Sunday, August 30, 2015

When we walk away....

Ezekiel 8:14-15

Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”

Here the Lord is showing Ezekiel that there is something going wrong with Israel. Here a woman is mourning over a Sumerian god. The Lord is obviously grieved and saddened over this. It is not a normal thing to do for the people of Israel. They have stepped away from serving the true God. The nation of Israel has stepped away from their calling, they have rejected God, and the worst was yet to come.

I believe that the Lord is truly saddened when Christians step away from their calling and retreat away from their God. Now whether or not you believe that “once a Christian always a Christian”, or in the theory of “were you ever saved at all” we can all agree that God is not happy when it happens. Especially in this case where they not only walk away, but do the things that are displeasing in His eyes. It grieves His heart when we do it individually, when a church does it corporately, or when a nation does it collectively. So what does that mean for us who are left to absorb the collateral damage that comes along rejection God? We must pray. We pray that their hearts are changed and that they see the light of God once again. There is not much else we can do. Let God take charge and we just keep praying and obeying His commands. Stand firm in Him and be an example to all.

Lord you are in charge. We know you are saddened when those who profess to follow you walk away. We pray for them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We can do NOTHING

Jeremiah 10:23

I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own, it is not for man to direct his steps

Jeremiah knows who is really in charge. Unlike the rest of Israel, he recognizes that God is the one who is controlling the destiny of the people there. Jeremiah is fully aware that God is the one who can withhold punishment, bring peace, and administer judgement. In this statement, Jeremiah also submits. There is something submission does to people. It brings them to humbly come before God and ask what to do. It means that the individual must rely upon God for everything. And that is exactly what Jeremiah does. His reliance upon God is unprecedented. At this point there is nothing that Jeremiah can do but to whole submit his request and wait for God to execute His plan. Jeremiah’s only option is to sit and wait. His reliance is on God.

You know, there are times in life where I have come to this point. There is nothing I can do but wait on God. Couple of years ago I had a bad cold so I went in for a simple check-up. Little did I know, it was a big deal. So big my doctor couldn’t figure it out exactly. So I was sent over to a specialist. After taking x-rays and scans I had to wait for two whole days to be diagnosed. Those two days were terrible. It was not an easy time in my life. My mind raced in many directions, usually on the worst possible situation being played over and over in my mind. It’s funny how we prepare for the worst most of the time. But it made me realize that my life is completely in the hands of God the father. These are times where Jeremiah’s confession rings so true. There was NOTHING I could have done but wait for the results. Wait to see what God reveals. Sometimes it’s great news, as with me and my illness. But sometimes it’s those crazy things we cook up in our head that come to fruition. But, God is in control of it all. There is nothing we can do but to lean upon Him.

Lord thank you for this. Thank you for the reminder that though it may seem that I have control, it is You are the one who controls everything. May this be a reminder to just be wholly leaning into You.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not Just offerings....

Jeremiah 7:22-23

For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.

Nothing wrong with rituals. I at times enjoy having going through a church service that is very ritualistic. The Israelites seem to have got that part down also, but as time goes on, it seems that the Israelites tend to forget that following God is more than just doing the rituals and going through the motions. He desires here that the Israelites actually walk the walk. His true desire is that He wants is for them to obey. He wants them to walk in obedience to Him. Offerings and sacrifices are just part of the equation The rest of it is that very important command: "Obey Me".

I have, in times, put God in a box. I separated "rituals and sacrifices" from obedience. I live my week as how I see fit then, on Sunday I go to church. I sing the right songs, listen to the message, do the normal things all other church people do. Then during the week live the way I want usually with no input from Him. But what God calls us to do is to be engulfed by His love, to be whole heartedly on fire for Him. The struggle is that we all have, like the Israelites, is that it's easy to do the rituals and sacrifice. It gives you a sense of accomplishment after where you can say, "I'm done." Done with my duties, something I can check off my "To Do" list. But that is not the heart God desires. Being close to Him requires more than just going to church on Sunday, but to have an active fellowship with Him. It includes getting to know Him through His word, to be in constant contact with Him through daily prayer, and most importantly doing what He says. I must constantly remind myself that the "rituals and sacrifices" of today are only part of the equations. The most important is to follow His commands from His word, to love others and to be in humble spirit towards Him. That is what He wants.

Thank you Lord for the reminder that Your desire for us goes beyond the rituals, but to be in whole hearted obedience to You.