I’m taking inventory, of my spiritual progress going to be weighing my increase, my digress. Going to take stock, to see if I’ve grown going to be looking for the gifts I’ve blown. I’m going to catalog, how much fruit I’ve got going see if its usable or if its starting to rot. Going to […]
Jeremiah, affectionately; The “weeping prophet” laments to God over this darkest time in Jewish history. Being from Jerusalem himself, Jeremiah takes it hard because he knew its significance (to God), and knew firsthand how precious the people were to God. He opens his letter with “How” (woe) which in Biblical text is reserved for funerals, laments) We know by his writing style that this was a very personal letter in comparison to the others (Kings, and Jeremiah). He opens his letter with “How” Lamentations is a collection of 5 acrostic psalms, or songs *Each verse begins in a Jewish alphabet, and its purpose is found in the first verse-A “puzzle”
Sixteen years earlier, Jeremiah warns of an invasion from the north, but Jehoiakim remains stiff necked against the Lord and turns back to Egypt for support to defeat this great army. Consequently, Jehoiakim is put to death, Jerusalem is ravaged by Nebuchadnezzar, and God’s people are taken into exile.
(Lamentations 1:5) Her adversaries have become
her enemies are at ease,
for the Lord made her suffer
because of her transgressions
Her children have gone away
as captives before her adversaries HCSB
There is one thing we can all relate to, its suffering. It causes discomfort and causes us to take a different path. Jerusalem was allowed to suffer, To be stripped of her identity, ridiculed,and made to submit to the tyranny of a foreigner.
1:7 During the days of her affliction
Jerusalem remembers all
her precious belongings
that were hers in days of old
When her people fell into the adversary’s hand,
She had no one to help.
The adversaries looked at her;
laughing and her downfall
Indeed it was a most difficult time for her (Ezekiel 16:35-38) “Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 This is what the Lord God says: Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness exposed by your acts of prostitution with your lovers, and because of your detestable idols and the blood of your children that you gave them.38 I will judge you the way adulteresses and those who shed blood are judged. Then I will bring about your blood shed in wrath and jealousy
Still their arrogance, and conceit blinded them from God’s faithfulness to keep his word (1Timothy 6:4) they are so conceited and understanding nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
That will never happen to me!
1:9 Her uncleanliness stains her skirts
she never considered her end.
Her downfall was astonishing;
there was no one to comfort her.
Lord, look on my affliction,
for the enemy triumphs
Her most prized possession, the temple of God, Once considered off limits to the Gentiles has been trampled on by the nations
1:10 The adversary has seized
all her precious belongings.
She has even seen the nations
enter her sanctuary-
those You have forbidden
to enter Your sanctuary
Lamentations offer no clear antidote to our human condition, It does teach us: What happens to the dis-obedient, and How to properly use the language of prayer that we may meet the One who will rescue us in the midst of suffering, and circumstance:
(Lamentations 3:22-23) “Because of the Lords faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness; Isaiah 40 God’s people are fearful of the impending invasion, but the Lord sends a message of restoration.
The military command, “Mark Time, March” means to march in place without moving forward. It is an active pause in forward motion while remaining mentally prepared and expectantly waiting the next command In everyday language, the term marking time has come to mean “motion without progress, not getting anywhere, not doing anything important while…
via Marking Time — Our Daily Bread Ministries
Can church growth be measured by the sudden upswing of visitors attending Sunday service? What about that recent expansion, and facelift to an aging structure? Yes, On the surface it creates appeal and is certain spark curiosty of those seeking spiritual connections.
AND LOOK! There are programs available to help fix and maintain these areas of church growth,
Smart Church Management’s (SCM) founder Patricia Lotrich help churches grow in areas of stewardship- managing resources like time, personnel and monies. Active network offers college courses on maintaining growth by evaluating your present infrastructure (Staff), Modeling health-Human mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual processes. They also teach how to do staff evaluations, document progress, and offer technological support. Surely, The church is growing, and we are capable of fixing ourself.
Truth is, We couldn’t be further off the mark-Our Accomplishments, and external efforts have taken precedence over the presence of the Holy Spirit of God, and the true purpose of the church; “Evangelism”
…since a church is a living organism, it is natural for it to grow if it is healthy…
If a church is not growing, it is dying…
(Rick Warren) “A Purpose driven church”
There is no “I” in church growth. Church Growth is “CHRIST CENTERED” (Acts 6:7) And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of priests became obedient to the faith. It is COLLECTIVE; We all have a place in reviving and nurturing the Holy Spirit for all who come seeking Him(1Corinthians 12:12)
The church is desperate need for revival, a re-invitation for the Holy Spirit to come and take up residency; (Psalm 85:6) Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?
