Archive for March, 2011

Never Forsaken

For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.

Jeremiah 51:5

The Bible tells us in the New Testament that, as far as Christians are concerned, the Old Testament was written for an example and for our learning (Romans 15:4 and others).  When I come across books like the book of Jeremiah, I can’t help but feel some fear.  The judgments that God pronounced on His people (because of their sin and refusal to return to Him) are terrible and frightening.  And, as Christians, the chastisement that God must sometimes bring upon us because of our sin can be a terrible thing.  But, even when reading a book of judgment, there is still comfort and encouragement for the people of God.

This verse tells us that, despite all of terrible things that God was going to allow to come on Israel, He had not forsaken them.  After fifty chapters of judgment, He tells them that, “though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel,” they had “not been forsaken.”  That is encouraging to me.  God chastened them and He chastened them severely, but He did not forsake them.  He did not forget them.  Despite all of their sin and wickedness against Him, He still did not forsake them.

When we fall, sometimes it may seem for a season that God has forsaken us.  It is true that when we sin, we will feel His chastening Hand.  But He has not forsaken us.  As the Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  That should be a comfort to all of us!

Written With Ink In The Book

Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.

Jeremiah 36:18

I would like to take a minute today and just say that I am thankful for my Bible.  In this verse, Baruch is explaining what He did in penning the words of the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah.  He says that he “wrote them with ink in the book.”  I am so very glad that I have the very words of God “written with ink in the Book.” 

Can you imagine if we were dependent on our memory for what God had said?  I don’t know if any of you have this problem, but I would forget my own head if it weren’t attached.  I forget everything.  I have found myself looking for my keys while they were in my hand.  I have searched frantically for the hat that I was wearing.  Maybe I am alone in these things, but I suspect not.  I am thankful that I have God’s words written down with ink in the Book.  I can look at them as often as I want.  I can study them as much as I want.  If I forget something that the Book said, I can always look and find it again.  What a blessing!

Our church currently has a missionary to a small country that does not have a reliable Bible in its own language.  This missionary is working to get the “words written with ink in the book” in these peoples’ native language.  But what a privilege we have!  What a glorious thing that we hold in our hands- the Word of God.

It never ceases to amaze me just how easy it is to have a Bible.  There have been people throughout history who never saw a Bible.  There have been people who treasured a few pages or scraps of the Blessed Book.  I just saw a whole pile of complete Bibles and another pile of New Testaments at Dollar Tree for $1 each.  Imagine that- the precious Book that many have died for and have longed for could be had for pocket change.  We should be thankful every day that we have God’s words “written with ink in the Book!”

The Purpose of the Bible

Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.  It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which i purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from the evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.

Jeremiah 36:2-3

In these verses, God is telling the prophet Jeremiah what He wants him to do.  As I was reading these verses, a thought struck me: these verses describe one of the main purposes of the entire Bible.  They specifically deal with the “house of Judah,” but we will make application to the entire Bible, and not just the immediate text of Jeremiah. 

Notice that God told Jeremiah to write these things in a book.  When things are written in a book, there is little room for debate.  When things are spoken, there is often room for exaggeration and error, as evidenced by any gossip you may come across.  But when something is written down, it is sure.  II Peter 1:19 tells us that we have a “more sure word of prophecy.”  That “more sure word” is the Bible.  The Bible is the only perfect book in the world because it is the only book in the world given by God Himself.  It is written down in a book.

Also, notice the purpose of this book: “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from the evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”  It is the Bible that tells us how we can know Him.  It is the Bible that purifies us.  It keeps us walking with Him.  It keeps us from sin.  When we do sin, it keeps us from despair, as it tells us not only that He will forgive us, but it tells us how to obtain that forgiveness.  Everything that we need is in that Book!

I am so thankful that I have a Bible.  As the children’s song says: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me!  I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!”

