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)
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.
“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.” (Jeremiah 25:3-4)
Jeremiah had a tough ministry. 23 years and no one turned to God, but he kept preaching. I have been blessed to have had many men and women of God in my life who have influenced me through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, and I just want to say thanks. From the bus worker/driver that was faithful to drive 15 minutes out of their way to come pick me up all those years; to the many Sunday school teachers who spent countless hours praying and preparing on how to keep my attention; to the youth pastors and pastors, evangelist, and missionaries that followed God by faith to get to where I was; and finally to all the godly laymen and women that simply showed the loved of God to me and kept me coming back: THANK YOU. Without them I don’t know where I would be or where I would be headed.
And, in regards to chapter 24, I don’t know what basket I would be in. So why don’t we all purpose in our heart to go to someone who made a godly difference in our lives and simply tell them thanks for having a Jeremiah-like faithfulness during the hard times and not quitting. Because, without them, there is a possibility things could be very different in your life and mine.
Posted in Devotions by Wesley Clayton with 5 comments.
Today’s Reading – Ezra 3 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17
Read the “0528 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
With so many parallels to what is going on today in these chapters it is hard not to mention anything political and I will do my best not to, and let you draw your own conclusions. We start out in chapter 3 with a very serious problem; the children of Israel do not have a temple. We find out later what happened to the temple:
“But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.” (Ezra 5:12)
They continue doing everything they can to worship, keeping the feast, doing offerings, “but still the foundation of the temple of the Lord was no yet laid.” No matter the circumstances we may find ourselves in, keep doing what you can. If nothing else, you have the word of God in your heart (at least you should). Share it. Finally, they decided to start building in chapter 3:9; people started rejoicing, praising and giving thanks unto the Lord, and some wept. Now I am not entirely sure why some wept with a loud voice in verse 12. It could have been for joy, but it also could have been because they did not like it. Can we all agree on something, even as Christians we are all different, and we all have different preferences. Let us not be the ones who are bashing or talking bad about our Pastor, Sunday School Teacher, Song Leader, whoever it may be, just because they are doing something that does not match our preferences (yes I am talking specifically to myself). We need to be the ones holding up the arms of those making decisions, praying for them, and trusting that they are getting their directions from God to make those decisions.
In Chapter 4, we are introduced to some adversaries who try slithering their way into the building party, no doubt to cause destruction. Without hesitation or reservation, Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers kicked them out. We are in very trying times as a church, the devil and his fallen followers are working harder than ever, and when you try to do something for the Lord, they will attack just as we see here. The Bible tells us repeatedly, do not be afraid, do not fear, be strong and of good courage, we must not forget the gates of hell will not prevail against the church:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17 – 18)
Of course the adversaries did not like that so they went further in their plan to “weaken the hands of the people of Judah and troubled them in building.” They wrote a letter to Artaxerxes describing how the building of the temple would hinder his kingdom and it worked for a little while. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us there is a time for everything and we must trust in God’s timing, so many times we mess things up trying to go on our timeline when God already has it planned out perfectly. They begin to build again, and again the trouble began, only this time there was a new king, Darius. The Governor wrote another nasty letter, but this time the children of Israel reminded the new king about a decree that king Cyrus had made saying to not only build the temple but that the king was actually going to help them get it built. Not only did Darius honor this decree, but also made another decree saying, the people who were hindering were now going to pay the builders and anyone who tried to stop the building of the temple would hang. I know they suffered, I know there hearts were broke, but by following God and allowing God to control things, I think we would all agree that it worked out way better.
Posted in Devotions by Wesley Clayton with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0317 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post on this passage – “Get to Work“
“And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” (Joshua 18:1-3)
Joshua 14 – 16 deals with the inheritance given by God to the children of Israel. Joshua 14:2 tells us how God wanted it done, “By lot was their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.” We skip to Chapter 17 and we see the land still being given out, but something happens that does not follow suit with the previous verses; someone isn’t happy: “And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?” (Joshua 17:14) We read in chapter 16:1 – 4 about the lot they were given and what it sounds like is they had some coastal land, some wilderness and some mountainous land. It sounds pretty awesome to me. This brings me to my first point: listen and follow the man of God. The Pastor is just doing what God has revealed to him. As Christians, or humans in general, we have a tendency to complain about anything and everything. Sometimes we just don’t understand what God is trying to do through His man, but it is his job to lead and our job to lift up his arms while he is doing so. In this instance they have some legitimate concerns, the hill is not big enough and the Canaanites have iron chariots. We all have the same concerns and worries, and it all can be boiled down to something like this: “something is in our way.” One of my favorite passages and the prayer that I prayed before going out on any mission while I was deployed was “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:2-3). Remember, we serve the God of the impossible.
We start chapter 18 with these simple words: “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh.” This is one of those things that you could easily just read and keep going, but when you put it into context this is what happened, a family of the church was having a problem so the pastor called the church family together to help. The houses of Ephraim and Manasseh saw no possible way to handle their situation, and they were not alone, they and five other houses were in the same position. This is quite possibly one of the greatest attributes of a Godly church; one that will come together in a time of need, sacrificing much for the well-being of others. Some may have said something to the effect of: “oh well, not my problem,” and a lot of times that is our attitude with our church family. We feel bad or sad about the situation but we are not willing to do anything about it. Let’s take some notes from the children of God and put some action to our words. The family gathered together, God gave Joshua a plan to solve the problem, and together the family, led by God, attacked the situation.
Finally Joshua issues their challenge, “How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?” This may sound familiar to you this goes all the way back to March 10 post “I Will Be With Thee” – Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23
“And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. … And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 23)
Pastor Larry Brown once said, “God already has the check written, He’s just waiting on faith to pick it up.” We are not talking about a name it and claim it prosperity gospel, instead we are talking about the actual promises of God.
Is God waiting on you to do something? Maybe talk to that neighbor or co-worker that you see everyday; or, maybe just to go share a kind word with that person that no one likes. Remember, Jesus died for them too.
Posted in Devotions by Wesley Clayton with 6 comments.