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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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KNOW YOUR PURPOSE

 

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;”

JESUS KNEW

Our verse today was quoted by Jesus when John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus asking if He was the Messiah. Jesus knew His purpose. He knew exactly why He had come to earth. People may argue at what point in His life He knew, since He was fully human and fully God. I believe He knew all the time. His purpose (sacrificial death for all mankind) was set from His birth (incarnate beginning for all mankind).

TEACHING MOMENT

How do we help our children discover their purpose in life? How can we point them in the direction God has for them? We know their true purpose cannot be revealed until they submit to Him, so that’s our first step. We need to point them daily to the Purpose Giver. Once they have surrendered their will to His Will, God will begin to reveal to them how He wants to use them.

This is when we, as believing parents, need to watch for those signs of the gifts and abilities God is pouring into them. Then we can start directing them towards the fulfillment of the plan God has for them. God gifts us all differently in order to provide all the parts for the kingdom’s work here on earth. Your child has been given, as a believer in Christ, certain gifts that God wants them to exercise for Him. There is no greater joy for a parent than to see their child using those to glorify the Father.

But let me ask you a question too. Are you using your gifts for Him? Have you surrendered your will to His so He can use you? Has the Lord shown you the purpose He has for you? Are you willing to do ANYTHING to fulfill that purpose in your life? You see, your children can learn a lot watching you allow God to use you. As you submit, they will learn to submit, not only to God, but to you too.

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HELPING ANGELS

 

Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

I HELPED WHO?

Have you ever thought about the reality of this verse? According to this verse, which we know to be true since it from God’s Word, we may be responding to an angel when we help someone. All those people you see on the side of the road or the person who walks up to you in the parking asking for help could be angels God has placed in your path to gauge your response.

Now I am NOT implying that you should help everyone you see. I don’t. What I am saying is that we should be sensitive enough to the Spirit of God to allow Him to guide us. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing to get to heaven and find out that the person you felt led to help today was indeed an angel?

TEACHING MOMENT

We need to teach our children that angels are real. We shouldn’t teach them to rely on angels. That’s just plain bad theology. Our faith is in Christ, not Michael or Gabriel. But they need to know they are true creatures of God who can and do play a part in our everyday lives. I could share with you a number of stories I have been told in which angels appeared to someone or they saw one. But those aren’t my stories to tell.

What we need to teach our kids about angels is to be sensitive enough to God’s leading that we can see them through His eyes. God wants to reveal Himself to us in deeper ways every day. But we have to be willing to accept the new things He shows us. Perhaps today God will send one of the myriads of angels to encounter you. Will you be open to receiving that? Will you welcome him (the angel) as an ambassador of our Father? Will you respond in faith, not worshipping the angel, but in adoration of the Father?

Keep your eyes and heart open today. Who knows who may appear!

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CASTING THE RIGHT BAIT

 

Isaiah 55:11 “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

BASS FISHING

Anyone who knows me knows I love to bass fish. There is just something about hooking a bass and landing it. My son says, “The tug’s the drug.” I guess that about sums it up.

But there is one key to catching bass – using the right bait. I have thrown everything imaginable in an attempt to get one to bite. I have used top water frogs and poppers, plastic worms rigged in several different ways, crank baits, spinner baits and swim baits. When I find the right bait, my casts seldom come back empty. But it is never a sure thing.

Our verse today is talking about the Word of God being cast out to the hearers. The Lord says through Isaiah, “It will not return to Me empty.” The Lord will always reel in a lost soul. His Word is powerful. It is a tasty morsel to those who are hungry for peace. But it is our job, as believers, to cast it to them. We must share the Word of God in order for them to hear it and respond to it.

TEACHING MOMENT

What are you putting before your children each day? I bet you are very careful to educate them with the required subjects to finish school. I bet some of you are very careful to teach them a skill to help them repair something. I even bet some of you teach them how to do chores. But are you teaching them how to use the Word of God?

We won’t always be around. We must teach our children how to handle the Word. We must teach them to cast the Word out so others can respond. We must show them the best times and places to cast the Word. We must teach them how to respond when someone “bites” the Word. You can have the most beautiful cast in the world, but unless you know how to retrieve the lost soul (assist them in responding to the Word) you may only frustrate them.

Let’s cast the Word to a lost a dying world. Let’s be sure to teach our children the necessary “fishing” skills to “land” the ones who respond. The joy we receive by leading someone to Christ is only surpassed by the one who is making the decision to follow Him.

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