Tag Archives: teachers

Jeremiah 21-25; It’s That Serious

God has quite a lot to say to shepherds in these chapters of Jeremiah, doesn’t He? But before you think you’ve dodged a bullet because you aren’t a pastor or teacher in your church, remember God commanded all of us to “Go,” to share the Gospel with our world. What Jeremiah writes to the shepherds of God’s flock, applies to all of us who are called by Jesus’ name: Christian.

We have a message from God to tell. And God takes it very seriously that our message be truly His. The only place you will find His message is in the pages of the Bible. Not the Bible plus anything. Not someone’s opinion of what the Bible says, not a new revelation. God has given us all the Truth we need to know right here in these precious pages.

We need to know what it says. Because not only does God place a great deal of responsibility on the tellers of His Truth, He places responsibility on listeners as well. Yes, false prophets, preachers, and teachers will pay dearly for their lies. But those who follow them will not get a free pass, either. The Bible is clear. You either believe God or you don’t. Believing anything other than what God has given us is a death sentence.

It’s that serious.

Dear one, we have got to be in God’s Word every day. We’ve got to be memorizing it, thinking about it, testing everything we hear according to what is in there. We’ve got to recognize a lie and reject it, not go along with it because it sounds good, and everybody else is following it.

Satan can be pretty subtle. His lies often sound Biblical. His lies can sound like love, and tolerance, and compassion, and praise, and success, and happiness, and health. His lies often are accompanied by a Scripture or two.

But they are still lies. And if you go along with those lies you will be held accountable. If you spread those lies God will show no mercy.

I’m honored that you read my post today. But if this is the extent of your “devotions,” I’d rather you didn’t. Instead, pick up your Bible. Put all the other books and blogs away. Turn off your TV or radio preachers. And get in God’s Word. YOU get in God’s Word.

Because you are going to be held accountable for what is in there. It is that serious.

 

Numbers 17-18; Budding, Blossoming, and Bountiful

Priests were highly regarded men, respected, obeyed. It’s no wonder that men from other tribes wanted to enjoy the same honor. But God made it plain that Aaron was His chosen, and only Levites were to attend to priestly duties. The staff that represented Aaron not only budded, it blossomed, and produced fruit over night.

The other staves? Nothing.

This side of the cross, as God’s kingdom of priests, we can learn from Aaron’s staff. As believers, we are chosen by God to grow in grace and knowledge, to go and make disciples, to stand in the gap between heaven and hell. We also can delight in God’s Presence, His love, His forgiveness, and protection. Buds and blossoms and bounty.

But chapter 18 reminds us of the great responsibility that goes along with all that. God told Aaron that he and his sons, “bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary…

Verse 5 says: You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.

The commentaries I read seemed to agree these verses warn me that, although being God’s child through the blood of His Son is a precious gift, there are serious consequences if I don’t use it, if I hoard it or abuse it.

I must bear fruit. If I don’t, God’s wrath will be my fault. If my neighbor goes to hell because I didn’t reach out to him to introduce him to the Savior, his blood is on my hands.

My pastor is going through I Thessalonians verse by verse with us, and yesterday we got to 5:12-15. These verses talk to us about how we are to regard those who are over us in the Lord. In other words, our pastors.

He shared the grave responsibility he has as our under-shepherd, and the fact that he will stand before God some day and account for his care of us who worship with him in our church body. He asked us to pray for him, for his faithfulness to God’s Word, and his purity, that God would keep him grounded in the Truth of Scripture, and victorious over sin in his own life.

I’m teaching a Sunday School class this quarter, and would ask the same of you. Please pray for me as I take on the responsibility of being God’s voice to the dear women who trust me to speak the Truth. And pray that Satan will be defeated in my life.

My pastor also pointed out these verses address “those who work hard AMONG you.” Isn’t that all of us who name the name of Jesus? We need to be in prayer for our elders, deacons, youth leaders, worship leaders. We need to be in prayer for each other in our workplaces and neighborhoods as we represent Jesus to a lost world. These verses tell us to live in peace with each other, to encourage each other in the work we have to do, to be patient and kind with everyone, and always want what is best for everyone.

We are all in this together. We all have jobs to do so blossoms will grow and fruit is produced. I pray that God will find all of us faithful, and that our fruit will be bountiful for Jesus’ sake.

Numbers 4; Hold On!

I remember witnessing a situation in a church I attended years ago. A young man in his late twenties came to know the Lord in a dramatic and exciting way. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone more on fire after meeting his Savior. And his enthusiasm was contagious.

But I was surprised when the board approved him as a Sunday School teacher only a few months after his conversion. I talked to the pastor who said they felt his enthusiasm was exactly what our stagnate congregation needed. Even though he was still a baby in the faith, and had much to learn himself, the board thought he would be “a shot in the arm” for our fellowship.

