Don’t Provoke the Bear!

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He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. Ezekiel 8:3

Don’t poke the bear” a common saying used to warn those being careless, fearless, ignorant or foolish,about the dangers of making a bear angry. While the bear slumbers or is in hibernation or a state of peace and happiness, can project an image that mask reality. Though they might be cute, and seem harmless, even the youngest bear has enough powers to alter ones course of existence.

Time and time again, people took for granted the bears power, even thinking that it could beaten by those of us who were strong or either studied and knowledgable about his habits and behavior that they overlooked two important factors:

  • 1. Not knowing his mind
  • 2. Not understanding the his complete nature.

In this passage we encounter Gods’ prophet hosting the elders in His home. Without a word, God shows Ezekiel the conditions of those in his midst without a confession. He allows Ezekiel in these visions to see through His eyes. He peers down and immediately encounters an idol.

Fake Gods where in the house of God!!!

The idol was in the inner court, where the priest were to reside and offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. They had taken some of the gods from other cultures, and had included them in worship along with the true and living God.

God had a roommate!!!!

After all God had done for Israel and Judah, He was given a roommate, and forced to share a space with one who hadn’t any power, or the capability to love, protect and provide. They worshiped and attributed to these idols things that were given by Him. They sought them for life, protection and provision and in doing so, they provoked the bear!

I wondered to myself, “

How many temples, homes and hearts are God forced to be a roommate in?”

How often do we move God into a living condition, where he is treated like a renter, and given a lease on that which He owns? How often is God asked to entertain new tenants, leasing out space to those who don’t belong?

He shares His temple with paintings and statues, when His temple was designed to paint His image upon the people and to teach them his statutes. Sadly, I believe He sees more of the same today. While our God has upheld His covenant and remained consistent, our behavior all along has caused us to experience earthly judgement and or punishment, which to many was unbearable. Sadly, this did not lead to a correction of their actions and has not lead to the correction of ours either.

They continued down the path, in some cases unaware that the bear had been provoked. They continued in the error of their ways, and the prophets, priest and elders had not corrected it, partly because they were living in error too.

We find out via the visions of God, that the elders who sat in Ezekiel’s home has lives they lived in the dark. They committed atrocities against God in the dark in hopelessness, not believing that correcting the error of their ways would lead to God changing their circumstances.

Each Elder, God revealed to Ezekiel, had their own personal shrine in their room (Yes, the room that God provided.). After service, they went to their rooms and worshipped a god that didn’t provide. Sadly, we do the same. They served in the temple, advised the people and then gave their most intimate self to inanimate object.

Much like then, God watched the sin through eyes of love through shades of jealousy. Though He loved His people, He was and is still jealous of where we place our love and adoration.

So what is your practice?

I imagine that God knows the difficulty many of us face watching second to second updates of those we loved and lost or are envious of living out life with an insufficient replacement. How sad it must be for Him to see us chasing temporary fulfillment, while complete provision is just a prayer away.

What’s in your gateway?

Is there something preventing God from seeing and receiving your sacrifice?

What in your life is provoking Gods wrath?

#PastorJDO3

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I Keep My Word!

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And they will know that I am the Lord;
I did not threaten in vain
to bring calamity on them.
Ezekiel 6:10

As of late, we have listened to prognosticators justify their position to remain defiant to the Lord.  Many have, in their own foolishness, rationalized that our God, the creator, who is filled with love, willing to forgive, willing to apply grace, and eager to administer justice1mercy, will not punish those who have not accepted His sacrificial offering.  Before, we listened to those who would argue that there is no God, and while there are still those who ignore the obvious, we are seeing more and more who acknowledge His existence, but are not willing to accept His provision.  We find ourselves reaching out to a spiritual generation, who have found peace with a variety of practices, all of which bare teachings that they omit from study and application.

Our Congregations are being Contaminated by Confused Congregants

Worse, these teachings are creeping into the pews, creating those who worship you with a portion of their hearts, making Sunday for many simply idol worship.  As your prophets speak forth truth, the devil works through the congregation, removing that which has not and will not take root, because something has already been planted and is in need of being uprooted.

