Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stubbornness

Stubbornness is a prevalent condition, even among God's people, as it was in Jeremiah's day. (Jeremiah 16:12) Stubbornness is a sin, and it leads to all types of problems and consequences. God dislikes our stubbornness to the point that He does not listen to our prayers for help, because we are living the way we want to live, instead of listening to Him. We must guard against becoming stubborn every day, no matter what it takes.

Being stubborn is having a hard heart and a stiff neck. It is making up our mind to do something so much that we will not listen to the Lord, His Word, or other people who try to help us. It has at its root pride, because we think we are so right that we do not need to listen to the Lord or anyone else. The problem is that our hearts are desperately wicked, and if we listen to our own heart, it will lead us astray, just like Jeremiah told the people of God they were doing. We feel like we are doing the right thing, because our heart is leading us, but remember, we are very fallible. If we ever get stubborn, Satan has us just where He wants us. All he has to do is to influence our heart, and then, our stubbornness does the rest. Please, examine your heart for any signs of stubbornness. Is there anything about which you are not willing to listen to the Lord and His Word? If there is, repentance is in order. Confess that sin, and ask God to cleanse you of it, so that your heart is soft and open to God once again.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 17-19.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When the Going Gets Tough

When the going gets tough in your life, how do you do? We need to be aware of our spiritual strength and maturity. If we have trouble when things are going pretty well, there is a serious problem in our life. We will not possibly be able to make it when the hard times come. Jeremiah brought this truth to the people of God, and we need to learn it, too. (Jeremiah 12:5) Please, apply this to your life, and make an honest reflection for your own good.

When life is routine, and things are pretty smooth, are we able to do God's will on a consistent basis? Can we handle those easy challenges? Are we able to discipling ourselves to pray and read the Word as we should? If we can't do it then, there is an underlying spiritual flaw that must be fixed before we can negotiate the real trials of life. Make no mistake, serious trials and suffering will come into our lives. It is at those times, we need a spiritual strength that has been built up during the regular times of life. Therefore, we need to set our priorities, so we do feed on the Bible every day, praying and seeking God based on what we find in His Word. We need to discipline ourselves to exercise our faith to minister to others and witness on a regular basis, while being regular in worship and growing in the community of faith we call our home church. It is in those ways we get strong, and we prepare for when the going gets tough in life.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 14-16.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Boast About This

The Lord gave Jeremiah His message to the people about how to boast in the right way. It is not in boasting about wisdom, might, or riches. It is far different from that type of bragging. God said if we are going to boast, we should boast in the reality that we understand and know the Lord, the One who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth. (Jeremiah 9:23,24) That is the kind of boasting that makes God happy.

God knows our human nature. We are so prone to boast about our achievements or our personal qualities, which we feel are impressive to other people. However, all of that boasting is vain, because it is self-centered arrogance. However, if we boast to others about how we know the Lord and we understand His perfect character, our boasting shines the light on Him. We are pointing others to Him.

Let's decide to boast like this. Let's tell others what it is like to know the Lord, and let's tell them what He is like, so they will be given a hunger to know Him, too.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 10-13.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

An Appalling and Horrible Thing

Jeremiah lived in a time when God's people were engaged in gross idolatry and direct rebellion against their God. It was a very sad time. However, there was one thing that Jeremiah said was "appalling and horrible." For him to say that, it must have been particularly devastating for the Lord to see this happen to His people. (Jeremiah 5:30,31) Unfortunately, it is not unlike what is happening in many churches today in the USA.

The prophets were prophesying falsely, and the priests were ruling on their own authority. Today, we see so many false prophets speaking things contrary to the Word of God, and we see so many church leaders who are leading in their own authority, not according to what God has given them authority to do. However, that was not the appalling and horrible thing. The thing that made Jeremiah and the Lord so appalled was that "my people love it so." The people of God were happy about the situation. They loved and followed their prophets and priests so willingly. They did not stand up for God's Word and the truth, at all. They were very satisfied.

