They said, “Come, lets make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the Law by the priest will not cease, no will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.” – Jer 18:18
These are the people rebelling against God. Jeremiah has done what God has told Him and given the people the message that destruction is coming if they do not repent. However, the refuse to listen; they are a stubborn people bent on sin. And now they are plotting against Jeremiah to get him to shut up. They are tired of hearing his message, which is from the Lord.
The US today looks much like Israel in Jeremiah’s day. Going back and forth doing what it pleases; sinning at will and not even caring what God has to say. They twist the Word of God for their own gain and own prophet, sniffing at the consequence from the Lord. This has become acceptable behavior, even in some denominations that call themselves Christian.
But, who do I follow. I will follow the Lord and what He says. I will never stop proclaiming the truth, not matter what. I will stand for the Truth that is found in Scripture. No man may deter me! You can fire me, you can threaten me, you can beat me or your can kill me, but I will never fail to proclaim the Truth that is found in Scripture. I will stand by it and try to live by it the best I can.
Will I be perfect, no! But repentance is where my heart is found. That is what makes a Christian different than the world, turning from the wickedness instead of embracing it as if it where their identity. I am not defined by my actions, I am defined by my creator. I do not have self-esteem, I have God esteem. I see the corruption of this world and stand against it because in the end I want to be found in God’s side, not trying to defend myself with the arguments of men, which are foolish.
So, as Christians, we must stand on the truth of Scripture. We must stand on grace, mercy and love. But we must also stand for purity, discipline and holiness. We can no longer afford to just ignore the sin around us but must be willing to stand and proclaim, REPENT for the Kingdom of Heaven is Near! Perhaps God will relent and show mercy on us and on our nation.
To God be the Glory,
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to wind the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the Law (though I myself am not under the Law), So as to win those under the Law. To those not having the Law I became like one not having the Law (Though I am not free from God’s Law but am under Christ’s Law) so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its blessing. 1 Cor 10:19-23
What am I willing to do to bring the Gospel to those who need it? Paul was ready to do whatever it takes. He was willing to become LIKE, not become, those in any situation that by all possible means He may save some. This is a big issue in our congregations today as we hold tight to traditions and the way we always done it attitudes.
I agree that there is a right way and a wrong way to conduct ourselves as the Church. We must stay in the confines of Scripture, but outside of that we are free. Free to become anything we need to be in order that we may save some through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine walking into a bar in a suit and tie and trying to share the Gospel with people, you would lose any credibility because you don’t look like those people. What I am willing to become to save those in need of Jesus?
In our worship services what are we willing to become so that we can reach out to an entirely new generation of people who have never heard the Gospel? The answer is everything, we must be willing to have contemporary music and a contemporary message and a contemporary look. However, we also cannot forsake those who are a part of the body either. So, we must become all things to all people.
In the end, I must be willing to give up self in order to serve. I have to be willing to lay down my wants and wishes for the sake of those who do not believe. I have to be willing to give up my time and energy for those who would come to Christ. I must be willing to look like those who need Jesus so that I may have credibility with them. I have to understand where they are in life so as to bring the new life to them. Without seeing life from their eyes, we will fail at delivering the Gospel.
So, today, look around you and see how you can serve those who need Jesus. See how you can give life to those who do not have it; hope to those who are desperate. Reach out and see the world from the eyes of the lost, then become what they need, which is Jesus, in order that they may receive the Gospel. Become all things to all people so that by all possible means we may save one.
I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you. Declares the Lord. Jer 15:20
If anyone wants to gain some pretty good insight into how the Lord feels about the way this country has gone, just read Jeremiah. It is pretty scary how much the same Israel was to where we are today in the US. We must repent and stand for what is right. So many times I have heard people say no one knows what we are for, only what we are against, but that is such a terrible statement.
If we stand for something, naturally there will be an opposite for which we will have to stand against. Just because I say I stand for sobriety and against drunkenness doesn’t mean I have passed condemnation upon anyone, it just means I stand for the Biblical rightness of sobriety. I as a Christian, am going to have to stand on some pretty tough principles because they are going to fly in the face of our societies acceptable norms.
Just for an example, I stand for sex only in a marriage between a man and a woman, being sober, telling the truth, having only what belongs to you, integrity, pure home, virginity before marriage, clean language, bringing babies into this world, love, peace and joy. This means I oppose the opposite if these, it is natural that when a person stands for something, they are going to garner enemies because there are always at least two sides to an issue.
It used to be OK in this country to voice your opinion. To stand for the opposite side of an issue and people not hate or try to tear you down. But now if you don’t agree with societies accepted norms you are a phobe, hater, Nazi who does not love or is incapable of loving. God forbid and may it never be so because I stand for love, but for the love of God, not the love of people.
The love of God says I must pronounce what is good and what is evil according to the Scriptures. I have not made up these standards of good and evil, but I stand by them. I fail at them daily and repent the best I can, but I stand by them. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, because in my failures I repent and ask forgiveness and try not to do it again.