The Promised Land came with Deed Restrictions

God freed the Israelite; and planted them in a place of wealth.  Broke the walls down via a uniformed shout, and placed into the hands of those who experienced a wealth deed-restrictions-273x300transfer before it was thought to be possible.  God enabled them to own and possess, that which was formerly inhabited by others, and issued a Divine Deed, which came with Divine Deed Restrictions.  Yes, this concept of Deed Restrictions can be traced back to our Lord :).  He allowed each to take residence, and to build and have dominion, but required them to remain pure, and no matter what, to have No other God! Worship no other God!  Don’t take on the practices of those God has placed under your feet!

Despite the Deed Restriction…

And yep, you guessed it; before their bags were good an unpacked, they began to accept and adopt the practices of the former inhabitants, building idols, and placing them in the house of the Lord to be worshiped.  The admired and acted about their cultural practices, merging them with their culture and making them into a defiled nation in the land which God provided for them!  And yep, after many chances to change, God found himself at this point.  Much like He stood before bringing the Flood, and again with Sodom, He watched His creation sin before Him as though He wouldn’t take action.

How many Restricted Deeds have you performed?

confused personAnd for those keeping track, He once again decides to punish the ones He loves.  His punishment would not just keep them from prosperity, but would allow them to suffer physically, mentally and spiritually.  This is important because this age has convinced not just non-believers, but believers that God will withhold punishment just because He loves us!  This is a lie!  Even under the new covenant, the God that never changes stands firmly with the Word He has spoken, and upholds His promise by allowing the children of Israel to reap the fruits of their covenant with false gods!

God’s Word is Sustained by Him

You think I’m playing, God is probably thinking!  He speaks through Ezekiel and says, in addition to my Word not return void, but It’s also not spoken “in vain.”   See, with God, there is no “idle threat”.  God’s Word is life people, thus much like speaking the heavens, the earth, every plant, and life form into existence, God’s covenant is a product of His Word, which means it is alive, and His promise of punishment and calamity are factual not possible or even probably!

We read God’s word as though is has not been through final edits.  The reality is that God’s Word has already been proofed, and its verbalization is publication.  His Word to us seems possible and probably, but its actual.  God’s Word give new meaning to the coined phrase “taking a life of its own.”  Because God can not lie, His Words are life and truth, and can be counted as dependable.  And not just dependable when it benefits your situation, but when it works against your own circumstances.  propheticroar

When you need God, He is there, standing by His Word, honoring His covenant, protecting truth, upholding the standard of righteousness, carrying out justice, while balanced with love, mercy and grace.  It is amazing to me to me that as earthly parents, we chastise and punish our children, and administer judgement with those we are in relationship with, with a measure of mercy and grace, but somehow can not fathom that God can carry out the same.  God is more balanced than we are.  He is truly fair and just, and carries out judgement not as a respecter of persons, but as one who hold the standard across the ages.    Moses looked but didn’t enter, David collected but didn’t build, Saul met the end of a sword, Solomon had the Kingdoms ripped from his hands…..Etc. 

What more do you need to hear?  God honors His Word.  He stands bye His covenant.  He sends Angles and Prophets in addition to providing us His Word to show us how to warn us, and remind us how to honor and live within the covenant with us, and yes, when we fail to live up to His standard, punishment is given to those loves.

throneHe will Keep His Word!  He promised them that calamity is coming.  It is coming to those who refuse to Keep His Word and or accepts His covenant.  The great news is that God gives us a choice.  You can choose Him, or you can reject Him.  It’s your choice.  And though you are not forced to accept Him as Savior and Lord, you can not reject Him as judge!  One day He will divide the sheep from the goats, and He will Keep His Word!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

Another Name?

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Like a lion that has come up from its lair
the one who destroys nations has set out
from his home base.
He is coming out to lay your land waste.
Your cities will be left in ruins and
lie uninhabited.  Jeremiah 4:7

 

As we continue our journey through Jeremiah, I am inspired to continue writing about the dialogue from our Lord through Jeremiah.  What is captured in these words is both the love, and faithfulness of our Lord and the serious nature of our God when it comes to covenant.