Pray with me. Lord, I empty myself of all distractions, that I may be filled with a humble spirit-Your Spirit. Renew my mind, O Lord, help Your servant to remain focused on doing my part in the revival of Your church. Renew my heart and make me a pleasing aroma to You, and a light to all who come seeking Your face. In Your mighty name I pray, And all in agreeance say, Amen. God Bless
Why BAD THINGS happen to Good People? from Transformation Lifestyle for women (WordPress) Unbelievers pose this cynically: “If you’re God is a loving God, then why does he allow bad thi…
Why BAD THINGS happen to Good People?
from Transformation Lifestyle for women (WordPress)
Unbelievers pose this cynically: “If you’re God is a loving God, then why does he allow bad things happen to good people? Believers might approach it from a standpoint of distress and despair: “Why me”Lord?
(Matthew 19:17) There is no perfect human-The only One perfect man went to the cross to save us from our human condition-So, to compare ourselves to him is a misnomer-a complete misstatement to our relationship to him (Isaiah 55:8-10) For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither is your ways My ways Isaiah…
Think for a moment about what you see as you’re flying thousands of feet above the earth-The layers of clouds separating the atmospheres, the large land mass, surrounded be huge bodies of water, the actual curvature of the earth’s horizon-Pretty impressive. Now, Imagine what the God outside all space and time sees. Where would we begin to wrap our heads around it?
Why do we suffer? (Phil 1:6) He who began a good work in you will see t to completion to the day of Jesus Christ. 2 Peter tells us the Lord is not unwavering in his promise 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance
In our pain, and suffering, it’s difficult to believe that this is God’s plan for us-That he would care for the man who walked into Emmanuel Ministry (Charleston), watch as people prayed, the without remorse gun them down. In our humanity, this sickens us to our very core. Why does God allow the innocent to die? God is concerned for our eternal welfare, the Big picture (The airplane). Our eternity is of greater worth than our temporal state (Fleshly state). Whether we like it or not, we all will be separated from our flesh at some point, and all will have eternal life. How and Where we end up matters to God.
In the book of Acts in verse 7, Peter is stoned to death after preaching the gospel (7:54) When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him 55a but Stephan full of the Holy Spirit looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God..So, why didn’t God strike them down for this wicked act? “So that NONE would perish.” No one would be deprived of God’s promise (2 Peter 3:9)
No one escapes the process (Romans 8:23) Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for the adoption to the sonship the redemption of our bodies.
Peter completed his assignment-Those who stoned him fall under the same promise of God’s grace-We will all pass through the Refiner’s fire. We must be willing to accept this truth (2 Corinthians 5:8) We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord; Up to the point of redemption.
Why don’t we just Check-out-Take our own lives and be totally done with the suffering?
(Luke 9:62) Jesus replied,”No one puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God-We matter to Jesus- WHERE WE SPEND OUR ETERNITY MATTERS TO HIM *John 15:13: No greater love has he who is willing to lay down his life for a brother-Quitting is Not an option!
Indeed Bad things will happen, and we should be excited that we have such an opportunity to serve Him intimately.
Wisdom is knowledge, Rightly applied. B. Franklin. God didn’t say be ye wise like Solomon a man who was given wisdom unlike any man. We must think how to defeat this enemy (serpent) that has deceived Eve-The one who makes us see God’s plan as evil.
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“Fellowship, and accountability”
(Colossians 1:9-10) 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good and growing in the knowledge of God.
Fellowships allow us to come along-side one another to fill spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical voids.
What it looks like:
(Genesis 2:18) 18 Then the Lord said,”It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make him a helper as a complement. I will make him a HELPER as a COMPLEMENT; To be “Equally” yoked:
‘ezer kenegdo Heb.; ‘ezer-“Helper” kenegdo-“Protect, rescue, to gird, to push back (equal strength) *When the Lord blessed Adam with Eve, He intended for her to be his help-mate, his companion of equal strength. In this instance kenegdo describes Eve as being able to “Push back” with the same strength-To be his equal.
What should Fellowship look like?
Fellowships INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGES to remain steadfast in our storms: (Hebrews 10:24-25) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching
RESTORES In Acts 13, Barnabas (Son of encouragement), born Joseph, pleads on Saul’s(Persecutor of Christians)behalf, and vouches that had experienced a divine intervention, and was truly a man of God. Consequently, Paul’s missionary journey was started.
(Philippians 4:2-3) Paul pleads with two prominent women in the church at Philippi to reconcile with one another for the sake of the growth of the church (Philippians 4:2-3) I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree in the Lord3 Yes, I also ask you, true partner to hep these women who have contended for the gospel at my side, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the book of life.
BUILDS BONDS( Acts1:13) When they arrived, the went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter,John, James, and Andrew;Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James
is POWERFUL, AND CANNOT BE BROKEN: (John 2:15) So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned tables (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Though one maybe overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not equally broken