Jeremiah prophesied during one of the most difficult periods in Israel's history. His people had forsaken Him, and God's wrath was imminent. But what should a godly person supposed to do? Leave the Promised Land? Desert the temple of God? Abandon the people of God? Or go on living among "God's people" -- who sacrificed their children to idols? Be content to watch the corruption of priests who cared nothing for the Lord? Accept that your neighbors gave God lip service, but their hearts were far from Him?
In Jeremiah 21, God answered those questions. God's punishment was falling on Jerusalem in the form of the Babylonian and Chaldean army. Those who stayed in the city would either die by sword, famine, or pestilence, or be taken captive. But -- God repeated Himself multiple times -- there would be no escape. However, those who would defect to the Chaldeans, they would live, and their lives would be as treasures to their owners.
Most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem refused God's unpatriotic "advice" and paid with their lives.
But what do I do when God's "advice" is distasteful to me? When I see His instructions as embarrassing? Or uncomfortable? Or contrary to something I value (but He does not value at the same level)? Something worth thinking about.
A Bible that is falling apart, generally belongs to someone who isn't? So, is my Bible falling apart enough?
Honestly, no; and I don't think it ever could be "falling apart" enough. We can't "overdose" on the Bible. It isn't the simple reading or studying that is an end in and of itself. Studied correctly, the Scriptures keep us in perfect balance, because it leads to obeying God.
If the Bible tells us X, the Bible believer gets up and does that. It says we need to work hard. So we work hard. It says, we need to love others. So we serve. We need to engage the world, worship God, and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. So we minister, we sing, and we keep returning to our Bibles...that can never be falling apart enough.
Tell Me a Story
I love stories. I read them...obsessively at times. I write them...when I have time. And I dream them...my last thoughts often before sleep are about my characters. How can I help him grow? What will help her overcome? What opportunity do they need to change? Would this circumstance push them away or pull them closer to Christ?
And while my endings are always happy -- sometimes the answers to these questions lead my stories through some dark times for my characters. Death. Consequences for sin. Sorrow. Pain. Illness and injury. These things pave the way for me to mold each character into better versions of themselves on the way to that wonderful ending. My characters always turn out precisely as I want...because they aren't real. We are God's characters.
The ending to God's story isn't just happy -- it is perfect (check out read Isaiah 11 or Revelation 21). But until then, God is writing His story in each of our lives. And sometimes that story hurts. People die. We reap what we sowed. We grieve and hurt. We fall ill and suffer. We are not precisely the way God wants. But God knows the answers to those questions I ask about my characters. And He is bringing us through what we need to our own wonderful ending, heaven.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. -- John 16:33
I Love My Coat
33 degrees. My grandmother's thick coat kept me pleasantly snuggly. When she died the extra-large, reversible monstrosity passed to me.
"Things should not outlive people." I thought as I hiked. "But they do."
The fact that it bothers me that I still wear my grandma's coat while she is gone is proof of the truth. People are designed to outlives things.
Somewhere inside we know we were made to live forever. That's why we grow angry when people die young. Because we say their time was cut short... That's why much of the population lives as though if they did the right things they will be immortal. But instead we all will die... So we tell ourselves at least we can control death. But we can't and when we try death gets even uglier.
But for those who believe in Jesus, death is merely a defeated enemy. It holds sway for the moment, but eternity will see it destroyed forever.
And because death doesn't win, life matters. Therefore, "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.