There is an end…

Ezekiel 5:9-11 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds. Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.

The Scripture sounds gruesome, almost morbid. As I read this morning’s Scripture, I’m reminded that “there is an end”. We can pay not, and play later, or we can plan now, and pay later. My mind almost immediately went back to my post recently where the families were gathering sticks, and making sacrifices to the queen of heaven. The father, mother, sons, and daughters, were all involved. And yet not too much later, the fathers are eating their sons, and the sons their fathers. What a change of setting! And I’m reminded that there is an end. There is a reward, and/or a consequence to every action and every lifestyle.

There’s an end to a heart of wicked imaginations – the manifestation of those imaginations, and the consequences. There’s an end to materialism – vanity, emptiness, and regrets of a life wasted on that which won’t last. There’s an end to rearing a family to chase the Almighty dollar, and one for laxity in child rearing. There’s an end to watching things that we ought not. There’s an end in wrong relationships. There’s an end of neglecting our walk with the Lord. These families of Judah experienced a brutal, horrific, heart-breaking end for their choices.

My prayer today is that I’d evaluate my life, and my lifestyle, and relationships, and family, for there is an end to each choice that I make and of the life that I live.

I fell on my face

watchmanEzekiel 1:27-28 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

Scripture spoke in two ways this morning. In the verses above, we see Ezekiel’s vision. It was a pretty dramatic vision. There were creatures with four faces, wheels and creatures with eyes, and spirits. And yet Ezekiel stood there gazing at them all chapter (for about 25 verses). However, in the last three verses, something else became part of the vision. He looked up, and saw a throne. And he saw someone upon the throne. And once he realized that this was the glory of God, it changed what he did and how he responded. He fell on his face. He listened to what was being said.

This reminds me that we can be a part of amazing things, and see amazing things in our lives. We can stand and we can serve. But once we get a glimpse of His glory, it can’t but drive us to our face before Him, and change the way we do what we do. My prayer today is that I’d get hear His voice and see His glory in my walk with Him and in my life. Other visions are great, but a vision of Him is greater.


Ezekiel 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

The second thought is that of being a watchman. While Ezekiel sat astonished of the vision he has seen, the Word of the Lord came to him and told him that he was to do something with the calling God had given to him. He wasn’t to keep God’s words to himself. He wasn’t to just sit there. He was to be a watchman.

I am reminded today that the Lord has made us, too, watchmen – and especially those of us who teach and preach. Might we be watchmen in our churches, and in our communities, and in our families. Might we warn, and preach, and save for His sake.

Is it nothing to you?

isitnothingLamentations 1:12 “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me… 5:15  The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 5:21 Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord”. 

Lamentations is a sad commentary. And yet it is convicting, for in its chapters I see Jeremiah’s spirit, and the reason for his crying and brokenness. But then I think to our day, and to what’s going on in our country, and around the world. And I’m convicted. I wonder if Jeremiah were to walk by today, and observed the state of much of Christianity, or the evils of our day, would he address us in like manner? Would the looks on our faces and the observance of our lifestyles and our prayer life drive the prophet to ask us, “is it nothing to you”? And yet, I’m afraid that in my life, he might.

My prayer this morning is that I won’t get used to some things. I fear that because we’re around certain evils so much, and because social media magnifies it and keeps it ever before us, that we can become numb. Might we never get used to the fact that our country murders 3,000 babies every day. Might we not get used to the fact that the Sodomite lifestyle has gained victory after victory, and that our country has become a cesspool of abominable immorality, and it’s glamorized. Might we not get used to the broken homes, and the poor among us, and fatherless children, where cities like Milwaukee have demographics where 70% are born without a father in their life. Might we not get used to the Syrian refugee crisis, where thousands of children are killed, abused, homeless, and starving today. Might we not get used to the stories we hear from our missionaries of abuse, neglect, starvation. And finally, might we never get used to the sin in our own hearts and in the heart of Christianity.