What is concerning to me is the current views of our God.  Its the presentation that our God is so filled with Love, Mercy and Grace, that He would somehow be in capable of carrying out Vengeance and Wrath on those who reject Him or refuse to follow and obey.  While we do understand that each man will be held accountable for his own actions, we have a view of judgement day that is more like “Shark Tank”, “The Voice” or maybe “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.”

tinder1The Word informs us that He will divide sheep from goat, almost like the lawless swipe their way through Tinder.  Yep, either covered or uncovered!  Our God swept through Egypt looking at the doorpost, laying to rest the first born of those who were not covered, swallowed up almost all of humanity in a flood, rained down fire on an unrighteous town, allowed famines to come, and allowed His people to be held in captivity (among many other events).  This God, my friends, has been labeled so loving and so forgiving, that He will not honor His Word.

Let me take the time today to point out a name that is not given to our Lord by His people, but a description of our Lord from His own lips to Jeremiahs ears and heart.  God says He is “the one who destroys nations.”  HelloDestorysWe forget that our God’s Word hold back the four corners of the earth, and that one Word from Him can flood the earth, can open up the ground and swallow up rebellious followers.  How quickly we forget that 40 years passed before entering the promised land, laying to rest generations of His chosen ones because the grumbled and complained, and that His chosen vessel died before entering the land promised to him because of disobedience.  This same God gave the man after His own heart the plans for the temple, allowed him to collect all the resources and then wouldn’t let him build!  This God people is the same God, now and forever more.  And despite our teaching and characterization of God, all the interpretive face lifts and implants will not change who He is, just who we believe Him to be.

God has suffered many advertising campaigns that have painted an vague picture of a God; who, has a high concern for righteousness, obedience and covenant.  God reminds His people through His servant, I am “the one who destroys nations.”  Many times the children prayed to God, were outnumbered, not as well equipped, not strategically placed, and the children advanced into foreign territory and dominated because God has either gone before them, or the opposing nations had headed about God to such the capacity that their heart were gone before the children lifted their swords.

throneThis same God allowed His children to lay waste to enemy territory, putting to death women, children and even the animals.  He reminds them that He is capable of not only parting seas, and providing clouds and fire to guide them, but is able to curse the very ground the labored on and remove the hedges that formerly protected them.

They have been fooled into believing that the worst is over.  They think that being in exile was the harshest punishment or that being under the ruler ship of a foreign leader who lacked morals and worshiped a foreign God was the worst that could happen to them, but Jeremiah brings to them a word of warning.

Listen to the Words of our Lord, who is describing Himself.  He says, “Like a lion that has come up from its lair…”  It’s as though He has been in His lair, ignoring the sounds from the entrance of His cave.  propheticroarThe people outside play, taunt and keep up drama and noise in His presence, ignoring the sheer danger of the lion, and playfully beacon from Him to emerge from His throne.  I can see people throwing rocks down the entrance, waving fresh flesh at the caves entrance, yelling into the caves empty threats, growing bolder and louder by the moment before He appears.

Then, like a thief in the night, God (much like He left from eternity) stands up from His throne and makes His entrance.  While God came in the form of man to free and not to judge, here we find God telling the people that He is going to “set out from his home base” and “lay your lands waste…in ruins and lie uninhabited.”  Just when they thought they had experienced the worst, God determines that their actions have called for judgement.  What they had experienced before is punishment, and now they would experience His judgement.

There is a difference between punishment and judgement. 

This bothered me.  I hear person after person talking about our earthly inhabitants being hell on earth.  This is particularly hard to hear us spoiled Americans recite.   Its as though we believe this earthly dwelling is the hardest life could ever be.  We say this knowing that a different level of struggle exist in other countries, and recall this knowing what has been revealed to God’s Prophets.  How foolish we are!  

God presents to Him a plans to take action on  and from the thing that was a blessing to them, but became a stumbling block to them.  JehovahNissiThe place where He purposed to meet them was eventually shared by false Gods, and became a place of manipulation and disobedience.  The law He created for mankind to abide by, because a tool to chastise and prosper those in power with positions.  And it is this bold, public rejection of God that causes God to put into works a public judgement.

In conclusions, He is El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Jehova Rapha & Jehovah Nissi, but He is also “The one who Destroys Nations!”

