worn once and then carefully placed in storage.)

There is no bride on the planet who hasn't experienced dress stress.

But, once the "I do's" have been uttered. The "for betters and for worses" have turned generally to “for worses”, a strange thing begins to occur. This couple, who couldn't focus on anything in life but one another for the entire engagement, except for that dress thing, now neglect one another like the president ignores common sense.

And thus, we have the Lord quizzing His people as to how they stress over the details of a wedding garment, but ignore the groom for days on end.

Sound familiar? We sometimes get so busy serving God, we forget the God of our service. Do we pray and fellowship with the Lord as we ought, or do we go day by day, throwing up unfelt prayers to the ceiling, hoping one might make it through the rafters and up to the throne now and then?

We are the Bride of Christ, which necessitates that we pay attention to our Groom.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere!

Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

I am convinced that the devil is an absolute marketing genius.

Picture in your mind a beautiful fountain gently spewing forth sweet, refreshing waters. A sign nearby advertises, "Living water, drink here and you will never thirst again."

Now envision brackish, impure water seeping into the earth from its hastily hewn ditch. Dead, decaying animals lie strewn about the edge of the ditch bank.

Now, imagine the old snake oil salesman, the devil, erecting a sign next to the putrid pond, "You only go around once in life, grab all the gusto you can get."

Now, the kicker... people are lined up by the billions to drink the toxic tonic, while only a few stoop to ingest eternity.

That, my friends, is the way it is August 16, 2010.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Keep "the" Commandment

Ecc 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.

In context, if we could say there is such a thing in this poetic book, the commandment probably deals with whatever a sovereign instructs his subject. However, I can imagine it meaning the first and great commandment upon which hangs all the other commands.

Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Are we whole-heartedly loving the Lord? Can we say also, "whole-souly" and "whole-mindedly" and "whole-strengthedly"?

This is not a suggestion but a command. God will accept nothing less. He is not "understanding" of our meager attempts at loving Him. He wants it all and is jealous over the matter.

Keep THE commandment.

Friday, August 13, 2010

God, What are You Doing?

Ecc 8:2 I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Ecc 8:3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
Ecc 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

We are loved by a sovereign God Who has all of our best interests at heart. Additionally, He has a universe to orchestrate.

We must never lose sight of the fact that it really isn't about us, but it is all about Him. Just know that everything that comes your way is either scheduled or allowed by Him so that all things may work together for good if indeed, you love God.

When we get to heaven, His master plan will unfold before us as His glory is revealed in us. And, in that day, we will know that our sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared to that glory.

So, continue trusting our all wise Sovereign, He does all things well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We are all going to the same place

Ecc 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

So, they were right, sort of. You've heard it a hundred times, "We are all going to the same place, we are just taking different paths to get there."

It just that little thing after death that separates the righteous from the ungodly - heaven and hell.

Excepting for the rapture, when we die, for every one of us, it is ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But you had better have some preparation for the other side of the grave.

Jesus exclusively proclaims, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me."

Where will you spend eternity, smoking or no smoking?

Oh, and for those who still think we ultimately will all go 6 feet under.

Ecc 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Difficult Days, Bigger Measures.

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Heb 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

These are perilous times in which we live. The perils for the western believer come not from persecution, but from the subtle onslaught of false worldviews.
The average active lifespan of Christian service has become so minuscule that drastic measures need to be taken to ensure enduring service of believers.

One thing that is very beneficial is accountability. The deceitfulness of sin permeates our lives. It is the lion's mode of devouring believers. But accountability can keep these evil deceptions in check.

Here the writer has this to say, "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

Let me ask you, do you have a good Christian friend whom you can exhort daily and who will do the same for you?

If not, ask God to lead you to that special person who will keep you on track. Imagine the blessed benefit of such a relationship.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heavy Duty Christianity

II Tim 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

The second chapter of II Timothy is not for weak-kneed or wishy-washy Christians who have prayed the prayer and feel they are “good to go.”

This chapter could be summed up in the phrase, "If you do not bear the cross, you cannot wear the crown."

For those who think Christianity is a party, this chapter is a wake-up call. Prosperity preachers, the “name it, claim it, blab it, grab it” crowd leave chapters like this alone.

This chapter shows that believers are not promised a rose garden, but an all out warfare.

