Saturday, November 16, 2019

Watchmen ...

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." - Ezekiel 3:17-18 
"Duty to Inform" is a legal ruling that reads as follows: "Duty to warn is the legal obligation to warn people of a danger. For example, manufacturers of hazardous products have a duty to warn customers of a product's potential dangers and to advise users of any precautions they should take. Psychologists have a duty to warn the third parties or authorities if a client poses a threat to himself or herself or to another identifiable individual." (uslegal.com) In a self serving world, the welfare of others has to be commanded.
In the world of Ezekiel, there might have been a temptation to ignore the impending judgment of the wicked. In chapter two, the Lord sent the prophet "to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me"...whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house)" Why warn anyone who would choose to ignore the blessings and goodness of God? Why inform them of the eternal condemnation waiting for them? Why bother, when they had no intention to change? Even for a man of God, was the eternal welfare of others commanded.
Well, you may say, "I'm not a 'watchman' for anyone today...I have no obligation to warn unbelievers of their impending doom. After all, the world is full of evangelists and preachers who get paid to do that. You may want to rethink this approach though. Have we not received the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of the saving grace of God? (Acts 1:8) Didn't the Lord, "through Christ reconcile us to himself and give us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:8) What should we say about Jude 22-23..."And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire"?  Yes, we have been made watchmen, and the eternal welfare of others has been commanded...

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Relationship or Rubbish?

"Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old" - Lamentations 5:21
The day that divorce papers are finalized, everything becomes crystal clear. They are documents that itemize all that was valuable in the marriage. Who gets the house? The boat? The vacation cottage? What amount of money that will be paid in alimony? All that really matters is the tangible things of monetary worth. A final commentary on the marriage... Rubbish over Relationship. 
As Jeremiah listed all that Israel suffered in the way of loss, the tangible things were most grieved over..."Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners." (Lamentations 5:2) The luxuries of life, the daily pleasures, music and dancing were all gone. Their misery seemed to revolve around the loss of earthly treasures rather than the spiritual communion with the Lord Himself. What was the final commentary? They had chosen poorly... Rubbish over Relationship.
It's all a matter of priority my friend. Where we place our values in the beginning will always determine the outcome. If you plant your life in the shifting sands of tangible things, your world will eventually pass away with nothing left to show for your efforts. But, if you plant your life in the rich topsoil of knowing and loving God, your world and all your efforts will last forever. Choose wisely... Relationship over Rubbish.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Always...

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” - Lamentations 3:22–24
Imagine a young child hanging out of a second story window and the building engulfed with flames. As he cries for help a stranger passes by and offers to catch the youngster if he will jump. Without any hesitation, the response is a firm "no thank you". The building is getting hotter by the moment and the young lad continues to reject offers to jump. Suddenly, out of the crowd runs his father with open arms crying out "jump!" As quickly as his father cries out, a jump is made into the safe and secure arms of only one person... The one that he could always trust.
After all that was suffered from the Lord's corrective measures upon the nation, the prophet returned to the heart of the matter. God cared enough for his people to deliver them from an unending life of sin and degradation. The physical loss was great, but spiritual loss is forever. Jeremiah knew where to find consistent consolation and hope for the future. He spoke of the Lord's steadfast love never ceasing, His mercies never coming to an end and the greatness of His faithfulness. This was his portion in life... The One who he could always trust.
No matter what your circumstances my friend, there is One who calls for you to "jump". He's not a stranger, but your loving, merciful and faithful Heavenly Father. He's there by your side in sunshine and storm. His hand is extended to walk you safely through the darkest Valley. When you choose Him as your portion in life, He will be the One that you can always trust.



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Beware...

"Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading." - Lamentations 2:14
On the morning of December 7, 1941, a radar operator on the northern tip of  the Hawaiian island of Oahu reported that there was an unusually large “blip” on the radar screen, indicating a large number of aircraft about 132 miles away and fast approaching. He had no idea that the "blip" was the first wave of more than 180 Japanese fighters, torpedo bombers, dive bombers and horizontal bombers who were bearing down on Pearl Harbor. Once informed, Kermit A. Tyler, Army Air Force first lieutenant on temporary duty at Fort Shafter’s radar information center responded... "Don't worry about it". Beware of those who mislead.
Jeremiah and Ezekiel were prophets of God that proclaimed the truth. That truth called for repentance and major life changes. Their voice was ignored and their message rejected. The voices that were received, spoke of good days ahead and totally failed to warn the people of impending judgment. Danger was closing in like an F5 tornado in the dark of night. The nation was devistated because they listened to false and deceptive messages that said... "Don't worry about it".  Beware of those who mislead.
There is no question that the Lord desires good for His children. But, that good is often waylaid by unrepentant sinful conduct. When we are sin sick, our heavenly Father brings us to a place of confession and spiritual renewal before His blessings rain down on us. Another prophet named Hosea recorded a similar thought, "... it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12) When the Lord speaks to you about sin, listen to Him and ignore the deceptive messages that say... "Don't worry about it". Beware of those who mislead.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Super Hero...

“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses." - Jeremiah 51:15–16
I grew up with just one televised super hero. He was, "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!.. Yes, it's Superman." Super heroes have become regular fare over the years, with movies galore and unending adventures. But, when we leave the theater and head down the road, fiction gives way to reality. Oh, if only there was a real Super Hero!
Israel never tired of searching for newer and more powerful gods. Babylon showed up with great wisdom, might and golden idols, overthrowing the people of Israel. But in time, this powerful nation and it's little man-made gods crumbled under the power of the Lord of hosts. For years Israel lost sight of the greatness and power their of own God. Imagine, they really had a Super Hero.
We open the pages of the Bible and quickly discover the One who "made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom". He is truly, "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! and much, much more. Why search for newer and more powerful sources to meet your needs? Paul the Apostle referred to the Lord as the One who is "able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think". (Ephesians 3:20) Yes, my friend, there really is a Super Hero...and the LORD of hosts is His name! (Jeremiah 51:19)


Monday, November 11, 2019

A Strong Hand...

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah with them. All who took them captive have held them fast; they refuse to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon." - Jeremiah 50:33–34
My wife and I grew up on Long Island, N.Y. We spent more days at the beach than can be counted. We dated at the beach, ran our dogs at the beach and raised our boys at the beach. You might think that we knew better than to let our car get stuck at the beach. But we did, and were it not for the help of a strong truck, we'd still be at the beach. Getting out of a deep hole requires a strong hand.
Judah was in a deep hole. They ended up there by their own doing. After years of rebellion and idolatry, the Lord sent the armies of Babylon to carry them into captivity. The hole was deep enough, then over time their captors "proudly defied the Lord" (vs. 29) making things worse. At just the right moment, as predicted years earlier, a Redeemer brought them rest with a strong hand. 
Are you in a hole today? Did you know better, but got stuck anyway? Are you thinking that you're on your own since you got by your own doing? Well, the encouraging word is, that you too have a Redeemer. And, should you call upon him with a humble heart, He is ready and willing to bring you rest with a strong hand. 






Sunday, November 10, 2019

Anything???

"The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?" ~ Jeremiah 32:26-27
You may have lost your home or car in a flood or fire. The devastation is overwhelming. You begin to ask, again and again... "Is there any hope? Can God really turn things around and will my life ever be the same again?" The tragedies of life can be so consuming that your vision for future grace is easily blinded. It's at a time like this that we need a word from the Lord. And when it does, it often comes in the form of a question ... "Is anything too hard for Me?"
The scene for Jeremiah was even more confusing. The Lord directed him to buy property for the future, but to the naked eye, there was no possibility of a future. Jeremiah was a prophet, and yet his vision was blurred by the circumstances. "Is there any hope? Can God really turn things around and will my world ever be the same again?" There is no shame or harm in seeking understanding from the Lord in the midst of turmoil. But, when He answers, it may come in the form of a question..."Is anything too hard for Me?"
There is no doubt that the Lord expects us to pour over His question and come to the place of faith... "No, there isn't anything too hard for God". But, once we've arrived at this conclusion, how then shall we live? Shall we rest in Him, trusting in His wisdom and divine plan for our good? Seeking understanding and finding the answer is only the beginning of embracing the confidence and courage that comes from God's timeless question.