Are You Still In Prison?

Prison

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 51 – 52 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0828 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the firstyear of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,” (Jeremiah 52:31)

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah and he reigned for only eight years when he was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The Bible records that he was an evil king while he reigned. God caused the captivity to happen because of the evil kings of Judah which led the nation into a downward spiral of immorality and idolatry. Jehoiachin remained in prison in Babylon for 37 years, thus making his age 63 at the time of his release. He had spent most of his life in prison. In our passage today we see that he was released out of prison and given a place of great honor in the kingdom.

I am not sure that my assessment is accurate here, but bear with me as I share my thoughts. Jehoiachin was an evil guy; the Scripture is clear about that. Jehoiachin spent a lot of time in prison thinking about his life. Jehoiachin was finally released from his prison. Could it be, though the Scriptures do not clearly reveal this, that Jehoiachin repented in prison and turned back to God? God judged him with his nation during the captivity; and now God was releasing him with the nation. Is this not a picture of forgiveness? Isn’t living in sin a prison? Does the Bible not say that we were in bondage to sin? The Bible even records that his prison garments were put off of him. Doesn’t God give us a robe of righteousness when we become His child? I think that this passage is a marvelous picture of salvation. When the sinner trusts Christ as his Savior he is released from the bondage (prison) of sin; he is given a robe of righteousness; and is positioned in a place of blessing and honor in the King’s House. Note also that this all takes place when he is in his sixties which tells me it is never too late to be forgiven.

Have you been released from the prison of sin and unbelief? God wants to take you out; give you some new clothes, and set a place for you at his table. Why don’t you take him up on his offer? Trust Christ, get changed, and come to the table.


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A Word to the Shepherds

Shepherds

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 49 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 13 – 16; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 27)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0827 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” – (Jeremiah 50:6)

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. … Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” – (Ezekiel 34:2-4, 10)

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – (1 Peter 5:1-4)

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” – (John 10:11)

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” – (John 10:14)

In our Bible reading passage today from the Book of Jeremiah, God is sending His warning of judgment to the nation of Babylon because of their treatment of the nation of Israel. The interesting thing about this is that God actually allowed the Babylonians to conquer His people because the Israelites had turned their backs on Him. Notice the statement in Jeremiah 50:6: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray”. Notice that God states very clearly here that the reason His people had gone astray was because the shepherds were not doing their jobs. The shepherds of Israel were the spiritual and political leaders who had lead the people of God into apostasy and immorality.

Our nation today is also failing due to the fact that the shepherds are not doing their jobs. Our political leaders are leading people in a godless path, and the spiritual leaders are not much better. There is little that I can do to influence the political direction of our country, but as one of God’s “under-shepherds”, I can do my part to see that the flock that God has entrusted to my care is healthy. But, what is the job of the “under-shepherd” (pastor) of a New Testament church?

1 Provide for the flock – “feed the flock of God which is among you” – It is the job of the pastor to make sure the people of the church are getting the whole counsel of the Word of God. The pastor should be making sure that the people are getting a healthy diet of sound Bible doctrine. Too many churches are limiting the tie that is spent in teaching and preaching, and are replacing it with forms of entertainment. I am not opposed to some of the other things that we do in our church services, but they should not replace the time spent in the Word. The further away our nation gets from God, the more we will need to be strengthened by the Word.

2 Protect the flock – There are a lot of things out there that will hurt God’s people. It is the job of the pastor to warn the people against false teachers who lead them astray doctrinally. We also have the obligation to stand strong and hold the line in the area of morality. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all pushing our churches into immodesty and immorality. It is the pastor’s job to see to it that carnality and worldliness are kept as far away from the church as possible. The pastor should also be the first one to offer help to the hurting and even the straying Christian.

3 Pattern for the flock – This is perhaps the area where we fail the most. Many times we do not practice what we preach. We are to be “enamples” to the flock. It seems that there has been a tsunami lately of moral failure in the pulpits of many of America’s leading churches. This both grieves me, and scares me. It grieves me because it has cause some of “the enemies of God to blaspheme”. In other words it has given strength to the crowd that opposes God. It scares me because I know that some of these men were far better Christians than I. I don’t want to fall. I must do whatever I can to stay humble, because moral destruction cannot come unless there is pride because pride always precedes destruction.

America is failing today. God’s people, for the most part are failing today, and it is all my fault because I am one of those “under-shepherds” that have been entrusted by God to watch out for the flock. Pray for the shepherds.


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Forgiveness

forgiveness

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 46 – 48 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 9 – 12; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0826 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46 – 48)

The Book of Jeremiah is a book of judgment: most of it dealing with the coming captivity for the people of Judah in the land of Babylon. However, these three chapters that we have read to day deal with the judgment that God had prepared for three nations: Egypt, the land of the Philistines, and Moab. All three of these nations have had a bad history with God’s people, Israel. For most of history these nations have been bitter enemies of the people of God. God would not spare these nations when he judged them: they would not receive the mercy that Judah would receive. Notice in the above verse that God says regarding His people that He would correct them “in measure”, but he would not make a full end.

I thank God that He loves me unconditionally and that, even though there are times when He needs to correct me and chasten me, He never stops loving me. We know that there is a principle throughout the Bible of reaping and sowing, but I know that God has not caused me to reap in judgment to the same degree what I sowed in disobedience. On the other hand, I have reaped far more blessing than I deserve. God has been very good to me. He loves me and I am not very lovable most of the time. I am His child. I came in through the door, Jesus Christ, and God will never kick me out of the house. It’s mind boggling, but I am not complaining. People who do not know God misunderstand this unconditional love: they claim that it sounds like a license to sin. However, his unconditional love for me has constrained me, and His grace has taught me to deny ungodliness. When I think about His love, I want to sin less and serve more.

I thank God for His correction; but even more, I thank God that no matter how bad I get, He never stops loving me!


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The Safest Place on Earth

Camden

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 41 – 45 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8; Psalm 119; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “0825 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” (Jeremiah 42: 13 – 16)

I remember back in the 90’s when I was serving God as a youth director for Lighthouse Baptist Church in Gloucester City, NJ, we used to go soul winning in the city of Camden. Now Camden was a rough town in those days, ranking at the top of the list in many crime categories. At first, we were scared to death to go in there, but God taught me a valuable lesson in those days: if it was His will to serve Him in Camden, then I was safer there than if I was in Beverly Hills or Palm Springs. Why? Because with the will of God comes protection as well as provision. We never did have one problem while we were soul winning there, and we spent lot of time in that city soul winning, and visiting our bus routes, etc.

The passage that we read today in Jeremiah remind me of those days in Camden. At this time in Israel’s history Jerusalem was a rough place. Most of the inhabitants were already taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon. No doubt there must have been a great fear of further oppression from the Babylonians. However, God promised the remnant in Judah and Jerusalem that if they would stay there and serve Him, He would protect them and prosper them. Unfortunately, the remnant did not listen. Instead, they decided to move to a place that was without war and famine: a place of wealth, culture, and prosperity. The only problem was that it went against the will of God. Guess what happened? All of the things that they feared  would happen to them in Jerusalem, happened to them in Egypt. They should have stayed in the place of God’s will.