I fear that if Jeremiah walked by today, and watched our sports, our sports cars, our fads, our spending, our prayer lives, our demeanor in church and throughout the week, and then observed the state of Christians and the lost in our country, he might ask, “Is it nothing to you”? Might we remain broken over our sin. I observed a lady in our church during the special song yesterday. She has a rough background. She was in a correctional facility not too long ago. She had lost her children because of some bad choices. But praise the Lord she was saved, and has been faithful to church. She’s at prayer meeting. She’s at soul winning. She’s at evening services. She’s at fellowships. But during the song service yesterday, the soloist was singing the song, “it’s such a privilege to know the Lord.” There’s a phrase about not getting used to the fact that we can know Him. And about the second chorus, she lost it. She was weeping. She was being consoled by one of the other good ladies in our church. And it was convicting. Here’s a lady who has not gotten used to it. And so many of us that have been in church for longer, and should have a sweeter relationship with Him sat there, with straight faces. I say that to say, there are some things I pray I won’t get used to. And my prayer is that if Jeremiah observed my life this week, he’d say, “it’s something to him.”

“He is exceeding proud”

Jeremiah 48:29 We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.

Jeremiah 48:42 And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.

In this morning’s reading, God is pronouncing judgment against nations, and in context including His own. The verses above are specifically in reference to Moab. It stood out how well God described Moab’s pride in a single verse. He used five words to sum up his pride: proud, loftiness, arrogancy, pride, haughtiness – as if one or two wasn’t sufficient. But later in the chapter we see why God was so down on their pride. It was because he had “magnified himself against the Lord.”

As I think of the passage above, it’s easy for me to think “they deserve it. Look how proud they were. They actually magnified themselves against the Lord.” But if I take a good look, a deeper examination of my soul, I may be guilty of the same at times. For, pride is simply taking credit for that which rightfully belongs to or comes from God. Is that not, in a sense, lifting myself up against Him? I may not think of it or say it that harshly, but my prayer this morning is that I’d stay humble, as that is the spirit that the Lord can us, whereas a proud spirit is likely to fall.

“Ye and your wives have both spoken.”

biblical manhoodJeremiah 44:15-26 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem… Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows. Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.

As my uncle would say many times, “where are the men”? We find men here allowing their wives to be influenced, and then allowing their wives to influence them for wrong. And they went a step further. Their wives’ influence caused them to speak out against the preacher and the Word of God. There is a dearth of men in our country and yea, our world. Of course, I don’t mean a dearth of physical manhood, but biblical manhood. It’s so evident, and there are so many ways this is evident. Might we be men that are spiritual, and that walk with God. Might we not be thermometers, but thermostats, and set the spiritual temperature of our homes and our churches. I’ve seen in my life that, during the times Satan can’t get to me, he’ll go after my wife, as the weaker vessel. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. But he does.  My prayer this morning is that I’d be, that we as God’s men would be, the “saviour of the body”, as we are admonished in Scripture.

“Thou speakest falsely”

Jeremiah 40:13-16 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, And said unto him, Dost thou certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not. Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.

The passage that stuck out this morning was the final verse above. We see a man concerned for the life and soul for another man. And so he approaches him with that concern. In fact, this man is willing to put his life on the line for the life of the man for whom he is concerned. But the man’s initial response is, “thou speakest falsely” – he accused him. He discredited him as discrediting another man. I’ve seen this happen when the pastor, or youth pastor, or a fellow friend brings a legitimate concern for the soul of another man to that man. And so many times, our natural reaction is a defensive one, or worse yet, an offensive one. How many times have we seen concerns go unheeded, and that ends up being to the hurt of that person? I pray that today I and my family would take and appreciate the concerns of others – be it the preacher, parents, the youth pastor, teacher, etc., and not form the natural defense that seeks to put itself in the way.

“…the king slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Moreover he put out his eyes.”