 

#PastorJDO3

Playing Chicken with the Divine

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…If you do not, my anger will leap out
like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to put out.
That will happen because of the evil
you have done. Jeremiah 4:4

God speaks powerfully through His Prophet, Jeremiah, to His people who are once again under the rule of another.  In His effort to restore the relationship between He and His people, He must go over the offenses, and remind them of the boundaries and ramifications that come along with breaking the covenant agreement.images

I found verse 4 an issue because God is speaking, and my fear is that the people both now and then were not listening.  As we soak in God’s love, perfume ourselves with His grace, and cloth ourselves with His mercy, we are blind to His wrath, and destined to experience more of it.  God warns the people, it can be the best of times, or the worst of times.  They can align with His Word, or stand in disobedience to it.

We memorize all the scriptures with blessings and promises, and ignore the warning and instruction.  God says, “Dedicate yourselves fully to the Lord…”  God desires for us to be fully dedicated, not partially dedicated.   The people ended up in their current circumstances because they had spiritual affairs on God.  They worshiped false idols and desecrated His temple by giving the living God a non-living roommate.    They sacrificed on His altar, offering that which was intended for the Lord to a false god.  They could not advance or prosper because they were not fully committed to the Lord.

lockeddoorOf course I gasped.   As I look at our current state, I see us suffering and blaming the adversary, binding the work of the devil while the Lord holds back the angels and the hedge placed around us, exposing us and leaving us vulnerable to the enemy.    God was using them to chastise His people in an effort to direct them back into a right relationship with Him, and they adjusted to their new normal, remained in error, and abandoned their pursuit for righteousness.  We don’t have to remain in our current state!  We can restore to us what has been taken by dedicating ourselves fully to the Lord.

God says this, “…get rid of everything that hinders you from being committed to me.”  So I ask you:

What is hindering you?

What bothered me about this statement is that often the things we see as aids are hindrances.  There are things we consider blessings that are weights in the pool of faith.  As we swim from shore to shore, the cares of this world weight us down in such a manner that we find ourselves struggling to get closer to Him.

Which bring us to the end of the verse, “If you do not…”  God warns them there will be a price for not removing the hindrances and fully dedicating themselves to the Lord, that price will be God’s anger.

God warns, “…my anger will leap out like a flaming fire against you…”  God gives us the visual of his anger being like a flaming fire.  It’s the language of leap out that grabs the immediate attention.  bonfire

Much like 3 Hebrew boys, God’s anger can rage so hot that it leaps out and consumes all in it path.  God says a refusal to honor our covenant will place the people whom God has placed His name on in the position of enemy.  Worse, the fire of God is not an out of control and random fire, its a hot and focused fire which has a focal point.  Lord forbid we be the point of His Anger.

It seems today we like to play chicken with the Lord!  The game chicken we played as children seems to be the lifestyle of many believers. 

In this game, two people take a challenge that has the potential to harm both participants, and measures how far each will go before either harming each other or yields.  The aim is to get the other to flinch first. thus showing fearlessness and moxie.

We hear the word, read the word, know the word, but refuse to acknowledge a portion of its promises.  Just as much as the Bible gives promises of blessings, it gives promises of action towards those who refuse to be obedient.  God sends Prophets to us to correct us, but we stop up our ears, and dare the Divine to visit us.  Its as though we believe we can wave His Word in His Face, and use His promise of blessing to nullify the warning through the same Word!

Stop Playing Chicken with God!

faceoffIn the past, the Israelites benefited from the help from others, but God warns them.  No matter the marriages and or the connections they have made with those who are not in relationship with the Lord, “…that no one will be able to put out.”  Everyone can grab a bucket and a hose, and focus all their resources on putting out the inferno God has sent your way.  We can collectively sacrifice all our resources and find ourselves bearing witness as you are reduced to ash and dust.   Why play chicken with the Lord.

I know what you are thinking; how cruel!  Nah, God concludes “That will happen because of the evil you have done.”  Having a merciful God does not mean He is not just and that we do not pay for our actions.  God says it is  imperative that we assess our relationship with Him and look to restore and repair it before He is forced to take action.  He will do this to protect His name, and to display His conviction about righteousness for His creation.

