Jeremiah

Tuesday Devotional: Jeremiah 4

bible18 “Your own conduct and actions
    have brought this on you.
This is your punishment.
    How bitter it is!
    How it pierces to the heart!”

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!
    I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
    My heart pounds within me,
    I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;
    I have heard the battle cry.
20 Disaster follows disaster;
    the whole land lies in ruins.
In an instant my tents are destroyed,
    my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard
    and hear the sound of the trumpet?

Jeremiah 4.18-21

There is unnatural stress and anxiety in this world.  It seems that fears breed fears, that once we overcome one, another soon takes its place.  We are surrounded on a daily basis by the things we have and don’t have.  We struggle to maintain and protect what we have, and we fight for a place to earn and gain possession of things we long for.

While we realize that we should probably relax more, let things go faster, not strive to have all that we want and just be happy, who can really accomplish this genuinely?  Perhaps for a limited period of time we can, but eventually we hear the sound of running out, having less or needing more.  This is inevitable in our world and our hearts.  We strive for what we cannot actually obtain on our own.  We strive to satisfy our restless souls with everlasting peace; we strive to satisfy our unhappy hearts with eternal happiness that continues to elude us.

Although it is easier to point the finger and blame something other than ourselves for our restlessness, the truth is that we continues to choose our will over God’s that would lead us into the place where we desire rest and peace over anything else.  God desires that we find true peace and happiness, but He also proclaims to us that only in a life united with Him and faith in His son Jesus can we find both.  Until we yield to God’s will and authority in our lives we will forever sense the encroaching presence of pressure and strife as we seek to satisfy our souls in this world by ourselves.  No person in human history has found the holy joy and peace that God offers apart from Him.  Apart from God there is a private place in the heart of each person that longs for rest from the battle, to find what ultimately does not exist in this world.  We are designed to know peace and happiness intimately.  God desires that we rediscover our design and know peace and happiness.  Will you continue to strive and fight?  Will you stay on high alert awaiting the next wave that may or may not overtake you?  Or, will you concede defeat in the fight for control and know victory in this world by accepting the control of the living God by faith in Jesus Christ?

Spiritual Gifts: Teaching

gifts

For the next four weeks, we will examine the role of spiritual gifts in our Christian walk. Just as the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been debated throughout church history, the nature of spiritual gifts has also been a topic of much debate. This reflection series will outline four of the most debated spiritual gifts that often follow a baptism by the Holy Spirit. There are other gifts, such as prayer; however, for the moment we will only discuss four. The four spiritual gifts are:

  • Teaching
  • Tongues
  • Prophecy and Vision
  • Healing

All four of these gifts have a core purpose in common but as we will see they are unique from each other in the way they are used. This week, we reflect on teaching.

As Jesus said, in order to spread the message of the Gospel to a fallen world, there must be teachers to assist people in understanding challenging teaching. The gift of teaching does not rest on a foundation of successful research.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

   the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. -1 Corinthians 1:18-25

In fact, the gift of teaching has very little to do with knowledge. The gift of teaching goes beyond the mind. This gift is strengthened and powered by wisdom: not the wisdom of men but the wisdom of God. A person gifted in the area of teaching can go beyond well-rehearsed lessons or sayings. They instill in the learners something deeper than mere mental assent. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the teacher channels the wisdom of God in the same way that Jesus did during his ministry. Jesus was able to see things that no one else could. He could see the heart of the issue before anyone else seemed to know the topic. It is this very nature that is given to an individual blessed with the gift of teaching.

The gift of teaching enables the teacher to teach to the heart, the place that needs teaching the most. The gift of teaching also enables the teacher to speak clearly to a variety of listeners. In the Gospels, Jesus’ effect on hearers is not limited by the demographic of his audience. Jesus spoke clearly to every heart ready to listen. The gift of teaching allows an individual to teach clearly and succinctly, in a way that differs from man’s teaching of spirituality, codified and complex philosophical webs of theological nonsense that result in confusion and not liberation. God always desires to be well understood.

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ -Jeremiah 33:3

The gift of teaching allows an individual to teach about God in a way that achieves this goal.

 

ASK: Jeremiah 33

 phonesource

This update is from a recent meeting of ASK Daegu. Each member contributed something to the message that follows. We pray that our group encourages you in the same way that it encouraged all of us.

READ JEREMIAH 33

God pleads with us to call on Him. But do we? God promises to provide us with answers to our deepest questions and concerns, but do we listen? Our understanding of God is revealed in how we call on Him and how we listen. Why do we call on Him? If we call on Him with an expectation that he will remove the most present obstacle in our life, then we have reduced His promises to be as temporal as the world we live in. If we measure His power in how effectively He removes the particular trouble in our lives, then we fail to grasp the depth of His promise and are left abandoned by a rescue He never actually vowed to make.

Emptiness does not necessarily mean godlessness. Emptiness in this world is a result of the fallen nature of this world. However, God’s promises are real and they are ever-present. They are now. They are working. The wickedness and destruction of this world should not cause us to need God less. On the contrary, it should reveal in us a greater need for Him. The suffering in this world does not prove the absence of God. Suffering reveals our need for a savior to rescue us from the suffering in and to which we all actively participate and contribute. We need His heart and we need His words.

In the end, the answer to our call does not manifest itself in rescue now. Rather, it rescues us spiritually in the present in the promise of Jesus Christ to rescue us completely in the future. Jesus Christ is God’s answer to our plea for help. Jesus Christ IS hope. He provides us the hope that all is not lost and what we have lost is not the end. Jesus does not help us get to the end. Jesus IS the end. To find Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to find the answer we sought from the beginning. We are lost in this world in one way or another; Jesus Christ comes to find us. We have been hurt or are presently hurting; Jesus Christ comes to heal us. We are afraid of the finality of this world; Jesus Christ tells us to find peace in Him as the beginning and end that encompasses all that we have been, are and will ever be. He is life, and God’s answer to all of our questions is Jesus Christ.

 

Tuesday Devotional: Jeremiah 2

Read Jeremiah 2 bible

Faith is foundational to the human experience.  We all profess faith in something everyday.  It is a fact that we do not know much about this world that we live in, or the lives we live in it.  Due to our ignorance we spend most of our time wondering, guessing and trusting.  Yet it seems that most of us profess the strongest faith in things that disappoint us.  We are quick to be offended by “faith” in the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet most would be quick to admit that they have far more faith in their bank account than in religion of any kind.  The God of the Bible seems perplexed by this, and shouldn’t we be as well?  Why this overwhelming faith in our financial systems?  Have they ever failed us?  Yes.  Has religion?  Maybe.  Has God?  I wouldn’t be so fast.  While it is true that many have been wounded by religion, one must reflect honestly on this wound and ask oneself if it was God that caused the pain, or was it a person, a group, or a Church.  God has entrusted his gospel to the hands of man, and man is flawed.  This takes enormous faith on His part!  Faith is trusting in something when reason or logic offers plenty of reasons to doubt, not trusting naively or stupidly but because something real and true resides below the surface.  Faith in humankind is illogical and unreasonable from the perspective of God.  Unless, that is, he knows that within all of us exists the potential to truly change the world through His power in us.  Faith in God defies our logic and reason.  However, to those saved by Him, there is no question that what our eyes do not see and what our hands have never touched truly exists and has changed our lives forever.  Thus, through the lens of the Gospel, it is not the world of God but the world of man that is foolish to trust.