Zedekiah Jeremiah 39:4-7 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

A guest preacher preached a good sermon at our youth camp years ago. The title was, “you should have listened to the preacher.” The Scripture above is heart breaking when I meditate upon it. Here, we see a man who believed in God. He believed that the preacher heard from the Lord, and had words from the Lord. Multiple times sought an audience with the preacher, because he wanted to know God’s Word and God’s will for his family and country. And yet we see each time, after he hears the preaching and after he hears the instruction, he refuses to apply the truths that the preacher gave him for his life and family. This brings us to the passage above. The city was broken up. He fled. But while he was fleeing thorugh the plain, the Babylonians overtook him, and captured him. They found his sons. And before they even brought him to Babylon, they killed his sons, one by one, before his eyes. And if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, as soon as they had killed his sons and the nobles, they put out his eyes. Can you imagine having the last thing you ever see, the final picture in your mind, being the death of your children at the hands of a brutal enemy? I can only imagine Zedekiah’s heartbroken thought process as, in chains, he is led, blind, to Babylon – “I should’ve listened to the preacher. I should have listened to the preacher. I should’ve listened to the preacher.”

I don’t know why Zedekiah didn’t listen to the preacher. Maybe he was concerned about what others thought. Maybe he was fearful of how his family might react. Maybe he was comfortable in his lifestyle, and unwilling to change to meet God’s standard of living. It could have been a host of things, and I don’t know exactly, but we know that he refused the counsel and preaching, and it led to his family’s demise. My dad preached as the founding pastor for 25 years here. And we watched many people and many families’ lives destruct because of this very reason. The preacher got up and preached his heart out, and applied God’s Word to what was going on in society today, with warning, and with a passion, and with vision. And yet, for whatever reason, people listen week in and week out, and refuse to apply what they heard in daily life. There are a host of reasons we might not listen to the preacher. Maybe we’d prefer to keep our lifestyle. Maybe we’re concerned with what our family might think. Maybe we don’t apply the principles in our homes because we know we’ll have to make the adjustments in our personal lives. Maybe we’re concerned about friends, neighbors, or fellow church members. I don’t know all the reasons, but I pray today, that when we hear the preaching, we come with the spirit of “it’s me, it’s me, it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” I pray that we’d seek to apply the preaching and it’s principles to our lives. For I’d hate to come to a point where, after hearing, and after neglecting, on the long road ahead, the only thought that comes to my mind is “I should have listened to the preacher.”

The Rechabites.

rechabites tents

Jeremiah 35:18-19 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.

I love this passage. I think a small part of this is because I can relate with the Rechabites in a little bit, and am thankful for it. Jeremiah tells us that years earlier, Jonadab, Rechab’s father, had commanded his children to do some things that were “different”. They were counter-culture. They were higher standards. These weren’t necessarily things that were unlawful, but they were given in wisdom. They were given for the sake of generations to come. I’m sure that some shook their head. I’m sure that some thought they were odd. I’m sure that some made comments or shook their heads. But not God. God was well pleased that generations of men took the high road that their father had left them to take. And he chose to devote a chapter in the Bible to this family. In fact, in the verses above, he makes them a wonderful promise because of their adherence to their father’s commandments and precepts. And when the Babylonians came in and pillaged, killed, burned, and destroyed, these men and their families were safe.

I’m a second generation Christian from a very conservative family. My father reminds me of Jonadab. Growing up, there were things that my dad “commanded” us and our family to live by, to do and not to do, that were outside the norm in mainstream society. In fact, some of what he asked of us was outside the norm in mainstream Christianity. It was, in fact, counter-culture. We didn’t have a tv growing up. We didn’t do sleepovers. We were guarded against the influences of the world. We were given a different identity that the average American would think is normal, and the list can go on. But looking back, I’m so glad that my dad was willing to take the high road with our family, and that he challenged us to do the same. Three of us are married, and to this day, by God’s grace, we follow many of these “precepts” in our own homes. But we’re not done. We’re only at the front end of rearing our families, and have a long way to go. My prayer this morning is that we’d continue in the way our dad left for us. The fruit has been good so far. But I pray that it would continue for generations to come, as we pass down the “commandments” and precepts that he gave us to the next generation. I can only imagine the impact that can be made if we do so.