Where is the will of God for you? It may not seem like the best place on earth to other men, but it is the place where you will thrive. Sometimes parents are reluctant to allow their children to become missionaries, because they fear for their safety on the foreign field, but they are safer there in the will of God than in the best place in America outside of God’s perfect plan for their lives. Are you where God wants you, doing what God wants you to do? Surrender your will to His; lean not unto your own understanding, and He will prosper you and protect you.


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The Truth Sometimes Hurts

Truth Hurts

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 37 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Psalms 116 – 118; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0824 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” – (Jeremiah 37:17)

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.” – (Jeremiah 38:4)

How would you like to have the job that God gave to Jeremiah? He was sent to warn the people of Judah about the imminent invasion from the King of Babylon. He told them that they needed to submit themselves to Nebuchadnezzar because this judgment was of God. He pleaded with King Zedekia of Judah, and told him that if he would submit to Babylon that it would go well with him and his family and Jerusalem would not have to be destroyed; but he would not listen. So what did Zedekiah and the princes of Judah do? Did they say, “Thank you Jeremiah for loving us enough to tell us the Truth from God?” No, they threw him in prison: a place so filthy that he sunk in the mire.

The day that we live in is not much different. For the most part, people are not interested in the truth. They want preachers who will tell them what they want to hear. The televisions and radios are filled with these messengers who itch the ears. They are hirelings, not true preachers of the Truth. Now, to be honest, there aren’t too many preachers in America being thrown in a miry prison today for their preaching, but I believe that there are many that would like to put us there. It can get very discouraging sometimes, but we must remember that our reward comes not from those that we speak to, but from Whom we speak for. Remember, history bares witness that Jeremiah was right. Men wouldn’t acknowledge it right away, but God rewarded Jeremiah with his freedom and his home, not to mention the crowns that he received in eternity. What happened to the guys that threw him in prison? They were all slain, except for King Zedekiah; but he had his eyes plucked out just after he saw his sons slain.

Preachers, keep preaching to us the Truth. As painful as it may be at times, we need you to tell us what we are not willing to admit to ourselves. It may seem like the people don’t care, but many of them are listening; some might even be listening secretly like Zedekiah was. Keep on delivering the Truth. The Word will not return void.

People, cheer on the man of God as he delivers the Word of God. He loves you and is trying to help you and your family to have the very best from God. Your question on your heart everyday ought to be “is there any word from the Lord?” When you read your Bible and when you go to church, you ought to be hungering for the Word and words of God.


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Bible Burning

Bible-Burning1

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 33 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0823 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.” (Jeremiah 36:22-23)

“Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.” (Jeremiah 36:32)

When Jeremiah the prophet wrote down the words that God had given him to deliver to the people to Judah, it was ultimately given to Jehudi to be read before King Jehoiakim. The king did not like was written about him by God through Jeremiah, so he took out a knife and cut the book in little pieces, and then threw it into the fire. However, this did not stop God, or Jeremiah. He just wrote another copy of what was previously written, and then added a few more things regarding the judgment that God intended upon the nation and particularly King Jehoiakim. The king tried to get rid of the judgment by removing the Word of God, but he could not eliminate the Word or what it says by burning it.

I find this is what many in our world are doing today. They attempt to hide from the Word of God by removing it from their sight. They figure that if they could just get rid of the Bible, and those that preach it, they could somehow escape the revealed judgment that God has declared against those who live in rebellion to Him. However, their attempt to remove the Word is futile because the minute you try to destroy it in one place, God will just raise it back up again from somewhere else. The communists in Russia, China, and other places have attempted to suppress the Word of God; but have failed miserably. In fact, in China where the Bible has been outlawed, there are millions of copies of the Word being circulated underground, which God is using to bring an incredible revival.

There also some, who having realized the futility of eliminating the Word, have attempted to alter the Word, changing it to meet their agenda. Their claim was that the words needed to be updated and modernized in order to continue to be relevant in an ever-changing culture. When I was saved back in 1990, I went to the Christian book store to buy a Bible. I had no idea what to buy. The clerk tried to sell me one of the modern versions, but for some reason I was drawn to a beautiful, leather-bound copy of the King James Bible. I am thrilled that God led me to the old King James. It has been a tremendous blessing to me and my family through the years. I have never doubted that the Book that I carried was an accurate copy of the very words of God. Stick with the Book!

There are also some preachers and churches that have essentially done the same thing that Jehoiakim did. No, they did not burn the Bible, but they did stop preaching it. Their worship services may include part of an altered verse, or two; but, for the most part, they gather together infrequently to watch movies, and listen to ear-tickling homilies about the love of God, without a word being preached against sin. Churches that once had vibrant Sunday Schools, and Bible studies throughout the week are now barely meeting together at all, and when they do, there is very little of the Bible being preached.

Let’s not be like King Jehoiakim: let’s revere the Word of God, and let’s read the Word of God; and then let us submit ourselves to what it says.

 


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Investing for the Future

investing in the future

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 22 – 24; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0822 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read another post from this passage – “No More Soulwinning?

So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 32:8)

“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:” – (Jeremiah 32:37)

In chapter 32 of the Book of Jeremiah there is a very interesting story. Jeremiah the prophet is in jail, the nation of Israel is in a complete mess, the Babylonians have already taken a good number of the citizens of Israel into captivity; and, the final invasion by Nebuchadnezzar into the land is imminent. You would not think that this would be a good time to be purchasing real estate in the land of Israel. However, God told Jeremiah, who in turn told the people, that though things were going to be horrible for a number of years, God was going to give the people of Israel their land back, and He was going to prosper them once again. Of course, this is one of those dual purpose prophecies: it was fulfilled back in this Old Testament period, but it will ultimately be fulfilled when Christ returns.

The bottom line is that Jeremiah had enough faith in the Word of God to invest his money in a piece of land that was at that time worthless. He knew that God would do what He said that he would do, and that someday the property would be very valuable. I don’t know how much land is worth in Israel today, but I know this: someday it will be priceless because Christ will make Israel the capital of His World government. I am putting my money on Israel, and on God. He will do what He says He will do. You can bank on it.

We also need to be investing more into eternity. The Bible is clear that the investments that we make into the Lord’s work here on earth will yield a great deal of interest someday in eternity, not to mention the temporal blessings that also come while we are still here. We need to believe the Word of God as Jeremiah did in this passage, and God says that our investments in Him are very secure. We really cannot depend on the fact that our earthly retirement accounts, or social security, will be there for us in the future, but we can trust that God will always be there to take care of our every need.


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Keep Looking

Keep Looking

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 26 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0821 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Make the Best of It” and “Who Can You Trust

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jeremiah 29 is written to the captives that had been taken away from Jerusalem in the first wave to Babylon. Jeremiah is writing to them from Jerusalem, and is encouraging them to not lose heart; and to not quit following the Lord. No doubt, they were a discouraged people: they had been uprooted from the place that God had given their fathers; and they had been carried away into a strange land with strange gods and peculiar customs. They probably thought that God was finished with them; and that it was all over for them. Jeremiah reminds them that God is not done with them, and that their time spent in Babylon is only for a season. He exhorts them to make the best of it in the land of captivity: to marry, build houses, and plant orchards and vineyards so that they would not decrease during their stay there.