Fear and Fun

Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Proverbs 28:14

The Bible is full of seeming contradictions.  This verse is one of them.  It starts out “happy is the man that feareth alway…”  That doesn’t make sense to our human reasoning.  We not equate fear with happiness.  In our minds, fear is almost the opposite of happiness.  Humanly, we can’t see how we could be happy while “in fear.” 

Of course, this is not a contradiction to those of us who know the Lord.  It is a fear of Him that keeps us out of trouble.  If we have a fear of Him and a fear of His Word, we are going to follow Him and obey Him.  And, as we all know, following Him and obeying Him do result in our happiness.  In fact, following Him is the only place that we will truly find happiness.

On the other hand, “he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”  To some, a “hard heart” is a prerequisite to “having fun” and “enjoying life.”  But, sooner or later, that hard heart that has rejected the Lord will “fall into mischief.”  The world would have us to believe that selfishly following our own desires and rejecting God is the way to happiness.  But, as usual, the world has it backward.  Fearing and following God brings happiness; rejecting God and following ourselves brings trouble and mischief.

Are we fearing Him or are we hardening our hearts?  We are all either moving in one direction or the other.  Which way are we going?

Count Your Blessings (Hymn)

Count Your Blessings
Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1897)

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

I always find that this is one of the most encouraging hymns I know.  No matter what your trial or what your trouble, you can always help matters by counting your blessings.  I guarantee that you will start counting them and will have a hard time finding a place to stop counting them!  It will keep us singing and it will give us comfort along the way.

Thy Strength

O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.

Psalm 86:16

I am a guy.  And part of the territory that comes with being a guy is a borderline obsession with “strength.”  You can see this obsession with strength everywhere you find guys.  The Bible even tells of this basic nature of guys in Proverbs, “…the glory of young men is their strength.”  Most guys do not like to admit weakness.  We don’t like going to the doctor and we don’t like calling the plumber and we don’t like asking for directions.  All of these things show “weakness” in one way or another.  Any one of these things is an admission that we need help beyond ourselves.  When it comes to spiritual matters, this obsession with our own strength cripples us all too often.

In this Psalm, David prays that the Lord would give His strength to him.  As powerful as David was, He realized that he needed strength far greater than anything he possessed.  David was the one who killed the giant Goliath.  He was a mighty man of valor.  He was a warrior and a king.  But even he realized that his human strength was not enough to fight a spiritual battle.

In asking the Lord for His strength, he showed a humility that must preceed help from the Lord.  It is hard for any of us (guy or girl) to admit our own weakness.  We all have a tendency to be filled with pride.  Humbling ourselves is not natural to us.  But it is exactly what we need.  We, like David, can never make it in our own strength.  We will fail every time we trust in our own flesh.  We need something greater.  Fortunately, we have His strength available to us, if we will only humble ourselves enough to ask for it.

Call Unto Me

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremiah 33:3

This verse is one of the most famous verses in the Bible on the subject of prayer.  It is one of the greatest promises on the subject.  Many sermons have been preached and many essays and books have been written on this subject from this verse, but we will take a simple look at it today to remind us of our need to pray and of the God to whom we pray.

1. “Call unto me…”
-Before anything else happens, we have to call unto Him.  In order to get prayers answered, we must first pray.  That may seem overly elementary, but how often have our prayer lives been stopped cold right here?  We need to pray.

2. “… and I will answer thee.”
-That answer may not be the one that we are wanting or looking for, but it will come.  And the answer may not come on our terms or on our timetable, but it will come.  “I will answer thee.”

3. “…and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
-This is the meat of the verse.  God has promised not only to answer our prayers, but to overanswer our prayers.  We often think in simple terms.  We have a simple need and we would like to have that simple need met.  God does not think in simple terms.  God is in control of the entire world.  He runs the show.  God is not limited to answering our prayers by doing only the things that we would think of.  He can “open the windows of Heaven, and pour us out a blessing.”  He is capable of truly showing us great and mighty things.  And He is definitely capable of showing us things that we know nothing about. 