I am very glad it is not that way in every church, but it is very pervasive today. People know the Bible, but they have gone against it, and they have accepted false teaching and rulers who go their own way. They think everything is fine, but Jeremiah ends in a question we need to consider, "But what will you do at the end of it?" By taking this path, what will happen in the end for our churches? What will happen when we stand before the Lord? What does it mean for our entire society? I am afraid it means we are not far from the judgment of God, and His judgment begins at the house of God.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 6-9.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2 Errors of God's People

As we begin the book of Jeremiah, we come to one of my favorite verses. It contains a great insight about how we, as believers, miss God's will and suffer the consequences. (Jeremiah 2:13) I want us to let this truth sink in, so that we do not have to suffer the results of our sins. I believe this applies to all Christians in some way.

At times, we forsake the Lord," the Fountain of living waters." We do not usually do it on purpose. We would seldom, if ever, come right out and deny the Lord. However, we can slip into turning from His ways to our own ways. We can decide to do things our way, or we can simply not think about it, so that we decide to do what our friends are doing. It does not matter how it happens. It is a grave error. That is why Jeremiah said it was an "evil." Anything we do that leads us away from the Lord and His ways is evil, because it is sin, and it leads us closer to an evil lifestyle. Most people do not jump into full blown rebellion against God and terrible sins. They drift in that direction, one step at a time. Any step to forsake the Lord and His way is a step in that direction.

Then, when we do that, we decide to dig for ourselves "cisterns, broken cisterns," that cannot hold water. We decide on a faulty human way to meet our need or solve our problem. Our solution does not meet our need nearly like God's way, because lukewarm cistern water is nothing like the water from a fresh, bubbling spring that never goes dry. Also, our solution just lasts a short time, and we are back to square one, because all of the water leaks from our cistern. Then, we may choose another wrong solution, or we may see our error and turn to God. That is the only correct answer. He will forgive us and restore us, as we repent, confess our sin, and do it His way, out of faith in Him. I pray we will reflect on our lives and apply this truth to get back into the center of God's will.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 3-5.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Power of God's Presence

The prophet Isaiah longed for God to split open the heavens and come down to the earth, making His powerful presence known to His people and to the nations of the world. (Isaiah 64:1,2) He knew that it would be like a fire to set the dead wood ablaze and to bring things to a boil, so everyone would know that God is alive and well. I believe that would be a great thing for our world today, as well. We have become very lukewarm. We need to be set on fire by the presence of God in our midst.

Revival is when God brings His people back to life again, after they have drifted into coldness of heart. An awakening is when God breaks into society in such a powerful display of His presence that people are drawn to Him from whenever they may be physically and spiritually. We need a revival and an awakening in America today. I believe that we should use these verses as the basis for our prayer to God, as we humble ourselves and pour out our heart's desire to see the Lord move in this world. I hope you will join me in this prayer. Let's not stop until we experience it, or until He takes us home.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Isaiah 66 and Jeremiah 1-2.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Anointed for Ministry

Did you know that every Christian is anointed? I am not talking about a literal anointing of oil on the skin. I am referring to the Spirit's anointing. Once we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to guide us and empower us, as we grow in Christ, and as we carry out the mission He has for our lives. The anointing is the power of the Spirit to do what God has laid out for us to do. If you are a believer, you are anointed, whether you realize it or not. We are all saved to serve, not to sit in a pew. (Isaiah 61:1) Jesus quoted this verse to share with His hometown people in Nazareth about His ministry. Since we are to be "like Him," we should be about these things, too.

Who do you know that is afflicted? Tell them the good news that Jesus can save them and deliver them from their affliction. He can give the peace that passes understanding in the midst of affliction. Who do you know who is broken-hearted? Go to them and allow the Spirit to minister to them through you, so their broken hearts can be bound up. They can be whole and happy again. Who do you know who is captive to someone or something, or is in prison? Let them know that there is liberty in knowing Jesus. He can set them free from captivity or give them freedom in the midst of the prison they find themselves in. In all of these ways we can minister in the power of the Spirit and the authority of God who has anointed us and sent us out to do the same types of ministry that Jesus did. Let's take the anointing and use it for the glory of the Lord and the good of those around us.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Isaiah 63-65.