Monthly Archives: August 2018

God’s Goodness, Inspite Of Human Unrighteousness.

For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel. (Jeremiah 51:5)

Why is God saying this? Remember that Judah and Israel suffered the chastening hand of the Lord for backslidding and being unfaithful to their God. Yet God is faithful, when even his people are “Unfaithful” and act faithless toward him.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2:13 –

God’s grace, mercy and kindness are not about us, our merit, our great attributes or fine standing, but rather His. We already see in Romans 3:23 it says

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

Sin is not just us doing the wrong things we should not, but it is also failure to be who we ought. Therefore, if any of us has come into a relationship with God and tasted his goodness, it is simply because he is good and shows mercy.

We on the other hand are not by nature what God desires and this is why Jesus Christ died for us to offer a sacrifice worthy to pay for not just sins we have commited, but the sin that makes us into sinners by mode of opperendae. We have a way of doing things that displeases God, a way about us. We need not look any further then certain concepts we all know well: Example: Many ask, “Why is it so easy to take for grantid those who love us most yet try to impress those who treat us the worst” or “Why do we do the irrational and unkind things we do. Why do we treat those closest to us worse then those who we do not even know?” – it is because we are flawed sinners by default and we do this to others in our faithless dealings but we also do this to God- a God who still loved sinners enough to send Jesus Christ to save.

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Babylon’s Fall

The Fall Of Babylon:

Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, ‘We are not guilty, for they sinned against the Lord, their verdant pasture, the Lord , the hope of their ancestors.’ (Jeremiah 50:7)

True they were used by God who is sovereign to punish God’s people- however, they sinned when doing so. God allowed a foreign enemy nation to be his instrument of discipline to remove his own rebellious children from their land yet guilt stains were all over the hands of Babylon also-

There are times where someone may justify personal revenge or doing wrong to others justifiable because they are “bad people” themselves yet see how God dealt with Babylon as a result

For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed. So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill,” declares the Lord. “Because you rejoice and are glad, you who pillage my inheritance, because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions, your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you birth will be disgraced. She will be the least of the nations— a wilderness, a dry land, a desert. Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate. All who pass Babylon will be appalled; they will scoff because of all her wounds. “Take up your positions around Babylon, all you who draw the bow. Shoot at her! Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the Lord. Shout against her on every side! She surrenders, her towers fall, her walls are torn down. Since this is the vengeance of the Lord, take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done to others.

Jeremiah 50:9-15 –

Looky there- “Take vengeance on her as she has done to others”

Personal vengeance even if God may be using it does not leave a guilty party doing it justified, as the Apostle Paul says later in the New Testament

Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!

Romans 3:7-8 –

The Apostle Paul is saying that some sinners may make the argument that God may gain glory inspite of their sin so why does he then condemn them under his wrath- Paul says, “Their condemnation is just” and that that should not be a personal excuse to refuse to repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ.

The nation of Assyria’s case, who took captive the northern tribe of Israel – the case was he grew arrogant and thought she was an instrument of wrath on her own accord and power,

Yet how does God prophesy against this?

For he says: “‘By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings. As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as people gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.’” Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood! Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame.

Isaiah 10:13-16

Yet God has an ax for those who do such things and fail to bow and repent of their own sin

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:10-12

God may be allowing some people to in their blindness and schemes yes be a rod to chasten a backslidden Christian even, sure God can use even a non Christian person, governing body or people to become a rod for his own yet make no mistake that God will call every soul before him on trial at judgement and Only He will be exalted as Just Judge on that day- so it is wise to submit to The Lordship of Christ when he has this option available before he grows impatient and it is too late to make that decision.

God in his longsuffering patience is holding out on many giving them time to respond but wont forever.

Treasures From Proverbs: Prov 26:4-12

8/26/2018

Treasures from Proverbs,

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. 6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. 7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 8 Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. 9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 10 Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. 12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:4-12)

In just this handful of verses there is enough to unpack for quite an indepth lesson and often in just a few verses there is enough to camp on for a while.

In 4 and 5 we see a seemingly contradictory statement that first says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will be like him yourself” which Im assuming is like playing someone’s silly foolish games that foolish people often goad others into. Ever heard the expression, “Just do not play their games” or “Don’t stoop to their level” and thats what I think of when I see this. On the other hand, ever know a situation where if you do not refute such nonsense then the person in arrogance claims they are proven right for failure to refute what they say? However, on one hand to debate them leads no where constructive yet silence only boosts their ego. And another proverb says to “Avoid a fool”

Basically, the only reasonable course of action with people such as this is non association it appears.

