Tag Archives: being a Christian

July 25; Backsliding Is A Slippery Slope

Jeremiah 2-4

God, through  Jeremiah, is talking to His children. This message is not for those outside the family of God, not for the unsaved, but for us who know God as our Father. He is talking to the ancient Jews, and to Christians this side of the cross.

He calls us an unfaithful wife, someone who wants to be married AND live like we aren’t. God, in chapter 3, tells us He doesn’t want a divorce, so He warns us, begs us to return to Him. But Jeremiah tells us God’s bride continues in her unfaithfulness. So to her He says:

“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” (3:22)

Then in chapter 4, God tells us what coming back to Him looks like. Warren Wiersbe, in his Bible handbook entitled “With The Word” wrote an outline I’d like to share with you today. You can find his words on page 499 of that handbook. (Oliver-Nelson Books, copyright 1991)

  1. Returning to God looks like plowing a field (3:3). Breaking up the hard ground and planting only good seed is the picture here. A hard heart needs breaking to make it fertile. Am I willing to let God break my heart?
  2. It looks like surgery (vs 4). Circumcising the heart involves the painful cutting away of anything that identifies us with the world. But, like with surgery, the pain is temporary, the benefits long-lasting. What is it God is asking me to cut away today?
  3. Returning to God looks like joining the army (vv 5-6, 19-21). I remember when my nephew joined the army, he left home. We couldn’t go with him and, really, he wouldn’t want Aunt Connie following him around during training anyway. He tells us that training was hard, not always fun, they broke him in order to build him up. But that kid came home a man. That training changed him into a soldier. The Bible tells us a soldier answers the call of the trumpet, drops everything else, and reports for duty. Do we realize there is a battle raging in our lives? Returning to God might involve going back to boot camp, to study, to put on the whole armor of God, to pray, to go. God’s trumpet is blaring. Am I answering the call?
  4. It looks like taking a bath (vs 14). If we want to return to God we’ve got to wash the evil from our hearts, purify our minds, allow God to scrub the enemy off of us and get rid of any trace of the world. Paul calls it coming out from among them and being separate. God deserves a bride who is totally His. Does that describe me? Or do I still have a smudge of filth on my face?
  5. It looks like growing up (vs 22). Jesus tells us to come to Him like a child, but that’s different than being childish. Maybe it’s time I quit playing around and got serious about my relationship with God. Maybe it’s time I quit demanding my own way, throwing tantrums when I don’t get what I think I deserve. Maybe it’s time I quit putting myself at the center of my life like a two-year-old, and put my Bridegroom where He deserves to be.

Backsliding doesn’t come on anyone suddenly. It starts with a thought, a look, a taste. It starts with busy schedules that steal our time away from God’s Word, or from church on Sunday. It begins as a thought, then a desire, then an action. And one action leads to another, then another. That gradual stepping away from God is a slippery slope.

Hear God tell us to STOP! Hear Him beg us to return to Him, to do whatever it takes to be that Bride He deserves, even if the process is painful and humbling. God wants His Bride back. That means you, dear one!

Ephesians; Royal Rules

Being an American, I’m not that familiar with British Royalty. I’m not what you’d call a Royal Enthusiast, although I do like watching the weddings. So, after reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I Googled Royal Rules. Here are a few that stood out to me:

  1. No one eats after the Queen is through with her meal.
  2. A Royal wedding bouquet must contain myrtle.
  3. You can’t have political views
  4. You can’t play the board game “Monopoly.”
  5. Married women don’t wear hats after 6 PM – bring on the tiaras.
  6. You can’t eat shellfish
  7. You can’t take selfies
  8. Garlic isn’t allowed in Buckingham Palace
  9. Neither are potatoes, rice, and pasta
  10. You never turn your back toward the Queen

(from “50 Strict Rules the Royal Family Has to Follow, marieclaire.com)

After reading Galatians the other day, I was reminded that I am an heir, a member of the most royal family of all – God’s Church. Today I am convicted about that very thing. Paul, in Ephesians, tells us what a Royal should look like. I’m asking myself if I’m living my life worthy of the calling:

  1. Be completely humble
  2. Be gentle, patient, loving
  3. Be a peace-maker
  4. Speak truth in love
  5. Put off falsehood
  6. Don’t sin in anger
  7. Don’t be obscene
  8. Don’t be impure
  9. Don’t be greedy
  10. Don’t be partners with those who are disobedient

There’s more. Paul goes on to describe in further detail what we who are heirs of the Promise, children of the King of Kings should look like. I encourage you to read Ephesians for yourself.

I’m thinking if those British Royals can take that much care to represent the Queen in such a manner, shouldn’t I take more care to represent my King?

Psalms 90-95; The Chutney Chicks

I like to golf. Before I moved to Georgia I would get together with some women from work and golf fairly regularly. I love these women. We are not great golfers, but we’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves. Golfing with them is fun and relaxing.

These women know I go to church. They observe that my lifestyle is different from their’s. So when we golf, they tend to clean up their vocabulary out of respect for me. I appreciate it, but I tell them I want them to just be themselves around me.

Anyway, one afternoon one of the ladies missed what should have been an easy putt. She began to use the “S” word, but stopped herself, looked at me, and said, “Chutney.” As I’m sitting here writing this I am laughing out loud, just remembering the sheepish look on her face. I laughed that day, too. So did all of us. And from then on, whenever one of the girls felt a vulgar word coming out of her mouth, we’d hear, ‘Chutney!”

In fact, when our school district did a team-building activity, we were Team Chutney Chicks. As I recall we didn’t do well in that completion, either. I digress.

This came to mind today as I read these psalms. Listen to 90:8:

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Then the psalmist goes on to say in verse 11:

Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.

It’s not my wrath anyone should fear. Not my ears people should have respect for. It’s God’s. He sees it all, and hears it all anyway. We can’t dress up our secret sins in a harmless word, or action, and think we got away with something. God is not a fool.

If you act one way around Christians, and another around non-believers you have a problem. Why do you care what Christians think about you? We’re not your judge. But there is One who is, and He’s watching and listening. He is the One of whom your actions should reflect your respect.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:3-5)

Yep. That God. He is the One who deserves… no, demands… our consideration, our respect, our fear, and our devotion.