Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Finding God

Jeremiah sent a message to those taken captive in Babylon. He shared with them what to do while they waited for God to deliver their descendants from the Babylonians and send them back to rebuild Jerusalem. The people were very discouraged, but he was trying to cheer them up. I believe his best counsel was that they should seek God with all their heart. Then, they would find God. (Jeremiah 29:13) God has not changed, and people are the same, so this applies to us, too.

Yes, I know that God seeks us before we seek Him. He comes to each person and reveals Himself to us, so we can know Him by grace through faith. That is what He had done with the children of Israel. They should have had not doubts about God, and they should have trusted Him fully after all He had done for them. However, they did not trust Him. They turned to other gods. They thought they could fool God with lukewarm hearts toward Him. However, that is never the case. God knows our hearts. That is why He gave this most important message to them and to us.

When we want to respond to God's revelation, or when we need to return to Him, it must be with all of our heart. We can't seek Him partially. We can't be hypocritical about believing in Him. He will see through that mask every time. The only way to go to God is with all of our love and trust. Anything less, and we will not find Him.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 30-32.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

God is an Optimist

God is an optimist. He knows the human heart, and He still believes there is a chance for everyone to listen to Him and to turn from their evils ways. (Jeremiah 26:3) This is an amazing truth for those of us who take the Bible to be literally true. Please, consider what the Lord said.

In Jeremiah's day the people had been so sinful in turning to false gods and doing terrible things that God had sent the prophets to warn them to turn to Him or He would destroy many of them and their country. He was gracious to send many prophets over a long period of time. Jeremiah was there at the end when God destroyed Jerusalem by sending the Babylonians against them. However, even at that late time, God told Jeremiah to keep preaching to them, because "everyone" could listen and repent. Do we believe that is possible? If God is that optimistic, we should be, also. We should preach, share, and serve everyone with the mindset that it is possible for everyone to come to the Lord. I believe this would revolutionize our attitude and our service for the Lord. Let's try it, and see what God does. We might not see everyone saved and right with Him, but we could see many more come to Him than we are seeing now .

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 27-29.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Trying to Hide from God

People are so self deceived. We actually think we can hide from God. We cause ourselves to believe that we can have secret places which the Lord cannot access, and where He cannot see us. What folly. Jeremiah assured the people that God fills heaven and earth. (Jeremiah 23:24) There is no place we can hide from God.

Sin is so enticing. We enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, but then, we have to live with the bitter consequences that come. However, we try to escape the shame and the consequences. We try to do that by sneaking around and avoiding being caught doing these unrighteous actions. In the process of scheming we actually convince ourselves that we can out smart God. We can do something in the dark, so He can't see. We can text something and delete it, so He won't know. We do all this hoping to sin without any recourse, but it always fails. God knows all we do, and we will have to stand before Him one day to give an account to Him personally. How foolish will we feel then for trying to evade God? Instead, we should decide now that we must live each moment of each day in such a way that God would be pleased with what we say and do. If we make that our aim, and we turn our lives over to Him, He will give us power to do just that. Then, there is no need for deception, we can live in the light and walk in the truth before the Lord every day.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 24-26

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Fire in My Bones

When God saves us and calls us to be His witnesses to the world, we must speak to others about Him. Jeremiah found this out the hard way. He was being persecuted so much for speaking about the Lord and speaking His words in His name, that he decided to be silent and not speak of Him anymore. (Jeremiah 20:9) It did not work, because the longer he kept from speaking God's words, the more a fire burned in his bones. Finally, he could stand it no longer, and He had to speak for Him. All true believers will find this to be true.