Vs 6 talks of the danger of sending a message by means of a foolish person. There are some people you do not want to use as modes to communicate valueble and pertainent information. They may undo something or bungle it along the way.

Vs 7 “Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.” Now this hits close to home, I look down from my wheelchair at my legs and say to myself, my legs are disabled and not fit for walking and so is wise proverbs ans quotes in the mouths of people who have no wisdom to apply their wise saying to walk by as a practice of their own lives. To know a wise quote, adage or proverb and say it word for word yet never know how to abide by that truth is like my legs that hang there that look like legs well enough but have not aided me to walk with. So it is, knowing Scripture and memorizing the Word is noble and good but falls short without personal applying to our lives

——Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:23-27 –

How should knowlege of the Word change every aspect of how we live? James goves a very practical simple application, what we say – though so seemingly small, it is indespensie and our faith should change both what we do and how we speak!

Vs 8 “Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.”

Giving positions of responsibility or entrusting high things to foolish people is going to backfire. Ever heard someone vouch for someone’s character or competence only to be embarrased later they spoke highly of that person when it backfired. So it is giving honor to a foolish person hurts also those who give them honors!

Vs 9

9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool

Some people say true things yet a foolish person has no timing or tact or discernment thereof to use truths to build others up- instead some people open their mouths and speak true things in the worst possible ways and only serve to make problems or situations worse! So is true words in a fools mouth, they end up hurting themselves in the process and making people angry. A drunk person grabbing a thorn bush is self destructive in doing so- so to speak truth while foolishly refusing to submit to God’s Word is serving to have God’s truths also condemn us.

Jesus adds even greater clarity here:

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:37-42)

When speaking hard truths we all must also better be sure that these truths are not also pointing at us- lest we become hypocrites.

Vs 10:

10 Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.

In the work world, many places have a high turn over rate, yet is this principle being often forgotten? Hiring anyone for a job is like firing a projectile at random. If one does not careful select who they hire or trust- they create a liability when they pick someone who makes something go wrong.

Vs 11

11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

“Don’t hit your head against the wall and expect it not to hurt,” they say yet this also is a principle from Proverbs that tells us: Foolish people keep doing the same harmful things expecting a better outcome- and never learn their mode of opperedae is hurting them- so they keep suffering folly for never wising up.

Vs 12

12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Even a foolish person can improve if he or she is wise enough to learn from poor choices, uet prideful people refuse change and become worse then an average fool because they refuse to acknowlege their own foolish decisions that cost them. Even a ridiculous fool has some hope if they can see they have a problem- but a fool who wont let go of pride does not.

We all have played these parts as stubborn humans but God’s Word can help us overcome- so the deciding factor of our success in life is not predecided just because we may start foolish or may currently be acting the part, but if we decide right to deal with with it, we can excell and become wise through seeking God and His Wisdom!

Zechariah 11 Sermon Favor and Union.

Back around Christmas time I was reading in my daily reading plan and came to be gifted with two candy canes from someone at the job. I put them in my wheelchair bag to later eat them but one somehow broke on me. I then was reminded of what I had been reading through in the Old Testament reading plan, and the prophet had been told to take two staffs and break each to symbolize events that would unfold.

—-This is what the Lord my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter. Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the Lord, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them. For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the Lord. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.” So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.” Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord. I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord. Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel. Then the Lord said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves. “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!” (Zechariah 11:4-17)

“The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.”

The Lord had taken care of his people yet they grew tired of him. They started turning to other gods and as a result the Assyrian nation as well as Babylon enslaved the people of Israel and Judah for 70 years.

Union- the second staff that was broken represented the family bond between the two kingdoms that became Judah and Israel, and until after the reign of Solomon they were united under one king but after Solomon died Rehoboam, Solomon’s son became king over Israel in the north and Jeroboam became king of Judah in the south.

“Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel. Then the Lord said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves. “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!” —-Gentile kings for one took hold of both the nations of Judah and Israel but we also see this concept play out in the days of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Pharisees and religious leaders used God’s Law to oppress the people and not point them to the True Shepherd (Jesus) who said:

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:11-18)

Sin came to divide Judah and Israel, and sin divides people of today. What can we learn from this passage in Zechariah?

