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MY HOPE IS BUILT ON…

Jeremiah 14:22b “Therefore we hope in You, for You are the one who has done all these things.”

SOLID ROCK

I recall the words to the hymn “On Christ, the Solid Rock” when I read this verse. The words say,

“My hope is built on nothing less; Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

We have no other hope than Jesus. People and circumstances will let us down. There is no doubt about it. But Jesus…He will never desert us. He is the Solid Rock on which we can stand.

TEACHING MOMENT

Have you ever seen your child slip on ice or loose rocks? It can happen so quick. Before you can react, they are on the ground. You pick them up and make sure everything is okay. After perhaps a few tears they are good to go. But don’t miss this opportunity. Use that experience to talk about how firm our footing is with Christ. Even when we feel we are falling, as a believer, He is right there with us to support us. He will never let us go!

This truth is so real to me because I was talking a leisurely walk with a friend in Kenya recently when all of a sudden I was falling down. My foot slipped on some little pebbles on the road and down I went. Well, actually I caught my self with right hand and got a nasty little cut. I took my eyes off the road I was walking on for a split second. That’s all it took. Needless to say, the rest of the walk I was hawk-eyed on each step. Lol

Are you slipping? Are you on sinking sand? Are you tired of struggling with every step? Then step onto the Solid Rock. He is sure and steady!

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ME HOLY?

 

I Peter 1:15-16 “15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”

HOW CAN I BE HOLY?

What would you say if someone said you should be holy? My first reaction is, “Me? Only God is Holy!” But look at the passage today. Peter is quoting Leviticus 11:44, “‘For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.’”

Now listen! If the Lord tells us to do it, then it’s possible, right? I mean, the Lord does not ask us to do anything we are not capable of. But the key is we have to let Him make us holy. That word in the Hebrew can refer to God, angels, a saint, or even a sanctuary. After all, we are the sanctuary of God, and He only dwells in a holy place. Do you think for a second that His Spirit is going to settle for anything other than “holy”. Of course not!

TEACHING MOMENT

So, how in the world do we teach our children to live holy lives? We are all sinners, just saved by grace. You can’t demand them to be holy. Go ahead! I dare you! Try that one! Lol. And you can’t really explain holiness to a child. The only way they truly “get” holiness is by observing it.

So the question is where do they see it? They will see it in YOU. They will see it in the way we treat OTHERS. They will see it, hopefully, in their Pastor and Sunday School teacher. They will see it in other believers who know their lives must exemplify holiness. And when you see it in others, point it out to them. Give them those concrete example of holy living.

I know I am rotten to the core. But through the saving grace of Jesus I am made holy and righteous. Because of His Spirit living in me, I can be holy, as He is holy. Here’s to being called holy! I kind of like that after all.

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PRAYING FOR OTHERS

 

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

DID I DO THAT?

“Seriously, James? You expect me to confess my sins to someone else? Get real! I can’t divulge my sins to another human being – not even my family!” Yep, that’s what the Word says here. We are to be so vulnerable with our fellow believers that we are willing to share with them our shortfalls or mistakes. That sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? What if they blab about your sins? That would be so embarrassing.

Well, look at the verse. It says the “effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” You don’t spill the beans to just anyone. You share them with those whom are righteous and are seeking the Lord on your behalf. I have a group of guys with whom I can share those things. They hold be accountable. They call me on the carpet, if need be. I need that. I need others in my life to help guard my thoughts and actions.

TEACHING MOMENT

Teach your children to confess! They can do that by praying with you and telling the Lord all about their sins. You can guide them in that by confessing your sins as you pray with them. Now, I don’t mean you should divulge past sins that would shock or even scare them (we all have a few of those, don’t we?). I mean let them hear you confess to the Lord. They need to see that we ALL need to do that. Then explain to them that by praying together and confessing in front of each other to the Lord, you are living out this verse.

They say confession is good for the soul. It really is. By keeping a clean slate, you have a clear path to the throne of God. Confessing to others also frees up our life to not be “looking over our shoulder” for those things we are trying to hide from view. It is truly a freeing feeling. Don’t you want to live free and unhindered? Then confess it all today.

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IS IT EVER GOOD TO BRAG?

 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 “23 Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.’”

IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

Have you ever met someone who constantly talks about themselves? They completely wear out “I” in the conversation. They have done or can do anything. They know the answer for everything. All you hear from them is, “I, I, I.”   That gets old real quick. We call those folks braggarts. They boast all about themselves.

Here in Jeremiah we are told to not boast of wisdom, might or riches. But we are told instead to boast about knowing the Lord and His “lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth.” Now that is really something worth boasting about.

TEACHING MOMENT

I am sure your children have or will brag about something. It is usually about some game they are good at or about how much they know about something. Chances are you are going to have to correct them. What a PERFECT time to use these verses. The Lord does now want to see them grow up haughty and arrogant. But He does want them to brag on Him to everyone they meet.