Nebuchadrezzar… My Servant

democrat-republicanJeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

I am reminded this morning that it is not politics – kings, presidents, congress, Prime ministers, or local leaders, that will make the necessary difference we long to see. Their heart is in God’s hand, and He “turneth it withersoever He will…” The change will come when God’s people’s hearts are turned toward Him. Over 83% of Americans profess Christianity. And yet, we vote for those who murder babies. We vote for those who defame the name of Christ. We watch and support Hollywood and its filth. We’re more caught up with the American Dream than God’s dream (His glory to the nations, through salvation of the lost). And we wonder why things are the way they are. Restoration is not found in a vote. It begins in the hearts and lives of God’s people. ” If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

In the good times, let us seek His face, as that is what will make the change we need to see. In the tumultuous times (like we live in now), let us seek His face, as that is what will make the change we need to see. For in either, the heart of those in power are in HIS hands, and not ours.


Notable verse below. Thank the Lord for being so long suffering.

Jeremiah 26:13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

God’s Heart

syrian boyJeremiah 22:3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. 

Jeremiah 22:16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD.

She came wondering up to our porch about 3 weeks ago. Initially, of course, I thought, “what is she doing on our property”? As I walked toward her, she was obviously homeless, seemingly a “stranger” to the area, and probably only in her 20’s at that. I had all my preconceived answers for her (sorry, I don’t have any money. Maybe you can find a rescue mission. If you come back on Sunday, maybe we can help, etc.). But her request? “Do you have any extra clothes I could use?” Ouch. The Holy Spirit spoke to me, I went into my wife, and asked for some money she could use to get some clothing at Goodwill. She was very grateful. Another man came to me within the past month. He left the Louisiana area after major flooding, hit hard times, and was homeless, living under a bridge. As he walked up, and before I knew his story, the same preconceived notions came to my mind. But he only wanted a ride to work, which we gave him, along with lunch. He even offered a couple bucks for the ride across town. And God paid us back 10 fold. The night we gave the lady $10, someone gave us $100 for DINNER. And it’s happened time and time again.

In these passages I am reminded of God’s heart for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, and the fatherless. I think many of us, especially in America, have grown hard to “pure religion”. In this morning’s reading, God could have said “stop your immorality”, or “stop your idolatry”, or “stop the violence”. But He said in reference to Jeremiah 22:3, “For if ye do this thing indeed (not stopping those things, but stopping the oppression of the poor, needy, strangers), then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.” If they cared for these people, God would turn their captivity. If these people are high on God’s priority list, my prayer this morning is that He’d help them to be high on mine. It’s not easy. We’ve been conditioned to be hard here. But it’s “true religion” (James 1:27).

There are two specific ministries among others that I can think of that may be near to God’s heart, if we have a desire to be involved in something that is. First, is the bus ministry. Oh, I know, “they’re not poor. They have a nicer tv than me”. Yes – but how many have a father that’s involved in their life, if a father that they know at all? I just read that 70% of children born in Milwaukee (where violent riots have been this week) are born out of wedlock… How many move from house to house, and city to city, as strangers to the society of which they are a part?  How many are “oppressed” through drugs, abuse, and more? One great way to be involved in a ministry close to God’s heart is through this great ministry.

Another area is missions. One thing that has broken my heart and changed my life has been my trips overseas. There you see true, horrible oppression. Those are true strangers in the land. There are countless fatherless, widows, and poor people. If I want to touch God’s heart strings, I ought to be involved with things that are near and dear to His heart. Giving to missions and praying for missions, and asking if the Lord would have me to serve on the field are great ways to start.

I can pray and give, for sure, to both of these ministries. And then I can ask how the Lord would have me to be personally involved, whether through being part of a bus route, or by taking short term missions trips, or by potentially going myself, if He wills. Might our hearts today be stirred by the things that stir God’s heart. I know that He repays 10-fold, time and time again.