God is our Father, Christ is our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit is God living in us. There is no way that can be true for someone who is ashamed of God. (Mark 8:38) We are His children, and we have all the benefits of salvation and His presence to guide us and empower us daily. Therefore, we are His ambassadors to this dark world. (II Corinthians 5:20) If we do not speak, no one will hear. He will not allow that to happen, but He will cause that same fire to burn in our bones until we speak up for Him.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 21-23.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Cause of a Stiff Neck

No, I am not a doctor, and I am not going to write about the cause of a stiff body part. I am writing about a well documented spiritual condition known as having a stiff neck. It refers to being very unwilling to change and to obey what God has for us to do. It is very common among believers today, so we need to hear the cause from Jeremiah, so we can prevent it or apply the cure. (Jeremiah 17:23) Our lives will be much more fulfilling and pain free, if we will avoid having this malady.

The onset of having a stiff neck is when we decide not to obey what we know the Bible says or what the Lord has told us clearly. Each time we fail to obey, it gets easier and easier to disobey the next time. Also, we fail to listen to what God is saying. We act like we can't hear Him. All believers can hear from the Lord. The only reason we fail to hear is that we decide not to listen, often because we do not agree with what we know the Lord will say.

Therefore, when we decide not to obey and to listen, we develop a stiff neck. We decide to go our way, and we become inflexible with the Lord. We even come to the point when we no longer hear, and we no longer receive instruction. Those are the most common symptoms of having a stiff neck. After all, why should God keep speaking to us, if we decide not to obey or to listen to Him. Then, we are out of God's will, so our lives are not joyful and fulfilling. We know something is missing, but we think it is God's fault, not our own. Also, we have the pain of God's punishment for disobeying Him. That leads us to live a life of disappointment and pain, which God never intended. All we have to do to avoid having a stiff neck or cure this condition is to start obeying God's Word, and when He starts speaking again, we decide to listen and obey Him. Almost instantly the stiff neck is gone.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 18-20.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Futility of Human Effort

None of us are good because of our own efforts. Each of us is born with a sinful nature, and we turn to sin at a young age. We are powerless to fight against that sinful nature in our own power. Yes, we can decide to do certain things to "reform" our lives, but we are never changed at the core of who we are, and our actions are never fully righteous, until we are changed by the power of God that comes when we trust the Lord Jesus Christ. That was the basis for what Jeremiah told the people of Judah. (Jeremiah 13:23,24) We all need to hear this message.

None of us can change our skin color by our own efforts, just as a leopard can't change its spots. Yes, I know that by using chemical, we can darken or lighten our skin, but that is my point. It takes outside intervention and something we do not have within us. The same is true for doing good, and being righteous before God and people. We do not have what it takes to simply decide to do good. Satan, the world, and the flesh are too strong. We will always fail, until God changes us by placing His Spirit in us and rendering the sinful nature dead. Then, we can choose to do right, and we can do it by His power that He placed in us. That only comes by being born again by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, America is fooling itself, if we think that people will improve and our country will become moral again because of changed policies or laws. Those things have been enacted for the last 50 years. How is that working? It has failed. We must turn to the Lord fully, or He will blow us away like stubble driven by the wind. We will be gone and forgotten once He finishes His punishment of our sins.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 14-17.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Understanding and Knowing the Lord

There is nothing more important in life than to understand and know the Lord. We should glory in that, if we do, but we should not glory in wisdom, might or wealth. (Jeremiah 9:23,24) Jeremiah explained this for us well.

Knowing God is the ultimate human experience. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is the One who loved us so much that He would come to die for us. It is right for us to glory in our relationship with Him, because it is so significant, and it allows us to understand Him, so we can live as He would have us to live. When we know the Lord, we understand that He exercises lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness. Lovingkindness is being faithful to those who know Him, so that He always keeps His promises and watches over us in mercy and kindness. Judgment is when He knows that sin is present, so He calls us to repent of that sin, or He will bring punishment into our lives. Righteousness is doing what is right in every situation whether it is dealing with people or with God. Therefore, when we understand those things are how God acts, we will be able to focus on allowing the Spirit to help us act in those ways, too. Now, that is something to glory about. We can actually relate to God and understand how He lives and how we should live. That is amazing!

Tomorrow, I intend to read Jeremiah 10-13