#PastorJDO3

The Impedance to the Gospel

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You must be truthful, honest and upright
when you take an oath saying,
‘As surely as the Lord lives!’ 
If you do, the nations will pray to be
as blessed by him as you are
and will make him the object of their boasting.
Jeremiah 4:2

As I read this text, (yes, I’m still trucking through Jeremiah), I once more saw our communities and a parallel to a current predicament.  God addressing His people confronts them with a truth about the bi-product of their lives in Him and a part from the community of believers.    He beacons to them about their commitment to the Lord, and their dedication to living for Him.  It seems that a bi-product of their disrespect and discipline is that is spilling over as an example and sample to those who are watching.

a-covenant-with-godThe people of Israel have walked away from their God, and chosen to worship the false idols of the communities in which they existed.  Their willingness to walk away from God, as well as the lack of reverence and fear for the Lord, was speaking loudly to the people who had front row seats.  Those who feared and revered the Lord, though not God’s chosen people or ones who worshiped the Lord, had fear and respect for God, and lost it as His people walked away from Him. 

cooperation SSTheir abandoning of God and choice to worship idols, validated the idols to those who worshiped them, leading to an even deeper worship and placed further distance between them and the Lord.  I thought of us!  I considered how our behavior has either given glory to God, or served as hindrance to them worshiping and acknowledging God.

 

Who have you hindered?

What have you validated?

God says,
‘You must get those disgusting idols
out of my sight and must no longer go astray.  
You must be truthful, honest, and upright
when you take an oath saying, 
As surely as the Lord lives!’
Jeremiah 4:2

Barrier

What we have done with our personal lives and lack of discipline and dedication to the Lord, that we are Impedance’s to the Gospel.  Our love affair with the world has further confused those who seek truth and freedom.  

God says, “Get those disgusting idols out of my sight….”  Yes, the God that is everywhere and sees all things says get them “out of my sight”.  The only option is to destroy them.  Putting a blanket over them is not an option.  We must destroy all idols!  They are not God!  They are not deserving of our worship!  They are not worthy of our time!  They can not help us, direct us, deliver us, cleanse us; they are useless!   Much like we are useless when we are a part from the true vine.

God speaks loudly about the character of those who are to represent Him.   God says, be 1. Truthful.  We must be truthful.  On display for people not only the sincerity of the word we speak, but the reliability of the words we speak.  When our mouths are associated with lies, the words the proceed from it are not trust worthy.  The truth of the words we communicate, give power and validity to the testimony we share.

love-wallpaper-21-1080x675We must also be honest.  Honesty is a dying value our capitalistic mindsets.  The mindset that is ingrained in us is to do what ever is necessary to prosper.  Our behavior is justified by the productivity of our hands and plans.  This my friends is wrong.  There is a right and a wrong, and bearing fruit from evil is not a part of God’s plan.  We take God’s word to be shrewd and or skew the concept of the wicked wealth being stored up for us.

Lastly, He says we must be upright.  Upright means that our daily walk should be reflective of the righteousness we have obtained.  Though not perfect, our goal should be the perfection of the image of Christ that was modeled for us.  Our goal should be to align myself with the Word of God that displays the character of our God.  We should be people that have ethics and whom abide by a moral standard in our dealings with others.  And we do all of this because we are under a covenant and have taken an oath.

God says the oath that we take, “As surely as the Lord lives…” before people is only as strong as the decisions you make after these words are spoken.  Yes, we are impedance to the Gospel.  It is our walk that has been the loudest testimony, while our voices have missed the hearing to be character witnesses.  It is impossible for us to claim this intense love for God while we court and date other Gods, and adopt the values and traditions of a powerless god.  We must sure up our relationship with God, living up to the oath/covenant we took, and honor properly the covenant He keeps with us.

ragstorichesKeep the covenant with God will keep us from being in exile.  God shares that His plan was to lavish His people with blessing in the land He delivered them too.  And as He blessed them, the testimony as to His goodness would be upon their lips. His children would be elevated in the midst of surrounding kingdoms, blessed beyond belief, leaving no doubt that this was truly the one true and living God.  Because they worshiped the things and opened up to other gods, God has to punish them, thus resulting in people doubting God and not desiring to be in relationship with Him.  God wanted to restore the people and make them the envy of all.  He said the people would look at them and “pray to be as blessed by Him (God) as you are, and will make Him the object of their boasting.

