Pastor's Blog
November 11, 2018, 5:05 PM

What Would Jeremiah Do?


‘But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.”’  Jeremiah 1:7

          It seems pretty normal to see Jeremiah the prophet as an old, bearded man.  The old man speaking against the king.  The old man put into prison.  The old man lowered in the muddy pit.  But at the beginning of his ministry, he was young.  Young enough to be concerned that people would take him seriously.  That is, after all a reasonable desire: wanting to be taken seriously.  The fulfillment of that desire leads some people to stake out new and ‘creative’ views on all sorts of issues.  Some of that is OK and harmless.  But if we do that with God’s word, we quickly find ourselves in a dangerous place.

          What did God tell Jeremiah?  “Whatever I command you, you shall speak.”  God didn’t call him to be an interpreter of God’s word.  He didn’t call Jeremiah because of his insightful opinions.  He didn’t call him for his educated prowess.  God said “I will tell you – you tell them.  (exactly what I tell you).” 

          There were popular prophets in Jeremiah’s day.  There were prophets who were well-thought-of.  Men who others wanted to listen to.  Jeremiah never made it into that group.  He was never one of the ‘cool kids’.  Why?  Because He said what God told him to.  He recited the ‘good, bad, and ugly’ just like God said to him.  Really, God kind of set him up.  He sent him into what seems like a ‘no-win’ scenario.

          Things aren’t that much different today.  We live in an age that Paul talked of.  When people would have ‘itching ears’, eager to hear what they wanted to hear.  Being taken seriously is very important to many of us.  The internet has not created a wealth of opinions, but has, perhaps, made them more accessible.  What would Jeremiah do today?  Would he polish his message so as to be taken seriously?  Or would he stand by what God said and be called ‘simple’, ‘out of touch’, or ‘a hater’?  I know what Jeremiah would do.  The question we face daily is “what will we do?”.

 

God Bless

Pastor Russ




November 4, 2018, 12:00 AM

Cry More


          ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”’  Isaiah 40:3

          When the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to write these words, it was an example of His great economy and thrift.  They were for Isaiah, they were for the Israelites, they were for John the Baptist, and they were for us.  When I hear them, I immediately think of John the Baptist.  He was ‘one crying in the wilderness’.  I believe that they are for us today in a similar manner.  If we will truly spread God’s message – His word, we will find ourselves sometimes, not in the midst of comfortable society, but alone in the wilderness. 

          Too many Christians seek the warm, comfortable, urbane acceptance of man rather than to be in the wilderness, boldly standing for God.  If we want acceptance from lots of people, it is available at a price.  John could have cleaned himself up.  Eaten a regular diet (instead of what God provided).  Dressed normally (instead of oddly).  And spoken much more politely (perhaps focusing more exclusively on God’s love).  We can make that choice, too.  Most people I work with would claim a belief in God and the Bible.  If I want their acceptance, I will adopt a similar view, where God’s word is ok.  Sometimes.

          But there are times we should choose the wilderness.  That’s where you stand for God boldly.  Proclaiming God’s truth.  Standing on His word.  Believing His word.  Even the unpopular parts.  Not so many want to live there.  John the Baptist believed God and took Him at His word.  For this, He was kept apart from polite society.  Ironically, his message was so intriguing, so unique, that they came to him!  

 

God Bless 

Pastor Russ

Post a Comment





October 27, 2018, 2:20 PM

Trust In the Lord


“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

          When I’ve read these verses in the past, I had not considered them in the light of full surrender.  However, I think that’s exactly what they’re about.  Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart Don’t leave some decisions to God, while you worry about others.  He wants to be in charge, not consulted.  For example, do we trust God to direct us ‘spiritually’, but worry about our relationships, job, etc., apart from Him?

          Lean not on your own understanding.  Many of us like to think and reason things out.  But we should be very careful that we do not ‘reason’ where scripture is clear.  We may have intelligent friends.  However, if our intelligence or our friends begin to stand in contradiction to scripture, we are in error.  Be very careful on this point.

          In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  When we live in full surrender to Him, where every door of our heart is open to Him, He will direct our paths.  If we hold back in an area of our lives, He will wait for obedience on that point.  We should ask God if there is anything in our lives we haven’t let Him control.

          After we prayerfully consider these things, we could run one more test: would those we live with, or work with, see an area of our lives that was not ‘up to snuff’?  We shouldn’t live in fear of man, but often others see things we do not.  It’s worth considering for we who desire to live a careful life.

God Bless

Pastor Russ




October 20, 2018, 3:30 PM

The Greatest Achievement


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Proverbs 9:10

   In all our pursuits, we should strive to be our best.  There is nothing overly competitive about the desire to be the best, whether in our jobs, hobbies, or just personal goals.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with working to achieve, it is not these things that God is most hoping for in our lives.  His deepest desire for each of us is that you draw deeper in your relationship to Him.  That is the ultimate achievement!

   But make no mistake, you will never achieve what God desires for you outside a daily study of scripture.  What others think, what the online community thinks, what you think, or what the churdh thinks matters nothing apart from scripture!  Always filter everything through scripture!  Test everything by scripture.  Learn it!  Live it!  Love it!

God bless!

 




October 13, 2018, 11:34 AM

The God of You!


Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!

Blessed is the man whofears the Lord,

Who delights greatly in His commandments.

His descendants will be mighty on earth;

The generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches will be in his house,

And his righteousness endures forever.

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

A good man deals graciously and lends;

He will guide his affairs with discretion.

Surely he will never be shaken;

The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings;

His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is established; He will not be afraid,

Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

     

     Recently, I was reading through Psalms when I came upon this one.  I think sometimes when we read a passage like this, we get hung up in some of the old-verses-new types of language.  Notice in verse 8 that the man who fears the Lord will see his desire upon his enemies. It’s easy to assume that the psalmist is referring to a person. But we have other enemies.  My enemies can include pride, laziness, short-sightedness, among other things.  An imposing enemy is spritual pride.  A pride that causes us to believe we can 'do' Christianity without prayer or scripture.

     What 'enemies' do you face?  Psalm 112 gives us a plan for not only facing them, but seeing our desire upon them!  Seeing them vanquished!  God will work in your life, but not without your consent.  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  In the Old Testament, He is referred to as 'The God of Jacob.'  He chose to be remembered by the name of one who wrestled with Him.  One who would not let go of Him.  Today, He could be known as 'The God of Edward, or The God of Debbie!"  You know, The God of You!  

 

Pastor Russ

Post a Comment


Contents © 2018 Decatur West Side Church of the Nazarene | Church Website Provided by mychurchwebsite.net | Privacy Policy