Archive for October, 2008

As a Pastor people expect me to know how to pray. In fact, if there is an occasion to pray, such as blessing the meal, they usually look to me to pray. I have found that public prayer is one of the hardest things for Christians to do.

I Don't Want to Pray Out Loud

Please don't call on me to pray!

You get a group of Christians together and they will chat and talk about everything in the world, but when it comes time to pray, they all usually shut up and look sheepishly at each other. Nothing shuts a bunch of Christians up like a call to prayer. Prayer is a downer, and prayer requests are a double downer.

When the Pastor or group leader asks for prayer requests there are the usual sicknesses, the occasional health crises, and then there are the life and death requests. 98% of prayer requests are to bring God into a situation that is threatening, troubling or trying. In most of the situations darkness has already come into the person’s life.

I would like there to be some way we could delight in God in our prayer times. I want our prayer to be means of encouraging our faith and growing in our intimacy with our ABBA Father. Surely Jesus enjoyed the Hours He spent in prayer with His Father! Prayer should be as exciting and as fulfilling as watching a game winning touchdown in the final seconds. We need to see ourselves at the very throne of God, basking in His grace and mercy, fully accepted in His beloved Son. Sure there must be reverence in our heart, there must be respect. But can we pray with the intimacy of a little child talking with his Dad as he tucks him into bed?

The Mudpreacher and his three sons

The Mudpreacher and his three sons

My three sons were each about a year apart. My wife and I would always pray with them before going to bed. As soon as they could ask questions, we would play a ‘game’ before prayer whereby they would ask me a question. It could be about anything, but the point was to try to stump me. I don’t remember many of the questions, but I do remember the great fun we had just talking about what they were curious about. This was a special time, a time of laughing, loving and enjoying each other.

I love to see our church folk enjoy visiting and laughing and fellowshipping together. Why can’t we do that around the throne of God? How can we make our prayer times powerful and uplifting? How can we use that time to grow closer together as a family? How can we use that time to ask God what is on our heart? How can we use that time to know God’s Heart?

We have just had a four week “experiment” with small groups in our church. I was most encouraged by a new level of intimacy that I had not seen before in our church. Sure our group had the normal chatting and laughing, but there was an openness and intimacy that developed, which never would have happened during our normal Church meetings. But the thing that impressed me the most was hearing simple, humble prayers that served to uplift us and bring us closer together. The prayer time was the most special time of the whole evening. WOW! How do we bring that into our church building? I hope we can continue to have small groups as a regular part of our church. I believe Jeremiah 13:15-17 gives us an insight as to the importance of growing in our prayer-life.

“Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He causes darkness, And before your feet stumble On the dark mountains, And while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death And makes it dense darkness. But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly And run down with tears, Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

We need to be giving glory to God on a daily basis, before He brings darkness into our lives. We need to be seeking His light each and every day. I have found that the darkness isn’t nearly so frightening when you have the Light of God in your heart. That Light needs prayer to fuel it. That Light needs an on-going link with the Supreme Power Source, Jehovah God.

Prayer is the Link to Power

Prayer is the Link to Power

When darkness comes into our lives, some of us turn to God and hope He will turn on the lights and make the darkness go away. In actuality the darkness has come because we have not been seeking His light. We will have to stumble around in darkness until our pride and self-sufficiency is exhausted and we truly desire God once more.

Daily Prayer is our way of listening to God, listening to what He wants to do in our lives. It should not be only to bend His ear for what we want. We should be yielding our ears to His Voice, to obey His Word. Prayer is essential to developing good ears to hear. Prayer should never be proud, never be demanding. Earnest and fervent perhaps, but never presuming upon the will of God. Claim the promises of His Word in bold prayer, but listen humbly at His feet for His Voice. If we do not listen to God, if we do not give Him glory, but glory in our own abilities, we will stumble in the darkness. We will be taken captive by our lusts, our pride, our arrogance. God will weep because we have turned away from Him!

What will we do when the end comes?

30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes? (Jeremiah 5:30-31 esv)

Jeremiah Laments the Destruction

Jeremiah Laments the Destruction

In the mind of Jeremiah, he could see that an appalling and horrible thing was happening to Judah. As a prophet of God, he could see what was to come upon Jerusalem. It had already happened to the 10 tribes of Israel (the Northern Kingdom).