The World will make their boast in the Lord
when we make our boast in the Lord!

 

 

#PastorJDO3

“Catfished” Believers

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Has a nation ever changed its gods,
even thought they are not really gods at all?
But my people have exchanged me, their
glorious God, for a god that
cannot help them at all. Jeremiah 2:11

The Prophet Jeremiah has been instructed to address God’s people where they are about the sins they have committed.  God gives him a list of concerns and issues that have emerged while they have been in covenant with God.  Mind you, these issues were not addressed or even prevalent before they entered into covenant.  The people of God accepted the covenant formed by God and held by God, and gently broke His laws, and turned their backs on Him once they encountered new cultures with different gods.worship

Isn’t this 2018?

While reading this, it was as if God was writing to Western Christianity.  Here we are, in relationship with the one true and living God, and we find many blood bought believers compromising their faith, and turning their backs on their God just like our ancestors.  As of late, it seems the body of Christ has again approached the Word of God with a license to edit.  Our forefathers used white out to look over God’s truth, their sons used faulty interpretations, the next generation used a plethora of translations, and today the desire is to edit the Word, at best update it to match American trends and values.   As the country adopts new habits and cultural norms, it desires to model the Bible after its adaptations, as opposed to governing its character and laws by Gods Word.

BookEditingThis mirrors our personal perspective on faith.  Many of us edit God’s Word, and omit God’s truths, justifying our lifestyle and choices by overlooking what He has commanded.  This is harmful and foolish!  The devil has deceived us into becoming out own gods, offering us the same fruit he submitted to Adam, and have bitten once again.

Our faith has become synonymous with the nation in which it exist, confusing followers, and serving as a distraction and detraction to non-believers.  And Jeremiah first, and now I present to you God’s Word!  It must stop!!!!

Lord forbid that our greatest example would come from those who don’t believe, but God instructs us to look to the East and the West to learn a valuable lesson.  He said look at the surrounding nations.  Look at the surrounding faiths.  Look at the neighboring cultures.  Non of them are willing to change their gods.  Non of them are interested in altering their gods word.  Non of them are willing to bow to any other god.  Yet, the people of God find themselves willing to compromise for politicians, power and perverted living.

Why are you willing to compromise?

And how is it that you believe God should change?

What is it you believe about God’s Word?

Is it God breathed?

confused personGod says the dedication of these unbelievers is admirable.  Their loyalty worthy of mention.  Their faithfulness worthy of imitation.  God says to look at them.  They worship statues and animals, pictures and drawing, items and possessions, and they are faithful to these items though they are powerless.  And we; are called by the name of the one true and living God, who has displayed His power, revealed truth, delivered his people, gave them land and riches, defeated false Gods, empowered His prophet to defeat the magicians of Israel and they still abandoned their God.  Sadly, so have we.

He has protected, provided, and proven himself to generation after generation, and we are sadly confused about our covenant relationship.   It seems that the notion or understanding that He is our God has given people the false understanding that we control Him.  For some reason, the understanding that God honors His Word has mislead people into thinking that God is property or a tool by which they can advance themselves on earth.  People have studied God’s Word not to get closer to Him, but to learn how to manipulate Him into doing their bidding. my-jeans-dont-fit

Jeremiah stood flat footed and spoke boldly to the people about how they had “exchanged” God.  It is as though they have returned God like a pair of jeans that didn’t fit.  They took God for granted.  After being delivered and elevated from their position as slaves, they neglected the God that had formed covenant with them and became concerned with the cares of the world.  God was left watching His bride spread her love amidst false God to whom had no love for him.

catfishedHow tough it must be for God to watch us be “catfished” by a statue posing as a God.  God watches us carry on two and 10 years love affairs with a false god, using up our resources and time, humiliating us before the world as we are dragged along by our nostrils.  How painful it must be for God to be so close to His people, only to have them falling in love with images on a screen.  How painful it must be for Him to continue providing and being faithful, while we explore our options and share our most intimate moments and thoughts with someone who can not, see, hear or speak, and for that matter, act!  How frustrating it must be for God to bring us through and have us attribute His handy work to and after marked god.