I have gone through seasons where it seems that God has abandoned me: times when it feels like I am miles away from God. I am encouraged by passages like this that remind me that God will never leave me nor forsake me; and even though it seems like He doesn’t care at times, I know He does. I will try to follow the exhortation of God through Jeremiah: keep searching for me with your whole heart, and eventually, I will find Him. I know that God hasn’t moved away. It is my heart that has positioned itself elsewhere; but when I search for God with all my heart, bringing my heart back to Him, He will once again reveal Himself to me and place me in that spiritual land of Canaan known as the will of God.


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Handle With Care

Handle with Care

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0820 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:28-32)

Jeremiah 23 is a strong rebuke against the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day that claimed to be speaking on behalf of God, but were really just telling the people what they want they wanted them to hear. I do not believe that we would be doing injustice to the Scripture by making application to the many people in our world today who claim to be preaching and teaching the Word of God. This passage delivers a scathing warning for those who mishandle the Bible. In this text I have noticed three common errors that are made today by people who claim to be representing the Lord:

1 Lying – We lie to the people when we don’t tell them exactly what God said, or when we insert our philosophies and opinions. God’s word is very clear. He has very specific instructions regarding how we are to conduct ourselves on this earth. Yet, preachers will often misrepresent God by not declaring plainly and interpreting literally what God said. I wish every Christian knew the Bible intimately themselves, but unfortunately that is not the case. Many of the people that come to us for help are trusting us to tell them them what God would tell them. We have no right to just tell them what we think. Who cares what we think? What really matters is what God said!

2 Leaving Out – By this I mean that we neglect so many of the important truths of the Word. We do not declare the whole counsel of God. We conveniently select passages that promote our agenda, and we take verses out of their context. God expects us to preach and teach the whole Bible, not just the parts that will make us look good in front of the people. We are “itching” people’s ears today by ignoring the passages that deal with their sin.

3 Lightness – Notice verse 31. God mentions the prophets’ lightness. The preachers did not take their jobs seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to be God’s representative. We are to faithfully deliver and explain the Tuth of the Word of God. The people need Truth, not entertainment. We have become comedians, and story tellers, and entertainers; but our “lightness” has caused an entire generation to fall away from God. We need to get back to the sober business of declaring the Truth. When I think back to the prophets of the Old Testament, I see men that were grave, serious, bold, determined, and fearful of the God the represented. We need to get back to that in our teaching and preaching today.

God wants His Word handled very carefully. God magnifies His word even above His name, and His name is above all other names. God’s Word is important. We need to be very careful that we are delivering it clearly, and entirely to the people of God.

Oh, and by the way, according to vs. 1 & 2, God’s flock needs to be handled with care as well. Woe to the pastor that takes advantage of one of God’s children.


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The Point of No Return

point of no return

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 14 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0818 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!’” (Jeremiah 15:1)

In the picture above, the man is jumping from one rock formation to the next. You will notice that the position of his body would make it impossible for him to change his mind at the last minute. He had reached “the point of no return”.

In our passage we see that the people of God had passed the point of no return. God said that it did not matter if Moses or Samuel came to intercede on their behalf, they had gotten too far away from Him, and judgement was unavoidable. God had warned them and corrected them previously, but to no avail. They would not receive the correction and they did not heed the warnings. They continued to travel down the road eventually leading them to the point of no return. God was about to bring in the Babylonians as a judgment for the backslidings of Judah.

I wonder how far God will allow America to get away from Him until she gets to the point of no return, where nothing can be done to escape judgment. I wonder how far the Christian can travel down the road of sin before God says, enough is enough. Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that God will remove a Christian’s salvation if they are genuinely born again; but I am saying that He will eventually get fed up with rebellion, and will be forced to impose severe chastisement in order to rectify the situation. He may even take the offending Christian home to Heaven prematurely.

Let’s not allow our lives to get so out of control that God says we have passed the point of no return. Let’s keep an open heart, listen daily to His admonitions and exhortations from the Word of God; and heed what He says. Let’s yield to the working of the Spirit of God within us and yield to His will for our lives. I want to be used of Him all of my earthly life. I don’t want to be put on a shelf, or worse, face some sort of terrible judgment. I want to bear fruit that remains in my Christian life. I guess I had better stay close to my Saviour and far away from the point of no return.


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Who Can Change a Leopard’s Spots? God Can!

Leopard prowling, approaching its prey, Namibia. Scan from Velvia slide, XXXL

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 10 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 7 – 9; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0817 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)

The context of this passage, and the Book of Jeremiah as a whole, is the impending judgment that is facing Judah and Jerusalem because of their sin. They had gotten totally out of control: God had sent prophets to them; God had sent judgment to them; but they did not get the message. They were too far gone. God was about to do something very big in and to Jerusalem. The Babylonians were about to invade. It would be perhaps the worst calamity to hit the people of God. However, the good news is that the judgment that would come would be the very thing that would cause the people of God to repent: to change their spots. The people seemed powerless to change on their own; but through the loving hand of judgment from God, the leopard would indeed have his spots changed.

Sometimes, I get so very frustrated with myself, particularly my inability to get victory over some of the recurring sins in my life. I am utterly powerless, it seems, to win the battle. However, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”; and through the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and through the loving correction of my Heavenly Father, my spots can also be removed. I can’t change my spots, but God can. Do you need a spot remover? God can do it. Yield to Him. Open your heart up and be willing to allow God to make the necessary changes in your life.

God can and will remove our spots, but there are some things that we can do to help God as He cleanses away the stain of sin from our life:

1 We first must acknowledge the fact that we have spots. We need to allow God to completely examine us and show us where the spots are in our life. We cannot withhold any area of our life. He must be able to thoroughly inspect us, and we must agree with His assessment. If He sees a spot, we must agree that it is indeed a spot.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – (1 John 1:9)

2 We must next be willing to submit ourselves to God’s cure for our spot problem. God may bring us through an uncomfortable process in order to accomplish His will. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing. He is the Great Physician. He knows just how deep to cut. He knows just how much we can handle. He may bring in some people to help Him. He may use a pastor or other counselor to help you as He works on you.

3 We must also be willing to continue down a prescribed path that will keep the spots from coming back in the future. We must stay in fellowship with God. We must daily spend time with Him through His Word and through prayer. He will keep His eye on us, and He will be able to quickly “spot” any new blemishes that may be coming to the surface.

Note – I must be careful to add that, if we are saved, God already sees us positionally as spotless, because He views us through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:12)

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – (Isaiah 1:18)

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – (Romans 4:7 & 8 )


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Circumcision of the Heart

Circumcised Heart

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 4 – 6; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0816 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Closed Eyes, Closed Mouths, Closed Ears“; and “To God Be The Glory

“Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (Jeremiah 7:9 & 10)

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jeremiah 9:25-26)

In this passage God is rebuking the people of Judah for their hypocrisy. Apparently they felt that they could do whatever they wanted to do, live anyway they wanted to live; and then go down to the Temple and participate in some type of religious ceremony or ritual that would make everything OK. These people were far away from God’s principles and commands, but they were trusting in their religion to save them. As I read these verses this morning, I could not help but think about the state of religion today in America. People commit all sorts of sin; ignore the clear teaching of the Word of God, and then come to church thinking that their participation in a ritual will save them. Now don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that going to church is a bad thing for anyone; but I am saying that it is hypocritical to ignore God 99% of the time and then claim Him as your Lord on Sunday. I am also not trying to make the case that there is anyone out there, including myself, that is without sin (and lots of it). We are all sinners, and we all need God’s mercy; but to live completely in rebellion to the will of God without any conviction about it is another thing altogether.