Why did they continue to believe they were immune? Their religious leaders – prophets and priests, told the people that everything was OK. The prophets and priests were in a false alliance. The prophets told the Administration and the people that everything was great, that God was blessing their worship, that God was protecting His people. The priests ministered according to what they thought was best. They let the people slide when it came to following God’s Law. They tolerated and even condoned the worship of idols. They excused the sins of the people. They preached on the ‘tender mercies’ of a loving Jehovah. They probably preached sermons about “Becoming a Better You”; “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking through to the Blessed Life”; “Forty Days to Prosperity & Blessing”. The priests were only concerned about their influence with the people, as well as their own wealth and prosperity. Their self-seeking motives clouded their service to God and His Law. Both prophets and priests kept in good favor with the King and the people. They continued to grow wealthy. How could this be?


My People Love it So

My People Love it So

Jeremiah points out an amazing truth-“My people love to have it so!” The Jews were perfectly satisfied with the way things were. They could continue with their sins and idol worship without reproof or restraint. They did not want to obey God’s Law, so they allowed the prophets and priests to deliberately deceive and ruin them.

Laughing Stock

Laughing Stock

They would refuse to listen to any voice of warning, and made a laughingstock of any who would reprove them or point out their sins.


God reigns from on High. God will have His Honor. God will only allow the mocking to go on for so long. Jeremiah asks: “What will you do when the end comes?”

We can only ignore God for so long. We can only pretend that all is OK for so long. The prophets and priests (Pastors) of America will have to answer for our service to God. Or have we only served the people and ourselves? What will we do when the end comes?

Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, by Michelangelo

Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, by Michelangelo

Jeremiah was a prophet who preached to a nation that was about to be overtaken by enemies. Their “favored-nation” status with Jehovah was no longer protecting them from the aggressions of their enemies. God had chosen Jeremiah to put His Words in his mouth and was now directing Jeremiah to speak those words. God told him “whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak”. There was some success during the reign of Josiah, but for the most part the people’s honoring the message from God continued to deteriorate until the capture of Jerusalem  in 586 BC. Jeremiah’s second message preached during the reign of Josiah was at minimum 20 years before the siege of Nebuchadnezzar II in 588 BC. Even at that time, during the reforms of Josiah and the renewed religiosity of the Jews, Jeremiah was calling Judah to acknowledge her iniquity and turn ‘O backsliding children’ to the Lord. (Jer 3:13-14).

Jeremiah confesses the sins of Judah: “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.” (Jer 3:23-24)

We Must Confess

We Must Confess

This shameful thing is the Hebrew word בֹּשֶׁת (bōshet) which means “to fall into disgrace, normally through failure, either of self or of an object of trust.” It is not an inward shame like we think, but means  “to come to shame” and stresses the sense of public disgrace, a physical state. Because of their toleration and even worship of other gods, the Israelites had been brought to shame to disgrace. That which they had trusted in, a Baal god, their government, their wealth, had done the opposite of what they wanted. They were now lying down in public shame and disgrace, the works of their hands, their wealth, their possessions, their children, their grandchildren, having been consumed and corrupted by that which they worshipped.

Our great country, the US of A has been headed down a slippery slope for years. We have worshiped the gods of our own making. We have worshiped our possessions, our rights. In the meantime we have sacrificed unborn babies to the god of governmental rights. We have relied on our gods of government and finance to provide for our needs and our retirement. America has turned away from the one True God, the source of our Blessings. We have swept him out of our classrooms and our court rooms. He is barely thought of as we pay homage to the gods of video games and entertainment.

As a result the wealth of America, the souls of our children and grandchildren, the works of our hands are all being stripped away. The enemy is upon us and we keep relying on our little handmade gods. Soon we will realize that they cannot save us. Our shame and disgrace will be evident to all.

Jeremiah Provides Advice for the Nation of Israel in Chapter Four.