So, today I will stand for the Lord and for His Word as it is written. I will stand for what is Good and Right in His sight and not my own. I will continue to repent and live by the standards He have given. I will stop giving into people, just so they wont feel bad, NO! I will stand for the Lord and He will rescue me from my enemies.
To God be the Glory,
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Mater, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. – Luk 5:4-6
Jesus speaks a great many things during His ministry. We love to hear the stories and all of the astonishing things He has done in this world. He has given a great many instructions too, during his ministry. The question is, am I ready to follow what He has commanded? Like Simon (Peter) I have tried a great many things for so long on my own, am I willing to swallow my pride and do it Jesus’ way? Because the payoff comes when we follow the instruction of Christ.
Faith is not just listening and believing. A great many people in this world say that they believe, but faith is following through on that belief. Faith is belief in action! When I put my belief into action, I am amazed as Simon was at the results that God can bring forth through my faith. The gathering of this catch of fish was just a representation of the men that Peter would eventually gather in the name of Jesus, but it had to start there, where does it start with me?
Am I willing to put it all on the line for Christ. I don’t mean just paying Him lip service and showing up to Church on Sunday, I mean really putting it on the line. Ask yourselves this, Would I give up or be willing to lose my job for Jesus? Would I give up my family for Jesus? Would I give up my own life for Him? These are tough questions, but I have to ask myself each day if I am willing to do this.
Yes, even as a pastor, we can lose our job for Jesus or sometimes we have to be willing to lose for Christ. Is it safe? Nope, at least not according to the world, but it is safe in Christ, for He has never let me down and has never let me starve. He has watched out for me as long as I have been faithful to serve. I have been amazed several times at how abundantly He has provided even in the hardest of times in my life.
I believe this all stems from faith; the willingness to step out into the unknown to serve Him and Him alone. To give my heart fully to His way and to serve Him with all that I have and do. I have to be willing to let it all go for Him. I do not want to be held back by anything in this world because when I toss my net out into the water, I want it to produce, so I must have faith better yet, I must act out my faith so that He is glorified by the result.
To God is the Glory,
But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. Be careful however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So, this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. – 1 Cor 8:7 & 9-11
Christ has freed us from many restrictions in the old covenant. There is neither clean or unclean, for food does not draw us near to God but in our hearts lies the truth of our motivations. Some, especially those young in Christ, must restrict themselves because they do not understand the freedom they have in Christ. They have not come to full Spiritual maturity. It is our job, as the mature then to train them and not by doing what is wrong in their eyes, but by loving them and doing what is right in God’s eyes.
Therefore, I must know my brothers and sisters. Only when I know them can I understand where they are weak and where they are strong. If I don’t take the time to know them, then I do not truly love them. So, I will know my brothers and sisters and will not sin against Christ by causing one of these to stubble by my actions.
I have a great friend of mine, who is a Christian, who doesn’t believe in drinking at all. He believes it to be a tool of the Devil, a trap. I understand his position because he was found and rescued from that trap. I have another friend who can sit down at night and have a beverage without going to access, it does not control him nor does he get drunk. Which man is found in righteousness? Both, because they scripture does not forbid drinking but drunkenness. However, the one who does not drink is righteous in his own right because he does not fall into the Devil’s trap.
This is why it is important for Pastors most of all to understand their people and not to cause them to stumble by their own actions. We have to listen to our flock and know them so that we can grow them to spiritual maturity in whatever the case. This is how we love those around us. This does not just apply to pastors either, but to all of the Church, love you brothers and sisters enough to know what causes them to stumble and then instead of being a block, be the one that removes these chains from them so they grow to maturity.
May the Lord Lead,
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the Churches. – 1 Cor 7:17
Paul was talking about marriage and divorce and how we ought to live in peace the best we can with one another. He transitions at this point, using the word “nevertheless,” to signal that the message is for all believers and that we ought to live a Christian live no matter what our circumstances we find ourselves.
So, if when I find myself in the less than ideal circumstance, I must remain at peace with God in my Christian walk. What if I don’t like my job, or my house, or my family? I must remain in Christ and His wisdom, acting as if Christ were right with me each step of the way. I must continue to BE Christian and not just act like one.
Paul tells us that the secret to being content is being satisfied no matter the circumstances. Whether rich or poor, whether full or starving, whether happy or in the trials, we must do all things for Christ. As a Christian, living the Christian life should become second nature to us. How we react to stress and people should become as second nature to us. Remember we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So, I pray to God each day that my Christian walk would be more Christ-like each day. I pray that my life transforms more into His image each day. I pray that I would treat others with love and respect as I share the Gospel, both in word and in deed, each and every day. Without Christ, I am just lost, angry and unloving, but with Him I am transformed.
May God’s Love Reign in My Heart,
But I am writing that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the Church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you. – 1 Cor 5:6
God gives a hard message sometimes. We are supposed to judge those in the Church with loving scrutiny and if they refuse to repent we are to give them up to the Devil so that they may understand and turn back to the Lord. Matt 18 deals with Church discipline and how we are to lovingly conduct a rebuke of our brothers and sisters. However, if that fails they are to be thrown out so that they may be saved.