The New Testament speaks about this as well:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1 – 5)

True religion, genuine faith will make a difference in your life. The Scripture is clear, “faith without works is dead”; “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature”. If you are truly a child of God on the inside, it will work its way out to your life on the outside. Too many in our churches today are Christians outwardly, but inwardly are very carnal and worldly. They are no different from the Israelites mentioned in Jeremiah: they were circumcised physically, but were uncircumcised in the heart.

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:28-29)


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The Old Paths

old-paths-dan-etpr

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 1 – 3; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0815 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Catching Men” and “Fallow Ground

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” – (Jeremiah 6:16)

Independent Baptist preachers can often be heard using the phrase “old-fashioned”. We refer to our churches, our congregational singing, our method of soul winning, and even our King James Bible as being old-fashioned. We consider it a complement to be considered old-fashioned in many aspects of our worship and service for the Lord. But I want to clarify a few things about the why I like being old-fashioned about a lot of things. First of all, I do not believe that just because something is old that it is necessarily good, and I do not think that all new things are necessarily bad. I enjoy using all of the latest technological gizmos that make our lives easier and more enjoyable today. When I refer to something being old-fashioned I am usually referring to the wholesome, Biblical traditions and methods of our past that do not need to be changed. I like our old-fashioned Bible. I enjoy singing the old-fashioned hymns from the hymnbook. I have seen many people get saved through the old-fashioned method of soul winning. I am glad my wife and daughters are old-fashioned in their modest dress. The old paths didn’t need to be changed. I have often said, “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”.

In our passage, God is telling the people of Judah, through the prophet Jeremiah, to return to a time when they were closer to the Lord. In the old days they were a nation that refused the evil that surrounded them on every side, and they stood for the truth of the Word of God. They worshipped the Lord in spirit and in truth, and they obeyed the precepts of the Law. As a result of their relationship with God they were a greatly blessed nation, and God prospered them mightily, and protected them against any nation that would seek to harm them. But the prosperity that they enjoyed caused them to stray away from their God. They had become a very idolatrous and immoral nation. God wanted them back on the old paths.

The same thing can be said about our nation. We were once a nation that stood for the Truth. Our culture was filled with people that worshipped and served the Lord. God blessed our nation with a prosperity unequalled in the history of the world; but as it was with Israel, so it is with us. Our prosperity has spoiled us, and we have become an ungrateful people who have bitten the Hand that was feeding us. We need to get back on the old paths.


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Turn Around

U-Turn

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – John 21; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0814 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Before I share the my main thought from the Scripture this morning, I just wanted to point out from the passage that the writer, Jeremiah, was a hand made child of God that was uniquely designed by Him to be a prophet to Israel and Judah. (see Jeremiah 1:4 – 6) God has also made you and and I, and wants to use us in a special way to fellowship with Him, glorify Him, and fulfill His plan for the ages. We are not here by accident. We were specially created the way we are on purpose, and for a purpose.

Now for today’s main thought:

“They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:1)

Throughout the history of Israel, the people of God have gone through periods where they would fall away from God. Here in this passage the word “backsliding” is used seven times. Here in this passage Jeremiah is pleading with the backsliding people of Israel to come back to the Lord. Our God is awesome! Who else but God would love these people and keep taking them back, even though they would turn against Him over and over. He never gives up on His children. I must confess that I have a tough time forgiving people in the same way that God has forgiven me. I want to write people off; but God is not like me. He continues to reach out to those who have forsaken Him. Notice what God required of the people in order for them to come back into a right relationship with Him:

“Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:13)

“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:” (Jeremiah 3:14)

God says that if the people would acknowledge their sin, and then turn, He would take them back. Turning means that they would put away all of the things that they were doing that God was displeased with. This is a pretty good definition of repentance, which involves more than just acknowledging.

The people of God today could follow this same simple formula in order to come back to their God. We must acknowledge where we have gone wrong. It may not be some deep sin or rebellion. It may be just apathy, coldness, or laziness. Then we have to confess it to God and turn away from it. God loves us deeply and wants more than anything for us to be in love with Him. If you have “slidden” away from God, return again to the Lord.


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The Potter’s House

potter.jpg

Today’s Passage –  Jeremiah 18 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 13 – 15; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0819 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” – (Jeremiah 18:3-6)

I love this passage of Scripture. The immediate context of this passage is about Israel. God was basically telling Israel (more specifically the southern kingdom of Judah) that though they had blown it and become “marred”, they could be “made again” into another vessel that would give honor and glory to the Lord. Our God is a God of second (and third, and fourth …) chances.

The broader interpretation that we can apply to our lives is that God can also re-mold us. We are also marred people born with a nature that is useless to God. However, God can re-make us into “new creatures” through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This can only come through the new birth. Consider the following verses:

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – (John 3:3)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:2)

I am excited that God is continuously re-shaping my life into something that He can use for His glory. I am a long way away from the finished product, but I look a whole better than when He found me. Praise the Lord!

It gets even better. While I am being worked on by the Lord, He lets me help Him work on some others. I get to minister the Word of God to the people of God, which is a big part of God’s transformation process. That’s a weird thought isn’t it? God uses marred vessels to help transform other marred vessels.

PS – one more unrelated thought from Jeremiah 22:

“Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” – (Jeremiah 22:28-30)

If you study the genealogical record of the Lord Jesus from Matthew 1 and Luke 3, you will find that this man Coniah (Jechonia or Jechonias) is listed in Matthew’s list but not Luke’s. The reason for this is simple. Matthew traces the legal lineage of Christ through his adopted father Joseph. Luke’s gospel traces the biological lineage through His mother, Mary. Jesus was the “seed” of Mary, but not the seed of Joseph. Jeremiah prophesied long ago in this passage that anybody that descended biologically from Jechonia would be “disqualified” from being the King of Israel. Any of Joseph’s biological children were disqualified; but Jesus was not Joseph’s biological child. Mary was Jesus’ biological mother, but Mary did not descend from Jechonias. Study it out. It is amazing how accurate our Scripture is.


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What Will Ye Do In The End Thereof? – The Saturday Morning Post

Atomic_Bomb_ResultToday’s Passage – Jeremiah 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 1 – 3; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Read the “0815 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:23-31)

Good morning. A trap was sprung when the supreme (small “s” on purpose) court took the Bible out of the school system. Since then the school system has produced godless reprobates who do not care about what is morally right and what is morally wrong. They only care about what is in it for themselves. As it says in our text passage, they have grown great and rich, their deeds have surpassed that of the wicked (Israel may have only caused 1,000 children to be killed – passed through the fire – unto Moloch, but, at over 57,000,000 abortions, we have surpassed them). Look at the last two verses from our passage…

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely [THERE IS NO HELL; WHY WOULD A LOVING GOD SEND ANYONE TO HELL; WE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD], and the priests bear rule by their means [NOT GOD’S]; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

And the people love it that way – a religion without God. Paul warned timothy about the end times…

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” (2Timothy 4:1-7)

Do you want a fable? We have them all here in the United States, just take your pick. We have Allah, Buddha, Harri Krishna or any of the other 3500 gods from India. You can be your own god with secular humanism. Your god could be Mother Nature, and you can go out and hug a tree today. But what does the true, living God say?