We have great stories of God’s faithfulness to us. Tell someone! We have examples of how He has met a need for us. Brag on Him! We have other stories where God has intervened for us in a health matter. Shout it from the rooftop! We should be willing to tell just how great a God we serve.

As you go through your day today, let someone know what God has done for you this week. What? You don’t remember anything? Oh my brother or sister, just stop and think about the events of your week. I promise you He has worked in ways you just have not seen. Ask Him to reveal it to you. He will! And then tell the world!

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DO THE RIGHT THING

James 4:17 “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

You have probably heard of the “sin of omission.” Well, here it is spelled out for us in this verse. We need to understand that striving to avoid sin is not just not doing certain things. It also includes doing what we know the Lord would have us do.

Let me give you an example in my life. Now I say “my life” because this might not be an omission on your part. That’s between you and the Lord. But for me this was. I was disobedient to the Spirit that I felt telling me to respond. Here’s what happened.

A week or so ago I was in a local grocery store about 15 minutes before closing. I had run in to buy a couple of items for a meal my wife was preparing for the family. You know – dash in and dash out.

One of the items was a pie (by the way, I love pie) that I had to get back in the Bakery/Deli area. When I got to that area there was one young man, probably in his late teens, who was busy restocking the pies and cookies. As usual, I said “Hey, how’s it going?” He replied very sarcastically, “Oh you know, just living the dream!”

Instantly, I felt the Spirit tell me to inquire further about what dream that was which could have easily led to a witnessing opportunity (the right thing to do). Instead, I said, “Okay, have a great night.” FAIL!!! I sinned. I should have taken the time to inquire.

I’m went back to that store to see if I can see that young man again and make this right. I couldn’t locate him. I prayed for him in the store, even though I didn’t know his name. I also prayed for forgiveness for this, because I want to “do the right thing.” How about you?

TEACHING MOMENT

Teach your children to be sensitive to God’s leading and respond immediately. Don’t wait for a convenient time. If God is leading you, He will give the words to say. If He has opened a door, walk through it.

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OUR BEGINNING

 

Jeremiah 1:5 “’Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’”

HEARTBEAT

I have heard all the arguments to defend abortion. “It’s a woman’s choice. It’s not a life yet. It’s not fair to force a woman to carry a child she doesn’t want. It ‘s all about women’s health.” None of these excuses for ending a life can explain away our verse today. The Lord says through Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”

As science progresses more and more we discover earlier physical activity of the child in the womb. A baby’s heart begins to beat 18 days from conception, and by 21 days the heart is pumping blood through a closed circulatory system. If a Pro-choice person believes a stopped heart indicates the end of life, why can’t they acknowledge that when the heart starts beating life begins?

TEACHING MOMENT

We have the responsibility to teach our children the truth about life. They will be bombarded with the world’s view of life. When they study biology they will read all about the development of the child. They must hear from God’s Word also. It is clear from His truths that life begins at conception, not just when a child is born.

How many parents begin talking to their child the moment they learn they are expecting? When my wife was pregnant with our son I would sing Amazing Grace to him. When he was born the one song that would calm him when I rocked him was that song. I could hold him on my chest and sing, and he would stop is crying. He recognized my voice and the song. It was a comfort to him. So don’t tell me babies aren’t a life inside that womb.

Won’t you join me today in the celebration of life? If you see someone today, stranger or friend, who is expecting, take a moment and pray for that child. If you feel led, ask them for permission to pray for their child. What an assurance of God’s blessing and consecration.

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INVISIBLE FAITH

 

James 2:14-17 “14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”

LOVE TRIUMPHS

Can others see your faith? I believe that is the essential question asked here by James. He is not saying you have to “do” for God. Salvation is completely God’s work. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Remember, Scripture does not conflict or contradict itself. There is one central theme throughout.

But if we are truly surrendered to Christ, His love for us drives us to put our faith to work. We want to “do” for Him. It is not out of obligation. It is out of our love for Him. We should desire to serve Him wherever and to whomever He directs. So, is your faith so private that it is invisible? Would people know you are a believer by your actions? They should!

TEACHING MOMENT

Our children need to be taught that there is nothing they can do to earn God’s love. He doesn’t give His love based on how much we do for Him. Just like (but in a much superior way) we love our children simply because they are our children, God loves His children. He loves all His creation, even those who turn their nose up to Him. He longs for them to come to Him.

So, how can you help your children show their faith? Well, look at the passage again. Verses 15-16 give us a great example. Let your children visit a homeless shelter and take some clothing. Let them help serve a meal there. Let them give as the Lord directs them. Let them pack that shoebox for Christmas for a little boy or girl. And of course the best way for them to learn to live out their faith is to do it right beside you.

Don’t let your faith be invisible. Let the whole world know you love the Lord and want to share Him with them.

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