Well first of all, sin brings separation and creates barriers between people. Secondly, it drives a wedge between us and the God who created us and everyone else! Yet the good news is, in spite of leaders who sin and misuse positions of power or influence, there is one Shepherd who will do justly and righteously, and judge all according to impartial equity. Jesus Christ is our Shepherd and as Psalms 23 says “The Lord is my shepherd” and Jesus is not some cruel and overbearing taskmaster that is disinterested in the lives of people. God is holy and righteous and hates sin and we see his anger toward it throughout especially OT literature but can we see why? Sin drives us from Him, the only true source of hope and a sustaining source of well being.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

God not only is angered by sin and trusting in idols and gods that are not, but grieved. He knows we need him far more than we realize. God is at times compassionately angry! Suppose you are a parent of a teenage son or daughter who starts to pursue a reckless course of life and you try to talk the sense into them but they do the thing we as young people do, say “Whatever, stay out of my life!” Parents can relate to this concept yet we seem to divorce God’s anger toward sin from his compassion and love for mankind? Why?

God is both angry and compassionate- he hates sin and sees it as an affront to who he is- yet he is compassionate and pities sinners who suffer the misfortunes of their own sin!

Therefore, Jesus came to rescue sinners as the Shepherd King the God anointed to bring two kingdoms under his Lordship, Judah and Israel, but also reconcile the World to Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 –

Christ removed the barrier between us and one another and us and God. We must lay hold of this though and receive it!

Jeremiah 1:4-19 Sermon, The Call Of Jeremiah- “Do not say, “I am too young.”

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. ” “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. [Jeremiah 1:4-19] Jeremiah was most likely intimidated by God’s call to confront the people of Israel and Judah over their sins, for one, he was a youth. Often people see people who are younger as inexperienced or not knowlegable. There can be a attitude of “What? You telling me what to do? Ha your just a young person and I have years on my side.” Yet where was Jeremiah’s confidence? God’s call and commission. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul says: Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Paul preached a messsage of the Gospel and repentence and turning to Christ for reconciliation to God. Yet the prophet Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul both knew that God was the strong force to back up the work he had called them to do. In the story of Jeremiah he was young but reminded by the Lord that He was on his side even if the people refused to listen to him because of his age. Jeremiah throughout the book of Jeremiah spoke warnings of God’s judgement coming from Assyria and Babylon if they did not turn away from sin and idol worship. Unfortunately they people would not repent and judgement came. Whatever it is that may seem to be a deterent, whether being young or whatever society may try to use to discredit the message. We should irregardless obey God’s call and share the message he gives us to proclaim, the Gospel. God said to another prophet in this time: And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” Ezekiel 2:6-8 – The point is God calls them to obey and proclaim what he gave them to say, and then said irregardless of whether the people responded or not was not the focus but rather obeying and proclaiming the message he gave to them to preach to the people. Often times most of the people rejected God’s message and fell into God’s judgement for it but the prophets did their part and were faithful to obey. The same is true when we share the Gospel as modern 21 century believers. We cannot make a single person respond, only God can truly change hearts but regardless of the outcome, our role is obeying and doing as our Lord commands 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 –

Jeremiah 42 Sermon- The escape plan that made their problem worse!

7 Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8 So he called together Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest. 9 He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: 10 ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. 12 I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’

13 “However, if you say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ and so disobey the Lord your God, 14 and if you say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the trumpet or be hungry for bread,’ 15 then hear the word of the Lord, you remnant of Judah. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, 16 then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die. 17 Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’ 18 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘As my anger and wrath have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will be a curse[b] and an object of horror, a curse[c] and an object of reproach; you will never see this place again.’

19 “Remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today 20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”

In Verse 14 we see God warning them that if they ran from where he called them to stay thinking they would have a more favorable outcome, they would be overtaken by the very thing they dreaded.

In the following chapter we see them disobey the Lord and trust their own solution to their problem

——When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them — Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’ But Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians, so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.” So Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers and all the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women, the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah along with them. So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord and went as far as Tahpanhes. (Jeremiah 43:1-7)

Then:

“Now this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Why bring such great disaster on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women, the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant? Why arouse my anger with what your hands have made, burning incense to other gods in Egypt, where you have come to live? You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a curse and an object of reproach among all the nations on earth. Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors and by the kings and queens of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed my law and the decrees I set before you and your ancestors. “Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster on you and to destroy all Judah. I will take away the remnant of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by sword or famine. They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach. I will punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, as I punished Jerusalem. None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.” Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine. ” The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?” Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, “Did not the Lord remember and call to mind the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your ancestors, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? When the Lord could no longer endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse and a desolate waste without inhabitants, as it is today. Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed his law or his decrees or his stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see.” Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’ “Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt: ‘I swear by my great name,’ says the Lord , ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand —mine or theirs. “‘This will be the sign to you that I will punish you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to deliver Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, just as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’” (Jeremiah 44:7-30)

These people failed to see their real problem, they wrongly assumed their worship of foreign gods was bringing them success and averting disaster, they said “But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”

Yet they failed to recognize this as being the result of their problems. Their worship of idols and sinning against the Lord God who brought them out of Egypt long ago was the one who they had angered and he was the one who brought disaster by Babylon, that Jeremiah had kept predicting would come.