“They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:28-29)

America is due for a visit, and this is the year of the Shemitah (just a reminder of past Shemitah years: September 1994 – the Bond Market lost over one-trillion dollars; September 2001 – the World Trade Center is destroyed; September 2008 – Stocks plunge 777 points; 2015 – ?). But not only that, this Shemitah year ushers in the Year of the Jubilee: the 50th year (seven Shemitah years).

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” (Leviticus 25:8-10)

Could the sounding of the trumpet be the trumpet that begins the raising of the dead in Christ, and us getting caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air? And that ushers in the last seven year period of the Great Tribulation? I don’t know. and no other man knows, the Bible is clear that only the Father knows. There could be another 50 years leading up to the next jubilee, and this may not include America. There are protest going on in Turkey about their government allowing us to bring planes there to fight ISES. With the way this nation is pulling away from God, are you sure they are to fight ISES. Just maybe, a nation without God’s leadership, may just use those planes against Israel!

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

I don’t want to be around if those in power pull that bonehead stunt. What will you do in the end thereof? Are you saved? Was there a time that you realized you are a sinner (Romans 3:10,23)? Did you know that sin has a price (Romans 6:23a, Ezekiel 18:4, 20)? Did you know that God Himself came down from Heaven to die on a cross and shed His blood for your sins (Isaiah 53:1-11; John 3:16; Romans 6:23b)? And all you need to do is pray, and ask Him to forgive your sins, and He will save you from an eternity of suffering in Hell. Look at the thief on the cross…

“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

Don’t be caught pondering the question, “What will do in the end thereof.”

Peace! (2Corinthians 6:2)


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Are You Still In Prison?

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 51 – 52 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4;Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 28)

Scripture Memorization for June – Pre-Tribulation Rapture Passages

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “5 Practical Ways To Invest In Your Team

Read the “0828 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the firstyear of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,” (Jeremiah 52:31)

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah and he reigned for only eight years when he was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The Bible records that he was an evil king while he reigned. God caused the captivity to happen because of the evil kings of Judah which led the nation into a downward spiral of immorality and idolatry. Jehoiachin remained in prison in Babylon for 37 years, thus making his age 63 at the time of his release. He had spent most of his life in prison. In our passage today we see that he was released out of prison and given a place of great honor in the kingdom.

I am not sure that my assessment is accurate here, but bear with me as I share my thoughts. Jehoiachin was an evil guy; the Scripture is clear about that. Jehoiachin spent a lot of time in prison thinking about his life. Jehoiachin was finally released from his prison. Could it be, though the Scriptures do not clearly reveal this, that Jehoiachin repented in prison and turned back to God? God judged him with his nation during the captivity; and now God was releasing him with the nation. Is this not a picture of forgiveness? Isn’t living in sin a prison? Does the Bible not say that we were in bondage to sin? The Bible even records that his prison garments were put off of him. Doesn’t God give us a robe of righteousness when we become His child? I think that this passage is a marvelous picture of salvation. When the sinner trusts Christ as his Savior he is released from the bondage (prison) of sin; he is given a robe of righteousness; and is positioned in a place of blessing and honor in the King’s House. Note also that this all takes place when he is in his sixties which tells me it is never too late to be forgiven.

Have you been released from the prison of sin and unbelief? God wants to take you out; give you some new clothes, and set a place for you at his table. Why don’t you take him up on his offer? Trust Christ, get changed, and come to the table.


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The Safest Place On Earth

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 41 – 45 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8Psalm 119Proverbs 25)

Scripture Memorization for June – Pre-Tribulation Rapture Passages

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “5 Practical Ways To Invest In Your Team

Read the “0825 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” (Jeremiah 42: 13 – 16)

I remember years ago, when I was serving God as a youth director for Lighthouse Baptist Church in Gloucester City, NJ, we used to go soul winning in the city of Camden. Now Camden was a rough town in those days, ranking at the top of the list in many crime categories. At first, we were scared to death to go in there; but God taught me a valuable lesson in those days: if it was His will to serve in Camden, then I was safer there than if I was in Beverly Hills or Palm Springs. Why, because with the will of God comes protection as well as provision. We never did have one problem while we were soul winning there; and we spent  lot of time in that city visiting our bus routes, etc.

The passages that we read today in Jeremiah remind me of those days in Camden. At this time Jerusalem was a rough place. Most of the inhabitants were already taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon. No doubt there must have been a great fear of further oppression from the Babylonians. However, God promised the remnant in Judah and Jerusalem that if they would stay there and serve Him, He would protect them and prosper them. Unfortunately, the remnant did not listen. Instead, they decided to move to a place that was without war and famine: a place of wealth, culture, and prosperity. The only problem was that it went against the will of God. Guess what happened? All of the things that they feared about Jerusalem, happened to them in Egypt. They should have stayed in the place of God’s will.

Where is the will of God for you? It may not seem like the best place on earth to other men, but it is the place where you will thrive. Sometimes parents are reluctant to allow their children to become missionaries, because they fear for their safety on the foreign field; but they are safer there in the will of God than in the best place in America out of the will of God.  Are you where God wants you, doing what God wants you to do? Surrender your will to His; lean not unto your own understanding; and He will prosper you and protect you.


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No More Soulwinning?

Today’s Passage –  Jeremiah 30 – 32 

(Second Milers also read – Acts 22 – 24; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

“But thisshall bethe covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33 & 34)

The context of today’s reading in the Book of Jeremiah is the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth which is yet future. The Millennium will begin with an event that we call the Rapture, where Christ will come down in the clouds and shall gather His Bride, the Church, and take us to Heaven. Immediately following the Rapture there will be a seven year period known as Jacob’s Trouble (or The Tribulation Period). This will be a horrible time of judgment on the earth, but God will get the attention of the nation of Israel and they will turn their hearts back to Him. They will realize that they were wrong about the Lord Jesus Christ, and they will receive Him as their Messiah. At the end of this Tribulation Period Christ will return to set up His Kingdom upon the earth. Everybody that lives on the earth at this time and is old enough to understand will be saved: they will all know the Lord. God says in the verses above that during this time we won’t have to convince our neighbors to know the Lord, because they will all know Him.

I can’t imagine living in a place where everyone is saved. I can’t fathom not having a burden to reach the people around me with the Gospel of Christ. There will be no lost people on the earth. However, we are not there yet. Today there are still myriads of people who do not know the Lord, and it is our responsibility to reach them. We are to take the message of Christ to all of our neighbors, near and far. Sometimes it gets frustrating living in a world where the vast majority of people are lost in their sin, but that will all soon end. For now, we need to be busy, very busy, winning the lost around us; and giving to missionaries who will take the message of Christ to those that are out of our reach.

When was the last time you talked to your neighbor about “knowing the Lord”? Someday soon, you will no longer have that opportunity. Get busy!