Lord help us.  We have been fooled again!  Let us return to our God, confessing our sin, and communing again with our God lest we continue in this exile like state.  May God convict our hearts, and may our first love be our remaining true love.

 

#PastorJDO3

The Truth about Covenant

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“In those days, your population
will greatly increase in the land.
‘At that time’, says the Lord,
‘people will no longer talk about having the ark
that contains the LORD’s agreement with us.
They will not call it to min,
or remember it, or miss it.
No, that will not be done any more!”
Jeremiah 3:16

 

Here we find God speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah.  Addressing the condition of his people.  Not just their physical condition, but the spiritual condition of their hearts.  They were in exile, because they, like Adam, had chosen to live outside of the will and instruction of the Lord.

Lion sitting in tall grass

Photo taken from Web

Jeremiah spoke God’s Word, which parallels our here and now.  The Lord says, in the midst of their pain and suffering, that He would return to them, despite their hardened hearts and disobedient nature.   Here the people are not thinking of the Lord about the Lord, but He was thinking about them.

 

Who is God, that He honors His covenant?

God’s people had walked away from Him, and even while in “timeout”, they remained unrepentant.  They stayed in their sin, and God, who initiated a covenant with their forefather, chose to honor the covenant with his seed.

God is truly committed!

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He is committed beyond what we can understand, comprehend and rationalize.  It would seem that past breaking the covenant, God, like man, would cease to honor the agreement that He made with man.  With any agreement, it must be honored by both parties, and this commitment to the covenant serves to govern the on going commitment to the agreement formed.  This both solidifies and build trust in the agreement established.  And despite the breaking of covenant, God honors the agreement!

I am covenant breaker!

I thought to myself, not about the condition of the world, but about my own state.  Truly I am a covenant breaker.  I have not honored the covenant that God established with me, and yet, He is still mindful of me, listens to me, and even blesses me along the way.  Even when I walked far away, God continued to reach out, speaking, and sending word to me that He desired to spend time with me.

God continues to send a search party!

Scales_of_justiceHas God sent word to you?  Of course, this is a rhetorical   question!  You too, like me, and like the children of Israel have been both an enemy of the cross, and or AWOL!  Maybe you you deserve to be dishonorably discharged!  Despite our behavior, God sends prophets and angels, discharged with instructions and directions, to real us back into relationship with Him.  He sends flowers and blessings, and allows us to experience life without Him, and still reaches out to us.  He watches us walk hand in hand with sin, bathing in iniquity, and soaking in indiscretions, and drafts beautiful love discourses to express His unfailing love for us.  Who does this but God?

Life with you is better than life without you!

I wish our actions were reflective of the above statement!  Often times, they say the opposite.   Sadly enough, when I wrote this, I was thinking of God.  His actions from the start have declared, life with you is better than life without you.  Though he has it all, he chose to share, deciding not to exist in a vacuum, called into existence a paradise, and placed into it a people.  Shared His love, as well as His wisdom and provision, and despite His giving of all He possessed, man still wanted more and sought to obtain outside of Him, risking the covenant relationship with God for someone newly introduced and that had nothing to offer.

He is still consistent and we are still inconsistent!

Maybe you have been saved now so long, that the portion of your life in Christ is now more than your life without Him.  In this, it could be possible that some of us have experienced more forgiveness, mercy and grace than you did before you met Him.  Imagine that!  God has forgiven and looked beyond our past, but loves us in the present, and is committed so that He will love us in the future.  All while knowing what lay ahead!  Its amazing that He would hold our hand and allow us to bare and justice1speak His name in the midst of our sin and struggle.   Why the aisle doesn’t open up to swallow us, one can not justify, but God justifies us!  Through our covenant agreement, we are heirs to a Kingdom via a promise that is undeserved.

We deserve to be disowned.  We deserved to be abandoned.  We deserve to be cast aside.  But His mercy are new every morning!  His grace covers our stumbles.  And His blood covers our unrighteousness.

Why?  It makes no sense.  We do not deserve to be restored, but God restores and renovates, even upgrades us to new levels as we walk with Him.  Praise God!  He is truly better to us than we are to ourselves.  He loves us despite our inconsistencies, and loves us until we are made consistent through His love for us!

 

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