Yet in the Church today, we have become so tolerant of sin. We have become tolerant of so many types of behaviors and we excuse them out of love. Really what we don’t want is someone to leave and find a new Church home. We are scared our numbers will drop and worse yet our tithe will drop. We have become so afraid of people that we fail to follow the will of the Lord.
It is time that we, as the Church repent and turn back to God’s way of discipline. It allows all the chances in the world to repent and turn away from our wickedness. We must not tolerate sin in the Church, it is what causes division and the Devil to have a foothold inside our congregations. Let us turn to he instruction of Christ, lest we be thrown out.
In the end, it is not about being better than someone, it is about lovingly turning them to the Lord’s will and way. We then must also be open to the same rebuke when we are found in sin ourselves. We must not get defensive but listen. That is why it is good to have a good accountability partner that will hold you in check, not afraid to give you the riot act when necessary that we may prevent backsliding and able to give the full glory to God.
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:27-28
Jesus is calling on us to be the light of the world. If we act in accordance with the world, then I would take my revenge on those who have wronged me. However, Jesus is telling us that if we want to win souls and we want to leave a life of peace and joy, we must live according to His plan and not our own.
I my life, I at least at peace when I am not following His ways. When I choose to act of my own volition and in my own mind what is right and wrong. I have to repent of those times. When I act in this manner, I disgrace myself and my Christian walk. People do not see the light and love in that but see only my selfish anger.
I must control the anger that wells up within my heart when I am wronged. I must also remember that any wrong against me, is the Lord’s to deal with not my own. Besides the best way to turn the tables on a person that wrongs you is to treat them with respect and kindness. I might get laughed at and I might get ridiculed or called names, but it sure is hard to continue to be mean to a person who is being nice.
So, I must pray and ready my heart for the day, that I might act in kindness toward my enemies instead of using rage and anger. I must allow the Spirit to own my thoughts and actions that I might glorify God and not myself. I must not delight in violence but in the precious saving love and grace that has forgiven me.
What I have found in the cases where I have been Christlike, people are really not trying to be mean, but they have issues and could use a friend in life. They are looking for answers to why and how they can find peace instead of causing turmoil. I have found more often than not, they are seeking the solace of the Lord and I need to be that light.
To God be the Glory,
If anyone builds on this foundation [Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. If what has been build survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames. – 1 Cor 3:12 & 14
Paul is talking about what we put our faith in and what we work for. They were laboring for Paul and for Apollos, fighting about which one they should follow instead of Christ. Their works were not pointing to Christ, but to men. The argument was a moot point because neither of these men is Christ and so they were building with shaky materials. I must work for Christ alone and to the purpose of delivering HIS Gospel, so that what I build will stand the test.
The question now is, how do I want to enter into heaven, with praise from the father or with my pants on fire? When I go out into the harvest and work for Him, doing all things in His name and pointing to Him, then I am building with Gold and precious stones. However, if I say, “You ought to come to church and check out our band,” then I rely upon the things of men and build with stray and hay. I cannot preach anything but he Gospel and His glory.
If I preach anything other than Christ, then I am giving a false account of salvation. It is not the music that saves us, it is not preaching that saves us, it is not a great skit or attention getter that saves us, but only the Grace of Christ. Without that, without the Good News I have nothing. So when I go about my day today and I do things for the name of Christ, let me make them great things that are truly for the Lord.
Let’s not go out and just invite people to Church, let’s share with them the Gospel of Christ, the reason why we have a Church body. Let’s not rely upon men to do the work of God, but lets water the people so that God may grow them into great Christian men and women for His name’s sake. Let’s get into heaven on praises and not with our pants on fire as “one escaping through the flames.”
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh – Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.” – Jer 9:25-26
Israel had turned their back on the Lord but still followed through with the rituals of the Jewish traditions. Their heart was not in their worship of the Lord. They merely paid Him lip service while they followed their idols and Baals. They did not care about the Lord or what He had to say about them.
What about me, do I merely show up on Sunday’s to worship and that’s it? I must make sure that I am not just paying lip service to God on Sunday and then going out the rest of the week not caring what He says or His ways that I am to follow. No! I must follow Him always and when I fall short I must repent.
And on Sunday’s am I merely just filling a pew or am I engaging at all levels of worship. It does not matter whether I like the music or whether I think the preacher is great or horrible, am I engaging with the Lord. In the end that is what Sunday Service is all about, engaging with God as the body of believers. It is about engaging with God as I love on my brothers and sisters and encourage them to face a new week in the world.
So, I am just pew dwelling or am I engaging the Spirit within me. I am truly circumcised in my heart or am I simply going through the motions in hopes that God will let me get into heaven. Eternal security has more to it that just the grace given us, no the security I must have in my heart also comes from the knowledge that I worship Him day in and day out as I not only pay Him homage through words but also through deeds. Security comes from knowing that I don’t act on my behalf but on His for the love He has shown me.
So, join me in getting up out of the pew and giving glory to God both with our words and with our actions. Let us take part in our eternal security as we deliver the Gospel to all of the people in the World. Let us lift up and give God the glory as we worship in Spirit and in Truth proving that we are circumcised both inside and out for His glory.
To God be the Glory,