Monday, February 11, 2008

Winning or Warning

I usually pour myself a cup of coffe and then sit down in my rocking chair. I will then read about five chapters before I start drinking my first cup of coffee. It's hot and it needs to cool down a little anyway. Then I will drink my coffee as I read the next five chapters or so. I always have my pen with me to underline, or make a note, or just make a star in the margin of something that speaks out to me as I read along. This morning I was reading Jeremiah chapter 47 through Ezekiel 9. The Lamantations of Jeremiah is five chapters inbetween these two books. Jeremiah ended up his writings of judgment, and the Lamantations is a book of weeping. Over and over you see Jeremiah saying that his eyes are pouring out tears in weeping for this city Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been so destroyed by the Babylonians because of Israel's sin that in Lam. 2:15, Jeremiah says that people will say: "Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?" It reminds me of sin's destructive nature. How many fine Christians I have known in my life who now do not live for God. They are saved, but their lives are so messed up when once they loved and served God with such passion and zeal. Though my heart aches for them, the goal is to keep me straight and doing right, and thus have the hope of influencing others to do the same with their lives. In Ezekiel 3, the LORD tells Ezekiel that God has made him a Watchman! His job is to give a warning to the wicked. If he gives the warning, and no one listens, then Ezekiel has done his job and their blood is not on his hands; But, if he does not give the warning, their blood is on his hands! It reminds me of the reason we go soul-winning. It is a command of God! If we do not win people, at least we warned them. We gave them the opportunity to trust Christ as their Savior. We are either Winning or Warning, and we need to be doing both every week of our lives. Talking about warning others, we also need to be warned ourselves. In Ezek. 8:12, the elders of Israel are seen living in secret sin, and their secret sin the "do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery?" and they say this about their sin: "The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth." This upsets God greatly, so much that He says in verse 18: "though they cry in my ears with a loud voice yet will I not hear them".
Today, lets remind ourselves to keep a pure heart. Don't let sinful thoughts be entertained, don't let sinful actions (though unnoticed by man, yet seen by God) get by unchallenged in our lives. We are not perfect, but we can work at keeping a pure heart everyday and rebuke any evil thought that would enter our minds, or actions we would carry out. Well, I guess I'm preaching now... Join me tomorrow for another cup of coffe and let me share with you some of the nuggets of gold I'm finding in God's precious Word. I need another cup of coffee. Pastor Mike Mutchler

God's Promises!

I just finished reading Jeremiah chapters 27 through 46. These chapters take longer to read because Jeremiah is full of long verses. Most books of the Bible have fewer words per verse and chapter, but Jeremiah is full of words in every verse. It is all about judgment on the nation of Judah, but there is hope scattered throughout the chapters. Jeremiah is saying to to the Babylonian captivity and later, God will call us out together as a great nation as we were called out of Egypt. Sadly, the leaders do not listen. Listen to what God says to His people: Jer. 32:27-"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" I'm glad we have a God who has no limit to His power and ability! We should be a very trusting people, and yet we are so human as to be filled with doubt and fears about the various situations life throws at us. Take heart that God is able to deliever us and bless us! Nothing is too hard for Him!!
In Jer. 33:3, one of my favorite verses: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and sho thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Just as in Isaiah when it said "Fear not thou worm, Israel"; this verse also puts great hope in me. I got over the fear while reading Isaiah about coming 2,300 miles from home to Oregon to start a church, but though I was no longer fearful, I still didn't know what would happen. But Jer. 33:3 gave me hope! It told me I could pray about great things to a great God and that He would hear and answer me. I come to expect great things from God and I still do to this day. So many times the eyes of flesh have not seen an answer, but the eyes of faith believe God is still going to show me great and mighty things. I hope you will start looking at God's promises instead of your present situation. It gives me hope when I keep my eyes on Him!! Coffee is getting cold, so I'll see you tomorrow. Pastor Mike Mutchler
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