Consider the following exhortations from the old grizzled soldier, Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy (and to those who would volunteer to become a soldier of the cross:

1. Be strong in the grace of Jesus, vs 1
2. Pass the faith along, diligently teaching other true disciples, vs 2
3. Endure the harshness of the battle, this is what good soldiers do, vs 3
4. Don't get bogged down with the unnecessary things of life. vs 4. Imagine a soldier engaged in battle on a foreign field pausing to play a round of golf!
5. Obey your orders! vs 5
6. You will suffer and be slandered. vs 9
7. You've got to endure for the sake of those who follow your faith, vs 10
8. Death is a possibility, vs 11
9. Deny the Lord, and risk Him denying you, vs 12
10. Speak the truth, no matter the consequences, vs 14
11. Master the Word, vs 15
12. Give no place to wickedness, stay on the straight and narrow, vss 19-22
13. Fight the good fight with love and meekness, knowing the stakes, eternity! vss 24-26

Those who are in it for the blessings, rather than the service are in for some hard times. Unfortunately, most of them will not endure when the battle heats up.

As our friend Johnny Flanagan said in his song, “It’s a battle field brother, not a recreation hall, a fight and not a game, I don’t know what you came to do, but I came here to stay.”

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's in a Name?

2Ti 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
2Ti 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
2Ti 1:17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
2Ti 1:18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Here we have 3 individuals with whom Paul had dealings. 2 did him wrong and one was a tremendous blessing to him.

Of those in Asia who forsook Paul, chief were Phygellus and Hermongenes. Their names befit them well.

Phygellus: Fugitive, run away. To shun.

Hermogenes: Born of the Greek deity, Hermes.

And then the faithful servant of the Lord and Paul, Onesiphorus: Bearer of Profit.

This was a good brother who often times refreshed Paul, no doubt, by being so profitable to the ministry.

Sad, the number of fellow laborers who turn on the true servants of God, or forsake them entirely, especially in time of need.

But, how wonderful the men and women who you can always count on to be a blessing.

May God increase the tribe of Onesiphorus.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simon Says, Go to the Chief Priests

Mat 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
Mat 26:8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
Mat 26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
Mat 26:10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
Mat 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
Mat 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
Mat 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
Mat 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

One of the disciples was incensed that this woman used this extremely pricey ointment on the Lord. In fact, it ticked him off so much that he went to the religious leaders to sell out the Lord.

You know who that betrayer was. It was the treasurer, Judas. But do you know that this took place in his home? Did you realize that Simon, the leper who had been cleansed, was Judas' dad?

Imagine, Simon had a death sentence. Even though he was a mighty big man, he was cut down to size by leprosy. He had been banished by this disease. Now, he got his life back, his family, his status. How could Judas be so ungrateful?

What a tremendously bizzare occurance in his own home!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vine Dressers Local #101 Up in Arms Over Itinerant Preacher's Wage and Benefit Package!

Mat 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
Mat 20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mat 20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
Mat 20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Mat 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
Mat 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Mat 20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
Mat 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
Mat 20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
Mat 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
Mat 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Mat 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Mat 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Mat 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Employers have no right to abuse employees, but when a good faith agreement is struck, it ought to be binding. That is, unless one party wishes to go beyond the agreement. That is, if an employee wishes to go the extra mile, or if the employer extend extra benefits, then so be it.

The key here is that it is lawful for the employer to do with his own what he will. And if they choose to be kind to an employee, other employees have no say in the matter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Soft Spoken?

Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Jesus was one tough dude when he needed to be. We have a lot of namby-pamby preachers these days who feel called to "reflect" in their homilies. I just can't imagine that Jesus was using His "inside voice" on this occasion.

Indeed, there are those times when the man of God must "cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions."

Jesus gave the money changers what for. I don't think He was speaking the truth in love either. It "shows to go ya" that there are times when the direct approach is called for and pleasantries have to be laid aside.

As we look at the ministry of Jesus, we see that those occasions include:
1. When religious leaders are taking people to hell.
2. When God's holy house is transformed into a den of thieves.
3. When children are abused or exploited.

I am telling you, the Lord is very patient, but you DO NOT want to make Him angry!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Do Ask, Do Tell

Mat 9:30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

We often read Jesus' admonitions to those He healed. "Don't tell anybody."

I believe the main reason is that the danger in doing so would produce more misery in their lives than they experienced by their diseases. The religious crowd hounded and persecuted those whom Jesus touched.

By testifying, they were inviting scrutiny and possibly banishment.

But, as it should be with us, they just can't hold the good news in, "Jesus saves!"

We don't face much persecution and therefore, the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus should hold no fear.

Go, tell the world of the love of Jesus.