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Make The Best of It

 

Today’s Passage –  Jeremiah 26 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

 

“Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

Throughout much of the Book of Jeremiah the prophet is passionately warning the people of Jerusalem to repent so that God could turn from judgment that was surely coming. God had been promising for many years that the people of God would be taken out of their land and delivered into captivity if they refused to turn back to Him. But they didn’t listen, and the promised calamity came as promised. Now, the majority people from Jerusalem are in Babylon, living under the dominion of a Gentile king. Their homes have been taken away, the temple was destroyed, many have died, and  the surviving families and friends have been separated from each other. Things were not good. Complicating matters was the fact that there were many false prophets running around, telling them that God was going to give them back everything that was lost in a short time. Jeremiah told them to submit themselves to the rulers of Babylon, and make the best of a very bad situation. He also encouraged them with news that the captivity would not last forever. In seventy years God would again “visit” His people, and bring them back into the land, which they had lost.

I believe that this passage from Jeremiah accurately illustrates the lives of many Christians today. We, like these Israelites of old, have previously made many mistakes that have caused us to fall out of the perfect will of God. We did things our way instead of God’s way. We simply didn’t listen. As a result, our situations are not what they could have been, and though God forgives He does not always restore what was lost from our sin. However, God would say the same thing today to us. Make the best of it. We are living in a sin cursed world today that is reaping the consequences of its sin. All of the prayer in the world is not going to bring us back to Eden, but we can make the best of the world that we have been given. Our nation is not what it was when it was founded. We have lost many of our liberties, and the scars of sin are evident all over our land, but it can still be a wonderful place to live, and we can still worship and serve our Lord here. Make the best of it. Some of our homes have experienced tragedies: some of which were not our fault, but some were the direct result of our own bad choices. We can still make the best of a less than ideal situation. Ultimately, we must remember that this world is not our home. Someday, God will bring His children away from this imperfect, sin-ravaged place into a beautiful new Heaven and Earth, which will be far better than the original; but for now, let’s make the best of the situation we are in.


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The Point of No Return

Today’s Passage –  Jeremiah 14 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12Psalms 86 – 90Proverbs 18)

Scripture Memorization for June – Pre-Tribulation Rapture Passages

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “5 Skills for Healthy Communication

Read the “0818 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!'” (Jeremiah 15:1)

In the picture on the left, the man is jumping from one rock formation to the next. You will notice that the position of his body would make it impossible for him to change his mind at the last minute. He had reached “the point of no return”.

In our passage we see that the people of God had passed the point of no return. God said that it did not matter if Moses or Samuel came to intercede on their behalf, they had gotten too far away from Him, and judgement was unavoidable. God had warned them and corrected them previously, but to no avail. They would not receive the correction and they did not heed the warnings. They continued to travel down the road eventually leading them to the point of no return. God was about to bring in the Babylonians as a judgment for the backslidings of Judah.

I wonder how far God will allow America to get away from Him until she gets to the point of no return, where nothing can be done to escape  judgment. I wonder how far the Christian can travel down the road of sin before God says, enough is enough. Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that God will remove a Christian’s salvation if they are genuinely born again; but I am saying that He will eventually get fed up with rebellion, and will be forced to impose severe chastisement in order to rectify the situation. He may even take the offending Christian home to Heaven prematurely.

Let’s not allow our lives to get so out of control that God says we have passed the point of no return. Let’s keep an open heart, listen daily to His admonitions and exhortations from the Word of God; and heed what He says. Let’s yield to the working of the Spirit of God within us and yield to His will for our lives. I want to be used of Him all of my earthly life. I don’t want to be put on a shelf, or worse, face some sort of terrible judgment. I want to bear fruit that remains in my Christian life. I guess I had better stay close to my Saviour and far away from the point of no return.


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Catching Men

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 1 – 3Psalms 71 – 75Proverbs 15)

Scripture Memorization for June – Pre-Tribulation Rapture Passages

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Unplugged

Read the “0815 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “The Old Paths“, and “Fallow Ground

“For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.” (Jeremiah 5:26)

“And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” (Luke 5:10)

As I was reading through this passage my attention was drawn to the little phrase, “catch men”. I knew that I had heard it before, so I did a little search and found that it was only used one other time in the Bible by the Lord in a conversation with Peter. The Lord told Peter that his life would no longer be about catching fish; but about catching men. The context of the passage in Jeremiah that we are currently reading has to do with the imminent judgement that is facing the southern kingdom of Judah, particularly the city of Jerusalem. There were many reasons for the coming judgement, but, in a nutshell you could say that as a nation they had forsaken God and had become like the heathen nations around them. One of the reasons that this had happened was because the devil was busy, using wicked men and women to lure the people away from a right relationship with God. These wicked people were also catching men.

Let’s fast forward now to present day America. The devil is still very busy: perhaps even busier than back in Jeremiah’s day. He may have changed some of his lures; but he is still using his servants to “catch men”. Now God has given us a commission to “catch men” as well. We are supposed to be very busy going out into the highways and hedges, the streets and the lanes of the city: with the power of the Spirit of God, and with the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be busy and bold in communicating the Truth of salvation. The question is: Are you and I more concerned about catching men than the devil’s crowd is? If we would be honest, we would have to admit that the New Testament churches have put soul winning on the back burner; but has Satan let up on his program? I don’t think so. As a result, Satan’s kingdom is advancing while the number of blood washed Christians seems to be shrinking. All because we who have the Truth have abandoned catching men.

Why don’t we get back out there in our community with some gospel tracts in one hand, a New Testament in the other; and start winning people to the Lord. Let’s stop letting Satan catch more men than the people of God. There are plenty of people out there that need to be saved and will be saved if we would simply obey God’s Great Commission.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)


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Turn Around

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – John 21Psalms 66 – 70Proverbs 14)

Scripture Memorization for June – Pre-Tribulation Rapture Passages

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Unplugged

Read the “0814 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Before I share the my main thought from the Scripture this morning, I just wanted to point out from the passage that the writer, Jeremiah, was a hand made child of God that was uniquely designed by Him to be a prophet to Israel and Judah. (see Jeremiah 1:4 – 6) God has also made you and and I, and wants to use us in a special way to fellowship with Him,  glorify Him, and fulfill His plan for the ages. We are not here by accident. We were specially created the way we are on purpose, and for a purpose.

Now for today’s main thought:

“They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:1)

Throughout the history of Israel, the people of God have gone through periods where they would fall away from God. Here in this passage the word “backsliding” is used seven times. Here in this passage Jeremiah is pleading with the backsliding people of Israel to come back to the Lord. Our God is awesome! Who else but God would love these people  and keep taking them back, even though they would turn against Him over and over. He never gives up on His children. I must confess that I have a tough time forgiving people in the same way that God has forgiven me. I want to write people off; but God is not like me. He continues to reach out to those who have forsaken Him. Notice what God required of the people in order for them to come back into a right relationship with Him:

“Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:13)

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:” (Jeremiah 3:14)

God says that if the people would acknowledge their sin, and then turn, He would take them back. Turning means that they would put away all of the things that they were doing that God was displeased with. This is a pretty good definition of repentance, which involves more than just acknowledging.

The people of God today could follow this same simple formula in order to come back to their God. We must acknowledge where we have gone wrong. It may not be some deep sin or rebellion. It may be just apathy, coldness, or laziness. Then we have to confess it to God and turn away from it. God loves us deeply and wants more than anything for us to be in love with Him. If you have “slidden” away from God, return again to the Lord.