I believe this applies to America as well

  1. Return to the Lord. Do away with those things which are an abomination to God. This means abortion. This means corruption in government and the court rooms. (4:1)
  2. Swear allegiance to the Lord, to walk in His truth, His judgment and in His righteousness. We must teach God’s truth to our children. His Word must be allowed back into the classroom. His word must be allowed back into our workplaces. (4:2)
  3. Break up the fallow ground. We must repent and mourn as a nation for our hardness toward God and His Word. (4:3)
  4. Circumcise our Hearts. We must take away that which causes the destruction and corruption of our hearts. Pornography, Drugs, Prostitution must be dealt with. We must no longer turn our heads and allow this corruption. (4:4)
  5. Blow the Trumpet of Assembly. Our leaders must stand and warn America of the coming judgment. They must encourage us to seek Him and return to Him. (4:5)

    Time to Blow the Trumpet & Raise the Standard

    Time to Blow the Trumpet & Raise the Standard

  6. Raise a Standard. No matter the enemy, we must raise the standard of God and His Word over our nation. Once more our leaders must live by the standards of God’s Word. (4:6)
  7. Realize that Judgment is coming. We must gird ourselves with a resolve to follow God. We must continue to seek Him with repentance. (4:7-8)
  8. Wash our hearts from wickedness, that we may be saved. (4:14)

Jeremiah was a broken-hearted prophet.

His words were ignored, and his message was treated with contempt and even imprisonment and torture. God’s judgment is already upon America, and there is no man to raise the Standard that God requires. True Believers must prepare themselves for the wrath of God on our nation. We must cry out to Him. Perhaps God will allow us more time to turn this nation back to Him, or at the very least, allow us to see our loved ones come to Jesus Christ.

What is Evil?

Posted: October 16, 2008 in Evil, Jeremiah
Tags: , , , ,

My heart was stricken today as I read in Jeremiah. How could God have done to His people that which He did. The Jews were His beloved people, chosen to represent God to the world. Yet God called the kingdoms of the north to lay Judah waste. What evil had they done to warrant the destruction of their nation? Had they committed terrible sins of debauchery and perversion? After all God had told the world to be astonished, to be horribly afraid at what they had done! (Jer 2:12)

The horrendous evil of Judah was revealed in Jeremiah 2:13. They had committed two evils or raʿ which  usually means sin in the sense of destructive hurtfulness. In other words, what Judah had done was destructive and hurtful to themselves and their nation. God says:

13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 (NASB)

The hurtful destructive thing which they had done first was to forsake and turn away from the true source of living water and all which living water signifies-sustenance, prosperity, well being. They turned from trusting Jehovah God for their livelihood and peace of mind.

The second hurtful destructive thing they did was to dig their own cisterns (broken at that) to rely upon for their livelihood. They collected their own water, using their own hands. In other words, they were depending upon themselves for their livelihood and prosperity. They were not depending upon God.

What Does God Consider Evil?

Jeremiah puts a different “spin” on what God considers ‘evil’. God says any walk, any action that is independent of Him is evil. God is the source and the sustainer of our life. We must drink continually from His fountain. We must depend daily upon God. To forsake Him and His provisions for us is evil. To depend upon our own cisterns, our own means for our life and sustenance is likewise evil.

They are each destructive and hurtful.

I believe America is a hurting nation with hurting and sick people because we have walked in the evilness of independence. We no longer depend upon God. We may include Him occasionally in our plans, we may offer Him lip service in our praise and prayers. But when it comes down to living, we depend upon that which we can see, touch, make and do with our own eyes and hands. In fact, we most often depend on the Government which we have created. Especially in these frightful economic times.

However, we must heed the warning of Jeremiah. For he says in verse 19, that our own wickedness will correct us, and we will discover that it is an evil and bitter thing to forsake the Lord our God.

We must rediscover the fear and reverence of Almighty Jehovah God. We must turn away from the cisterns of our own making, and come to His fountain of living waters.

Selling Our Liberty for the Safety of our 401(k)’s

In wondering about the ramifications of our Government buying an interest in private banks, buying up commercial notes, buying delinquent mortgages, all in order to stabilize financial markets, I am wondering if we are starting to see the fruition of “Why Democracies Fail” a quotation attributed by some to Alexander Tytler. On December 28, 1987, a letter in the Wall Street Journal quoted this whole passage, and said it was from a lecture by “a history professor by the name of Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1714-1778).” (Actually 1747-1813).

In 1787, Alexander Tytler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

‘A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government’.

‘A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury’.

‘From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship’.

‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years’.

‘During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependency;
From dependency back again into bondage.

Where are the Statesmen who cry out for Liberty!

Are we going to surrender our freedom for the sake of financial ease and comfort. Has our dependency on our affluent lifestyle led us to bondage to big government once again? Where are the statesmen who possess Courage and Character. Should not the sins of the greedy be punished even if it means economic hardship? Do we surrender our free-market economy for the sake of government control so we may continue to live in comfort?

Where are those who cry out “Give me Liberty or give me death!”