Yet we see here how even when God allows disaster as the result of a rebellious lifestyle, the sinful deception of the heart can fool us all into not discerning correctly why we suffer. Galatians 6:8 says “Whatsoever a man sows that he will also reap” and for their longstanding unrepentant hearts toward God’s messengers they reaped the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s warning.

So what can we take home here? Some of us may have reaped the consequences of sin, we have maybe seen God’s heavy hand in our lives over choices that finally produces hardship. Yet God told these people to just obey and remain in the land and not flee in fear to Egypt: unfortunately they disobeyed and it went from bad to worse, however, we are given these examples to learn from.

Fear- is never a valid excuse to disobey God. God knows all and if he calls us to obey in some way we should rest assured that he knows more then we do. Yet they trusted their escape plan- that more so was their disaster plan that sealed their doom.

The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Proverbs 28:25-26

We should not let the trouble around us as a result of even personal sin drive us further down a bad path. If a person is driving and they get off course and realize they have been driving 25 minutes in the wrong direction, it be silly to say, it is no use turning around, might as well keep driving this way. No rather the sensible thing is to stop and turn around and go the other way, even though it has created inconvenience and loss of time, they can still turn around and get to the right track! Yet this is repentence- we turn around from the reckless road

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.

Proverbs 14:12-13 –

The road of sin may seem right and even have laughter on it, yet deep down under the facade of many is a very felt emptiness and it ends in grief and judgement.

When we turn to Jesus, we acknowlege our sins messed up our life and we see how far off track in sin we are. We see we are worthy of God’s judgement, his anger, his just sentence- but the hope comed by turning from the mess we have created and accepting the forgiveness and cleansing work Jesus died to grant us. We ought to then trust him with our lives and follow Him!

Carrying The Crosses

I was thinking of a movie this morning I saw long ago, “Holes” but at the end of it, a man had been wrongly sent off to a prison work camp in it on unfair charges- he met this other kid there and through strange plot and turn of events has to carry his friend up a mountain. His friend was too weak to make the climb and so he carried his friend up the mountain. There was some curse through the generations linked back and it was finally put to rest when he carried the friend of his up the slopes. The friend has ancestors (a great grandmother or something who knew the kid who was unfairly sent away- the great grandfather of his, did something that got his family line cursed as a result so their ancestors had that story tying them together. Yer through the story plot the kid who was unfairly sentenced and the other kid ended up in the same prison camp and crossed paths – they became friends: nearing the end of the story the one got sick and needed help so to look for water they were going around the desert when the kid who was their unfairly remembers how the curse was a result of failure to carry the old woman up the mountain, yet her great grandson is the friend he is with and he takes it on himself to fulfill his families end of the bargain that had been broken years earlier. He carried his friend to the top and the generational curse is put to rest.]

However, I think of what Christ does for is, we are under the curse of sin, passesd down from generation to generation and we cannot break free of it!

The Bible talks alot about the “Sins of the forefathers being passed on” and this is what we inherit as a result of sin entering the world from the very beginning.

Well, Jesus before he was crucified was made to carry that heavy roman cross up toward the top of the mount, to the place called “Galgotha” the place of the skull, to be crucified. Bleeding, battered and exhausted, the Son of God carried his cross to atone for the sins that were not his fault or doing. He finally put to rest through his death and resurection from the dead, the curse of sin and power death has over the sinner. He makes it possible through faith in Him to be at peace with God, totally accepted and forgiven. Now why was this so important to Him? If God had no love for sinners he would not have condescended to help them out of their mess. He could have said, “Your not my problem, why should you backslidden rebels be my burden to bear?” But he does not see that way at all—

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:2-3 –

Jesus love- his love for the reprehensible, the unworthy, the broken and helpless. His death was entirely selfless really, he gets less from us in this deal then we do from him. After all even Christians cannot by great obedience, doing good, or all the service we collectively give back after- all of that is not needed to God but he desires our love and loyalty in return, not to complete him- but because he has done more for us then we could ever give back in a thousand lifetimes.

