Monday, 25 September 2017

There is none like you

Inasmuch as there is none like You, O LORD (You are great, and Your name is great in might), Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You. – Jeremiah 10.6-7

All men are looking for something. Man always has. God has put eternity in man’s heart and man is always looking to satisfy what to do with knowledge.

The issue is that people are looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. Man never will get what he really wants because sometimes he doesn’t even know what he wants. There is nothing and no one like the Lord.

‘Who would not fear You, for this is your rightful due?’

That seems like a fair question to me. Who would not choose to follow the One who knows everything? Who would not choose to follow the One who is all-powerful? Who would not choose to the One who is eternal and never changing? Who would not choose the One who is all-love?

Part of the problem is that people have a wrong view of God and their wrong view of God can come from the way His people represent Him here on earth. A true image of God would draw men to Him. That’s why Jesus said we can summarise the Law by living God and loving others. Our actions too often turn people off from God. When we are full of hate and anger and harsh words and we support public figures who do the same no wonder people don’t want to ‘fear the Lord.’

Most people’s view of God comes though the lives of His people. Let’s be sure that we are drawing men to God and not turning them away. There is none like Him. Our lives ought to reflect that great truth. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Glory in this

Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD. – Jeremiah 9.23-24

Wise men should not glory in their wisdom. Mighty men should not glory in their might. Rich men should not glory in their wealth.

Of course when I read this my mind is drawn to 1 Corinthians 1 where we read:

 ‘For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;’

There is clearly a temptation for those who are wise and mighty and noble to think that, when something is accomplished, it was accomplished at least in part, because of their ability. It is only natural.

Paul just builds on this verse in Jeremiah when he wrote to the Corinthians. Because the wise man has to be told not to glory in his wisdom or the mighty man to glory in his might Paul says that God doesn’t often use the wise and mighty and noble because it is too easy to give them the glory.

So God uses people like you and me. I am so blessed by this. I don’t have to be strong. I don’t have to be wise. I don’t have to be rich. I don’t have to be nobility. I just have to be me because when I am me it is obvious that whatever I do is being done by God and He is the only to whom glory may be given.

God delights in us knowing Him. That is all we can glory in, not in we are or what we do, but because we understand and know Him. He deserves all the glory because He exercises lovingkindness and judgement and righteousness in this world. No man, no matter how rich or strong or mighty can do that – so let us give all glory to Him! 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

They don't know how to blush

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment They shall be cast down," says the LORD. – Jeremiah 8.12

What a wonderful way to describe the world we live in today. Were the people in Jeremiah's ashamed of their sin? No, in fact they didn’t even know how to blush. Is our world ashamed of its sin today?

The strange thing is that blushing has almost become something to be embarrassed about. No one likes to look a ‘prude’ or an innocent. We are embarrassed to be embarrassed, we are ashamed of being ashamed, the thought of blushing makes us blush.

That’s a real tragedy. Sin ought to make us blush. There are things that are a shame to speak of even in private. A lack of sensitivity to sin should be something to concern us. If we can’t blush at our sin something is seriously wrong.

Even in these days of open mindedness and moral ‘freedom’ and open sin and marches and parades and celebrations of sin God’s people have work to do if we are not embarrassed by the sin around us.

But it is even worse when we are not shamed by the sin in our own lives. The ‘little’ inner sins in our hearts can get so entrenched that we grow accustomed to them being there and the shame we once felt is gone.

That shame should not lead us to live guilt ravaged lives. Instead our shame should lead us to repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness.

It is vital that God’s people blush at sin – and then do something about it. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Follow your heart??

"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? – Jeremiah 17.9

‘Follow your heart and you can’t go wrong.’

How often do we hear this kind of advice? It seems to make sense, I suppose, without God in the picture. If there is no God then we are our own god and no one knows us like we do.

But there is a God who knows and loves us and knows best. We are broken vessels because of sin. Look at the world around us to see what it is like when everyone follows the dictates of their own hearts.

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

That’s why we see the kinds of news stories we see every day. Sure, man is capable of goodness and kindness and love, but the wicked heart of mankind is why we see the horrible crimes and wars and attacks that we see day by day by day.

We really can’t trust our hearts. They may get things right sometimes, but they simply can’t really be trusted. Eventually they will let us down and get us into trouble.

We need to be careful of trusting our hearts. In fact, we are told that we need to constantly keep our hearts on guard. We need to keep our hearts with all keeping because they tend toward the flesh.

Don’t trust your heart. Trust the word of God. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Backward, not forward

But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.' Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. – Jeremiah 7.23-24

God says ‘obey my voice and I will be your God. Walk in my ways and it will be well with you.’ But these people would not do it. They followed their own hearts and they went backward, not forward, in their spiritual lives.

I am preaching through 1 Peter and a great theme there in chapter two is the importance of growth in our Christian lives. Our goal is always to be moving forward and onward.

Why then do we so often find ourselves slipping backward? Or why does it seem like we find the Christian life so dull and boring and we seeing ourselves becoming complacent about the word of God?

In truth it is because growing in Christ takes work. If we just stop paddling upstream we are always going to drift back downstream. Moving on takes effort, floating back requires nothing.

The word of God tells us that if we have tasted that the Lord is good, we ought to lay aside certain sins and then crave the word of God so that we can grow on to perfection. We are to constantly strive to move on to maturity. Our time is too precious to keep slipping back to where we were.

Forget those things that are behind. Press on to the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

We are delivered

"Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations'? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," says the LORD. – Jeremiah 7.8-11

I was a bit amazed when I read this passage. I know I have read it many times in my Bible reading but was surprised when I saw the cheek of God’s people in Isaiah’s day. They trusted lying words. The stole and committed adultery and worshipped Baal and followed other gods. And then they go to the Temple in confidence that it would all be okay because God would forgive them!

How is that for a light view of sin? Their cheek! Their shame! Their gall! The utter neck of them!

Until we look at our own miserable hearts. Until we look at our own attitude toward our sin. We may not steal, murder, or commit adultery. We may not commit the sins that are listed here.

But still, how often do we ignore our own sin or treat our sin lightly because we say in our heart ‘I know I shouldn’t do this, but God will forgive me’ and then we go on our merry way?

When we do that, or something similar to it, our hearts should break.  When we do that we are making light of Jesus’ death on the cross. Every blow He took, every glob spit that was hurled, every step where He bore the cross, every cruel blow of the hammer on the nails, every ragged breath He took on the cross, every thorn that pierced His head and the jab of the spear was taken because of that ‘little sin’ that I don’t consider any big deal. When I choose to sin I mock the cross.

One of the criticisms of ‘once saved always saved’ is that it is a licence to sin. Do whatever you want and you are still forgiven. While eternal security is assured, it is certainly no licence to sin. God’s people will not continue in their sin. When we sin lets be aware of the cost. At all times let’s examine our hearts that our actions don’t mock Jesus on the cross.  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Lying words

Do not trust in these lying words, saying, 'The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.' "For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.  – Jeremiah 7.4-7

These people in Jeremiah’s day were in all kinds of trouble. They were religious; there can be no doubt about that. They went to the temple. They talked about it properly. They knew how to play the game.


They were unfair in their judgement. The oppressed the strangers in their midst and the fatherless and the widows. They shed innocent blood. They followed other gods. So they said one thing and did another.

Even then God reached out to them. ‘Instead of those lying word you need to do the right things in your lives.’

Anyone can say the right ‘praise the Lord’ words – how many of us back those words up with our actions?  Be a peacemaker, take care of strangers and the fatherless and the widows, stop the violence, get rid of all the false gods that have crept in. Then, God says, we can dwell in peace with Him.