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A Word to the Shepherds

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 49 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 27)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalms 92:1

“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” – (Jeremiah 50:6)

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. … Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” – (Ezekiel 34:2-4, 10)

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – (1 Peter 5:1-4)

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” – (John 10:11)

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” – (John 10:14)

In our Bible reading passage today from the Book of Jeremiah, God is sending His warning of judgment to the nation of Babylon because of their treatment of the nation of Israel. The interesting thing about this is that God actually allowed the Babylonians to conquer His people because the Israelites had turned their backs on Him. Notice the statement in Jeremiah 50:6: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray”. Notice that God states very clearly here that the reason His people had gone astray was because the shepherds were not doing their jobs. The shepherds of Israel were the spiritual and political leaders who had lead the people of God into apostasy and immorality.

Our nation today is also failing due to the fact that the shepherds are not doing their jobs. Our political leaders are leading people in a godless path, and the spiritual leaders are not much better. There is little that I can do to influence the political direction of our country, but as one of God’s “under-shepherds”, I can do my part to see that the flock that God has entrusted to my care is healthy. But, what is the job of the “under-shepherd” (pastor) of a New Testament church?

1  Provide for the flock – “feed the flock of God which is among you” – It is the job of the pastor to make sure the people of the church are getting the whole counsel of the Word of God. The pastor should be making sure that the people are getting a healthy diet of sound Bible doctrine. Too many churches are limiting the tie that is spent in teaching and preaching, and are replacing it with forms of entertainment. I am not opposed to some of the other things that we do in our church services, but they should not replace the time spent in the Word. The further away our nation gets from God, the more we will need to be strengthened by the Word.

2  Protect the flock – There are a lot of things out there that will hurt God’s people. It is the job of the pastor to warn the people against false teachers who lead them astray doctrinally. We also have the obligation to stand strong and hold the line in the area of morality. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all pushing our churches into immodesty and immorality. It is the pastor’s job to see to it that carnality and worldliness are kept as far away from the church as possible. The pastor should also be the first one to offer help to the hurting and even the straying Christian.

3  Pattern for the flock – This is perhaps the area where we fail the most. Many times we do not practice what we preach. We are to be “enamples” to the flock. It seems that there has been a tsunami lately of moral failure in the pulpits of many of America’s leading churches. This both grieves me, and scares me. It grieves me because it has cause some of “the enemies of God to blaspheme”. In other words it has given strength to the crowd that opposes God. It scares me because I know that some of these men were far better Christians than I. I don’t want to fall. I must do whatever I can to stay humble, because moral destruction cannot come unless there is pride because pride always precedes destruction.

America is failing today. God’s people, for the most part are failing today, and it is all my fault because I am one of those “under-shepherds” that have been entrusted by God to watch out for the flock. Pray for the shepherds.


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Unconditional Love

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 46 – 48 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 13 – 16Psalms 126 – 130Proverbs 26)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

“Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46 – 48)

The Book of Jeremiah is book of judgment: most of it dealing with the coming captivity for the people of Judah in the land of Babylon. However, these three chapters that we have read to day deal with the judgment that God had prepared for three nations: Egypt, the land of the Philistines, and Moab. All three of these nations have had a bad history with God’s people Israel. For most of history these nations have been bitter enemies of the people of God. God would not spare these nations when he judged them: they would not receive the mercy that Judah would receive. Notice in the above verse that God says regarding His people that He would correct them “in measure”, but he would not make a full end.

I thank God that He loves me unconditionally and that, even though there are times when He needs to correct me and chasten me, He never stops loving me. We know that there is a principle throughout the Bible of reaping and sowing; but I know that God has not caused me to reap in judgment to the same degree what I sowed in disobedience. On the other hand, I have reaped far more blessing than I deserve. God has been very good to me: He loves me, and I am not very lovable most of the time. I am His child: I came in through the door, Jesus Christ; and God will never kick me out of the house. It’s mind boggling; but I am not complaining. People who do not know God misunderstand this unconditional love: they claim that it sounds like a license to sin. However, his unconditional love for me has constrained me, and His grace has taught me to deny ungodliness. When I think about His love, I want to sin less and serve more.

I thank God for His correction; but even more, I thank God that no matter how bad I get, He never stops loving me!


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The Truth Sometimes Hurts

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 37 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8Psalms 116 – 120Proverbs 24)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

“Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” – (Jeremiah 37:17)

Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.” – (Jeremiah 38:4)

How would you like to have the job that God gave to Jeremiah? He was sent to warn the people of Judah about the imminent invasion from the King of Babylon. He told them that they needed to submit themselves to Nebuchadnezzar because this judgment was of God. He pleaded with King Zedekia of Judah, and told him that if he would submit to Babylon that it would go well with him and his family and Jerusalem would not have to be destroyed; but he would not listen. So what did Zedekiah and the princes of Judah do? Did they say, “Thank you Jeremiah for loving us enough to tell us the Truth from God?” No, they threw him in prison: a place so filthy that he sunk in the mire.

The day that we live in is not much different. For the most part, people are not interested in the truth. They want preachers who will tell them what they want to hear. The televisions and radios are filled with these messengers who itch the ears. They are hirelings, not true preachers of the Truth. Now, to be honest, there aren’t too many preachers in America being thrown in a miry prison today for their preaching; but I believe that there are many that would like to put us there. It can get very discouraging sometimes, but we must remember that our reward comes not from those that we speak to, but from Whom we speak for. Remember, history bares witness that Jeremiah was right. Men wouldn’t acknowledge it right away, but God rewarded Jeremiah with his freedom and his home, not to mention the crowns that he received in eternity. What happened to the guys that threw him in prison? They were all slain, except for King Zedekiah; but he had his eyes plucked out just after he saw his sons slain.

Preachers, keep preaching to us the Truth. As painful as it may be at times, we need you to tell us what we are not willing to admit to ourselves. It may seem like the people don’t care, but many of them are listening; some might even be listening secretly like Zedekiah was. Keep on delivering the Truth. The Word will not return void.

People, cheer on the man of God as he delivers the Word of God. He loves you and is trying to help you and your family to have the very best from God. Your question on your heart everyday ought to be “is there any word from the Lord?” When you read your Bible and when you go to church, you ought to be hungering for the Word and words of God.


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Call Unto Me

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 33 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4Psalms 111 – 115Proverbs 23)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3)

There are so many wonderful truths in the passages that we have read today that I had a hard time deciding which one to write about. For instance, while reading chapter 35, my attention was drawn to the account of the Rechabites, who were faithful servants to the their father, Jonadab, and also to the Lord. It would benefit you greatly to do a little study on this family. (See previous post, “Who Are the Rechabites?” ) I was also interested in chapter 36, where Jehudi, a servant of the king of Judah, actually took a knife and cut out the Word of God and burned it in the fire. There is a lot that we could say about that, and many parallels can be made to what the world and some Christians are doing to the Word of God.

I finally elected, however, to write about Jeremiah 33:3. This verse is certainly one of the more familiar verses in the Bible, which has provided much encouragement and comfort to the people of God for millennia. In it’s immediate context this verse is written to the people of Judah through the prophet Jeremiah. The city of Jerusalem and the entire land of Judah was being devastated by the armies of Babylon; but God showed them from this passage that there was yet hope, and that He would restore the land to her former glory. In verse 15, there is a wonderful prophecy concerning the “Branch”, who is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who would come and set up a righteous kingdom.