God requires our allegiance to Christ- yet he is not dependent on anything human hands could give him. Yet imagine it this way, like a man who just for some reason of his own, delights in a woman and desires her and wins her heart/ not because he needs her complete him, but he desires to pour his love into her and cherish her, and as a result of her realizing how much he loves her, she is inclined to adore and admire him and be with him.

God designed marriage as an object lesson to demonstrate this hard to grasp spiritual truth. A man may be asked, “Why did you fall in love with your wife and pursue her heart like you did?” He may respond, “I just thought she was the loveliest woman I ever laid eyes on and delighted in her.” Did she earn this? No. Did she have to jump through hoops to catch his eye? No. He set his eyes on her, pursued her and she fell for him I suppose we could say. Her desire to be “Desirable” was met by his hunger to “Pursue”

However, we are not in our sins “Desirable” in our own merit, yet the love of the Lord Jesus still “Desired” because of his nature and love not becomes we made ourselves appealing.

Tears of God

From July 27, 2016

The Tears Of God

(John 11:35) Jesus wept.

Simple, yet profound beyond words. Two words, worth 10,000 books- “Jesus wept”

Martha and Mary’s brother died, yet “Jesus wept”- He knew Lazarus would rise again, yet “Jesus wept”—We do not have here a God who is detached from human pain or tragic loss but one who weeps over people’s pain, his tender tears express the heart of God over the struggles of mankind, burdened here with sickness, pain and suffering. JESUS WEEPS, over the suffering sinner and struggling saint alike I think. “For we do not have a highpriest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin” Hebrews 4 tells us!

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

And Jesus weeps when he sees the suffering Adams sin brings humankind, the struggle, the pain, the disease and hard toil

He was unlike the religious leaders of his day who commanded obedience to the laws of God but removed the heart of love from God in the decrees.

Are you struggling tonight reader, take heart because “Jesus wept” embrace him in his gentle graces and receive the healings over your wounded hearts, and cleansing from your sins. He is not distant, the only distance is what you create-

The Contrast Of Faith vs Unbelief

Here we see David look back on God’s faithfulness to deliver in his past.

However, if we see another similar instance from the Israelites early on

we see they gave no thought to God’s former deliverance:

You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’” (Deuteronomy 1:27-28)

Both passages deal with people who saw God’s miraculous deliverance from harm and challenges- for David, “The paw of the lion and the paw of the bear” and for the Israelites, the grasp of a tyranical king

Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

Proverbs 28:15 –

However, David chose to believe God’s deliverance, the Israelites in Moses’s time gave into unbelief.

Psalm 106 gives an account of the people when they were journing to the Promised Land:

We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

Psalm 106:6-13

Believing God vs giving way to unbelief is no small matter,

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 –

Sin is not just evil actions and wrong thinking, but flows from letting unbelief grow in the heart. Through doubts the Serpant caused Eve and Adam to disobey God and through doubt the people rebelled in the desert and grew impatient, grumbled against God and created a golden calf. God was not opperating how they wanted him to, and as fast as they wanted so they said “Come let us make gods that will lead us into the good land” as a result they angered the Lord by creating a golden calf.

What about us today? These temptations can occur also to us! How often do people who don’t know who the Lord is get angry that he let certain things happen in their lives and they do not seek God to understand who he is but just to get them out of a problem they face- and when he does not deal with their situation how they want or as fast as they hoped they say “There must be no benevolent good God after all!” Or “Come let us make gods for ourselves that will carry us into our futures”

This can also happen to Christians in a subtle way if we too are not cautious. We can easily get frustrated in hard times over the delays or seemingly never ending seasons of hardship that we forget that God has delivered us from hardships so many times in the past. This may cause even a Christian to doubt, and though the temptation to give up and walk away from faith should never enter the mind, there can be a more passive outworking of unbelief, grumbling. Happened many times in my life even as a believer and then realized what I was truly doing, “Oh Lord, I am done for, I am going to die and be miserable from this point on and why does all these bad things happen to me. Lord please just finish me off and let me come home to heaven!” lol- I remember times in my life from years back I used to fall prey to this kind of cynical outlook, yet God has a goal “Be transformed through the renewal of your mind” Romans 12 tells us.

I have moments still but we all must challenge ourselves to put off such non sensical thinking. We must remind ourselves that God has done wonderful things to deliver us from trials in the past, why would we doubt Him after all this?

For younger Christians, this can often be more of a challenge since, they have had less time to see God bring truimph out of their trials. Yet the Word of God says “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

But you cannot love what you do not know or trust, and unbelief not only does not trust God but stifles love for God. We must fight and wage war by faith.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)