The young man began to teach the young married class. But it wasn’t long before he began to teach some things that were not consistent with Scripture. He’d latched on to a popular TV preacher whose message was full of partial truths. But being a babe in his faith, the young man didn’t recognize the error. Eventually, after one of our elders tried to mentor him in the Truth, the young man left the church and took two of the couples with him.

God instructed Moses that men 30-50 were to be given the responsibilities to serve in the Tent of Meeting. In Numbers 8:24 provisions are made for younger men to take part in the work, and Matthew Henry suggests they could be apprentices until age 30, when they would be given their official duties.

It’s believed Paul took some time in Damascus after his conversion before he began his preaching ministry. Some have it as long as three years, and believe he spent time with Christians, learning about his Savior, getting grounded in his faith.

The excitement of a newly saved person should energize our churches. Enthusiasm for the things of God is contagious. But let’s choose our leaders wisely. When we appoint teachers and hire pastors, we are placing on them a serious responsibility, a higher standard by which they are held accountable by God.

Paul sets out some guidelines in I Timothy and Ephesians for church workers. I think we would do well to follow them. And if what Matthew Henry says is true, giving time for a bit of maturity, is the Old Testament basis for serving, as well. Maybe insisting an enthusiastic babe in Christ hold on before tackling leadership positions is exactly what God has prescribed for a very good reason.

We are told to pray for those in positions of authority. (I Timothy 2:2) I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing to do for our church leaders as well as our government. Let’s all be faithful to do that.

And, mature Christian, maybe YOU are the shot in the arm your fellowship needs. Just a thought.

Changed?

The New King James version of the Bible says that after he had talked to Samuel, Saul left there another man. God gave him a changed heart. (I Samuel 10)

That’s as it should be. Reading God’s Word should change us, too. Hearing God’s Word proclaimed from a pulpit should change us. Did you leave church yesterday a different person? Did I?

It’s Monday morning. Can you even remember what the pastor spoke about yesterday morning? If not, why not? Was it because our hearts weren’t prepared to hear from God? Were we too busy to pray before we walked through those doors? Was it because our minds were on other things? Did our thoughts wander? Did we allow our children to distract us? Are we harboring sin?

Sometimes I read the Bible and write in my journal, then half way through the day can’t remember what I thought I’d learned. What a waste of God’s resources. Here I have God’s Word in my hands. I’m free to worship him and hear teaching from his Word every Sunday. I have this treasure at my fingertips, but too often squander it away.

Father, forgive me. I want to allow you to change me every time I read or hear your Word. I don’t want to miss anything that would encourage me, strengthen me, convict me, change me into a woman who radiates You. Help me to change into a person more like you every time I open your Word or have the privilege of hearing a sermon from your Word. I don’t want to miss any opportunity to draw closer to you.

August 2

2 Kings 24:1-4; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7; Daniel 1:1-2; Jeremiah 36:1-32, 25:1-38, 45:1-5

Did you shake your head at King Jehoiakim’s audacity? As Baruch read God’s Word, the king cut off a portion of the scroll and threw it into the fire until the entire scroll was destroyed. Baruch was reading God’s warning to the people of the devastation that was to come because of disobedience. 

What was Jehoiakim’s reaction? Get rid of the warning. Jehoiakim could not, however, stop God. God just gave Jeremiah the same message to rewrite (and added a couple more words for good measure).

There have been powers in the past that have tried to get rid of the Scriptures. But in every case God has preserved his written Word. I have multiple copies myself and several translations in my home.

However, as I read today God impressed on me another attempt to destroy his Word. And it’s coming from our pulpits. We are just as guilty as Jehoiakim when we don’t hold the entire Bible up as God’s inspired, unquestionable authority. We cut out a verse here and there if it makes us uncomfortable or doesn’t fit in with our politically correct agenda.

I know why Jehoiakim wanted that scroll destroyed. The words pointed out his sin and warned of God’s wrath. Let’s face it… the Bible doesn’t always make us feel good about ourselves. It isn’t intended to. 

In fact, the Bible is intended to show us how vile, how guilty, how dirty we are. It’s intended to show us our need of a Savior. And then it introduces us to that very One who can… who wants to… clean us up.

Do you believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word to us? All of it? Even the parts that end up revealing our deepest sin? Let’s not pick and choose which verses we like and throw out the ones we don’t. 

Because in the end, God’s Word will remain. And it doesn’t change with the times or with the desires of men. 

Dear God, I want to thank you for inspiring men to write your words down so that we in 2013 can know your heart. I pray for pastors and teachers. May they present your Word as Truth and not skip over or try to re-write verses that are hard for us to hear. Preserve your Scriptures in our time, Lord as you did in the days of Jeremiah. Give us ears to hear and hearts willing to be broken. Thank you for Jesus and his work on the cross that writes a happy ending to this story! May reading the Bible drive us to our knees and into his arms when we repent of the sin you reveal through the precious pages of your Word.