In a broader application of this passage, all Christians can be encouraged by this wonderful truth. God wants His children to call upon Him; and He will answer us. This is one of the many wonderful prayer promises in the Bible. I have listed some other prayer promises below.  It is a glorious thought to realize that we have a God that wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. He loves us and He desires to bless us, and show us some things; just as an earthly father desires to show things to a child that he loves. What a wonderful God we serve.

Do you have a burden today? Call unto God. Are you in need of direction? Call unto God. God wants to encourage us and direct us as we serve Him.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – (Matthew 7:7-8)

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – (John 15:7)

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” – (Mark 11:24)

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” – (Philippians 4:6)

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” – (1 John 5:14-15)


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Investing for the Future

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28Psalms 106 – 110Proverbs 22)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

“So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 32:8)

“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:” – (Jeremiah 32:37)

In chapter 32 of the Book of Jeremiah there is a very interesting story. Jeremiah the prophet is in jail; the nation of Israel is in a complete mess; the Babylonians have already taken a good number of the citizens of Israel into captivity; and the final invasion by Nebuchadnezzar into the land is imminent. You would not think that this would be a good time to be purchasing real estate in the land of Israel. However, God had told Jeremiah, who in turn told the people, that though things were going to be horrible for a number of years, God was going to give the people of Israel their land back; and He was going to prosper them once again. Of course, this is one of those dual purpose prophecies: it was fulfilled back in this Old Testament period, but it will ultimately be fulfilled when Christ returns.

The bottom line is that Jeremiah had enough faith in the Word of God to invest his money in a piece of land that was at that time worthless. He knew that God would do what He said that he would do, and that someday the property would be very valuable. I don’t know how much land is worth in Israel today; but I know this: someday it will be priceless because Christ will make Israel the capital of His World government. I am putting my money on Israel, and on God. He will do what He says He will do. You can bank on it.

We also need to be investing more into eternity. The Bible is clear that the investments that we make into the Lord’s work here on earth will yield a great deal of interest someday in eternity; not to mention the temporal blessings that also come while we are still here. We need to believe the Word of God as Jeremiah did in this passage, and God says that our investments in Him are very secure. We really cannot depend on the fact that our earthly retirement accounts, or social security, will be there for us in the future; but we can trust that God will always be there to take care of our every need.


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Handle With Care

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21Psalms 96 – 100Proverbs 20)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” – (Jeremiah 23:28-32)

Jeremiah 23 is a strong rebuke against the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day that claimed to be speaking on behalf of God, but were really just telling the people what they want they wanted them to hear. I do not believe that we would be doing injustice to the Scripture by making application to the many people in our world today who claim to be preaching and teaching the Word of God. This passage delivers a scathing warning for those who mishandle the Bible. In this text I have noticed three common errors that are made today by people who claim to be representing the Lord:

1  Lying – We lie to the people when we don’t tell them exactly what God said, or when we insert our philosophies and opinions. God’s word is very clear. He has very specific instructions regarding how we are to conduct ourselves on this earth. Yet, preachers will often misrepresent God by not declaring plainly and interpreting literally what God said. I wish every Christian knew the Bible intimately themselves, but unfortunately that is not the case. Many of the people that come to us for help are trusting us to tell them them what God would tell them. We have no right to just tell them what we think. Who cares what we think? What really matters is what God said!

2  Leaving Out – By this I mean that we neglect so many of the important truths of the Word. We do not declare the whole counsel of God. We conveniently select passages that promote our agenda, and we take verses out of their context. God expects us to preach and teach the whole Bible, not just the parts that will make us look good in front of the people. We are “itching” people’s ears today by ignoring the passages that deal with their sin.

3  Lightness – Notice verse 31. God mentions the prophets’ lightness. The preachers did not take their jobs seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to be God’s representative. We are to faithfully deliver and explain the Tuth of the Word of God. The people need Truth, not entertainment. We have become comedians, and story tellers, and entertainers; but our “lightness” has caused an entire generation to fall away from God. We need to get back to the sober business of declaring the Truth. When I think back to the prophets of the Old Testament, I see men that were grave, serious, bold, determined, and fearful of the God the represented. We need to get back to that in our teaching and preaching today.

God wants His Word handled very carefully. God magnifies His word even above His name, and His name is above all other names. God’s Word is important. We need to be very careful that we are delivering it clearly, and entirely to the people of God.

Oh, and by the way, according to vs. 1 & 2, God’s flock needs to be handled with care as well. Woe to the pastor that takes advantage of one of God’s children.


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A Burning Fire

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 18 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18Psalms 91 – 95Proverbs 19)

Scripture Memory for July – John 3:1 – 21

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read “Seven Ways to See Change in Your Life Now” by Pastor Chappell

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Potter’s House”

“For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:8 & 9)

In chapter 20 of today’s passage we read about Jeremiah being put in jail for preaching exactly what God had told him to preach. Jeremiah was not a popular guy. He was the voice of God at a time when the entire nation of Judah had slipped back into idolatry and immorality, and was content to stay there. As he continued to preach the message of imminent judgment due to the people’s lack of repentance, he became the enemy of all the people. They all thought he was crazy, perhaps a little “over the top”; too zealous, a radical. One thing is for sure, they were certainly not receiving the message. Jeremiah got sick and tired of preaching this message to deaf ears. After all, he was just as human as I am. I’m sure, every once in a while, he wanted to hear, “that was a good message, preacher”; or “that truth you preached from the Word of God really turned my life around”. He never heard those things. He was mocked and persecuted throughout his ministry, yet he was doing exactly what God had wanted him to do. So, what does he do? He quits. Wouldn’t you? I would not have lasted nearly as long as Jeremiah did. I like to have my ego stroked now and again.

However, Jeremiah could not stay. He could not refrain from preaching. Why? Because God’s Word was in his heart like a burning fire. Eventually the fire inside of him became too hot to keep inside of him and he had to let it out.

As a preacher, there are many times that I want to quit. Trials and tests come along; and, at times, it seems as if nothing is going the way it should go. There are also the critics, who feel it is their purpose in life to point out every flaw in my ministry, every mistake that I make. I begin to remember what life was like as a layman, and sometimes I desire to go back to those days. However, though I often struggle with the idea of quitting, I know that God’s Word is inside of me; and it must come out. As miserable as it may be at times inside the will of God, I know that trying to refrain from preaching and teaching the Word of God would make me more miserable.

I remember when God first called me into the ministry. He made it crystal clear to me that he wanted me to go away to school for training. I didn’t go right away. I decided that I would just stay there in South Toms River with Pastor Rick, work for my dad’s candy company, and serve there as a “lay” youth director for the rest of my life. All that would have been easier. I wouldn’t have to leave a very lucrative income; I wouldn’t have to sell my house;  I wouldn’t have to leave my church; and I would not have to move my family, find a new job and go back to college. However, that was not God’s will for my life. I kind of drifted along out of the will of God for a while; but the more I drifted, the more miserable I became. God’s Word, and His will was in me; and it needed to come out. I finally surrendered to obey God’s will; and relief came.

What has God put inside of you to do for Him? You will never have peace until you surrender your will to His. By the way, the picture up top is of Bob Hamblen. He underwent major heart surgery a couple of years ago. The doctors don’t really want him to preach anymore; but he can’t stop. The Word is burning inside of him, and it must come out.


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