This verse shows us the perfect combination of a wonderful promise and a powerful God.  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee…”  Why aren’t we calling on Him more?

Too Hard?

Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?

Jeremiah 32:26-27

These are very simple verses which ask a very simple question: “Is there anything too hard for me?”  As Christians, it is easy to answer this question.  We would boldly say “No, there is nothing too hard for God.”  Period.  And we would strongly believe that.  But how often has our flesh reared its ugly head and questioned that simple statement?  How often have we been troubled with doubts about His ability to do “any thing?”  How often have we lived as though that truth were in question? 

God is God.  He can do anything.  He has the power to do anything and He has the prerogative to do anything.  He is God.  He created everything around me (including myself).  Not only did He create it, He formed it from nothing.  We applaud the genius of man when someone takes things that have been created (things such as paints and canvas, for example) and rearranges them in a pleasing manner.  God did not merely rearrange already existing things to make the world around us; He formed the world around us from nothing.  A God Who is capable of that surely knows nothing that is “too hard.”  Now for the point of this obvious assertion that God is God:

How little faith do we sometimes have in this infinite God!  If it is true that God can do anything (and He can), and He has told us to come to Him and to make our requests know to Him (and He has), then why do live with so little faith?  If we really believe that there is nothing “too hard” for God, why do we find ourselves living like don’t believe it so often?

We need to pray, like the disciples, “Lord, increase our faith.”  (Luke 17:5)


He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

Proverbs 28:27

The Bible is full of admonitions for us to be generous.  A Christian should be the most generous person in the world.  The Bible tells us that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12:28)  As a Christian, we have been given much.  We have been granted forgiveness, we have been redeemed, we have been “bought with a price.”  We have been given an eternal home in Heaven and an uncorruptable inheritance.  With all of that, how can we ask for any more?  But we have so much more in Him!  But, I digress.

When the Bible says that “he that giveth to the poor shall not lack…, ” it speaks of generosity.  Some people are poor in this world’s goods.  They may have physical needs of clothing, food, shelter, etc.  The book of James speaks of this type of generosity: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”  (James 2:15-16)  If we find someone with a physical need, and it is in our power to meet that need, why should we not do it?  We should be generous people.  Of course, all people who do not know Jesus Christ as their Saviour are “poor” spiritually.  They hunger and thirst and we know the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  When we look at it like that, we should be even more generous.

The second part of the verse tells us that “he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”  How often have we seen someone in need and “hid our eyes?”  That is convicting question.  How generous are we?

Ransomed From A Stronger Hand

For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

Jeremiah 31:11

Any time I see the words “redeemed” and “ransomed” in the Bible, I sit up and take notice.  As the old song says, “we are redeemed, the price is paid; what a wonderful Saviour!”  I love writing about my Redeemer and I am daily thankful for the ransom that He gave for me.  I love the picture this verse paints of the Lord’s ransoming and redeeming us.  I know that, doctrinally, this passage is dealing with “Jacob,” or the nation of Israel.  But I think that a wonderful application can be made for us as Christians.

I started out yesterday to write about the second half of this verse, which turned out to be a short study on the word “redeemed.”  Today, we will look at the phrase “ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.”  Think about that phrase for a minute as it pertains to our salvation.  Before we were saved, we were held captive by Satan.  He held us in bondage to sin.  We were the servants and slaves of sin.  Both the Devil and our own sin were both stronger than we were.  We had no power against either.  We were in his hand, and his hand was stronger than ours.  But Jesus Christ, through His blood, ransomed us and redeemed us from the hand of Satan and from the clutches of our sin.

We could not hope to save ourselves.  We were held by a stong hand.  But now, we are held by an even stronger hand!  Romans 5:6 tells us “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  We had no strength on our own to ransom ourselves.  But thanks be to God, He has, to paraphrase, “ransomed us from the hand of him that was stronger than us.”